Archives for category: Ideological currents

Do some gun owners really believe in the conspiracy that the government is planning to take away all the guns?

…as answered by twv on Quora….

Yes. Sure. But most believe it is not a conspiracy, exactly, but instead an open movement that wishes to accomplish civilian disarmament by incremental regulations and prohibitions.

And since that is precisely what many gun control advocates and former advocates have publicly stated as their goal and their method, these gun owners are not witless, are they? Of course they are reasonably skeptical of any further regulation.

I know that when I flirted with gun control ideas, a mass confiscation immediately popped into my head, and I discussed it with other gun control advocates.

Also, political promises of “we only wish to do this so much (and no more)” and objections on the order of “how dare you think we will go all the way!” of any new proposal are to be believed only by chumps. The income tax was promoted as something only a few of the very rich would pay, and even then not all that much. Within five years the rates on the top bracket went from 7 percent to 77 percent and people at the bottom went from paying nothing to paying 1 percent. Government “wants” to grow. So any small increase in regulation is rightly seen as merely a “first step.”

It is also a known thing that many people in government — as legislators and as functionaries — want a general civilian disarmament. It sure would make their jobs easier! They think.

But gun owners look upon all this with a growing sense of incredulity. Government functionaries cannot successfully do their jobs now, as was shown in the recent Parkland, Florida, shooting incident. And the War on Drugs failed to eradicate psychoactive drugs even from prisons, the most heavily guarded buildings in the country.

So that means that a gun confiscation — or any increased legal encumbrance upon citizen ownership — would surely do only one thing: decrease the ability of peaceful and lawfully disposed citizens to own guns, but not the violent and the criminal. It would basically leave people less safe.

Besides, Spencer’s Law applies, as increasing numbers of gun owners understand. Gun crimes have been going down in America as gun ownership has risen. And this applies to school shootings, too. If someone, conservative or progressive, is much exercised about “a rise in violence” in America, they are, for the most part, being driven by coverage and hysteria, not facts, figures, and sound risk assessment. The rise in demand for “doing something” is occurring as the need for “doing something” is diminishing.

Given this, gun owners wonder what could gun control advocates be thinking? Are they that credulous?The kids are, surely — yes. But some gun control advocates, they know, are indeed malign proponents of authoritarian government. Many gun control politicians and activists love tyrannical government as such. Just look at their methods and policies. Freedom has nothing to do with their agendas. They like robust government, vast redistributions of wealth, and massive regulation of every conceivable element of life, down to the drinking of sodas. They are illiberal. Every society has such people. Not a few of my friends and acquaintances would welcome a “benevolent” tyranny if it would get them the policies they desire.

To the extent that they advance their political program in public, gun control organizing is not conspiratorial. It is, instead, an open political assault on a free society. But some of these people are in government, and no doubt do have contingency plans in place to confiscate vast hoards of guns. So I guess even I believe in such a conspiracy.

But mainly I am politically opposed to the entreaties and counsel of fools.

twv

I, of course, am harmless.

The new openness and honesty in the Democratic Party deserves more attention. For years Democrats have been accused by the deeply suspicious of being (a) for citizen disarmament and (b) actual socialists. Now, increasingly, Democrats are copping to both.

Beto O’Rourke did something new for a major Democratic presidential candidate at Thursday night’s debate when he said, very clearly and without any prevarication, that he’d take “weapons of war” and certain guns away from law-abiding Americans.

“Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47. We’re not going to allow it to be used against our fellow Americans anymore,” said O’Rourke, a former congressman from El Paso, Texas, who has re-created his presidential campaign around the issue of gun control after a mass shooting last month in his hometown.

Zachary B. Wolf, “Democrats have spent years denying they’ll take people’s guns. Not anymore” CNN, September 12, 2019.

And it is not just Blithering Beto:

O’Rourke is one of three Democrats, along with Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Cory Booker of New Jersey to support mandatory buybacks for certain guns. Other Democrats would make them illegal but not require them to be bought back by the government. That was O’Rourke’s position, too, until the shooting in El Paso.

At the debate, O’Rourke had been asked whether he was ready to take guns away from people. He said yes, “if it’s a weapon designed to kill people on a battlefield, if the high-impact, high-velocity round, when it hits your body, shreds everything inside of your body because it was designed to do that so you would bleed to death on a battlefield and not be able to get up and kill one of our soldiers.”

This is something of a turning point for Democrats.

But it is not the only turning point. The popularity of Senator Bernie Sanders, who openly supports the Socialist label, and the “democratic socialists” of the Squad, points to something bigger: a willingness to go all the way to total government, despite America’s long tradition of opposition to socialism:

From being willing to murder babies fresh from the womb to the recent publication of something called the “Green New Deal,” Democrats can now be said to be totally out of the closet, allowing the American people, for the first time in a very long time, to see them for exactly who, and what, they are.  Before President Trump, Democrats had always been much less forthcoming when it came to revealing what it was that they were really up to.  But it would seem that these days, for whatever reason, they see no reason to operate in the shadows.  It’s almost as if they want us to see just how crazy they have become.  And the president should do nothing to discourage them from talking, in fact he should encourage them to talk more.

