Thursday, June 26, 2014

I Did Not Have a Classical Liberal Education

In past posts I've opined that the difference between classical and modern liberalism is the underlying logical structure.

I should mention. I did not have a classical liberal education. I had the same progressive education as everyone else.

I grew up adoring the 60s. I thought Rock and Roll was a substantive form of music. I parroted the petty prejudices of the professoriat as they lavished praise on Jimmy Carter and heaped scorn on Reagan. I remember the deep dismay when the snarl words failed to turn the tide against the Teflon President.

I was interested in the foundations of mathematics and hoped to become a teacher; so I studied the history of mathematics. I saw classical logic as some sort of primitive state of thought that existed before symbolic logic and set theory.

My primary interest was the foundations of calculus.Since the equations of calculus play a fundamental role in physics, economics and many sciences, I believe that it was imperative to develop a way to teach calculus in high school. So, I had this ambition of become a high school math teacher who would focus on analytic geometry and calculus.

I saw myself as a young progressive thinker. I went to school in the Bay Area in about the same time that David Horowitz made his departure from progressivism. I saw first hand the things Horowitz went through in Radical Son.

Horowitz took his progressive writing style and turned the guns on the progressive movement.

As I was still in school, I simply became more attentive to foundational issues and began investigating the differences between classical and modern liberalism.

Unfortunately, my blatant act of questioning the foundations of progressivism caused me to be flunked out of college.

It was not until several years after college that I began reading books on logic and realized that fundamental transition that took place in the 1800s between the development of classical logic.

I happen to live in Utah. Utah is a closed society. By closed, I mean it is a society that is dead bolted shut against open discourse and new ideas.

For example, for the last six years, I've had the hope of either attending or hosting a meeting about free market health care reform. In six years, I've been unable to find any conservative groups holding meetings about free market health care reform, and all of my attempts to host a meeting have failed.

I can understand people being unwilling to talk to me. But Health Care is the single most important issue of our generation and I find no-one in the state talking about alternatives to the health exchanges.

NOTE to Utah: PPACA is a network of health exchanges regulated by the Federal Government but run at the state level. Creating an exchange that is run at a state level and is regulated by the Federal Government is not an alternative to PPACA.

Being a pariah doesn't bother me, but a complete blackout of discourse is troubling.

I keep coming back to this one point:

If Conservatives continue their stonewall suppression of discourse, there is no option but to give into PPACA. Quite frankly, I fear that if Americans the few remaining free market aspects of our health care, that we will soon lose all freedoms. If we don't have freedom to direct the care of our bodies then what freedom is there?

Having received the same progressive education as the rest of America and having never been in a situation where open inquiry and discourse was allowed, I am just left banging my head against stone walls without the slightest idea of how to act.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Right to Self Definition

This may come as a shock and appears to be unfair but most of the senior positions in the GOP are held by Republicans and most senior positions of the Democratic Party are held by Democrats.

If the Democratic Party was as opened as they claim, wouldn't they give a third of their top seats to Republicans or vice-versa?

If I organized a mass movement that demanded the GOP include Democrats in top slots, most people would stare at me incredulously.
The parties are private groups. The prevailing opinion is that private groups should have the ability to define themselves.

While private groups should have the ability to define themselves, I think it is important for societies to have room for everyone.

Putting my money where my mouth is: I created the Community Color project in which I list all of the web sites I find from select communities in the Moutain West.  While the sites are far from comprehensive. I am making a concerted effort to list links to a wide selection of sites expressing different opinions.

Quite frankly, I really dislike systems in which people are locked out.

Our two party system has created a political dynamics in which most the leaders in the Democratic Party are Democrats and those in the GOP are Republican.

The dynamics of this system creates a dysfunctional system in which independent thinkers are shut out.

The only way for an independent thinker to get elected is to lie about party affiliation, which means the only way for independent thought to occur in our legislatures is for it to come through liars.

When one is locked out of society. The only way to engage in political discourse is to sit on the sideline and snipe at the power brokers.

The US Founders hated partisanship. They were independent thinkers who appear to have accepted the independent thought of others. The Founders failed to anticipate the rise of the parties. There is no mention of the parties in the Constitution.

Were the founders to rematerialize on this planet, they would likely find themselves locked out of the political process like the majority of Americans.

The only way for independents to engage in discourse is to sit on the sidelines of the parties and snipe at the players or to lie to get an inside seat.  Both options are unsatisfactory.

IMHO, communities must include roles for everyone. Problems arise when individual groups get so powerful that they are able to dominate society and drive others out.

When there are groups that gain hegemony, question arise about how to counter the groups. Should the groups be deny the ability to define themselves, or is the only recourse for the disenfranchised to form other power groups to stand against the hegemony?

My personal impulse is that that people wishing to live independent lives should live their lives in ways that discourage the development of such hegemnies.

But, then again, I am one of the millions of independent thinkers who are locked out of society and who can do nothing but sit on the sidelines and snipe.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The September Six

As expected, the founder of Ordain Women was excommunicated.

The LDS Church routinely engages in purgings of intellectuals. Usually it is done under the table. For example, about ten years ago, a powerful group was pushing the theory that the Book of Mormon took place in Central America. Apparently the scholars supporting the Meso-American view are out and a new group claiming the Book of Mormon took place in the US is in.

This was a major purge took place in silence.

About five years ago, there were several production companies producing independent LDS Moviies like Brigham City and God's Army. It appears that the filmmakers are on the out.

In 1993 there was a general purging of intellectuals. This purging created a group called "The September Six." This purge included the BYU historian named Dennis Michael Quinn who wrote books on some of the less savory aspects of Mormonism including the history of polygamy and the "Early Mormonism and The Magical World View."

The book suggests that Mormonism arose among people who believed in aspects of folk magic such as a belief in second sight.

Mormonism is not the first experience in America with the magical world view. In the 1690s folks in Salem held a magical world view. With support from the Mathers of Harvard, the good people of Salem engaged in witch trials based largely on spectral evidence. Twenty people were executed and scores imprisoned. The funny thing is that large numbers of people confessed to being witches based on spectral evidence.

