Archives for category: Politics

On Gab, I listed some of my biggest issues that I think about when judging a presidential campaign. But I forgot the one that seems most urgent now:

1. The deficits, debt, and financial system, including
2. The Federal Reserve and the monetization of debt and all that horrid jazz.
3. The wars. Warfare state is obscene, and American wars are not in America’s interests. Our allies are often evil and duplicitous and deeply weird (Saudi Arabia) and way too powerful in OUR government (Israel) or not at all reliable (Germany, France) or too reliable (Britain, but not for long, if at all any more), and the whole mess, much of what we know is b.s. because our leaders feed us b.s.
4. The Deep State — spies on us, tells us untruths, lies to us, perverted our media, and harbors strange secrets, propping up an academy geared to pretending it has solved everything and everything out of the mainstream is “anti-science” and “conspiracy theory.”
5. Taxes. Too big a burden. Inherently unjust (of course) and especially, egregiously unjust now that not everybody pays them: corrupting.
6. Subsidies. Subsidies corrupt people like Biden and Trump, but they corrupt your welfare queen next door, too. And her five on-again, off-again layabout lovers.
7. Regulation. I prefer a rule of law.
8. Federalism: America’s original decentralized order would be a much better deal than our current bloated nationalist quasi-empire.

Gab.com: @wirkman

On most of these, Biden looks worse. But when I was making this list for Gab, I really did forget the issue of our annus terribilis, the lockdowns.

Now, I think Trump botched the coronavirus scare big time, and it is hard to forgive him for that. This much is obvious. But Democrats misunderstand Trump’s failure. They invert expectations, blaming Trump for the COVID deaths rather than for the pandemic panic. There were going to be deaths. What Trump did wrong was not counsel courage, instead giving in to Fauci’s fear agenda. Biden, in prescribing more lockdowns, and in “listening to the science,” is so much worse than Trump in this regard. Like usual, Trump listened to the wrong experts. True. But Biden makes listening to the wrong experts the core of his agenda.

Since I am anti-lockdowns, and see the growth of Therapeutic State tyranny the biggest current threat to freedom, the Black-Masked Duo, Biden-Harris, are for me pure poison in double dose.

But back to my initial list: Trump’s attitude to spending and debt has always ranged from goofy to duplicitous — but, alas, Biden and the Democrats are worse.

Take health care, the issue upon which so much spending rests (what with Medicare, Medicaid, and recent reforms). Trump’s talk on Obamacare and “health care reform” has been incoherent and even fabulist, and on this basis alone he deserves only scorn. Trump knows nothing about this subject. Even after years in office, he still says incredibly stupid things. Really, really stupid. But then, SO DOES NEARLY EVERY AMERICAN. This subject makes fools out of almost everyone. People cannot think their way out of a flimsy white prescription drug bag. It is astounding to witness. Trump has probably harmed the cause of good reform in this policy area.

Were not Biden and Harris relentless pushers of increased government involvement into this market, Trump’s crucial support for impossible things would provide all the reason we would need to never forgive him. But the Democrats are so much worse! The Trumpian inability to counter Democratic fabulist socialism with facts or logic makes him a vexing ally at best, and he arguably does more harm than good, for what it looks like is that Trump simply believes that he can deliver the impossible while the Democrats are simply incompetent at delivering the goodies for all. Trump does not think Democrats are wrong, exactly. He thinks they are impractical. A good businessman’s sense should sort this out!

Well, no. The impossible cannot be delivered. Free goods for all means the servitude of all.

Come to think of it, Trump’s witlessness in handling the coronavirus may be linked deeply to his useless buffoonery regarding Obamacare. This is almost certainly the case. So when (one scenario runs) Democratic/DeepState insiders unleashed the Wuhan virus they had paid for, they were sucking Trump into the maw of his own incompetence.

On health care, Trump’s instincts are just plain wrong. But his instincts about ending the lockdowns are of course right. But because he is wrong about the former he is ineffectual — useless, almost — about the latter.

And with Trump, it is instinct and hunch and prejudice that we must focus on. For he knows almost nothing. Thankfully, Trump’s basic instinct against war is refreshing. Whew!