And it’s this “Green New Deal” that is the latest utopian idea to be presented by the Democrats, and is also arguably one of the most insane idea they’ve ever come up despite being championed by the genius, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  It reveals much about just how out in the open the Democrat Party is now willing to operate.  And regardless of how insane it is, this cockamamie plan was promptly endorsed by at least five candidates for the Democrat nomination for president in 2020, including the current frontrunner, Kamala Harris.  And it’s upon closer inspection that this highly touted “Green New Deal” has got to be seen as being one of the craziest, if not THE craziest, bits of legislation ever conceived in all of modern day politics.  

And I can’t help but wonder why this entire idea isn’t being ridiculed to the point where its supporters have been forced to go into hiding out of fear of becoming a laughing stock for daring to support it.  After all, the plan calls for the entire U.S. economy to switch to solar and wind power in ten years, an end to air travel, and guaranteed jobs for all, including those “unwilling” to work.  It will be paid for by printing more and more money. And if you dare to disagree, the planet will die.  While this “Green New Deal” is not the first crazy idea ever to be proposed in Congress, it is the first crazy idea to be taken so seriously and to be co-sponsored by as many as ten U.S. Senators and a third of House Democrats, so far.  

A close second would be “Medicare for All,” which Kamala Harris endorsed last month, adding that she would “eliminate” private health insurance — though she later said she was open to other paths to socialized medicine.  “Medicare for All” is not even popular in Harris’s deep-blue home state of California, where a plurality of voters opposes the plan, according to a Quinnipiac poll released this week. Yet the same poll revealed that the policy is very popular among Democrats, with 61% in favor and 24% opposed. When Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, Democrat, blocked a similar idea in 2017, saying there was no way to pay for it, he received death threats.  Many Democrats have long believed in having the government run everything.

Front Porch News, “The Democrats Come Out of Their Socialist Closet,” A Backwoods Conservative, February 8, 2019.

Arguably, if you believe “in having the government run everything,” you are a socialist. But what does it make you if you say your balk at total government, but only support increases in the size and scope of government, never decreases? The late-19th century individualists had a name for that. I remember how the late Bill Bradford was fond of the term, a specific suffix. And here Paul Jacob uses it:

There is nothing more tragic than full-blown socialism: mind-control and the snitch society; purges and mass starvation, with millions upon millions dead. But give them credit: the trendy new Democrats say they’re only for the Nordic Model of . . . well, the European term for it is social democracy. The fact that they now insist on calling social democracy “socialism” might be comic. It’s sort of witless. . . .

But they sure seem to push for evermore government — more regulation, especially. And since Denmark, Sweden, and Finland are all very close to the United States on Cato Institute’s economic freedoms tallies in the institute’s annual Human Freedom Index, demanding more regulation isn’t likely to make America more like Scandinavia.

But it would be more socialistic. Emphasis on the “ic.”

Paul Jacob, “Socialist-ic,” Townhall, March 3, 2019.

But this is not just a nomenclature issue:

Warren’s no socialist — she wants to “save capitalism,” after all.

Yet by only adding to government kludge, she might as well be one.

And that’s both the comedy and the tragedy of the Democratic Party: even when Democrats forswear the s-word, they keep touting more and more government, ignoring the mistakes of their past.

Which is why the new embracing of the label “socialism” is at least a sign of transparency.

But in politics, does such transparency pay?

As even a few fuddy duddies in the Democratic presidential line-up insist, this open embracing of socialism as a label, and Ever-Growing Government as a platform, may very well ensure The Donald’s reëlection.

But if one of these gun-grabbing socialists does win office — or if Democrat pols merely persist in continuing this latest ideological dedication — the consequences could extend much further. The United States could indeed go through something very much like death paroxysms, leading (best-case scenario) to disunion, either

  • in the form of a renewed federalism or
  • with secession leaving us two or more separate unions.

Brexit is peanuts compared to what is brewing here.

Yet my Democrat friends never seem to acknowledge what they have put into the roiling water.

As for me, I am mostly fascinated. You see, I am an anti-nationalist. Have been since a teenager. This gives me a rather jaded perspective. I think of Alexander Hamilton as a traitorous liar, and the union he molded as a treason against the states and the liquidation of the Founding’s promise. And so I look upon the Republicans as at best pathetic fools, but mostly as enemies of liberty — willing to compromise anything (even gun control and socialism) to maintain national power, which is their core insanity. And Democrats? — as at best ridiculous tools of the plutocracy, even while lashing out at “the top one percent,” never realizing that centralized power must always play into the hands of an elite. It is always worth a chuckle, really, populism being the Grand Delusion at the heart of the left.

When people want impossible things, they push incoherent dreams.

The Democrats’ new-found daring regarding their dreams and their putative reality is, at the very least, refreshing.

But, looming over all politics is the specter that haunts us all: The Thomas Theorem. Imagined causes have real effects. Those effects cannot be what is imagined, though. Not exactly. And that gap between fantasy and consequences is the most interesting divide there is, for both the left and the right tend to deny their respective divides.

Ideologues think in a fantasy realm, but we must all live in those realms’ shadows. American Democrats might work up at least some caution regarding the shadow of their dreams.

A sketch of the most basic form of ideological map.
You see the most obvious typo: “by” when “buy” was meant.

