Saturday, December 20, 2014

Anarcho-Libertarians: So Far Behind They Think They’re First

Back in October I wrote a post entitled The Trouble with Libertarianism in which I talked about the arrogance of libertarians.  Since then I have a received a gift in the form of a psuedo-libertarian who seems determined to prove me right.  In one of his most recent comments to me he stated, “Me continuing to attempt having a rational philosophical discussion w/you would be like Einstein trying to explain physics to a Neanderthal…”  He’s Einstein and I’m a Neanderthal.  Yep, I think that qualifies as arrogance and, strangely, the fact that he sees himself as Einstein and me as a lowly Neanderthal hasn’t prevented him from wanting to engage me in discussion; nor has his high opinion of his own superior intelligence given him the confidence to debate me without resorting to all the usual games that people with a losing position tend to resort to, such as mischaracterizing my argument in order to give himself the advantage.  I kind of doubt Einstein would have done that but let’s get on to the substance of things.

I should explain that this commenter – we’ll call him ‘Henry’ – is not really a libertarian.  From what I can tell (because Henry tends to be a bit coy about it) he’s a quasi-libertarian/quasi-anarchist or, to be more precise, he subscribes to an ideology (or whatever you’d like to call it) that exists only in his dreams.  To be fair Henry would claim that the same is true of the representative republic we ostensibly have and there’s a lot of truth in that.  No one could observe what’s transpired since the birth of the Constitution and claim with a straight face that it’s worked according to plan, especially not of late.  And I understand the complaint which says, in a nutshell, that the system concentrates power into the hands of a few individuals, perhaps more than they could have achieved without the power of the system.  But Henry’s dilemma is that he has no realistic alternative.  He asks me:  “If THEY [the Founders] couldn't construct a means to keep govt. limited who can?

Indeed.  Good question, Henry.  The answer is that nobody can, and yet government is going to exist.  That’s the rub, Henry.  Government is going to exist because it’s part of human nature.  Our old friend Webster’s Dictionary defines human nature as “the ways of thinking, feeling, and acting that are common to most people.”  Government is common to virtually all people in one form or another, so it certainly fits the description.  Your failure to accept this fact of human nature lends support to the second weakness of libertarianism that I mentioned in my post on the subject, so thank you again for chiming in. 

What I find interesting is the strategy of the anarcho-libertarians wherein they attack and attempt to marginalize the framers of the Constitution rather than simply put forth their own ideas for an alternative.  Apparently they believe that Americans’ allegiance to the Constitution and the representative republic put in place by the Founders is all owing to our irrational worship of the Founders, and those of us who don’t possess their Einstein-like minds are incapable of seeing it for the sham that it is.  The truth is that the Founders not only understood the perseverance of human nature both good and bad, they also had no illusions about the fragility of the republic. 

James Madison said:

“If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to control itself.” (The Federalist Papers, Federalist No. 51, February 8, 1788).

Alexander Hamilton said:

“As riches increase and accumulate in few hands, as luxury prevails in society, virtue will be in a greater degree considered as only a graceful appendage of wealth, and the tendency of things will be to depart from the republican standard. This is the real disposition of human nature; it is what neither the honorable member nor myself can correct. It is a common misfortunate that awaits our State constitution, as well as all others.”  (Speech to the New York Ratifying Convention, June, 1788).

Samuel Adams said:

“[N]either the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt.”  (From an essay in The Public Advertiser, 1749)

So there was never any pretense that the Founders were promising perfection.  They went out of their way to warn that government is only as good as the people.  And the Founders’ intelligence?  I happen to believe, based upon what I’ve seen and read, that they were a pretty intelligent group, but that’s not necessarily what’s most important.  These men wrangled for years, perhaps decades, over the question of how to create a lasting system of self-government.   In that process they argued and debated and THOUGHT.  They concluded, rightly so, that the stateless, government-free existence you envision is impossible.  In other words, the Founders were light years ahead of you and your anarcho-libertarian friends, not the other way around. 

As for comparing yourself to Einstein, Einstein didn’t just come out and declare that Isaac Newton was wrong and then disparage Newton and beat his chest over his own superior intelligence.  He put his theories out there so that they could be critiqued and tested.  I’ve seen nothing like that from you. 

If you’ve got a better plan, let’s hear it – in detail.  I won’t hold my breath because I’ve been through all this before with the last anarcho-libertarian.  He at least tried to rise to the challenge and put forth some ideas on what he would do differently than the Founders did.  Problem was it was still just government by a different name, and he took great exception to my saying so.  No one likes having their precious prejudices challenged. 

I’m willing to give you one last shot for a fair and honest debate.  If you think I’m uneducated, then by all means educate me.  But if you come back with a bunch of smarmy “LOLs” and other nonsense then we’re done here, Einstein. 


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Truth: Enemy of the Progressive Agenda

I once had a friend whose life was a series of problems.  She had lost her job, had lost her home, she was eighty pounds or more overweight and her marriage was falling apart.  We had developed a friendship when our young sons became close buddies and over the years, as she struggled through one crisis after another, she would ask for my advice, then promptly ignore whatever I told her because all of the solutions to her problems involved facing certain truths that she didn’t want to face.  She was overweight because she ate too much of the wrong things.  She had money issues because she was reckless with her spending.  She had marriage problems because she was mean to her husband (and the extra eighty pounds didn’t help).  What she really wanted was someone to tell her how she could still do all these things and be slender, financially sound and happily married.  Needless to say I failed in that capacity, but I learned a valuable lesson of my own:

No problem in this world can be solved if people refuse to see or acknowledge the truth. 

