One Voluntaryist’s Perspective

    One Voluntaryist’s Perspective –

  • Cultural Marxism’s Fundamental Flaw

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    I just listened to a Munk Debate titled, “Be it resolved, what you call political correctness, I call progress…” (found here). It was semi-interesting. Much to Stephen Fry’s and my own disappointment, “political correctness” was hardly discussed or debated at all.

    Still, what was discussed had my mind bouncing around different ideas on race and gender. Psychologist Jordan Peterson made the point that only individuals have rights (and thus responsibilities), not groups, and when we assign groups rights without responsibilities (his opponents weren’t interested in doing so), disaster likely ensues.

    I wasn’t quite sure why at the time, but this brought to my mind cultural Marxism. It was not a term used the debate at all, but it is a term associated with the idea of political correctness. And in fact, I’m not well versed on what it even means, so I did some searching. I read the introduction on the Wikipedia page, which wasn’t very helpful. Then I watched this video explaining cultural Marxism, linked to by the Mises Institute.

    The foundational claims made by cultural Marxists seems to be that 1) groups exist, 2) groups act, 3) groups are either oppressive or oppressed, 4) group identity is mostly unchosen, but not always (eg. transgenders), and 5) group identity entails privilege, or not.

    As a cisgendered “white” heterosexual male, I am a member of a number of groups that have historically and contemporaneously been categorized as  oppressive and privileged. The funny thing is, the only person I have ever oppressed is my cisgendered “white” heterosexual (I think) son. I oppressed him violently, actually.

    Cultural Marxists would argue that cisgendered “white” heterosexual males have, at least in the Western world (and for heterosexual males, the entire world), been the group that has oppressed all others, those who identify with groups such as women, “people of color”, homosexuals, and transgenders. Seems inarguable as we survey the history of the West, does it not?

    And as oppressors, they have enjoyed political and legal privileges not afforded these other groups. This also seems inarguable as we survey history. But there seems to me to be something wrong with this so-called “critical theory” approach to topics of oppression and privilege.

    This brings us to what seems to be the fundamental flaw in cultural Marxism: the refusal to engage in methodological individualism. From the Mises Wiki:

    Methodological individualism is the theory that social and economic phenomena can be explained by reference to the actions of individuals rather than groups or collectives. Based on this theory groups and collectives are not entities which can act in and of themselves but only through the action of the individual members of which they are composed.

    If instead we approach the analysis of oppression and privilege under methodological individualism, what you see when you look at me as an individual who happens to be cisgendered, “white”, heterosexual, and male is not an oppressor of women, “people of color”, homosexuals, and transgenders. Never once in my life have I done any such thing (except, again, toward my son). Nor, to my knowledge, has my father (except to his children).

    And when I look out at my group peers, I see nary an individual who has oppressed anyone (except perhaps their children, at some point). You see, I am not an oppressor, and when I was, it was only toward another single individual. It was never toward a group, nor any of the above listed groups.

    For that I consider myself a good person, a good man. And I believe that there are many other good people, good men from “my” group, in this world. And not only my contemporaries, but throughout history. There have been many who have been good men, and most men have never wielded any political power.

    Yet here are the cultural Marxists (and social justice warriors), in their fight against oppression and privilege, grouping good men like myself in with bad men just because we share characteristics. I find that sickening. Not only am I being grouped in with violent pricks, but violent pricks are and have been quite arguably the minority of “my” group.

    And here as a supposed member of “my” group, I must feel guilty for it’s abhorrent actions and “check” the privilege I supposedly have, which having was never in my control to begin with. If you think telling me these things and making demands on me is going to be received with supplication, you are a certifiable idiot.

    I don’t wonder why other cisgendered “white” heterosexual males get pulled into identity politics on the right. I know exactly why. It’s because they’re being accused of doing something horrendous which they have no recollection of doing as individuals. It creates resentment, which breeds radicalism, and when they live in a society ruled by one-size-fits-all policy, which we most unfortunately do, they just might feel like violence, either through the ballot box or not, is their only recourse.

