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Liberalism needs protection

a_majoor

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Interesting "culture wars" battle going on in the Internet right now between the Gaming community and the various classes of "Social Justice Warriors". What is most interesting is the Gamers have essentially turned many of the weapons used by the Social Justice activists against them, and perhaps are showing the way to neutralize the "Social Justice" meme attacking Liberal democracy. Adapting these tactics against other affronts to Liberal democracy will take a lot of thought and work:

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-London/2014/11/12/The-authoritarian-Left-was-on-course-to-win-the-culture-wars-then-along-came-GamerGate

THE AUTHORITARIAN LEFT WAS ON COURSE TO WIN THE CULTURE WARS... THEN ALONG CAME #GAMERGATE
by MILO YIANNOPOULOS  12 Nov 2014 387 POST A COMMENT

Exposed: The Secret Mailing List Of The Gaming Journalism Elite
Inform

In all of the distracting, hysterical, evidence-free and unfair allegations of misogyny and bigotry hurled at supporters of GamerGate, the consumer revolt that continues to surface outrageous misconduct in the video games press, something is being forgotten.

GamerGate is remarkable—and attracts the interest of people like me—because it represents perhaps the first time in the last decade or more that a significant incursion has been made in the culture wars against guilt-mongerers, nannies, authoritarians and far-Left agitators.
Industry after industry has toppled over, putting up no more of a fight than, say, France in 1940. Publishing, journalism, TV... all lie supine beneath the crowing, cackling, censorious battle-axes, male and female, of the third-wave feminist and social justice causes.

But not gamers. Lovers of video games, on seeing their colleagues unfairly hounded as misogynists, on watching journalists credulously reporting scandalous sexual assault claims just because a person was perceived to be "right-wing" and on seeing the games they love attacked and their very identities denied and ridiculed, have said: no. This will not stand.

The reaction in the press has been bewilderment and, then, apoplectic rage, driven at least in part by a media establishment that sees video gamers—the supposed dorks and basement-dwellers of popular imagination—mounting a credible and effective defence against the liars, frauds, neurotics and attention-seekers who have already destroyed morale and wrecked culture in the comic, sci fi and fantasy worlds.
In other words, some of the bitterness comes from people who are shocked that it took video gamers to say, "No more of this, thank you."

Because hard-core gaming is overwhelmingly male—don't believe cherry-picked statistics that tell you women now make up 50 per cent of gamers; they don't, in any meaningful sense—and because those men are often of a stubborn, obsessive, hyper-competitive and systematic bent, it has produced an army finally capable of launching offensives against the censors—using the censors' own tactics, such as advertiser boycotts, against them.

And thus a front has opened up in the culture wars; an opening through which others might peek and from which others should be seeking inspiration. The language of the authoritarian Left is quite often outrageously hateful—you can regularly hear even mainstream journalists talking about "killing all men" and excluding "all white men" from industries and cultures.

What gamers have done is draw insistent, unapologetic attention to the fact that, were the tables turned, such language would be regarded as socially unacceptable. They have exposed it for what it is: bigotry and hate speech. And they have not shied away from revealing the personal shortcomings of some of the far-Left loons who seek to poison their hobby with finger-wagging about "sexism."

They are right to consider those shortcomings. The opponents of GamerGate include a former soft-core porn actress who claims to have stabbed someone in the face and killed him but not reported it to the police, and who, by her own definition, is a rapist.
They include a neo-Nazi who has written that Hitler was "my f—cking idol" and has written things about Jewish people not repeatable here. They include a dishevelled, psychologically unstable transsexual, said to have been the subject of a restraining order, who is a proven liar yet whose claims are repeated uncritically by a credulous press.

No arrests have been made as a result of her reports and many suspect her threateners are figments of her own feverish imagination.

And they include a former multi-level marketing scammer turned feminist heroine, who has never really been particularly interested in video games, but who can be seen at conferences revelling in her newfound fame and wealth which has come about not because her critiques are effective, but because she embarked on a massive press tour off the back of threats she says she received, not a single of which has ever been traced to a GamerGate supporter.

This is the pantheon of self-promoters, opportunists and oddballs who have made gamers' lives a misery over these past few months. And yet: gamers are not going away.

For years, it was accepted that once the finger-wagging feminists moved in on your industry, you would capitulate quickly to their pseudo-academic treatises on the "male gaze."

Video games, and GamerGate in particular, have bucked the trend, showing that with politeness and persistence bogus feminist critiques can be rebuffed and self-obsessed attention-seekers can be subjected to the same degree of scrutiny they set out to shine on others... with occasionally gruesome results.

There are signs of political consequence to this awakening—a realisation among gamers that in fact their hobby is intrinsically what we might call libertarian, since it focuses on individual agency, personal responsibility, ties between allies... all in service of goals and specific achievements. That is the essence of libertarian psychology.

Left-leaning media typically luxuriate in the helplessness of a perceived victim in the face of oppression, whether real or imagined. Observe the focus on narrative, and deprecation of gameplay, in soppy indie games such as Gone Home, to which the Left-wing press of course gave glowing reviews.

Jonathan McIntosh, the writer behind far-Left feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian's videos, says that: "The core value of patriarchal masculinity is control. It’s not a coincidence that control is central to many video game mechanics & stories." He intends this remark to be pejorative, but in fact it is individual agency that represents mainstream gaming's greatest achievement: it gives power to typically powerless people.
It sounds odd, when the press is so full of claims that women are being victimised—never with any proof beyond personal testimony, mind—to say that gamers are the real victims in all this. But it's true, just the same. Often marginalised, lonely people, sometimes with challenging psychologies, gamers retreat into "vidya" to escape a world in which they feel they have no control.

So video games aren't an expression of patriarchial tendencies. It's absurd to even call gamers representative of the patriarchy: at the risk of generalising, they are more often sensitive, introverted, sexually inhibited or even confused people. Rather, games allow people on the margins of society to experience what it's like to have their actions matter, in a safe, virtual environment.

That's the essence of the clash between GamerGate supporters and everyone else: most people don't grasp what sort of people gamers are, nor why they play games. And how could they? Most of them have barely a passing acquaintance with the immersive action games that make up most of the libraries of most gamers. (Just enough of one to see a scantily-clad woman and cry: "Sexist!")
Great art asks questions. It is provocative, and it empowers. That's what immersive games such as Call of Duty provide for players. Feminised, infantilised, social justice-oriented art sets aside creativity in favour of politics, wallowing in faux victimhood, robbing players of agency and individualism in favour of identity politics and meditations on "oppression."

So that's the real war here. It's not just about who slept with whom, and whether that affected coverage, nor even about whether some outlets have financial relationships with publishers that go beyond what readers consider acceptable. It's a battle for the soul of the games industry and a wake-up call to journalists that their personal politics simply aren't welcome in their coverage, because they don't reflect anything like the views of their readers.

As Brad Wardell, CEO of Stardock, puts it: "The concern is that game developers and publishers will compromise the artistic vision of their game in order to avoid Metacritic-related punishment or negative editorial coverage rather than based on what gamers actually want to play.
"Many in the gaming press, see any objection to encouraging feminism, social justice and alternative-lifestyle representation in gaming as misogyny and bigotry. It doesn't occur to them that most people who play games aren't political and simply don't like seeing game publications using their platforms to push their ideology on them."

In perhaps the clearest sign yet that the authoritarian Left knows it is losing this war, perhaps because it realises gamers have the upper hand in numbers, intelligence and purchasing power, repeated personal attacks on supporters and even on sympathetic journalists are now a staple of coverage. This comes at the same time as lifelong gamers publish funerals to their own feminism and declare their support for the GOP.

Chillingly for free speech, mass suspensions of Twitter accounts that have the temerity to publicly support press reform and reject feminist critiques of video games as irrelevant, sneering, pseudo-academic drivel are now being attempted by impotent feminist groups whose only weapon is the silencing of dissent.

GamerGaters should be joyful. But they should also remember that, rather than responding in kind with personal attacks, doxxing, threats and totalitarian tactics, they should concentrate on the very real concerns they have and have had for a decade with a press that, swamped with discredited far-Left ideology and unintelligent, poorly-trained writers, refuses to tell basic truths.
 

a_majoor

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Nicolo Machiavelli made an interesting case for some of the tennants of Classical Liberalism centuries before the philosophy was even named. His insistance that people be ruled according to how they are is also one of the underlying tennants of Classical Liberalism (unlike Progressivism and its various derivatives, which stem from the idea of the perfectibility of mankind). I am deliberatly avoiding the other issues that Ignatieff raises, to focus on what is essential to take from Machiavelli into the modern philosophy of Classical Liberalism.

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/12/machiavelli-was-right/354672/

Machiavelli Was Right
The shocking lesson of The Prince isn’t that politics demands dirty hands, but that politicians shouldn’t care.
Michael Ignatieff
Nov 20 2013, 9:07 PM ET

You remember the photograph: President Obama hunched in a corner of the Situation Room with his national-security staff, including Hillary Clinton with a hand over her mouth, watching the live feed from the compound in Pakistan where the killing of Osama bin Laden is under way. This is a Machiavellian moment: a political leader taking the ultimate risks that go with the exercise of power, now awaiting the judgment of fate. He knows that if the mission fails, his presidency is over, while if it succeeds, no one should ever again question his willingness to risk all.

