Saturday, November 26, 2016

Should the State Proscribe Non-Marriages?

For any conservatives who did not yet question the role of government in marriage (the libertarians and anarcho-capitalists sure were), 2015 was the year those questions were likely to surface after the Supreme Court legislated that gay marriage was the rule of law in all 50 states. For many people the question arose: just what exactly is the societal benefit of gay marriage? The normal argument from those who defend gay marriage is that it's a matter of fairness. If straight people can legally marry, then by extension of legal equality gays should be able to as well. But that argument (and it is a valid argument) skirts the question of what is the societal benefit of gay marriage. Also, they never explain just what exactly the benefit is that gays are missing out on. (I live with my girlfriend and our daughter. I still haven't found out what, for me, would be the benefit of straight marriage).

Basically the argument boils down to feelings. "Well it's not fair they can't marry and it will hurt their feelings." Or perhaps it's not feelings but some belief in a universal principle of fairness. (My toddler tells me about it frequently.) But that doesn't answer the question: what is the societal benefit of gay marriage? The question them might even be generalized to: what is the societal benefit of marriage? Or maybe somewhat less general: if the government acknowledges gay marriage, then what exactly is the role of government in marriage at all?

Society enforces the institution of marriage historically because it provides the most stable and productive society. It was perfectly natural (perhaps not entirely logical or ethical) that the state would enforce the edicts of monogamy. In such a culture marriage yields a very particular benefit: it is permission to have sex. But our culture no longer values monogamy overall it seems, so the enforcement of it by the government is no longer relevant. I still don't know of a single convincing argument that it makes any sense at all these days. Marriages don't enforce child-rearing, fidelity, or the permanence of the marital bond. The only material gain seems to be a tax benefit when the bride & groom (or bride & bride or groom & groom) are of very different income levels.

It is clear that our society no longer enforces the original intent of marriage. By extension, we no longer enforce the proscription of marriage-like arrangements or non-marital sex either. Legally this has not widely been done in America, that I'm aware of. Enforcement of non-marriage was done through social pressure. Even today there is a remnant of this. A couple I am friends with in rural Missouri lived together for some time but decided to marry after the gal's family received considerable pressure from their pastor. This was once the normal proscription process of non-marriages. Those who lived in a married-like state, but were not legally married, would be socially stigmatized, but it is no longer common. Of those that still even go to church, most don't give the clergy great control of their personal lives, and in part the clergy don't seek to control the personal lives of their assemblies so long as they show up on Sundays and make with the tithe.

If society no longer proscribes non-marital cohabitation, then it surely also does nothing to forbid other arrangement long considered harmful to society, most notably polygamy. All states ban the practice of a man being legally wedded to multiple wives. But as we've seen, the state has no power to proscribe non-marriages. Thus it has no power to prevent arrangements that, for all practical purposes, are polygamy. So what is the point of the law at all?

Libertarians will have no problem with this. They don't believe society should be limiting the lifestyle decisions of individuals. If the wives and husbands all willingly accept the arrangement then the government is impeding their liberty by intervening. Liberals will also applaud such an arrangement, if only because they are always seeking to dismantle the traditional order, whatever it is. Only conservatives might take a moment to ponder the benefit of laws against polygamy in the first place. The answer, as mentioned above, is that it provides the most stable and productive society, historically speaking.

There likely is not much we can do to prevent the erosion of monogamy and our fundamental social institution: marriage. In this democracy social conservatives are far outweighed by liberals (of both parties) and libertarians. This is yet another example where we can clearly see trends driving the degradation of our culture, but we are powerless to stop them. Powerless and unwilling. I don't pretend to lecture on the issue as I'm in a non-marriage myself. Self-interest always trumps societal benefit, and sacrificing ones well being to restore society is akin to drowning in the attempt to push back the tide.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Oppressionism: the modern left in a nutshell

Liberalism and conservatism are not ideologies. There is no way to give a brief description that explains the expanses of each. There is no single theoretical underpinning. Until recently, I've been satisfied to think that they are political platforms. But that is not accurate either, because both platforms are self-contradictory. The right is the home of Christianity, but also to pre-emptive war. (Although Obama has made sure that they don't have the monopoly on that). The left is pro-Muslim, but also prioritizes women and gay rights. These are just a couple examples I could think of off the top of my head. Perhaps they aren't the best ones but you can think of your own all day long.

