Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Tea Partier's Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand is popularly known to most tea party activists as "that atheist lady" whose ideas are aloof, idealistic, and impractical as far as operationalizing for a mass movement. I disagree (although I recognize she was an atheist). Rand has written what I consider to be the absolute, and hands-down, best motivational and objective texts for tea party activists out there - fifty years ago!

Though she is best known as a fiction writer and philosopher, she also wrote numerous essays on political matters that have direct bearing on the current plight of this country. Her penetrating analysis emanates from a deeper source than nearly any other author's and she profoundly illuminates on most issues when most observers can only shed light on them in a superficial, ad hoc, and scripted manner.

If you want to be an ideological warrior for the movement, I highly recommend Rand's works, and most appealingly for the tea party activist unfamiliar with her philosophy, Rand's collections of essays "The Return of the Primitive: The Anti-Industrial Revolution" (which mostly reads like it was written yesterday), and "Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal." These essay collections are accessible for anyone with the desire to understand them.

From her section on "The Schools," in Return of the Primitive (39-40):

Young people are constantly asking what they can do to fight today's disastrous trends; they are seeking some form of action, and wrecking their hopes in blind alleys, particularly every four years, at election time. Those who do not realize that the battle is ideological, had better give up, because they have no chance. Those who do realize it, should grasp that the student rebellion [at Berkeley] offers them a chance to train themselves for the kind of battle they will have to fight in the world, when they leave the university; a chance, not only to train themselves, but to win the first rounds of that wider battle.

If they seek an important cause, they have the opportunity to fight the rebels, to fight ideologically, on moral-intellectual grounds - by identifying and exposing the meaning of the rebels' demands, by naming and answering the basic principles which the rebels dare not admit. The battle consists, above all, of providing the country (or all within hearing) with ideological answers - a field of action from which the older generation has deserted under fire.

Ideas cannot be fought except by means of better ideas. The battle consists, not of opposing, but of exposing; not of denunciation, but of disproving; not of evading, but of boldly proclaiming a full, consistent and radical alternative.

This does not mean that rational students should enter debates with the rebels or attempt to convert them; one cannot argue with self-confessed irrationalists. The goal of an ideological battle is to enlighten the vast, helpless, bewildered majority in the universities - and in the country at large - or, rather. the minds of those among the majority who are struggling to find answers or those who, having heard nothing but collectivist sophistries for years, have withdrawn in revulsion and given up.

The first goal of such a battle is to wrest from a handful of beatniks the title of "spokesmen for American youth," which the press is so anxious to grant them. The first step is to make oneself heard, on the campus and outside. There are many civilized ways to do it: protest-meetings, public petitions, speeches, pamphlets, letters-to-editors. It is a much more important issue than picketing the United Nations or parading in support of the House Un-American Activities Committee. And while such futile groups as Young Americans for Freedom are engaged in such undertakings, they are letting the collectivist vanguard speak in their name - in the name of American college students - without any audible sound of protest.

But in order to be heard, one must have something to say. To have that, one must know one's case. One must know it fully, logically, consistently, all the way down to philosophical fundamentals. One cannot hope to fight nuclear experts with Republican pea-shooters. And the leaders behind the student rebellion are experts at their particular game.

But they are dangerous only to those who stare at the issues out of focus and hope to fight ideas by means of faith, feelings, and fund-raising. You would be surprised how quickly the ideologists of collectivism retreat when they encounter a confident, intellectual adversary. Their case rests on appealing to human confusion, ignorance, dishonesty, cowardice, despair. Take the side they dare not touch: appeal to human intelligence.

Collectivism has lost the two crucial weapons that raised it to world power and made all of its victories possible: intellectuality and idealism, or reason and morality. It had to lose precisely at the height of its success, since its claim to both was a fraud: the full actual reality of socialist-communist-fascist states has demonstrated the brute irrationality of collectivist systems and the inhumanity of altruism as a moral code.

Yet reason and morality are the only weapons that determine the course of history. The collectivists dropped them, because they had no right to carry them. Pick them up; you have.

Ayn Rand, July-September 1965

More Ayn Rand sources, especially those that can be pamphleterized, are highly welcome.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Philosophical Treatise for Our Times

The dissolution of our Republic has been a play in many acts, and diverse players have strutted and fretted their hour upon the stage. We sit as an audience witnessing our nation's destruction, only vaguely aware that the direction of our demise is being orchestrated at a higher level of awareness. The actors seem replaceable, the drama unfolds in the most predictable of ways, and so we feel powerless to stop what is transpiring before us. Our nemesis is invisible, ubiquitous, and relentless. It shapes our actions, reactions, perceptions, and beliefs on what is real, true, and good.

In philosophy lay the script for our nation, the journey from darkness to freedom. It is the weapon to dispose of the superficial manipulators of our conscience, to relegate them to the annals of infamy and then obscurity.

When philosophy ceases to edify human life, and wars against knowledge itself, it is time to take mental and spiritual arms against the usurpers of our civilization. We must return to the roots of what it means to be human, to associate with our fellow man, to know and act in the world around us, and to re-lay the foundations for vibrant society and just government.

Our culture is the means of transmission of our philosophy, knowledge, and values from one generation to the next.  Yet now we tend to view culture as something anomalous and free-form, able to be creatively molded like clay into whatever our hearts desire.  This is a false notion of culture; rather, culture is the means by which we sustain, preserve, and improve human life.

In order to pierce the cultural smog that clouds our vision, we must each of us understand that our culture is not merely sick, it has been poisoned. The enemies of free will and forthright association have set their task as no less than societal dissolution, preying on the natural tendencies towards entropy particular to the legacy of The Enlightenment.

Thus unreason has been masked in the trappings of Reason, science is made but the maidservant of power, and open discourse has been perverted into mockery, ridicule, and shameless fallacies.

Such is the state of affairs in our society that men are at a loss at how to spontaneously relate with one another. Social trust is dissolved in an atmosphere of coercive mutual claims upon the life and labor of one citizen upon another. The desire for dignified autonomy and earned respect is replaced by resentment and animus. Injustice begets petty recrimination and at the extreme, vengeance. Civility dissipates and suspicion, corruption, and apathy reign.

It is in such times that men search for the meaning behind their unhappiness and the causes of injustice within their society. It is through disruption and crisis that the reason is activated from the slumber that ensues from the lagging and diminishing gains of cultural success and is put in the service of rational self-defense.

The ultimate source of philosophical tension that is exploited by the enemies of The Enlightenment is the opposition of Progress and the retention intact of the principles that animate Western Civilization. To reunite the Enlightenment notion of Progress with its concordant views of human nature, reality, civil society, and government is thus a fundamental task to re-establish a political and social order that is harmonious and successful. We must reinvigorate our shared culture.

In order to ascertain the ideas that mitigate against the ideological foundations of our civilization and their originators, we must take in a brief panorama of recent philosophical history. Three separately identifiable but interdependent strains of thought comprise the cultural monster that is sucking Western Civilization down like a giant vortex.

The first strain of thought that has warred against true Progress, as encapsulated by The Enlightenment, can be termed "the Hegelian track." The vision of Reason as the guide to the betterment of the human condition was abstracted and deified by Hegel, who is the father of modern totalitarianism. Hegel took Kant's transcendental ethics and made men the instrument of Reason, rather than Reason the instrument of men. Karl Marx, Hegel's pupil, secularized the god of Reason in his dialectical materialism, and posited Progress as an impersonal process of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. Naturally, this view of history entails the eventual and irresistable destruction of the old and its replacement with the new. But self-appointed great men of history, like Vladimir Lenin, were in a hurry.

The second virulent strain of cultural dissipation can be termed "the Nietzschean track." This is not to say that Nietzsche advocated cultural decay, but his writings became fodder for later enemies of The Enlightenment to employ in the service of their program. Nietzsche's nihilism, which he did not advocate, begat moral relativism and, in conjunction with the Hegelian track, the cultural Marxism that is now suffocating Western Civilization.

To understand cultural Marxism, the progenitor of political correctness, we must appreciate the historical context in which it arose. Capitalism animated by the actions of rational individuals trading labor and property to accomplish their own ends is the hated enemy of totalitarians. But as much as Marx despised it, capitalism, in such specific terms, was inexplicably prosperous and more resilient in the face of the predictions of its collapse than its detractors anticipated. Thus the need arose to precipitate the "inevitable" collapse of capitalism, even if that meant destroying every institution, tradition, norm, and indeed, every mind the malcontents could reach.

The great strategician of the cultural Marxists was the Italian communist Antonio Gramsci, whose contributions to the grand strategy of the cultural destroyers cannot be overemphasized, nor much be expanded upon here. But suffice it to say that Gramsci's view of capitalism, and all its "bases," which is supported in the main by the cultural "superstructure," is the master key that unlocks one's understanding of the milieu in which the Westerner is near totally immersed.

