Posts Tagged ‘Free speech’

NEWSFLASH FROM THE US OF P: BIDEN-HARRIS WON

January 11, 2021

This is my first newsflash from the government-controlled United States of Puro Free Press. Sorry for the late report but communications in and out of here are affected by the prevailing winds. The country at my border is a fascinating exercise in democratic evolution; it used to be a lot like mine but now has little in common but a slowly divergent language.

The top leaders, including the president-elect, having successfully defined their country, in contradistinction to my own, as systemically racist based entirely on the notion of outcome inequity, now in similar fashion openly regard their peace officers as racist. It is currently accepted in the higher echelons of power that the police would have acted more brutishly if the insurrectionists/rioters at the Capitol weren’t white, the deaths of several rioters and a policeman (evidently racist) notwithstanding. Both sides roundly and quickly condemned the riot/insurrection, but this is not deemed relevant, any more than both sides condemning the rogue behavior of an individual cop in the George Floyd incident. Nor is the fact that Democrat leaders turned a blind eye to or supported the BLM rioters for weeks to months during the mostly peaceful protests. This was way back in the Time of Trump.

In the new, more progressive US of A, where non-Left speech is microaggression or hate speech and hate speech is violence, corporations can now have their open censorship of noncomplying free speech sanctioned as the only acceptable social behavior. It’s fair to suppress Trump’s speeches on Facebook, ban conservatives (especially Trump) from Twitter, and push impeachment redux. It’s nothing less than a social imperative for Google, Apple and Amazon to cancel the Parler app, where disenfranchised Trump voters fled to escape cancellation. After all, their words and beliefs threaten to undermine democracy; the assault on the Capitol proves this, the rapid and vociferous censure of the riot by the Right notwithstanding. US of A citizens are expected to be more progressive, since any good during the last 4 years is tainted by Trump and must be disregarded and obscured. Biden-Harris has made it clear that national unity is now a priority, as long as it is under the banner of progressivism.

While those of us in the US of P think the words of the new leaders and the actions of the big tech companies are far more dangerous and deserve at least as much attention than the actions of a the contingent of misguided radicals, clearly the majority of our neighbors, the American voters, disagree. In the US of P the irony of the characterization of the outgoing leader as a corrupt liar while a blackout on the disturbing evidence of the president-elect’s compromised state with respect to China is not lost. Be assured, these concerns will be addressed by our ambassador at a future date (when we have an ambassador and a reliable means of communication, as I’m planning to close my Twitter account and there’s no guarantee I can engage on Parler, that reputed hotbed of conspiracy theorists).

Until such time as the serious dissension on our border is alleviated, I’ve decreed that we should erect a wall. Unfortunately, my HOA rules don’t allow it. If necessary, I can be reached by carrier pigeon.

P.S.: Please include #birdpoop in the footer on any communications for security purposes, as my sources tell me I’m being monitored by Russian agents and Google.

UNDERSTANDING THE PROTESTERS

November 15, 2020

The right of peaceable assembly is one of our Constitution’s guarantees, and goes hand-in-hand with freedom of speech. It’s been exercised vigorously throughout our turbulent history, and has certainly, in the balance, contributed to our success at maintaining the union. Like free speech, I will always support this right, even through times when the risk comes frighteningly close to upending the benefit. This is such a time.

The most recent spate of protests that in multiple instances either incited or provided cover for violence and terror, fall into this category. They were promulgated and supported by two groups, Black Lives Matter, Inc, and Antifa, and were built on a platform of an America as a systemically racist nation, and triggered by ostensibly racist police action. Both the foundational principle and the trigger can be clearly demonstrated to be lies, yet millions of people eagerly adopted them and acted on them. This is unarguable fact, so we must endeavor to explain it. I’ve previously laid out in depth the reasons the systemically racist narrative in current America is false, and have yet to see a cogent argument countering this, other than examples of inequity of socioeconomic outcome cited as a priori proof. The triggering event involving George Floyd was evidence of an incident of police incompetence/brutality, without an element of racism ever being presented (and with a call on all sides for investigation and appropriate action). Statistics, outlined in detail in prior rants, refute the conclusion of systemic racially-motivated police brutality, and subsequent events used to fuel the continued call to action were also overwhelmingly without any evidence of racial intent, and many were legitimate police actions.