It’s a Machiavellian moment in a second sense: an instance when public necessity requires actions that private ethics and religious values might condemn as unjust and immoral. We call these moments Machiavellian because it was Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince, written in 1513, that first laid bare the moral world of politics and the gulf between private conscience and the demands of public action.

The Prince’s blunt candor has been a scandal for 500 years. The book was placed on the Papal Index of banned books in 1559, and its author was denounced on the Elizabethan stages of London as the “Evil Machiavel.” The outrage has not dimmed with time. The greatest modern conservative political theorist, Leo Strauss, taught his students at the University of Chicago in the 1950s to regard Machiavelli as “a teacher of evil.” Machiavelli’s enduring provocation is to baldly maintain that in politics, evil deeds cease to be evil if urgent public interest makes them necessary.

Strenuous efforts are being renewed in this 500th-anniversary year to draw the sting of this stark message. Four new books argue that to understand Machiavelli’s brutal candor, we need to grasp the times that made him: the tangled and violent politics of Italy between 1498, when he took office as a senior official in Florence, and 1527, when he died. Alan Ryan returns Machiavelli to his blood-soaked context, the decline and fall of the Florentine republic. Philip Bobbitt positions Machiavelli as the great theorist of the early modern state, the first thinker to understand that if power was no longer personal, no longer exercised by a medieval lord, it had to be moralized, in a new public ethic based on ragion di stato—reason of state.

Maurizio Viroli wants us to grasp that The Prince was not the cynically devious tract it seems, but rather a patriotic appeal for a redeemer politician to arise and save Italy from foreign invaders and its own shortsighted rulers. Corrado Vivanti’s learned intellectual biography reinforces Viroli’s image of Machiavelli as a misunderstood forerunner of the Italian Risorgimento, calling for the redemption of Italian republicanism four centuries before the final reunification of the Italian states.

All of these authors are at pains to stress that the “evil Machiavel” was in fact a brilliant writer, a good companion, and a passionate patriot. All stress that his ultimate ethical commitment was to the preservation of the vivere libero, the free life of the Florentine city-state and the other republics of Italy. The man himself certainly comes alive in his wonderful letter to his friend Francesco Vettori, written in 1513 after he had been thrown out of office, tossed into prison, and tortured. (Machiavelli was wrongly accused of conspiring against the Medicis, who had defeated the Florentine army and ousted the republican government the year before.) In the letter, he describes lonely days after his release from prison, hunting for birds on his small estate, drinking in the local tavern, and then coming back home at night to his study, to don the “garments of court and palace” and commune with “the venerable courts of the ancients.”

These fascinating new studies put Machiavelli back in his time but lose sight of the question of why his “amoral verve and flair” (Alan Ryan’s phrase) remain so enduringly provocative in our own time. Machiavelli was hardly the first theorist to maintain that politics is a ruthless business, requiring leaders to do things their private conscience might abhor. Everyone, it is safe to say, knows that politics is one of those realms of life where you put your soul at risk.

What’s distinctively shocking about Machiavelli is that he didn’t care. He believed not only that politicians must do evil in the name of the public good, but also that they shouldn’t worry about it. He was unconcerned, in other words, with what modern thinkers call the problem of dirty hands.

The great Princeton philosopher Michael Walzer, borrowing from Jean-Paul Sartre, describes the feeling of having dirty hands in politics as the guilty conscience that political actors must live with when they authorize acts that public necessity requires but private morality rejects. “Here is the moral politician,” Walzer says: “it is by his dirty hands that we know him.” Walzer thinks that we want our politicians to be suffering servants, lying awake at night, wrestling with the conflict between private morality and the public good.

Machiavelli simply didn’t believe that politicians should be bothered about their dirty hands. He didn’t believe they deserve praise for moral scruple or the pangs of conscience. He would have agreed with The Sopranos: sometimes you do what you have to do. But The Prince would hardly have survived this long if it was nothing more than an apologia for gangsters. With gangsters, gratuitous cruelty is often efficient, while in politics, Machiavelli clearly understood, it is worse than a crime. It is a mistake. Ragion di stato ought to discipline each politician’s descent into morally questionable realms. A leader guided by public necessity is less likely to be cruel and vicious than one guided by religious moralizing. Machiavelli’s ethics, it should be said, were scathingly indifferent to Christian principle, and for good reason. After all, someone who believes he has God on his side is capable of anything.

Machiavelli also understood that a politician, unlike a gangster, could not play fast and loose with the law. The law mattered because in republics, the opinion of citizens mattered, and if a prince put himself above the law too often, the people would drive him from office. Machiavelli was no democrat, but he understood that popular anger in the lanes and alleys of his city could bring a prince’s rule to a bloody end. If Machiavelli advised politicians to dissimulate, to pretend to virtues they did not practice in private life, it was because he believed that the people in the lanes and alleys cared more about whether the prince delivered peace and security than whether he was an authentic or even an honest person.

All of this looks like cynicism only if we fail to see its deep realism. In his book, Alan Ryan captures Machiavelli’s hold on the modern moral imagination when he says, “The staying power of The Prince comes from … its insistence on the need for a clear-sighted appreciation of how men really are as distinct from the moralizing claptrap about how they ought to be.”

This moral clarity remains bracing in an era like our own, when politicians hide the necessary ruthlessness of political life behind the rhetoric of family values and Christian principles and call on citizens to feel their pain when they make difficult decisions. We are still drawn to Machiavelli because we sense how impatient he was with the equivalent flummery in his own day, and how determined he was to confront a problem that preoccupies us too: when and how much ruthlessness is necessary in the world of politics.

He insisted that when tough or risky political decisions have to be made, Christian charity or private empathy simply will not serve. In politics, the polestar must be the health of the republic alone. Following the querulous inner voice or tacking to and fro when moralizers on the sidelines object is just weakness, and if your hesitations put the republic at risk, it is contemptible weakness. Machiavelli’s ethics valued judicious decisiveness in politics over the anguished search for rectitude.

So if we return to the Situation Room and to the decisions presidents make there, Machiavelli’s The Prince tells us the question is not whether one human being should have the right to make such terrifying determinations. The essence of power, even in a democracy, is to use violence to protect the republic. It matters to the very soul of a republic, however, that the violence used in its defense never be gratuitous. His is not an ethic that values action for its own sake. Machiavelli praises restraint when it serves the republic. It may even be advisable, for example, for the president to stay the order to dispatch cruise missiles to Syria if he cannot discern a clear target or a defensible strategic objective.

What he refuses to praise is people who value their conscience and their soul more than the interests of the state. What he will not pardon is public displays of indecision. We should not choose leaders who agonize, worrying about the moral hazards of the power they exercise in the people’s name. We should choose leaders who sleep soundly after taking ultimate risks with their own virtue. They are doing what must be done. The Prince’s question about the current president would be: Is he Machiavellian enough?

and some of the literature about Machiavelli:

The Garments of Court and Palace: Machiavelli and the World That He Made
By Philip Bobbitt
Atlantic Monthly Press

On Machiavelli: The Search for Glory
By Alan Ryan
Liveright Classics

Redeeming “The Prince”: The Meaning of Machiavelli’s Masterpiece
By Maurizio Viroli
Princeton

Niccolò Machiavelli: An Intellectual Biography
By Corrado Vivanti (Translated by Simon MacMichael)
Princeton
 

Edward Campbell

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I'm not a huge fan of Ezra Levant, while I often agree with his stand on issues, with his views, I usually disagree with the way he expresses those views. But this attack on his right to free speech is beyond crazy, it is an affront to liberal democracy in Canada.

I have never liked human rights commissions (nor do I really like any quasi-judicial agencies). We have legal standards for various and sundry offences and those standards are, correctly, high for e.g. libel.

Now I believe that real liberals must demand that our governments, federal and provincial, get rid of these human rights commissions that have become cancers on our legal system.
 

Brad Sallows

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This is one of those cases where the toys should be taken away completely (dissolved, thrown out, legislated out of existence).
 

Fishbone Jones

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Brad Sallows said:
This is one of those cases where the toys should be taken away completely (dissolved, thrown out, legislated out of existence).
E.R. Campbell said:
I'm not a huge fan of Ezra Levant, while I often agree with his stand on issues, with his views, I usually disagree with the way he expresses those views. But this attack on his right to free speech is beyond crazy, it is an affront to liberal democracy in Canada.

I have never liked human rights commissions (nor do I really like any quasi-judicial agencies). We have legal standards for various and sundry offences and those standards are, correctly, high for e.g. libel.

Now I believe that real liberals must demand that our governments, federal and provincial, get rid of these human rights commissions that have become cancers on our legal system.

My manager transferred in from the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

To say that he has some very lopsided views, on how we do our job, is a total understatement.

My biggest concern is that if they closed the OHRC all those people would spread out to the rest of the public service, instead of keeping them in their capsule.
 

