Equality Versus Freedom

The other day, Kevin Williamson wrote this piece at National Review. It is interesting for a number of reasons. One is that Williamson is a tiny bit brighter than his colleagues at the magazine. Many of them are young and from the managerial class, thus having little to no experience with reality. By comparison, a middle aged man like Williamson sounds like Confucius. He has partnered up with Charlie Cooke, the British libertarian, to form a sort of senpai – kōhai routine that makes Williamson sound like a sage.

The older crowd at National Review has a refrigerator bulb quality to them. They are reliable and important to the functioning of the magazine, but you have no reason to notice them. If Rich Lowry were hit by a truck tomorrow, his absence, as well as his splatter, would be noticed, until the splatter was mopped up. By comparison, a guy like Williamson is a towering intellect. His odd style and choice of topics stands apart from the older guys kicking around the site.

Leaving the comparison stuff aside, I’ve often suspected he is at least vaguely aware of the problems afflicting the American Right and elite dogmas in general. He has written some things on race and culture, for example, that suggests he is not blind. His story on Appalachia and the Oxycontin Express is very well done and free of the modern habit of trying to jam everything into the mythology of our time.

He has to make a living so he engages in the esoteric subterfuges to stay out of trouble, but you still  see enough to suggest he is a guy who could one day end up sleeping in Steve Sailer’s basement. Then again, it could just be part of the act to seem edgy, when he is thoroughly conventional. The edgytarian is a real thing. Anyway, the conclusion of the article I linked above has this:

During the Civil Rights Movement — the real one, not the ersatz one led today by Jesse Jackson et al. — politics did genuinely intersect with brunch. On one side of the issue were people who argued that the social situation of African Americans at the time was so dire and so oppressive that invasive federal action was necessary. On the other side were well-intentioned conservatives such as Barry Goldwater and any number of writers for this magazine, who argued that if the reach of Washington were extended into every mom-and-pop diner in the country, it would constitute a step toward the abolition of private life, that the natural and inevitable extension of the principle at work would ensure that rather than being treated as private property, businesses reclassified as “public accommodations” would be treated more like public property, that the greasy snout of politics eventually would stick itself into every last precinct of what had been considered the sphere of privacy beyond the public sector.

As it turns out, both sides were right.

That last sentence is the grabber. Both can only be true if you exclude the possibility of a moral society based on individual liberty. The godfather of the modern Right, Harry Jaffa, certainly thought that was the case. Equality trumps everything and no man’s liberty can come at the expense of another. When equality is in conflict with liberty, then liberty must yield, which may sound great until one tries to nail down what equality means and how to define it.

As I said at the start, Williamson seems like a bright guy and he surely sees the problem, but the alternatives are currently off the table. There’s no way to claw back the idea of individual liberty without opening up the old wound of race relations. Any attempt to restore liberty as the dominant partner in the equality-liberty relationship, lands you in the same trouble as Rand Paul found himself in when asked about the Civil Rights Act. The heretic has no future in public life.

The bigger problem is that the very ideas of equality are at odds with observable reality backed by an growing body of scientific evidence. Boys and girls are not the same. Intelligence is distributed unequally. Variations in environment, culture and history have led to differences between human groups that go beyond track and field. Even if accept the triumph of equality over liberty, you’re chasing an imaginary thing that can never be realized.

That can only end in madness. When one person goes mad, we can lick him up. When the ruling classes of whole countries go mad, the results are catastrophic. I don’t know how we break out of this spiral. The Cult holds all the high ground in American life. They run the the cultural institutions, the academy and most of government. Even if the people in charge snapped out of it and suddenly realized the insanity of their ideological obsessions, there’s no going back. After the Year of the Four Emperors, the ruling elite of Rome knew that the system was broken and could never be fixed, but there was no way to go back to the Republic. They just had to make it work, until it didn’t.

They Always Start Young

For as long as I have been alive, the Left has had an obsession with children. Your children. One of the first Progressive causes was public education. The branch of the Left that descended from the Anglo-American (WASP) tradition sent their kids to private schools, but they had a keen interest in the public schools, nonetheless. Steve Sailer would argue that this was within the English tradition of plucking the best and brightest from the lower classes in order to cultivate them into the upper classes. Perhaps that was true in the beginning, but by the time the 20th century rolled around, it was about indoctrination into the Left.

By the time we hit mid-century, most of the knowledge about human relations had been banned from the schools and the public square. Television, newspapers and movies excluded all of those retrograde ideas about humanity and instead embraced the new thinking. The schools, of course, were the best place to make sure the crime-think was squeezed out of society. If the next generation is raised in the one true faith, then you will not have to worry too much about policing them as adults, at least when it comes to the crime-think.