    So no, unless I’m totally mistaken on the details, I don’t consider myself a cultural Marxist. It’s fundamentally flawed because it fails to recognize that groups are imaginary and that only individuals exist and act. And further, it seems to call for political solutions, which are by definition violent, and in this case, violent toward individuals by virtue of group identity. No, thank you.

  • Let This Promise in Me Start, Like an Anthem in My Heart

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    If you haven’t seen “The Greatest Showman” starring Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Zendaya, and more, you are missing out one of the best movies and musicals of our time. It’s mesmerizing and uplifting, a true tour de force, and has captured the hearts and minds of my entire family.

    Every one of its ten songs is an absolute gem. But the one I’d like to bring to your attention is from the end of the movie titled, “From Now On”. Here it is in official audio form:

    While it’s not the intended interpretation, the theme that has found its home in my mind is based on the chorus, and goes like this:

    From now on: This voice will not be used to encourage violence against peaceful people.
    From now on: These hands will not used to hit or strike fear in my children.
    From now on: This body will not serve as a means for expropriation or indoctrination of others.
    Let this promise in me start, Like an anthem in my heart!
    From now on!

    Alright so, it’s doesn’t rhyme, but oh well! One of the reasons that I engage in the work of writing and podcasting is to turn hearts and minds away from violent solutions to the problems they have with other people, with special emphasis on the parent-child relationship. Nothing validates my work more than when a parent tells me that I was instrumental in their own “from now on” moment of ceasing to use violent parenting tools. I was told that in my latest podcast conversation, and it warmed my heart.

    It can be difficult internally and challenging to deal with opposition by friends and family when making these sorts of changes. But your children deserve your promise and anthem to never hit or strike fear in them again.

    And when you move forward in partnership, the relationship you build and maintain will last the rest of your life paying dividends every single day. From now on!

  • The Voluntaryist Ethnicity

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    Thinking of “ethnic” as an American of Northern European descent fills my head with images of people and cultures from Latin and South America, Polynesia, Africa, the Middle East, India, Pakistan, Asia, and aboriginal Americans and Australians.

    Reading about the etymology of the term is interesting. It began in the English language (after the ancient Greek and Latin) as a term for pagans and heathens, anyone who was not a [white] Jew or a [white] Christian. Then it was transformed through secularization to mean anyone foreign. Do Africans or Polynesians think of me as “ethnic”, I wonder? It’s very strange to think of myself that way. Ethnic was always non-“white” people, from my particular perspective.

    Related uses around ethnicity include “adopted to the genius or customs of a people, peculiar to a people,” “band of people living together, nation, people, tribe, caste,” and “people of one’s own kind.” Your ethnicity is the array of customs peculiar to your people. So yes, I have an ethnicity, as do each of the various cultures and subcultures of Americans of Northern European descent.

    In any event, as my family has traveled the country and met or stayed with other voluntaryists and unschoolers, I can’t help but notice certain general customs among people and families of this kind. Without putting anybody in a box or limiting how it is expressed or experienced, here is the voluntaryist ethnicity as I’ve seen it.

    Peaceful parenting: Voluntaryists don’t use corporal punishment, don’t hit or smack their children, and typically don’t yell or traumatize them in any other way. Many are the tools employed by the voluntaryist parent in guiding, mentoring, correcting, and disciplining their children, all of which are based on love, compassion, play, reason, and, when required, serious talk or swift protective force (not allowing one child to hit another, et cetera).

    Radical unschooling: Voluntaryists range in their approach to childhood education, from eclectic homeschooling to radical unschooling. The basis for whichever approach is employed is the realization that every child is unique and has needs specific to their personality and interests. For myself and my family, we’re radical unschoolers. We don’t employ any level of control on what my children do with their time day-to-day, and every day looks different for each of my children. Spontaneity is a regular feature of our time spent exploring the world around us.

