Archives for category: Politics
Photo: Ralf, Flickr, some rights reserved

The temerity of the Left! One of today’s leftists’ characteristic charges is that capitalism and slavery are a package deal, somehow, and that American capitalism depended upon the institution of chattel slavery for its success, and that the wealth Americans now revel in is tainted by the institution of slavery that was abolished over a century and a half ago.

An astounding assertion, and utterly without merit. But some of the scholars associated with Project 1619 are adamantine in their linkage.

Their arguments make much of not clarifying between capitalism, capitalism, and capitalism, as it were. That is, what we advocates of free markets are for is laissez faire, which is a policy quite distinct from that of mercantilism — and against which laissez faire was first advanced — and that it is mercantilist capitalism which is quite compatible with chattel slavery.

Now, later forms of anti-laissez faire practice, such as neo-mercantilism, progressivism, fascism, social democracy and other forms of statism, are not usually associated with chattel slavery, for the point of statism is to turn the masses into wards of the State, and to encourage a kind of servility all around. Laissez Faire Liberalism opposes all statism as well as mercantilism and institutions of chattel slavery. Ideological projects, like those that flying under the banner of 1619, muddy up this — trying to tar private property and free labor with slavery! — and must be argued against, and perhaps ridiculed out of existence. These people are generally socialists, and for that reason have no grounds to criticize we who oppose all forms of slavery, socialist as well as chattel.

Most bizarre is the notion that a good way to redress past harms caused by slavery is to oppose freedom generally.

What leftists cannot confront is that it is their policies that are “reactionary,” atavistic, retrogressive. Slavery is bad. Yes. Evil. Yes. It must be stamped out. But it is bad in both chattel and political/collectivist forms. Socialism is bad.. Yes. Evil. Yes. It must be opposed in all forms.

Socialism is slavery for all.

A few years ago I answered a question on Quora that touched on this issue. Here it is:

Why is capitalism not the root cause of slavery?

Because, perhaps, the root cause of slavery is the opposite of the root cause of capitalism?

Slavery is a very old institution. It appears that it was often a result of warfare: the conquered, instead of being slaughtered, were enslaved. There are many accounts in ancient literature like this. And it has been argued that slavery is moral because of this, because “at least we are not killing them all.”

At least!

Interestingly, the account of the salvation of the Manchurians after being conquered by the Mongol Horde is not very dissimilar. Temujin demanded that the Manchurians be slaughtered en masse. One of his generals suggested that letting them live, and taxing them, instead, would be more profitable. Temujin assented. And so the Manchurian Chinese became tax-slaves.

And it is no shock: taxation often proves itself the easiest form of slavery to manage. Indeed, if one limits one’s slavery over others to just such a simple tribute, the “slaves” will manage themselves. It is all so very efficient.

Capitalism is a rather different set of institutions. It features widespread private property, including land holdings, but especially in raw materials and the results of productive processes. These institutions go hand in hand with low rates of expropriation (criminal theft as well as government confiscatory practices, including taxation), a division of labor with free entry and exit from wage and service contracts, and markets in productive goods. Prominent features of capitalism thus include money, banking, and a stock market.

So, note the obvious: Slavery is not free labor.

Slavery is, instead, a political/micro-political limitation on exit from master-worker relations. It requires heavy degrees of coercion (force and threat of force) to maintain.

Capitalism, to the contrary, is marked by low levels of coercion to maintain. A rule of law, however provided, is capitalism’s foundation. Slavery, on the other hand, has existed where no real rule of law exists, proving more than merely compatible with the rule of the strongman’s threat. Slavery is the natural coexistent with tyranny.

Historically, there is a strong association between capitalism and the policy of laissez faire. It is generally agreed-upon that the more laissez faire the government, the more capitalist the society — so long as there is also widespread respect for private property and freedom of contract. A weak government without at least customary private property will not be capitalistic, but (most likely) merely pastoral.

And it is worth noting that the laissez-faire economists (Adam Smith, J.-B. Say, Destutt de Tracy, Frederic Bastiat) were, on the whole, among the most persistent voices against slavery as an institution. Laissez faire was never really about weak or no government. It was a policy of defense of basic rights under a rule of law, and not much more. After such basics were maintained, the idea is then to let business and labor and the people in general interact freely. It was “hands-off” or “let-alone” only after the basic set of standards have been established and maintained.