In conjunction with Gramsci's grand strategy is the concomittant undermining of the capitalist economic base, which is accomplished primarily by the Cloward-Piven strategy of using welfare to overwhelm the public finances, while fostering economic and political dependency, as well as Lenin's dictum to sell corporations "the rope to hang them with." The organizational and propaganda tactician to carry out the left's necessarily destructive program is Saul Alinsky, whose advice is summed by assassinating the character of anyone that dares stand in the way. Alinsky referred to himself as a "radical pragmatist," which brings us to the third strain.

Pragmatism in the philosophical sense is derived from the thinking of William James and John Dewey, among others. It can be traced in some of its assumptions to Immanuel Kant, with his instrumentalization of ideals, and David Hume, with his notions of causality as a spurious phenomenon of the mind. Pragmatism's views of reality and change are informed by clumsy adaptations of the findings of particle physics, in particular, quantum theory. In light of the tangential nature of such a deep discussion, we may conclude that pragmatism provides a superficial justification to bureaucratic apparatchiks to meddle in society ad hoc without a deeper view of human identity, a proper interpretation of reality, the temporally dependent nature of causality, and the necessity of implementing public policies in the context of ongoing historical processes.

It is necessary with such bold claims to briefly remedy the "discoveries" of modern philosophy that supposedly justify pragmatism, in order to do a bit of conceptual housekeeping. We should add here that Marx's view of history is also at odds with reality, causality, and human nature. The Aristotelian view of reality as summarized in the law of identity, or "A = A," is reflected as true both in logic and confirmed by experience. Causality, when assuming the law of identity, holds that objects do not themselves change in essence in time but rather change is a reflection of the interaction of objects. Even at the subatomic and atomic levels, the predictability of the results of interactions indicate that there is a structural essence that is dictated by the unwritten laws of the universe. The Heisenberg uncertainty principle is a commentary on the limits of our perception and not the limits of reality.

Why is this important? Because the true nature of reality provides the philosophical justification for identity and therefore individualism, and thus why this philosophy is consonant with a harmonious state of human affairs. Men are not ephemeral entities that are reconfigured as the properties of atoms when recombined with other atoms, as the social chemists of our day would like to believe. Properties of people, as atoms, are manifestations of their identities, and change is the result of their actions and reactions.

Men are thus unique individuals, products of their DNA, and have an internal drive that motivates them to change their actions in response to specific times and environments. Thus people's actions are internally-dependent and motivated by their specific natures. They seek autonomy and are self-interested, in accordance with the raison d'etre of their existence: To survive, to thrive, to reproduce, to live in full. For men, life requires action of both the body and the mind.

Undermine the activities of the mind and you remove man's ability to support his life. He becomes a dependent being, vulnerable to the self-interest of others. Philosophical corruption is a threat to man's ability to sustain his life in a civil society.

Which brings us to the question of man's proper relations vis-a-vis man. The sum of such thinking in Western Civilization can be termed as "civil society," which has a rich history leading from Aristotle's definitions of the citizen "as a participant in the administration of justice," through the Scottish Enlightenment thinkers of Adam Smith and Adam Ferguson, to Hegel (though he sought to crush it by unifying the life-world of the individual and the state), to Alexis de Tocqueville. This literature breathes life into our understanding of the affairs of men by articulating the values of human dignity, a just respect for individuality, and property as the extension of the life and labor of men.

The indispensable method to oppose the cultural-statist abyss that seeks to engorge the individuals of our society is to coalesce around the values and the principles that lead to the prosperous and just society, as put forth by the philosophers of Western Civilization, and navigated by such adept minds as Edmund Burke and Ayn Rand, as presumably opposed those thinkers may appear. For it is in Burke that we find an expression of Western values with a mind towards preservation for the long-term, and in Rand the manifest justification for Western philosophy, and not just any philosophy, as something worth preserving for mankind as we move ahead into the future.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Snapshot of "Mainstream" America

We read and hear stories from the Mainstream Media (or MSM) about how the tea party is out of touch. But poll after poll, from a variety of sources, show that it is the so-called MSM that is on the fringe of America.

The following data should give the tea party movement hope that despite a well-orchestrated left-wing media campaign and indoctrination from K-12 and beyond the values and ideals this nation was founded on persist in the hearts and minds of the majority of Americans.

Conservatives Outnumber Liberals 2-1 (HuffPo)

The objection can be made that 35% of respondents were self-described "moderates." Let's flesh out these "moderates"by looking at the polling data on single issues (this also the best way to judge Obama's support, or rather, lack of it, on the issues):

1. National Healthcare

Americans Oppose Obamacare 56%-43% (CNN)

Favor Repeal of Health Care Law 58%-37%; 48% Strongly Favor Repeal (Rasmussen)

2. Illegal Immigration

Americans Favor Arizona's Law to Enforce Immigration Law 55%-40% (CNN)

Agree With Arizona's Law 74%-26% (CBS); 17% Say Measure Doesn't Go Far Enough

Oppose Feds' Lawsuit Against Arizona Over Immigration Law 59%-29% (FoxNews)

Arizonans Support State's new Immigration Law 70%-23% (Rasmussen)

3. National Security

Americans Oppose Closing Gitmo 2-1 (USAToday); Oppose Moving Terrorist Detainees to America 3-1

Opposed KSM Trial Being Held in NYC 2-1 (CNN); Six out of Ten Supported Military Tribunals

Americans Opposed Release of Lockerbie Bomber on "Compassionate Grounds" at 82% (FoxNews); Sixty-three percent followed news on Lockerbie bomber; Now it appears Obama administration preferred release of Lockerbie Bomber on compassionate grounds rather than extradition to Libyan prison, despite Obama climing that we were all "surprised, disappointed and angry" at the mass murderer's release

(I left out polling on wars because their support or opposition has ceased to be a left-right issue in my view, due to the seemingly half-hearted manner they are being waged by this administration)

4. Social Issues

Americans Oppose Same Sex Marriage 66%-25% (FoxNews)

Americans Pro-Life 47%-45 (*MOE +/- 4%); Support at Least Some Restrictions 59%-37% (Polling Report)

5. Economy

Americans Say Spending is Out of Control at Rate of 78% (FoxNews)

Americans Say Obama's Proposals on Economic Issues Call for Too Much Spending at  59%, including 66% of "Independents"; Too Much Government Expansion at 52%, with "Independents" at 60% (Gallup/USAToday)

Public Favors Reducing the Deficit to "Stimulus" Spending 51%-40 (Pew)

Americans Prefer Cutting Taxes to Increasing Government Spending to Create Jobs 59%-15 (Rasmussen) (This last poll cuts through the left's "noise" that most prefer government spending to create jobs - yeah, to unemployment.)

Such polls show that the tea party is truly in the mainstream. We can defeat the left, we need only to seize the mantle.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"Allodial" Title: A Disappeared Word and a Disappeared Concept

The concept of "allodial title" was recently brought to my attention by a commenter on property rights in America more broadly. It is no wonder that this phrase is so uncommon that not most spellchecks believe the word "allodial" not to even exist.

In a response to Reflections on Private Property:

Is there anything close to private property left in America? Today, those who supposedly own their property are subject to all sorts of restrictions, covenants, EPA rules and government taxes that never end... making them mere LEASE HOLDERS subject to the governments will.

Allodial title was once the method property was conveyed in America... allodial titles are the only real source of OWNERSHIP... being free from confiscation for taxes or another lien from private and government sources. AMERICA has no private property... one is never finished paying for their property, nor do they have a legal right to unfettered use of their property. Inch by inch... ownership of real property has been usurped by the state until no one ever has full ownership of their land... no one.

Here is a brief description of allodial title:

"In common legal use, allodial title is used to distinguish absolute ownership of land by individuals from feudal ownership, where property ownership is dependent on relationship to a lord or the sovereign. Webster's first dictionary (1825 ed) says "allodium" is "land which is absolute property of the owner, real estate held in absolute independence, without being subject to any rent, service, or acknowledgment to a superior. It is thus opposed to "feud."

True allodial title is rare, with most property ownership in the common law world—primarily, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Republic of Ireland—described more properly as being in fee simple. In particular, land is said to be "held of the Crown" in England and Wales and the Commonwealth realms. In England, there is no allodial land, all land being held of the Crown[dubious – discuss]; in the United States, all land is subject to eminent domain by the federal government, and there is thus no true allodial land. Some states within the US (notably Nevada and Texas) have provisions for considering land allodial under state law, but such land remains rare. Some of the Commonwealth realms (particularly Australia) recognize native title, a form of allodial title that does not originate from a Crown grant."

Land in the US is held in 'Fee Simple' a feudal form of ownership where the owners right to hold title is granted by the Federal Government and is subject to the governments good faith. As such, one doesn't have true and complete ownership of his own land in the US. Some countries... notably in the Mid-East do have allodial titles and such land passes to the heirs without liens or taxes... forever, or at least as long as the local government doesn't intervene to change the system of title... by force... of law.

