Anyone who has seen the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode called “The Drumhead” will probably have a pretty good idea of where I’m going with this. In the episode, a klingon happens to be a spy, and is caught–however, an accident that occurred at around the same time went unexplained, and, worried about saboteurs and collaborators, Starfleet began an investigation into the crew of the Enterprise.
What began as a seemingly justifiable investigation devolved almost immediately into a witch hunt, or, as Picard put it, a “Drumhead Trial”–a mock trial put on by a military tribunal where punishment was swift and decisive. It’s a well-known episode, and generally considered among that series best’s. It’s a pity that we learned nothing from its rather anvilicious lessons.
That doesn’t mean that, say, Michael Flynn, who just invoked the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying on the Hill, doesn’t have problems related to past payments from the Russians.
Er… No, Howard Kurtz, that’s not right. The way this is phrased creates the default idea that Flynn has those problems, and that his invocation of the fifth is evidence of that–otherwise, why even link these two things?
In the episode I mentioned, a young man is revealed to have lied about his heritage, having claimed to be half-Vulcan when he was actually half-Romulan, and the Romulans were essentially Star Trek’s Russians. During his publicly open interrogation, with dozens and dozens of people watching eagerly, he was asked about his true lineage, and he invoked the fifth (or, actually, Starfleet’s version of the fifth).
Immediately, the whispering and gasps rang out. Rumor swirled, and he was instantly assumed to be guilty.
Kangaroo done hung the juror with the innocent.
We would all do well to watch this tense episode once more, but allowing it to hit closer to home. You’ll see in the inquisitor none other than Democratic leadership, relentlessly pursuing every possible lead in their quixotic quest to find a collaborator or saboteur. In those nightmarish circumstances, where even Picard is ultimately brought in for questioning, even pleading the fifth becomes evidence of a person’s guilt.
The moral of the story is that we’re never more than one accident away from a witch hunt. We saw it last year when the clown sightings began–fully hysterical reactions from people over clowns who had done nothing to anyone and may very well not have existed in the first place. It’s entirely possible that there was never even a single clown, much less several, but that didn’t stop panic and hysteria from sweeping the nation: schools were locked down, clown masks were pulled from store shelves, and police investigations were launched.
Of course, we can look to an actual witch hunt if we’d like to depress ourselves, since 40,000 people were killed in puritan America for being witches–and, the reasoned mind of today understands that none of them were witches. The accusation alone branded one guilty, and often the trials involved horrific things like “Drown her. If she’s innocent, God will save her.”
Eyeballs deep in muddy water, fucking hypocrite.
I’m honestly not scared of much. I’ve had someone put a gun in my face and tell me to drop to my knees and beg for my life, whereupon I defiantly replied, “You’re gonna have to kill me, because I’m not doing that.” I’ve been left beaten and bloody in at least three parking lots. I’ve had picking up hitch hikers backfire on me in spectacular ways. But none of that scares me.
Hysteria, however… Hysteria terrifies me.
How long did McCarthy and Hoover’s reigns of terror last? There has even been talk of recognition the House of Un-American Activities. My death–who cares? It would likely be painful, but after that, over, so it’s really not something to be scared of. However, a witch hunt can go so very far beyond that–into tortured confessions, corrupt interrogators, presumed guilt rather than presumed innocence…
We played with the fire after the Orlando Shooting, as well, when people asked how this person who had been investigated three times by the FBI had been able to acquire guns. It is simply assumed, in their worldview, that a person is guilty if the FBI investigates them. Never mind that this could easily be part of the anti-Muslim witch hunt. “He was investigated three times? Then he’s guilty. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire! Besides, look what he did!”
Yes, but the fact that “what he did” was something he “hadn’t yet done” at the time he was being investigated is of critical importance. You can’t apply current knowledge about him to decisions people made about him in the past. And we damn sure can’t assume people are guilty just because we have an out-of-control investigatory agency that is perfectly poised to begin and instigate witch hunts.
I don’t know or care whether Flynn did whatever it is that he’s being presumed guilty of doing, and I don’t care if Trump played a role in it. Even if they do manage to demonstrate guilt (as opposed to assuming it), they still have to demonstrate why the whole thing is of any consequence at all.
Now people are talking impeachment. There’s no doubt: impeachment was on people’s minds on Election Day, as soon as the results came in. If the idea of having a hardcore religious nutjob as President sounds appealing, then, by all means, proceed with impeachment. People seem to think that we can make a Democrat president if we impeach Trump, or that we can spark an emergency election. Neither of these things will or can happen.
Kangaroo be stoned, he’s guilty as the government.
If Trump is impeached and remove from office, then Mike Pence becomes President. And any impeachment proceeding would look far more like a Drumhead Trial than anything that resembles a fair court. And, really, I think such an act could very easily spark a civil war, given that Trump has been in office barely four months and hasn’t done anything out of line with what previous presidents did. Removing the president that people chose before that president has even had the chance, in his supporters’ eyes, to do what they wanted him to do… I hope Democrats are ready for the fallout from that, because it won’t be the sunshine and daisies they seem to expect.
We have a problem, though, and the problem is fear. We are terrifyingly prone to panic, and that should be what scares us, not whatever bogeyman we’re panicking about at the given moment. Panic and hysteria shredded much of the Bill of Rights already. What is next in our witch hunt?
Elements on the left seem increasingly zealous about whether Trump was, perhaps, friendlier with Russia than they want him to be, but I’m not really interested in whether the increasingly desperate attempts to engage Trump and Putin in a bromance is based on truth or some mutated psychosis leftover from the Cold War. Actually, I’d say that Cold War paranoia is more like AIDS, because AIDS isn’t actually the cause of death for HIV sufferers–some other disease infects them due to their severely weakened immune system, and this disease is what kills them. So the Cold War paranoia is the AIDS that made us susceptible to this weird, virulent strain of “Them Damn Russians!”
But whether we’ve got a severe AIDS infection or whether we have cause to distrust Trump’s Russia connections isn’t of much relevance until another question has been answered: Why should we care if Trump has these alleged connections?
The first contention is that we should care because Trump is close to the country that subverted our democracy by interfering in our election. At best, this ranks among the most dubious claims that I’ve ever heard. The leaks ripped the DNC into pieces, but progressives have benefited from that as much as Trump did, so unless they’re guilty of the same collusion (in fact, irate Sanders supporters have at least as much motive as Trump–“Oh, hello, Seth Rich!”), the claim appears to be nothing but “You possibly benefited from this, so you’re guilty of collusion, and even though we provably benefited, we’re not guilty of collusion.”
Even if we assume that all of the Democrats’ bizarre claims are true, it still doesn’t answer the question of why I should care. Hillary was no better suited to be President than Trump, and that some people are willing to eat a plate full of dog vomit over a pile of festering shit is of no consequence to me, and certainly not reason for me to get mad that more people (by the weight of the political rules we all agreed to beforehand) scarfed down a helping of turds.
Even if Trump only won because of these ties to Russia (which, again, we’re assuming are true), so freaking what? If you’re going to hold up electoral processes as wonderful, quasi-magical things that must be insulated from influence of the outside world, and whose integrity must be beyond reproach, I’d take your claim more seriously if you hadn’t spent the last six months rioting because you didn’t get the election result that you wanted.
Until actual evidence has been put forward–something more than a laundry list of “He Said, She Said” bullshit–and as long as we live in a place where one of the great social principles is that one is innocent until proven guilty, it follows that the only people undermining the integrity of the election are the Democrats. Mind you, this is after Jill Stein’s recount attempts showed no disparity at all with the results.
So let’s be clear about this. It’s not “The election” that democrats are claiming was influenced. The vote totals were not changed via Russian meddling, and, to my knowledge, only the most uninformed and absurd progressives are making such claims. For the greater part, what liberals actually mean when they allege that Russia influenced the election is that Russia influenced voters.
Again, I must ask: “So?”
By the Constitution of the United States, an American voter has the immutable right to not only believe whatever the hell they want, but also (an extension modern liberals gloss over) to act in accordance with those beliefs. It doesn’t matter if Bob votes for Trump because he’s a Christian, as is Bob, and if Bob was convinced of Christianity by Americans or by Russian Jesuits. Why Bob believes what he believes is his own business, not ours, and we can’t threaten that without also curtailing his right to believe what he wants.
So, too, if Jim voted for Trump because he believes Hillary is the worst thing since gonorrhea, it’s not of any relevance to us whether he believes that because of the “documentary” “Clinton Cash,” because of the DNC Leaks, because of Wikileaks, or because he was taught to be Republicans by his parents and never looked any further. He cast his vote, and his reasons for doing so may be whatever he wants. Maybe he doesn’t like Hillary’s hair, or maybe he finds Hillary to be somewhat more psychopathic than the unpredictable Trump.
Whatever his reasons are, they are his reasons, and the alleged beauty of the American political system is that he gets the same number of votes to express his values as does anyone else. It’s fine that liberals would disagree with his reasons–either because they believe those reasons are factually incorrect, or they believe that one should value other things–and it’s fine for them to express this disagreement through the one vote that they each have.
What’s not okay is attempting to erase Jim’s vote because one disagrees with the beliefs he holds that led him to vote the way that he did. I notice there’s no criticism of the people who only voted for Hillary for stupid, demagogic reasons, or for equally asinine reasons like “Well, she’s the first female candidate!”
The liberals, it seems, don’t want to erase every vote that was based on reasons with which they disagree (since “She’s the first female candidate!” obviously flies directly in the face of the claim that “Gender shouldn’t matter,” the basis they use for criticising Trump supporters who voted for Trump because he’s a man), but only those for the other candidate with which they disagree, and, let’s be honest here, that’s basically all of them, because the entire fucking rift exists because liberals and conservatives value different things.
Is there such a thing, to the Democrat, as a good reason to vote for Trump? If there is, I’ve yet to hear a Democrat acquiesce that point.
You voted for Trump because you liked his expressed opinions on immigration? No, that’s illegitimate, you racist bastard.
You voted for Trump because you preferred his probable tax policy? No, that’s illegitimate, you elitist fool, dick-riding the rich.
You voted for Trump because you didn’t like Hillary’s arrogant and sociopathic demeanor? No, that’s illegitimate, you sexist pig.
You voted for Trump because you liked his abortion stance? No, that’s illegitimate, you fascist, because people have the right to convenient abortions.
The conservative/liberal rift occurs long before the candidates are chosen. The point of the presidential debates is not for the Republican candidate to entice Democrats, or the Democratic candidate to entice Republicans. Even independents are rarely swayed by such things. People simply don’t operate that way. Most have their value system and will vote for whoever best fits with that value system, and the divide between Republicans and Democrats is so large that there is almost no crossover. How many people voted for Trump because of Wikileaks or these presumed-to-be-true ties to Russia? I’d wager that the number is fewer than a thousand, throughout the entire country, because that’s just not how people work.
No amount of terrible things you told me about Hillary, however true they were, would have caused me to vote for Trump. No amount of terrible things you told me about Trump would have caused me to vote for Hillary. Honestly, how manipulable do Democrats think people are? At absolute best, the revelations of how much a candidate sucks will only reinforce whatever position I currently hold, and most Americans will readily pick and choose what information to take in and what information to discard.
This is practically a tautology. I’ve seen countless Democrats say that there’s no evidence that Hillary has ever done anything wrong–no hyperbole, no straw man. Yet these same people proclaim there is incontrovertible evidence that Trump did countless things wrong. Meanwhile, Republicans do the same and claim that there’s no evidence that Trump has ever done anything wrong, and that there is incontrovertible evidence that Hillary is the devil.