While the motivations of the leaders of the movement are clear, since the BLM, Inc. organization unabashedly admitted its Marxist roots before attempting to hide them, the willingness of so many others to follow is more complex. It’s simplistic to assume a movement of this magnitude here in the US is all socialism-driven. The vast majority of protesters are young adults, and while they may have been miseducated on the failures and dangers of socialism, I would posit that most are not motivated by this call to fundamental sociopolitical change. Instead, I believe their primary motive is altruism.

Life becomes shallow without purpose. It is the striving for something better that gives us self-worth, not the achievement. The examples of wealthy, even famous, people dominated by bitterness and resentment are legion. For decades in the US, people at each stratum of the socioeconomic ladder have had an exceptionally high standard of living compared with most places in the world. Once the dragon of the struggle for daily survival is slayed, people have time and energy to look elsewhere for purpose, and slaying the dragon of social injustice looms large. This need for purpose can be harnessed by good people for good ends, or by bad people for ends that can be self-destructive. Despite our relative affluence, there are still plenty of social ills that need attention; the situation is even more dire overseas. So manufacturing a politically convenient “cause” straight out of our past was a masterful act of immorality that not only leads us down the wrong path, but diverts our good people from the heroic work they would otherwise be doing (combating the rising tide of homicides, the failing educational system, and the true modern slavery of sex trafficking, to name a few). The brilliance of the deception is underscored by the leaders’ manipulation of human psychology. Once a cause has been inculcated, it can be inextricably entwined with the person’s sense of self-worth, particularly in a social climate where God has been marginalized. Any attempt to exorcise this belief will be regarded as frightening and dangerous, resulting in the demonization of those that try. It’s simply human nature to avoid and deny evidence that our deeply held beliefs are built on a foundation of quicksand.

The road to the truth is harder to find than ever, but cannot be washed away. There are encouraging signs, even now, that the lamps lighting the narrow path between chaos and order are being lit.

THE UNITY VERSUS DIVERSITY CONUNDRUM

November 11, 2020

At the onset of this nation’s founding, more than lip service was payed to the concepts of liberty and e pluribus unum, or “from many, one.” Implicit in the latter was diversity as an input and unity as an output. While we haven’t always lived up to this ideal in practice, it’s still a foundational value worth striving for. It’s important to note that the concept of diversity can be applied to the physical and to the arena of ideas. It can be used for good or for evil purposes, a positive relationship manifesting as tolerance and inclusion and its evil counterpart as prejudice and exclusion. So how does this relate to our present condition?

To be a country, we tacitly and voluntarily agree to live under a single umbrella. This umbrella superficially consists of laws, but more substantially a set of values. Under this umbrella are an unlimited number of smaller umbrellas and, depending on how the “groups” are defined and how granular an analysis you want, an infinite number of yet smaller ones exist beneath, culminating in the individual. At every level, like snowflakes, no two umbrellas are alike. When a group decides to place the value of diversity above unity, it reverses the motto to e unum pluribus, and the nation cannot stand. Such a group cites as its rationale examples of intolerance, even reaching as far back into history as necessary, to bolster the importance of diversity over assimilation. Unfortunately, this principle of “tolerance” has been applied to physical characteristics such as skin color and sexual preferences as opposed to diversity of thought.

There is no question that diversity of thought is a prerequisite for innovation and optimal problem-solving (thinking “outside the box”). Like any positive characteristic, in excess it can cause dissension, resentment, and group dissolution by consent or worse, violence. Diversity of physical characteristics and sexual preference add nothing unless, by their presence, imbue the bearer with a diversity of thought that adds to the discussion. It should be neither selected for nor campaigned against. So differences in people are a necessary prerequisite for moving toward a better state of being as long as they can work together to move forward.

At the level of the biggest umbrella, there is room for disagreement in processes and policies; in fact, it’s a prerequisite to navigate the narrow path between chaos and order. At this level, of the nation, there is little room for differences in fundamental values, the glue that cements the union. The alternative leads to balkanization. This country was founded on the principle of God-given rights and individual liberty, with the government’s existence predicated upon serving these values. Paramount among these rights is freedom of speech. The current election results suggest a minimum of half the country supports these values. Of the other half, I suspect at least 20% do as well. I believe two simple questions can determine the portion of the country that would be more comfortable under a different umbrella, i.e, those that truly desire “fundamental change”:

  • Do you believe hate speech is protected speech?
  • Do you favor equality of opportunity over equity?

