Archive for the ‘Liberty’ Tag

So What You Are Saying Is …   9 comments

How do you see yourself vs how you think other people see you?

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In today’s world, there is a growing trend to ascribe evil to anyone who espouses opinions or provides facts that disagree with your worldview. People can agree on all points, but one and when they disagree on that one point, the dissenter is then labeled evil and ostracized from the relationship.

Peterson

So this question of how we are perceived by others compared to how do we perceive ourselves is of vital importance.

It sucks to be misunderstood, but it kills to be mis-characterized. Those are two different things, of course. I can misunderstand what you say or mean when you make a comment. This is especially true on social media where there’s no body language or tone of voice to convey sarcasm, for example. We would hope such misunderstandings could be cleared up by reflecting on what the dissenter has said and asking pertinent questions with a view to actually listen to the answers. Unfortunately, that skill has long been replaced with close-minded attacks that ascribe disagreement on even a single point as a lack of character that requires sustained personal attacks or the refusal to interact.

For example, I am a natural rights advocate and therefore, I hold freedom of speech and religion as high standards that government should not interfere with … EVER. Misunderstandings only grow when we don’t talk about our differences and, sometimes, when we listen to those we don’t agree with we discover that we need to change in order to be a better person. I’ve had this experience myself. I’ve also learned things about others that have made me their opponent, standing against their message, but never arguing that they don’t have a right to speak. That way leads through dark woods wherein any of us might find ourselves a silenced minority if it’s our turn to be labeled inappropriate. I’d rather everyone’s right to speak be acknowledged so that reason may be left free to combat wrong ideas. You have a right not to listen, but that right extends only to walking away from a message or sticking your fingers in your ears and singing “la-la-la-la.” So, naturally, I’ve been called a Nazi.

Well, more accurately, I’ve been said to support neo-Nazis and to ascribe to their message. Why? Because I uphold the principle of the right of every individual, regardless of ideology, to speak his or her mind without interference from the government or threats of violence from their fellow humans AND I include neo-Nazis and enviro-wackos under that umbrella. I also include atheists and Baptists … gays and those who are creeped out by gays … post-modernists and Jordan Peterson. I stand with the American Constitution and Founding Fathers in saying EVERYBODY has a right to speak and EVERYBODY else has a right to oppose their message or not listen. Because I perceive rights as inherent in the individual, I don’t believe that some groups have a higher right to speak than other groups. They may have a better message … and that message will be received and accepted while the other is rejected … if we’ll only allow reason to counter bad arguments.

For that, I’m accused of being a neo-Nazi because nowadays, the United States of America has become a country where warring factions try to use government power to shut each other up and anyone who doesn’t think that’s a good idea is obviously evil.

Meanwhile, I don’t support neo-Nazis. I don’t subscribe to their message. Neo-nazism  might not work out well for me anyway as I am a tribal card holder and they object to the race-mixing that my mutt DNA represents. I’m not what I’ve been accused of, but it’s hard to counter mischaracterizations because those doing the mischaracterization will insist that their perception of you is far more important than your perception of yourself. They can read minds, don’t you know?

Personally, I try really hard not to ascribe evil to those who ascribe evil to me. I try to give people I disagree with the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps we just see some issues from different perspectives. Maybe, if we talk a while, we’ll find common ground. I’m not a big believer in compromise — I think we’ve compromised far too much in the past and we’re too close to a cultural and economic cliff for any further compromise to be useful — but I am a big believer in discussion and affording each other some grace. People can be wrong without being evil and it’s possible I can learn something from them, if only I’ll listen. Now if they would only listen to what I am actually saying rather than their perception of what they believe I am saying. But I keep trying – offering thought-provoking questions on Facebook, usually centered on libertarian themes. Everyone is welcome to join.

 

On Revolution   Leave a comment

I haven’t been blogging much lately because I’m in rewrite mode for Book 4 of Transformation Project – Day’s End – and it’s summer in Alaska, but some interactions on Facebook have caused me to start thinking. I posted an 1818 letter by John Adams explaining that the American Revolution had not been the war that was fought against England, but the change in the “religious” affection of the Americans toward Britain that had occurred in the 15-years of spiritual revival that had occurred prior to the war. History records that as the First Great Awakening, but it was really more than just a rediscovery of Scripture and the Holy Spirit. The American colonists were seized by a fervor for learning that included reading far more than the Bible.

Image result for image of revolutionThe war was coda to the actual revolution that occurred in the hearts and minds of the people prior to the first shot being fired. Adams believed this was what set the American Revolution apart from the French Revolution. After the shooting was done, Americans settled down to peaceful commerce once more. Meanwhile, in France, when the revolutionaries seized power, they commenced to kill a bunch of people of varying degrees of guilt and innocence. They found no peace, but only a growing hunger for blood. Why? Adams wrote it was because France pursued revolution as a war while in America, the revolution had been in the hearts and minds of the people prior to the war. They were already free in their minds. Had Britain simply accepted that, there would have been no war.

So, today we’re at such a cusp — on the verge of a civil war that will split not along clear regional lines as it did in the 1860s, but along ideological lines that are expressed in a mixed geography – rural versus urban, blue region versus red. We’ve got a whole chorus of voices screaming for “revolution”, people in the streets demanding “justice”, setting things on fire, beating their opponents into the pavement and insisting on fundamental changes to the political system that will affect our future in enormous and damaging ways.

If you’ve been a reader of my blog, you know I didn’t support Donald Trump for president in 2016 (though I also didn’t support Hillary Clinton … remember, crooks on the left, clowns on the right, I’m still not voting for you). So this post is really not about who occupies the White House. It’s about the shattering of America that we are so not ready for.

An impeachment is a darned hard thing on the constitution of a country. It has been hard on Americans in the past — pretty much every time — though sometimes it has been necessary. There have been presidents who violated their oaths of office and deserved impeachment … and some were impeached while others were not. And let us not forget there was enough evidence to impeach Bill Clinton, articles of impeachment were upheld, and Congress still didn’t remove him from office. And that was surprisingly less harmful to the fabric of society than Richard Nixon’s resignation.

I don’t really care if Trump gets impeached … though I do care if there’s actual evidence of a crime because impeachment should not be undertaken just because some people don’t like an election result that was determined under the existing constitutional system. If they want to change it, there’s a procedure for amending the Constitution. Meanwhile, the Constitution allows us to replace Trump with Mike Pence if there’s enough evidence that Trump — not his associates — did something worthy of impeachment. And, frankly, if it weren’t for the negatives, I could easily replace Trump with Pence and go on with my life because I didn’t vote for him, ao I’ve no real dog in the fight. But ….

The 47% of American voters who gave Donald Trump the presidency did not vote for Mike Pence. And that’s a problem because they will be disenfranchised upon Trump’s removal from office. What happens to them, to the hopes they voted for when they elected him? Do they not matter? I know most progressive Democrats will insist they don’t, but they are just about half of the population, so … do we just ignore them once Trump has been removed from office? How do you think that’s going to work out for the country?

And will those rioting in the streets be satisfied with the replacement of a populist progressive president with a very conservative one? Pence is a social and fiscal conservative. He’s everything progressives hate. He’s about as far from Barack Obama’s policies as Calvin Coolidge was from Woodrow Wilson. Can the progressives currently rioting in our streets accept Pence as the constitutionally-selected president of America or will they continue to demand that their wishes be assuaged?

