Saturday, December 15, 2012

Tragedy, Bad Times, and What it all means Part 1

Intro Post

     So I briefly touched on what tragedy is and I mentioned that I find this situation tragic. I want to go into why its tragic and how the tragedy needs to be resolved.

According to the  I would like to throw out some numbers.
In 2000, 1,242 children in the United States died from intentional firearm-related injuries. Homicides of children are most often murders of teens by other teens.

Youth homicides represent the greatest proportion of all firearm deaths. Each day in the U.S., firearms kill an average of 10 children and teens, even though the number of teens killed by firearms in the U.S. has dropped by 35% in the past four years. In 1999, the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey reported that almost one-fifth of the 10th and 12th graders indicated that they had carried a firearm within the previous 30 days for self-defense or to settle disputes.
According to the CDC, 25,423 murders by gunfire took place in the United States in 2006 through 2007 — the years of the most recent available statistics.
Among these deaths, the rate of firearm homicides was higher in inner cities than in other parts of cities and higher than the murder rate of the country as a whole, Dahlberg said. People living in 50 of the largest cities, in fact, accounted for 67% of all firearm homicides.
In addition, children and teens aged 10 to 19 in these areas — more than 85% of them male — accounted for 73% of all firearm homicides, Dahlberg noted.
So most firearms deaths of children in the US from intentional sources are connected to youth crimes. But when older (18 and 19 year old teens) is removed from the equation about as many children die from firearms realted violence as die from surgical misadventures. You have about a couple of hundred deaths of children that happen outside the inner cities from firearms homicides, less then 2 a day (average). In a population of 10s of millions of children. This is why things like school shootings are such a tragedy because it is: A reversal of fortune.
But lets take a look at these tragic shootings (College and lower levels of school) In the 2000s: The United States had 11 school shootings of the sort we just experienced. In the 90s we had 14. in the 80s we had 17. In the 70s we had 5. In the 60s we had 11. In the 50s we had 19. In the 1940s we had 10. In the 1930s we had 9. In the 1920s we had 3. In the 1910s we had 2 and in the 1900s we had 7. Now in the 2010s we've had 6 . These sorts of events are tragic because they are so uncommon. But in the world of the 24 hour media and the world of social media you have a sense of seriousness focused on these events which prevents us from experiencing them in a proper tragic method. A common message I saw among friends who were parents was "I want to hug my kids." This reaction is the proper Cathartic experience from tragedy.
But when we look at this tragedy we also lose aspect to the other aspect of the tragedy. We go to Hegel's definition of tragedy Tragedy presents ethical conflicts, between state and family, intention and action, responsibility and necessity. Conflict may exist even where ethical principles are not the primary interest, because the tragic character may experience internal conflict, as Hamlet or Othello. Tragedy lies in the denial of absolute right on either side, or affirmation of equal right, and its spiritual value consists in presenting justice as reconciliation:
We look at school shooters like Cho at virginia tech: Due to mental illness he developed a profound sense that the humanity in others held no value to him. Lets also take a look at another shooter:
On February 29, 2012, Tim Grendell, the juvenile court judge presiding over Lane's case, allowed the release of the suspect's juvenile records to the press. According to his records, T.J. Lane was arrested twice in December, 2009. The first time, Lane restrained his uncle, while his cousin hit him. The other case involved Lane hitting another boy in the face.[42] To the second charge, Lane pled to a count of disorderly conduct.[43]
Although family court records concerning T.J. Lane had not been released, as of March 12, 2012, the press did expose criminal records of Lane's father, Thomas M. Lane, Jr. The records showed that in 2002 the elder Lane was incarcerated for one year for attempted murder. In an ordeal lasting nine hours, he physically and verbally assaulted a woman while three children were present. In addition, "he has arrests on a wide range of offenses including drug abuse and possession, violation of probation, public intoxication and disorderly conduct".[42]
A child who grew up in a home where violence was common became a young man to whom violence was not only common but became an answer. The tragedy is of course that these violent experiences do not happen in a vacuum. People see these children and families. Teachers and administrators encounter warning signs: and they ask the question "What am I legally required to do" and they do not move to the more important question "What am I morally and ethically required to do?" The tragedy of these shootings is they have increased in number as the community has declined in the 20th and 21st century. But if you go back further into the 19th century you see these shootings still occurred and occurred during times of social upheaval:  1880s (6), 1870s (2), 1860s (3), and1850s (1).

As we have changed and faced the challenges of becoming a modern country and as there were challenges of economic/social/political inequalities we see an increase of these mass shootings. Because the conflicts of these inequalities are ones that invalidate others.

"The Man is keeping me down"
"Queers are trying to change our marriages"
"the 1% is stealing from the 99%"
"Illegal aliens are stealing our jobs"

We invalidate the humanity of other people in general, and we ignore the humanity of people more specifically that we see falling through the gaps in our society. Some of them are beyond our ability to help but we are unable to help them all. We need a society where we are not individuals existing in a cynical relationship with our social/political/ and cultural institutions. People can live in material poverty without being violent: But if they live in material poverty with a cultivated spiritual poverty (that the world is out to get me and violence is the answer) we will see these sorts of violent incidents continue as people who feel they have no way to change their place in the order of things snap and become violent.

Gun control isn't the answer (as these crimes increased during the increases of gun control in the united states) people control is the answer. We need to be a society of neighbors and communities again so the communities can help diffuse this sense of indignity and rage.

