Tag Archive | rape

Liberty Today, 8-28-17

Unmarked Police Cars

The Libertarian Party of Tate County (of which I am the Chair) voted by two-thirds majority Saturday evening to strongly condemn the usage of unmarked police cars in Tate County, because they’ve been appearing in great numbers in the last few weeks. Our reasoning for this is simple: they create dangerous situations. As recently as July, 2017, a woman was pulled over by an unmarked patrol car, and then was raped and brutalized. Of course, we soon learned that this person was not a law enforcement officer, and was actually just someone who purchased a Halloween costume and a blue light from, perhaps, Alibaba.

Let there be no doubt of this: if LEO did not occasionally use unmarked police vehicles, then any person who saw blue lights in their rearview mirror emanating from an unmarked police vehicle would immediately know that the person attempting to pull them over is an imposter. It is because of this ambiguity, that the person might be a cop, that people are reluctant to continue driving. Besides which, we have all seen countless videos of people who specifically called 911 to verify the person behind them was a LEO in an unmarked car, only to be brutalized by the officers once the car was verified as legitimate, and accused of “resisting arrest” and “attempting escape.”

The use of unmarked squad cars is the clearest possible evidence we could ever hope to receive that Law Enforcement Agencies do not care about “serving and protecting,” and that they are instead motivated by revenue from moving violations. The only benefit to using unmarked cars is to catch drivers acting more naturally–where they are more likely to speed, less likely to use turn signals, more likely to run red lights and stop signs, and so on. However bad we might think these behaviors are, we cannot deny that women are being raped because LEO would rather ticket more of these people who run red lights thinking there is no cop around than they would rather prevent rape.

To combat this, various agencies have released statements and guides, but these fall short–it is rather like telling someone to get a bucket for the blood being spilled when you stab them, instead of simply ceasing to stab them. It’s like handing a smoker a cough drop instead of suggesting that they quit smoking. Besides which, LEO are increasingly likely to discard all of these decades of advice about “waiting to pull over until you are in a clearly publicly visible place” and are likely to treat such people as “attempting to flee the scene.”

It’s an absolute disgrace that any agency that exists to “serve and protect” would create a situation where a woman driving alone at night would not be absolutely certain that the person attempting to pull her over is a Law Enforcement Officer, and terrified that, if she does not immediately pull over, she will be brutalized. In fact, there is a high chance that, even if the patrol car is with law enforcement, she will be raped anyway while police dig inside of her vagina for drugs. The situation between We the People and Law Enforcement in this nation has never been so strained and so precipitously on the edge of disaster, with outright war likely just around the corner, and it is solely up to Law Enforcement to regain community trust.

It is true that such behaviors have not spread to Tate County, and it is also true that Tate County was one of the first places in the nation to require that its officers wear body cams (for which Mississippi and Tate County received no credit, of course), but not ten miles to the north of us is DeSoto County, where the Southaven Police Department recently invaded a man’s home and executed him without a warrant and without any cause. This must be nipped in the bud now, before this has the chance to spread to Tate County. Again, we could lead the nation in officer accountability by having our Sheriff’s Department either sell their unmarked vehicles, or pay to have them repainted.

Toward this end, we are doing a few things. First, we are drafting a letter to the local paper to gauge public response. Secondly, we will be collecting petition signatures demanding the Sheriff’s Office immediately cease all usage of such vehicles, and immediately begin ticketing and arresting any persons attempting to enforce any and all traffic or moving violations in an unmarked police vehicle. Thirdly, we will be going before the city councils, aldermen, etc. to attempt to get legislation passed criminalizing any police work executed in unmarked vehicles, and requiring that any evidence obtained from the use of such vehicles be discarded and destroyed, just as is the case for evidence obtained by warrantless searches.

We are coming down as hard as we can on unmarked police vehicles, because we actually care about police accountability, and we demand that our Law Enforcement Officers take steps to actually make the community safer, not more dangerous.

Libertarian Socialists

Once upon a time, I wrote something to the effect of “libertarian socialism is nonsense.” I don’t remember how I phrased it. I made this statement based on my understanding of what “libertarian” means and my understanding of what “socialism” means. Having now discussed it with some libertarian socialists, I fully stand by my statement: as the words are most commonly used, “libertarian socialism” is an oxymoron.