Bet you thought you had private property in America? Well it all depends on one's interpretation of PRIVATE and ownership as defined by law.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Annnnnnd....That Would Be Ballgame

White House backed release of Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi

"THE US government secretly advised Scottish ministers it would be "far preferable" to free the Lockerbie bomber than jail him in Libya." [More]

The over-under on the Obama presidency being extended past 2012 just dropped to Any Republican -14 1/2.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Decline of the East

The Chinese emperors believed themselves to be ruling "all under heaven", with the entire universe being deemed a barbarian periphery of China. At different periods in history, Chinese political and cultural influence stretched from the Caspian Sea in the west to Japan in the east and from Siberia in the north to Indonesia in the south.
From the earliest times, Chinese emperors aspired to extend their dominions to the farthest west. In the late 1st century AD, Chinese general Ban Chao crossed the Tian Shan and Pamir mountains while pursuing the Xiongnu (Huns) and concluded an alliance with Parthian king Pacorus II. The Chinese army established forts within a few days' march from the Parthian capital of Ctesiphon in Mesopotamia. In 116, Chinese border garrisons were within one day's march from an army headed by Roman Emperor Trajan advancing through Parthia. China was now on the doorstep of Europe but the landmark rendezvous between the West and the East never took place.
With Western Europe plunging into the Middle Ages and the Arabs submitting to barbarian fanaticism, in the mid-2nd millennium AD China seemed to be the world's most powerful and technologically advanced country. Beijing was the world's largest city. China could boast the world's biggest canal and the world's largest wall. The Chinese had invented the compass, gunpowder, paper, printing, hot air balloons, rockets, kites, the blast furnace and the seismometer. They also had armillary spheres, extremely sophisticated clocks, automata (what one might call proto-robots) and the world's most terrible firearms.
In 1405-1433, China ushered in an unprecedented age of discovery and had apparent designs to conquer the world. Admiral Zheng He led a 30-strong fleet of the largest wooden ships ever built in human history in a journey to the Western Ocean and beyond - where the sun set. His gigantic ships, compared to which European caravels were small rafts, awed the entire Indian Ocean's coastline into submission. He even fought a land war in Ceylon and captured the local king. Zheng He paid visits to East Africa, Arabia, India and the Malay Archipelago. There is also a hypothesis (albeit a dubious one) that he discovered Antarctica, Australia and America.
China was truly on top of the world. It seemed it was on the verge of becoming the predominant political, economic and cultural superpower. But…
By 1860, China's political sway was diminished to such an extent that Anglo-French forces entered the Forbidden City, the residence of the emperors of the world, without much ado. Subsequently the country that had once aspired to be the center of the civilized world became a semi-colony. By the mid-20th century, China degraded to a bachanalia of primitive rustics intoxicated with blood and destroying the rare remnants both of their own and Western civilization in what they termed the Cultural Revolution.
The most fundamental reason of such a downfall is the fact that China lacked the two main engines of social progress - philosophy and science. Confucianism, Taoism, Mohism and Legalism were not schools of philosophy in the proper sense but rather quasi-religions and political and ethical traditions. They dealt neither with epistemology nor with ontology. Since they did not base their ethics on fundamental philosophic principles, these intellectual traditions can hardly be compared to Greek or even Indian philosophy. On the one hand, these schools leaned towards unsystematized collection of empirical data without a coherent analytic tool to guide them. On the other hand, they needed mysticism as a substitute for such a tool. This demonstrates the ancient false dichotomy of mysticism and radical empiricism (and its most extreme form, skepticism). The closest China got to philosophy were the Mohist school's attempts to formulate a logical theory and the post-Mohist School of Names (Ming Jia), which focused on juggling logical paradoxes and resembled the Greek Sophists. However, a logical system without a comprehensive ontological framework was destined to fail. Subsequently the Chinese became familiar with Indian logic (which was likely to be influenced by Greek logic) as a result of the introduction of Buddhism, but it was too little and too late.
Chinese science, like all science unfamiliar with Greek ideas, was not science in the modern sense. China has managed to amass a gigantic amount of empirical data due to its virtually unbroken civilizational tradition dating back to the 2nd millennium BC. This enabled the Chinese to achieve some notable results in applied science and technology. However, they lacked an Aristotelian metaphysics and its logical corollary, the scientific method (though not known to Aristotle himself, it was pioneered by Hellenistic scientists in the 3rd century BC and revived first during the Arabo-Persian Golden Age and then by Galileo and Newton in the modern era). Chinese scholars had to grope in the dark, having no way to analyze the amorphous body of empirical information they had accumulated. As opposed to technology and applied science, China has achieved almost nothing in fundamental science.
China's failure in philosophy ruined not only its scientific endeavors but also the political realm. Legalists interpreted law as synonymous with a despot's whims and advocated a totalitarian system. Taoists supported the other extreme - complete anarchy. Confucians wanted a compromise between these concepts and called for a society largely based on informal custom and status. None of the three systems has anything to do with the rule of law or negative liberty. Chinese history demonstrates a cycle of "legalist" despotic regimes regularly being overthrown by "Taoist" peasant uprisings and subsequently replaced by governments as despotic as the previous one. As usual, the desposts have flaunted China's illusory greatness by launching Herculean projects that, far from advancing civilization, ran the enthralled private producers and creators into the mud.
The meager intellectual potential that emerged was destroyed and not allowed to develop further after Qin Shihuang united the whole of China for the first time under his despotic rule in 221 BC. His “burning of books and burying of scholars” put an end to the flourishing “Hundred Schools of Thought.” Subsequent emperors were a bit more tolerant but the major schools (Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism, as well as elements of legalism) were merged into Neo-Confucianism, which became government-sanctioned orthodoxy. No vigorous intellectual activity remained.
Now, when China’s economic engine is charging ahead and it seems again to be on top of the world, some are claiming that China is set to replace the US as the economic and political superpower and the world will soon be sinicized. This, they assert, proves either the East’s cultural superiority or at least its equality with the West.
Nothing can be farther from the truth. The periods of China’s ascendancy have historically coincided with eras when the West declined. It is only by default that China rose to predominance. Now, when the Occident is in a shambles because it is abandoning the key Western values, the Orient is shamelessly borrowing the remnants of the West’s greatness and falsely claiming the mantle of reason and progress. Ironically, the Chinese communists unleashed the productive forces that had slept for millenia by appropriating Western capitalism and Western technology (though in a very limited form and without any knowledge of their fundamental aspects).
But an ignorant child (yes, despite China’s ancient history, culturally it is still a child who has never been able to mature) who takes the Promethean torch from a senile old man (perhaps soon to be a disintegrated corpse) is unlikely to understand its meaning. Having no knowledge of either philosophy or science, the child is still groping in the dark. This time, he has found a treasure. But it seems that a gigantic village with over a billion peasants led by a grotesque Marxist clique reluctantly yielding to capitalism due to pragmatic considerations is headed for a disaster of unprecedented proportions.

Mises on History

Ludwig von Mises' magnum opus Human Action is a must for anyone who wants an experience that will rework one's entire way of thinking over.

A section on history is characteristic of Mises' uncanny knack for dissecting intellectual convention to expose fallacies and malpractice.

The Scope and the Specific Method of History
The study of all the data of experience concerning human action is the scope of history. The historian collects and critically sifts all available documents. On the ground of this evidence he approaches his genuine task. It has been asserted that the task of history is to show how events actually happened, without imposing presuppositions and values (wertfrei, i.e., neutral with regard to all value judgments). The historian's report should be a faithful image of the past, an intellectual photograph, as it were, giving a complete and unbiased description of all facts. It should reproduce before our intellectual eye the past with all its features.

Now, a real reproduction of the past would require a duplication not humanly possible. History is not an intellectual reproduction, but a condensed representation of the past in conceptual terms. The historian does not simply let the events speak for themselves. He arranges them from the aspect of the ideas underlying the formation of the general notions he uses in their presentation. He does not report facts as they happened, but only relevant facts. He does not approach the documents without presuppositions, but equipped with the whole apparatus of his age's scientific knowledge, that is, with all the teachings of contemporary logic, mathematics, praxeology, and natural science.

It is obvious that the historian must not be biased by any prejudices and party tenets. Those writers who consider historical events as an arsenal of weapons for the conduct of their party feuds are not historians but propagandists and apologists. They are not eager to acquire knowledge but to justify the program of their parties. They are fighting for the dogmas of a metaphysical, religious, national, political or social doctrine. They usurp the name of history for their writings as a blind in order to deceive the credulous.

A historian must first of all aim at cognition. He must free himself from any partiality. He must in this sense be neutral with regard to any value judgments. [...]

The course of history is determined by the actions of individuals and by the effects of these actions. The actions are determined by the value judgments of the acting individuals, i.e., the ends which they were eager to attain, and by the means which they applied for the attainment of these ends. The choice of the means is an outcome of the whole body of technological knowledge of the acting individuals. [...]

