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July 8, 2008

The Libertarian Party: racism for smart people
Posted by Patrick at 01:11 AM *

Thank you, Bob Barr, for reminding us that “libertarianism,” as espoused in America today, is fundamentally about hating black people, homosexuals, liberals, and the poor.

Up until this, I actually had kind things to say about Barr, based on the notion that he’d gone through some interesting changes since being a floor manager for the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Never mind that. I’m obviously a complete idiot.

Comments on The Libertarian Party: racism for smart people:
#1 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 01:39 AM:

maybe his website got hacked?

(snark flag)

#2 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 01:53 AM:

Hmmm. I think Barr's statement on Jesse Helms is as interesting for what it doesn't say as for what it does. It would have been very easy to insert a few code words, something like, "Domestically, Helms had a strong commitment to a positive, traditional American society."

It seems like the minimum necessary to placate the right wing Libertarians. I'm sure you can find much more fulsome examples of praise for Jesse without trying very hard.

Just for the record, I'm not trying to minimize Helms' horrific record - IMHO the man is burning in the hottest part of hell right now - just saying that you may be misinterpreting what you read.

#3 ::: G D Townshende ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 02:28 AM:

Bob Barr is about as "libertarian" as Jesse Helms was "commit[ted] to liberty."

I've voted for a couple of Libertarian candidates in the past, but Barr sure as hell won't be getting my vote! I've lived in Georgia before, so I'm familiar with Barr. I lived in Lawrenceville, in fact (think of the court responsible for what happened to Ed Kramer; Barr's efforts to help Kramer were commendable, but that's about as much praise as I've got for the man). I'm damned glad I'm now living in Maryland again.

#4 ::: Brenda ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 02:34 AM:

Sen. Helms was one of the finest, most courageous and deeply principled men to ever serve in the United States Congress.

I'm not seeing many ways to misinterpret that.

He was also the consummate gentleman, revered by colleagues, staff and friends for his unfailing kindness, good humor, generosity and patriotism.

Others might disagree:

Soon after the Senate vote on the Confederate flag insignia, Sen. Jesse Helms (R.-N.C.) ran into Mosely-Braun in a Capitol elevator. Helms turned to his friend, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R.-Utah), and said, “Watch me make her cry. I’m going to make her cry. I’m going to sing ‘Dixie’ until she cries.” He then proceeded to sing the song about the good life during slavery to Mosely-Braun (Gannett News Service, 9/2/93; Time, 8/16/93).

Consummate gentleman my ass.

#5 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 02:34 AM:

Alex @ #2, Hilzoy created a compendium of said fulsome praise for the man. You might need Tums after reading.

#6 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 02:38 AM:

#5 Linkmeister - I don't plan to read it. I hate to speak ill of the dead, but Helms was a horrible American, and praise for the man would turn my stomach.

#7 ::: G D Townshende ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 02:47 AM:

Dubya said, regarding Helms (as noted in the post to which Linkmeister (#5) linked), "So it is fitting that this great patriot left us on the Fourth of July"?

Egads! Doesn't this man realize that Helms, by expiring on this date, has marred the day of Thomas Jefferson's death?!

#8 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 02:51 AM:

Alex @ #6, you're probably wise to forgo it. Some of it's jaw-droppingly bizarre. Whitewash is too inadequate a word.

G D Townshende @ $7, John Adams too!

#9 ::: DBratman ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 04:19 AM:

Appalling as that is, I'm not sure how it's a demonstration even of what Bob Barr is fundamentally all about, let alone libertarianism (which is not the same thing as Bob Barr).

The hallmark of libertarianism seems to me to be the "I'm All Right, Jack" attitude, an uncaring disdain for others not as fortunate as oneself. This is annoying enough, but quite different from the positive loathing and fear of specified groups expressed by racist conservatives like Helms. Though not totally incompatible, as we see.

I suspect that Helms was charming and friendly to Barr personally. (Why shouldn't he have been? Barr sponsored DOMA.) And that's why Barr wrote this. Granted, he crossed a serious line here. But I don't think it's a window into Barr's real self so much as a demonstration that he is the idiot here. Not you.

#10 ::: Zander ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 04:37 AM:

DBratman #9: at the risk of offending any Libertarians reading this (about whose personal beliefs I can not and do not comment), that's how I've always viewed that belief system based on what I've read and heard about it...and it might be argued that "uncaring disdain" is the standby mode of hate.

As I understand it, the ideal Libertarian believes that every individual should look out for his or her own interests, without interference from the government. "Me against the world." From this it would follow that, as far as the Libertarian individual's philosophy is concerned, "the world" can go hang...till it becomes a threat.

I don't think the two responses, the disdain and the hate, can be separated. They're two faces of the same entity.

#11 ::: inge ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 05:43 AM:

Zander #10: I don't think the two responses, the disdain and the hate, can be separated. They're two faces of the same entity.

Hm. Uncaring disdain is "I wouldn't piss on you if you were on fire" and hate is "I'd light the fire given an opportunity"?

#12 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 06:14 AM:

There are actually existing libertarians, who may or may not be members of the Libertarian Party, who are very happy with collective action. Scott Taylor, regular commenter here, comes immediately to mind. So does Jim Henley, occasional commenter here, often linked to, and his crew at Unqualified Offerings. Heck, one of them is collecting donations for a deserving underfunded library. There's Radley Balko, a genuine American hero for his efforts on behalf of victims of the War on Some Drugs.

They are not well represented by pretty much any organization claiming the name "libertarian"...but y'know, liberals against the war in Iraq might want to have some sympathy there, given the Democratic Party's record of capitulation and cooperation on awful, vile matters. For instance.

#13 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 06:20 AM:

Basically, what Barr (and most of the people Hilzoy quotes) are saying is that the late Senator Helms was a dedicated man who cared about important, "grown-up" issues, and who was One Of Us. (Altermeyer, passim.) I suspect that the mass sepulchre-whitening and disregard of his actual record is a tribal thing, in that they consider any criticism of the newly dead as grotesquely rude and inappropriate as we do their approach.

(Personally, I find any suggestion that someone is/was a perfect and flawless human being grotesquely rude and inappropriate, since it's clear that the eulogist (oulogist?) is talking about concepts and ideals rather than a person, and using the deceased only as an excuse.)

#14 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 06:31 AM:

I'm fascinated by the tributes to Helms that glide right over every evil he ever did and focus on what a staunch, conservative gentleman he was.

Bob Barr, on the other hand, is nothing but an opportunist who is looking for a moment in the sun. It was astonishing when he seemed to develop a set of principles in the wake of being districted out of the House, but his abandoning every last one of the principles he claims to have stood for is one of the more fascinating sights in recent political history.

#15 ::: Johan Larson ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 06:46 AM:

@14, Yes, when discussing the newly dead, people tend to focus on the positive if at all possible. But if you'd prefer to strike off the fetters of civility, you may be interested in the commentary of Christopher Hitchens.

I don't think I'll join you. There's a time for Hitchens's forthright condemmnation and our host's cheap snark; but this isn't it.

#16 ::: Arthur D. Hlavaty ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 07:07 AM:

I hope it pries more of the Stupid White People vote away from McCain.

#17 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 07:22 AM:

Johan Larson #15: Helms objected to the very existence of people like myself, so why the hell should I mourn his death? Be so kind as to tell me that.

#18 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 07:26 AM:

Even the Raleigh media outlets are being less than enthusiastic about praising Helms' life.

#19 ::: JimR ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 07:31 AM:

Foul. Just foul, foul, foul. I'm all for not speaking ill of the dead--in this case, it'll help him be forgotten all the quicker. But ignoring such awful, awful things about the man. Ugh.

Though I'm not really sure I would paint the entire libertarian community with such a nasty brush...I mean, John Scalzi'S fairly libertarian, isn't he? Oh, and he just gave the man $6.10.
D'oh...

#20 ::: Zander ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 07:32 AM:

inge #11: And the difference between them is the difference between "(I hate you but) I don't think you're a threat to me" and "I think you are, or may be, or may become, a threat to me."

#21 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 07:35 AM:

Johan Larson #14: Why not now? If Helms does not deserve odium, then why should later be any more appropriate? And if he does, then his very public stature means that we can come to bury rather than praise him.

#22 ::: Michael Walsh ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 07:42 AM:

Looks like the Barr piece slipped in from some alternate history.

#23 ::: Johan Larson ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 07:46 AM:

Fragano@17: I'm not asking you to mourn Helms's death, but rather to refrain from heckling while others do so. Once he's good and buried you're welcome to dance on his grave for all I care. I'd be hard pressed to find a kind word for him myself.

#24 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 07:58 AM:

Johan, #15: May I ask, when do you think is the appropriate time to focus on the entire legacy left by a person in power?

We had another round of this not too long ago, and someone (I don't recall who) made a comment I found very apropos:

"Those who advocate not speaking ill of the dead had better hope that the dead did something which can be spoken of positively."

I don't think Helms qualifies. If nothing else, that episode with Moseley-Brown should have been in every obituary.

#25 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 08:24 AM:

Johan Larson #23: Helms deserved not one good word from me, and I fail to see that the old bastard's death wipes out the evil that he did and said.

When Martin Luther King was shot, Jesse Helms asked students mourning his death at the University of North Carolina to ask their parents if they thought it was acceptable for their sons or daughters to 'marry a negro' and only those whose parents agreed should demonstrate against the killing of Dr King. I'm not even going to go into his objection to a national holiday commemorating MLK and the Civil Rights Movement.