That may seem self-evident and many readers may be thinking, “Gee, thanks for that great revelation, CW;” but the reality of life in America as we know it today certainly suggests that this simple and basic bit of wisdom is absent in epidemic proportions.  Politicians and other talking heads, particularly those trying to separate us from our power and our wealth, bombard us with fast talk and lofty, lengthy speeches in the hopes that Americans will forget or ignore the simple truths that render their extravagant promises impossible.  The people who lie to distract you from reality aren’t capable of solving your problems, nor do they have any real intention of doing so.  Liars don’t usually lie to be helpful.  Now you may be okay with that if you’re one of those people who feign anger over perceived problems like poverty, racial and gender inequalities, decline in education, or any of the other myriad difficult issues we now face.  If so I would just ask that you spare the rest of us the trouble of entertaining your insincere concerns.  Go stick your head back in the sand.  This piece isn’t meant for you.  The rest of you may read on.

When Larry Summers had the audacity to make the politically incorrect (but factually true) assertion that women weren’t as interested in math and science fields as men and that this was the primary reason for the shortage of women in these fields, he was viciously attacked by those on the Left as if he had committed some horrible sin.  It didn’t matter to them that it was true.  He wasn’t allowed to say it.  Facing this truth and similar truths about the different skills, interests and aptitudes found among different genders might go a long way to broadening our understanding of perceived inequalities, but that, of course, is why we mustn’t be allowed to go there.  The perception of discrimination serves the interests of those on the Left and women who want preferential treatment, and therefore we must hear no truth, see no truth and speak no truth when it comes to gender differences.

Leftists in this country and around the world spend a lot of time denouncing us as a violent country and in particular crying over the victims of “gun violence.”  Gun homicides are high here compared to some other nations, that’s true, but you would think someone sincerely interested in understanding and solving the problem might take the time to examine the patterns of these homicides to understand why we’re different from countries that are held up as being more civilized than we are.  Unfortunately that kind of exercise leads to something that the Left fears more than anything:  the truth.  Gun homicides among whites in American are only slightly higher than those in countries that the Left points to as evidence of our comparative barbarity.  It’s only when you factor in the gun homicides among blacks, which is some seven times higher, that the truth becomes a bit clearer.  The reality points to a problem in the culture of inner-city blacks, not a problem with us as a nation or a problem with guns in general.  But shhhhh.  Don’t go there.  You’re a racist if you do.  And so the problem remains unsolved, and it will stay that way because the ‘progressives’ don’t really want to solve it.  I guess that’s too bad for blacks, since they’re largely the victims of black gun violence.  Oh well.

And what about the problem of poverty?  If you believe those on the Left, poverty is an artificially induced condition resulting from corporate exploitation, racism and a system designed to favor the wealthy.  Each of those may hold a grain of truth, but all are dwarfed in comparison to the primary reasons for poverty, all of which are either self-induced or inherent in the individual.  The notion that people might be responsible for their own poverty because of the choices they make in life with respect to education, employment (or lack thereof), marriage, pregnancy, spending, drugs or anything else is unsettling to liberals who hate anything that smacks of personal responsibility.  Leftists who value power above anything else know that it’s hard to elicit loyalty in the form of votes when you hold people accountable for their actions.  It’s much more rewarding to pretend the problems are someone else’s fault.  And the notion that some people are simply incapable of achieving more than poverty or that poverty is a temporary condition depending on one’s stage of life?  Well those topics are taboo as well.  So instead the Left devotes its efforts to “solving” poverty by transferring wealth aka legalized stealing, which of course simply moves the players around on the board and does nothing whatsoever to tackle the real causes of poverty.  That’s too bad for some who might actually be helped to escape the cycle of poverty by being forced to face the truth, but oh well.

Ferguson is only the latest example where self-imposed blindness to the truth stands in the way of what the complainers profess to want.  Supposedly we are concerned because unarmed black youths are being routinely and disproportionately cut down in the streets by trigger-happy cops.  To whatever extent this is true, it too has no hope of being resolved due to the lies being told by the Left to themselves and to the world.  Any group that demonstrates a higher propensity for crime and violence is naturally going to attract greater attention and suspicion from police.  Males in general, black or white, face greater scrutiny from police than women do because men categorically commit the vast majority of crimes, particularly violent crimes.  Their presence, particularly in charged situations, is going to naturally raise the adrenaline levels of most cops, and that’s going to lead to more violent confrontations whether deserved or undeserved.  The solution to that is to change the perception, which requires that you begin creating a new type of history, which requires a different culture in the black community.  Stop tolerating bad behavior.  Stop propping people up with welfare and rewarding them for having children out of wedlock.  Let their energies be focused on working and surviving instead of trouble making.  That’s the only genuine and lasting solution to the problem of black males being disproportionately sent to prison or to the morgue.  Anyone who is suggesting otherwise has no sincere interest in seeing that dynamic change, and it’s time to take a closer look at their motives.

People need to understand that political correctness isn’t about politeness.  It’s an intentional strategy to keep the truth from being spoken out loud so that it doesn’t have to be faced, and so that people who engage in bad or destructive behaviors can continue to do so without anyone annoying them about it.  Any time anyone goes out of their way to avoid the truth or to keep it from being discussed, that person has another agenda to push.  That’s the Left’s game in a nut shell.  Unfortunately too many on the Right go along with the game, bowing to some misguided notion that one-sided rules of political correctness must be respected.  Instead of insisting that the truth be faced, they tread in aimless circles around it, and the results speak for themselves.  The country is a mess and it’s going to stay that way until someone insists on the truth.