And it is almost certainly the main reason the Deep State and the elitist classes loathe him so much; this is why they fought so hard (and so crazily) to oust him.

That being said, what pertains to other governmental matters pertains here: Trump doesn’t know anything really about foreign policy. Indeed, he’s a sucker for a general in uniform, for every crackpot Pentagon warmonger who wanders into his ambit. And because the Republican intelligentsia has been infested with neocon goons and rah-rah-men since the days of Reagan, Trump has witlessly surrounded himself with war hawks who have led him to a generally incoherent foreign policy.

Regardless, he can still boast of more foreign policy successes than Barack Obama can, and though his stance against China is riddled with problems, Trump at least recognizes China for the minatory power it is. All in all, he may be the best foreign policy president of my lifetime, yet this half century has been so bad that he can nevertheless be quite terrible. Biden and Harris, stooges to the Deep State, would tow the Deep State line. Of course. And Biden may even be a paid agent of Beijing (the fact that Democrats dismiss such talk only speaks to their lack of integrity on this issue: the evidence is mounting.) So they are beyond the pale. But as a hero in the fight against empire, Trump is mostly a stumble-bum, no feats of glory, only feet of clay.

I know, I know: Trump has his genius, I grant you, but it is a mercurial one. He has no real principles to speak of, and we are left with his instincts and his strange place in history.

Probably the worst thing about him is his incurious nature. He has prejudices. Some of them align against the thrust towards the Total State, and for that he tempts me to give him a break. But I cannot see him as an exemplary figure. Had he someone wiser than Steve Bannon to advise him in the fight against tyranny, he could have long ago seized popularity and assured a second term. There are dozens of things he could have done to win over, say, half of the Resistors. But his vices outweigh his virtues.

He has his supporters, still. And in a land of witless sheep, they are often refreshing. But Trump appears to be losing an important set: old women. He needs the crone vote, no? Or can he make up for losing their support by the rise of a promising new cohort: working men of all colors appear to lean towards Trump. Non-working people appear to lean against.

As for me, I don’t know if or how I will vote on Tuesday.

But if I do end up voting, it will not be for Biden. The Democrats have become unhinged, and their leaders are corrupt and dangerous — more, even, than the Republicans.

twv

re: The Hunter Biden Laptop Leaks

…missive posted to Facebook….

Facebook and Twitter are prohibiting discussion about Biden corruption by disallowing linkage to a certain N.Y. P o s t article.

So, my benighted Democratic friends, you copacetic with this?

Do you feel protected?

Are you breathing a sigh of relief that you do not have to deal with major information about your party’s corruption?

Proud of the fact that the only way your side can possibly win is by rigging the game against your opponents?

Glorying in the de facto censorship, and itching to place more once your side gets in full power?

Is this the future you see for America and the world, a sort of Stasi-state crackdown on free speech and debate?

Love what your party has become?

Itching to mark your ballot to end freedom in America forever, doing your part for technocratic socialism?

Place your mask over your eyes and ears, too, Democrats!

By no means do any research that reveals the evil you have embraced.

twv

I’ve said it before: it is almost as if the major political parties have both given in and accepted their roles in a comedy of destruction, on eldritch ancient principles, by adopting as their working motto “it’s come to this.” Each sees the other as so awful that actually perpetrating evil becomes acceptable in their minds.

Trump was a desperation move on the part of those who oppose the manifest thrust of America’s peculiar destiny. And the Democrats, well, after losing with a shrill, corrupt, phoney in the personage of Hillary Clinton, could have learned a lesson and accepted responsibility for their part in this totentanz, but no: they chose,instead, to double down on crazytown politics by countering an aging b.s. artist known for his supermodel sexual obsession with the Oldest Hack of all, one whose past includes repeated humiliations for plagiarism and whose sexual obsessions have been out in the open and extremely cringeworthy. Further, the man is perhaps even more corrupt than Hillary and is certainly non-p.c. both in careless speech (a perfect match for Trump) and, more importantly, in career-long policy.

