Archive for March, 2021

Conservative and Liberal

Sunday, March 28th, 2021

Friend/Relative #1: “I’m confused by all this conservative/liberal stuff. What’s the difference?”

Friend/Relative #2: “The difference is that liberals boldly embrace change because they’re not afraid of it. Conservatives cling to the past with bloody fingernails, even when it’s going away. They’re like the buggy whip factory worker making more whips after the car has been invented. They doom themselves.”

Friend/Relative #1: “Oh, well I definitely want to be a liberal then.”

Friend/Relative #2: “I’ve heard they’re called ‘liberals’ because they love liberty.”

Friend/Relative #1: “Oh! Well so much the better!”

That’s got to stop. This is wrong. Anyone who has been thinking for themselves, even for a moment, at any time over the last five years knows this is balderdash. President Trump was a reformer, a conservative reformer. The liberals resisted his reforms, clinging to a past that was going away, until they looked like buffoons. Now they’re going to try to bring it all back again. They may succeed at it, but they’ll end up looking even more buffoonish. They’re the ones manufacturing buggy whips.

They were, and are, afraid of change because they were, and are, afraid of their liberal swamp rat asses getting sent to jail where they belong.

And they hate liberty as if liberty shot their parents in an alleyway when they were eight. Their solution to every problem is some kind of encroachment or diminution against individual liberty.

The myth is that conservative and liberal have to do with change, and time. As I’ve written elsewhere, this is very much like using a boat’s compass to figure out where the front of the boat is. It is the application of a static concept upon a dynamic object, and such a “definition” will be wrong whenever the boat is headed in a direction different from the one on which you planned. That’s going to be roughly half the time, or more. “Liberals boldly embrace change” fails every time conservatives are the ones bringing the change, which is roughly half the time. “Liberals love liberty” fails all of the time.

Conservative vs. liberal has to do with definitions. Look it up:

Conservative (adj.): “marked by moderation or caution : marked by or relating to traditional norms of taste, elegance, style, or manners” (Merriam Webster) “(of an estimate) lower than what is probably the real amount or number” (Oxford)

Liberal (adj.): “not literal or strict : loose : not bound by authoritarianism, orthodoxy, or traditional forms” (Merriam Webster) “Given, used, or occurring in generous amounts : giving generously : broadly construed or understood; not strictly literal or exact” (Oxford)

How it applies:

“Caitlyn Jennier is a woman” is a very *liberal* interpretation of “woman.” Conservatives are going to define “woman” conservatively, and they will tell you that’s a man, baby. And they’ll be right.

“Tom and George are married” is a liberal interpretation of “married.” Believe it or not, there are still conservatives running around who don’t recognize this. Our opinions are illegal, but we still have them…and, being the real lovers of liberty, we know we have a right to them. No matter what.

“Climate change is going to doom us all” is a liberal prognostication. It is the kite severed from the string. It is imagination running wild and free, unconstrained by anything.

“But it’s science!” is a liberal interpretation of “science.” It falls to conservatives to remind everyone else of the conservative understanding of science. Science doesn’t work that way.

“Absentee ballots must be received by this date” was interpreted liberally, which is how Joe Biden won some states last year. In violation of the local laws. Liberals violate laws a lot, rather capriciously, because they violate definitions. It’s what liberals do.

When liberals are “generous,” it’s with someone else’s money, which is a very liberal understanding of the concept of generosity.

In the antebellum era of the United States, history shows we had deep and irreconcilable conflicts regarding the proper interpretation of our founding documents, which held these truths to be self-evident,

…that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it[.]

Today’s liberals would like to be viewed as proper ideological descendants of the abolitionists, who sought to end slavery. Those who were interested in the preservation of this institution, bent the rules on interpretations, and liberals would like us to think of them as conservatives. But if you could bring back one of those “conservatives” and ask him to justify his position, he would use tortured, liberal arguments. The most popular one at the time seems to have been something like: Yeah sure, all men are created equal, but these slaves aren’t men, they’re my property. Your document doesn’t say anything about rights of property, only rights of real men, and I don’t recognize them as such. I get to provide the final interpretation on this. Why? Because I want it! I want that authority so just go ahead and give it to me.