The communications revolution has created a whole new set of challenges. Crime-think is everywhere on-line. Kids can go on Twitter, Facebook and so on and be exposed to crime-think. Worse yet, some of them are prone to crime-think, maybe picking it up at home, which has been frustratingly out of reach of the Left. That leads to crime-thinkers ganging up on right-thinkers in what the Left calls cyber-bullying. This is when crime-thinkers post unapproved things on-line.

Since everyone has been bullied as a child – whether you know it or not – and bullies are the worst of the worst, the schools are getting the task of tackling the cyber-bullying epidemic that has swept the country. In Illinois, low level functionaries in the school system will be scanning the Interwebs for cyber-bullying by public school students. If one is found, the school will demand the student turn over his account information so the school can look inside his cranium via his social media accounts and scoop out the crime-think.

School districts in Illinois are telling parents that a new law may require school officials to demand the social media passwords of students if they are suspected in cyberbullying cases or are otherwise suspected of breaking school rules.

The law, which went into effect on January 1, defines cyberbullying and makes harassment on Facebook, Twitter, or via other digital means a violation of the state’s school code, even if the bullying happens outside of school hours.

A letter sent out to parents in the Triad Community Unit School District #2, a district located just over the Missouri-Illinois line near St. Louis, that was obtained by Motherboard says that school officials can demand students give them their passwords. The full letter is embedded below.

“If your child has an account on a social networking website, e.g., Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, ask.fm, etc., please be aware that State law requires school authorities to notify you that your child may be asked to provide his or her password for these accounts to school officials in certain circumstances,” the letter says.

“School authorities may require a student or his or her parent/guardian to provide a password or other related account information in order to gain access to his/her account or profile on a social networking website if school authorities have reasonable cause to believe that a student’s account on a social networking website contains evidence that a student has violated a school disciplinary rule or procedure,” it continues.

It’s not hard to see where this ends. A school lunatic will hear something unapproved from a student and immediately demand the kid hand over his passwords. Snooping around, they will learn that the kid got his crime-think at home and use his social media data to launch child abuse claims against the parents. It will end up in court, but the point will have been made. That young person will come away knowing that they are always being watched, even in private.  Compliance is not optional.

Like pedophiles, Progressives like ’em young.


Or maybe I have ODD. Either way, it appears I am clinically insane. A lot of people have made this claim and now they have expert opinion on their side.

Is nonconformity and freethinking a mental illness? According to the newest addition of the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), it certainly is. The manual identifies a new mental illness called “oppositional defiant disorder” or ODD. Defined as an “ongoing pattern of disobedient, hostile and defiant behavior,” symptoms include questioning authority, negativity, defiance, argumentativeness, and being easily annoyed.

The DSM-IV is the manual used by psychiatrists to diagnose mental illnesses and, with each new edition, there are scores of new mental illnesses. Are we becoming sicker? Is it getting harder to be mentally healthy? Authors of the DSM-IV say that it’s because they’re better able to identify these illnesses today. Critics charge that it’s because they have too much time on their hands.

New mental illnesses identified by the DSM-IV include arrogance, narcissism, above-average creativity, cynicism, and antisocial behavior. In the past, these were called “personality traits,” but now they’re diseases. And there are treatments available.

Psychiatry is quackery for the most part. Not all of it, of course. Categorizing types of mental illness is a legitimate science. Studying the links between genetics, brain chemistry and mental illness is very serious science. Working with a patient in order to figure out the proper medication to administer is sound medicine. Talking someone out of being crazy is just voodoo. Talk therapy is exactly that, when you think about it. Would anyone try to talk someone out of a broken leg?

All of this is a symptom of our over-diagnosing and overmedicating culture. In the last 50 years, the DSM-IV has gone from 130 to 357 mental illnesses. A majority of these illnesses afflict children. Although the manual is an important diagnostic tool for the psychiatric industry, it has also been responsible for social changes. The rise in ADD, bipolar disorder, and depression in children has been largely because of the manual’s identifying certain behaviors as symptoms. A Washington Post article observed that, if Mozart were born today, he would be diagnosed with ADD and “medicated into barren normality.”

I suspect chemistry is the blame for some of this. Psychiatry lost a lot of its utility once the pill makers began to produce useful medications for things like depression. Spending an hour a week talking to a guy with a beard and turtle-neck became pointless once you could just take a pill. So, the shrinks went looking for new forms of crazy that did not have a pill.

