democracy

Blogs, Democracy, free speech, and The Joker

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Recently, I banned a commentator from this blog. It was the first time that I’ve ever had to do this. And I recently boycotted another blog, which I have commented on for several years, and run by a friend of mine,because the same person I banned trolled there to the extant that the posts were monopolized by hatefulness, repeated and unwarranted antisemitism, as well as personal attacks on other frequenters of the blog. I declared that I would no longer comment on the blog until the offender was banned.

Several people who frequent my blog expressed disgust at the offender, who goes by the screen name, apollonian. Some hinted that I should ban him, and another poster stopped posting after apollonian stated he hoped they “suffered”. That’s when I decided to deploy the ban hammer.

I felt badly about boycotting my friend’s blog. First, I like several of the other posters, who also comment on this blog. I learn a lot from them. I do not blog and comment on other blogs because I think I know everything, even though my blog covers a wide variety of topics–more than on which anyone could be called an expert. I blog and comment to learn. Sometimes I will have a growing interest in a topic, and blogging becomes a way to learn by teaching, which is widely considered an excellent way to learn. Mostly I blog to make myself less stupid. Secondly, I felt badly because in some way it could appear that I am trying to force my friend’s hand in banning someone he does not wish to ban (he has a no ban rule).  However this is not the case. It is perfectly accepted practice to walk out of public forums in protest to what one party feels is an abuse of the forum itself. All the way from town hall meetings, to UN councils, this is standard practice.

Even in democratic forums, not everyone is welcome.  Democracy is not the abolition of common sense in exchange for tolerating all behavior. Democracy is rule of the majority, and to say it is anything else is to expect too much. Democracy is quickly hijacked by forces of idiocy and evil when those on the other side view force as inherently evil.  Some people refuse to ban others from blogs out of a “democratic spirit”. In the case of apollonian, this kind of thinking is like Batman letting the Joker run Gotham out of a sense of fairness, while everyone is begging the Dark Knight to take action.  The Dark Knight Returns and The Dark Knight Rises,  are two of my favorite movies of all time, for several reasons.  They analyze very well how democracy needs someone who’s going to step up, even when it means they won”t be popular and what can happen when envy takes hold and the mob rules.

And besides, a blog or forum is not a democracy. Allowing people who are disruptive, hateful, or senseless to run rampant out of a sense of ideology just ruins the experience for everyone else. I used to play a lot of table top wargames while growing up. Entire summer days were spent in this manner, and everyone had fun. If someone showed up that lessened the fun for everyone else, that person wouldn’t get invited back. A blog should not be taken so seriously as to equate to the politics of a nation. No one’s freedom is being denied them when they get banned from a blog.

We can see what this attitude of “open mindedness” has wrought for America. For decades now, those who fundamentally opposed what made America so strong, its industrial and military might, its meritocracy, its familial bonds, those people have been allowed to run rampant and spread the propaganda that all ideas and cultures have equal value.  But I’m going with Carlyle’s Great Man Theory. Great societies are not created and maintained by the random actions of a directionless populace. At some point, the Imperator is called to do his duty. That man is the one others look to emulate and set the example. America was fortunate enough to have been founded by a quiver full of great men who knew that liberty requires action. I believe the Founding Fathers would be appalled at the level of tolerance we show in America. Even Jefferson, that man of the people, knew when crushing action was needed, just as is recorded when he decided to take a military course against the Barbary Pirates. Jefferson writes:

protect our commerce & chastise their insolence—by sinking, burning or destroying their ships & Vessels wherever you shall find them

 

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Where the Fun Times Went, Part 1

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A friend of mine sent me an article which describes in lurid detail the proceedings of campus rape tribunals.  You can read the article here.

My friend quipped that he at one time believed it was impossible to ruin the fun time of the college experience, but now he believes it’s been done. Other people in the past have told me they missed college. Of course, those people are my age, and thus attended higher learning institutions before the advent of Orwellian kangaroo courts.  The Romans had a better legal system back in 400 BC. Really, look it up.

I think the article does an excellent job in explaining what a travesty this sort of thing is, the Faustian world that the Progressives have constructed. I keep waiting to wake up inside the Matrix, because folks, I ate the red pill.  And since the article does such a great job in deconstructing this one aspect of the liberal monolith, I’m going to stick to what this type of thing means to me, and how it affects us all.

Student at Auburn University.
Student at Auburn University.

In essence, this sort of perversion  of justice is exactly what I’m talking about when I say that we as a culture are getting worse. I’ve considered that maybe it’s just me growing older, thinking everything was once better, that every activity we performed back in the day was somehow more noble, that we were stronger.

