Tag Archive | brexit

Protesting Votes

Of all the stupid things to come from the modern left (as opposed to libertarians, the true left), this recent trend of opposing a vote by protesting it and not voting at all may be the most stupid. Congratulations to Catalonia for its declaration of independence (given the foundation of the United States, if you request international assistance, the U.S. should have your backs). We won’t, because we’re too busy fighting in countries like Niger without any declaration of war while simultaneously starting fights with Syria, Russia, North Korea, and Iran, and because, despite living in a country that was literally founded by a declaration of independence, many Americans seem to think that “declaring independence” is a right that no longer exists.

It’s worth reminding people that turnout doesn’t really matter in a democracy and that refusing to vote is like saying, “I know we’re going to drive somewhere one way or another, but I’m not going to express any desire about where we should go.” It’s stupid on its face. If one guy shows up to vote “Yes” and thirty million stay home to protest the vote, do you know who wins?

The one guy.

Because that’s how democracy works. Yes, it’s bad, and yes, it’s stupid, but it’s the system that’s in place, and until that system is dismantled, it’s counterproductive to protest it. Can you imagine in the United States if people protested Trump’s campaign by not voting? It’s pretty obvious what happens then, isn’t it? Only the people who support the Trump campaign vote, resulting in a landslide victory. Just like in Catalonia, where (primarily) only the people who wanted independence voted, which predictably resulted in a landslide victory.

So why do people do it, if it so obviously and directly causes them to lose the vote?

For one, because the modern left has this weird thing where they don’t believe that actions have consequences. I’m not even kidding–just look at their support for price controls (in relation to Hurricane Harvey), in full disregard of the long, failed history of price controls. And their support for socialism, despite its body count in the hundreds of millions and history of economic collapse. The modern left has a somewhat tenuous relationship with reality. And then, of course, there’s this absolutely bizarre inability to notice that “not voting because you’d vote ‘no'” is basically helping “Yes” win.

The actual heart of the matter is, unsurprisingly for the modern left, more insidious and deceitful. While it’s true that they’re generally confused about actions and consequences (and a total lack of awareness of Defensive Voting), there’s a deeper, almost masterful masquerade being played here: it becomes impossible to distinguish the “would-be No votes” from general voter apathy. And they use this to great effect.

Indeed, the primary contention people had against the Catalan referendum was that “the no voters protested it by not voting at all, so the support for it isn’t sure what it appears.” This is almost an open admittance of their attempt to obfuscate their numbers by hiding among the people who didn’t give a shit either way. Regarding Catalonia, 45% of the population voted, with a 90% vote for “Yes.”

Their idea is that a large portion of each country is genuinely apathetic about results, usually between 25% and 40%. If forced to vote, there’s absolutely no way of knowing how these people would vote. They can be claimed for neither side, because their disinterest makes it impossible to, you know, gauge their interest.

However, if a “No” camp refuses to vote, then they’re immediately mixed in with these apathetic voters, inflating and conflating their numbers. Instead of the actual vote results, the turnout itself becomes the measurement of success or failure. The number of “Yes” votes becomes irrelevant, because the number of “non-votes” exceeds the number of votes. The vote becomes illegitimate in their minds because less than 51% voted, so the “majority” doesn’t exist.

This overlooks the obvious fact that only people who actually voted have their votes counted and that people who don’t vote don’t have their votes counted.

The modern left has a desire to undermine democracy–or, to be more precise, the established and hitherto agreed upon rules by which we’re playing the game. Gary Johnson did this, too, by crying about the unfair debate restrictions, despite having no objection to following them until it became clear that he wouldn’t win the privilege of being on the debate stage. It was only then that accusations of unfairness came about.

Hillary Clinton, of course, basically wrote a book crying about the rules, not to mention the widespread attempts to decry the entire election as illegitimate because of magical 1337 Russian HaXorZ. When this failed due to an unfortunate and inconvenient lack of any evidence at all, they shifted to bizarre hopes that the electoral college would discard the actual will of voters and install Hillary anyway. When that failed, they decided to target the voters themselves by alleging that the portion of the population that elected Trump is too stupid to think for themselves and were manipulated by Russians into voting for someone the left didn’t want them to vote for.