Imagine a religion without beliefs, sans credo, but based upon mere suspicion.

Now consider environmentalism, the ideology in which what should be at best suspicions are held religiously as points of dogma.

Now, briefly to reïterate my long-standing position: anthropogenic global warming sure seems plausible. But that is mere suspicion. Beyond this suspicion, the “science” is all over the map. Sea levels have been rising steadily as measured on east and west coasts of North America since 1850 — long before the great releases of greenhouse gases from modern civilization. And if you look at reliable U.S. temperatures for the last 150 years, it is not at all evident that a general warming has occurred.

So, while there is room for suspicion regarding current and future climatic shifts of possible catastrophic proportions, there is not yet grounds for anything close to certainty.

Yet the dogma on the environmentalist left is clear.

How must we appraise this? Well, as always with religious people, it is by their fruits we shall know them. If they say our coasts are going to be under water in a few years — unless (of course) we act immediately in a massive and transformative way — then you would expect environmentalists to flock to the uplands. It sure is obvious that the “proper” transformative policies they demand are not being adopted.

Because environmentalists are not heading for the hills, I do not believe they really believe in their catastrophe scenarios. They are playing at belief.

Not as suspicion, but as fantasy.

I suspect they do this the better to hate on those who doubt. It is a proven “winning” religious strategy.

twv

A cove in Cape Disappointment.

I oppose the concept of “gender” and quite a bit of today’s intersectionalist nomenclature. This is especially the case with the trans mania.

But I should clarify. For the record, I am not “trans-exclusionary.” That term of alleged opprobrium doesn’t do my position justice. I am a trans denier. Whether or not I play along with other people’s fantasies and fakes and frauds is a matter of whimsy only, circumscribed by manners and fleeting circumstance. On principle, anyone who threatens me — in the realm of manners or in courts of law — to obtain my compliance with their fantasies and fakes and frauds will gain only my contempt and defiance. The current trans movement is a bullying idiocy.

Now, though I oppose current trends in trans advocacy, I have no great animus against these sexually confused and deliberately confusing people. When I was young I knew a number of trannies. That is what they called themselves. Trannies. They were technically called pre-op transexuals, I think. But whatever they were called, I liked them. I had no trouble with them. I thought their passion for drag shows was stupid, but I think most other people’s pastimes are stupid, and as everyday people I got along with them fine.

But at no point did I think of these men as women. Lacking two X chromosomes and sporting dangling pudenda put the kibosh on any of that. Putative trans women, even after plastic surgery, are still not women. Though if they can pass I give them a pass.

But that was yesterday — today’s trans activists are my enemies.

Why? Well, they have gotten increasingly bold in their effrontery. About once per month I encounter some public argument to the effect that I am somehow bad if I do not want to get naked and engage in penetrative sexual play with a “trans person” just because I do not like their genitalia. Well, I like women. Well, a very few women. And I have a fondness for their genitalia, too. And I have no interest in naked play with any man. I would be most happy if I could go the rest of my life without seeing another penis, at least up close. The idea that trans activists think they can guilt me into accepting their hidden or mangled pudenda appalls me.

And I have a right to my feelings.

My values.

My sexual preferences.

Today’s trannies who seek to take away my right are evil.

twv

The logic of gun control legislation has always rubbed against reality’s grain. The most obvious problem is that gun confiscations, regulations, licensing, etc., all affect peaceful citizens directly, but criminals hardly at all. Take what we learn from three-year-old study using data from the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Firearm Tracking Unit (FTU):

The top-line finding of the study — that the overwhelming majority of gun crimes aren’t committed by lawful gun owners — reinforces a common refrain among gun rights advocacy groups. They argue that since criminals don’t follow laws, new regulations on gun ownership would only serve to burden lawful owners while doing little to combat crime.

Christopher Ingraham, “New evidence confirms what gun rights advocates have said for a long time about crime,” Washington Post, July 27, 2016.

Nevertheless, gun control advocates continue to demand that law enforcement and government bureaucracies make it harder for law-abiding gun owners to obtain, keep, and carry their firearms.

So, are gun control advocates earnest, or do they have other commitments that undergird their support for remedies that are unlikely to work?

A conjecture

In my experience, folks who approve of gun control tend strongly to oppose “stop-and-frisk.” This provides a major clue to their actual policy values. Stop-and-frisk is an integral method of gun control in that this procedure — unlike registration and background checks, etc. — directly takes “unlawful” weapons from random or suspicious pedestrians. It is an effective method of gun control, such as it is. Conservatives tend to love it because it focuses on de facto criminals and “suspicious” folks, and conservatives like riding herd on those targeted by police suspicion. But why would non-conservative gun control advocates be against stop-and-frisk? It is effective, while other methods are not. It does indeed get prohibited guns “off the street,” which is allegedly the whole point.

The common opposition to stop-and-frisk practices by gun control advocates suggests to me that they do not actually care about solving the problem of violent crimes with guns. Instead, what they want is to control people they don’t like. And who are those hated people? Well, progressives do not like normal gun-owning Americans, who tend not to vote for their candidates and who are not likely to be vegetarians or into “spiritual but not religious” regimens and the like. Those gun owners are “conservatives” and are all-too-apt to be enamored of barbecue and NASCAR and patriotic country-and-western songs. The progressives’ most-hated enemies are, in the words of Gene Wilder in Blazing Saddles, “the common clay of the new West; you know, morons.” (This is a major cultural marker.)

