Archive for the ‘#theresistance’ Tag

Thomas Jefferson on the Folly of Gun Control   Leave a comment

Image result for image of tiananmen square tank studentIn November 1787, while the Constitution was moving toward ratification, Thomas Jefferson – no doubt frustrated at being in Paris while the nationalist forces of America were perverting the liberty he had championed — wrote a letter to his friend, Rev. William Smith of Philadelphia. Jefferson saw clearly that the Constitutional Convention had been an illegal affair that had created a completely new constitution without permission of the states’ legislatures when all that had been needed was a modification of the Articles of Confederation. In this letter, written after the cow had left the barn, but before it was certain the people’s representatives would be duped by the proposed constitution, Jefferson discussed Shay’s Rebellion – the excuse given for the necessity of replacing the Articles of Confederation with the illegally drafted US Constitution. Jefferson’s comments then have bearing on the discussion of gun control now. See my emphasis …

Wonderful is the effect of impudent and persevering lying. The British ministry have so long hired their gazetteers to repeat and model into every form lies about our being in anarchy, that the world has at length believed them, the English nation has believed them, the ministers themselves have come to believe them, & what is more wonderful, we have believed them ourselves. yet where does this anarchy exist? Where did it ever exist, except in the single instance of Massachusets? And can history produce an instance of a rebellion so honourably conducted? I say nothing of its motives. they were founded in ignorance, not wickedness. God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, & always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive; if they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. We have had 13 states independent 11 years. There has been one rebellion. that comes to one rebellion in a century & a half for each state. What country before ever existed a century & half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? let them take arms. the remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is its natural manure. our Convention has been too much impressed by the insurrection of Massachusetts; and on the spur of the moment, they are setting up a kite to keep the hen-yard in order. I hope in God, this article will be rectified, before the new constitution is accepted.” Thomas Jefferson, 1787

We’re told that gun violence is a uniquely American tragedy, but we’re not told that rates of non-gun violent crimes in countries where guns have been banned are often higher than they are in America. You’re far more likely to be beaten or stabbed to death in the UK than you are in New York City or Fairbanks Alaska. That’s a per capita likelihood and those are UN statistics. The reason for that should be obvious. In the absence of guns, violent people find other ways to kill people.

Welcome to the human race. Sorry, we’re not all that pretty.

 

Thomas Jefferson didn’t have crime in view when he made these comments. He was focused squarely on liberty. He was concerned about the ability of people to essentially commit treason against their government. He thought it was a good idea … even if they didn’t have all the facts and even if they didn’t win. Why?

Because liberty tends to erode under the coercive influence of the state. Thomas Jefferson believed that if a government wasn’t warned every generation that its people retained the ability to rebel … well, then the government would gradually become tyrannical. And, periodically, America has experienced rebellions that have woken the government up and caused changes. It’s been a while – 40 years since the 1960s and that was conducted by people who ultimately wanted MORE government rather than less. Jefferson would have been perplexed by them, I think.

We are at the crossroads of another time where there is a huge necessity to effect change in the country.

So, the question is, how do you commit rebellion against the largest military on the planet? I’m not advocating an armed rebellion against the United States government. I’m advocating for philosophical rebellion by people who can respond to government violence in kind. There is a difference. I am pointing out that if it ever becomes necessary, it would be impossible without guns like the AR-15, which will only be the initial test case for the removal of all semi-autos and then all handguns from private hands). Just think about how inadequate an AR-15 would be against the select-fire and fully-automatic weapons the military has access to. The only way it becomes adequate is if we have way more than they do and we do, which is why I suspect the deep state is behind a lot of the gun-control rhetoric. Ever so often I remember all those “terrorists” who have been caught trying to plant non-working explosive devices at the “suggestion” of undercover federal agents and I wonder … could we, like the Americans Jefferson commented on, be duped by the press into believing one thing when the opposite is true?

Oh, yeah! I don’t think anything has changed other than the sophistication of the propagandists.

Image result for image of armed rebellionI’m not saying we should conduct an armed rebellion against the US government. I don’t believe in initiating aggression against other people. But we are ripe for a philosophical rebellion, for a great waking-up of the general masses to the things that must change in this country if we are going to continue forward as a free people. At some point, absent a sea-change in philosophy, this government that now so arrogantly thinks it can push around its people will eventually ignite a physical rebellion because that’s what aggression causes. How that turns out depends on our ability to preserve the spirit of rebellion. If we’re disarmed or down to single-shot rifles, that rebellion will be empty words and rocks thrown at kevlared cops and tanks. We’ll be indulged with the illusions of greater freedom as the Chinese are today, but it will be just an illusion. If you don’t have the means for rebellion, the spirit of rebellion is kind of a moot point. But if you have the means for rebellion, the spirit of rebellion may be all you need.

Having the ability to respond violently when violence is initiated against you actually prevents violence from being initiated in many instances while being disarmed and helpless encourages victimization.