I’ve considered that, and arrived at the conclusion that in fact, we were stronger, more noble, and that many if not all things were better. Even our technological advances are overrated. About the only thing I have now that I didn’t have in 1980 is a cell phone and a computer, and from the studies I’ve seen, those two things are prone to make us more unhappy.  Per usual, I shamelessly blame it all on the liberals. But we have it so good, some will tell me. Yes, we do. But it’s getting worse than it was a few decades ago in very measurable ways. The Canadian Club ad below pretty much says all I have to say:

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See, I’m not an ethno-nationalist or white supremacist, tribalist, a hater of women or a prude, as some may suspect from my political leanings. I like freedom. I like justice. And precisely because I like freedom and justice, I’m suspicious of democracy. At the very least I see democracy as having all the same flaws as most of the other forms of government, only now the power is split up into a multitude of factions all wanting a piece of me and you. Nope, I’ve spit the democracy kool-aid back in the tankard. The very young experiment that is Western Democracy is crumbling and fast. Let’s not forget that Tyranny is not a form of government, it a disease that can occur in all government’s forms.  It’s democracy that enabled this sort of thing, using the all powerful Managerial State to take almost all the fun out of living. But for a few differences I’d accept the label of libertarian. The closest titles I can find are paleoconservative and neoreactionary.  I like neoreactionary because I hope it brings to mind Conan the barbarian or Kull the conqueror to the people that think that Jersey Shore was a good television show. Sweaty, veins surging with enough testosterone to make Alex Rodriguez’ PED supplier jealous, and carrying a giant sword dripping with the blood of my enemies. I want to go back, just like Eddie Money crooned. I want to go back because I used to be free. Democracy works when it’s filled with well-behaved individuals held in line by internal and universal values. Democracy doesn’t work when you trump up some charges in order to fulfill your political/idealogical Mangina fantasies and ruin people’s lives, like Auburn and Vassar do. And it’s all legal because because Jefferson’s all-knowing, holy people (read: mob) will it.

I still won’t go so far as to call myself a monarchist, yet. But dear readers, what did King George III ever do that was worse than what we put up with from our government and Managerial State now? Don’t get me wrong, I’m with the revolutionary Americans. You know what they wanted? Not ultimate liberty and anarchy. They wanted to be treated like Englishmen. They wanted to be treated the same as the people back in Great Britain were treated, no better, no worse. You can look that up too. They didn’t think all kings were evil. They thought tyranny was evil and I’m inclined to agree.

This is part 1 of an undecidedly long series on where the fun times went, and what we can do to get them back. Next up: When I started noticing the big, bad changes.

Bread and Circuses

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Americans have cast their vote. And I won’t sit here and type out some cliche’ lines about the wisdom of the American people or how we all just need to get along for the next 4 years, come together, hold hands, and make it all better. Because I believe this was a stupid choice and that the last 4 years were the result of an administration that has no direction and has already weakened the American character.

Our nation is withering, but it is not because of Barack Obama, it is because of that sacred animal of democracy, “The People.” No longer is it the man that fights the good fight, that presses on despite the odds, the strong individualist who sharpens his knife, oils his rifle, and cuts his own firewood, that draws the media’s camera and the adoration of Americans. No, the greatest person in America today is “The Victim.” The man who can’t get things done is our hero. He is a victim of the system, of the weather, of his race, of his gender, of his sexual orientation, of bad genes, and of the evils of corporate empire. It is difficult not to find a victim in every man these days, and so every man is a hero of sorts, unless you run a successful business; a business man is obviously out to make victims of everyone else, and thus he is no hero.

It is not “anti-government” to say that a government can either do a few things well, or a lot of things poorly. We have chosen a government that is involved in every aspect of our lives, and we choose this both locally and nationally. We are well on our way to becoming another Greece. And what happens when a government runs out of money and tells its people that programs have to be cut? Do the people band together in unity and peace and carry on? Some maybe. But the ones that get the media attention riot and spew hatred because their bread and circuses have been taken away.

This is the perfect example of how empires die. They are rarely killed from the outside. With few exceptions, they kill themselves.

And so I do not believe in the sanctity of the people. Democracy works just fine when a democratic nation is composed of intelligent, unselfish, and strong people. We are no longer that. What was Obama’s biggest selling point to the American people? That he will give us more stuff. Is that not the tacit message? We certainly don’t want a president that will tell us we’re too fat, too stupid, and too infatuated with Kim Kardashian. Which we are. As Rush Limbaugh said, “In a nation of children, Santa Claus wins.”