Some people are challenged by the prospect that the testimonies for The Book of Mormon were based on claims to the magical powers of "second sight" and not real evidence. Excommunicating scholars who research such quaint notions is a must.

The overt act of excommunications in 1993 brought a backlash in bad publicity. Recent purgings have been much more tactful. For example, the people supporting the Meso American theory of the book of Mormon just disappeared along with the independent Mormon films.

The OrdainWomen was an overtly audacious movement to force change on the the LDS Church. The LDS Church has a right to define itself and acted exactly in the way that its fundamental doctrines tells it to act.

Much as I love open discourse. I believe strong that groups have a right to self-definitions. The big problems I see occur when a group has amassed so much power that they are able to suppress discourse throughout an entire community as appears to have happened here in Utah.

My pet issue, as you probably know, is free market health care reform. The LDS Church has billions invested in the Health Exchanges. Mormons supporting the Health Exchanges of PPACA include Harry Reid, Mitt Romney, Mike Leavitt, Jon Huntsman, Gary Herbert and more.

The LDS Church is heavily invested in the insurance industry and in the back bone processes of the exchanges.

I believe that Americans should question the Health Exchanges. For that matter, I think Americans should really question the wisdom of insurance.

I am not LDS. But since I live in Utah which is run by the LDS Church, I have to live with the reality that all attempts to debate free market health care reform will be suppressed.

So, while I support the right of the LDS Church to define itself, I have concerns about what point the right of self-definition turns to over arching societal. Anyway, it was interesting watching the overt and open excommunication of Ordain Women.

Monday, June 23, 2014

People Don't Have to Listen

There is no law nor moral imperative that says people must listen.

A group called Ordain Women wants to march up to the LDS General Authority and slap down a demand that women be ordained a priests.

The LDS General Authority is in the process of "casting out" the creators of Ordain Women. I used the word "casting out" because The Doctrine and Covenant by Joseph Smith actually says that the LDS Church is to handle dissent by casting out the dissenters.

Personally, I am a huge fan of open discourse and I dislike closed power structures.

But, guess what? I realize that there is no law that says my words or that the words of anyone else be heard.

I have a whole list of things that I think are important and would love to say. But accept that I live in a closed society where people simply stonewall each other.

BTW: Pointing out that the LDS Church is a closed power structure is fine. That is what I am doing in this post. The expectation that a closed power structure is supposed to discuss any pet issue is absurd.

A closed power structure is closed. That is the whole point of a closed power structure.

I dislike closed power structures and actively encourage people to reject such things, but the expectation that closed power structures behave like open power structures is unreasonable.

April Bennett wrote an amusing op-ed in the Tribune

In stark contrast to allegations by LDS Church public relations employees that Ordain Women has made "non-negotiable demands," Ordain Women representatives have actively sought to initiate discussions with LDS leaders, including five written requests to LDS Church headquarters for meetings with any General Authority available and willing. These requests have been ignored. In this vacuum, we are left to interpret the will of our own ecclesiastical leaders through a hodgepodge of church PR statements.

The editorial is amusing in that Ms. Bennett is claiming that the "Ordain Women" is not making "demands" when the very name of the organization is a demand. In English Grammar a verb followed by a noun is a command.

If a group called "Impeach Obama" made a request for a White House Press Interview; the White House would be correct to assume the group was a political group seeking to impeach the president and not engaged in simple journalistic inquiry

Just as the LDS Church is a closed power structure by its very nature. The group "Ordain Women" is a demand by name and structure.

That a closed power structure is stonewalling a demand is not unexpected.

I admit that living in a closed society is quite frustrating but the expectation that the people closed up on the Tower or Power on the corner of State and Temple listen to arguments is against the nature of the Tower of Power.

It would be nice to live in a world where people could talk with one another but, with the way we were taught in school to engage in discourse, such a dream is not possible.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Elimination of Logic

The US Founders had a Liberal Arts Education steeped in classical logic. They applied this classical education to the question of liberty and came up with a constitutionally limited federal government. I like to call this view "classical liberalism."

In this light, I believe that the most devastating action of the progressive era came in the 1900s with the removal of logic from the curriculum in the early 1900s.

Quite frankly, I fear that classical logic is so fundamental to this nation that it may not be possible to restore the American experiment in self rule.

This post looks at creation of modern logic and the removal of the study of classical logic from the curriculum.

Classical liberal arts education was based on the Trivium. The three legs of The Trivium are grammar, logic and rhetoric. Grammar is the study of the structure of language. Logic is the study of the structure of ideas and rhetoric is the art of communication.

The goal of classical logic was to teach people the structure of language and ideas and how to communicate with others.

The US Founders came from extremely diverse backgrounds and had radically different ideas. They were able to communicate, rise against the British and created their experiment in self rule because they were able to understand each others' arguments and communicate.

I, just like everyone else today, was weened on modern logic. With modern logic, we've lost the ability communicate. All people seem to be able to do is toss barbs passed each other in a shrill form of non-communication.

Fox News, the Conservative Station, is probably the best example of modern dialectics in action. Fox seeks to dominate the ratings by presenting news as conflict. Each story is present as a left/right conflict with the commentators shouting past each other.

The removal of logic didn't just affect the left. The removal of logic from the curriculum affected everyone. The new material dialectics has impeded the ability of people on the right to engage in communication just as it has impeded people on the left.

If we have the goal of restoring the American Experiment in Self Rule, we simply must look at the removal of logic from the curriculum.

This story starts with the conflict between the founders and the monarchy. The US Founders had a liberal arts education steeped in classical logic. They applied this education to the question of liberty and created a federation of states with a constitutionally limited federal government. They ended much of the government meddling in business which laid the foundation for a free market.

A central feature of classical logic is a distaste of paradoxes and absolutes. Logicians have known about paradoxes since antiquity. The bulk of thinkers in the Aristotelian tradition sought to avoid paradox. The best known paradox is the reflexive paradox. The reflexive paradox includes a self reference and a negation. The prime example is:

"This sentence is false."

The statement "This sentence is true" is also paradoxical.