    Intellectual discussion: Voluntaryists, in my experience, always want to engage in heavy intellectual discussion, far more so than those not of this or similar ethnicities. Whenever voluntaryists are engaged in conversation, the topics range from politics to religion to philosophy to science to economics. You won’t find a lot of discussion on the Kardashians or the latest sale at JCPenney.

    Abstention from electoral politics: Voluntaryists typically don’t participate in voting, as the futility (at least) of doing so is recognize early on in their philosophical journey. Oh, they’ll have plenty of opinions on the many aspects of electoral politics, but their voice is not limited to entering marks in the ballot box. Many write and podcast and debate, doing so for reasons of mental stimulation, improvement, entertainment, and enjoyment.

    Critiquing coercion: Voluntaryists are quick to recognize and criticize the use of coercion and aggression by other people and groups. The opposition to coercion is the lynchpin of identifying as a voluntaryist. The use of coercion in society, beginning in the home, is the root cause of people being unable or unwilling to settle conflicts over scarce resources peacefully. All of the world’s social ills can be traced back to the use of coercion (unjust, by definition).

    Bias against government: Voluntaryists typically have a bias against considering government “solutions” to social problems and a prejudice against people working for the state. Government is, factually, “a bandit gang, writ large.” Most criminals hide behind a veil of being a regular person, but public criminals where badges and insignia to make their willingness to initiate violence against peaceful people clear, making it easier to identify them as people that should be avoided, if it can be helped.

    Aside from the above, voluntaryists come in many stripes. Some are business executives while others are off-grid survivalists. What they have in common is [mostly, but not always entirely] the voluntaryist ethnicity as broadly outlined above. Meeting new people of the voluntaryist ethnicity is like being reconnected with old friends and family. There has always been an immediate feeling of kinship and connection for me, personally. If you have the opportunity from time to time to gather with other voluntaryists, I think you’ll find what I’ve written to be accurate. And I highly recommend doing so as much as you can.

  • Involuntarily Celibate: Clever Rhetorical Trick

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    I heard the phrase “involuntarily celibate” recently as a way of describing oneself. It was on the context of a man who had a grievance against women for not sleeping with him. Considering the ins and outs of this phrase was a near total mind fuck. That doesn’t happen very often these days, so I absolutely must tell you all about it!

    Obviously this person is not choosing to be celibate. As he puts it, his celibacy is completely involuntary. The women he’s encountered, and I suppose propositioned, have made it clear that he’s not worth their while. And since that’s an injustice, Mr. Involuntarily Celibate is a victim.

    What a clever rhetorical trick! I must admit he had me feeling sympathy for his plight. That poor, poor man can’t find any woman on the face of the earth to sleep with him. I’m sure he’s tried convincing a prostitute for an agreeable sum of his hard earned money, all to no avail. What is wrong with people? Why won’t they sleep with this man?!

    And then it occurred to me just how often this rhetorical trick is employed. Here are a few examples of grievances of this nature:

    Involuntarily poor: since other people won’t give me money or trade with me for my labor, I’m poor, but not of my choosing!

    Involuntarily sick: since other people won’t treat my illness, and I don’t know how, I’m sick all the time, but not of my choosing!

    Involuntarily lonely: since other people won’t spend time with me, I’m a loner, but not of my choosing!

    Just writing these has me feeling sympathy for these poor, poor victims of circumstance. Why should anyone be poor in our world of material abundance? Why should anyone be sick in our world of medical abundance? Why should anyone be lonely in our world of social abundance? That anybody is poor, sick, or lonely in our world of abundance is a manifest injustice that must be corrected by any means possible!

    And those means must be political and legal in nature. There’s simply no other way to help the poor, the sick, and the lonely than by passing laws designed to correct these injustices. Universal Basic Income will fix the problem of being involuntarily poor. Universal Healthcare will fix the problem if being involuntarily sick. Making it illegal to live alone will force loners together, and their loneliness will evaporate.

