Cognitive Dissonance 

Cognitive dissonance: the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes. 

If you want to boil down much of post-post-modernism into one concise term it would be cognitive dissonance. In a world where truth is relative and reality is what I feel it to be in the moment, it is not impossible to imagine an individual having multiple dissonant beliefs bouncing around in his head. Everyone has cognitive dissonance every once in a while, the problem with post-post-modern CD is that it’s considered perfectly normal and indeed rational. 

If I want to say “A” is both “A” and not “A” at the same time and circumstances then who is the world to tell me any different? 

CD shows up in every political stripe. From neoconservatives who claim to be pro-life but take no issue with drone strikes on foreign people to leftists who claim to be pro body-autonomy but insist that they have a right to the labor or products of others, no one is immune to it. 

One of the reasons I became an ancap was to rid myself of much of the CD I had grown up with. I was very much a proponent of war, but completely in favor of banning abortion. I disliked the use of government force by leftist politicians but fully accepted the same sort of force by politicians more favorable to my positions. 

In a way,  cognitive dissonance is nothing more than pure justified hypocrisy. I can justify any action or opinion if I just just cling to my inconsistent thoughts. I can argue that truth and morals are relative with one side of my mouth while insisting that others must follow my own personal ethics because they are the only correct ones. I can say one moment that there is no such thing as objective morality and in the next express outrage that someone did something I disagree with. 

I used to think that I could reason with these sorts of people. I even tried to be polite and tell them “hey, your arguments have logical flaws here, here, here, and here.” There was no correcting them. They don’t see the illogic of their arguments because they genuinely believe “a” is “a” and also not “a”. 

I have learned to walk away lately. There is great wisdom in Christ’s Sermon on the Mount:

“Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.”

From what I have experienced of late there are a lot more swine than I expected running around out there in social media land. 

Worthless and Worthwhile Words

What passes for civil discourse these days.

Words words words. It is an understatement to say modern political discourse has devolved into vulgarity and platitudes. Of course, politics are simply following culture. Our culture finds entertainment in sex and poop jokes. It thrives on pornography and degrading, dehumanizing violence. It is telling to me that the most viewed page of this blog so far has the word “butthole” in it. A lot of people entered that word and the word “wife” into Google to get to it. For the record, don’t actually do that…
This is nothing new really. All cultures display some level of their depravity in a public way. Unlike many commentators, I will not lament the downfall of our civilization. So many people, and sadly, many Christians, think that what our culture does is completely new and unheard of. This is laughable when one considers history. Our culture is no more depraved than the Romans or the Greeks. Our culture is merely showing signs of age. Cultural dementia typically sets in around the 200 year mark for advanced civilizations like ours.

However, it’s not just dementia for our culture, it’s schizophrenia. We are perfectly willing to accept depravity from certain people, but if someone not on the approved list shows the least bit it’s to the chopping block for them.

Language use is the most telling sign of this schizophrenia. We laugh, smile, and dance when certain people use certain words or phrases. When non-approved people use the same words or phrases our culture warriors call for their heads.

Now, do not think that I am squeamish when it comes to words. Firefighters swear worse than sailors most days. There are words and phrases used on the fire line that would make a sailor blush. I’m not one to get wound up about words. However, there is a difference between words used to make a strong point (as sailors and firefighters use them) and words used exclusively for shock value and offense.

It would be nice to see some words that are used exclusively for vulgar or profane purposes removed from our common vocabulary.

Certain words for female genitalia for example. I do not care if it is feminists or if it’s Trump, certain words are degrading and disrespectful to women no matter who uses them. Making a “cute” hat and giving it a vulgar name does not win people over to your opinion, it mainly makes you look like a jackass. And no, the word is not vulgar because genitalia are vulgar. It is vulgar because it has been used as a derogatory term for weak people for years. It used to describe a wimp (scaredy-cat basically) and eventually became a term for female reproductive organs. Using the term for your genitalia is essentially agreeing with those who call women weak and useless. If you want to reclaim your genitals, at least use correct terminology and proper names (i.e. stop calling the whole area your “vagina”; learn the correct words).

The “N” word. Can we either tell rappers to knock it off or allow white people to say it too? It’s a word reserved for a special group, and this is hardly fair (isn’t fairness what everyone wants today?). Throwing this word around does not make black culture respectable, it just sets it back several generations.