The rules of universal suffrage as a method are pretty simple: every adult has one vote, and can use it as they wish. There are essentially three positions on any given Yes/No issue: Yes, No, and Indifferent. Indifferent voters are indifferent and therefore their “votes” aren’t counted–which is fair, because their votes aren’t cast. Not voting isn’t a vote for “No.” It’s a vote for “I don’t particularly care what the result is, and therefore I will do nothing to sway the decision toward one outcome or the other.”

A true Protest Vote can, in fact, be found among the electoral college. The Texan elector who voted for Ron Paul comes to mind. The two in Maine who refused to vote for Hillary also come to mind. A Protest Vote is actually cast. I cast my Protest Vote for John McAfee. Not voting isn’t a Protest Vote; it’s just not voting.

One would expect elected officials to be capable of making this gargantuan step of logic, but it evidently “takes in a field too vast for their narrowness of view and proceeds with mightiness of reason they cannot keep pace with.” In the Democratic method, votes are only counted when they actually exist. Votes are what matter. It doesn’t matter if that takes the form of direct democracy or an electoral college where each state has allotted votes proportional to their population and the direct democracy merely determines how the state uses its allotted votes. Despite this, a reported ten of eighty Catalan officials “protested the vote” by leaving during the session.

This is not a vote for “No.”

It’s an abstinence. It’s abstaining from the vote. Their reason for doing so may be important to them, but it’s not important to the actual vote results. The only way a democracy can find out what people want is by polling them (there’s a reason voting locations are called “polling places”). For all intents and purposes, refusing to vote because you don’t want “Yes” to win, in addition to being counterproductive and silly, is, from the point of view of the democratic system, no different from not voting simply because a person doesn’t care.

So what we really had in Catalonia was some 39.5% of the population voting “Yes” and 59.5% of the population abstaining from the vote. The reason that “No” advocates chose not to vote is that they saw the results of Brexit and the 2016 American election and knew that, if they voted, then their numbers would be clearly known, and if their numbers are clearly known then they can be easily compared to other known numbers. The solution they’ve found, instead of risking losing the election fairly and squarely, is to blend in with the 20-40% of any given population that doesn’t vote at all. If you assume even that 80% of the population wasn’t apathetic, and if you assume that everyone who didn’t vote but… would have?… would have voted “No,” then, at best, we get a tie of 39.5% to 39.5%. And keep in mind that this assumes a relatively low degree of apathy; the turnout of the Spanish general election in 2011 was only 68.9%, and 66.5% in 2016. The turnout for the UK in 2010 was about even with this, at 65.1%. Given that Brexit saw a turnout of 72.2%, which is an increase of 7.1%, we can assume the same turnout increase would have accord in Catalonia, given the importance and divisiveness of the issue.

Even if we assume a turnout increase of 10%, we’re only looking at 76.5% turnout, which is certainly below the threshold needed to overturn the 39.5% Yes vote. We’d need roughly 90% turnout with 90% of those people voting “No,” which certainly wouldn’t be the case.

And none of these assumptions hold water anyway–they’re full of holes. Turnout for the Catalan referendum was not 76.5%; it was 45%. It’s true that the Spanish central government told “No” advocates to not vote, and that should serve as a warning to all future people that “not voting” is not equivalent to “voting no.” In a Democracy, The Vote is supreme. I’m not a particular fan of that, but it’s the rules we’ve agreed to. Until we actually change those rules (by getting rid of the state, preferably), it doesn’t make any sense at all to ignore those rules and pretend like there won’t be any consequences.

There will be.

You’ll lose the vote.

The Rising Ideological War

Western society is schizophrenic, and not in any light-hearted way. There are two diametrically opposed threads running through society today that absolutely refuse to forge a compromise, and we’re seeing it manifest in strange ways. First, there is the reality that neo-liberalism won the culture war. There is no doubt of this, and, prior to Trump’s victory, the majority of liberals were aware of it. It was the Liberal Redneck, after all, who said, “This is our world now, and you’re not getting it back.”