Jefferson did later discuss why crime is greater when men are disarmed than when they are armed. From his “Legal Commonplace Book” where he quotes Cicero, who of course was thinking of swords when he penned the following:

“False is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages for one imaginary or trifling inconvenience; that would take fire from man because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that has no remedy for evils, except destruction. The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm those only who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Can it be supposed that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity, will respect the less important arbitrary ones….and which, if strictly obeyed would put an end to personal liberty?….Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; They serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”

Because our media chooses to whip up the true horror of mass shootings while utterly ignoring the half-million times a year people use guns to save their own lives, we get a false notion that guns are the problem rather than human nature is the problem and getting rid of guns will only make it worse because disarmed victims may be attacked with greater confidence than concealed-carry permit holders. We’re told by people who believe they have the higher moral ground that sacrificing real advantage is merely an inconvenience for our own protection. It was the same 2000 years ago when Cicero penned those words as it is today.

So why are we refusing to learn from history? Do we want to repeat the fall of Rome?

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

What If You Passed A Test … And Nobody Cared?   Leave a comment

I like tests. Puzzles fascinate me. I don’t even mind cognitive tests because I used to work for a mental health agency and so they don’t scare me.

Image result for image of trump's cognitive test resultsThe news that President Trump passed a mental acuity test was welcome news. I think the country is better off if the president doesn’t have Alzheimer’s. And a 30 out of 30 score indicates that he doesn’t.

By the way, most 71-year-olds could not score a 30 out of 30. In fact, many people in their middle-years would struggle with reverse serial sevens. I can’t pass that particular one without counting on my fingers. How do I know? Brad, Keirnan and I took the test last night.

Keirnan is 19 and suffers from bipolar, so he’s been through this test once before — and scored a 30 out of 30. The doctor was so amazed that he could do reverse serial sevens from 100 into the negatives that he just let him go until Keirnan said he needed water to continue. The kid has a diagnosed mental illness, but he doesn’t have dementia or any other sort of cognitive disorder. And bipolar, with appropriate medication, doesn’t really negatively affect his life. It’s just something he has to manage – like if you have diabetes or asthma. That attitude toward mental illness as a condition that can be managed comes from familiarity with mental illness.

Brad sucks at remembering sequences of numbers. So do I. I often can’t remember a phone number long enough to dial it — which is why I write them down — and have since I was about 15 years old. I passed the immediate recall on the assessment and the delayed recall because I knew it was important to remember them. Brad, however, flunked the delayed recall question. It doesn’t mean he has dementia. He didn’t flunk the assessment overall, just that one section.

I didn’t do so well on the tap for the letter A. It’s deliberately hard and none of us did well on it, though we all passed. Keirnan almost lost a point on it because Brad was saying the letters way too fast and he made two errors which is still allowable to get a perfect score.

So, the results of our tests mean very little. It was a fun exercise and we now understand what President Trump was tested on. We know that none of the four of us has dementia.

Well, our family knows that, but I think we knew it before we took the test. President Trump’s supporters are probably relieved that what they thought was true has been proven true, but his detractors don’t care.

“Well, this is a really easy test,” someone on the radio said while I was brushing my teeth this morning.

Yeah, if you’re mentally fit, it is an easy test. If you have dementia, it’s not.

“There are other tests that would show his mental fitness better.”

Yeah. there are. If I were President Trump, I’d request a full psychological assessment. They take about two hours and they include some of the same questions as the Montreal Cognitive Assessment. They would detect mental illness such as bipolar, schizophrenia and major depression and they would also indicate whether screening for personality disorders is in order.

I don’t think anyone seriously believes a successful businessman in his 70s has been a schizophrenic for decades. But that doesn’t matter to his detractors. Even if he took a full psychological assessment, they’d insist the results were wrong. And of course, they’d insist he be assessed for “Narcissistic Personality Disorder”.

Let’s talk about that for a moment. First, it’s not a disease. It’s a spectrum of personality traits. Most people fall somewhere on the scale. I took the assessment and I scored in the bottom 30. I took the test as if I were Donald Trump and he scores pretty high on the scale. According to the psychiatrists I worked with, so does Barack Obama and George W. Bush, Lincoln, George Washington, John F. Kennedy, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Angela Merkel, Elon Musk, every psychiatrist except the one you’re speaking to at the moment, and almost all of the actors in Hollywood.

Basically, anyone with any self-esteem at all will score at least at the lower end of the scale. That doesn’t mean they are crippled by NPD. It means they know their worth and there’s nothing wrong with that. If they don’t know their worth, there’s another personality disorder they might qualify for.

People who aspire to be President of the United States typically score in the top 70% of this scale. Why? Because it takes a lot of chutzpah to believe you can be one of the most powerful people in the world and do the job competently. Some of these narcissists were so certain they’re right that they declared independence from Britain and founded a whole new country. Others decide to challenge NASA in the space race or create a company that dominates the tech world. A narcissist found a way to stop the scourge of polio. Some day a series of narcissists will cure cancer. Narcissism, evidenced by the belief that God was on her side, allowed Mother Theresa to minister to the poor of Calcutta and eventually be named a saint.

Look behind almost every successful and well-known person and you will find a degree of narcissism. But that doesn’t matter to Trump’s detractors. They don’t see that their own idols were often as narcissistic or more than the object of their Derangement Syndrome. They don’t care what the truth is, they only want what they want …

Which is itself a sign of scoring pretty high on the Narcissistic Personality Disorder spectrum.

