Cum dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum.
Saint Augustine tells us (along with Gandhi, many years later) to love the sinner, and hate the sin. Conceptually, it’s easy enough to grasp. Practically, it’s not always an easy task. Drive down the freeway during peak traffic hours and tell me how many folks drive you crazy with poor driving antics. Certainly road rage wouldn’t be so prevalent if most folks managed to live by this rule. However, making the attempt to live this way is worthy even if we cannot always live up to it.
Social Justice orthodoxy demands that we hate the sinner for the sin. Paula Deen famously used the word “nigger” after being held up at gun point, and admitted that she may have said it in other contexts at some point or another in her life. This stain is considered permanent in some sense. Once you use the word, you are forever guilty, as if the offense were like committing a felony. Your record cannot ever be expunged. Forgiveness is impossible. You will be hated forever. You are an unperson, erased like a man in a Stalin-era photograph.
A good friend of mine some folks may know as ClarkHat sent me this link: https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2019/08/my-joe-rogan-experience/594802/
Fascinatingly, the author of the piece does not appear to have a problem with Joe Rogan himself, per se. Indeed, his opinion of Joe is high enough that most of the piece is about the author’s attempt to live likewise, and Joe’s ability to relate to the common American man. Rather, he takes issue with the fact that Joe Rogan would dare to talk with sinners, with the unpersoned. The money quote:
Joe likes Jack. He likes Milo Yiannopoulos. He likes Alex Jones. He wants you to know that he doesn’t agree with much of what they say, but he also wants you to know that off camera they’re the nicest guys. If we all have fatal flaws, this is Joe’s: his insistence on seeing value in people even when he shouldn’t, even when they’ve forfeited any right to it, even when the harm outweighs the good. It comes from a generous place, but it amounts to careless cruelty. He just won’t write people off, and then he compounds the sin by throwing them a lifeline at the moment when they least deserve it.
Once a man is unpersoned, the shunning is supposed to continue forever. You must hate the sinner, and if you do not, this itself is a form of sin. It is, in the author’s own words, Joe’s fatal flaw. Talking to the sinner is forbidden. Forgiveness of the sinner is forbidden. It does not matter if the sin was three years ago, or thirty years ago. It does not matter if the sin was a casually insensitive joke, or a Virginia governor donning blackface in a yearbook. Although we might suspect that Governor Northam may have been given some level of a temporary pass for his Democratic party allegiance. Political expediency may delay your final unpersoning, for a time. Then again, it may not. Courts of public opinion are fickle, prone to whimsy, and as cruel as any schoolyard bully. There is a reason the justice system is not put to popular vote, after all.
His invitation to Jones was indefensible, and his defense was even worse. I had assumed going in that Rogan would explain himself at the top, similar to what he’d done after booting the Jack Dorsey interview. But he didn’t. He went the other way. He promised a “fun” interview with Jones, as if it was a joyful, long-awaited reunion rather than offensive for even existing, and he assured his listeners that “you’re gonna love it.”
Even before Jones sat down, Rogan seemed unpierced by the genuine anguish that Jones had caused the parents of murdered first graders. I won’t quote anything Alex Jones said on the podcast, so just picture a walrus with a persecution complex, or a talking pile of gravel. They got the Sandy Hook stuff out of the way first—Jones evaded responsibility, Joe grumbled about the media—and then they got into what Jones was really there to talk about: aliens, suicidal grasshoppers, Chinese robot workers, that kind of thing. My breaking point was at the 21-minute mark, when Jones apologized for “ranting” and Rogan replied, “It’s okay—I want you to rant.”
Alex Jones is presumed by the author to have caused genuine anguish to the parents of Sandy Hook shooting victims. First, it bears mentioning that this claim is extremely dubious. If somebody doesn’t wish to listen to Alex Jones, he doesn’t have to. I’m not exactly in the Alex Jones fan club, and I generally avoid listening to him. Similarly, if Joe’s interview of Alex Jones starts to cause somebody distress for whatever reason, well, you can watch something else.
Similarly, the author notes that “Jones evaded responsibility.” What does this even mean? Alex Jones was not responsible for the shooting. There are many things one might conceivably pin on Alex Jones, to include those scam supplements sold under the InfoWars brand. But Sandy Hook – and the feelings of the victims and their families – isn’t one of them. To the author, however, it does not matter. Alex Jones is a sinner. He should therefore be unpersoned, and anyone who even talks to the unperson is himself guilty of a sin.