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Tragedy, Bad Times, and What it all means Part 0: Introduction

Out of respect for the wishes of others and because I have been out there being a productive adult I have not talked about the latest spree killing in these here united states. But before I get into the meat of this matter I want to talk about what we say it all is and what that really means. Its a Tragedy. But where does Tragedy and just bad times become divided in the mind and in the heart. So lets start with Aristotle's view on tragedy

Tragedy, then, is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude; in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament, the several kinds being found in separate parts of the play; in the form of action, not of narrative; with incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish its katharsis of such emotions. . . . Every Tragedy, therefore, must have six parts, which parts determine its quality—namely, Plot, Characters, Diction, Thought, Spectacle, Melody.” (translation by S. H. Butcher;
Tragedy depicts the downfall of a noble hero or heroine, usually through some combination of hubris, fate, and the will of the gods. The tragic hero's powerful wish to achieve some goal inevitably encounters limits, usually those of human frailty (flaws in reason, hubris, society), the gods (through oracles, prophets, fate), or nature. Aristotle says that the tragic hero should have a flaw and/or make some mistake (hamartia). The hero need not die at the end, but he/she must undergo a change in fortune. In addition, the tragic hero may achieve some revelation or recognition (anagnorisis--"knowing again" or "knowing back" or "knowing throughout" ) about human fate, destiny, and the will of the gods. Aristotle quite nicely terms this sort of recognition "a change from ignorance to awareness of a bond of love or hate." 

Key to Aristotle's definition (that applied to a play) is Katharsis:

The end of the tragedy is a katharsis (purgation, cleansing) of the tragic emotions of pity and fear. Katharsis is another Aristotelian term that has generated considerable debate. The word means “purging,” and Aristotle seems to be employing a medical metaphor—tragedy arouses the emotions of pity and fear in order to purge away their excess, to reduce these passions to a healthy, balanced proportion. Aristotle also talks of the “pleasure” that is proper to tragedy, apparently meaning the aesthetic pleasure one gets from contemplating the pity and fear that are aroused through an intricately constructed work of art

His definition of tragedy was not just limited to plays because he was trying to codify the formal systems of the world he lived in. But because the play was a thing that allowed you to experience the pity and fear and gain release and knowledge from the experience.Key also is the reversal of fortunes. That seemed to require the hand of the god's (or hubris and pride of men).

As we get to more modern philosophers we get deeper into Tragedy and how that ties into what we are experiencing and sharing through the poor people in Connecticut

August Wilhelm von Schlegel, Comparison between the Phaedre of Racine and that of Euripides (1807). The unity of ancient tragedy consists not in a single action, but a single idea, the heroism of the impossible struggle of man against fate. In Renaissance tragedy this may become a meditation on destiny, as in Hamlet. In A Course of Lectures on Dramatic Art and Literature, volume 1, 1809, Schlegel stated 'the spirit of ancient art and poetry is plastic, and that of the moderns is picturesque', a contrast also adopted by Coleridge (Lectures on Shakespeare 1849). The dichotomy is between the Greek arts as demonstrating sculptural beauty, 'a refined and ennobled sensuality', enjoyment of the present and celebration of the human will; while northern European art expresses the desire for the sublime, the infinite, and the annihilation of the self. A Romantic approach is also evident in Schlegel's view of the function of the chorus as 'a personified reflection on the action ... the incorporation into the representation itself of the sentiments of the poet ... In a word, the ideal spectator' (Course 69-70).
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, The Philosophy of Fine Art (c1820). Tragedy presents ethical conflicts, between state and family, intention and action, responsibility and necessity. Conflict may exist even where ethical principles are not the primary interest, because the tragic character may experience internal conflict, as Hamlet or Othello. Tragedy lies in the denial of absolute right on either side, or affirmation of equal right, and its spiritual value consists in presenting justice as reconciliation: order is achieved through disorder, in an aesthetic version of the dialectical principle. Hegel does not consider fate or evil as important factors in the tragic conflict.

Our German Friends take it further: The source of tragedy in addition to huberis we see the conflict of our many roles in society and our role as an Individual. And we have tragedy being the very struggle against the impossible in life (and failing to fully be heroic).

     So I want to go into the tragedy of these events
  1. What makes this event tragic is the failures of people to act in a place of duty as they would wish to act.
  2. Without a deeper examination of these failures these events lead us to a deeper pain
  3. The people who commit the vile actions are themselves tragic because the cause to such violence is far more then a choice but is a path. And a path they rarely choose fully.
  4. It is the making of these events unknowable (when their can be knowledge gained) that makes these events tragic.
I am going to after some sleep and some free time expand on this further. But the tragedy is not the murder, the murder is the catharsis. Parents and people are having an emotional reaction that is giving them a release and a sense of connection. "What if this were my child?" This is a natural part of the order of such things. But while tragedy connects us to horror and feelings of horror, we must understand the limits of feelings (as much as we understand the limits of thought).

But I also want to take a step further:
Children are murdered and that is terrible but Children are murdered and brutalized every day. Do we pray for all of them?Some children are neglected and left to rot, do we pray for all of them?

We see illustrated in the movie Bruce Almighty the absurdity of such a vision of prayer. So   We can visualize and hope for the best for those who suffer but unless we open ourselves to them all we are doing is using them to experience their horror through their own lives. We can pray to god like he is some kind of prayer concierge, or we could take a deeper step (which the movie bruce almighty shows) being there for people.

Because you see not being there for people is why this tragedy and others like it always seem to happen. And being there for people is part of the answer to stop it. An Answer thats bigger then governments or men but is small enough for communities

Source 1
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Source 3

Friday, November 30, 2012

L'Affair Du Susan Rice

So for those who have read my prior blogs you will know I like to play myself out and put a method of analysis of the political nonsense of today by inserting me in as a persona worthy of acting in the nonsense.

This latest political nonsense is no different. So the following comes from the mouth of Senator Larry Bernard (R-Florida). And Really Senator Bernard should have beaten Bill Nelson anyway

Ambassador Rice; Thank you for coming. I want to start this off first by stating the fact I think the foreign policy you and the president have designed from the campaign to present is just terrible. That said the voters made a choice and they decided to keep having you and the President rise to the level of your maximum incompetence. I am not opposed to your being secretary of state but I need some answers to questions. You can lie to me, as a lie is a valid answer. But I need you to make the lie seem plausible.