What characterizes this liberalism? It is socialistic/fascistic in nature; of this, there can be no doubt. Huge swathes of the western population look upon capitalism as deprecated, antiquated, selfish, and morally wrong. To them, capitalism isn’t just a remnant of bygone eras; socialism is progress. They tie this directly to what they consider social progress–divisiveness, burning the heretical witches, and moving the goalpost when no one was looking from equality to oppression. This is exemplified most clearly in the anarcho-communist, which I’ve often joked is an anarchist who drank the SJW kool-aid. So far, that assessment has been spot-on. I’ve yet to meet an AnCom who wasn’t guzzling gallons of SJW kool-aid.

This is the side that values their personal feelings more than they value free speech. These are the ones who proudly proclaim that hate speech is not free speech, the ones who clamor for the EU to punish Facebook, Twitter, et al. for not, as the Rational Review News Digest put it, being sufficiently enthusiastic about gutting freedom of speech and embracing censorship.

On the other side is the rise of what we are calling populism, and that’s as good a term as any. This has given us Brexit, Donald Trump as President of the United States, and, the way it is looking, a soon-to-be far right Italian government. But can we take a moment to bask in the knowledge that it was a leftist who wanted to repeal the parts of the Italian Constitution that were specifically meant to diffuse power and prevent another Mussolini from rising? Let us just be thankful that his proposition of “Let’s remove some of these checks and balances that we instituted in order to prevent the total control of fascism” was rejected by Italian voters and that Renzi has now resigned.

Is there a clearer picture than that?

Fascism is what we face. I know these liberals don’t like to hear it, because they don’t know what fascism is and therefore accuse everything they don’t like of being fascism, and it doesn’t help that fascism isn’t really clearly defined, but…

It’s basically a socialist government where the state is supreme. It wasn’t terribly long ago that I saw some idiot write an article where he specifically stated that Hitler wasn’t a socialist. No, I’m not kidding. It was some idiot at Ranker. At least the fools who say “Democratic socialism is totally different from national socialism” aren’t so deluded, ignorant, and misinformed that they don’t think Hitler and the National Socialist party weren’t socialists.

The ties between socialism and fascism are so obvious that they’re frequently call the same thing. Indeed–they are one and the same in practice, for a fascist government must be a socialist one (“Everything in the state”), and a socialist one must be a fascist one (since economics, as Thomas Paine wrote, “…when considered as the fruit of many years’ industry, as the reward of labor, sweat and toil, as the widow’s dowry and children’s portion, and as the means of procuring the necessaries and alleviating the afflictions of life, and making old age a scene of rest, has something in it sacred that is not to be sported with, or trusted to the airy bubble of paper currency,” is the result of day-to-day life, control of the economy becomes, by extension, control of everyday life).

economy2Then we have on the other side modern populism.

There is a devout nationalist tendency among the modern populists, which is a clear antagonist of the neo-liberals’ preference for globalism and a worldwide state. Except it’s not nationalistic in the classic sense–for the most part, the modern nationalists don’t want to dominate other countries and subjugate them as the 20th century nationalists did. Modern nationalists stand somewhere between non-interventionism and limited interventionism–they are okay with war, but only insofar as they are confused about what precipitated those wars. In the case of American wars, of course, America caused them.

See, the nationalists of the 20th century hated Russia on principle. Whether this was due to Cold War propaganda or nearly constant fearmongering, who can say, but one way or another previous nationalists held that Russia was the greatest symbol of evil and had to be destroyed. Although modern nationalists do flirt with that mentality a bit in regard to Muslim nations, they don’t view all Muslim nations like this. However misinformed they are, it’s not Muslims or Muslim nations they hate, but groups like ISIS.

The nationalism we see today is more like a rejection of globalism and an attempt to return to national sovereignty. Most of the people I know who supported Trump also support the U.S. withdrawal from the United Nations. I suspect the same is true for many of the Brexit advocates, and many of the far-right Italians.

global-fascismBecause the neo-liberal has tied globalism, social justice, and socialism together into a single, unified package called fascism (and yes, such a package is called fascism), they are no longer able to separate out individual pieces of this trilogy. To them, it is a triangle; if you remove a single piece, the entire thing stops functioning. It is so tangled together that I don’t believe that they are still able to differentiate the three.