According to the DSM-IV, the diagnosis guidelines for identifying oppositional defiant disorder are for children, but adults can just as easily suffer from the disease. This should give any freethinking American reason for worry. The Soviet Union used new “mental illnesses” for political repression.  People who didn’t accept the beliefs of the Communist Party developed a new type of schizophrenia. They suffered from the delusion of believing communism was wrong.  They were isolated, forcefully medicated, and put through repressive “therapy” to bring them back to sanity.

When the last edition of the DSM-IV was published, identifying the symptoms of various mental illnesses in children, there was a jump in the diagnosis and medication of children. Some states have laws that allow protective agencies to forcibly medicate, and even make it a punishable crime to withhold medication.  This paints a chilling picture for those of us who are nonconformists. Although the authors of the manual claim no ulterior motives but simply better diagnostic practices, the labeling of freethinking and nonconformity as mental illnesses has a lot of potential for abuse. It can easily become a weapon in the arsenal of a repressive state.

I’d add that targeting children is deliberate. Telling a hate-thinker like me that I have a mental disorder gets you nowhere. I don’t care and if you push it, I’ll punch you in the nose. Getting some half-wit school counselor to tell an unsuspecting parent that their little boy has “oppositional defiant disorder” is a money maker. The busy-bodies at the school get to push around the parents and the psychiatry rackets get another customer.

Psychology has been a favorite tool of authoritarians for a reason. There’s a loads of ambiguity that can be used to torment those who annoy the tyrant. Dragging the heckler off to the lunatic asylum is a less obvious way of handling the problem than having him thrown from the nearest cliff. Once the trouble maker is in the asylum, then the guys in lab coats can finish the job. Given the trajectory of our ruling classes, the shrinks are just getting prepared for the inevitable.

In the meantime, I’ll enjoy being ODD.

Rambling About Immigration

I’ve always been fairly open to immigration. I have a lot of immigrant friends and acquaintances. They are hardworking, mostly honest and good additions to America. Not all immigrants are the same and we should be cautious about who we let in to the country. Muslims, as much as possible, should be barred from entry. That seems obvious. Koreans, Chinese and Japanese are very successful immigrants with very strong support networks so we can be liberal with them. A country our size can easily absorb and assimilate half a million new citizens each year, maybe a little more in good times.

Now, if we shut off all immigration, as we have in the past, that’s fine too. We have roughly 40 million foreign born in the US. That’s a big number and the people would be justified in wanting a halt, in order to let the current immigrants get settled. It is only fair. Inviting these people in and then screwing them by gutting the labor market with more immigrants is pretty close to evil. If we are going to have immigration, we should make sure the immigrants succeed, as much as possible.

The problem is that immigration stopped being a public policy issue and became a rentier racket for the ruling class. Big companies like cheap labor from indentured servants. Small business likes cash labor so they can avoid paying taxes and insurance. Then we have an army of human traffickers that make money getting migrants into America. These brokers operate on both sides of the border. Of course, foreign governments have figured out to make money off this racket as well.

This story on VDare explain how the way the Mexican government, for example, profits from illegal immigration. Billions flow from America to Mexico through illegal immigration. Of course, the drug trade is intimately tangled up in the immigration rackets and with the Mexican government. All of this is facilitated by a banking system that operates beyond the reach of any government’s laws. If you go to a convenience store near where migrants live, you’ll find a wire transfer machine/check cashing machine located in the back. Western Union seems to own most of them.

The human brokers are probably the most offensive to the morality of a sane people. This story I stumbled upon from a long ago is a great example. The areas where these poultry plants operate are not suffering from labor shortages. In fact, light manufacturing locates to these areas because of the abundance of cheap land and cheap local labor. It is a hassle dealing with rural rednecks and rural blacks. They demand things like sick time and holiday pay. Slaves from Korea tend not to cause much trouble. They are much less likely to fall into a machine or blow the place up by accident.

The economics of immigration policy are easy to understand once you look into it. As the above shows, there are a lot of people making big money by flouting the laws. Getting easier laws to flout, presumably, opens up greater avenues for these parasites to profit. That’s the thing to remember. The cheap labor may mean cheap landscaping, but the American put out of work by the illegal migrant is on welfare, which drives up your taxes and social costs. In effect, these immigration privateers are taxing all of us by shifting costs to the tax payer.

On every other issue, we find politicians on both sides. Raising or lowering business taxes, for example, will get friends of business out in support of the proposals, but it also gets pols out who are emotionally opposed to profit making business. In other words, you can’t bribe Nancy Pelosi into supporting tax cuts. Immigration is the exception. Only a handful of pols dare speak out against the moneyed interests. Even pols who have nothing to gain and represent strong anti-immigrant constituencies are silent. It’s as if a madness has taken hold of the ruling elite, where any criticism of immigration is heresy.