So Ambassador Rice my first question is thus: You helped spin as a member of Clinton's national security team an Orwellian change in policy language to cover your President's behind. And you came forward to present a bunch of nonsense to cover the President's behind again with Benghazi. How can I trust that your going to take your job seriously as administering American Foreign Policy and not covering for the President? 

The White House presented a theory about a video tape. Libya is a country dominated by clan and tribal conflicts, terrorist training camps, former regime thugs, and mercenaries. When you were presented the information about the protests being the source of the conflict how did you square that with your above knowledge and your knowledge as an Africanist?

Libya a country where civil society has been destroyed, and the government have been destroyed by its nature is a security risk. The State Department did not agree with that assessment. Given that we already discussed the terrorism and other forms of political violence endemic in Libya can you explain why the State Department made the wrong choice? And much more importantly can you explain why the State Department under your leadership wouldn't make that sort of Mistake?

The political tensions in the Magreb and rest of North Africa had been brewing since before President Obama came to the White House. Why didn't the White House make an effort to encourage Gaddafi to begin to make reforms to deflate some of the pressures his Government was under? I would ask the same thing about the Mubarak regime. While I am not opposed to helping foment some of the dissident pressures as we did, but why didn't we try to transition these allies into a position where they could with stability make these reforms happen?
As UN Ambassador you pushed for a resolution on the current crisis in Syria. You did this and talked about how the Chinese and Russian Governments would support the US Resolution in the Security Council. So why did you think the Russian and Chinese governments would act so out of character with their historic security council votes? And why given it was so unlikely did you try to put so much PR into a losing proposition?
Do you regret the failure in our Central African Policies that you pushed in the Clinton Administration that we have continued for some 20 years now? How would you try to use the power of US Policy to try to try to help those countries come to a better end?
 With the rise of oil in Africa, and the decline of oil in the Middle East how are you prepared to push  and encourage US firms to take advantage of this change in the energy markets to enhance our security? How will we build those relationships that will secure US Energy security for years to come?
Thank you for your time Ms Ambassador.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Race and the 2012 Race

I forgot there was one last meme from the 2012 election that was driven by people being wrong on the Internet. The GOP is in trouble because African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics vote Democrat in large numbers. This has always been the way that it is but is now worse cause we have more Blacks, Browns, and Yellows in 'Murica.

The problem is not that Republicans hate Black, Brown, and Yellow people. The problem is much more significant and crosses both sides of the divide on race. And I get to speak on this topic from a more informed position because of my own life changes.

But first we must take a look at race and politics through the lenses of oppression and identity. If your Black you are oppressed. Even if you are Oprah you are still feeling oppressed. If you don't feel oppression at the core of your blackness, then your more likely to be voting republican. Because key to being Black as an identity is being oppressed, you look for government to be the mediator and source of relief for your oppression.

The story for Hispanics is also largely the same. Because key to their cultural identity is being oppressed by the white man. But Hispanics also form a bridge to the second culture/identity problem the GOP has. Hispanics are also a distinct cultural group (in a way African-Americans are not) and they want to maintain their cultural distinctiveness and uniqueness.

In this regard to cultural distinctiveness we find Asians and Jews as well. They don't want to go the same route of such immigrants as: Italian-Americans, Irish-Americans, etc. ethnic groups that outside of major cities are indistinguishable from the grand old American ethnic mutt white people. These groups view the GOP as the vehicle of the inevitable borg like force of homogeneity. Resistance is futile, and you will be assimilated.

So when you are a Jew, an Asian, or a Hispanic you have this urge to represent your different nature. And you find yourself confronted at every turn in your life by a world that doesn't always fully accommodate your difference. The Democratic party sells itself as the party that is all about being different. "I'm an individual just like everyone else." But it is a shallow sense of diversity. But that shallow diversity creates a buy in. "I am Jewish so I must be a Democrat, and therefore I must support the issues the Democratic party supports." And you find yourself a plethora of justifications which says your culture means you must agree with the Democratic Party and its issues.

This issue is why in the 80s and 90s we saw Union members (a distinct and oppressed cultural group) supporting the Democratic party on environmental issues that actually threatened their jobs. Its because they embraced a sense of what being a union member means that requires them to buy in to the Democratic party.

And when the Republican Party says "Us to guys" its like Carlton Banks on the fresh prince of bell-air. Dorky, unauthentic, and lame. You aren't going to convince people to go against these cultural biases because in some cases (especially for Jews and Blacks) these biases have been going on for multiple generations. You need to find a way to break the hegemony of thought that says "I am Hispanic, therefore I am Democrat." And you need to find a way to break the hegemony of thought that has Americans viewing their society as oppressive to them. That is the problem and not trying to make Black People understand we don't hate them.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

How the Republican Party needs to change

And now for the last of my people were wrong on the internet posts I saw that I delayed because of NaNoWriMo:

A lot of people were talking about how the Republicans need to more more to the Democrat positions on Taxes and Immigration.

In a word: Malarky.

The problem with Big Government isn't that government is Big , but that government is inefficient and corrupt. And that big government corrupts others.

I was watching a video on how companies hire law firms to set up consultants to "Prove" no American could get a job so they can import foreigners. The truth of this situation (as quite profoundly explained) is EVEN IF they find a qualified person they can always find a reason to excuse him that's permissible under the law. So we have a law to keep qualified Americans from losing jobs to qualified foreigners: but in practice the law is practiced in such a manner that companies go to hire qualified foreigners and invest so much money into the process that they won't hire the qualified Americans even if they find them. This is Big Business working with Big Business to create a crony capitalist solution.