And those standards were anti-slavery in principle. They were thought of as the laws of a free people.

The conflict between those new and liberal standards with the ancient institution of slavery was widely recognized in the heyday of liberalism, c. 1776–1860. It was the liberals who opposed slavery, by and large (though the word “liberal” was not much used in America, probably for obvious reasons). Thomas Carlyle, for example, hated “political economy” because it was associated with breaking down the old order, the pre-capitalist ancien régime:

Carlyle labeled the science “dismal” when writing about slavery in the West Indies. White plantation owners, he said, ought to force black plantation workers to be their servants. Economics, somewhat inconveniently for Carlyle, didn’t offer a hearty defense of slavery. Instead, the rules of supply and demand argued for “letting men alone” rather than thrashing them with whips for not being servile. Carlyle bashed political economy as “a dreary, desolate, and indeed quite abject and distressing [science]; what we might call . . . the dismal science.

Carlyle, as summarizes the writer for The Atlantic just quoted, “couldn’t find a justification for slavery in political economic thought, and he considered this fact to be ‘dismal.’”

And then there is the apologist for slavery, George Fitzhugh. Contemplate his arguments in Sociology for the South (1854) and Cannibals All! (1857). He identified slavery with socialism and free labor (which he pilloried as “wage slavery”) with liberal capitalism, arguing that only a few people were fit to run their own lives. Liberalism was a curse upon society, because free markets allowed the masses to be enslaved at low rates, not benevolently under class socialism of slave-owning South. These are quite amazing books. Even if some elements of his arguments can only be regarded as preposterous, he is utterly convincing in showing that laissez-faire liberalism and its support of capitalism had nothing to do with the spirit of slave-holding. He was very forthright about this, and he, also, like Carlyle, had contempt for the social science that wasn’t named “sociology,” as economist Pierre Lemieux explains in his introduction to a recent ebook reprint of Fitzhugh’s 1854 work:

Fitzhugh disliked “political economy” (as economics was then called), which he saw as “the science of free society,” as opposed to socialism, which is “the science of slavery.” He was totally ignorant of economics and had almost certainly not read Adam Smith or any of the other economists he attacks, such as David Ricardo and Jean-Baptiste Say. Fitzhugh denied that an increase in the money supply normally leads to a higher price level. He was hopelessly confused between money and wealth. He did not understand comparative advantage. And so forth.

But however much genius there is in Fitzhugh to recognize an important identity — between socialism and slavery, a point often made by advocates for laissez faire in the century-and-a-half since — his own defense of slavery and against freedom are incoherent. “Fitzhugh had no idea how free markets work,” Lemieux, again, explains. “He believed that competition reduces individuals to economic cannibals, making the weak freeman no better off than slaves, and in reality worse off because the freeman lacks the protection of a master. . . .” But there is a lesson in his mishmash:

Fitzhugh’s writings brew a strange mixture of socialism and conservatism. “Extremes meet,” he notes. This saw is not the deepest aphorism in the history of mankind, but it is at Fitzhugh’s level. A better way to express his idea would be to say that authoritarian power is the common denominator of socialism and conservatism.

Capitalism rests upon principles of individual sovereignty; slavery rests on the repudiation of such principles, at least for some (the slaves). There are many kinds of capitalism, of course, many degrees of freedom, so to speak. Just as there are many kinds of slavery: chattel and political, to name just two. And it is certainly possible to combine the two principles, the two institutional forms. It is what our modern conservatives and progressives do.

We call the current mixture “the mixed economy.”

There are reasons some of us prefer laissez faire rather pure: because we want our capitalism without the taint and evil of exploitation and slavery.

While it is true that capitalism grew out of previous institutional arrangements, which included slavery, it is not true — and can in no way be demonstrated — that capitalism gave birth to slavery. The history is clear: with the rise of capitalism, then and only then was it possible to array the political forces necessary to abolish slavery worldwide. The claims we often hear to the contrary are by ignorant and desperate propagandists, people who want to parlay your instinctive love of freedom as an excuse to enslave you in some way you are not expecting.

The usual method is to fixate on chattel slavery and ignore other forms.

