Saturday, November 17, 2007

Saturday Thoughts

A woman heard on the radio said she plans to vote for Barack Obama in the primary election. Now, gentle reader, what do you think her reason was? Try to think of a plausible reason to vote for Obama.

She might have said, "I like that he does not put his hand on his heart when the National Anthem plays. This tells me he understands that America is a racist, imperialist, fascist state that starts wars with third world countries in order to rape them of their natural resources." I would disagree with her Marxist-Leninist boilerplate, but I would accept it as an honest, pseudo-intellectual answer. At least she would be thinking in ideological terms, however wrong the ideology was.

She might have said, "Obama is a progressive with extremely liberal ideas and I want to remake America on the European socialist model." Again, we disagree, but I respect the answer.

Or she might have said, "Obama would be the first black president and that would be a powerful step forward for social justice in a country that has a legacy of slavery, racism and hatred." Although I still disagree, I can kinda, sorta understand what she's getting at. Again, she would have an idea, though a wrong one.

But she said nothing near these reasons for her vote. She plans to vote for Obama because Matt Damon is voting for him. A Hollywood actor is determining her vote.

Perhaps, several thousand years from now, the epitaph for Western Civilization will read:

They allowed morons to vote.

And the wise souls of the next civilization will nod and think, "It is no wonder they died."

****

I experienced another Adventure In Dining today. This time it was a Vietnamese restaurant. I ordered sweet and sour duck, as I have enjoyed Peking duck in the past.

It was bad. The sweet and sour sauce was nothing like what you normally get in Chinese restaurants, but was a thin, bland liquid. The duck meat was dark, fatty and had a strange aftertaste. I think of that aftertaste as Daffy Duck's Revenge.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

"They allowed morons to vote."

I think they discussed possible restrictions to the franchise on HBL a while ago. I don't remember exactly what was said but I know property requirements were suggested. I've thought about this and I have never really come up with a satisfying answer except that under full capitalism it wouldn't really matter as there would be no handouts and entitlements to vote for.

A crazy conservative I came across thinks that the franchise should be limited to married men with children who are net tax payers because of all kinds of biblical reasons. If he were to hear of this woman's decision he would feel justified because he thinks women are too emotional to vote and will always vote for entitlements because they are "caregivers". As I said, he's crazy. But there may be rational reasons for limiting voting to responsible, intelligent, self-sufficient adults.

John Kim

Myrhaf said...

If they made it a complicated process to vote, then only people who were motivated to get through the process would vote. This would weed out most of the people who should not be voting.

I also think, and this is heresy to the multiculturalists, that the ballot should be in english only. Finally, and most controversially, you could get rid of the welfare state overnight by disenfranchising anyone who accepts money from the state, either in handouts or in salary. Like that would ever happen.

Anonymous said...

"Finally, and most controversially, you could get rid of the welfare state overnight by disenfranchising anyone who accepts money from the state, either in handouts or in salary."

I agree. But what about the police and the military? I think an exception should be made for them as they are legitimate functions of government.

John Kim

Myrhaf said...

That would work for me. Of course, this is speculation about something we'll never see in our lifetime, like the end of taxation. And as you implied in your first comment, who votes or not is not as important as a philosophic change in our culture that leads to laissez-faire capitalism. Until then it is good to resist laws such as "moter voter" that make it easier for the unmotivated and ignorant to vote.

Anonymous said...

So all people who work for the government (Including teachers, nurses, doctors, scientists, principals, etc.) would not be qualified to vote?

-SM

Myrhaf said...

Right. Of course, we're talking about an ideal government that is nothing like the mixed economy right now. In a laissez-faire capitalist society the government would not employ teachers, doctors, scientests, etc.; all of these people would work in the private sector.