Because gun control makes the lives of progressives’ opponents less pleasant, gun control ably serves to play up the basic democratic enticement. The real reason most folks become and stay political in a democratic society is to lord it over the other tribe, to make people who disagree with them do their will.

The default mode of the Administrative State

And so it comes to pass that this sort of attitude feeds the common State practice of anarcho-tyranny, riding hard over peaceful people while letting the criminals run free.

Note how this anarcho-tyrannical modus of law and order feeds (and is fed by) gun control advocacy.

By being tyrannical to normal folk, but letting the anarchs wreak havoc, governments can always find excuses — chiefly in the inevitable decaying social order — to meddle in the lives of non-threatening people. The Washington Post article I quoted, above, does not go on to advise giving up on the gun control dream, but instead frets about finding ways to prevent guns from leaving good people’s hands to bad people’s — in effect, still targeting peaceful people’s behavior.

It is easy to see why folks in government might prefer anarcho-tyranny to overbearing police power over suspects — in profiling the peaceful government agents risk less. But why would non-governmental people prefer that modus operandi? It is the underdog meme, I think, the commitment to protect the other — which in this case gets carried to an absurd extreme.

The traditional Law and Order approach feeds the anarcho-tyrants’ ire, too. Riding herd over suspects seems so “mean.” And here we come to what does appear to be the main divide between left and right. But before we condemn the left wholly, note how shaky the right-wingers can be: they decry gun control, but love stop-and-frisk, which is nothing more than gun control made effective.

Both sides love profiling, of course. The right seeks to profile the “usual suspects,” and the left profiles the peaceful.

More rational crime control procedures?

Not on the table.

twv

Limited, controlled immigration, was the traditional policy of the Progressive Era. It was advanced during the ramp-up of the administrative state in the early days of Progressivism’s triumph, during the administrations of TR and Woodrow Wilson, and lingered in very strong forms through the recent presidencies of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

“Open immigration” in its modern context is the policy of radicals who flout the technocratic/managerial state’s modus operandi the better to achieve the revolutionary methods of the Cloward-Piven strategy — leveraging a central feature of the modern administrative state, anarcho-tyranny, as a way to sow chaos and effect the establishment of a socialist state.

The free migration concept that many of my friends support (and which I too, prefer, and wish were on the table) has almost nothing to do, in practice, with what the current batch of Democrats running for the presidency espouse. Those who pretend that it does — like, apparently, folks at Reason and Cato — are basically playing at being the Left’s bitches. Or, as I put it back in January, eagerly take part in “the cucking of the libertarian mind”:

Trendy libertarians so want to be thought of as “on the left” that they let leftists push policy into what Sam Francis aptly called anarcho-tyranny, where government increasingly lets criminal and dependent elements dominate public life while directing the heavy hand of the State onto people who are basically peaceful, who are not subsidized, who earn their keep and don’t steal, murder, and grift their way through life. That heavy hand is the increasing burden of the regulations progressives love.

Racism, Cuckery and the Wall,” January 14, 2019, Wirkman Comment.

As I have stated many times before, the free-market approach to migration depends on nixing the welfare state — or at least making its benefits off-limit for immigrants, especially illegal ones.* Libertarians have much to offer the debate over immigration, but what they offer is Diversity Without Jeopardy — which is when the Commons is limited and fighting over the resources is not allowed to dominate the political realm.

twv

On the bookshelf nearest at hand.

* The political feasibility of limiting access of welfare-state freebies is almost zero, though, as anyone who has thought about the progress of Barack “You Lie” Obama’s promise of No Obamacare for Illegals to today’s Democratic presidential hopefuls’ near-unanimous insistence on giving free healthcare to all comers. And when you throw in the biggest welfare program of all, public schools, the whole idea becomes fanciful.

“The world began to crumble,” wrote Ricky Gervais, “when feelings started overruling facts.”

This was on Twitter, of course, so we are not getting deep historical analysis, here. The point of the statement is not, really, to define the precise turning point towards our civilization’s decline. It was more rhetorical, a way of asserting objectivity as a foundational issue for civilized life. Further, Gervais (@rickygervais) is a comedian, so no matter how earnest he may be in expressing this thought, a reasonable person might have cause to wonder: maybe he was trolling. You know, to get a bite from an ideologue, thus setting up a joke.

Simon Jenkins (@SimonJenkins1) bit. “So are you like, a full-on right winger now?” Jenkins tweeted on the same day, August 5. “Because you must know the kinds of people this phrasing aligns you with.”

To be generous, we should identify the key to his inquiry in that word “phrasing.” Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) likes to say “facts don’t care about your feelings.” That is his phrasing of the idea. And I have heard others of an alleged rightwing viewpoint say similar things. With similar phrasings. So that is probably what triggered Mr. Jenkins. How awful of Gervais to have reasserted the hoary fact/value dichotomy in a Shapirovian way . . . and not like this: “The world began to crumble when our sense of reality was determined by axiological preferences rather than ontic persistence.” 