Liberals want us to think of those as conservative arguments. Why? Because they want it that way. So just give it to them! And…we do.

That doesn’t work. Not even half the time. In fact, the arguments used by the slaveholders to preserve the institution of slavery, are no different from the argument today’s “pro-choice” liberals use to preserve the industry of abortion. There’s no meaningful difference between these whatsoever. Yeah sure, the baby would have a right to life if it were a baby…but I do not recognize the “clump of cells” as a baby.

Here is something else that absolutely, positively, does not work:

Liberal (adj.) (Oxford) “Relating to or denoting a political and social philosophy that promotes individual rights, civil liberties, democracy, and free enterprise”

That definition has not been removed yet, nor do I know for sure that it will be anytime soon. But it should be.

Our liberties depend on our legal system. Our legal system relies on definitions remaining strong, and interpreted according to original intent. You can’t be a lover of liberty, while you’re being liberal with interpretations. Sooner or later, and probably sooner, you’re going to be using your fast-and-loose stretchy-Gumby elasticized definitions to remove someone’s freedom, and better than even odds you’re going to be hurting them by doing so. And feeling very, very smug about yourself while you’re doing it. That’s a liberal.

“When does it end?”

Wednesday, March 24th, 2021

A year ago when the nonsense started, I took a stab at the “when” and ended up taking a pass on it, veering off into the arguably easier “how”:

Somehow, the relationship between rule-makers and rule-followers is going to get changed, forever…
Looks to me like we all go there. Don’t you dare step out of that house, followed by a zillion exclamation marks!! And then followed by…yeah okay, whatever.

I do not like the idea of the other 49 states copying this idea of ours, that laws mean nothing. Like all the rest of our ideas that get copied, it’s bad.

But I think that’s how it goes.

The Washington Examiner just put out an editorial that says more or less the same thing, but views the situation in the context of responsibilities resting on the top layers of our modern aristocracy, going unfulfilled. Our leaders have duties, and the rest of us should expect them to deliver.

Man Who Wasn't AfraidLockdowns, distancing requirements, and mask mandates need to end as soon as possible. That doesn’t mean today. It doesn’t mean tomorrow. But it means at some point.

Our leaders and health experts have a duty to articulate, right away, standards of when these should end.
We cannot wait for COVID-19 to disappear. That might never happen. And maybe Fauci has his own yardsticks. Maybe New York City will propose others. Maybe we’ll all disagree over the right ones.

But every public health authority and every government executive should lay down his or her proposed “finish line” right away. At least then, we’ll have something to fight over. Because right now, it seems indefinite. And indefinite “emergency powers” for the government are lethal to human freedom.

It is that very last line that tells the whole story, in my opinion. This should be simple. It’s complicated, not because we need to weigh safety against this “human freedom,” but because the loudest among us don’t give a rat’s south-end-when-facing-north about freedom. They sneer at the idea. They’re proud of not giving a crap.

Let them describe the conflict the way they see it. A hundred times. All hundred times, they’ll describe this concern over sickness and death as a novel idea…as if those of us looking forward to the end, are the neophytes who haven’t thought of things yet. As if we’re supposed to say “Oh the virus might kill people? Gee I hadn’t thought of that.” Time goes on and they learn nothing, because they refuse to think of themselves as the ones who are missing the vital nugget of game-changing information. They want that to be the other guy.

But, no. This is a balancing act of danger versus lethargy, of preserving safety versus preserving opportunity. It is an ancient struggle in our species, and a divisive one. Unfortunately, in these modern times, it’s always the safety-conscious ones, the ones who are so radicalized that they think of liberty as a disposable thing, or even a nuisance, who are the loudest ones.