The specific task of history for which it uses a specific method is the study of these value judgments and of the effects of the actions as far as they cannot be analyzed by the teachings of all other branches of knowledge. [End quote]

I cannot do his analysis justice in this short a space, but Mises reintroduces humanity into the scientific study of praxeology (human action) in a systematic and very illuminating way. He demolishes many myths on his way to sharpening man's ultimate tool of survival - reason. It is a tragedy not every scholar knows who Mises even is.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Democrats' Hubris Must Be Punished

For those so-called "liberals" and progressive elites who seek to rule us by fraud or force, American citizens do not want to hear another word about "equality" or "democracy" ever again.

In one of the great ironies of history, the Democrat Party has shattered the myth that it has ever valued "democracy" (as dubious an ethic as that is to begin with) by defying the wishes of the majority of Americans with legislative pushes: On health care, immigration, cap and trade, the bailouts (the Congress under Bush), the "stimulus," the moratorium on oil drilling, card check, and so on and so on.

While those who consider themselves as part of "the ruling class" have constantly preached about equality and democracy, they have continually dismissed any objections to their schemes from whom they condescendingly refer to as "the masses."

The arrogance of the liberal elites is as openly unbounded as its vindictiveness and ridicule towards those Americans who have stood up for limited government, financial responsibility, and political accountability calling itself the "tea party movement."

When traditional Americans began organizing themselves for political action in spring of last year, they were branded as "racists" for opposing the socialistic program of the left that happened to be headed by an "African-American" president.

As the movement grew in influence, they were laughably typecast as "astro-turf" by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. But this was only a warm-up act by Madame Speaker. She would later compare the tea party movement to fascists - as if any fascist regime in history has advocated limited government, a Constitution, gun rights, private property, a free market, free speech, liberty, and all those other values that the majority of Americans in this center-right country believe in.

The essential point is that the smug self-described intellectuals of the left are so full of themselves and so removed from the viewpoint of most Americans that their policies now smack most as detached from reality, and their propaganda, downright cartoonish.

The tactics of the left have now worn thin, as has the patience of the American people. The supposed ethics those on the left have touted for years, no, decades: democracy, equality, support for "the little guy," have been exploded by an administration so corrupt, so Machiavellian, so willing to trample anyone that gets in its way, that the brand may have been damaged for Democrats beyond repair.

It is indeed in doubt whether any linguistic ruse, ala the shift from "progressive" to "liberal" to "progressive," can save the Democrats from permanent infamy. The leftists are Democrats and the Democrats are leftists. There is nowhere left to hide.

So what is the source of the Democrats' hubris?

We must remember that the Democrats are Marxists. They may be cultural Marxists, or neomarxists, but they are still Marxists. And as Marxists, they believe that economics determines political philosophy in the long-run.

In other words, if the Democrats destroy the capitalist "base," while they promote economic dependency on the Democrat party-run government, the "superstructure" of rationalizations for the capitalist system will vanish. Ethics will follow economics, so to speak.

The flaw in this master plan is that "there is no there there." Socialist economics are defunct; they lead to poverty and mass dissatisfaction. This is not good in an advanced capitalist country where the majority of Americans have been prosperous and free.

Socialism has been tried in economically backwards countries and in war-torn Europe (underwritten by American security), but we are entering unknown territory. The world has never seen a regime come to power that intends to economically destroy an advanced capitalist nation in its relative prime (a program begun in haste in the 1970s).

The Democrats seek to push this nation into the abyss, after blindfolding it with media propaganda and singing anthems to its "savior" Barack Obama. America has been given its last cigarette. This November, it must be flung back into the statist's eyes.

U.S. Foreign Economic Policy: Seeing a Pattern Yet?

1. Cuba (Regime type: Communist) - May release political prisoners. Talks that U.S. trade embargo may be lifted.

2. North Korea (Regime type: Communist) - U.S. threatening further economic sanctions. American foreign policy in past has used carrots to coax North Korea to give up nuclear weapons program and/or submit to inspections. Carrots have been overly generous and sticks have been overly weak. Policies have been a failure.

3. China (Regime type: State capitalist-Maoist) - Most Favored Nation trade status since 1990s has led to American dependency on Chinese manufactured products and buying of our debt.

4. Russia (Regime type: State capitalist-Post-communist?) - U.S. gave billions of dollars in aid in 1990s. Russia persistently bullies states in region with economic sanctions. Russia aiding Iran with nuclear energy technology. No proposed economic sanctions in foreseeable future.

5. Iran - (Regime type: Islamofascist) - Pursuing nuclear weapons technology. Economic sanctions a perpetual debate in U.N. Permanent Security Council. Some modest sanctions currently in place.  Harsher sanctions recently voted down by council.  EU may possibly sign onto harsher sanctions like the banning of oil imports.

6. South Korea - (Regime type: Presidential Representative Republic) - U.S. secretly threatened sanctions against South Korea when the latter sought nuclear weapons technology as a deterrent against a North Korean invasion.

Big Peace: Fidel Castro Predicts Nuclear War

From Big Peace:

"The dictator who came the closest in history to igniting a nuclear war made several public appearances this week to predict imminent nuclear war. The cataclysm he craved in Oct. 1962 will erupt, he warned on Cuban TV this week, when the Israelis and their Yankee vassals, provoke Iran in the straits of Hormuz." [More]

Some fun quotes from his fellow commie comrades:

"If the missiles had remained, we would have fired them against the very heart of the U.S., including New York. The victory of socialism is well worth millions of atomic victims" (Che Guevara, November 1962).

"My dream is to drop three Atomic Bombs on New York City" (Raul –not Fidel—Castro, Nov. 1960).

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

William Lind: White Men the New Bourgeoisie for Cultural Marxists

“Just as in classical economic Marxism certain groups, i.e. workers and peasants, are a priori good, and other groups, i.e., the bourgeoisie and capital owners, are evil. In the cultural Marxism of Political Correctness certain groups are good,” for instance, blacks, hispanics, feminist women. Similarly, “white males are determined automatically to be evil, thereby becoming the equivalent of the bourgeoisie in economic Marxism.”

William Lind, "Political Correctness," A Short History of An Ideology

Alan Finkelraut on Racism

“Racism is the only thing that can still arouse anger among the intellectuals, the journalists and people in the entertainment business, in other words, the elites. Culture and religion have collapsed, only anti-racism is left. And it functions like an intolerant and inhumane idolatry.”

“A leader from one of the organizations against racism had the nerve to refer to the actions of the police in the Parisian suburbs as ‘ethnic cleansing.’ That kind of expression used about the French situation indicates a deliberate manipulation of the language. Unfortunately, these insane lies have convinced the public that the destruction in the suburbs should be viewed as a protest against exclusion and racism.”

“I think that the lofty idea of ‘the war on racism’ is gradually turning into a hideously false ideology. And this anti-racism will be for the 21st century what communism was for the 20th century: A source of violence.”

[Source: Danish newspaper weekend Weekendavisen (archive)]

Bukovsky: The West Lost the Cold War

A few quotes from Soviet defector Vladimir Bukovsky:

“There were no Nuremberg-type trials in Moscow. Why? Because while we won the Cold War in a military sense, we lost it in the context of ideas. The West stopped one day too soon, just like in Desert Storm. Just imagine the Allies in 1945 being satisfied with some kind of Perestroika in Nazi Germany — instead of unconditional surrender. What would have been the situation in Europe then, to say nothing of Germany? All former Nazi collaborators would have remained in power, albeit under a new disguise. This is exactly what happened in the Soviet Union in 1991.”

“Communism might have been dead, but the communists remained in power in most of the former Warsaw bloc countries, while their Western collaborators came to power all over the world (in Europe in particular). This is nothing short of a miracle: the defeat of the Nazis in 1945 quite logically brought a shift to the Left in world politics, while a defeat of communism in 1991 brought again a shift to the Left, this time quite illogically.”

“It is no surprise, therefore, that despite the defeat of communism, the radical Left in the West still arrogates the moral high ground to itself.”

For what the Soviet Union did to Bukovsky and his views on continuing communist influence in Russia and the West, see here.

Monday, July 19, 2010

One Step Closer in the March to Democratic Tyranny

This is absolutely unbelievable. Individual states are unilaterally opting out of the Constitutional constraint of the Electoral College by simple votes of their state legislatures.

The National Popular Vote bill is a direct assault on yet another barrier to the power of cultural marxists, who desire to install a demagogic dictator to vote away the wealth of the United States to "the people."

From the above-cited story: "Illinois, New Jersey, Hawaii, Maryland, and Washington have already adopted the legislation, according to the National Popular Vote campaign's website."

The political and economic damage being wreaked by these statists is unbelievable. The reaction from the majority of Americans: What is the erectile college?

The Government to the American People: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Growing Number of Prosecutions for Videotaping the Police
Prosecutions Draw Attention to Influence of Witness Videos
July 19, 2010 [...]