Of course Gervais would say no such thing. He’s a stand-up philosopher, not an academic one.

In any case, queried by Jenkins as to his disloyalty to leftist buzzwords and bugaboos, Gervais snapped back:

“I’m also a vegetarian. You know, like Hitler.”

Spot on. Hilarious. 

And Gervais’s retort got to the heart of where Jenkins went wrong — and where the left generally goes wrong.

Jenkins noticed that it is not uncommon to challenge leftists, these days, with the fact/value distinction in terms of fact/feeling, and when Gervais made the same critique without an explicit target, Jenkins assumed that Gervais was making an anti-leftist point. Or, much the same thing, he was worried that Gervais had succumbed to the temptation to join The Dark Side of the Force.

Gervais went on to remind his Twitter followers that he has opposed people typically thought of as “on the right” for running afoul of fact/feeling dichotomy. He is a notorious atheist, for example, and uses the lack of evidence for a Deity, and the scads of facts in support of evolution, as “facts” that trump religious folks’ hankerings — feelings, preferences — for God. 

Now, Gervais did slightly err in his longer response. Jenkins did ask a question, not conclude. But that mistake is no biggie, since even the suspicion of right-wingedness was lame. What Mr. Jenkins exhibits is hyper-sensitivity to his ideology, loyalty to his ideological group, which can be seen in a deep suspicion of anyone who won’t perform the precise pronunciations of his tribe’s shibboleths, or who dares echo the shibboleths of the other side.

It is pathetic.

It is typical of the marginalizer mindset, in which managing who is and is not in the in-group is always of paramount interest. More, anyway, than asserting a principle to live by.

For surely the principle of deciding questions of fact on the basis of reason and evidence rather than one’s fantasies and mental comfort is not partisan. I remember when anyone could make that appeal.

But because of a “phrasing,” one leftist derailed his mind.

This little exchange typifies how bad things are getting, culturally. Sure. But it is funny, how witless left-moralists have become. They cannot see the funny (and thus have ruined late-night chat shows) because they are picking at moral purity as defined not by their religion but by their political ideology. They cannot let themselves have a moraline-free moment — just the sort of stance I used to see among cultural conservatives in my youth. In this case, a follower of a comedian saw a principle in terms of party or ideological tribe rather than in epistemic terms. He immediately became defensive — thus adding weight to the common critique of modern leftism, that it is plagued by mushy, touchy-feely sentiment and soft-mindedness.

For his part, Mr. Jenkins was reflective about his “recent encounter” with Gervais. What is it, he asks, about dealing with famous people on Twitter? “Post something, get asked about it, then instead of engaging, let your droves of flying monkeys post waves of snarky gifs in your honor. A really one-sided platform.”

Well, it is a strange platform. I do not much care for it. (I think this blog automatically sends notices to my @wirkman Twitter account, though.) It is no place to engage in deep philosophical discussions.

But Jenkins, in this case, did not find himself unfairly snarked at, flying monkeys or no. At least by Gervais, whose actual engagement was all the engagement Jenkins’ query required.

I merely note it in passing. In case someone somewhere was at all confused about it. And also to put a name to a not uncommon skirmish in the culture wars.

twv

The photo is from the Medium screed.

Leftist stupidity has become so ubiquitous that one’s eyes tend to glaze over rather than focus on each and every bit of insanity. But the sheer breathtaking nonsense of a typical White Woke Woman of the West (hereinafter W4) is worth marking now and then. On Medium, today, we have a great case.

RACIST Hong Kong Pepe Protests
Stephanie Richardson
It has come to my attention that the protests that have enveloped most of Hong Kong are being fomented by the Alt-Right, Pepe the Frog and the United States CIA. These protesters are brandishing racists Alt-Right memes in hopes at gaining sympathy from the Incel communities on 4chan.
After reading a piece put out by the Incel Alt-Right publication VDARE called Hong Kong Protests Adopt “Racist” Pepe The Frog” i quickly began putting all of the pieces together.
The Incel community on 4chan have long loved their Asian “Waifus” (a derogatory term used to describe slitty Chinese girls) which explains their obsession with anime culture. The CIA have effectively weaponized this weakness within the otherwise deadly incel community against Mainland China in an attempt at dividing the two lands and setting them against one another. This cold very well end up in a. civil war scenario and if the media doesn’t decide to DO THEIR JOB the CIA / Incel community might actually get what they are hoping for.
The Alt-Right is playing a dangerous game here as China is not another Russia in the sense that these Chinese will actually fight back with their superior cyber power. They will enforce their rule over racist Hong Kong whether you and your “waifus” like it or not.
Please, make sure you do not encourage these protests and for the love of god inform the Chinese government of this racist Pepe image before it gets out of hand and the minorities in Hong Kong end up in danger as they are here in the United States.

Medium, August 13, 2019

Ms. Richardson is a powerfully insane W4, and there is no real reason to comment on her crazed, paranoid misinterpretation, other than to glory in the ridiculousness of one’s enemies. To regard Hong Kong’s young rebels as pawns in a CIA/Incel plot seems more than a mere stretch. I suppose I could be wrong — like I could be wrong about religious shysters Joseph Smith and L. Ron Hubbard (not likely) — but the notion that the CIA has appropriated the Pepe symbol to lash out at Mainland China sure seems lunatic to me. The idea that the young woman pictured, above, with eye patch on, is somehow engaged in (or corrupted by) “racism” because of her adoption of the Pepe meme is sub-moronic.