In April 1968, when King was killed, I was not yet twelve years old, and the child of the kind of marriage that Helms was so pointedly objecting to. I have no reason to say one kind word for him. And no objection to heckling in the least.

#26 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 08:33 AM:

Johan@23: So that would be around 3pm today? (The funeral starts at 2pm.) Let's all synchronize our watches.

Honestly though, there are people who truly loved the man and they will be mourning for a good long time. Given what seems like an overly expansive definition of heckling, it might be a while before we could examine his legacy without being accused of heckling while others mourn.

I wouldn't characterize what anyone has done here as heckling. A straightforward retelling of the events of Jesse Helms's life is not heckling. It's unfortunate for Mr. Helms that the events of his life that immediate come to mind are the odious, hateful ones.

Yes, Christopher Hitchens did a little gratuitous namecalling. I think that counts as heckling. The story of what he did to Carol Moseley Braun, though, is a straightforward recounting of his life.

#27 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 08:38 AM:

I have a friend in NC, and the report I got was that a fair number of people there are glad 'Senator No' is gone.

#28 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 09:09 AM:

JimR: From my point of view, John Scalzi is prone to fits of amoral "it's all just a game anyway" thinking. I regard this as a luxury. But then I get disability benefits that I depend on, too.

#29 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 09:16 AM:

My friend called me with the news. "Did you hear? Jesse Helms died." But it was noisy where I was and I thought I heard him say "Justice Holmes died."

Aghast, thinking that one of the last remaining liberals on the Supreme Court had died, I said "Oh my god." My mind raced: was there enough time remaining in the Senate term for Bush to get one last appointment in? Would the Democrats, looking forward to a President Obama and an increased majority in the Senate, block him?

Only later did I see the news and realize that, in fact, Justice Holmes had died in 1935. I wonder what my friend made of my reaction. (Certainly he knows I am no fan of Helms: we worked together on the Harvey Gantt for Senate campaign against him.)

#30 ::: Jan Vaněk jr. ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 09:25 AM:

JimR #19 (and partially also Bruce Baugh #28): Please tell me this was some kind of especially fine irony, or at least that you haven't read the paragraph just below Barr's picture.

#31 ::: B. Dewhirst ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 09:57 AM:

I'm a new reader here, so my apologies if this has come up before.

Though Bob Barr is a good example of what is wrong with the US Libertarian Party, an examination of the candidacy of someone like George Phillies shows that there are some sensible types in the party. Still, it seems to be the "I've got mine, go get yours" types who run the party at the end of the day. I'm not saying the prospects are good... but it isn't -quite- hopeless.

http://phillies2008.org/

disclosure: Dr. Phillies was my former physics professor

#32 ::: Scott Harris ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 10:02 AM:

Jan @30:

I don't think they were being ironic at all, just drawing a distinction between libertarianism as a political philosophy and the Libertarian Party as it currently exists in general and the rather odious Barr in particular. Also read Bruce @12. They're right - I know and know of plenty of libertarians (small l, not necessarily members of the party) that have never given me reason to think of them as racist or bigoted in any way - Jim Henley and game designer Bill Stoddard come to mind.

None of which makes Barr's eulogy for Helms any less repugnant, of course. On the other hand, to the extent that he actually functions as a *civil* libertarian, supports the ACLU, and does things like filibuster telecom immunity, Barr may still serve a useful function nevertheless.

#33 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 10:02 AM:

George Phillies?!? Well, sonofagun. I remember him from reading his zines in The Wild Hunt and Alarums & Excursions.

Jan, I'm afraid whatever point you have in mind in #30 is passing me by.

#34 ::: JimR ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 10:05 AM:

#30, Jan...
Hrm? No, no Irony that I am aware of.
Are you referring to the presidential campaign thing? Yeah, I knew that. According to his blog (check the link in my original post) John Scalzi donated the entirety of his $6.10 "economic stimulus refund check" from Dubya to the Bob Barr campaign, apparently because he believes that Barr might peel a few votes off of McCain. Like they say Nader did with Gore (and to a lesser extent Kerry).

Also because 6.10 is really not that much money (to a person with a good paying job, of course. To others it is quite a lot. But let's not get into that.)

He's probably around here somewhere, maybe he'll show up and explain it better than I can.

#35 ::: Scott Harris ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 10:06 AM:

Myself @32: Duh, Barr no longer being a Congress critter, I guess the main useful function he might serve at this point is to peel off some votes from McCain's right flank.

#36 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 10:11 AM:

I'm with Clarence Darrow on this.

#37 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 10:38 AM:

He began splitting the party as soon as he got nominated...many libertarians are not voting for him.

As a pagan, I cannot.

#38 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 11:05 AM:

I wonder if US foreign policy will improve with Helms's passing. We may hope.

#39 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 11:07 AM:

22: "Looks like the Barr piece slipped in from some alternate history."

Nope, no zeppelins.

#40 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 11:59 AM:

OK, I have it on good authority that de mortuis nil nisi bonum has been suspended in Helms' case. The Powers That Govern Such Things have spoken.

Seriously, the usual reason for that is that there are those who loved the person, and are in mourning, and making their suffering worse by reviling him or her is cruel. In Helms' case I actually think he was so evil that loving* him makes the lover complicit in his evil. There are some vilenesses so vile that to fail to recognize them as such is to become vile oneself.

I respectfully submit that Helms was one such vileness, and that anyone who helped and supported him and now misses him has lost the privilege of not hearing us speak the truth about this fucking TURD in human form.

And Bob Barr, DOMA sponsor, even without this, can take the advice in the title of this post.

Disclosure: I am a gay man and a Wiccan, and lost many friends to AIDS.


*I mean to the extent that you'd actually be saddened by his death, not just "love thy neighbor" kind of love.

#41 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 12:07 PM:

P J Evans @27, I was born and raised in NC and in my house, there was always much dislike for Helms. My house was far from the only one.

#42 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 12:54 PM:

I prefer to hold a more charitable view of American libertarianisms: namely that the label has been coöpted by a sizable fraction of illiberal twats, enough to give the whole movement a bad name, in much the same way that the Green label has attracted the self-identification of a lot of authoritarians in denial about the collapse of Marxism. It's probably a bad idea to tar the whole rank and file of any of America's minority political movements with the handy brush at hand when evaluating the candidate at the top of their nominal party's ticket.

That said, yeah— Bob Barr. Add his name to the list if it wasn't there already. (It was already on mine, and his "interesting changes" weren't enough to make me forgive.)

#43 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 01:13 PM:

My take on libertarianism is that even in the best case, the emphasis on the individual is in substantial factual error. We're all of us smart or capable or skilled because an environment of other people made us that way.

There are a few people who manage to get that far, continue to be greatly concerned by maximizing individual access to choice and individual freedom from arbitrary authority, and wind up tackling an extremely difficult problem in social organization.

Most, though, seem to be arguing that most forms of ganging up on problems are illegitimate. It isn't much different from arguing that technical innovation threatening the social position of the current ruling class is illegitimate, and I suspect that this has a lot to do with the observed common failure mode.

#44 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 01:16 PM:

Linkmeister @ 8

Whitewash is too inadequate a word.

How about "honky-wash"?

#45 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 01:53 PM:

Could we please not get into yet another flamewar about the nature of Libertarianism (or "libertarianism" either)? Everytime we do that, the dogs get very upset, and it takes hours to coax the cats to climb down out of the curtains. And the parrots learn some choice new words.

#46 ::: Constance Ash ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 02:02 PM:

There's no use for racists and the non-tolerant, dead or alive. It doesn't matter how much their children and dog loved them.

#47 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 02:45 PM:

As usual, the Bard seems to have the last word:

"The evil men do lives on after them; the good is oft interred with their bones."

Sadly, this is likely to be the legacy of Jesse Helms.

This would also be an apt place to recommend to those who have not read it the excellent short story "Senator Bilbo" -- published by our esteemed host IIRC. Hearing back-country Southern racism translated into the landscape and voices of Middle-Earth is an experience not soon to be forgotten.

#48 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 02:58 PM:

Alex Cohen @29: Only later did I see the news and realize that, in fact, Justice Holmes had died in 1935.

You must have realized that he had abstained on most of the recent Supreme Court rulings :)

#49 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 03:24 PM:

Graydon @43: We're all of us smart or capable or skilled because an environment of other people made us that way.

Literally, I would be the same person if I had never learned to speak or read; but not in any sense I (the person who learned to speak and read) would appreciate.

Even being raised in a different culture (I'm thinking Inuit) would make a substantial difference.

Someone*, in a bit of doggerel, described the self-made man who had all of the statistics at his command; save for the number of people it took to make one self-made man.


* Alexander King, in a book titled May This House Be Safe From Tigers. A frequent guest on the Jack Parr Show, publishers took notice that when an author described his book on TV, sales went up.

#50 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 03:37 PM:

Bruce Cohen (STM) @ #44, Grins. Your choice, young man (or, as my late father used to say regularly, driving me crazy each time, "You do what you think best; I'm sure you'll do the right thing).

#51 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 04:41 PM:

Graydon #43: Most, though, seem to be arguing that most forms of ganging up on problems are illegitimate.

"Most"? Since when is mandatory government-enforced cooperation "most" forms of cooperation?

#52 ::: Carl ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 04:56 PM:

The Libertarian party, as it exists here at the present is the party whose credo is "Mine!!!" without the baggage of having G.W.Bush hanging around its neck. That is to say, the party of deepest hypocrisy. Saying that makes it clear what I think of Barr.

What I think of Helms would require keys not on this keyboard.