Perhaps a sin worthy of unpersoning as well.
I’m glad, though, that the men of America have Joe Rogan to motivate and inspire and educate them in limitless ways, including how to recognize a moron. Whatever gets the job done. It might unsettle some of us that we must rely on his fans to separate the good stuff from the bad, but that’s the hard work of being a responsible adult in the modern era—knowing what you should consume and what you shouldn’t. We all need to decide for ourselves, but trust me on this one: You can skip the mushroom coffee.
In the end, the author comes around – perhaps reluctantly – to the view I took above. For this I give him some credit, for I get the general impression from his writing that this view was difficult for him. He likes Joe at some level, but he is conflicted about his status as a sinner. But he does explain that you are responsible for the content you choose to consume. Joe Rogan’s time to be unpersoned has not yet come, at least in the author’s view. For now, perhaps, the court of public opinion has not ruled against him.
But once the you are deemed have offended the sensibilities of popular culture sufficiently, well, your time will come. There is no appeal, no forgiveness, no coming back from your unpersoning. Once a sinner, always a sinner. Once a sinner, never a real person again. You just become another caricature, a guy in a Hitler mustache, a cartoon villain, upon whom anything may be blamed, up to and including school shootings you had nothing to do with.
Hate the sinner, regardless of the sin: the new mantra of mob justice.
A friend of mine formerly known as Glomar Responder (Mr. X) on Twitter sent over this screed as a guest post. It’s an interesting commentary on the bifurcation we’re seeing in libertarianism. I’ve spoken on this matter before, as my natural inclination is toward smaller government and so I have historically been rather sympathetic toward libertarianism. But there are problems in libertarianism that continually get overlooked, and an increasing number of “left-libertarians” making their political debut. There are open-borders libertarians who do not realize they are slitting their own throats by encouraging, or at least allowing, the mass importation of people who work counter to their goals. It’s clear there is something going on, and Glomar explores the idea below.
Met with a high school friend last night, talked a bit about how libertarianism became a leftist shit show so quickly after the so-called “libertarian moment” where it looked like the Rand Pauls and Ted Cruzes were the new hotness in politics.
And she has a theory.
Libertarianism isn’t one movement, it’s two.
The popular political branch that actually got people elected and polls well in the southeast is based in the classical Anglo-Saxon system, as carried on especially by the British Isles border peoples. It basically stopped evolving at Locke.
And when founded in the US, it was REACTIONARY. It was a restoration of the rights of Englishmen and the small, local systems that the border Welsh, Scots, and Irish were used to.
So you have volunteer fire departments based on the militia system. You have Sheriffs with real law enforcement power, instead of a constabulary. You have common law rather than large bodies of code.
And then there’s intellectual libertarianism, which continued to evolve, especially in France, Germany, and Spain.
And Proudhon and Stirner had a huge influence on them.
So you get your John Henry Mackays, linking libertarian political thought with sexual promiscuity and outright pederasty.
Something that would have gotten you lynched by the “libertarians” of e.g. Kentucky.
So, unfortunately, “intellectual” libertarians run the movement, such as it is. Politicians and elites are far more likely to gravitate towards intellectual movements based in French and German philosophy than they are to say “hey, maybe those rednecks and hillbillies have preserved a great system, and we should adopt it.”
So you get think tanks, and a few college professors, pushing “respectable” libertarian thought that is atheist (due to both French revolution era and German influences), sexually promiscuous and experimental, and radically atomized individualist (because Stirner).
And the people it attracts in the academy and in young political life are the white upper middle class degenerates, because it gives them permission to be freaks, without giving them the obligations to the worker from classical communism, the obligations to the progressive stack from Frankfurt branches, or the obligations to God from social conservativism.
“Dude, weed” is actually their ideal sales pitch to the classical Anglo-Saxon borderer libertarians.
Because the Stirnerites think they should be able to have their hedonistic experiences as they choose, and the hillbillies think “you think Washington can tell me what crops I can grow? Fuck you, buddy.”
It’s a solid point of agreement between the two. As is shrinking government intervention in their lives generally.
But the hillbillies, their basic stance is “leave me the fuck alone, I can get by just fine with my family, neighbors, and church.”
And the intellectuals are much more “leave me the fuck alone, the child consented and anyway I’m raising average wages worldwide by making cheap crap in China without any trade barriers.”
You’ve got a bunch of government minimalists and localists on the one hand, who have a very long history of voluntary participation and civic duty.