Yeah. It doesn’t surprise me that it’s mostly the young and liberal who hate Trump to the degree that they don’t care what the tests say about his mental fitness. Baby boomers, who themselves scored higher than their parents on the scale of narcissism, raised a generation of raging narcissists. Everywhere you turn, you find scores of people who believe they have a “right” to other people’s stuff because they’re “special.” That narcissistic trait is a liberal ideal and I find most liberals to be at least moderately narcissistic. They believe they know better than everyone else how we all should live our lives and they cannot be dissuaded from that belief. They will do anything to force others to comply with what they consider to be best practices.

So, maybe it’s not surprising that they are allergic to everything Donald Trump does. Narcissists usually can’t stand to be in the room with other narcissists. It steals the limelight from them. It explains, to a certain degree, the conservative opposition to Barack Obama, himself a raging narcissist. Conservatives also believe that they know better than everyone else how we should all live our lives. It pissed them off that Obama thought he knew better.

Which brings the question — in this day where nobody knows humility, can anyone actually lead us? And should they try?

My fear is that a society of narcissists would have a good deal of trouble staying out of each other’s business without a government to impose some boundaries and, yet, as long as they have a government, they will seek to use it to insinuate themselves into everyone’s business.

A Trumpian Week   Leave a comment

Image result for image of trumpRegular readers of this blog know that I didn’t vote for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton and that I think politics are not among the solutions to our problems. I try to dish up a steady fare of political philosophy here — to give people an understanding of what’s going on and where we ought to be headed rather than a Republican or Democratic line of bull. I’m a non-partisan, conservative-leaning, libertarian. When I say “conservative”, it doesn’t mean I’ve stepped back from the radical notion that liberty is better than tradition. It simply means my default position is that idiots (otherwise known as politicians) shouldn’t strive to make big changes in society or government without a full-throated consultation with the people, who are the ones who will be stuck with the consequences. If the people want to make changes, we should be allowed to do it, using the constitutional procedures. Change should always be driven by us, not by the elites who would be our rulers.

But sometimes it’s interesting to look at politics if only for the horror movie aspect of all of it.

This week was a Trumpian week and I’ve got good things to say about my observations as well as bad things to say about them.

First, Mr. Trump, STOP fighting with the widows and parents of fallen soldiers (I refuse to call them “gold star”; maybe I’ll post about that someday). It is entirely possible that the wife of La David Johnson got your conversation with her wrong. She had the congresswoman there to help her misinterpret what you said and she doesn’t seem like a person who screens what a trusted elite tells her. I get why that’s annoying, but you’re not doing yourself or anyone else any good by having a public feud with her. Maybe if you’d just go after the congresswoman, who SOOO needs to have a verbal ass-kicking, but leave the widow alone. At the risk of sounding partisan here – when you deal with Democrats and make them look stupid, your polls rise. When you pick on military widows, your polls drop. Be sensible, Mr. President.

Second, Mr. Trump, thank you for taking the opioid crisis seriously and compassionately. Last night’s speech spoke of fighting a disease with treatment rather than incarceration. I suspected you would up to this task, given your family background, but I held my breath, concerned that you would declare another “war on drugs” that has proven to be absolutely fruitless for the past 40 years. I am a little concerned about your announcement that you’ve given all branches of the federal government wide leeway to address this issue. The federal government, more often than not, ignores the constitution and runs roughshod over the rights of individuals. As someone who lives in a state where cannabis has been legalized, I don’t want to see people arrested and imprisoned for partaking of a substance that is no more dangerous than alcohol and there is a risk of federal agencies misinterpreting your executive order to do just that, so I’m going to call that one a mixed bag, depending on the federal interpretation.

Third, Mr. Trump, in case you’re unfamiliar with American history — our Founders fought a war against England in order to secede from what they deemed to be a government that did not represent their values or culture. So, today, when I hear you promise Spain your full support against the people of Catalan who desire to free themselves from a government that doesn’t represent the Catalonians’ values or culture, I wince. It’s just plain wrong! We should be the first nation to step forward in support of liberty as opposed to hegemony.

Fourth, Mr. Trump, I don’t know that you are really the cause of the economic rally that has been underway since you took office. I suspect your presence in the White House, addressing things like the much-needed reform of Obamacare and the tax code; junk-science social engineering like climate change; and overly burdensome economic and environmental regulations on businesses has emboldened investors and other drivers of the economy that have been hiding in underground bunkers during the Obama administration. The growth potential was already there, but you having signaled that you won’t try to crush them if they came out of hiding has given them permission to once more risk.

Nothing works quite like success, so even though your poll numbers are really low, I think if you can stop fighting with people perceived to be underdogs and concentrate on freeing the economy to improve while not inciting wars overseas, you’ll do okay in 2020. I probably still won’t vote for you, but I will applaud your success.

Posted October 27, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in politics, Uncategorized

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American Civil War 2?   Leave a comment

Image result for image of antifa versus the tea partyI’m writing an apocalyptic series. When I first started, I didn’t really think the US would be headed toward a civil war before my son’s beard completely grew in, but the last year has me rethinking that feeling … at times.

I want to believe that the fears of civil war are mostly overblown, but …. I want such scenarios to stay inside my books, but ….

The Good News?

I see some hard leftists and some hard rightists will to kill each other, but I don’t see even my heavily-armed neighbors shooting at one another or even at the people in neighbors within my city. Politics makes people irrational, but average people don’t shoot each other over political disagreements.

The Bad News?