#53 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 05:48 PM:

I'm not sure the best basis on which to judge someone is their willingness to find some kind words to say about a bad person just after he's died. This is pretty common polite behavior; perhaps it's not a sensible form of politeness, but it's not much basis for condemnation, IMO.

#54 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 06:05 PM:

DBratman #9 and others:

I suppose that "Mine! All mine!" belief explains why libertarians (including ones who would never be eligible for the draft) opposed the draft, and currently, libertarians who will never want to use illegal drugs oppose the war on drugs. It explains why libertarians who are just as white and non-Muslim (and so less likely targets) as any neocon oppose torture and massive wiretapping. It explains why libertarians who aren't wealthy still oppose inheritance taxes (though admittedly not as well as armchair psychoanalysis by folks on the left, who know that this must be some kind of delusion about getting rich in the future).

#55 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 07:10 PM:

I was going to post this in the Obama / Supreme Court thread, but now it's on topic here too.

I've come to be suspicious of Obama for many reasons that others have detailed in that thread. Plus I have to wonder what he has promised to which special interests in order to raise all that money. And I don't care for the way he has been spun and positioned and productized, which leads me to make up lines like New and Improved Obama -- now with 50% less evil than McCain!

Well, I happen to think that 50% less evil is a pretty low standard. Usually in a case like this I vote for the party whose platform says "End corporate welfare." But this year, by putting Bob Barr at the head of the ticket, they have made that option much less attractive.

#56 ::: Jason B ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 07:50 PM:

Carl@52: That's generally my impression of libertarians (with either-sized "L"). They're essentially the seagulls in Finding Nemo, but with delusions of dominance.

#57 ::: Darkrose ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 08:02 PM:

Johan Larson@15

"As for homosexuality, the Bible judges it, I do not...I understand the militant homosexuals and they understand me...As for Mark, I wish he had not played Russian roulette with his sexual activity."

-- Jesse Helms, responding to a constituent on the death of her son from AIDS in 1995

Someone who would tell a grieving mother that her son's death was his own fault deserves the same consideration at his death.

#58 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 08:12 PM:

Long rant about the nature of libertarianism replaced by:

Why would you believe that Barr was representative of the Libertarian Party, let alone libertarianism in general? (Or maybe that latter inference is being drawn from somewhere besides the OP.)

Given the well-established tradition of polite dishonesty towards the recently dead, why do you seem to assume Barr's post was sincere and not merely polite-sounding platitudes in the first place? Helms was a human being, not the incarnation of a philosophical principle. Cherry-picking the few good things about him is exactly what people commonly do about the dead. And ignoring the humanity of your opponents to reduce them to simplistic caricatures of evil is perhaps the worst of human instincts.

There's lots of reasons I disagree with Barr's statement that "we should stop and give thanks to God for the life and work of Jesse Helms." (And I can think of many people who are freer in spite of Helms' efforts, but not one who is freer because of them.) But I don't think it necessarily makes him an asshole for saying it - let alone an entire party or political philosophy. The worst that can be confidently said from the available evidence (IMO) is that Barr was excessively deferential to the idea of not speaking ill of the dead (even when the dead was an exceedingly nasty son of a bitch).

#59 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 08:17 PM:

Avram at 51 --

Mandatory government enforced co-operation is not a tithe of all the sorts of co-operation there are; it is just necessary to the stable existence of the majority of the others.

I really wish everyone who has an interest in political philosophy had to thoroughly understand population genetics; this is the quantification of 'many more individuals of each species are born than can possibly survive' to show just how tiny an advantage becomes inexorably dominant in a population over generational time.

Similar things apply to social organization, and it is inherently easier to raid than to trade. By no means better, but easier, and so better is inherently complicated.

The standard human condition is not peace, order, and good government; it is the rule of man and submission to the violent in the hopes of no worse thing then occurring.

Avoiding submission to the violent cannot be had by strictly voluntary co-operation, because it is most manifestly not in the best interest of the violent to accept that they must surrender great social advantage and seek to have their desires by what means else they may possess.

Throw in that the complexity of the mechanism must match by some means -- though there are means better and means worse -- the complexity of the thing the mechanism governs, and one gets, for three hundred millions of people, something large and complex, and sometimes quite involuntary.

The presence of involuntary requirements is not what makes it evil, when it is.

#60 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 08:19 PM:

Johan @ 23: Once he's good and buried you're welcome to dance on his grave for all I care.

Wear rubber boots when you do, because some of us will be pissing on it.

#61 ::: Brenda ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 08:30 PM:

Why would you believe that Barr was representative of the Libertarian Party

He is the Libertarian Party nominee for President of the United States. He is, by definition, representative of the Libertarian Party.

#62 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 08:46 PM:

And for those looking for someone else to vote for....

Bush's Third Term. Really.

#63 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 10:00 PM:

Lizzy,

I really, REALLY hope that comes from the same sort of folks who brought us Landover Baptist.

#64 ::: hamletta ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 11:08 PM:

Allen Beatty @55: Plus I have to wonder what he has promised to which special interests in order to raise all that money.

The "special interests" of which you speak are schlubs like me. Please do pay attention.

Chris@58: I'm with you. Barr's statement sounds like standard, polite, speak-no-ill-of-the-dead stuff. It's not something I would use to figure out Barr's real beliefs, so I think PNH is off the mark here.

I think libertarianism overall is a crock of shit, but I'm happy to have them on my team when our interests overlap on issues like the ones mentioned above.

Coalitions are go!

Summer Storms@63: It's gotta be. The phrase, "Man's law, not God's," is plucked straight from A Man For All Seasons, where the great martyr St. Thomas More argues in favor of the rule of law.

Or maybe I just watched that flick too much last weekend.

#65 ::: DonBoy ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 11:21 PM:

I'm going to call "writeinbush.com" a prank, based on one of the bumper stickers ("Third term's the charm" sounds way too hip) and the fact that their blog proudly posts a Nigerian scam as a serious communication from a reader. If anything, it's an attempt to make Bush be an anti-McCain spoiler, which is sort of brilliant.

(Also from the front page: "By the way, we'll be taking off the links to the bumper stickers, since not a single one has been sold. We can't imagine why.")

#66 ::: JimR ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2008, 11:32 PM:

#62, 63, and 64
Yes, it's a joke. Check out their blog. They're using a 409 email for funding.


#64, hamletta,
Barr's statement sounds like standard, polite, speak-no-ill-of-the-dead stuff.
A public statement on his campaign page referring to Jesse Helms as "one of the finest, most courageous and deeply principled men to ever serve in the United States Congress" sounds very much like a public endorsement of the man's principles--which included violent and unapologetic hatred towards homosexuals, blacks, and anyone else who was not a Straight Southern White Male. It is possible to avoid condemning a man without unduly praising him.
And "As a nation we are stronger and the world is freer for his commitment to liberty. " is a damned lie.

#67 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2008, 01:07 AM:

Lizzy, #62: Veerry interesting. I almost find myself hoping it catches on -- because any write-in vote for Bush is a vote not cast for McCain. And on that level, it doesn't matter whether it's a spoof or not; anyone dumb enough to fall for it, spoof or real, is shooting themselves in the foot. Let 'em, says I.

Funny how all those people talking about Helms being "the consummate gentleman" forget that no gentleman of the style he pretended to be would have treated ANY woman, no matter what color she was, the way he treated Carole Mosely-Braun.

#68 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2008, 04:48 AM:

Funny how all those people talking about Helms being "the consummate gentleman" forget that no gentleman of the style he pretended to be would have treated ANY woman, no matter what color she was, the way he treated Carole Mosely-Braun.

Quite. Gentlemanly behaviour is defined by how you behave to everybody, not just people equally or more privileged than oneself. In questions of this nature one should always ask oneself "What Would Bertie Wooster Do?" (Though mentally quite negligible, he was still very definitely a gentleman). Sen Helms was rather closer to Roderick Spode.

#69 ::: Wakboth ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2008, 08:48 AM:

Barr seems like a massive tool to me, but that doesn't surprise me in the least.

From my Finnish vantage point, US-style Libertarianism does indeed seem to be built on the core value of "I've got mine, so screw the rest of you."

#70 ::: Christopher B. Wright ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2008, 09:16 AM:

I'm a Libertarian. I'll be voting Democrat this year. Just like I did 4 years ago...

#71 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2008, 09:20 AM:

re: ajay @#68

My favorite definition of gentlemanliness has always been Wilde's, "A gentleman is someone who is never unintentionally rude."

It leaves one a certain...scope.

#72 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2008, 11:30 AM:

Christopher B. Wright: Sympathy on the lack of better choices. (And no sarcasm in that. Settling gets old sometimes.)

#73 ::: mdlake ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2008, 11:38 AM:

Descriptions of Helms as a "consummate gentleman" put me in mind of Dave Barry's observation that "a person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person."

#74 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2008, 12:10 PM:

73: quite. The point is to be nice even when you don't have to be. Helms reminds me of no one so much as Eric Cartman (R-CO).

#75 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2008, 12:17 PM:

Allan 60: Wear rubber boots when you do, because some of us will be pissing on it.

No, no, first the Eating of Asparagus, then the jig contest, and the evening closes with the Pissing on the Grave. Gotta get this in the right order, especially if we want to make it an annual Independence Day tradition.

Sarah 71: Yes, and that would allow Helms to be a gentleman, since his rudeness to Mosely-Braun was conscious and deliberate. Either we need an additional condition (like "or intentionally rude without just cause," which I suspect was the principle at play when a friend of mine called something I'd said "rude, but not uncalled for"), or to acknowledge that one may be both a gentleman and a total creeping slimemold.