If we wanted to describe liberalism then as a platform or set of principles, we must provide a set that is self-contradictory. So it's no wonder that no one can agree on what it means! I have been greatly influenced lately by the Anonymous Conservative, who puts forth a very compelling argument that liberalism and conservatism are the results of opposing psychologies. Whatever your take, the issue is complex, and at this time no one could definitely say what liberalism is.

However, at this time liberalism is being dominated by a single force. In computer science when analyzing algorithms we only ever worry about costs with the greatest magnitudes, smaller costs are ignored. So for instance if we are trying to speed up the time it takes to send an email, and it takes one second to process the email and ten minutes to send over the network, we aren't going to be focused on the one second of processing. And so with liberalism. There may be a lot going on, but right now one force is so dominant that we can effectively ignore the rest for now.

That single force is Oppressionism. There are three tenets.

  1. The primary unit of social interaction is that oppressors take advantage of victims for some personal gain.
  2. Oppression is everywhere. In all social structures, cultural institutions, even art. If you can't find the oppression, you are ignorant, and an unwitting oppressor yourself.
  3. Finding and chastising the oppressor, and giving support to the victim, is the most holy virtue of Oppressionism.

Oppressionism is only tiny morsel of the liberalism's vast philosophical background, yet it is such a powerful force that all other liberal tenets must bow before it. Let's use the lens of Oppressionism to clarify some actions of the left that seem either contradictory, or perhaps that would seem to work against the left's self interest.

Protected Classes

Generally they determine who is oppressed by race, gender, religion, and sexuality. Rule of thumb goes, if you're two or more of the following: non-white, non-male, non-Christian, non-heterosexual, then you are a inherently oppressed, a victim. While this type of identity groups is of course racist, sexist, etc, they aren't concrete, and depend on your political affiliation. For instance Peter Thiel, a closeted homosexual until he was outed by the now bankrupt liberal rag Gawker, has been a huge surrogate of Donald Trump, and the liberals have reacted by basically saying that you can't call yourself gay if you support Trump. Sure you sexual prefer men but for all practical purposes you are straight.

In these protected classes we see some contradictions. For instance, the left want to bring Muslims by the millions, and ridicule the rest of us for rejecting the notion. It doesn't seem to strike the left as insane that they would pretend to protect women and gays and then bring in Muslims by the boatload. Because they can't possibly see Muslims as oppressors. Only straight white men and prominent conservatives are oppressors. The real threat of this viewpoint may not be that so many are falsely accused of oppression, but that real oppression is not acknowledged when it does not conform to the preconceived notions of what an oppressor looks like.

Open Borders

In past decades, from 1965 when Democrats shifted US immigration quotas from Europe to the 3rd World, many liberals still took a strong stand for highly controlled and regulated immigration policies. The Democrats represented labor and the poor, the two groups most harmed by competition from outside labor. The Republicans, who represented business, stood to benefit the most from cheap labor, but there were kept in check to some extent by the more nationalist sentiments of the party's core constituency.

Oppressionism has opened the flood gates. The poor of the world are not poor because of their own corrupt governments, or because they lack high-trust societies, or because they are culturally uninterested in education, or whatever reasons there might be. The reason they are poor is because they are oppressed. And they are oppressed by the rich Western countries. Therefor it is the responsibility of the rich nations to open their borders and coffers up to the world's poor, not as charity, but as reparation.

The reasons the left have basically abandoned our own workers for the sake of foreigners is that the poor and unemployed are just not oppressed enough. Not yet, anyway.


Environmentalism has long been one of the key issues for liberals. And even it has taken a backseat to social justice (their term for oppressionism). Environmentalism is still a key issue, but they take great pains to make it a social justice issue. The official Democrat platform's stance on climate change is revealing, in that it makes the bold claim that climate change disproportionately harms racial minorities (even on a global scale minority means "not white") and that it amounts to "environmental racism". What could be worse that the threat of climate change to the very existence of numerous plant and animals species and even humans ourselves? You guessed it: oppression. Oppression trumps all concerns, even existential threats.

We've also seen that there is much more energy surrounding environmental issues where some sort of oppression can be determined. For instance, the left hasn't been quiet at all about oil pipelines. But only when they seemed to threaten a protected group did we see them converge by the thousands to an Indian Reservation in South Dakota. While the environmental risk may be real and justified, it should be noted that the pipeline was re-routed to avoid the city of Bismark, 62,000 strong with over 2500 Indians, as compared to the primary village that would be affected by the new route, Fort Yates, at under 200. The reservation as a whole is over 8,000, but it isn't clear how many would be affected by an oil spill.

My point is not to invalidate the Indian's complaints against the project. The point is that the left only massively rally for environmental causes if they can be primarily framed as a mater of oppression.