    And what about involuntary celibacy? Universal Sexcare, I suppose, is the answer to this most serious of problems. Nobody should be without sex. Everyone must pay their fair share to funding the Administration of Universal Sexcare so that everyone has a sexual partner when they need it. Such is good and noble in our world of abundance.

    When rhetorical tricks lead to government policy, hold on to your wallets.

  • Markets aren’t Miraculous; God Bless the World

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    Markets, or the array of exchanges of property between individuals and groups, are responsible for the rising standard of living enjoyed by human beings all across the world. To the extent that markets are free to develop, people’s needs are easier met and conflicts over scarce resources are reduced. I’m guilty of describing these amazing effects of markets as “miraculous”. I wrote a few entries in a “Miracles of the Market” series back in 2009.

    But I was wrong to ever describe anything the market does as a miracle or as miraculous. Why? Because the positive effects of markets broadly described above do not depend on any sort of divine intervention, and its totally ridiculous to say that they do. Rather, they are the natural result of individuals and groups engaging in market action. No divine explanation necessary.

    What may require divine intervention, however, is increasing the knowledge that people have about the importance of keeping markets free, of allowing voluntary trade among consenting individuals and groups to happen however the participants involved see fit. What people need is a better understanding of rational economics, first, and second, to explore normative claims that free markets are good for people.

    I don’t know if there is a God [sic], but assuming for a moment there is, I say, “God bless the world” with a better understanding of what it takes to help people meet their needs easier and reduce conflict over scarce resources. “God bless the world” to stop its violent prohibition of voluntary trade among consenting individuals and groups. “God bless the world” to stop its campaigns of terror among innocent people. “God bless the world” to stop traumatizing its children and perpetuating the cycle of abuse. “God bless the world” to one day develop the technology to permanently make the state obsolete.

    Markets don’t need God’s blessing, but humanity sure seems to.

  • Technology Kills the State, Over and Over

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    The state is “a bandit gang, writ large,” wrote economist and historian Murray Rothbard. This is demonstrably true due to the inability for people who call themselves “the state” or “government” to produce any factual evidence that their rules, including the rules to give them money (or else!), apply to anybody they claim to have jurisdiction over.

    Like any other criminal enterprise, they operate within a certain temporal context. The tools they wield are limited to current state of the art technology. The first states probably used what everyone else used to hunt: sticks, stones, bows, et cetera. Later states added swords and axes, then rifles and cannons, and today’s states use high powered guns, missiles, and bombs.

    If we identify a state as not only the particular time and place in which they operate, but also by the tools they use, then what is revealed over and over again are the many ways in which technology has killed the state.  For example, hypothetical State A-Sticks enforced it’s claims of jurisdiction by sticks and stones. At some point swords were invented giving State A-Sticks’s victims more power to defend themselves. In order to maintain their rule, State A-Sticks was abolished and immediately replaced with State A-Swords. Had State A-Sticks not been abolished and replaced with State A-Swords, it likely would have been ineffectual and eventually gone away. Swords made State A-Sticks obsolete, and so the only way to survive was to replace itself with State A-Swords. State A-Sticks was killed by technology.

    Once guns were invented, State A-Swords became obsolete and its survival depended on abolishing State A-Swords and replacing it with State A-Guns. At each point, the state is made obsolete, then killed, then replaced. This same type of analysis applies not only to states, but to any other organization that operates within a certain temporal context. The Catholic church operated on the basis of keeping scripture away from the layman. Once the printing press was invented and scripture was distributed, the Catholic church as it was then known was made obsolete, then killed, then replaced.