#76 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2008, 12:24 PM:

#61: Small parties are easy to hijack, even by people whose values don't correspond to the party's at all. Didn't Buchanan grab the nomination of some party that wasn't nearly as crazy as he is?

Google informs me that he grabbed the nomination of the Reform Party. Whether this satisfies the second half of the above sentence is a matter of opinion, I guess, but the Reform Party's previously expressed positions weren't exactly in line with Buchanan's, then or now.

Even major party nominees don't necessarily represent all the opinions of their party's voters, just enough to win the primary - McCain isn't nearly nativist enough to suit most Republicans on the issue of immigration, and Obama's support of the current FISA bill is drawing a *lot* of criticism from Democrats, for example.

Indeed, the original post in this thread is not that different than saying "The Democratic Party: coverups of illegal spying for smart people". I suggest a narrower brush.

#77 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2008, 12:30 PM:

Roderick Spode wasn't ungentlemanly, certainly not in Helms' league. I don't think Wodehouse could ever have written a Helmsian character. He liked all of them. A 'Helms' would have made his typewriter jam.

I must second Brenda @ 61: if one cannot take Barr as the representative of the Libertarian Party, why on earth is the LP putting him up as their candidate for the top spot? Am I to suppose they just pick people at random, or according to their bank balance? First Nader, now Barr - if these persons and their convictions, methods and means do not square with LP principles, and the LP runs them anyway, then it does not appear the LP has any meaningful or lasting stance to take on the national level, beyond "we want federal matching funds".

#78 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2008, 12:32 PM:

#71, 75: Given the literal definition of gentleman, the characterization of certain actions as gentlemanly or not has always seemed to me to be right up there with "It's the Christian thing to do" and "Mighty white of you".

The gently born do not have a monopoly on kindness, goodness, or true politeness, any more than Christians or whites do. (If anything, history suggests the reverse: those who have been down on their luck are more understanding of those who presently are down on their luck, and it's the people who have led lives of privilege from the cradle that turn out most of the callous jerks like Helms.) So why reinforce that frame?

No mere thug can match the moral depravity of politely sipping tea on your veranda while your slaves toil in your fields - the gentlemanly tradition Helms was proud to uphold.

#79 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2008, 12:41 PM:

(My apologies; Nader was certainly not a candidate for the Libertarian Party. I do not know what I was thinking of when I included him.)

#80 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2008, 12:47 PM:

Now here's a man who stands up for his principles:

http://www.newsobserver.com/politics/politicians/helms/story/1135443.html

For those not wanting to read the article, an NC state employee refused to lower the US or NC flag to half-staff at his workplace to honor Helms, and then retired when ordered to do so by his supervisor.

#81 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2008, 01:53 PM:

mdlake,

The only problem with the Dave Barry comment is that by all accounts, Helms was nice to his inferiors. (He had a good reputation for constituent service, and on the Hill among staff.) It was peers to whom he was cruel, not inferiors--and his cruelty was generally intentional.

#82 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2008, 02:25 PM:

#4: "most courageous and deeply principled".

That doesn't necessarily mean Good. Suicide bombers are courageous. Jefferson Davis was principled. I'm sure that Helms was both.

"revered by colleagues, staff and friends for his unfailing kindness, good humor, generosity and patriotism."

I'm sure. As long as the colleagues or staff weren't women or black (we all know that none of the friends were). But that's okay, they don't count.

And that story about Mosely-Braun is uproariously funny. Great humour. At least to the kind of people who made my school years (and Robert Graves', if we're referencing English writers) a living hell.

Plus, it's easy to be "patriotic" when what that means is "I like it the way it [i|wa]s, and I'm going to fight to keep it that way". We all know those kinds of patriots - not the ones that want (in this case) the U.S. to become/remain the greatest country it can be, but those who basically decry, "you shouldn't criticize what your country is doing. That isn't patriotic."

See? Barr didn't say anything untrue. But I still want to wash my eyes from having read it, and that doesn't make Mr. Helms (or Mr. Barr) the sort of person I want anything to do with or the sort of person I want in power.

#83 ::: Lance Weber ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2008, 02:49 PM:

Brenda @ 61:: He is the Libertarian Party nominee for President of the United States. He is, by definition, representative of the Libertarian Party.
Hmm, while that statement might be true for any other political party one might make the case that it's simply not possible to "represent the Libertarian Party" since - by definition - it's composed of libertarians :)

Moving on to my next snark:
If the Libertarian Party is racism for smart people, is the Republican Party racism for stupid people and the Democratic Party racism for condescending people?

#84 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2008, 03:23 PM:

Lance Weber writes: "...one might make the case that it's simply not possible to "represent the Libertarian Party" since - by definition - it's composed of libertarians."

That has always been one of the more curious bugs in their model.

#85 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2008, 04:01 PM:

Sam, habitual intentional cruelty automatically rules out being a good person. I'm not sure it rules out being a gentleman, but if it doesn't, who the hell wants to be a gentleman?

#86 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2008, 04:46 PM:

Xopher,

I'm inclined to agree that "habitual intentional cruelty automatically rules out being a good person." In my opinion, though, cruelty to peers is less bad than cruelty to inferiors; Helms was noted for the former, and also noted for his lack of the latter. (Righteous Warrior refers to, and I remember seeing while an intern, a survey of Hill staff done in 1998; Helms was the Senator they rated as treating them best.)

#87 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2008, 05:33 PM:

Hmm. Are you asserting that HE regarded Mosely-Braun as a peer? I would need some supporting evidence to back up the idea that he regarded anyone dark-skinned as such.

Didn't we go through this when another scumbag died? Even if Helms was nice to everyone he met in person (far from the case), he would still be an evil, detestable person for the things he did that affected the lives of millions of people he never met.

#88 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2008, 07:03 PM:

Hamletta @ 64: Since I don't know you, that doesn't really tell me much. I looked at your "view all by" and found a lot of short, pointed comments on various subjects that I could agree with. So I see no reason to be concerned about you, but I do still wonder about all the lawyers and financiers and RIAA and MPAA executives who are contributing to Obama. (Are you involved with the recording industry?)

#89 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2008, 07:04 PM:

Meanwhile, in North Carolina, L.F. Eason III quit his job rather than lower the flag to honor Helms.

#90 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2008, 07:08 PM:

Pericat @ 77 and 79: You might be thinking of an LP vice presidential candidate from a number of years back who more or less bought the nomination by pledging to contribute out of his own fortune (which would not be subject to the same campaign finance limits as contributing to someone else, at least under the law at that time).

Then there's 1988, when the LP gave their presidential nomination to R. Paul for more or less the same reason that Barr got it this time as far as I can guess -- name recognition and star power. Party leaders could pat themslves on the back for recruiting a nationally known politician.

#91 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2008, 07:14 PM:

As a matter of practical record, a lot more people vote Libertarian than belong to the party, and a lot of libertarians vote for other parties, not just out of tactical thinking (lesser of two evils etc etc) but because a lot of them think the party's run by nutjobs. And in fact it is. It helps if you think of the Libertarian Party as the sort of concom gone bad that Teresa's discussed in the past.

#92 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2008, 07:15 PM:

I'd like to call everyone's attention to the careful way that Patrick qualified his original post:

“libertarianism,” as espoused in America today

Since the Barr nomination, you wouldn't even need scare quotes if you uppercase the L.

I appreciate the other commenters who have also been precise with their terms.

#93 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2008, 07:23 PM:

In some online libertarian lists I'm in, there has been a lot of bemoaning how the LP has gone downhill with the influx of all the "Republicans who want to get high". Bruce @ 91 leads me to realize that it all sounds a lot like old time SF fans complaining that fandom was never the same after all the Trekkies showed up.

#94 ::: sherrold ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2008, 07:55 PM:

Allan Beatty @ #93

It may amuse you to know that around that time, true old-time Trekkies were complaining that non-sf fans were "invading" Trek. Certainly when (mostly) women started writing stories about the characters that didn't necessarily have much of a science fiction flavor (other than being set in the ST universe) rather than the more sf-nal/less characterization-heavy stories common before, there was much whining. To people in both communities, seeing it on both sides, this was amusing. Sorta.

#95 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2008, 08:00 PM:

Chris @ 76
Taking over crazy parties:

In the mid '60s I was a member of a chapter of SDS* that sent its entire membership to the first meeting of the campus Students for Barry Goldwater organization, and stuffed the elective offices with our own members. This aggravated the real Republicans so much they voted to leave the organization, and it never had another meeting. It was political theater at its funniest.

* Students for a Democratic Society, a progressive, not to say downright revolutionary, left-wing party.

#96 ::: hamletta ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2008, 10:24 PM:

Alan Beatty@88: No, I'm not in the recording industry, but I have been in the past. And many of my friends are still in it. I live in Nashville, the songwriting capital of the world. None of my representatives will ever, ever do anything to loosen up copyright restrictions; that's just a given. And not a particular concern of mine.

But entertainment execs and lawyers have always trended liberal and have always been big contributors to Democratic candidates. Why would Obama be any different?

As to financiers, why wouldn't they want a return to sane(r) economic policy?

And who the hell do you think is contributing to McCain's campaign? Ten thousand nuns & orphans?

What about the fact that he's skirting FEC regulations based on the very law with his own personal name on it?

Look, nobody gets elected president without some major scratch. My point was that a huge chunk of Obama's money is coming from ordinary working stiffs—and lots of 'em, by God!—which is why the whining about his not accepting public financing is horseshit.