In fact, it seems there are a long list of words and phrases that are perfectly acceptable for some but not for others. Rappers, pop singers, movie stars, feminists, and certain politicians get a free pass to use many of these words. Anyone outside of these specific groups gets lynched (can I say that?) and demonized if they dare even hint at them. Either the words are offensive all the time and should be eliminated from use in civil company, or they are not and should be freely used by everyone. Don’t be hypocrites; either stop using these words entirely or stop demonizing the “unapproved” list of people when they use them.

By the way, your reckless use of words will lead to an even worse world than the one you were protesting. Continuously using degrading language cheapens you and those who you claim to support. When you make certain words a common part of your vocabulary, you make those words more acceptable to use by your enemies. If you think you are somehow winning a word back from bad people by making it more acceptable in common speech, you have to accept the fact that you are also making it more acceptable as a derogatory word. Eventually, when people become numb to hearing these words, harsher, more degrading words will be substituted in.

If you are going to use strong language, at least learn how to do it right. Screaming expletives or using vulgarity just to be shocking is not making your point; it’s making an ass of yourself. Using certain words as the only adjectives or metaphors in your vocabulary just makes you look ignorant or at the very least uncreative. Fighting vulgarity with even stronger vulgarity is an exercise in stupidity. Learn to use pointed words at the right time. Offend people with your ideas, not the vulgarity of your language or actions.

Also, if you are going to use “big” words, learn to use them correctly. Take out a dictionary before you start spouting off. For example, a “bigot” is someone who will not tolerate others having a different point of view. To tolerate means to allow. Most of the times I have heard the word “bigot” lately the only real bigots were the ones throwing the word around. People hopelessly ignorant of their meanings throw around terms like “Racist”, “Hate”, “Fascist”, and “Phobic” in the hopes that they will strike a chord somewhere. Listen, it helps your case if you know what your words actually mean. If you just go around using emotionally charged words because they sound scary or “intelligent”, your message will fizzle out and nothing you fought for will remain.

I expressed an opinion on Facebook answering a post about abortion. I was very quickly called a misogynist, a jerk, and all kinds of unsavory words. I’m not sure where this got the woman who slung these insults at me. She knew nothing more than a script. “If someone disagrees with you, throw these terms at them”. I asked her to be civil; she called me a Nazi. This kind of rhetoric makes words meaningless. I eventually walked away from the conversation because there was no reasoning with that kind of crazy.

If you protest, choose your words for effect, choose them for meaning, and choose them wisely. Offend people with the radicalness of your ideas, not the vulgarity of your language. Most of all be kind. There is no sense in being a bully to others to make your point. If you can’t win them over with rational, sane, simple kindness, you’re probably not going to win them over anyway.

“Equality” and the “A Word” 

“Should individuals be denied their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness simply because they are different looking than you?”

There is not much to say about the Women’s March that hasn’t already been said, good or bad. Most of what I have seen from both sides has been vulgar and not worth listening to. I’ll get to that another post. 
What I will say now is that I completely agree with treating women with respect and honor and as equal to men in rights and protection under the law. I fully support the right of people to protest and speak out against abuse and aggression. I have no problem with speaking truth to power and making sure the underrepresented are represented properly in law and culture. 

Which is why I support the rights of the unborn.

So much has been said mocking the women marching around the world. So much bile has been spewed from their opponents, someone has to stand up and actually pick on a principle not just on people. 

These women are people, and people don’t deserve abuse. As opponents to their ideals,  we don’t need to make jokes about their weight. We don’t have to make sandwich jokes. We don’t have to mock their poorly spelled signs. We should be better than that. We should be mature enough to hit where it counts: right in the hypocrisy. 

They claim to be marching for equal rights. But are they? 

Access to abortion is not a “right”, it is a privilege. A right is something every human being is created with. A privilege is something bestowed by elites upon those they have power over. The privilege of abortion is only given to women, by lawmakers interested in keeping women voters in lock step. 

Men have no such privilege. This is hardly equality. These women are not honestly concerned with equality, they are interested in keeping their privilege. The politicians who grant them the privilege are not concerned about equality either, they just want votes.  