And if they hold out for their demands to be fulfilled, what then? The Democrats LOST the constitutional election of 2016. The Russians may have provided information people had a right to know, but they didn’t hack the voting system. There are literally thousands of election systems in the United States and that makes our voting system more or less unhackable. So there is no way, constitutionally, that a Democrat should be in the White House before 2020, but mark my words — there will be Democrats demanding it and it is that tension – between the Democrats on one side who will not accept the outcome of a constitutional election and the Republicans who are about to be disenfranchised that will tear this country apart.

I want revolution more than most people do. It’s revolutionary and counter-cultural in this era to say we need to drastically cut government (by 50 to 75%), to close all our foreign bases and bring soldiers home, to get government out of the economy and let people make their own decisions without our nanny hanging over our shoulders. But here’s the rub … I don’t think this country is ready for revolution. We’re France in the 1780s. We want change, but the vast majority of the population has not been educated to think for themselves, so naturally the vast majority of them will scream for more government rather than less … and that way lays totalitarianism … the silencing of philosophical minorities, of anyone who can think for themselves, the wholesale enslavement of the economy to the government, and the loss of individual liberty and the concept of natural rights that are inherent in being a human being instead of something given to you by the government when it deigns that you will benefit from them. None of this is a good idea by any stretch of the imagination. Yeah … it may be that we’re actually Russia in the early 20th century. We’re certainly headed that way.

If that concerns you, I hope you’ll take some time – take a pause — and educate yourselves. You can certain read back in my blog. You can check out Mises.org, the Ron Paul Institute and the Foundation for Economic Freedom.  Go to You-Tube and check out Dave Rubin or Jordan Peterson or the pod casts of Joe Rogan. In the case of Rubin and Rogan, it’s really their guests who are brilliant, but the point is to start listening to people who have actually thought out what it means to be an individual without being in conflict with society. We might potentially dodge a bullet for the next year or two, but unless we change our affections for the bloated totalitarian-lite government we currently have and start looking at the world we live in a different way, we’re head the way of so many countries that grabbed for needed change and ended up killing millions.

John Adams on the American Revolution   1 comment

From John Adams to Hezekiah Niles, 13 February 1818

Quincy February 13th. 1818

Mr Niles,

 

The American Revolution was not a trifling nor a common event. It’s effects and consequences have already been awful over a great part of the whole globe. And when and where are they to cease?

Image result for image of john adamsBut what do we mean by the American Revolution? Do we mean the American War? The Revolution was effected before the War commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the People. A change in their Religious Sentiments of their Duties and Obligations. While the King, and all in authority under him, were believed to govern, in justice and mercy according to the laws and constitutions derived to them from the God of Nature, and transmitted to them by their ancestors— they thought themselves bound to pray for the King and Queen and all the royal Family, and all the authority under them, as ministers ordained of God for their good. But when they saw those powers renouncing all the principles of authority, and bent up on the destruction of all the Securities of their Lives, Liberties and Properties, they thought it their Duty to pray for the Continental Congress and all the thirteen State Congresses, &c.

There might be, and there were others, who thought less about Religion and Conscience, but had certain habitual Sentiments of Allegiance And Loyalty derived from their Education; but believing Allegiance and Protection to be reciprocal, when Protection was withdrawn, they thought Allegiance was dissolved

Another Alteration was common to all. The People of America had been educated in an habitual Affection for England as their Mother-Country; and while they Thought her a kind and tender mother, (erroneously enough, however, for She never was Such a Mother,) no Affection could be more Sincere. But when they found her a cruel Beldam willing, like Lady Macbeth, to “dash their Brains out,” it is no Wonder if their fillial Affections ceased and were changed into Indignation and horror.

This radical Change in the Principles, Opinions Sentiments and Affection of the People, was the real American Revolution.

By what means, this great and important Alteration in the religious, Moral, political and Social Character of the People of thirteen Colonies, all distinct, unconnected and independent of each other, was begun, pursued and accomplished, it is surely interesting to Humanity to investigate, and perpetuate to Posterity.

To this End it is greatly to be desired that Young Gentlemen of Letters in all the States, especially in the thirteen Original States, would undertake the laborious, but certainly interesting and amusing Task, of Searching and collecting all the Records, Pamphlets, Newspapers and even hand Bills, which in any Way contributed to change the Temper and Views of The People and compose them into an independent Nation.

The Colonies had grown up under Constitutions of Government, So different, there was so great a Variety of Religions, they were composed of So many different Nations, their Customs, Manners and Habits had So little resemblance, and their Intercourse had been so rare and their Knowledge of each other So imperfect, that to unite them in the Same Principles in Theory and the Same System of Action was certainly a very difficult Enterprize. The compleat Accomplishment of it, in So Short a time and by Such Simple means, was perhaps a Singular Example in the History of Mankind. Thirteen Clocks were made to Strike together; a perfection of Mechanism which no Artist had ever before effected.

In this Research, the Glorioroles of Individual Gentlemen and of Separate States is of little Consequence. The Means and the Measures are the proper Objects of Investigation. These may be of Use to Posterity, not only in this Nation, but in South America, and all other Countries. They may teach Mankind that Revolutions are no Trifles; that they ought never to be undertaken rashly; nor without deliberate Consideration and Sober Reflection; nor without a Solid, immutable, eternal foundation of Justice and Humanity; nor without a People possessed of Intelligence, Fortitude and Integrity Sufficient to carry them with Steadiness, Patience, and Perseverance, through all the Vicissitudes of fortune, the fiery Tryals and Melancholly Disasters they may have to encounter.

The Town of Boston early instituted an annual Oration on the fourth of July, in commemoration of the Principles and Feelings which contributed to produce the Revolution. Many of those Orations I have heard, and all that I could obtain I have read. Much Ingenuity and Eloquence appears upon every Subject, except those Principles and Feelings. That of my honest and amiable Neighbour, Josiah Quincy, appeared to me, the most directly to the purpose of the Institution. Those Principles and Feelings ought to be traced back for Two hundred Years, and Sought in the history of the Country from the first Plantations in America. Nor Should the Principles and Feelings of the English and Scotch towards the Colonies, through that whole Period ever be forgotten. The Perpetual discordance between British Principles and Feelings and those of America, the next year after the Suppression of the French Power in America, came to a crisis, and produced an Explosion.

It was not till After the Annihilation of the French Dominion in America, that any British Ministry had dared to gratify their own Wishes, and the desire of the Nation, by projecting a formal Plan for raising a national Revenue from America by Parliamentary Taxation. The first great manifestation of this design, was by the Order to carry into Strict Executions those Acts of Parliament which were well known by the Appelation of the Acts of Trade, which had lain a dead Letter, unexecuted for half a Century, and Some of them I believe for nearly a whole one.

This produced, in 1760 and 1761, An Awakening and a Revival of American Principles and Feelings, with an Enthusiasm which went on increasing till in 1775 it burst out in open Violence, Hostility and Fury.