They don’t like a distant crown passing edicts on them, but they’re cool with showing up at the fire hall when the chief tells them to.
And then you’ve got a bunch of people who want to be left alone because they’ve bought into the atomized individualism that lets them live without obligation. They can fuck who they want, exploit who they want, and act like general eternal teenagers.
“Fuck you, dad,” the political movement. So abortion is cool, because “the child is trespassing on my body.”
And voluntary hierarchy? REEEEEEEEEEEE!
The former is attractive or at least understandable to many normie Americans, because it’s just a more radical version of the system they were born and raised in.
They can see the Jefferson in it.
The latter is repulsive to most of them.
It rejects many of their fundamental institutions. Of course we serve in the military (militia tradition, remember).
Of course we have laws regulating marriage (still religious, never adopted the atheism of the Continental libertarian/anarchists).
And a few decades of middle and lower class guys going to college and reading e.g. Rand has kinda mashed the two together in many places.
But there’s still a fundamental divide, and it’s becoming more apparent as the “I don’t owe you or your culture shit” libertarians side with the left.
Child drag queens don’t bother them.
Why would they? So long as I don’t make you do it, I don’t owe you shit.
Immigration? Borders are just imaginary lines, statist, stop making my lawn mowing more expensive.
No, I don’t owe my neighbor’s kids shit. They should lower their price and compete with the Guatemalan lawn crews and their riding mowers.
They have to speak Spanish at school? Oh well, we don’t have an official language.
That lawn crew will eventually vote away my buttsex? Well, I’ll be dead.
Libertarian VOTERS didn’t change.
They’re still just classical Anglos (or at least spiritual anglos).
But the money and the “movement,” organized libertarianism, doesn’t represent them, it was always fundamentally different.
Anyway, long story short she’s convinced her formerly very active libertarian husband to disassociate from movement libertarianism because Darth Fonzie is cringe and gross, and Latin American socialists don’t vote with her very, very white daughter’s freedom and interests in mind.
Francis posted a series of links yesterday (give it at least a quick glance – the titles alone will give you the gist) and suggested that they were thematically unified. This theme is apparent to anyone with eyes to see, yet when I’ve challenged Leftists on events like these in the past, they always have a rationale for why what we all see is not true.
When Donald Trump exclaimed that his choice of fast food for the Clemson team was good American food, Paul Krugman replied with a snarky tweet saying that Burger King was owned by a Brazilian company. This received thousands of likes and retweets from Leftists who, presumably, felt that Krugman had just demonstrated how stupid Trump was.
Yet, Burger King is American food. There is nothing more American than the hamburger, especially in fast food form. When you track the ownership, Burger King’s parent company RGI is 51% owned by 3G Capital, an international investment company with two headquarters, one in Brazil, and the other in New York. Krugman thinks this somehow alters the character of the food. So, since this investment company operates partly out of Brazil, does Paul Krugman think Burger King counts as Brazilian food, then? Clearly not. It’s a lie designed to score points.
The rationalization of Krugman’s statement is a way to deny the fundamental truth. Leftists are experts at this tactic. They deny the fundamental characteristics of a thing, and embrace the ephemeral in an effort to bend political realities their way.
Trump was right, Krugman was being a pathetic stooge. A 3 year old could detect the difference.
Getting back to the list Francis provided for us, each is part of a greater whole: a sort of declaration “actually, what you see and hear isn’t true, you should believe what we say instead” espoused by the Left.
The home invader is an “unwanted house visitor.” Give me a break. This redefinition has to stop. It continues because we permit it to continue. “We” being people on the Right, often enough. We assume good motives, because we ourselves possess them, often enough. This is a mistake. The other day, I spoke of an example wherein a Leftist tried to equate the probability of political violence to that of a meteor that causes a mass extinction event.
This isn’t just being slippery with your definitions, it is being brazenly dishonest, or more charitably, incredibly idiotic.
Burger King Hamburgers aren’t American, Krugman claims, because Burger King is, through a couple levels of corporate layering, partly owned by a company that’s half-based out of another country? Lolwut?
You can’t make this stuff up.
Francis’s list encompasses some of the more ridiculous examples of this behavior, but understand this: Leftists are constantly doing this. Many times they are being more obtuse and less obvious about it. Still, it’s going on.
Michael Crichton’s Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect operates similarly. Pick a subject you are expert in (it could be anything), that you know from head-to-toe. Read news articles and watch television broadcasts about this subject. Note how utterly wrong and off-base the media is. Yet, knowing this, many still believe the media when they bloviate about something else.
