Pat Condell on atheism and freedom 3

Not new (published August, 2010), but persistently topical.

Posted under Atheism, Islam, liberty, Videos by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, October 9, 2018

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The injustice of “social justice” 9

Now that the Democratic Party has “come out” as proudly Socialist, the American electorate has a clear choice: vote Trumpist Republican and be free and prosperous OR vote Big Brother Democrat and be collectivized and poor.

Nobody has ever explained why the free market is “just” AND creates wealth, better than the great economist Friedrich von Hayek. Here he is explaining why to William F. Buckley Jr. in 1977, supported in his argument by George Roche III, president of Hillsdale College.

Hayek explains that in order for a ruling power to make people economically equal, it would have to “treat people very unequally indeed”. (Some would have to work and be robbed of their wages,  while others would be able to sit back, do nothing, and receive the bounty of the stolen funds).

Buckley, who was actually strongly conservative, plays “devil’s advocate”, putting the (sentimental) case for Socialism to his two interlocutors.

We would have preferred Hayek to use the word “fair”, or “equitable”, rather than “just”, because justice can only apply to the individual. George Roche’s argument for freedom on moral grounds comes close to making this point, if not very clearly. We understand that Hayek had to say “just” because “Social Justice” is the subject and title of the discussion.

Posted under Economics, Ethics, liberty, Socialism, Videos by Jillian Becker on Friday, August 10, 2018

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The false claims of leftist humanism 22

We seldom argue with atheists of the Left. We seldom argue with the Left. We find the attempt to be, almost always, a nugatory exercise. Leftism is a religion, and religions are not to be argued with. Faith and Reason exclude each other.

A religion need not have a god in it. Atheists on the Left can and do reason against the existence of a deity, but not against the doctrines of collectivist ideology such as: the community must be organized; the economy must be planned; the purpose of government is to control and direct the lives of the people to serve the general interest.

This time we make an exception. We raise arguments with certain statements that seem reasonable, but are not, because – we want to demonstrate – they are premised on dogma.

We quote an article from Patheos Friendly Atheist, a Humanist website. As far as we can discover, all self-named humanists and all Humanist organizations are on the Left (although there is nothing about Humanism as such that makes Leftism logically necessary to it). Patheos is no exception.

Patheos Friendly Atheist’s most frequent columnist, Hemant Mehtawrites:

Here’s a really important development in the world of organized atheist activism.

On Thursday [July 19, 2018], the American Humanist Association launched what they’re calling the Humanist Legal Society.

I’d call it the atheist equivalent of the conservative Federalist Society: A way to identify, bring together, and support those in the legal professional who are dedicated to maintaining church/state separation, science-based evidence, civil rights (especially for marginalized people), and ethics in government.

You know… all the things conservatives no longer give a damn about.

The statements we have stressed in bold provide us with an opportunity to make clear how the issues we are concerned about, the values we hold, and the judgments we make according to the information we acquire, are opposed to the issues, values, and judgment of Hermant Mehta, the Humanist Legal Society, and the Left in general.

1.”The atheist equivalent of the conservative Federalist Society

To start with, he does not, or they do not, really mean “the atheist equivalent”. The Federalist Society is not a god-concerned institution. What is meant is a “leftist-humanist equivalent”.

So what is the Federalist Society?

This is what the members of the Federalist Society say about themselves under the heading,

Our Purpose

Law schools and the legal profession are currently strongly dominated by a form of orthodox liberal ideology which advocates a centralized and uniform society. While some members of the academic community have dissented from these views, by and large they are taught simultaneously with (and indeed as if they were) the law.

The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies is a group of conservatives and libertarians interested in the current state of the legal order. It is founded on the principles that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to our Constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be.  The Society seeks both to promote an awareness of these principles and to further their application through its activities.

This entails reordering priorities within the legal system to place a premium on individual liberty, traditional values, and the rule of law.  It also requires restoring the recognition of the importance of these norms among lawyers, judges, law students and professors.  In working to achieve these goals, the Society has created a conservative and libertarian intellectual network that extends to all levels of the legal community.

The first paragraph makes it perfectly clear that the Federalist Society opposes “a centralized and uniform society”.

The second and third paragraphs provide a summary of certain core conservative principles: “that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to our Constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be”; that individual liberty is a prime value, along with “traditional values, and the rule of law”. The Federalist Society works to restore “the recognition of the importance of these norms among lawyers, judges, law students and professors.” To this end it has “created a conservative and libertarian intellectual network” in the world of the legal profession.

Plainly, this new association is intent on reinforcing the very “orthodox liberal ideology” that the Federal Society exists to overcome.

The Humanist Legal Society’s purpose is to defend “a centralized and uniform society” that does not believe in the state’s prime duty to preserve individual freedom, traditional values and the rule of law. It would hold that the duty of the judiciary is to say what the law should be, not what it is. It would exist to preserve all that the Federalist Society finds wrong with “the current state of the legal order”. There is no equivalence between the cause of individual freedom protected by the rule of law and the cause of collectivist state-dictatorship. The Humanist Legal Society might be called the “counterpart” of the Federalist Society, but not its “equivalent”.

2. “All the things conservatives no longer give a damn about”

2.1″Church-state separation”

Conservatives want the Constitution to be preserved intact. They want no variation of the First Amendment, the separation of church and state clause. So to say that “conservatives no longer  give a damn about church-state separation” is a lie.