[I]t wasn't [a] daredevil stunt that has [a] 25-year-old staff sergeant for the Maryland Air National Guard facing the possibility of 16 years in prison. For that, he was issued a speeding ticket. It was the video that Graber posted on YouTube one week later -- taken with his helmet camera -- of a plainclothes state trooper cutting him off and drawing a gun during the traffic stop near Baltimore.

In early April, state police officers raided Graber's parents' home in Abingdon, Md. They confiscated his camera, computers and external hard drives. Graber was indicted for allegedly violating state wiretap laws by recording the trooper without his consent.

Arrests such as Graber's are becoming more common [...]

In many jurisdictions, the police themselves record encounters with the public with dashboard cameras in their cars.

"Police and governmental recording of citizens is becoming more pervasive and to say that government can record you but you can't record, it speaks volumes about the mentality of people in government," Rocah said. "It's supposed to be the other way around: They work for us; we don't work for them." [More]

The train towards transforming the U.S. into a police state rumbles along and the only question the American people has is: Will Obama make it run on time?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Snappy Answers to Stupid Socialist Questions

Ran into this comment by a communist on Commentary and thought I'd share the exchange.

orsobubu| 7.18.10 @ 7:16PM

You never studied Marx if you can say this. Marxism is the opposite than idealism. You confuse dialectical (historical) materialism with leftist idealism. For Marx, men can change history only when material conditions permit, and only by violence/revolution. Just as realists (Machiavelli, Kissinger) do, only by the opposite field than capitalistic bourgeoise: the worker classes. About automation: mathematically, it can only works under communism. If you can't understand this by math, you didn't study The Capital by Karl Marx. Under capitalistic condition, full automation brings to economical disaster because you can't extract the surplus value from labour via workers' exploitation: look at automotive factories nowadays. let's study Marx and Lenin at least half an hour a day. Workers of the world, unite!

1. Marx's Labor Theory of Value (adapted from Ricardo) has been proven incorrect. For more on this see Schumpeter's "Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy."

2. Historical Materialism begs the question of human agency (how socialists come to have consciousness that is "authentic"); and begs the question of how classes arose to begin with. Marxism is a self-stultifying ideology that renders life meaningless. The struggle for domination in mankind is obviously due to human nature, and not materialist forces. For more on why socialist systems always lead to oppression, see Michels' "Iron Law of Oligarchy."

3. Marx's theory of historical determinism, i.e. the "inevitable triumph of socialism," is obviously flawed. Socialism lasting any considerable period of time in a polity has developed due to Marxist-Leninist radicals ushering in bloody putsches in economically backwards states. This is the opposite of what Marx predicted.

4. Marx claims that the "Iron Law of Wages" leads inexorably to a decline in standard of living among the proletariat tending towards subsistence living. Yet in the most advanced capitalist states, standard of living increased ever upwards. (This is actually the primary impetus for the shift to cultural marxism). The counter-argument that this was due to labor unions is obviously false in the U.S.; labor unions only redistribute wealth, they do not increase productivity.

5. Equality of means has not been improved in any socialist state of any kind in world history. Every single socialist state has been led by an elite cadre of the relatively wealthy and a miserable underclass far underfoot. I defy you to name one counterfactual.

6. The fraud of socialism was perhaps best summed up by Margaret Thatcher, who in a speech to the socialist opposition, demonstrated the absurdity of its position. Later gesticulating with her fingers to illustrate it visually, she showed that "(Socialists) would rather the poor be poorer, provided the rich were less rich." [See: "Margaret Thatcher on Socialism" on YouTube.]

7. Socialism is only a critique of capitalism and not a self-sufficient economic system. It advises how to redistribute wealth, but not how to create it. Socialists are unable to persuasively answer the "then what?" question of what happens when capitalism is destroyed/collapses. Apparently, eternal prosperity ensues, but the causal linkage is not adequately explained.

8. Socialism is not consistent with human nature. Human beings are not innately altruists, because as a species, mankind is driven by the desire to procreate and all that seminal act entails. Man has been a hunter, a producer, a thinker, but never a redistributer. The implication of modeling an economic system merely on redistribution for the contrived ethic of "equality" is no less than the destruction of civilization itself. And this is by design. Marx set out to foment world revolution prior to developing the philosophical system that justified it.

Newsmax: NY Governor Signs Law Limiting Stop-Frisk Database

Right-wingers need to just let this one go - for their own good. From Newsmax:

NY Governor Signs Law Limiting Stop-Frisk Database
Friday, 16 Jul 2010 12:13 PM

[Democratic] Gov. David Paterson signed legislation Friday that eliminates a database of thousands of people stopped and frisked by New York City police without facing charges, calling the practice "not a policy for a democracy."

Paterson signed the law over vehement objections of New York City's mayor and police commissioner, who said the city was losing a key crime-fighting tool. [...]

"Civil justice, and I think common sense, would suggest that those who are questioned and not even accused of crimes be protected from any further stigma or suspicion," Paterson said.

He signed the bill at a press conference with the bill's sponsors and supporters including the city's public advocate, Bill de Blasio.

"Today's reform of the stop and frisk database reaffirms a basic value of this country. The government cannot keep tabs on people who have done nothing wrong," de Blasio said. [More}...

Damn straight.

Should Mandatory Healthcare Be Run by the USDA?

From CNS News:

New Regulations Outline Content, Transmission Standards for Every Americans’ Electronic Health Records

Friday, July 16, 2010
By Matt Cover, Staff Writer

New regulations issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Tuesday outline federal standards for the electronic health records that every American must have by 2014.

The regulations, developed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and issued by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, are the first concrete step for the government as it pursues the goal – first outlined in the 2009 economic stimulus law – of making all health care providers use the electronic record systems by 2014. [...]

The new regulations unveiled this week spell out what the government considers a “complete” electronic health record (EHR) and what it considers “meaningful use” of such records. To comply with federal requirements, doctors and hospitals must make meaningful use of qualified EHR systems. [...]

Among the content required for a complete EHR is an active medications list, vital signs, Body Mass Index (BMI) score, smoking status, comparative effectiveness data, lab test results, and insurance status. They must also record race, gender, and preferred language of patients, as well as send reminders to patients about follow-up visits and at-home care where applicable.

Why don't they just put the USDA in charge and tag our ears already?

News Alert: DailyKos Finally Publishes Sensible Article

Why liberals should love the Second Amendment

by Kaili Joy Gray aka Angry Mouse

Liberals love the Constitution.

Ask anyone on the street. They'll tell you the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a liberal organization. During the dark days of the Bush Administration, membership doubled because so many Americans feared increasing restrictions on their civil liberties. If you were to ask liberals to list their top five complaints about the Bush Administration, and they would invariably say the words "shredding" and "Constitution" in the same sentence. They might also add "Fourth Amendment" and "due process." It's possible they'll talk about "free speech zones" and "habeus corpus."

There's a good chance they will mention, probably in combination with several FCC-prohibited adjectives, former Attorney Generals John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales.

And while liberals certainly do not argue for lawlessness, and will acknowledge the necessity of certain restrictions, it is generally understood that liberals fight to broadly interpret and expand our rights and to question the necessity and wisdom of any restrictions of them.

Liberals can quote legal precedent, news reports, and exhaustive studies. They can talk about the intentions of the Founders. They can argue at length against the tyranny of the government. And they will, almost without exception, conclude the necessity of respecting, and not restricting, civil liberties.

Except for one: the right to keep and bear arms. [More?]

Hot Air: Iowa sheriff to complete course on Constitution after concealed-carry denial

Via Hot Air:

A federal judge has lambasted an Iowa sheriff for denying a gun permit to an outspoken government watchdog and anti-abortion advocate whom some in the area considered “weird.”

It was wrong for Osceola County Sheriff Douglas Weber to deny Paul Dorr of Ocheyedan a permit to carry a concealed weapon three years ago, according to a court ruling issued Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett also ordered Weber to successfully complete a court-approved course on the U.S. Constitution within five months.


Point/Counterpoint is now Commie Hunter

Hope you like the new flavor.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Ruthless Few

The grinding machinery of the state requires philosophical lubrication in order for it to effectively crush autonomous human existence and smash it together in the new totalitarian society.

For the ruthless few who orchestrate the transformation from ordered liberty to centralized authoritarianism, the ideological justification for such a structural shift is not utopian but pragmatic.

States that are in the midst of transformation from democratic government and civil society to fascistic forms are never self-consciously evil; their most remarkable quality is an absence of the notion of evil.

The self-appointed philosopher-kings who reside behind the veneer of the demagogic politicians, who specialize in sophistic rhetoric, are devoid of the intuition or value-judgment that individual human beings have intrinsic worth.

"Liberty" for these technocrats is a hopelessly romantic and misguided ideal that is merely a barrier to their construction of the perfectly efficient integrated political, social, and economic system. The ideas that animate men are of little consequence to these social scientists who prostitute principles on behalf of the would-be rulers; what matters is the reality of power over the mindless mob. As such, if the blank slates of humanity call tyranny "freedom," and oppression "liberty," so much the better.

The sense of intellectual superiority among the ruthless few is driven by a few basic assumptions.

