Why do people think hierarchy is bad and equality is good?

. . . as answered  on Quora. . . .

This is one of those questions that one might consider conducting a poll to find out the answer. But how would we word the questions, prompt the answers? And how would we know if and when the people themselves actually know why they value abstract conditions like inequality and hierarchy as they do? Many people have beliefs and values that they cannot articulate. Arguably, many basic values and attitudes are not possible to articulate accurately, with certitude.

Which is why we theorize, and then compare theories.

So, I’ll take a stab, then read others’ answers.

Everybody knows that people are unequal in different ways. You are superior to me in one way, I’m superior to you in another. This is a fact of life. And most sane people have no problem with these forms of inequality — and one reason some hyper-egalitarian ideologies drive people nuts is that they seem to rub up against the reality of multiform inequality.

But when contemplating hierarchies, we are not really talking about the diversity of inequalities, issue by issue, capacity by capacity, outcome by outcome. Hierarchies are recognizable by being persistent in human organization.

So, “other things being equal,” why would we grant others special positions of inequality that persist? Why would we organize patrols, work gangs, sports teams, etc., with established hierarchies that continue over time and extend over space beyond the natural outcomes of different capacities and talents and efforts, etc? Hierarchies are somewhat rigid in their persistence, and . . . what is the point of that added rigidity?

But take a step back, first. As most of us see human interaction and differences, all our inequalities tend to wash into a rough parity at a general level. Why should one person be exalted above others except on a piecemeal basis, according to each endeavor?

Equality makes sense to many of us even acknowledging extensive and diverse inequalities because, as I state, the inequalities are diverse But, generally, the idea that some people are better overall than others needs to be proved. And that general case requires some extra data.

When we establish hierarchies for a social function, we are trying to match capacities to task — we are trying to make it easier to accomplish some task. So the best berry-picker might be in charge of the berry-gathering group, and the best hunter in charge of the hunting party, and the best organizer in charge of selecting the special hierarchies, and so forth.

The reason many balk at hierarchies is that the rationale for selection of special status seems arbitrary or ill-chosen, or, if not arbitrary, chosen according to standards irrelevant to the function.

Which is why general hierarchies are challenged more often than specific, small-organizational hierarchies. Do I care to challenge the hierarchy of the local fire hall? No. But I may express more concern about the head of the county commission. It is the general, over-arching positions and hierarchies that get the most push-back. Part of this is the difficulty of determining merit, and part of this is that hierarchies are more questionable and challengeable the more basic they are — for, as I stated above, our many inequalities wash out into a rough parity at the basic, general level.

To restate: hierarchies are usually accepted and even demanded on the basis of some merit. But where the merit is harder to figure — and where multiple standards might not unreasonably vie for prominence in judging merit — then equality seems to be the de facto standard.

This is why we have ideological differences regarding hierarchies: leftists generally do not understand how merit works relating to property and markets, and they do not see property-ownership hierarchies as acceptable; or, sometimes if not always, the distribution of property is so obviously orthogonal to normal rationales for (and explanations of) social function. Rightists are generally more accepting of hierarchies, in part because they are more accepting of diversity of hierarchies, realizing that family hierarchies and church hierarchies and business hierarchies are not the same, and the same person high in one may be low in another.

One problem with political hierarchies is that they are based, originally, on the use of violence, so hunters and fighters tended to be conquerors and thus kings, not necessarily on wisdom or justice and the like. Which is why monopoly governance has generally been replaced with socialized governance in modern times, but limited at first to the core services of violence: defense of law and order, for example.

So the idea of socialized/democratized equality grew into dominance of the State because the hierarchies of old-fashioned class and royal monopoly privilege became too tangential to the administration of justice.

And then the idea became to spread this manner of hierarchy revision (by recourse to a baseline equality of citizenry) to other areas where the idea seems (to many of us) less relevant and much more problematic.