#97 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2008, 11:54 PM:

Hamletta @ 96:

My point was that a huge chunk of Obama's money is coming from ordinary working stiffs—and lots of 'em, by God!—which is why the whining about his not accepting public financing is horseshit.

I see that as all good. I just hope he doesn't forget the ordinary working stiffs. I've been disappointed many times before.

#98 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 01:25 AM:

Bruce, #91: It helps if you think of the Libertarian Party as the sort of concom gone bad that Teresa's discussed in the past.

You owe me a new keyboard and a coughdrop (I laughed until I coughed so hard I nearly choked). Given that one of my favorite frames for describing tiny-points-of-dogma arguments is "fan feud", this is absolutely dead-on.

Allan, #93: It is also sadly true that the LP is the party of choice for a lot of Helms-style bigots, precisely because the repeal of any type of anti-discrimination legislation is high on their list of priorities. (Veering back toward the original topic.)

#99 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 01:30 AM:

Lee: Glad to have helped you irrigate your keyboard. :)

Seriously, though, the structure of the phenomenon Teresa described is a recurring one. Did I ever tell you folks how childhood friends from Lebanon helped me understand Wicca?

#100 ::: DBratman ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 06:30 AM:

albatross 54: I don't believe I claimed that libertarians take a "Mine! All mine!" attitude. What I wrote was that they take an "I'm all right, Jack," attitude, an uncaring disdain for those less fortunate than themselves. A poor libertarian who opposes the inheritance tax is expressing sympathy for those more fortunate than himself.

And yes, that's a well-known psychological concept, however you try to belittle it. "Most men with nothing would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich than face the reality of being poor" - John Dickinson, 1776

As for libertarians opposing torture and wiretapping, the self-defined libertarian I know best supports torture and wiretapping. I tried to tell him he's not a libertarian but an authoritative conservative, but that got him really angry. Just like there was a certain breed of "liberal" that defaulted to authoritarian conservative in the face of Vietnam War protests, there are both so-called liberals and libertarians who crumple up the same way in the face of 9/11 and Iraq.

#101 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 11:39 AM:

#96:

As to financiers, why wouldn't they want a return to sane(r) economic policy?

Because under the current insane economic policies, the possible outcomes for them are:
1. Make good guesses and make out like a bandit
2. Make bad guesses and get a generous golden parachute while the rest of your company goes down in flames

Nice work if you can get it. How many Bear Stearns execs have you seen living out of cardboard boxes?

Admittedly, with a semi-honest Justice Department, there'd also be a possibility of being prosecuted for fraud and spending several years in a resort "prison" with a more comfortable lifestyle than your guards or any other working-class people. But that's exactly the kind of "government interference in the market" that financiers do NOT want to see.

#102 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 11:48 AM:

DBratman #100:

So, if I back repealing the inheritance tax and I'm rich, I'm simply reflecting an "I got mine, Jack" mentality. And if I'm poor, I'm deluding myself that I'll one day get rich and reflecting an "I got mine, Jack" mentality. Is that basically what you're saying?

This model excludes the possibility that I might back a policy because I think it's right, even if it does me no good, or even harms me. There's no polite way to say this, this idea is crap. It's the same flavor of crap, whether it's an explanation of why Ted Kennedy and George Soros have some deep dark evil motivations for backing progressive tax rates and inheritance taxes, or one of why some factory worker or farmer wants flat taxes and no inheritance tax.

I'll note that the right is just as into this dishonest nonsense as the left--read some discussion on a right-wing blog sometime of the reasons white liberals are alleged to back affirmative action or gun control, and you'll see the same quality of thought applied in a different direction. Same crap, different origin.

#103 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 01:00 PM:

Bruce 99: Did I ever tell you folks how childhood friends from Lebanon helped me understand Wicca?

Not that I recall. Please do; it sounds fascinating.

#104 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2008, 02:10 PM:

DBratman: I know that Libertarian (it's probably not the same one, but rather of a type). The one I know also thinks manadatory prayers to a Christian God at public functions/schools is fine.

Said Libertarian is also wiccan.

And confused.

#105 ::: Michael Turyn ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 02:55 PM:

With regard to Helms, it might be slightly more polite to speak ill of the dead if the description involved might have been pleasing to the deceased.

I'm too tired now to do it, but I think it would be very easy to come up with (what would be for me) a damnation of the late Senator that would have brought at least an inward smile to the old reprobate.

Bumper-sticker:
        Don't blame me; I voted for Incitatus.

#106 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 03:14 PM:

Michael Turyn #105: I see you support candidates who possess basic horse sense.

#107 ::: Michael Turyn ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 03:33 PM:

Incitatus' insurgent candidacy made a good start off the post, but was cut due to Sen. Helms' people spreading the malicious rumour that he had had carnal relations with a mare:

Tell Martin, John, and Bobby
That Brother I's a stallion
Oh alack for the couth
We had hoped for the South
When a Senator turns Italian!


(The story of Consul Incitatus, to head off any admirable sticklers, is so good that I don't care if it's true. In some ways, I've always seen it as Caligula in one of his better moments, "political satire of the act".)

#108 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 08:11 PM:

Michael Turyn @ 107

Yeah, even today there are lot of horse's asses in politics.

#109 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2008, 10:37 PM:

Xopher: When I was growing up, one of my friends was part of a Lebanese family. A Lebanese, Palestinian, Christian family. They were minorities so many ways it wasn't funny. :) But there was this. Their religious community was one that had existed for a long time under a wide variety of persecutions, and it was very insular, very academic, very much about studying all the books and debating them and living the devout life privately because doing so openly could be dangerous.

Years later, when I started encountered Wiccans in the mid-'80s, there was something familiar about it all. And I realized: hey, this is structurally a lot like the Riskallahs' worship. Ever since then I've thought about how much circumstances shape our lives regardless of the content of our beliefs.

#110 ::: DBratman ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2008, 12:22 AM:

albatross: Well, if it's crap, it's crap I hear from libertarians themselves. Libertarian theory is full of declarations of encouraging individual initiative, refusing to let the common weal coddle the losers in the game of life, refusing to let the government take anybody's property or money away because it's theirs, and so on. Haven't you noticed any of this?

Inheritance tax was not proof, it was an example, an example you and not I brought up.

#111 ::: DBratman ::: (view all by) ::: July 12, 2008, 12:24 AM:

Terry Karney 104: The one I'm thinking of claims to be a Catholic. Suggesting that his attitudes show a certain lack of Christian charity also makes him really mad.

#112 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 01:23 AM:

Terry, a nitpick:

When I see the words "Christian" and "wiccan" used close to each other in a single short post, I wonder why the poster thinks that one religious adjective merits the capital letter and the other doesn't. Often it's an indication that the poster simply doesn't consider one of them a real religion--or that the poster is mindlessly adhering to journalistic standards set by those who hold said opinion. I doubt that either is the case with you, but it's an impression the typo can give.

#113 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: July 13, 2008, 03:52 PM:

Nicole: taken as read, but I have huge problems with capitalising religions; for the very reasons you mention. I try to make it lower case as an adjective; but upper as a noun. Even that gets screwed up.

Generally (and I screwed up this one) I try to keep it consistent from writing to writing.

#114 ::: Esek Esek ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2008, 03:26 AM:

"I" is the smallest minority of all. Therefore, I make my:


Declaration of Ratification

I, Esek, compelled of conscience and acting of my own volition, do hereby declare that there exists but one self-evident UNIVERSAL COMMON LAW and CONSTITUTION by which all are free, and to which all are accountable, without exception; the ignorance of which can be no excuse or defense, and therefore, mindful of that Judgment, do further employ and direct my every thought, my every discipline, my every effort to create FREEDOM, defend LIBERTY, and establish JUSTICE, subject to none but:

THE UNIVERSAL COMMON LAW and CONSTITUTION

Preamble

Every individual human on Earth is by right the absolute sovereign owner of their self, purposed by the very nature of their consciousness to prosper and live happily. The sole lawful function of any government or society is to guarantee those conditions that allow all individuals to fulfill their purpose. This CONSTITUTION, which forbids the use of initiatory force or coercion by any person, group, or government against any individual, alone guarantees those conditions:

THE CONSTITUTION

ARTICLE 1: No person, group of persons, or government may initiate force, threat of force, or fraud against any individual’s self or property.

ARTICLE 2: Force may be morally and legally used only in self-defense against those who violate ARTICLE 1.

ARTICLE 3: No exceptions shall ever exist to ARTICLES 1 and 2.


THEREFORE, by virtue of my existence and in ratification of the above, DONT TREAD ON ME.


Dated: November 3, 2008 Signature in Ratification:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97SUkKY3v6c

#115 ::: Raphael sees topically relevant arguably spammy stuff ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2008, 04:38 AM:

Esek Esek nicely demonstrates my point that many libertarians are, in fact, would-be world dictators- they pull arbitrary rules out of their backsides and demand that the rest of us have to follow them, wether we want to or not, everywhere, forever, with no option to challenge these arbitrary rules, ever.

#116 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2008, 09:30 AM:

Did you notice that Esek Esek is Kese Kese spelled backwards?

#117 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2008, 11:06 AM:

The Knowledge Engineering and Software Engineering workshop or the song title from the DJ Cheb I Sabbah album "Shri Durga"? Or the non-reversed version could have something to do with Indonesian donkeys.

#118 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2008, 11:19 AM:

I wouldn't know if Esek is Indonesian, of course.

His* donkeyhood, on the other hand, is self-evident.

*most likely

#119 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2008, 11:42 AM:

So, what's Kese Kese going to do about it if I stab him in the face with a spork?

