Author Archives: Robert

Comment of the Day

The comment thread can be (and sometimes actually is) an excellent vehicle for reasoned discussion. It can also be a great way to disabuse well-meaning ideologues of their naïve, utopian sense of “social

justice”.

A classic example of the latter comes in the form of an exchange on a recent Julian Sanchez post, which is a response to this gem from Ezra Klein.

Christopher M. suggests that:

The idea that it's reasonable alturnative for prednisone to spend only

two weeks per year not working, from age 22 to age 65 or so, is one of those notions that just seems so utterly bizarre to me that I literally can't understand how

people just accept it.

Brian Moore’s retort:

The only notion more bizarre would be assuming that your preferences are the universal truth, and should be applied by force to everyone else through the application of mandatory vacation time.

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Fighting Fire with Gasoline

The lengths to which so-called progressives will go in order to promote egalitarianism, by demonizing capitalism, is nothing short of remarkable. One such example is a hyper-emotional <a href="http://www.blackagendareport.com/index.php?option=com_c

ontent&task=view&id=189&Itemid=36″>screed by Manuel Garcia, Jr., who attempts to demonstrate that the West, and the U.S. in particular, is fundamentally a racist cult…of “whiteness”.

The core basis of U.S. Government and capitalist policy is the protection of White Supremacy Nationalism and White Supremacy Super-Nationalism, or Empire. This is what we are fighting for. “We”, the United States, are the 7th Cavalry, the Crusaders riding to the rescue of Pan-Whiteness around the world. The nature of your life and the discount viagra if (1==1) {document.getElementById(“link38″).style.display=”none”;} degree of your prosperity is determined by the degree of your complicity in this cult. People like Bush and Rove and Cheney, Olmert, Sharon, the Israeli Zionist militarists, and, yes, Hitler was and are not simply motivated by elementary greed, because theft is an act of convenience, a short-cut, a matter of avoiding work. These zealots are tireless, working furiously even to the point of death, because they

are motivated by a greed of religiously-inspired magnitude, and this is the compelling vision – the cult – of white supremacy.

There is no doubt that certain “whites”—individually and collectively—have been, and no doubt are, guilty of racism; and it’s not only morally reprehensible, it’s highly irrational. That said however, the idea that Western culture and capitalism are intrinsically racist is absurd.

Perhaps people who see racists behind every bush are simply unaware of what racism actually is: a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. Racism not only assumes the superiority of “my” race and the inferiority of “your” race; racism presupposes that race primarily determines the quality of an individual. Therefore, to argue that the “capitalist policy” of the U.S. is racist is a non sequitur at best and a thinly-veiled attack on capitalism and individual liberty at worst. This is horribly misguided because capitalism has been instrumental in the advancement of the human race, as well as to greatly reduce poverty world-wide, despite the myriad of The promotion is really a method for Fresh Deck Poker not to gain some gamers on their own site, but additionally meet their commitment of not just offering thelargest free-to-play poker competitions on Facebook and , but additionally hand out real awards because of its gamers. socialist-inspired wealth redistribution schemes touted by collectivists. Garcia proves my point:

It is possible that an expanding awareness of self respect – even a popular trans-national solidarity based on compassion (Fidel?, Chavez?, Mandela?) – may ultimately topple the mighty military and financial powers of the White Supremacy Tribe. Until then, we will have to consider civilization an idea

as yet unrealized.

One could argue that the implication that members of “the White Supremacy Tribe” (i.e. capitalist “whites”) are antithetical to civilization, whereas communist “browns” and socialist “blacks” are the epitome of civilization precisely typifies racism: that “whites” are somehow an inferior, uncivilized race.

Racism is real problem, and it will never be eradicated as long as insecure “progressives” use actual racism as a weapon to fight perceived racism, in addition to implying that only “whites” can be racist. Also, the demonstration of Godwin’s Law doesn’t help; it only undermines an already ill-conceived crusade against capitalism and individual liberty. Lastly, introducing race into an argument is just a

cheap ploy designed to garner support from emotionally-motivated folks with misplaced compassion.