Most absolutes lead to paradoxes. Bringing an idea to an absolute tends to create a self reference and a paradox. Classical thinkers tended to favor moderation to absolutes.

Classical thinkers realized that virtues pushed too far became vices. This view is clearly seen in the Aristotelian view of the tragedy. In an Aristotelian tragedy the tragic hero is brought down by a virtue pushed too far. The tragic flaw is a misplaced virtue.

Both the Republican form of government (democracy) and freedom are subject to well know paradoxes.

A Republic can vote in a tyrant; thus ending the democracy.

Those seeking freedom eventually face the question: Does my freedom give me the right to take others as slavers, or to sell myself into slavery.

Because Freedom and Republican forms of government lead directly to paradoxes, most classical conservatives dismissed the ideals of classical liberals as naive.

Classical liberals, in turn, realized that in order to create an enduring Republic, the republic would need to limit the scope of governance while including stringent safeguards for the rights of those in the minority. As for freedom, classical liberals realized that individual freedom must stop at the doorstep of others.

The Founders were not able to resolve the scourge of their day, slavery, but the creation of a constitutionally limited federal government flows directly from classical liberal thought.

Classical conservatives saw the founders as naive. The conservatives of 1776 stood shoulder to shoulder with the British during the Revolution and leveled their musket fire at the founders.

Because the founders were committed to their classical liberal ideals, the did not seek retribution from the Conservatives of 1776 who they let back into society, though at a diminished social status.

Meanwhile, back in Europe, the monarchy did fade silently into the night.

To understand this reaction, you need to realize that the Hanoverian Kings of England were from Hanover Germany. The Kings of England funded the German University. The monarchy tasked the German University system with reframing the monarchy as progressive.

The produce of this thought is typified by the works of Hegel.

Advocates for the monarchy (the classical conservative) was losing arguments to classical liberals.

When the powerful are losing they simply change the rules. Rather than engaging in open. Hegel created a new modern logic that denied the laws of classical reasoning.

Hegel created a bizarre form of argumentation that held paradox at the foundations and conflict on the surface. This type of thought could be called modern logic, modern dialectics, or new think.

Hegel created a philosophy of history in which nation states were collectives vying for dominance on the world stage.

Above all, Hegel, who came to adore Napoleon, played on the paradoxes of freedom and democracy with eyes on revitalizing the centralized state. Hegel presented numerous proofs in which he showed freedom to be slavery and slavery freedom. He called the transition of a word into its opposite "sublation."

Modern logic was a huge hit in both Europe and the Americas where slave owners were eager to defend their position and classical conservatives were eager to establish a class society in the Americas.

The Left/Right split that dominates modern politics came from the parliaments of Europe. The radical left sought radical social change and was drunk on this new modern logic. The reactionary right loved the paradoxical views of the modern liberal because it allowed them to put down both the modern and classical liberal.

Of course, classical logic was still taught in the schools and classical liberalism was still the prominent world view in The United States until the early 1900s.

Again, I need to emphasize, people with a classical liberal arts education who apply their education to questions of liberty and governance will appreciate the American Experiment in Self Rule.

The enemies of freedom realized that the first step to destroying this experiment was to remove classical logic from the school.

There was a huge effort to do this led by the likes of John Dewey  (1859 - 1952).

My progressive teachers adored John Dewey. I mean the creator of the Dewey Decimal System must be a learned man and clear thinker..

NOTE: The Dewey Decimal System was created by Melvil Dewey (1851–1931). The idea of classifying books by metadata is very much in keeping with classical logic.

John Dewey was little more than a Hegelian thug.

Keeping with Hegel's idea that nations are a spirits acting on the world stage, Dewey advanced a collectivist view with people just being cogs in a collective ruled by a democratic process with educators and public philosophers leading people about by their nose rings.

Dewey and cohorts saw individuals trained in classical logic and engaged in independent thinking as a great threat to his idealized collectivist democracy. Dewey's generation of public educators worked tirelessly to remove classical logic from the schools. This transition was largely completed by the 1940s.

It is hard to completely transform a nation in a single generation. The ideals of the classical liberal held on as a common sense conservatism for a few decades.

But it has been almost a full century since logic was pulled from the curriculum and it is absurd that a common sense conservatism devoid of replenishing thought can maintain the ideals of classical liberalism.

There have been some incredibly strong voices in the Classical Liberal Tradition such Hayek and Von Mises.

During the years of FDR and after WWII, classical liberals, common sense conservatives and a new breed of brash modern conservative intellectual formed an alliance against modern liberalism.

Since we are almost a full century from the removal of logic from the classroom, the common sense conservative has faded and the GOP is left with an uneasy alliance between those still holding the ideals of classical liberals and modern conservatives.

Seventy years into this alliance one finds that there has been a steady decline in the American Experiment in Self Rule largely at the hands of the modern conservatives.

I've reluctantly concluded that the only way to restore the American Experiment in Self Rule (classical liberalism) is to recognize the Left/Right split as a false dichotomy and believe that we must challenge both modern liberals and modern conservatives. Both of these modern ideologies appear to be based on the same modern dialectics.

The fact that logic was eliminated from the curriculum is a challenge. However, programming languages and classical science preserve some aspects of classical logic, so there is hope.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Conservative Workers' Movement

I finally broke down and read Mein Kempf this year. The book was as horrible as the man. But the book answered a very puzzling question: Why did an arch conservative start a labor movement?
He did so, of course, because he realized that the people who actually did the work in Germany were getting the shaft by corrupt legal, economic and labor forces.

Hitler criticized the bourgeoisie conservative for undervaluing the important role that people who actually do work play in our society. The true workers in the German economy were as disaffected from the left as they were from the right and were ripe for the picking.

Hitler was a creature of the right. Current right wing thinkers try to disassociate themselves from the man because he rose to power on a labor movement.

Interestingly, Rick Santorum, an arch-conservative in American politics, is advocating the exact same move in his new work Blue Collar Conservatives is proposing the exact same political strategy.

Santorum's recipe for gaining power is to create a conservative workers' movement while working to drive classical liberals (free marketeers) out of the GOP.