A “no” answer would suggest a fundamental incompatibility with the Founders’ intent, and I and many others I know would resist attempts to change this with our last breath.

E pluribus unum.

POST-ELECTION VIOLENCE—YEA OR NAY?

October 5, 2020

An article was forwarded to me by a friend predicting the low likelihood of major violence post election based on his research. Putting aside the evident but low-key political bias of the piece, it makes an attempt to inject some objectivity into something that is inherently speculative. I also think it’s wrong.

Predicting the future is a hazardous enterprise for anyone at any time (just look at the 2016 presidential election). That being said, it’s important to dig down below the superficial political animus to the values of the citizens if you want to get close to the mark. Analogies have been made to the unrest of the 1960s and the 1860s in attempting to extrapolate. Admittedly I’m influenced by the work of William Strauss and Neil Howe in The Fouth Turning and I view the 1960s as a period of Awakening and the 1860s as a more serious period similar to the present, a Crisis. Neither resulted in the dissolution of the Union. Neither accurately represents the present state of affairs, however.

It’s important to note that dynasties (the empires of Alexander, Ottoman, Rome, to name a few), even very stable ones, do not last forever, although those living within them at the time all share the illusion of permanence. What generally ends them is mismanagement born of a change in, or non-adherence to, the values that led them to succeed, causing them to disintegrate from within. In our case, the Founders, with unprecedented historical astuteness, developed a Constitution, designed to anticipate and ameliorate the forces constantly in play aiming to destroy the values upon which the country was based. As outlined in the Declaration of Independence, they are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The country was founded on the principle of rights granted by God, not government; they incorporated proscriptions to limit federal power over the states (it was also essential to getting it passed). Hence, they constructed a democratic republic and not a democracy. They recognized that tyranny of the majority was no better than tyranny of a monarchy.

Over the past few decades, the Left, via masterful commandeering of the educational system and the heretofore monolithic media have pushed the worn siren call of socialism effectively. A sizable portion of the country (we’re about to learn if it’s more than half) has accepted the notion of equality of outcome over equality of opportunity, and the concept of institutionalized racism as the founding principle and white privilege as its result. They’ve also moved from E Pluribus Unum (from many, one) to the concepts of diversity and intersectionality. These are divisive, not unifying principles; no country can survive widescale acceptance of these destructive doctrines.

Given the above, I predict the following with a Trump win: The protests and violence will continue and likely intensify, becoming more multicentric, requiring more police, military and National Guard intervention. Barring a shift in values, over the next decade or two we will start hearing state calls for secession. If Biden wins, a doubling down on the Leftist policies whose effects over time can be gauged by looking at the present state of the big cities will move the government more toward a socialist paradigm, the Constitution will be progressively weakened, the economy slowed by increased regulations, and the growth of the federal government accelerated. Democracy will be increased at the expense of republicanism in the political sense, with attacks on representative mechanisms such as the electoral college intensifying. Federal agencies and corporations with assail liberties such as free speech with cancellation, “diversity” training, and racial quotas with more alacrity, heightening the influence of the “mob.” An over-extended, indebted economy weakened by the pandemic will accelerate the malaise. A delayed result will be armed backlash by right-wing groups, at first those that are more extreme (including some execrable white supremacist groups) and, if pushed far enough, ordinary conservative Americans (possibly abetted by effective annulment of the 2nd Amendment by oppressive regulations). Alternatively, conservatives, who are less prone to demonstrate or initiate violence (remember the maligned Tea Party), will withdraw from Left-dominated tools and form their own schools, businesses, sports teams, and social media and we’ll be a divided country, ripe for secessions or outside attack. Disunity took decades to seed and grow; reunification. if it occurs, will likely take as long, barring assault from an external, mutual threat.

There is no Dumbledore or Hogwarts, and no magic wand that can be waved to unify us, no matter who inhabits the White House.