    Organizations that refuse to recognize how they’ve been made obsolete will fail to kill the way the organization operates, and then replace itself using the tools necessary to continue operating. This necessarily applies to states, churches, businesses, charities, et cetera. Technological progress makes old ways obsolete, and survival depends on technological adaptation, if possible. The Catholic church as a monopolizer of reading scripture could not survive without a campaign of bloodshed against all non-permitted scripture producers and consumers, and likely would have failed at that. It survived because it killed it’s obsolete self, and adapted to the new technological environment.

    So, what does this say about the state’s future? To me, it says that the state will only cease to exist finally and permanently through technological change for which it cannot adapt. Taxi cartels are quasi-statist organizations. They will not survive the ridesharing revolution. The day will come when we look back at taxi cartels like we do the dodo bird, ie. extinct.

    Technology is constantly killing organizations through obsolescence, and I hope one day the state will receive it’s final shot in the chest, so to speak, and be unable to replace itself. No violent revolution necessary. That will be a glorious day for advocates of liberty, peace, and prosperity.

  • Compounded Ignorance Leads to Hubris

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    A broken clock is correct twice a day, so the adage goes. I think I’m correct at least as often, possibly, hopefully, more. The other day I had an epiphany, of sorts, and shared it on Facebook. It went as follows:

    A person is mostly ignorant. People are ignorance compounded. Government is evidence of people’s hubris.

    I know I was onto something when a friend thought he should confirm whether it was a Collins Original™. I can’t take full credit for the ideas conveyed, though, because they have their antecedents in other ideas I’ve encountered. Anyway, I thought I’d explore each idea and explain my thinking.

    “A person is mostly ignorant.”

    Despite the protestations of his ego, a person is mostly ignorant about the facts of reality his entire life. Persons who’ve studied a great deal are usually the first to say that what they’ve learned the most is how much more there is to know. It’s as if the higher you climb on the mountain, the more realize just how big the mountain truly is, and more, that you’ll never approach even the halfway line. But climb we do!

    While I think I’ve studied a lot in my life, I know that it’s a fraction of what humanity knows in total, itself a fraction of all there is to know at all. While I still find interest in things, and dig in, I’m not as zealous as I used to be to really dig for new ideas. (That’s not to say that I never encounter new ideas. I definitely do. Often.) I guess realizing the size of the mountain and impossibility of reaching the top has put a bit of a damper on this area of my life. And I’m at peace with that.

    “People are ignorance compounded.”

    This statement was not meant to say that if we add our ignorance together, we become more ignorant. That’s silly. If my 5-10% of knowledge is partially different than your 5-10% of knowledge, then putting it together boosts are knowledge to more than 5-10%. I get that. What I meant here was the idea that people as a collective are horrible decision makers. And the more people we cram together to make a decision, the worst the decision is going to be as it concerns the needs and wants of each and every individual.

    As ignorant as we are, we are probably most ignorant as it concerns what other people need and want to live a happy and fulfilling life. How many of us even know what we ourselves need and want to live a happy and fulfilling life? Hah! And we think we can make decisions for other people concerning their needs and wants? There’s only one word to best describe thinking this way: hubris.

    “Government is evidence of people’s hubris.”

    There’s very little more hubristic than the belief that we can effectively and successfully make decisions for other people that concern their lives, except that this is exactly the basis for government. At the very least, government tasked solely with the protection of life and property must make all sorts of decision that involve other people.

    Knowledge, calculation, and coordination are problems even for the so-called nightwatchman state. Where should we build security measures? What sorts of security measures should we build? Which crimes should we deal with, and which crimes should the people deal with themselves? How should we force everyone to pay for it all? And what are we going to do about dissent? These are one-size-fits-all questions, and one-size never truly fits all.

    Now compound the number of tasks performed by government to include things like managing the money supply, controlling foreign trade, providing welfare and entitlements, regulating business activities, prohibiting nonviolent behavioret ceteraad infinitum. What do you get? Problem, after problem.