The increasingly clownish Marco Rubio is back with a new scheme to flood the STEM fields with indentured servants. Keep in mind that his political prospects took a nosedive after he backed the last immigration scheme. Unless he is retarded, the guy has to know that the public is overwhelmingly against this. Yet, here he is throwing his career away for this cause. Even assuming he is getting bribed, why take the risk? Rubio is a young man who could be president one day. Why risk it all just for a few bucks and the pat on the head from the ruling elites?

That’s the key question. Simple bribery is never enough on other issues so why would immigration be the exception?

The answer is the secular religion we call liberalism, progressivism, multiculturalism, etc. A core tenet of this belief set is that all humans are the same. Economics and circumstance are what makes for different results. Ireland is the way it is not because it is full of Irish, but because of the accident of history. Put a bunch of Bantus on the island and before long you get black Irish who are remarkably good at track and field. It’s not just that race is a myth; ethnicity is a myth, a leftover from a bygone era.

When applied to immigration, the only morally consistent policy is open borders. After all, letting in one group over another means one group is better, innately better, than the other group. That blows apart the whole thing. It’s why Steve Sailer has it all wrong about how France can walk back from their immigration policies. Even saying that “we have reached our goal” on immigration admits that not all people are the same and therefore it is good and proper to make judgments about them based on culture. Admitting that culture is real and permanent is inconceivable.

Stoner Nation

I was listening to a Boston sports radio station over the internet today and I heard an ad for the New England Cannabis Convention. It’s possible that this is an internet-only ad, but lots of people listen on-line these days so I’m not sure that matters. That means these ads are hitting a broad audience, even if it is not over the public airwaves. Apparently, the station thought it was OK to run ads for this thing, since it is legal in the state. Why not?

Imagine a parent on the way home with their pre-teen kids, listening to the radio. This ad comes on and there’s not much the parent can do about it. Turn off the radio and the kids will take note. Leave it on and the kids have to hear about the exciting new world of weed dealing. Parents have been talking about drugs and alcohol with their kids for a couple of generations now, I would assume. By the early 70’s parents knew their kids would be exposed to street drugs, in addition to booze. Their natural ally was the fact drugs were illegal. Now, they are cautioning against something that is celebrated.

That’s always been the issue with drug legalization that gets ignored. Prohibition does not reduce use only by raising prices and reducing supply. When you ban something, a stigma is associated with it. After all, why ban something that is morally good?  When you legalize something, the stigma is lifted. Anti-smoking campaigns took decades to stigmatize smoking. Even so, they needed the law to step in and ban the practice from most public places. In some jurisdictions, smoking is allowed only in your own home.

The legalization of cannabis will come with all sorts of surprises like that advertisement I heard on the radio. Half a century of prohibition means all sorts of customs and institutions have grown up expecting drugs to be illegal. Pull the pin of legalization and all sorts of unexpected things get damaged in the explosion. The pro-legalization people only see the potential upside of legalization. The big important stuff, however, is always the stuff you don’t see.

What that ad for the convention makes quite clear is that the goal of the weed community to to attract more weed users. If you tried to have a tobacco convention, using Joe Camel to pitch your show, the cops would throw you in jail. The weed crowd is, so far, immune from these laws, so they are doing what any business does. They are advertising and trying to increase their customer base. That means we will have a lot more pot smoking and that means more of the problems that come from pot smoking.

Sensible people, who have argued for legalization, have also acknowledged that it would bring an increase in drug use. Forty years ago when Milton Friedman was making that case, we had three TV channels, analog phones tethered to the wall and AM/FM radios. Advertising, marketing and “socializing” a product was greatly limited relative to today. Imagine your kids getting text message from the local pot dispensary with the daily specials aimed at a more youthful audience.

I think the data from Colorado is pretty clear that legalizing cannabis will result in an explosion of cannabis use. The power of science and modern business techniques means many more people are going to be high in the workplace, school, at the mall, etc. Doing bong hits requires privacy while munching on a THC-laced candy can be done at your kid’s soccer game – by the coaches. I’m not imagining reefer madness, but I’m thinking we better get used to dealing with stoners in our every day life.

The Ik People

The Ik people are a tribe living in the mountains of northeastern Uganda near the border with Kenya. The only thing interesting about the Ik people is their near total lack of social structures. They have no government, not hierarchy, no religious customs or anything one would associate with human society. The members of Ik tribe spend all of their time foraging for food as their environment is extremely harsh.

Each member is able to get enough food and water to survive so there is no sharing of resources. Men will let their wife starve while they eat. Brothers will steal food from one another, even if it means death for the one. Children are usually expelled from the home at 3-5 years of age and left to forage on their own. Husbands and wives spend little time together as they are always hunting for food, which they never share with one another. In fact, marriage does not exist. They are just mating pairs and their time together is accidental.

