Archives for category: Ideological currents

To repeat: anarchy is either a good name for something bad, or a bad name for something good.

The problem with “anarchism” is that it is defined, first and foremost, by utopians like this Twitter user:

When Belgian economist Gustave de Molinari invented what today some call “libertarian anarchy” or “anarcho-capitalism,” he pointedly did not call himself an anarchist. He saw himself as a kind of liberal. “Anarchist” was reserved for the first people to homestead the term anarchy as a non-pejorative: Proudhon and Bakkunin and that ilk. Folks like “The Anarchist Turtle.”

Today, let’s respond to the propositions of this Twitter user:

  1. There is indeed human nature, and one of its chief features is its ability to adapt to the environment, though with varying degrees of success, individual by individual, group by group.
  2. Capitalism comes in several forms, but the core element of private property and market interaction does not teach people to be “evil and inconsiderate,” while the neo-mercantilist, statist versions do sometimes do that. What private property and markets encourage is service to others: if you don’t meet consumer demand, you fail.
  3. “Take away capitalism” — how? By getting rid of private property and market cooperation? If you want to see the struggle of existence — society red-in-tooth-and-claw — have at it. One of the odd things about left utopians is their blindness to the basic temptation of human nature, to “defect,” to exploit or “get one over” on others, and that this is ultra-common where many people share a common resource. It’s not called The Tragedy of the Commons for nothing. And while humans do concoct and discover ways to avoid this tragedy sans private property or the State, these social mechanisms are not exactly free-wheeling “anarchy.”
  4. What is it we really need “liberating” from? The need to work? Social pressure? Religion? Capitalism allows for human cooperation to flourish in the most astounding ways. Under expanded markets, whole blocs of the Third World have been brought up from dore poverty. I want more of that, not less.

But what’s my main beef with The Anarchist Turtle? “Human nature” doesn’t change, human behavior does. If you want to understand how our behavior changes according to circumstance and situation, study human nature. Don’t ball these concepts up. Which leftists like to do because, at bottom, most are Blank Slate/Tabula Rasa fantasists. They inhabit a world too irreal for me.

When I got interested in anarchism, in my teens, it was primarily to prevent warfare and mass exploitation. It wasn’t as a means of “liberating” “the People” from work or responsibility or all the difficulties with life. I was indeed concerned with bullying and tribal conflict, but I knew enough Big History to realize that getting rid of The State along with private property would just set us back to tribal and chiefdom organization: not my idea of liberation at all. And though I was fascinated by utopian experimentation, I never wanted to join any particular commune or “intentional community.” Families were enough along those lines.

But I did then and do now distrust and hate the Archons — the rulers behind the scenes and those in front of podia. They are liars and tempters [almost] all. They are always looking for ways to gain our servile compliance with their schemes, and they do so by enticing us into thinking we can both gain a special advantage and see ourselves as Good and Righteous.

I have much more to say about fighting the Archons — the dominations and powers — without falling into the goofy utopianism of “the anarchists.”

twv

A criminal bullies an old man, defending an act of theft by his loser girlfriend. He aggresses against the old man. Who, in self defense, stabs him. He dies.

That is a good story. Not a great story. Not exactly uplifting. But justice prevailed. Aggressive criminals who commit crimes lose the right to life in violent situations they themselves cause. The righteous must defend themselves, and when criminals die in such cases, only their families should weep. The rest of us? Our sympathies should be muted. Extremely muted, if existent at all.

But it was the aging Puerto Rican store clerk who was arrested and charged with murder.

Thus it is that thugs possess more effective legal rights than peaceful people do, the aggressed-against have fewer legal defenses than the aggressors. And the government and social media corporations? Why, they side with the thugs — GoFundMe denied the store clerk access to its fundraising mechanisms, so he is basically thrown back into the old days of the poor being poorly served by the judicial system.

Why, you ask.

The idea of self-defense — upon which rested the old liberal justification for government — is anathema to the dominant, ruling ideology, statism.

Statism’s a technical term for a whole swath of government ideologies, including fascism, social democracy, modish and old-fashioned Progressivism. And of course socialism. But caution: all these statist ideologies provide cover for what is really going on, which could be called technocratic class tyranny: Rule by the cognitive elites and plutocratic backers who control the Deep State and the Wide State, and who gain great advantages by leveraging their insider status.