Abortion is not just a privilege that women have that men do not, it is a privilege they have over very very young people. I will refrain from using emotionally charged words like “baby” and I will simply call them what they are: people, persons, individuals. 

Far too many of these women are claiming they should have the privilege of murdering a specific group of individuals simply based on the age of those individuals. 

I have heard the arguments before: persons in the womb have no self-awareness. Neither does a sleeping person, or a person in a coma. We do not murder the comatose or sleeping and justify it by saying “they weren’t self aware so it was okay.” Why do we do this with pre-born people? Do we even know how self-aware they are? 

“Oh, but they aren’t really alive.” So you mean to tell me that two living cells came together and started multiplying into some sort of undead/unliving vampiric lump of tissue? This is what you consider a person before they escape the trappings of the womb? 

“Oh, but they aren’t people.” By all objective standards,  a fetus is an individual with unique human DNA and as they grow, miniature human organs. There is nothing unhuman about a person before they are born. They simply don’t look like adults. 

“Oh, but they are trespassing in the womb.” No. You put them there. You made a choice to create the circumstances where this person is now dependent on you for sustenance until they self-evict from the womb. 

Let’s say you owned a dock, opened it to the public, and kept it in disrepair. Let’s say someone fell off the dock and into the water. You have the ability to save them but you don’t. Instead you let them drown. Are you morally culpable?

Let’s say you actually pushed them into the water, then sat there and watched them drown. In both instances you would be culpable for murder, one count involuntary, the other voluntary. By your actions you put those people in positions of dependence on you. 

When a women places herself in a situation where she might get pregnant, by having sex, she is creating a circumstance where another person can come into existence. The individual who takes up residence inside of her was placed there by her actions. This is not trespass. This individual should not be punished for her actions. 

Yes, less than 1% to 3% (depending on who you ask) of abortions are performed on rape victims. Rape is a crime, it is a violation of the NAP, it is abhorrent and disgusting. There is a great amount of pain and vulnerability involved in rape, more than I, as a man,  could ever understand. 

I do not claim that women who have been raped are in any way culpable for their rape. I don’t care what she is wearing, I don’t even really care if she was drunk. She is a victim and is not morally culpable or responsible for the life that is within her.

However, the person in the womb is not responsible for the rape either. The death penalty should not be carried out on an innocent party.

In the case of a woman pregnant by rape, the rapist is the party responsible for the individual in the womb. The rapist should be made to pay all medical expenses, the cost of the delivery, and the entire cost of adopting the child out. They should pay further restitution to the rape victim and the child up to a limit determined by a judge. 

“But it’s my body, my choice.” Yes, you have ownership of your body, but they too, have ownership of theirs. You do not have the right to treat them as property for your disposal any more than a man should have the right to treat women as property at his disposal.

If you feel that somehow your age gives you some sort of privilege over the unborn, you are no better the chauvinist pigs who feel their sex gives them privilege over women. 

Those who support the privilege of murdering the inconvenient are no better morally speaking than those who supported keeping slavery legal. 

Slavery supporters in this nation used color as an excuse to deny rights to an entire class of individuals. Those who support keeping abortion legal use age and dependency as an excuse to deny rights to an entire class of individuals.

Women of the marches tell me this: should individuals be denied their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness simply because they are different looking than you? 

If your answer is yes, than you are no better than the creeps you protest against. 

The Day After… 

“Donald J Trump is not your worst enemy. Your mind is your worst enemy. Your fear is your worst enemy. Your imagination is your worst enemy.”

Copyright: someone I’m sure….

When I started this blog,  I promised myself that I would not write sappy, sentimental, carpe diem nonsense posts. I am not going to keep that promise. After seeing some of the anguish on my Facebook feed, and all the craziness in Washington, I decided that instead of the typical snarky tone that most are taking, it was time to write something cliché filled and uplifting. Because really folks, it’s going to be okay. 
Eight years ago, I was a 24 year old neocon. To me, Obama was going to be the end of the world as we knew it. I remember being disgusted at the fawning and tearful worship of a truly evil man who was elected based on his charisma, not his character or experience. I remember thinking this man was ignorant of economics, and wanted all the bad people to defeat us. I remember the punch to my gut when the candidate “my side” had run lost. I felt sick. I felt sad. I felt defeated and alone. It was a scary moment, because to my mind there was no telling what damage would be done.