George Wallace

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E.R. Campbell said:
I'm not a huge fan of Ezra Levant, while I often agree with his stand on issues, with his views, I usually disagree with the way he expresses those views. But this attack on his right to free speech is beyond crazy, it is an affront to liberal democracy in Canada.

I would think that his behavior is most likely due to the numerous times he has been taken before the Commission by Muslim groups.  He has lost too many battles over some rather illogical claims against him, that he has without a doubt biases against the Human Rights Commission and the people sitting on their boards.  He has in the past shown the outright bigotry against him in the Commission's rulings against him, all falling on deaf ears of more senior members of the Canadian Government.  Canada's "Liberal Democracy" has really screwed him over in the past.  I would find it hard to believe that he was not bitter.
 

Fishbone Jones

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George,

It shouldn't matter who he is or what he's done previously. The HRC should only weigh in on the specific charge.

In this case, brought against him by a HRC insider, who stands to gain monetarily from the action, presided over by his friends at said Commission because Levant called an entity 'crazy'. How does a thing take offence?

It's a farce and a tragedy of our times. This isn't the movie Brazil. This is Canada's own horseshit. Every person, from the HRC, involved in this should be fired.

Hey guess what? Open forum, public access and I'll say they're crazy also. Crazy as loons, except if loons are crazy they are not as CRAZY as the HRC.

Je suis Levant?

Take your pick of meanings:

cra·zy  (krā′zē)
adj. cra·zi·er, cra·zi·est
1.
a. Mentally deranged.
b. Informal Odd or eccentric in behavior.
2. Informal Departing from proportion or moderation, especially:
a. Possessed by enthusiasm or excitement: The crowd at the game went crazy.
b. Immoderately fond; infatuated: was crazy about boys.
c. Intensely involved or preoccupied: is crazy about cars and racing.
d. Foolish or impractical; senseless: a crazy scheme for making quick money.
e. Intensely annoyed or irritated: It makes me crazy when you don't tell me you're going to be late.
3. Disorderly or askew: One of the old window shutters hung at a crazy angle.
 

ballz

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MCG said:
But that also means a platform for the other extreme.  By their scoring criteria, a university would have have to support pedophiles espousing the merits of child-porn, or KKK promoting racial violence.

I see no reason that someone should be put in jail for espousing why they think pedophilia is moral or why they think black people shouldn't be allowed to drink out of the same fountain. There are enough social consequences are those kinds of people to sanction them appropriately, rather than throwing them in jail when they haven't actually harmed anyone (or at least been convicted of harming anyone).

The problem we have here is that most universities are publically funded and I don't pay the executive government or its institutions or the institutions that might as well be government institutions (because they are so heavily funded by taxpayers) to pick and choose what citizens they support don't support. They should be completely neutral.

If the university wants the freedom to associate with whomever it wants, it should be find private ways to fund itself. As long as it is taxpayer funded, it is associated with all taxpayers and owes them a neutral stance, if its private, it owes them nothing and can take whatever direction it so chooses, and dismiss anyone who wants.

E.R. Campbell said:
Yes, exactly ... free speech is a meaningless concept unless every opinion, no matter how odious, can be expressed. That's why real, pure liberalism cannot exist: some speech is worse than "shouting fire in a crowded theatre."

I would need better examples than the ones provided to agree that someone needs to be jailed for expressing their views, no matter how stupid they are.

In the case of shouting fire in a crowded theatre, that can cause actual physical harm to someone. It's negligence, potentially criminally negligent.
 

FJAG

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Let me start with a small disclaimer: For a few years while practising law in Manitoba I was appointed as a hearing officer with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission and that for eight years I was also a Bencher with the Law Society of Manitoba most of those years involved with the investigation of complaints and one year of hearing complaints against lawyers.

With respect to Levant's case we need to put somethings into perspective. He is not being charged criminally so he is not at risk of any loss of liberty. Neither is he being brought before the Alberta Human Rights Commission (AHRC) so there is no financial risk involved and there is no way that any AHRC insider will profit financially from this matter.

What has happened is that Levant, in his role as a journalist, made comments about certain decisions made by the AHRC and that the lawyer representing the AHRC has brought a disciplinary complaint against Levant before the Law Society of Alberta (LSoA) because Levant is still a lawyer who subject to the disciplinary powers of the LSoA.

The specific charges are set out here:

http://www.lawsociety.ab.ca/lawyer_regulation/hearings_outcomes/hearings_upcoming.aspx?hid=308

All Alberta Lawyers are subject to the Professional Code of Conduct of the LSoA and in this case the particular complaint most probably comes under Rule 4.06(1) which requires that "a lawyer must encourage public respect for and try to improve the administration of justice". The LSoA Code can be found here:

http://www.lawsociety.ab.ca/docs/default-source/regulations/code619a07ad53956b1d9ea9ff0000251143.pdf?sfvrsn=2

and the specific rule and it's commentary are found at page 96.  What's important here is that the rule applies not only in the lawyer's professional activities but also exists as a general obligation because of the lawyer's standing in the community. If found guilty Levant could be subject to several professional sanctions such as a reprimand, suspension from practice, disbarment, a fine, and the LSoC's costs of the hearing.

All that said, it is my opinion that the actions taken by counsel for the AHRC are outrageous and simply based on the serendipitous fact that Levant, who is primarily a journalist and was acting as one, just also happens to be a lawyer. I don't know how active a practice Levant has; my understanding is that he has "inactive" status which means he remains on the rolls of the LSoA but is not actively practising law.

The initial complaint was dismissed by an intake staff decision but the AHRC appealed the dismissal to a three member panel who overturned the dismissal and sent the matter on for a hearing before a disciplinary panel. I presume that decision is based on the "general responsibility" provisions of rule  4.06(1) and that the matter ought to be decided by an actual hearing with evidence and not summarily thrown out.

I don't like Levant but in my view the complaint, while technically not baseless, is nonetheless a spiteful, vindictive move by the AHRC which is just as stupid as the decision that caused Levant to make his initial comments. I sincerely hope that the LSoA Discipline panel throws the thing out and tells the AHRC to get stuffed. The AHRC deserves to be ridiculed for it's actions. If they don't want to be criticized they should stop doing stupid things.

I understand Levant has said that just as soon as this case is over he'll be resigning as a lawyer on his own terms. (I sincerely doubt that the LSoA would even consider disbarring him over this nonsense) It's really too bad that the LSoA Discipline Committee does not have the power to assess costs against a complainant when it finds the lawyer not guilty. The AHRC certainly deserves to pay for this bull.

:cheers:
 

a_majoor

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Worth saying again: http://milnet.ca/forums/threads/113297/post-1325310.html#msg1325310

Exactly so. There are only four categories of speech which are not protected: Liable, Slander, Sedition or Treason.

If you have a sincere belief that there is a fire in the theatre, then you actually have the right and duty to "shout fire in a crowded theatre".

As most of us know, the best response to bad speech is better speech; which requires a great deal of work. This is the real reason the "Progressives" would prefer to  use Brownshirt tactics to shut down opposing speech; they could not be bothered to do the work of thinking and responding to propositions and arguments; far simpler to simply use the mailed fist and silence your opponents.

THIS should become an election issue, since the HRC's and their Progressive philosophy are a direct attack on our Liberal, democratic values and society. Which political parties support true liberalism, and which do not? Questioning your candidates on this issue will certainly produce some surprising answers for a lot of people (especially when they discover that Liberal =/= liberalism).
 

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FJAG said:
Let me start with a small disclaimer: For a few years while practising law in Manitoba I was appointed as a hearing officer with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission and that for eight years I was also a Bencher with the Law Society of Manitoba most of those years involved with the investigation of complaints and one year of hearing complaints against lawyers.

With respect to Levant's case we need to put somethings into perspective. He is not being charged criminally so he is not at risk of any loss of liberty. Neither is he being brought before the Alberta Human Rights Commission (AHRC) so there is no financial risk involved and there is no way that any AHRC insider will profit financially from this matter.

What has happened is that Levant, in his role as a journalist, made comments about certain decisions made by the AHRC and that the lawyer representing the AHRC has brought a disciplinary complaint against Levant before the Law Society of Alberta (LSoA) because Levant is still a lawyer who subject to the disciplinary powers of the LSoA.

The specific charges are set out here:

http://www.lawsociety.ab.ca/lawyer_regulation/hearings_outcomes/hearings_upcoming.aspx?hid=308

All Alberta Lawyers are subject to the Professional Code of Conduct of the LSoA and in this case the particular complaint most probably comes under Rule 4.06(1) which requires that "a lawyer must encourage public respect for and try to improve the administration of justice". The LSoA Code can be found here:

http://www.lawsociety.ab.ca/docs/default-source/regulations/code619a07ad53956b1d9ea9ff0000251143.pdf?sfvrsn=2

and the specific rule and it's commentary are found at page 96.  What's important here is that the rule applies not only in the lawyer's professional activities but also exists as a general obligation because of the lawyer's standing in the community. If found guilty Levant could be subject to several professional sanctions such as a reprimand, suspension from practice, disbarment, a fine, and the LSoC's costs of the hearing.