And these elites use criminals and unthinkingly violent mobs to hold onto power. The policy that is key to their success is anarcho-tyranny. And that depends upon unleashing criminals and would-be criminals (illegal immigrants, for example) against normal peaceful people.

Here is Tucker Carlson getting close to the the core issues:

Tucker fingers a villain behind the scenes — George Soros — and this man, Soros, is indeed quite the villain, subsidizing local campaigns in major cities around America to put in progressive, pro-criminal prosecuting attorneys. Not liberal prosecutors, who stick to liberal principles, but actual pro-criminal attorneys. But we should wonder who’s behind Soros. For there may indeed be a cabal of the very rich who do indeed select and nurture a few wealthy investors and entrepreneurs and then make them perform their most unseemly moves in full light of public.

But one should doubt that, too, for we do not know the secrets of those who play behind the façades of “democracy.” For what really is going on here may be just the contagion of really bad ideas. These ideas infect people low and high, and those ideas are so constructed to reward most of their adherents in ways that the adherents never quite acknowledge, for it might make them feel a bit icky. Being rewarded doesn’t. So they continue the exploitation system.

But here’s the big deal, in America: a government that denies the right of self-defense is a revolutionists’ tyranny, illiberal and quite un-American. It has negated any plausible claim to the authority to govern.

And if you have read the Declaration of Independence, you know what that means.

twv

N.B. It is worth mentioning that the mayor of New York has shown some public sympathy for Alba, according to the New York Times story linked above:

A number of city officials have criticized the decision by the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, to charge Mr. Alba with murder and to ask initially that he be held on $500,000 bail. The emergence of surveillance video that showed Mr. Simon shoving Mr. Alba raised the specter that Mr. Alba was acting in self-defense.

Jeffery C. Mays, “Adams Shows Support for Man Charged in Bodega Killing That Caused Outcry,” July 8, 2022.

But a politicians expressing sympathy is just a politician begging for forgiveness, not stopping governmental misdeeds. It is cheap. He wants cheap grace. Anything else? Probably not.

Craven Corporate CEOs Kowtow to BLM and the Woke-Left Mob

The long list of letters we receive from the heads of major corporations, genuflecting in the general region of the woke mob, is disheartening or hilarious or both. But Airstream’s missive is especially idiotic:

The Road Ahead: A Letter from Airstream’s CEO

Jun 11, 2020

As I’ve watched the events of the last two weeks unfold, I’ve wrestled with how to respond. I resisted the urge to simply react, to post about our horror and outrage at the killing of George Floyd, choosing rather to take the time to figure out what concrete actions we can take to catalyze real change. 
The killing of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and many other Black people has rightfully brought an intense focus to the issues of social injustice and racial inequity, and also much-needed clarity about how Airstream can be part of the solution. Though Airstream is a small company, we’re a big brand, and I feel both the undeniable responsibility to continue to use our voice for good, and optimistic that we can actually make a difference. 
Airstream was founded to inspire people to connect with each other and enjoy the outdoors. We know that, all too often, the prejudices and inequities that pervade society as a whole also keep people of color from feeling at ease in these natural spaces. So what can we do? 
* First, we can support those organizations whose aim is to combat inequities in our criminal justice system. To that end, we are making a multi-year financial commitment to the non-profit Equal Justice Initiative, whose work is at the front lines of challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.
* Second, we are listening to people of color in the outdoor and camping space through feedback sessions. This is the next step in our important work to learn how Airstream can positively impact change and better understand how we can create a more welcoming and inclusive environment in the outdoors. 
* And finally, in addition to conducting justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion training for our employees, we are listening to and learning from all Airstream associates who may have experienced discrimination so that we can better understand how those forces manifest themselves in our local community and our ability to counter them. 
As calls for real, systemic reform grow louder around the nation and the world, we are hopeful that this is the time for meaningful, positive, and lasting change so that all people can enjoy a life free from injustice and inequality. We know we have work to do.
Be well, be safe, and be compassionate.

Bob

Bob Wheeler
President & CEO
Airstream, Inc.

The idea that a travel trailer company has any business being “part of the solution” to a problem of which it is not plausibly the cause, is not “woke,” it’s dopey.