The only reason to care about the Ik is from an anthropological perspective. It is largely assumed that early humans had social structures similar to chimps and bonobos. These social structures evolved as man evolved and therefore “society” has been a part of humanity since before there were modern humans. The Ik show that maybe it was not necessarily so. But, they could simply be a rare exception due to their unusual environment. Still, there are conditions in which humans will lose all traces of society.

I was thinking about the Ik on my run this evening. The temperature was in the low 40’s so the black males were out loitering. It is still too cold for the Hispanics to hang outside and the whites will remain indoors until it is wife beater weather. The ghetto is an unnatural environment that humans are distinctly unfit occupy, but we insist on jamming our poor into ghettos anyway. Like the Ik, people in a hostile environment will develop some strange habits.

The inside/outside life is what I was thinking about tonight. Black men look to get out of the house as soon as possible. They live off the women who dominate the house so the men have to go outside to be free to be themselves. There’s simply no place for them inside. Like male lions, they live on the edge of female life, quarreling with one another on the streets.

Hispanics seem to have evolved a different set of habits. I see underclass Hispanics outside using the cell phone and my hunch is that’s for privacy. The custom around here is for twenty people to pack into an apartment so there’s no privacy, but there is family life. As a result, they tend to remain indoors. Hispanic males will walk miles to get beer or food so you see guys walking home carrying beer on payday, but they do their drinking indoors.

Poor whites are an inside animal. Here’s where things are most obviously different. The males run the house and women are secondary. The males will do their drinking and drug taking in their own place with their friends and family. They will get high right in front of their kids. In the summer, I’ll ride through a white trash section of town and smell reefer coming from adults on their front steps, watching their kids play.

The age old argument is whether it is the environment that makes the people or is it the people who make the environment. It’s both, of course, which is why the black ghetto is different than the white ghetto, which is different from the Hispanic ghettos. At the same time, the organization of these ghettos shapes the people. Places like West Baltimore or Detroit eventually become distilled versions of the worst the people and environment can muster.

The Ik people did not end up in the mountains of Uganda by accident. Odds are they were driven their by hostile tribes. Relegated to the worst possible environment, the worst aspects of these people concentrated as the other qualities boiled off. Just as Amish have become more Amish over time, the Ik got more Ik-y the longer they were stuck in that terrible place. It seems to me that our ghetto system has the same results, concentrating qualities that should be diluted and boiling off qualities that should be cultivated.

Free Association Versus Free Speech

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds” is a popular line from Emerson that is mostly used to dismiss critics. I’ve used it myself, almost always to dismiss criticism of my opinions on some matter. I also like saying the word “hobgoblin. I’m also fond of this line from Huxley, “Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are the dead.” Again, it is used to brush away nitpickers and pedants. It’s a handy tool.

That’s the thing. Trivial inconsistencies and contradictions, otherwise known as exceptions, are to be expected in just about all things outside of death. In philosophical or political matters, where you are often dealing with gross generalizations and flowery rhetoric, everyone is a hypocrite to some degree. Events simply don’t fall so neatly into their categories, which leaves room for all sides to claim they support their side.

The most obvious example for myself is the forever war stuff with the Muslims. I was in favor of blowing up Afghanistan to make a point after 9/11. I was fine with sending in troops to hunt down the jihadis. By the time Obama came to town, I was all for leaving the dung heap to molder. That makes me a hypocrite, but events changed, I had more data and I simply changed my mind on some things. My liberal friends are still scandalized when I call Obama a worse war monger than Bush. They simply cannot fathom my apparent hypocrisy.

That’s what bugged me about the hysterical reaction from Conservative Inc. over the Pope’s words regarding the limits of speech. The left hates other religions in proportion to their proximity. Catholics are close so they are hated with great intensity, just behind Evangelicals. They also are always chanting about free speech as they implement speech codes. It made perfect sense for the Left to have a ritualized freak out over the Pope. It’s what they do.

Professional conservatives, on the other hand, are predisposed to respect religion, particularly Christianity. Even The Weekly Standard crowd is pro-Pope on the isseus that have no impact on their tribe. The caterwauling from Conservative Inc. struck me as contrived, as if they were trying to inoculate themselves in some way. We see that with race all the time. That, or they were hoping to deploy their libertarian chariots to out flank the Left on the matter of free speech absolutism.

Thinking about it, I suspect what really bugs me about it is that it concedes a more important principle to the Left. That’s the right of association. You simply cannot have freedom of speech without freedom of association, which includes the right to private discrimination. If the Christian baker must work for the homosexual couples trying to make a point that the baker finds objectionable, you have effectively given the state the right to regulate speech.

