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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Hate is an Invalid Political Concept

The term "hate," in its modern political usage, is an invalid concept and has dangerous implications.
Hate is defined in the dictionary as "intense or passionate dislike." What's wrong with intensely disliking something? For example, I hate serial killers and cancer. As George Reisman recently tweeted: "There are things that deserve to be hated, and people must be free to hate them. It is an essential requirement of fighting evil." You could also hate cute puppies and roses, and that might make you a bad or strange person, but it doesn't invalidate the concept or necessity of rational hatred or judging evil to be evil.
Today, the term hate is being used as a way to conflate the concept of bigotry with the concept of judgment. On this premise, to be a bigot is to be guilty - not of irrationality or bad judgment - but, rather, guilty of judging in and of itself. In other words, by conflating these concepts, it creates the impression that intensely or passionately disliking something, anything, is itself an evil. Such a premise tends to paint anyone who thinks on principle, or who projects moral certainty, as necessarily evil, a so-called "hater."
Ironically, this term is used mostly by leftist progressives who themselves vehemently, and in many cases violently, hate anyone who disagrees with their political views. Consequently, they have not only twisted the meaning of the word hate in a way that makes any judgment sound sinister, they have also succeeded in tying this concept, not to themselves, but only to their opponents.
The net result is that anyone who opposes them on any issue, in their mind, is guilty of hate, or, equivalently, guilty of bigotry and irrationality. Consequently, they regard their opponents as not just wrong or mistaken, but as morally evil monsters, beyond rational argument, that must be stopped by any means necessary.
It's time to challenge this invalid concept every chance we get.

Monday, August 21, 2017

If the Witch Denies She is a Witch, Then She is a Witch

The progressive left has succeeded in falsely tying themselves to the moral high ground of "tolerance and diversity" which, for many, seems to connote the laudable philosophy of colorblindness - treating people, both morally and legally, based on their character and actions and not on their race, i.e., actual anti-racism.

At the same time, they have laid the intellectual framework of critical race theory, a racist theory that criticizes focusing on colorblindness and posits that all white people are guilty of an incurable Original Sin - "whiteness."

In this video, Ashleigh Shackleford asserts, as a matter of fact, that all white people are born as racist, inhuman demons.  To these types, as in the christian concept of Original Sin, denial is itself regarded as an example of the sin.  This leaves only one alternative for the guilty: confession and repentance.  Note the increasingly religious tone and behavior, including calls not only for meek confession and repentance, but the denial of free, rational counter-argument and the rooting out and persecution of non-believers.  (Here is a blog post I saw that reads like a religious missionary guidebook.)

Actual civil rights advocates, those who believe in colorblindness, need to reclaim the moral high ground and challenge this increasingly dangerous academic orthodoxy before it's too late.  The history of challenging violent religious dogma is not pretty.

Friday, August 18, 2017

What Does the Left Think of Group X?

Say there was a group, Group X, known for its virulent anti-semitism, it's hatred of gays, and its endorsement of authoritarian dictatorship that seeks to violently purge any non-believers. Say this group has a recent history of carrying out deadly attacks on peaceful civilians to terrorize the population and even receives financial sponsorship and safe haven from wealthy patrons and governments around the world.
Would you urge tolerance for Group X? Would you argue that it's only some members of the group that are truly extreme and wish violence and that the majority just want to freely practice their beliefs? In the wake of another of Group X's atrocities, would your biggest fear be retaliation against Group X? Would you smear any opponent of Group X as GroupX-phobic and urge the importation of millions of Group X members to your community with impunity?
When I observe the left's reactions to both Islamic terrorism and neo-Nazis, I wonder about these things

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Some General Thoughts on the Monument Removers