So I suggest we be really scrupulous about those other forms. Like the huge burdens promoted by today’s socialists to increase levels of taxation and regulation, as well as add on evermore new mandates to do specific things.

twv

N.B. The image of Marx, at top of page, should not be construed to imply that the old commie was stupid enough to believe current leftist b.s. about slavery. He may have been evil and wrong about most things, but he did not fall for that.

The Democratic Party presidential race is in such disarray — with the Trump Impeachment about to implode — that I am not surprised to hear talk of late entrants bursting onto the scene and into the running. The funny thing is, the ones I am hearing about would be worse for the Democrats than most of the current batch: Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama.

I assume that most Democrats would have the sense to reject either ‘candidate.’ Or perhaps I give them too much credit.

After all, the only decent candidates in the D-field are Yang and Gabbard, and they linger at the back of the pack. This despite the almost certainty that the latter could win against Trump even without an economic downturn, while the rest are basically non-starters and would be eaten alive by Trump in any public debate.

Tulsi’s a long shot, sure. But she’s at least a shot.

But the lack of interest in Tulsi Gabbard indicates to me that the Left Wants What the Left Always Wants: free stuff. No interest in stopping wars. Not really.

And the Center-Left wants that sense of security that only (for them) can be found in the gentle embrace of Leviathan. But, for all their hopeless statism. centrists and normal people are spooked by the socialists and woke scold harridans.

So it looks like the Democracy could very well split into two separate parties: the Woke Left/Commies versus the Center-Left/‘neoliberals.’ 

If chicanery happens and Bernie the Commie is robbed of the nomination, I gather a massive exodus to the Green Party happens next. Am I wrong?

Meanwhile, Democrat diehards are praying to Baphomet that the inevitable downturn comes before Election Day in November. So that even their repellent losers can have a chance.

twv

Baphomet in our time.

“The common lot of humanity is so stupid and foolish that the burden of responsibility must be lifted from the blighters, to save them.”

So runs the common rationale.

But, in lifting the burden of responsibility, this common lot become less responsible, having endured decreased incentives to acquire wisdom. This leads to more stupid, foolish people, whose obvious existence feeds the initial rationale, encouraging further unburdenings, and thus more foolish people.

The feedback loop is quite clear, and the direction of policy self-reinforcing. It is a positive feedback loop with extremely negative consequences.

Amusingly, the rationale of unburdening was initially advanced by stupid, foolish people, but as the process goes on, more evidence accumulates to pull in congenitally wiser folks. So while the initial rationale was mere prejudice, later instances are of a kind of wisdom.

It is a trap!

The process was identified by Herbert Spencer: ‘The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly,’ he wrote in mid-19th century Britain, ‘is to fill the world with fools.’

twv

Whenever government assumes to deliver us from the trouble of thinking for ourselves, the only consequences it produces are those of torpor and imbecility.

William Godwin, Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (1793)

Was Sax Rohmer racist?

That is the rap. His Fu-Manchu novels are said to be anti-Chinese. He certainly was a Yellow Peril pusher. But is the racist charge fully justified?

I do not know, and I do not really care to explore at length. Until yesterday, I had never read a word of the author. But yesterday I received a gift box of vintage American fiction — a good half being westerns, and many of the volumes from one popular publisher, Grosset & Dunlap — in which was included the first of Rohmer’s Fu-Manchu novels. I read the first page. I was not impressed.

So my interest then turned to finding a new home for the novel, someone who might appreciate it more than I do. In that cause, I snapped a photo of a broken binding spread of interior pages, and then looked at what was there.

An interesting passage, here highlighted:

My dubiety rises with my eyebrows.

This passage is about infanticide, which was once — and still is — practiced in China and elsewhere. It is also a gruesome, immoral practice . . . which is increasingly being defended in our abortion-loving West.

Rohmer may have been racist; I am no expert. But if you read this passage and take from it that this white male author was Racist and Therefore Evil, I suspect you yourself may have already embraced a different evil, the anti-human predilection for the destruction of one’s own (or others’) offspring.

Surely baby-killing, with or without a scorpions’ touch, is worse than “racism” unmodified.