The government can't do anything, since under his constitution they can only act if the government needs to defend itself. His friends can only act if they've been attacked, which they haven't been. So, who, then? Kese Kese is going to do something? The attack is already over, so he can't morally respond.

Poor Kese Kese! Sporked in the face and all he can do is sputter about the injustice.

#120 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2008, 12:00 PM:

Jim @119:
So, what's Kese Kese going to do about it if I stab him in the face with a spork?

Ummm...call 911?

Sorry, this isn't one of your emergency preparedness quizzes is it?

#121 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2008, 12:18 PM:

I magically divine that Esek Esek lives in the suburbs, or in a city that's built entirely around cars.

#122 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2008, 12:22 PM:

So, what's Kese Kese going to do about it if I stab him in the face with a spork?

Time to rewrite the constitution to include the concept of collective defence. You know, you could organise a whole neigbourhood that way, and it would probably be a lot safer from spork attacks.

#123 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2008, 12:25 PM:

Jim Macdonald #119: Even more interesting, what happens if I kill the idiot? How would I be punished, and by whom? And for what?

#124 ::: Rosa ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2008, 01:47 PM:

Well, duh. God will strike you down, if the killing was wrong.

Or the invisible hand of the market will do you in because everyone knows that a murderer can't be trusted, so you will be shunned and unable to earn your living.

(if it's anarchists instead of libertarians, there will be a community-wide meeting to discuss what should be done and it will go on until justice is done or you go off to plague some other community.)

#125 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2008, 03:25 PM:

Or the invisible hand of the market will do you in because everyone knows that a murderer can't be trusted, so you will be shunned and unable to earn your living.

But in studying, they would have learned that man is mortal, so clearly there would be no reason to do business with anyone else.

Drink, anyone?

#126 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2008, 03:37 PM:

Dinosaur sodomy. Spork murders. What's wrong with you people?

#127 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2008, 04:03 PM:

jim,

Did you notice that Esek Esek is Kese Kese spelled backwards?

it's also hebrew for "business business."

#128 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2008, 04:17 PM:

miriam 127: it's also hebrew for "business business."

Most likely he's not Indonesian, then.

#129 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2008, 04:50 PM:

Joel @ 125: Thanks! I'll have yaws, please.

#130 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2008, 04:50 PM:

Rosa #124: Wonderful. We could try placing Esek Esek in some libertarian paradise like, say, Mogadishu and seeing how far he'd get.

#131 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2008, 04:59 PM:

I suppose I could be contracted to engage in retaliatory self-defense.

Pay me a retainer, and if I see you being attacked, without such attack being justified with the second clause, and I'll leap to your defense.

If I don't see it, you may depend on me to invistigate your claim and mete out an appropriate justice.

I can do this because I am not a signatory to any such nonsense as your constitution, and you can't compell me to do so (per said constitution).

If you don't pay me, well.... Nice face you got here, hate to see anything happen to it, like a walk-by sporking.

#132 ::: Rosa ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2008, 05:11 PM:

Fragano #130 - why, thank you!

See, Mogadishu is not a good example of libertarianism because it is encumbered with a history of statehood and colonialism. You have to find a country with no history of statehood OR tribalism, to give the libertarians a fair chance.

#133 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2008, 05:11 PM:

"...walk-by sporking."

Hee hee. You made my day, Terry.

#134 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2008, 05:30 PM:

Rosa #132: That rather limits the playing field to, er, nowhere.

#135 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2008, 07:02 PM:

Fragano, #134: That's why it's impossible to convince Libertarians of the basic flaws in their ideology. Anything that goes wrong in practice is the result of government interference, or due to a history of government interference, or because people aren't used to living without government interference, etc. etc. ad infinitum, ad nauseam. There's never any such thing as evidence which doesn't support their theory, only evidence which supports it and evidence of how it would be supported if there were no government interference.

Waitaminnit. Weren't we just talking about this paradigm in connection with conspiracy theories?

#136 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2008, 05:12 AM:

Fragano Ledgister @134 Rosa #132: That rather limits the playing field to, er, nowhere.

There's still large parts of Antarctica.

Rosa @132, I've seen some libertarians seriously hold up Somalia as a great example of how well things can work without government. That was before the notorious recent stoning, though.

#137 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2008, 05:58 AM:

I'm quite prepared to believe that Somalia is better off with no government at all than it was under the government of Siad Barre. But that's hardly a case that can be generalised. If I had gas gangrene in my left leg, I would be better off without it, but that doesn't mean I'm going to go around arguing that everybody should cut their own legs off.

#138 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2008, 06:50 AM:

Lee #135: How to explain away all the facts, in other words.

#139 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2008, 06:53 AM:

Raphael #136: What, pray tell, have you got against penguins?

I've seen a couple of articles suggesting that Mogadishu was, indeed, a libertarian paradise (no pesky government regulations). They tended to skate over the warlords and competing clans. And they disappeared with the rise of the UIC.

#140 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2008, 02:45 PM:

This may be revisionism on their part, but the pirates currently plaguing the shipping off of Somalia's coast claim to be protecting the country against illegal dumping of toxic waste and fish poaching.

So, out of anarchy, a ruthless armed force arises, supposedly to protect things but really to run an extortion racket.

David Brin wrote an interesting riff on a George Soros essay. Core nugget:

Indeed, if you scan human history, you will find very few examples of market-based systems that escaped meddling and ruination at the hands of the very same elites who stood at the top of the social order -- the owners of nearly all capital, who insisted that they knew what's best, and nearly always squelched competition, rather than let it flow and thrive. In the vast majority of cultures, it was top owners who shut down what we would call open market behavior. A threat far more prevalent than peasant revolts or socialism.

Market Fundamentalists tell themselves a dogma that Adam Smith himself never believed, that markets are rooted in - and organically emerge from - human nature. This is fundamentally wrong. Our natures developed in a Darwinian-tribal context that predated civilization and markets. In order to understand this, simply study the power and economic arrangements in most tribal or pastoral societies. And even later. Try calculating what fraction of the population in most ancient nations must have been descended from the harems of kings. (Recent data show that 8% of the Chinese population, today, is directly descended from Ghengiz Khan.)

While it is true that some deeply human imperatives do work well with markets - e.g. our ability to both cooperate and compete, our embedded notion of fairness and quid-pro-quo. other human drives do not. For example, the propensity to cheat and deceive. And our remarkable tendency to tell ourselves satisfyingly delusional stories that aren't well-based in fact. This latter trait makes us wonderful artists, but also great believers in simplistic dogmas.

Like the simplistic dogma of perfect, equilibrium-seeking markets

#141 ::: Rosa ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2008, 04:05 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @134 - Nowhere! Isn't that handy! You can never refute a pure ideology because it can never exist anywhere!

Raphael @ 136 - I have to admit that I avoid talking to libertarians. I have actually developed a technique of spilling a drink on my breasts to simultaneously draw their attention awya from discussion and give me an excuse to leave in a hurry, for when I get trapped in a political discussion with libertarians, sectarian socialists, or marxists.

But I am astonished to hear anyone praising Somalia's warlord system. The only mention I have ever heard of immigration to present-day Somalia is when an immigrant to the US resists being deported back on the grounds that it's not safe there for *anyone*.

#142 ::: Rosa ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2008, 04:05 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @134 - Nowhere! Isn't that handy! You can never refute a pure ideology because it can never exist anywhere!

Raphael @ 136 - I have to admit that I avoid talking to libertarians. I have actually developed a technique of spilling a drink on my breasts to simultaneously draw their attention awya from discussion and give me an excuse to leave in a hurry, for when I get trapped in a political discussion with libertarians, sectarian socialists, or marxists.

But I am astonished to hear anyone praising Somalia's warlord system. The only mention I have ever heard of immigration to present-day Somalia is when an immigrant to the US resists being deported back on the grounds that it's not safe there for *anyone*.

#143 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2008, 04:43 PM:

142: "I have actually developed a technique of spilling a drink on my breasts..."

As long as you're not talking hot coffee...

I wonder what the equivalent for guys would be. Spilling a drink on one's crotch? Or their crotch? In which case hot coffee would be more effective.

#144 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2008, 04:53 PM:

For my part, I have actually developed a technique of licking spilled drinks off the ...

Well, anyway.

#145 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2008, 05:00 PM:

Jim @144:

I had a sudden image of Jar-Jar Binks there. What's the ocular equivalent of an earworm?

#146 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2008, 05:20 PM:

"I wonder what the equivalent for guys would be."

I'd really like to know. My usual technique of going all Bob The Angry Flower doesn't work very well.

#147 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2008, 05:25 PM:

abi #145: What's the ocular equivalent of an earworm?

That would be a "goatse". For sanity's sake, do not googlesearch that word. The cure for that phenomenon is called either "brain bleach" or "eye bleach", usually expressed as a photo of a person whose appearance is pleasant.

#148 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2008, 05:33 PM:

Jim Macdonald #144: Now that's a conversation-stopper.

#149 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2008, 05:40 PM:

Rosa #141/142: The problem with ideal-type systems projected on the real world by idealists who have no idea what happens when reality and idea collide is that they deform -- quickly. The idealist either ignores the deformation or excuses it.

Libertarians, having fetishised the market, which is a tool of human needs, into a veritable divinity that solves all human problems, have a tendency to confuse the perfect market, which exists only in economics textbooks, with the real world, which is lumpy. The results would be amusing, were they not painful. Since we're now getting a practical lesson in the limits of markets, perhaps a few will figure things out. I am, after years of experience teaching, not so sanguine as I once was.