Leftists just cannot lighten their grip on their handy-dandy all-purpose tool, pseudo-anti-Racism. Sure, Pepe was used by a few racists occasionally to engage in ideological provocation on matters of race. But that was not Pepe’s core usage or functional meaning, and if the W4s of this world had not pickled their brains with the zombie ideology of intersectionalist progressivism, they might understand just how potent and amazing a symbol Pepe was, and — apparently — still is.

Pepe is a trickster figure. His meme magic was corrosive to all pomposity, to leftism and centrism and even rightism. He became integral to the badge on the gonfalon of the great resistance to the Social Justice Warriors, sure. But progressivism is no more anti-racist than anti-fascist. It is oh-so-much more. It is the cult of state worship in its latest gimcrack configuration, and Pepe is the imp that spat ironies at the imperialism of the intersectionalists.

And now we witness a fully crackpot W4 siding with the tyrannical Chinese government.

Interesting to see a “progressive” siding against youthful rebels who just want American freedoms. What a typically baizuo boner. The “white left” (baizuo), as Chinese people in Hong Kong and elsewhere derisively dub SJWs, has lost its last instinct for freedom. To prefer the corrupt “socialism with Chinese characteristics” over those who genuinely yearn for — fight for — liberty! What maroons be these baizuo, what ultra-maroons.

A friend thinks this Medium squib may be an example of a Red Chinese propaganda effort. A possibility, I suppose. More likely, though, it is just the result of a memetic cascade, the association of ideas down the slippery slope of statist insanity.

Ideas are forces: the existence of one determines our reception of others.

G. H. Lewes, Problems of Life and Mind (Third Series) Problem the First — The Study of Psychology: Its Object, Scope, and Method (1879).

Of course, I could be wrong. This W4’s post is so idiotic that perhaps it was written by an AI as a parody of progressivism.

If so, well done. Spot on. Thanks, Adam Selene.

I mean, “Pepe”!

The political spectrum is a perilous realm. There are so many traps, so many places to get stuck, so many slippery slopes to slide down — so much room for misadventure. And the maps we use to guide us rarely pan out.

One helpful set of guides comes from political libertarianism. Robert Nozick, in his first book, Anarchy, State and Utopia, admitted that the point of view provided by an understanding of freedom helps one do more than gain some purchase on government, it helps us “see through the political realm.”

Yet even libertarians can fall prey to some characteristic errors, even the same ones that people who accept the terms of standard political debate get caught up in.

The chief of these errors is the allegedly helpful directional concept of “left and right.”

Misdirectional?

The first error of the left-right paradigm is that it is deemed precise

It is not.

The second error is that it is seen as exhaustive

It is not.

The third is that the left-right alignments have a tendency to permanence over time, or even within a human soul. 

This is obviously untrue, if for no other reason than that people radically transform their ideologies, at least practically speaking, when they go from powerlessness to positions of power. Or vice versa.

And the fourth is that the dual set of ideological options is not itself a trap.

And this last one is what I want to discuss, briefly, here.

Libertarianism is a toolset to help solve social problems. But too often libertarians do not see that the problem to be solved is the left-right alignment itself.

This is the result of concentrating too much on the solution in the context that it presents itself to rebellious, early-adopter mindsets. Libertarians often see the basic antagonism of politics as between the Individual and the Group, or, more often, the Individual and the State. In effect, the title of Herbert Spencer’s The Man versus the State limns the basic perspective. A still-popular variant of the idea sees it in terms of Ayn Rand: egoism versus altruism.

I think this is probably wrong.

Indeed, I know that the Randian paradigm is wrong. And even the more general “man versus the men” perspective misleads us. For what is important in the plan of focusing on the individual is not that it defines a problem, but that it defines a solution.

The basic problem is group versus group.

Or, in-group versus out-group; insider versus outsider.

In postmodern parlance now ubiquitous, inclusion versus exclusion.

Individualism, by which I here define as a philosophy of focusing on individuals to define a division of responsibility, and mete out justice, is how we adjudicate inevitable in-group/out-group antagonisms. 

Man is a social animal. And being social, this peculiar creature that we are tends to define the social world in group terms. But this leads to all sorts of problems, not the least being warfare. By focusing on liberty as the freedom all people can possess by following a basic principle — non-interference or non-initiation of force — we correct for the perennial errors and perversities of our species.

What does this have to do with left and right?

Well, though it is possible to understand the directional paradigm in terms of equality versus hierarchy, and progress versus tradition, a better way to look at it is in terms of inclusion and exclusion, as leftists are today wont to do. 

But we mustn’t do it like leftists do.

The “right,” as I define the tendency, is the perspective that concentrates on the defense of the in-group against dangerous outsiders: it is us versus them. The “left,” according to my definition, is the perspective that concentrates on the defense of outsiders and out-groups against in-groups: it is an attempt to portray oneself either as an outsider demanding inclusion, or identification with outsiders in need of inclusion, making it them versus us, often.