What Republicans need to do (if they want to be successful) is propose a Immigration that is

  1. Simple to understand
  2. takes a reasonable time for potential future Americans to go through
  3. Fulfills our National Interest (in getting in people who will help build our country)
  4. Gets us the type of people our economy needs.
giving a specific benefit to win the electoral support (except OH WAIT IT DOESN'T) of a ethnic voting block only gets us back to the problem of the corrupting nature of big government.

More then Freedom if the Republican Party wants to defeat the ideas and ideology of Obamanism they need to do that by campaigning as the party of REFORM.

Or, how the Republican party was born in the first place, how the republican party dominated the 19th century, and most importantly of all key to its successes in the 20th century.

The Reforms must be in our day and age focused on empowering individuals to make their lives, their families, their communities, and their country better.

We need to level the federal system. We need the federal system to be one that does what it needs to do and does it as simply and cheaply as possible, It needs to do that in such a way that people know their expectations from the state and they don't need an army of experts to navigate the federal system.

Sadly the Republican Party isn't going to go back to what has always been its one of its core competencies.

A late election post mortem

Because I was busy with NaNoWriMo I didn't post my thoughts about the loss of Mitt Romney (in some respects he did worse then John McCain and that really is saying something).

I want to start out with the following thoughts

  1. The truth of the matter is our elections are far more local then we give them credit for. Mitt Romney wasn't running 1 national campaign he was running 50 state campaigns. The Obama team got this in a way that Romney's team never did. If Romney performed as well in Ohio as his national demographics would have indicated we would likely be talking about President Elect Mitt Romney today.
  2. Team Obama pioneered better technology to create better information and put it in the hands of the decision makers. Team Romney was still using national Republican technology thats largely unchanged since election 04/06 (it may even go back to 00).  This means Obama was able to be more efficient with his targeting and outreach efforts (and thats a part of why he won)
  3. Team Romney's ad strategy of playing rope-a-dope ALMOST worked. And if not for hurricane sandy it may have worked. But the problem with ALMOST winning is thats the same as losing. The damage Romney and Ryan took while they were waiting for the money numbers to be there way gave him to much to over come.
  4. 3 or 4 million Republicans stayed home. Part of what Karl Rove did so well for President George W Bush was finding people who should vote republican and get them to vote republican. If those 3-4 million voters showed up on election day and voted for Mitt Romney he would be President elect Mitt Romney. John McCain also had a lot of republicans on the bench and in 2000 George W Bush even had some republican and republican lean voters on the bench (See Florida 2000). The fact this was overlooked was negligence on the hands of the people who ran the Romney Campaign. The fact its been a problem for the GOP in the 21st century (with 02,04, and 10 being exceptions to the rule) 
  5. The election of 2006 is haunting us to this day. The weak primary field in 2008 and 2012 are in large  part because of the bloodbath in 2006. The Gop has also not improved the fundamental mechanics of how parties win elections since 2006. The only reason 2016 will be a little better for us is we have a more mature field that got on the bench in 2010.
These are some of the things that I blame the people Romney hired to run his team for, and I blame the people who have run the GOP nationally for. What I blame Romney for is a different set of matters

  1. The Business of America isn't Business: The truth of the matter is American voters don't care that much about small and big businesses getting their operating capital and wonkish matters like that. What they want to hear is "In  4 years when I come back to you seeking re-election your children will move out of your house and be moving on with their lives." What Americans wanted wasn't to get business back on track but rather America to be normal again. This was a major miss on behalf of Romney and his messaging.
  2. Paul Ryan did a lot to reinvigorate the campaign and did a lot to change the tone of the debate: But Romney didn't close the deal. He didn't close the deal by saying "Yes I am going to put the American government on a diet so we will be healthy again." He picked Paul Ryan but the message that Paul Ryan represented largely faded away. So we couldn't trust Romney to be serious
  3. Romney is a loser: And I don't mean this as a knock on his character. He lost every election he ran in but one. He didn't run for Re-Election in 06 because he knew it was going to be a ugly election for Republicans (an Ugly election he was spearheading for the national Governor's association). When he tried to run the GOP's efforts in the State House on Beacon hill he lost seats. Romney lost the 08 election to a very weak John McCain candidacy. The problem is quite profound: Other then the 2002 election where the Democratic candidate was very bad Mitt Romney has had his behind handed to him in every election he's taken a leadership role in. He doesn't have what it takes to close the deal.
None of the issues that lost the GOP the election are issues about our being out of touch with the electorate. We had a mediocre candidate with a history of under-performing and the Republican party is fundamentally weakened in the ways parties win elections and has been for 6 years now.

We need to build up our O-Line before we draft another Quarterback to lead our team to a title. We don't need a new team.

Why everyone is wrong about Benghazi

I am about ready to restart my NaNoWriMo project (to shoot for 60-75k) but before I do I want to talk a little bit about Benghazi:

The problem is not that President Obama let our Ambassador and his security team die. The true problem is much deeper.

In Libya the state was a totalitarian regime united behind one man. take a look at his regime propaganda

His regime was based on an authoritarian cult of personality which united a country that was largely clan and tribal driven. Furthermore he projected influence outside his country and enforced it within his country with the help of mercenaries. Since the country was held together by his force of personality (and oil money to bribe minions)just like in Iraq there was going to be political violence and instability.

The first scandal about Benghazi isn't that our personnel were killed, but rather that we were not prepared for a situation almost EXACTLY like what we had to deal with in Iraq.

We nuked what was holding the country together, so why were we not prepared for the security crisis?

This is central to the narrative of incompetence of the President that Governor Romney missed out on.

This incompetence is further exemplified by who we assigned security to

"Blue Mountain was virtually unknown to the circles that studied private security contractors working for the United States, before the events in Benghazi," said Charles Tiefer, a commissioner at the Commission on Wartime Contracting, which studied U.S. contracting in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Several British government sources said that they were unfamiliar with Blue Mountain, which is based in Wales. They said British authorities used a different contractor for security protection in Libya.

