We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Tuesday, June 5. 2018
“If freedom makes social progress possible, so social
I was provided this quote today, and agreed with it at first. Then I realized it is problematic. "Social Progress" is a broad term, and the method of achieving "social progress" is not defined at all.
There is no doubt "social progress" does enlarge freedom. If that progress is achieved naturally, fluidly, organically. As communities and people come to accept new and interesting ideas and people, the scope of their capabilities and imagination for greater things is enlarged and improved.
Where this quote is badly flawed is applying it to law. Social progress does not occur with passing laws that force people to think, or behave, a certain way. Too many people believe that it is possible to nation-build, when virtually all attempts of it have failed. It should, therefore, come as no surprise that it's just as hard to 'community' or 'society' build using laws and regulations. Eventually the laws themselves act as catalysts for behaviors that undermine the original goal.
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
"Social progress" for one person is another person's cultural surrender.
Robert Kennedy was an ass. His reputation was cleansed and expunged by a compliant MSM and probably greased with money from his father. The real Bobby Kennedy was a loser, cheated in college, cheated on his wife and his father bought him every position he ever held.
"There is no doubt "social progress" does enlarge freedom. If that progress is achieved naturally, fluidly, organically. As communities and people come to accept new and interesting ideas and people, the scope of their capabilities and imagination for greater things is enlarged and improved."
I disagree with the above statement. Cultural depth is not the same thing as freedom: freedom is meaningless without it. Right now, American culture and heritage is hopelessly shallow, because of the misplaced idea that bringing in new people and ideas will lead to greater things: what they won't tell you is that our original western culture IS capable of great things. Real organic growth means restricting the influence of outside forces, so that the existing culture can become deeper and more sophisticated. That's why black people are bad for America; they want to destroy our heritage and culture. Same goes for Muslims in Europe. If you've seen the movie "Men in Black" you will know that the objective of this nefarious agency was to protect the Earth from destructive outside influences.
But wait! What if the Men In Black were compromised, and instead of protecting the earth from foreign invaders, they decided to assist them, by making earth culture as shallow and vulnerable as possible? That would be terrible, wouldn't it? People's opinions would no longer matter, because there was no bedrock of heritage upon which to build a civilization. Just confused people, with no confidence; like leaves floating on a pond. Completely open to a foreign invasion.
So if there were extra-terrestrial civilizations that offered the Men in Black riches beyond measure in exchange for the Earth, then earth culture and history would be but a small price to pay. (Remember Will Smith in "Independence Day"? "I have GOT to get me one of these!") The MIB, strictly speaking, are not Americans.
At the heart of the matter is the difference between "Rights" and "Democracy." Democracy means that each person has the right to his or her own opinion. "Rights" mean that each person does NOT have the right to his or her own opinion. For example, in America you must to treat black people as though you like them; even if you don't. So as you can see, "Rights" and "Democracy" are totally incompatible concepts. You can have one or the other, but not both. "Culture" is the idea that rights and privileges are granted democratically.
But our communist government doesn't want people to see this obvious contradiction, so it claims that moral agency compels it to act on our behalf. In so doing, it allows the Men in Black to chase dreams of greatness; while at the same time erasing our heritage so that it can be replaced with a Europan ideal of absolute uniformity.
To illustrate how this argument manifests itself in the culture, read this article:
"Supreme Court rules for Christian cake baker but voices support for gay rights too."
David G. Savage
The Supreme Court upheld both gay rights and religious freedom...
Note how they try to make gay rights and religious freedom parts of the same concept; which they are not, for reasons already explained. Also note how they try to make the argument that religious freedom is somehow different from normal freedom.
Monday with a narrowly written decision in favor of a Christian baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple...
Note how they say it was "narrowly written decision" meaning that the homosexuals almost won; as they should have.
By a 7-2 vote, the court said Jack Phillips, the Colorado baker, was treated with hostility and bias by a state commission that concluded his actions violated a state anti-discrimination law..