2.2 “Science-based evidence”

Mehta may be referring here to the belief among Christians, many of whom are also conservatives, in Bible literalism, and their rejection of evolution. But Bible literalism, or any variety of Creationism, is not a core principle of conservatism.

What is also probably being referred to here is the widespread skepticism among conservatives that climate change is caused – dangerously – in our time by human activity. We are unwilling to go over the arguments as to why we conservatives are skeptical about it, but they can be found easily. One of our own posts revealing the vicious motivation behind the Anthropological Global Warming (AGW) movement, The real enemy is humanity itself, may be found here.

The Left maintains that the science of AGW is “settled”. That in itself is an unscientific statement. It is a dogmatic statement.

All real science is ardently encouraged by most conservatives. American conservatives are delighted that NASA is returning to the exploration of space under President Trump’s leadership, after Obama had told the space agency to concentrate on outreach to Muslims!

Furthermore, as gathered by the Heritage Foundation …

Conventional wisdom holds that it’s conservatives who are anti-scientific morons, and liberals who are devotees of reason, science, and evidence. But as the The Chapman University Survey on American Fears reveals, that accusation is based on nothing but prejudice.

As The Washington Post summarizes it, “Democrats were slightly, and in some cases significantly more likely than Republicans to believe in paranormal phenomena.” From fortune telling to astrology, liberals live in a world of spirits. At least belief in Bigfoot is bipartisan. 

The Chapman study shouldn’t surprise anyone. A 2011 Pew Research Center study similarly found that liberals were more likely than conservatives to believe in the evil eye, spiritual energy, reincarnation, communication with the dead, and of course fortune tellers and ghosts.

2.3 “Civil rights”

Since President Trump was elected, the civil rights of his supporters have been violently interfered with by  militant organizations of the Left. Instance are numerous, but one of the most egregious was the violent action of masked ANTIFA thugs at Berkeley on February 1, 2017. There are no such violent militant organizations on the conservative Right interfering with anyone’s civil rights.

Towards the end of the article “letting the government dictate what a woman can do with her body”  – meaning her “right” to abort a child she has conceived – is raised, probably  to be understood as a civil rights issue. The Left consistently refuses to allow that when there is another body inside a woman, the law has to extend its protection to that other, helpless, human being.

2.4″Marginalized people”

The Left is obsessed with race and sex. What matters about you, according to Leftist ideology – propounded continually by ever-more-lefty Democrats – is your race, your descent, your ethnicity, your sex and sexual proclivity. Not your individual worth, your talents, your achievements. And they like to pretend that women, non-whites, and those classed as  “LGBT”, are “marginalized” in the United States.

American women are the most privileged class of person that has ever existed in the history of humankind.

And in fact, far from it being “LGBT” persons, it is white men and the sexually normal who are marginalized wherever the Politically Correct and the Social Justice Warriors have power – notably in the academies.

As for blacks – it is ironic and outrageous that Democrats should virtue-signal themselves as the champions of blacks. Democrats whose party defended slavery and segregation; Democrats who  launched and exclusively manned the KKK; who passed the Jim Crow laws; who consistently opposed every effort the Republicans made to give equal rights to blacks! A black woman professor, Carol Swain, explains in this video how that was really the case. And now it is the Democratic Party that insists on the humiliating policy of affirmative action, based on the notion that blacks cannot compete unless whites (and Asians) are handicapped!

2.5 “Ethics in government”

The Left makes wild unsubstantiated accusations against President Trump of every kind of moral offense from his being given two scoops of ice-cream when everyone else was only given one, to his being a “racist” and a “sexist”, and even a “traitor” for meeting with Vladimir Putin and not throwing the Russian leader’s crimes in his face. Meanwhile, in a manifestation of deliberate amnesia, the Left ignores the indisputable fact that the Obama administration was deeply morally disgraceful, guilty over and over again of scandalous turpitude. Its inaction over the appalling events in Benghazi on 9/11/12, to recall just one of the scandals, marks Obama’s terms in office as a period of ethical baseness hard to outmatch in the history of the United States. And how ethical was it to give permission to the hostile regime of Iran to build a nuclear arsenal in a few years’ time?

Mehta quotes:

“Many lawyers approach the world and the law from a humanist standpoint, but there is a need for them to have a way of organizing professionally as a group,” said the Society’s president, David Codell, a nationally recognized constitutional litigator who has served as counsel in many major cases involving LGBT rights. “The Humanist Legal Society will give humanist lawyers solidarity and resources that will make a difference.”

No. It is against the iniquitous Left, with its religious intolerance, its betrayal of science, its denial of civil rights to everyone it disagrees with, its marginalization of whites, and its lack of moral responsibility, that lawyers, judges, law students and professors need to band together. And fortunately they have done so, in the Federalist Society.

“It’s okay, walk away” – from the Democratic Party (2) 1

Following on from yesterday’s post about minorities deserting the Democratic Party, here’s a short video in the Walk Away series in which C. J. Pearson, remarkable for his political acumen at the age of 15, explains why. (The wonder remains why any blacks ever supported the party that has always been their enemy.)

