Slavery is freedom
The firm belief that when the country is turned back to the 1780s, you will be slave owner and someone else will be the slave.
America Does The Dating Game
- America: Could each of you describe your ideal date with me?
- The Marxist: We will organize a demo at the dinner to browbeat you into joining us. Then we will call anyone in the restaurant who doesn't agree with us a racist. We will follow them outside into the parking lot, hounding and hounding at them, getting angrier and angrier, until either they accept that we are right and they are wrong, or we have to punch them in the face. There will be absolutely no joking or laughing at any point during our date. Sex is so bourgeois and oppressive. We will not have sex.
- The Libertarian: I will pay my half of the dinner tab, precisely penny-for-penny MY dinner tab, because I don't see why money out of my pocket has to go for your meal. I will insist on paying in gold. I will become a nuisance until it is accepted, and then I will refuse to pay any taxes on the bill and insist on change in the precise amount I am owed, pegged to that morning's market value of gold. I will not accept worthless fiat dollars. This might ruin our date, because we will probably get thrown out or even arrested, but I will be standing on principle. If we somehow make it back to the car, when we drive home, I will ignore all traffic laws. Mind you, any injuries sustained by you or anyone else will not be paid for by me. You volunteered to be in the car with me, and they volunteered to be on the road, so I will owe no one nothing. Buyer beware. In your gratitude for this boundless freedom I have offered you, you will volunteer to have sex with me. You just watch.
- The Anarchist: We will meet at a vegan restaurant and form a consensus about whether it is a good idea that we met. Then, if we reach consensus, we'll open up a discussion with my splinter group, three other people who agree very precisely with me, about what a date is and what a date is not, and what the goals of our date should be. Then we will hold a vote to schedule a meeting, where we will hold a vote and try to form a consensus on your compatibility with the goals of our group and whether the goals of the date were met. There will need to be at least six months to a year of meetings and votes before we can, if a consensus is reached on precise conditions, finally have sex.
- The Democrat: I will take you out and be sensitive to your every need. I will comfort you and cry with you over that last bad break up with The Republican. You will finally realize that I'm the right one for you, when I insist on reading you a stack of eight journals describing in just over 240,000 words of tiny print, with charts and diagrams, in very dry prose, exactly how I've been there in the past for you, and a precise plan for our future together, which you probably won't understand, but don't worry, I do. I will never pressure you to have sex, and one day you will be grateful for that and have awkward, passionless sex with me. The next day, I will show up at your door with a dozen roses and find you in the arms of The Republican again. I will cry, but I will always forgive you. Deep down I will know it is me who you love.
- The Republican: I'll take you out to dinner and make you feel all special when you are paying the bill. Then I'll take you back to my place and you will be naked with my dick in your mouth moments after I close the door. Once I blow my wad, you'll want me to eat you out or at least cuddle while I'm watching the game, and I'll tell you you shut up and make me a sandwich and you will. Then, when the game's over, I'll tell you you don't love me, when you say you don't want it in the butt, and I'll rough you up until you do as I say. Then I'll invite my rich buddies over to take a turn, and you will be so full of self-loathing that you will numbly let it all happen. When it's over, I'll call you a cab and you will feel like a used whore but be grateful that I at least thought enough to get you a cab, until you find out I'm not paying for it. Then I'll be like, "Whatever," when you are all pissed off, and give you an American flag before you leave. Every day afterward, you will get less angry when you look at that flag, until you start to wonder if we are not made for each other after all. You'll start to obsess on whether I will call, then confess to that faggot Democrat how things went down with us and he'll be like, "Please don't see him again." Then you will call me to tell me we are finished, that you are going to start dating nice guys. I'll be like, "You know we got something special. Let me take you out to dinner. Give me a second chance." You will, and the whole thing will start all over again. When you get pregnant, I'll be like, "Don't you kill my child!" And when you have it, I'll be like, "I ain't paying no child support. You should have thought of that before you had it." And you'll still take me back.
Unregulated markets DO run themselves.
Into the ground, taking all of us with them.
Their job would be easier if that was not exactly what libertarianism is.
Yeah, sure it is. I guess I should let all those non-white, non-adolescent, socially normal libertarians that they are not welcome in our club.