#150 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2008, 05:47 PM:

Fragano Ledgister #149: the market, which is a tool of human needs greeds

FTFY. heh.

#151 ::: Rosa ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2008, 06:31 PM:

j h woodyatt - I don't know if this works for male-gendered people but just saying "Wow, that's interesting, but I promised to help the hostess with [something]" is less drastic and almost as foolproof.

The trick is learning not to respond. Which is the hardest part, anyway.

#152 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2008, 07:55 PM:

Lee: I think that basic model applies to almost everyone with a Big Idea about how to fix the world. No trial is ever pure enough to demonstrate that their idea is wrong, and any failure of X amount of money, laws, or dead bodies spent to achieve their goals is simply evidence of the need for 2X of each.

There's a kind of interesting distinction here somewhere, between people who have interesting (weird, odd, unusual, challenging) ideas, and people who are had by those ideas. The folks in the first column may have crazy, wrong, dangerous ideas, but they're usually interesting to talk with. The folks in the second column are just wanting to evangelize their big idea, and won't respond to evidence or argument in any other direction. An awful lot of net.libertarians, and the vast majority of objectivists I've spoken with in person or online, are had by their ideas. Discussions with those folks are unrewarding, unless you're wanting to know about the idea from one of the faithful. No evidence will or can affect those ideas hold on their posessees.

#153 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2008, 08:48 PM:

j h woodyatt, #146: One that works well for me, and I think would be applicable to either gender: "Excuse me, I see someone I need to talk to." Then make a beeline for somebody else -- friend, acquaintance, it doesn't matter who -- and start up another conversation. You can start it up, if necessary, with "Rescue me, I need someone intelligent to talk to!"

#154 ::: Esek Trent ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 01:36 PM:

She was supposed to be taken to the hospital but when the police came to "assist" the ambulance they push me out of my home and while one of them held me a gun point they beat her with clubs. They waved the ambulance off and said they would take her to the hospital themselves but instead they took her to they're station house where they chained her to a bench while one of them dry-fired a shotgun at her head. When they finally got her there she had been so terrorized by them that she escaped. She went to her cousin -- a judge in the city. He called me that night and screamed that "I can't take this politically! You keep her away from me ... you take care of her or I will have her taken care of. Do you understand me, taken care of." I begged for her life and he relented only to call me back an hour later. He forced me to beg for her life all over again. To remove all doubt he had her returned to the hospital with her front teeth bashed out. After her discharge we hid in campgrounds so they couldn't find us. They didn't but we ran out of money and had to go home. I used to sleep nearest the window so that my body might serve as a wretched shield to protect her from the shotgun blast I knew would come sooner or later. We took off again but she got sick and had to go to the hospital. And then she disappeared altogether. The hospital kicked her out when the insurance refused to pay another day. I begged the bastards who started the whole thing to file a missing persons report but they refused -- they said the hospital had to do it. But when I called the hospital they said, "We can neither confirm nor deny that your wife was ever a patient here." A sadistic ping pong game with me as the ball ensured. For more than two months I'd beg them to file the missing persons report and they refused saying the hospital had to do it, and the hospital just kept saying "We can neither confirm nor deny ..." Eventually I blew and they locked me up seventh man in a cell made for six - I slept on a filthy mat on the concrete floor. I woke the first morning to find myself covered in baby cockroaches. I brushed them off in horror, but by the fifth day I just watch with awe how they grazed little purple patches in their meadow, my skin. It matters very little what you think of me and "libertarianism" or "objectivism" or "collectivism" or any other form of mental masturbation. I have no country, no tribe, no picket fence, no ghetto condo ... I am a man who has suffered more than any of you could possibly survive -- you're too weak -- you need the sanction of the group, the pack, the gang. I placed the Declaration of Ratification here simply to make a record not to seek your sanction. The social contract between us never existed.

#155 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 02:07 PM:

Warning: Mad Solipsist @ 154.

Why can't these spambots learn to write? Would it be too much to ask to match tenses within a single sentence?

#156 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: February 02, 2009, 02:34 PM:

Not a spambot, but someone with other problems. This is Esek's second post to this thread.

#157 ::: Esek Trent ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2009, 03:11 AM:

Mr. Cohen's admission to an act of fraud on behalf of the SDS clearly demonstrates the contempt that organization held for the one volitional process necessary to achieve a just society, honesty. Further, the need to deny my humanity by claiming I am nothing but a spambot to be ignored (apparently because I do not master the written form of your native tongue very well) illuminates the harm we do to ourselves -- the destruction of our own humanity and character -- when we embrace the inherent dishonesty required to become a member of the pack.

#158 ::: Esek Trent ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2009, 03:12 AM:

Mr. Cohen's admission to an act of fraud on behalf of the SDS clearly demonstrates the contempt that organization held for the one volitional process necessary to achieve a just society, honesty. Further, the need to deny my humanity by claiming I am nothing but a spambot to be ignored (apparently because I do not master the written form of your native tongue very well) illuminates the harm we do to ourselves -- the destruction of our own humanity and character -- when we embrace the inherent dishonesty required to become a member of the pack.

#159 ::: Dave Bell spots a loony spammer ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2009, 03:24 AM:

The Esek Trent guy seems not to be playing with a full deck. How he got that way, I dunno.

#160 ::: Esek Trent ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2009, 03:52 AM:

Well, Mr. David Bell, if you mean that I refrain from ad hominem attacks, and rather address the issues, then yes I am looney by the standards of your wolf pack. And I am unfamiliar with your culture's technology and need to abuse others.

#161 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2009, 05:24 AM:

Esek Trent:

Allow me to introduce myself. I'm one of the moderators on this site.

As such, I am the authorized agent of the owners of this site, the people who pay for the bandwidth. I'd like to point out that this site is PRIVATE PROPERTY, something that you as a libertarian should appreciate and respect. The owners of this private property do, because they enjoy it, permit sundry friends and strangers to post comments in the threads. Commenters have no right to post; this is not the commons.

Generally, in order to continue to post here, it is a good idea to be factual, polite, entertaining, or some combination of the three. At the moment, you're 0 for 3.

I know that it is vexing to be mistaken for a spambot, but your prose is not of the best and your agenda and story are a little on the strange side for this community. These are characteristics that you share with spammers, unfortunately. The way to overcome this suspicion is not to flame the other commenters who make assumptions, but to prove them wrong by the good sense and reasonableness of your postings.

It is my sincere recommendation that you adopt this strategy forthwith, or our relationship will deteriorate quickly and severely. If you cannot do this, then my next piece of advice is that you give us up as a lost cause, and move on to greener pastures.

#162 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2009, 07:10 AM:

Responding belatedly to 141 et seq: the classic method (for both sexes) was demonstrated in "Four Weddings and a Funeral" and goes like this:

[gulp-gulp-gulp]
"Ah, my drink appears to be empty. Excuse me."

#163 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2009, 08:47 AM:

#161 - abi

I always love to watch you do that. You have such style.

(Can I mark a square to the bingo card if I get called a sycophant for thinking so?)

#164 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2009, 10:29 AM:

RM Koske @163:

You're very kind. I meant every word, including the constructive ones.

Can I mark a square to the bingo card if I get called a sycophant for thinking so?

Without presuming too much about the general attitudes of the community, I think that that is probably the "groupthink" square.

#165 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2009, 10:41 AM:

abi, your kindness and restraint continually amaze me. I hope it works* this time, and Esek modifies his behavior to become a productive part of this community; such additions are always welcome, and there have been others here who began as trolls or near-trolls and learned our ways.

Not that I think Esek is a troll or near-troll; he seems just not to get the customs here. You explained them very clearly; I hope he listens.

*'works' == "achieves the best, most hoped-for result"

#166 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2009, 10:59 AM:

#164, abi -

I meant every word, including the constructive ones.

I know. That's part of what makes it such a pleasure to watch.

#167 ::: Esek Trent ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2009, 02:01 AM:

Thank you abi. I understand and shall attempt to prove myself able to comply with your cultural customs and standards. Eleven (11) years, three (3) months, and twenty-three (23) days in prison have eroded my sense of propriety.

If I may, I shall attempt to explain my posts. My original posting of the Declaration of Ratification in retrospect has all the qualities of spam. It was, however, formulated as I paced the cell-block and I posted it where I could on the internet as a statement of conscience to morally bind me to a code of conduct. Having suffered so long under the Quaker System of introspective "civil death", I required such a measure to live. But I must admit that I feel more like a ghost in an alien land than a human being.

First, permit me to say that I am not now nor have I ever been a card carrying member of the Libertarian Party (I lost the card soon after it was issued and I never cared to look for it). But they were the only "congregation" I felt might understand my need to bind my conscience in the way I have. It was the word "libertarian" that drew me to your property.

Your headline equating the concept of individual liberty with racism is beyond me. I do not know Mr. Barr nor do I ever care to. I have heard from my last remaining Libertarian contact (an intolerable condescending fellow) that Barr was an undercover conservative that split the Party. How a tempest in a teapot spawns micro-maelstroms is also beyond me.

The other day, however; I was tidying up my footprint on the web when I rediscovered your thread. The contributor's comment indicating that the penalty for my statement of conscience should be exile to Somolia, unsettled me greatly. I had spent several months in a cell smaller than the average bathroom with the former US Marine, a radio man, who was literally the last man out of the American Embassy there. The choppers had actually dusted off when an officer heard George still faithfully calling in his observations from the breach in the wall where he had been ordered to make his stand. One of the two choppers touched back down and his brother Marines heaved him into their collective bosom. Therefore, I understood very well that the contributor's intent was that I should be murdered for my conscience.

