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Thursday, January 20. 2022
As I wrote my piece on Wokism, I stumbled on a quote from Algernon Sidney. Few know that Jefferson mentioned Sidney as a source and/or inspiration for the Declaration of Independence. Here is the quote which resonated with me: "We live in an age that makes truth pass for treason, and as I dare not say anything against it, so the ears of those that are about me will probably be found too tender to hear it. This my trial and condemnation do sufficiently evidence." It can hardly be more true today, as "credible" news sources spread lies masquerading as truth based on nothing other than these sources own claim that they, themselves, are "credible." Credibility is in the information, not the source - and we have precious few truly credible sources of news today.
Sidney was a supporter of the Roundheads during the English Civil War, and a member of the Long Parliament. Despite his opposition to the king and support for the forces opposing him, Cromwell found it necessary to have Sidney removed, as Sidney had become critical of Cromwell's authoritarian nature. His refusal to leave his seat led to Cromwell ordering the parliamentarians removal and Sidney fled England.
Sidney survived several attempts on his life and was able to return to England with the restoration of the monarchy. Sidney was not opposed to monarchy, per se. He pointed out the nature of governance has less to do with the system, but rather how it was applied. As such, he was an unrepentant supporter of the right of the people to engage revolution, when necessary. If nothing else, he was a proponent of free speech.
He wrote Discourses Concerning Government, describing his views of representative government, and how people should be led. Discourses was meant as a rebuttal to the belief (at the time, put forward by Robert Filmer) that monarchy was a "natural" form of government.
Eventually, Charles II determined he had to remove those who represented a 'threat'. Sidney was arrested and his Discourses were found. Sidney pointed out they were not for publication, only personal use. Nonetheless, he was tried for treason. Treason required 2 witnesses willing to state the accused behaved in a treasonous fashion. There was only one witness, so the judge ruled the writings in Discourses would be the second witness.
The quote I mentioned was made just before he was beheaded.
Sidney may not have been a great promoter of democratic or even republican principles. But he was certain that people deserved a government which existed at their consent, rather than having to exist at the consent of the state. Sadly, many in our current times have no understanding of this nuance, seeking to increase the power of the state to 'achieve goals' which they deem popular, necessary, or desirable. Sidney watched these crowds roving through most of his adult life, and eventually was done in by them.
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And he is half of a college name, Hampden-Sydney College in VA, founded just before the American Revolution.
I used to think I was educated but articles like this remind me that I know nothing.
I can suggest you try out the RealClear sites. They are an aggregator, selecting from across the ideological spectrum, but I find they make a real effort to source higher-quality journalism. That is not to say, journalism free of bias - as this does not exist now, if it ever did. But they aggregate according to a list of categories: Sports, Politics, Markets, Energy, Education, etc. I find their investigative team quite good. Here is the link to the 'Politics' section but you can see the others in the banner across the top, second line down.
Aggie, that site seems more like the blame game than anything else. But i don't know
Credible is a rare thing. I tend to focus less on credible and trying to read between the lines of most of the standard sources (on both sides).
Real Clear sites are very good. Mises Institute has some good pieces. Reason is good. I used to like The Week, as it presented more than one side to a story. Lately it hasn't as much...seems like all news organizations shift leftward when social cues make it "necessary" in order to not be cancelled.
Beyond that, it's nearly impossible. I have worked for most mainstream corporations that own news organizations and I know what goes on there. It wasn't pretty back when I was there, I'm sure it's less so now.
That said, I usually use a few basic rules for reading or listening to the news. First is use common sense. If it doesn't make any sense at all - then it's probably just propaganda. That's how I approach the Jan 6 issue. The "insurrection" nonsense made no sense to me. I know at least 10 people who were there and based on their personal stories, there was incitement by small groups of people who disappeared when the real action began. Not to mention all noted the sparse police presence and the policemen they spoke to all said "we expect violence today". If that was true, as they point out, where was the visible police presence? It's as if there was a desire to allow violence by a large enough group to label them all "insurrectionists".