If Rohmer seems racist to you for looking down upon a culture that practiced infanticide, maybe your own character needs some attending-to. On the face of it, the implicit defense of the lives of Chinese babies is not a likely case for anti-Chinese racism.

But, sure, something deeper may be involved. What if tolerant nods for infanticide and abortion — say, from a demagogic governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia — is at least sometimes an expression of racism? I bet some white westerners promote abortion and tolerate infanticide because . . . people of other colors engage in such horrors more often than whites.


If that is indeed your attitude, ask the next question: what evildoer “Fu-Manchu” does your attitude promote?

And is your “Fu-Manchu” white, and running for office in your favored political faction?

twv

Sometimes we must take special note of the obvious.

Why? 

If the obvious can’t be taken for granted, what can?

Well, in politics, and perhaps some other realms of life, vast and audacious engines of hope and desperation mask the plain truth, obscuring what stares us square in the face.

Here is something obvious: it should be an easy glide into office for the Democrats this year, in their bid to recapture the White House. President Donald Trump remains as controversial a figure as he was when elected, and he had just squeaked in to office with slim margins. Any reasonable group of political strategists should be able to appraise the situation, push the most sane and accomplished of the moderate Democrats, and walk right into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

It should be easy.

But it won’t be.

The party is in astounding disarray.

Oh, sure, it is the party of government workers and of the some of the biggest and most organized minority groups. It is the party that unashamedly promises to give free stuff to everyone. America’s oldest party has the natural advantage that comes with demagoguery.

But despite this obvious advantage, the party’s leftist ideology is so thread-bare that, despite all the advantages of selling magic beans to rubes, its members cannot help themselves. They are under a spell. The spell is so great that the New York Times, one of the party’s oldest propaganda mills, cannot even decide on one candidate to endorse — the Gray Lady chose two . . . on the apparent ground that both were women.

What a ridiculously superficial criterion.

This sort of shallow pandering becomes a hard sell to anyone with a lick of sense, even to independents who don’t like Trump.

They sure are in a pickle. A pickle jar. Tightly sealed. By their own mad fervor and desperation.

Obviously.

Tyler Cowen used to be a libertarian. He still has a soft spot in his heart for the idea of liberty, but he no longer believes that universal freedom actually solves many real-world problems. But because of that soft spot, he wants to refer to his current political philosophy as ‘libertarian.’ So, in a recent and much-shared blog post, he prefixes to that old, beloved moniker a new modifier, ‘State Capacity’:

I believe the smart classical liberals and libertarians have, as if guided by an invisible hand, evolved into a view that I dub with the entirely non-sticky name of State Capacity Libertarianism.  I define State Capacity Libertarianism in terms of a number of propositions:

1. Markets and capitalism are very powerful, give them their due.

2. Earlier in history, a strong state was necessary to back the formation of capitalism and also to protect individual rights (do read Koyama and Johnson on state capacity).  Strong states remain necessary to maintain and extend capitalism and markets.  This includes keeping China at bay abroad and keeping elections free from foreign interference, as well as developing effective laws and regulations for intangible capital, intellectual property, and the new world of the internet.  (If you’ve read my other works, you will know this is not a call for massive regulation of Big Tech.)

3. A strong state is distinct from a very large or tyrannical state.  A good strong state should see the maintenance and extension of capitalism as one of its primary duties, in many cases its #1 duty.

4. Rapid increases in state capacity can be very dangerous (earlier Japan, Germany), but high levels of state capacity are not inherently tyrannical.  Denmark should in fact have a smaller government, but it is still one of the freer and more secure places in the world, at least for Danish citizens albeit not for everybody.

5. Many of the failures of today’s America are failures of excess regulation, but many others are failures of state capacity.  Our governments cannot address climate change, much improve K-12 education, fix traffic congestion, or improve the quality of their discretionary spending.  Much of our physical infrastructure is stagnant or declining in quality. 

Tyler Cowen, first five (or four and a half) of eleven listed points in “What libertarianism has become and will become — State Capacity Libertarianism,” Marginal Revolution, January 1, 2020.