All that said, it is my opinion that the actions taken by counsel for the AHRC are outrageous and simply based on the serendipitous fact that Levant, who is primarily a journalist and was acting as one, just also happens to be a lawyer. I don't know how active a practice Levant has; my understanding is that he has "inactive" status which means he remains on the rolls of the LSoA but is not actively practising law.

The initial complaint was dismissed by an intake staff decision but the AHRC appealed the dismissal to a three member panel who overturned the dismissal and sent the matter on for a hearing before a disciplinary panel. I presume that decision is based on the "general responsibility" provisions of rule  4.06(1) and that the matter ought to be decided by an actual hearing with evidence and not summarily thrown out.

I don't like Levant but in my view the complaint, while technically not baseless, is nonetheless a spiteful, vindictive move by the AHRC which is just as stupid as the decision that caused Levant to make his initial comments. I sincerely hope that the LSoA Discipline panel throws the thing out and tells the AHRC to get stuffed. The AHRC deserves to be ridiculed for it's actions. If they don't want to be criticized they should stop doing stupid things.

I understand Levant has said that just as soon as this case is over he'll be resigning as a lawyer on his own terms. (I sincerely doubt that the LSoA would even consider disbarring him over this nonsense) It's really too bad that the LSoA Discipline Committee does not have the power to assess costs against a complainant when it finds the lawyer not guilty. The AHRC certainly deserves to pay for this bull.

:cheers:

Cheers FJAG. That clears up a lot of stuff for me.
 

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As this election moves on and this immigration/refugee crisis in Europe thickens I have seen that the title of this thread is astutely, nay, pointedly accurate.

My most left friends seem so willing to risk or sacrifice everything our liberal society has worked for.

I hope the best for us, but truly I do expect the worst.



 

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Halifax Tar said:
As this election moves on and this immigration/refugee crisis in Europe thickens I have seen that the title of this thread is astutely, nay, pointedly accurate.

My most left friends seem so willing to risk or sacrifice everything our liberal society has worked for.

I hope the best for us, but truly I do expect the worst.
In lock step agreement.
 

Edward Campbell

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The latest inanity from the USA: Clemson University is excoriated for hosting as "Maximum Mexican" food night.

Screen%20Shot%202015-10-09%20at%208.15.12%20AM.jpg


This is excerpted from the article:

    Clemson senior Austin Pendergist told Campus Reform he felt the post-event uproar was “ridiculous.”

    “This is something that Clemson Dining has done for years without any sort of backlash. People love the cultural nights in the dining halls,” Pendergist said. “What's next? Are they going to take away all potato based food as
    to not offend students from Irish decent? Remove the stir fry station so Asian-American students don't feel as if they are being misrepresented? When does it end?”

    The university, however, took a different position. Dr. Doug Hallenbeck, Clemson University’s Senior Associate Vice President of Student Affairs apologized for the event’s “flattened cultural view of Mexican culture.”

    “It is the mission of University Housing & Dining to create supportive and challenging environments that enrich and nourish lives. We failed to live out our mission yesterday, and we sincerely apologize,” Hallenbeck said.

    Dr. Hallenbeck went on to promise that the university “will continue to work closely with [its] food service provider to create dining programs that align with Clemson University’s core values.”

    The university posted similar apologies through the Clemson Dining Services Facebook and Twitter pages. The apologies came after students complained that the Mexican-themed event was offensive.


You (and I) have no right to not be offended. But some real conservatives (liberals in the back-asswards language of the American political-media nincompoops), who want to turn the clock back to some mythical time when we all tolerated everything have decided that everything except sliced white bread is somehow offensive and needs to be banned or, at least, shouted down.

 

a_majoor

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A writer from the early 20th century who should be better known. I am glad that such writers exist, but as events have shown, the well written argument (dialectics) is quite easily shouted down by appeals to emotion (rhetoric), and rhetoric cannot be countered with dialectic. Still, having the background and knowledge should provide the tools to create and use effective rhetoric of your own...

https://www.nationalreview.com/nrd/articles/374956/mortal-remains

The wisdom and folly in Albert Jay Nock’s anti-statism

There is a stock character in fiction, particularly science fiction, who might be called the Immortal. Whether he be vampire or angel, alien or just some everyman blessed — or cursed — with Methuselah-like longevity, certain traits define the Immortal. He is polite, generous, even kind, but also resigned to the fact that life is often none of these things. Sometimes he is dismissive or condescending, or perhaps bemusedly indulgent of men’s political or ideological passions, the way old professors relate to freshmen who insist upon the novelty of their ideas and the audacity of their fervor. He’s seen it all before, maybe done it himself when he was a younger man, and he knows deep in the subterranean reservoirs of his soul that there is indeed nothing new under the sun. His own passions are more like cultivated tastes, hard-learned lessons formed by trial and error over many decades. He is disgusted by harmful stupidity but reluctant to correct what can only be gleaned from firsthand experience. He understands Edmund Burke’s insight that “example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other.”

This thought kept intruding on me while reading the works of Albert Jay Nock, whose elegant criticism of statism seems to grow more relevant with each passing day. Nock was born in 1870, which he believed was as good a year as any to mark the beginning of the end of civilization. Often compared to Henry Adams as a chronicler of his age, Nock was one of the great men of letters of the 20th century. He counted among his friends and admirers H. L. Mencken, Charles Beard, Dwight Macdonald, Oswald Garrison Villard, Frank Chodorov, William F. Buckley Jr., and William Jennings Bryan (for whom he did some work as a special envoy when Bryan was secretary of state). An ironic feature of the innumerable profiles, remembrances, odes, encyclopedia entries, and biographies about Nock is that they all go out of their way to assert that he was never famous in life, or in death. Many writers would count their blessings if they were cursed with such anonymity.

Born in Scranton, Pa., and raised in Brooklyn, Nock was an autodidact who mastered numerous languages, including French, Latin, and Greek. He spent a good deal of his youth in a small town in upstate New York, where he imbibed from the wellspring of American individualism and gained an enduring appreciation for the power and magisterially ennobling competence of what we would today call civil society (he used the word “society” or “social power” to denote the good and decent realm of life not corrupted or coerced by the state). In 1887 he went to St. Stephen’s College (now Bard), where he was later a professor.

After college he attended divinity school, and he became a minister in the Episcopal Church in 1897. A dozen years later he quit the clergy and became a full-time journalist and editor, first at American Magazine and then at The Nation (which was still a classically liberal publication). In 1920 he became the co-editor of the original Freeman magazine, which, in its four-year run, managed to inspire the men who would one day launch National Review and the second incarnation of The Freeman, run by Nock’s disciple Frank Chodorov. According to Nock, when a young writer asked if The Freeman had any “sacred cows,” Nock said: No, save that the writers must have a point, write it well, and use clear, idiomatic English. Then he dismissed the lad, saying, “Now you run along home and write us a nice piece on the irremissibility of post-baptismal sin, and if you can put it over those three jumps, you will see it in print. Or if you would rather do something on a national policy of strangling all the girl-babies at birth, you might do that — glad to have it.”

A large part of Nock’s mystique stems from the fact that he was mysterious, and deliberately so. He wore a cape, thought as well of Belgium as he did of America, knew nearly everything but pretended that he didn’t read the newspaper (William F. Buckley Jr. recounted how his father once stumbled on the proudly anti-newspaper Nock sitting on the floor poring over the Sunday papers). Nock’s memoirs say nothing about his failed marriage or neglected children and do not disclose his parents’ names or even mention that he played minor-league baseball. The joke at The Freeman was that the only way he could be contacted was to leave a note under a certain rock in Central Park.

He wrote a few books, including biographies of Thomas Jefferson and Rabelais. His most famous and successful works were Our Enemy the State and Memoirs of a Superfluous Man. But he was not prolific. As Chodorov put it, he “had a rare gift of editing his ideas so that he wrote only when he had something to say and he said it with dispatch.”

There is something almost hypnotic about Nock’s prose. When the hypnotist first waves the pocket watch in front of your eyes, there’s a simplicity to the ritual that is almost insulting: The swaying of this trinket is going to bewitch me? And yet moments, or in this case pages, later you are ensorceled. Nock, observed H. L. Mencken, “thinks in charming rhythm. There is never any cacophony in his sentences as there is never any muddling in his ideas. It is accurate, it is well ordered, and above all, it is charming.”

This is not, first and foremost, an observation about his gifts as a writer. To be sure, there are greater writers with even more timeless prose. Rather, Nock’s prose conveys a sense of timelessness. His motto was “See the world as it is,” and for Nock the world is, in the most fundamental sense, unchanging. In short, Nock writes like an Immortal, a traveler who has seen it all before. And I do not mean this in the way we say “the immortal Socrates.” Nock would be the first to admit that there were few new ideas in his writing. He took pride in the fact that he was merely reminding those willing to be reminded that whatever is fashionable and new in the ideas of men is little more than a rebranding effort. We may change the wardrobe of humanity, but not its nature. And yet, to Nock’s exasperation, humanity’s innate folly is the belief that the clothes will somehow remake the man.