Anyone who is actually open to the information long ago concluded that both of these people are disgusting toads who have no business being anywhere near a position of power. That’s the keyword: open to the information. Because there is plenty of evidence that both Trump and Hillary are absolutely awful.
What we’re talking about isn’t that someone isn’t “open to the information.” It’s simply that someone disagrees with the liberal, and the liberal lost the election because of that disagreement.
Remember any of the 90s sitcoms that had families “vote” on what they were going to do, only for the adults to immediately lose the vote and say, “Well, our votes each count as two, because we’re adults”?
That’s all we’re seeing here.
And even if all this was true, no one has yet explained to me why it’s undesirable for the United States to have warmer relations with Russia. No one seems to care that the United States has warm ties to the European Union–or Pakistan, or India, or Saudi Arabia. So why Russia? In what weird understanding of the world is it bad for two great powers to get along?
Is it because of their human rights record? No, it can’t be that, because many of our Middle Eastern buddies have far worse records–as do we, as we house 20% of the world’s prison population while having only 4% of the world’s population, and you can’t get to those numbers without severe destruction of liberty and rights. Is it because Russia has nukes? So does India, Pakistan, China, many EU countries, the UK, and many others, so it can’t be that, either.
In fact, I’d bet everything that only a year ago the majority of liberals would have happily agreed that the United States needs to work with Russia. Why do liberals suddenly hate them so much that state congressional Democrats are seriously making the claim that the United States needs to break off all communications with Russia? What changed between then and now?
Democrats lost the White House. And since recount efforts showed the votes weren’t tampered with, rather than accepting responsibility and blaming themselves, they would undermine democracy itself with the contention that your vote only counts if you cast it for the reasons they want you to cast it. Put bluntly, your vote only counts if you cast it for their candidate.
They’d deny this adamantly, of course. “You can vote for a Republican,” they’d say. “Just not freaking Trump!”
I see no reason to believe that there’s any truth to this amended claim. In fact, I’m sure we’d be here today if Hillary lost to Kasich or Cruz. They say otherwise, and it’s useless to argue one hypothetical against another. Maybe they are telling the truth. I doubt it, though, because they’ve already lied to themselves about what they’re saying, and what they’re really saying is, “Your vote only counts if you cast it for reasons we agree with.”
If you want to talk tyranny and fascism, I think we’d have a hard time finding clearer examples.
I was left speechless when sections of the libertarian party criticized Nicholas Sarwark for appearing with Glenn Beck; I was stunned that anyone would care about such a thing, and even more surprised that anyone would consider it a bad thing. From where I sit, promotion of the party is a good thing. I’ve softened my position on Sarwark considerably, and I no longer really care to see him removed in 2018–nor do I really care to see him stay. My position on him is ambivalent, and depends largely on what he does between now and then, because the Libertarian Party is having what anyone would call a “leadership crisis” if it happened anywhere else and in any other context.
The Libertarian Party is a union of classical liberals, minarchists, libertarians, and anarchists who have united together for a common goal. It’s worth reminding people here that anarchists have already compromised by even playing with the system that they want to see destroyed. Of course, this compromise gets waved away as though it’s nothing, because there is so much contention that anarchists refuse to compromise, but it is true that, by even participating in electoral politics, anarchists have compromised with classical liberals and minarchists.
Libertarianism was essentially the “meet in the middle” position. It was agreed in 1974 that these various groups with disagreements about how far liberty should go would compromise on libertarianism. And here is where the first clear example of the leadership crisis comes in. The Libertarian Party has an absolutely dire need for Sarwark and other prominent libertarians to remind the Big L Libertarians that this is just as much the anarchists’ party as it is theirs. They don’t seem to be aware of this, but it’s just as much the Anarcho-Capitalist party as it is the Classical Liberal party and as it is the Minarchist party.
I’ve seen so many calls for “compromise” and “agreement” that are little more than masked statements that “Anarchists need to just shut up and go along with whatever we say.” As one of the aforementioned anarchists, our own party has not only marginalized us, but has also called us “the enemy” on several occasions, has made us heretics in our own party, and has simultaneously called us inconsequential and the bane of their success. Just as the Libertarian Party is said by the mainstream media to be inconsequential while also being the reason Hillary lost, so does the Libertarian Party turn around and say exactly that about anarchists. We’re irrelevant, apparently, but not so irrelevant that we can’t be single-handedly responsible for Gary Johnson’s failure to gain traction.
That’s the heart of the problem: they’re looking for someone to blame, and they’ve already found their scapegoat. If this means the Libertarian Party has to condemn the vice-chair for saying on his own Facebook page what is really just “the libertarian position,” then that is what these mainstream elements of the party will do.
I was the guest on Liberty Radio Network with Will Coley and Thom Gray last night, and I said then that this larger centrist element of the party is like a high school student who is absolutely obsessed with what everyone else thinks of him. They so desperately want to be part of the in-crowd that, yes, if their friends jumped off a bridge, they’d close their eyes and leap. They desperately want to go to prom and be voted prom king, and this causes them to do anything and everything that they think will help that happen, without any regard whatsoever to other considerations.
As a transgender atheist anarchist and resident of Mississippi, I know very well the pressures in society to care what other people think, to do what other people want, and to be what other people want you to be. I know exactly what it’s like to be in the closet because you’re terrified of how everyone will react. Everyone wants to be loved, and everyone wants approval; it’s no different for political parties. And yet there isn’t a person among us who wouldn’t repeat the banality that we shouldn’t care what other people think, and that we should be worried only about being true to ourselves.
In truth, when Libertarians say that they just want to see compromise, they’re implying, and sometimes state directly, that they’re referring to compromise between minarchists and anarchists. They do this to frame themselves as the reasonable ones who want to compromise, forever thwarted by those unreasonable anarchists who flatly refuse to. It’s, as Will Coley described last night, “Bait & Switch Libertarianism.” It’s a game in classical Transactional Analysis terms; they want to frame themselves as Adults who want compromise to convince themselves and each other (in a classic circle jerk) that they’re being totally reasonable, but the reality is more insidious: they’re taking a Parent position and demanding that anarchists take a Child position. Then, when anarchists refuse to shift from Adult to Child to accommodate this “Just shut up and go along with us” mandate, it allows the Libertarian to justify to themselves that they did everything a “reasonable” person would do, and that their only recourse is to wash themselves of us and continue demonizing us.
It’s a psychological trick that people often use to convince themselves that what they already believe is true. It’s a case of “Why Don’t You / Yes But,” where Person A says, “This is the problem,” and Person B proceeds to offer suggestions. Person A responds to each of them with, “Yes, but…” and gives a brief overview of why B’s solution won’t work. After a bit of back-and-forth, Person B will say, “Well, I don’t know, then.” This allows Person A to say to themselves, “See? It really is hopeless.” It’s just about Person A reinforcing to themselves what they already believe, and so the Libertarians end up playing TA games to reinforce to themselves that anarchists are being unreasonable.
The game is revealed to be a game by pointing out that anarchists are absolutely willing to compromise. First, many have already compromised by taking part in the Libertarian Party, though there are certainly many who refuse to do even that. That’s fine–no one is saying that we must compromise with them, because they don’t vote in the conventions anyway. On top of that, we’re willing to compromise on libertarian candidates, rather than even attempting to run anarchist candidates (even if such a thing wasn’t a contradiction in terms).
However, the centrists in the party don’t want to compromise with anarchists; they want to win elections, and that seems to be all they care about. It’s only a matter of degree, how many positions they’re willing to sell-out in order to win an election, which raises the question of why anyone who “wants to win elections” wouldn’t just go to the Republican or Democratic parties. Apparently, that would be too much selling out of their principles, but bringing in dyed-in-the-wool Republicans like Bill Weld somehow isn’t.
They state clearly their intentions, though. They want to win elections, and the reason they get so butthurt over things like Arvin’s statements as that they’re obsessed with mass appeal and “the marketing factor,” such that the last thing they want is to do or say anything that could possibly harm their ability to reach Republicans and Democrats. They criticize Arvin because his statements about the military will make it harder for them to reach alt-right people, nationalists, conservatives, and other right-wing people who worship the state.
Do you see what is happening?
They want to compromise with the alt-right people, nationalists, conservatives, and other right-wingers, not anarchists. This is problematic because libertarianism is the middle-ground between anarchism and statism. Now they want to compromise with Republican and Democrat statists. They rarely have the courage to say this directly, because they know that it’s impossible to find the middleground between libertarianism and statism while also finding middleground between libertarianism and anarchism, since libertarianism already sits between anarchism and statism.
In numeric terms, statism is 100, anarchism 0, and libertarianism 50. Libertarians say that they want to compromise with anarchists at 25. Yet their actions–their drive to secure mass appeal, to water down the message to appeal to Republicans and Democrats, nominations of Johnson and Weld–show that they’re trying to compromise with statists at 75. And they keep telling each other through all of this that we anarchists are the ones being unreasonable, that we’re heretics and enemies because we refuse to compromise, when, in fact, they’re refusing to even consider the possibility of compromising with us, because doing so would make it impossible for them to compromise with Republicans and Democrats.
Just recently I had someone block me on Facebook (again) for commenting his status wherein he’d described the Libertarian Party’s problem as playing host to people who were “anti-state, not pro-liberty” and whose refusal to compromise prevented the party from coming together. It was a clear attack on anarchists, and he’d basically straight up said “We need to compromise with Republicans and Democrats, not anarchists, but anarchists refuse to compromise with us.” Also worth mentioning is that he said in the post he believed that the state should exist to protect liberty. When I pointed out this glaring discrepancy, he replied that he is an anarchist.
To quote John McAfee–the libertarian candidate that anarchists were more than willing to compromise on, by the way (McAfee/Coley, McAfee/Perry, and McAfee/Weiss would have been excellent libertarian tickets)–“I shit thee not.”
When I pointed out next that he’d explicitly stated that he thinks the state should exist to protect liberty and therefore is most certainly not an anarchist, he told me to stop being rude. I didn’t say it then because the words escaped me, but… Fine. I’ll stop being rude as soon as you stop being disingenuous. Stop wearing this mask of reasonable compromise when what you’re actually saying is “Anarchists shouldn’t try to have a voice within the party that belongs to them just as much as it does me.”
And whatever he has to do to justify that statement, evidently he and others will do it–even if it means describing himself as an “anarchist” who believes the state should exist to protect liberty. Obviously, that is libertarianism/minarchism, not anarchism.
I shudder to think, you know? This guy–this libertarian or minarchist–described himself, and I swear I’m not making this up, as believing the state should exist to protect liberty and as being an anarchist. I have to ask, honestly: how do Libertarians think we can compromise with them if they misrepresent our positions so badly? An anarchist is literally someone who believes the state shouldn’t exist. That’s literally the difference between a minarchist and an anarchist. But instead of even listening to us to find out what we’re saying and what we believe, he found it easier to simply misrepresent himself as one of us, though he doesn’t share the ideology that literally defines the group known as “anarchists.”
It would be like if I said “I’m a Christian who believes Jesus wasn’t the Son of God, and Christians need to compromise with atheists and accept that Jesus wasn’t the Son of God.” It’s filled with so many examples of “Bruh, that word–it doesn’t mean what you think it means” that it’s hard to know what to say. A Christian is someone who believes that Jesus was the Son of God. Imagine how an actual Christian would feel if they saw me say that sincerely, and then imagine that, on top of that, I’m an atheist anyway and simply claiming to be a Christian while I attempt to convince other, actual Christians that they should do whatever it is that I’m advocating.