Unlike others, I am not hopeful for America. I have witnessed our decline for the last 20 years, and it has been inexorable. We are teenagers with Daddy’s credit card. The values that held our society together for two centuries are all but gone. Some will say, “times change and we must change with them.” But we are exhibiting habits with which no culture has prospered for long.

As for myself, I’ll continue to cling to my guns and religion, just as did real men like Davey Crocket and Daniel Boone. The rest of America can worry about what underwear Pink is wearing this week and continue shambling toward irrelevancy.

Run and Shoot

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In a Democratic society, few things are more important than trust.  We have to trust our neighbors, our co-workers, and our government.  This is what makes a free and open society work.  But trust must be earned.  If trust is given to those whom are untrustworthy, systems fail just as rapidly, perhaps more rapidly, than if no trust is granted at all. Everything works better in a high trust society. 

Trust is why America works.  America doesn’t work because of Democracy. Democracy works because of trust.  Certain systems can engender trust in our fellow man, mostly because those systems enable individuals to fulfill their personal needs without ripping off other people.  When systems break down, people tend to circle the wagons, hoarding as much for themselves as possible.  But beyond systems, are the values and capabilities of the people that work in those systems.

Recently at my job, the office I worked in experienced some difficulties in one of the sections. The job was not getting done to my supervisor’s liking.  The historic way that my supervisor tried to fix problems was by changing systems; more Excel spreadsheets, more trackers, more redundant systems. But to me, the problem was the people.  No system can cover  every problem–there’s always a loophole. Success comes when you put the best people in the right positions.  So we made a personnel change.  It wasn’t easy explaining to the soldier why he was removed from the position, but I had to tell him that his attention to detail was lacking so that he could fix the problem in the future.

On Friday, my office usually plays touch football against another section.  I play quarterback. One thing I quickly identify is whom I can trust when I throw the ball to them. Who drops the ball? Who can’t get open? Who doesn’t know how to run patterns?  After a few dropped passes, I don’t want to throw the ball to certain receivers.  One soldier in particular on my team is an excellent athlete and football player. He catches the ball when I throw it to him, knows the game, and has good speed.  I end up looking to him first on most plays and we win often.  I do try to spread the ball around just so that other people have fun. But if our team really needs a score, I know who I’m looking for.  I trust that player.  It is not so much about a system that guarantees or maximizes the chances of our success–it’s about knowing who the most capable person is. One person on the team is an advocate of designing plays so that each player has an assignment. While this would be fine if we had lots of time to practice it doesn’t work very well for our situation. The only direction that is usually given is deciding who blocks, who throws and who receives.  Once in a while I’ll tell a receiver to run a certain pattern, but mostly it’s just “get open.” We were actually less successful when we tried to assign each receiver a pattern.  He could not make the small adjustments needed to get away from defenders, since his assigned pattern may take him towards a safety or linebacker and not away. So we run our offense like the old Run and Shoot.

These two anecdotes reinforce my politics: That nations are not made by regulation, but by the capabilities and attitudes of millions of individuals.  Only individuals can make on the ground assessments and quick changes to make sure things get done the way they should. We are guided by principles, but a rule cannot guarantee success, and we can see by looking at the IRS’ tax code that millions of pages of regulation still leaves loopholes.

For me, it’s never going to be about regulations. It’s always about trust and people.

Poll: Will you vote for Barack Obama or a Republican candidate?

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Can the jihadists win?

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The stock argument used by those arguing against the War on Terror is that the terrorists cannot possibly win.  These people believe that even if America did not take military actions against Islamic jihadists, the jihadists could not defeat the US.  This is false.  The Clausewitzian cliche’ here is that war is an extension of politics.  In this case terrorism is an extension of politics.   Al-Qaeda need not destroy all of America’s military forces, or its infrastructure, or imprison large swaths of its population in prison camps.  It only needs to change the way people think and vote.  It has already done this.

In 2004 an Islamic terrorist cell inspired by al-Qaeda detonated 10 bombs in a Madrid train terminal, killing nearly 200 people and wounding over 2000.  Three days later the Spanish Socialist Party was elected to office, ousting the incumbent conservative prime minister,  Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, from office.  The Socialist Party leadership then implemented legislation to remove the 1500 Spanish troops from Iraq, as it was determined that the prime motivation for the bombings was Spanish contribution to the Iraq War.

Through the ballot box, terrorists rendered Spain’s military combat ineffective in Iraq.  That’s something that a modern-well equipped army would have had a much tougher time accomplishing were it to adhere to the old rules of locating enemy military assets and destroying them until the opposing government capitulated.  Instead, the opposing government was rendered ineffective through the democratic process.