So if you reject one part of this, or two parts of this, they think you must be rejecting all three parts. If you reject globalism in favor of this weakened nationalism, and if you reject socialism in favor of this socialistic pay-for-play/privatized profits and socialized losses that we mistaken call capitalism, then they think you must also be rejecting the social justice aspects. I’ll try to cut that sentence down a bit by reframing this mess of an economic system we have that is not capitalism as simply “interventionism.” I don’t approve of that term as an economic descriptor, because I think “socialism” works very well as a descriptor, even if we aren’t fully socialized yet, but whatever.

If you reject globalism in favor of nationalism, and if you reject socialism in favor of interventionism, then they understand you to be against social justice as well. This is how nationalists have had all manner of insults heaped upon them: sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, xenophobic misogynists and all that. In their minds, socialism is inseparable from the globalism, which is inseparable from the social justice, which is inseparable from the socialism, much as I say that peace is inseparable from love which is inseparable from liberty which is inseparable from peace.

In this great divide, I land on the side of the nationalists and interventionists. I am not their ally, but I am an enemy of globalism and socialism. I’ve written extensively about the failures and stupidity of socialism. But the nationalists are wrong, too. The nation isn’t the end-all-be-all of sovereignty; the individual is. In this sense, the nationalists are every bit as fascist as the globalist–the only difference is what level of state they want to bow to, with it reigning uncontested and always right. Like the people you see interviewed who take the side of the cops in the DAPL protests. “Well, I believe the cops over the protestors.”

I don’t believe any of them.

Similarly, interventionism is a broken economic model.

But before we can pull sovereignty back to the level of the individual, it must be pulled back away from the globalist-level, and that’s not too much of a problem here in the United States. We already don’t listen to the UN. Hell, in a lot of ways we are the UN. This rift is playing out here in a different way, though, with the liberals wanting a strong federal government that dictates over all fifty states, and with conservatives generally wanting a weak federal government and for the states to rule themselves.

Considering how unhappy a lot of people were with Obama’s presidency and how unhappy a lot of people are with Trump’s presidency, the solution is obvious–the answer is obvious. Globalism doesn’t work. Federalism doesn’t work. There is no One Size Fits All government that will make everyone happy. There is a divide in the world–a divide that will never go away, no matter how much closer we get to egalitarianism. People have different worldviews, and that will always be the case. In fact, psychology specifically suggests that it will always be the case.

If you take any ten people and try to propose a solution to any problem that will make them all happy, you will probably not succeed. The more people you try to impose that solution on, the more likely you are to make someone unhappy. When you have three hundred million people, you are guaranteed to make a large chunk of them–about sixty percent, evidently–some degree of unhappy.

We should stop trying to get our way, and start working toward peace. In order for there to be peace, there must be liberty. Don’t tyrannize others. Individualism must defeat fascism, but first nationalist fascism must defeat globalist fascism.

 

Derailed Thoughts & Thoughts of Leaving the South

I’ve never been so surprised and so happy about the outcome of a vote.

The British people have voted to leave the European Union, and I’m thrilled for the longterm hope this brings me, that we will move away from central authority and back toward self-governance. Before I dive into the meat of this article, though, I want to mention what a UK citizen told me earlier on Facebook:

Let’s not even talk about how we’ll probably lose Scotland too. My point is yes we’ll survive leaving the eu but we really didn’t have to.

“…how we’ll probably lose Scotland…”

Shit, dude, that’s exactly the problem! That mindset you have, that Scotland is yours to lose! What the fuck? Scotland is Scotland’s! Scotland does not belong to the UK! Jesus! No wonder you’re in favor of staying in the EU! You think it’s perfectly okay to consider other peoples and societies as your property. How else could you possibly justify that statement? “We’ll probably lose Scotland…”

Fuck.

Scotland isn’t yours!