They’re desperate. They really do think they carry the responsibility to avoid millions and millions of deaths, in their own little hands. And their voices carry. We have built an advanced society that is safety-conscious. That’s not a bad thing.

The problem is time. The more they win, the deeper we head into a territory in which other priorities have to be considered…and now, we’re a year into it.

My concern, just like a year ago, is what happens to the rule of law. We’re well on our way to ratifying ordinances, statues, codes, whatever, but in written form and as seriously as we can every establish any sort of law. And then, out of necessity, forming a more deeply respected but unwritten cultural protocol in which everybody gets to just walk all over it, California-style.

Society can survive the virus. But it can’t survive that.

So that’s my argument. We can listen to these safety-obsessed navel-gazers, and we can take their arguments seriously and we can act on them. But not to the exclusion of all other considerations. That leads to society’s undoing, and in the way I described. It can’t lead anywhere else, unless somewhere along the line there is a course-reversal. Putting it more concisely: It’s unsustainable.

Laying Low

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021

This is the fourth time, in my lifetime, that a democrat administration has settled into a White House previously occupied by Republicans. Now, the democrats don’t have the same priorities or value systems I do, but in 1977, 1993 and 2009 they were able to describe specifically what’s better according to them. There was some petty b.s. like “We have a President who can pronounce ‘nuclear'” and there was some stuff about endangered species and there was some prejudiced bigoted stuff about “diversity” or something, not as many white males.

At least there was stuff!

This time they’re laying low. It’s weird. The party in charge is laying low. We all know why. There’s no bragging to be done. Even taking into account their own weird priorities, from their own weird frame of reference, they can’t brag.

Even if they could brag, they wouldn’t be able to nail down who’s really running the country. Their own supporters don’t know the answer to that.

The cool thing about a republic like ours is, in one way or another, the country as a whole is always winning. Just like people who go through life making decisions smart & dumb; we make good decisions and benefit from them, or we make poor decisions and we end up learning. Right now we’re learning. We’re learning in the aftermath of a decision that was supported by those among us who are opposed to defining things. Seriously, what were the very best arguments for this? “Trump Bad!” “But his tweets!” “OMG I can’t even!” Very convincing. But who among us wanted a White House that “calls a lid” with crises galore, including a border debacle that is defeat snatched from the jaws of victory?

So we’re learning. People who don’t define what the specific problem is and what to do about it and provide at least a high-level rough-sketch overview about how this is supposed to lead to a more desirable state — they’re not the ones who should prevail in these things. In a way, they don’t even want to prevail. They don’t want to accept the responsibility that comes with victory. They’re not in any position.

It’s a valuable lesson. I do tire of seeing it repeated over and over again.

“Questions to Determine Whether a Friend or Relative Is a Liberal or a Leftist”

Tuesday, March 9th, 2021

Yesterday morning I inserted a key phrase that looked like a throwaway, but actually carries some significance:

They [liberals] are surreal and they have managed to create factional infighting in their opposition, just by being themselves.

I have long admired Dennis Prager — and there’s really no “but” to that, although there is, you might say, “a thing.” Prager writes a lot about liberals, and so do I, but he does not look at liberalism the way I do. Many others see things the way he does, and many others see them the way I do.

The “factional infighting” is over the word itself. Liberals, as I pointed out, are supposed to be champions of liberty. They’re supposed to be lovers of liberty. Supposed to be. That’s the way it should work, and clearly it doesn’t work that way. The “liberals” we see today hate liberty. They actually look at it as a root cause of our social ills, and their cures tend to have something to do with taking liberty away. And by “tend to have something to do” what I mean is “Go ahead and look for exceptions, like, try really hard.”