First, that human beings are tabula rasa that can be conditioned to believe, through empirical manipulation of the sense-data in their environments, whatever the propaganda class tells them to believe.

Second, individual human beings have no intrinsic value, spiritual or otherwise, that warrants special consideration in their design of their totalitarian system. They are merely numbers or objects to be manipulated (this, after all, is the "scientific" and "pragmatic" way to look at things).

Third, the value systems to be inculcated in the masses are selected on the basis of their utility for power accumulation. For all intents and purposes, these values are the sinews of collectivism that the technocrats use to orchestrate their structural transformation.

Yet the ruthless few are intellectually blind in that they do not recognize the philosophical shallowness of their designs. Designing a system for the sake of the system overlooks that human life is driven by men's search for meaning. Individuals are not animated by their desire to be part of a "system." Alienation and anomie erode such totalitarian designs at their foundational level.

The instrumentalist system the technocrats contrive causes human misery and suffering, true; but how does one objectively measure such suffering? And after all, aren't social experiments designed to be run again until the system is perfected?

The cold comfort for the victims of totalitarianism is that the ruthless few's disconnect from humanity, beyond its superficial abstraction, is the fatal flaw that prevent their machinations from becoming a lasting reality.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Need for Political Renaissance

As the philosophy of a people goes, there, inevitably, is civilization led. Philosophies of confusion and detachment from reality lead to decay and collapse; those of order and rationality provide the conditions that make social harmony and human happiness possible. Yet the austerity of the rational life is not for the faint of heart; it demands virtue and a steely stoicism. Ultimately, many will retreat into utopianism and mysticism, which obviate our personal responsibility and detach us from the real world. The outcome of the battle between reality and unreality is the fulcrum on which the fate of a civilization turns.

The greatest intellectuals of history rose to prominence in periods of catastrophic change. In the ancient world, Aristotle, Cicero, Confucius, and the Arab scholar Al-Ma'Mun sought to make sense of the tumult and strife they witnessed around them. They left us manuscripts that would, in the words of the Greek historian Thucydides, last "for all time." Their minds sought to impose order on the mystical culture and seemingly chaotic world around them in order to bring man's relations in harmony with reality.

Each of these philosophers' civilizations would ultimately collapse into tyranny or barbarism after periods of ideological decay; their teachings disregarded and their warnings ignored. In the West, the decline and fall of the Roman Empire would lead to the obliteration of the gains of Hellenic philosophy as well as the 'genius of order' of the Romans. The Near East would fall under the sway of Islamic fascists who would subjugate all thought under the omnipresent dominion of Allah. China would continue to move ever so slowly towards achieving the totalitarian vision of its first emperor Qin Shu Huang.

The first signs of the reemergence of civilization in the West can best be attributed to the thought of Thomas Aquinas, who reintroduced rationality into Christianity. The Scholastics would pave the way for the Renaissance, primarily by resurrecting Aristotelian thought. Their works would lay the foundations for The Enlightenment, which would disentangle superstition from politics and liberate men from intellectual slavery to monarchy. Once again, we find that the essential political philosophers of the era, Thomas Hobbes and his refuter John Locke, were men who lived during times of immense change and confusion. John Locke's Two Treatises on Government would provide the intellectual fuel for the American Revolution.

The American Revolution, which created an unprecedented political and economic order based on reason and deliberation, would contrast mightily with its sister revolution, often misleadingly described as animated by The Enlightenment. The French Revolution was birthed by the unruly passion of democracy, and was the midwife of the "philosophy" of rationalized confiscation known as socialism.

Though both democracy and socialism are draped in the ideological garb of reason, they are divorced of it; the former is animated by transcendental collectivist myths and the latter of class envy devoid of reflection or virtue. One might view them as the doctrines of power accumulation in the state under the stewardship of a cult leader and the repression of all upward mobility threatening the elite establishment, respectively.

The present popularity of democracy and socialism in academia and Western culture is indication of a calculated divorce from The Enlightenment, which liberated men from the control of elites. Unfortunately, the practical success of the American experiment, and now the well-founded distrust of self-described intellectual elites, have led to a disdain for ideas among many people. But the consequence of this development is that we have incrementally abandoned the vision of the founders in our hearts and minds, and are within one swift stroke of severance with that glorious past. We now find ourselves in the midst of a war of ideas, with the soul of Western civilization at stake; yet many still show a pathological lack of seriousness about ideas and how they shape our world.

There are questions that arise of why an intellectual elite would subvert the very civilization it benefits from; and secondly, what makes their detractors so smart? The answer to the first question is a matter of human nature, the second one, a matter of historical awareness.

If we assume that the American way has been successful in terms of wealth creation and political stability, the problem for intellectuals becomes "how do I distinguish myself?" One does not acquire notoriety or power by adhering to the principles of the past, no matter how successful they have proved to be. The ideologies that 'naturally' developed in academia over the last century, which attracted "alienated" (or rather, narcissistic) individuals, can be summed up as "contrarianism for the sake of contrarianism" and "rationalized power-seeking."

The left's fetishism of democracy is thus a knowing move to subvert the ordered liberty of the Constitution by breaking down the nation into elite-managed groups. These groups are pitted against one another; the numerous and ever-increasing victims become the clients of the intellectuals and their power-broker of choice The Democrat Party.

Socialism is at its core merely a critique of capitalism. It is not a creative or productive system in any realistic sense. People don't work for its own sake, and certainly they do not do so for strangers (at least, without the implied or explicit threat of a barrel of a gun). Socialism provides no plausible answer to the "then what?" question of what happens after the destruction of capitalism.

The intellectual decay of Western civilization has brought us to a crossroads, and we must choose the path take from here. We must choose liberty or an "Age of Darkness." It is our task as freedom-loving Americans to ignite a political Renaissance, reawakening and re-energizing the ideas of the founders. Out of crisis comes opportunity, as our political enemies remind us, and for us that entails laying the ideological foundations of liberty on more solid ground. With the illuminating guidance of our founders Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, and Madison we may add the insights of Ayn Rand, whose explicit infusion of Aristotelian thought into the philosophy of freedom would buttress our defenses against the inevitable assaults that arise from democratic mobs and iron-fisted tyrants. It is moderation in principle that leads to excess in government; and devotion to principle that leads to liberty, security, peace, and prosperity.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Political Typology of the Left

There are many different kinds of leftists, and the deeper one digs, the more one finds. Yet for the sake of time and simplicity, we tend to lump everyone on the left together.  What we need is a way to break down the left so that we know whom we are dealing with and how to attack them ideologically and practically.

American conservatism, on the other hand, is fairly straightforward. There are those who have been accurately referred to as "Traditional Americans," who believe in the Constitution, liberty, and freedom in their heart and soul. These people tend to be decent, hard-working, family-oriented, religious people who believe that the greatness of America to be self-evident.

On the other hand, there are Libertarians, who fellow travel with the Traditional Americans because of their common enemy of the left. These people seek ideological and philosophical consistency to combat socialists intellectually. They desire to persuade people of greatness of the Founding and capitalism by appeal to pure reason.

The "three legs" of the conservative stool analogy (made famous by Rush Limbaugh), is a bit misleading because fiscal conservatives, national security conservatives, and social conservatives overlap too much in the national security and social conservative categories.  The paradigm is still useful from the perspective of identifying policies and their supporters.  In distinction, libertarians refused to vote for McCain against Obama for fiscal, social, and national security reasons and was part of the reason for his defeat (including those who chose to stay home.)  To clarify, libertarians may or may not be members of the Libertarian Party.

More complicated is the make-up of the modern left.  Leftists can be broken down, for practical reasons, into the following types: "Feel-gooders," "Convenience" leftists, "Not Republicans," and Socialists.

Feel-gooders are those people who gravitate to the left because they feel it to be more "compassionate." The values of equality, diversity, multiculturalism, environmentalism are ingrained in their social circles. These people feel their values to be correct because they believe that "nicer" people hold them. They are practically immune to rational argument if it "feels wrong" to them.

Convenience Leftists  are opportunists who express the left's values and vote Democrat due to various economic and social pressures. These can be government workers, union members, welfare recipients, and other group thinkers who exploit the left's policies and signal phrases for their own personal benefit. This is the most dangerous group for the tea party, because they are uniquely vulnerable to the destructive economics of the left. The worse things get, the more entrenched this group becomes for the Democrats, in accordance with Cloward-Piven's theory. The best way to target this group is to make it clear to them in the long-run, growing the private sector is necessary to support the economy of the nation.

Not Republicans are those who were likely raised Democrat and will never vote Republican regardless of the political terrain. Their dislike of Republicans is primarily due to certain social issues, powerful memories of scandal or certain unsavory figures, and media manipulation. These people are viscerally opposed to Republicans, almost like a Chicago Bears fan will always hate the Green Bay Packers.

Socialists are the hard left elements, whose tentacles are spread throughout the other groups. Their operatives, whether they acknowledge that they are "socialists" or not, intermingle with the other groups and seek to manipulate them. We shall take a closer look at these sad, misguided creatures.