Conservatives and progressives simply swap positions on issues while seeking seeking the consolidation of power. Both the rogues on the left and rogues on the right lead our nation to ruin.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Which Liberalism?

Yesterday I suggested that there is a way out of the poisonous left/right split.

This path begins by asking: "Which Liberalism?"

The US Founders had a Liberal Arts Education based on classical logic. They fought for liberty and sought to preserve their liberty by establishing a Constitutionally limited republican form of government.

For lack of a better term, I will call the Founders' approach to governance "classical liberalism." I define "classical liberalism" simply as the application of classical logic to the question of liberty. Classical liberal thought led to the creation of a Constitutionally Limited Republican form of Governance and a free market economy.

The monarchy found that it was losing the argument. The monarchy, which controlled European Universities, set in to find ways to frame the monarchy as progressive while discrediting the Founders. They did so by attacking the underlying logic used by the founders.

The monarchist reactionary movement created a system of new think that is often called "modern logic," "modern dialectics" or "material dialectics." The goal of New Think was to frame the reasoning of the classical liberals as flawed and the thinking of the centralized state as progressive.

The New Think created a new system of thought called "modern liberalism."

Modern logic rejects the laws of thought held by classical logic. The site tried to take the tact of explaining the laws of classical logic.

Personally, I think a more direct path is to discuss the role of paradox in reasoning.

People have known paradoxes since antiquity. The statement "This sentence is False" is a classic paradox.

Classical thinkers realized that any virtue pushed too far resulted in a vice. The heart of a the Aristotelian tragedy is the tragic flaw. A tragic flaw is a vice pushed to the point that it becomes a vice.

The Aristotelian tradition admonished students to avoid paradoxes and absolutes. (NOTE, most absolutes lead to a paradoxes).

There are paradoxes associated with both freedom and democracy.

Does my freedom include the freedom to take others as slaves? If I were granted absolute freedom then I would have the freedom to enslave others.

NOTE: Slave owners were eager to find ways to preserve their peculiar institution and were extremely eager to advance anything argument, logical or not, to achieve their nefarious end.

A Democratic Republic has a paradox in that the people might vote in a dictator that ends the Republic. Of course, all forms of government have the paradox that the government could do something that causes the collapse of the government.

A Democratic Republic is not, in and of itself, a better system. The people must be ever vigilant.

Classical thinkers knew of the existence of paradoxes. They simply sought to avoid the paradoxes.

For a free society to work, my freedom must stop at your doorstep and visa-verse. To avoid the tyranny of a Republic, the government must have Constitutional protections for minority rights and the government must build in legislative stops to reduce government excess.

The reactionary monarchist movement (aka The Right) sought to undermine the arguments of the classical liberals by embracing paradox.

Hegel, the father of Modern Logic, developed hundreds of proofs that freedom was slavery and slavery freedom. Hegelian thought became the basis of modern liberalism.

Enter the Left/Right Split:

The Left/Right Split came from European Parliaments. The Left in the French Revolution sought radical change while the right sought to preserve the institutions of the ancient regime.

The Left adopted Modern Liberalism. The Right was eager to assist in this effort as modern dialectics allows them to project paradoxical thought on to the word "liberal," effectively undermining classical liberalism.

Modern Liberalism and Modern Conservatism have both accepted modern dialectics as its foundation.

Please note, when you listen to self described "conservatives" you will find that they are as committed to the modern definition of liberalism as are the radical progressives. Modern Conservatives also tend to prefer dialectical forms of argumentation (such as Fox News) to rational analysis. (Aristotelian logic is also referred to as analysis).

People wanting to preserve the American Experiment in Self Rule need to be aware of this process. Those seeking to defend the American Tradition must be prepared to stand against both Modern Liberals and Modern Conservatives.

The problem we face today is not with "liberalism."The problem lies with the dialectical process (modern logic) that created modern liberalism and the Left/Right Split.

The way to accomplish this goal is to emphasis that classical liberalism was founded on classical logic (analytics). Modern Liberalism is based on modern logic.

Classical Logicians sought to avoid paradox. Modern logicians embrace paradox and make paradox fundamental.

Classical Liberals sought to created a limited form of government whose primary charge was to protect individual liberty. A primary charge of government is to protect people from each other.

Modern logic was created by reactionaries intent on restoring the monarchy. Modern Liberals used the paradoxes of liberty to frame freedom as slavery and slavery freedom. Modern Liberals seek the creation of an unlimited state.

Comparing classical liberalism to modern liberalism ends up pitting a system based on rational thought and the Western tradition against a system of thought based on paradox and conflict.

IMHO, the Tea Party and freedom movement would have a more significant impact if it were to ditch the regressive label "conservative" and were concentrate on contrasting classical reason with modern reason.

That is I think the freedom movement should seek to differentiate classical liberalism (liberty and reason) against modern liberalism (new think). Unfortunately, the freedom movement cannot achieve this goal by supporting "conservatism" because modern conservatism has adopted the same underlying logical structure as modern liberalism.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

There is a Way Out

The Left/Right split that dominates American politics was created by a reactionary movement that came after the founding of the US.

This split was created through a dialectical process (modern logic) in which the two parties scream past each other in a shrill shouting match. The dialectical process creates that are simply mirror images of each other on issues while sharing the same underlying partisan structure.

The partisan structure itself concentrates wealth and power in the hands of a few.

The Left professes to be advocates of social change through economic centralization and big government. The right claims to be champion freedom by preserving the current social order and entrenched institutions.

Neither side advances liberty. They simply differ in how they concentrate power.

NOTE: The dialectical center (moderates) advocate a compromise between the Left and Right, but a compromise on a false dichotomy is as irrational as the extremes.

All three positions on this false dichotomy (the radical left, reactionary right and dialectical center) lead our ruin.

But, there is a way out.

The way out is simple:

REJECT THE FALSE DICHOTOMY. We need to reject all three positions: Left, Right and Center and attack the roots of the false dichotomy.

It just so happens that the United States was founded by people who were looking for a way to break from the partisanship of Europe.