As for my miserable account of my lame efforts to preserve the life of someone I love, it was done in an effort to seek humanity. A quality I have not known for a very long time.

If you still feel that I unworthy, I shall never trespass upon your property again.

#168 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2009, 06:35 AM:

Esek Trent @167:
If I may, I shall attempt to explain my posts. My original posting of the Declaration of Ratification in retrospect has all the qualities of spam. It was, however, formulated as I paced the cell-block and I posted it where I could on the internet as a statement of conscience to morally bind me to a code of conduct. Having suffered so long under the Quaker System of introspective "civil death", I required such a measure to live. But I must admit that I feel more like a ghost in an alien land than a human being.

It was certainly unexpected to us, but, as I say, we do try to differentiate between real people doing unexpected things and spambots. Thus this conversation.

Alienation and isolation are, sadly, nothing new in the world. The only real solution is to reach out to others, to rebuild the network of human contacts that gives us context. No matter how cerebral we are, how much we focus on our thoughts, our ideas and our principles, we are still primates. And primates are social creatures at heart; they don't thrive in isolation. (This is why I part company with classical libertarianism, which seems to give very little support to that inseparable side of the human character.)

Your headline equating the concept of individual liberty with racism is beyond me.

That was not the thrust of the headline (which specifically mentions the Libertarian Party), nor of the post itself (which uses a mild degree of hyperbole to make a point. The concept of individual liberty may or may not be the best means on which to organize society. But Barr's eulogy for Helms did not exactly advance the cause of individual liberty. To the extent that he spoke for the Libertarian party, Patrick felt that he was dragging the party away from its stated aims.

The other day, however; I was tidying up my footprint on the web when I rediscovered your thread. The contributor's comment indicating that the penalty for my statement of conscience should be exile to Somolia, unsettled me greatly...Therefore, I understood very well that the contributor's intent was that I should be murdered for my conscience.

I'm afraid you've really misread the replies to your comment.

The principles that you've stated are an incomplete recipe for a functioning society. If everyone ran their lives using nothing but your principles, all would be great. But people don't always follow rules; some of the strong would inevitably decide it was more profitable or satisfying to oppress the weak. And without any allowance for action on behalf of others—a provision for mutual defense and the enforcement of laws to protect the weak, the friendless and the unlucky—what you get is, basically, Somalia: might makes right and the Devil take the hindmost.

Now, as a way of reacting to an abuse of the legal system, I can see the emotional appeal. But you really can't run a community that way. If you advocate doing that, reason our commenters, why not skip a few steps and go to where the law of force alone already applies?

If that means you'd then be murdered, then perhaps declaring an immutable set of principles that will, unchecked, turn our society into Somalia is a bad idea.

As for my miserable account of my lame efforts to preserve the life of someone I love, it was done in an effort to seek humanity. A quality I have not known for a very long time.

It's clearly a complex story. I'm presuming it took place in the United States? Have you contacted any advocacy organizations about publicizing or prosecuting the injustices you describe? The ACLU, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and many charities exist to help right the balance between the powerless and the powerful in our society.

Although it's not as satisfying a solution as abandoning the mutual interdependence of society, it might prevent some other poor soul from going through what you describe.

If you still feel that I unworthy, I shall never trespass upon your property again.

I think you can tell that I don't. I don't know that there is much that I could do to help you, but I'm certainly not going to forbid you to post here now that you're being civil.

#169 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2009, 06:05 PM:

The first mention of Somalia in this thread was by me, when I said that I've seen libertarians praise that place. I didn't say or imply anything about exiling anyone there, and as far as I can tell, neither did anyone else.

#170 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2009, 06:15 PM:

Try searching for Mogadishu instead.

#171 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2009, 08:47 PM:

Since I'm the person who suggested that Esek Esek, the poster of the 'Declaration of Ratification' be placed 'in some libertarian paradise like Mogadishu' in order to see how far he got, let me be clear that I did so in order to point out the absurdity of the principles enunciated in a real world context. I certainly don't advocate murder, even of Sith Lords.

#172 ::: Esek Trent ::: (view all by) ::: February 06, 2009, 05:22 AM:

First, I would like to thank everyone who commented on my "Esek Esek" monicker. As a consequence my long dead great grandfather, John Henry Reed, a teenage Partisan Ranger, i.e., bushwacker, now holds grant to 7297 MBs of storage as businessdonkey@gmail.com. Yes..., I am an outlaw, but in the historical sense (see hist. definition of "Outlaw" at askOxford.com). I am not, however, a fugitive and I eschew completely the criminal mind -- a contempt for, or a complete unwareness of, the property rights of others accompanied by a sense of entitlement. In short, my long dead great grandfather assists me only in regard to Article 2 of the UCL&C.

As for the UCL&C, it completely allows for action by others. Applied to exisiting law it merely culls laws which compel an individual to cede ownership to their self or property. But laws, usage and customs, which prohibit murder, rape, arson, theft, theft by deception, etc,... remain untouched. It the end the courts, the police, and the military would still exist to defend. Even lawyers might serve a funciton, however, this profession would no doubt experience heavy "downsizing".

But as I stated in 167, my Oath (Note: consisting of paragraph one (1)and the "THEREFORE" clause only. THE CONSTITUTION is the discovery of the late Wallace Ward -- who granted implied consent to use it -- although i modified its name and preamble) is to bind my conscience. I would never seek to force others to follow suit. Perhaps in that respect it is more like the Boy Scout's Oath.

Again, thank you. I truly value your comments (even if I got off to a bad start). You seem to be very good highly evolved tool-making primates possessed of the self-created artifact of consciousness. I hope this was at least one of your three customs.

#173 ::: esek esek a/k/a businessdonkey ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2009, 04:50 AM:

Please forgive me, but i didn't know where to post what i have learned while i was away from Making Light. Here it is for your entertained, i hope:

10 Good Ways to Mimic Objectivist Behaviourism's

1. Pose like Ayn Rand promo pics -- facials grimaces, the chin rested on your thumb with your index finger along the side of your face, or "candid" shots of you reading a copy of "Atlas Shrugged" are all good ways to tell the world, "This blog belongs to an Objectivist!"

2. Refer to any doodles or scribbling, or arts and crafts projects you do, as "aesthetics."

3. Use polysyllabic words, especially "epistemology" and "heuristics", often.

4. Belittle your nearest Libertarian -- its true, they love crushing the egos of their own wayward children. But who doesn't?

5. Ask probing questions designed to make others feel small, for example, "Are you then an elitist, pragmatist, or empiricist?"

6. Cuddle your nearest fascist -- sick but true. Someone you'd think might run to the barricades in defense of Ron Paul, feels much more in touch with strongman Nordic good looks and limbaugh-listic rhetoric.

7. Over blow your credentials -- if you've got a string of associate degree level certifications -- mostly achieved during your Dilbert cubicle days at a defense contractor before they downsized -- launder them into a bachelors degree but list them separately to give the impression of superior intelligence and effort.

8. Buy a dollar sign lapel pin and wear it prominently for your blog pic.

9. Insist that capital investment is the direct consequence of "egoism".

10. Blur the distinction between selfishness and self-interest to the point that no one of the opposite sex, or your own for that matter, wants to have play time with you for fear of not achieving an orgasm.

#174 ::: lucy ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2009, 04:02 AM:

I am a picket breaker and have suffered for 20 years, please forgive a stupid old woman so she can see how much she has really missed out on in this beautiful country where the best working and living conditions were made by the hard working unions and all their members, I wasn't young but naive alone stupid scared and selfish inflicting hate upon myself. Given the chance will never do such an abominal thing again. Very repentant Picket Breaker

#175 ::: Bran ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2009, 11:12 AM:

There are not many of us, under self-scrutiny, who would find that we adhere very strictly to the labels we willingly allow to be applied to us. I, for example, after several years of study, discovered just how much more complex I am than any label could define. I found that I am a libertarian, but that there is a bit of authoritarian in me. I am a socialist, yet within me dwells an inner capitalist. I am liberal, yet a closer look yields my lurking conservative. I certainly lean to the left on most issues, though I am a card-carrying member of the NRA and an avid hunter. I am someone you would like to have a beer with. Yet I am just as comfortable sipping wine, cognac, port or bourbon, a smuggled, medium bodied and expertly rolled cuban gripped between my index and middle fingers.
Whenever we look at the world through a label obscured lens, it is easy to miss the fact that real people exist underneath. People with the same hopes and dreams. People who love their families and work hard to keep them safe and happy. People who laugh with friends, people who love deeply, who cry when a loved one dies, who feel pain for the same reasons we do, and struggle with the same problems that we all face. People who crumble under the weight of those same problems, yet get back up when they are strong enough. There are the heroes, by whose example we strive to live by, and are frustrated when we think we cannot, and elated when we realize we always could. We all, throughout every race and every culture, have noble traits and noble intentions within us, and we all fall short from time to time, and some of us fall very far; so far we bring down everyone around us. There is a shared hatred for those who fall so far, and this too we have in common.
Do not let yourselves fall victim to labels, my friends. Do not allow the insular judgement of pre-determined prejudices define who you are. You know who you are. Whatever things are in this world that a slapped-on and indifferent label will suffice in defining it, you know you are greater than this. This will not do for you. This does not apply to you. This is not who and what you are. You are too complex for such petty things. It is not our lot in life to live up to the expectations of labels and judgements. No, we do not put up with such nonsense. Rather, the weight of providing substance to a label lies with the labeler...the labeled has only his life to live, as true to himself and his ideals as he is able, for there are no labels apt enough to define the human spirit.

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