Fred Burton, vice president of intelligence at the Stratfor consulting firm and a former U.S. diplomatic security agent, said he did not know Blue Mountain, but it likely got State Department work because it was already working in Libya.

"They may have been the path of least resistance," he said.

Blue Mountain was able to work in Libya because it forged a business alliance with a local security firm, as required by Libyan regulations.

The Security firm is deemed to be connected to a local militia further typifying the lack of security

And to go further

BENGHAZI, Libya — Even before the deadly Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, diplomats from other nations and Libyan security officials had questioned the wisdom of a U.S. decision to rely primarily on members of a local militia to protect its compound here.

Many of these militia's were poorly vetted and deemed to have connections to Al-Qaeda

And the hole goes much deeper as Benghazi may have served as a site for "enhanced interrogation" if this allegation is true that makes the lack of adequate security even more problematic.

The death of J Chris Stevens in tragic but what makes it tragic is that even taking out a September 11th anniversary attack and a planned response to the US by Al-Qaeda the factors that lead up to his death were obvious. So the question is not "Why did the President not respond to the attack on Ambassador Stevens?" the more important and vital question is this "Why did the Obama administration fail so totally in the face of such a predictable threat?"

And how far up the chain does this failure go

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Libertarian Party Dishonor Family

Why are people Libertarian? The answers are many fold but I would like to cover some of the more common ones
* They Want to Legalize It
* The Democratic Party hates it when people make money, so I am a Libertarian
* The Republican Party hates Gays, Science, and my general social agenda so I am a Libertarian
* I belong to the Cult of Ron Paul (Ron Paul /b/)
* I belong to the cult of ayn rand
* I belong to the cult of Murray Rothbard
* I think their should be a third party and this is the least weird one
* I disagree with social norms and mores and want to use the Libertarian party to advance my agenda.

When you talk to Libertarians you don't hear them have passion about how the Libertarian Party's agenda will make the country better. You don't hear them talk about how if we do some to most of the libertarian party's agenda their will be a fundamental change for the better in most peoples lives.

Thats because people are running away from things in the Libertarian party of using it to advance their own social agenda.

So if you want to save the Libertarian party, you have to believe in it (and not just use it)

Libertarians Need Women

So my friend Kevin Boyd commented on another post which are part of a series of electrons devoted to the topic.

I have played back and forth with Kevin about this topic on FB but I want to focus on where I think he and others have went wrong:

So I am going to spend the majority of this article explaining what oppression is and what oppression is not. In order to determine if a situation is oppressive, one must ask four questions: What specific group is harmed overall? What specific group benefits and what group constructs and maintains these situations? Finally, is it a part of a structure which tends to confine, reduce, and immobilize some group?

The focus is on the topic of Oppression.

The state can repress, but the state's repression can be checked by civil society (Churches, Political Parties, Unions, and other organizations) but the only entity to check oppression by the people and groups of society is the state.

If the state oppresses the change is simple: We modify the law or remove the mal actors from the state.

So lets take an issue of oppression against women that the Obama administration takes pride in championing. The Lilly Ledbetter Law. We can look at the EU. In the European Union laws and civil society have long been checking against "Oppression" in women's pay. Whats the problem? Women are not paid less money because they are oppressed. They are paid less money because of life choices they make. Even in europe where they receive a full years pay for maternity leave and state policy tries to mitigate these choices: you still end up with the same inequalities.

The Republicans don't bother arguing to women that they aren't paid less, because no woman would believe it. So how do you stand up and defend women from "Oppression" in wages without having the state meddling in the wage and pay policy of a given company? You can't do it. So you end up in seeking to instigate policies that mitigate oppression end up going against Libertarian Principles.

Private firms will still "Oppress" women because the oppression is a fantasy. And private groups telling other private groups to stop with all their oppression unless the oppression is supported by some level of state sanction doesn't work (Look at the attempts to stop the oppression of chic filet just recently)

Lets take another issue

The primary issue which you should avoid like it’s Jimmy Carter is abortion. I’m pro-choice, but I make it clear that not all libertarians feel this way and only discuss it personally, if asked. Same goes for pro-lifers -- a real or perceived restriction of women’s rights can lose some people’s support irreparably, especially (you guessed it) them aforementioned girls.

What does Pro-Choice mean if Insurance companies don't cover abortion. Then you are being "oppressive" the feminist will say. So once again if you embrace using the power of policy (which is what political movements DO) you end up having the state act in a fundamentally unlibertarian way. and a Pro-Life Libertarian finds himself in a similar state. The problem is of course not in standing up for the oppressed but that the ideology and ideas of the Libertarian movement are unable to deal with the pragmatic realities of policy.

Libertarians don't turn off women folk because we aren't selling them the right package. Libertarians turn off women folk because Libertarian politics as they are currently constituted in such a way that they don't connect to the reality of women's lives (or anyones lives). And since I blogged once on this topic I will go into further detail in another post.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Introduction to Albert Pike

I have had this notion in my “mind since I first in school touched upon the topic of political theory had an idea about unpacking and examining the notions of politics within the masterwork and tome of the most notable Sovereign Grand Commander of Scottish Rite Freemasonry Albert Pike. And I with to begin this with a reference to a warning placed in the book itself from its preface. “"Everyone is free to reject and dissent from whatsoever herein may seem to him to be untrue or unsound. It is only required of him that he shall weigh what is taught, and give it a fair hearing and unprejudiced judgment."# It is in this spirit I commit to write this work. I write this as a method of weighing one topic in an immense philosophical tome that attempts to apply the symbols, symbolism, and themes of freemasonry to a broader purpose of the most grand masonic project: perfection of the self. Albert Pike was a man who had a lot of personal flaws which he found a need to improve himself on. He is the only General of the Confederate States of America to be honored with a monument in the United States Capital. # As a confederate General he commanded units of Native Americans, with whom his principle skills and not his skills as a general were used by the confederacy. He is accused of being one of the principle founders of the KKK (a topic of some dispute).# He was a noted lawyer, poet, Native American advocate#, Newspaper editor, and writer.# He was a prolific writer in an age where men of note are all prolific writers. He passed the entrance exam for Harvard at the age of 15.# He challenged the standards of education we take for granted today, he challenged the standards of law and power that we today would take for granted. A man of northern sympathies he fought for the south. A traitor to his country he ended up gaining presidential pardon. Before I examined the work I needed to introduce briefly the audience to the man who wrote it.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Morals and Dogma project

