I Guess Our Work Here is Done, Y’all

Here at Rotten Chestnuts, we try to examine some of the stuff “everybody knows” that just ain’t so.  But we can’t know everything.  We are, after all, just people.

Sexy, wonderful people, to be sure, but still just people.

But the eggheads at Vox, now… those guys know everything.  Really.  The Federalist breaks it all down.

We can’t possibly compete with that.  It’s time to pack it in, guys.

Conservatives vs. Libertarians

Matt K. Lewis at The Week breaks it down:

Conservatism and libertarianism are not the same. There are obvious differences on hot-button issues like military intervention (libertarians tend to oppose it while many conservatives tend to favor a robust U.S. military) and immigration reform (libertarians want borders that are a whole lot more open than what conservatives prefer). And there’s also the ever-present tension between freedom and virtue, between order and liberty.

So far, so good, but then we get to this:

Libertarians are full steam in favor of individual-liberty issues like gay marriage and marijuana decriminalization. And while not every conservative thinks these things will be the downfall of Western civilization, we do worry that emphasizing rights over responsibility and radical individualism over community might have unintended consequences.

And there you have it.  The emphasis is mine, because in my fairly extensive experience, those are really the only things “libertarians” are in favor of.

Look, I live in a college town.  “Doctrinaire left-liberal” and “poseur libertarian” are about the only two political identities on offer.  Goateed, fedora-wearing, Cheeto-stained dudes who are just too cool to be in your World of Warcraft guild always opt for the latter, and needless to say they’re not exactly nuanced political thinkers.

These guys would vote for fucking Stalin if he promised to loosen up the pot laws, is what I’m getting at.

Let’s look at that list again.  Libertarians favor:

  • non-intervention
  • open borders
  • gay marriage
  • pot legalization

You know who else thinks all those things are just super great?

indexOf course, he’ll go on about military non-intervention as he’s bombing the living shit out of just about everywhere — we’re up to seven different countries at last count — but you know that if he had his druthers, the (ick!) military would be a glorious coeducational gay-friendly knitting circle.

I’ll start listening to “libertarians” when and only when I see one who doesn’t go full progtard the second he gets a whiff of doobage.

Alinskyism in Action

I’m not a Sean Hannity Show fan … matter of fact I really can’t stand listening to it, though I catch snippets in the car from time to time because I’m too lazy to change the station on the 7 minute ride home (and there aren’t any other stations these days I’d like anyway).  A lot of it is because even though he’s got truth and reason on his side, he can’t seem to focus enough to destroy such a weak guest as Betsy Rodriguez of Green Front, apparently formerly of the ill-fated (because nobody wanted to listen to it) Air America … on “Climate Change/Chaos/Warmening” … Man Bear Pig.  But this isn’t really about Sean, who I probably agree with on a majority of things … it’s about this.

Her whole argument, and I’m not exaggerating here, was this:

  • Planetary Crisis
  • 99% of Climate Scientists
  • Oh…. come on.
  • Have you noticed the weather is extreme? Hurricane Sandy? (The 2012 which hit Cuba as a Cat 3 storm quickly fell back to a Cat 1 and was a tropical storm by the time it hit the northeast.  It was little more than a coincidental combination of a tropical and extra-tropical storm as it moved out of the tropics, hyped by the media and pounced upon by AGW activists)
  • Oh my goodness gracious! (dismissing a scientist from University of Pennsylvania as soon as his name is mentioned)
  • What planet do you live on?
  • You guys are fossil fools! You are the deni-o-saurs! I didn’t think you’d show your face after 4,000,000 people from around the country and the world came here.
  • What??? (to the fact there’s been no warming for 18 years)
  • 98% of scientists … (guess she lost a percent.  They were probably listening to the show)

The most telling… when the East Anglian University emails were brought up….

  • Oh my gosh, we’re not going to go back to that!?  Oh my gosh! That is such old news!
  • Not true. Proven not true. Really. Go on to the next argument. Al Gore and his plane, and East Aglia, what do you have that’s new… for me? Come on!

So pretty much ridicule and buzz-word dropping and repeating that debunked 99 98 97% Climate Scientist claim.  I especially loved “fossil fools” and “deni-o-saurs”.  Which is why I came up with Al-warmist (An Al Gore Warmist Alarmist).  To kind of answer that kind of stuff. They’ve been at it longer, though.