The types of socialists can be broken down into: Ideologues, Revolutionaries, Functionaries, and Beneficiaries.

Ideologues are those who operate in the realm of socialist ideas, and tend to be true believers in the truth and beauty of socialism. In the true believer's mind, the triumph of socialism is inevitable and a beautiful utopia can come to pass if we only destroy capitalism. (They don't recognize, for example, that if it were that easy to bring about nirvana simply by destroying an economic system, it would have come to pass already.) These may also be cultural marxists or other neomarxists. Their characteristics are: romantic, sermonizing, prophetic, and naive.

Revolutionaries are radicals who seek the destruction of capitalist "society" because they are angry, reckless, and obsessed with "action." They are basically malcontents who have nothing better to do than to stir up trouble, envy, anger, and resentment. They hate the world and want to "watch it burn" for its own sake. These people, who would otherwise be official criminals, have found their niche within the destructive leftist program.

Functionaries are calculating, pragmatic, ideologically apathetic group thinkers who benefit from the left's power-seeking. Whether in the civil service or in the administrative ranks of government, these people are "useful idiots" who simply "go along for the ride." These people are frequently "Convenience" leftists, and are relatively easy to manipulate with benefits and handouts.

Beneficiaries are those people who benefit substantially from the left's program, in terms of wealth, fame, and influence. These are political and intellectual leaders, prominent social activists, union heads, and important media personalities (most fall within the functionary category). Beneficiaries sit at the top of the left's pyramid schemes while decrying the evils of capitalism. This makes them extremely hypocritical.

The importance of coming up with such a typology for the left can be seen if we categorize the presidents according to their socialism type.

Woodrow Wilson

Franklin Roosevelt

Jimmy Carter


Barack Obama

It may seem contradictory to argue that a politician can fall into more than one type, but that reflects the unique leadership role the president has within the leftist program. Note that Barack Obama is the only president to combine every socialist type. Unsurprisingly, he is foolish, easy to manipulate, destructive, and hypocritical. This is in all likelihood no accident. Obama was groomed for his role the ultimate socialist president, and he is certainly not his own man, whether he believes he is or not. His deceptive nature is an aspect of his split personality.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Left Sleeps as the State Prepares for War with Its Own People

This is how it begins.

Nations that take a hard left turn always seem baffled when the misery and destruction come like a thief in the night. The lazy, ignorant, and ideologically perverted, believing empty slogans like "Land, Bread, and Peace," wake up one day to find themselves deprived of all property, starving, and in a constant state of war - with other nations, against their own government, amongst each other, and even versus nature itself.

Such as it is that the leftists today do not even realize that the freedoms they so vocally and stridently espoused for so long - the social freedom to say and do whatever you want and the economic freedom not to have to maintain gainful employment - are about to be obliterated. These useful idiots will soon be astounded to find themselves in a full-fledged hostile police state and in a state of serfdom bound to the demands of the central government. "Comply or starve. Submit or face elimination," will be the government's constant refrain.

And when is all said and done, what will the leftists have rebelled against? A nation where forty hours of the worst employment one can find provides one with a standard of living higher than 95% of the world's population? (For those keeping count, forty hours is less than one-quarter of one's time spent in a week.) This is what we are supposed to be so damned mad about?

And what about America's imperialist foreign policy, you say? Like when we entered World War I to attempt to force a stalemate in continental Europe? Or when we were plunged into WWII by Japan, whom we roundly defeated and then rebuilt even stronger than before? Or when we helped defeat the Nazis and saved much of Europe from Nazi and Soviet domination? Or how about fighting for South Korea, which is a virtual paradise compared to its communist neighbor to the North? Or maybe Vietnam, which saw tens of thousands of people killed or made refugees when the North finally conquered the South? How about the Cold War, which saw the vilified Ronald Reagan proven correct about the internal moral and economic rot of the USSR once and for all? How about Saddam Hussein, a genocidal madman who personally oversaw rape and torture rooms, and who used wmds on his own people?

But of course, opposing the demonstrable evils of tyranny, communism, fascism, and the economic misery of socialism makes us belligerent warmongers out to conquer the world, correct? Good little Leninists take note that the warmongers in each case cited above were not advanced capitalist nations. And for further counterfactuals to the left's insipid little narrative, just ask the Canadians and Mexicans how unashamedly expansionist we are.

But with the totalitarian left, the hunger for a perfect world can never be sated. Increasing social and economic controls bring more pain and hardship, but that just means we're closer to system-wide meltdown and "liberation" from modernity. There won't be anarchy and chaos, folks, no; you see, for some magical reason a spontaneous new order will arise and we will all be "new" human beings and we will all love each other equally and there will be peace forever and ever. There will be peace - the peace that comes from the desolation of all that get in the way of the left's diabolical machine. And following the peace will come stagnation, societal and economic decay, alienation, apathy, and a ruling class entrenched above the whole tragic mess of it all.

This is the left's paradise in practice. This is the brave new world of Barack Obama and his ilk. This is the eerie "transformation" of America that the Democrats were talking about.

Soak it up, lefties. And don't say we didn't warn you.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Point/Counterpoint on Hiatus

Point/Counterpoint will be on hiatus the next few weeks so I can complete some research and attend to other matters. There may be an occasional post, but there will be no updating of the features.

As an additional note, will revert back to its blogspot address Thank you for frequenting the website.

The Management

Hey Honey, Some People Ain't Buying It

Tea Party Defeats Palin in Idaho by David Boaz, Cato Institute

State Rep. Raul Labrador walloped Republican establishment favorite Vaughn Ward in Idaho’s 1st District congressional primary. Idaho native Sarah Palin campaigned for Ward, who had worked in the McCain presidential campaign in 2008. Labrador drew strong support from Tea Party activists. According to Politico, “Ward’s defeat also came despite his high-profile support from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who did more to assist Ward than she did for almost any other House candidate. Last Friday, she headlined a rally and fundraiser for Ward, and her parents and in-laws were supporters of Ward’s campaign.”

Lots of Republican incumbents lost their legislative seats, too, suggesting the continuing power of Tea Party activism and general populist unrest.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Obama "The Great Jobs Killer"

A cathartic rant from libertarian pundit Wayne Allyn Root:

As former President Ronald Reagan might have said, "Obama, there you go again."

The current occupant of the White House claims to know how to create jobs. He claims jobs have been created. But so far the score is Great Obama Depression 2.2 million lost jobs, Obama 0 -- a blowout.

Obama is as hopeless, helpless, clueless and bankrupt of good ideas as the manager of the Chicago Cubs in late September. This "community organizer" knows as much about private-sector jobs as Pamela Anderson knows about nuclear physics.

It's time to call Obama what he is: The Great Jobs Killer. With his massive spending and tax hikes -- rewarding big government and big unions, while punishing taxpayers and business owners -- Obama has killed jobs, he has killed motivation to create new jobs, he has killed the motivation to invest in new businesses, or expand old ones. With all this killing, Obama should be given the top spot on the FBI's Most Wanted List. [Continued]

The Bill Will Come Due - For Us and Them

This isn't FDR on steroids. This is FDR on crack.

With millions of Americans out of work, and the economic pain growing, those remaining few of us who had any remaining hope that Obama was a well-intentioned but naive political newcomer with our nation's best interests at heart are about to become severely disappointed.

The propaganda machine has been out in full-force, but even that is not going to be able to save this regime from the glaring facts that it has botched this economy, and by all appearances, on purpose. With such early signals as "don't let a good crisis go to waste," followed by legislation establishing an eight hundred billion dollar slush fund, and then a tremendously expensive health care bill, the Democrats have shown themselves to be spendthrifts who govern unrestrained by fiscal sanity, moral decency, or even Constitutional authority.

The lines that "Obama saved us" from another great depression, "it would have been much worse," "here comes a double-dip recession" (or W-shaped recession), and that there ever was a "recovery" to begin with, are almost comical in their depths of falsehood. The Democrat party line being simultaneously that "those jobs may be gone forever" and "of course, it will take time to create jobs," is another example of the absurd message from the government and their cronies that we are expected to swallow. Never mind the fact that the government cannot "create jobs," only transfer them under its authority from the private sector. Such positions, since predicated on coercion (taxation), cease to be "jobs," but are more akin to indentured servitude, especially when alternatives in the private sector become exceedingly scarce due to government meddling.

But America has seen this all before. Under Hoover and FDR, government intervention made the economic situation much worse, and specifically, the actions of the Fed to curtail the money supply, combined with protectionist tariffs. In the 1970s, Keynesian theory was stood on its head with high inflation and high unemployment, known as stagflation. The Obama administration pursuing the same failed economic policies is not misguided, it is malicious. These people know exactly what they are doing. They are anti-capitalist radicals and they are behaving as such.

So look out America. Here comes the bill for the Democrats' reckless and destructive behavior.