Professor Cowen began his piece with this declaration: “Having tracked the libertarian ‘movement’ for much of my life, I believe it is now pretty much hollowed out, at least in terms of flow.  One branch split off into Ron Paul-ism and less savory alt right directions, and another, more establishment branch remains out there in force but not really commanding new adherents.” This is the old ‘plumb-line’/‘beltway libertarian’ split, often talked about, but with the ‘alt right’ aspersion cast in, as if its “unsavoriness” were obvious and obviously wrong, and somehow worse than the obviously non-libertarian technically limited statism Cowen is pushing from his beltway security at George Mason University. It is worth noting that Cowen addresses the apparent “alt right’ concern, in that he wants “much more immigration” but “nonetheless” thinks “our government needs clear standards for who cannot get in, who will be forced to leave, and a workable court system to back all that up and today we do not have that either.” I bet most unsavory libertarians would agree.

There is something rather sad about all this, and I am not talking about Cowen’s later-in-life drift from libertarianism — we have been seeing this coming for decades. The sadness is seeing him fall for idiocies like the anthropogenic global warming catastrophism. He laments that ‘it doesn’t seem that old-style libertarianism can solve or even very well address a number of major problems, most significantly climate change.” A free society would easier address climate change by allowing people to adapt better. How so? They would not take it as a government mandate that every crop must be saved in every spot, every beachfront saved as it now is, and all peoples must stay put, unless subsidized to move.

Though I suppose he is really thinking that messianic thought; micromanage the macro-climate! Insane.

Actually, there may be evidence here that Cowen is most moved by the fact — which Mencken and Mises knew better — that liberty is losing in the marketplace of ideas. Cowen says that “smart people are on the internet, and the internet seems to encourage synthetic and eclectic views, at least among the smart and curious.  Unlike the mass culture of the 1970s, it does not tend to breed “capital L Libertarianism.”  On top of all that, the out-migration from narrowly libertarian views has been severe, most of all from educated women.” Another witless interpretation on Cowen’s — and one that he should understand, since he was part of the movement he is talking about. Way back when. The 1970s didn’t breed a large movement of “capital L libertarians,” it merely bred a vibrant tribe of extremely inquisitive and culturally daring individualists. Like Cowen — and, for that matter, me. But we were a small batch. The Net ‘is producing,’ today, far more of us. It is also ‘producing’ a lot more of non-libertarians.

And of course women tend not to be interested, because how our current transfer state policies affects women is very different from how it affects men. I see little indication that Cowen wishes to pull at that thread. I am sure he would see it as “unsavory.”

I am shaking my head, sadly. Especially so since no small part of the commentary on this piece has been so . . . inadequate.

Now, I do not mind a person thinking liberty irrelevant. We can argue. But libertarianism developed to place the State under the same chains as individuals, the ‘chains’ being a rule of law prohibiting the initiation of force. ‘State Capacity Libertarianism’ is conceivable only in the Meinongian sense of ‘round square’ and ‘golden mountain.’

twv

Celebrate that moment when a ‘normal political perspective’ seems radical and revolutionary!

‘There’s no winning here.’

I don’t believe Tulsi is much better than Trump, other than morally, rhetorically, and on the eyes. Policy-wise it could be a wash, between the two; she could be worse. But while Trump defiantly and archly points to the political culture of three decades ago and more, Tulsi does something similar . . . but politely, circumspectly. 

I believe both are wrong in seeing as a solution a past manner of doing business — that manner of doing politics led us here — but it is interesting to see that Republicans like their nostalgist better than Democrats like theirs.

One reason may be that Rep. Gabbard appears to be traditionally patriotic, and young Democrats hate their country, just as they hate those that love their country. Consider this bit of rhetoric:

Tulsi Gabbard quotes the Pledge of Allegiance.

And perhaps I am, just a teensy bit, on the side of the young. The Pledge is no guide for the future — but not because of the inanities of ‘social justice’ youth.

The ‘one nation’ bit was itself a nationalistic betrayal of the Founders’ original confederacy notion: the states, as Jefferson saw it, were the nations, united for convenience and mutual protection. The author of the Pledge was a socialist. The Pledge is an example of nation-building that worked … right up until it didn’t.

Real division is fine. The more diverse a people are, the less they must be forced to share. It we still want to keep a “United States” we should give up on “America” and give liberty another try.