The Characters, the most conspicuous, the most ardent and influential, in this Revival, from 1760 to 1766, were;—First and Foremost, before all, and above all, James Otis; Nex to him was Oxenbridge Thatcher; next to him Samuel Adams; next to him John Hancock; then Dr Mayhew, then Dr Cooper and his Brother. Of Mr Hancock’s Life, Character, generous Nature, great and disinterested Sacrifices, and important Services if I had forces, I Should be glad to write a Volume. But this I hope will be done by Some younger and abler hand. Mr Thatcher, because his Name and Merits are less known, must not be wholly omitted. This Gentleman was an eminent Barrister at Law, in as large practice as anyone in Boston. There was not a Citizen of that Town more universally beloved for his Learning, Ingenuity, every domestic & Social Virtue, and Conscientious Conduct in every Relation of Life. His Patriotism was as ardent as his Progenitors had been, ancient and illustrious in this Country. Hutchinson often Said “Thatcher was not born a Plebeian, but he was determined to die one.” In May 1763, I believe, he was chosen by the Town of Boston One of their Representatives in the Legislature, a Colleague with Mr Otis, who had been a Member from May 1761, and he continued to be reelected annually till his Death in 1765, when Mr Samuel Adams was elected to fill his place, on the Absence of Mr Otis, then attending the Congress at New York. Thatcher had long been jealous of the unbounded Ambition of Mr Hutchinson, but when he found him not content with the Office of Lieutenant Governor, the Command of the Castle and its Emoluments, of Judge of Probate for the County of Suffolk, a Seat in his Majesty’s Council in the Legislature, his Brother-in-Law Secretary of State by the Kings Commission, a Brother of that Secretary of State a Judge of the Superiour Court and a Member of Council, now in 1760 and 1761, Soliciting and accepting the Office of Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Judicature, he concluded as Mr. Otis did, and as every other enlightened Friend of his Country did, that he Sought that Office with the determined Purpose of determining all Causes in favour of the Ministry at Saint James’s and their Servile Parliament.

His Indignation against him henceforward, to 1765, when he died, knew no bounds but Truth. I Speak from personal Knowledge and will [. . .] For, from 1758 to 1765, I attended every Superiour and [. . .] Court in Boston, and recollect not one in which he did not invite me home to Spend several Evenings with him, when he made me converse with him as well as I could on all Subjects of Religion, Morals, Law, Politicks, History, Phylosophy, Belle letters Theology, Mythology, Cosmogeny, Metaphysicks, Lock, Clark, Leibnits, Bolinbroke, Berckley, the Preestablished Harmony of the Universe, the Nature of Matter and Spirit, and the eternal Establishment of Coincidences between their Operations; Fate, foreknowledge, absolute—and we reasoned on Such unfathomable Subjects as high as Milton’s Gentry in Pandemonium; and We understood them as well as they did, and no better. To such mighty Mysteries he added the News of the day, as the Little Tattle of the Town. But his favourite Subject was Politicks, and the impending threatening System of Parliamentary Taxation and Universal Government over the Colonies. On the Subject he was So anxious and agitated that I have not doubt it occasioned his premature death. From the time when he argued the question of Writs of Assistance to his death, he considered the King, Ministry, Parliament and Nation of Great Britain as determined to now model the Colonies from the Foundation; to annul all their Charters, to constitute them all Royal Governments; to raise a Revenue in America by Parliamentary Taxation; to apply that Revenue to pay the Salaries of Governors, Judges and all other Crown Officers; and after all this, to raise as large a Revenue as they pleased to be applied to National Purposes at the Exchequer in England; and farther to establish Bishops and the whole System of the Church of England, Tythes and all, throughout all British America. This System, he Said, if it was Suffered to prevail would extinguish the Flame of Liberty all over the World; that America would be employed as an Engine to batter down all the miserable remains of Liberty in Great Britain and Ireland, when only any Semblance of it was left in the World. To this System he considered Hutchinson, the Olivers and all their Connections dependants, adherents, Shoelickers and another epithet with which I shall not pollute my writing, and entirely devoted. He asserted that they were all engaged, with all the Crown Officers in America and the Understrapors of the Ministry in England, in a deep and treasonable Conspiracy to betray the Liberties of their Country, for their own private personal and family Aggrandisement. His Philippecks against the unprincipled Ambition and Avarice of all of them, but especially of Hutchinson, were unbridled; not only in private, confidential Conversations, but in all Companies and on all Occasions. He gave Hutchinson the Sobriquet of “Summa Polestatis,” and rarely mentioned him but by the Name of “Summa.” His Liberties of Speech were no Secrets to his Enemies. I have Sometimes wondered that they did not throw him over the Barr, as they did Soon afterwards Major Hawley. For they hated him worse than they did James Otis or Samuel Adams, and they feared him more,—because they had no Revenge for a Father’s disappointment of a Seat on the Superiour Bench to impute to him as they did to Otis; and Thatcher’s Character through Life had been So modest, decent, unassuming—his Morals So pure, and his Religion so venerated, that they dared not [. . .] attack him. In his Office were educated to the Barr two eminent Characters, the late Judge Lowell and Josiah Quincy, aptly called the Boston Cicero. Mr Thatcher’s frame was Slender, his Constitution delicate. Whether his Physicians overstrained his Vessels with Mercury, when he had the Small Pox by Inoculation at the castle, or whether he was Overplyed by publick Anxieties & Exertions, the Small Pox left him in a Decline from which he never recovered. Not long before his death he Sent for me to commit to my care Some of his Business at the Barr. I asked him Whether he had Seen the Virginia Resolves. “Oh yes.—They are Men! They are noble Spirits! It kills me to think of the Leathargy and Stupidity that prevails here. I long to be out. I will go out. I will go out. I will go into Court, and make a Speech which Shall be read after my death as my dying Testimony against this infernal Tyrrany they are bringing upon us.” Seeing the violent Agitation into with it threw him, I changed the subject as Soon as possible, and retired. He had been confined for Some time. Had he been abroad among the People he would have complained So pathetically of the “Lethargy and Stupidity that prevailed,” for Town and Country were all Alive; and in August became active enough and Some of the People proceeded to unwarrantable Excesses, which were [. . .]nted by the Patriots than by their Enemies. Mr Thatcher Soon died, deeply lamented by all the Friends of their Country.

Another Gentleman who had great influence in the Commencement of the Revolution, was Doctor Jonathan Mayhew, a descendant of the ancient Governor of Martha’s Vineyard. This Divine had raised a great Reputation, both in Europe and America by the publication of a Volume of Seven Sermons in the Reign of King George the Second, 1748, and by many other Writings, particularly a Sermon in 1750, on the thirtieth of January, On the Subject of Passive Obedience and Non Resistance, in which the Saintship and Martyrdom of King Charles the first are considered, Seasoned with Witt and Satyre, Superior to any in Swift or Franklin. It was read by every Body, celebrated by Friends, and abused by Enemies. During the Reigns of King George the first and King George the Second, the Reigns of the Stewarts, the Two Jameses, and the two Charleses were in general disgrace in England. In America they had always been held in Abhorrence. The Persecutions and Cruelties Suffered by their Ancestors under those Reigns, had been transmitted by History and Tradition, and Mayhew Seemed to be raised up to revive all their Animosity against Tyranny, in Church and State, and at the Same time to destroy their Bigotry, Fanaticism and Inconsistency or David Hume’s plausible, elegant, fascinating and fallacious Apology in which he varnished over the Crimes of the Stewarts had not then appeared. To draw the Character of Mayhew would be to transcribe a dozen Volumes. This transcendant [by choices]threw all the Weight of his great Fame into the Scale of his Country in 1761, and maintained it there with Zeal and Ardour till his death in 1766. In 1763 Appeared the Controversy between him and Mr Apthorp, Mr Caner, Dr. Johnson and Archbishop Secker on the Charter and Conduct of the Society for propagating the Gospels in foreign Parts. To form a Judgment of the debate I beg leave to refer to a Review of the whole, printed at the time, and written by Samuel Adams, though by Some, very absurdly and erroneously ascribed to Mr Apthorp. If I am not mistaken, it will be found a Model of Candour, Sagacity, Impartiality and close correct Reasoning.