The second time he was elected I did what any adult does when feeling defeated; I drank myself to sleep, got up the next morning, and went to work. I had learned that it did not matter what the man in the White House was doing. What mattered was what I did every day in my own life to get by and grow. Yes, it hurt to watch him sworn in again, but it was not the end of my world.

I know the feeling so many people are feeling today. You will get through it. You will realize that you listened to the nonsense of the media and pundits. You will realize that most of what goes on in the upper echelons of power really does not affect you in the short term. One man does not have the power that you ascribe to him.

Four years or eight years from now you will still be alive and if you are not it is not likely your death has anything to do with the man in the White House. Your freedom is likely to be less, but it was going to be less regardless of who had won. 

This is American politics. Both sides are going to promise utopia to you. Both sides are going to say the other side is the evil incarnate and will probably kill you in your sleep. Both sides will disappoint you. Both sides will fail you. 

Here is what you do when you get gut punched by politics. You get up every day and do what you have always done. Go to work. Play with your kids. Love your spouse. Make plans and work for them. Don’t expect salvation from the government. Again, don’t expect salvation from the government. Don’t expect the government to save you, and don’t expect the politicians to save you from the government. 

Eight years after Obama’s ascent to the throne, here I am, eight years older, still alive, and better off. I’m better off not because of politicians, but because of hard work and experience. I assure you, Donald J Trump is not your worst enemy. Your mind is your worst enemy. Your fear is your worst enemy. Your imagination is your worst enemy. The voices of a thousand liars talking at you from screens and speakers are your worst enemies. 

Shut them out. Speak truth to yourself. Don’t let the hype kill your dreams. Don’t let your worst imaginations crush your work ethic. Don’t let fear paralyze your growth. Don’t let the talking points of one man or a thousand supporters stop you from living your life.

Get up. Get to work. Make the world a better place because you are in it. Stop seeking your salvation in a system designed to disappoint you. 

You got this. 

Killing and Dying 

The NAP has many conclusions, one such conclusion that I have come to is that there is very little in this world worth dying/killing for. Killing or dying for anything other than the true defense of another against harm is not worth it. 
To die “for honor” is often just a euphemism for dying for a narcissistic desire to be honored. To kill “in defense of our nation” is often just a euphemism for killing in the defense of the State and its interests. To abort a baby “to protect the life of the mother” is often just a euphemism for “we don’t want this baby” or “we aren’t willing to try to fight for both lives”. To kill in the name of justice is often just a euphemism for revenge. 

“Honor” is used a lot in our violence prone culture. All one has to do to in our culture to die “with honor” is to be a part of the military. 

This is not a knock against those who fight in true defense of their people or their property. I am not saying every soldier in the military is a sadistic baby killer who wants nothing but to kill innocents to fulfill a bloodlust. 

What I am saying is that a good soldier despises war and does not wish to rush into it hastily. Unfortunately, soldiers are dehumanized in training to minimize their sensitivity to killing. They are further brainwashed to believe that when they kill they are doing so in defense of the lives and liberties of all those people they know and love back home.  

Frankly, those people almost never have a connection to the country or government that our State is at war with. Their liberty is not at stake and their lives are not in danger. When soldiers are told they are “fighting for the liberty of those back home” it generally means they are fighting for the interests of the State and the cronies that fund the State. 

 A “good” mother wishes to protect the life of her child above her own. She will fight to keep that child alive at all costs, even the price of her own life. The instances where the life of a mother is truly in danger if the baby remains in utero are statistically nil and becoming rarer. In most of these circumstances the baby can be safely removed from the womb and placed in NICU. Most of the arguments used to defend the murder of unborn children boil down to laziness or ageism.

When one embraces the Non-Aggression Principle it becomes almost intolerable to listen to people defend the murder of innocents overseas and in the womb. 

In fact it becomes difficult to listen to the defense of any killing unless that killing is to protect life or property. 

I used to support the death penalty wholeheartedly. Now I see it as a tool of the State to get revenge on behalf of the victims. It is hard to support giving the power of execution to the very entity that sees no problem stealing your money and giving it out to others in exchange for votes. I won’t categorically say I oppose the death penalty. I support allowing the victims family to choose the just punishment after a judge has determined the crime. As Christians we should not be quick to call for bloodshed, even for the worst of criminals. 