Some observers disagree with me. They don’t live in Alaska, where politics is an indoor participation sport, and they think there’s a rational argument for why civil war can happen.

 

Jonathan Logan makes a thoughtful, informed argument for the plausibility of civil war:

  • For young people to be susceptible to war (the young fight while the old stay home and direct), they must not be too settled, invested, or satisfied with the status quo and they can’t be living stable lives. They require some motive, be it “making a name for themselves” or “fighting evil” or whatever.
  • Few young people in the West are willing to fight a foreign enemy for their country. (Polls find approximately 12% in Germany and 20% in the US). But when you ask if they would participate in riots against an unjust political order, the numbers shoot up. In Germany, it’s 66%; in the US, it’s about 60%.
  • For a civil war (which is really just a big riot against what is perceived to be an unjust political order) to break out, enough people must perceive the current situation as unbearable and be willing to use violence.
  • The police must be unable or unwilling to keep the two sides apart.

Image result for image of antifa versus the tea partyJonathan Logan’s theory goes like this:

  • There’s a growing inability of “cultural progressives” and “cultural conservatives” to engage in reasonable dialogue. Civility long ago hit the fan and was shredded by the blades.
  • For a long time the “cultural progressives” had success after success. That led to the internal perception that they were not just right but also absolutely right if only those stupid hicks (deplorables) would get out of their way. This was really the general lay of the American political landscape from the late-1960s through to the 2016 election with a couple of moderate setbacks when Reagan restructured taxes in 1986 and when Congress did the Contract with America in 1994.
  • Meanwhile, with limited and sporadic access to the reins of governmental power, “cultural conservatives” grew dissatisfied. They were pushed by progressives on a whole variety of issues to the point where they had a hard time tolerating some of the cultural changes that were forced on them.
  • Before Brexit and Trump, progressives were absolutely convinced that they were right, that they would win, and that the future would be bright. This wasn’t just an assumption. They were convinced of this as surely as they were convinced the sun will rise tomorrow morning. The election of 2016 came as a crushing surprise to them. They didn’t just lose an election. The results of that election destroyed their world perception. OMG, progressive liberals are NOT the center of the universe. The sky IS FALLING!
  • The result is widespread post-traumatic stress disorder. The progressives didn’t just lose; they were traumatized. They now experience anything or anyone that doesn’t go 100% according to their ideology as being violent, hurtful, and triggering. Their coping mechanism is to push harder, become more radical, accept less compromise. They feel that everyone else is actually trying to kill them.
  • At the same time the cultural conservatives experienced something new: victory. They’d just spent a decade in one losing battle after another. First, Bush 2 had reneged on his promises to them and then Obama had told them to sit down, shut up and let their betters lead because they were never getting into power again. Although they won the election of 2016, they are intently aware that there’s a huge mess to clean up. When they see progressives pushing back, they remember all the times conservative values were shelved, denigrated and ignored. They remember what it was like to be backed into a corner. Many of them haven’t actually left the corner yet.
  • So, we have two groups backed into corners with a huge no-man’s land between them. Both groups are deeply polarized and have virtually no shared values on which to find common ground.
  • A defining characteristic of my children’s generation (Millennials) is that they know they can expect nothing from the status quo. Add to that they lack tools for conflict resolution. Their generation is split between progressives and conservatives. Yeah, really, there are many conservative Millennials. Currently they are not the largest generation in existence and they lack influence because they are young. They, therefore, have no way to implement anything that matters to them.
  • So, the Millennials on the progressive side feel they must radicalize because it is imperative to destroy the “evil” other side. Antifa, BLM, RevCom, those groups at the center of the protests and riots, are desperate, hurting, hating, and they feel righteous in their anger.
  • Meanwhile, conservatives are starting to feel fear. Conservatives reject radicalism and the disorder that comes with it. They look at the progressive side and they see agitation, violence and hateful rhetoric. Their natural reaction is to defend themselves.
  • We’re already seeing the more radical of Millennial conservatives and progressives pull out clubs. That’s what happened in Charlottesville and Oakland. That’s a growing trend that doesn’t show signs of stopping. In fact, the progressives have planned a whole series of color-revolution-type protest/riots for November.
  • At the same time, the police are choosing to stand down in these conflicts. More often than not, they agree with the progressive sentiments, but occasionally a conservative administration will not step in the middle of a clash until someone has died.
  • And their refusal to decisively take sides is what allows the ingredients of civil war to ignite. –

I kind of agree with Logan that people are currently so polarized that the ingredients are there for civil war, but I’m going to keep hoping that people will listen to their better angels and just stay home. That’s unlikely with the media stirring the pot in the pursuit of ratings. If a civil war does happen, Judy Woodruff and Sean Hannity will be culpable for causing it.

Notice, I’m not blaming this on President Trump. Why not? Because I don’t think the president is that important. I also don’t think he is seeking to tear the country apart. He is seeking to fulfill his campaign promises and, regardless of whether he does fulfillment well, he’s answerable to the people who put him in office. Let him have his turn. He’ll be out of office in three years if he doesn’t do a good job or seven years if he does and then you’ll get another shot at tyrannizing the country … or not. Maybe by that time, you polarized advocates for coercing “the other guy” will have figured out that politics is poison and that we’d all be better off if we paid less attention to it.