The article was pretty self explanatory. From my own experience of your blog, I can say “obtuse adolescent” might come from the fact that Libertarians often confuse snide remarks with cogent arguments. They tend to not understand the difference between abstract, arbitrary principle, and empirical fact. They live in a world of absolutes, all government is bad, all markets are good. They have the typical delusions of ideologues, which posit that if only a pure form of their ideas were applied, all of the world’s problems would instantly dry up. On a simpler level, it is infantile to suddenly decide you should not have to pay taxes, even as you sit and write your angry screeds against the government on the internet, which would not exist without the government. As for libertarianism being a white guy thing, well, historically libertarians are intensely vigilant about the freedom to own a gun, a piece of land and not pay taxes, but against all civil rights, or equality, something that blacks and women might be concerned about. The last thing is that so many of them think they have a monopoly on understanding the Constitution and think that it was written to limit the federal government, when it was actually written to strengthen it.
Their job would be easier if that was not exactly what libertarianism is.
Ayn Rand and Jesus: Two Opposing Godheads, One Republican Party
Ayn Rand is the “philosophical” darling of the Republican party, but she is not a libertarian. Her first hero and inspiration, according to her journals, was a “real man” whose motto was “What is good for me is right.” This man’s name was William Hickman, a brutal child kidnapper and murderer. To her, he embodied the ideal of the self-willed individualist. That she was first inspired by a sociopath is no surprise. Her “philosophy” despises any form of altruism, sings the praises of indifference to the suffering of others and lauds selfishness as a near-holy pursuit. One person, one vote, is not her sort of individualism. She is against democracy or any notion of equality or human rights. She advocates a society ruled by a small group of industrialist “supermen,” over the vast majority of “sub-humans.” Ironically, though a heroine of libertarians, who can’t seem to read past her exhortations about individualism, she is in fact a fascist whose idea of individualism only extends to the “strong,” an elite of industrialist sociopaths, over the “weak,” which would be everyone else.
Bizarrely, the Republican party has paired this narcissistic nihilist with Jesus, a figure who she particularly despised. Jesus spent all too much time talking about the plight of the suffering and the poor for her taste. She was repulsed by the idea that he advocated actually going out and helping others. A person who sees an almost divine right in rule by the rich is not going to take kindly to someone who questions whether the rich are redeemable at all, as in the famous quote about a camel passing through the eye of a needle sooner than a rich man could enter the gates of heaven.
So what do Republicans who represent these seemingly opposed viewpoints in the party have in common? The first is that each believes they advocate a set of principles which are absolute in their righteous morality, as if handed down from a higher power. This is where ignorance and selective reading play and important role for both. Republican evangelicals already practice Rand’s narcissistic nihilism, although most have never read her, and would be horrified to find she is a devout atheist and Christian hater. They tend to think of their selfishness as “American freedom and individualism.” They ignore Jesus’ constant harping on caring for others by focusing all of their attention on sins of the flesh, or more precisely the sins of others.
Libertarians in the party, on the other hand, tend to see things more “scientifically.” They figure there is no God and all people are born selfish individualists. They ignore thousands of years of living in tribes, where hunters brought meat home for the tribe and gatherers gathered for the tribe. They ignore that individualism was only made possible by technology and the modern state, which took care of disease, famine, infrastructure and defense so that they could feel alone enough to feel completely independent. They also like to gloss over Rand’s obvious fascism because it is not race-based. It assumes innate qualities of superior breeding without necessarily the trappings of race or nationality, although the “American way” is implied to be the best. Still, maybe you are a white guy, say, maybe toward the back of the line, and you see white guys like you getting the royal treatment behind the velvet rope. Rand makes it easy to feel that maybe you are an elite, a superman, but just getting a bum deal from all of the people, the sub-humans, ahead of you because of some government conspiracy to create a false equality between all of us. And, of course, selfishness and resentment are easy, most explored when we are in the terrible twos; some people never get past it and need people like Rand, right wing evangelicals and the Republican party to keep reminding them of those days.
We are all supposed to agree that there are two sides to the debate about the future of the country, even though most on one side are only out for themselves, regardless of the price to the rest of us. We are not supposed to say that the Republican party is a collection of fanatical Jesus freaks and fascist Rand apostles, but they still are.
Education is a deceptive idea. There is the notion that you are receiving hard, irrefutable facts. This can work relatively well in science, but it falls apart more and more as you get deeper and deeper into social theories. Clumps of humans just don’t work like chemistry or physics. Take Marx and the idea that class is everything, without taking into account that there is the individual in that class motivated by selfishness, devoted to God and sentimental patriotism. Take the Ayn Rand cult of individualism, which in practice is just a system for the rationalization of an aristocratic elite. There is feminism which often ignores the existence of the views and circumstances of actual women, and libertarianism which tends to ignore the need of modern civilization to organize under government. Of course, whether you accept a social theory or not depends upon who you are and your race, gender, culture, personal experiences and so on. That is where the problems start.
