Monday, January 30, 2017

Social Justice

The person in the video is YouTube vlogger Milo Stewart. She is not particularly remarkable for her views or presentation, but this video of hers is. It is not because she is expressing any new ideas, but instead her video is a summary and encapsulation of modern Social Justice views. She expresses the position that all white people are racists, men are misogynists, all straight people are homophobes, all cis people are transphobes, and all members of a majority are prejudiced against the minority.

The Social Justice movement is an extension of, and goes farther than its original parent, Political Correctness. There are those who defend both with the simple proposition that it is simply about common decency, and that any objection is based out of a desire to say or do things that would be at best impolite. The Modus Tollens argument is a good way of refuting this. If Political Correctness was simply about common decency, there would be no controversy. There is controversy. Therefore Political Correctness isn't simply about common decency.

If P then Q
Not Q
Therefore Not P

The stated intention of combatting racism is a good intention. That does not excuse any of the rest of political correctness, which extended to speech codes. Then, as the Social Justice movement grew out of it, more disturbing ideas grew out of it. First was the idea that members of minorities cannot be racist, based on the false idea that institutional power is required for one to be racist. This newer idea, that all members of a majority are automatically bigoted, is even worse. It is an automatic condemnation of groups of people based solely on the very secondary characteristics that one has no control over, the very same definition of bigotry.

It gets worse. It is considered acceptable to behave badly towards racists, misogynists, homophobes, transphobes, etc., which means that under Social Justice it is acceptable to behave badly towards anyone who is in any majority group. These people are considered guilty by definition, so treating them as guilty is now allowed.

This is then followed by a belief in privilege, as in "white privilege" or "male privilege" or "straight privilege". It is assumed that no matter a persons standing otherwise, a person with these characteristics is assumed to have privilege. It is an original sin that cannot be atoned for, and the only way to commit even the allowable partial atonement is by admitting to the existence of the privilege in the first place. Denying such privilege is considered to be a symptom of said privilege. This form of circular logic is particularly nasty, because all evidence against it is therefore considered to be evidence for it.

The definition of racism that combines racial prejudice with institutional power is found within certain schools of sociology, but not all of them. Those who prefer that definition try to argue that their definition therefore has scientific backing as they assert it is the definition with sociology. Instead, in their effort to be correct, they are doing far more harm than the original wrongs the movement started out to rectify.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Barack Obama did not pardon Hillary Clinton

One things many people anticipated in Barack Obama's final days as president was that he would issue a last minute pardon of Hillary Clinton much in the way that Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon. Then people who expected this were surprised when such an event did not happen. Some fans of Hillary Clinton tried to claim this lack of a pardon was based on her having done nothing deserving of a pardon, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary.

Given that the White House is inhabited by a Republican, and therefore the cabinet positions are Republican, and therefore the law enforcement apparatus is Republican, there is a good rason for Hillary Clinton to desire a pardon.

Then why would Barack Obama fail to pardon Hillary Clinton? One thing to consider is that in spite of them being in the same party and working together in the same administration, the two actually have never actually gotten along and actually do not like each other very much. His failure to pardon her could be due to him not wanting to do her any favors, as well as a punishment for her having failed to defeat Donald Trump in the general election.

Barack Obama has been shown that he can be quite petty. His behavior in escalating hostility with Russia is definitely an attempt to make things difficult for Donald Trump as he takes office. His failure to pardon Hillary Clinton could be even more petty than dislike. He could also be setting Hillary Clinton up for the uncomfortable position of being dependent on the good will of Donald Trump, making her dependent on his good will after a particularly vicious campaign. This would have the effect of making sure she behaves during the transition. She could have made this transition more difficult, but instead she had to stay on the good side of first Barack Obama and then Donald Trump. If she does anything to make things difficult for Donald Trump, he could always change his mind on the subject of legal activity against Hillary Clinton. This could be why she has been so completely out of the spot light since her defeat. She had no other choice.

Monday, January 16, 2017

A better reason to expand the House of Representatives

Increasing the number of Representatives in the House would address the issue of disparity in votors per elector, but that is neither the only nor the best reason to do so. This is actually a good idea in itself. It may seem paradoxical, but the best way to reduce government overall could be to increase one particular part of it.

This is technically feasible. An isolated hardwired network can be built, giving each Representative a physical key that can be used to activate that Representatives physical terminal, would make the voting possible. As the network is isolated, it is cannot be hacked from the outside. Since each Representative would have a physical key and a matching physical terminal, it would not be possible (as it is in California) for any Representative to cast a different Representative's vote.

With 700,000 people per Representative on average, and 435 Representatives total, the balance of power is shifted strongly away from the people and towards both lobbyists and the establishment parties. It is far easier to control 435 people than it is to control 4,465 people. On the other side of the equation, it is far easier for one person to have any influence when he is one out of 70,000 instead of one out of 700,000.

Those who believe in government power will describe the feasibility as the reason to oppose this, but the real reason this would be opposed is because of how it shifts power away from the government. It would be far easier for the constituents to control their Representative with that representation ratio. Lobbyists will need to expand their budget by a factor of ten in order to buy as much influence as they can currently buy on their existing budget. With ten times as many races to monitor, it will be much harder for the national party, or even the state parties, to control the Representatives and give more power to the local parties. These local parties would also have to be smaller and more local to adequately serve the Representatives.