A similar effect exists for this Leftist propensity of redefining things to suit their argument. And yet, the next time you encounter one, you treat him as if he’s sincere? Bad idea, folks.
I’m thinking maybe we could name this the Ocasio-Cortez Amnesia Effect. Same concept. Different group of dishonest Leftists.
If you debate Leftists, carefully examine their premises. Look at their definitions, what they consider to be the essence of a thing. Odds are, you’re going to find some redefinition going on. Once, a Leftist tried to tell me that the Confederacy was just as bad as the Third Reich, because both tried to genocide an entire race. This was news to me. Don’t sign me up for the Confederate race relations fan club, certainly. Yet they did not genocide blacks. Our intrepid Leftist began a long string of legal rambling, starting with some UN boilerplate, to suggest that genocide and slavery are really the same things.
Like Krugman, he was saying that Burger King is really a Brazilian restaurant.
This concept ties into Artificial Intelligence efforts, which have yet to deal with a very specific problem. Software may be written that is very dynamic, that can learn. You can show the software, for instance, 5,000 pictures of deciduous trees, and eventually it learns (to a reasonable level of accuracy) that which is probably a tree. But then you show it a coniferous tree, and it will not recognize it as also being a tree. Now you must show thousands of additional pictures, and tell it these are all trees. Yet, show a toddler who can barely talk a picture of one tree, and he can usually make the intellectual leap. He grasps quickly the essence of what tree is.
The AI lacks the ability to extrapolate the essence of a thing. It’s a serious challenge in software development. Leftists pretend to lack this ability in order to score points. They want you to show them 5,000 Burger King hamburgers before admitting that this is fundamentally an American food. So I am withdrawing even the charity of suggesting they are stupid. They aren’t. Toddlers can do this, and they can’t? Give me a break. They know full well what they are doing. They are pretending to the stupidity if called out on their lies.
Remember the Ocasio-Cortez Amnesia Effect. Really, I should have called it the Paul Krugman Burger Effect, but it doesn’t have quite the same ring, does it? Anyway, she does it too. They all do it.
Some time ago, Tom Kratman explained to me that pacifism is, at its core, a form of moral cowardice. The reasons for this are many and varied, but we can summarize it by considering that, were the pacifist to see a gang banger beating the crap out of an innocent old lady, the pacifist would consider intervening to be an injustice. After all, the pacifist would say, being violent in turn only brings us down to the gang banger’s level. In the mind of a pacifist, both the gang banger and the defender of old ladies are equally evil, for both resort to violence.
Leftism is full of moral paradoxes like this. I have, of late, taken to calling the phenomenon a form of brain lock. Leftism resembles, in part, a form of philosophy sometimes called moralistic therapeutic deism. It fits in neatly with this “I’m spiritual, not religious” nonsense espoused by a number of indecisive morons. I’ve seen this phenomenon called “post-Christian”, or a number of other similar terms. It is assuredly post-modern, for it has no obvious antecedents in our recent history. Whatever we call it, it is the dominant belief system in the Western world, even with many who consider themselves to be Christians.
In essence, it is a dumbing down of Christian morality combined with a form of pseudo-scientific Marxist absolutism. The pacifist will say that all violence is bad, but in his absolute devotion to this overly-simplistic principle, actually prevents himself from doing anything to stop the very violence he theoretically decries.
Good, the MTD adherent will say, is being nice. It is the Golden Rule, or something very much like it. So the adherent will countenance importing many not-nice individuals, in the name of being nice. Consider how Angela Merkel and her enablers like to guilt Germans about the atrocities of their anti-Semitic Nazi past, and use this guilt to import hordes of anti-Semites.
This is the kind of contradiction that infects adherents of this overly-simplistic worldview. Equality is their god, because equality is nice. If you have more, you should give it up until you don’t. Elon Musk shouldn’t shoot cars into space until Flint’s water supply is fixed. It is an inversion of Game Theory. The more your opponent punches up betray, the more you keep the faith. If Muslims blow your buildings up, write sympathetic pieces about the religion of peace, give them tons of money, and yell at folks who are skeptical of the religion.
In the pursuit of absolute justice, they propagate injustice. If a man cures cancer, should he be allowed to keep the millions that would surely flow to him? Or should he have to give it all away because of equality? Surely the unemployed crack addict should have the same standard of living, right?