Received education on social theory often conflicts with day to day experience, the neat two plus two does not equal four. The mind stretches, selects information to try to keep the theory intact. It becomes a part of the psyche in spite of all contradictory information. There are two different modes, the first to try and understand and analyze the new information as it comes in, or to cling to theory against all contradiction, to say that anyone who points out the flaw is an enemy. I have given up theory and just try to see things as they are, not as I am told they are or want them to be. I am a student of life. I must give up my cherished lies for each better argument of experience.
I love the idea of philosophy, thinking as a pursuit, an end in and of itself. But philosophy seems so far from the streets of the Bronx, where you go out one day and gangs of teenagers pretending they are “crips” and “bloods” have smashed up the deli. Feminism is nice, but it means nothing to the parade of teenaged girls pushing babystrollers, with an eye out for the next badass to be their baby daddy. Maybe their feminism is like the girl my roomie told me about the other day, who grabbed his friend’s crotch because she wanted him to fuck her. I’m not sure how feminism can cover the girls that like a guy to manhandle her because he is “not a man” unless he is rough.
They can’t imagine the halls of academia, and a good career — “self-actualization” is not a word they’ve heard, and they’ve got too much to worry about to want to. They mostly dream of a man who can keep a job, and mopping floors is good because even that kind of work is in short supply. Please don’t try to tell them their fashion magazines are a tool of male oppression; their response would be something like,”Whatever!” Everybody’s idea of heaven is winning the million-dollar lotto. You can talk with anyone about sports or stars, or sports stars and stars fucking stars, getting busted and going to rehab. You can talk about drugs and booze and cigarettes and sex. You can take a piss on the politicians who show up in some scandal on the cover of the Daily Rag. You can gossip about which of the girls who come to the deli is a Ho, or a No, or a Go — who’s pretending to be pregnant, and which guy is fucking which. Or you can talk about which guy is on probation, parole or in jail. What you can’t talk about is philosophy. They don’t know the names, could not pronounce most of them, and don’t care. They literally lack the language for it, and seriously, Hegel? Sartre? PhDs still struggle with that shit.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a few guys that have read a thing or two, been to higher education, but they keep it undercover. You can’t get along if you keep getting onto subjects that have no context in anyone-else’s life. There are crumpled strains of Libertarian philosophy in tired dismissals of the government, but most of what you get for philosophy is religion; the Jehovah’s Witnesses at the door; the devout woman overheard declaring something is a blessing; the Middle Eastern men, who run all the delis, displaying faded posters of Arabic blessings behind the counter. Religion is philosophy for the masses.
Most of my experience, having grown up in poor places state to state, is that you can find these kinds of human beings in any town in the US, rural or urban, but mostly safely hidden away from the privileged and educated. This is most of my experience, so I have made the study of religions my thing. Philosophy? Well, it came up in classes, but when I dared try at it, I was always reminded of how I just didn’t understand. It’s true. The German philosophers, who slowly jettisoned Plato and God to describe the emerging modern/existentialist world of humanism, they construct long, achitectural sentences, an intricate framework of information, populated with thousands of ideas, accompanied by extensive caveats and contradictions, as they ascend toward a conclusion that is often lost in the clouds of semantic reasoning. And they are not much on commas or periods, either… I’m afraid I was never up to it. I got the basic ideas, just not the way to talk about them.
So, I am ignorant of their experience, but I have rarely talked with anyone knowledgeable of philosophy, who did not, in one way or another, invalidate my experience. They don’t seem to want to know the reasons why feminism or real libertarianism or, say, Nietsche, never comes up where I live in the Bronx. Their contempt for any received narrative but their own won’t hear of it. Of course, the people around me, in their equal contempt for alien narratives, won’t hear their side, either.
The thing is, the people I know in Manhattan and Brooklyn, they see me as the privileged white boy, a stereotype. I’m one of them because I’m educated and white, but they get upset when I vary from the political and philosophical narrative they have received in college. I’m supposed to understand that I am the top of the pyramid and should shut up because I’m an oppressor invalidating a feminist theory, which some bourgeois white woman had proposed in some class they took. Which means I’m probably a potential rapist, too. But you see, when I get home and am buying cigarettes and beer at the deli, the Middle Eastern man with the Hispanic wife is behind the counter, and he calls me his “favorite white boy.” Yeah, I’m still a white boy to him, a stereotype, and who could blame him? — I glow like a bulb on my street. But it isn’t an insult, it is a compliment with a subtext that says, “I know you, you’re one of us.” A different language.
Obviously, I am trapped in the middle. I try to be philosophical about it.