Note how they refer to a nebulous anti-discrimination law, without providing the actual law; or who wrote it, or why.
One commission member had commented that religion was used throughout history to justify slavery, the Holocaust and “all kinds of discrimination.” ...
Note how they do not provide an actual name, nor do they credit religion with being a positive force in people's lives. Religion, they imply is evil. And also, they imply, is culture. And also, they imply is democracy.
But the court’s opinion also emphasized the importance of equal rights for gays and lesbians, and it largely rejected the claim that store owners have broad religious liberty rights to turn away customers because of their sexual orientation...
Note how the article claims that store owners do not have freedom of opinion; because religion is evil, and religious freedom is evil, and all freedom is evil.
Although some may object to same-sex marriages, said Justice Anthony M. Kennedy...
Note how they say "some" when in fact most people object.
“it is a general rule that such objections do not allow business owners and other actors in the economy and in society to deny protected persons equal access to goods and services under a neutral and generally applicable public accommodations law...”
Note how they say it "is a rule." That means it has already been decided by anonymous people, so you don't have the right to your own opinion. Then they say that not doing something is a "denial" as if people were compelled to do things whether they want to or not. After all, denying is immoral, and requires government moral agency intervention. Then they refer to "protected" persons who deserve that moral intervention. Then, finally, they say "generally applicable public accommodations" to imply that they do, in fact, have social sanction for what they are doing, when in fact they don't.
The outcome was not a clear win for either side in what has become one of the nation’s latest culture wars.
Note how they claim that freedom is only one small detail in a larger "war" Why is it a war? Because warriors are unreasonable. The government, on the other hand, is reasonable.
Kennedy and the majority chose the narrowest possible way to resolve the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop vs. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. Lawyers for Phillips had argued that forcing him to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple violated his rights to free speech and the free exercise of religion...
Note how they say that "lawyers" made the argument. Why? Because the law is not for common people.
Instead, the court ruling focused on how Phillips was treated unfairly by the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, and for this reason alone, he won his case....
Note how they DIDN'T say that he won because people are free to choose.
“The commission’s hostility [to Phillips and his religious beliefs] was inconsistent with the First Amendment’s guarantee that our laws be applied in a manner that is neutral toward religion,” Kennedy wrote. “Phillips was entitled to a neutral decision-maker who would give full and fair consideration to his religious objection....”
Note how they imply that religion is subject to government approval. Also note how they don't refer to the simple concept of freedom, but try to claim that it is a smaller concept of religious freedom.
Kennedy said the ruling was limited to the dispute between Phillips and the Colorado commission, raising doubts about whether it would help other store owners who voiced the same claim based on their “sincerely held religious beliefs.”
Note how they imply that only religious extremists would challenge the law.
“The outcome of other cases like this in other circumstances must await further elaboration in the courts,” said Kennedy, who has authored most of the court’s most significant gay rights cases. “These disputes must be resolved with tolerance, without undue disrespect to sincere religious belief, and without subjecting gay persons to indignities when they seek goods and services in an open market.”...
Note how they claim that we all must like homosexuals whether we want to, or not.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and conservative Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch joined Kennedy’s opinion, as did liberal Justices Elena Kagan and Stephen G. Breyer. Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas agreed with the outcome but did not sign on to Kennedy’s opinion and its endorsement of equal rights for gays and lesbians.
Note how they claim that both conservatives and liberals made the decision. So it really is democracy! Yeah!
Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented, but only because they did not believe the “comments of one or two commissioners” suggested the state was biased against Phillips because of his religious beliefs.
Remember: A belief, especially a religious belief, is not truth.
The law, and the government, is truth.
The case has been widely seen as a clash between Christian conservatives and champions of gay rights in states like Colorado and California.
Homosexuals need champions because they are moral heroes, in need of heroic moral intervention. They are not a bunch of AIDS infected buttfuckers.