This form of morality is both absolute and simple, and it does not work at its stated goals. Want more terrorism? Do this. Want more crime? Want more people to be on welfare? Do this. Want more violence, war, and hatred? This, this, and more this. Pacifism leads to more violence, not peace. Welfare leads to more layabouts, not more productive people. If you genuinely dislike violence, you must be prepared to do violence to those who violate the peace. If you value productivity, you must allow poverty to be uncomfortable.
The world does not conform to the MTD view. Being nice doesn’t make people be nice to you in turn. The Golden Rule contains an implicit condition: at some point, the rule should be reciprocated. You don’t apply the rule to a known genocidal maniac. In Game Theory terms, the Golden Rule means that, in the first round of the game, you select keep faith hoping that the other player will see the value in selecting likewise. If he fails to do so, and betrays instead, betray him in the second round since he cannot be trusted. Perhaps the betrayal will convince him that you are not a sucker, and he will learn to keep faith. Or maybe he’ll just keep hitting betray, and you will at least have avoided being a complete gullible moron.
Leftists can’t do this. They recoil from the necessary duty of being not-nice, of employing violence on the violent, of quid pro quo economics. They can’t see past this and encounter a form of brain lock in which they cannot comprehend how being not-nice in this moment could lead to a nicer society down the road. They cannot understand how violence can make the peace.
Or, if they do understand, they are merely too cowardly to carry out their duties as such. Perhaps for some, this is all post-event rationalization for why they did not intervene to save the old lady from the gang banger. “I am too good, too moral to fight,” says the pacifist, “someone else should do it for me.” Whether that someone else is a Rightist they loathe – but secretly need to keep from being turned into a bloody pulp – or a god they don’t really believe in (but hey, they are spiritual, not religious) doesn’t matter.
In fact, the distant not-really-extant god that they crawl to only in dire need is a great example of this. Fuck you, you don’t exist, says the adherent to God. He’ll drop a cross in a jar of piss, call Christians retarded and make fun of their stupid sky wizard. The next day when he loses his job and gets dumped by his gender-confused housemate he’ll expect the universe – or his god-like spirit – to intervene on his behalf and fix all his shit. And if that doesn’t work, he’ll crawl to the government, hat in hand, and expect the money cribbed from the rest of us to put humpty-dumpty back together again.
And if you don’t, you’re not nice, you big meanie. Now obey or I will apply social peer pressure to you!
The insidious side of this belief system is that it only works if the non-believers cave in to it, in sufficient numbers. That is the problem we have here. Go talk to a liberal on social media and try this experiment. Say something morally complex, like the first boat of
refugees invaders to Europe should have been sunk, and that doing so would have actually prevented the loss of life the ensuing mass migration incurred. Or, if that is too spicy for your taste, merely state that illegal immigrants should be deported back to their birth countries.
Immediate brain lock will occur. You are a big meanie. You are evil. You are immoral and inferior to the Leftist, who is, of course, nicer than you! You can extol the virtues of self-defense, and a fair number of them will dispute the morality of even that much. You should run away, you should not stand your ground, for how could you be so mean to the violent criminal?
There is no breaking through the brain lock. The notion that good does not mean nice is foreign to them. They are sheep thinking sheepdogs and wolves are the same, because both have sharp teeth.
Once a Leftist has brain locked, the only possible expression is fury. How dare you question orthodoxy, infidel! This is why moralistic therapeutic deism may be a good description for the phenomenon, because despite often atheistic pretensions and its Marxist genealogy, it acts like a religion. It is merely that the religion is not well developed and is extremely over-simplistic.
Christianity spent many centuries arguing about its tenets. The nature of Christ, the Trinity, things like just war theory and just what was meant by the commandments… these were all theological debates (some of which went much further than that) that occurred in Christianity’s long history. Christianity largely solved the moral dilemmas and contradictions throughout the ages. And it did so through rigorous debate and practical application. It wasn’t always pretty, either, as Leftists often harp on.
Point is, though, it was done. And in so doing, answers to moral problems were arrived at, and a history was forged with guidelines for how to handle certain moral issues. MTD has none of this long history or debate. Its principles are simple and absolute. They lack even the forgiveness mechanism Christianity provides for those (all of us at some point or another) who fail to live up to its tenets. For them, guilt is eternal. Guilt lasts even past death – this is how white Americans can be held responsible for slavery long after all slavers and all slaves are dead. The guilt is never excised. Forgiveness is never granted.