People in Prager’s camp tell me the enemy has been co-opting the word “liberal,” and I should not willingly cede ground to the enemy. They’re not wrong. What they overlook is that “ceding ground” is the wrong metaphor, this is more like a horse that’s run out of a barn door never to be seen again, and we’re pondering whether or not to close the door. Liberal means leftist. Rush Limbaugh would bitch about liberals, explain to his audience that “liberals don’t want their plans to be evaluated based on results, they want them evaluated based on intentions and feelings”…there’s zero confusion about what he means. You say “Those [expletive] liberals are trying to ban Dr. Suess,” everybody knows what you mean. We use words to convey meaning. There’s no ambiguity here. If that means the bad guys have won something, well then that’s too bad. Admit it and move on to the next thing. Life is full of ambiguity, we don’t need to go pretending there is some where there isn’t any.

You notice observations that involve, or depend on, this process of subversion or co-opting or however you want to think of it — it’s necessary to explain. “Conservatives today are the only ones who care about liberal values” is not wrong. “Liberals today are exactly what conservatives are supposed to be” is not wrong either. These can cause confusion even though they’re not wrong. That is a good thing. It’s good that explaining it all is necessary to continue the point. I like that. It means the conversations that have to happen, are going to happen. I think both sides of this conflict can agree, there needs to be more attention paid to, and inspection into, this “switch.” If we don’t do it, the liberals get to explain all of it and that’s exactly what’s been happening. They call it “the party switch” and they’re going around saying Republicans became democrats somewhere around 1964 and democrats became Republicans. With no one else discussing it, liberals get to write our history…and they don’t deserve to, if the best thing they can say about themselves is “We’re actually the other guys, and the other guys are actually us.” For those who are interested, Dinesh D’Souza has debunked this nonsense very capably. You talk about ceding ground to the enemy? Let’s stop fighting each other, and talk more about why liberals today behave so illiberally.

Yesterday’s rant had to do with the implications of living in a lie, and asking questions that threaten to breach the lie, like the dome of a pretend-world. When someone asks such questions, whoever is sharing the interest of the lie, or pretend world, can

1. Discourage the question by changing the subject
2. Remold the point of breach into something silly (“Darth Vader couldn’t sense Leia because Leia used The Force to block him…”)
3. Discuss the question honestly, admit that this is something the author of the fiction didn’t bother to entertain, that the pretend-world ends here, and real-reality beckons

Those are the three options. There is no other.

What’s important about this, is this: It is is how you distinguish truth from fiction. Fiction makes sense, because it has to, until it can’t. It is the work of mortal men. We can build universes, like God, but it isn’t within our power to build an infinite one. All pretend-domes have a perimeter…and sorry but no, there is no reason for anything in Skyfall to have happened. It’s a visually beautiful, relatable, intriguing movie filled with plot holes and we want to enjoy it so we just go with it.

LiberalismThis is what we’ve been doing with liberalism. A liberal is going to insist “I’m still a liberal who loves liberty because I want transvestites to have the liberty to choose their pronouns.” We know this is fake and phony, because what we’re really arguing about is applying penalties for using the wrong one. Once again, liberty is a problem to the liberal, and his solution to the problem is to encroach on the liberty. But my point here is, the liberal is sincere. He really does think he’s expanding liberty. Your ensuing argument is going to be about that. They’re not bullshitting us. Well, most of them aren’t.

Liberals have not been displaced by someone else. That’s my point. Liberals become leftists because they think like leftists. And leftists live in a cockeyed silly-world full of cognitive dissonance and false equivalences. They never became the opposite of what they claim to be — they were that from the very start. Their play-pretend dome is a penny-dome. You don’t need to cross it in a sailboat over the course of a day to pound on it’s perimeter. One or two simple honest questions would have pierced the periphery. They just never asked them. That’s because their penny domes are echo chambers. Anyone who would ask these most obvious questions, would be escorted outside and then booted out of the place. They’re doing this constantly.

Anyway. Those are my thoughts on it. While I disagree with Prager and his cohorts about the use of these labels, the questions to be asked are good ones. They can help determine how far gone your liberal/leftist kid/grandkid/nephew/grandniece is.