Twenty-two states have laws that forbid businesses from discriminating based on sexual orientation and require “full and equal” service for gay and lesbian customers. Federal law forbids discrimination based on race, religion and national origin, but not sexual orientation....
See? Both federal and local governments deny freedom. So it must be moral and true.
The Colorado case arose as part of a conservative backlash against the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling, also written by Kennedy, holding that same-sex couples had a constitutional right to marry in all states. The Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom had gone to court in several states seeking religious exemptions....
Note how the claim that making homosexuality a crime again is impossible. The best people can hope for now is an exemption.
for Christian conservatives like Phillips who believed it would be sinful to help celebrate a same-sex marriage.
Christians are old-fashioned. Their opinion doesn't matter.
Phillips said he would gladly serve gay customers..
So he's not totally unreasonable.
but he refused to design a custom wedding cake for a same-sex couple. In 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins went to Phillip’s bake shop in a strip mall in Lakewood, Colo., based on the recommendation of a wedding planner. They had "married" in Massachusetts...
Which is true, because the government defines truth.
but returned to the Denver area for a celebratory reception with their family and friends. But the celebration hit a sour note. As soon as they said they were interested in a wedding cake, Phillips told them he did not create cakes for same-sex couples. Angry and upset, they left the store and later filed a complaint with the state’s Civil Rights Commission...
Which engaged in a heroic moral intervention.
This seven-member panel is charged with enforcing the state’s law. It does not impose fines or award damages, but it can order businesses to “cease and desist” from discriminating. An administrative judge heard from Phillips and the two men, and ruled the store was violating the law. The commission agreed unanimously, and the Colorado courts rejected appeals from Phillips. The Supreme Court, however, agreed to hear his case.
So you have to like homosexuals whether you want to, or not.
Nearly all of the arguments had focused on the claim that the baker, if required to make a custom cake, would in effect be forced to express a viewpoint in favor of same-sex marriage against his religious beliefs. He also claimed that his cakes were a form of protected artistic expression...
Note how they claim that there are only certain "protected" freedoms.
The Trump administration urged the court to rule that Phillips had a free-speech right not to make a special cake to celebrate a same-sex marriage. But Kennedy dismissed this argument. “Few persons who have seen a beautiful wedding cake might have thought of its creation as an exercise in protected speech,” he said.
Beauty and freedom and discrimination are not parts of the same concept.
Moreover, it was unclear whether the two men were seeking a cake with a special message or simply a standard product. Kennedy turned next to the free exercise of religion. In 1990, shortly after Kennedy joined the court, the justices said individuals do not have a right to religious exemption from ordinary laws. But a few years later in a case involving the Santeria religion and ritual sacrifice of animals, the court said the government may not pass special laws or discriminate against people because of their religious views. The author of that 1993 opinion was Kennedy. Monday’s decision focused heavily on the comments of one commissioner who described religious rhetoric as “despicable” and said some people “use their religion to hurt others.”
Again: religion is evil, and religious freedom is evil, and freedom is evil.
Such comments had been hardly mentioned as the case moved through the courts. But Kennedy cited them during the oral argument in December. Advocates for both religious liberty and gay rights saw something to like in the decision. “The court has said 7-2 that the Constitution requires us to try and get along...
Note how they imply that tyrannical interference in people's lives is an extension of the constitution.
There is room enough in our society for a diversity of viewpoints and that includes respecting religious beliefs too,” said Mark Rienzi, president of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. He called the decision a “strong message to governments across the country that they must respect — rather than punish — religious diversity on important issues.”
And the government will decide what's important.
Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said the narrow ruling “leaves intact the long-standing principle that states can require businesses open to the public to serve everyone, even when some businesses believe that doing so violates their religious beliefs.”...
Note how they claim that not only is the government the ultimate moral agent, it is fully justified in imposing it's views on everyone. Further, it argues that all private transactions are really public transactions. The personal is the political.
“Anti-LGBTQ extremists ...