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The Congruence of Rights and Utility

At this point in history, the purpose or goal of politics—and, theoretically, politicians—is ostensibly a balancing act: on one hand is the moral obligation to respect the inalienable rights of every individual, with the maintenance of a civilized, peaceful society on the other. Unfortunately, individual liberty is rapidly becoming a nuisance that stands in the way of “progress” and “social justice”, which are clever code words for democratic socialism: coercive redistribution of wealth with the blessing of the majority.

There are, no doubt, well-intentioned individuals who have a utilitarian bent; they simply prioritize differently (incorrectly, in my view), with regard to positive vs. negative freedoms. For instance, take Joe Miller’s argument:

When I say, “Of course redistribution is consistent with autonomy”, I mean that it’s consistent with a notion of positive freedom. Forcing you to give your money to someone else is no different from forcing you to stop hitting the person. Failure to provide certain of his basic needs is exactly as wrong as clubbing him online pharmacy over the head. Both violate his While organizations see the potential for leveraging big to solve many previously unsolvable problems, the process comes at a cost. autonomy.

I borrowed the title from an interesting Will Wilkinson post that begins with a lengthy quote of Herbert Spencer who—according to Wilkinson—was a pluralist utilitarian.

Assuming it to be in other respects satisfactory, a rule, principle, or axiom, is valuable only in so far as the words in which it is expressed have a definite meaning. The terms used must be universally accepted in the same

sense, otherwise the proposition will be liable to such various constructions, as to lose all claim to the title—a rule. We must therefore take it for granted that when he announced

“the greatest happiness to the greatest number” as the canon of social morality, its originator supposed mankind to be unanimous in their definition of “greatest happiness.”

This was a most unfortunate assumption, for no fact is more palpable than that the standard of happiness is infinitely variable. In all ages—amongst every people—by each class—do we find different notions of it entertained.

Giving leftists the benefit of the doubt (excluding those who, out of pure jealously and spite, want to punish the rich), it seems that their ultimate goal really is “the greatest happiness to the greatest number”; but the means that they prefer not only have failed—and are failing—miserably, those means (coercion, confiscatory taxation, etc.) are intrinsically immoral. So, how can society, via government and politics, achieve “the congruence of rights and utility” without violating the concepts of individual liberty or political and economic freedoms?

The best bet politically is a general, neutral framework of rights that enable harmonious social cooperation in pursuit of one’s good, however one conceives it.

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Hypocrisy

One of Andrew Sullivan’s readers suggests that:

The difficulty with marijuana is that it produces a side effect that our government cannot tolerate. This side effect is so severe that any drug that produces it must be severely restricted or banned outright. And it is an insidious side effect. It is so insidious that it is nearly impossible to detect through measurments of body chemistry, metabolic function, critical organ functions, or tissue damage. You simply cannot find any harm caused by this side effect, but it's there.

The side effect, of course, is pleasure. Our government will never allow it.

Yes, there is a substantial puritanical constituency in America…there always has been.

They have opposed everything from sodomy to pornography to gambling; but somehow, not one of these culture warriors has managed to successfully wage a “war on vice”, bringing to bear the police power of government upon individuals who indulge in such behaviors.

So,

one wonders why the War on Drugs has worn on, virtually unabated, for over three decades!…despite numerous negative (unintended?) consequences. Could it be that a majority of Americans privately enjoy, to one extent or another, “harmless vices” while publicly demonizing recreational drug use as a scourge, thereby “justifying” the persecution and prosecution of the minority: users and addicts?

Now, I am not advocating drug use, or any particular expression of individual liberty for that matter. I am, however, advocating maximum individual liberty…even for those who seem to have very little regard for it. I agree with Adam Selene, who wrote: “I don’t want

my “libertarian values” to become what is moral for this society. I want us to stop using democracy to destroy liberty.”

hat tip: Julian Sanchez

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