Topics for debate 1

Chris George recently offered these comments in response to my “Liberty and Populism: Building an Effective Resistance Movement for North America” essay. Chris raises some really good issues here. I’d like to know what others here might have to say on some of these questions.

On the whole, I think I’m mostly in agreement with the pluralist approach. In some respects I think it might be a little too unfocused on anarchism and more focused on pragmatic decentralism/secessionism. But that’s a minor gripe, considering that what I think needs to transpire first anyway. As a rhetorical tool, I always like to have my end goals remain the unwavering focus.

Some things I didn’t agree with or I’d need more convincing of (mostly public choice critiques):

Use of the political means: I’m all for anarchists “running” in elections as a way of using elections for education or mocking the system, but I’m extremely skeptical of any attempts to win. The worst will rise to the top. Elections, as I view them, are a crutch. I’m not sure if there’s one person that I know who I would trust in any position of political authority. My family who I trust aren’t anarchists and the anarchists I know of aren’t people I know well know enough to trust. The current environment is too vastly populated for us to be successful by any means of manipulation, politics being primary among them.

Secretive leadership: I can see the appeal of secretive anarchist leadership, but it makes me uneasy. Keeping things secret from the State has its benefits but I’m not sure if it’s necessary at this point. But secrecy may result in the State being more able to crackdown or use that secrecy as something to demonize leadership with. Plus, I don’t think there’s any need to keep our ideas hidden from those on the ground. Seems a little too “scientific socialist” to me.

Philosopher kings: I used to hate Plato for this stuff, but I’ve actually become a lot more sympathetic, if not supportive (and if not simply because the foolishness of most people is nauseating). However, I’m not sure how it could be enforced/secured or how people could be selected. The methods of training you suggested I find to be problematic for the same reason all testing for merit has problems. I would say as a matter of practicality that there should be no one with enforceable power over more than 10,000 – 50,000 people (just an arbitrary ballpark). Any kinds of federation meeting, I would hope, would involve several thousand equally empowered delegates.

Violence/Class Conflict: Call me an optimist, but I don’t think that the State could withstand a dramatic ideological shift to anarchism within the population. If it didn’t, then I think defensive violence on the part of workers taking over their workplaces and communities taking over their roads and government buildings may be in order barring any other more practical means, but actually attacking the State and military, I think would be a bad idea. Perhaps I lack the warrior spirit and the petite bourgeoisie criticism definitely applies to me, but I’ve got to look out for my interests as well.

NKM’s tagline “Life is the process of resolving conflicts that have no basis in reality” reflects my opinion that conflicts are mutually destructive and that there are preferable ways of resolving them than through violence, politics, manipulation, fraud, lying, etc. A lot of anarchists take an us against them mentality, but I don’t. For me, the battle is humanity against human institutions that do no good for anyone besides a psychopath here of there.

Also, there was some anti-consumerist/seemingly primitivist elements in there which I have some sympathies for but am mostly against.

Spent most of the time on criticism, but I’m more in agreement than not. Here’s my platform: radical decentralization to an anarchist end point, federation and free trade to libertarian future.

Iraq: South Korea in the Middle East? Reply

Interesting article from Scott Ritter.

It is in this topsy-turvy world created by political hype and media spin that a president can, with a straight face, announce the withdrawal of American “combat troops” from Iraq, while leaving behind six combat brigades (renamed, but not reorganized) comprising some 50,000 troops to fight and die in “noncombat.”

The war is over but tens of thousands of troops remain. Where have we seen that before?

U.S. Population Growth Reply

U.S. Census Bureau data on population growth. Clearly, the growth of incarceration rates is light years ahead of what could be accounted for by ordinary population growth.