Since all cooperative groups tend to hierarchy, the “equality” notion makes sense better within this context. Leftists see the hierarchies of the societies they inhabit as unjust oppressors of “marginalized” people, of out-groups. Because those outside of any successful hierarchy are unequal in power to those within it, when one seeks to defend them, “equality” is a handy, go-to notion. The rightwing idea, on the other hand, seeks to defend some hierarchy or other, and tends to promote “loyalty” and not equality.

The antagonisms between groups, then, often take on their peculiar flavors along these left-right lines, at least they have in modern society. A characteristic perversity of both perspectives is to determine what any person deserves in terms of group membership rather than in terms of what that person actually does.

And it is often easier to comprehend the antagonism of left versus right in terms of the excesses of each: the right, in its vicious form, defends and promotes the in-group (whatever that is) at the expense of the outsiders; the left, in its vicious form, defends and promotes outsiders (whoever they are) at the expense of the relevant (targeted) in-group, especially the high end of the hierarchy of the in-group. Right-wingers tend to leap to foreign wars and wars of conquest, and are very concerned about keeping the unwashed masses out of their community or country; left-wingers tend to leap to revolution and the desire to “radically transform” the society they inhabit, attacking hierarchies that defend the society by means of hierarchy rather than advancing the cause of the lowest in society and those outside the society.

The Solution and Its Competition

By focusing on the individual, libertarians break down the loopholes in traditional notions of justice. Libertarians are not “against groups” but are, instead, against doing justice in group terms. In-groups and out-groups are inevitable. Hierarchies are inevitable. But how may in-groups behave to out-groups, and vice versa? How may one set of hierarchies deal with those outside the pecking order, and with other hierarchies? The individualist response is: On publicly understood principles of human action that forbid the vicious ends of left and right, which seem always to come down to exploitation and violation. Individualists of all political variants (utilitarians, classical liberals, libertarians, some anarchists) seek to promote principles that define criminality and other forms of anti-social action in terms of publicly understood interactions, with the prohibited actions being centered on the use of force. The point of the individualist form of solution to group antagonisms is to fix on transactional clarity, not “idenfitications” and continual references to group membership, whether of insider or outsider nature.

But where libertarians go wrong is to succumb to the itch of either the left or right.

Left and right are tendencies of mind and sentiment. People differ at birth, it seems, and tend to adopt one point of view or the other. The itch to align for or against the hierarchy that defends and advances the society one finds oneself in can be powerful. And both tendencies take on their own cultural flavors. There are even sexual styles associated with each.

Since the point of liberty is to de-focus from these styles enough to let both propensities of interaction and the human heart live in peace, we must resist the left-itch and the right-itch. Liberty is the balm that we apply that allows us to avoid scratching these itches to the point of inflamation.

Alas, the itch to style oneself as “of the left” and “of the right” is not the worst of it. The worst of it is to be possessed by the perspectives of these social forces, and to have the memes of the two points of view take over one’s thinking entirely. It’s one thing to scratch a left-itch or a right-itch, now and then. It is quite another to be one side’s or the other’s bitch.

I mean, of course, wheel-in-the-head mind-slave; a memetic thrall; a . . . the n-word would be most apt, but we had best avoid this racist term. So I adopt the slightly less offensives and possibly sexist term, bitch.

Too many libertarians I know are Left Bitches and Right Bitches. They cannot think their way out of the culture of the left or the right.

This has plagued libertarianism for a long time — I’ve noticed it for the four decades of my immersion in this social movement. The eternal squabble over whether libertarianism is more “rightwing” or more “leftwing” has been interminable.

The trap, of course, is that one must defend in-groups from criminal outsiders and predatory out-groups — so the rightward lean is understandable; but we must also defend outsiders and innocent out-groups from criminality and predation and worse from the hierarchies of one’s own group.

I guess the trick is just to never forget that both tendencies are valid, but that the cultures associated with unbalanced focus on either side must be avoided, simply to avoid ideological, memetic capture.

This is a big problem especially now, in the Age of Trump. The “rightward” tendency has shifted ideological focus, and is heavily offending the “leftward” leaners. Meanwhile, the left has embraced the worst “tropes” of the traditional left — the label “socialism,” for one — so as to offend rightist sympathies to the max. The two sides can hardly bear each others’ presences.

In this great and weird cultural divide, libertarians should be able to present a calming influence, for we offer are the tools to settle such squabbles.

Hasn’t happened, yet. For libertarians sure seem dominated by Left Bitches and Right Bitches, and not the philosophical moderates we really are.

Ilhan Omar, Hottest of “the Squad”?

I am beginning to develop some sympathy for Rep. Ilhan Omar.

She seems like a dangerous Islamist, sure, and a likely socialist, too — so two big red checkmarks against her — but she does understand that the foreign policy of the United States towards the Islamic East has not been a matter of sweetness and light. It has, instead, consisted of a long string of interventions that too often look ominously like state terrorism against civilian populations. So when folks on the right express horror at the apparent moral equivalency she draws between the British and U.S. governments, on the one hand, and Al Qaida, on the other, I shrug. 

Just a bit, at least.