Obviously, I think both equality and hierarchy are natural to man, and quite relevant to many aspects of social life. Hierarchy is inevitable in any organization, and becomes more so the more one scales up the size of the organization. The more people in the organization, the more compelling is the case for establishing hierarchy. It’s a matter of efficiency and how decision-making and leadership work. Among equals, there’s a lot of argument to come to a consensus; the more the people, the more the argument. But in a hierarchy, the many have outsourced decision-making and inspiration to a few.

Or, should I say, upsourced?

It is my experience that people generally — and by this I mean normal people — really want leadership. Hierarchy is not a problem for most people. It is only when hierarchies fail to deliver on organization goals and social functions that questions of equality become over-riding. And hierarchies fail to deliver when the standards of performance and goals are diverse and when it is hard to figure the standards and the relevance of inputs to outputs.

Of course, there is another and more pernicious opposition to hierarchy that often masks as this completely legitimate preference for equality: envy and sub rosa competitiveness. One reason to oppose a hierarchy is because YOU want to be on top, and aren’t. So, to increase the likelihood of your own rise, or to punish another for holding a position you desire, you pretend to be for equality.

It is not always easy to determine whether the opposition to a hierarchy is born of desire for group achievement or passion for self-advance. But our literature gives us many clues to this. Shakespeare, especially, was good at dealing with this aspect of human nature.

twv

While Eye in the Sky is often hailed as Philip K. Dick’s first successful original novel to be published in his lifetime, I find it a bit clunky, a little rough around the edges — a contrivance.

I’m reading, again — after four decades! — his The Man Who Japed, written the same year, 1955. And this is much better constructed, not “clunky” at all. It is an original work, from the title to the imagined future to the plot to the characterizations. Arguably this is his first real success among those published during his waking, breathing life.

I’ve hedged here, twice mentioning the books of Dick’s published while he was alive — and for good reason: early on, he was trying to succeed as a non-genre novelist, but his “realistic fiction” was completely orthogonal to the warp and woof of the age, and all of his “mainstream” novels were rejected until he proved himself a success in science fiction. And then the only one of these early works to be published before he died, Confessions of a Crap Artist, saw print in 1975. I read it in the mid-80s and disliked it, but another of these early novels, Puttering About in a Small Land, came out a few years after his death, and I read it and thought it first-rate at the time. Alas, I now have no memory of it.

The Man Who Japed was one of the very first of PKD’s novels I read, soon after Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) and The Man in the High Castle (1962). I knew nothing about it going in; I just liked the title.

In his first two decades of writing, Dick wrote to keep the wolf from the door. He took amphetamines to enable him to achieve a 60-pages-per-day output. As a consequence, his writing is very uneven, prose and character and plotting. The Man Who Japed stands out among those early works, and shows a writer finding his way.

Here are two early passages. The first helps explain the title, the second builds the social world a century hence, a world Dick explicitly drew to dissuade critics and fans and enemies from thinking he was a leftist — for he based the “highly moral” future America on the totalitarian social controls of pre-Cultural Revolutionary Red China.

Dick was an instinctive individualist. His political thought was thoroughly anti-totalitarian, as can be seen over and over again in his best work, not least being the great paranoiac novel Radio Free Albemuth (1976; 1985). In The Man Who Japed, a contractor-propagandist beheads and defaces the statue of the fascist leader of the future, and does not know why — for he suffers from a kind of amnesia. A blockage of memory. His discovery of his own motive is the reader’s discovery of a key to liberation: mocking the trite and destructive memes of oppression.

twv

How do self-described ancaps (who say they are anti-abortion) intend to enforce that principle as a matter of law?
…as asked by a libertarian historian on Facebook….

…but answered here:

How do we enforce the law against murder in a foreign country? We don’t. Someone else does.

The difficulty regarding abortion is that it is private, within the womb. This makes the issue become a micro-political jurisdictional problem. Most anti-abortion libertarians I talk to are not interested in a police state to track every pregnancy or period. That’s absurd and they know it. Only one lunkhead in a hundred suggests it seriously.