Yeah. “Disingenuous” doesn’t even begin to describe how messed up and deceitful it is.
That’s how badly we’ve been sidelined and marginalized by our own political party. And if they’re not doing that (and, yes, this was likely an extreme case of deceitfulness), then they’re busy calling for our heads for daring to remind people what the libertarian position on something is. I have argued with so many people about what the Libertarian platform does or doesn’t say. One has to marvel that this happens, because the Libertarian Party platform is like three clicks away from anyone who has the capacity to argue with me on Facebook.
But the “facts” just don’t come into play. That “anarchist” means “someone who thinks the state should not exist” doesn’t come into play when someone instead can identify as a pro-state anarchist. The ends, evidently, justify the means, no matter how much deceit is present in the means.
And even now, after Johnson’s loss to the two most toxic presidential candidates in modern history, and even after we saw Bill “Gun-Grabbing” Weld secure the libertarian vice presidential nomination over just about anyone who would have made a better candidate, nothing has changed. I’ve seen calls for Johnson 2020, and, oh God help us, Rand 2020. Their intentions are clear: they want to continue compromising with Republicans and Democrats, because all they care about is winning elections, and they have this idea in their head that we can take an incrementalist approach (Right? Because we all know that if you can convince Bob that we should legalize pot, it is much easier to convince him to legalize heroin… Right? Don’t we all know that?).
But that’s mutually exclusive with compromising with anarchists. It can be one or the other. Libertarians can compromise with anarchists, or they can compromise with statists. The only way to do both is unabashed, undiluted libertarianism. Short of putting forward unafraid, unapologetic, and unbridled libertarianism, we need Sarwark and other prominent libertarians to remind the party that it belongs to anarchists, too, and that they’re supposed to be compromising with us when choosing the party’s candidate, not attempting to compromise with non-libertarians.
And if those Libertarians should happen to decide that, yes, they do want to compromise with Democrats and Republicans, and that they aren’t interested in compromising with anarchists, then they should have the balls to state that outright and not to pretend like they want to compromise with anarchists.
The Libertarian Party is a party of principle, not agenda. Its goal is to spread libertarian principles, not to win elections; winning elections is just one of many methods of spreading libertarian principles, but it is not the only one. Given how this disaster-ridden attempt to win elections has left the principles of the party frayed, it’s clearly not even the best method.
The system is currently in a tizzy and can’t decide what to do–it is every bit the proverbial dog that finally managed to catch one of the cars it’s been barking at and chasing for years, now sniffing around the tires and just generally trying to find out “What the fuck.” After pointless gestural votes showing their support for repealing the Affordable Care Act, House and Senate conservatives now have the ability to put some actual weight behind those votes, but instead are seemingly doing everything in their power to not do that.
I discussed that idea briefly in this podcast:
It’s a long one, at nearly an hour, so get comfortable. Also be aware I’m not doing any more podcasts in that voice, because I inexplicably sound angry, due to how I edit out most of the silence. While recording, I actually speak almost exactly like Obama did, and when you remove the gaps the result is what sounds like a continuous angry rant.
Anyway, that’s just there if you’re interested.
It’s a little weird that I have the solution to America’s health care crisis, but the people we’ve elected to solve such problems have no idea what to do. Actually, it’s not weird at all: the solution is for them to do nothing, because they’re absolutely useless anyway, and we have this strange idea in the United States that the government should do stuff and try to solve problems. Politicians don’t just believe that bullshit; they are the primary peddlers of it, because if people knew that politicians can’t solve problems, then politicians would be out of a job and out of power. It’s far better for them to look like they’re doing something productive–such as repassing the Affordable Care Act under a different name–than to do nothing at all and run the risk of the masses figuring out that a law wasn’t necessary in the first place.
Imagine, for example, if computer problems had the observable habit of fixing themselves. To be clear, they don’t–they may be intermittent problems, but a computer problem does not just go away or fix itself. However, let’s pretend that they do. My job, of course, is to fix people’s computer problems. It’s in my best interest to do anything that I can to attempt to fix the computer problems, and it’s obviously against my best interest to do nothing: if I do nothing, then your computer problem will fix itself, and you’ll realize how unnecessary I am to the process. Ideally, my tinkering with the system would actually make the problem worse–fixing one problem by creating two more–and then you’d need me to fix those two new problems. Would you ever notice that you would have been better off if you’d never gotten me involved? Perhaps once the one problem had morphed slowly into nine hundred and sixty problems, you would be raising your eyebrows.
In the real world, it wouldn’t get anywhere near that far. If you called me out to fix your computer problem, and I temporarily resolved it, only for it to return a little while later and be even worse than it was before I touched it, you’d only give me a few more chances to actually fix the issue before you called someone else. “You were supposed to fix my Internet!” you might say. “Now Outlook doesn’t even open and my computer crashes five times a day! Fix it or I’m calling someone else!”
Imagine, though, that you couldn’t call someone else, because I was in charge of all computer problems and fixing them–there was no one else to call. If I implemented a solution, then no one could undo that solution and no one could work against that solution–if they did, their act of working against that solution would be illegal, and they would face fines and incarceration for doing it.
Do you see how, in this scenario, I have you by the balls? I can do anything I want to your computer, and you can’t do anything about it. Perhaps every four years we have a vote to either give me the power to fix your computer, or to give another person the power to fix your computer, but when it comes time to vote everyone always chooses me or this one other person. Neither of us ever actually fix your computer, and your computer goes from “working but with intermittent issues that fix themselves” to being a total clusterfuck of contradictions and problems. And there’s nothing you can do about it, because you’re not even allowed to call someone else or to keep us from tinkering with your computer.
That’s the government.
We can’t just call another government to fix our health care system–we only have the one, and whether that government currently consists of Republicans or Democrats doesn’t much matter as far as the health of your computer is concerned. Whether we’re Republicans or Democrats just determines how we screw up your computer; it determines the fixes we attempt to implement, and the mechanisms we use to make the problem worse. Believe it or not, our analogy also gets worse than what I just outlined.
The government isn’t just trying to fix your computer. No, quite bizarrely they promise that they can fix everything in your life. They can fix your house, your health care, your vehicles, your electricity, your food, your computer, your fridge, and any other problem that you might have. At least with a dedicated specialist, you could ask for their qualifications and shop around until you found someone who you felt was qualified to fix your problem. In the case of government, we have people who realistically know almost nothing about these areas attempted to fix problems in those areas.
No one is capable of repairing a fridge and a computer, monitoring a coal or nuclear power plant, and determining how much rubber a vehicle’s tires should contain. No one enjoys such a sweeping array of specializations and talents. We all know this intuitively. If your fridge repair guy offered to disassemble your motor and replace your head gaskets, you’d probably be a little hesitant about letting him do it, and if he then offered to provide you with recommended [mandatory] regulations for the plumbing in your home, you’d definitely be cautious and unlikely to take him seriously. But when it comes to government, it’s “Nope. These guys and girls can do everything, because they know everything.”
This is why we hate it so much when a politician dares reveal to us that they don’t know something. Our entire system is built on the assumption that politicians are omniscient and omnipotent. When Gary Johnson asked, “What is a leppo?” people turned against him more than if he’d said, “I just think that we don’t need government telling us that we can’t marry little kids.” How dare Gary Johnson reveal that he didn’t know something?! That’s unacceptable to western society. We make a token effort of criticizing Politician’s Answers, when they go on lengthy tirades about something unrelated to anything that was asked of them–just watch the presidential debates and count how many times Trump brings up Isis or immigration while answering a question that has nothing to do with either, and how many times Hillary brings up Russia while answering a question that has nothing to do with them. We’ll accept anything except “I don’t really have the answer to that.”
Saying “I don’t have the answer to that” would destroy a candidate’s chances of winning, and that’s because we need that conceit. We need to believe that our politicians have all the answers, because somehow we’ve convinced ourselves that government has all the answers.
So what about health care, then? What is this solution that I profess to have?
It’s simple: get the government out of it. Repeal every law and every regulation.
And that’s a kneejerk reaction. Clear your mind of that emotional reaction, and then proceed.
Unsurprisingly, most people aren’t really sure what laws and regulations are even on the books, so they have no way of knowing what the effects would be if those laws were repealed. It’s beyond the abilities of anyone to give a comprehensive list, but here are some things that would go away:
Pharmacies would no longer be regulated and could fill prescriptions written by anyone, and could even pass out “prescription drugs” without prescriptions.
Doctors would no longer be required to be certified–rubberstamped–by the government.
Doctors would no longer be required to attend 8+ years of school.
Anyone with the startup money could open up a medical practice or a pharmacy.
The doctor could purchase drugs directly and fill your prescription instead of sending you to a third party.
I haven’t so lost touch with the average person that I’m unaware of how horrible all of that sounds. Each of those sounds like a terrible idea. This, too, is a kneejerk reaction that only focuses on the negative consequences. I don’t deny that there would be negative consequences. There would also be positive consequences.
If anyone could open a medical practice, then we would have quacks opening up doctors’ offices in their basements and garages, and then attempting to diagnose people and write them prescriptions. We would have pharmacies who were willing to give anyone just about any drug in exchange for money, with no hesitation about turning people into drug addicts. We might even have people dying because the quack they went to see misdiagnosed their pneumonia as a common cold.
Let’s take those in reverse order. It’s not exactly hard to diagnose pneumonia. A stethoscope is all that’s necessary, and anyone can watch a YouTube video to learn what pneumatic lungs sound like–they have fluid in them, which is pretty easy to listen for. If you went to a doctor because you had pneumonia and he didn’t even take the time to listen to you breathe, and then he told you that you had a cold, you would almost certainly ask to see that doctor’s credentials. If he couldn’t provide them, you’d probably request a refund and would go see another doctor. We even do this today, with our spiderweb of regulations and oversights meant to eliminate quacks, because often we don’t trust a doctor’s diagnosis and want a second opinion.
A pharmacy that would sell anyone whatever drugs they want is nothing more than a drug dealer with a brick-and-mortar building. That’s… not really a problem. Trying to keep people from securing drugs they want to take has observable and severe consequences. It has also never worked. Prohibition has never worked. If you eliminate someone’s ability to do something openly, but they still want to do that thing, then they will invariably find ways to do that thing in secret. Alcohol Prohibition didn’t stop the manufacture, sell, and consumption of alcohol. The regulations and laws didn’t keep me from getting addicted to pain killers. Marijuana prohibition hasn’t stopped people from smoking pot. Abortion Prohibition didn’t stop people from getting abortions–
And let’s discuss that last one for a moment, shall we? Because we know it for a fact, and it’s an argument in liberals’ toolkits in favor of legalized abortion. Even the most diehard liberal will admit that prohibiting abortion didn’t prevent abortion from happening; it merely chased it into the black market, into society’s shadows, where standards of safety and decency were non-existent. Prohibition doesn’t work.
So this pharmacy develops a reputation as being a drug dealer, and that causes them to lose the business of the “respectable people.” The soccer moms, Catholics, and other “upstanding citizens” wouldn’t be caught dead going into that pharmacy, because anyone who saw it would say, “Oh… She’s a drug addict?” and the gossip and rumors that would result would sink that person’s reputation. This is an observable thing already. “Why is our youth minister cruising Brooks Road at midnight? Is he seeing prostitutes?”
Who cares that drug addicts will have an easier time getting drugs? That’s a good thing. And it would be even better because the addicts could just buy heroin, crystal meth, crack, and whatever else from a pharmacy, out in the open, and not in danger. They wouldn’t have to worry about the person running off with their money when they were supposed to be right back. They wouldn’t have to worry about heroin laced with lethal chemicals to kill them because they were suspected of being informants, because there would be no one to inform to. See? These “negative consequences” that people inherently have a kneejerk reaction to… are actually positive consequences.