1. In the limited context of a government body displaying a statue or monument of some kind, it is completely reasonable for a group to lawfully petition the government for its removal. In other words, if some group in some town believes the government should not display a statue of a Confederate or display the ten commandments or whatever, there is legal and judicial process to have such displays removed.
2. In this context, it is never appropriate or legal for a mob to tear down a statue on private property. To allow this is to allow anarchy and mob rule, which is anathema to civil society and the rule of law.
3. In the specific case of a civil war monument honoring a Confederate leader, a reasonable argument could be made that a given statue should be removed on the basis that such leaders were engaged in a treasonous rebellion against the United States. There are two sides to this that require a more nuanced and principled understanding of the Civil War within its historical context, but I regard this as a reasonable position.
4. However, that is not the entire context here. The larger context is that cultural Marxists are at war with western civilization.
5. The cultural Marxists do not see Confederate figures merely as exceptions to American and western values of civil liberties, individual rights and free enterprise. If they did, I would largely agree with them. They regard slavery and genocide as the essence of western civilization. They view history through the post-modern lens of Marxist exploitation theory, class warfare, gender inequality, and critical race theory. They regard western civilization, which they have now tied to the racist theory of “whiteness,” to be their enemy.
6. They are using the relatively ambiguous case of the civil war statues as a wedge to accomplish a larger cultural transformation. While many on the right are tripping over themselves to virtue signal and express sympathy with those seeking to tear down Confederate statues, the left is already explicitly calling for an even larger war against historical western figures and culture.
7. These Marxists, to whom many on the right are expressing sympathy, are not seeking consistency in the application of civil liberties and individual rights, regardless of race or gender, in the manner of the original Civil Rights movement. They are seeking the overthrow of the entire American system. For example, they decry the First Amendment protection of free speech in favor of speech codes, and act violently to stifle intellectual dissent on college campuses while rooting out and expelling any opposition, not just of the extreme neo-nazi variety, but anyone who dares question the Marxist PC orthodoxy, including anyone ranging from mainstream conservatives to even reasonable progressives. These are not the actions of “concerned” civil libertarians but of anarcho-communists or fascists in the tradition of Mao, Pol Pot, Stalin, Castro, and Hitler.
8.The elephant in the room is the debate over the nature and value of western civilization, not Confederate statues. These protesters are waging a cultural war against those who revere the American constitution, western values of civil liberties, private property, and individual rights. They are attempting a kind of modern day Cultural Revolution, in the tradition of Mao’s communist Cultural Revolution which sought to purge any remnants of capitalist or traditional culture in favor of “pure communist ideology.”
9. The preposterous academic trend of judging historical figures, out of context, by today's standards (the standards themselves largely a result of many of the historical figures’ own efforts at securing liberty!) should not be seen merely as a childish or na├»ve interpretation of historical events but, rather, as a deliberate attempt to rewrite history and to devalue and purge the icons of western civilization from the culture.
10. For example, rather than rationally seeing the Founders as iconic heroes who gave their lives to liberate themselves and the colonies from oppressive monarchy, and whose political philosophy of liberty and individual freedom actually set in motion the very trends that inexorably led to the abolition of slavery and to the most free, prosperous nation in the history of the world, they attack and dismiss these men, because they themselves held slaves - despite the fact that most of the world practiced slavery at that time, including Africans and Native Americans.
11. Whether it’s Aristotle, Columbus, Galileo, Shakespeare, Jefferson, or Robert E. Lee, not viewing any historical figure in the wider historical context, for good or bad, is not only scientific and academic malpractice, it is evil. Applying a kind of binary “good or evil” stamp on historical figures, not only by today’s ethical standards, but particularly from a Marxist perspective, is an attempt to undermine rational standards of intellectual inquiry in favor of rote leftist propaganda.
12. Western civilization and its foundational values of individual freedom and representative government required hundreds of years of intellectual and military battles to achieve and maintain. The ideas and the culture of the west should be understood and criticized within that context and should be valued, not as matter of genetics, race, and heritage, but consciously and rationally as a body of life serving principles and achievements that have created the most advanced and noblest civilization in history. Be careful to whom you grant your sanction.