5. Do you agree that all white Americans are racist?
6. If your answer is yes, would you tell the millions of blacks in Africa and the Caribbean who wish to emigrate to America that they would be making a poor decision? If not, why not?
16. Has capitalism been a net-plus for America and the world?
29. Is the statement, “Men give birth” science-based?

These questions are likely to create “factional infighting” on the other side…which is not my primary intent here, but these are conversations that should be happening. If division must happen as a result, that’s a division that should be happening too. People who really believe America is inherently racist, shouldn’t be uniting with, or recruiting from the ranks of, people who don’t think so.

“Should we call leftists liberals?” is not that important of a question, in my mind. As I pointed out above, if I say “liberal” everyone knows what I mean. When a friend or family member who hasn’t been paying attention and is willing to admit it, approaches you and says “I don’t understand this conservative/liberal stuff, please explain it to me,” there’s no mystery about what he means. You can play the pedant and start with “Actually, liberal is the wrong term” — I can’t stop you. And many would start with that. Just like a lot of people can’t get over the very professional-looking and expensive labeling of “DRIVE THRU” by the fast food restaurants, which should be spelling it “through.”

The fact remains, liberalism is a pox upon us, a modern plague. And when you look into why people become liberals, you find it has to do with sloppy thinking. People who object to the use of the label, are not wrong, but they’re making inquiries that are exceeding the dimensions of the penny-dome, and breaching the perimeter. They’re over-thinking it.

Morgan’s Six Dollars

Monday, March 8th, 2021

Sadly, your “wealth/income inequality” imbroglio doesn’t get any more complicated than this:

Brain dead liberals: We make $3 and Morgan makes $6. This is wealth inequity.

Company: Tell us about it. We want to hire Morgan and we’re ready to offer him $7.

BDL: Clearly we have to raise Morgan’s taxes to make the wealth inequity go away.

Government: How much?

BDL: Well let’s see. We pay %10 on our $3 and Morgan pays %40 on his $6. So how about you bump that up to %55 then he’ll be left with the same amount as us.

Government: Okay! Company, and Morgan, you do what you want because we’re not banning or requiring anything here, we lack the balls to take responsibility for anything. But these are the new rates! We’re representing our constituents, don’t you see.

Company: Yikes! Morgan won’t move his fat ass for 45 cents, but we really have to have him. So now we’re going to offer him $10.

Morgan: Uh…um…okay.

BDL: Morgan is making 10!! We’re still making $3, the disparity is getting worse! Who can we blame for this? Derp derp derp.

Pounding the Dome

Monday, March 8th, 2021

There was this tragic-comedy movie awhile back about a baby born into a pretend-world, filled with actors, and he grows up into a man never realizing his entire life is a television drama. Hollywood does love their existential bullshit, and every now and then they put out something that makes you think. This one has a climactic scene in which the star, Truman, having put all the clues together, takes it upon himself to sail out on the open sea. Sure enough, he meets up with the wall of the dome that contains his pretend-world. And he starts pounding on it in a mixture of fear, realization, confusion, and God knows what else I suppose.

It is a masterful scene. It speaks to all of us who have watched and enjoyed fiction, and asked just a few too many questions about it. And it also entertains questions that have consumed the attention of philosophers across the centuries. How do we know any of this is real? Suppose we’re all Truman. Or suppose there is no “we’re all” and it’s just you. Who’s to say, when you were one year old you didn’t fall asleep in your playpen and start dreaming…and you’re still dreaming?