THE CURSE OF LIBERTY

September 18, 2020

In science, we’re always talking about sensitivity and specificity. As an example, consider the COVID-19 test: the more sensitive it is for detecting the disease, the more likely it will over-call it in some individuals; it’s a yin and yang thing. Now, as the tests improve, both sensitivity and specificity can too, but there’s always a trade-off. Liberty is something like that.

Everyone, including politicians, plays lip service to fealty to freedom. It seems a no-brainer. Then why, time after time, do people vote away their freedom? We’ve seen the Palestinians do it for Hamas, and the Venezuelans for socialism. These are just two of the dozens of examples that could be cited. It’s because the ying to freedom’s yang is law and order, or more broadly, security. It’s not that freedom is incompatible with law and order; we’ve admirably demonstrated this for over a couple of hundred years and have had remarkably peaceful transitions of power. It’s just that it takes constant effort and sacrifice. And the people have to decide if it’s worth the price.

The sacrifice is obvious in obtaining liberty; it’s usually a war with casualties and death and a tremendous outlay of resources. Maintaining it is another matter. Liberty naturally fades, even in (one might say especially in) a democracy. Over time, in a successful society, people become acclimated to security. A free society, with equal access to opportunity, naturally favors those with greater talent who exhibit greater effort; those who have high levels of competence and conscientiousness, in the words of Jordan Peterson. This results in disparity of outcome. It does not mean that a rising tide doesn’t raise all boats, just that some boats are much larger and more opulent than others. Every good society with a conscience strives to help the small boats in danger of capsizing; this charity, or welfare, is a good thing. The problems begin when the people in the small boats begin to think those in the large boats are bad, and that the government needs to fix it. Then the charity moves to sanctioned theft. The argument about the point at which this occurs is the basis for politics and ideology. The bottom line is that democracy inevitably deteriorates into socialism which more quickly devolves into poverty and fascism. History proves this. Unequivocally. So the founders tried to create a democratic republic with checks and balances to slow the deterioration, recognizing that it could serve only a moral people.

As government and the welfare state has grown and crony capitalism inevitably along with it, the family has shrunk. Charity is slowly being replaced by government largess. One or two generations ago a check from the government was seen as failure and often shunned. Now it’s more common to see it as an entitlement and something to be sought after. Being taken care of is slowly becoming more important than liberty.

With liberty comes free speech with the downside of allowing “hate” speech. Law and order with the downside of more rogue agents misusing it with criminal intent. More reliance on self, family and friends, and the Church, and less on government. Clearly, some societies favor less freedom and more security.

The coming election is so important because it will demonstrate the net vector of America in terms of this preference. It will serve as a bellwether as to how much time remains in our current system of government, founded on the values of the Declaration of Independence and implemented in the Constitution. History tells us this. Unequivocally.

The curse of liberty is that it has in its seed the very essence of its own destruction.

AN OPEN LETTER TO TRUMP

July 12, 2020

Dear Mr. President:

As a citizen and a constituent it pains me to say you’re a terrible politician, and hence a failure. I know you were elected as an outcry against the status quo, and your training and background are as a businessman and an entertainer. Like many, I thought not being a politician was a plus. I was wrong.

The decline of our nation has been so insidious, so well crafted, that at least half the country now believes that the system is evil and must be excised, or are oblivious to what the notion of “fundamental change” means. The Left has convinced too many that “hate speech” must be exorcised, and they define what it is. They have convinced too many that dissidents to their ideology of diversity, intersectionality, and “anti-racism,” nothing more than Orwellian terms for separation, socialism, and racism, should be “canceled,” demonetized, muffled, and unemployed. They are taking the nation down the path of the Soviet Union, China, and Venezuela. And too many can’t see it despite its unfolding right before their eyes. The increase in racial tension, the violence, the suppression of dissenting voices—and you are, in large part, to blame.

I will give you credit for your energy and perseverance. Few people, at any age, could have swum against the political currents as you have, righting an anemic economy, passing criminal reform legislation, confronting Chinese deviousness, and increasing the security at our border. You have been consistently demonized beyond your flaws, and they are many, and lied about. It’s not surprising you’ve had judgment lapses in the setting of a 2-year hoax promulgated by the Left of Russian collusion with the full-throated support of the mainstream media, followed on its heels by an outrageous politically-motivated impeachment. And without recognition of any accomplishments. To the contrary, everything has been blamed on you, including COVID-19. You have become, to many, the devil-incarnate. It has been the second most impressive marketing campaign ever undertaken, only eclipsed by resurrecting the image of the United States, probably the fairest, most tolerant nation in the world in 2020, as the most systemically racist and economically elite. But I still blame you.