My reply to this, however, was more direct and focused:

If the differences between the Scottish and British people are so fundamental that this rift is irreconcilable, then a fracture between Scotland and England was inevitable anyway. If the British are so in favor of self-governance and the Scottish so in favor of central authority (tendencies that appear to reverse when we start talking of Scottish Independence), then it was never going to work out. And I think that’s pretty obvious–how many times has Scotland voted for independence? I think it is inevitable that they will leave the UK. The only question is when. And perhaps “What will be the final straw?”

Moving On

I want to return, however, to something that I became aware of last night, with the help of awesome patron and supporter Michelle, which is that… it’s bizarre that millennials, who I recently characterized as being “Changeists” without ideological backbones, were almost universally against Brexit.

There’s an enormous difference between “We want change at any cost!” and “We don’t even care what the facts or reasons are–we must not change!”

I think the distinction hinges upon what they consider “Progress.”

It’s no secret that “progressive” has come to mean two things in the west. First, it means being pro-tolerance, at least in the typical usage of the word (not my usage of the word that actually reflects is meaning).

Goodness, the links and inline videos… You can really get a complete picture of my ideology if you follow the trail, I guess. I like to think that it’s pretty circular, and that creates a large problem: where do I start if I want to express my worldview? A circle has no beginning. One thing I say will sound silly without having something underlying it, and if I say the underlying thing, it will lead to another underlying thing. Regardless, my “online presence” has pretty much dived straight into my ideology, so I started somewhere. But if you’re curious to get a complete picture of my worldview–the worldview of an atheistic shemale anarchist–then I like to think it’s becoming possible. Another central piece of that wheel, however, is my presence on Quora, which isn’t typically included in this circle of things that I do. Anyway.

We think of “being progressive” as a good thing, and no one wants to say that they’re regressive or anti-progress. So it’s automatically biased when used in any political context, because it paints a false dichotomy. If your position is “progressive,” then other positions stand in the way of progress. This is a deceitful tactic meant to discourage people from expressing disagreement, as it leaves you able, the moment they speak, to call them backward, “stuck in the past,” and “living for glory days that never were.”

I’m not a fan of that sort of thing.

At any rate, it typically means “tolerance,” or, at least, they say that it means tolerance.

Annnnd my thoughts just got thrown off because I made the mistake of emailing my colleague about paying me for some work I did Thursday, and he replied with his typical criticism:

I wrote you a $250 check Monday. How are you without money today?

Well, I’m not out of money, and I made that clear in the email I sent. I will be, after I purchase some important things.

But one would think this guy had never lived alone. I agree that a $250 check sounds pretty awesome, but what you have to remember is that… that was my paycheck for the week before. $250. A worker at McDonald’s working 40 hours a week at Minimum Wage makes $290, before taxes. That Minimum Wage worker, however, also qualifies for a lot of welfare benefits that I don’t because my employer is a small business. Even after taxes, the McDonald’s worker is still making about the same thing that I made, but most weeks I don’t make anywhere near that amount of money–I usually end up with $150 or $175. $250 was a good week.

Welcome to Mississippi.

But oh, no, everything costs the same here that it costs in states where people can get real jobs. Rent is cheaper here, but that’s it. The price of milk, gasoline, paper towels, cat food–they’re all standardized across the country, from Los Angeles to Boston, because they’re all bought from national chains that standardize their prices regardless of the local economy. This guy knows that I already subsist on a diet of water, ramen noodles, and bologna sandwiches–what the fuck else does he want from me? He knows that I quit smoking because I couldn’t afford it, and that I’m using a vapor device despite their horrendous consistency and my utter inability to find a reliably good liquid.

I mean, really. The only way I could cut down on expenses would be to die.

My television broke, and my only hope was to be able to get the service people down the street to repair it, because they do stuff like that and because I have a great business relationship with them. I’m not convinced that they even looked at it. After nearly 2 weeks, though, they finally called me and told me that they couldn’t fix it. So now I have a 22 inch monitor (which isn’t even 16:9, though it is at least a flat screen) that is the center of everything that I can do in my spare time. While it’s better than nothing, have you tried sitting on your couch and typing something on your 22 inch television? Because that’s essentially how my setup is–everything feeds from my computer, and my computer feeds into my television. A replacement 32 inch (which is smaller than the 72 inch that I used to have, but that my cats broke, leading me to switch to the 30 inch television that I had been keeping in my bedroom) 1080p television is only $160, but it might as well be $1600.