Well, the answer is pretty simple. Man and God can make universes, but only God can make an infinite one. Certain questions about the fictitious, man-made ones that only exist inside domes, pound on the boundary from the inside by sailing too far. I’ve written before about these; with so much fakery around, it seems every time we ask a question about anything at all, it turns out to be one of these “you’re not supposed to be asking that” questions. It seems now that our play-domes are getting tinier, it’s becoming easier to sail out into the boundary and start pounding on it, regardless of whether that’s what we intended to do. One of my favorites has long been “How come Darth Vader can’t sense his own daughter when she’s standing right in front of him?” Such a question can be answered without breaching the dome, by merely extending it, although such an exercise quickly turns comical and silly. See, Leia was so masterful with her use of The Force, surpassing even her brother Luke, that she was blocking Vader — without even consciously realizing she was doing it. And from across the Galaxy, on Dagobah, Yoda was helping her or something.

The fascinating thing about this, to me anyway, is that such questions can only fracture brittle domes. There has to be some agreement that the answers are sensible, and that the dome is hard, crisp, brittle, infused with the appropriate sense of humility, ready to shatter and admit “Okay, you got me” rather than allow itself to be contorted out of shape into absurd positions. And that’s up to the person asking. If you’re really ready to distinguish between fiction and truth, you have to be ready to say: Cut the crap. The correct answer is that Lucas is making this all up as he’s going along, or he was at the time anyway. Vader could have sensed his own daughter, from quite a distance away actually, but at that point she wasn’t his daughter yet so there are plot holes. This space opera is full of such questions, because it’s full of geeky nerds who insist on stretching the dome-wall into a gooey mess with “You see, uh, it’s like this” explanations for every one of these plot holes. You can get much simpler if you want to. How come Cordé felt she had failed her queen by getting blown up, when she actually did a terrific job — the whole job — taking the hit? The sensible, concise and devastating answer is “bad writing.”

But again, geeks can build annexations onto the dome, and stretch it’s wall out of shape. Many have. How do you do a Kessel Run in twelve parsecs when a parsec is a unit of distance? How come Han Solo doesn’t shoot first, only on this planet not on that planet?

It’s not limited to Star Wars. How come the finest journalist in Metropolis can’t figure out her colleague is really Superman, just because he’s wearing glasses? How do rocks from his home world hurt him?

You’re asking questions the maker of this pretend-universe didn’t ask himself. You’ve exceeded the radius of the dome. You’ve overthought it.

And that brings us to our friends, the liberals. They are surreal and they have managed to create factional infighting in their opposition, just by being themselves. Why do we even call liberals liberals, when they don’t love liberty — far from it — and when Donald Trump introduces change, they resist the change by any & all means necessary? Have they been supplanted by a usurping agent? Or were they seduced into something? Were they seduced out of something? Did it happen all at once, or in stages?

The simplest answer, the one that extends humility and demands it as well, will usually be the one to fracture the dome and reveal the truth…provided the person asking really wants that to happen. The trouble with our friends, the liberals, is that they’re human, and we humans all have flaws. Ideas within a philosophical movement remain fixed, but we are not fixed as we seek to propound or to oppose those ideas. Loving liberty…there’s a dicey proposition for you if ever there was one. The truth is that liberty has a lot of fair-weather friends. Your own liberty, when there are no strings attached to it, is an easy thing to love. The test is if you can keep loving it if there are responsibilities connected. Can you love someone else’s liberty. Like many things that have never been tested until late in the game, liberals fail this one when it’s finally administered. They don’t apply it against themselves. And the rest of us haven’t been applying it to them.

We see liberals who hate and fear liberty…because they always did.

You see, these are high-grade interrogations into a low-grade subject. They exceed the dimensions of the dome. And that is what we should have expected to see happen, because this particular “Truman Show” dome is quite tiny. Liberalism isn’t a philosophy at all. It’s a plea for attention, a virtue signaling waste. It has been from the very beginning. Look how wonderful I am. Look how ready I am to boldly embrace change. Look how much I love liberty.

But if the liberty under discussion isn’t one of just a very few things that have to do with deviations from conventional morals, many of them having to do with sex…abortions, gay marriage, taxpayer-funded sex reassignment surgeries…there’s no love for the liberty there, none at all, and they’re not ready to let us keep it.