Why is it happening?

Perhaps because of the ‘race hustle,’ the shake-down process perfected by charlatans like Al Sharpton, on-the-make provocateurs who approach corporations, tell them they are racist and warn them that their status as racists can be publicized, and then accept hush money in the form of grants or programs to conduct “justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion training.”

On the Other Hand…

I am open to the “systemic racism” notion.

But what could it be? Individual and in-group racism is fairly easy to understand; organizational racism is not difficult to understand.

But what would “systemic racism” be?

Well, it would be patterns of discrimination resulting from human interaction within institutional frameworks but not of direct human intention or design. Perhaps it would be racist effects without racist intent.

The trick is not to be confused or hoodwinked by the words we like to use.

Relative prices in a market could be called “systemic.” The whole “invisible hand” process element could be called systemic. Economists have investigated the “spontaneous order” of the price system for centuries now. It is a fascinating social science paradigm.

The “systemic racism” notion would be parallel.

But merely to assert “systemic racism” and then pretend that it is “just the same” or even worse than standard forms of racism — or, at the very least, worth getting really, really exercised about — while not explaining the processes by which systems of subconscious or non-conscious adaptation might skew in a seemingly racist manner, well that’s sub-intellectual and makes you look like a hectoring idiot.

While I am open to such discussions, I don’t see them as showing a great deal of promise. Why? It’s not because there is nothing to them. It is because the chief use, these days, for the idea is as a hectoring tool, and this suggests to me that people leap to word ”systemic” because they’ve run out of really bad forms of racism, and they still want to get worked up.

Besides, it is a word that makes them look smart — to dumb people.

And the main reason to focus on racism? Because most of the left’s ideas are such nonsense and dangerous poppycock that they have to find something with a little meat on it. Something to throw into the dog pit and get the contestants snarling.

Ah, politics!

Its usual effect is to lower displayed intelligence.

And I remind Americans that racism was selected by Soviet propagandists as the most efficient angle to undermine American values and society and thereby government. Anti-racism was, among other things, a Soviet psy-op. (Keyword: Bezmenov.) Today’s anti-racist racism — as in castigating a white man for holding a non-white child on his lap — might best be explained as a propagandist-designed meme to infect and destroy a people, preparing the way for . . . communism? Maybe. But since communism doesn’t work, what you get is totalitarian tyranny over the people by the elites and for the elites.

So we might want to take caution in handling a psy-op and running with it. It’s like running with scissors. You had better be careful how you hold that tool. Do you really want to stab yourself and others?

The Key Concept the ”Systemic” Pushers Ignore

When it comes to racism, it is astounding how rarely the chief theorists of Anti-Racism mention the relevant concepts from ethology and anthropology: positive and negative ethnocentrism. Here are some passages from Edward Dutton, ”The Jolly Heretic,” to explain the basic concepts:

I was introduced to these concepts by reading Sumner (who was primarily a sociologist, not an economist) and Herbert Spencer. It is a testimony to how narrow-minded the neo-Darwinian the dominant paradigm had become to re-introduce these ideas of group-centered altruism that were a common theme in these two early evolutionists. Nowadays evolutionists talk about this all the time, but it was much less on the explanatory agenda in the first half of the 20th century. But the ideas were in those early evolutionists.

The concept that anti-racists prefer over negative ethnocentrism is xenophobia. But that has a real problem: fear is not hatred is not distrust is not, even, general antipathy. And an aesthetic distaste for another culture is quite distinct from an aesthetic distaste for another race, and both of these are distinct from moral disapproval and approval. A lot is covered up in the usual yammering about xenophobia.

There are many levels to the problems here, and my point in quoting Dutton is not to side with him, but merely to show a research program that the anti-racists don’t commonly consult.

Ethnocentrism is a natural human propensity. It may be useful to see it on a spectrum, with hatred on the extreme ends:

Racism, as I understood it in my youth, is a philosophical error, the making too much of matters of race. But in-group sympathy and cooperation are not ”making too much” of one’s own race. The evolutionists are likely correct in viewing positive ethnocentrism as a cross-cultural adaptive trait.