If any Gentleman Supposes this Controversy to be nothing to the present purpose, he is grossly mistaken. It Spread an Universal Alarm against the Authority of Parliament. It excited a general and just Apprehension that Bishops and Diocesses and Churches, and Priests and Tythes, were to be imposed upon Us by Parliament. It was known that neither King nor Ministry nor Archbishops could appoint Bishops in America without an Act of Parliament; and if Parliament could Tax Us they could establish the Church of England with all its Creeds, Articles, Tests, Ceremonies and Tythes, and prohibit all other Churches as Conventicles and Sepism Shops.

Nor must Mr Cushing be forgotten. His good sense and Sound Judgment, the Urbanity of his Manners, his universal good Character, his numerous Friends and Connections and his continual intercourse with all Sorts of People, added to his Constant Attachment to the Liberties of his Country, gave him a great and Salutary influence from the beginning in 1760.

Let me recommend these hints to the Consideration of Mr Wirt, whose Life of Mr Henry I have read with great delight. I think, that after mature investigation, he will be convinced that Mr Henry did not “give the first impulse to the Ball of Independence,” And that Otis, Thatcher, Samuel Adams Mayhew, Hancock, Cushing and thousands of others were labouring for Several Years at the Wheel before the Name of Mr Henry was heard beyond the limits of Virginia.

If you print this, I will endeavour to Send You Something concerning Samuel Adams, who was destined to a longer Career, and to Add a more conspicuous and, perhaps, a more important Part than any other Man. But his Life would require a Volume. If you decline printing this Letter I pray to return it as Soon as possible to / Sir, your humble Servant

John Adams

Posted August 29, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in Liberty, Uncategorized

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What is the Greatest Threat to Freedom of Conscience?   Leave a comment

My friend Josh Bennett over at Patriot’s Lament knocked one out of the park with this article, so I am blatantly borrowing it. I get my anarchy fix on Saturday mornings on KFAR-660 AM, which you can access through streaming if you’re not in the broadcast area of Fairbanks, Alaska. You can also check out PL’s You-Tube channel, Radio Free Fairbanks, where they repost the 3-hour programs to be listened to whenever you like. The show’s been going for seven years now, so there’s lots of liberty talk from an anarcho-capitalist point of view to refresh your mind with. Lela

The State Will Gladly Protect You from Freedom of Conscience

Josh Bennett

For hundreds of years, western cultures have been refining what is known as Freedom of Conscience.
One of the outcomes of this refinement is Freedom of Speech, a Liberty that is relatively new to the human political experience.
Not long ago, being critical of a government, for instance, could get you killed by that government. Merely speaking out of turn or having critical thought towards the State religion meant torture or death.

But, we have advanced through time to understand that free thought and critical speech is something that a free people must protect and encourage. Thomas Jefferson went as far as to say that repressing Freedom of Conscience was a “Sin against God”.

 

Suppressing Freedom of Conscience though, was and is seen by the State as self-preservation.

 

Today, we have access to information that only 20 years ago was other-worldly. Anyone with a cell phone can post a rant or share information to literally the whole world. Because of this information access, people take the information they get from the State influenced mainstream media with a grain of salt, or immediately disbelieve it, and usually, rightfully so.

 

This is dangerous for the State’s propaganda machine, but the State realizes what is even more dangerous to it, would be for the State to appear to suppress it. Whether on the Left or the Right of the political spectrum, people tend to cherish what we now call, “Free Speech”, and rightfully so.

 

So what is the State to do? What States always do. Make the people fear their Liberty more than Itself.

 

Instead of immediately passing laws suppressing and/or silencing free speech, the State is manipulating the political fears people have to make them feel threatened by what they may think is opposing speech to their beliefs. And the fear the State has spread between opposing political speech has resulted in what not long ago would have been mocked as fairytale superstition.

 

“Words can hurt you. People who disagree with you want to hurt you. You need your feelings protected against all invasion. Dissenting speech or thought is violence towards you.”
Instead of using dissenting views from our own to refine our beliefs and convictions, and to encourage discussion for the betterment of overall society, we are not only growing to fear Opposition of Thought, we want to be protected from it.

Image result for image of nazi railcar

Enter the State.

From legislating pronouns to aggressive threats of imprisonment for incorrect thinking, the State has moved in against Freedom of Conscience to suppress nonconformists. And some cheer this behavior by the State, seen to protect them from all harm. Others see it as a shield to advance their own political agenda opposition-free.
But, as Bastiat explained, while all wish to live at the expense of the State, the State lives at the expense of all.

 

No one’s political or personal thoughts or actions are safe from this aggression by the State. While the State will pick winners and losers in the short run, it’s only a matter of time before the State silences everyone.

 

Before you cheer the State for destroying your opposition’s Freedom of Conscience, remember when your opposition is gone, you will be alone, and no one will be there when the State marches you into the railcar that you have built.

Tyranny of Good Intentions   Leave a comment

I posed a question on my Facebook page – To Protect Us from Bad Drivers, Should the Government Mandate Autonomous Cars?

I still don’t know what the consensus was on that because it became a gun-control debate. I guess I’m not surprised because both are liberty issues. It’s why I pose these questions, to drag liberty and tyranny kicking and screaming out into the sunlight where they can be discussed.

I think a lot of us harbor tyrannical thoughts wrapped up in the guise of good intentions. Why do we encourage the curtailment of free speech through the institution of speech codes? Our good intention is that nobody be insulted by ideas we have deemed inappropriate this decade (subject to change next decade), but I think the underlying psychology is that we like to control others and force them to parrot our beliefs back to us even if they don’t believe the same thing.

Image result for image of the lower crime rate in high gun ownership communities

Why do we think it is our right to tell business people who they may and may not serve? Our good intention is so that people can access goods and services without being discriminated against for things they have no choice about – colors of skin being the primary one. As an American Indian, I don’t disagree with the intention — I like being able to walk into any restaurant in America and know I’ll be served. But then the tyrannical psychology of human beings rears its ugly three heads and we start setting aside people’s free exercise of faith rights in order to satisfy a political agenda because in our heart of hearts it’s not really about fairness and eliminating discrimination. It’s about imposing our will upon others.

So, during the unintended debate on gun control, the thing that struck me was how people believe they have the good intention of making everyone “safer”, by eliminating guns from society, while ignoring the facts that communities with a lot of guns in private hands are much safer than communities where private guns have been banned.

They mean well, but they’re making us all less safe and may even get some of us killed — if they haven’t already. For example, with 98% of all mass shootings happening in so-called gun-free zones, why would we think turning the entire country into a gun-free zone would be a great idea?

Image result for image chicago's murder rate related to gun control

North Dakota almost matches Alaska in per gun ownership. They have the lowest crime rate in the nation. Some people would like to insist that is a coincidence so they can dismiss that data point. Alaska, specifically my community of the Fairbanks North Star Borough, has the highest per capita gun ownership rate in the nation. We don’t have the lowest crime rate. We lead the nation in rapes and alcohol-related crimes. But we have practically non-existent night-time burglary and armed robbery rates. Home invasions do happen here occasionally – mostly drug related – but they’re few and far between.

What North Dakota and Alaska share in common is that we’ve had very few mass shootings. Why?

Maybe it has something to do with our preserving our ability to defend ourselves a long time before the cops can be there. Because we’re not big on gun-free zones, we have created safer armed havens within our communities.

Are you safer walking the streets of New York City at 3 am or Fairbanks Alaska at 3 am? I’m thinking that even people who live in New York City recognize that the streets of Fairbanks Alaska are safer than the ones outside their apartment. It doesn’t mean Fairbanks is risk-free, only that it is comparatively safer. And, yet police response time in New York City is magnitudes faster than it is in Fairbanks Alaska. New York City has more cops per block than Fairbanks Alaska has per mile. It takes 10 minutes for them to reach my home (minimum), but it takes 45 minutes for a cop doing 80 mph to reach my cabin (minimum). Fortunately, we don’t have a huge need for cops because we retain the ability to defend ourselves.