Anybody who wants freedom.
did not win the sweeping ‘license to discriminate’ they have been hoping for,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign. Instead, the court “acknowledged that LGBTQ people are equal and have a right to live free from the indignity of discrimination.”
You can only acknowledge something which was already true.
And, according to the government, it's true that rights are more important than democracy.
Extra Terrestrials have rights, too.
I'm not sure what your point is.
If it's that government shouldn't enforce 'rights' by law, that more or less is what I said. So I can't say I disagree with you and I'm surprised you'd disagree with me.
If it's that freedom is meaningless without cultural depth, I'd disagree entirely. Freedom is what generates cultural depth, and you seem to say this - except you do it in a convoluted way. That somehow we gain depth by keeping what we have free from what's on the outside. That's patently absurd. We are not shallow because we bring in more from the outside. We're deeper, we're richer, and we're more free.
Your point is talking out of both sides of your mouth. On the one hand you say that freedom is meaningless without cultural depth (a point I disagree on and will discuss below), while saying that "Real organic growth means restricting the influence of outside forces, so that the existing culture can become deeper and more sophisticated." That's akin to saying "Real organic learning is restricting your reading to the reading you learned from, like Dick and Jane, so your understanding of Dick and Jane can become deeper and more sophisticated."
Sorry - THAT is not cultural depth, that's emptiness of soul. A lack of understanding that culture an evolving thing. Our culture today is not what it was 100 years ago, and no matter how much you would have restricted outside forces, it still wouldn't be what it was 100 years ago. Let's think about another nation which restricted culture in the manner you discuss. Mao's China or the Soviet Union. Yes...those were VERY DEEP CULTURES.
All nations which preceded the US are perceived to have cultural depth of some kind, just as many today are perceived to have more cultural depth than we do now. I'd argue the US is deeper, and richer, culturally than any other nation for 2 reasons. First, we know our history and are loyal to it and its traditions. Second, we're open to new ideas and traditions, and we are always willing to evolve.
Yes, certain portions are shallow, and certainly our broader more internationally visible 'culture' is hopelessly shallow. But that certainly isn't our 'culture' at all. It's just one aspect of it. It's the portion that developed because freedom allows people to focus on , and spend time with, likes and dislikes of whichever kind they like. However limited or limiting they may be. It's that focus which allowed McDonald's and Coke and Marlboro to become worldwide representations of US "shallow culture". (by the way, by restricting outside influence, THAT is what US culture would end up being)
My EVP is a gay man who loves superficial art and leisure items. A fan of pop music, pop films, pop clothing, pop architecture. A conversation with him on anything requiring depth is useless and a dead end. He's not interested in history or politics, though he can talk at length about pop psychology and marketing ideas.
On the other hand, my VP is rather deep, open to conversations which are broad and sweeping. She travels, and while she isn't into art the way I am (she also prefers popular music and film), she is interested to hear my stories of travel to visit museums and see great works, and new cultures.
I love history, I love other cultures, I love art of many kinds, I enjoy pop stuff, but mostly I love broad swathes of art, film, literature and architecture.
It is freedom that allows three different kinds of people with three different kinds of views of society together. It is freedom that allows each to choose the 'depth' they want. It is freedom that allows others from outside the US to show us what they have to illuminate and expand what we have.
It is a willingness to be open to NEW EXPERIENCES, an openness that IS FREEDOM, that allows us to enjoy expanded cultural offerings, depth, and REAL SOCIAL PROGRESS.
I agree that the government foisting much of this on us is wrong. Rules and regulations which "expand" culture or 'social progress' is pure BS.
Real organic growth isn't closing us off from outside influence, though. That's just Fascism, Socialism, and Communism.
Later today I'll be posting on Disney to further this point. Disney is about as "shallow" as our "shallow cultural offerings" are - but the depth there goes beyond anything you can imagine and it relies entirely on outside influence - on freedom.