But it is worse! His running mate is a woman who is at least as unpleasant and power-mad as Hillary, and who is pretending to be “Black,” of all things, making the Democrats look as awkwardly tokenistic as ever.

I have lots of friends who hate Trump enough to vote for this pair of scarecrows, but I just shake my head. The major parties are playing a very dangerous game. Unwittingly, they invoke the Law of Nemesis by exemplifying for our home-schooled population* what the ancients understood as hubris.

But is a vote for Trump really a vote for conscious clarity and reason? Hardly.

Republicans and Democrats are intellectually bankrupt, which is apt, since the federal government they scramble always to influence is itself financially bankrupt.

They are mad, the both of them, under the spell of the memes themselves — they are addled addicts of insane habits — and I do not see an easy way out, or even a likely difficult way out.

Before the end of the year, I expect a turn to major violence to dwarf the child’s play of what we have seen so far. The rational way out will not be chosen, and tyranny and anarchy both will be resorted to first.

I usually keep some emotional distance from the craziness of this country, and take a stance of strategic disengagement from the main stream of this weird civilization of ours, but perhaps it is Lord Krishna’s advocacy of detached duty, as spoken to Arjuna, that suggests me to keep, at the very least, my powder dry.


* “Home-schooled” because the number of public schools to actually teach ancient literature and wisdom must be scant, these days. How can you program another generation of witless serviles while teaching Gilgamesh, the Iliad, and the historians and philosophers?

In the west, to call a public official a tyrant is to make the case for violent overthrow, either by coup or assassination.

If you make the case that so-and-so is a tyrant, but cannot specify unique acts that would constitute tyrannical action, then you are engaging in revolutionary rhetoric that most people, a generation ago, would have considered criminal and wantonly insurrectionist. Vague accusations of tyranny, or accusations of tyranny that could just as easily be made against your favored politician, are inherently anti-democratic.

This is where current ideological debate now is. The two partisan sides consider the other to be tyrannical and fascist or dictatorial.

As usual, both sides make a plausible case. But each side, in recognizing only the case against the other, while not recognizing the plausibility against its own side, dooms the civil order to chaos.

I am old now, and it might be exciting to die witnessing the end of our civilization. But why younger folks — or folks with children and grandchildren — would go along with this nonsense is a bit harder to understand. I take it they have been bamboozled by a psy-op, a Big Lie that would make Goebbels proud.

Perhaps, even, their bamboozlement is the result of the infamous Operation Paperclip in which the masters of the Big Lie were allowed access to and power within the deepest burrows of the American Deep State, in effect taking over American “intelligence”!

That would be droll. One of the few verities of our age is that all sides see the Third Reich as the greatest of all political evils. But wouldn’t it be a sort of ghastly irony were the current rise of anti-democratic tribalism to have been orchestrated by the very thing that all say they despise?

In answering a question on Quora, Dennis Pratt explained a common problem that has infected today’s “climate change” debate: the motte-bailey argumentation method. I was going to just quote a snippet of his answer, to set up my reply, but have decided that, instead, I will quote the whole thing, and then follow with my response to it:

Why is the climate change denier movement so passionate?

One reason is that climate alarmists use a particularly frustrating fallacy to push their solutions. And so, our points are rarely addressed, and our “passion” is frustration at a sophistic trick.

Conflating Implementation with Problem Identification
In order to solve a problem, we need at least these four steps:

1. Correctly identify that a problem exists and what its extent is.

2. Correctly identify the causes of the problem, and their relative contributions.

3. Correctly identify the “best” solution, which usually is the most effective with the least cost.

4. Implement that best solution well.

Our frustration comes when the alarmists start arguing #2, #3, and #4. When we push back, the alarmists will justify, say, their solutions, by appealing to (a small part of) #1.

“You are ‘denying’ that there is a problem at all.”

“No, we may have disagreements with your certainty at many points of these steps, but the least of our disagreements will be with historic data on warming; we were just now arguing our biggest disagreement with you — against implementing your totalitarian, civilization-destroying solution! Why did you just change the subject back to historic warming data?”