In fact, reading the ideology makes two things clear. First, when they say “libertarian,” what they actually mean is “anarcho.” Secondly, when they say “socialism,” what they actually mean is “communism.” I discussed this with Matt Kuehnel, and he repeatedly stated that “libertarian socialism” isn’t a problem because “anarchism is the logical completion of libertarianism.” I don’t disagree, and I’ve said it myself, but the fact remains that “libertarian” does not equate to “anarchist.” There are minarchists, and there are classical liberals who do call themselves “libertarian.” I’ve argued extensively that the NAP, fully applied, yields anarchism, but that doesn’t give me the right to redefine “libertarian” to mean “anarchist,” which I’ve pointed out in the past by saying I wouldn’t support an anarchist who ran for the Libertarian Party as an anarchist.

He pointed out, rightly, that I call myself an “anarcho-capitalist,” even though I don’t mean “capitalist” in the sense that almost everyone else means it. That’s true. I’m also fully cognizant of that, and spend much of my time on Quora trying to show people that what we have in the United States is a more lenient form of socialism, not capitalism. It’s why I described the best argument “for” anarcho-capitalism as being “an explanation of what anarcho-capitalism is.” This is because most people think “anarchy” means “chaos,” and that “capitalism” is the mess of socialist government policies we have today. Because of this, they think anarcho-capitalism must mean some weird amalgam of these two things–rule by corporate elites, or something to that effect.

This is why many people who happen to share the same general ideology that I do instead call themselves “free market anarchists” or something like that–because the word “capitalism” is heavily tainted, was conceived disparagingly by Karl Marx in Das Kapital, and isn’t taken to mean “capitalism” as we of the Austrian persuasion mean it. It’s also part of the reason why, when push comes to shove, I call myself a Nietzschean Anarchist far more often than I do an “anarcho-capitalist.” People always ask me what I mean by “Nietzschen Anarchist,” while fewer people ask me what is meant by “anarcho-capitalist.”

Even the definitions that Marx and Engels used, though, cited “socialism” as a middleground between capitalism and communism. Marxism prescribes socialism as the eye of the storm through which society must pass to break free of the bourgeois and restore ownership and equality to the workers in a communist society–a communist society that is, in fact, anarchic in nature. Communism is anarchic; anarchy is not communistic (much to the dismay of Anarcho-Communists). Speaking as someone who is routinely a Most Viewed Writer in Anarchism and Anarcho-Capitalism on the closest thing we have to a market-based system of peer review, Socialism is when the state seizes all capital and uses it for the benefit of the workers, while Communism is when the workers seize the capital directly and eliminate the state as the middleman.

As I’ve pointed out before, Socialism and Communism both would be better called “Consumptionism,” because they restrict private ownership of all goods to only consumption goods, whereas Capitalism is called “Capitalism” because it allows the private ownership of all goods, including capital goods. There is, of course, a recognized and critical difference between a consumption good and a capital good. This reality is recognized by capitalists, communists, and socialists alike. After all, the toothpaste manufacturing facility, as a capital good, may be privately or communally owned, but no one on any side of this discussion would agree that a tube of toothpaste must be communally owned.

I’ve even gotten socialists to agree with my statement that fascism and socialism are identical. They rebuffed that the “difference” is the intent of the rulers, and that in socialism the rulers act in the best interests of the working class, but they ultimately were forced to admit that it is identical in behavior and appearance to fascism. In fact, they are two flavors of the same ice cream.

So I don’t take issue with Libertarian Socialists any longer. However, they’re anarcho-communists, which is exactly what their own ideology describes. They just don’t call themselves Anarcho-Communists. That’s fine–they can call themselves anything they want, and redefine things in whatever way they want. But they can’t blame other people for not knowing that they’re using their own special definitions, you know? I can’t (and don’t) blame people for not knowing what capitalism is when I describe myself as an anarcho-capitalist. In fact, probably a third of my answers on Quora briefly spend time pointing out that “capitalism,” as used by anarcho-capitalists, bears no relation to what most people think of as “capitalism.”

Rent is Theft?

This is popping up a lot lately, so Matt Kuehnel and I are going to debate “rent is theft” in September (the date is TBA). I’ve proposed that we do this one 2v2 standard team format, to shake things up a bit. I think that would be more fun, anyway. I’d forgotten how much I love formal debates. I mean, I was just in one three days ago, and I’m already itching to do another. It has been nearly a decade since I did one, so I was rusty, but I think it will be alright. This was also going to be last night’s segment of Libertarian Drama of the Week on “Call to Freedom” with Will Coley and Thom Gray (I’m kinda like a permanent guest at this point), but we had technical difficulties and had to call the show early.

And that’s what is presently going on.