Anonymous said...

must disagree with the chap who described another fells who thought women oughtn't vote as being "crazy".

voting's been around for 2500 years or so, right? and for 2410 of those years, women couldn't vote. by definition, that pretty much means the men of those times thought that "allowing women to vote was crazy".

that system worked, after a fashion, for 2400+ years. then they changed it. the new system's been in place for all of .9 century. in that .9 century, we've seen the incredibly rapid rise of the 'allmighty state'; the incredibly rapid erosion of personal responsibility/freedoms; and a scary trend towards authoritarian states jailing and butchering their own citizens for being uppity. (stalin & mao alone killed 70 million of their own people, right?)

all this took place since women have been allowed to vote. is it "crazy" to ask if there might be a connection? also, how arrogant can you be as to automatically assume *you're* smarter, wiser, and cleverer than the entire 24 centuries of men who came before you?

what would those men say about people who allow the state unfettered access to their finances, medicine cabinets, schools, etc? and then jail/murder citizens it decides it doesn't like?

wouldn't they call us crazy? wouldn't they be right?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

First of all, anonymity is a sure sign of intellectual cowardice; ie not signing your name to your positions. But going past that, you sound exactly like the religious conservative that I called "crazy." You cultural-cons are all about allegiance to traditions whether they are rational or not, pro-individual liberty or not.

Next, you are drawing the conclusion that the current welfare state is the result of women's suffrage which is ridiculous and demonstrates a total ignorance of what drives history; namely philosophic ideas. Today's welfare state and the socialist/fascist hellholes of the twentieth century were the product of anti-reason, collectivist ideas that gained cultural dominance because of Immanuel Kant and other anti-reason, anti-individualist intellectual figures. Woman's suffrage was a noble pro-individualist development which was part of the legacy of the Enlightenment and Classical Liberalism. It is only a non-essential historical association that women's suffrage occurred in the same historical era as the rise of modern collectivism.

Your attitude demonstrates what I find to be all too common amongst cultural conservatives. Namely: a blind obedience to tradition simply because it is tradition and a deep seated fear and hatred of individualism which is revealed by rabid anti-sexual, anti-women, anti-secular, anti-non-white viewpoints (and here I am referring to 'racialism' or scientific racism which I would bet that you also subscribe to.)

Objectivists are not conservatives. Say it 10 times fast.

John Kim

Adrian Hester said...

"also, how arrogant can you be as to automatically assume *you're* smarter, wiser, and cleverer than the entire 24 centuries of men who came before you?" Who's assuming it? We can simply observe it to be true in practice. We have up to 2500 years' more experience to learn from than they did, we understand the world a hell of a lot better than any of them did, and we learned all that precisely by refusing to hold mindless tradition as sacrosanct and instead looking at the world and at our predecessors' thoughts critically and unsentimentally--just as the best of them had done in their own day in turn. All of the bright lights in that self-same tradition, in other words, made that tradition glorious precisely because they did not fear to be called "arrogant" by tradition-bound clods for daring to question the conclusions and assertions of the earlier figures in that tradition as well. And your demand that we not be so arrogant shows that not only are you not a part of that tradition, but you actively seek to end it.

Richard said...

Read "Vindicating the Founders" by Thomas G. West.

He explains why male land holders were first to be franchised by the Founders, then subsequent presidential terms included land holding women, and then everyone.

Similarly, a wonderful read is "The Pursuit of Reason : The Life of Thomas Jefferson" by Noble E. Jr. Cunningham. Cunningham shows the decisions that set in place the flaws that expanded to todays present failures in the political developments of the United States. Notably, the formation of the false alternative between the pro-government Democrats (tyranny of the majority) and the Republican (Rights as imbued in Man by God).

The primary consequences were 1. central (read "gov't") banking, 2. minimal welfare, and 3. public education. Forced taxation for military defense of the new republic could also be included here, but was and is a much more complicated problem. These served as the opening of a Pandora's box of distinctly destructive 'forces'.

The essential is that those three 'forces' attracted politicians seeking power. This was a matter of great consternation for Jefferson. So much so that, preferring to be out of the public eye, he finally relented to become the third president of the United States.