A “bailey” is an enclosed area lightly defended where most of the people hang out day-to-day. A “motte” is a hill with a castle atop it, behind the bailey. Upon attack, the people retreat from the bailey to the motte, which is much more fortified and much easier to defend, but it is sufficiently restrictive that it is not where the people want to be day-to-day.

The worst use of this fallacy is when alarmists cry out for international governmental control of the world economy to ‘save’ us from global warming. As you can see from the steps I’ve outlined above, which are necessary to well solve a problem, the alarmists are demanding an implementation of a particular solution — they are operating at step #4. That would be they hanging out in their “bailey”.

We anti-alarmists, seeing the alarmists at the end of the problem solution process, will object for a myriad of reasons. We might object because we think that their solution (e.g., Paris):

* will not be implemented well (#4),

* will not solve the actual problem (#3),

* causes more problems than it solves (#3),

* is far inferior to better solutions (#3),

* solves a less important cause (#3)

* misidentifies the most important causes (#2),

* exaggerates the size of the problem (#1)

* uses Monte Carlo simulations as though they were crystal balls (#1)

* uses economic forecasts of the future world economy as though they were crystal balls (#1)

* etc.

Upon hearing our concerns, the alarmists retreat from the bailey to their motte. They stop arguing for their proposed one-world-totalitarian solution <0559>, and instead fall back to their well-defended fortress.

“Are you denying that the temperature has increased over the last century!!! Oh, my!! How can you be so unscientific!!!!”

Oh, man, is that irritating!

{To see this demonstrated, the humor in this parable <0302> is derived from the warrior’s repeatedly falling back to pointing out the paw print (his motte) every time his totalitarian solution (his bailey) is challenged by the old man: <0302>}

The Motte-and-Bailey Fallacy is so effective because it conflates the outrageous (a one world totalitarian government enslaving all human action) with the easily defended (temperatures have increased a bit in the past). It is so frustrating because were we to agree that the motte is well defended (i.e., temperatures may have increased in the past), the alarmists would cheerfully return to their bailey, happily pronouncing that “all scientists agree” with some outrageous totalitarian solution. <0535>

Asking for intellectual honesty from alarmists is not possible: this fallacy has been so effective that there is no reason for them to discontinue using it.

The solution is to call them on it.

If there is any “overwhelming agreement of scientists”, it is only on some minimal aspects of Step #1.

Our passion is not against historical data, but against, for example, the refusal to talk about the destruction of humanity that would occur were we to implement many alarmists’ solutions (e.g., Step #4). <1355>

Though I agree that the motte/bailey gambit is vexingly annoying coming from the alarmists, my passion is largely aroused by the historical data that alarmists ignore, and even lie about.

But I go further. Most alarmists know nothing about their subject, or merely repeat a few pet theories and ignore the critical literature. I go further yet. Many researchers claiming to be “climate scientists” know very little about long cycles of climate. Indeed, their lack of understanding of climate cycles is astounding, and I hazard that many of these researchers are not competent in their field.

That is a daring thing for a non-scientist to say, I know, but we should remember a few things:

  1. There is a huge replicability problem in modern academic research, making most putative science junk science.
  2. The peer review system has been compromised in many disciplines, so we should be very suspicious, and the mere citing of a peer-reviewed paper does not provide the authority we might expect.
  3. And it gets worse, since the whole research area is funded in the billions and billions of dollars to promote a specific flavor of conclusion. This is a not unsubtle process, but not too difficult to see. Indeed, it looks an awful lot like the implementation on a global scale of the technique the Bush Administration used to get false reports about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in the early 2000s.
  4. The whole consensus angle has been shown to be a fraud. There is not nearly as much agreement among ostensible climate scientists as commonly made out. The “97 percent” claim is bunk.
  5. Most of the reporting on “the science” is propaganda, and lying propaganda at that. Claims about “hottest summers” and “warmest winters” abound, but almost all are against the evidence, leaving out whole decades in the past that were warmer than recent, for example, with much more impressive records, etc. Tony Heller has made an online career demonstrating the concerted fraud that has been going on. And why folks who have read The Grapes of Wrath or endured any educational film strip (remember those?) about the Great Depression should not remember how hot it was in those days, and not be able to figure out that recent temperatures have been nowhere near as hot as it was for several years in the 1930s, and not just in America, is beyond me. Are educated people really this stupid? Can one convince a college grad of any damn fool thing, so long as it feeds his (or her, or zher) sense of self-righteousness?