Image result for washington dc murder rate related to gun control

But circle back – it is safer to walk a dark street in Fairbanks than it is in New York City. New York City pretends to be a gun-free zone, but of course, there are a lot of illegal guns in the hands of criminals in New York City while in Fairbanks there are a lot of legal guns in the hands of ordinary citizens. Why would criminals prefer New York City where there’s a cop on every corner rather than Fairbanks where there’s a gun in every house (well, maybe 75% of them)? Wouldn’t they have more chance of getting caught in New York City? No, because if they kill the person who they’re victimizing there is no witness to turn them in. But if the Fairbanks homeowner shoots them rather than being a victim, then they’ve been caught. Chances are greater that a criminal will be brought to justice here in Fairbanks than they are in New York because criminals here stand a good chance of receiving the natural consequences of their criminal behavior than they do in a city where they are pretty much the only people armed.

That translates into it being safer to walk the streets of Fairbanks at night. Now, it might potentially be safer to get drunk while playing poker in New York because your ordinary neighbor is unlikely to have a gun with which to shoot you if he thinks you’re cheating. That is a downside to living in an armed community. But, guess what … don’t play poker with drunk people and you’re probably going to be okay. It’s really kind of counter-intuitive when you think about it. In a community that is awash in guns, you’re safer walking down the street, but aggression toward others is also ill-advised. Most gun incidents here are really alcohol or drug incidents.

Image result for new york city murder rates related to gun control

Oh, that makes sense. It’s the advice I gave my kids about driving drunk. Don’t! If you’re driving, you don’t drink alcohol. If you’re drinking alcohol, you don’t drive.

If you’re drinking, lock your guns up. If you’ve got a need to have a gun out, you shouldn’t be drinking. That was pretty much the gun safety advice my parents gave me.

The good-intentioned tyrannical crowd would say “Let us take away the cars so you can’t hurt yourself with them. We’d take away the alcohol, but we already tried that and it was a miserable idea, but surely this great idea will work out fine.” Eventually, they’ll come to that conclusion about cars. We know that because they’re insisting about that conclusion with guns. Ignore the fact that not all of us live or even want to live where there’s a cop on every corner who still isn’t there to prevent our death. Guns are dangerous in the wrong hands, so they insist the answer is to remove the took from all of us … except the two segments of the population who most want to victimize the disarmed – criminals and cops.

Image result for new york city murder rates related to gun control

 

 

Posted March 2, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in Gun control, Uncategorized

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“Let” Us?   Leave a comment

Image result for image of fairbanks alaska snow wind stormBrad couldn’t sleep last night (worried about our dog who just had surgery, I think), so he got up really early and checked out some friends on Facebook. He graduated high school in Chappaqua, New York, but he lived all over New England as a kid and still has family there, as well as spending several years in Texas where he also has family.

So he was talking with someone (a friend) who lives back east and telling him how two weeks ago, the temperatures here were 30 below zero, but it’s 30 above now and we got over a half-foot of snow last night. He’d decided I was driving his Jeep to work this morning.

The conversation went from there.

Brad – My wife is driving the Jeep to work this morning so I can fix what caused her car not to work last week during the 30 below.

Of course, Facebook is a “public” forum, so a friend of his friend responded.

Friend Once Removed – I’m surprised they let you drive in that.

  • Friend – Drive in what? Which?

  • Friend Once Removed – Either. It’s dangerous. They should close the roads.

  • Friend – He lives in Alaska. If they did that, they’d spend all winter trapped at home. And they’re used to it.

Brad (responding to “surprised they let you drive in that”) – Let us? There’s no “let” involved. We drive if we darned well want to and accept the risk.

  • Friend Once Removed – The police should arrest anyone who doesn’t obey the law. You don’t have a right to endanger yourselves.

  • Brad – Fella, we live in Alaska, where freedom is a higher priority than being protected by the government.

  • Friend Once Removed – You people are what’s wrong with this country. You endanger all of us with your callous disregard for safety.

At this point, I asked Brad what he was muttering swear words about and he showed me the exchange.

Me – Yeah, I have conversations like that all the time under my Lela account.

Brad – What do you do about it?

Me – Sometimes I embrace the debate in hopes that someone will learn something from it and sometimes I refuse to pick up the rope. Surprisingly, others have started doing that and it feels good to know that people are thinking about liberty issues.

Brad – What should I do about this?

Me – Can I pretend to be you?

Lela Pretending to be Brad – I’m not sure how my driving a 4×4 Jeep through 6 inches of snow in Alaska endangers you when you live in New Jersey. Can’t we both live our lives without trying to control the other?

Friend Once Removed – No, because your “freedom” gives people ideas and those ideas put them in danger.

Me to Brad in the Real World – Leave the rope right there and stop this conversation right now. You can’t win this argument and if you continue he’ll be calling his Congressman insisting that Alaskans be stopped from driving in “dangerous conditions.” Now I’m going to go put on my winter gear over my office clothes and drive that 25-year-old Jeep through the “dangerous conditions” so I can field phone calls from the public who want to know when the roads will be plowed. Fun times!

Which, actually, it was. I LOVE driving that Jeep through snow and the wind just added another flavor – a wild primordial feel that a day of ordinary weather just doesn’t give you.

Posted February 23, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in Alaska, Uncategorized

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Liberty versus Crime   Leave a comment

To a statist, the concept of voluntarism looks like a lot like chaos. We’d have people just doing what they want with absolutely no regard for the people around them. Robbings, looting, murder … it would be horrible!

Image result for image voluntaryismExcept that’s not what voluntaryists are talking about when they say they want liberty. Maybe getting some definitions in order would be helpful.

Crimes are actions that produce victims, which in popular usage can mean almost anything undesirable under the sun. A more principled approach to understanding crime and victim-hood is to narrow the definition to a state in which somebody has been forcefully or fraudulently deprived of life, liberty, or property.

Crime includes such obvious actions like murder, battery, rape, assault, and theft. How particular people define particular instances of these types of action may differ, but for the most part, physically hurting people or taking their stuff is viewed as criminal behavior.

Liberties, on the other hand, are actions that do not produce an identifiable victim. They are actions that people should be free to perform as they do not victimize, in the criminal sense, other people.

Liberty includes a much broader spectrum of actions than does crime. I think we can confidently say that any action that is not criminal is a liberty. Liberties typically comprise 100% of people’s actions day-to-day. Think of anything you do: does it physically hurt somebody or take/damage their stuff? Then it’s a liberty and not a crime.

Liberties may be offensive in the sensibilities sense, but so long as they are not criminal, they should not be prohibited by political authorities. While every property owner may prohibit the liberties enjoyed within their private domain, they may not call upon third parties with guns to prohibit them in other domains.

Unfortunately, we don’t live in that world. Restricting liberties makes up most of the actions that political authorities engage in today. Politicians, eager to get and remain elected, pander to sensibilities and push through laws that not only prohibit crime but, in too many ways, prohibit liberties.

Image result for image voluntaryismWhy? Because people start with the idea that you need government to control crime, but then they feel that they really need to curb the behaviors of others they don’t like. It starts out small, but grows over time and each success at controlling others’ undesirable behaviors emboldens the next attempt. And because liberty-minded people are often busy being free and exercising the benefits of that state, they don’t notice for a good long time that liberty is being lost. So when they finally get around to protesting, they’re told “Well, you never said anything the last dozen times, so you should have nothing to say this time around … or ever. We’re doing this for the good of everyone. You just want chaos.”