Safe Spaces

It was inevitable that liberals would find their favorite victim group: themselves! Always looking for signs of the omnipresent oppression, they decided that any speech which they disagreed with, or caused them any sort of negative emotional reaction, was oppression. Thus they created safe spaces, corners of the American academic institutions where free speech and objective truth could be shut out. I could talk all day about the insanity of this, but there are two major things to take away.
  1. Free speech is the bedrock of classical liberalism. Here we have the modern left rejecting classical liberalism as oppressive. Can the left cut itself off from it philosophical roots and survive? Or will they end up eating their own?
  2. Only liberals are allowed safe spaces, because they are not oppressors. Whites and men are oppressors. So we see even things like white student unions, when there are student unions for every other ethnicity on campus, are ridiculed as blatant racism. So whites are not allowed free association or freedom of speech, because they are labeled as oppressors by the social justice warriors.

Anti-Trump Hate Rhetoric

Those who follow my blog know I regularly defend Donald Trump. Those who know me personally were probably surprised I would be so supportive of someone who speaks ineloquently or lacks a strong intellectual bent (I'm not equating intellectual with intelligent here). And the reason I defend him so much isn't that I think he's the greatest candidate ever (well I didn't at the time I started defending him but now I do) but that what was being said about him, versus the objective reality, were just miles apart. 

It wasn't enough to say they objected to his immigration policy; it was that he's a racist. It wasn't enough to say he speaks indelicately; it was that he was sexist. It wasn't enough to say that he was caught making lewd comments with a television crew; it was that he was a child rapist. In short, it wasn't enough that he had flaws; it was the he was an oppressor.

The problems with this type of character assassination is that enough people saw through it. I didn't start defending Trump because I was a supporter. I did so because the media narrative was so far off. I became a supporter in the process. This happened to a lot of people! And the result was the worst election results for the Democrats in 28 years. Clearly taking everything you don't like about society and making it a matter of oppression by evil straight white males is not a winning platform. And what's worse, in their zeal to make Trump a monster, well they made a monster. They aren't out there rioting because of any of Trump's policies. They're rioting because American the Nazi character they created. And it is only turning more people away from their cause! If this keeps up 2020 will be a breeze for the Republicans.

Support for Clinton

As I mentioned earlier, the scariest part of Oppressionism is that actual oppression is ignored. The left was able to mostly ignore that their favored candidate, Bernie, was cheated in the primary, and still rallied to support Clinton, a woman who engages in Neocolonialism, who takes money from oppressive regimes, who treats he assigned staff as subhuman, and whose husband used his position in the Haiti relief effort for self-aggrandizement. The fact that she is so clearly what any rational person would call oppressive and won the popular vote, with liberals rioting after her defeat, shows just how dangerous Oppressionism is. This is not mere disagreement. Oppressionism is cancer, and must be eradicated before it destroys the host.

Christianity: the root of the West's downfall?

I've recently entertained the idea of returning to Christianity. I was raised Catholic, could never believe significant aspects of the dogma (although I tried to), and have basically been an agnostic my entire adult life.

My change in thought came about in part because of Stefan's interviews with Iben Thranholm (here and here). She makes the compelling argument that the West arose because of the values embodied in Christianity, that veering from those values is destroying the West, and only by returning to Christianity can the West be saved.

It is undeniable that Europeans rose to greatness under Christianity, and that we see the attack on Christianity seems to have preceded the weakening of the West and the frontal assault now being waged on all vestiges of European tradition. As goes Christianity, goes the West. Save Christianity, and you can save the West, it would seem.

When searching the different denominations in my area it's not easy task to find a church that is religiously liberal but politically conservative. The non-theist church in my neighborhood actually promotes Social Justice as one of their core values. Also down the road is the Unitarian Church, which is similarly dogma-light but hippy central. Whether the more traditional churches are more conservative is hard to tell. They at least don't stick out as obviously liberal as the non-theist churches. (Any help on this issue would be appreciated. At this point I think my best option is the Nazarene Church).

During this process of evaluating denominations based on the criteria of saving the Western tradition, the thought occurred that maybe it's not a coincidence that so many of the churches are politically liberal. What if the seed of western destruction resides in Christianity itself?