The Census Bureau also provides projections for the future, but these are highly speculative. We have shown their ‘middle estimates’ extending to 2100.

year population
2100 570,954,000 population of United States in 2100
2090 533,605,000 population of United States in 2090
2080 497,830,000 population of United States in 2080
2070 463,639,000 population of United States in 2070
2060 432,011,000 population of United States in 2060
2050 403,687,000 population of United States in 2050
2040 377,350,000 population of United States in 2040
2030 351,071,000 population of United States in 2030
2020 324,928,000 population of United States in 2020
2010 299,862,000 population of United States in 2010
2000 281,422,000 population of United States in 2000
1990 248,710,000 population of United States in 1990
1980 226,542,000 population of United States in 1980
1970 203,302,000 population of United States in 1970
1960 179,323,000 population of United States in 1960
1950 151,325,000 population of United States in 1950
1940 132,164,000 population of United States in 1940
1930 123,203,000 population of United States in 1930
1920 106,022,000 population of United States in 1920
1910 92,228,000 population of United States in 1910
1900 76,212,000 population of United States in 1900
1890 62,980,000 population of United States in 1890
1880 50,189,000 population of United States in 1880
1870 38,558,000 population of United States in 1870
1860 31,443,000 population of United States in 1860
1850 23,192,000 population of United States in 1850
1840 17,069,000 population of United States in 1840
1830 12,866,000 population of United States in 1830
1820 9,638,000 population of United States in 1820
1810 7,240,000 population of United States in 1810
1800 5,308,000 population of United States in 1800
1790 3,929,000 population of United States in 1790

Your Guide to Recording the Police Reply

Helpful tips from Radley Balko.

So far Massachusetts is the only state to explicitly uphold a conviction for recording on-duty cops, and Illinois and Massachusetts are the only states where it is clearly illegal. The Illinois law has yet to be considered by the state’s Supreme Court, while the Massachusetts law has yet to be upheld by a federal appeals court. Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler recently issued an opinion concluding that arrests for recording cops are based on a misreading of the state’s wiretapping statute, but that opinion isn’t binding on local prosecutors.

In the remaining 47 states, the law is clearer: It is generally legal to record the police, as long as you don’t physically interfere with them. You may be unfairly harassed, questioned, or even arrested, but it’s unlikely you will be charged, much less convicted. (These are general observations and should not be treated as legal advice.)

55% of Violent Crimes, 84% of Property Crimes Go Unsolved 14

Some interesting stats on the clearance rates for crimes. Two in five murderers, three in five rapists, and three in four armed robbers, and nine in ten burglars “get away with it.” It’s also true that in some large cities the clearance rate for homicides is less than fifty percent, meaning most murderers complete their crimes successfully. There are sections of some U.S. cities where the clearance rate for murders is in the single digits, meaning there are urban zones where murder is de facto decriminalized. Of course, in such a scenario it’s hard to say where “murder” ends and self-defense or “street justice” begins.

The reason for this low clearance rate seems to be the diversion of so much police time and resources to the War on Drugs and other consensual crimes. So says a former New York prison official and a former undercover narcotics agent.

Politically Correct Universities and Slave Morality Reply

Some more gems from AltRight:

PCU by Paul Gottfried

Although PC is taught at elite universities, its function there is entirely different from what it is elsewhere. In the Ivies, for example, PC constitutes the ideological basis of the present managerial order. It is the sacral and legitimating teaching of the ruling class that has to be passed on to a new generation of priests, in order to maintain the system. PC and diversity as transmitted at the top are not at all what they are at the bottom. At less than distinguished colleges, they are the candy of the intellectually challenged or hopelessly mediocre, which is pushed for among other reasons to keep government agencies and leftist accreditation boards off the backs of college administrators.

Slave Morality in Democracy by Scott Locklin

My concern with democracy is highly specific. It begins in observing the remarkable fact that, while democracy means a government accountable to the electorate, our rulers now make us accountable to them. Most Western governments hate me smoking, or eating the wrong kind of food, or hunting foxes, or drinking too much, and these are merely the surface disapprovals, the ones that provoke legislation or public campaigns. We also borrow too much money for our personal pleasures, and many of us are very bad parents. Ministers of state have been known to instruct us in elementary matters, such as the importance of reading stories to our children. Again, many of us have unsound views about people of other races, cultures, or religions, and the distribution of our friends does not always correspond, as governments think that it ought, to the cultural diversity of our society. We must face up to the grim fact that the rulers we elect are losing patience with us…

Insights on Race Issues 3

From “Miles,” a poster on Chris George’s blog:

The Deacons for Defense and the Black Panthers, in my eyes, were legitimate anti-racists who acted against racist governments for self-determination. But then again, most of the members of these groups (esp. the Panthers) were involved in community movements and not co-opted by corporate state diversity programs.