 

 

Rise of the Illiberal “Liberal”   Leave a comment

How do you discuss something you’re not allowed to name? The media and academia declared the Alt-Left a myth, a product of American dialectical thinking that requires a balance to the Alt-Right, but not really something to worry about. Pay no attention to the club-wielding, masked thugs in Charlottesville, Berkley and Boston. Keep your eyes trained on the “fascists” because the Alt-Left doesn’t really exist and to use the term “Alt-Left” is a pejorative” used only by the right-leaning media and the center Left to attack a legitimate people’s movement. “Smart” people know it’s all nonsense.
Image result for image of illiberalismFor those self-identified liberals who may have been seduced by this belief system with its propaganda — I know I made you mad just now. I hope you will continue reading because this is a conversation we need to have.
I would define Alt-Left as a leftist, illiberal authoritarian ideology rooted in postmodernism and neo-Marxism that supports censorship, condones violence in response to speech, is obsessed with identity politics (much like the Alt-Right), and functions like a secular religion that gives its believers a sense of moral self-worth.

Posted September 28, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in Political Philosophy, Uncategorized

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Myth Busting – Hitler WAS a Socialist   Leave a comment

The National Socialist German Workers Party (Hitler’s party) were socialists. How do I make that claim? It’s right there in their title, for one, but also because Hitler’s henchman Goebbels never doubted that he was a socialist. He considered Nazism to be a better and more plausible form of socialism than that espoused by Lenin. Instead of spreading itself across different nations like dandelion seeds, it would operate just within German-speaking countries, thus assuring cultural victory.

Image result for image of hitler as a socialistFor the modern Left not to know this shows gross historical illiteracy. That they try to explain the connection away would be laughable if I believed most people in the US were educated enough to know the Left is stupid.

Hitler boasted that “the whole of National Socialism” was “based on Marx.” Hitler thought Marx had erred in fostering class division rather than national unity. By setting the workers against the industrialists Marx had, in Hitler’s view, missed an opportunity to unite them to the same goals. He meant to “convert the German Volk to socialism without simply killing off the old individualists.” He thought the bankers and factory owners could serve socialism better by generating revenue for the state.

Yeah, the national socialists  and the international socialists loathed one another and rushed to put each other in prison camps or before firing squads, but that was merely a territorial food fight between two tribes that hated free-market individualists. They were brothers and brothers tend toward rivalry, but they were still brothers, more alike than not. Both were evil forms of statism … one attracting people who envied the wealthy and the other seeking recruits by demonizing non-Aryans.

Somewhere along the line we’ve forgotten what Nazism really was and we’ve allowed leftists to define it as a more extreme form of conservatism. The myth revolves around the idea that left-wing means compassionate and right-wing means nasty and we all know fascists are nasty.

Does that sound silly worded like that?

That’s because it is. The media calls all sorts of groups “right-wing”. The Taliban, for example, is “right-wing” according to the media. Yet, the Taliban, while being conservative Muslims, want communal ownership of goods. The “right-wing” Iranian revolutionaries seized industries and destroyed the middle class.

So let’s step back and consider this. Both ideologists favored authoritarianism as a means to their ends. So do, for that matter, the Iranian revolutionaries and the Taliban. Authoritarianism is the believe that state (government) compulsion is justified in pursuit of a higher goal. That goal might be scientific progress or great equality or the protection of religion. It was traditionally a characteristic of social democrats and revolutionaries, as pointed out by the very progressive HG Wells, who in 1932, told the Young Liberals they must become “liberal fascists” and “englightened Nazis.”

Wells wasn’t not advocating for embracing Hitlerism, which didn’t actually exist in 1932. He was describing government interventionism. A lot of people in the United States at that time were pro-interventionism, having not yet recognized the racism and anti-Semitism that were part of the fascist program. They didn’t know what they didn’t know.

What is the excuse of modern people who excuse communism today? We know where it has always led and we should know that it will lead there again, but some of Americans romanticize an ideology that killed tens of millions of innocent people. Do you not realize that T-shirt of Che Guevara champions the vicious enforcing of Cuba’s totalitarian regime.

Posted September 21, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in Political Philosophy, Uncategorized

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Socialism = Many-Headed Hydra   1 comment

I got into a kerfuffle with some socialists (Bernie supporters) on Twitter recently because I know what Bernie is advocating and they are so enamored of all the free stuff he’s offering that they are blind to the economic, social and political realities of socialism.

As the New Republic’s John Judis explains:

In the early 1970s, I was a founding member of the New American Movement, a socialist group… Five years later, I was finished with…socialist organizing. …nobody seemed to know how socialism—which meant, to me, democratic ownership and control of the “means of production”—would actually work… Would it mean total nationalization of the economy? …wouldn’t that put too much political power in the state? The realization that a nationalized economy might also be profoundly inefficient, and disastrously slow to keep up with global markets, only surfaced later with the Soviet Union’s collapse. But even then, by the mid-1970s, I was wondering what being a socialist really meant in the United States.

He then noted that socialism is making a comeback and he’s pleased that socialism seems to have a future in American politics once again.  He hopes Sanders can make socialism relevant to Americans in the 21st century.

The old nostrums about ownership and control of the means of production simply don’t resonate in 2017. …In the 2016 campaign, however, Sanders began to define a socialism that could grow… I think there is an important place for the kind of democratic socialism that Sanders espoused.