No Democrat could push that, of course.

twv

You’ve heard of Sanctuary Cities, where corporate subdivisions of the several States attempt to nullify federal laws to protect undocumented aliens. Here is the Sanctuary County movement, which goes up the level of jurisdiction one notch to protect rights far more explicitly guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution — as well as in many state constitutions. In the news, anyway, is the Commonwealth of Virginia: “Second Amendment Sanctuary push aims to defy new gun laws.”

On the map are the counties resisting the brewing gun control legislation. Virginia must seem dangerously green to the Blue State’s rich populations in the Washington, DC, area, and in a few spots elsewhere:

Wikipedia: States and counties that have passed Second Amendment sanctuary resolutions.

I vaguely recall an ancient tradition that might plausibly provide some legal cover for this, but I have forgotten what I have read. (Do I remember talking with a group called Posse Comitatus? I confronted quite a wide variety of radicals — of all sorts — in my youth.)

In Washington State, where I reside, most counties are labeled ‘green’ (see above; note that it is just coincidence that it is nicknamed “The Evergreen State”) as being sanctuaries against gun control passed by the people (mainly voters in heavily populated counties, not labeled green). And, also in Washington State, Sections 3 and 24 of the State Constitution would seem to bar any legislative action from abridging the right to bear arms:

No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.

Constitution of the State of Washington (last revised 2011), Section 3

Due process of law does not mean legislative action by the government in Olympia or by the people through referendum or initiative.

The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men.

Section 24

This is much less confusing than the federal Constitution’s much-loved/much-despised Second Amendment. It clearly defines the right to bear arms as an individual right, not a militia right — the right to form a militia herein denied. (Nevertheless, Heller was almost certainly close to the mark; the Second Amendment was clearly made to secure an individual right to self-defense.)

If Washington State citizens want gun control, I think they would have to overturn Heller as well as pass an amendment to their Constitution. Further, I think that whenever a state’s people, using standard constitutional procedures, attempts to remove traditional rights, counties that do not pass the rights-destroying measure should have the right to secede and form a new state.

We live in interesting times.

Evidence of life, by the Pacific Ocean, November 28, 2019.

A stopped clock may be right twice a day, but a stopped military clock is right only once per day.


Just a reminder: the Russia investigation “was a nothing,” as my father used to say. No evidence advanced to show that any American solicited aid from Russia, and no evidence that the meagre “interference” on social media by a bunch of Russians affected any outcome, not so much as one vote:

There is no allegation in the indictment of any effect on the outcome of the election.

. . . There is no allegation in this indictment that any American had any knowledge, and that the nature of the [allegedly Russian] scheme was that the [Russian] defendants took extraordinary steps to make it appear that they were ordinary American political activists, even going so far as to base their activities on virtual private network [VPN] here in the United States so if anybody traced it back to that first jump, they appeared to be Americans.

Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, as recorded by CNBC, February 18, 1018.

The build-up to the final indictments in the Mueller Probe was relentlessly breathless, saying that Trump was doomed. And then? Nothing. Zip. Nada. All we had were pathetic prosecutions, the most ludicrous being of the named Russian “hackers.”

It is worth mentioning that the United States regularly intrudes on other countries’ elections far more thoroughly and effectively. The clutched pearls of the anti-Trumpers is so disingenuous.

And remember, one of the more recent elections that the U.S. Government interfered in was in the Ukraine.

So, naturally, as if led by an invisible hand with a wicked wit, Democrats, Deep State operatives, and the corporate media have pushed a bizarre Ukraine “interference” and “quid pro quo” and “bribery” allegation against the president for allegedly soliciting Ukrainians to “interfere” in our elections by investigating Joe Biden, Trump’s “political competitor.”

This is worth remembering as we gear up for the great fizzle that seems imminent regarding impeachment.


Although we do learn some of our history from hoaxes, we learn far more of it from sources that are unabashedly fictional. Rather than our quest for ammunition or enlightenment, it is our yearning for entertainment that most often leads us astray. A 2001 study, for instance, found that nearly two-thirds of high school students surveyed based their understanding of the Vietnam War on the movie Forrest Gump. The same pattern might hold for the First Thanksgiving if only Hollywood found it more interesting.

Robert Tracy McKenzie, The First Thanksgiving: What the Real Story Tells Us About Loving God and Learning from History (2013) .