Bulldog, here's what's needed to complete your post :
"Most people today believe that “law” and “legislation” are synonyms for each other, and that the phenomena to which each refers are commands issued by the state – commands issued to determine the behaviors of individuals most of whom are either inert blobs or self-destructive fools, and the rest of whom are predators. The fact that regularly observed rules of behavior – laws – emerge spontaneously among individuals going about their daily affairs is unknown to most people. The common but incorrect notion today is that society is engineered by the state through the “laws” that it issues. The uncommon but correct understanding is that the state is incapable of making laws; it can make only legislation. And whatever you think of the state’s record of legislating, you fall into error if you believe that the state makes law."
I have met Don and write to him frequently.
I agree, that's a great quote.
"If it's that freedom is meaningless without cultural depth, I'd disagree entirely. Freedom is what generates cultural depth, and you seem to say this - except you do it in a convoluted way. That somehow we gain depth by keeping what we have free from what's on the outside. That's patently absurd. We are not shallow because we bring in more from the outside. We're deeper, we're richer, and we're more free."
Sorry Bull Dog, but you're wrong. Let me ask you a question: If you take a newborn baby, and don't teach him anything, does he become free? Of course not. And if you teach him that he must treat everyone equally, is that social progress? Also of course not. Different cultures assign different symbols of significance to various concepts. For example, in America it is embedded in the culture that homosexuality is immoral.
Why? Because anal sex is dangerous, and also because the female social space needs to be protected from interlopers; the same way that the Anglo Saxon social space needs to be protected from undue outside influence. (I'm sure you know that homosexuals in America claim to have special artistic authority which (supposedly) makes them more sensitive than women.) Blacks make that same claim against whites.
All of these social spaces are a function of a culture which uses democracy to decide what is right, and what is wrong.
So what you erroneously call "Freedom" is really anarchy; where all spaces are destroyed, and the whole society becomes one big bundle. Each person must then open his mind to the universe; or else. That's Communism: Hinduism teaches that salvation is a complete union with the divine.
So let me ask you another question: would you teach a newborn baby Chinese, Spanish, Russian, and English all at the same time? I bet not. That child would grow up to be very confused. Drowning in a sea of competing cultures is not freedom.
Real freedom comes from the confidence and self-assurance that a person has as a result of being fully-trained in his or her specific culture. That means a specific time, place, philosophy, religion, and outlook. Freedom is the result of cultural conditioning, not a byproduct. What the left (and you) are trying to do is restrict American culture to a series of increasingly smaller islands, in a sea of fuzziness. Kids used to be taught a Western Anglo Saxon history, one that is full of beauty, intelligence, and magic. Now they are taught that no one is better than anyone else; and that being proud of your heritage is immoral.
To illustrate this issue a little further, I will point out one term in the American Thesaurus of Slang. In this book, there are thousands of cultural references that only a person well-versed in American history would understand. For example, "22 Skidoo" was a warning that Chicago Police gave to young men who were looking at women near the Flatiron Building. That one phrase is part of an enormous web of meaning that allows simple language to flower into complex and efficient communication. But if the country is flooded with people who bring other semantic webs with them, then the American semantic web is destroyed. Your claim that new is better simply doesn't hold water. Old IS better, insofar as it provides people with an ocean of meaning. But right now, that ocean is off-limits.
At this point, I know what you want to say: "Old" meaning will be replaced with new and better meaning; so everything will be fine. Sorry, but that's not the case. What communists want to do is remove all regional semantic webs, and to replace them with a universal semantic web that is based purely on mathematics and logic. They claim that this will allow them to provide each person on earth with what they call "Total Justice."
The ultimate moral intervention; and a communist victory.
I no longer believe in "social progress". Just look at the world around you, where is the progress? Social progress is a myth peddled by progressives, the religion that they worship. A false religion. The only social progress that our world has ever had was by individuals embracing the Gospel and incorporating it into their lives and actions (not having it imposed on them from the outside). Other than that, it is just deception and wishful thinking.