I could go on. Though I am annoyed by the motte/bailey biz you mention, in a sense I understand and almost forgive the alarmists. They are doing what ideologues almost always do. People have great difficulty separating matters of fact from value. And politicians are known liars and opportunists; journalists hacks and propagandists — so of course they transmit the idiocies. This is known.

But when scientists behave like incompetents and worse — propagandists and liars — I get my dander up.

Climate alarmism is a cult. It works like an End Time Cult. We should be studying social psychology (see Festinger et al.) and roll our eyes when “scientists” say obviously idiotic and non-factual things.

twv

Is libertarianism just a code word for selfishness and lack of empathy for the poor?

…as answered on Quora….

A “code word” is a term of art for jargon used in an esoteric manner by an in-group to convey meaning among insiders while preventing comprehension by outsiders.

“Empathy” is a term of art coined by philosopher Max Scheler to distinguish the capacity of vicarious feeling from “sympathy” as it had previously been explored by Adam Smith and Herbert Spencer, the 18th and 19th century philosophers who advanced the notion most thoroughly. The word “sympathy” was too closely associated with pity and commonly understood as the opposite of antipathy to do the work Scheler was engaging in. Yet, because both Smith and Spencer often used “sympathy” to designate very nearly what Scheler later called “empathy,” I will revert to the former word in much of what follows.

“Libertarianism” is a term appropriated for use in the political realm from philosophical discussions on fate, determinism and free will, first by anarchists in the 19th century and then by individualist liberals in mid-20th century. From the tenor of the question, I surmise the questioner is asking about that second variety, which includes the aforementioned Smith and Spencer as pioneering forebears, Smith advancing ‘the simple system of natural liberty’ and Spencer ‘the law of equal freedom.’

Herbert Spencer, who was basically a modern libertarian (and even 19th century anarchist theoretician Prince Peter Kropotkin recognized some kinship between his ideas and Spencer’s), would be shocked at the merest suggestion that advocacy of individual liberty would be identified with a lack of sympathy or a prevalence of selfishness — in Data of Ethics he had devoted four chapters to elaborating a dialectic between egoism and altruism, making sympathy key to his analysis. He thought a free society depended on extensivesympathy. He thought it undergirded justice as well as “negative and positive beneficence.”

As for “selfishness,” here we get into a weirder area. Russian-American novelist Ayn Rand wrote a book called The Virtue of Selfishness in which she redefined the term in a special way that confused a lot of people, friend and foe alike. Rand has been a huge influence on the modern libertarian movement, so her ‘new concept of egoism’ is not irrelevant — so the plausibility of tarring libertarians with the selfishness brush is definitely there. I regard her word usage an abuse, however, and her argument a farrago — an obvious falling off of conceptual clarity from Spencer’s analysis — which leads me to dismiss the charge of “code word.”

More importantly, Rand did this out in the open, so “code word” seems silly.

What the questioner asks about is not really code-word analysis at all, but a calumny.

The one way to make the calumny stick might be to notice the psychological complexion of libertarians compared to other current and more popular ideologies. Libertarians are not generally known for the kinds of empathy Simon Baron Cohen has recently written about. Instead, they are known for astoundingly high IQs, a metric that corresponds to Cohen’s ‘systemizing intelligence.’

Libertarians argue that freedom would help the poor better than do the current welfare state institutions. Further, they believe that the only reason to think otherwise is to ignore all we have learned from economics and other social sciences, and — this is key — to ignore the conceptualization (and keeping in mind) of the distinction between the purported policy goal and the actual policy results. Classical liberals and libertarians make this distinction all the time, but folks sporting less sophisticated political philosophies keep balling this up, continually harping on their alleged intentions and feelings about their favored policies over consequences and unintended effects, linking their ‘feelings’ with ‘empathy’ and asserting libertarians’ attention to processes and facts as ‘uncaring.’ Arguably, this is a sign of non-libertarians’ general lower IQs, as well as an understandable practical grokking of the advantages of going along with the long con of statism. Libertarians see the general advantage in principles of distributed responsibility, but maybe they are generally not selfish enough to cave in and just make the most of the heady rush to mass exploitation by political favor.