These are all good things. We may or may not like it that the coke addict up the street suddenly has an easy and affordable way to get his fix, but that coke addict was getting his fix anyway. Our laws and regulations weren’t stopping him. And even if we did bust him and send him to prison, there are a thousand more ready to fill his place. I shouldn’t have to go into the inherent dangers of the black market, and how it creates violence and people like Al Capone. When was the last time Budweiser was in the news for breaking the kneecaps of its competition? When was the last time that Bayer was in the news for putting fentanyl in its hydrocodone to punish people for buying from Watson?
Never, that’s when.
And it’s an observable fact: black market drug dealers don’t ask for an ID. I never met a drug dealer who told me that they wouldn’t sell to me because I wasn’t 18 years old. Legalizing drugs reduces the number of teens using drugs. If we had a pharmacy repeatedly being called out for selling percocets to fifteen year old kids, that community would rally together and shut down that pharmacy quickly.
And what of the people who have no qualifications at all for treating people’s illnesses? Well, we have those already! There is no scientific evidence to support homeopathic medicine, acupuncture, and similar things, but they exist today, and have ardent defenders who fight tooth and nail against attempts to restrict them. We do have people dying because they think they can pray their illness away, or pierce it away with needles, or flush magical toxins from their body with enough fucking wheatgrass. These people exist already, and not only can you not protect them from their bad decisions, they resist every attempt for you to protect them from their own bad decisions. They don’t want you to tell them that they’re being idiots and playing with their health.
Neither do you have the right to. As loyal as I am to scientific methodology, and as much as I reject homeopathic medicine, the Placebo Effect is a real thing, and something that we have only begun to understand. We know that it’s possible, if someone believes that drinking carrot juice will cure them, they may very well walk away cured. This is why every drug ever synthesized stacks its effectiveness against the Placebo Effect, and things like aspirin provide a noticeable improvement in headache reduction over placebos. But this doesn’t mean that a person can’t take Vitamin E and have their headache cured. If the Placebo Effect and homeopathic remedies [sic] are enough to cure them, then let them have the cure they want.
Besides, we don’t have the right to tell other people what they can and can’t do. This gets murky when we’re talking about children, but I’m not even going to touch that one, because the issue persists today and would continue to persist regardless. This means it’s irrelevant to the discussion at hand.
We don’t need the government breaking into people’s homes and arresting people for using hair dryers in the shower to prevent people from using hair dryers in the shower. If they’re irresponsible and reckless enough to do that, then it’s senseless to try to spare them the consequences. It can’t be done, and attempting to do it means that everyone has their homes broken into by the police several times a day in the attempt. Liberty and privacy are destroyed for everyone in our misguided attempt to protect reckless people from the consequences of their own poor decisions.
If someone is reckless enough to just take the word of an unqualified and untrained doctor, we can’t protect them from that. Worse, it could very well be the case that there are people out there more than capable of diagnosing the flu, the cold, pneumonia, and other things, but who lack any formal training. These people obviously wouldn’t be able to charge as much as a doctor with an 8 year degree. If they came across something that they couldn’t diagnose, they would direct you to someone who was more qualified.
You know, like what already happens today.
“I don’t know about that mole,” your general practitioner might say. “It’s irregularly shaped. You should go see a dermatologist about it.”
Obviously, the dermatologist will charge you more than the general practitioner, because the dermatologist is better qualified. So the girl with a two year degree in Physical Fitness and the guy with a four year degree in Human Physiology may not be able to diagnose your cancer, but they would be able to diagnose a lot of things, and they would not cost nearly as much money.
And that is the key.
No one would pay $150 per visit to go see a doctor whose only qualification was a 2 year degree in physical fitness. They would, however, pay that doctor $20 for a visit, to get a yearly physical and checkup, or to get a prescription for their pneumonia or whatever. Neither would anyone pay $150 per visit go see a doctor with a 4 year degree, but they would probably pay $50 to get a more accurate assessment and physical, or a diagnosis.
This increases our options. It’s no longer just “I need to go see a doctor over this relatively minor thing, but each one is going to charge between $100 and $150 for a visit, so… I’m just screwed, I guess. Let’s see, that’s www.webmd…”
I know lots and lots of people who abuse the Emergency Room precisely because they refuse to pay $150 to have their flu diagnosed and to receive a few prescriptions. This not only increases ER wait times, it’s always a loss for the hospital, because those bills never get paid. The hospital can’t turn people away, and they didn’t turn people away before we made it illegal; doctors and medical people have always taken the Hippocratic Oath seriously, and it wasn’t until we forced them to that they began shirking it. A fair number of these people, however, would spend $20 to be looked at by someone capable of diagnosing the flu.
The system would work just fine.
Sure, there would be occasions when someone died because they went to see a quack, or because they believed in homeopathic medicine that proved incapable of treating their leukemia. Lawsuits brought by family members against these reckless institutions would be in order, and those who were reckless would quickly be put out of business. If you die because I told you that you had the cold and you had pneumonia, then that’s on me for overstepping my qualifications, for putting my arrogance and desire for money above your life, and your family has a legitimate lawsuit against me for recklessly playing with your life in pursuit of profit.
This doesn’t do you any favors, but your family should have tried convincing you to go see someone else about the time you started coughing up blood, too. Let’s not deny your own responsibility to your health, or your family’s responsibility to talk some sense into you.
But if you let this fear of the consequences motivate you to let the government try to fix something with a law, then this health care mess is the result. Why are doctors so expensive? Because they’re protected from competition by people who could easily compete with them at lower price points. A doctor can charge you $125 for a visit because I can’t undercut him by saying, “You don’t need to go see him and pay that much. I can diagnose the flu, and here’s the 4 year degree that proves I’m probably capable of diagnosing such a common illness. Pay me $40 and I’ll take a look at you.”
Voila! We reduced the cost of your visit to the doctor from $125 to just $40. We cut out two-thirds of the price. And we didn’t need the government for it to happen. We didn’t need insurance companies to jump into bed with one another and with doctors and pharmacies and drug companies. We didn’t need price controls. We didn’t need monopolistic insurance industries. All we needed was to get the government out of the way and let people be free.
It’s a subject I’ve avoided for the most part, but one that I can’t take any longer. I know a fair number of self-described libertarians, and even a few self-described anarchists, who boarded the Trump Train, and so I felt it best to just look the other way. Many of these people are friends, after all.
But these same people still support Trump, and I’ve got to call them out on it.
First, let’s talk about the VALs (Voluntaryists, Anarchists, and Libertarians, self-professed and actual) who routinely criticized Hillary as a passive attempt to help Trump, instead of just doing it because the bitch clearly wanted to start World War 3. They didn’t want Hillary to lose; they wanted Trump to win. I wanted both to lose. I wanted everyone to lose, in fact. No one on the ballot should have been on it.
If you attacked Hillary hoping to hurt her so that Trump would win, then you’re not just “not a libertarian.” You’re also underhanded and untrustworthy. We can’t just distrust the things you say; we must also distrust your motives for saying it.
I’m not gonna sit here and lie to you. I’m biased as hell. Everything I wrote during the election was aimed at making Hillary lose and McAfee win. I avoided Trump most of the time, because so many other people were attacking him, and instead focused my Trump articles on primarily addressing hysteria–hysteria that remains more of a problem than ever. In the grand scheme of things, Hillary was probably worse, seeing as she repeatedly threatened military action against Russia, but that doesn’t make Trump any better. He’s still a buffoon.
As to the people who fell for Trump’s speeches about draining the swamp, and who have now realized that it was all bullshit, welcome back. I hope you learn from the experience what I learned from Obama in 2008: no one in the main two parties can be trusted to do anything they say. I don’t know why anyone who was an adult in 2008 didn’t know this, but it happens, I guess.
Now the biggest group: the ones who are still with Trump.
Fuck all of you.
You’re not librarians or minarchists, and you’re damn sure not anarchists. Trump is clearly just another politician. If you supported Trump because you wanted to throw a bomb at Washington, I get it. I don’t approve of your choice in bomb, but I understand your sentiment.
But Trump wasn’t a bomb, was he? No, he was just wearing a Bomb Mask.
Pictured: Trump campaigning.
Now that he’s removed the mask, nothing but doublethink and cognitive dissonance can keep those people supporting him. He’s not a bomb. He’s not challenging the status quo. He’s just another politician, and one with a scary understanding of the military’s purpose and an America-centric way of viewing the world.
I was willing to give you guys the benefit of the doubt and let you say that you fell for his con. But you’re still falling for it, even though it’s apparent that he’s nothing but a modern Lincoln. You know. Lincoln. That President that libertarians despise because he cemented the federal government’s hold on the states, suspended the Bill of Rights, and killed more than half a million Americans. Policy-wise, he and Trump are identical. “The Union first” morphed into “America first.” The only thing that remains to be seen is how far Trump is willing to go.
But if by some chance [note: it would require more explanation than I’m willing to get into right now, but my position on California’s secession has changed–I now support it] California secedes, then we’ll see first-hand how similar they are.
And I’ve no doubt that you Cum Trumpsters would continue cheerleading for him as he invaded California. Why not? You guys don’t have the credibility to simply claim you’d be against such an invasion; your credibility lies burned by the bombs that killed the 8 year old girl.
You are every bit as bad as hypocritical conservatives. You know, the people who claim to want small government, unless it’s something they want to do, in which case big government is okay. That’s exactly what you’re doing. Your biggest issue is immigration. Even though the federal government has no authority over immigration (something that you knew until Trump announced his campaign), and certainly no rational or moral justification to affect it, you’re now totally okay with the federal government dictating over all fifty states and even cities in the name of your pet issue.
Just like a conservative.
Just like a liberal.
And, just like the conservatives, you completely lack the self-awareness to realize how hypocritical you are. If the federal government wanted to allow abortion in all fifty states, you’re all “RAWR! STATES’ RIGHTS!”
But if the federal government wants to force California to use Texas’s immigration policy, you don’t see the problem, the tyranny, or the hypocrisy. Because it’s YOUR pet issue.
Conservatives blew it, as I knew they would. It’s true that I hoped they wouldn’t, but I knew they would.
They had the chance to put their money where their mouths have been, to not force conservative positions onto liberal states. And instead of beginning to build bridges by allowing liberals to continue being liberal in liberal states, they jumped right to forcing conservativism onto everyone, particularly in regard to immigration, though there are other areas.
And you’re doing the same shit. “Oh, I’m a libertarian! I don’t think the government should be telling anyone what they can do! … Unless the government is going to tell them to do what I want them to do, in which case, yeah, I’m okay with that.”
You only want liberty when you get your way. If people who disagree with you want to get their way, then you suddenly stop being libertarians.
That’s conservatives’ shtick. Get that shit out of here.
Oh, and transgenderism? There is no fucking better indicator of a Cum Trumpster than vehemence toward transgender people. It’s not ubiquitous or exclusive, but it is certainly one of the best indicators. If someone professes to be a VAL but insults transgender people, particularly by calling us mentally ill, then I’ll gladly take the bet that they’re a Cum Trumpster.
You want to talk about mentally ill? Let’s talk about the Cum Trumpsters who think that the number of brown people in the country affects their lives in any way, and who think that how brown people enter the country makes even the smallest difference.
For fuck’s sake, these “Libertarians” are for the wall. The wall! The motherfucking, goddamn wall. I’m not sure that anything can get more statist than “We need the government to put a fence around our country!”