The US Founders had a refined classical education. I use the word "refined" because the settlers in the new world brought only the books the found most valuable. They read logic as presented by Arnauld and Watts. They read Xenophon and not Plato.

This education was founded on the Trivium. The three legs of the Trivium are: Grammar, Classical Logic and Rhetoric.

Grammar is the study of structure of language. Logic is the study of the structure of ideas and Rhetoric is the art of communication.

The US Founders (and others in Europe including Locke, Smith, Addison and Steele) applied classical logic to the question of liberty. The result was the creation of a Constitutionally Limited Government.

Governance is a limit on the people. By limiting government one creates an unlimited people.

Because the founders had a classical liberal arts education and applied and applied classical logic to liberty, I like to call the founders "classical liberals."

Classical liberals made a strong argument for liberty.

The monarchy did not sit still.

Classical Conservatives, eg The Right Side of the French Parliament, argued for the conservation of the social structure of ancient regime. They were losing the argument.

In a classic act of diversion, the monarchy sought to change the undermine the debate.

I must point out that the Hanoverian Kings of England were from Germany. King George I, II, and III  funded they German University System and charged it with the task of framing the monarchy as progressive.

The task is simple. If the monarchist view is shown to be illogical, one must change the laws of logic.

Germany philosophers such as Hegel, Schopenhauer, Fueurbach, etc., sat forth on framing the monarchist view as progressive. Hegel loved word games that framed freedom as slavery and slavery as freedom. Hegel adored Napoleon and saw the state as the primary actor on the world stage.

Rather than arguing for the restoration of the monarchy outright, Hegel created a game in which one centralizes power by attacking the very foundations of reason. Hegel created a modern logic with rejected the laws of classical logic. This new logic is often called Modern Logic or Modern Dialectics. Marx called his version of Hegelian logic Material Dialectics.

Modern Liberalism (aka Progressivism) holds this modern dialectics at its foundation.

When one applies classical logic to the question of liberty, one gets a philosophy similar to the US Founders.

When one perverts classical liberal arguments with modern logic, one ends up with the twisted form of thought called "modern liberalism" or progressivism. Modern logic holds paradoxical arguments that freedom is slavery and slavery freedom. The modern liberal says we should pursue totalitarian government to advance individual liberty.

Conservatives loved the new modern logic as it provided both a path toward economic centralization and allows conservatives to project horrible images on liberals.

Hasn't anyone else noticed that conservatives spend more time defining the position defining the position of liberals than they spend defining their own position?

Modern Conservatism has accepted, lock, stock and barrel, the underlying structure of modern liberalism.

On Restoring America

This left/right split that dominates modern politics was created by the enemies of freedom. If one pursues the left one ends up with the a totalitarian state. If one pursues the right they end up with a restoration of the monarchy. Both the left and right are roads to serfdom. The moderate position ends up with a mix of the two. The moderate position on a false dichotomy is as irrational as the extremes.

To restore America, we need to challenge the left/right split itself.

The best way to do that is to can the debate between conservatives and progressives (modern liberals) and to start a new debate that contrasts classical liberalism (the liberalism of the US Founders) with modern liberalism (the liberalism of the monarchy and Hegel).

If there was a national debate about the distinction between classical liberalism and modern liberalism, I suspect that most the people who liked the tea party and the few sane people in the Democratic Party would find that they are classical liberals.

Classical liberalism comes from the application of classical logic to the question of liberty.  It is a very reasoned and disciplined approach to liberty. The best example of classical liberalism in action is the founding of the United States. The Founders had a classical education which they applied to the question of liberty.

In contrast, both sides of the left/right split trace to partisan positions in England. Both sides of this split have accepted the dialectical framework of the Hegelian/Marxian new dialectics.

Just as the two sides of a coin are made of the same metal, both sides of the left/right split are made of the same corrupt world view which is why we see our liberties deteriorate under both Democratic and Republican rule.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Excommunication is Fundamental

Kate Kelly, a Salt Lake City woman and force behind Ordain Women, is trying to gain publicity by waving about her summons to a excommunication hearing.

A few other Mormon bloggers are joining suit and openly discussing excommunication threats. John Dehlin of Mormon Stories received an excommunication threat for publicly discussing some unpopular aspects of Mormon Theology. A guy in Florida (David Twede of Mormon Think) got an excommunication threat two years ago when he campaigned against Mitt Romney.

Kirby points out that political powerful people don't get threats from the church unless the church has a really good reason. Kirby is a columnist for the Salt Lake Tribune. If he were excommunicated he would give the church some real bad publicity. Power has its privileges.

I suspect that for each person waving an exommunication letter, there's scores who caved into the threat.

Personally, I have little sympathy for those receiving excommunication letters from the church, for the suppression of thought is fundamental to the LDS Church.

Once again, I would like to quote Book of Commandments (aka the D&C). Joseph Smith claims that the Book of Commandments is God's new covenant for the Latter Days. The Book of Mormon is just a collection of stories. The Book of Commandments is God's Law.

God's Law demands that the faithful cast people out.

25 Thou knowest my laws, they are given in my scriptures, he that sinneth and repenth not, shall be cast out.

26 If thou lovest me, thou shat serve me and keep all of my commandments; and behold, thou shalt consecrate all thy properties, that which thou hast unto me, wih a covenant and deed which cannot be broken; and they shall be laid before the bishop of my church, and two of the elders, such as he shall appoint and set apart for that purpose.

27 And it shall come to pass, that the bishop of my church, after that he has received the properties of my church, that it can not be taken from the church, he shall appoint every man a steward over his own property, or that which he has received, in as much as is sufficient for himself and family:

28 And the residue shall be kept to administer to him who has not, that every man may receive according as he stands in need:

29 And the residue shall be kept in my storehouse, to administer the poor and needy, as shall be appointed to the elders of the church and the bishop; and for the purpose of purchasing lands, and the building up of the New Jerusalem, which is hereafter to be revealed; that my covenant people may be gathered in one, in the day that I shall come to my temple.