As counter-intuitive as it might seem at first, increasing this one component of the Federal Government grants much more power to the local communities and the people, and it doesn’t require amending the constitution or any action that might wind up being overturned by a judge on constitutional grounds.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Minors Tried as Adults

The various governments within the United States have a very unclear view of when a person is an adult. The right to vote, sign contracts, and enlist in the military (or be drafted in to the military) are all granted at the age of eighteen. The age at which one can get a driver’s license varies state by state but generally hovers around sixteen, with various additional restrictions in place at first. However, the age to rent a car is as low as twenty one and as high as twenty five.

The age of consent also varies by state between sixteen and eighteen. The age of marriage is more consistent being eighteen in most states, nineteen in Nebraska, and twenty one in Mississippi, but with earlier marriages being available in most states given special situations. The age to purchase tobacco varies between eighteen and twenty one, while the age to purchase alcohol is consistently twenty one.

Then there are times when legal adults are included in statistics that appear to be about minors when they should not be. A nineteen year old woman, married and a high school graduate, would be included in statistics about teenage pregnancy. A nineteen year old man involved in a gang fight and killed by a firearm will be included in statistics about teens being killed by firearms.

Then there is the age of majority at which a person can be tried as an adult in a court of law. This is where the inconsistency becomes severely detrimental. Although the laws about the age of majority are inconsistent to the point where it is nearly impossible to say when someone is actually fully an adult with all the rights and privileges therein, there are laws that say minors should be tried in juvenile court and adults should be tried in criminal court. These laws restrict the activities of government, and so it should never be the government that decides when these laws should be waived.

A canny defense lawyer should, upon hearing that the prosecutor wants to try a minor as an adult, request that if the defendant is found not guilty then the defendant should get all the other rights and privileges of being an adult. The alternative is that the individual is made to bear the responsibilities but not the rights, when the theory of separating minors from adults is that minors lack the rights but gain the benefits of the responsibilities, while adults bear the responsibilities but also have the rights.

In a more ideal world, it would be easy to determine when an individual is an adult and can therefore bear the rights and responsibilities thereof. The government cannot operate on that standard, though, and a distinct and objective standard, such as age, must be a substitute. Once the government sets such a standard, the government must never violate said standard. If the standard itself is wrong, then it should be changed. The one agency that must never be allowed to pick and choose the rules it operates under is government itself.

Monday, January 02, 2017

All the Right People Lost

The election of Donald Trump, while not necessarily good in itself from a libertarian point of view, has certainly had effects that are very good. The best part of his victory is who lost when he won.

The election was supposed to be a boring contest between Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton, with Hillary Clinton eventually winning on the platform of being the first woman president. Even if Donald Trump changes nothing, he succeeded in forcing all the right people out of the office they sought. He ended the Bush dynasty and the Clinton dynasty.

Some suspect that his cabinet choices are deliberately crafted to place people into positions where they can destroy the agencies they are in charge of, or at least bring ridicule upon said agencies. Although a good theory that is currently supported by the initial evidence, it is perhaps too early to determine the validity of this theory and more data will be needed before a conclusion can be drawn.

The insulated establishment political class, although still in power, lost through the election of Donald Trump. Also the secondary media class that has been telling the people that Hillary Clinton was going to won, that daily campaigned against Donald Trump while claiming that it was simply reporting the news, saw that all their efforts failed to steer the election.

Those who engage in identity politics also lost. Donald Trump's win is often described as due to racism. Although David Duke didn't actually endorse Donald Trump, he gave an impression that he had a favorable opinion of him. The same can be said of William Quigg and his statements regarding Hillary Clinton. The Southern Poverty and Law Center estimates that there are at most about 7,000 members of the KKK in the United States. They have a vested interest in estimating as high a number as possible, and that is the number they came up with. Assuming all 7,000 broke for the same candidate instead of being split like the leadership was (an unreasonable assumption) that still constute less than 0.01% of the total vote for the candidate they supported. Instead it has been shown in exit polling that Donald Trump did better than Mitt Romney among minorities, and Hillary Clinton did worse than Barack Obama. Minorities who voted for Donald Trump are being accused of betraying the group they are told they belong to, showing that identity politics lost.

Another group that lost were the NeoConservatives. They are not as fixated on supporting a particular party, they can be flexible with partisanship as long as they get their desired outcomes. They did not have a particular problem with Barack Obama, and would have been hapy had any standard Republican won or had Hillary Clinton won, because they would have been able to further their agenda of military domination of the Middle East. The last time a candidate actually opposed that from the inside, and did so with any degree of effect, was Ron Paul and his staunch anti-war agenda. Donald Trump has already indicated that, perhaps not nearly as in favor of peace as a libertarian would be, he is by no means the hawk that is Hillary. He will actually have the nerve to talk to the Russians, a move being ridiculed as being a puppet of the Russians.

Although it may very well happen that Donald Trump will not bring any major changes, the fact that he was elected has had the benefit of all the right people losing. Even if he brings no real changes, the futures of both major parties are shaken by his victory.