Posted under Commentary, liberty, Race, tyranny, United States, Videos by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, July 3, 2018

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A day for freedom in Britain 10

He was greeted by chants of “Oh, Tommy, Tommy, Tommy, Tommy, Tommy, Tommy Robin-son!”

By a huge crowd.

Because the British people need someone to save their country.

Breitbart reports on the “Day For Freedom” rally held in London on 6 May, 2018:

Activist Tommy Robinson has told the #DayForFreedom free speech rally in London that he’s taking Twitter to court, to prove the social media giant is treating “facts” as “hate” at the behest of a censorious British government.

Robinson was introduced by Breitbart London editor-in-chief Raheem Kassam, who gave a short speech thanking the police officers on duty at the event, as well as the Antifa activists and mainstream media reporters who had shown up.

The enemy showed up – and were thanked for being there. After all, they swelled the crowd.

“Let’s have the arguments — because we can win the arguments; we are winning the arguments here today!” [Tommy Robinson] told the cheering crowd.

Greeted by chants of “Oh, Tommy, Tommy! Tommy, Tommy, Tommy, Tommy Robin-son”, he said it was “unbelievable” to see so many people out supporting freedom of speech.

He said:

The people of this country have been silenced for twenty to thirty years with the tag of “racist”. They have managed to silence people so they’re too scared to speak up when they see things that are wrong. They’re too scared to tell the truth and identify problems with an ideology and a religion in our country, because they’re worried about being called “racist”. They  now realize that tag is dead. No-one cares anymore about being labelled as a “racist”. So they’ve now introduced their new term: “hate speech”. What is “hate speech”?

Robinson cited the case of a 16-year-old boy who went to Speakers’ Corner, a traditional haven of free speech in the British Isles, to debate [a] Muslim street preacher …

He stated facts about Islam, and he was visited last week by counter-terrorism officials from the Prevent strategy. His mother was in pieces: crying, scared, worried. The justification the police give for coming and visiting him is they didn’t like his opinions on Islam.

Robinson warned [about]  these “scare tactics”. [He said] that once people saw one young lad visited by counter-terrorism officers for criticizing Islam, others fall silent.

He also took social media giant Twitter to account for removing him from the platform for pointing out the overrepresentation of Muslims among child grooming gangs, and violent verses in the Islamic holy book.

[He] said that 10,000 accounts on Twitter have been closed at the request of Government for hate, compared to 140 which have been closed for terrorism.

He pointed out that Hamas, Hezbollah, and other proscribed radical Islamic terror groups are still on the platform, but that the priority seems to be “silencing and stopping people like me”. 

“Where we’re heading, Facebook, YouTube, will all remove our views,” he said, telling the crowd about a video he had seen of Yvette Cooper MP, a former Government minister and senior Labour politician, pressuring YouTube bosses to make sure Robinson’s videos are not promoted.

This is Government interference with private companies to remove certain people’s views, which is fascism. What I’m going to do, is I’m going to take Twitter to court. I won’t get my Twitter account back, but what we’ll be able to prove — which needs proving — is that ‘facts’ are now seen as ‘hate’, and the Government is pushing it’s agenda with private companies.

Others who spoke from the platform on the Day For Freedom were Anne Marie Waters, leader of the new ForBritain Party, and Milo Yiannopoulos.

Here is a very long video of the event. Too long, with stretches of uninteresting footage. We searched for the speakers we wanted particularly to hear.

The important thing is, the Day For Freedom was celebrated, and the speakers – particularly the working-class hero and born leader Tommy Robinson, truly a man of the people – said what they wanted to say. As far as we know, up to the time of this writing, no one has been arrested for doing so.

Posted under Britain, Islam, jihad, liberty, Muslims, United Kingdom, Videos by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, May 8, 2018

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Threats to freedom: a view from Britain 11

Under the auspices of The Freedom Association in Britain, Theodore Dalrymple – author of many excellent books, two of them often praised and quoted by Thomas Sowell, Life at the Bottom and Our Culture, What’s Left Of It – gave the inaugural Annual Jillian Becker Lecture on March 23, 2018. 

The annual lecture is in celebration of Individual Freedom and/or The Nation-State. It is given by a person who has spoken or written consistently in defense of either or both. Beyond that, the ideas expressed by the lecturer need not conform to either Jillian Becker’s views or those of the Freedom Association. A wide variety of opinion and context is to be expected and welcomed.

The surprise here is that the lecture is introduced by a Christian priest, the Rev. Peter Mullen, who mentions, in good humor, that both Jillian Becker and Theodore Dalrymple (aka Anthony Daniels) are atheists.

The Freedom Association fought long and hard for Brexit, and was one of the organizations that contributed significantly to the victory of the Leave campaign.

The title of the lecture is: Threats to Freedom.

A cold civil war 12

If you vote Republican now, you are voting for the USA to continue as the sort of state it was founded to be: a constitutional republic.

If you vote Democratic, you are voting for the USA to become a dictatorship.

There is a cold civil war being waged over whether the USA is to be a free country or a tyranny.

The following article was sent to us by Don L. With the help of our commenter bobbyvon, we have learnt that it is an abridged version of a speech by Daniel Greenfield (aka Sultan Knish).

How do civil wars happen?

Two or more sides disagree on who runs the country. And they can’t settle the question through elections because they don’t even agree that elections are how you decide who’s in charge. That’s the basic issue here. Who decides who runs the country? When you hate each other but accept the election results, you have a country. When you stop accepting election results, you have a countdown to a civil war.