The “freedom of assumption” lies at the heart of human ontology, and it is our consideration of non-facts that make us who we are, and even allows us to act:

Dale Jacquette, Alexius Meinong, The Shepherd of Non-Being (2015).

Note to praxeologists and “objectivists”: our values are determined by fancy as well as facts.

Meinong’s innovation is very similar to George Santayana’s doctrine of essences — which Santayana referred to as “promiscuous” in that the objects of our thought require no existence to be meaningful.

And from this line of reasoning we can see where the Ontological Argument fails.

This was my Thanksgiving message on Facebook, expressing my gratefulness for all the important objects of consciousness that do not exist.


The Fourth Estate relentlessly pushes political power, but has no interest in uncovering the truth for our benefit. If the journalists/papers/news channels were really interested in Story they would be all over some of the biggest stories of our time. But their interest in Story is circumscribed by their interest in partisan power-mongering. What they offer, instead, is Ideological Narrative. Not quite the same thing. Because of this, they are easily influenced by the CIA and the rest of the Deep State, and side with it.

Off Reddit.

And they have no interest in ‘protecting women’ or #metoo or anything even slightly noble . . . if it disrupts their narratives of expanding secular power and the subjugation of a free people.


As I understand the current impeachment case, it seems to have problems:

1. Neither the infamous quid or the notorious quo of the quid pro quo actually occurred — at best the case has it that Trump wanted to withhold aid to Ukraine in exchange for a promise to investigate the corruption of the Bidens, but the aid was eventually given and the investigation did not happen.

2. The Ukrainian president was most interested in a meeting with Trump, and appears not to have realized at the time of negotiations that aid was on hold. Negotiating for meetings is trivial b.s. not worthy of review by Congress. Bill Clinton was impeached for lying in a deposition, not for his special White House hotel grift.

3. Testimony from the prime witness has Trump explicitly denying, upon a request for clarification, the withholding of aid as a negotiating tactic.

4. Rep. Schiff and the pro-Deep State press (CNN, MSNBC, et al.) continually characterizes what Trump wanted as ‘investigating a political rival’ and not as investigating obvious and frank and even boasted-about [‘well, son-of-a-bitch’] corruption on the part Joe Biden and his son.

5. The continual denials of any evidence for Biden wrong-doing by Democrats and the Deep State press, is mere stonewalling and denial — lying.

6 The principle of the Double Effect is at play here: we expect more than one motive to go into any complicated maneuver like the disputed Ukraine negotiation. Since investigating corruption is entirely legitimate, that provides more than enough cover even to get what Trump may have wanted regarding his ‘political rival’ Biden.

7. The irony of charging Trump with trying to get foreign powers to help get dirt on a political opponent is PRECISELY what Hillary Clinton did with the Russian Dossier — how pot-and-kettle can they get?

8. And as for the sheer horror of investigating a political rival, that is what Barack Obama did to Trump’s campaign. Quite clearly.

9. The whistleblower heard nothing himself — it was all hearsay, and after the testimonies, that ‘heard said’ turns out to be mere unheard suspicion.

10. It is obvious from the very words and grimaces of testifying Deep State operatives that what they really objected to was that their beloved ‘interagency consensus’ was being derailed by the new president’s very different approach. Anyone with an ounce of skepticism about the FBI, CIA and ‘the interagency’ should not give one vermin patootie for their commitment to their policies — they are not supposed to be in charge. Why any American would be sympathetic to this crowd of professional liars and incompetents I don’t know.

There is more, but this is enough to make me utterly incredulous about the charges, which seem weaker and more indicting of the side marshaling the indictments than of Trump.


Talk about ‘interfering in our elections’! This story is out there, but does not seem to be getting much play:

The story seems interesting, anyway:

