Friday, May 30, 2014
Yes, Standing in a circle and throwing stones at your daughter until she dies is an active of CONSERVATISM.
Anyone who is standing up waving CONSERVATISM as the answer is either a troglodyte or an idiot.
There are good answers in this world.
Liberty is an answer. The ideals of US Founders make for a good answer. There are many great answers found in religious traditions. I, myself, am quite fond of forcing ideas through the rigors of logic, mathematics and science.
As for CONSERVATISM; I've never seen anything there beyond senseless reaction.
There are two possible ways for coming to the worst possible answer. The first is POGRESSIVISM and the second CONSERVATISM.
For example, Health Care is an extremely important issue. I argue that it is the most important issue of our generation.
For the last hundred years, health care has been dominated by progressive thinking. People have fallen for the line that group funding of health care is the only possible way to fund health care. Progressives want the collective owned by the state (socialism) and conservatives want the collective owned by big business (fascism).
Both sides of this argument are wrong.
The VA is one of the best implementations of group funded health care going, and we routinely see people thrown out and dying.
I believe that a free market could give our veterans far better care than received in the VA, but, since the single minded issue of Conservatives is the preservation of the social order, there will never be a day when Conservatives discuss free market health care reform.
Conservatives are such a cowardly and pathetic lot, they will not even discuss the issue of free market health care reform.
If Conservatives are unwilling to discuss free market health care reform, what are conservatives willing to do?
I live in Utah. Utah is the most conservative state West of Iran. Because Utahans are constrained by the Constitution, Conservatives have not been able to institute the time honored practice of stoning women, but folks in this state are really good at publicly humiliating and casting people out.
A case in point happened at Wasatch High School up in Heber City. The Modesty-Nazis at the yearbook took it upon themselves to photoshop away exposed shoulders and raise the necklines of the senior girls.
Does anyone seriously believe that these conservatives who photoshop girls' photos in the yearbook to meet their personal aesthetics would ever actually do anything to advance liberty in this nation.
I've lived in the most severely conservative state West of Iran. I've never personally witnessed a conservative defending freedom. The idea that Conservatives will deliver freedom is about as far fetched at the idea that Progressives can deliver social justice.
Both sides of the left/right split are poisonous. I am happy that our nation was founded by truly great men who attempted to reject this base partisanship to craft a Constitution that takes a stab at defending liberty. Because of the founders, Conservatism in America is just petty acts like photoshopping out shoulders and ostracizing people and not stoning.
Saturday, May 24, 2014
The answer is a resounding "no."
Conservatism is a belief in a class society held together by a systematic moral condemnation of the underclasses.
It is exactly the system of thought thought that the US Founders fought against.
A prime example of conservatism is taking place in Sudan. According to Al Jazeera a Sudanese Court ordered a pregnant woman to be hung for apostasy along with 100 lashes. Mariam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag's crime was to convert from Islam to Christianity. The execution was ordered for the Conservative cause of defending the faith.
A large number of people are protesting the verdict and want to see Mariam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag liberated. This desire to see this person liberated is called "liberal."
To all those people who call themselves conservative, do you really believe that this young woman should be put to 100 lashes and executed.
Beating and killing a woman to defend the faith is an act of Conservatism!
The Judge who ordered the woman to be beaten and murdered is a conservative. His verdict is a Conservative judgment. To all of those people who call themselves "conservative," do you really love standing with this judge?
I am horrified by the judge and find his self-righteous condemnation more abhorrent than the alleged apostasy.
My guess is that most Americans who call themselves "conservative" abhor this verdict as well, and that most conservatives have failed to spend time thinking through the meaning and history of conservatism. Quite frankly, I think that most of the people calling themselves conservative would stop if they simply thought through and researched the history and meaning of conservatism. Conservatism is not the ideology of the US Founders.
The Left/Right split came after the US Founders. The US founders had a classical liberal arts education steeped in classical logic. They applied their liberal arts education to the question and came up with a system with a limited government and unlimited people. I like to call this system "Classical Liberal."
The Left/Right Split came from the the French Revolution. The Right sought preservation of the social order of the ancient regime and the left sought radical social change. Both sides of this split adopted forms of Modern Logic (Hegelian Dialectics). This dialectics is simply a conflict driven approach to governance. Conflict driven politics necessarily leads to conflict driven governance. We see both the left and right doing terrible things to their partisan foes when they get power.
I stand with the liberals who wish to see Mariam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag freed, and detest the conservatives who wish to see her executed.