But negative ethnocentrism? That can lead to horrific destruction of the in-group because of excessive violence and retaliation and vendetta traps. Racism used to be associated with this. But instead of attending to principles and the rational appraisal of threats from inside as well as outside a community, today’s anti-racists seem to repeatedly and even consistently lurch to xenophilia and oikophobia (synonyms may work better, but these are in somewhat popular use). That is, they tend to reflexively over-value outsiders to compensate for the negative ethnocentrism of some insiders, and then even come to oppose fellow members of the in-group merely for their insider status.

These developments of anti-racism thus become racist by inversion, ”making too much” of race by making too much of racism, and by excessive support for those of genetic-ethnic groups unlike ourselves.

It would be helpful if people remembered the wisdom of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics: virtue lies in the middle, with vice exhibited at the extreme ends of each spectrum of traits, and with vice characterized by both the lack and the excess of the beneficially adaptive trait.

twv

Passages from this book were quoted above.

. . . from Facebook two years ago. . . .

The self-fulfilling prophecy often rests on a more basic trap: the self-reinforcing policy.

You support a policy because you are alarmed at how awful x is, so you support policy A, which you say fights x. But policy A increases x. So when x increases, you double down on policy A. Demand more measures of an A-ish nature, and continued support of policy A. Because x!

This makes you a fool, of course, but most of us are fools about something, and it is impolite to call each other foolish, since there never would be an end to it. So, in politics, folly increases.

Here are some examples:

1. Low-skilled worker unemployment is bad, since it leads to crime, drug-use, family breakdown, and, of course, more unemployment. So, policy A: Raise the legal minimum wage rate! This of course increases unemployment, as economists have explained for two hundred years, requiring more state aid. But most people don’t listen to economists except when economists back up their prejudices. And since state aid is obviously designed to help the afflicted, we are not unreasonably distracted from noticing that policy A is responsible. Now focused entirely on intentions, not on means or results, when someone like me suggests getting rid of A, oh, the outcry! Raise A instead! This ensures more unemployment, more state aid, and a great deal of Pharisaic posturing. Forever and ever amen.

2. Terrorism is bad. Terrorists often come from foreign lands. So policy A: ‘let’s fight terrorists over there, not here!’ But bombing innocent weddings and children and the like in the War on Terror increases resentments that lead to terrorism here and elsewhere in the First World. But terrorism spurs resentment here as well, thus increasing support for policy A, the War on Terror. Which ramps up the violence, and. . . .

3. The latest contagion is bad. Undoubtedly. The standard way to deal with this is to quarantine the infected, isolate the at-risk population, and let the healthy part of the population get infected and handle the disease with their immune systems, and then build up herd immunity. But that is not a very woke way of doing things, so a new policy, let’s call it . . . A . . . would isolate the healthy population. Now, that is taking x seriously! Of course, we are now on a new course, and we aren’t concentrating on the at-risk populations, like those in nursing homes, and are even sending those who should be quarantined into nursing homes, leading to alarming death rates. This panics the proponents of the new policy A, so they demand . . . more of policy A, not the older policy, which is so passé — or should I say ‘pass-A’? The panicky folk demand evermore A, which prevents herd immunity. But when suppport for A diminishes, and a return to normalcy occurs, the number of cases of infection increase. Entirely to be expected, but it is ‘proof’ of a need for more A! So, A is re-introduced. Sure, it’ll decrease herd immunity and mean that more people will die later on, but hey: ‘at least we tried’!

Policies that reinforce themselves by their ‘failure’ are the favorite kind of policies of fools. Whole ideologies congeal around them. And certain unscrupulous people encourage them in full knowledge.

It is so easy to manipulate fools.

And since it is folly to tell fools of their folly — what is the percentage in that? — folly is self-reinforcing.

And it is my own folly that I persist, since there is a good chance that when they come to take me away to the new concentration camp — let’s call it camp A — many of the people I have called fools will shout huzzahs.

Making me the biggest fool of all.

So folly is bad. . . .

twv, July 3, 2020 (Facebook)

The election of Barack Hussein Obama was the triumph of virtue signaling — specifically, leftist virtue signaling, for Obama was not only “representative” of a “marginalized group” (though there is hardly a plausible case for his personal marginalization), his name itself was also the ne plus ultra of The Other, in that it was of a culture that Americans had been warring with for decades, and quite earnestly for eight years. (Remember that his name was self-chosen. In early years he was called “Barry Soetoro.”)