  • It idealizes generosity and service to the poor. Most proponents of the welfare state would argue that it is effectively our Christian duty to provide state aid to the poor.
  • It urges forgiveness. And in our society the biggest criminals often go unpunished. Retribution serves a purpose in society.
  • It destroys tribalism. All peoples are one under God. Nothing in Christianity inherently encourages a common ethnic or cultural identity.
  • It reserves judgement to a higher power. In our society we reserve justice to the state, which lacks the omnipotence of God. People who can manipulate the state machinery can sin against anyone and avoid judgement.
  • It condemns aggression (although this tenet seems to have no real actual effect).
  • It emphasizes an afterlife and personal judgement. A true adherent has no strong proclivity to fight to improve the material world. The most important goal is to remain pious to get into heaven. Their is nothing inherent in Christianity driving anyone to fight for the nation or to make the nation on great on Earth.
  • It generally promotes that all livers are sacred and we should go about peacefully, turning the other cheek to the transgressions of others and forgiving. That may work well on a personal spiritual level, but is hardly a way to run a nation in the modern clash of civilizations.

Christianity probably served a vital role in making the West powerful. When Christianity was mostly contained to Europe, it served to unite the various nationalities. Europe became something of a regional power, able to launch the crusades in response to Muslim encroachment, because of her ability to unite under the papacy.

Europe became a high-trust society under Christianity. The fear of eternal doom, or excommunication from the Church meant people were much less likely to steal, general less likely to sin. Christianity worked well, as long as most of the people played the game. I would compare Christianity to libertarianism or Scandinavian-style social democracy: it works so long as the people are culturally, ethically, and perhaps ethnically homogeneous.

The Church of yore was authoritarian. Redemption could be had, so long as homage was paid to the Church. In the modern world that bondage has been broken. Each man or woman is free to pursue their own salvation in Christ. We now have a Christian that embodies liberal ethos without the balancing societal order and constraints.

Am I wrong in my reasoning that Christianity and its legacy is killing the west? And if I'm correct, how do we promote western tradition without Christianity?

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Liberals are making it almost impossible for Trump to fail

The Democrat party is in a precarious place. I don't think most people appreciate the full weight of just how deeply they have been exposed by Wikileaks, Guccifer, and Project Veritas. Among other things, we know they rigged their own primary, we know they colluded with the media to brainwash the masses, and we know they engaged in browshirt-style tactics and voter fraud. The only hint of credibility they have going for them is the precarious argument that at least they are not as evil as the party of Trump.

Beyond an ethics crisis -- and maybe crisis is a strong word when a large portion of the party members seem unconcerned -- is the party's loss of power (the thing they're really concerned with). All three branches of federal government will soon be held by Republicans, and the bulk of the states as well. All the while, the Democrats have a vacuum of leadership. Will they be able to regroup and run strongly in four years? Will the liberals in the party fall back in line with the Clinton surrogates, who cheated the liberal nominee and then went and lost in a landslide?

The only thing that can unite the party is a common enemy. And right now that enemy is clearly Donald Trump. If Trump succeeds, the Democrats may be out of luck for a long while; their only real hope is that Trump fails. But they are making it almost impossible for Trump to fail.

What does it mean for a president to fail? There are many things that can occur during a presidency that the president has little control over. The economy being the most notable. Presidents ride those waves, and those of global events, just like the rest of us. My thinking is a president fails when he doesn't deliver whatever it was he campaigned on. It wouldn't be fair to hold a politician to every last campaign promise, or even most given the way things seem to go. But there is always that core promise or ethos that defined their candidacy. George W. Bush ran on small-government principles, and utterly failed to do so. Obama's election was fueled on the hope and promise that basically he wasn't Bush. Given the expansion of the surveillance state, crackdown on dissent, and continuation of the Bush Doctrine, he has also failed, and it's not even close.

Trump himself has molded a platform of America First: ending trade deficits, stopping illegal immigration, restoring law & order, and so on. But that hasn't been the defining characteristic of his run. The most noteworthy depiction of Trump has been the left's reaction by him. By the hyperbolic hysteria that Trump is a racist, sexist, elitist, anti-Semitic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, transphobic, anti-dentite, Russian-controlled hateful bigot. Basically, he's Hitler.

This is not exaggeration on my end. Check your facebook feed, or Twitter, or even the cable news channels. People are out there rioting because they are wholly convinced that America has basically just elected Hitler to the presidency. That makes a real low bar for presidential success. Trump doesn't have to be a great president. He doesn't even have to be a good president. He just has to not be a Nazi.

Based on this premise alone, I'm taking bets on his 2020 re-election.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Why liberals are shocked and I made bank

Judging just on my facebook feed today, it's apparent that a whole lot of people still don't really understand this election, why it happened, what it means, and, most importantly, why it was quite predictable. A common theme seems to be the conviction that the election was decided by ignorant voters. Not only is that opinion wrong, but I think we can put forth a good case that the opposite is true: Trump voters were generally more informed, less ignorant.