    Any economist worth their salt will recognize the futility in using government to solve problems. It never turns out as intended, and never without unintended consequences to other people. And these consequences are not benign. They’re terrible interruptions to everyone’s goal of meeting their needs and wants to live a happy and fulfilling life.

    The less ignorant I became of the consequences of government actions, the more convinced I was that government is one of the worst ways to make decisions as it concerns other people. I’m glad I learned this early on, and every year the reasons for viewing government action as folly pile up higher and higher.

    It’s truly astonishing to me how many people still believe in government.

  • Laws Always Mean Guns to the Face

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    One of the very first red pills a person swallows on the journey toward becoming a voluntaryist is the idea that every law is guaranteed by an act of violence. In our day and age, that means a gun to the face. In days past, it meant a sword, a club, or a fist. Thus begins the critical analysis of every type of government law that is proposed, passed, and enforced.

    It often proceeds as follows: laws regulating the use of private property are summarily dismissed as obvious violations of liberty; laws regulating the use of one’s body are likewise summarily dismissed as obvious violations liberty; laws requiring fees for permission to do things or fines for doing the wrong thing are next; and sooner or later, laws requiring people to give a part of their income to the government and laws protecting businesses from competition are seen for what they are: extortion and protectionism.

    Finally, the budding voluntaryist recognizes that the claims of territorial jurisdiction made by people who call themselves “government” are without factual merit. They are nothing more than, “Pay us and obey our rules, or else!” The commands wouldn’t be so bad if not for the “or else!” What is the “or else!”? It’s a gun to the face. Always.

    Mind-bogglingly, some people at some point in this journey fail to understand that government laws always mean a gun to the face. Their argument is that because the law is not always enforced at the point of a gun, the law does not always mean a gun to the face. It is perfectly observable the fact that laws are not always enforced at gunpoint. Most people hand over their income, follow business regulations, drive the speed limit, et cetera, without any guns to their face. This is all well and good, but begs the question: why do they do this?

    There are two reasons why people obey government laws: 1) to avoid a gun to their face, and 2) other self-interested reasons. The ongoing threat of a gun to the face is why laws are obeyed as a matter of law. If people calling themselves “government” were not willing to enforce their laws at gunpoint, their laws would deteriorate (as many specific laws do). Anybody seemingly obeying them at this point are not doing so to avoid a gun in the face. They are doing so for some other self-interested reason.

    I don’t murder people, but not because there’s a government law that says I’m not allowed to murder people. I don’t murder because I consider murder wrong and want to avoid hurting other people, and my conscience. Same goes for speeding on the freeway. I drive the speed I’m comfortable driving. As does everyone else in the absence of speed limits. Government laws prohibiting liberties are wrong, and government laws prohibiting crimes are redundant.

    One of the final red pills swallowed by the voluntaryist is the idea that people can be peaceful and cooperative in the absence of people calling themselves “government” and forcing others to pay them and obey their rules. What begins as a critical analysis of these rules rightly ends as a rejection of the people making them.

  • The Essence of the Ruling Class

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    If you have government, you have a ruling class, by definition. No, I’m not talking about governance, the sort we see in managing property, a business, a charity, or any other private organization. A ruling class are those who calls themselves “government” or “the state“, or in some times and places “the church”, the organization(s) in society whose sole purpose of existing is to make and enforce rules, the first of which involve the generation of “revenue”. While that’s what the ruling class does, that’s not what the ruling class is. Here is the essence of what the ruling class is:

    The ruling class is the only group of people in society allowed to make and enforce claims without supporting evidence.

    Take a member of the non-ruling class (everyone else). Let’s call him John. John approaches me and tells me that I owe him money. Naturally, I inquire is to why he believes this. He tells me that because I’m wearing a blue shirt, I must pay him a fee.

    I inquire further, “Why must I pay you a fee just because I’m wearing a blue shirt?”

    He answers, “You’re in this area, and anyone wearing a blue shirt in this area must pay me a fee.” Then he lifts his own shirt to show me his gun. The decision is mine to either pay him his so-called “fee”, or risk getting hurt.