The Foundations of Empathy

It’s very strange when people—usually religious people—talk about an Absolute Morality. The very idea is preposterous. There are many beliefs about Morality (all of them wrong, because they miss point), and not all of them deal with religion. Virtually all modern religions, however, operate under the belief that we human beings receive our “Moral Sense” from some god or another. If this was the case, then what our Moral Sense told us would never change.

But it has changed. After all, 300 years ago, burning witches at the stake was perfectly acceptable. Having 25 year old men marrying 13 year old girls was perfectly acceptable until about 130 years ago. Slavery was perfectly acceptable until about 200 years ago. 2,000 years ago, “Eye for an eye” was a perfectly acceptable moral standard in most parts of the world. My point isn’t that any of these ideas are inherently right or wrong; just that they have changed. And we all know it. Even though several years ago I challenged my Uncle, since he claimed to believe that his unchanging god had been just in ordering the Israelites to rape and murder non-believers, to go get a knife and come back and kill me, because I wouldn’t resist, he opted not to do so. Clearly, he understood—on some deep subconscious level—that what was acceptable then wasn’t the same as what is acceptable now. He would never admit it, of course, but there’s no sense in denying reality.

What Society deems as acceptable has changed over the course of human history; it has changed significantly. There’s no telling what we find acceptable today but future generations will look back and be disgusted by. There’s no telling what we allow today but which will be disgusting 200 years from now. It’s impossible to predict in what ways the zeitgeist will move when it comes to detail, but one thing is clear: society tends, for whatever reason, to become more tolerant of differences over time.

There are, really, two kinds of Morality. There is Social Morality and there is Individual Morality. Unless we lie to ourselves, the truth of the matter is that we will get away with anything which we can get away with. This is true of every human being—though many will deny it. There is a hidden force, however, which affects “what we can get away with” apart from any conditions inflicted by Society. After all, it’s nearly impossible to get away with murder—but even if you could get away with murder, and you knew for a fact that you would get away with it, would you murder someone? Almost certainly not. Society’s Laws will have no impact on your decision to forgo murder. Instead, “something else” will cause you to decide not to kill anyone.

That “something else” is the same force which causes our Laws to change as we become more tolerant: Empathy. Before slavery was contested, white people didn’t have any problem with slavery because they did not apply Empathy to their relationships with blacks; instead, they did not accept the fact that black people were more similar than different and that only the color of skin distinguished them. It was not evil that caused massive amounts of people to allow slavery; it was intolerance. This intolerance left them utterly unable to extend their Empathy to apply to their slaves. As they became more tolerant of the differences, their Empathy began to apply, and the idea of slavery became repulsive; finally, Society reflected this influx of Empathy and outlawed the institution.

While we can postulate any number of reasons for Individuals within a Society to become more tolerant of the differences which distinguish them, the ultimate cause is Familiarity. As Familiarity with different races, different people, different cultures, and different beliefs increases, it becomes clearer and clearer that they are, ultimately, People, just like everyone else. Society is becoming more tolerant of gays and lesbians because we are more familiar with them. Gays and lesbians began expressing their lifestyles in the open, thereby forcing Society to familiarize with them, and Society has responded to this Familiarity with Tolerance. The same is currently happening with Atheists in the United States; as atheists express their lifestyle in the open, thereby forcing Society to familiarize with them, Society is responding to the familiarity with Tolerance. While not very long ago, open Atheists were more likely to be attacked and killed than gays and lesbians, the situation has already changed so drastically in the United States that I hardly ever get any death threats any longer. That’s always the point of these Expressionist Movements: to express the lifestyle in question, to force Society to become familiar with that lifestyle, and this yields the result of Society becoming more tolerant of that lifestyle.

Morality, then, is nothing more than a reflection of what actions Society at large is willing to accept and tolerate. It doesn’t exist as a thing independent of Society; it is intimately tied to Society. The concept may be independent, but “what actions are moral and what actions are immoral” are entirely dependent on Society’s familiarity with—and therefore tolerance of—a variety of lifestyles.

And ultimately what guides the Morality is Empathy. Left unrestricted by the bigotry imposed by unfamiliarity, Empathy creates a Society of total tolerance. If a Society could instantly and completely accept any lifestyle, then Empathy would reign supreme. It’s important, then, to understand—since Empathy is the ultimate driving force behind “what is acceptable and what is not”—what exactly Empathy is.

Empathy is… narcissism.

Every single sentient being views the world through the being’s eyes. This is more than a literal truth; by the virtue of existence, any living being has a perspective limited to experiencing reality as that being. Everything we see, everything we taste, everything we touch, and everything we experience is a relation to us. We judge everything by how it affects us and by what impact it leaves on us. We judge food by how it tastes, looks, and smells to us; we judge music by how it sounds to us; we judge friends by how they impact and modify other experiences, but also in how they impact us directly; we judge everything in terms of relation to ourselves.