At the time, I found it hilarious that “Obama” rhymes with “Osama,” “Barack” rhymes with “Iraq” and “Hussein,” his middle name, was identical with the last name of the former dictator whom the U.S. military had just executed less than two years before BHO’s election in 2008.

Now, in light of this astonishing selection — one that I had suggested to my Democratic friends early on in that presidential election cycle upon the Anyone But Hillary rationale — I think we can better understand the nature of left-v-right in modern politics, and the extent to which the Republicans had lost their grip on the culture.

First, it shows the essential power of the “leftward gesture,” that is, the reach outward beyond the in-group to gain moral weight to perform a revolution (or consolidate power) in the State (change the hierarchy) by upholding the outsiders, the others. The Other, Barack the Pumpkin God.

It also shows how badly George Walker Bush/Dick Cheney had managed their war footing towards the mid-East. Americans had ended up hating them in particular as well as American foreign policy in general.

Now, let me interrupt the story, a bit, here. I confess: I may never have actually hated a politician as much as I hated the Bush/Cheney duo. I remember all the hatred Democrats had harbored for Nixon, back in the 1970s, and I thought at the time it was overblown. I had followed his strange ascendancy to the presidency, though very young, and spent a summer watching his fall, on daytime TV (the Watergate hearings were televised). Even so, I saw Nixon as a less repellent figure than his immediate predecessor in office (and recent reading has more than confirmed my youthful intuition). And Reagan, whom Democrats pretended to hate as much as Nixon, I determined to be less obnoxious than Nixon — though I was no fan of either (and never voted for Reagan, though I could have). It was the political success of George Herbert Walker Bush that I saw as the most appalling thing to come out of the Reagan period (other than Iran-Contra and the Social Security pseudo-fix), and my distrust for a CIA man extended to his witless son who surrounded himself with Nixon men. So that slightly unhinged Democratic hatred for Nixon I allowed into my own soul, but directed with greater cause (I reasoned!) to the warmongers and liberticides Bush II and Cheney. Though I am frankly and unapologetically anti-Islamic, I thought their doubling down on the mid-East wars was foolish as well as evil, and I blogged in opposition to their wars from before they began.

But back to the pumpkinification of Obama.

Republican voters themselves were vexed by the politics of Obamafication. Whenever they took an even mildly alarmed note at Barack Obama’s peculiar outsider persona — and it was a persona, not a deep personal truth — they were called “racist.” Not fair, of course, but this predicament set up the current left-v-right antagonism, and why Democrats have in this later epoch lost their once-vaunted moral high ground. They overplayed that particular hand. They got addicted to cheap, philosophically indefensible accusations just as Republicans, in the aughts, had let themselves get addicted to expensive, diplomatically indefensible warfare.

I cannot sympathize with either of these. Warmongering of the chessboard gamesmanship variety is appallingly evil, and a people (Republicans) who supported it committed themselves to that evil. But witless accusations of immorality are perhaps even more corrupting, for they affect the “homeland” society — the nature of the in-group community — in such a deep way as to de-stabilize it, perhaps forever. There may be a way to repair it, but since the federal government itself is de-stabilized by insane finance, I say: disunion. There is no reason to keep the charade of “coming together” (the slimy pols’ favorite slogan) going. America is over as an experiment. It failed. It failed because instead of trying for a union, its political class tried to create a nation, and instead created two. Or more.

Barack Obama was a horrible president, and much of what he did, especially in his second term, set the way for that Asimovian Mule, Donald Trump, and for the civil war that is coming. He also carried on most Bush Era warmongering campaigns, and with his foreign policy “blunders” set up the stage for the invasion of Europe by illegal migrants.

Now, I think the civil war could be civil: we could get excited about disunion — or, more exactly, a receivership in place of Congress, and several smaller unions of states and territories where there now exists the ungainly mess of the Fifty States+Empire We could see it as an achievement to work towards rather than a consequence of failure.

But that’s unlikely.

Either way, we can thank Bush and Barack and The Donald for making this more likely. Biden, there’s no reason to thank him. Somebody that corrupt and that demented needs something other than thanks.