“I have been thinking,” Nock wrote in 1932, “of how old some of our brand-new economic nostrums really are. Price-regulation by State authority (through State purchase, like our Farm Board) was tried in China about 350 b.c. It did not work. It was tried again, with State distribution, in the first century a.d., and it did not work. Private trading was suppressed in the second century b.c., and regional planning was tried a little later. They did not work; the costs were too high. In the eleventh century a.d., a plan like the R.F.C. [Reconstruction Finance Corporation] was tried, but again cost too much. State monopolies are very old; there were two in China in the seventh century b.c. I suppose there is not a single item on the modern politician’s agenda that was not tried and found wanting ages ago.” Among virtually all of the political writers of the Left and the Right in the 1920s and 1930s, Nock shines brightest for seeing from the outset that the differences between the various collectivist schemes then circulating amounted to differences in branding. “Communism, the New Deal, Fascism, Nazism,” he wrote in his Memoirs, “are merely so-many trade-names for collectivist Statism, like the trade-names for tooth-pastes which are all exactly alike except for the flavouring.”

Nock understood that man is lazy, which is not quite the same as slothful. He called this “Epstean’s Law” after a friend who’d said to him over lunch: “I tell you, if self-preservation is the first law of human conduct, exploitation is the second.” Or as Nock rephrased it: “Man tends always to satisfy his needs and desires with the least possible exertion.” And for Nock, the state is the foremost instrument of Epstean’s Law, allowing powerful men to feed off the creativity, productivity, and labor of others under the veneer of legalisms. Every state, according to Nock, was born in conquest and exploitation. In other words, the state “claims and exercises the monopoly of crime.” This is why Nock had such contempt for businessmen claiming the language of free enterprise even as they petitioned and cajoled the state into rigging the system in their favor: “The simple truth is that our businessmen do not want a government that will let business alone. They want a government they can use.” This perspective informs virtually all of his discussions of economic matters, including his very Beardian understanding of the American founding of what he called a “merchant state”: “We all know pretty well, probably, that the primary reason for a tariff is that it enables the exploitation of the domestic consumer by a process indistinguishable from sheer robbery.”

A cold river of anarchism runs across the landscape of Nock’s work, but as Robert M. Thornton wrote a few years ago in a brilliant introduction to Nockianism for Modern Age, he was not an anarchist, as many fans claim (nor was he a home-grown fascist, as one biographer absurdly suggests). Nock’s conception of the state was a decidedly German one, and he distinguished it from the American notion of government, which the Progressives worked assiduously to destroy. The state sees itself as the master of society, its author and its spirit, and the means for wholesale redemption. There’s a reason the 19th-century progressives referred to it as the “God-State” (a term borrowed from Hegel): They believed that it was the sole agency for material and spiritual redemption. But Nock understood that the state is not the “proper agency for social welfare, and never will be, for exactly the same reason that an ivory paper-knife is nothing to shave with.” Government intrusions “on the individual should be purely negative in character. It should attend to national defense, safeguard the individual in his civil rights, maintain outward order and decency, enforce the obligations of contract, punish crimes belonging in the order of malum in se [evil in itself] and make justice cheap and easily available.” Such a regime would amount to a government by and for the people, not a state in which the citizens are mere instruments of the statists.

But here is the odd, or wonderful, thing about Nock. For all his clarity and passion, he professed no interest whatsoever in trying to persuade anybody. “The wise social philosophers,” he wrote, “were those who merely hung up their ideas and left them hanging, for men to look at or to pass by, as they chose. Jesus and Socrates did not even trouble to write theirs out, and Marcus Aurelius wrote his only in crabbed memoranda for his own use, never thinking anyone else would see them.” Indeed, Nock struck a pose of bemused disdain for the self-proclaimed prophets of the New Age — the Father Coughlins, the Huey Longs, the Upton Sinclairs, and even the Liberty Leaguers. Surveying the landscape of demagogues, mountebanks, and experts sucking the oxygen out of democratic discourse in the 1930s, he wrote, “I cannot remember a time when so many energumens were so variously proclaiming the Word to the multitude and telling them what they must do to be saved.”

Nock would have no use for today’s tea parties or talk-radio Jeremiahs of the Right, but he would also scoff at Paul Krugman and roll his eyes at Barack Obama’s talk of hope and change, for he denied that the state was the proper object of hope or a worthwhile agent of change. Moreover, he had contempt for the vast bulk of humanity, the “Neolithic mass” and those who spoke to them. In the dark, or at least darkening, age in which he believed himself to live (Nock died two weeks after Hiroshima), he cared only for the Remnant — a tiny slice of humanity he could describe but not locate. The best way to grasp this idea is to read his 1936 Atlantic essay “Isaiah’s Job” (easily found on the Web). It is one of the oddest and most powerful essays in the history of conservatism. At the end of King Uzziah’s reign in 740 b.c., the prophet Isaiah was tasked with warning the Jews of God’s wrath. But, in Nock’s rephrasing of the Biblical text, God gave this disclaimer: “I suppose perhaps I ought to tell you that it won’t do any good. The official class and their intelligentsia will turn up their noses at you and the masses will not even listen. They will all keep on in their own ways until they carry everything down to destruction, and you will probably be lucky if you get out with your life.”

Isaiah asked why he should even bother, then? “Ah,” the Lord said, “you do not get the point. There is a Remnant there that you know nothing about. They are obscure, unorganized, inarticulate, each one rubbing along as best he can. They need to be encouraged and braced up because when everything has gone completely to the dogs, they are the ones who will come back and build up a new society; and meanwhile, your preaching will reassure them and keep them hanging on. Your job is to take care of the Remnant, so be off now and set about it.” For Nock, the Remnant was his audience. At times, the idea of the Remnant is unapologetically elitist, but in a thoroughly Jeffersonian way. The Remnant were not the “best and brightest,” the most successful, the richest. Rather, they were those occupying the “substratum of right thinking and well doing” (in Matthew Arnold’s words). “Two things you do know, and no more: First, that they exist; second, that they will find you. Except for these two certainties, working for the Remnant means working in impenetrable darkness.”

And it is here that we find an explanation for why Nock is so admired by liberals such as The New Republic’s Franklin Foer and the New York Times’s Sam Tanenhaus: He openly embraced the idea that he couldn’t change anything. History was driven by forces too large to be affected by politics or punditry. Any revolution would result only in a new crop of exploiters and scoundrels eager to pick up where the deposed ones left off. So, Nock figured, why bother with politics? Now what more could today’s liberals ask for from a conservative pundit?

Nock was charming, eccentric, cosmopolitan, and very, very interesting. But his Immortal’s cynicism left him with a self-absorption that amounted to a personal philosophy of muddling through. “Taking his inspiration from those Russians who seemed superfluous to their autocratic nineteenth-century society and sought inspiration in the private sphere, even to the point of writing largely for their desk drawers,” writes Robert Crunden, Nock’s best biographer, “Nock made the essential point: ransack the past for your values, establish a coherent worldview, depend neither on society nor on government insofar as circumstances permitted, keep your tastes simple and inexpensive, and do what you have to do to remain true to yourself.”

Still, he was wrong about many things, and his formulations were often too simple. For example: Yes, the New Deal, Bolshevism, and Nazism were different trade names for collectivism, but their differences were vastly greater than those between flavors of toothpaste. Only when viewed from a very high altitude — precisely where Nock’s mind resided — could the differences be seen as trivial. Likewise, only an Immortal’s detachment could allow him to be torn between Belgium and the United States. But Nock’s greatest mistake lay in his fatalism and, perhaps, his misreading of the times he lived in.

Nock’s lifespan connected two high-water marks in the tidal floods of American collectivism. He was born amidst the post–Civil War Radical Republican fever, lived through the dementia of World War I (as an anti-war ideologue, no less), and closed out his life watching the New Deal unfold and World War II seemingly accelerate the slide to statism. Before the New Deal, nothing in America had ever truly resembled the German concept of the state, and everything he knew told him that statism’s grip would only tighten. He bravely dissented from the overwhelming consensus that collectivism was the most desirable form of social organization. But he in effect surrendered to the same consensus that it was the “wave of the future.” It’s little surprise that Nock thought the string would need to play out. But he was wrong that statism was inevitable, partly because he was right about the need to speak to the Remnant. Buckley, Chodorov, and countless others took inspiration from Nock or from Nockian ideas, but they did not write for their desk drawers. They shared Nock’s fatalism at times — standing athwart history yelling Stop, and all that — but they actually yelled Stop. Nock did not believe in anything so crude as yelling, even in purely literary terms. His successors did, because they shared Burke’s understanding that “when bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.” Likewise, when bad ideas seem good, men who know otherwise must say so, lest society slip under their spell. That was the key lesson the disparate righteous took from Nock the Prophet as they associated to form the modern conservative and libertarian movements — even if, as Nock fully understood, they didn’t know where their ideas came from, or that Nock’s fingerprints were upon many of them.

And that is why the Right is in so much better shape than it was during Nock’s time, even as liberals are mounting a statist revival. Yes, statism is on the march again, but anti-statism isn’t an amusing pursuit for cape-wearing exotics like Nock anymore; it is the animating spirit of institutions launched and nourished by lovers of liberty. Retreating into the Nockian cocoon of the good life may be appealing, but it is morally defensible only if creeping collectivism is impervious to resistance. Moreover, the American people are not nearly as Neolithic as Nock believed, proof of which can be found in the slow and uneven unraveling of statism since his death, as with the still-unfinished Reagan Revolution. This, again, explains why liberals can be nostalgic for Nock while lamenting what has become of his successors: Nock was content with failure, his heirs are not.