If I’m free to say what I like, but you are free to use the courts and the law to bankrupt me for saying things you don’t like, you have effectively stripped me of that right. Put more simply, if the state requires you and I to be in the same room, even though we say objectionable things to one another, we are going to want the state to set the rules for what we can and cannot say to one another. Otherwise, it ends in a knife fight.

That’s why the professional conservatives wet themselves when these issues arise. Freedom of association means the diner gets to hang out a sign that reads “Whites Only.” If Jonah Goldberg or Rich Lowry were to argue that a business owner should have the right to refuse service to blacks, he is fired in hours. They know that a wide range of opinions are forbidden in public so they avoid getting anywhere near them. Not everyone can afford to be John Derbyshire.

Therein lies the rub for me. Hooting about free speech when we encourage and tolerate enormous amounts of regulation of speech is not just hypocritical. It is illogical. It is compounded by the demands for state regulated association, embraced by all of the ruling class. The French prefer the government to play referee. Americans hand that job to corporations and academia. Complaints about the Pope’s formulation is haggling over trivialities.

Signs of Collapse

Increasingly I find myself reading about how systems decay and collapse. It is a subject that appeals to me because I like finding patterns in things. As a kid, I enjoyed taking IQ and personality tests because it was fun to deconstruct the exam and figure out how the test maker was filtering the answers. Figuring out how a puzzle works or how a system is designed tells you something about the person who created the test or system. At least I think so. I could be completely nuts on that score.

There’s not a lot of literature on the subject of collapse. This is probably the best known book on the subject. This may be a better known book or at least as well known. I don’t know of a way to compare them in that regard. I run across more references to Tainter on this subject than Diamond, but maybe that’s just due to hanging with a bad crowd. You never know about these things. Sometimes it is not the world; it is you.

Anyway, the common element in social collapse is that the leaders cannot break free of their traditional mode of thinking in order to address a new challenge. The Late Bronze Age featured a series of cities collapsing, but being rebuilt as they were before the revolt, earthquake, invasion or famine. It is as if they learned nothing from the calamity. Eventually, the destruction was so thorough the city was abandoned or the society was swept away.

That’s what comes to mind reading this in the Spectator.

 The West’s movement towards the truth is remarkably slow. We drag ourselves towards it painfully, inch by inch, after each bloody Islamist assault.

In France, Britain, Germany, America and nearly every other country in the world it remains government policy to say that any and all attacks carried out in the name of Mohammed have ‘nothing to do with Islam’. It was said by George W. Bush after 9/11, Tony Blair after 7/7 and Tony Abbott after the Sydney attack last month. It is what David Cameron said after two British extremists cut off the head of Drummer Lee Rigby in London, when ‘Jihadi John’ cut off the head of aid worker Alan Henning in the ‘Islamic State’ and when Islamic extremists attacked a Kenyan mall, separated the Muslims from the Christians and shot the latter in the head. And, of course, it is what President François Hollande said after the massacre of journalists and Jews in Paris last week.

All these leaders are wrong. In private, they and their senior advisers often concede that they are telling a lie. The most sympathetic explanation is that they are telling a ‘noble lie’, provoked by a fear that we — the general public — are a lynch mob in waiting. ‘Noble’ or not, this lie is a mistake. First, because the general public do not rely on politicians for their information and can perfectly well read articles and books about Islam for themselves. Secondly, because the lie helps no one understand the threat we face. Thirdly, because it takes any heat off Muslims to deal with the bad traditions in their own religion. And fourthly, because unless mainstream politicians address these matters then one day perhaps the public will overtake their politicians to a truly alarming extent.

This may be comforting to some, but where is the evidence to suggest the ruling elites think anything of the sort? If they really think Islam is a violent antagonist to western society, the easiest step to address it, without admitting error, is to cut off immigration to Muslim countries. If after 9/11, American elites concluded Islam is the problem, why did they increase the number of immigrants form Muslim counties?

This bit from Tony Blair posted on NRO today seems to confirm that it is not just a pretty lie. Blair is the Prime Minister who ramped up immigration into Britain in order to increase diversity. He and his coevals remain convinced that diversity is the answer to every problem, even the problems that arise from diversity, like Muslim terrorism. The madness is so through that many have declared themselves experts on Islam, claiming the terrorists are simply bad Muslims.

The evidence is all pointing in one direction. The people in charge have no answer for the current threats. To take on the Islam problem means a) admitting prior error and b) abandoning the keystone of their ideology. To do either undermines their legitimacy as a ruling class. Even if they could plausibly claim we have reached peak diversity and therefore are shutting off immigration, the implications are obvious.