The Mueller investigation is about removing President Trump from office and overturning the results of an election. We all know that. But it’s not the first time they’ve done this. The first time a Republican president was elected this century, they said he didn’t really win. The Supreme Court gave him the election. There’s a pattern here.

What do sure odds of the Democrats rejecting the next Republican president really mean? It means they don’t accept the results of any election that they don’t win. It means they don’t believe that transfers of power in this country are determined by elections.

That’s a civil war.

There’s no shooting. At least not unless you count the attempt to kill a bunch of Republicans at a charity baseball game practice. But the Democrats have rejected our system of government.

This isn’t dissent. It’s not disagreement. You can hate the other party. You can think they’re the worst thing that ever happened to the country. But then you work harder to win the next election. When you consistently reject the results of elections that you don’t win, what you want is a dictatorship. Your very own dictatorship.

The only legitimate exercise of power in this country, according to Democrats, is its own. Whenever Republicans exercise power, it’s inherently illegitimate. The Democrats lost Congress. They lost the White House. So what did they do? They began trying to run the country through Federal judges and bureaucrats. Every time that a Federal judge issues an order saying that the President of the United States can’t scratch his own back without the judge’s say so, that’s the civil war.

Our system of government is based on the constitution, but that’s not the system that runs this country. The Democrats’ system is that any part of government that it runs gets total and unlimited power over the country.

If the Democrats are in the White House, then the president can do anything. And I mean anything. He can have his own amnesty for illegal aliens. He can fine you for not having health insurance. His power is unlimited. He’s a dictator.

But when Republicans get into the White House, suddenly the President can’t do anything. He isn’t even allowed to undo the illegal alien amnesty that his predecessor illegally invented. A Democrat in the White House has ‘discretion’ to completely decide every aspect of immigration policy. A Republican doesn’t even have the ‘discretion’ to reverse him. That’s how the game is played.  That’s how our country is run. Sad but true, although the left hasn’t yet won that particular fight.

When a Democrat is in the White House, states aren’t even allowed to enforce immigration law. But when a Republican is in the White House, states can create their own immigration laws. Under Obama, a state wasn’t allowed to go to the bathroom without asking permission. But under Trump, Jerry Brown can go around saying that California is an independent republic and sign treaties with other countries.

The Constitution has something to say about that.

Whether it’s Federal or State, Executive, Legislative or Judiciary, the left moves power around to run the country. If it controls an institution, then that institution is suddenly the supreme power in the land. This is what I call a moving dictatorship.

Donald Trump has caused the Shadow Government to come out of hiding: Professional government is a guild. Like medieval guilds. You can’t serve in it if you’re not a member. If you haven’t been indoctrinated into its arcane rituals. If you aren’t in the club. And Trump isn’t in the club. He brought in a bunch of people who aren’t in the club with him.

Now we’re seeing what the pros do when amateurs try to walk in on them. They spy on them, they investigate them and they send them to jail. They use the tools of power to bring them down.

That’s not a free country.

It’s not a free country when FBI agents who support Hillary take out an “insurance policy” against Trump winning the election. It’s not a free country when Obama officials engage in massive unmasking of the opposition. It’s not a free country when the media responds to the other guy winning by trying to ban the conservative media that supported him from social media. It’s not a free country when all of the above collude together to overturn an election because the guy who wasn’t supposed to win did.

Have no doubt, we’re in a civil war between conservative volunteer government and a leftist Democrat professional government.

Which is another way of saying it is a war for and against individual freedom.

Posted under Leftism, liberty, tyranny, United States by Jillian Becker on Thursday, March 29, 2018

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Blackwards to tribalism 4

Those glorious Greeks of old conceived and implemented an Idea that took civilization thousands of thought-miles forward: individuals from any country, any nation, any tribe, could live together under the same rule of law.

What bound them, what commanded their loyalty, would be the Law rather than the Land: the Ius not the Rus – in the language of the grand old Romans who adopted the same idea. 

In the Roman Empire, at first, all the religions of all nations and tribes were tolerated, though tolerance and respect were demanded also for the gods of Rome.

It was a demand that the Judeans, who worshiped one god only, objected to. Their obstinacy on that score did not serve them well.

The Judeans became actively rebellious against Rome, whose protection they had originally invited. The Romans put down the rebellions, finally abolishing the province of Judea entirely. The Judeans turned into the wandering tribe of the Jews.

Before the first of the two great insurrections that ended in the dispersion of the Jews, an energetic Roman citizen of vast ambition came to the Judean capital, Jerusalem, from Tarsus in the Roman province of Cilicia in Asia Minor, and started a movement that was ultimately to destroy and replace the Roman Empire.