Jefferson's presidency brought a return towards a proper American Republic respecting Individual Rights. Predictably, after his terms ended, American politics resumed on the course that brings us to today's egregious misunderstandings of true Rights and Freedoms.

Ayn Rand's "Capitalism : The Unknown Ideal" rights the confusion. Fund ARI.

The 2000+ yr history of democracy without women (etc.) is a chauvinist Red Herring.

[Why doesn't Preview work??]

Anonymous said...

For those interested, here are two links to a very prominent cultural conservative. One link is for his views on disenfranchising women and the other is a link to his views on how race determines culture and how non-asian non-whites are intellectually inferior. Its pretty ugly stuff. But this is a good example of the type of arguments that conservatives like "anonymous" above give for their positions.

http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/009235.html

http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/008868.html

John Kim

Anonymous said...

wow, mr. john kim, that sure was a ringing and politically correct defense of women's suffrage! the sneering scorn! the barely-restrained outrage that someone would *dare* to question modern ideas and mores; or to - even worse - suggest that ideas that teacher told you were 'wrong' weren't maybe all that wrong.

i especially liked the part where you patted yourself on the back for your bravery in signing a name to your post. will you award yourself a medal for your bravery, too?

couch your argument with as many pseudo-intellectual "watch me name off schools of modern thought" arguments as you want; namedrop as many german philosophers as you want - strange that you'd choose kant as your champion. why not schopenhauer? - but i couldn't help but notice that nowhere in your righteously-angry polemic screed did you address that confluence of female suffrage and state-sponsored large-scale murder of their own.

odd, that. did you just forget that part? did you just forget the part where current female political "thought" accepts & encourages enormous government intrusion into personal life? intrusions & control that *men* of a previous age would have found unbearable?

or is it just too too uncomfortable to ask questions like this? did teacher tell you that such questions were just plain *wrong*, and therefore not allowed?

here ya go, captain blood:

L.A. Johnson

Anonymous said...

L.A. Johnson,

You have not offered any argument to be refuted. All you are doing is insisting that there is a link between female suffrage and totalitarianism, a link which you could never in a million years prove. What on earth did female suffrage in America have to do with the slaughter of millions in Cambodia or China where no such suffrage existed?

If you are interested in what made possible twentieth century totalitarianism I suggest 'The Ominous Parallels' by Leonard Peikoff. He shows that modern collectivism and all its atrocities were caused by a certain set of philosophical ideas which were most prominently found in continental (yes, specifically German) philosophy.

But I seriously doubt you care. You are a chauvinist it would seem. And I suspect possibly much worse as I detect the phraseology of a religious, traditionalist conservative. And reread Adrian Hester's reply to understand why your accusation of "arrogance" is nothing more than attempted intellectual intimidation.

John Kim

Anonymous said...

"adrain's (ridiculous) commentary shows why my impudent, unauthorized-by-the-party question are tantamount to attempted intellectual intimidation", are they?

funny. what *I* got from his commentary was merely a sense of "us moderns are smarter/wiser/better than the men of centuries past because we, ... uh ..., well we just ARE! teacher told us so! besides, if they're so great, how come they're not refuting our arguments?? huh?!?"

following that line, let me ask whether the plodding, cloddish misogynists of centuries past would stand for our current status quo: would they accept a system in which grade schools require metal detectors? a system featuring high-school graduates who are functional illiterates? a system in which we meekly show the government ALL of our financial papers, and allow them to take what they please of our incomes? a system in which we can be denied use of *our own land and property*, with no compensation paid? a system in which the state has been fighting a "war" against the demon weed and satanic white powders for **90 years** now, without appreciable success, other than a steadily-escalating loss of personal freedoms? etc etc etc?

or is pointing out hateful observations like these merely ... what did you call it? ... intellectual thuggery? "intimidation" by unauthorized departure from the approved & standard groupthink?

you guys should get together and wear the same shirts and stuff. sing party hymns. line up in formation, and swear allegiance to Proper Political Thought. do 2-minute hates against unbelievers.