One of the funny things about current politics is the degradation of leadership. Barack Obama is revered as a statesman, but the Democrats, otherwise, have no one. We wound up with Biden not because he was good but because he could be made, with psy-ops in play, to look like a calming figure. But he’s not. He’s actually quite unhinged and radical, and his handlers are more radical yet.

Meanwhile, the Republicans: what have they got? Donald Trump screwed the pooch in his last year, and is unfit for service. And he has the stink of failure about him. De Santis could come out of Florida to lead, but is he ready? He seems about right for a post-Trump, but no one else does. Who?

The reason the leadership pool is so shallow is that none of these mainstream figures have a clue how to navigate between the Scylla of financial collapse and the Charybdis of postmodernist political correctness. Nothing really makes sense in the old terms. The American people themselves — the electorate — were deeply wounded by the pandemic scare, and managing their manias and regrets and suspicions regarding that scare could upset the world order. The elites — those Wardens of the Earth? — don’t even know who to put forward. They have trouble keeping Klaus Schwab from giving away their whole game.

We live in fascinating times.

Perhaps the next president should change his/her/zher name to something that rhymes with (or at least references) COVID, mask, and hyperinflation. Just to pull off an Obamification trick. Ovid Diaperdump Trask? Diaper was actually a British name in past centuries. It could work.

twv

. . . in which I look back on the changing winds of doctrine, and which way I blow. . . .

Thirty or forty years ago, while grappling with the theory of rights — building off from both from the Bentham side as well as the Grotius side — I found myself contrasting rights talk (and utility of same) between various rights adults disputed pertaining solely to themselves and the alleged rights of children, infants, fetuses and non-human animals. I developed a sort of Benthamic schema of rights that Bentham himself would have hated, since mine explained and did not dismiss natural rights.

I went into my inquiry as an advocate for abortion rights, since my basic social attitude was liberal. And was a young man with no intention of starting a family. But the immediate result of my inquiries surprised me a bit: I ended up with a rather complicated excuse for legal abortions. It was based, in part, on phenomenology, specifically the approach to the social world of Alfred Schütz.

But by the end, I realized that there was something creepy about my excuse for abortion, and I acknowledged that, on level of personal morals, I was against abortion — it was, I decided, a horrific practice that my contemporaries took too lightly, with all the self-deceptions that Sartre saw in the peculiar mental stratagems of anti-Semites. I knew that many past societies had engaged in infanticide and the abandonment of children, and my rights theory had come out squarely against those practices, as it did many other age-old institutions, like chattel slavery and imperialist warfare. But abortion: I had found an excuse for its legality — what of that?

Well, I pick at this constantly, because it is, I hazard, one of the things de-humanizing contemporary society and driving our civilization mad. We have several of these madness-inducing memes ongoing. One is deficit spending and debt accumulation by the federal government of these United States. This has uncorked a stopper on the culture, and is sending society reeling out of control. As evidence for this madness I give you ‘gender theory’ and the current trans-mania. What I see in society are people being driven by uncorked egregori of memes, with scant discipline to regulate them: tradition is broken; philosophy — which might do the job — remains remotely academic, a kind of cultural eunuch, and deeply unpopular.

I have never much liked the terms of the debate. I deem “pro-life” and “pro-choice” as witless terms to characterize the actual positions held. Reliance upon these terms tempts their users into irresponsible, thoughtless ideology and propagandizing. So I’ve been alienated, until fairly recently, from both sides. In more recent days, though, my alienation from the ”left” generally has led me, with gallows humor, to the “right-wing“ culture, somewhat, because I take no stand with any group that allies itself with socialism, biological fabulism, and the Deep State (which is not fictitious, but all-too-real).

Like most left-right divides, the abortion issue has many dimensions. It deserves to be looked at in more than one way. I have tried to do so. For in addition to the ways mentioned above, treating it as a social-world problem, from the perspective of rights theory, I also consider it as a matter of ceremony, of rite. This is where anthropology veers into the occult, for there is a reason that many opponents of abortion look at the legally sanctioned and culturally promoted practice of abortion as ritual mass slaughter — and that extreme interpretation is indeed “creepy.” But like I suggest above, killing little humans in the womb is indeed a creepy, de-humanizing practice. I am not shocked to discover multiple dimensions of the creepiness.

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

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.