A lot of very smart people realize the genius of liberty, but then give up on it because there is greater personal advantage to be found fooling the rubes with silly and even grotesque statist programs.

In pushing a general public interest perspective, libertarians are anything but selfish. Arguably, they are way too atruistic. After all, there is a much higher percentage — vigorish; “rent” (as in “rent-seeking”) — in corrupt politics.

twv

Why is politics so crazy right now? Why Trump, and why have the Democrats gone loopy rather than develop their USP as the Party of Sanity?

Well, I have a theory, and I discuss it with Paul Jacob, of ThisIsCommonSense.org:

LocoFoco Netcast #23, featuring Paul Jacob.

And of course the podcast is available from Apple and Google and Spotify and Pocket Cast, as well as on SoundCloud:

LocoFoco Netcast #23, LocoFoco.net.

As a libertarian, why did you choose to be a libertarian over being a moderate or centrist?

…as answered on Quora….

I was a moderate “liberal” when I was in high school. Well, maybe. I was strong on civil rights and hated anything that smacked of imperialism, but had rather humdrum and unexceptional notions about economic policy. I sometimes thought of myself as moderate, like my mother, and, at other times, as more liberal than my Democrat father.

But I was not a reactionary. And I was never inclined to socialism — the extremist version, “Communist” socialism — which I knew enough about to regard with utter suspicion.

I was nevertheless very curious about utopian communal experiments. That may have been more a romantic curiosity than an eager political agenda. So, I was a seeker, and my quest led me to a book that was new at that time: Robert Nozick’s 1974 classicAnarchy, State and Utopia. I devoured it at age 17, but — though greatly impressed (and in complete agreement with the final third of the book) — for another three years I assumed that gun control was a grand idea and that minimum wage legislation was the very minimum we could do for the working poor. Nozick had not convinced me of libertarianism, and I was still pretty much in the centrist camp, between left and right — the former which I distrusted and the latter which I loathed.

What changed my mind?

Three things, at least:

  1. I came to see that many statist “solutions” to social problems (minimum wages being a great example) are in and of themselves (a) not what people typically think they are even on the face of it, and (b) do not show the uniformly good benefits claimed for them. Indeed, they often, even usually, produce widespread negative effects.
  2. Since grade school I had been deeply concerned with in-group/out-group dynamics. From observation and from reading I had learned that people become rather irrational in relationship to both their tribes and to outsiders. The sense of justice that so keenly moved me, but seemed fragile in so many others, was almost invariably perverted because of the playing out of this inevitable social orientation. I saw amity/enmity (inclusion/exclusion) in both standard and inverse forms as a huge problem, and I came to see the individualist conception of liberty as the best solution to it.
  3. Being, as I was, an odd duck, I recognized that my values and my developing understanding were largely at variance with common opinion. This landed me with a philosophical problem: value diversity. How could there be any justice if values were diverse? That is, if justice is giving people “what they deserve” but desert is largely dependent upon a specific, invariant value set, how can we determine the substance of justice? Isn’t it arbitrary? “Relative”? This was the question that unsettled me as I closed Anarchy, State and Utopia for the first time. How is justice even possible at all? I came to see liberty as a universally handy and usually easily identifiable social equilibrium boundaryone that could adjudicate competing values by not resting on strategies dependent and understood primarily in values terms. (Whew; sorry about that.) Freedom possesses a formalistic element that allows it to serve as a good balancing point among competing valued agendas.*

And there we get to the answer to our present question: freedom is a moderating principle.

It is not an extremist notion at all — I am with Brandon Ross on this. Both your desire to steal from me and my desire to steal from you must be thwarted. The compromise is no stealing. Grogh’s plan to enslave others, and others’ machinations to enslave Grogh? Both strategies must be given up. I leave you alone, you leave me alone . . . until we can find mutually advantageous opportunities for cooperation. And then we work together (or just trade) to achieve either shared or separate ends.