We all know that prosecution of murder usually depends upon a corpse. Most murders go unsolved and unprosecuted — that’s my take-away from 600,000 people going missing each year in the United States (some unknown number of whom are murdered) compared to the relatively minuscule official murder count and a falling rate of solutions to police-designated homicides. Abortionists in a pro-life society would no doubt go to great length to dispose of corpses. Right now, however, the corpses are incinerated, put in dumpsters, used in industry for cosmetics, medical experimentation and drug development, and much more — all legal. In a legal environment where that goes away because occasionally prosecuted in the courts — abortionists would likely become quite clever in disposing of bodies.

In the hypothesized anarcho-capitalist (ancap) society, certain crimes would be rarely prosecuted. Just as today. There’s always a selection bias in any system. My guess — and this is gleaned not merely from my own speculation also from talking to ancaps who are against abortion — is that they don’t expect it to be often enforced — just as Ron Paul, a minarchist, doesn’t expect laws against abortion to be enforced often against individuals. But ancap anti-abortionists as a matter of principle aren’t going to pretend that poisoning and grinding up fetuses in or out of the womb is anything but murdering a human being, because they see themselves as the opposite of callous nazi-like progressives, who sacrifice offspring for their own pleasure and convenience, and perhaps (this is something I’ve encountered in discussion, left and right) as a mass sacrifice to their pagan deities.

Much of the oomph of the question goes to the problem of who has standing in Ancapistan. Well, that question has been explored in the literature, but a lot would probably depend upon the form anarcho-capitalism takes. Writers as different as Stephan Kinsella (not anti-abortion) and David D. Friedman (I don’t remember his position) admit that “anarchist” societies could be quite diverse, legally. This ends us in Hoppe-land, actually, where private societies differ in complexion, and every society would have issues upon which expulsion from said society would be de rigueur. A controversial position, but hard to argue against on the basis of elementary libertarian principles.

I am not a professed and committed anarchist, so I regard these questions as interesting avenues to explore. I am “against abortion” somewhat like I am “for liberty,” as a general position. Specifics often get difficult. We should explore these questions rationally, if we can.

Cultural schisms in the libertarian movement make this difficult.

twv

I got to 3:50 and had to stop. A woman — and she is clearly a woman, acting not at all manly in any way that I can discern — glories in her “coming out” as “non-binary.”

Dr. LocoFoco, on Twitter, expressed the standard case against my reaction to such things: “The goal — even if it means transhumanism as a tool to actually achieve it — is everyone deciding their lives for themselves. Why not help people get there instead of criticize them because they don’t fit with your idea of what’s right, proper, scientific, or whatever else?” First off, “living for ourselves” is not at issue. What is at issue is whether you are living “for yourself” or for anyone when you misidentify reality in a consistently irreal way. Pretending that you can “become” something you cannot become is no advance for anyone. That is just witless fantasy. It is madness. Men cannot become women, and vice versa. Sure: dress as you will, talk as you will, whatever — even chop off your penis and have the surgeons try to create a fake vagina, no skin off my nose — but there are consequences for actions that are devastating, making the acts themselves foolish, and it is no service to anyone to encourage such atrocities.

Are good, “well-meaning” people not aware of the horrors of sexual reassignment surgery? It is not uncommon, now, to take the malpractice of Seventies’ “sex change” quacks and continue it: helping a “non-binary man ‘feel’ more womanly” [which is my translation of what they actually say] by keeping the penis but removing the testicles and inverting the scrotum for the fake vagina, leading to horrific medical consequences. I think we can all agree that real vaginas do not have hair inside.