As Ron Paul pointed out repeatedly, walls don’t just keep people out. They also keep people in. Under no fucking circumstances should the government be building walls that could one day trap us in a la East Berlin. But no, these “Libertarians” are for it! They’re for what is probably the crowning symbol of statism: border walls.
Many of these same “Libertarians” want states or the federal government to legislate that a person can only use the restroom associated with their birth certificate. Even though, you know, they clearly don’t trust birth certificates, which is why their champion Trump carried the “Obama is a Kenyan” shit for so long. Though they don’t trust Obama’s to honestly report his place of birth, they’ll trust yours to report your birth sex.
They’re particularly fond of saying that liberalism is a mental illness. So is conservatism, and I just don’t see a difference any longer between them and conservatives.
And they are conservatives, clearly–they want to conserve the 1950s Leave it to Beaver way of life that never actually existed anyway. They think their way of life is somehow under threat. It wasn’t long ago that I read an article by one Cum Trumpster saying that multi-culturalism was bad. What? Coexisting alongside other cultures is bad?
No, idiots. It’s only bad if incoming cultures refuse to allow and accommodate other cultures. It’s not even about assimilation; it doesn’t matter if people assimilate. It only matters if they conquer other cultures.
And while I know they don’t understand the difference and truly believe that Muslims are trying to conquer their culture, that’s because they are lunatics who think that a transgender person demanding the state not force its gender definitions onto her is the same as her forcing her definitions onto everyone.
And I do hate to say it, but that’s certainly a side effect of privilege: thinking that not being allowed to force your way onto people is the same as them forcing their way onto you. I mean, for centuries those people had the power and ran all over everyone. Then the democrats formed their equality coalition and pushed back. Of course, then that coalition became addicted to the power and went way too far, moving the goalposts from equality to elevation of minorities. I even agree that democrats have done that.
But the solution is egalitarianism and no one forcing things onto anyone. The solution is not reverting back to the way things were and forcing conservatism onto liberals. Just like Democrats, you “Libertarians” have moved the goalposts from liberty and egalitarianism.
So kindly fuck off and stop calling yourselves libertarians, voluntaryists, minarchists, and anarchists. You’re not. You’re conservatives who want small government when Democrats want to force their way onto you, and want large government when you can force your way onto them.
Some of you criticized Johnson for not being a libertarian, too. Are you kidding me? If you’re going to criticize Johnson for not being libertarian enough while supporting Trump, then you’re an idiot and you’ve dug the principled high ground right out from under your own feet.
I criticized Gary Johnson repeatedly as the libertarian candidate. The difference is that I did so because of principles. The Cum Trumpsters appear to have simply used that as an excuse to back a terrible candidate. And yes, Trump was a terrible candidate, and he’s proving a terrible President. I don’t know why anyone expected anything else. My sister recently said, “I like that Trump is doing what he promised to do.”
Like what? Bombing little kids? It’s true, he did promise to go after families. I have a hard time accepting that anyone, regardless of what they call themselves, is okay with that, but fair enough–he did promise to do that, and he is doing it.
That doesn’t make him a good President. It makes him a murderer. A monster. A depraved, disgusting wretch of a human being with calloused disrespect for life.
Tariffs are bullshit, too. They do have some place in world trade, but their only conceivable non-destructive use would be implementing them on a plan to phase them out from the start, easing a nation into an economic change instead of taking it all at once. That’s not good by any means, and consumers ultimately pay the cost, but it’s the only non-destructive role they could play. They’d still be damaging, but not destructive.
Economics is a pretty big part of libertarianism. I know very few VALs who are economically ignorant. So the Cum Trumpsters should *know* that tariffs on China should be put in place only if the plan is to abolish the Minimum Wage, and even then should start on a system to phase them out over several years. Ditto for Mexican tariffs. And this is because we KNOW that taxes are paid by consumers.
That sales tax you pay at Wal-Mart? That’s not a tax on you buying the item. It’s a tax on Wal-Mart for selling the item. But because Wal-Mart doesn’t want to eat the cost, they pass it onto you. That’s how taxes work. Consumers are always screwed by them and by tariffs. I’ll grant that it’s conceivable tariffs could be used to soften economic blows. I wouldn’t like it, and I think it would extend the damage, but I’m not going to argue the point. But just imposing tariffs and taxes?
A libertarian should know better.
I arrived on-site at a client’s and had to get started working. I intend to add more to this.
It seems that everything in America gets politicized to the point of being an exercise in partisanship, and in hindsight that’s not as surprising a statement as I thought. On the contrary, an ultra-partisan atmosphere was always the inevitable result of an overblown federal government that rules over everyone and that is divided into two diametrically opposed, fundamentally insane political parties.
Everything from gay acceptance to climate change to fake news to Russian hacking–it has become not a matter of facts and information but a matter of which side of the aisle one stands on. Truth is now in the eye of the beholder; the details of what a person believes now seem to be determined by the simple question of their party affiliation.
So, of course and predictably, the question of whether Russia had anything at all to do with the 2016 election results is similarly polarized. Except it’s kinda not, because there was not and has never been anything to the allegation in the first place, beyond the accusation itself.
I have to confess that I’m a bit shocked by how successful this propaganda campaign has been–because it is propaganda, which makes the existence of PropOrNot, a website ostensibly devoted to eliminating propaganda, all the stranger. It’s almost funny in a “Haha, America is doomed” kind of way, because PropOrNot is nothing more than an attempt to smear other sides of the discussion and drown them out with the same accusations that Democrats have been making for months. In other words, it is propaganda and, in true Orwellian fashion, subsists off accusing everyone else of being propaganda.
The only thing worth marveling at is what spectacular crybabies the Democrats have been. Nothing the Republicans did following either of Obama’s victories even comes close to the petulant whining of the Democrats–except, funny enough, the Trump-led birther movement, and that’s what we’re seeing here. This is the Democrats’ equivalent of demanding Trump’s birth certificate.
One would almost snidely say, “Good plan. Because that worked out so well for the Republicans,” except we just handed the presidency to the buffoon who led the charge on demands for Obama’s birth certificate and college transcript–up to and including promising to give money to a charity upon the release of the latter, and then failing to.
There is a difference, though. However asinine it was, Trump’s calls for Obama’s birth certificate never had the possibility to start a war. We were already at war with more Muslim countries than I care to think about, but we are not currently at war with Russia–unless you count the proxy war in Syria, which people would if it didn’t clearly paint the U.S. as the aggressors.
I saw a friend share something on Facebook earlier–apparently Assange resurfaced to totally promise us that he like totes 4 real didn’t acquire the information from Russians.
Well, shit! That changes everything, doesn’t it? Good. The Democrats can put it to rest and not mention it ag–
Oh. Except Assange has already been deemed a tool of Russian propagandists himself, so… Yeah. The Democrats will respond, “Well, of course he’d say that! He’s a puppet of the Kremlin!”
They have their own talking heads, too–the omniscient Central Intelligence Agency, who leaked a report that, while it contained no evidence, promised that it like totes 4 real knew that Putin was behind the DNC Leaks. Well–that Russians had influenced the election. Interestingly, the Democrats have been completely unwilling to point to any specific event as being done by Russia, instead leaving it strongly implied–that way, you see, they can’t be proven wrong.
Not that they can be convinced they are wrong, though. No, the only people who can convince the Democrats that Russia didn’t hack the election are the Democrats. I suspect the only people who can actually be persuaded by the evidence–or the continued explicit lack of evidence–are libertarians and greens. Some portions of the GOP are looking for the evidence, too–led by John McCain and old school hawks who are, to be honest, not exactly known for being interested in facts anyway.
I suspect that those Never Trumpers side with the Democrats on this one issue: Russia is Satan, and so they start their search for the truth leaning toward Russia being guilty. The Anti-Russia bachukirism* was what made such people swoon over Hillary in the first place. “She’s like George W.!” they cheered. “Except in a pantsuit!”
It’s not very surprising how much and how many Americans hate Russia. We hate China, too, now that they are becoming a superpower. “No!” those Americans proclaim. “You were just supposed to make our Nikes for us, not put the money into savings and become wealthy!”
This is something I’ve discussed before, of course. It’s the same reason that the EU demanded Apple pay Italy a bunch of money that Apple didn’t owe: “Why compete when you can crush?” Why play fair, according to rules of morality and fairness, when you can instead use your advantage to undermine the rules of the game?
Oh, but the CIA said~!
Which is almost as useful to me as what Assange said.
The CIA could tell me that their conclusion is that the sky is blue, and I’d demand to see their evidence. Are we so short-sighted and forgetful that we’ve forgotten that the CIA is like 97% of the reason we’re in Iraq? Because the CIA promised that Saddam totally, for sure, definitely had WMDs. This is Operation Paperclip CIA, right? Project MK-ULTRA CIA, right? “Saddam totally has WMDs” CIA?
At least with Iraq and Saddam they had the good taste to furnish images.
I get it, though. Democrat CIA is totally different from Republican CIA, just like loving, happy Democrat bombs falling on countries that are no threat to us are totally different from those mean, evil Republican bombs. That’s just how partisan we are.
Republicans and Democrats, it’s not just “the other party.” Your party is full of lying, manipulative sociopaths, too. They’re all lying, manipulative sociopaths. Republicans and Democrats alike–lying, manipulative sociopath. Say it with me now: “Just like <insert other party>, my own party is full of lying, manipulative sociopaths.”
The only thing that matters is whose cry of “Wolf!” you believe.
Well, I’m sorry, little boy, but I’ve heard this cry too many times to accept it at face value. So, as a millennial, let me welcome you to 2016.
Following Brexit, many Remain advocates wanted to vote again, because so many people hadn’t voted at all–this despite the Brexit vote having the highest turnout in the UK since the 90s. As I pointed out then, those people did vote. They simply voted “Indifferent / Doesn’t Matter To Me.” There’s no other way to slice it; refraining from voting is voting for “it doesn’t make a difference to me.” A second round of voting, then, is nothing more than an attempt to let these people change their votes after the fact, from “indifferent” to “leave” or “remain,” and, they presume, the lion’s share of them would change from “indifferent” to “remain” if they’d known Leave had a chance of winning.
But I’m a believer in consequences and giving things a chance. The Brexit issue is complicated, isn’t it? What if most people would now change their vote from Indifferent to Remain, and the previous vote was nullified. If I love democracy so much*, then wouldn’t I be glad to see that? Yes, and no. See, it’s a matter of bailing out, isn’t it? Brexit took a gamble; I think they should have to bear the responsibility of seeing it through before they change their minds. Isn’t that pig-headedness, though? “Stay the course” and all that?
Kinda, except that, in regard to Brexit, we haven’t even begun to see what consequences it will have. The consequences so far are completely reactionary and are the case of self-fulfilling prophecies. People expecting the UK markets to crash pulled their money out of the UK, which caused the pound to fall, which caused more people to pull money out, which caused the pound to fall further. It’s a self-fulling prophecy all the way, and a simple matter of confidence.
The average person wants nothing more than to get on with their life and be left alone. They don’t want to be told how racist they are because they live in a rural area with a very low minority population and happen to not have any friends who are black. They don’t want to be called racist because their jobs were outsourced to Mexico and India thanks to the Minimum Wage. They don’t want to be called sexist because they are from a world where husbands are somewhat subservient to their wives, and where the wives want to be somewhat subservient to their husbands. The wives don’t want to be called “female misogynists”** because they love and support their husbands, are housewives, and all that. They don’t want to be told how homophobic they are because they’re grossed out by two dudes kissing, and they don’t want to be told how transphobic they are because they think penises belong in tidy-whities, not panties.