In the palace system of the Bronze Age, the rulers existed to control the palace economy. All goods flowed through the palace, which was pretty much a distribution center with ceremonial buildings. Even though a centralized system could not work beyond a certain scale, what else was there? A distributed system would not need a king so it was unthinkable. Instead they kept trying to make the palace system work until they failed utterly.

That’s what we seem to be seeing in the West. Cultural Marxism may be a dead end street, but what else is there? If the alternatives cannot prop up the pseudo-meritocracy and the attendant exam system, what’s in it for the people in charge? The answer is nothing so alternatives are unthinkable. Instead they keep racing around, trying to keep an increasing number of plates spinning.

At some point, it simply stops working.

The Free Speech Fallacy

Since the Charlie Hebdo attack, the usual suspects in America have been hooting and bellowing about “free speech.” Sadly, the usual suspects include many on the Right who should know better, but are overcome by the appeal of standing next to the hippies, shouting down the dissidents, in the name of free speech.

An example of that last point is this posted on National Review. It is the inspiration for this blog post. Some at National Review have an obsession with the current Pope. I suspect it due in part to the fact this Pope is a Marxist. But, many are Catholic so it is understandable that they would have a particular interest in the Pontiff. Naturally, when he came out with his position on speech offensive to religion, they jumped all over him. The claim being that the Pope wants to bring back blasphemy laws.

First off, I would hope the Pope and every other religious leader, for that matter, would want to bring back blasphemy laws. It is a weak and dying religion that invites the scorn and mockery of non-believers. Strong religions are tough and they don’t take any guff from heretics and infidels. If given the opportunity, they will stifle dissent and punish the critics. That’s what religions do. It is what they have to do or at least try to do. Otherwise, they stop being religions and instead become a list of suggestions supported by magic.

Of course, the Pope speaks for the Catholic Church. That’s his job as God’s intermediary. It is perfectly reasonable for the Pope to oppose mocking religion and to command his flock to avoid doing it as well. It makes even more sense for the Pope to convince non-Catholics to avoid criticizing his religion and his church. Getting non-Catholics to sign off on that would be very good for his church. That horse left the barn a long time ago, but you can’t blame the guy for trying. Islam is proving the value of that strategy.

As a general principle, it is probably bad form to mock religion. That’s not to say it should be illegal or even strongly discouraged. It just means it is one of the many things we can judge one another on, like our tastes in clothes and foods. A guy with a mullet and wife beater swilling cheap beer is judged differently than a guy in a suit having a salad. Similarly, someone who gratuitously mocks religion is judged differently than someone who is respectful of other faiths. Even in our degraded age, people appreciate politeness.

What’s dangerous about this latest burst of “free speech” fanaticism is it distracts from what is important and cedes ground to the Left by adopting their choice of language. Specifically, the formulation “free speech.” There’s no such thing as free speech. It is an abstract idea that conflates official censorship with social custom at the expense of the latter. The Left sees no limit to the state and no place for the organic culture that flows naturally from ethnicity, created over thousands of years of trial and error.

The fact that the libertarian weirdos are trying to out bellow the liberals on this issue once again proves that the former suffer from the same defects as the latter. I’ll grant that the increasingly deranged Karl Denninger is probably a bad example. He obviously knows nothing about religion or self restraint. Charlie Cooke is the house libertarian hipster at National Review and he is ululating about free speech as well. Again, the defect here is the the very idea of “free speech.”

Rights do not exist in the abstract any more than left handedness exists in the abstract. People have natural rights based solely on the fact they are a living human. One of those rights Americans believe humans posses is the right to speak freely and publicly on public issues, such as politics and policy. It is not an absolute right. Speech that involves incitement, false statements of fact, obscenity, child pornography, threats, and speech owned by others are all completely exempt from First Amendment protections.

In other words, Americans give the government very limited powers to regulate speech. The state must pass a high threshold in order to limit what I can say, where I can say it and to whom I can say it. But, and this is a big one, the state does have that authority. Every society gives the civil authorities this power, some more than others. That’s the place for debate. What can the state regulate and what proof must they muster in order to exercise that authority. The reason the Left hates this line of reasoning, the view of the Founders, is it means a natural limit on state power, something the Left rejects.

The worst part, is that these free speech mavens conflate state censorship with social custom. Every society has taboos. These are things we prohibit by custom. The reasons for prohibition may be sensible or magical, but every human society has them. It’s called culture. If you doubt this, start talking about your sexual interest in children at the next dinner party. It will be your last dinner party because decent people in our culture think sex with children is monstrous. It is one of our more serious taboos.