God's law also says that the central authority is to take from each according to his ability and to distribute to each according to his needs with the bulk of the wealth of the nation used to build a great city to glorify god and give the heads of the church really fine houses.

Did you know that Karl Marx studied the Mormon experience? Marx's grand tenet of Communism is just a paraphrase of Smith's Book of Commandments. Marx chose to follow Feuerbach who argued that radical anti-religion would have a greater revolutionary effect that radical religion. This is a different story.

The story today is that excommunication is fundamental. The idea of Mormonism is that, in a Democratic Republic, a group can gain power by creating a centralized authority that demands political fealty from its members. The group is to collectivize the capital of the group. Members will get perks from the huge capital pool for their patronage and will be cast into the wilderness for apostasy.

Spying on and aggressively excommunicating of apostates is fundamental to this design.

If you are Mormon, this is what is supposed to happen. Joseph Smith claims that the Heavenly Father demands that the central authority casts out apostates. This is a fundamental part of the structure.

If you own a NBA team and you lose your games in the first round of the playoffs, then you don't get to play in any more games that year. This is fundamental to the game.

In horse racing, the Triple Crown is the most coveted title for a horse. A horse must win the Kentucky Derby, The Preakness Stakes, and The Belmont Stakes. One of the owners of California Chrome, a contender for the triple crown, complained that California Chrome had to compete against fresh horses in the Belmont Stakes. His complaint gained little sympathy because earning a triple crown is supposed to extremely difficult. California Chrome is among the near misses which is a pretty sweet title in itself.

Anyway, back to Mormonism. I am not LDS, but I have no sympathy for Kate Kelley's excommunication because casting people out is a fundamental tenet of Mormonism. If you are Mormon, you are to adhere to the centralized authority. If you don't you are to be cast out. End of story.

In the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith gives examples of how the Heavenly Father casts people out and it is Biblical. In 2 Nephi 5:21, Joseph Smith describes the casting out of the Native Americans.

And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.

Mormons are told that when the Heavenly Father smited the Lamanites he changed the color of their skin from white to dark just as the Heavenly Father turned the descendants of Cain black ... which, uh, is what you are supposed to believe.

The Mormon Prophet Prophet Brigham Young explained in 1859:
"You may inquire of the intelligent of the world whether they can tell why the aborigines of this country are dark, loathsome, ignorant, and sunken into the depths of degradation ...When the Lord has a people, he makes covenants with them and gives unto them promises: then, if they transgress his law, change his ordinances, and break his covenants he has made with them, he will put a mark upon them, as in the case of the Lamanites and other portions of the house of Israel; but by-and-by they will become a white and delightsome people"

Now, I like to think of myself as intelligent. I have never once thought Native Americans as loathsome, but if you are Mormon, you are supposed to read moral condemnation into the color of people's skin as skin color is a historical marker of the wrath of God.

The Mormon Enterprise is an arch conservative institution. The institution seeks to establish a class society by collectivizing resources and casting people out.

I have little sympathy for Mormons who balk at their excommunication letters. Excommunication is fundamental to this political design. Quite frankly, moral condemnation of one's neighbors, ridiculing people and casting them out is fundamental to conservatism. The whole idea of conservatism is that there is a pre-ordained ruling class that is supposed to lord over their neighbors and that people outside the ruling class need to be put down.

I don't like conservatism. I simply don't pretend that these ideologies are something that they are not. Mormonism is a political hierarchy. Those who adhere to the hierarchy are to receive benefits from the power structure. Those who don't are to be cast out. This is the way these schemes work. If you don't like this type of scheme, then don't support them.

Utah is not the only severely conservative place on the planet. Iran imprisoned people who made a video of themselves dancing to "Happy." My heart goes out to the Happy Dancers because they live in a place where conservatives have the power they desire and can do people physical harm beyond simply casting them out.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The GOP as a Closed Bunker

In 2009, the TEA Party (Taxed Enough Already) spoke about the ideals of the US Founders and pulled people by the millions onto the streets and into the GOP.

In 2012 the GOP had an extremely shrill primary election about which candidate was the most conservative. This shrill primary squandered the political capital gained by the Tea Party and drove most of the new converts to the GOP out of the GOP.

The 2012 election was within easy reach of the GOP. 

By systematically driving everyone out of the GOP, these shrill people called conservatives snagged defeat from the jaws of victory and handed the nation over to Obama for another 4 years.

As I speak, the shrill people called conservatives are ratcheting up for a shrill campaign in 2014 and 2016 that will dwarf the shrillness of the 2012 campaign. The shrill people called conservatives will drive people from the GOP and hand the nation to the Democrats for another eight years.

Like most people. I am not a member of the GOP. The shrill people called conservatives have made it abundantly clear that GOP is a closed fortress and that me and my kind (people who love rational discourse, science and reason) are not welcome in their closed bunker.

For the most part, I am happy to accept this. The problem is that we have a two party system. The concerted effort of the shrill people called conservatives to drive everyone out of the GOP hands political control to the radical left ... which is worse.

Like most people in the US. I am not a member of the GOP. I understand fully that the GOP is a closed reactionary bunker of buffoons opposed to rational discourse.

But I care deeply about the fate of this nation and I love the ideals of the US Founders and the rational tradition that led to the creation of this nation.

I am deeply upset that the shrill people called conservatives destroyed the tea party and that, by driving people out of the GOP and by suppressing rational discourse, the shrill people called conservatives have handed this nation to the radical progressives.

The fact that the Tea Party pulled millions of people into the street has me hopeful that there might people somewhere who are interested in the ideals of liberty supported by the US Founders.

Just maybe someone out there will notice the phenomena that talk about the US Founders and the ideals of liberty pulls millions of people into the party and that the shrill debate about who is the most severely conservatives of the shrill conservative candidates drives people away.

When the GOP promotes the ideals of Liberty and the history of the US Founders, the GOP pulls people in and the party becomes a big tent. The shrill people called conservatives systematically drive everyone out of the tent and it becomes a closed bunker.

The ideals of the founders and the ideals of conservatism are different things. At heart, Conservatism from ancient to modern is simply a belief in a class society with a defined ruling class lording offer the bulk of humanity which the ruling class sees as nothing but workers.