They just want to work, support themselves and their families, and enjoy life in the way that they enjoy life.
Democrats, you lost these people because of the above paragraph. I implore you to stop doing that. They’re not the ones who divided America into “white working class people without college degrees” and a coalition of “blacks, women, LGBTQ people, Muslims, and Hispanics” and then pitted those two sides against each other. You did that. What did you expect to happen? Did you expect they would just let you assault them and their values in perpetuity without ever striking back? You did, and I know you did–you thought they couldn’t fight back. As Trae Crowder said, “This is our world now, and you’re not getting it back.”
And so now, instead of realizing that insults, ignorance, and attacks are not the way you will win these people over, you double down on the offensive, hateful rhetoric, saying that you are not failing to understand these people. But yes… You are. If you are equating fifty percent of the population to this racist, homophobic, Islamophobic, misogynistic straw man that you’ve built up in your echo chamber, then yes, you most certainly have failed to understand.
I will never stop talking about the tragedy in Orlando, when a Muslim terrorist murdered 49 people, and I will never stop talking about the way that mainstream conservatives extended the olive branch to the LGBTQ community. “You’re one of us, an American,” they said. For fuck’s sake, bridges in Little Rock, Arkansas were lit up in the colors of the rainbow. All over the United States, including places deep in the Bible Belt, there was loud outcry and support for the LGBTQ community. And, because one tragedy was just not enough, liberals and the LGBTQ community slapped back the proffered hand of peace and shouted, “No! We are not one of you! You are just as bad! You did the Crusades!” as though an idiot preacher like Steven Anderson saying mean things is actually as bad as murdering almost fifty people.
Recently, Donald Trump was on 60 Minutes, and the host asked him about overturning Roe v. Wade. Trump responded that he would certainly appoint conservative judges, and that the matter of abortion should go back to the states. The host then replied, “But then some women won’t be able to get abortions.”
Trump rightly pointed out, “Yes, they can, but they’ll have to go to another state to do it.”
Conservatives in Mississippi don’t want to ban abortions in California. You get that, right? They think it’s abhorrent, unforgivable, and murder, but they have no desire to govern California. Let the Californians govern California. The conservatives in Kentucky have no desire to outlaw gay marriage in New York. They think it’s weird and gross, but they have no desire to govern New York. Let the New York people govern New York. This is where the Great Divide truly occurs, because liberals are not willing to compromise, as the 60 Minutes interview clearly showed.
That a woman might actually have to drive to another state to get an abortion… is unacceptable to the liberal. They see it as a violation of the woman’s rights. They see it as oppression. The liberal does want the people of California to tell Mississippi that they must allow abortions and gay marriage, but the conservative does not want the people of Mississippi to tell California that they must not allow abortions and gay marriage. This is what is meant by “small government.” The liberal, whose entire worldview is built upon big government being the answer to all of life’s problems, is no longer capable of understanding that.
The liberal doesn’t hear “The woman can still get an abortion. She just has to drive to a different state.”
The liberal hears “The woman is being oppressed, and her right to choose is being thwarted by hillbillies.”
Of course, I’m against all of it. I think this should be a matter between a woman and her doctor, and no one else, but this means that the doctor would have to be allowed to say, “No. I don’t perform abortions. Here’s a pamphlet for adoption agencies.”
And I just lost the liberal again, didn’t I? It sounds great to leave the matter between the woman and her doctor, right up until we allow the doctor to determine what the doctor does and doesn’t do. So what, the doctor doesn’t want to perform abortions? Doesn’t the woman have the right to have an abortion? Doesn’t the doctor have the right to not be enslaved and ordered to do things he doesn’t want to do?
Yesterday, I spoke with someone on Facebook who insisted that the Confederate Flag is a flag of white supremacy. Now, my grandfather owns a store with “Confederate State” in the title. I know these kind of people very well, and I know exactly why they fly the Confederate Flag. When she said that she “guesses” she doesn’t know what the flag means, I suggested that she ask someone who actually flies the flag what it means. Her response?
Congratulations, lady, on ensuring that compromise is impossible.
She believes that people who fly the Confederate Flag are white supremacists, and she will not ask them what the flag actually means because they are white supremacists and she doesn’t listen to what white supremacists have to say. It is circular reasoning; it is the reasoning of the echo chamber, of the safe space, as she and the other liberals sit in their self-imposed isolation chamber telling themselves how racist, homophobic, islamophobic, transphobic, misogynistic, and evil everyone else, and then refusing to listen to what those people have to say because they don’t listen to racist, homophobic, islamophobic, transphobic, misogynistic, and evil people.
Just read this article. It equates to “I understand them perfectly. They’re racist, homophobic, islamophobic, transphobic, misogynistic evil hillbillies carrying a gun in one hand and a Bible in the other.” So I want to address that article’s author quickly, since I’m sure they’ll be notified I linked to their blog.
Look, asshole. I’m from Mississippi. I’m a transgender atheist born and raised in Mississippi, surrounded by fundamentalist Christians in a way that you can’t understand, regardless of where you’re from. My family has actual compounds for when the Antichrist takes over, okay? I have spent more than my fair share of time criticizing them and trying to reason with them. And you don’t know what you’re talking about.
It is not racist to not have any black friends, although I would point out that the people in the south are substantially less racist than the people everywhere else. Look, the town I live in is 70% black. And when I went to Vegas in 2015, I encountered tons of people who assumed that I was racist because I’m white and from Mississippi. That’s absurd! We can’t be racist. You, in Michigan, with your 2% black population–you have no idea what it’s like to actually live among high concentrations of non-white people. You’re not afforded the luxury of racism in such an environment. If I didn’t want a black cashier, a black dude at the gas station, a black woman doing my taxes, or whatever else, then I wouldn’t be able to get anything done.
It is not racist to recognize that there are some pretty big cultural differences between white people and black people. I’ve dated black girls. Hell, I lived with a black couple when I was 18. I can tell you from firsthand experience that there are major cultural differences, but none that can’t be bridged. I can tell you this, too–I’ve never had my ass kicked in dominoes/bones like that, or Spades. This is a statement of fact: the black people with whom I’ve played dominoes and spades would crush any of the white people I’ve ever played with; they take it to an entirely new level. It’s like checkers and chess, really.
Every Thanksgiving–prior to when my family stopped inviting me because I’m transgender–my family, after eating, plays Spades. We’ve never played dominoes, but we’ve played a ton of poker and Spades. And my dad may be the only one who could even compete with any of the black people I’ve ever played with, and I’ve no doubt that my father would ultimately lose. I was playing checkers while they played chess. Is that racist of me to say? Probably, but it’s more a matter of culture than anything, and I don’t care if it’s considered racist or not; it’s my experience and a statement of fact regarding my experience. As I’ve said elsewhere, we can’t let ourselves get into the mindset of calling facts racist.
I have nothing in my heart but love for everyone. I don’t care what the hell their skin color is, or how different their culture is from mine. If I can bridge the gap, then I’m going to. If I can’t, then… that sucks, but that’s life sometimes. I would ask the liberal how many black friends they have. I’m being honest here. I have many liberal friends on Facebook, and, to my knowledge, they don’t have any black friends. The only black dude some of them know is one they’ve all nicknamed “Nigger Dave.” No, I’m not kidding. And these people are as far north as you can get without crossing into Canada. And they’re millennials. And they’re liberal.
For years, the singer in my rock band was a black lesbian. Did I ever care? No. Why would I? She remains the best singer I have ever heard, a truly talented musician who should indisputably be on the radio.
I don’t give a shit what her skin color is, what her sexual orientation is, or anything else. She’s my friend, and she’s fucking amazing.
I can’t say that this is true of every Mississippian, and goodness knows I have no idea what it’s like to be black–or anything but “me,” actually–
–and I’d certainly never suggest she’s never experienced racism in Mississippi, or homophobia in Mississippi. I have absolutely no doubt that she has, and that’s fucked up. My point is that, per capita, far less racism goes on in the south simply because of pragmatism.
It is not homophobic to be grossed out by gay people and to not want to be friends with them. It is not transphobic to not want to associate what what you consider to be a guy wearing girls’ clothes. It is not transphobic to think of a transgender person as a guy wearing girls’ clothes. People have different worldviews. You have to tolerate them. As long as they’re not forcing people to bow to their worldviews, tolerate them. Is it messed up? Sure, so don’t be friends with them. That’s where your rights end.
There are millions and millions of us who just don’t care. And that’s okay! I know the liberal response to that–I’ve addressed it before. You’re not allowed to be neutral on LGBT issues. If you’re straight and you’re pro-LGBT, then you’re an Ally. If you’re straight and not pro-LGBT, then you’re homophobic. Neutrality is no longer acceptable to the left. Compromise is no longer acceptable to the left.
Allowing conservatives to ban abortion in some states, thereby forcing women to have to go through all the trouble of driving to a different state*^ is not acceptable to the liberal, because all they can do is think of that straw woman who can somehow afford an abortion but not the gas to drive to it. But that gets into its own problem, doesn’t it? They don’t think the woman should have to pay for the abortion; they think the doctor should be their slave, not getting paid and not getting a choice about the work he/she does.
You have the right to FREEDOM not FREESTUFF.
Conservatives don’t want to take your birth control pills away. They just don’t want to pay for them, just like you don’t want to pay for the Westboro Baptist Church. They don’t want to take your abortions away. They just don’t want to pay for them.
Governmentally, Donald Trump’s presidency is bad. There is nothing about Trump’s policies for me to really get behind. However, every indication that I’ve seen suggests that Trump is going to spend most of his time attempting to bridge the gap between conservatives and liberals. He is, after all, a deal maker–much adieu has been made about his ability to make deals.
The problem, as I see it, is that liberals aren’t willing to compromise, and so there can be no deal. And even if Trump does manage to miraculously work out a compromise where liberal states get to be liberal while conservative states get to be conservative, without a pervasive ideologically awakening to the ideas of self-governance and liberty, I don’t see it lasting beyond the next president, because as soon as liberals are back in power they will start forcing Mississippi to allow gay marriage and abortions all over again, taking us right back to where we are now.
It all starts with compromise, and compromise starts with understanding, tolerance, and empathy. But evidently it’s not enough that they lost the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Supreme Court, the White House, 900 federal positions, and lots of governorships because of their unwillingness to tolerate and their unwillingness to compromise.
I’ve spoke before about how the people advocating that Mississippi employers and clients should be forced to accept me as transgender aren’t doing me any favors, because their dislike will have resentment piled on top of it. Their dislike of me will move from the open, where all they can do is shun me, into the shadows, where they can do whatever they can get away with. If you take away someone’s ability to say “I hate you” and condemn that person for saying it, yes, you drive them into the shadows to express their hatred, with resentment and bitterness added to it.
If you want to reach these people, then follow my lead. Your methods won’t work and, in the end, will only get people killed.
You have to reach these people on a personal level, by alleviating their fears and showing them that you are just a human being, just like them. You can’t do that if you treat them like they aren’t a human being worthy of respect and compassion.
Tolerance starts with you, not them.
* I hate democracy. I hate democratic republics, too. They’re the best of a terrible situation. As Churchill said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except all the others that we’ve tried.” He’s exactly right. Democracy sucks, and republics suck. If we are going to have a state, though, it must be a republic.
** “Female misogynists.” You’re really a jerk if you say something like that sincerely. You couldn’t more transparently say that “Everyone who disagrees with me is a misogynist” if you tried. I’m with you in that there is a lot of self-hate here in the United States, but you’re not thinking big enough if you think it’s as simple as women who vote for Trump hate themselves.