But there wasn’t chaos back when the US government was small and mostly powerless, so why would there be chaos now?

But He Didn’t Say That   Leave a comment

My first introduction to Jordan Peterson, a University of Toronto clinical psychologist was when Brad asked me to watch an interview Peterson did with Camille Paglia. I didn’t care for the interview, mainly because Paglia likes to hear herself talk too much, but I did come away curious about Peterson, who up to that moment was a complete unknown to me.
Image result for image of jordan petersonI then caught his  interview with British journalist Cathy Newman a couple of weeks ago. Newman pressed Peterson to explain several of his controversial views, which is enlightening, but what struck me – more than his views — was the method Newman used in interviewing him. THIS is one of the main reasons I distrust the media today.First, a person says something. Then, another person restates what they purportedly said so as to make it seem their view is offensive, hostile, or absurd.

It’s not new or unique. Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and various Fox News hosts all feature and reward this rhetorical technique. The Peterson interview showed so many successive examples that even our son, who couldn’t care less about politics or 90% of what Peterson and Newman were discussing, wondered why the interviewer kept inflating the nature of Peterson’s claims instead of addressing what he actually said.

I don’t dislike Cathy Newman. As British journalists go, she’s somewhat accurate and fair, although I don’t have extensive knowledge of her reporting. Restatement has a role in psychology and journalism, especially when trying to force a poor historian or an evasive subject to clarify their ideas. I suspect she has used that tactic to good effect elsewhere. It’s just that in this interview with Peterson, Newman relied on this technique to a remarkable degree, making it a useful illustration of a much broader pernicious trend. While Peterson was not evasive or unwilling to be clear about his meaning, Newman’s exaggerated restatements of his views mostly led viewers astray, not closer to the truth. She was telling people what she THOUGHT his words meant, rather than listening to what Peterson actually said.

Peterson began the interview by explaining why he tells young men to grow up and take responsibility for getting their lives together and becoming good partners. He noted he isn’t talking exclusively to men, and that he has lots of female fans.“What’s in it for the women, though?” Newman asked.

“Well, what sort of partner do you want?” Peterson said. “Do you want an overgrown child or do you want someone to contend with who is going to help you?”

“So you’re saying,” Newman retorted, “that women have some sort of duty to help fix the crisis of masculinity.”

Brad paused the interview at that point and asked me what I thought Peterson had said. I thought he posited a vested interest, not a duty.

“Women deeply want men who are competent and powerful,” Peterson asserted. “And I don’t mean power in that they can exert tyrannical control over others. That’s not power. That’s just corruption. Power is competence. And why in the world would you not want a competent partner? Well, I know why, actually, you can’t dominate a competent partner. So if you want domination—”

“So you’re saying women want to dominate, is that what you’re saying?” Newman interrupted.

The next section of the interview concerns the pay gap between men and women, and whether it is rooted in gender itself or other nondiscriminatory factors:

Newman: … that 9 percent pay gap,  that’s a gap between median hourly earnings between men and women. That exists.

Peterson: Yes. But there’s multiple reasons for that. One of them is gender, but that’s not the only reason. If you’re a social scientist worth your salt, you never do a uni-variate analysis. You say women in aggregate are paid less than men. Okay. Well then we break it down by age; we break it down by occupation; we break it down by interest; we break it down by personality.

Newman: But you’re saying, basically, it doesn’t matter if women aren’t getting to the top, because that’s what is skewing that gender pay gap, isn’t it? You’re saying that’s just a fact of life, women aren’t necessarily going to get to the top.

Peterson: No, I’m not saying it doesn’t matter, either. I’m saying there are multiple reasons for it.

Newman: Yeah, but why should women put up with those reasons?

Peterson: I’m not saying that they should put up with it! I’m saying that the claim that the wage gap between men and women is only due to sex is wrong. And it is wrong. There’s no doubt about that. The multi-variate analyses have been done. So let me give you an example––

The interviewer seemed eager to impute to Peterson a belief that a large, extant wage gap between men and women is a “fact of life” that women should just “put up with,” though all those assertions are contrary to his real positions on the matter.

Throughout this next section, the interviewer repeatedly tried to oversimplify Peterson’s view, as if he believes one factor he discusses is all-important. Then she seemed to assume that because Peterson believes that given factor helps to explain a pay gap between men and women, he doesn’t support any actions that would bring about a more equal outcome. 
 

Her surprised question near the end suggested earnest confusion:

Peterson: There’s a personality trait known as agreeableness. Agreeable people are compassionate and polite. And agreeable people get paid less than disagreeable people for the same job. Women are more agreeable than men.

Newman: Again, a vast generalization. Some women are not more agreeable than men.

Peterson: That’s true. And some women get paid more than men.

Newman: So you’re saying by and large women are too agreeable to get the pay raises that they deserve.

Peterson: No, I’m saying that is one component of a multi-variate equation that predicts salary. It accounts for maybe 5 percent of the variance. So you need another 18 factors, one of which is gender. And there is prejudice. There’s no doubt about that. But it accounts for a much smaller portion of the variance in the pay gap than the radical feminists claim.

Newman: Okay, so rather than denying that the pay gap exists, which is what you did at the beginning of this conversation, shouldn’t you say to women, rather than being agreeable and not asking for a pay raise, go ask for a pay raise. Make yourself disagreeable with your boss.

Peterson: But I didn’t deny it existed, I denied that it existed because of gender. See, because I’m very, very, very careful with my words.

Newman: So the pay gap exists. You accept that. I mean the pay gap between men and women exists—but you’re saying it’s not because of gender, it’s because women are too agreeable to ask for pay raises.

Peterson: That’s one of the reasons.

Newman: Okay, so why not get them to ask for a pay raise? Wouldn’t that be fairer?

Peterson: I’ve done that many, many, many times in my career. So one of the things you do as a clinical psychologist is assertiveness training. So you might say––often you treat people for anxiety, you treat them for depression, and maybe the next most common category after that would be assertiveness training. So I’ve had many, many women, extraordinarily competent women, in my clinical and consulting practice, and we’ve put together strategies for their career development that involved continual pushing, competing, for higher wages. And often tripled their wages within a five-year period.

Newman: And you celebrate that?

Peterson: Of course! Of course!

Note that she seemed disgusted with the idea that women would have to be assertive to get what they want in the workplace. Yeah, I couldn’t figure that one out either. Men have to be assertive to get what THEY want, so why shouldn’t women? Another passage on gender equality proceeded thusly:

Newman: Is gender equality a myth?

Peterson: I don’t know what you mean by the question. Men and women aren’t the same. And they won’t be the same. That doesn’t mean that they can’t be treated fairly.

Newman: Is gender equality desirable?

Peterson: If it means equality of outcome then it is almost certainly undesirable. That’s already been demonstrated in Scandinavia. Men and women won’t sort themselves into the same categories if you leave them to do it of their own accord. It’s 20 to 1 female nurses to male … something like that. And approximately the same male engineers to female engineers. That’s a consequence of the free choice of men and women in the societies that have gone farther than any other societies to make gender equality the purpose of the law. Those are ineradicable differences––you can eradicate them with tremendous social pressure, and tyranny, but if you leave men and women to make their own choices you will not get equal outcomes.

Newman: So you’re saying that anyone who believes in equality, whether you call them feminists or whatever you want to call them, should basically give up because it ain’t going to happen.