And of course, the vehement dismissal of Climategate and an almost panicked urgency to NOT talk about it.

In the end, though, rather than forcing her to stay on topic and defend her positions against cited facts, the conversation went on to less relevant tit-for-tat even though Sean had a well-informed guest who could have destroyed her on air if he’d been given a chance to speak without her interruptions and Sean changing the subjects so quickly.


The Thiel Question

From RWCG:

“What important truth do very few people agree with you on?”

Sonic’s answer is well worth pondering.  Here’s mine:

People are always rational, but only intermittently reasonable. 

The individual’s basic rationality is the cornerstone of Western philosophy.  All Plato’s dialogues show Socrates leading an individual from ignorance to truth through their own unaided reason.  Hobbes based his whole theory of human nature on it.  Even the Calvinists, who preached the total depravity of mankind, believed it — next to the Bible itself, the most quoted works among the Puritans were the logical works of Petrus Ramus.

But people always seem to forget that second part, even though everyone knows it’s true.  People always pursue what they perceive to be the good.  Key word: Perceive.  Smashing that guy in the face, stealing that car, smoking that joint, screwing that girl… all of these seemed like the best idea at the time, under the circumstances.  What’s rational is not necessarily what’s reasonable.  This is how Hobbes arrived at an authoritarian political system from the basic rationality of mankind.

Indeed, many people would find my Thiel Answer self-contradictory.  The Stoics, for instance, seemed to believe that the universe was Reason; to act “in accordance with nature,” as their commandment put it, was to be simultaneously rational and reasonable at all times.  The French Revolutionaries believed that, too, as these grotesqueries attest.  And Our Betters, the liberals, certainly seem to believe it — if only we saw things from their Olympian perspective, we’re constantly told, we’d be socialists too.

But it’s not trueIt’s certainly not true on the level of individuals.  If it were, there’d be no obesity epidemic in America — all you’d have to do is show the fatties pictures of clogged aortas.  Satisfying an immediate, overpowering urge is always rational; it’s just not always reasonable.

It’s not true on the macro level, either, and even Our Betters know it.  They all pretend to understand chaos theory, for instance, and they’ll happily tell you that you can’t predict even something as simple as a billiard shot with perfect accuracy — there are just too many initial conditions to consider.  It is rational, in other words, to declare that we could make a 100% accurate prediction IFF we knew all the initial conditions.  It’s just not reasonable to attempt such predictions in real life, because we’ll never know them all.  You have to fudge and guess and assume and retcon and pull stuff out of your ass.  Ask Squirty how that’s working out.

Uncertainty makes Squirty cry

Uncertainty makes Squirty cry

What’s your answer to the Thiel Question?

Leftists Accidentally Get One Right

Lefties are correct about one thing: Leftism is about giving power to the powerless.  Too bad it’s not the kind of power they think it is.  Behold the awesome power of the Fiction Police:

tumblr_nbz1knJbXK1rwmkdpo1_500Back in the days, dirty commies like Max Weber noticed something odd about the dour Calvinist fanatics that founded the modern world: They worked like Japanese beavers on Adderall, even though their deepest religious convictions held that all human effort is futile.

The dirty commies of the Frankfurt School picked up on this, leading to the theory that capitalism makes you crazy (funny how people who don’t see the world exactly as leftists do are always mentally ill).  And thence came acres and acres of freudianized marxoblather about how we’d all be wonderful people living in The Sane Society  if only we’d let enlightened individuals like Stalin herd us into work camps.  You know, for our own good.

Well, ok: Make that two things leftists accidentally got right.  (If you count flipping cause and effect as “getting one right”).  In the Calvinists’ case, their work ethic really was a neurosis.  See, when two deeply held beliefs conflict, frantic displacement activity is one way to vent some of the tension.

Displacement activities occur when an animal experiences high motivation for two or more conflicting behaviours: the resulting displacement activity is usually unrelated to the competing motivations. Birds, for example, may peck at grass when uncertain whether to attack or flee from an opponent; similarly, a human may scratch his or her head when they do not know which of two options to choose. Displacement activities may also occur when animals are prevented from performing a single behaviour for which they are highly motivated. Displacement activities often involve actions which bring comfort to the animal such as scratching, preening, drinking or feeding.

Your deepest religious conviction tells you all human effort is futile.  Yet, you must exist in the world while obeying all of God’s laws.  So you make a shitload of furniture in a desperate attempt to not think about it.