Lacking such mechanisms for exploring the answers to complex moral problems, and lacking even the ability to forgive those who fail, MTD is, in fact, the opposite of nice.
It is an evil belief system in the same way pacifism is a cowardly belief system. And the reason for this is that the system allows and even encourages evil to flourish in the same way pacifism encourages violence. The fact that its adherents are unable or unwilling to see this is tragic. It doesn’t change the outcome one whit.
It is also prone to ever-greater heights of extremism. Vegans are often telling us that eating animals is violence against animals, and in turn, since niceness is the only virtue, we are evil for being omnivores. PETA once went so far as to cheer when a shark bit the leg of a little boy (IIRC, he lost the leg), because the boy and his father had been fishing, so the boy clearly deserved it for practicing violence against the fish.
They saw cheering as virtuous in the same manner as a Leftist celebrating that his country’s culture and history will be flushed down the toilet by waves of migration – much of it illegal and little of it assimilated – that dwarfs most migrations in human history. There is no higher cause, no greater positive sacrifice in the mind of the Leftist than cultural self-destruction.
And yet, having determined that all that is Western, or white, or male, or Christian – whatever – is evil and must be destroyed, they do not make the final rational leap: they are (usually) white themselves. Brought up in the West. At least vaguely post-Christian. Some are even kinda-sorta male. Shouldn’t they kill themselves, too? You know, set an example and all that.
No, of course not, says the coward. That’s for someone else to do. They are the anointed elites, you see.
They ain’t got time to save the old grannies. They are better than all that. It is a much better use of their time to rant about how an old Christmas song is sexist, or something.
Some quick points for today:
1. Social Media PR Campaigns
I mentioned elsewhere that many people – perhaps even a majority – are engaged in a constant social media PR campaign.
By this, I mean that folks take a strong interest in appearances on social media. They will post things that make them look like good, moral people (without regard to actually being good, moral people), or post things that make them look rich, interesting, trendy, whatever (again, without regard to actually being any of those things). This may very well make up a majority of social media posts, outside political arguments and cat memes.
Now, folks have always signaled status and virtue, since the dawn of time. So by itself, this concept is not new. What social media has brought to the table is a sort of marketing and PR angle to it. It’s like every individual has a miniature marketing and advertising campaign running. Constant pictures, link shares, and quick tidbits become advertisements of one’s value. Facebook is like “free” ad space for your personal PR campaigns. Instagram, of course, is even more dedicated to this. All social media platforms have shades of this, though at least on Facebook, we spend some of the time hating each other for various political positions, or posting stupid (but oddly addicting) memes.
There is a gradient between this activity, and the so-called social media “influencers”, whose personal PR campaigns have succeeded to sufficient degree that they can be monetized. They are those who appear most moral, or most trendy, or most interesting, rich, whatever…
…but still irrespective of actual morality, trend awareness, uniqueness, and wealth.
Pretending to be something you are not is so much easier on social media than it was in the past. But the competition is fierce.
2. Trump and Collusion – Nobody Knows Shit
Pardon my bluntness, but it’s true. Something like half the political conversations I overhear or see on social media invariably sink into the pit of Russian collusion and Donald Trump. By itself, this wouldn’t bother me. Yes, it’s stupid and probably completely fictional, but it’s conversation material.
What is annoying is everyone involved pretending they understand even a minute fraction of the legal wrangling and political bullshit surrounding it. A Leftist will say that some dossier is going to lead to an indictment, which will in turn force Trump to testify or be interviewed by such and such. Whatever. These are armchair lawyers who know nothing about any of this. They just repeat mainstream media talking points and fantasize about Trump getting impeached and Hillary Clinton somehow being installed as Empress, starting a dynasty of female Clintons ruling the world until the end of time. Or something vaguely like that, anyway.
It’s all fanciful bullshit. Nobody understands what’s going on. Not even, I suspect, a great many of the people who are involved in it in one way or another. This is a problem with any investigation or witch hunt (whichever you prefer) that happens at the federal level. It soon becomes a bureaucratic brier patch that nobody can navigate or understand. It’s a mess.
Many Rightists have taken to arguing with the Lefties in the same manner, saying that such and such document really says some other thing, and their legal interpretation is wrong, and Mueller is… well, some damned thing. I’m not much of a fan of this method, either.