The sheer insanity of the sexually confused is interesting for many human reasons. Take “The Libs of TikTok”: I inflict these people on myself for good reason. This shows a hugely influential element of the social world we live in. Filled with fantasists. Lost souls who are grasping for some relevance. Or have they been so unloved or so ignored or so actually abused that they join the bandwagon of pretend sexuality. It’s pathetic, and I do pity them. I do not hate them. Indeed, it is in part for their interest that I deny them the reality of their fantasies or the health and wisdom of their choices. I have no specific answers for what ails them, but my philosophy — which does pointedly investigate the roles of fantasy in human life — insists upon acknowledging the actual and the materially real. And warns against the unintended consequences of actions taken under the mantle of the pretense of what they absurdly call “their truth.”

So why is this at issue now in our culture?

Maybe it’s all the loopy, unthinking naturalisms of the past that have spawned this insanity, in reaction. I opposed slippery naturalism most of my adult life — it’s why I’ve been so Stoic-resistant, Epictetus’s ethical naturalism being such a bundle of prejudice and loopy non sequitur. But I’d run screaming to Epictetus’ hirsuite arms before I accept the idiocy of today’s “gender” obsessed.

Maybe it’s those loopy naturalisms that spawned this, but I don’t think so. I think it is the logic of the memeplex of leftism and cultural Marxism, the pathetic need always to find outsiders and make them a “cause.”

But that is the social frame of the malady. At bottom, surely, these people are wounded souls suffering from insignificance or worse. “Trans” is like most religious manias: it puts them deep into the warp and woof of reality. And like religious manias — Hobbes called them “enthusiasms” — they say more about their suffering than about reality.

A conscientious, caring person would try to alleviate the real causes of suffering, not get caught up in the religious mania that is Trans Soteriology. There is no salvation here. It is only human folly taken to the remotest level of crazy.

Regardless: this woman’s purple stuffed animal does symbolize the ridiculous and wacky nature of this anti-naturalist movement.

And regardless: sex is a binary in the human biology, and a people that refuses to make the most of it is doomed to die out. This trans-genderist nonsense is decadence all the way down to its nuttiest kernel of falsity.

Further: my friends who are “soft” and even “supportive” of this trans acceptance movement are playing into the neuroses and psychoses of deeply damaged people, causing great, great harm while solidifying these souls’ detachment from reality, unfitting them from leading happy lives.

And doing this disservice in the name of liberty and autonomy is a grave indecency. An affront not against nature but against philosophy, against wisdom.

Oh, and then there is the parade of the pitiful. Do you have the stomach to go beyond 3:50?

twv

An online example of a woke non-engagement with an argument, just hatred and exclusion.

There is a natural end & there is a chosen end

When I was young, the doom that sealed cultural conservatives’ fate was their tendency to not engage in actual argument, but, instead, separate themselves from their opponents, call them names, write them out of humanity.

That ad hominem/marginalization technique meant that conservatives would always lose all the major “culture wars” with the progressives. The “right” could not live down its association with authoritarian techniques of censorship, censure, marginalization, and invective.

And, when I was young, I thought that apt. I hated conservatives’ easy resort to social control rather than rational debate.

Now, the group that plies such authoritarian methods with the greatest fervor is the progressive left, and these leftists have infected their Wokianity cult rightward, into the center-left, and even further, into corporate culture, normal commerce, to half of the libertarian movement and to no small amount of ostensibly Christian culture.

I suspect that the natural end of this technique in an open society is the undermining of whatever position (political, “cultural,” religious, “scientific”) that relies upon the technique.

The only wrinkle in this process is that the people the woke put in charge, politically, are engaging in an anti-democratic wreck-the-economy strategy . . . for success. Destroy to . . . “build back better.” Will they succeed in taking down civilization with their mad dash of Cloward-Piven and anarcho-tyranny?

That’s an open question.

But one thing: if you want to succeed, forswear reliance upon social control in debate, and act like a rational individual when rationality is required. While in a closed society — like under Islam, the Nazis or Communism — social controls can work for a long generation, and do damage for many, many generations, in a free society the cycle runs much differently. It destroys the people who engage the technique.