We respect each other’s separateness and individuality as a baseline, and hold each other accountable no matter what group we belong to. We can be as gregarious or as withdrawn as we want. But neither our “other-interests” nor our “self-interests” provide excuses to harm each other.

And the simple rule that prevents chaos and strife?

Do not to initiate force.

Freedom is the condition where no one is preyed upon by others. It is the condition where we support each other voluntarily. Or not.

Today’s political centrists try to moderate competing claims in amazingly inconsistent ways. On some occasions or contexts your group lives off my group; in others, mine lives off yours. On some occasions “we” sacrifice individuals for group benefit; in others, “we” sacrifice our wealth or attention for the benefit of a few individuals. How the “bargains” are made depends upon political pressure in either a democratic or behind-the-scenes corrupt fashion (there are differences, but the differences are not huge), and it is by historical happenstance that a centrist holds to one program one week, a competing program the next.

A centrist can be talked into just about anything.

Because what centrists moderate are competing expressed political demands, their principles are ad hoc and non-rigorous.

One epoch the blacks are ridden herd over; the next they are released from such oppression; a decade later they are given vast amounts of resources without anything in exchange, enticing them to become wards, “clients” of the State. One decade Asians are allowed in the country to do hard labor; a few later they are harassed and deported; in wartime Japanese are interred; much later some are compensated. There is no real principle discernible. Centrists move to and fro to the winds of doctrine.

They call it “being realistic.”

Libertarianism offers a way out of this appalling back-and-forth of in-group/out-group antagonism.

It is an eminently civilized way out. It is the basic “moral deal”: I sacrifice my options for gain through initiated force, and you do the same — and among all these freed people (freed from each others’ malignity and coercion and exploitation) we find opportunities for mutual advance.

Despite the apparently huge sacrifices for individual or particular group gain, the gains from civilization are vast, and for everybody.

I know, I know: the cost of liberty sure seems high: you can no longer gain a sense of pride — or revel in temporary triumph — in making your enemies pay for what you want. The desire to coerce and be coerced is very baboonish, and suppressing that desire is not always easy. Limiting our lust to dominate down to defense and restitution (and perhaps retaliation)? Easier for some than others. And to restrict the resolution of conflicts to public adjudication, according to public principles that are impartial as to specific persons or groups? Where is the fun in that?

Well, there is nothing much fun in relying upon the rule of law, rather than the rule of regulators, redistributionists, and rent-seekers.

But the rule of law does allow a lot of fun. Not for no reason is freedom commonly associated with fun. Yet that is not the whole story: there is a certain nobility in the responsibility required, in insisting upon an acute focus on actions.

And remember, it is honest.

Centrists, I came to see, were always getting sucked into little grafts and even extravagant boondoggles. And yet they are proud. Their pride can be seen in their over-confidence, their conceit in their discernment. They think they can conjure up wisdom to judge each new situation “according to its merits.”

That is hubristic. No one can do that on the macro social level. The world is too complex.

We need simple rules to live by, and to allow the prudential principle of “according to its merits” succeed or fail on voluntary terms. Failure must be accepted as such — and not merely shrugged off as in moderate statism, where every failure is an excuse to throw more money at it, sometimes also placing “better people” at the top.

Without freedom as a limiting principle, democracies become welfare states and welfare states become “churning states” — where there is so much redistribution of wealth and advantage that in most cases it proves impossible to know who really comes out ahead and who gets the short end of the stick.

I became a libertarian because I saw liberty as a solution to

  1. the craziness of the left’s “cult of the other” as well as
  2. the right’s “no kill like overkill” defense of in-group.
  3. But, perhaps most importantly, to the centrists’ pathetic attempts at moderating those two anti-freedom tendencies in politics in ad hoc and piecemeal fashion, according to the realpolitik of the moment.

I became a libertarian because I did not want to be suckered by incoherent or perverse strategies. I did not want to be a mark. And I did not want to encourage the grifters.