On top of that, my phone is fucked and I can’t receive calls. It needs a new battery, at the very least, but there’s a larger problem with it–any time I receive an incoming call, the display goes black and nothing will light it back up. I cannot see who is calling, and I cannot answer the call. My phone is totally unusable until they stop calling, and then I can look and see who it was. It could probably be resolved by reformatting it, but it would be less trouble to reformat my fucking computer. Given that the last time the battery drained, it took me nearly 3 hours to get it back on, I just don’t think the phone is worth putting much money or effort into.

Things aren’t made to last anymore, and that makes life very difficult when you’re me, because I simply can’t replace these devices that were designed to tear up and stop working. Sure, being able to replace your television for only $160 sounds terrific–until you bought a television a few years before and simply can’t afford to replace it now.

Plus, my graphics card is pretty much shot, and gaming is what I do with about 15% of my spare time. It can increase, if I’m particularly into a game. When I was recently playing Star Wars: Rogue Squadron 3D, for example, I was playing about 3 hours a day. Now that I’m using mods to wear the alternate outfits and was able to grab Resident Evil 6 on PC for like $6 (a game that I’ve had my eyes on for more than a year, and nearly purchased a year ago for $50–I have a love/hate relationship with RE6), I’m playing about 2 hours a day.

Or, at least, I was. Now, my graphics card simply stops working. Every three minutes or so, GPU usage will drop to 0% while CPU usage skyrockets, and my fps drops from 30 or 60 (depending on the game and settings) to 7 to 10. This lasts for about a minute, with the game being totally unplayable (I’ve found it’s best to just pause the game until FPS goes back up) in the meantime. Extensive testing has revealed that the GPU simply stops trying to process anything, but it’s not a heat issue. I can verify that. Not only is the case open, but there is an actual box fan on Hi blowing directly into my PC, on top of the CPU fan, three case fans, and the gfx card’s fans. Temp monitoring shows that the GPU never goes above 50 degrees (which is trivial for a graphics card), the CPU never goes above 60 degrees (AMD CPUs tend to idle around 45), and the motherboard occasionally hits about 65.

This has always been an issue, but it’s also one that I’d resolved. It seemed in the past that sometimes the GPU just wouldn’t “catch” properly. I’d boot up a game, it would work fine, and then FPS would drop to unplayable levels. The first time I experienced this was with Mortal Kombat 9, and I initially blamed the game. But I quickly learned that I could also boot up any other game, and it would do the same thing. In the end, MK9 simply became the “test game.” If I launch it and the fight begins still at 60 FPS, then everything is fine. But if the fight begins and immediately drops to 7 frames per second, then things are not fine. So I would reboot the PC, and then test again. Eventually, it would function correctly. It’s anyone’s guess why this happened. I’m an I.T. consultant, yes, and a damned good one, but hardware function and driver interactions operate at a level more specialized than I can handle.

The problem is more persistent these days, and I haven’t gotten it to “catch” in days. I’ve essentially stopped trying, and I believe the card is simply dead. That’s not the end of the world, since I needed to re-upgrade anyway, but that’s another $300 that I don’t have.

And am I really being criticized that I’m broke six days after receiving a paycheck that would make a Minimum Wage employee angry? It’s possible to live on such wages–I can attest to that, and I do attest to that–but it’s far from easy, and there’s very little luxury. It infuriates me to basically be living on Minimum Wage, in my own place with all my bills paid, and be criticized for not being able to make $1 pay for $1.50 of things. And if I’d known he was going to take this avenue, instead of just “Oh, yes, I’ll write you a check for the money that I owe you,” then I would have just gone without paper towels.