Friday, May 23, 2014
"Conservatives" in Utah still aspire to a totalitarian state like Iran. So it's always fun to look East to see Conservatism in action.
The big news in Iran is that six people used their iPhones to create a tribute video to a song called "Happy" by Pharell Williams. The young videographers were promptly arrested and imprisoned.
There was a huge social media campaign to free the dancers. The Conservative regime of Tehran finally let up and freed the happy dancers with stark warnings about their behavior.
Anyway, here is the video.
I wish to challenge anyone who believes in "conservatism" to tell me why these people should be arrested?
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
In someways modern conservatism is worse than modern liberalism because so many people these days confuse "conservatism" with the ideals of the US.
Conservatism is a partisan dialectical ideology that traces its roots to Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes, Edmund Burke and incorporates the modern logic of Hegel.
This reactionary philosophy holds the US Founders as naive. Conservatives have carefully constructed a partisan thought system in which one plays to the image of liberty without actually advancing liberty.
The US Founders despised Machiavelli and the partisanship of Europe. The partisan conservative has whole-heartedly adopted the very form of discourse the the US Founders sought to shed.
The key to understanding both the US Founders and the American Experiment in Self-Rule is that the Founders had a classical liberal arts education steeped in the classical tradition of Aristotelian logic. They applied classical logic to the question of liberty.
NOTE: Conservatives of 1776 had the same Liberal Arts education which they had applied to the class society of feudalism.
Conservatives of 1776 stood shoulder to shoulder with the British and leveled their musket fire at the US Founders. The claim that the US Founders were Conservatives and the monarchy was left wing progressive is absurd. Conservatives of 1776 opposed the Founders and immediately set in to undermine the American experiment in self rule.
The key to restoring the American Experiment in Self Rule is not conservatism. The key to restoring America is to rediscover the classical liberal ideals of the US founders.
The shrill Hegelian Dialectics of Sean Hannity, Limbaugh and Beck does not lead to a promising future. It leads to greater division.
Yes, it is true that Conservatives wave flags and play to the image of the US Founders. But when one looks beyond this thin facade one finds the underlying structure of Conservatism (ie, Machiavelli, Hobbes,. Burke and all) is not only incapable of restoring liberty. Conservatism, as it was envisioned by the reactionaries of 1776, is apt to undermine the American Experiment in Self Rule and return America to serfdom.
Those seeking to restore liberty must learn to stand against both the Left and Right, for the liberty envisioned by the Founders is not a partisan ideology and one cannot restore this beautiful vision with partisan bickering.
Modern Conservatism will lead us down as dark a road as Modern Liberalism. The Left/Right split did not come from the US Founders. It came from the parliaments of Europe. Both sides of this negative partisan divide lead to dark ends. We are foolish to seek our restoration on either of these paths.
Tuesday, May 06, 2014
In this case, Don Sterling's personal secretary made a secret recording with remarks that inflamed outrage. The case ends with political authorities banning Sterling from the NBA and an attempt to strip Don Sterling's ownership of the LA Clippers. (which presumably will end up in the hands of politically favored billionaires).
In my last post, I listened to the Don Sterling tape on YouTube. V. Stiviano, who was recording a private conversation, appeared to be baiting the conversation. The things she was saying about skin were as inflammatory as Sterling, but she said them in a mild tone. Don Sterling was clearly exasperated about the conversation.
The political fire-storm from this tape led NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to ban Mr. Sterling's from the NBA and to seek taking Mr. Sterling's business away.
IMHO, this issue of whether or not the ruling elite should be able to strip businesses from people they find politically incorrect is an extremely important question.
A week ago, I broke down and read Mein Kampf. In Mein Kampf, Hitler frames as race of people as the people's enemy. Once in power be began the process of stripping the Jewish people of their businesses and their property. He finally devolved into committing genocide.
BTW, Mr. Sterling is Jewish. This act of stripping a person of a business for being judged politically incorrect is a sterling case of history repeating itself.
The important issue in the Sterling case is: Should the ruling elite have the ability to strip people of their business when they are judged politically incorrect?
There is a possibility that Don Sterling is a racist. Is this sufficient cause to strip someone from their business?
The tape that led to the seizure of Sterling's business was recorded privately by a person who was having an argument with Mr. Sterling. Arguably, the tape was made to bait Mr. Sterling into making a racist comment.