The US founders were not conservative. The founders challenged the class society advocated by conservatives with the proposition that all men were created equal.

The conservatives of 1776 stood shoulder to shoulder with the Red Coats and leveled musket fire at the Founders.

This thing called "Modern Conservatism" is a modern ideology that evolved alongside Modern Liberalism (progressivism). This Left/Right split came from the parliaments of Europe. Both sides of the Left/Right dichotomy are founded on modern dialectics, not on classical reason. Just as the two sides of a coin are made of the same metal, the two sides of the left/right split share the same foundational structure.

Modern Conservatives campaign on the excesses of Modern Liberalism and Modern Progressivism campaigns on the oppression inherent in conservatism. The Left/Right split simply gives the world a choice of the better of two evils.

I love the ideals of the US Founders. In the off chance that there are others who love these ideals I beg you to ask yourself: What do you want?
Do you want the Ideals of the rational ideals of the US Founders or do you want the the reactionary ideals of Conservative. To put a thumb on the scale and help you understand this decision I've been writing posts to point out that Conservatism and the Ideals of the Founders are different. Conservatism includes many ideas which are in conflict with those at the foundation of America.

Fascism is a conservative ideology. There have been many conservative dictators. Some conservative dictators engaged in genocide. The terrorist jihad movement that keeps rocking the Middle East is a conservative movement. The monarchy and feudal system were conservative structures. Colonialism was a conservative construct.

Considering that Conservatism drives people away while talk about the US Founders and limited government pull people in, I keep asking: What do you want? The ideals of the Founders or shrill conservatism?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Which Conservatism?

This absurd Left/Right split is the most frustrating thing on the planet. The shrill idiots who blindly cling to their partisan ideologies of progressivism and conservatism have  done so much harm to this world.

I live in a hell-hole called Utah where discourse is routinely shut down by people called conservatives.

For decades there's been a shrill debate about who is the most severely conservative of all the conservatives.
For decades I've held that Tehran was the most conservative group on earth with Mecca taking a close second. 

Mecca does a good job by excluding all people who do not belong to the chosen religion, but Iran has a brutality behind its conservatism that sets Tehran apart.

Please don't get me wrong. There are many other conservative points on this planet.

Sudan and Pakistan have had some severe moments of conservatism with the periodic stoning of young women. Stoning a woman to death for marrying outside the faith is an act of deep and true conservatism. You can't get more conservative than killing your own daughter for religion.

Although honor killings are an act of extreme conservatism, they are still just individual acts.

Conservatism hits its shrillest form with mob action. In the last few years we've been seeing the rise of a new Conservatism in the Middle East that is full magnitude shriller and brutal than the Conservatism of Tehran.

I am referring to the ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) Movement.

ISIS is led by a religious scholar named Abu Bakr al Baghdadi who seeks to establish an Islamic Caliphate.

ISIS imposes Sharia Law in the land it captures and routinely flogs and executes people.

Flogging and executing people in the name of a religious law is Conservatism.

If you call yourself "Conservative" you should be jumping up and down in joy at the rise of a Conservative Caliphate in Iraq and Syria. This religious Jihad is even more Conservative than Tehran!

The Left/Right split that dominates politics came a generation after the US Founders. The Left holds a strange idea that freedom is slavery and slavery freedom. The progressive left holds that the ultimate expression of liberty comes with the rise of a totalitarian state.

The right holds that a capitalist society will impose a top down social order and will evolve into a new perfect class society with a very small number of owners controlling society with the bulk of mankind reduced to servitude as wage laborers.

Both the left and right are stupid. The left holds that one finds liberty in totalitarian government and the right holds that one find social order in a capitalistic liberty. (NOTE, Capitalism is defined by Karl Marx in a book called "Das Kapital.")

Fascism is the ultimate expression of the Modern Right. Communism is the ultimate expression of the Modern Left.

I beg all of the shrill people who kickdown their neighbors in the name of "Conservatism" to look at the senseless slaughtering of people in Syria and Iraq.

A religious scholar who routinely flogs and kills people under his control while committing acts of terrorism to set up a religious state is a Conservative.

Blindly clinging to this word "conservative" leads us to ruin just as surely as blindly clinging to the words "liberal" and "progressive."

The video below was published in January. ISIS is much bigger after its invasion of Mosul. I like the video because it shows how hyper partisan groups like this emerge as it gets in power counter insurgency groups form and everything gets worse. The type thinking behind the Left/Right split and the Sunni/Shia split lead to brutality.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Strange Thing Happened Several Decades Ago

I live in Utah which is run by the LDS Church.

Several decades ago a really strange thing happened to me at work.

I was busily working in my cubicle. A coworker who was new to the firm ambled up to my desk and said a really strange thing. He said: "Let's go to lunch."

I live among Mormons. Human kindness and civility is a rare thing in this neck of the woods; So I was perplexed.

We had lunch at Hardees and talked about business. Apparently he had read in a book that people are supposed to use lunches to network with coworkers.

After the lunch, my bosses boss pulled me into a conference room and grilled me for an hour about the lunch then demanded that I write down everything said during the lunch. I was told that in the future I needed permission to eat lunch with coworkers and was advised to not do that again.

I never did that again.

Mormons are taught that people outside the political hierarchy of the church are Servants of Satan. Joseph Smith taught that those not in the political hierarchy of the church must be cut out and isolated. This notion that you need to oppress people and prevent them from communicating is one of those quirky Mormon things.

The LDS Church keeps detailed records on people in the state. I worked in companies where people were essentially assigned to keep tabs on who is talking to who with human interaction carefully regulated.

The NSA located its largest spying facility in Utah because the people here already have the right skill set.

This idea that people not in the political hierarchy of the Church must be watched and cast out is fundamental to the LDS Church.

The Book of Commandments (also known as the D&C) is considered the Supreme Law of the land. The snippet about the United Order of Enoch is the most important line in all of Mormondom. Before reading it, I want to emphasize that Mormonism appeared in a time when Hegel was the rage and Left/Right split that dominates current politics was new. Joseph Smith was creating a Right Wing Conservative Ideology. You can find photocopy of the plate on The Institution for Religious Research.