They can't explain it

Liberals seem to be at a loss to even piece together a rational - let alone accurate - description of the election. Most are just uncontrollably spewing emotions out. Some are giving answers but they are primarily rationalizations fueled by their strong emotions. A few seem to get it, of course, and probably there are many more who are staying quiet.

I suspect we can correlate the level of emotion with their level of ignorance. The mechanism is simple: the further the psyche is removed from reality, the more shocking reality will be when it hits. The worst offenders out there, the ones ranting that Trump supporters are fascists, bigots, etc., are merely showing, besides their own hatefulness and lack of self-control, that they are very shocked by the results. They're shocked because they were ignorant of reality.

And reality came fast. Look at the timeline below. I've marked out in green where Clinton dropped down from 80% odds, to where Trump climbed to 80% odds. It was less than two hours!! That's a short span of time to have your worldview pulled out from under you. No wonder they're so angsty.

Most of us who voted Trump already had a worldview in place that understood the Trump appeal. We realized that the media was serving as propaganda, that the polls were being highly skewed by gaming the sample sizes and weightings and other tricks, and we were familiar with the ruse because we were warned by our friends in England about how things went down during Brexit. We got that information from alternate sources of media. From social media, from news aggregators such as Reddit and Voat, from alt-right bloggers and vloggers, and from new media sources, including places like Breitbart and Infowars.

Liberals would dismiss anything coming from Breitbart or the conservative blogosphere on principle. Only corporate media was a credible source, they would basically say (ironic, no?), and really no one on the left wanted to hear our arguments. So they closed their eyes and ears, assured themselves that CNN and John Oliver would only tell it straight, and their feelings and egos were spared. Most of them disregarded the Wikileaks. How many liberals actually went to Wikileaks, or read any compendiums? I bet far less than 1%. Project Veritas literally filmed DNC operatives admitting to damning criminal and unethical activities. Hillary supporters said O'Keefe was biased so the videos didn't count, or that they were edited (how do you not edit a video?). The level of denial was dangerous. When we saw Hillary supporters basically refusing to acknowledge Wikileaks or Project Veritas at all, we knew they were actively trying to hide from the truth.

Now that reality has hit all at once, they have nothing to anchor to. They know the media called Trump a racist and fascist, which they have internalized. Now they're telling the world that what must have happened is the American voters, who turned out massively to elect Barrack Obama in '08, are actually really racist and hateful. The argument is not consistent, but they don't have much to work with. They call Trump supporters ignorant, which only displays psychological projection since they don't really know what's going on. They're ignorant, so they assume we're ignorant, but they also are certain they are intellectually and morally superior.

They could not predict it

Why were they so ignorant? Simple confirmation bias. They tended to accept news that felt good to hear, and reject all else. Everyone does it of course, but unfortunately for them, the media was 96% giving out bad information that appealed to the liberal bias. A model of the world is only as good as its ability to predict. Let's look at the media predictions right before the election:

  • The New York Times: 80 percent chance of Clinton victory
  • Huffington Post: 98.1 percent chance of Clinton victory
  • Nate Silver/538: 72 percent chance of Clinton victory (323 electoral votes)
  • 89.7 percent chance of Clinton victory
  • NBC/SM: Clinton +6
  • IPSOS: Clinton +4
  • Fox News: Clinton +4
  • NBC/WSJ: Clinton +4
  • ABC/WashPost: Clinton +4
  • Herald: Clinton +4
  • Bloomberg: Clinton +3
Those were wildly off the mark. To those who trusted the media, the numbers made sense. Trump was a horrible candidate, so of course the polls were safely favoring Hillary. Well they didn't make sense to me. It didn't make sense to me at all that if Hillary had 80% odds, that Democrats would spend the last day of the campaign in places like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Clearly they knew something the media wasn't saying. Judge them by their actions, not their words. I looked at their actions, and that day I bet against Hillary at 4:1 odds, in the general and in Florida and Michigan.

I bet against the media. I bet that it was all propaganda. I bet what I knew from Wikileaks, that they were colluding with the DNC to sway opinion, rather than report reality. I bet that Trump's rallies, an order of magnitude larger than Hillary's, were significant. I bet that the media was lying at every turn. I bet that voters didn't trust the media anymore. I bet my model for reality was more accurate than theirs. And I made a lot of money last night.