Second - follow the money. This is the standard historian's approach, and (oddly enough) one of Marx' only great or useful contributions to economic and historical analysis. It is why I immediately believed the Hunter Biden computer sage. It is also why I find the current lack of coverage of the Ashley Biden diary very confusing. Why was the FBI looking for a diary that was missing? Doesn't that strike anyone as odd?
Finally, ignore the emotion. Mainstream news will infuse all its coverage with emotion and words like "justice" and "fairness". Fairness isn't a thing. It varies from person to person. So does whatever is perceived as justice. So claims of what this may or may not be do not resonate with me.
Fairness is a word used by children who feel jilted. Or, as it was eloquently used in "Yellowstone": Fair means that one side got what they wanted in a way the other side can't complain about.
If a news organization uses that word, it's basically psychological positioning. As Bastiat once said, "every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality."
I'm all for equality of opportunity. But by and large, that already exists. And when it doesn't we can't make it exist magically by shifting rules to deprive people of it so others can have it.
I notice the Cuomos had no issues finding jobs, nor do people like Chelsea Clinton. I also notice they use silly words like "white privilege" and "equality" and "justice" and "fairness"
I'm sure Obama's children will find easy, high-paying jobs and say the same things, and talk about how rough it is being a minority (when they had a MUCH EASIER life than me). Point is, it's easy to write news when you appeal to emotion and talk of things like "fairness". Because when you say "it's fair" you figure 90% of the people will nod and go along - nobody wants to be labeled "unfair".
Well, call me "unfair". I'm fine with that. Doesn't mean I disagree with what the leftist news organizations are asking for (equality, fairness). I just disagree with how they are positioning it and saying "this is the only way it can be achieved."
There is very little credible news. It's nearly non-existent. There's only the capacity to see through the BS.
One thing worth mentioning...when it comes to an issue like "justice" and how it varies from person to person.
A great example is the current drama surrounding David Portnoy. Portnoy is notorious for being many things...rude, crude. lewd, and also very marketable and quotable. He is fine tweaking noses, but is as thin-skinned as they come when turnabout occurs (clearly he doesn't think it's fair play).
That said, recent hit pieces were done on him about non-consensual 'rough sex' which he engaged in with young (but of age) women. Portnoy, recognizing how this would go, was smart enough to know his own brand. Basically his brand is "I am an asshole"
So what to do? Well, he did what any asshole would do. He shared all the texts and emails with the women making the accusations. And what it shows is consensual sex which was reciprocated, and these women wanted to be with him more, even after the supposed "events" occurred. Then, when rejected, they shifted to shakedowns for cash.
Basically, lots of people seeking "justice" will say the women were treated harshly or 'done wrong'. But I've noticed "Me Too" has avoided this like the plague so far. Because there is no winner here. Portnoy knows his brand...and he's playing it to the hilt. Basically, just when he couldn't be a bigger asshole than people already thought he was...he's become an even bigger one by outing these women as gold diggers and blackmailers.
It's not a story I've followed closely. I hate this kind of stuff - I don't consider it news, I don't find it entertaining, even (most news today is for entertainment's sake). But it's lewd and lacivious enough to provide shock and scandal, and every news organization knows that sells, too.
So what is "justice" in the Portnoy case going to look like? Hard to say. Maybe there's one woman out there who really was "done wrong" and he's going to lose it all over that one. Or maybe just being an asshole all your life is enough to get by.
I don't know. Frankly, I don't care. But it's still a good example of how the meaning of "justice" can get skewed, and even skewered, as facts set emotion to the side.
Another, recent example of "justice" meaning different things is the Djokovic saga in Australia. The courts ruled in his favor. The minister who deported him said he didn't represent a risk and even followed all the proper protocols. But he also said that Djokovic represented a "talisman" of the anti-vax movement and was therefore a threat...and hence, required deportation.
I'm not sure what classifies as "justice" in that decision, but a lot of Australians think it was the right decision...mainly because they've been put through the ringer by their authoritarian leaders, so it was nice to see a superstar go through what they've gone through. Deep down, I'm sure they know it wasn't the right decision. It just made them feel good, and it saved the politicians from an unhealthy political situation. I don't know that it was "justice"...it "just is."