Personal security is the number one concern of the animal.  Hobbes knew it and Abraham Maslow came close to knowing it.  Maslow placed the need for food, sleep, and sex above (or below at the base of his pyramid) the need for personal security.  However, I disagree.  People will give up food, sleep and sex if they are immediately threatened with physical harm.  I’m quibbling.  Obviously the imminence of the problem comes in to play.  Either way, physical security is very important.  Societies do not progress without it; all the people’s minds stay focused on war and fighting for security.

The terrorist must sow the idea of imminent attack.  The victim population must come to believe that the terrorists can move freely about, that any lull in violence is the choice of the terrorists and not because security forces are limiting the terrorists abilities to move, plan, build bombs and attack.  The media plays a huge roll in modern terrorism.  Not only in changing the minds of ordinary civilians, but in motivating and recruiting other terrorists.  The internet is rife with jihadist propaganda.   Another argument against the War on Terror is that the dangers of being killed in a terror attack are so small, any great fears of terrorism are based on illusions.  To some extent this is true.  However, were America’s military and police not constantly on watch, I believe that 9-11 or the Madrid train bombings would be a monthly occurance, at the very least.

Through the ballot box, the jihadists can win.  And they can do it with far less damage and effort than it takes to win a conventional war.  In many places in Europe, it’s now illegal to make any derogatory comments about Islam.  Many in the West view their tolerance of other cultures as proof of moral superiority.  Any talk of why another culture’s practices are evil or not acceptable are viewed as proof of hate mongering.  These cultural relativists have little idea of what true hate mongering is, but they’ll get a glimpse of it as their culture is changed slowly through the democratic process to a place more comfortable to extreme Islam.

Or maybe they won’t even realize it when it happens.

The truly frightening thing about the power of culture is that a person ensconced within the living tomb of a dying society can be experiencing hell but barely realize it.  There is no experience of not living in Hell.  Hell becomes the default for life.  It goes a long way in making the Buddhist argument that man should reduce his expectations and desires, not increase them.  Europe is dying a slow death.  It’s birthrates are catastrophically low.  The Muslim birthrates are about 4 to 5 times higher than white Europeans.  The low European birthrate will have multiple negative effects.  First, the current European economic model cannot be sustained.  If one thinks that America has looming economic problems because of its social security system, it’s nothing to what Europe faces.  Not only do Europeans have much more generous retirement and unemployment benefits, they barely have any military to speak of.  As fewer young people are injected into the work cycle, fewer people are paying into the government handout system.  This is exactly what happened in Greece.  By 2040 or so, the Greek retirement system will absorb 25% of the Greek GDP.  The rest of Europe will follow in domino fashion.  At some point we may wake up to find ourselves in a political system more akin to that desired by totalitarian theocrats than to Western democracy.  We may not even know the difference.

Secondly, a rising Muslim population in relation to white European population will spell more votes for Muslims.  If you don’t think that will have real, negative impact on the continent, take a look at the pew report that shows 75% of Muslims polled don’t believe that Arabs took part in the 9-11 attacks.  Not enough?  40 percent of British Muslims want Sharia in their country.  Sharia courts are used in Britain to settle Muslim civil cases.   Terrorism has worked and it’s not because we fought back.  It’s because many continue to believe that by changing laws in Muslims’ favor, it will somehow change the way many Muslims feel and believe.  However it’s not working out that way.  By changing the laws and customs of our culture, we’re merely changing ourselves.  Sometimes changing ourselves is good.  It’s just difficult to believe, when we look at the state of every predominately Muslim country around the world, that that’s what we want to change into.

Yes, the jihadists can win.  The oddity of democracies is that they can be changed in different way than oligarchies.   They can be changed merely because the people feel like changing laws.  When the West stops fighting for what made it great, when we think that by passing laws to appease the more brutal and aggressive people among us, militant Islam will be well on its way to winning.  The people will lose faith in their state’s ability to protect them from aggression, and so will live only for today, which means a cycle of appeasement that brings transient comfort to those who cast the momentary vote, but condemns future generations to the slippery slope greased with the hanging chads of weakness and cowardice.

When it comes to the Middle East and Latin America, we should settle for good enough

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Democracy is an end-state not a cure-all. American officials need to get used to the fact that countries like Iraq and Brazil won’t make the same choices as Americans do, just because they’re allowed to vote. Their culture won’t let them.

We should settle for a government that provides food, electricity, adequate security and education. And if the government doesn’t plunder the people’s money, that’s a big plus, too. To ask more of democratic elections will urge intervention in unalterable and dangerous places, like Afghanistan.