Sex with minors is illegal, but talking about your desire to have sex with a minor is not. That type of speech is permitted to a point, based on local obscenity laws. Custom, however, is not so permissive. It rarely is as permissive as the law. That’s why every human society has counted heavily on custom, the unwritten rules of society, to regulate most behavior. Being cast out from your own has always been one of the worst things that can happen to a human. The threat of it is a powerful corrective.

Conflating social custom and taboos with state power is the dream of ever liberal. It is why they keep demanding more laws. It is why our legal code has ballooned beyond the comprehension of the citizens. The Left imagine a state that more than dominates life. They imagine the state as the medium in which the citizen is defined. A system where your very humanity is defined by your relationship with the state and there’s no space between the public and private. Accepting this premise by treating the utterances of a religious leader as equal to those of a state actor gives the game away. All that is left is the time and place of surrender.

Making the made up concept of free speech a fetish obscures the real issue that is worthy of debate. The state should have power to regulate speech only at the fringes. The people, through their customs and traditional institutions should be free to sort these issues out as they see fit, without seeking permission from the state. Freedom of speech and freedom of association go hand and hand and always mean freedom from state coercion. When a group of citizens are free to not associate with another group of citizens because of the things being said, the unwritten rules are able to work and the state is not needed to referee.

That last part is important. You’ll note that the phrase being bandied about is “protect free speech.” This is only necessary when the citizens are not free to leave the room when they hear things they find objectionable. Instead of protecting freedom from the state, the state is protecting our rights from one another – at a price. Before long the state is no longer a referee but a game warden.

Liberal FieldTurf

Nancy Pelosi famously called the Tea Party “AstroTurf” alleging it was a synthetic grass roots movement just as AstroTurf is synthetic grass. It was a clever line and whoever wrote it for her deserves credit. Pelosi then went on to repeat a million time like some sort of malfunctioning robot. The rest of her cult followed suit, like chanting monks in a monastery. Within a week it was self-parody.

The person who came up with the line is also a member of the cult and as such assumes the world beyond the walls works just like the world within the wall. Inside the walls, everything is carefully choreographed. Nothing is spontaneous. Unity and conformity are essential to the functioning of a hive so the adherent naturally assume their enemies operate the same way.

Reality, as we often see with the Cult of Modern Liberalism, is 180 degrees out of phase with their perceptions. It is primarily their group that is responsible for synthetic protests and marches. It turns out that the attempts to angry up blacks in Ferguson was a George Soros operation.

There’s a solitary man at the financial center of the Ferguson protest movement. No, it’s not victim Michael Brown or Officer Darren Wilson. It’s not even the Rev. Al Sharpton, despite his ubiquitous campaign on TV and the streets.

Rather, it’s liberal billionaire George Soros, who has built a business empire that dominates across the ocean in Europe while forging a political machine powered by nonprofit foundations that impacts American politics and policy, not unlike what he did with MoveOn.org.

Mr. Soros spurred the Ferguson protest movement through years of funding and mobilizing groups across the U.S., according to interviews with key players and financial records reviewed by The Washington Times.

In all, Mr. Soros gave at least $33 million in one year to support already-established groups that emboldened the grass-roots, on-the-ground activists in Ferguson, according to the most recent tax filings of his nonprofit Open Society Foundations.

The financial tether from Mr. Soros to the activist groups gave rise to a combustible protest movement that transformed a one-day criminal event in Missouri into a 24-hour-a-day national cause celebre.

The proof that the opposition to the Cult is non-existent is right here. Soros should have died of lead poisoning long ago. If the opposition had any strength at all, someone would have made the call. Instead, Soros operates with impunity in the US.

“Our DNA includes a belief that having people participate in government is indispensable to living in a more just, inclusive, democratic society,” said Kenneth Zimmerman, director of Mr. SorosOpen Society Foundations’ U.S. programs, in an interview with The Washington Times. “Helping groups combine policy, research [and] data collection with community organizing feels very much the way our society becomes more accountable.”

I’m working on a longer post that goes into the consequences of letting the Cult control the language. Mr. Soros is a fascist and pours tens of millions into stifling dissent. Everything about his operation is intended to stifle debate and silence dissent. Yet, he calls his operation the Open Society Foundation. By open, he means closed. It’s the Opposite Rule of Liberalism.
The other proof that the opposition is non-existent is this story took months to get out into the public domain. Surely the GOP operatives knew what was happening. Team Obama was trying to whip up black anger in order to get their base out on election day. That meant the money men were there paying for the riots. Waving the Soros connection around would have been good business for the GOP, but they couldn’t muster the resources to get the story out.