When Black Panthers helped the Young Patriots to organize Urban Appalachians in Chicago against police brutality and typical urban problems, the Panthers were successful because of their non-moral-supremacist approach as opposed to the SPLC’s force-fed diversity nazi way of trying to promote tolerance. A lot of the Patriots had relatives in the KKK and whatnot, but steadfast community organizers like Bobby Lee ignored these dilemma to help launch a united working class war against oppression that would be co-opted by a common enemy, Cointelpro.

And from “Kulak,” a poster at AlternativeRight.Com:

Our proper ally here is NOT “middle class” blacks who abandon their own and whose grandchildren are not an asset to our neighborhoods. Our proper ally here is “lower class” blacks.”

Interesting how two posters, one from the anti-racist far left and one from the racist far right, essentially reach the same conclusion. I agree with much of the paleoconservative analysis of America’s class structure, but one way where I think it errors is in its tendency to regard the left-wing of the upper-middle class (the “New Class”) as allies of the so-called “underclass” (meaning the urban poor and/or lumpenproletariat, often but certainly not always comprised of racial minorities). I would argue that the role of the New Class is to regulate and control the urban lower classes, which is the primary function of the whole therapeutic-welfare-managerial public sector bureaucracy in the first place. It is this New Class that staffs the entire bureaucratic apparatus that regulates the lower classes,  including Child Protective Services, social welfare systems, child support enforcement, family courts, so-called “criminal justice,” public housing, mental health professions, public schools, the myriad of busy body “case workers,” and so forth. There is no class more committed to the totalitarian humanist ideology than these public sector professional types.

Some insightful leftists actually recognize this. One of Howard Zinn’s books (I forget which one) included a chapter called “Revolt of the Guards” where he was calling on these public sector professional bureaucrats to renounce the plutocratic capitalist upper class and take up the cause of the poor whom they are charged with supervising. Implicit in the use of Zinn’s use of the term “guards” is that he understood that these sectors are agents of state control and not so-called “helping professionals.” He understood that the social bureaucracy is to ordinary society what guards are to jails and prisons. Of course, Zinn’s challenge was sheer fantasy. When have guards ever siding with prisoners in a prison uprising?

It is ironic that the New Class that the paleo-populist-traditionalist-racialist right-wing hates the most is the same class that administers the day to day oppression of the urban poor.

Is It Time to Liberate Ourselves from the Word Secession? Reply

Interesting new article from Tom Naylor.

Tom argues that “liberation” is a better term. My guess is that nothing will appease the PC Inquisitors irrespective of what kind of terminology we employ, nor do I think we should bother with trying to appease the forces of PC. But I also suspect “liberation” might be a more marketable term in a liberal region like Vermont, while “secession” might be more appropriate for a conservative region like Texas or the deep South.  Conservatives would hear the term “liberation” and think “Communism” just like liberals hear the term “secession” and think “racism and fascism.”

There was actually a very small militia back in the 1990s that essentially had a pan-secessionist outlook (which is more or less where I lifted the concept from) called North American Liberation Army. Their goal was to build an alliance between the militia movement and groups like the Nation of Islam and American Indian Movement in North America, pro-Palestinian groups in the Middle East like Hezbollah, and the Zapatistas and Shining Path in Latin America.

The Pitfalls of Rationalism 3

New essay from Michael Parish.

The basic tenants of liberalism are not, ironically, arrived at through deductive logic but through an arduous process of mental abstraction. What is presented to us by rationalists as a realist assessment of the world is in truth a vague conceptualization produced by a reductionist thought process. By abstracting thoroughly all essential properties from particulars it reduces them all objects in the world to mere mental concepts. These concepts are then presented to us as objective facts to be factored into account when it comes to socio-political organization. When reality negates these supposed facts the rationalist has no answer sufficient to negate reality.

See Michael’s “The Agony of the American Right” as well:

Now, all this drivel would in a perfect world would dissipate in mid-air. Sadly for us, we live not in the perfect world but in the modern world, where it gets beamed into Middle-American ears by the fluorescence of Faux News. That it spills from the mouth of an adult convert to Mormonism who indulges in played up tears on air apparently puts no dent in its credibility.