So, you can now see why Democrats so strongly oppose free speech and so enthusiastically practice social controls and marginalization and shunning: they are trying to establish a closed society based on their mores . . . of the moment. It is the only way they can maintain cultural dominance. In the normal course of democratic culture and politics, they are on their way out, their end is nigh. But if they succeed in closing society up, who knows how long they can rule, and rule maliciously?

twv

Though the Libertarian Party runs candidates for public office, almost never do they get elected to major positions. Sure, one fairly recent presidential ticket pulled in a few million votes more than in previous runnings, and Libertarian candidates around the country do sometimes poll in high enough numbers that they might seem they make the difference between the winner and loser major party candidates; but other than that, the “LP’s” effect on the general direction of American political life seems negligible.

Many argue that the Libertarian Party is a failure.

This weekend, at the party’s 50th anniversary national convention in Reno, Nevada, a major change took place. A group called “the Mises Caucus,” inspired by popular podcasters Dave Smith (a comedian) and Tom Woods (an historian), wrested control of the party from the previous cadre of activists.

There has been both jubilation and anguish about all this.

Basically, the LP, like the libertarian movement generally, is split into two major cultural groups, each with a range of opinion on matters of strategy. On “the left” we find Cato Institute types and the old mainstream of LP activists; on “the right” we find Mises Institute types and the new caucus named after the great Austrian economist and liberal social theorist, Ludwig von Mises, who died way back in the party’s second year.

I was active in the Libertarian Party from 1980 to 1982, but learned some lessons fast. I was studying economics at that time, and Public Choice arguments seemed persuasive: the LP could not easily gain a foothold in first-past-the-post electoral systems like America’s. Also, the Libertarians’ perennial hope for a “breakthrough” candidate when times seem ripe for a “third party candidate” proves illusory, for other, non-libertarian candidates also notice such opportunities and enter the fray. That happened in 1980, actually, with John Anderson, a liberal Republican, going rogue and “stealing” Ed Clark’s thunder.

Further, I reasoned that Americans not unreasonably give an upstart party a limited number of runs until they relegate the party to permanent also-ran status. Certainly, no presidential candidate after Ed Clark’s 1980 run did anything even marginally impressive until Gary Johnson’s 2012 run, where in percentage terms he put himself in Clark’s ballpark. Johnson’s second run, in 2016, was more impressive, but it seemed to me that it was lackluster compared to its potential, considering that the two major parties ran two extremely hated candidates. But getting over 3 percent of the vote was something like an achievement. For the LP. But the next outing, in 2020, saw the Jorgensen/Cohen ticket receive less than 2,000,000 votes for another pitiful low-percentage (1.18) result.

My general conclusion is that Libertarians over-estimate the libertarian tendencies of Americans, and too often fail to realize just how small a minority they constitute. Libertarians have a long row to hoe, especially if they think they have to construct a free world rather than a more humble and limited libertarian enclave. Or a vital and responsible mutual-aid libertarian network.

The LP is stuck. It has been stuck for some time.

How stuck?

Well, activists are hobbled at the starting line: I have never heard a good response from one of its candidates about “the wasted vote” argument — though such a response does exist. But it would take intellectual courage and cleverness to make it. It would take some lateral thinking and a different campaign tack. And Libertarians appear to be astoundingly unimaginative. Especially for such clever people — the average IQ of libertarians is much higher than the general populace, and higher even than “progressives.’”

But, as we all have reason to suspect, general intelligence g is not the same as robust rationality r or wisdom w.

I have believed for quite some time that the Libertarian Party should be dissolved for the good of the libertarian movement — or at least radically re-conceived. Maybe the Mises Caucus folks will apply some new intelligence to the problem of pushing liberty in a statist and servile society. But I doubt they will succeed. I guess I hope that they do.