Being pro-life means supporting the preservation of life at all stages. From conception to the grave, we should protect life to our fullest ability. This means we oppose abortion, we oppose unjust war, and we oppose the reckless use of the death penalty. 

Dearest Millennials, A Letter From an Older, Wiser Millennial

“… you are weak, flaccid and unable to handle life’s normal circumstances (like the loss of a political race).”

The Desolation of Your Ideas

Dear millennials,
Post-post-modernism has failed you. Your parents have failed you. Your professors have failed you. You’ve been spoon fed ideas your whole life and no one has taught you to defend yourselves. As such, you are weak, flaccid and unable to handle life’s normal circumstances (like the loss of a political race).

You would do well to embrace the concept that truth is objective and not based on feelings. When you embrace this truth you won’t need safe spaces or days off to cry when someone opposes you. All you will need is a strong defense of truth as you perceive it.

While your perception of truth is subjective,  truth itself is not. Thankfully for you,  in most political matters these days it matters not if you are wrong as long as you can defend your perspective. A strong defense keeps your ideas alive and at play in the world, curling up in the fetal position and crying merely makes you look childish and ignorant.

Stop crying and brush up on your Marx, go read Engels and Nietzsche. Study the life of Che and not just his portrait on your t-shirt. Compare what you read with reality. Make up your own minds about the ideas of these morons. Realize that most of what they spout is feelings-based and indefensible. Understand that this is why your professors couldn’t teach you to defend it.

Then go out and study some real economics and social theory based on objective observation and reality. Read Bastiat, read Rothbard, read Henry Hazlitt, read Adam Smith and John Locke. Read people who took painstaking time to study reality and craft theory that could be tested and tried and found true (or false).

Configure your own perspective based on your observations of these theories, then formulate defenses of your perspective based not on feelings but on objective measurements and your subjective interpretation of the data.

If you create a reasoned defense of your views, I promise you you’ll never need a safe space. You’ll never need a day off to cry about election results. You’ll never fear the ideas of others no matter how absurd they are.

Instead, you can be bold, you can change the minds and hearts of others. You can make the world “a better place” or whatever it is that you younger people are trying to do these days. You may never have your utopia, but at least you will have some people who understand you and want to help you get that much closer to it.

Stop the temper tantrums and pick up a book or three.

Sincerely,

An older millennial who’s sick of being lumped in with you snowflakes.

What’s This About a NAP?

For about 2 years now I’ve labeled myself politically as an anarcho-capitalist.

Most folks have never heard that label. Prior to that I called myself a more familiar label: libertarian. Looking back now I get the impression that I didn’t really know what a libertarian was back then. I just thought a libertarian was someone who valued liberty, and valued it more than the average run of the mill conservative. It wasn’t until I learned about the non-aggression principle and its broad applications that I fully understood what a “libertarian” is.

So, what is the Non-Aggression Principle or NAP? How should it be applied to society? Why am I an anarcho-capitalist and not just a libertarian?

Murray Rothbard defined the NAP this way in his essay War, Peace, and the State:

“No one may threaten or commit violence (‘aggress’) against another man’s person or property. Violence may be employed only against the man who commits such violence; that is, only defensively against the aggressive violence of another. In short, no violence may be employed against a nonaggressor. Here is the fundamental rule from which can be deduced the entire corpus of libertarian theory.”

In short the Non-Aggression Principle holds that no initiation of force is morally legitimate unless it is in response to another’s initiation of aggression or force. Any act of violence which is not self-defensive is an act of aggression, and aggression is morally wrong. Any act of coercion is also morally wrong. No one may coerce another with violence or threats of violence and maintain good moral character.

This is not controversial to most people or at least it should not be. Many Christians ask “Where do you find the NAP in the Bible?” To them I answer: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” And “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

To me the NAP is essentially a restatement of these laws as “Do not initiate force against others who have not initiated force against you.” And “Love your neighbor as you love yourself by not committing violence against them.”

Even that seems reasonable to most decent people, so what’s the big deal?