About a year or two ago I had a notion of taking the political ideas contained in the legendary Masonic work "Morals and Dogma"

Other ideas and things got on my mind and distracted me. I am going to in this new blog at least once a week take a chapter (or for some of the more dense chapters a section of the chapter) and unpack the ideas.

I will post more tomorrow

Could it be....Satan?

So I don't get whats going on with this latest Rick Santorum "controversy"

A man goes to a institution of Ultra Catholicism and the law of course he is going to mention Satan attacking our institutions. That's what you as good catholic lawyers are going to be doing (suing those institutions which serve Satan). I am sure the billionaire founder probably cut Rick a check for the speech.

So in review: Saying Satan is at war with America and its institutions is apparently bad, but going to a church that says Satan is America is a-ok. This is one of the absurdities of our modern political discourse. Republicans can be accused of wanting to poison the air and water by Democrats and this does not alienate swing voters. But if we say economic policies of the Democratic party lead people to economic dependency we might risk alienating swing voters. Going to a church with a minister who preaches an anti-Semitic message is a-ok if you didn't listen, but talking about abortion being negative will offend the swing voters. This political correctness is absurd. Its absurd because its not a universal political correctness that applies to all thought. However what makes it most absurd at all because despite the impolitic nature of things like Rev Wright Obama is a product of our political correctness culture. As is John McCain, John Kerry, and Mitt Romney. People who focus so much on saying nothing offensive that they say nothing offensive at all.

There is a reason no one says "Merry Christmas" in professional settings anymore. They are afraid of offending some one who not meeting the standard of professionalism of others. And we have made this choices as a society without a discussion of what it means. We have tried to remove everything offensive from our society.

Rick Santorum is not going out there and saying "As President I will see contraception banned" He is saying "I think contraception is bad, and I will say that if you ask me." Do we really want our Presidents (or potential presidents) to have no opinion of their own? As much as I hated the social issues "truce" of Mitch Daniels even implicit in that truce Mitch Daniels said "this is what I believe BUT I am going to call a time out on this IF you do this."

President Obama ran as President focusing on vague "hope and change" saying nothing concrete about his politics or his political agenda. Thats why people filled the then hypothetical Obama Presidency with their own hopes and dreams. And those very same swing voters who didn't seem to care about the offensive things in Obama's life story when they found out he wasn't some banal multicultural standin helped fuel things like The Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street. These political movements are fueled by the fact the political world is dominated by people who don't say what they mean and don't mean what they say.

So Rick Santorum believes evil is attacking our institutions in America. Is that really so terrible for a President to believe? We have a President right now who believes institutions in America (Banks, Large Corporations, Republicans) are evil. No one seems to be overly offended by that

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

In Response to my friend Kevin

My buddy Kevin had a blog post on the Culture War And he decided to post about it on twitter

Proof nobody cares about the culture war... I can't get any hits about my piece addressing it.

So I want to see what I can do to help him with his hits. (probably not much LOL)

Abortion: I am generally pro-life. I have noticed that younger libertarians, such as myself, are generally more pro-life than older libertarians. This is mostly because of Ron Paul’s disproportionate influence among young libertarians. I believe Roe vs Wade was poorly decided and should be overturned, returning control over the abortion issue back to the states under the Tenth Amendment. Frankly, I do not believe there is a right to murder your unborn child. Having said that though, I struggle with the problem of enforcing a ban on abortion in the first trimester without unnecessary invasions of privacy of women. I also would not have a problem with exceptions for rape and incest. I was strongly opposed to Mississippi’s Personhood Initiative last year because I thought it was overly broad and the explanations were contradictory. My overall goal is to find common ground to reduce the numbers of abortions and increase the numbers of adoptions.

I have talked with Kevin about the issue of a "Right to Privacy" with abortion. That whole right is connected to Griswold and is largely a specious argument. How specious was the argument? Ron Paul came up with a constitutional argument for birth control (which fleshed out the right to privacy connection in Roe) just so he could do away with Griswold. That said even if their is no right to privacy that doesn't mean the government SHOULD make abortion illegal. But Kevin's problem here is trying to come to a way he is a libertarian favors (or throws up his hands about the issue of) abortion.

This ignores two things:

To undue Roe Vs Wade would involve a LOT of Jurists being appointed and praying those Jurists rule the right way. Legislation and Legislators would need to be dedicated to decades of work to craft the legislation to slay Roe. It is an unrealistic fear. Will you peel back Roe? Thats something you can do and is part of the decades long process of getting the right court case before the right judge to change the law.


The fundemental issue with abortion today is public funding (which happens in contradiction to the law) either through double dipping or through comingling of public funds in dishonest ways. Beyond the right to life younger libertarians are pro life because its part of the state that does not know its limits and meddles in areas it really shouldn't.

Now while Kevin isn't a fan of Rick Santorum

Contraception: My general feeling on this is that it should be legal, but that government should not mandate insurance companies to cover them nor should taxpayers foot the bill for them. The only exception would be for the morning after pill in the case of rape.

He has mostly the same position as Rick Santorum on the issue. He is actually more conservative (in ends) then Rick Santorum who is more conservative in means should they both have an ability to institute policy. The problem for Kevin and for Rick is the ideas of "Libertarian" and "Conservative" have become very nebulous.