L.A. Johnson

Adrian Hester said...

'"adrain's (ridiculous) commentary shows why my impudent, unauthorized-by-the-party question are tantamount to attempted intellectual intimidation', are they?"

Can't even spell my name right or get that subject-verb agreement right, I see.

"funny. what *I* got from his commentary was merely a sense of 'us moderns are smarter/wiser/better than the men of centuries past because we, ... uh ..., well we just ARE! teacher told us so! besides, if they're so great, how come they're not refuting our arguments?? huh?!?'"

Ah, that explains it--you have the reading skills of a five-year-old.

"couch your argument with as many pseudo-intellectual 'watch me name off schools of modern thought' arguments as you want; namedrop as many german philosophers as you want - strange that you'd choose kant as your champion. why not schopenhauer? - but i couldn't help but notice that nowhere in your righteously-angry polemic screed did you address that confluence of female suffrage and state-sponsored large-scale murder of their own."

Uh, if you had reading skills above a first-grade level, you'd see that he's attacking Kant, not setting him up as some champion. And the great minds in that tradition you mindlessly worship were fully aware of the fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc, of which you provide a perfect example. (But in fact I have to say that for once your mindless worshipof tradition has paid off. It's traditional among savages and idiots to belief in the most outrageous occult forces to explain striking coincidences. Thank you for carrying on with that tradition--I'm glad to see it's finally allowed you to contribute something to human knowledge.)

Myrhaf said...

I suppose it's my job to ask everyone to be nice and not to cast insults. It's not a job I love. Also, I hope we can refrain from calling people who comment under the name Anonymous cowards, since I'm blogging under a pseudonym and you could make the same argument about me. Let's stick to the ideas.

Anonymous said...

golly. champions of female suffrage *really* appear to dislike having their dogma questioned - not attacked, mind you: merely *questioned* - and evidently respond to such infuriating impudence with blistering pseudointellectual wordstorms and personal attacks. ("savages"! "idiots!" "coward!" "post hoc ergo!")

i recognize these tactics, i do believe. are y'all college kids? government employees? veterans of many a seminar on hypersensitivity to the noble, nay, *superior* womynly ways?

gotta be something like that. a pity that instead of mouthing slogans, you didn't learn respect for ideas not on the "approved" list. you don't have to *agree* with them - you just have to excercise restraint, listen politely, and *not try to shout them down in your lemminglike way*.

THAT concept is called "class", kiddies. google it sometime.

madmax said...

"THAT concept is called "class", kiddies. google it sometime."

Are you serious?

All that Internet testosterone can't be good for you.

He actually thinks this is a site for politically correct liberals. That's pretty funny.

Inspector said...

Seriously, Matt Damon?

(To anyone who saw that awfultastic puppet move from the South Park people... MATT DAMON!)

I'm with Myrhaf on this one. This has got to be one of those signs of the end-times.

An interesting idea for the landed franchise...

If you examine my speculations on the formation of a voluntary state here, it can be seen how basically everyone in such a state would either be a property owner or a visitor who stays at the permission of a property owner. The state is tied to geography, as would be its formation... and I do think there is room in there to speculate that so too might be the voting franchise.

Myrhaf said...

I asked commenters not to cast insults, then Anonymous ignores my request and writes a post that is nothing but insults. Please be polite and argue the ideas.

Adrian Hester said...

"I asked commenters not to cast insults, then Anonymous ignores my request and writes a post that is nothing but insults. Please be polite and argue the ideas."

Note that John Kim and I did start by debating his ideas, and his immediate response was sneers and scorn with the occasional insult thrown in.

In any case, what's useful to take away from his screeds is his fixation on political institutions rather than political ideas. As he portrays it, the world saw 2400 years of peace, justice (!!!), sweetness and light until women were given the vote; but then and because of that socialism, communism, fascism, and mass murder by the state arose. How?