So, too, with our Social Justice Warriors.  In case you haven’t noticed, the world is going to hell in a handbasket these days.  And even the dimmest of lefty dimbulbs can’t help but see that a lot of it is liberalism’s fault.  They got their precious Mocha Messiah, and he did exactly what he said he would, and…well….

“Homophobia” persists despite Brendan Eich’s scalp hanging from a rainbow-colored belt.  We’ve had fifty years of feminism, and nothing has changed, according to feminists themselves.  Think about that for a sec — y’all have been screeching for 2/3 of a human lifespan, and you still can’t get a lousy 25 cent raise?  Bill Clinton was begging for a “national conversation on race” back in the 1990s, for pete’s sake, and the situation today make one long for the calm rationality of the Watts Riots.  Either we never had that very important conversation — despite Clinton and Obama, both universally regarded as the greatest orators since Demosthenes — or it didn’t take, despite ditto.  The globe is still warming, even when it’s cooling, or staying the same, or doing the macarena, even though poor Iron Eyes Cody started crying his eyes out in 1971.  Anyone seeing a trend yet?

Enter the Fiction Police.  Leftists get louder as their area of effect shrinks.  “Gamers” make up approximately 93% of the internet, but they’re irrelevant politically.  Anybody ever seen a politician awkwardly holding a joystick and eating Cheetos for a photo op?  And gamers will always be ahead of the Social Justice Warriors, since coding involves facts and logic and reason and math and seventeen other things that SJWs suck at, because getting an A in them in college isn’t just a matter of venting one’s pwecious widdle feewings to a like-minded TA.

So, yeah: the Diversity Crusaders have scored a few victories in the world of gaming, mostly by deploying the awesome power of their vaginas.  In this sense, they are truly empowered.

Too bad for them that nobody who matters gives a shit.

My Take on the Ray Rice Thing

If anyone cares….

It’s just another Two Minutes’ Hate ginned up by the Social Justice Warriors.  Rice will be quietly reinstated in six months, and he’ll sign with the Raiders in the offseason, and nobody will make a peep.

Regular reader Gary (one of about three; thanks Gary!) asked the other day for some examples of what leftists would do if they believed their own bullshit.  I’d suggest that the same people who are now calling for Roger Goodell’s head, and Ray Rice’s ass, would — if they were consistent — have also demanded the following:

  • The head of Sony Music’s chairman when Britney Spears criminally endangered her kids, losing custody of them in 2007.
  • The everlasting embargo of Carmen Electra, after her arrest for domestic abuse against Dennis Rodman in 1999
  • The head of CBS Broadcasting when pick one of Charlie Sheen’s many, many drug-and-domestic-abuse scandals came to light.

I’m betting there’s pretty much no overlap in those Venn diagrams, because 3 of 4 circles are pretty much empty.

As further evidence, I offer the ongoing SJW rage against Nike, after they re-signed Michael Vick to endorsement deals.  What, you didn’t know they did that?  I rest my case.

If I were Ray Rice, by the way, I’d be playing the race card for all its worth.  You may not have noticed, for instance — because of the latest Ray Rice stuff — that Penn State is now mysteriously bowl-eligible this season.  Convenient, that, coming as it does right after the Big 10 — i.e. the conference with the whitest fan base in all of football — laid an egg its opening weekend.  Michigan sucks, Braxton Miller of Ohio State is out for the season, Wisconsin collapsed against LSU, Nebraska nearly lost to McNeese State, and whaddaya know?  The only Big 10 team with any signs of football life is back in bowl contention.

You know, Penn State — where they covered up literally decades of child rape.  No SJW outrage about that highly suspicious coincidence, eh?


There’s a good piece at Ace’s about this.

My quick two cents: The problem with Libertarianism is that it quickly devolves into a caricature.  This is quite often Libertarians’ fault.

Not always, of course, but the problem with the caricature is that it’s quickly picked up on by the left, and the dumbasses who are responsible for the devolution in the first place have no answer for it.

For instance:  How many times have you seen a leftist jump in with “hey, I thought you rightwingers were all about the right to free association?!?” when it comes to politically motivated witch hunts against people like Brandon Eich?  Or “you rightwingers love the army and police.  Well, guess what?  Those are paid for by taxes!” (alternate version: “Using military force / supporting the police is Big Government, which I thought you rightwingers were against!”)