The losers in the recent power struggle are of course calling the Mises folk “fascists/fascist adjacent,” which I regard as a stretch and an unnecessarily nasty calumny, and appears to be largely a result of that old Koch-Crane/Rothbard (Cato/Mises) split, an ugliness that I probably should avoid. Nevertheless, I got into it on Twitter over the weekend. The gulf between the “two cultures” is real, and it is strange to find myself closer to the Mises group, especially considering that I have never found reason to change my mind over my initial (and quite early) opposition to the “paleo” turn of Rothbard and Rockwell immediately after the disastrous Ron Paul campaign of 1987-8, and that movement is the historical forerunner to the current Mises Caucus. Yet here I am, feeling more at home with them. In part because, like them, I recognize that the Libertarian Party has been an embarrassment to the libertarian movement in recent times. And beyond that, we have our agreements and disagreements.

Unlike the losers in the takeover, I see little reason to prophesy disaster. Unlike the winners, I’ll refrain from huzzahs until real-world improvements become clear. 

twv

The Smell Test is one of the most basic and reliable tools we have to evaluate political action. But you need to develop a “nose” independent of the familiar scent of one’s own tribe.

Today, when propaganda is everywhere and ”the news” works chiefly to hide the truth, like a the Smell Test repudiates nearly everything the Democrats are saying right now.

Example? They blame inflation on “corporate greed.” You shouldn’t need a degree in economics — or, like me, a lifelong obsession with the classics of the subject — to know this to be idiotic and a lie. Democrats have been pushing higher gas prices for decades now. The current boob of a president began his administration by nixing supply line development for fossil fuels, and since that day, drilling rights have been declined and left un-renewed all over the U.S. — by this administration. It’s a concerted set of moves to drive up prices. We should wonder whether the American response to Russia’s Ukraine incursion was chosen not for its diplomatic efficacy (an almost unimaginable standard in American foreign policy) but for its deleterious effect to both global food and petroleum markets.

Why? Why would Democrats wish to do this? Well, you could assume they are doing precisely what they have said they have wanted to do for decades. And the president has confirmed this recently. Did you listen to what he said? Specifically regarding fuel prices, he said that “we’re going through an incredible transition” and that, ”God willing, when it’s over, we’ll be stronger and the world will be stronger, and less reliant on fossil fuels.” But he admitted ”this is going to be a haul, this is gonna take some time.”

What this is is a confession. It has long been apparent that his paymasters/controllers are zealots for the Great Reset, and “Green Energy” is the way they hope to do it. But since ”Green Energy” is more expensive and generally less efficient than the burning of fossil fuels, fossil fuels must be made more expensive to allow for the ”flourishing” of ”Green Energy.”

Democrats didn’t need to pass the bill Ocasio-Cortez pushed. All they had to do was precipitate a series of crises, and by getting one of the most corrupt politicians in American history into the White House they made sure no crisis went to waste. Putative plutocrat Donald Trump was often maligned for his greed, but somehow under his aegis greedy petroleum could only manage to increase production and decrease prices. That was the opposite of what leftists and enviro-fascists want. They much prefer decreases in output growth and increases in prices.

So, blaming rising fossil fuel prices on corporate greed doesn’t pass the smell test because Democrats have repeatedly

  • demonstrated their motive,
  • reveled in their intent, and
  • striven for the opportunity,

to raise fossil fuel prices. Democrats stand above graphs of rising prices blaming corporations, but they hold in their hands a smoking gun. We smell the burnt powder.

Why would they lie? Aren’t they proud of what they are doing? Well, the Democrats need to shield themselves from the group of Americans they have hurt most, “the working class.” Democrats have prided themselves on their working class defense for generations, but that is all in the past. They haven’t been for “the workers” in a long time. But they must keep up the illusion of love for as long as possible. Their disgust for workers and small business is palpable. The party is proletarian no more, and instead provides cover for plutocrats, and is made up of carefully groomed ideologues in the cognitive elite (academic and corporate media), the functionary class (bureaucrats; public school teachers), bankers (whose Federal Reserve keeps the confidence game chugging along), multinational corporations and other recipients of taxpayer-derived funds — and then most peominently, as innocent shields, the “marginalized” groups who have been courted openly and with brazen effrontery since the Civil Rights Era.