At best he says, "did you just forget the part where current female political "thought" accepts & encourages enormous government intrusion into personal life? intrusions & control that *men* of a previous age would have found unbearable?" But it wasn't female political thinkers who came up with and spread those ideas long before women ever had the vote, and it wasn't women who enacted them--it was by and large male legislators who wrote those laws and male officials who staffed those institutions here in the US, and it was men who gassed and shot enemies of the state in Germany, the Soviet Union, China and elsewhere.

Note that who can vote is not the most fundamental part of any political system--what can and can't be voted on is more fundamental, and much more fundamental still is whether the state defends or violates individual rights. Throughout the 2500+ years of voting (and really, how many of those centuries actually saw voting as a central part of citizenship? precious few) that are so important to him, how many states were founded on the protection of individual rights? Quite few, especially before the 19th century.

The progress from which our society is currently falling away was not the heritage of all the 2400 years since the Ancient Greeks but primarily of the years since about 1700, with shoots reaching back a century or two earlier, and in that time contrary ideas whose consequences he decries have been ever-present and spreading. Taking the vote away from women won't put an end to those ideas, nor will it make their political implementation any harder. This is all elementary stuff; ignoring it and proposing to fight biology with politics rather than bad ideas with good ideas tells us that to him the human mind is fundamentally unimportant. It's a very common view among certain conservatives, though rarely stated quite so crudely.

Anonymous said...

well, ok, one more comment. for john & adrian/adrienne/whatever, let's recap: you can dress yourselves up in current, safe, politically-correct, teacher-approved positions all you want. you can congratulate yourselves on your admirable letter-perfect conformity to feminist cant. you can glory in your exquisite renditions of 'these things i know because TV told me so!'.

but don't tell yourselves you've any kind of manners, class, or listening skills. earlier, i took exception and (evidently) mortally insulted you by differing with your dogma. yes, i *dared* to **question** your oh-so-modern mores. how'd you respond? did you ever even once bother to take a shot at my central question? the one in which i wondered if there might be *some* small connection between the granting of female suffrage and the rise of government power and scope?

nope. instead, like all good passionate feminists/leftists, you... attacked the questioner. john-boy informed me that my awful anonymity proved to be "a sure sign of cowardice". also, my questions - words he never quite got around to answering, mind you - "demostrate(d) a real ignorance".

the other guy, not to be outdone, took the considered position that i merely "have the reading skills of a 5-year-old".

nice work, fellas. *very* mature. now knock it off! you're upsetting myrhaf!

(sorry about the one last post, myrhaf. but letting statist knuckleheads get the last word in is a sure way to end up with things like - oh - social security and medicare. bad idea. i'll be quiet now.)

L.A. Johnson

Adrian Hester said...

"well, ok, one more comment. for john & adrian/adrienne/whatever, let's recap..."

Wow. This is twice now you've stooped to intentionally misspelling people's names and then you accuse us of immaturity?

"you can congratulate yourselves on your admirable letter-perfect conformity to feminist cant."

You wouldn't recognize "feminist cant" if it bit you.

"nope. instead, like all good passionate feminists/leftists, you... attacked the questioner."

BS. I responded directly to one of your assertions and commented only on that; John Kim had already responded quite thoroughly to your central error. You didn't like having your assertions challenged and started misrepresenting and insulting people, so I responded as you deserved. This final response of yours shows us that you can't even tell leftism from its opposite. Sad.

Inspector said...

Adrian,

Notice how your previous post directly (and wonderfully - including the point about the kind of government being more important than who gets to vote) addressed L.A. Johnson's central point and yet he claimed in the very next post that nobody had done so!

And now he is calling us feminists, when I don't think anyone could be more opposed to feminism than us.

This is the old saw of both left and right: anyone who opposes one must necessarily be the other! There is no alternative!

Here, let's demonstrate how wrong he is in his assumptions about us: Could I have a show of hands? Who here agrees with This article?

I agree with it.