He called himself by the Hebrew name Saul (later changing it to Paul). He took the idea of the One  God and mixed it up with mythologies of Roman gods, claiming that the One God had a Son who was killed and rose again from the dead. He named the Son by the Greek name Jesus. His Jesus had been a living person, a Judean who had led a small weak rebellion and was executed for it. His followers maintained that he had “risen in the flesh”, and Saul/Paul was so excited by the tale – enhanced by the claim that the resurrected man was the long hoped-for Jewish Messiah (“Christos” in Greek) – that he invented a new religion. It came to be called Christianity. He moved about the Greek-speaking Eastern Roman Empire from whence he’d come, preaching it; finally taking it to Rome itself, where he died. He won converts. No one knows how many in his lifetime. Some of them reverted to their old polytheism or Judaism, but a fair number remained faithful to the new two-in-one divinity. Some converts composed books about the life of “Christ Jesus” – which Paul himself had not been interested in. The books, and Paul’s letters, eventually provided the mythology of the new religion.Through them the two-in-one divinity became a three-in-one divinity, a “Holy Spirit” being added to God-the-Father and God-the-Son.  The Son was chronicled as being begotten by the Jewish God upon a virgin mother (a concept familiar to the polytheists of classical times).

By this means and that means, the religion spread; through Paul the wandering preacher, the books of the myths, and the appeal that the religion itself had (with its promise of a blissful everlasting afterlife for the obedient faithful, and despite the threat of an eternity of torture for the disobedient unfaithful, the judgment being made by the Triple God alone). It became the Catholic Church, highly organized everywhere, headed and led by the the Church in Rome. More than a hundred years after Paul’s death, a Roman Emperor embraced Paul’s religion, and a few decades later Christianity was imposed on the whole Empire as its the official religion. Gone was the tolerance of earlier years. A few decades more, and Rome itself, weakened by Christianity, fell to the barbarians. The Church slowly took the place of the old order. The Church became the Roman power throughout western Europe. (The Eastern Empire, with the Emperor seated in Constantinople, is another story.)

Paul of Tarsus, though he never knew it, sustained and extended the power of Rome through his invention. But the Great Idea of the Greeks in the days of their glory, and of the Romans in the days of their grandeur, was changed.  Sure, individuals from any country, any nation, any tribe, could live as a “community” under the same rule – but it was the rule of the Roman Catholic Church, and that law was a different kind of law. It was the imposition of dogma: an orthodoxy, a uniformity of belief, essentially intolerant. 

Darkness descended. The Great Idea died.

It rose again after many hundreds of years. It was resurrected as the Idea on which the United States of America was founded.  

For two hundred and twenty-two years the Great Idea has made the United States of America, with a population of individuals deriving from many lands united as one nation under the law, free, prosperous, and powerful. United by Ius not Rus. Geographical origin, ethnicity, physical appearance, religion had no bearing on the rights the law gave all who lived under it. The unifying rule of law insisted on tolerance. By doing so, it guaranteed liberty. 

Now, it seems, that is changing. The Great Idea is under attack in the USA.

Tribes are being formed; some friendly to each other, some inimical to each other. Political cliques and cults, secessionists, states’ governments, defy the federal law. Many prefer to think of themselves as Blacks rather than as Americans, and their enemy as Whites. They actively seek to return to the savage ways of inter-tribal strife. It is atavism. It is a drawing down of darkness as intolerance spreads.

A good description of the disintegration is given by Sultan Knish. He writes (in part) at his website:

The Nation of Islam [NOI] preaches that black people are the master race. It doesn’t just hate white people, Jews and a whole bunch of other folks. It hates them out of a conviction in its own superiority. According to its teachings, “the Blackman is the original man” and lighter skinned people were “devils” created by an evil mad scientist to rule over black people until they are destroyed by UFOs.

It even teaches that monkeys are descended from white people.

Progressive media essays defending Obama, Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Danny Davis, Mallory and other black leaders for their Farrakhan links have urged concerned liberals to look at the positive aspects of the Nation of Islam, its love for black people, not the negative, its hatred for white people.

But it is the “positive” that is the problem.

Intersectionality promises to package tribal identity politics into a utopia of social justice. But the essence of tribalism is the superiority of your people and the inferiority of all other groups. …

The clown car of identity politics runs smoothest when it has a common enemy: white people. Coalitions like the Women’s March assemble an array of groups who are united by their hatred of Trump, white people, Israel and root beer. And it works as long as no one lifts up the hood and looks at the engine.

Black nationalism is racist, sexist, anti-Semitic and homophobic. The Nation of Islam isn’t an exception. From Jeremiah Wright, “Italians… looked down their garlic noses”, to Eldridge Cleaver, “rape was an insurrectionary act” to Amiri Baraka, the ugliest possible supremacist bigotry is its natural state.

“We are all beautiful (except white people, they are full of, and made of s___),” Amiri Baraka wrote. “The fag’s death they gave us on a cross… they give us to worship a dead jew and not ourselves.”

“I got the extermination blues, jew-boys. I got the Hitler syndrome figured… So come for the rent, jewboys,” the Guggenheim fellowship, PEN and American Book Award winner, and former Poet Laureate of New Jersey ranted.

Baraka was one of the country’s most celebrated black nationalist poets and he was a former member of the Nation of Islam. Baraka’s Black Mass circulated the NOI’s racist creation myth.

It was the NOI’s conviction of black superiority and white inferiority that attracted Baraka and so many other black nationalists. The NOI is one of a variety of black supremacist religious groups, from the similarly exotic Moorish and Black Hebrew churches, to NOI splinter groups such as Five-Percent Nation and black nationalist churches like the one attended by the Obamas and presided over by Jeremiah Wright.

But religious black supremacism is only a component of a larger cultural movement that lies at the heart of black nationalism and mingles historical conspiracy theories with racial supremacism.