Increasingly, Americans have sniffed out Democratic perfidy — along with that of the establishment GOP. That is why Trump had his brief period atop the dungheap: increasingly, Americans hate what has become of insider power, and the outsiders have been betrayed by each of their champions, from Reagan to Bernie Sanders. But to apply the Smell Test to politics, you have to remember what was said a week ago, a month ago, a year ago, a decade ago. You cannot just let yourself be corralled by corporate news sources, which serve as little more than propaganda mills for the Democratic Party (exempting Fox, which tries to steer us to the witless players in the GOP). You have to keep your nose clean — so when a familiar champion changes sides — like Trump did during the pandemic — you can detect the new aroma.

This is not democratic behavior, by the way. The Democrats’ advancement of The Great Reset and allied policies — especially their campaign against fossil fuels — completely scuttles public debate. The Democrats’ environmental and industrial policies are wildly unpopular in America — which is one reason why their advocates increasingly express their loathing for normal Americans, especially for ”flyover country.” This whole work-around meshes very well with similar techniques, like the Cloward-Piven Strategy and anarcho-tyranny — both designed to increase the power of the State while fooling the populace into grudging compliance. They are anti-democratic maneuvers, making the Democratic Party specifically, and the far- and center-left generally, the faction of corporatist fascism.

The thing you should learn by applying the Smell Test consistently is: politics stinks.

twv

Scat, filtered.

Is libertarianism anything more than a rich man’s way of getting out of taxes?

. . . as answered on Quora. . . .

It isn’t even that. Most rich people have ways to get around paying all the taxes that other people want them to pay. Now, many of the super-wealthy like talking about increasing tax rates, and how “the rich” should pay more in taxes, though rarely do they freely contribute extra funds to tax revenue pool. Few of the very rich support libertarian program. Indeed, the very wealthy can often be counted on to push regulatory schemes and wealth transfers that somehow benefit themselves at the expense of other (often less successful) business people, and which libertarians generally oppose. It is an open secret. The business class is not libertarian. While small businessmen tend to lean conservative and libertarian, big business is a very corporatist culture, and most political billionaires support Democrats in America.

Concentrating on one or two or three anomalies amounts to a psy-op, a way of leveraging availability bias among a population of envious news consumers.

The question itself shows a prejudice about liberty that is unknowing; it is evidence of a bizarre set of assumptions that have little to do with reality and much more to do with the fantasies of statist ideology.

Libertarianism is the promotion of liberty as the most peaceful and cooperative form of justice. Liberty is the freedom that can be had by all. It is where coercion is limited to defensive purposes. It limits coercion universally — and equally — disallowing the initiation of force as a means of establishing policy as well as for private gain. The State is an institution that marshals initiated force for the benefit of some at the expense of others, usually with much ballyhoo purporting that all are being benefitted. It runs like a scam. Its most ardent proponents operate as con artists. Most are True Believers — but among the very wealthy exist elite cadres who knowingly promote b.s. political theory to gain the upper hand. To gain private or sectoral advantage. The assumption that the libertarian idea is purveyed by the rich as a class to get a lighter tax load is preposterous: factually untrue and resting on a failed understanding of actual classes of people.

Oh, and liberty is about a lot more than opposition to taxes. As should be obvious from the above.

twv

N.B. In the above answer I assumed that by ”the rich” the querist meant what Bernie Sanders calls ”the top one percent.” But an important point, often made by libertarians in such conversations, is that in America, today, even the poor are rich by world-historic standards. And this fact puts several important wrinkles to questions like this. But not this question specifically. The answer to ”Is libertarianism anything more than a rich man’s way of getting out of taxes?” remains the same, even if we stipulate that we are all rich: It isn’t even that.