Gay Marriage: Marriage should not be role of the state. The state should not be issuing marriage licenses at all. What the state should have instead is civil unions for everyone with all the tax benefits, property rights, hospital visitation benefits, etc. that married couples have; along with the statutes necessary for dissolving them. Marriage itself should be solely the role of the church by its own rules, as long as the parties involved are old enough to be able to contract; with the state’s only role to enforce the contract.

The State provides a regulatory system where common occurrences achieve the same outcomes. The Reason the Articles of Confederation doomed the Untied States is their was no framework of regulations where people could achieve reasonably similar outcomes for the same thing. This is why this argument on marriage by Libertarians is so silly, it wouldn't work with the state as it has existed for most of the history of the United States. The Federal Government assumed a role in the marriage system because companies became national in scope and because people had broad public benefits for the first time (in the rise of modernity). As for his list of benefits under the laws today Gay Couples can do all of the above with the exception of Tax Benefits without a change in one law. The problem is that the argument for gay marriage is not about civil rights (to gay rights activists). That said gays are becoming more a part of the normative community. We have to deal with the challenge of their relationships in governing their society. And bringing gays into the tent of our civilization order does us less harm then Polygamists. That is how you answer the Rick Santorums of the world.

Pornography: The government should not setup a rating system for movies, video games, etc. and should leave that to the industry and concerned consumers themselves. However, there should be strict enforcement of laws and international agreements against child pornography since the children are not old enough to consent. Whether or not school systems and public libraries should install filters and what to filter should be a local decision.

This is a problem in how Libertarians view the state.

The State: Man movies are pretty bad... I might make a law about it...

MPAA: Hey don't make a law, let me regulate myself

The State: You got it dude.
NOW lets review this conversation another way:

Studio Boss 1: Man those rubes in flyover country are upset about the filthy morality in our movies

Studio Boss 2: Hey I have an idea lets make up a ratings system. It will be awesome advertising about how we care what those mouth breathers think.

Other then the government expressing the will of the mouth breathers how is this different? (Answer: It really isn't).

What its about is a civilization using different methods to present its values through its institutions. Be those institutions governmental or big business (which is largely indistinguishable from government)

School Prayer: I do not have a problem with voluntary school prayer at the beginning of the school day and before school events.

The law doesn't with the former (so long as it isn't student lead) the later is in the matter of dispute between the courts and various levels of government

Religious Holiday Displays: This is truly one arena where atheists need to get a life. Christmas, Easter, etc. are national and/or local holidays and believers should be allowed to display the religious imagery that is appropriate for those holidays, even if it is public property. That goes for Jews for Hanukkah, Muslims for Ramadan, etc. The First Amendment was not written to banish religion from the public square, only to merely prevent the establishment of a state religion and to prevent any religion from having undue control over the government.

Kevin here continues with his conservatism thinking he is Libertarian (though this could also be a libertarian position based on how Modern American Conservatism works)

Mosque Construction: I don’t have a problem with Muslims building mosques anywhere as long as they play by the same rules every other religion has to play by.

But the rules and the lack of the rule of law is a problem (to Libertarians and Conservatives)

So if we look at these positions is Kevin expressing "Libertarian" positions on culture war issues?

On two issues (Abortion and Ratings) Kevin is closer to moderate positions and outside of the realm of libertarianism.

On another issue (Gay marriage) He has accepted arguments to justify the support for absolute liberty without asking is Gay Marriage Liberty (it isn't but that doesn't mean we shouldn't have it).

So like much of the Liberty Movement (which I used to be a part of) Kevin is confused at the crossroads of culture and politics. Kevin's culture war positions are also mostly conservative or Moderate. Only one is remotely libertarian (and its a terrible position).

Labels can confuse. Libertarianism in Culture war is a label used to avoid having serious and uncomfortable discussions about things you believe. Its about the inability to accept our state as it is, and instead trying to pretend the state exists in this fantasy state of via liberties.

We can craft a state more in tune with Liberty but first we must have a reality based libertarian view. And we must accept that their are only a few big things that can be done by congress and by the president. They need to stop squandering them.

RINO: Whats in an Identity

I have a theory which your going to see me reference in my posts. In social science their is a cancerous idea called "Post Modernism" the problem with the idea is not that it it is wrong but rather its influence on our thought today. The source of all human knowledge (Wikipedia) explains the crisis of modernism and postmodernity thus

Postmodernity is the state or condition of being postmodern – after or in reaction to that which is modern, as in postmodern art (see postmodernism). Modernity is defined[who?] as a period or condition loosely identified with the Progressive Era, the Industrial Revolution, or the Enlightenment. In philosophy and critical theory postmodernity refers to the state or condition of society which is said to exist after modernity, a historical condition that marks the reasons for the end of modernity. This usage is ascribed to the philosophers Jean-Fran├žois Lyotard and Jean Baudrillard.

The concept of Post-Modernism goes further

Butler responds to Benhabib by arguing that her use of postmodernism is an expression of a wider paranoia over anti-foundationalist philosophy, in particular, poststructuralism.

A number of positions are ascribed to postmodernism - Discourse is all there is, as if discourse were some kind of monistic stuff out of which all things are composed; the subject is dead, I can never say “I” again; there is no reality, only representation. These characterizations are variously imputed to postmodernism or poststructuralism, which are conflated with each other and sometimes conflated with deconstruction, and understood as an indiscriminate assemblage of French feminism, deconstruction, Lacanian psychoanalysis, Foucauldian analysis, Rorty’s conversationalism, and cultural studies ... In reality, these movements are opposed: Lacanian psychoanalysis in France positions itself officially against poststructuralism, that Foucauldian rarely relate to Derridideans ... Lyotard champions the term, but he cannot be made into the example of what all the rest of the purported postmodernists are doing. Lyotard’s work is, for instance, seriously at odds with that of Derrida

Butler uses the debate over the nature of the post-modernist critique to demonstrate how philosophy is implicated in power relationships and defends poststructuralist critique by arguing that the critique of the subject itself is the beginning of analysis, not the end, because the first task of enquiry is the questioning of accepted "universal" and "objective" norms.