The comingling of black nationalism with intersectional politics has produced a new generation (often of second-generation radicals) that dresses up its racism not only in the lyricism of the old black nationalism of Wright and Baraka, but in the obtuse academic jargon of intersectionality.

That’s where Tamika Mallory and Ta-Nehisi Coates come from. But political word salads and poetry only conceal what you choose not to pay attention to. And that’s why we’re talking about Louis Farrakhan.

The mass of progressive media articles, essays and explainers deployed to protect the Women’s March can be summed up as, “Stop paying attention.” And what we’re not supposed to be paying attention to is the slow death of liberalism and its substitution by the intolerant tribal extremism of identity politics.

Intersectionality is a lie. Like the Nation of Islam, it’s not just a lie in its negative hateful aspects, but in its promise of a utopia once the “white devils” and their “white privilege” are out of the way.

Groups of identity politics extremists and their white cishet [pronounced “sis-het”, meaning heterosexual and “not transgendered”, ie. normal. – ed.] lefty allies can only be briefly united by the negative, not the positive. The “call-out culture” meant to spread social justice through the movement isn’t just a form of political terror; it fails to reach the innate bigotry of each identity politics group. …

Identity politics movements can’t fight bigotry, because they are naturally bigoted. Instead of actually rejecting bigotry, they project it on a convenient target like Trump, and then pretend that by destroying him, they can cleanse society. The more targets they destroy, the more they need to find to maintain an alliance whose only true unifying principle is a mutual denial of each other’s supremacist bigotries. And so the battle against racism becomes a war against microaggressions and structural white supremacy.

The whole thing is a ticking time bomb. And it keeps going off every few years. When it blows up, lefty activists rush out, as they are doing now, to plead, wheedle and warn that the real enemy is “white supremacy” and everyone needs to stop paying attention to the racist or sexist views of their own allies.

These “rainbow coalitions” of racist radicals don’t fight bigotry; they mobilize bigots for racial wars.

Tamika Mallory praising Farrakhan isn’t shocking. It would be more shocking if she didn’t. It’s hard to find major black figures in politics and the entertainment industry who don’t hang out with him.

Both Jesse Jackson and Barack Obama, the first two serious black presidential candidates, did. The Congressional Black Caucus hosted him. London Mayor Sadiq Khan acted as his lawyer. The list of black entertainers is all but endless. Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube (both members), Michael Jackson, Eddie Murphy, Spike Lee, Arsenio Hall, Common, Kanye West, Mos Def, Young Jeezy and Erykah Badu to name a few.

Not every individual who meets up with Farrakhan necessarily shares all his bigoted views, but many find his tribal affirmation of black superiority appealing and they value that more than they do any kind of tolerant society. That’s what Tamika Mallory, in her own awkward way, was trying to tell us.

Black nationalism is a tribal cause. It will always put its people first. The same is true of the rest of the hodgepodge of political identity groups that form up the intersectional chorus. No amount of calling out will change that. That’s why the calling out is mostly directed at safe targets, preferably white.

There is no larger unity at the end of the rainbow. Only smoother versions of Farrakhan. Barack instead of Baraka. Rants about “white devils” and “satanic Jews” filtered through academic jargon.

A movement of bigotries can only divide us. And that’s all identity politics has to offer America. Instead of equal rights in a united nation, we will be members of quarreling tribes. And those tribes, like Farrakhan’s fans, will be incapable of seeing members of other tribes as having the same worth they do. …

The left claims that it’s fighting for equality. What it’s actually fighting for is a tribal society where the notion of equal rights for all is as alien as it is in Iraq, Rwanda and Afghanistan, where democracy means tribal bloc votes and where the despotism of majority rule invariably ends in terror and death.

A market for the protection of schools 12

A few days ago, a nineteen year old psychopath shot and killed seventeen people at the school in Florida that he had been expelled from. He entered the school, set off a fire alarm, and shot randomly into crowd streaming out of the classrooms.

How to prevent such a crime?

The Left’s solutions are not solutions at all:

Pass a law making it harder to obtain guns? Criminals by definition do not obey laws.

Confiscate all privately owned automatic and semiautomatic guns and shotguns? A gift to criminals.

Defy or change the second amendment to the constitution so no citizen who is not in the armed forces or the police is allowed to carry a gun? A help to would-be tyrants, most notably and threateningly those of the “community organizing” kind.

What then?

Let’s start with the proposition that central planning is always a bad idea.

What non-governmental action might work?

Jeff Deist writes (in part) at the website of the (libertarian) von Mises Institute:

There are no top-down political solutions available from Washington. Gun control doesn’t actually prevent crime, but it does provide the political class and media with another diversionary bitter cultural debate. Americans are deeply divided on guns, just as they are deeply divided on abortion and climate change and scores of other issues. …

Contrary to popular belief, the Second Amendment neither “federalized” gun laws nor created a right to private ownership of firearms. It simply enshrined the notion that “the people” need to be armed to defend themselves potentially against the state itself. …

The libertarian response to mass shootings, in particular school shootings, is to allow teachers and other personnel to carry weapons on campus. In fact, the broader libertarian program is to have most people armed, or at least potentially armed, to create a safer (not to mention more polite) society. If we cannot snap our fingers and produce crime-free cities and neighborhoods where nobody needs to carry a gun, then at least we allow everyone the ability to dissuade or defend against criminal shooters.