I can’t afford anything to break, and that has been the case since I returned from Vegas–something that will likely inspire me to go ahead and do that video. While I don’t blame the girl for that, I do blame the experience–and obviously, I undertook the experience–but none of that really matters. It’s simply the case. And it’s going to get worse before it gets better, as I become increasingly androgynous, breasts start to grow, and my hair grows–things that I’m not willing to undo or stop. The bottom line is that I have to move, but I can’t afford to move. I’m a goddamned college graduate with years of experience managing a company, managing large I.T. projects, and being the I.T. firm of multi-million dollar companies. Not only would moving allow me to get a real job, it would allow me to be transgender in peace, allow me to get my ID changed easily, and allow me to get hormones more easily.

Hm.

That’s something I need to really think about. Why… Why am I staying in Mississippi? I don’t even like it here, and it’s not like I really have a family anymore.

Central Authority v. Self-Governance

It’s interesting to watch the UK currently going through what could be called its “federalist growing pangs,” especially as an American who (not to brag) has a pretty solid understanding of how states, rights, liberty, and economies work (all 4 of those are much more interwoven than the average person thinks), because we in the United States have already fought that battle. We fought it during the 19th century, and it was called the Civil War.

For those who aren’t aware, slavery was the catalyst to the Civil War, a fact that really can’t be disputed, but it’s not exactly fair to say that it’s the cause of the American Civil War. In reality, States’ Rights and the Tenth Amendment–the question of whether a centralized authority governed a state, or whether the state governed itself–were the cause of the Civil War, and slavery (abhorrent though it was) was merely the catalyst that brought States’ Rights to a boiling point.

Since even before the Constitution was drafted and the Federal Government formed, there was discussion about whether the Federal Government should have the authority to legislate over member states, and, if so, what parameters were acceptable. This is most evident in the Federalist Papers and Anti-Federalist Papers (which I have read, but it’s been years, so forgive me), when Hamilton and Jefferson argued opposing viewpoints. Hamilton, a statist, argued in favor of a stronger Federal Government, while Jefferson argued for states’ rights and self-governance.

It has to be accepted that the two are at odds. For every power the Federal Government has, that is one power that the member-state does not have. If the Federal Government has the authority to determine what is and isn’t marriage, then the people of Mississippi who want to define marriage differently are, in effect, governed by the Federal Government, and not by themselves. While there can obviously be times when this is critical–such as if the state of Mississippi turned Gay Hunting into a year-long hunting season–the question of “when it is critical” is one that was debated extensively by the founders.

While I’m not going to launch into another long tirade about what is and isn’t a right, a few things must be pointed out. First, rights are not granted by governments. Let’s say that you have a box. I attack you and take the box from you. Years later, you get back up, fight back, and reclaim your box. Finally, I say, “Fine. Keep your box, then.”

Did I give you a box?

No, obviously not. That I stopped taking something from you, or that I returned something I had previously taken, is not the same as giving you something. And the course of human history makes it clear that rights are the box, because it’s inescapable that, in the earliest days of homo sapiens’ existence, a person could say and do pretty much anything they wanted. It doesn’t matter how far back we have to go–if we have to go back to the trees of the African plains, then so be it. The fact remains that liberty and rights are the natural state of affairs and that, in the very beginning, we had all rights.

It was not until the invention of the state that rights came under attack, and “come under attack” did they. Fast forward from the first chieftains and tribes to England in the 12th century, and you’ll find a mass of people whose “rights” are stomped upon at every turn; they could not be more unlike the ancient homo sapiens who spoke, thought, and lived freely. After much oppression, the British people came together, rose up, and took the box back with the Magna Carta. They did not then take back the entire box, but they took back a lot of it, and the past 800 years of human history have essentially been the people forcibly taking back more and more of the box.

To assert that rights are granted by a government is to fundamentally misunderstand rights, liberty, and human nature. Being able to speak, think, and act freely is the natural state of affairs. No right can be granted by a government. The government can either restrict a right or acknowledge a right, but it cannot create them. You are thinking of “social privileges,” but not rights. And you can argue all day long that this social privilege or that social privilege should be ubiquitous–that’s fine–but don’t call them rights, because they’re not, and calling them rights obscures your actual point of view.