What do you find the most annoying about other libertarians/the movement in general?

…as answered on Quota….

Most annoying? The common assumption that the movement is ready to offer solutions for the world at large. The movement is still in its infancy — well, toddler status. And so libertarians are not yet ready to “govern” a mere devolution of power, much less “take over” any major government.

At best, libertarians might be able to stake out one area — say, New Hampshire — and build a freer society.

But consider: libertarians have barely explored the idea of putting failed states — and most states are failing — through a kind of formal bankruptcy. The idea of putting governments under receivership is rarely talked about. Instead, you have think tankers arguing about what the capital gains tax rate should be, or activists urging folks to “vote Libertarian.” Talk about unimaginative, as bold as a soggy dishrag.

Libertarians have a lot of good ideas, don’t get me wrong. But libertarians have not sorted them through very well, and most do not really comprehend how illiberal, “unlibertarian,” our social world is. Most people do not have a hankering for freedom. Not a strong hankering, anyway. They are insecure, fearful, frustrated, confused, envious, greedy, resentful, dogmatic — all things libertarians tend not to be (except for the dogmatic charge). And libertarians don’t really know what to do with these people. Libertarians are about 5% of the American population, and the “libertarian-leaning” make up at most about a fifth of the population. Everyone else is a statist or outright criminal. So, what can they do?

Libertarians need to take this challenge more seriously.

twv

Dinesh D’Souza has a new documentary out called 2000 Mules. It alleges to prove what many of us has suspected: massive vote fraud in the 2020 election by the Democrats.

It must surely be watched.

Those of us who suspected massive vote fraud had a number of reasons, the most obvious being: a tight cadre of leftists in America who believed that TRUMP IS HITLER allowed this belief to justify illegality in voting to secure “Hitler’s” overthrow. After all, TRUMP’S HITLER! The motive? Obvious; the excuse was lying there on the surface. The opportunity? Well, Americans’ unwillingness to talk rationally about election security meant that they probably could get away with it — and the lack of security in American voting systems has been well known for decades, and was exacerbated by the pandemic over-reaction. So of course the Democratic Party’s loose conspiracy of centrists leveraged gullible leftists’ belief to steal an election. To regain a latch on power.

And the vote counts were awfully suspicious. Tales abounded. But good data?

Well, a frustrating element of the case for election fraud quickly came to dominate all discussion of the election. Immediately, the Consensus threw its weight around . . . to throw out evidence and not consider reasonable cases on grounds that always seemed, to me, quite suspicious themselves. Over and over this scenario played out: A plausible case is put forward for election fraud in a voting district or at a ballot counting center only to immediately be said not to be definitive, and thus not worth further investigation — or even much reported upon.

The demand was always for hard proof, but the method of consideration appeared, to me, always to deny that such proof could be found, so not worth pushing.

A loftily high standard was allowed to strangle each investigation at or before birth.

The case for Democratic electoral fraud was regarded as by definition Trumpian and therefore Evil.

And it sure looks like hard proof, which is, indeed, what we want, was precisely what was being prevented from being presented.

But hard proof looks like what D’Souza is showing in his movie. It behooves us to watch it.

Seek it out:

Indeed, we should watch it despite the fact that D’Souza used numerals instead of spelling out the number in his title, as would be proper. When you start a sentence with a number, spell it out. That’s the rule: no numerals in such cases. And this applies to titles, too. After all, it is, technically, Nineteen Eighty-Four as the title of Orwell’s novel (see the original publication), not 1984.

Apt example, since it is Democrats who are hell-bent on setting up a 1984-ish political order — in no small part because they’ve allowed themselves to be programmed by CIA-controlled news media propagandists. And a stolen election is a “good start.”

twv