    We’ve all either been there, seen it, or heard about it. What’s actually occurring here is a mugging, or in more formal terms, an act of extortion. Typically there’s no pretense of justification (clothing), but just, “Give me your wallet!” John has no evidence that I owe him a fee just because I’m wearing a blue shirt. His claim is completely arbitrary and only supported by his supposed willingness to hurt me if I don’t pay him. To any observer, John is a criminal engaging in a criminal act.

    Let’s take another member of the non-ruling class. Let’s call him Dave. Dave approaches me and tells me that I owe him money. Once again, I inquire is to why he believes this. He opens his briefcase and shows me a loan agreement I made with his employer 12 months ago, which has come due. As I am always one to pay my debts, I hand him my debit card, which he swipes on his cell phone. He then prepares and signs documents declaring the loan paid in full, and we each go on our merry way. Dave is not a criminal, but rather, a businessman.

    Although both John and Dave initially claimed that I owed them money, John’s claim was made without any supporting evidence, while Dave’s was not. Dave had factual evidence to support his claim that I owed him money. John only had a gun.

    Now take a member of the ruling class. Let’s call him Officer Smaldiq. As I’m driving along the freeway minding my own business, a police cruiser gets behind me and turns on his red and blues, which equates to a demand to pull over. So I do.

    Officer Smaldiq approaches my vehicle and informs me that I was “speeding” and that he is going to write me a ticket. I inquire is to the purpose of the ticket, and he informs me that the ticket means I have to pay his organization a fine.

    I follow up, “I don’t understand, Officer Smaldiq, but why should I pay you anything. To my knowledge, I’ve done nothing wrong and owe you nothing.”

    He sighs, and responds, “You were traveling 85mph in a 70mph zone. The law calls that speeding, and since you were speeding, you’ll have to pay us a fine.”

    Then me, “Is it your claim that your law applies to me?”

    Him, “Yes, of course it applies to you. It applies to everyone in this area.”

    I scratch my chin, “Do you have personal, first-hand knowledge that the law applies to me just because I’m in this area?”

    Getting annoyed, he responds, “Yes, I do! Do you see this badge? That badge means I have authority to enforce the law in this area.”

    Me again, “I’m not asking what authority you have. Since you are claiming personal, first-hand knowledge, what evidence can you give me to support your claim that the law applies to me just because I’m in this area?”

    Getting triggered due to my asking him uncomfortable questions, he responds, “The law applies to everyone in this area, sir!”

    Me, “Aren’t you just repeating your claim without offering any supporting evidence?”

    At this point he puts his right hand on top of his gun holster and unbuttons it. He then demands that I exit the vehicle. Since it’s obvious that I risk getting shot if I don’t comply, I exit the vehicle.

    The preceding could unfold in any number of ways. I could have taken the ticket and then proceeded to question the prosecutor in like fashion. Or after the prosecutor chooses to proceed charging me without any evidence supporting his claim that his laws apply to me, question him and/or the officer on the stand, agitating all of them, and their colleague, the judge.

    Or, such questions can be directed at “city councils” or any number of bureaucrats or politicians or law professors or clergy who are claiming people must behave in certain ways, or pay them. In every case, their final resort to prove their claim that their laws apply will not be to provide any factual evidence, rather, it will be to pull their gun out and threaten me with it.

    So ask yourself, which of the two individuals above is more like members of the ruling class, John the mugger or Dave the businessman? There is no denying, without commiting grievous intellectual sin, that what sets the ruling class apart from the rest of society is their willingness and success to make and enforce claims without supporting evidence. Which begs the question, why are they so successful?

    Because people like you and I allow them to get away with it due to our ignorance, cowardice, and/or complacency.

  • Feminism or Masculinism? Neither…

    Post by Skyler J. Collins (Editor).