The debate about whether or not Mr. Sterling should be stripped of his business is made even more compelling by the possibility that he was set up? When we have a society where the ruling elite are able to strip people of their business, then we have a situation where players can set up people for a fall. If you pretend that you are Perry Mason and that Don Sterling was your innocent client who was being baited, you will see this possibility in the tape.
The fact that Mr. Sterling is Jewish makes the debate even more interesting because the case appears to be one in which history is repeating itself. Just last century ago, Jews were having their businesses and property stripped from them for political reasons.
I am inclined to see business ownership as a right and not a privilege. I believe that stripping a person of his business is wrong even if the person is an ugly 80 year old Jewish man. I fear that our country is headed into an ugly era if we revive the notion that the political elite should strip people of their business if they are politically incorrect.
Friday, May 02, 2014
It appears that Americans are losing the ability to distinguish image from substance.
Talking heads on TV are outraged by a tape of a conversation between a person called Don Sterling and V. Stiviano. The NBA actually demanded that Don Sterling give up ownership of his team because of this conversation. People were making such a big deal of the recording that I decided to listen to it. I knew nothing of Don Sterling other other than the feigned outrage and that he is losing millions because of the tape. Here is a YouTube of the conversation:
The conversation involves the topics of age and race; so the age and race of the speakers matters. I Googled the names. Don Sterling is 80 (born in 1934). He was born Donald Tokowitz. He is of Jewish descent. V. Stiviano is thirty-something and of mixed race. She changed her name from Maria Vanessa Perez.
The two had some sort of relationship in which Don Sterling, a billionaire, was getting companionship and V. Stiviano was getting things and access to people. The conversation was apparently preceded by an argument about pictures posted on Instagram. It appears that the conversation was recorded secretly by V. Stiviano.
While listening to the conversation, it is important to understand that Ms Stiviano knows about the recording. Mr. Sterling does not. The recording starts with Mr. Sterling recognizing that they were currently in a fight. Ms. Stiviano's claim that she is not fighting is obviously untrue because she is recording the conversation. The rest of the conversation is simply one in which Ms. Stiviano calmly throws out bait with Mr. Sterling deflecting.
If you think about the words of the conversation, the bait that Ms. Stiviano calmly tosses out is actually much more incendiary than the gruff deflections of Mr. Sterling.
Much of the conversation is about the irony that Jewish people, who were clearly victims of persecution, treated black people claiming to be Jewish poorly. People in the House of Israel claim to be descendents of a given family. There is natural skepticism of people who appear to be a different race making claims to that heritage.
Here in the United States, people in the Navajo Tribe are dubious of white people who walk onto the Reservation claiming to be Navajo. Quite frankly, I find more fault with white people who falsely claim to be Navajo than with Navajo who react to such claims with resentment.
A primary theme of the conversation is about changing culture. Ms. Stiviano says that she wants to change culture. Mr. Sterling says that he has no desire to change culture and is content to leave people as they are.
Which of the two views is more racist: A person who is content with letting people have their cultures with all their cultural faults or people who set forth to change the culture of others?
The persecution of the Jewish people was punctuated with well-intentioned people who took it upon themselves to change the Jews.
I am inclined to see those who set forth to change the culture of others as "cultural imperialists." I see cultural imperialism as a deeper form of racism than those who are willing to let people be with all of the faults that people have.
The terrible part of the conversation comes at the end. Apparently Mr. Sterling had been giving Ms. Stiviano tickets to invite personal friends to the games. Mr. Sterling had not been clicking with those friends. It is not uncommon for people to dislike the friends of their friends. Ms. Stiviano had made race the focus of the conversation to this point, and Sterling takes the bait.
There is an important question here: Does a person have to automatically include people of different races into their network of personal friends to prove non-racism? Mr. Sterling had included Ms. Stiviano in his network of friends. She was mixed race.
Judging solely on this conversation, I find that I am more offended by the baiting done by Ms. Stiviano than with the gruff deflections of Mr. Sterling. IMHO, the people who are raising this conversation as an example of "racism" are doing the world a disservice. Mr. Sterling might be a racist, but the form of the conversation does not prove it.
The person who is recording the conversation and who is controlling the conversation with baited statements is using a very simple tactic. She is using a calm tone while making baited statements. The person who does not know the conversation is recorded is deflecting the bait with a gruff voice. I fear that the pundits who pounced on this conversation confused tone with substance. The tone of the person recording and controlling the conversation is clearly contrived.
I find the media and political reaction to the tape far more troubling than the substance of the tape. If the media is incapable of recognizing an obviously baited conversation, then we are all in trouble.