Americans for Tax Reform has come out with a select list of some of the taxes coming our way, and it doesn't look pretty. Those people who are unable to connect the dots and trace them back to the government (rather than "capitalism" -the monolithic bogeyman of the left), are certainly going to notice the taxes that the Democrats are poised to stick us with. There will be no more excuses for Obama, and no more denial that he knows exactly what he is doing. The bill will come due - for us and them.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Summary of My Report at a Libertarian Conference

The U.S. Founding Fathers faced a task of enormous proportions - to create “a government of laws, and not of men”, and to make it permanent and stable. “The government we mean to erect is intended to last for ages,” James Madison said then. The Founders’ work was the ultimate result and culmination of thousands of years of profound research in political philosophy. Such simplistic and primitive notions as “power to the people” and “democracy” (so popular in our age of rapid intellectual decline) were rejected by them outright because they had been proven wrong and pernicious by centuries of theory and practice. Simply giving power to numerical majorities, without further thought and ado, may be the easiest way to construct a government but the easiest ways are often the worst. A majority of numbers entails neither the rulers’ intellectual superiority nor their moral integrity nor their right to subdue the minority nor a triumph of liberty.
James Madison famously said that “democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.” John Adams was of the same opinion: “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” And so was Alexander Hamilton: “Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.”
The extreme of democracy is the ominous prospect that America faced in the wake of the Declaration of Independence. In U.S. historiography and political discourse, both leftist and rightist, there’s a tendency to turn a blind eye to the excesses and atrocities perpetrated by some democratic Radicals in this era, to excessively praise and glorify the Patriots and to demonize the British. It cannot be denied that many of the Patriots’ grievances were justified and that they had a right to fight against tyranny. But it is not that simple.
For one thing, the British constitution was then the freest in the world and the American colonists owed most of their rights and liberties to the English model. Moreover, for all his atrocities, George III may have been the most “liberal” tyrant in the history of the world. As Lord Acton put it, “no other Revolution ever proceeded from so slight a cause.” It is also interesting that many British politicians supported the American Revolution and that Britain agreed to separation pretty quickly. Besides, many American supporters of Britain demonstrated remarkable wit and wisdom - such as Byles Mather, who said: "Which is better - to be ruled by one tyrant three thousand miles away or by three thousand tyrants one mile away?”
To boot, there was the imminent danger of British monarchical despotism being replaced by American mob tyranny. People suspected of British sympathies (“Tories,” “loyalists,”) were being routinely lynched and their property was confiscated.
Democracy is guided by the spirit of passion and is often impervious to the dictates of reason. The following case is illustrative: in 1770 British soldiers fired into a crowd in Boston. The mob, driven by anti-British sentiment, had a verdict of its own before any fact-finding could take place. It was one of the Founding Fathers, John Adams, who defended the soldiers and demonstrated that they had been attacked by the crowd. Adams was perhaps one of the best guardians of the rule of law - he refused to either become a “king’s man” or submit to the whims of the democratic crowd. Law is blind to the wishes of any faction, royal or popular. Below is a quote from his speech, as shown in the HBO miniseries John Adams (surprisingly, some of the overtones sound almost Objectivist):

When people are taxed without representation, they are sometimes to feel abused. And sometimes they may even rebel. But we must take care, lest borne away by a torrent of passion we make shipwreck of conscience. The prisoners must be judged solely upon the evidence produced against them in court and by nothing else. (…) Facts are stubborn things. See, whatever our wishes, our inclinations or the dictums of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence. You see, the law on the one hand is inexorable to the cries and lamentations of the prisoners. But on the other hand, it is deaf as an adder to the clamors of the populace.

The democratic trend resulted in proto-socialist debt relief laws passed by state governments, as well as paper money issued to alleviate the plight of poor farmers. Paper money led to inflation, which in turn led to price controls. “The rights of individuals are infringed by many of the State laws - such as issuing paper money, and instituting a mode to discharge debts differing from the form of the contract,” Madison said at the Philadelphia Convention.
The onslaught of democracy culminated in post-Independence Pennsylvania, where the local Radicals sought to bring about something very similar to the French Revolution. Events resembling the Jacobin Reign of Terror and proto-socialist efforts to “spread the wealth around” are characteristic of this period.
The state governments of the pre-Constitution era entrenched radical democracy by concentrating almost unlimited power in the lower houses of their legislatures - governors and upper houses were extremely weak, while the judiciary was heavily dependent on the whims of the majority. Some states even had unicameral legislatures with gubernatorial figureheads and absolutely impotent courts. Edmund Randolph (governor of Virginia in 1786-1788) stated at the Philadelphia Convention:

Our chief danger arises from the democratic parts of our constitutions. It is a maxim which I hold incontrovertible, that the powers of government exercised by the people swallows up the other branches. None of the constitutions have provided sufficient checks against the democracy. The feeble Senate of Virginia is a phantom. Maryland has a more powerful senate, but the late distractions in that State, have discovered that it is not powerful enough. The check established in the constitution of New York and Massachusetts is yet a stronger barrier against democracy, but they all seem insufficient.

These developments greatly troubled those who were subsequently called the Federalists, and they held the Philadelphia Convention in 1787 to put an end to the excesses of democracy. This was perceived by the Anti-Federalists as a design to impose aristocratic despotism. What they failed to grasp is that,. though the new federal government created as a result of the convention did infringe on individual rights in some cases, such infringements were no more severe than those perpetrated by the more “democratic” state governments and the mobs that stood behind them.
Indeed, many Anti-Federalists and their heirs, Democratic Republicans, supported such an abomination as the French Revolution well into the Reign of Terror. Moreover, French ambassador to the U.S., Citizen Genet, took part in the creation of Democratic Republican societies. It is noteworthy that the U.S. Founding Fathers sought to replace democratic chaos with the rule of law at about the same time as the French plunged into the hell of a democracy more extreme than ever seen before.
Some American radicals, Anti-Federalists and Democratic Republicans also exhibited a proto-socialist tendency characteristic of democracy. Thomas Paine advocated progressive taxation, state pensions and public works, while Thomas Jefferson supported state education and state-funded poor relief. Below is a famous (or infamous) Jefferson quote that sounds pretty leftist:

I hope we shall take warning from the example [of England] and crush in it's [sic] birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws our country.

Many modern libertarians eulogize the Anti-Federalists and hail them as the foremost defenders of liberty, while the Federalists, especially Alexander Hamilton, are generally demonized and presented as forerunners of the total state. This fallacy stems from the fact that both the Anti-Federalists and modern (non-Objectivist) libertarians are not so much pro-liberty as anti-state. Driven by anti-government sentiments, they often ignore the real problem - the promotion of liberty - and focus on non-essentials. Even moderate governments that protect individual rights are presented by them as devils incarnate, while any society where there is no state, regardless of mind-boggling genocide perpetrated there, is seen as an idyllic libertarian utopia. In this bizarre worldview, only the state can violate individual rights, while private individuals are seen as incapable of such violations - no doubt a relic of the naive noble savage myth. That is why they embrace either pure democracy or “democracy gone wild” - i.e. anarchy (many modern anarcho-capitalists hate democracy but there is still a fundamental affinity between these doctrines - they’re both “pro-people” and “anti-government”). Hence their support for the lifestyle of primitive tribes with dismal living standards and their extremely misguided foreign policy agenda - since they hate governments in general and the US government especially, its foreign policy is presented as imperialistic and evil. Since they loathe the state, many libertarians have supported tactical alliances with communists, the New Left and Arab terrorists (they’re also state-haters!) and supported Marxist-Leninist and Islamist uprisings against U.S.-backed regimes. It is interesting that Murray Rothbard rejoiced when South Vietnam was occupied by the communists.
That is why such thinkers fail to comprehend the gigantic significance of the U.S. Constitution. For them, it’s as evil as the constitution of any government. But that is not the case. For the first time in history, a nation escaped both the dangers of anarchy-cum-democracy and despotism. Luther Martin stated at the Philadelphia Convention:

This general government, I believe, is the first upon earth which gives checks against democracies or aristocracies.

A system of popular elections at every level of government is a safeguard against despotism but the extreme of democracy is prevented by a carefully constructed array of checks and balances, including a strong presidency, a powerful Senate, an independent judiciary, the Electoral College etc. Though I disagree with Lord Acton’s “democracy” definition, I agree with the idea:

It was democracy in its highest perfection, armed and vigilant, less against aristocracy and monarchy than against its own weakness and excess. Whilst England was admired for the safeguards with which, in the course of many centuries, it had fortified liberty against the power of the crown, America appeared still more worthy of admiration for the safeguards which, in the deliberations of a single memorable year, it had set up against the power of its own sovereign people. It resembled no other known democracy, for it respected freedom, authority, and law.

To sum up, the U.S. Constitution safeguards individual rights both from the government (arche) and the people (demos). It established neither a “governors’ republic” nor a “people’s republic” but a republic of laws.

P.S. You can find the full version of the report (in Russian) here and here.