In analyzing the many flavors of socialism, Judis ultimately distilled them into two camps – Marxist Socialism with its apocalyptic abolition of capitalism and Keynes’s Liberal Socialism, which works more gradually toward the incorporation of public power and economic equality within something that pretends to be capitalism. Most of the leftists I know believe in “liberal democracy” and “liberal socialism”, which are both good when you compare them to Marxist socialism which requires totalitarianism to work, but what Obama and Clinton want is still bad compared to small-government capitalism.

American leftists are content to allow capitalism so long as they can impose high taxes on “economic surplus” to finance lots of redistribution. They are certain such policies will have no significant negative economic impacts. Punishing success and subsiding dependence doesn’t encourage long-term prosperity and demographic trends make their policies increasingly unsustainable, but at least these folks don’t want to enforce their ideals through totalitarianism … yet. They’ll leave that to a later generation, I suppose.

Judis suggested that there is no definitive definition of “socialism”, but throughout the 19th century and much of the 20th century, all socialists condemned and called for the abolition of private ownership of the means of production and imagined it replaced with some form of socialist central planning directed by the government in the name of “the people.” The only great debate among socialists and communists in the 19th & 20th centuries was over how the socialist utopia would be brought about … whether by violent revolution or the democratic ballot box. The Russian Marxists insisted only revolution and the “dictatorship of the proliteriat” would bring “the workers” to power and assure their permanent triumph over the “exploitive” capitalist class, while the German democratic socialists opted for democratic means to power and rejected dictatorship. Well into the post-World War II period, the dispute was over political means and not ideological ends. The goal was, for both ends of the spectrum, the abolition of capitalism and the imposition of socialist central planning. How they got there differed, but both ended up with centralized government direction of economic affairs and social change.

By mid-century, “democratic” socialists in Western Europe grudging accepted the failure of socialist central planning in the Soviet bloc, Asia, Africa and Latin America. The brutal tyranny of Soviet-style socialism made it ethically indefensible. They changed their message to a “social justice” message without mentioning the nationalization of the means of production or centrally planning all economic activity.

With the opening of Cuba to tourism, leftist social justice warriors are planning to go and study what worked there. Of course, they won’t tour La Cabana prison where Che Guevara acted as unrestrained judge, jury and executioner.  They probably won’t tour the forced labor camps or talk to anyone who spent 20 years in one of them for holding ideas that weren’t allowed. No, they prefer to bask in the moral satisfaction that the few remaining communist regimes are still trying to make the “better world” they promised. Censorship of ideas, music, political views and imprisonment of “the people” who don’t have the “right” ideology will mostly not be spoken of. And, note, the social justice warriors who so admire the murderer Che prefer to live in Western countries where the rule of law has thus far protected them from their “liberal socialist” dream.

So, what do my not-so-friendly leftist friends on Twitter want from this “Liberal Socialism” they fervently advocate for? It’s the same “utopia” that Western countries have been pursuing since the end of World War II, though it has different degrees in different places.

Mr. Judis wants the government to intensively regulate, command, restrict and direct various aspects of private enterprise in society while ensuring that American society can still take advantage of the self-interested incentives and innovations that work to improve the material conditions of life. He just wants the direction, form and extent to which private businesspeople are allowed to innovate and produce to be confined and constrained by “non-market” values to conform to the purposes of “society.”

Matching the regulatory and interventionist state will, of course, be the redistributive welfare state. Excessive and unnecessary income held by businesses and investors must be heavily taxed to assure greater material egalitarianism, to fund all manners of social safety nets, and bring benefit to ordinary Americans. They use that word “economic security” a lot.

I’m not really certain what differentiates Mr. Judis’ “liberal socialism” from what already exists in the United States. It appears it’s a fine line involving intentions and the recipients of the goodies. Modern liberals like Bill and Hillary Clinton lost their way and started sleeping with the enemy (Wall Street et al). What is needed, according to Mr. Judis, is for modern American liberals to take a giant step to the left and use the Democratic Party to propagandize and persuade more in society to believe that socialism is best for them.

Just move the existing welfare state to the ‘right’ elected hands and watching things change.

Of course, what we really have in the United States is not a free market “neo-liberal” capitalism. It’s more of a “bourgeois socialism” where a system of government regulation, redistribution, favors and privileges benefit many in the private enterprise sectors of society … what we now call “crony capitalism.” What Judis is calling for is “proletarian socialism” where government more directly takes from the “rich” to give to “the workers” and “the poor.”

How likely is this to come about? Well, the call for “participatory democracy” is telling. Politics in an unrestrained democracy always becomes a tug-of-war among special interest groups capable of gaining concentrated benefits from State intervention and redistributation at the diffused expense of the rest of society. Think about special interest groups who succeed in offering campaign donations and votes to politicians who then fulfill their campaign promises to those groups once in power. The “classless” Soviets used a hierarchial system of privilege that beguiled one of the most intricate social webs of power, privilege favoritism and plunder ever seen in human society. Turned out that the notion of “the people” owning, controlling, regulating and overseeing the collective direction of an economy was pure illusion.

What far too many peole who share Mr. Judis’ views about capitalism and socialism fail to comprehend is that ANY and ALL forms of planning, regulation and political redistribution takes power and decision-making away from “the people” and gives it to government administrators who then use it for their own benefit.