This is all well and good, but ignores the market impulse to outsource services to specialists. This is why neighborhoods hire private security patrols, and why celebrities hire professional bodyguards. Not everyone wants to carry a gun or train themselves in gun proficiency. And there is the issue of scale, where individuals might find themselves arrayed against organized criminal gangs.

Rather than endlessly debate the fraught political process of crafting illiberal gun control laws, we ought to think about private-market solutions that focus on controlling crime.We should think in terms of market economics, where private property and correct incentives give us what government and laws cannot: a mechanism to determine possible harms and the cost of protecting against or preventing those harms. People want safe neighborhoods and schools, which is just another way to say there is a market for them.

Generally speaking, the US legal system imposes premises liability on property owners whose negligence (or willful conduct) results in someone getting injured on that property. This arose conceptually through common law courts and juries applying general negligence concepts.

We accord different degrees of legal responsibility (“duty”) to landowners based on the identity of the injured party: a trespasser, for example, has less recourse to sue for injury than a business invitee (i.e., a customer). The law considers whether the injured party had a legitimate purpose being there, and in some cases whether they contributed to their injury through their own negligence.

The duty to make one’s property safe from a particular harm relates to, and in a sense hinges on, the foreseeability of that harm. Leaving spilled milk in a grocery aisle too long could well subject the owner to paying damages for a shopper who suffers a fall — a fall that was quite predictable and clearly caused by the wet floor. But intentional criminal acts by a third party … generally absolve the property owner of liability. After all, no shooter ever entered the grocery before, so why must the owner guard against this most unlikely event?

But should a public school district have a higher duty to keep students safe than the grocer has for shoppers? Arguably yes, in that society values children’s lives, well-being, and innocence perhaps more than adults’. And we force children into school attendance via truancy laws and meddling protective services agencies.

Furthermore, are school shootings now foreseeable even though they remain exceedingly rare? Does the media attention and notoriety given to such shootings change the calculus? At some point, perhaps today, school shootings could become foreseeable in the eyes of a jury.

We can’t necessarily draw conclusions here, but the question is whether the owners of public schools — generally municipal or county school districts — should be immune from lawsuits for school shootings simply because they are political subdivisions of states? Should sovereign immunity apply to them, or should they be forced to consider security measures just as private owners must? After all, it seems clear that a mass shooting at a prestigious private school would result in litigation.

It seems clear that imposing tort liability on school owners and operators, even government owners, would both improve security and provide a ready source of compensation for the families of victims. Private security agencies, which have a market reputation to develop or protect, almost certainly would provide more efficient service than government police — for the simple reason that more crime punishes their bottom line, while it often creates calls for increased police budgets.

To put it another way: Private security businesses must maintain a good record of keeping their clients safe, or they lose business and lose money; whereas government agencies such as the police can blame their failures on insufficient funding, so the more they fail the more money they get.

And private security models like Disneyland benefit from wanting to create a peaceful and happy environment, where security forces have every incentive not to escalate situations or incur liability.

Furthermore, private insurance models could help schools rationally allocate funds relative to the risks involved. Since school shootings are rare, premiums to cover such an event should be constrained. But other lesser types of crime in schools could be insured against as well, helping administrators better understand what they’re up against. And insurance companies would bend over backward to offer advice on avoiding shootings, since they would bear the cost of liability payments.

Admittedly, public schools using taxpayer funds to hire private security and pay insurance premiums muddies the waters. But at least it moves all of the parties involved — school districts, administrators, teachers, security providers, and parents — toward a market-based approach to safer schools. Tort liability, however imperfectly administered by government courts, offers one way to align the interests of parents and school owners in preventing further horrific events.

To sum up the message: Let school administrations choose to buy protection, the best the market can provide, at a price a competitive market puts on it.

 

(Hat-tip to Don L for the link to the Jeff Deist article)

Posted under Law, liberty, United States by Jillian Becker on Thursday, February 22, 2018

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Rights or Liberty? 26

Which would you rather be able truthfully to claim:

“I have a right to …”

or

“I am free to …” ?

There has been some discussion in the comments section of our post The Colossus … and the enriching of America (29 January, 2018) about whether government is necessary for the protection of a citizen’s rights or the protection of his liberty. I say, for the protection of his liberty. That is what defines “a free country”. In the United States of America, there are certain “rights” granted in law that are themselves protective of the individual’s freedom. The ultimate aim of the Founders in granting those rights was the protection of liberty.

*

Freedom is not a state of nature but an artifact of civilization

– Friedrich Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty, Chapter Four.

To be for freedom to do what one wants to do is not to be for unbounded liberty. (I use the words “liberty” and “freedom” interchangeably, as they are synonyms.)

What then are the bounds of liberty?

Ideally, my liberty is limited by nothing except everyone else’s liberty.

Sane, sober, sensible self-interest tells me that if I don’t want to be bonked on the nose by my neighbor, I would do well not to bonk him on his nose. But I cannot trust everyone else – or even myself – to be always sane, sober, and sensible.

If I live in a time and place when and where I have to fear continually that I will very likely be assaulted, injured, killed, and that the things I have acquired to sustain my existence, comfort, safety, and pleasure may be forcefully taken from me, I am not free. I am constrained to be perpetually on my guard against attack. I must never venture abroad unarmed. I must carry my possessions with me or stay with them. I am burdened with anxiety. I am severely hampered.