Put simply, government is a necessary evil.

The key word there is necessary.

One could, I suppose, make a nice, theoretical, philosophically tight case for things like subcontracting all police and military functions to private corporations.  (Robert Nozick, I’m told, actually does make something like that case, if you want some heavy reading).  But that’s not how the real world works.  The real world is Hobbesian; the state of nature is so awful that anything, even the restrains of government, are preferable to it.  The point of politics then becomes:  To minimize the number of smaller, localized necessary evils that make up the big Necessary Evil of contractual government.

That’s the argument we should be having.  Not this ridiculous inside-baseball crap about who is, or isn’t, a real conservative.  Alas, it often comes down to that:

However, his [John Kasich, Republican Governor of Ohio] expansion of Medicaid did not sit well with many conservatives. And he has been rapped for proposing a “round of tax increases; including higher taxes on tobacco products, e-cigarette/vapor products, higher oil and gas severance tax, and a hike in the Commercial Activity Tax (CAT). ” (Anti-tax groups nevertheless praised him for income-tax cuts.) In short, he illustrates the difference between a fiscal conservative and a libertarian. In contrast to the sort of tea party candidates who wiped out in the Senate primaries, Kasich doesn’t see government as the enemy. As a governor he’s been expected to improve government, not dismantle it. At a time when reform conservatives are getting attention, he may be in keeping with the current Zeitgeist in the GOP.

There is nothing inherently anti-conservative about the statement “As a governor he’s been expected to improve government, not dismantle it.”  Again:  <i>necessary</i> evil.  I want my government to be maximally efficient at its very, very, very (very very very) minimal responsibilities.  But look at the proposed alternative:  either improved government, or NO government.

This is not tenable.  Nobody is proposing the outright dissolution of government.  But that’s the caricature — as Jen Rubin, the GOP uber-hack who wrote that, would surely know — and you’ve got supposedly transitioning-to-libertarianism Drew M. agreeing with her.

Yes yes, I know — John Kasich is, in fact, a Democrat for all intents and purposes.  So are most of the “establishment GOP.”  And you won’t have to look too long in the Rotten Chestnuts archives to know my opinion of those assholes.  But look:  The alternatives aren’t “big government” and “no government.”  That’s a cartoon position, which so many “libertarians” — cartoons themselves — are eager to perpetuate.  “Efficient government” is, in fact, a good way of describing a stripped-down, minimalist state.  It’s a good starting point for debate.

We’ve got to know what we’re talking about, in other words, before we can push for it.  And many “libertarians” aren’t helping.

Doping the Proles

Huh — I believe I was discussing this very thing over here a while back.

Smitty reports:

Welfare recipients can’t use their EBT cards at liquor stores but they can at marijuana dispensaries in states such as Colorado that have legalized pot, Sen. Jeff Sessions revealed Tuesday.
The Alabama Republican announced that he was drafting legislation to close the welfare-for-weed loophole after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services confirmed to him that marijuana shops were not off limits to EBT cards, which replaced food stamps, or other federal benefits.

As noted, I don’t really have a problem with this.  Vibrant diversity which is baked off its ass isn’t out randomly beating grocery store employees into a coma.  If we’re going to support these worthless wretches on the public tit, let’s at least get something out of it.  EBT pot for public order is a decent tradeoff until the Pfizer boys cook up some real ghetto tranqs.

A Reasonable Litmus Test

Saw this over at Ace’s overnight thread:

That there are angry, bitter misanthropes out there with a chip on their shoulder about having to cook is not significant. What is significant is that this outlook gets taken seriously and finds a home and a ready audience on the left. What’s significant is that there is a constituency out there that is ready to complain about each and every basic requirement of human life, to resent the effort of taking responsibility for it, and to denounce as tyranny any expectation that life is supposed to be about work, effort, and striving.

– Robert Tracinski on Amanda Marcotte’s outrage over the tyranny of home-cooked meals.

That does seem to be the end goal of leftism, doesn’t it?  When nobody has to do anything for herself?

So I have to ask:  IS that the goal?  What would Ms. Marcotte’s ideal world look like, when women have full control of their bodies, when my rosaries are off her ovaries, when gays are married in big spectacular mass weddings like the world’s most faaaaab-ulous Moonies, and conservatism is outlawed?

I will take a liberal seriously when, and only when, she has an answer to that question which doesn’t cause half the room to burst into uncontrollable laughter.