What do you want to be when you grow up, little boy? You can be an engineer or an engineer. Soviet Era Joke

Only in the open, competitive market economy does each and every individual exercise liberty over his own personal affairs. The market enables us to make our own choices concern the professional, occupation and productive calling we wish to pursue. It leaves us free to make our own choices on how to earn income and spend that income on what we value or desire or believe will bring meaning and happiness to our own lives. In a free society where individual liberty and voluntary association are protected, we have true opportunities to form groups of almost any type to make our lives outside of the market materially, socially, culturally and spiritually better in our estimation.

 

Posted September 19, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in economics, Uncategorized

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How Is the Fix In?   2 comments

So, the other day, someone on Twitter informed me that all Republic states had done away with paper ballots and that no states do hand-counting.

Last I looked Alaska was a Republican-leaning state and I fill out a paper ballot and feed it into a scanner. I’ve seen what comes out at the other end – a scanned copy of my ballot. I’ve seen the poll workers hand-count the ballots to assure they match the reading on the scanner before forwarding a report that verifies that the hand-count matches the scanner count. Then the paper ballots are forwarded in a locked box with guards to the Division of Elections.

Image result for image of russians meddling with election on facebookSo I went out and checked and 37 states have maintained paper ballots, some with optical scanners, others with a paper ballot that prints out after you use the digital machine, and most states that use electronic methods still have some form of paper trail attached.

Amid all of these ridiculous claims was someone up in arms because “Russia used Facebook to influence the election.”

So what?

I used Facebook to influence the election too. I posted on my social media accounts that I thought folks should vote for Gary Johnson rather than the Donald or She-Who-Would-Be-Queen. I offered reasoned arguments that you were free to accept or reject. I pointed out fallacies that you could believe or disbelieve. I posted scathing memes.

Oh, but wait, I’m an American citizen, so it’s okay for me to influence an election, because we all know nobody takes an American citizen seriously, right. But Russia … Russia … oh, my god, Russian agents expressed an opinion and some people might actually have been influenced by finding out that Hillary Clinton thinks the American people are idiots. The horror! And, of course, nobody can exercise their common sense and decide that they disagree with ads posted by Russians because … well, it’s Russia and we all know they have mind-control powers. The horror!

 

We have been subjected to 10 months of propaganda about Trump/Putin election interference without a scrap of actual evidence being produced. It is past time to ask an unasked question: If there were evidence, what is the big deal? All sorts of interest groups try to influence election outcomes including foreign governments. Why is it OK for Israel to influence US elections but not for Russia to do it? I seem to remember Angela Merkel saying something about how she wanted the US election to turn out. Why is it okay for her to do that, but not Vladimir Putin? Why do you think the armament industry, the energy industry, agribusiness, Wall Street and the banks, pharmaceutical companies, what’s left of the Moral Majority, George Soros, etc., supply huge sum of money to finance election campaigns if their intent is not to influence the election? Why do editorial boards write editorials endorsing one candidate and damning another if they are not influencing the election?

What is the difference between influencing the election and influencing the government? Washington is full of lobbyists of all descriptions, including lobbyists for foreign governments, working round the clock to influence the US government. Actual citizens’ opinions are the least represented in the government because we haven’t got any lobbyists working for us.

The orchestrated hysteria over “Russian influence” is even more absurd considering the reason Russia allegedly interfered in the election. Russia favored Trump because he was the “peace” candidate who promised to reduce the high tensions with Russia created by the Obama regime and neocon nazis like Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, and Samantha Power. What’s wrong with Russia preferring a peace candidate over a war candidate? The American people themselves preferred the peace candidate.

Those who don’t agree with the electorate are the warmongers—the military/security complex and the neocons. These are democracy’s enemies who are trying to overturn the choice of the American people by keeping back information we had a right to know. It is not Russia that disrespects the choice of the American people. Russia is not in our streets throwing rocks through shop windows, burning cars and beating up people who voted for the constitutionally-elected President. Russia is busy dealing with its own issues while the utterly corrupt Democratic National Committee with its divisive identity politics, the military/security complex, and the left-leaning media undermine US democracy.

Whoever is producing the propaganda that these people believe about the election process should probably be looked at as someone trying to influence future election results because it is far easier to hack a nation-wide popular election than it is to corrupt 51 state-wide popular votes conducted by a myriad of election apparatuses.

The important question is who is it that is trying so hard to convince Americans that Russian influence somehow prevailed over our collective commonsense? It would appear that at the most, they released information that allowed us more information upon which to derive our opinions. Are we now saying that an uninformed vote is better than an informed one?

 

 

Posted September 18, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in Political Philosophy

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One Toe over the Line   Leave a comment

I’ve never really been into plays featuring political satire, but I used to be a fan of late-night comedians who poked fun at politicians and politics in general.

I don’t watch many these days. It’s just too vicious and not very funny anymore. Johnny Carson poked fun at every president, regardless of party. Jimmy Kimmel, not so much.

I am a fan of Shakespeare, however, and would love to see Julius Caesar acted live … well, except maybe not the version put on by The Public Theater for this year’s lineup of Shakespeare in the Park. In the modern retelling of the play, the theater group chose to create a clear reference to President Donald Trump as the protagonist. Some friends who live in New York saw that performance and were so shocked by the reference they left the performance.