25 Thou knowest my laws, they are given in my scriptures, he that sinneth and repenth not, shall be cast out.

26 If thou lovest me, thou shat serve me and keep all of my commandments; and behold, thou shalt consecrate all thy properties, that which thou hast unto me, wih a covenant and deed which cannot be broken; and they shall be laid before the bishop of my church, and two of the elders, such as he shall appoint and set apart for that purpose.

27 And it shall come to pass, that the bishop of my church, after that he has received the properties of my church, that it can not be taken from the church, he shall appoint every man a steward over his own property, or that which he has received, in as much as is sufficient for himself and family:

28 And the residue shall be kept to administer to him who has not, that every man may receive according as he stands in need:

29 And the residue shall be kept in my storehouse, to administer the poor and needy, as shall be appointed to the elders of the church and the bishop; and for the purpose of purchasing lands, and the building up of the New Jerusalem, which is hereafter to be revealed; that my covenant people may be gathered in one, in the day that I shall come to my temple.

The Book of Commandments demands that the central authority take from each according to his ability and give to each according to his needs

This document says that God demands people give all their property to the central authority and be reduced to stewards over what they once owned with the bulk of the funds used to construct buildings that gloriify the central authority.

Those outside the political hierarchy of this totalitarian theocracy are to be cast out.

The Book of Commandments is the most right wing conservative document ever written. This document is considered to be the law written directly by God into the mind of the prophet, seer and relevator Joseph Smith. One cannot get more conservative than that!

What amazes me is that the most Conservative of all documents ever written says almost exactly the same thing as the most left wing progressive document every written (Marx's Manifesto written thirty years later).

I stare at this farcical Left / Right division and see only a difference in image and not in form.

Personally, I am fond of the US Founders and the Classical Liberal Tradition. The founders supported property rights and sought to limit and not glorify the central authority. They most likely would be horrified fundamental documents telling the people to cast out their neighbors.

I do not claim the power to see the mind of Christ. I suspect Jesus Christ would reject the words that Joseph Smith was trying to force into God's mouth.

Living in the most Conservative part of this country West of Tehran, I stare in horror at both conservatives and progressives who I see as simple mirror images of each other.

In the big upset election in Virginia. Eric Cantor was a conservative. He was engaged in Congress in a truly conservative manor. The conservative methodology is to use classical liberal rhetoric to gain power then to use political power to enhance the central authority.

I watch in horror as left wing and right wing rogues rip our nation apart and desperately want to do something.

But I am stuck here in the most Conservative State West of Tehran and can do nothing except sit and gripe online because of Conservative Oppression.

DeCantoring the GOP

This is interesting: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost to some Brat from the Tea Party. Cantor outspent Brat by 25 to 1 and still lost.

It is rare for senior political leaders to lose their primary challenge to outsiders; so the election took everyone by surprise.

Personally, I had considered Cantor to be one of the better GOP leaders. But, on listening to Cantor's concession speech, I am glad for the change.

Like so many people in power, Cantor appears to have developed a top down view of the economy in which the governance is the principle actor in life and the people are just workers.

Just a note on terminology. The idea that the wealth of the nation flows from God through kings and lords is the heart of classical conservatism.Classical liberalism holds that the wealth of the nation bubbles up from the people.

The talking heads on TV are making hay about conservatism when Cantor seems more in line with the classical conservative view than Brat.

I watched several YouTube videos featuring Dave Brat. I couldn't really wrap my head around the meaning of Brat's win.

It seems to me that the driving force in this win is that people know that there is something dreadfully wrong in Washington and are looking for an answer.

Although I liked Cantor, I am thrilled with this turn of events.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Sacred Wilderness

Here in the Western US, mountains are considered sacred wilderness. Most mountains are government owned and considered public domain.

Young kids from Idaho, especially those on the fringe of society, grow up seeing mountains as a sacred sanctuary. No matter how bad things are in town, anyone can simply walk up into the sacred mountains for solace.

Bowe Bergdahl was a home schooled kid in the Sovereign Redeemer Presbyterian Church growing up in Hailey, Idaho with a population under 8,000.

In Afghanistan, the mountains are a military stronghold that tribal warlords have held for millennia.

A confused home-schooled kid from Idaho fighting a war in Afghanistan is likely to see the military strongholds of Afghanistan and harken back to his ideals of a sacred wilderness.

BTW, I happen to be a big supporter of home-schooling. IMHO: People who are home-schooled have a delightful independent streak that adds to the diversity of this nation.

That a home-schooled kid from Idaho ends up separated from his platoon and is captured by the Taliban does not surprise me in the least. That a kid has empathy for the Taliban doesn't surprise me either.

Empathy is a good thing.

What disappoints me is the viciousness with which the right-wing press is attacking Berghdahl.

I happen to think that Obama fumbled on this prisoner exchange.

But when I look at the viciousness with which the right wing press is going after this poor home-schooled fundamentalist Christian, I find myself sympathetic to Obama's position.

Surprisingly, the argument for releasing prisoners from Gitmo at this point in time are largely the same arguments for holding prisoners without trial at Gitmo in the first place.

The detainees at Gitmo are prisoners of war. One holds prisoners of war, without trail, during the war to prevent them from returning to the battlefield.

Prisoners of war are held in relation to the war. In normal circumstances one would expect a release of prisoners of war at the end of the war. The problem we face is that the Gitmo prisoners are terrorists who are likely to engage in a civil war against the elected government of Afghanistan or who might engage in international terrorism.

As we exit Afghanistan, we should be looking for ways to release the prisoners of Gitmo.Obama fumbled this process by not seeking advice of Congress.

Even worse, by negotiating a hostage release with the Taliban has revitalized and relegitimized a terrorist organization.

Pointing out the pathetic job done by Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry did on this issue is not a bad thing.

The vicious attacks on a home schooled kid who foolishly went into the mountains is showing the right is as out of touch as the left.