Friday, December 27, 2013
Are libertarianism and conservatism totally different?
We occasionally see some rather poorly informed claims to the effect that libertarianism and conservatism are totally different -- e.g. an article by Walter Block here. I think therefore that a little clarification is required. The truth can be very simply put: Libertarianism is ONE ELEMENT in conservative thinking. More precisely, Libertarians and conservatives share an attachment to individual liberty.
Libertarians are in some ways like Leftists. Leftists tend to have very simple formulas for what is wrong with the world. Ask them and they will say: inequality, poverty and (more amusingly) intolerance. When you realize that leading Leftists are usually well-off and are totally intolerant of dissent, you can see how uninsightful and oversimplified leftist reasoning is. And aside from being mostly poor, libertarians are like that too. They oversimplify enormously: Get government out of the way and a new Eden will dawn.
Conservatives, on the other hand see everything as complex. They see that there can be other influences on human welfare than freedom. For instance, when a country seems threatened by foreign aggression (as Britain was in WWII) a conservative may see national security as an important consideration that may need balancing against individual liberty - hence conservative governments may introduce a whole range of "wartime measures" that reduce the liberties of citizens to some extent. Conservatives try to balance competing principles.
Another revelatory case is immigration. Since libertarians dislike governments and their restrictions, they usually favour open borders. If libertarians had their way, most of Mexico would end up in the USA. But conservatives see other issues as being involved -- such as pressure on welfare programs and other systems, and the importation of the dumb political ideologies that have kept most of the Americas South of the Rio Grande mired in poverty. What the immigrants have in their heads is important, not just the fact that they are a person. And conservatives also see it as a matter of property rights. If I have the right to say whom I will have living with me in my own home, surely groups of people (nations) also have the right to say who will live among them?
Libertarians also tend to ignore genetics. When proposing remedies for poverty, Leftists will say: "give the poor more money" while libertarians will say "Give the poor no money". Neither system will usually be practical so conservatives tend to say: "The poor ye always have with you". With no ideology to explain everything, conservatives can simply accept reality. As one of Britain's most prominent Conservatives recently said, some people are equipped mentally to do well and some are not. Leftists usually cry "racism" when genetics are mentioned so the conservative response is usually implicit rather than explicit these days. That people are born different underlies a lot of conservative thinking even though it can be risky to say that out loud.
Similarly with homosexual "marriage". Leftists see it simply as an equality issue, libertarians see it simply as a liberty issue while conservatives see it as impacting on many other things -- such as morality and the family and a general devaluation of marriage.
So conservatives try to align their thinking with the complexity of reality while libertarians have a "one size fits all" explanation and solution for all problems. Conservatives value liberty but don't think it is the answer to everything. And the only liberty Leftists value is your liberty to do what they say -- JR.
Encouraging Lessons from the "Duck Dynasty" Imbroglio
David Limbaugh, below, is inclined to see the Duck Dynasty affair as a turning point. I think it may be an even bigger turning point than he suspects. I think it marks the end of kneejerk bans in response to shrieks of "homophobia", "racism" and the like. Fox will gladly grab the show if A & E don't back down soon. They are in a no win situation: Stick with political correctness or lose one of their top money-spinners. So it would be amazing if they didn't grovel to the people they have offended. They now know that "offence" works both ways. Others are going to see that too.
Something similar has just happened in England. A checkout chick at a tony department store chain (M&S) refused to put through a bottle of champagne because she is a Muslim. The buyer had to line up at another checkout. The firm initially backed the Muslim but got such a barrage of abuse over it that they did a u-turn and said they will no longer use Muslims in that role. So after all the accommodation that has been given to Muslims a limit has been reached. There is a lot of synchrony between what happens in Britain and what happens in the USA so I supect that we have seen the end everywhere of automatic obedience to political correctness -- JR
A&E's suspension of Phil Robertson for expressing his politically incorrect, Bible-based opinion on homosexual behavior has turned out to be a blessing in disguise and serves as an object lesson for Christian and other social conservatives, as well as other lovers of liberty.
The politically correct left has built a culture and network of intimidation against all who refuse to accept their views and especially those who are vocal in standing their ground.
Among the encouraging lessons from this brouhaha are that people are waking up to the tyranny of uncompromising leftist groups and realizing that they don't have to cower before them and cave to their bullying demands. We're seeing that courageous individuals, secure in their beliefs, can make a difference and by speaking out motivate like-minded people to stand up and fight back.
Conservatives are recognizing that they don't have to sit back and continue to be victims of the left's domestic economic sanctions, that sometimes it's necessary to fight fire with fire by reciprocating with economic sanctions or support of their own.
The Cracker Barrel restaurant chain learned this lesson the hard way. It announced it would stop selling certain "Duck Dynasty" merchandise because of Robertson's statements. The backlash from its customers via social media was immediate and so overwhelming that it issued an apology and reversed its decision, which teaches us another lesson. While the conventional wisdom is that the left owns social media, the reality is that people, including millions of conservatives and Christians, own social media and can use it to combat the left's tyranny and otherwise engage in the culture war.
A similar phenomenon occurred in reverse when customers of Chick-fil-A flocked to its restaurants throughout America to support the chain when CEO Dan Cathy came under attack for saying he supports traditional marriage. The mayors of Chicago and Boston lambasted the company, and D.C.'s mayor said it was peddling "hate chicken."
People who want to mind their own business are finally grasping that certain militant leftists, especially gay activists, won't let them. They don't want to live and let live; they don't just want equal rights and respect. They want to stamp out opposing viewpoints and suppress the liberties of those who disagree.