As a personal philosophy, there’s everything to love about Nock’s approach to life. As political prescription, it is folly, for it exempts the Remnant from any obligation to expand the ranks of the righteous. And that is why the greatest tragedy of all would be for Nock’s mortal heirs to follow his Immortal example.

Read more at: https://www.nationalreview.com/nrd/articles/374956/mortal-remains
 

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A resounding defense of Liberalism by a the president of a Christian academy:

http://www.okwu.edu/blog/2015/11/this-is-not-a-day-care-its-a-university/

This is Not a Day Care. It’s a University!
Dr. Everett Piper, President

Oklahoma Wesleyan University

This past week, I actually had a student come forward after a university chapel service and complain because he felt “victimized” by a sermon on the topic of 1 Corinthians 13. It appears that this young scholar felt offended because a homily on love made him feel bad for not showing love. In his mind, the speaker was wrong for making him, and his peers, feel uncomfortable.

I’m not making this up. Our culture has actually taught our kids to be this self-absorbed and narcissistic. Any time their feelings are hurt, they are the victims. Anyone who dares challenge them and, thus, makes them “feel bad” about themselves, is a “hater,” a “bigot,” an “oppressor,” and a “victimizer.”

I have a message for this young man and all others who care to listen. That feeling of discomfort you have after listening to a sermon is called a conscience. An altar call is supposed to make you feel bad. It is supposed to make you feel guilty. The goal of many a good sermon is to get you to confess your sins—not coddle you in your selfishness. The primary objective of the Church and the Christian faith is your confession, not your self-actualization.

So here’s my advice:

If you want the chaplain to tell you you’re a victim rather than tell you that you need virtue, this may not be the university you’re looking for. If you want to complain about a sermon that makes you feel less than loving for not showing love, this might be the wrong place.

If you’re more interested in playing the “hater” card than you are in confessing your own hate; if you want to arrogantly lecture, rather than humbly learn; if you don’t want to feel guilt in your soul when you are guilty of sin; if you want to be enabled rather than confronted, there are many universities across the land (in Missouri and elsewhere) that will give you exactly what you want, but Oklahoma Wesleyan isn’t one of them.

At OKWU, we teach you to be selfless rather than self-centered. We are more interested in you practicing personal forgiveness than political revenge. We want you to model interpersonal reconciliation rather than foment personal conflict. We believe the content of your character is more important than the color of your skin. We don’t believe that you have been victimized every time you feel guilty and we don’t issue “trigger warnings” before altar calls.

Oklahoma Wesleyan is not a “safe place”, but rather, a place to learn: to learn that life isn’t about you, but about others; that the bad feeling you have while listening to a sermon is called guilt; that the way to address it is to repent of everything that’s wrong with you rather than blame others for everything that’s wrong with them. This is a place where you will quickly learn that you need to grow up.

This is not a day care. This is a university!

Well done, Dr Piper!
 

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Another resounding smackdown of an SJW by a defender of classical liberalism. Watch the video and read the comments:

http://acecomments.mu.nu/?post=360535
 

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While the Economist makes the usual mistake of calling most of these politicians and movements "right wing" (reading the political platforms of most European parties makes it very clear they are National Socialist or Fascist Corporate State parties), they are very clear on why voters are increasingly turning to otherwise unattractive figures like Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen or the Ford brothers, and away from traditional political figures:



Playing with fear
In America and Europe, right-wing populist politicians are on the march. The threat is real
Dec 12th 2015 | From the print edition

POPULISTS have a new grievance. For many years, on both sides of the Atlantic, they have thrived on the belief that a selfish elite cannot—or will not—deal with the problems of ordinary working people. Now populists are also feeding on the fear that governments cannot—or will not—keep their citizens safe.

In America this week, after a couple who had pledged allegiance to Islamic State (IS) murdered 14 people in San Bernardino, California (see article (http://www.economist.com/news/unitedstates/21679823-despite-attack-san-bernardino-americas-defences-against-jihadism-are-high) ), Donald Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown” of America’s borders to Muslims. Earlier, the front-runner in the race for the Republican presidential nomination had proposed closing mosques and registering American Muslims. “We have no choice,” he said.

In France, the counterpart to Mr Trump is the far-right National Front (FN). In the first round of regional elections on December 6th, after the IS terrorist assault on Paris last month, the FN narrowly gained the largest share of the national vote (see article
(http://www.economist.com/news/europe/21679832-marine-le-pens-party-regional-elections-arejust-stepping-stone-eyes-prize) ). It was ahead in six of the 13 regions. The FN’s leader, Marine Le Pen, and her niece each polled over 40%.

Mr Trump and Ms Le Pen are not alone. Support for the populist right in America and parts of Europe is unparalleled since the second world war. Against the backdrop of terrorism, these fearmongers pose a serious threat to the openness and tolerance that Western societies take for granted.

Angry old men

Even before recent attacks, right-wing populists were making their mark. Since October Mr Trump, and Ted Cruz and Ben Carson—less offensive, but only marginally less extreme—have together consistently won the support of over 50% of Republican voters in polls. In Europe populists are in power in Poland and Hungary, and in the governing coalition in Switzerland and Finland (and that is not counting the left-wing sort like Syriza in Greece). They top the polls in France and the Netherlands, and their support is at record levels in Sweden. Ms Le Pen is likely to reach the second round of France’s presidential election in 2017. Just possibly, she might win.

Populists differ, but the bedrock for them all is economic and cultural insecurity. Unemployment in Europe and stagnant wages in America hurt a cohort of older working-class white men, whose jobs are threatened by globalisation and technology. Beneath them, they complain, are immigrants and scroungers who grab benefits, commit crimes and flout local customs. Above them, overseeing the financial crisis and Europe’s stagnation, are the impotent self-serving elites in Washington and Brussels who never seem to pay for their mistakes.

Jihadist terrorism pours petrol on this resentment—and may even extend populism’s appeal. Whenever IS inspires or organises murderous attacks, the fear of immigrants and foreigners grows. When the terrorists get through, as they sometimes inevitably will, it highlights the ruling elite’s inadequacy. When leaders, in response, warn against slandering Islam and focus on gun control, as Barack Obama did in a speech from the Oval Office on December 6th, populists dismiss it as yet more political correctness.

Populist ideas need defeating. Mr Trump compares his plan to the treatment of Japanese-Americans during the second world war. Just so: as Ronald Reagan’s government later acknowledged, FDR’s policy was “race prejudice”. A xenophobic revival would do America immense harm—and IS immense service. Ms Le Pen would erect ruinous economic barriers and cause mayhem by proposing to leave the euro. Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, has vowed to build an “illiberal state” and looks to Vladimir Putin’s Russia as a model. Even when they are not in power, populists warp the agenda.

Nobody should underestimate how hard it is to take the populists on. Some mainstream politicians dismiss their arguments by labelling them fascist or extremist. Yet such disdain risks suggesting that the elite is uninterested in the real grievances that populists play on. Others try to borrow the populists’ less-offensive clothes by promising, say, to deny benefits to migrants rather than build
border fences. Yet such xenophobia-lite often just validates populist prejudices.

The long struggle

Is there a better way? This newspaper stands for pretty much everything the populists despise: open markets, open borders, globalisation and the free movement of people. We do not expect to convince populist leaders of our arguments. But voters are reasonable—and most of them would sooner hear something more optimistic than rage against a dangerous world.

Part of the answer is to draw on the power of liberal ideals. New technology, prosperity and commerce will do more than xenophobia to banish people’s insecurities. The way to overcome resentment is economic growth—not to put up walls. The way to defeat Islamist terrorism is to enlist the help of Muslims—not to treat them as hostile. The main parties need to make that case loudly and convincingly.

Politicians also need to deal with the populists’ complaint that government often fails its citizens. Take the threat to security. Mr Obama’s reluctance to deploy more troops against IS’s “caliphate” in Syria and Iraq does not convince most Americans, including many present and former military commanders. Europe’s spooks and law-enforcement agencies fail to share information. The EU needs to manage the flow of people at the border, allowing those who qualify as refugees to work and thus help them to absorb Western values (see article
(http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21679794-getting-refugees-work-quickly-wouldbenefit-everyone-how-make-it-happen-more-toil-less) ).

To imagine better government across all of economic and security policy is a counsel of perfection. But even small improvements will count if they are allied to a robust defence of the West’s Enlightenment values.

The choice ultimately falls to voters, most of whom do not subscribe to right-wing populism. Mr Trump has the backing of just 30% of the 25% or so Americans who say they are Republican. But the turnout for primaries and caucuses in America is less than 20%. The turnout in France was just under 50%. The way to beat the populists is at the ballot box. The moderate majority has a responsibility to show up and put a cross next to candidates who stand for openness and tolerance.
 