To quote a prominent conservative thinker and commentator, you constantly commit political malpractice. There are still many of us out there that believe in the fundamental principles that undergird the country. Many of us can still distinguish between the value of equality of opportunity and the evil of enforced equality of outcome. Many of us still understand the reason our Constitution defends all speech, because tomorrow someone who disagrees will decide your speech is “hate speech.” Many of us still understand that anti-white hatred and discrimination is also racism. We see that the cities suffering the most, tragically presided over and populated by the same citizens of color that blame you, have been run for decades by the very people calling you out. We are not fooled by references to past sins to paper over the present in service of a malignant movement, and can understand statistics and hard facts that undermine the Leftist talking points being used to fundamentally change the country. And you’ve failed us with your tweets. You take a step forward with grand speeches, and instead of pressing forward, presidentially, and underscoring the inevitable outcome of the ascendant Leftist agenda of more violence, race hatred, and restricted speech, your ego takes over and you take two steps back, devolving into self-absorbed tweets about trivia, such as Bubba Wallace and the noose incident. You’ve reinforced the media’s false narrative so many times that even those who don’t like the lurch to the far Left that has consumed the Democrat Party won’t vote for you.

I know you think your tweets helped you win the last election. I used to think so too. Now I realize you won in spite of them. I now believe you would have won not only the electoral college vote, but the popular vote as well if they had been less off-putting. I believe the current polls, indicating double-digit losses to probably the weakest presidential candidate ever (yes, that includes Hillary) reflect your own political sabotage. There are few votes out there for Biden; he’s a place-holder—they’re anti-Trump. The current climate of violence and racial tension fomented by the Left should be your political ally. Even the COVID-depleted economy, in the setting of your prior demonstrated success, should be a friend. But instead, your political malpractice and malfeasance has let us down. Under your continued leadership, our recovery would by no means be assured, but it will assuredly be devastated by your opponent and his as yet unnamed but likely far-Left running mate. And your intransigence may also shift the balance of power in the Senate.

If you can’t overrule your temperament and ego and place wisdom between your twitter finger and the screen, and quickly, you will fail the country. Too many of us are counting on you.

Sincerely,

A Worried Constitutionalist

TO KNEEL OR NOT TO KNEEL

September 25, 2017

When you get away from the emotion, the current hoopla surrounding the mass kneeling in the NFL during the national anthem is both simple and complex.

The story, as most everyone knows, began with the Colin Kaepernick’s one-knee “salute” during the pre-game playing of the Star-Spangled Banner, purportedly in protest of social injustice by law enforcement against the black community. Since then he’s become radioactive from a business standpoint and remains a free agent. Things simmered until the president’s recent commentary that kneelers should be fired, sparking a more broad-based exercise of the right to kneel (approximately 1-in-8 players per the media). It’s not entirely clear that the new kneelers are protesting the “racist nature” of the country; many analysts feel that the ascendant motivation at this time is support of their colleagues’ right to free speech and defiance of the president.

Both sides have cogent arguments: The kneelers supporting the First Amendment, the anti-kneelers asserting that disrespecting the anthem, the flag, and the country casts aspersions on first responders and the military, and that both the manner of the protest and the venue are inappropriate.

The business leaders in the NFL don’t have the right to abridge the First Amendment, but they do have the right and responsibility to establish dress codes and rules of behavior to protect their company and brand names. In this case, to date, beyond adopting a hands-off posture on Kaepernick, they have not done so. Corporations are not ideological and have one nerve ending: money. We can expect them to sit tight and watch the bottom line.

The talking heads will take a view according to their respective ideologies. On the Today Show this morning, while host Savannah Guthrie paid lip service to the complexity of the issue, their on-line survey regarding the question of the audience’s perception of the kneelers presented the choices, “It’s their right” and “It’s disrespectful,” omitting “All of the above.” One wonders if this option even crossed their minds.

There is only one arbiter of this newest manifestation of our increasing national ideological divide: The American people. They will decide to purchase the NFL product in its current incarnation, or walk.

You get to decide.