The controversy of the Non-Aggression Principle becomes evident when it is taken to its logical conclusion and applied outside the sphere of individual interaction.

According to the NAP, all coercion is immoral. All non-defensive force is immoral. If those two statements are held to be true and they are taken to their logical conclusion, how can we tolerate an individual or an entity holding a monopoly on aggression?  If the The State is nothing more than a coercive monopoly of aggression, how can we not rationally call for the abolition of the State? How can we support an entity whose entire purpose is to coerce society into following it?

Many answer these questions by assigning privileges and rights to the State that individuals do not have.

Is there some right or privilege inherent in the collective that the individual does not have? Do entities composed of individuals possess moral authority that the individuals do not? If the government derives its authority and power from the individuals under it can it have authority that the individuals themselves do not? More particularly, does it have the authority to aggress in violation of the NAP? Can government break moral axioms just because it is the State?

Leftists and Neoconservatives alike would have to say “yes” to those questions. If they disagree they would have to oppose the pre-emptive wars we are currently waging in the Middle East. They would have to oppose the violence inflicted on citizens through the theft known as taxation. They would have to oppose stringent regulations on the free market that aggress against the rights of producers and consumers. In order to support the State as it is, one has to assume the State has some higher moral authority than the individuals who give it its authority.

Old Right Conservatives and Libertarians would say “no” to the questions above. Old Right Conservatives more in foreign policy than elsewhere. Broad application of the NAP is what makes libertarianism different from other political ideologies. Within libertarianism, however, there is a great deal of infighting about just how far the NAP goes.

What makes a libertarian? In short, a libertarian is an individual who believes the Non-Aggression Principal to be axiomatic and strives to mold the political structure of society into a voluntaryist structure and not a coercive one.

Some who claim the libertarian mantle are nothing more than statists in practice. They want “freedom” but only at the point of a gun. These people are basically war-lords, concerned with protecting their own liberty and property, everyone else be damned. They have no problem with a monopolized entity of coercion as long as that entity is them.

Some neo-cons are notorious for calling themselves “libertarian” but neo-cons cannot hold to the NAP consistently. They may rightly oppose the aggression of the State against committers of victimless “crimes.” But when they also support the aggression of the State against foreign nations, not in self-defense, but as preemptive “security”, they violate the NAP and forfeit their privilege to use the label. Aggression is aggression, and it is all immoral under the Non-Aggression Principle. Fully realized, the NAP allows for no exceptions. Aggression of any sort is out. If we have to use the State to “enforce” freedom we are violating the NAP and are no longer worthy of the libertarian label.

There are also “libertarians” who are perfectly happy with the government extorting money to provide for the greater good. As long as government sticks to building roads and schooling children but stays out of the bedroom or the private lives of individuals, these people are perfectly content letting the State coercively take money from individuals to distribute it as it sees fit.

True libertarians fall into two camps, or somewhere between them. On one side you have the minarchists, those who believe in a small, limited government, given to the task of justice and defense. On the other you have anarchists, those who believe that no central authority is necessary for such things. What generally ties the two together is free-market capitalism. What distinguishes them has much to do with how they view the free markets ability to provide EVERYTHING as opposed to NEARLY everything.

I won’t insult minarchists and call them statists, but most of them have not taken the NAP to its rational conclusion. They still cling to the idea that one small entity needs to hold a monopoly on coercion in order to provide justice and defense. They still support the most coercive part of all societies.

While most minarchists I have met would like to uphold the NAP in all areas, most have never seen a private justice system or an effective private defense firm and for practical reasons believe some centralized entity must exist to provide them. They are pragmatists, which I can’t necessarily fault them for.

I however, am no pragmatist. I’ll cling to my principles even if no practical example of said principles exists. In order to maintain consistency, I will take the NAP to its logical conclusions, therefore, I am an anarchist. I believe the free market is capable of creatively providing all services and products known to man. It may be difficult to work out the logistics of some of these services (mostly because we are so used to them being monopolized) but it is certainly worth the effort if we are to be consistently moral people.

If all non-defensive force is immoral aggression, what should we do when an individual or an entity holds the monopoly on aggression? To me the answer is clear: we abolish that monopoly and replace it with a fully voluntary economic system. We become anarchists. This is the only consistent application of the NAP.