She is in many ways both the prettiest and most intelligent of the four “women of color”  U.S. Representatives now known as “the Squad.” But my sympathy for her is muted, for she does seem like an ingrate, unable to articulate an appreciation for what is good about these United States, and seemingly unwilling to repudiate what is bad among her own political allies, the aforementioned Al Qaida as well as the violent communist/anarchist/insurrectionist mob antifa.

Thinking primarily about Rep. Ilhan Omar, apparently, Donald Trump tweeted up a storm on Sunday: 

Trump got called a racist for this, of course. While he doesn’t mention race, progressives and other feeble-minded people made the connection that he must’ve been thinking of the four first-term Congresswomen who have cliqued up around Sandy Ocasio (known by her nom d’politique Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and even better by her initialism, AOC, the other contender for the Hottie award), all of partially non-European, non-Nordic descent. You know, “women of color.” But his remarks only made sense if directed against Rep. Omar alone, for she was the only one of the three born outside the country, in Somalia.

So how were these remarks not racist? Well, Trump provided the ideological/cross-cultural context: of coming “from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe.” That is the context: political, ideological, focusing especially upon comparative institutions. 

Much has been made how the phrase “go back to X” is a “racist trope.” And while I will not deny that there is some racism involved in some usages, that was not its primary function. I remember the “trope.” I was alive in the Sixties. It was not primarily used against brown people. At least, I never heard it like that. It was used against communists. And comsymps. And anyone leftist to a perceived dangerous extent. The most oft-used formulation was, I kid you not, “go back to Russia!”

It was often — in fact usually — deployed against non-Russians.

It was an anti-commie, pro-American gambit.

So, for a variant of it to be directed against four socialists (forgive me, “democratic socialists”!), does not back up the whole racist charge. It seems to be what it was obviously intended to be: an attempt to make an ideological point and to criticize the four for ingratitude and a general anti-Americanism.

Oh, and also to force Speaker Nancy Pelosi to defend them, thus tarring the Democratic Party with the antics and immoral stance and rank unpopularity of The Squad. (His line about Pelosi and “free travel arrangements” is hilarious when you remember a specific moment when Trump cancelled a foreign junket of Nancy’s, during the government shutdown a few months back.) 

The general and specific reactions to the Trump versus the Squad twitterstorm was mostly idiotic, of course, including the elaborations made by the president himself, who while clarifying some things (stepping back a bit) botched up a few other facts, as well. As is his wont.

But how, you ask, does any of this account for my growing sympathy for the Somali-American jihadist-socialist pol? Well, telling her to “go back to Somalia” stirs my sympathy for I, too, have been razzed in such a manner: “why don’t you move to Somalia?”

By leftists.

Yes, this is particularly rich.

You see, until fairly recently, it was a game progressives liked to play, taunting libertarians with the Somalia Gambit. Their argument, such as it was, ran like this: libertarians don’t like government, and many of them talk about “anarchy”; Somalia (for a time) did not have a State; therefore, libertarians should move to their utopia, Somalia!

It is rather witless, as syllogisms go, but I tried to be tolerant of the benighted progressives who engaged in it. After all, many libertarians do not make clear enough what it is they oppose and what it is they support. And what are those opposed and promoted institutions? Well! Let me keep this short. Even the anarcho-capitalists, please remember, do not want any old stateless society, they want a society with institutions in place to defend rights. Somalia did not have that, therefore it is and could be no libertarian utopia. As Benjamin Tucker put it, Anarchy is freedom of libertarians defended by libertarians. It is not the statelessness of people without much interest in freedom as understood in terms of individual rights. (This is not to say that my brand of libertarianism is anarchist. Or that it is not. A long discussion would be required to make clear all that.) Of course, progressives generally know so little history and so little anthropology and so little legal theory and so little anything that they are largely unaware that rights can and have been defended by institutions not demanding territorial coercive monopoly, which Max Weber and Barack Obama informed us serve as the hallmark of the State.

The droll aspect to all this? Those witless leftists who taunted libertarians to “go to Somalia” were doing something not too dissimilar from what Trump was doing: defending their beloved government while expressing their umbrage at their targets’ ingratitude. The implicit message to the left’s Somalia Gambit being “you libertarians pretend to hate our State, but the State does so much for you! Go to somewhere where there is no such State and see how you like it!” Likewise, much of the oomph behind Trump’s taunt is to tweak the ingratitude and lack of perspective of the Somali-born Omar, who never seems to have a good thing to say about America.

So now you can see my emerging sympathy for the Hottest of the Squad. She was told to go back to her Somalian hellhole while I have been told to go to my Somalian utopia!

Six of one, half dozen of the other . . . intension/extension!

I am, of course, not nearly as anti-American as is the Somalian-American lady in the hijab.  I am not so much anti-American as Ameri-skeptic. Also, and unlike Rep. Omar, I feel it incumbent upon myself to try to convince nationalists and globalists of my sort of anti-nationalism — she seems uninterested in convincing anyone not already in her political tribe. Just like most leftists, today. It is all Them versus Us. The puritanically moralistic prigs versus The Racist Deplorables!

And I definitely do not want to subsidize more immigrants, legal or illegal, from anywhere.

But especially from Somalia.

twv