*^ This is already necessary in many cases. I had to drive my sister to Little Rock to get an abortion a few years ago, because she had already gone past the point at which Mississippi would allow one. It was not the end of the world.
I don’t enjoy it because of the passive aggressiveness of it, or because of how Mike Pence must feel every time he receives a “Thank You” note from Planned Parenthood. It has nothing to do with that. I love it because it is real world proof of exactly what we libertarians and anarchists have been saying for years: If you stop funding these places with tax dollars, then ordinary people will pick up the slack and voluntarily contribute to the causes they care about.
So now that Planned Parenthood’s federal funding is threatened, that is exactly what we see, with donations coming in en masse as American citizens who support Planned Parenthood want to fund it. It’s beautiful, and it’s exactly what libertarians said would happen if the federal government stopped funding it. We never said it would have to close down. We said that you shouldn’t be able to take my money and give it to a charity that you support and that I don’t.
I actually do support Planned Parenthood, but that’s not the point.
The point is that you have no right to take my money and give it to an organization that you support. If you support Planned Parenthood–great! More power to you! Open up your wallet and support them. If you don’t support them, then more power to you! Don’t open up your wallet and support them. Imagine how you would feel if your tax dollars were going to the Westboro Baptist Church. You’d be outraged, wouldn’t you? “Those people stand for everything I stand against, and my money is going to fund them?”
That’s how many Americans feel because their tax dollars are going to Planned Parenthood. You support the organization–as do I. They, however, don’t. They are as repulsed and disgusted by Planned Parenthood as you are by the Westboro Baptist Church. You shouldn’t be forcing them to support your pet organizations, and they shouldn’t be forcing you to support theirs.
And now that federal funding of Planned Parenthood is being threatened, Americans are coming out of the woodwork to do what they should have been doing all along: donating their own money to a cause they support, not forcing the government to take everyone’s money to support their cause.
See how it’s not the end of the world for Planned Parenthood?
The state and its funding is like a crutch. We’ve been leaning on it for such a very long time that we’ve forgotten that our leg healed a long time ago, and that we no longer need it to walk. There may have been a time when the state was necessary and when we needed the government to fund these services–I would dispute it, but I’m not going to discount the possibility. That time, however, has long since passed. So here’s what you do.
Stop funding Planned Parenthood through the government.
Let those people keep that tax money instead.
Let individuals who want to support Planned Parenthood take those extra dollars they saved and donate them to Planned Parenthood.
One thing bothers me, though–why haven’t these people been funding Planned Parenthood all along? Well, the answer is obvious: they had the crutch, so they didn’t have to carry their own weight. They could rely on the government to do it for them, so they didn’t have to accept their responsibility to put their money where their mouths are. “You mean you want me to donate my money? But… But the new iPhone just came out! No. No, I’m sorry. I just can’t. I’m going to instead have the government rob you and use your money to do it. You can just use your money to get the new iPhone next month.”
As I wrote recently, though, forgiveness is the true start of progress, and I’m not going to beat these people up for using the state as the expression of their moral values instead of opening up their wallets and making the statement themselves. I’m just glad to see it’s finally happening. We have a real world example of exactly what we libertarians have been saying for decades: none of these organizations will vanish if you stop funding them with stolen money.
Now take what we’re seeing, extrapolate the information, and apply it more broadly. Yes! That’s exactly right! We can stop federally funding everything! There’s no need for the federal government to fund NASA. What ordinary person wouldn’t send a few bucks to NASA for the exploration of the universe? Not to mention: why isn’t NASA patenting and selling its technologies to fund itself, as CERN does? We don’t need the Department of Education–what parent out there wouldn’t donate some of their money to the school? I know lots of parents who take part in all of their school’s fundraisers on top of the taxes.
With Democrats becoming anti-war and suddenly seeing the value of a restrained government again, it’s true that Trump might inadvertently do more for the libertarian cause than even Ron Paul did. Now perhaps they’ll see the value of the free market. So do it, Pence. Do it. Don’t back down. Pull all federal funding from Planned Parenthood.
And I will do a dance as Americans throughout the country open up their wallets to do what they should have been doing in the first place: contributing their own money to a cause they support, instead of having the government rob me to pay for the cause they support.
Do it, Pence. I dare you. I double-dog dare you.
And that is why you won’t.
The very last thing you and the powers that be want is for the American people to realize that federal funding actually isn’t necessary, and that we can handle things just fine through voluntary contributions. You would do more to undermine the fascist state than probably anyone since 1913. Suddenly people all throughout the country would wake up and realize that the federal government is not necessary for any of this, that the federal government only gets in the way, that the federal government only contributes to waste and inefficiency, and that it’s morally wrong to let the federal government rob people to pay for our pet causes.
The title is incorrect. This is not an article about how virtue signaling has usurped genuine empathy; it is, instead, a statement that it did, and, as always, I am going to provide examples of what I’m talking about. Stay with me for a bit, because some groundwork has to be laid first.
I wrote yesterday that libertarians are frequently told that we lack empathy. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever met a liberal who didn’t tell me at some point that I lack empathy. That’s a hell of a thing to say to someone who spends so much of their time and energy trying to do whatever they can to make society a better place, with more love and liberty for everyone. Telling a libertarian they lack empathy is like telling a Christian they lack Jesus.
Let’s be real for a moment. None of the stuff that happens “out there” affects me. My life is unchanged by the election, and it will remain unchanged as Trump takes office. The bitter war being fought between Republicans and Democrats because they refuse to come to an agreement and leave the other side alone has nothing to do with me. It doesn’t involve me, and I stand to gain nothing by wasting my time and energy writing articles trying to defuse the social bombs. It really doesn’t have anything to do with me, and my personal interests would probably be served better if I stoked the fires of hatred and let them rip each other apart, since my personal interests are what I like to call “being left the hell alone,” and I’m most likely to be “left the hell alone” if 95% of the population kills each other.
It sounds horrible to say, of course, but that’s because it is a horrible thing to say. Well, not really. It’s a statement of fact, and we can’t let ourselves get into the habit of assigning values to statements of fact. “Two plus two is four” should never be considered a good or bad thing to say, because it’s simply a true thing to say, just as it’s true that if what I want is to be “left the hell alone,” then that’s best served by letting conservatives and liberals get back to their bloodbath. Even if they don’t kill each other, they’ll be so busy gouging out each other’s eyes that they won’t even be able to see me, so it’s win/win no matter what.
Though it’s not really a horrible thing to say, it would certainly be questionable if I allowed that narcissistic desire to govern my actions. That could lead to utterly unforgivable behavior, of course. If I was worried about being left alone, and that was my only worry, then it would make sense for me to kill everyone else. It would be a brazen lack of empathy for me to kill everyone else just because I wanted to be left alone.
How much more empathy is really involved, though, if, rather than killing everyone myself, I munched on popcorn while I watched everyone kill each other?
I was recently told that I lack empathy for this hispanic woman’s plight. She was huddling in fear, terrified of President Trump, and feared for her life. She is right, of course, to say that I feel no empathy for her plight, but that’s because her “plight” is a figment of her imagination, and it’s ridiculous. Not only is it ridiculous, I think most of America also thinks it’s ridiculous, and I think that’s why they elected Trump. I have enough empathy for these people to realize that they’re not to blame because they have been convinced that the monsters under their bed are real, just as I’m aware that my father and grandmother aren’t to blame for the religiously-motivated damage they did to me. Like me, they are victims of their own religiously-motivated damage, and they simply paid it forward because they didn’t know any better.
I’m not special. If anything, I was probably lucky to be at the right place at the right time with the right mindset at that particular moment to have my worldview challenged. I refuse to let myself think something like, “No, it’s still their fault, because they should have asked questions and challenged the worldview that they were taught to believe!” I refuse that, because that is a statement of arrogance itself. It places me into a tier of people who are particularly strong/intelligent/reasonable/whatever, and it leaves them behind, those dumb, ridiculous people who never challenge what they are told.
I refuse to believe that, just as I refuse to believe that I’m smarter than anyone else. I refuse to be governed by my ego, and, believe me, my ego doesn’t like that. Earlier today I emailed someone:
I forgot that I’m so awesome I set up K. to be able to access the program from anywhere even though [the people who made the program] said they didn’t think it would work.
I was, of course, joking but not really. It was awesome, and it was far from the first time I did something really awesome like that. But it wasn’t awesome because I’m special, and that’s why I’m okay with making jokes like that–it was awesome because I was in the right place at the right time with the right perspective and the right knowledge to do it. Anyone could have done it. I was simply the one who did.
Liberals have been in their echo chambers for so long that they’ve simply lost all perspective on everything. Look, I read an article earlier about how–and I am not kidding about this–college professors allowed their students who were so traumatized by Trump’s victory to skip mid-terms and instead spend the day laying in the floor, coloring, and playing with Play-Doh. It’s such an astounding thing that I thought it had to be from a satire news site. Then I decided that the professor had to have been trolling when he offered his class full of grown adults the opportunity to play like five year old children. However, I followed the trail until I came to the original post, and it may still not be true, given that it’s from a blog at the Wall Street Journal, but I’m betting it’s true, because I know some colleges have established “safe spaces” where they have coloring books and liquid for blowing bubbles.
Kinda lends an entirely new dimension to my statement that they’re little babies pitching a fit and trying to cry and get their mom to buy them the candy bar that she said they couldn’t have, doesn’t it?
It’s nothing short of astounding. All of the mockery we get for saying that universities have become pandering, expensive daycare centers, and this is what happens–at a university today, students laid in the floor, colored, and played with Play-Doh. But no, these aren’t grown man-children and woman-children.
I was told earlier to have empathy for the old women who wanted to live to see a female president. I was told this because I said to someone that I’d rather see gender not matter. Then this happened.
That is the post that made me realize that virtue signaling had replaced genuine empathy. See? It took me a while to lay the groundwork to get to the point, but I was getting here.
I was mistaken initially when I said that it’s not a matter of empathy. It is a matter of empathy, as I ultimately realized and stated at the end. There was something off about his reasoning. I initially was going to say that I felt bad for all the Magic: The Gathering fans who didn’t live to see the day that we elected a president who played MTG, but I deleted it a few times throughout the thread without ever sending it. That’s what it’s all about, though. If someone is caring about something that shouldn’t matter so much that they become dejected and depressed about it, then the position of empathy is not to express sympathy but to help them get past that so that they are no longer sad and upset.
Empathy drives you to help someone, without exception and without fail. If one is not driven to help, then it is Virtue Signaling and empty sympathy. Oh, that’s it. See, they don’t mean empathy. They mean:
See, when we say “empathy” we mean it in its actual, literal sense: feeling compassion and having the ability to identify with other people. When they say it, they mean empty sympathy, and they say “empathy” as short-hand, the same way people say “lol” as short-hand for “that’s funny.”
That’s what this person meant. He said “empathy” by mistake, but at best he meant “sympathy.” I’m coming to the conclusion that “empathy” is the least understood word in the United States–literally. I say “literally,” of course, because “literally” is at least tied for that position. I use the word “literally” a lot, but I always mean it literally, and that’s where things get weird, because when people say “Trump is LITERALLY Hitler”–it is mandated in at least 17 states and the Dominican Republic that if you use the phrase “literally Hitler,” then the word “literally” must appear in all caps, of course–they don’t mean the word “literally” literally.
And when you find yourself writing that someone doesn’t use the word “literally” literally, it might occur to you that you have gone way past the point of return into the liberal’s head, and there’s no turning back now.