These are obvious truths. This the nature of Subjective Experience, and that is actually a redundant term, since Experience is, by definition, Subjective. Everything within our lives and our lives as a whole are subjective experiences; they never can be objective because we are subjects. We are not hive minds; we are not omnipresent patterns of energy permeating through the entire universe feeling all at once from limitless perspectives. We are beings, and this means our experience will be subjective.

When you see a homeless man lying sick and hungry on the sidewalk, cold and shivering, thoroughly beaten around by life, you are affected. You are filled with pity, with remorse, with sympathy for this man, and these are all negative emotions. So when you later try to help the homeless man, you aren’t really doing it for his sake; you’re doing it to negate those negative emotions which he brought out in you and replace them with positive emotions. The reason you forgo murder is the same. You do not forgo murder because you think it’s wrong. You forgo murder because you anticipate that doing so would crush you with negative emotions like guilt, remorse, anxiety, and sorrow; you avoid these emotions by not committing the action.

The reason we do “good deeds” is exactly the same, as well. We do good deeds because we have negative emotions and we want to supplant them with positive emotions; or we do good deeds because we have neutral emotions, no emotions at all, in other words, and we want to supplant those neutral emotions—or the lack of emotions—with positive ones. Even doing a very minor good deed will fill a person with positive emotions. Even something so simple and mundane as paying for the McDonald’s order of the car in the drive-thru behind you will fill you with positive emotions, and you do the good deed in order to be filled with those positive emotions.

As a subjective being, there are only two ways in which Empathy could possibly function as a human condition in the first place. Either Empathy functions by the imagination, by the ability of a person to put oneself in the shoes of another, or Empathy functions by the subconscious desire to experience positive emotions and avoid negative emotions. There really aren’t any other options.

In actuality, if you examine these two things closely, you find that these two “functions” of Empathy… are actually the same thing. By using our imagination to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, we also bring along the negative emotions which would come to us if we were in that person’s place. We use our imagination to empathize with our friend when she’s going through a break-up, and doing this fills us with those same negative emotions which we want to avoid. Once we’ve done this, we’ve connected ourselves to the situation so completely that we must help our friend get rid of those negative emotions; we must try to help our friend and supplant the negativity with positivity, for our own sake. And we become confused when we do this, because we don’t stop to think that it’s really our negative emotions which we’re trying to get rid of, not our friend’s.

And even if we do recognize that we’re removing the negative emotions from ourselves as well as our friend, rare is the person who can accept that our motivation is to remove them from ourselves and that if we remove them from our friend, it’s hardly more than a happy accident. So great is our Ego, our sense that we “must be good, noble creatures” that we are fully capable of ignoring this reality and instead operate under the delusion that our friend is the target of our efforts, not ourselves; we do not want to admit that we’re so selfish that we would be working to remove our own negative response to imagining ourselves in her situation when the convenient scapegoat is right there and we can easily say that we’re trying to remove her negative feelings and removing our own is just the happy accident.

One or the other must be true. We’re either trying to remove our friend’s negative emotions and accidentally remove our own in the process, or we’re trying to remove our own negative emotions and accidentally remove our friend’s in the process. We can very quickly determine which of these is true. As soon as your friend leaves your company—to return home or to work or whatever—and your friend’s situation falls from your mind, what happens? You forget about your friend’s problem, unless some event happens which recalls it to your attention. But you’ll forget about your friend’s problem as you go on about your own life, and the negative emotions you felt while empathizing with your friend will fade; they are no longer affecting you, and you no longer have any desire to do anything about your friend’s problem. Until your friend’s problem is brought back to your attention and those negative emotions return, you don’t have any desire to do anything about your friend’s problem. If you were truly acting for the sake of your friend, you would work toward removing her negative emotions, even when you were not feeling them for yourself while imagining yourself in her position or otherwise empathizing with her.

It’s clear then, that the real cause of Empathy is narcissism: we feel Empathy because we are instilled with negative emotions by certain circumstances and our desire to rid ourselves of those negative emotions leads us to invest time and energy into alleviating the circumstances which produced those negative emotions. Everything we do is selfishly motivated, is the done with the intention of bettering the way we feel. Morality is nothing but an extension of our ability to feel negative emotions based upon the conditions of others, and our ability to feel negative emotions based upon the conditions of others is nothing but a reflection of our tolerance of those others, while our tolerance of others is nothing more than a representation of our familiarity with that person “type”.