The Confederate States had 150 years ago the opportunity to double down on the principles of liberty and self-governance that the Federal Government had been cracking down on, virtually since its inception. They did not take this highroad, though, and they merely used states’ rights as a mask to hide the fact that they wanted to keep slaves. To further backup the claim that the issue was never truly slavery and that slavery was merely the catalyst, consider this excerpt from one of Lincoln’s letters, where he reveals that his only concern is keeping the union together (e.g., continuing the encroachment of the Federal Government):

If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; and if could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it. … What I do about Slavery and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save this Union.

Slavery was merely the mask around which the question of states’ rights was decided. It was always about self-governance versus centralized authority, and the Confederacy’s failure to stand on principles ensured their defeat.

When secession petitions circulated the Internet a few years ago, Obama responded to them by saying that the founders intended the union to be perpetual. This is such a flagrant violation of self-governance that it hardly needs to be addressed, but let’s address it anyway. The founders are dead. Their intentions, their desires, their motives, and their concerns no longer apply to this world, and they certainly do not apply to modern politics, because we are not governed by the dead. The idea that the founders had the right to impose a government upon us that we could never abolish or escape from is abhorrent to the thinking mind. They had no more right to consign us forever to a union than we have to sign our future great grandchildren to a union. The idea is absurd, and that a President of the United States so poorly understands the nature of liberty that he believes it is relevant what dead people wanted is horrifying.

It would be interesting to see a referendum go before the people of Mississippi that asked whether we should withdraw from the union. Of course, there’d be immediate arguments that we’re part of the same landmass (an argument that is ridiculous, since, so is Mexico and so is Canada, yet neither of them are required to be part of the United States), but it would be more interesting to see how it played out and whether a state would even be allowed to secede. I would bet “No.”

Similarly, I don’t think the UK’s referendum will matter. Even if support for withdrawing falls 80%, I don’t think it will be allowed to happen. Either the current UK government will pull some kind of shenanigans (the referendum isn’t legally binding, after all) to wave it away, or the EU will impose itself upon the UK. For whatever reason, despite knowing it for thousands of years, we have yet to apply the very basic truth that no centralized authority has ever allowed one of its members to just leave.

I’ve been pointing out for years that the United States and the European Union are identical in nature and structure, and that we have simply forgotten that. We have forgotten that our own 50 states are states, are individual republics and nations. California, Germany, New York, Texas, Russia–these are all states. Accepting anything less is the equivalent of relinquishing our right to self-governance.

That is the question that now stands before the UK. Are they ready to surrender the idea of self-governance, ostensibly forever, since even the United States, who fought this war 150 years ago, has not reclaimed its right? There are many arguments that put the cart before the horse, especially on the European Court of Human Rights and other matters, most of which are direct products of the UK people, and they argue that pulling away from those will diminish their own standing. What a bizarre concept. If your principles created that institution, then your principles do not rely upon that institution. Another of those things that should never have to be pointed out…

While I do personally think the UK should go with self-governance, there is a huge disconnect between the American mindset and the European mindset–an almost irreconcilable disconnect. The disconnect is almost as severe as the one between Americans and Asians, and it’s caused by the same question: Individual versus Society.

Me, I’ll side with the individual every single time. Even when they’re assholes.

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For your amusement, the whole of the quote I pulled is:

I would save the Union. … If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; and if could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it. … What I do about Slavery and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save this Union.” In this masterful message, Lincoln reaffirmed his support for abolition without apologizing for the pace of change, while also subtly preparing pro-slavery Union loyalists for the announcement to come.

…and it came from http://www.civilwar.org/education/history/emancipation-150/i-would-save-the-union.html .

Pay attention to the author’s remarks. “In this masterful message, Lincoln reaffirmed his support for abolition…”

What?

No, he didn’t. He, like, literally did the exact opposite of that. The only thing he affirmed was his ambivalence for abolition. He affirmed his support for keeping the Union together, and he affirmed that slavery and/or abolition were only means to that end, and that he didn’t care at all which was the one that achieved that end. How can someone be so brainwashed and so thick that they literally read the opposite from what was actually said? Lincoln basically said “I don’t care about slaves. I just want to keep the Union together, and I’ll do whatever is necessary to ensure that.” And from that, this dumbass takes away Lincoln’s affirmation for abolition???