Robertson and Cathy are not the first to be demonized. Some who worked on the Prop 8 ballot initiative in California were told they would be vilified as anti-gay and would never work again. That's right: If you express your support for traditional marriage, the militant gay movement slanders you as "anti-gay." They can't win in the marketplace of ideas, so they have to take out their opponents -- assaulting their character and reputation and destroying their credibility and courage to fight back.
These bullies are threatening lawsuits against churches that refuse to perform same-sex weddings. They are forcing the normalization of the homosexual lifestyle into our public schools via Common Core. They have sued a baker for refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. They sued to compel a Christian photographer to take pictures at a same-sex ceremony.
People are also witnessing the militant gay lobby engage in calculated deception in its quest to impose its views and suppress the opposition. This deception is primarily found in the deliberate distortion of terms, such as "anti-gay," "hate," "discrimination," "bigot," "homophobe," "bullying" and "intolerance."
To oppose same-sex marriage or even to subscribe to the Biblical declaration that homosexual behavior is sinful is in no way anti-gay or hateful. Most people who oppose same-sex marriage have good will toward homosexuals but don't want society to be forced to alter the thousands-year-old understanding of marriage. They want to preserve their constitutional freedoms of expression and religion to believe and state their opinions even if they offend certain people.
On the other hand, an abundance of hatred flows from many militant activists toward those who disagree with them, and especially those who actively oppose them.
Phil Robertson voiced his opinion about homosexual behavior. In doing so, he and others like him neither discriminate nor advocate discrimination against homosexuals in any way.
Those who oppose these practices are not bigots; they do not seek to mistreat homosexuals. Even those who believe the behavior is sinful are not being hypocritical if they admit their own sinful behavior, as well. They aren't advocating that society impose punitive sanctions against homosexuals. Nor are they homophobes, meaning they fear homosexuals. That's outright absurd -- period. But this has not prevented the term from insinuating itself into the common cultural vernacular.
Bullying and intolerance? Here again the accusers are projecting. They have demonstrated they will not countenance opposing viewpoints and will seek to bully, intimidate and suppress the liberty of those who wish to express them.
All in all, freedom lovers should be invigorated with these developments. They are waking a sleeping giant: those Americans who did in fact want to live and let live but who are now realizing that sitting out the culture wars they didn't start is not an option.
The Biggest Lie Of All.... "Doing something" about Income Inequality
In the last few days Barack Obama has attempted to change the subject of public discourse from healthcare to income inequality, which he has dubbed “the defining challenge of our time.” Now he tells us!
Since POTUS hasn’t paid much attention to this problem for the first five plus years of his administration, even with African-American unemployment through the roof and the middle class disappearing from American economic life, and with Rand Paul (of all people) the only one to come up with a concrete suggestion of how to elevate people out of poverty, as he has recently with Detroit, this should come as some surprise.
But it doesn’t. The fight for “income inequality” is and has been for a long time the defining lie of modern liberalism.
This is not to say that income inequality does not exist. Of course, it does. But what liberalism does is pretend to do something about it, to whine and complain about it, in order to ensure the support of the poor, the semi-poor and minority groups, while doing nothing that changes the substance of their inequality in any permanent way. Indeed, it often exacerbates it.
Consciously or unconsciously, these liberals may actually want the lower classes to remain the lower classes. After all, if they bettered themselves, they might leave the Democratic fold. That wouldn’t do. So the system goes on.
Meanwhile, for all their pious progressive talk, George Soros gets to keep his palazzo in Katonah (among many others), Jeff Katzenberg his beach shack in Malibu, and Obama the beach shack that some say awaits him on Oahu. And we all know about Al Gore’s many eco-friendly homes. (Oops, I think that one’s now Tipper’s house.)
So, on the surface, all this income inequality chatter is nothing more than hypocrisy, that “homage that vice pays to virtue,” as La Rochefoucauld put it. But it’s really worse. It’s cynical and mean because all these so-called liberal solutions to poverty, solutions that have been tried hundreds of times since the Great Society, and probably before, to no avail, suck the energy from the room, befuddle the media and the body politic and make it impossible for other methods to be tried, as with the Rand Paul idea referenced above.
Kwanzaa: The Holiday Brought To You By the FBI
It is a fact that Kwanzaa was invented in 1966 by a black radical FBI stooge, Ron Karenga -- aka Dr. Maulana Karenga -- founder of United Slaves, a violent nationalist rival to the Black Panthers. He was also a dupe of the FBI.
In what was ultimately a foolish gambit, during the madness of the '60s, the FBI encouraged the most extreme black nationalist organizations in order to discredit and split the left. The more preposterous the group, the better.
By that criterion, Karenga's United Slaves was perfect. In the annals of the American '60s, Karenga was the Father Gapon, stooge of the czarist police.
Despite modern perceptions that blend all the black activists of the '60s, the Black Panthers did not hate whites. They did not seek armed revolution (although some of their most high-profile leaders were drug dealers and murderers). Those were the precepts of Karenga's United Slaves.
United Slaves were proto-fascists, walking around in dashikis, gunning down Black Panthers and adopting invented "African" names.
In one barbarous outburst, Karenga's United Slaves shot to death two Black Panthers on the UCLA campus: Al "Bunchy" Carter and John Huggins. Karenga himself served time, a useful stepping-stone for his current position as a black studies professor at California State University at Long Beach.
Kwanzaa emerged not from Africa, but from the FBI's COINTELPRO. It is a holiday celebrated exclusively by idiot white liberals. Black people celebrate Christmas. (Merry Christmas, fellow Christians!)
For the best Christmas address ever, go here. Such is the incredible rightness of what he says, Ronald Reagan still brings tears to my eyes. I hope he does that for you too. How much America has lost since his passing!
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Posted by JR at 1:36 AM