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Interestingly enough, we see the end game is not Donald Trump at all, but Bernie Sanders, an avowed socialist who is extremely popular among many Democrat voters, running to the left of the most leftist President in modern history:

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2015/12/the-creaking-joints-of-democracy.php

THE CREAKING JOINTS OF DEMOCRACY

One of my favorite liberals, Philly magazine’s Joel Mathis (he’s one half of the “Red-Blue America” column with Ben Boychuk), offers up a conciliatory column in the spirit of Christmas today that I take at face value. A few relevant bits:

Some of my best friends are conservatives. . .

My life is immeasurably better and richer because of my conservative friends, starting with Ben Boychuk—no RINO he—and extending to a vast array of people with whom I grew up and attended college. I don’t just have conservative friends; I love them dearly.

I just happen to think they’re wrong about a lot of stuff. . .

What’s more, I’ve come to think conservatives have a few insights that liberals could learn from. We liberals aren’t in favor of big government for its own sake — it’s usually a means to solving some societal ill. But conservatives are (sometimes) right that expanding the reach of government can involve tradeoffs in personal freedom, that regulation sometimes has unintended consequences, that sometimes the cure is worse than the disease. They’re not always right about these things, but they’re right often enough that liberals should pay attention.

So far, so good. From here, Joel goes on to worry that our disagreements are getting so severe that our democracy itself may start to break down:

The problem? We Americans don’t really pay attention to each other any more. We’re not friends with each other anymore. We increasingly see our rivals as evil, meant to be stopped entirely. Compromise and accommodation—meetings of the minds—seem increasingly impossible in this atmosphere.

Our republic cannot survive this state of affairs for long. It rests on the notion that electoral losers accept the legitimacy of the winners, and that is increasingly no longer the case. . . Our republic also depends on healthy debate.

But I don’t think this state of affairs is brand new, nor especially extraordinary. Think only of the decade before the Civil War. There’s a reason we Claremonsters in particular obsess about that conflict. It was the South’s refusal to accept the legitimacy of the winner of the 1860 election that was the proximate cause of the Civil War.

By coincidence, I was just this morning rereading one of Harry Jaffa’s oldest books, Equality and Liberty (published in 1964), in which he says at the outset:

The Civil War is the most characteristic phenomenon in American politics, not because it represents a statistical frequency, but because it represents the innermost character of that politics.

Let me explain this further with a seeming digression: the single hardest thing to persuade today’s students about is the theoretical limits to majority rule. I usually pose the question to students thus: can a democratic majority rightly vote to enslave itself? It is astonishing how vehement students are in insisting that the answer is Yes, became democracy means majority rule! End of discussion. The moral confusion becomes acute when the next question is: then what’s wrong with a majority voting to enslave a minority—whether racial or otherwise?

The solution to this problem is subtle, but involves an essential point: majority rule is the practical substitute for unanimous consent to the first principles of equal rights (which is not the same thing as equality—take note, liberals) and government by consent. And at the core of those first principles is the philosophy of the natural rights of individuals. Here’s how Jaffa explained it and its connection to the kind of deliberative debate Joel wants to see thrive:

It was because men are by nature equal; because, that is, no man is by nature the ruler of another, that government derives its just powers from the consent of the governed—that is, from the opinion of the governed. But government based on the consent of all must operate upon the only practicable approach to unanimity, namely, the rule of the majority (however defined); and majorities can take shape or form only in and through the process of discussion. It is for this reason that discussion is indispensible to the democratic process; but the principle of discussion can never be separated from the principle of majority rule; nor can the principle of majority rule be separated from the principle of the natural equality of political right of all men. (Emphasis in original.)

Now, I doubt Joel thinks he disagrees with anything said here, but I’ll just note that the favorite liberal trope—being on “the side of History”—implicitly negates this older liberal understanding of the basis for democratic politics on a philosophical level, and this decayed philosophy has consequences—such as students having no way to think of a principle to mark out the limits of majority rule. Combined with this is the modern liberal understanding that any differences between individuals today is a violation of the principle of equality, which is the liberal gateway drug to tyranny. Which is why I say that Progressive liberalism (Joel I think can be categorized as an old-fashioned “reform liberal”) remains the chief threat to our democratic order, because of the thoughtless historicism that can be observed in most students being unable to recognize the principled limits to straight majority rule, and to side implicitly with Stephen Douglas’s position in 1858.

Never mind these theoretical aspects of the problem. Here’s one piece of conservative wisdom on this problem of deliberation and debate where liberals clearly are on the “wrong side of history” as understood in the common sense meaning of that phrase: to the extent that we first politicize and then centralize more and more things, our disagreements about fundamentals put more and more stress on our democratic institutions. Just to pick one example, did we really have to make the problem of sexual assault on college campuses a matter for close federal supervision through Title IX? Are not states—and colleges themselves (all run by good and sensitive liberals, keep in mind)—able to manage this?

Descending even further down the metaphysical food chain, it should be acknowledged that liberalism is usually the aggressor in the political wars, with a constant visage of passionate demands for more justice and equality. They are not always wrong to do so; in fact they are quite often right about the fundamental problem in view, if usually mistaken in solution. But the relentless inflaming of political passion will also increase the stress on the joints of democratic institutions. Which brings me back to my all time favorite analysis of the great Michael Oakeshott:

To some people, “government” appears as a vast reservoir of power which inspires them to dream of what use might be made of it. They have favorite projects, of various dimensions, which they sincerely believe are for the benefit of mankind, and to capture this source of power, if necessary to increase it, and to use it for imposing their favorite projects upon their fellows is what they understand as the adventure of governing men. They are, thus, disposed to recognize government as an instrument of passion; the art of politics is to inflame and direct desire. In short, governing is understood to be just like any other activity – making and selling a brand of soap, exploiting the resources of a locality, or developing a housing estate – only the power here is (for the most part) already mobilized, and the enterprise is remarkable only because it aims at monopoly and because of its promise of success once the source of power has been captured. Of course a private enterprise politician of this sort would get nowhere in these days unless there were people with wants so vague that they can be prompted to ask for what he has to offer, or with wants so servile that they prefer the promise of a provided abundance to the opportunity of choice and activity on their own account. And it is not all as plain sailing as it might appear: often a politician of this sort misjudges the situation; and then, briefly, even in democratic politics, we become aware of what the camel thinks of the camel driver.

Now, the disposition to be conservative in respect of politics reflects a quite different view of the activity of governing. The man of this disposition understands it to be the business of a government not to inflame passion and give it new objects to feed upon, but to inject into the activities of already too passionate men an ingredient of moderation; to restrain, to deflate, to pacify and to reconcile; not to stoke the fires of desire, but to damp them down. And all this, not because passion is vice and moderation virtue, but because moderation is indispensable if passionate men are to escape being locked in an encounter of mutual frustration.

Joel and his collaborator Ben are quite right to observe the “mutual frustration” of both sides of the political spectrum in the U.S. today. But I say it is mostly the liberals’ fault, for reasons Oakeshott suggests. I’ve been wondering if it is possible to measure in some quantitative way which side is more disgruntled at the moment, and I’m not sure such an objective measure is possible. But ask yourself this question: why is the left so unhappy—and Bernie Sanders getting so much traction—near the end of the rule of the most leftist president in the nation’s history?

It takes a whole semester, at least, of patient work to begin to unravel these interrelated problems. But that’s enough for this special pre-Christmas session of Power Line University. Now where’d I put down my egg nog?
 

a_majoor

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
30
Points
560
Taking the fight to SJW's everywhere:

http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2015/12/31/coming-2016-all-out-war-on-so-called-social-justice/

Coming 2016: All-Out War On So-Called ‘Social Justice’
by MILO YIANNOPOULOS
31 Dec 2015

In 2016, battle lines will be drawn. On one side, people of all colours, genders and orientations are rallying around the flag of freedom of speech. On the other, a nasty set of authoritarians are rallying around a flag that identifies as a flag only on Mondays, uses they/them pronouns and will try to get you fired or expelled from school if you forget it.

Let me explain. In 2015, I saw the seeds of a movement begin to sprout. Across the internet, and even in fear-gripped halls on campuses, young people began to stand up and challenge the humourless, divisive, identity-obsessed elites that have taken over our cultural discourse. People of seemingly disparate interests and politics — gamers, pundits, metalheads, comic book and science fiction fans, atheists, Catholics, conservatives, libertarians and even many disaffected liberals — came together to agree on only one thing: art and culture should be left alone.

That movement is called cultural libertarianism. It stands against any authoritarian, from the Right or the Left, who sucks fun and freedom from the world like some kind of vampire without the cool factor, and who uses faux grievances and exaggerated victimhood to get what they want. Cultural libertarianism rejects the fainting-couch feminism and race-baiting of the Left in favour of deliberately provocative joyfulness and exuberance. It also predicates facts over hurt feelings, versus the social justice crowd who want to turn harrowing anecdotes into “lived experience” — which we are then expected to treat like scientific data.

While college campuses retreat into safe spaces, emotional coddling and treating the leaders of tomorrow like primary school children, cultural libertarians think of new ways to provoke and offend people. In a culture of control, conformity, and coddling, cultural libertarians are the true counterculture. 2015 was the year victimhood and hurt feelings became social currency — but cultural libertarians are putting an end to the madness.