    Bryan Caplan offered a non-argumentative definition of feminism in a February article. Therein he wrote:

    What would a non-argumentative definition of feminism look like? Ideally, feminists, non-feminists, and anti-feminists could all endorse it. If that’s asking too much, all these groups should at least be able to accept the proposed definition as a rough approximation of the position they affirm or deny. My preferred candidate:

    feminism: the view that society generally treats men more fairly than women

    What’s good about my definition?

    First, the definition doesn’t include everyone who thinks that our society treats women unfairly to some degree. In the real world, of course, every member of every group experiences unfairness on occasion.

    Second, a large majority of self-identified feminists hold the view I ascribe to them. Indeed, if someone said, “I’m a feminist, but I think society generally treats women more fairly than men,” most listeners would simply be confused.

    Third, a large majority of self-identified non-feminists disbelieve the view I ascribe to feminists. If you think, “Society treats both genders equally well,” or “Society treats women more fairly than men,” you’re highly unlikely to see yourself as a feminist.

    I really, really, really like this definition of feminism. I think it fits very well with my overall experience with feminists from various “waves”. According to this definition, you correctly identify as or are identified as a “feminist” if you believe that society generally treats men more fairly than women.

    Am I a feminist? No, I do not believe so. If I’m not a feminist, does that mean I’m a masculinist? Well, let us offer the same non-argumentative definition of feminism, but replace it with masculinism:

    masculinism: the view that society generally treats women more fairly than men

    That’s certainly something to think about, but no, I do not believe that I fit that definition. I suppose it would be most accurate to say that I am neither a feminist, nor a masculinist. What I am is somebody who believes that both men and women are treated unfairly, in different ways.

    Men were/are drafted into military service to be used as cannon fodder, biased against in a custody battle or domestic violence dispute, treated as a pedophile if they associate with children, portrayed as bumbling and foolish fathers in popular media, told to “man up” instead of receive real help for mental and psychological issues, expected to work the most dangerous jobs, have their need for physical touch viewed as sexual only, routinely have their genitals mutilated, assumed to be weak or incompetent if they choose to be a stay-at-home dad, et cetera.

    Women are constantly told they are victims, were/are considered property of their fathers and husbands, considered slutty if they show a desire for sex, presumed incompetent at many tasks commonly performed by men, required to wear top clothing (and cover up while breastfeeding), weren’t/aren’t allowed to vote in democratic government elections, often told they should prioritize the well-being of their husband and children over their own, have their insecurities over their bodies encouraged, communally pressured to bear children, et cetera.

    In light of the many and varied types of unfairness that both men and women endure today and have endured throughout history, I can’t say that one gender has been treated more unfairly than the other. Both are and have been treated like shit for the benefit of others.

    But maybe we can agree that the one group of people that is and has been treated the most unfairly… is children.

    Is there a word for the view that society generally treats adults more fairly than children? I can’t find one, but here’s a related word: childism. Chantel Quick wrote about this last September:

    Racism, classism, ableism, nationalism are all things so many of us want to understandably speak out on and bring awareness to, but hardly anyone wants to acknowledge where all the -isms begin, and that is childism: a systemic belief and prejudice against children on the ground of a belief that they are property and can (or even should) be controlled, enslaved, or removed to serve adult needs.

    In addition to the two open-ended lists above on how men and women are treated unfairly, children in general must also endure such routine injustices as having their bodily autonomy violated, their curiosity punished, their passions and interests disregarded, their need for expression and emotional release disrespected, their desire to work, earn money, and learn responsibility made illegal, forced to eat when they aren’t hungry, forced to participate in activities they dislike, forced to associate with people they hate or fear, et cetera. The list could go on, and on, and on…

    Goddamnit we humans sure have treated other humans like shit, especially our young. What the fuck is wrong with us? In any event, I’ve resolved to engage in childism no longer, and my children couldn’t be happier. Same goes for treating other men and women unfairly. Please consider doing likewise.

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