It is my view that Post-Modernism was how modern movements extended the lifespan of "Modern" and "Progressive" political movements. Post-modernism was how they made it past the hard point of the crisis that came at the end of World War II. Its how these movements which helped shape a lot of our thought across religion, culture, and politics dealt with the realities of the cold war and the creation of the lifestyle we have seen from President's Eisenhower to George W Bush.

What is a Rino then you ask? I want to segway with another idea that I found in the writing of Libertarian business man Bill Bonner (These opinions do not reflect the opinion of any employer I have or any client of said employer that relate to Mr. Bill Bonner) in his critique of the modern state of our democracy Bill Bonner illustrates a very interesting fact about earlier Democracy.

The word ‘democracy’ arose in small, Greek city states, where the voters actually voted on the concrete issues, not just the slippery candidates. Citizens voted to go to war…knowing not only that they would have to pay for it…but that they could be killed in the battles themselves. War was a matter of life and death, not just a campaign slogan of a chubby, middle-aged draft-dodger.

The Italian city states practiced real democracy too. In 15th century Florence, for example, citizens voted on whether or not to build a cathedral… Then, they voted on what shape it should take.

A scale model was built. Citizens knew what it would look like. They understood how it was built and how much it would cost them. They cast their ballots and took responsibility for the outcome.

American democracy, circa 2012, has no more in common with real democracy than American capitalism has in common with real capitalism. Both are degenerate…corrupt…and geriatric.

The issue with RINO's is not one of the building of a Cathedral dedicated to Saint Ronaldus Magnus (blessed be his name) where there is a perfected checklist. Rino's do not fail to assemble. But the people who are critical of those who rebuke them clearly believe that is the story. They say the homolies that honor the Sainted Ronaldus Magnus to try to get the poor serfs to come to the church and place themselves in awe of the great and mighty men. The people who have told these homolies to recruit the serfs: Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum (Disclosure: I voted for Rick Santorum), Newt Gingrich, Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain, and Rick Perry. Where I disagree with Bill Bonner the problem with our Democracy isn't that its geriatric, its that it has been infantalized. During the rise of modernity (The Progressive Movement, Socialism, Communism, Fascism, The Labor Movement) there was a great white father who would lead all of our people to prosperity. He became the high priest of the temple of the civic religion of state. And so the people lacked education and depth to fully understand the nature of the world turned to the Great White Father.

Professor Walter Russel Mead described this as a process from Great White Hope to Great White Shark (or Whale)

The cult of Ronaldus Magnus has a value however because this was the last time that anything resembling a Cathedral had been presented to the voters. A vision of building a Sacred Temple of an idea of the American Civic Religion. And this is what people crave. I know what people say "But Social Security is popular. Student Loans are popular." I will grant you all of that. They are popular in a lack of an idea of governance. Governance that can be brought before people that they could take into their own lives and elect people to represent on their behalf in state and local governments.

We had an idea that the National Government and companies of National scope should inter-relate. This came as a product of the rise of modernity. This has now fallen into crony capitalism. The idea of National Health Insurance is done at part to give these companies the ability to write off employee health care from their employee compensation (as they have done with retirement thanks to Social Security.)

These policies in part are bogging down government at a state and local level. If we are to take an approach worthy of the citizens of Florence we would have politicians asking the question: Is this what we want for America for the next 25 years? For the next 50? For the Next 100? They would answer what this would actually mean. But our government is infantalized and participates in a phony debate. So what are you to do when the Government does not address reality but instead believes that the discourse over these ideas, not if the ideas are GOOD, is all their is for the government. So what people have done is found the camp that presents the narrative that gets us closest to the type of governance we desire.

This is why the Tea Party was a good start. It was the beginning of a process Milton Friedman once described

The important thing is to establish a political climate of opinion which will make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing. Unless it is politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing, the right people will not do the right thing either, or it they try, they will shortly be out of office.

So in summation: What makes some one a RINO is they embrace the weaselly nature of debate, discussion, and culture that dominates our age. The people who say nonsense that "Reagan would be a RINO today" say it because they are unwilling to provide people with the sort of honest democracy that bloodthirsty Italian bankers provided their own people for many years. What make men who clothe themselves in the vestment of Saint Ronaldus Magnus part of the problem is they know we want something but they are two afraid to stand up for the politics we need. And as Milton Friedman told us: When we don't stand up for the politics we need, we end up getting the politics we deserve.

Restarting my blogging

I would like to thank Timothy Dalrymple for talking me back into blogging. He is a published web author, and I liked something he wrote recently and so I saw him on Facebook recently and in the process of talking about this sort of stuff he told me "you should write something." And after my recent exposure to Nanowrimo I have become more comfortable with writing lately. I would also like to thank Alex Knepper here is his latest blog joint. who has also encouraged me to try and come back into the world of internet commentary. I also would like to thank my friend Kevin who has interested me in getting back into social media and political commentary. And I want to thank Doug Mataconis who has been good natured at the back and forth we have done over the internet in the past. And Professor Anne Marie Slaughter who has shown me I can be involved in larger discussions on the internet with people who hold a certain credibility due to their position.

I also would like to apologize about what I will do to the English language as I type here. Another reason I am getting back into blogging is to try to get myself back into proficiency with English and stopping the very bad habits have developed.

What this blog will be about: Politics, Foreign Policy (especially Asian Foreign Policy), Pop Culture, Sports (sometimes), Globalization, Religion, and anything else that touches my fancy. I will also from time to time add in some biographic posts.

So I hope to make this enjoyable for the rest of you to read. So enjoy the show