* My position before becoming a libertarian was, philosophically, summed up neatly in Walter Kaufmann’s 1973 treatise/self-help book From Decidophobia to Autonomy Without Guilt and Justice. I worked through his congenial non-cognitivism by seeing the Schelling Point aspect of the Non-Aggression Principle, and, later, by incorporating an evolutionary component to establish justice as an emergent property of distributed adjudications of disputes over long periods of social history. The book that helped me see freedom’s utility — a sort of anti-disutility — was Ludwig von Mises’ 1962 classicThe Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science. In that work I saw something even more challenging than value diversity: value subjectivity. And the social function of freedom became apparent . . . but that’s another story.

Against Mere Plausibility

“First they came for the Jews.”

We all repeat the poem, with reverence.

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me. 

Martin Niemöller, “First They Came for the Jews,” see alternative versions available.

Oh, we are so uplifted by this bit of rhetoric. Why, we would never do that! We would never cave to the Nazis! We are Americans! We are civilized!

Here is the deal: by complying with the mask orders, and censuring those who do not “comply” with same, you are doing what Niemöller said. You are, in effect, letting the Jews be taken away.

You protest, though: “The Nazis were wholly evil, but masks save lives!” Well, no, certainly the latter is not true. I can and have pointed to scientific studies that show the masks are ineffectual and even dangerous — and worse yet, constitute a deep psy-op that turns us into serviles, preparing us for a corporatist totalitarian agenda.

This should be obvious, the idea being to set up compliance regimens that allow States (it is quite clear in Australia right now) to eradicate freedom in the name of safety, to abridge freedom of speech and press and free association. The next step after refusing to allow people to purchase food without mask compliance is to refuse to allow us to travel and associate and purchase food without vaccination compliance — and then to add universal tracking on top of (or, more ominously, along with) that. This is not the spinning of some fanciful conspiracy scenario. The plans are openly touted. Bill Gates has argued for all of these things.

It is “just a coincidence” that these same people publicly worry about over-population and seek to diminish the world population by half. It is only a small step for them to turn a vaccine into the instrumentality of genocide. Thanos was a fictional supervillain; but our supervillains are quite real, many are out in the open and widely respected, and some of them are your friends.

That is why the canary in this particular coal mine is not “the Jews” today — or trans people or some much-touted minority — but the mask non-compliant.

If you side against the mask-less, you are no better than the Germans who let the Nazis take control. I am not kidding, nor am I exaggerating. Your protest that the Nazis’ case against the Jews was never this plausible is idiotically naïve. The Nazis indeed had a case. If you cannot make it, you fail to understand history and, alas, only understand the “straw man” case for freedom. The Nazis had a plausible case and it convinced the Germans, yet they were wrong and they succumbed to grave evil.

So, do not pretend that a case for totalitarianism cannot be made. There is of course a plausible case for mandatory masks. But it is wrong. Just like the Nazis were wrong. The pretense these days is that the enemies of justice do not have a case. Deny, rather than argue. This is intellectual cowardice, and is the vice of people who prefer herdish belief to actual thinking.

Liberty possesses a logic that resists the “plausible” sounding rationalizations of medical totalitarians, or any other kind of totalitarian.

The proper step is to resist totalitarian controls. It is not enough to vote out the vile governors of our states (Inslee in mine). And we must do more than bring lawsuits against the government. We must now be civilly disobedient. Stop wearing the masks, at least if you are young and healthy.

If you go about complying, the next level of control will ratchet up, as will the next after that, and there will be no stopping it.

First, they demanded masks.

twv

…pulled off of Instagram….

There have been a lot of conflicting stories in the news, online, and in rumor, about the fires that have afflicted Washington and Oregon (as well as California) this month. So I talked to someone who was in the thick of it — not burning anything down, but trying to prevent that.

Watch on YouTube, Bitchute and Brighteon:

LocoFoco Netcast #22 . . . talking to “Palmer Road Defender.”

It is also available via podcatcher and at SoundCloud:

I wrote about the fires on September 10, and speculated on the possibility of terroristic arson.

twv