Peterson: Only if they’re aiming at equality of outcome.

Newman: So you’re saying give people equality of opportunity, that’s fine.

Peterson: It’s not only fine, it’s eminently desirable for everyone, for individuals as well as societies.

Newman: But still women aren’t going to make it. That’s what you’re really saying.

By this time Brad and I were both shaking our heads in wonderment and Keirnan was even saying “But that’s not what he was really saying!”

In this next passage Peterson shows more explicit frustration than at any other time in the program with being interviewed by someone who refuses to relay his actual beliefs:

Newman: So you don’t believe in equal pay.

Peterson: No, I’m not saying that at all.

Newman: Because a lot of people listening to you will say, are we going back to the dark ages?

Peterson: That’s because you’re not listening, you’re just projecting.

Newman: I’m listening very carefully, and I’m hearing you basically saying that women need to just accept that they’re never going to make it on equal terms—equal outcomes is how you defined it.

Peterson: No, I didn’t say that.

Newman: If I was a young woman watching that, I would go, well, I might as well go play with my Cindy dolls and give up trying to go school, because I’m not going to get the top job I want, because there’s someone sitting there saying, it’s not possible, it’s going to make you miserable.

Peterson: I said that equal outcomes aren’t desirable. That’s what I said. It’s a bad social goal. I didn’t say that women shouldn’t be striving for the top, or anything like that. Because I don’t believe that for a second.

Newman: Striving for the top, but you’re going to put all those hurdles in their way, as have been in their way for centuries. And that’s fine, you’re saying. That’s fine. The patriarchal system is just fine.

Peterson:  No! I really think that’s silly! I do, I think that’s silly.

Peterson never said “the patriarchal system is just fine” or that he planned to put lots of hurdles in the way of women. He never said women shouldn’t strive for the top or they might as well drop out of school, because achieving their goals or happiness is simply not going to be possible. Newman put all those words in his mouth by projecting her own bias’ upon him.

The conversation moved on to other topics, but the pattern continued. Peterson made a statement and the the interviewer interjected with “So you’re saying …” and filled in the rest with something that is less defensible, less carefully qualified, more extreme, or just totally unrelated to his point. I think my favorite example came when they began to talk about lobsters. Yeah, lobsters! Here’s the excerpt:

 

Peterson: There’s this idea that hierarchical structures are a sociological construct of the Western patriarchy. And that is so untrue that it’s almost unbelievable. I use the lobster as an example: We diverged from lobsters evolutionarily about 350 million years ago. And lobsters exist in hierarchies. They have a nervous system attuned to the hierarchy. And that nervous system runs on serotonin just like ours. The nervous system of the lobster and the human being is so similar that anti-depressants work on lobsters. And it’s part of my attempt to demonstrate that the idea of hierarchy has absolutely nothing to do with sociocultural construction, which it doesn’t.

Newman: Let me get this straight. You’re saying that we should organize our societies along the lines of the lobsters?

To this, Keirnan cracked “Yes, he proposed that we all live on the sea floor … except for those who want to live in the seafood tanks at restaurants.” We all got a good laugh out of that, but the kid has a point. It’s laughable. Absolutely ludicrous. Peterson, to his credit, tried to keep plodding along.

Peterson: I’m saying it is inevitable that there will be continuities in the way that animals and human beings organize their structures. It’s absolutely inevitable, and there is one-third of a billion years of evolutionary history behind that … It’s a long time. You have a mechanism in your brain that runs on serotonin that’s similar to the lobster mechanism that tracks your status—and the higher your status, the better your emotions are regulated. So as your serotonin levels increase you feel more positive emotion and less negative emotion.

Newman: So you’re saying like the lobsters, we’re hard-wired as men and women to do certain things, to sort of run along tram lines, and there’s nothing we can do about it.

She was actually tracking until she added the extreme “and there’s nothing we can do about it”? Peterson is a clinical psychologist who coaches people to change how they relate to institutions and to one another within the constraints of human biology. Of course he believes that there is something that can be done about it.

He brought up the lobsters only in an attempt to argue that “one thing we can’t do is say that hierarchical organization is a consequence of the capitalist patriarchy.”At this point, we’re near the end of the interview. And given all that preceded it, Newman’s response killed me. She took another accusatory tack with her guest:

Newman: Aren’t you just whipping people up into a state of anger?

Peterson: Not at all.

Newman: Divisions between men and women. You’re stirring things up.

Actually, one of the most important things this interview illustrates—one reason it is worth watching (find it on You-Tube) —is how Newman repeatedly posed as if she were holding a controversialist accountable, when in fact, for the duration of the interview, it was she who was “stirring things up” and “whipping people into a state of anger.”

At every turn, she took her subject’s words and made them seem more extreme, more hostile to women, or more shocking in their implications than Peterson’s remarks themselves support. Almost all of the most inflammatory views that were aired in the interview were ascribed by Newman to Peterson, who then disputed that she had accurately characterized his words.

There are moments when Newman seems earnestly confused, and perhaps was. But if it was merely confusion, why did she consistently misinterpret him in the more scandalous, less politically correct, more umbrage-stoking direction?

I hadn’t followed Peterson enough to know what I thought of him when I watched the interview, but I have since gone out and listened to several of his lectures and interviews and I find a lot of good meat in his arguments, though I don’t wholly agree with him because I think Jungians take their archetypes far too seriously.  I’m just pointing out that Newman’s interview techniques were unhelpful and unfair because they were untruthful. Those who credulously accept the interviewer’s characterizations will emerge with the impression that a prominent academic holds troubling views that, in fact, he does not actually believe or advocate. Distorted impressions of what figures like Peterson mean by the words that they speak can only exacerbate overall polarization between their followers and others, which will actually make it harder for their critics to push back against any wrong ideas.Lots of culture-war fights are unavoidable because they are rooted in earnest, deeply-felt disagreements over the best values or societal goods. The best we can do is have those fights with some civility rules to prevent duels at dawn. Disagreements are inevitable in a pluralistic democracy, but reducing needless division requires that we accurate characterize the views of folks with differing opinions, rather than distort their works so that existing divides become more intractable. That sort of exaggeration or hyperbolic misrepresentation is epidemic in the Western world today and we are long overdue for addressing it … for everyone’s sake.

Taxation without Consent   Leave a comment

I’m enjoying the larger number of dollars deposited into my bank account every 15 days under the recent Congressional tax reform, but it’s best to remember that taxes are not voluntary and that Uncle Sam acts a great deal like a highwayman robber in insisting that these “contributions” are his by right, as if we consented to such thievery. I didn’t. Do you remember when you did?

But this is nothing new. Check out what the great libertarian writer Lysander Spooner had to say about it more than a century ago.

 

The payment of taxes, being compulsory, of course furnishes no evidence that any one voluntarily supports the Constitution.

Image result for image of lysander spoonerIt is true that the theory of our Constitution is, that all taxes are paid voluntarily; that our government is a mutual insurance company, voluntarily entered into by the people with each other; that each man makes a free and purely voluntary contract with all others who are parties to the Constitution, to pay so much money for so much protection, the same as he does with any other insurance company; and that he is just as free not to be protected, and not to pay any tax, as he is to pay a tax, and be protected.

But this theory of our government is wholly different from the practical fact. The fact is that the government, like a highwayman, says to a man: Your money, or your life. And many, if not most, taxes are paid under the compulsion of that threat.

The government does not, indeed, waylay a man in a lonely place, spring upon him from the road side, and, holding a pistol to his head, proceed to rifle his pockets. But the robbery is none the less a robbery on that account; and it is far more dastardly and shameful.