13. In summary, knowing nothing else, I think we should oppose anyone who seeks to tear down American monuments. Unless a group specifically makes the case that the monument is, within a limited context, utterly antithetical to American principles of individual rights, that should be the default position. Any case to purge historical shrines or their monuments must be made on the basis of a balanced, rational understanding of American history, taking account of the entire historical context, and from the perspective of regarding American political principles as objectively valuable. Those who seek to overthrow freedom for statism, must not be allowed to rewrite history and attack American culture in this insidious way.

14. In other words, there is a difference between the Marxist side saying "I hate America, therefore statues, every statue, needs to come down" and the liberty valuing side saying "I love America, therefore this statue, because it is against America, needs to come down" even if their statue hatred happens to overlap. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Some Thoughts On Charlottesville

1. White nationalists held a rally. In America, everyone has the right to peaceably assemble and speak without fear of violence. The ACLU, to their credit, sued on their behalf to obtain a permit from the city to hold their rally. They had a right to be there.
2. Counter demonstrators planned to protest. They have every right to hold their protest as long as they don't violate the rights of others.
3. This is not the first time in American history that two hostile groups were set to protest. It is up to the government to protect peaceful protesters and "stand between" the groups to prevent violence - a procedure that has worked successfully in many places for a long time.
4. The government failed, either deliberately, as some have suggested, or through negligence, and both sides engaged in acts of violence towards one another as the situation got out of control. If the city and state's political leaders had acted properly, on principle, to protect the protesters on both sides, much of the violence could have been prevented.
5. While we can denounce the ideology of neo-nazis that were there, we should also denounce those counter-protesters that were there, not to hold a peaceful protest, but to shut down or violently disturb the other protest. Whatever you think of the "white nationalists," they had a right to their protest.
6. In fact, Antifa should not be granted the moral high ground because they opposed Nazis. In this instance, they may have opposed actual Nazis, but it should be understood that they think everyone that disagrees with them about anything is a Nazi!! They have attempted or succeeded in burning down cities and campuses and stifling speakers all over the country with whom they disagree, including moderate conservatives and academics.
7. Antifa is a Marxist mob that seeks to shout down or violently quash anyone with whom they disagree. They don't just oppose violent nazis, they oppose western civilization and American institutions and culture. They are the reds of old seeking to tear down and crush America. If news reports are right, they appeared to have initiated violence against the protesters in the park, just as they have initiated violence against their opponents all over the country.
8. There is no moral difference in principle between communists (antifa) and fascists (neo-nazis). Both seek to suppress individual rights, just in different ways. In this sense, both the neo-nazis and Antifa should be regarded as equally evil.
9. The actual right in this country, that is, constitutional conservatives, libertarians and others who value the American constitution, civil liberties, individual rights, and more broadly, western civilization, should disavow the so-called Alt Right, which, in fact, is not on the right. To the extent that the alt right seeks a society based on race and dictatorship, they properly belong on the left. Nazi stands for the National Socialists. These groups only fight over which race or which group should get to rule over the rest of us.
10. The root of this entire conflict is collectivism vs. individualism. Collectivism holds that individuals are determined solely by their membership in some group. Racism is one instance of collectivism. Individualism holds that each person is unique and independent and should be treated equally under the law. Collectivism leads to communism and fascism, and follows from the fact that Antifa and the neo-nazis are the same in principle. Individualism leads to individual rights and human flourishing.
11. While the original civil rights movement trended toward "colorblindness" in this regard, modern Marxist academics have tied their criticism of western civilization to race, i.e., "whiteness" or "white privilege" and stoked the flames of ethnic tribalism. If they continue to emphasize "whiteness" as a kind of Original Sin and push individuals towards racial identity, our society is doomed to ethnic warfare based on identity politics.
12. Race and the traditions of one's ancestors is not chosen. Willfully upholding principles of reason, individual rights, representative government, and celebrating the achievements of others, no matter what their race, within this tradition, or culture, is proper and an expression of objective values. We should be proud of western civilization and the remarkable human progress of the last several hundred years.
13. The Marxist left's desire to tear down western civilization is part of this battle. The current attempts to tear down monuments and purge western historical figures is a kind of new cultural revolution in the tradition of the Maoists that ended up murdering millions. The "confederates are evil guys" meme while, perhaps valid in a certain context, is a red herring. They will start with this and then begin tearing down Jefferson and Washington next, as Trump rightly pointed out. Judging historical figures, out of context, by today's standards (the standards themselves largely a result of the historical figures own work!) is preposterous, and their goal is the destruction of the American system, not opposition to the confederacy.
14. While the alt right decries this trend, and therefore could be confused with the actual right's opposition, the alt right believes that western civilization is product of race and heritage, not a value system freely chosen by any individual who seeks it out. Therefore, sympathy to the alt right should not be granted on this basis as their reverence for western civilization is not objectively based.
15. We should fight for the morality of individualism and a limited government based on the individual's right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, and celebrate achievements within this context. We should oppose and reject those, on either side, who seek to tear us down, and be careful not to grant sanction to any group out of context.