I will be clear: I don’t think there was any collusion. I think the Left is using this narrative to distract from the fact that they colluded with pretty much everybody on Earth who would give them some campaign support, and is using this to try and limit the reach of Trump’s administration by tying them up in endless red tape. But I have no specific legal or technical arguments around this. I base this on the general hostility of the media, and the fact that most people involved have a track record of being corrupt liars.
Most of the people arguing this case don’t know any more than I do, but couch their arguments in legalese to appear like they do. It’s rhetoric pretending to be dialectic.
3. Facebook’s Stock Dump
I’ve been waiting for a long time to see Facebook suffer some consequences for their behavior. Zuckerberg appears to be in a world of hurt, insofar as a billionaire can possibly be said to be “hurting.” Facebook, like many social media outlets, has engaged in a stealth campaign against Rightists. Or, perhaps more accurately, has engaged in a stealth campaign to support Leftists.
I’ve spoken at length about the double standard before, and have witnessed it in person, and seen it well documented by others. But always, Facebook retains an air of plausible deniability. At first, they claim it’s an accident, or that there are no double standards. When the truth is discovered, they retreat to “individual employees did it.”
We all know this is horseshit. But for the longest time Facebook suffered no real penalty for it. Leftists control the establishment in the West, and their money can cover for a great many flaws, but not forever. It seems they may be reaching the limits of their pocketbooks. George Soros himself has said as much in recent days. Mark Zuckerberg’s troubles may be a bit of confirmation of the same.
Once upon a time, it was quite rare to see Leftism naked; laid bare for all to see. Soviets once cloaked themselves in moral supremacy and the imperative to spread the workers’ paradise to the world. Democrats explained that poverty must be eliminated, healthcare given freely to all, and bigotry of all forms erased from the Earth. Leftism prided itself upon its perceived moral beauty. Always they progressed to the utopia, the heaven on Earth viewed as their due, since the divine was quite silly and could not possibly exist.
Leftists could not bring themselves to admit their real end goal, not publicly, and perhaps not even consciously. For some, defense of Socialism was so deep, so ardent and passionate, that one could scarcely disbelieve their sincerity. Yet even the most sincere may lie to himself.
Recently, the mask has slipped. Curled around the edges, it falls away. Beauty, fairness, diversity, and morality… these fade away, revealing the ugliness beneath. We’ve seen it often enough in their resistance to Donald Trump. On social media, we have seen the hatred, the disgust, the dismissive disdain in which they hold us. Censors run amok, removing us from any platform where they have sufficient control. We are disinvited, our accounts are banned or deleted, our employers harassed, and our names tarnished.
Today, however, the mask slips a little further. The title lays it out, though we must fisk this mess too: You don’t have a right to believe whatever you want to.
Let the weight of this statement sink in. For the unspoken, but obvious, corollary is that since you do not have a right to belief, you can be compelled by force to exchange your belief for that of another. And who is to do the forcing? That’s the eternal question. Certainly the author does not imply that any Rightist will have a say in this.
Do we have the right to believe whatever we want to believe? This supposed right is often claimed as the last resort of the wilfully ignorant, the person who is cornered by evidence and mounting opinion: ‘I believe climate change is a hoax whatever anyone else says, and I have a right to believe it!’ But is there such a right?
Yes. There is. You may believe in the good and the silly, the smart and the stupid. You may believe in the true and the false. Belief is a choice, and if you do not have choice of belief, you do not have freedom. You must instead believe whatever those in power say you should believe, at the point of a gun, whether true or false.
Beliefs are factive: to believe is to take to be true. It would be absurd, as the analytic philosopher G E Moore observed in the 1940s, to say: ‘It is raining, but I don’t believe that it is raining.’ Beliefs aspire to truth – but they do not entail it. Beliefs can be false, unwarranted by evidence or reasoned consideration. They can also be morally repugnant. Among likely candidates: beliefs that are sexist, racist or homophobic; the belief that proper upbringing of a child requires ‘breaking the will’ and severe corporal punishment; the belief that the elderly should routinely be euthanised; the belief that ‘ethnic cleansing’ is a political solution, and so on. If we find these morally wrong, we condemn not only the potential acts that spring from such beliefs, but the content of the belief itself, the act of believing it, and thus the believer.
Who is the “we” in this? Anyway, yes, a man may condemn a belief, and condemn even the believer. This does not mean the believer cannot be permitted his belief. Only when belief becomes action must we consider doing something about it. And then, we limit this to a violation of natural rights. You don’t have the right to murder me. You may wish to murder me all day. You may even believe it to be right, which most of us would find ‘repugnant.’ But until you attempt to act on this belief, that is a matter between you and God.