The highwayman takes solely upon himself the responsibility, danger, and crime of his own act. He does not pretend that he has any rightful claim to your money, or that he intends to use it for your own benefit. He does not pretend to be anything but a robber. He has not acquired impudence enough to profess to be merely a “protector,” and that he takes men’s money against their will, merely to enable him to “protect” those infatuated travellers, who feel perfectly able to protect themselves, or do not appreciate his peculiar system of protection. He is too sensible a man to make such professions as these. Furthermore, having taken your money, he leaves you, as you wish him to do. He does not persist in following you on the road, against your will; assuming to be your rightful “sovereign,” on account of the “protection” he affords you. He does not keep “protecting” you, by commanding you to bow down and serve him; by requiring you to do this, and forbidding you to do that; by robbing you of more money as often as he finds it for his interest or pleasure to do so; and by branding you as a rebel, a traitor, and an enemy to your country, and shooting you down without mercy, if you dispute his authority, or resist his demands. He is too much of a gentleman to be guilty of such impostures, and insults, and villanies as these. In short, he does not, in addition to robbing you, attempt to make you either his dupe or his slave.

Image result for image of uncle sam as a highway robberThe proceedings of those robbers and murderers, who call themselves “the government,” are directly the opposite of these of the single highwayman.

In the first place, they do not, like him, make themselves individually known; or, consequently, take upon themselves personally the responsibility of their acts. On the contrary, they secretly (by secret ballot) designate some one of their number to commit the robbery in their behalf, while they keep themselves practically concealed. They say to the person thus designated:

Go to A— B—, and say to him that “the government” has need of money to meet the expenses of protecting him and his property. If he presumes to say that he has never contracted with us to protect him, and that he wants none of our protection, say to him that that is our business, and not his; that we choose to protect him, whether he desires us to do so or not; and that we demand pay, too, for protecting him. If he dares to inquire who the individuals are, who have thus taken upon themselves the title of “the government,” and who assume to protect him, and demand payment of him, without his having ever made any contract with them, say to him that that, too, is our business, and not his; that we do not choose to make ourselves individually known to him; that we have secretly (by secret ballot) appointed you our agent to give him notice of our demands, and, if he complies with them, to give him, in our name, a receipt that will protect him against any similar demand for the present year. If he refuses to comply, seize and sell enough of his property to pay not only our demands, but all your own expenses and trouble beside. If he resists the seizure of his property, call upon the bystanders to help you (doubtless some of them will prove to be members of our band). If, in defending his property, he should kill any of our band who are assisting you, capture him at all hazards; charge him (in one of our courts) with murder, convict him, and hang him. If he should call upon his neighbors, or any others who, like him, may be disposed to resist our demands, and they should come in large numbers to his assistance, cry out that they are all rebels and traitors; that “our country” is in danger; call upon the commander of our hired murderers; tell him to quell the rebellion and “save the country,” cost what it may. Tell him to kill all who resist, though they should be hundreds of thousands; and thus strike terror into all others similarly disposed. See that the work of murder is thoroughly done, that we may have no further trouble of this kind hereafter. When these traitors shall have thus been taught our strength and our determination, they will be good loyal citizens for many years, and pay their taxes without a why or a wherefore.

It is under such compulsion as this that taxes, so called, are paid. And how much proof the payment of taxes affords, that the people consent to support “the government,” it needs no further argument to show.

Lysander Spooner

Swiss Students Are Fighting Back Against Unfair TV Fees | Bill Wirtz   Leave a comment

By Bill Wirtz

The European liberty movement may be small, but it’s having extraordinary growth and grassroots success in a place you might least expect it: Switzerland.

Source: Swiss Students Are Fighting Back Against Unfair TV Fees | Bill Wirtz

 

Image result for image switzerland tvSwitzerland, like many European nations, has certain television and radio channels that are run by the government. The state-run channels in Switzerland date back to World War I when the government had completely monopolized both TV and radio “for security reasons,” and paid for it with a fee called the “Billag.” After the war period, Switzerland opened the market to private media companies, but it kept the “Billag” fee in order to pay for the state channels which still absolutely dominate the market to this day.

The fee even has its own website, http://www.billag.ch, on which the mandatory contribution is explained as follows:

In Switzerland, you are legally obligated to pay the radio and television fees. By paying the fees you enable radio and television programmes in every part of Switzerland.”

Which almost sounds like you couldn’t have any TV or radio stations if it wasn’t for governmental control. For Frédéric Jollien, who is a Senior Local Coordinator for European Students for Liberty and founder of Swiss Students for Liberty, this description is dishonest:

The assumption that the media landscape would crumble if we were to abolish this annual fee is ridiculous. The opponents of our campaign claim that without the “Billag,” nobody would pay for state channels, yet they simultaneously also argue that people are very fond of the content. Which one is it now?”

Together with other classical liberals in Switzerland, Frédéric Jollien is fighting against the royalties imposed by the government for media consumption. 450 Swiss Francs, the equivalent of €382 or $456, is the annual fee that consumers are required to pay, regardless if they want state-run TV and radio channels or not.

“We are not trying to abolish anything. We merely want consumers to choose for themselves which channels they want to watch,” says Frédéric, who works in the campaign of “NoBillag,” the citizens’ initiative that intends to overturn the fee via referendum.

The “NoBillag” campaign has been working on the issue of media royalties for three years now, and effectively managed to get their citizens’ initiative approved. This means that a public vote on the repeal of the “Billag” will take place on March 4, 2018. Until then, the campaign is tirelessly working to promote its ideas. Frédéric Jollien explains that this one of the very few referenda which were organized by people who believe in the concepts of free markets and free people.

However, running such a campaign demands considerable efforts.

The government has extended the “Billag” to include private companies as well. Despite them only receiving less than 10 percent of the revenue generated by the fee, they now also have vested interests in keeping it in place and steadily negotiating a larger chunk of it. It’s us against the whole media landscape.”

The print media is equally unimpressed by the “NoBillag” campaign, as owners also seek to convince the government to initiate large subsidies for the papers, the same way it is practiced in countries like France. Furthermore, after petitioning for months to get the necessary signatures to organize a referendum, the campaign was left with only 30,000 CHF (€25,600), which is clearly too little to run a three-language campaign in the mountainous country in Central Europe.

Frédéric Jollien is very optimistic regardless.

“We started a crowdfunding campaign and raised over 100,000 Francs in only ten days, bringing us closer to our 160,000 CHF objective. But not only that: several polls have indicated that we might very well be able to win the public vote!”

The success of the idea of letting consumers choose which TV and radio programs they watch is apparent. Journalists (who, by the way, are exempt from paying this fee) are releasing heavy verbal fire on the campaigners. They claim it would cause massive unemployment in the media sector, that it is anti-democratic, and that it would enable big foreign companies to take over the Swiss market.

“It’s actually quite peculiar. The Swiss conservatives, who are usually the ones spreading fear of foreigners, support us because they believe that state media is being biased against them, while the Left opposes us because they believe the evil foreign media channels from Germany, Italy, and France will eat us up. This shows how strange the idea of a free market can sound to people,” says Frédéric.

Until the vote in March, he is busily writing op-eds and participating in radio and TV debates. If the campaign would be successful, then this would definitely be one of the most extraordinary free-market grassroots-led initiatives in Europe to date.

Frédéric and the campaign hope to raise more money for their efforts. You can support them through their crowdfunding campaign here: www.wemakeitbetter.ch

Adapted from an article originally appearing on the Freedom Today Network

Posted January 19, 2018 by aurorawatcherak in Uncategorized

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