Image result for kathy gifford trump head“I will not condone any group suggesting that we kill a sitting president,” Dorothy wrote. “I don’t support President Trump, but I won’t support treason either. Of course, they have the right to do what they want … say what they want … but I don’t have to condone it by sitting through their performance.” Dorothy and her husband, long-time devotees of theater, have decided to boycott The Public Theater, not just for this season, but for all future performances.

I’m 99% certain that Dorothy and Gene did not vote for Donald Trump. They both campaigned for Barack Obama on his first outing. I’m not sure about Dorothy, but Gene is a lifelong Democrat who ended his party affiliation when Barack Obama ran for a second term after what Gene, an accountant, thought was an economically appalling first term. He tells me he wrote-in Rand Paul on the 2016 Presidential ballot, which surprised me to no end. The man is in his 70s, changing his electoral preferences because our current system is that broken.

If this play took place in Caesar’s day, it’s likely the members of the theater group would not have lived to hear their reviews. In the weird modern-day world, the New York Times defended the play vigorously, though other media outlets have been more mixed in their response. This is part of the reason I believe we’ve reached a point, both domestically and internationally, where violence has replaced civil discourse.

Certainly the United States is no longer a society of educated (not necessarily schooled) and interested citizens willing to listen to someone else’s viewpoint without retaliating against them in violence and open displays of hatred.

I’m not fan of Milo Yiannopoulos, but I objected to the violence and suppression he faced when he traveled to Berkeley College last year. Students who took issue with Yiannopoulos’ views sought to silence him by attacking the building he was supposed to speak at along with burning objects and hurling debris. Similar behavior occurred when Ann Coulter attempted to speak there, but it also has occurred on other campuses. and even off-campus venues. I”m thinking that wearing a Trump t-shirt outside of a Trump rally is a dangerous thing to do. Universities attempting to encourage discussion of diverse perspectives now look more like totalitarian states rather than places where public discourse is encouraged.

This frightening turn of events most likely will have grave political and social ramifications. This country was founded on the principles of free speech and protection of the right of everyone to speak their minds. Is speech really free when it is designed to silence others? When does free speech become dangerous to society? And, which is more dangerous — the alternative perspectives being silenced or the speech of those trying to do the silencing?

I remember that libel and defamation lawsuits were a big deal when I was a working journalist, but I guess people have given up on countering the outrageous claims of tabloids and inflammatory speech. It appears you can effectively say anything about anyone, public or private, on any platform as long as you don’t intend to act on anything you say and so long as you don’t make someone so mad they take aggressive action against you.

Image result for berkeley riots 2017 imagesBut, hey, Kathy Griffin discovered there are a few faded lines remaining after she posted a sickening photo of President Trump’s decapitated head in her hand. The media actually did chide her for going too far. Still, 50 years ago, that sort of display would have gotten some serious attention by the Secret Service. I suspect had Ann Coulter appeared with an image of Barack Obama’s head in a similar fashion, she would have spent some time in an orange jumpsuit.

The political climate existing today is veering dangerously toward force as a means of silencing opponents rather than a culture of engagement. In an effort to enshrine toleration, a pluralistic culture has decided that the only views that should be tolerated are its own, subject to change with every alteration of their collective opinion.

Frankly, it’s a mentality seen on both the left and the right, across the media, and among voters, although there are some Trump supporters who recently showed a great deal of class. Americans increasingly see government as the means to achieve their ends and have become willing to employ its power to force others to comply.

President Gerald Ford said, “We can disagree without being disagreeable,” but nobody seems to listen to him anymore.

Kathy Griffin’s photo was disagreeable. The Public Theater group’s substitution of a Trump-esque Caesar was disagreeable. Trump supporters who punch out their opposition are disagreeable. There was a time when college students used to riot over the administration refusing to allow a speaker on campus. Now, they employ reverse censorship by silencing others through civil unrest or through public displays of murder. Through these means, they exercise their ability to promote censorship of these individuals and their ideals. And that is incredibly disagreeable.

Aristotle once said, “Republics decline into democracies and democracies degenerate into despotisms.” We may be nearing despotism. When people produce public displays of ‘staged’ murder of any American citizen, we are all at risk. Anyone associating with that person has been given a message as to how they and their views are seen. 63 million people voted for Donald Trump. Surely, Kathy Griffin and The Public Theater company don’t want to see them dead too? Or do they?

This is the important question that bears asking. Leaders represent the views of the people who vote for them. We have a framework in this country for the peaceful transition of power and we have enshrined such civil rights as the right to peaceful protest and removal from office by vote. The founders knew there would be people of varying political sentiment living in America. Their design was not for open acts of violence to represent how opposing political viewpoints are viewed.

American and global civil discourse is at a crossroads. We can either accept that violence will rule how we interact with others both from behind the protection of our computer screens or openly in the public square or we can decide to rein in intolerance in the name of tolerance.

Once these types of acts become mainstream it is not long before societies devolve into chaos. Liberty-minded individuals know the power of civil public discourse and education. That is how we spread the ideals of freedom. We must start championing these values. We need to end the violence and hatred before a despot decides to end it for us.

Posted July 11, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in Political Philosophy, Uncategorized

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