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota-5th) was recruited by a foreign government, received funding from a foreign government, and passed sensitive information through intermediaries to Iran, a Florida court has been told, as The Jerusalem Post confirmed.
Speaking to the Post, the office of the Congresswoman denied the allegations.
The claims came during testimony by Kuwati-born Canadian businessman Alan Bender, who was giving evidence in the trial of Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad al-Thani. The Qatari emir’s brother stands accused of ordering his American bodyguard to murder two people, and of holding an American citizen hostage. His deposition, obtained by Al Arabiya English, was authenticated by the attorney for the plaintiffs, according to the publication.
Speaking from Toronto by video link, Bender told the Florida District Court that he met with Qatar’s Secretary to the Emir for Security Affairs Mohammad bin Ahmed bin Abdullah al-Masnad and two other senior Qatari officials.
According to his sworn deposition, the three officials told him: “If it wasn’t for our cash, Ilhan Omar would be just another black Somali refugee in America collecting welfare and serving tables on weekends.”Bender testified that the officials asked him to recruit American politicians and journalists as Qatari assets, and that when he objected, was told that several prominent figures were already on the payroll. Omar was described as the “jewel in the crown,” he said.

Donna Rachel Edmunds, “Ilhan Omar denies being ‘Qatari asset,’ witness confirms Jerusalem Post report,” Jerusalem Post, November 28, 2019.

But, that being said, if these accusations prove true, many crimes may have been made in all this. But not treason, since America is fighting no declared wars.


It is well known that the title Benjamin R. Tucker gave to Steven T. Byington’s translation of Max Stirner’s great German work, Der Einzige und sein Eigentum, is far from a perfect analog of the original. The Ego and Its Own does not suggest the original meanings in anything like its fullness. That being the case, what would be a better title? Something, I think, like

  • The Self-Owner and His Property
  • The Self-Owned Self
  • The Properties of the Self-Owned Self
  • Oneself as Owned Self
  • The Self’s Own Liberated Property

A lot of self-help book titles come to mind:

  • Disowning Servility
  • De-Slaving the Self
  • Freer Selves Self-Owning
  • Taking Ownership of Oneself

And perhaps more scholarly visions could hail from the title:

  • Selfism from Max Stirner to Jack Woodford
  • The Properties of Property and the Ownership of Self
  • Oneself as Self–Proprietie: The Ownership of Personhood

And one that I’m working on:

The Self and Its Aptness

A friend suggests “aptitude” is a better word than “aptness,” but the primary definitions of “aptitude” scuttle the intended meaning, and so is not apt.


The above squibs have all been culled from my personal and professional Facebook page, from the last few days’ postings. The photo at top is something I snapped at Long Beach Peninsula today, a bright, sunny, cold day: seagull prints in the sand.

A few months ago we had occasion to remember an Obama Era scandal: the notorious “tan suit” brouhaha.

But why would we memorialize this idiocy? For Whataboutism’s sake.

It is probably the favorite ism of our time, Whataboutism.

It’s inane, sure, and an ugly, silly term, but it does insert a modicum of reciprocal thinking into our relentlessly partisan, cordoned-off political culture.

Yahoo News provides the story of that fateful day in late August, 2014:

In addition to being generally panned by fashion experts, Obama’s light-hued look, worn to a White House briefing, scandalized cable news pundits. Lou Dobbs called it “shocking,” while Republican congressman Peter King said it represented POTUS’s “lack of seriousness” in the wake of recent ISIS attacks.

Who are the people who were upset by this? The Yahoo story names some names, sure, but let’s break the complainers into their categories:

  1. The Professionally Upset, people who get noticed by being noticeably upset;
  2. Opposite Partisans, folks who find occasion to be vexed by anything slightly out-of-the-ordinary of the Other Side;
  3. Fashionistas, the folks who think their taste in fashion should dominate the culture;
  4. Sour Grumps, who just like complaining about every innovation;
  5. Racists, who in this case could be called Suitists.

I much prefer to judge politicians by what they do, and by the apparent content of their character. But as for a tan suit:

“Let me start off by saying that I was sorely tempted to wear a tan suit today for my last press conference, but Michelle, whose fashion sense is little better than mine, tells me that’s not appropriate in January,” he quipped while wearing a standard navy suit to his final White House briefing in January 2017.

Mark Twain and Tom Wolfe wore white suits — even out of season. Black men can wear yellow, purple, red and many another odd color and “get away with it” — that is, they can wear these colors and not look like goobers. And as for Obama’s preference, admit it: he looked great in it. When I start wearing suits again (you know, to acclimate friends for my final outfit), it will be some shade of brown.

But then, my interest in fashion is largely anthropological, not devotional. I guess I am just not that into suitist thinking.

twv