This is a core difference between Leftism and Rightism. Leftism believes thought must be regulated, controlled. It believes that man may be perfected by the State, by the combined ‘wisdom’ of the mob, concentrated in the hands of the very powerful. It’s profoundly sickening. And though, as I have said, every man may be permitted his belief, if there is any belief I would wish to see destroyed, it is that one. A common aphorism is that more men have been killed in the name of God than any other reason. That is a fallacy. Such that God has been used as a ‘reason’ for murder, it is most often only an excuse, a flimsy rationale for something else the murderer really wants.
And most often, that desire is for power. The power to shape belief is among the greatest.
In any complex society, one has to rely on the testimony of reliable sources, expert judgment and the best available evidence.
Who is to do the judging? The experts? The author naturally believes that his beliefs are correct, and thus he is permitted to impose them on others. Remember that Tom Nichols often makes similar claims, that because an expert is judged by his peers to be an expert, and the hoi polloi are by nature dumber and/or less experienced than said expert, they must accept the expert’s word without making a fuss or challenging him. We are not permitted to question the expert’s honesty, or competency, or his pronouncements because he is judged better than us. Stay in your place.
In exploring the varieties of religious experience, James would remind us that the ‘right to believe’ can establish a climate of religious tolerance. Those religions that define themselves by required beliefs (creeds) have engaged in repression, torture and countless wars against non-believers that can cease only with recognition of a mutual ‘right to believe’. Yet, even in this context, extremely intolerant beliefs cannot be tolerated. Rights have limits and carry responsibilities.
Tolerance of intolerance cannot be permitted? Well then, this entire article is, in effect, a form of intolerance toward beliefs deemed unfit by the author and his peers. In effect, it is naked intolerance. Should we then be forced to tolerate it? This is all circular reasoning and mental masturbation. The essence of human experience can, in my belief, be distilled down to a measure of quid pro quo. If you are willing to tolerate me, and respect my rights, I am likewise willing to do the same with you. On the other hand, if you insist that I have no right to my belief and should be forced to give it up, why should I concede your rights to your own?
Unfortunately, many people today seem to take great licence with the right to believe, flouting their responsibility. The wilful ignorance and false knowledge that are commonly defended by the assertion ‘I have a right to my belief’ do not meet James’s requirements. Consider those who believe that the lunar landings or the Sandy Hook school shooting were unreal, government-created dramas; that Barack Obama is Muslim; that the Earth is flat; or that climate change is a hoax. In such cases, the right to believe is proclaimed as a negative right; that is, its intent is to foreclose dialogue, to deflect all challenges; to enjoin others from interfering with one’s belief-commitment. The mind is closed, not open for learning. They might be ‘true believers’, but they are not believers in the truth.
Note some of the comparisons the author makes here. He places “Obama is Muslim” in the same category as denying the lunar landings took place. He places climate change skepticism in the same category as flat Earthers. That is a rhetorical sleight of hand. False equivalency. Furthermore, the point of deriding climate change ‘deniers’ is to deflect challenge, the very practice the author claims to loathe. He does not enjoy having his beliefs challenged, and he projects this dislike upon his ideological opponents.
Believing, like willing, seems fundamental to autonomy, the ultimate ground of one’s freedom. But, as Clifford also remarked: ‘No one man’s belief is in any case a private matter which concerns himself alone.’ Beliefs shape attitudes and motives, guide choices and actions. Believing and knowing are formed within an epistemic community, which also bears their effects. There is an ethic of believing, of acquiring, sustaining, and relinquishing beliefs – and that ethic both generates and limits our right to believe. If some beliefs are false, or morally repugnant, or irresponsible, some beliefs are also dangerous. And to those, we have no right.
Ah, who decides truth of belief? An aggressive Atheist might say that I have no right to believe in God. A radical Muslim might say I have no right but to believe in Allah. Both might find the alternatives morally repugnant. Who is granted authority to determine which beliefs I might have a right to? The quote about no man’s belief being a private matter is also revealing. This is the rationale behind Orwellian surveillance schemes. The government must determine what your beliefs are, and then must punish you if they are deemed incorrect. Or, rather, deemed in opposition to whatever those in power desire.
And those beliefs are the ones that are most dangerous… to people like the author, anyway.
The mask has slipped a little more today. The salivating drive toward complete tyranny lies naked beneath.