Using scary words like “abuse,” “threats” and “harassment,” wacky far-Left fantasists have tried to bully libertarians and conservatives into silence, threatening their reputations and publicly shaming them. They have failed: the resistance to speech codes, trigger warnings, safe spaces and other progressive and feminist stupidity is stronger than ever, and it comes from women and minorities as much as anyone else.

Cultural libertarians expose the hypocrisy in these codes and rules, using social media theatre, satire, and the dankest of memes to point out that these chefs do not eat their own cooking, and that these rules only exist to protect the aristocracy of socially-acceptable thought and speech, not regular people. It’s a grinning revolution of clowns, jokers, humorists and the good natured, laughing in the emperor’s face until he realises how naked he is.

We’re tired of the progressive left pretending to stick up for us while making the world less safe, leaving our media and workplaces fraught with anxiety and trying to censor and destroy our hobbies — even pushing creators of fantasy franchises to lie — or inexplicably forget key details — about their own creations in order to satisfy the PC brigade.

In a world where looking righteous is more important than doing good, making pure, socially-just art is preferred to, say, discussing the sex slaves of ISIS. Policing Twitter is more urgent than policing a neighbourhood. Superficially kind words and intentions replace genuinely kind acts. According to social justice, a savage world is fine, as long as our art, media, news and humour remain milquetoast.

It’s now clear that progressives, lecturing the rest of us on how we ought to live from their bully pulpits in the media, academia and the entertainment industry, are terrified of the internet and don’t want to know what we have to say. Well, tough. In 2016, it’s time for the counterculture to go to war. Over the past year, I’ve seen people from all over the world stand up and fight back against the authoritarian, censorious world being built around us.

From video games to reddit to college campuses, we’re beginning to realise that there are more of us than there are of them. Our YouTube videos get more views, our fundraisers smash their targets, our numbers on social media eclipse theirs. And by the way: we see your hypocrisy. Social justice is always a cover for something, as the endless queue of progressives who get busted for being sex pests or worse continues to grow.

The public is getting sick of nasty, spiteful rants from people who pretend that their objectives are nice-sounding things like “diversity” and “equality” but who are really just bullies. “Why does no one like me?” cries the SJW. Maybe because without regard to your race, creed, colour, gender, sexual orientation, et. al., the content of your character just sucks. Here’s a tip for social justice goons: sometimes when you think the rest of the world is mad and evil… it’s not them, it’s you.

Ordinary people are also getting sick of seeing stupid people hectoring them, lecturing them and admonishing them while denying obvious facts and scientific research for the sake of feelings. Social justice warriors have made themselves experts at ignorance. I mean, for instance, is there a class of people dumber and less well qualified to talk about gender relations than Gender Studies graduates?

It’s like getting wildlife advice from a guide who’s terrified of animals. “So tell us about the animals in this zoo.” “THEY ALL TERRIFY ME, I NEVER LEAVE THE RANGER STATION!” I’m sorry, but nobody needs sex advice from a silly little girl who’s not only never had any, but is actively terrified of men and penises. Get your sex advice from where all sensible people get it: your depraved uncle Milo.

And what’s with all the bigging up of disorders, diseases, disabilities and assorted other weirdnesses as though they were somehow the mark of moral virtue? Let me tell you, I know plenty of cripples and most of them are total assholes. I note that just about the only disability SJWs don’t revere is being mute. But I guess that would defeat the point, wouldn’t it. As for the endless pandering and mollycoddling of gays, it’s almost enough to turn me heterosexual.

When we fight, we win, because social justice warriors refuse to defend their loopy and idiotic pronouncements and because we don’t mind questioning authority and re-examining received wisdom. Crazy feminists are being exposed as horribly out of touch with ordinary people; race-baiters are being exposed as frauds and wackos. We are trampling all over the nannying speech codes of political correctness. So it’s time to fight properly.

Throughout 2016, I’ll be on my Dangerous Faggot tour, visiting college campuses throughout the US and Europe. No doubt, the crybullies on campus will try to ban me. But the fact that I’ve been invited to so many universities tells me that even on campuses, where the influence of authoritarian activists is so strong that professors are hounded from their positions for minor disagreements and preposterous manufactured grievances, the resistance is growing. Quickly — and regardless of the machinations of achingly PC social networks, who are policing speech with alarming regularity these days.

I constantly hear from people who ask me what they can do to help. Inviting controversial speakers like me is a good start, not only because we’re charming and fascinating and have great hair, but also because it’s a symbol of resistance against the campus censors. Even if they succeed in banning me (or Julie Bindel or Christina Hoff Sommers or any of the other personae non gratae of the campus crazies), all they do is alienate more reasonably-minded members of the public. So invite us, even if it seems hopeless.

Build connections with your fellow students, too. The advantage of the radicals is that they’re more motivated, often utterly dedicated to their ideology at the expense of all else. (Most of the feminists are childless, for instance, and almost all of them are single.) Although libertarians are often animated by a desire to simply be left alone with their own lives, we must resist the temptation to be casual. Take action. Build connections with people who think like you. Launch campaigns to overturn campus speech codes. Above all, form cultural libertarian societies on campus, so that freedom continues to grow after you leave.

And don’t forget to do what they really hate: examine controversial ideas. Go beyond your outdated, 1960s college reading lists. Dive into evolutionary psychology, the science of race and gender. Read Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate. Dive into the work of Robert Plomin and Simon Baron-Cohen, and other researchers whose work is terrifying the progressive orthodoxy. Read some Charles Murray!

Unlike radical progressives, cultural libertarians will never give you a banned book list. We want you to expand your mind, not your obedience to a rigidly-defined cult of conformity. Read your enemies, too. Listen to their media, browse their books, read their columns. Scout, probe, learn the ways of people you can’t stand so you know their arguments before they make them. Over-read, over-prepare, then win so decisively nobody forgets it. Forge unlikely alliances.

Fighting doesn’t have to be boring, of course. Because we’re repulsed by the joyless, dour humourlessness of political correctness, we’re also funnier and more exciting than our opponents — and that attracts even more supporters. Particularly when they come from 4chan and 8chan, cultural libertarians are among the most talented and creative forces on the internet, constantly producing memes, videos, and even songs to inspire supporters and enrage opponents. Like all countercultures in history, we have our own symbols and language.

But we’re also much, much funnier than the handwringing peaceniks of the 1960s. That, again, is due to the uniquely earnest and soppy forces that are ranged against us. They’d like to police the fun and the laughter off the face of the Earth. We’re reacting to that with clever and unpredictable new appraisals of the world around us, even as so-called “comedians” in the progressive establishment become little more than professional whiners.

Be funny. Nothing terrifies an authoritarian more than the sound of laughter. Ridicule and mirth in the face of anger and vitriol are our secret and deadly weapon. No one can resist the truth wrapped up in a good joke. And remember to push the boundaries in your humour, too. If they’re easily outraged, then be even more outrageous. The runaway success of my #FeminismIsCancer hashtag over Christmas has proven that you can say whatever you want, provided it’s twice as funny as it is offensive. And, of course, provided that it’s true.

The millennial generation stands at a crossroads. Just as every other generation has had to fight a battle to protect liberty, whether from the Moral Majority, the USSR, or the fascists, so too do you. Your opponents are less frightening than the ones your ancestors fought, but they’re still formidable. We must ridicule the social justice warriors and the campus crazies, but we must also not let their ridiculousness lull us into complacency. There’s work to be done.

You have a powerful ally in the fight, of course: me. My New Year’s resolution is to fuck shit up. Yiannopoulism (I’ll come up with a better name soon, I promise, but in the meantime this will trigger any SJW whose primary disability is hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia) is becoming a runaway internet phenomenon that shows no sign of slowing down any time soon. Every day, people are getting braver about making unconventional choices and learning to embrace fun and common sense again.

So come with me, over the next year. Let’s rustle jimmies and tweak noses. Let’s un-coddle the coddled American mind. Let’s respond to outrage culture with unapologetic, unrestrained, uncontrollable mischief. Who’s with me? Because here’s the dirty secret about social justice warriors: nothing bad happens when you tell them to go fuck themselves.

Had progressives wanted to stem the tide of cultural libertarianism, the time to do it was a year ago. They could have edged back, been reasonable and won us all over. But instead they doubled down. Fine: now they get to lose. Let’s defend culture and free expression and push these odious halfwits back into their dreary studio apartments filled with cat-piss and alt rock-records and let them know that we’ve decided to opt out of the soft bigotry of San Francisco-style hand-wringing nonsense. We possess a working sense of humour and we’re going to use it — whether they like it or not.

If you take their crybully pronouncements at face value, social justice warriors believe, with all the fervor of a paranoiac, that they are helpless, fragile things, buffeted by sinister structural forces they are powerless to resist. They believe that their opponents possess power that, if used ruthlessly enough, could eradicate them. What do you say we prove them right?

Follow Milo Yiannopoulos (@Nero) on Twitter and Facebook, or write to him at milo@breitbart.com. Android users can download Milo Alert! to be notified about new articles when they are published.
 
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