But if my freedom is protected by law and the apparatus of law-enforcement – police, judicial courts, prisons, gallows – I can take the safety of my person and my things for granted, and go lightly about my business among my fellow citizens. (Which is not to argue that it’s unnecessary to insure my house and its contents, or register my intellectual property. These are, it is true, private protections taken on by personal choice, but available to me only in a society governed by the rule of law.)

The city-states of ancient Greece embodied the idea of a society made up of people from many different countries, nations and tribes, all governed by the same rule of law. Your willingness to obey the law made you a worthy citizen, regardless of what region of the earth you derived from. The idea that people of many different nations could melt together into one nation ruled by law (“e pluribus unum”) was lost and forgotten for centuries and was not applied again until the eighteenth century with the founding of the United States of America.

However, the idea of a nation governed by the rule of law rather than by a monarch, re-emerged earlier than that, in England, with the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215. By signing it, King John conceded the principle: “Be you ever so high, the law is above you.” It was intended to be a “charter of liberties”, not a bestowal of “rights” on his subjects or on any one class of his subjects such as the barons. Clause 60 declared: “all the customs and liberties which we have granted to our own men shall be observed by all of our men, both lay and clerk [cleric], to their own men”. In other words, just as the king pledged liberty to the barons, so the barons, by the same token (the Charter) pledged liberty to their tenants.

Magna Carta affirmed the vital principle of freedom under the law. Clause 39 of the Charter said: ‘no free man shall be imprisoned or deprived of his lands except by judgement of his peers or by the law of the land’.  Clause 40 said: ‘To no one shall we sell, delay or deny right or justice’ (“right” in the sense of what is right, not “a right”).  Before Magna Carta, the king had been able to do pretty well whatever he liked – and did.  After the making of the charter of liberties, the king was as firmly subject to the law as everyone else.

(It is true that the monarchs of England nevertheless went on for centuries having too much arbitrary power. But it would be a mistake to believe that the continuing existence of an English monarch now means that the people are not as free as the American people. [The British have recently become less free, but not for that reason.] Since the Glorious Revolution of 1688, when William of Orange and his wife Mary became the constitutional monarchs of the United Kingdom, the reigning king or queen is the nominal and ceremonial head of state, not the power of the state. The present Queen has no choice but to sign the acts of law that Parliament passes. The people are “subjects” in name only.)

A free country is one in which the people are free to do anything that is not specifically prohibited by law. Most of its laws proscribe rather than prescribe. They say you must not do this and that, such as murder, steal, perjure yourself. While there  are some that say you must do – for instance, the laws of the fisc: you must pay your taxes – the fewer “must” laws there are, the freer the people.

Now let us suppose that legislators decide that the law should specify everything you may do. Those would be your rights. It would be an infinitely long list, never exhaustive. So the enterprise would be impossible.

Does that mean that there can be no such thing as a “right” granted by law? No, it does not mean that. The law, and only the law, can grant a right. Even if one believes in a god, and makes the claim that the god bestowed certain rights on every human being ever born – the right to life, say – it would be meaningless if it were not recognized as a right, and protected, by the law.

Only the law can grant a right. The rights the laws of a free country can grant are very few. And there is a danger in granting any: that some governments, having granted a few, may claim that what those few permit you is all that you are permitted.

Why can governments only grant a few rights? Because no one can have a right that puts an obligation on someone else.

That is why it is nonsense to speak of a “right” to health care; a “right” to an education, a “right” to a house, a “right” to a minimum income, a “right” to equality of pay; a “right” to social security; a “right” to an abortion; a “right” to contraception; a “right” to a sex-change operation; or, the crowning stupidity, a “right not to be offended”. That takes away the essential freedom on which all the rest depend – the freedom to speak. And it is in itself a deeply offensive notion.

If your “right” compels the labor of someone else, it is not a “right” but a privilege – and what is worse, the indefensible privilege of the parasite.

What of your “unalienable”[1] rights named in the Declaration of Independence as “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”? They do not put an obligation on someone else, so aren’t they good rights? You are declared to be endowed with them by your “Creator”, “Nature’s God” – which is a way of saying that they are yours simply because you exist. And many there are who believe that because they exist, they have a right to exist.

If you believe that God or Nature granted you the right to live, to be free, and to pursue happiness, you may also believe that God or Nature will protect those rights of yours. But in fact Nature guarantees you nothing. You have no natural rights. You can call them natural, you can call them God-given, but unless they are recognized and supported by the law, you may find that they are not dependable.

So what rights can the law grant – and sufficiently protect to make the granting of them more than just the wistful thought of a somnolent parliament?

These: The right to speak freely. The right to a trial if you are accused of breaking the law. The right to safeguard yourself, your property, your reputation. They are among the rights granted by the US Constitution in the first ten amendments (the Bill of Rights), and all of them can be, and are, protected by the law. By protecting them, the law – or say the government – is protecting your freedom.

That is what the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are all about: realizing the idea on which the USA was founded – the idea of liberty.

 

Jillian Becker   January 31, 2018

 

[1] “Unalienable” means the same as “inalienable”: that which cannot be taken away.

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