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Real Danger are Opponents of Free Speech - Which is Almost Everyone

The most important principle to consider when thinking about Charlottesville, and the like, is that everyone has a right to free speech. Without free speech, i.e., the ability to think and speak freely without fear of violence, America is doomed.
When I say everyone, that includes everyone, even Nazis. Nazis have a right to speak and peaceably assemble, even if you disagree with them. It is up to the government, in this case the local police, to protect these rights. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed this right in the famous 1977 Skokie case, where a group of Nazis sought to march in Skokie, Illiinois.
As an American, I'm proud of free speech and realize it is the foundation of what makes us great. Champions of individual rights do not have to disavow the speaker(s) every time someone says something. It is irrelevant to the principle of free speech.
The actual danger to individual rights are violent opponents of free speech, whether those opponents try to shut down those with which I agree or not. In this regard, the actual danger is the global, well funded, ANTIFA, which has been violently shutting down speakers around the world, along with the unwillingness of government and local police to protect their victims.  In some cases, orders for the police to stand down appear to be orchestrated by dimwitted leftist politicians who, in turn, are cheered on by their intellectual masters in universities and the MSM.  If you explicitly or implicitly allow groups like ANTIFA to shut down the most extreme groups, who will decide where they draw the line? Of course, this principle is on full display as ANTIFA has violently shut down speeches by even moderate conservatives or libertarians on college campuses and elsewhere. Who is next?
ANTIFA, and their apologists, which is the entire left, local governments, and the MSM with very few exceptions, are the problem. If the police do not begin to protect the rights of individuals and groups to peaceably dissent or to hold peaceful lectures, those groups will be forced to defend themselves, and we will be on the verge of a civil war, if we are not already. Voltaire said "I may not agree with you, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." This is the principle that needs to be learned from these events.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Health Care Legislation Cannot Work

Any health care legislation passed by either party is doomed to fail. The only thing Congress can do to actually fix the system is repeal all regulations. This is because it is impossible to plan the actions of hundreds of millions of producers and consumers in the absence of the free market price system, no matter how well intentioned or brilliant the planner.

Note that relatively free sectors of the economy, like the computer industry, continually produce amazing new products at decreasing cost, while heavily regulated and subsidized sectors like health care and education are the opposite.

This is not a coincidence.  Free market prices directly reflect the actual desires of buyers and sellers.  Any distortion of these signals creates chaos.  Asking businesses and consumers to make decisions on distorted prices is like asking a doctor to make a diagnosis based on a distorted x-ray image.

In general, the reason why socialism always fails is because it destroys the private ownership of the means of production and with it the profit motive and the price system.  In destroying the price system, socialism destroys the central method of rational economic calculation by individual businessmen and consumers and substitutes for it the arbitrary judgments of government bureaucrats.

There is no special formula or magic recipe to make central planning work. It cannot work and has never worked and this time is no different.