I present to you this hypothetical scenario. There is an old woman crying on the bench as she waits for the bus, mumbling to herself that she was really looking forward to seeing the first female president. You can:
A. Express sympathy and essentially cry with her.
B. Try to help her get past her sorrow by accepting that gender shouldn’t be a characteristic of significance when we assign values to things.
Which of these is genuine empathy? Which is virtue signaling?
It gets even worse if you remove this “empathy” from any real person and instead make a post on Facebook about it. That’s right. One now shows “empathy” by posting useless platitudes on social media. You know.
To help people who may or may not exist deal with being maybe or maybe not upset about something that may or may not be a problem but shouldn’t be anyway.
What could possibly be a better expression of empathy than posting on Facebook to help people who may or may not exist?
They have been so confused for such a very long time that they don’t see how a group of adults laying in the floor and playing with Play-Doh is pathetic in at least seventeen thousand different directions all at once. If you asked me if I needed to take the day off to color in a coloring book and process the trauma of Trump winning the election, I would ask you to repeat that because I couldn’t hear you over the sound of your ovaries drying up. Then I would ask you at what age you were when you decided that being a pussy wasn’t enough, and that you wanted to be a fucking fag. Then, if you hadn’t been reduced to a crying mess in the floor trying to crawl to your safe space to blow bubbles, I would tell you to get your ass up and at least pretend to be an adult who is equipped to deal with the world.
Yet when we say that these people are children, we’re criticized. And there they are… playing with Play-Doh.
Their entire world is Orwellian. Black is white; white is black. Strength is weakness; weakness is strength. Obviously, this leads directly into the glorification of victimization. How could it not? If a person believes that strength is bad and weakness is good, they will immediately fall in love with the Martyr Complex. A victim is, to speak in the most general terms, a weak person who was harmed by a strong person. To them, the victim is the realization of the Uberman, a living embodiment of all the traits they admire; of course they would glorify victimization. To them, there is nothing more beautiful, precious, noble, and virtuous than a victim.
I have no idea how we can reach people who have spent so long in their own echo chambers that they’ve become that confused, but their ideal society is clearly one where the average person has to be protected from reality itself. That’s what happened with these people coloring and playing with Play-Doh as they cried. Brittle, special little snowflakes that have to be coddled and protected from absolutely anything and everything.
“Pet,” by A Perfect Circle, of course, was written regarding George W. Bush and his War on Terror. I wonder if Maynard–who by all accounts is a smart guy–has noticed that it’s far more appropriate if taken as a message from liberals than conservatives.
Pay no mind to what other voices say. They don’t care about you like I do.
That could straight-up be Hillary Clinton referring to Wikileaks and its alleged “Russia” ties.
I don’t know what to do, guys. All of my personal interactions with liberals, as well as what I see in the media, suggest that they are hopelessly lost. The reality check that will come when Trump becomes President despite their hissy fit will not be anywhere near enough to begin pulling them back from the cliff they’ve marched up to. They dream of a world where the government does everything and solves all problems, where they are totally relieved of individual responsibility, where they are all victims and the precious government protects them from everything, where everything they want is provided to them free of charge and the entire working class becomes their slaves–to stop those wicked slaves from oppressing them. They want that. They need that.
They believe this shit so fervently that they want middle America to die.
I’m starting to think I was far too generous in my message to liberals.
Their worldview is dependent upon the idea that middle America is racist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, and all that other crap, and that middle America is a bloodthirsty tyrant-in-waiting who must be held on a tight leash at all times, because otherwise they will LITERALLY set up death camps. This is the lie that justifies all of their other crap.
Maybe it’s not too late. Maybe having the person they consider LITERALLY Hitler in charge and having none of that shit happening can get through to them and make them realize that they’re jumping at shadows that aren’t even there because, despite what they imagine to be happening in their heads, they’re actually sitting in darkness and playing with Play-Doh like children while the world goes on outside their self-imposed isolation chamber, leaving them totally oblivious to everything that’s happening because they want to be protected from it.
Right now, there is a lot of strife and agony among liberal Americans, ranging from a bit of sadness to full-blown hysteria, with some convinced that death camps are inevitable. There are riots in the streets of Oakland, as people react emotionally and violently to not getting their way. There are widespread protests of the election result, with it being a literal case of the losers losing but wanting to win anyway. Imagine if America played a baseball game and the National League Liberal team lost the World Series to the American League Conservative team, and then the Liberal team started rioting because they wanted to win.
Yeah. That’s what is happening right now.
I’m not happy about it.
“But you’re an anarchist! This is anarchy!”
No, it’s not. This is violence, and violence is mutually exclusive with anarchy. Scroll up and look at the tagline for the site. Peace, love, and liberty. Those word choices are not accidental; they are all tied together. I would even say that it’s as redundant as White Anglo-Saxon Protestant. Peace is love is liberty is peace. There is no room within the mantra of liberty for violence and destruction of property except, as I said earlier, as retaliation to clear and provable injury.
Conservatives are happy and are gloating, ringing their hands and thinking about all the wonderful things they are going to do to liberals now that they are back in power. This is the realization that motivated me to write myself the letter this morning–it’s foolish to expect that conservatives genuinely want to meet liberals in the middle. Some do, yes, and some liberals want to meet in the middle. But more fall closer to the straw man than fall away from it. However, it is also true–Trump has shown nothing but willingness to meet in the middle and, in social areas, that’s a good thing. He has explicitly extended the hand of peace to liberals, notably the LGBTQ community.
I’ve talked about this before. Things changed in Orlando. I’ve since removed my video on the subject, because it was too heartbreaking to leave up. Following Orlando, conservatives across the country–including some of the most homophobic people I’ve ever known, like my father–extended the olive branch to the LGBTQ community, saying, “You’re one of us. This was an attack against us all, and we’re going to stand beside you.”
Petulantly, the LGBTQ community retorted, “No, this was an attack on only us, because we’re LGBTQ! It was homophobia! You’re just as bad!”
The chance for healing was right there, and I wept as we drove past it without even acknowledging it.
Conservatives, however, led by Trump, are, continuing to extend the hand of friendship. All liberals have to do is take it.
What I’m finding most remarkable right now is that it genuinely does seem like Trump is going to try to unite the country. When Trump said that he will ensure the safety and protection of LGBTQ citizens, the crowd–conservatives, of course–cheered for him. My eyes water just thinking about it. It’s here, the moment is here. It’s right freaking in front of us. All we have to do is accept the hand of peace.
How you feel right now? That is exactly how conservatives felt in 2008 and 2012, when you mocked them. Of course, there was no Universal Liberal Petition on the conservative secession petitions. Some liberals said what conservatives are saying now: “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!” Others said, “lol, you can’t survive without us.” Others said, “The union is perpetual. You can’t secede.” Regardless of what you personally thought of the secession petitions that Republicans put forward across the country, if you are a liberal you are undoubtedly in a position, right now, at this very moment, to understand how people on your side feel when they sign these petitions. You understand precisely how they feel, even if you don’t share their feelings or even if you don’t feel sorrow to that extent.
Take that emotion! Take that empathy!
Now apply it to the conservatives from 2012 who felt exactly the same way. Sympathize with how they felt. They felt in 2012 exactly what you are feeling now, for exactly the same reasons you are feeling it. I implore you: do not write off their feelings by saying, “No, theirs was just bigotry about having a black president.” Do not do that, because then conservatives will just write off your feelings by saying, “You’re just being a baby because you don’t want to have to get a job.”
And nothing will change. No bridges will be built. We’ll remain divided on our different sides, hating the other and thinking terrible things about them–things so terrible that we are unable to empathize with their emotions because we reject the validity of those emotions.
So please. I beg you: don’t write off their emotions as invalid. Accept their emotions as equally valid to your own.
How you felt in 2012 and 2008? That is exactly how liberals feel right now. I know it feels good that the shoe is on the other foot, and now you have the opportunity to mock them. You’re going to have to resist that. You’re going to have to be the bigger person here, not call them hypocrites, not gloat about it, not mock them, and not deny the validity of their emotions. I know they did it to you. It doesn’t matter now. We have to put the divisiveness behind us, and that now starts with you, because now you’re the winners. You have to be graceful. It’s never been more important.
Empathize with what liberals are feeling right now. Remember how much you feared Obama? Don’t give me that bullshit that you didn’t fear him. That’s not going to work on me. You did. It wasn’t because he was black, and I’m not saying it was; it was because he was unfamiliar, and we fear the unfamiliar. Sure, eventually you realized that it wasn’t that serious, the world wasn’t going to end, and the sky wasn’t going to fall, but you did think that it was going to. Remember that today, and know that it’s how liberals feel now.
Put aside your innate human nature. Don’t say, “Good! They should feel it now, like we had to feel it in 2008!” Please. You have to put that aside.
A Future of Secession Petitions
This recent round of them made me realize that it’s the new norm. Henceforth, every single time we change Presidents, we’re going to see a batch of secession petitions. I have zero doubt that we’d be seeing them right now if Hillary had won, and we’ll see them again in 2020 regardless of who wins. The idea of having the Federal Government fully controlled by people with whom you adamantly disagree is scary, and the natural response to that is “Fuck that.”
And that’s what people are faced with today. All of those liberal states and liberal cities–they are faced with the prospect that they are about to be ruled by a person with whom they fiercely disagree on almost everything, just as conservatives in 2008 and 2012 were faced with the prospect of being ruled by a person with whom they fiercely disagreed on almost everything. This cannot continue. Obviously it can’t. We can’t just keep going back and forth making half the nation miserable, unhappy, and afraid.
There must be a better way.
A Better Way
There is a better way.
That we saw secession petitions under a Democrat and now see secession petitions under a Republican is the most incontrovertible evidence that we’ve ever seen that we must severely reduce the power of the federal government. California doesn’t want to be ruled by a Republican they disagree with so completely. We can all understand that, as I spent several paragraphs above explaining. We have this common ground. Neither does Arkansas want to be ruled by a Democrat they disagree with so completely.
So what are we going to do? Throw up a new round of secession petitions every time we have a new president, because we’re so eager for revenge and the opportunity to make the other side miserable that we won’t do anything to prevent ourselves from being miserable next time we lose? Because Republicans won’t control the Federal Government forever, and neither will Democrats. Maybe in 2020 the House, Senate, and White House will change hands again, and we’ll have another round of petitions from Texas, Mississippi, and Florida, with Democrats laughing and saying, “Haha, not so funny now, is it? Have some gay marriage, bitch!”
Come on, people. This is madness.
As long as we have a Federal Government with the power to rule so completely over all fifty states, the secession petitions are here to stay. If the Federal Government abode the Constitution, the secession petitions would not be necessary. I’m no Constitutionalist, but we suddenly have Democrats who are in favor of small government, the Second Amendment to fight against the state, and other libertarian-ish positions. Great! Now accept that you don’t want to be tyrannized, so forego the opportunity to tyrannize others.
Start seeking peace. Stop seeking revenge.
Conservatives, don’t seek revenge now that you control the Federal Government. Liberals, don’t seek revenge when you take it back. Let’s attack the heart of the problem: the Federal Government shouldn’t be telling California what it can and can’t do in the first place. If the Federal Government couldn’t tell California what it could and couldn’t do, then there would be no need to secede just because we got a president that the Californians wouldn’t like; it just wouldn’t be that big of a deal.
We have the opportunity now to empathize with one another and to agree. This “tyrannizing each other” thing is not working out.
Let’s change it so that politics is no longer a Hate Sale.