Tuesday, June 27, 2017

You Cannot Be Serious!



Yes, they can be serious.

During his tennis career, McEnroe became known for outbursts on the court when he thought umpires had missed a call. In one classic exchange, he yelled at an official, "You cannot be serious! That ball was on the line!"


Garcia-Navarro: We're talking about male players but there is of course wonderful female players. Let's talk about Serena Williams. You say she is the best female player in the world in the book.

McEnroe: Best female player ever — no question.

Garcia-Navarro: Some wouldn't qualify it, some would say she's the best player in the world. Why qualify it?

McEnroe: Oh! Uh, she's not, you mean, the best player in the world, period?

Garcia-Navarro: Yeah, the best tennis player in the world. You know, why say female player?

McEnroe: Well because if she was in, if she played the men's circuit she'd be like 700 in the world.

Garcia-Navarro: You think so?

McEnroe: Yeah. That doesn't mean I don't think Serena is an incredible player. I do…

Do you see the problem?  Of course, you do not if you put on your rational thinking cap.  But put on your “everything is about race and gender and white privilege; context is irrelevant” cap, and the problem will jump out at you in spades.

Let’s revisit:

McEnroe: Oh! Uh, she's not, you mean, the best player in the world, period?

Garcia-Navarro: Yeah, the best tennis player in the world. You know, why say female player?

Garcia-Navarro clarified: “…the best tennis player in the world.”  Period!

Serena Williams responded via two tweets:

Dear John, I adore and respect you but please please keep me out of your statements that are not factually based.

I guess one could make an argument about “700”; is this the issue?  Because I cannot imagine anyone who knows anything about tennis would say that Serena Williams is the best player in the world.  Better that Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, or Roger Federer?

No one would say this, not even Serena Williams.

I've never played anyone ranked 'there' nor do I have time. Respect me and my privacy as I'm trying to have a baby. Good day sir.

It wasn’t McEnroe that invaded Serena’s privacy; it was Garcia-Navarro.

You can imagine the backlash in the media – mainstream news media and mainstream sports media.  For example, today McEnroe was given a chance to apologize – very nice of CBS news to offer this opportunity.

"CBS This Morning" co-host Norah O'Donnell asked McEnroe whether he'd like to apologize. McEnroe replied, "No."

McEnroe turns the table and asks Charlie Rose, and I will paraphrase: Charlie, you play a lot of tennis, I see you on the courts.  Where do you think Serena would rank on the men’s circuit?  Rose ran away from the question like Ebola.

More from McEnroe: we are talking about something that I can’t believe we are even talking about.

Well, maybe in a rational world, John.  But this is CBS (and I am sure it will be the case wherever you go).  Believe it.  They insisted to keep talking about it.

The first portion of the interview ended: “No apology to Serena, really?”  “I’d be happy to apologize to Serena if that makes you feel better.”

Because, after all, that is really what matters.

Conclusion

McEnroe should run for president.  He would win in a landslide.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Who Leads When There Are No Rules?



So asks Jordan Peterson.  In response, he offers food for thought:

The probability that it’s the friendliest and nicest people is very, very low.

I suggest that what he is saying is that the probability that it’s the meanest and nastiest people is very, very high.

Hans Hoppe weighs in on this topic: Why Bad Men Rule:

Free entry and competition in the production of goods is good, but free competition in the production of bads is not. Free entry into the business of torturing and killing innocents, or free competition in counterfeiting or swindling, for instance, is not good; it is worse than bad.

To this we could add Hayek’s well-known chapter from his book Road to Serfdom, Why the Worst Get on Top.

Libertarian political philosophy offers, perhaps, the fewest rules of any political philosophy devised by man.  Really, it offers only one rule: do not initiate aggression.  I guess the only way to have fewer rules is to offer no rule at all regarding aggression – but then you would have no political philosophy.  We need not concern ourselves with this absurdity.

In other words, libertarian political philosophy comes closest to the condition described by Peterson: there are no rules.  Therefore, his question is very appropriate for those grounded in libertarian theory to address: in such a condition, who leads?  Who makes the rules?

Many libertarians would answer: no one.  Each individual is an autonomous economic actor, to be bound only by voluntary contractual agreements.  This sound good in theory.

I have often posed the question: when has [insert any utopian political scheme] worked out well in practice?  Limited government, communism, fascism, democratic socialism, etc.  Show me when some men ruling over other men under any of these schemes has worked out well for those not in the ruling class.  A fair question.

I suggest another fair question: has there ever been a meaningful (I will even accept “minor”) example of a society ruled by no one?  While I acknowledge that I am no scholar in such matters, in all of my reading the most decentralized societies I have found still have rulers: patriarchs in tribes, nobles in the European Middle Ages, etc.

My point?  As I have written too often, when we consider the application of libertarian theory in this world, we should consider that human beings live in it.  Never in recorded human history, to my understanding, has there been a meaningful, sustained period of “no ruler.” 

“Yes, bionic, but pure libertarianism has never been tried.”  Of course.  Apologists for communism would say the same thing.  Maybe that’s the point.  It hasn’t been “tried” because human nature disallows it from being tried.  Given human nature, why would we expect such a utopian outcome?

I return to the basis of libertarian theory: the non-aggression principle.  Even in this least-rule-bound political theory, there are many open questions subject to interpretation.  I will offer two:

Define “aggression”; define “property.”

I can say with 100% certainty there will never be universally accepted definitions of either of these terms – even the most dedicated libertarian thinkers cannot agree on the meaning of these terms regarding many topics: abortion, immigration, intellectual property, punishment, restitution, threats, fraud, etc.  How would we expect mankind as a whole (heck, even you and your immediate neighbors) to have total agreement on these?

So…who will decide?  Who will make the rules?  Who will provide the definitions?

I have offered my answer: culture; custom; the old and good law.  Something no one individual can overcome; something no one individual can overrule or erase.

Do you have a better answer?  Because, if you don’t, go back and read Hoppe and Hayek.  That’s your answer.  You choose to be ruled by men, and you choose to be ruled by the worst of these.

Conclusion

Absent a well-defined and widely accepted culture there is no hope of moving toward a libertarian world.  Such a culture is not a sufficient condition (as not all cultures are conducive to libertarianism), but it is certainly a necessary condition.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

From Immigrants and Refugees to Terrorists



For the first few years of World War Two, most Jews in Palestine played nice with the British.  If Britain was victorious in the larger conflict, the Zionists would have some chance to continue their immigration in Palestine and achieve their hoped-for state.  If Germany was victorious, there was no chance of this.

This approach did not survive the war.

One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate, by Tom Segev

Immigrants and Refugees

Jews were dying in Europe.  The British held little concern for this; the Jews in Palestine felt the same:

“I was not well-versed on matters of saving of the Jews of Europe, even though I was chairman of the Jewish Agency,” Ben-Gurion wrote a few years later.  “The heart of my activity was enlisting Jewry in the demand to establish a Jewish state.”

The Arabs, in the meantime, saw the risk:

“We all sympathize with the Jews and are shocked at the way Christian nations are persecuting them.  But do you expect Moslems of Palestine…to become more Christian or more humanitarian than the followers of Christ: Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania, etc. etc.?  Have we to suffer in order to make good what you Christians commit?”

Ben-Gurion was troubled by the possibility that Jewish survivors in Europe might not want to come to Palestine, but would choose to settle elsewhere.

“I think we should not treat this danger lightly.  It is the greatest danger not only to Zionism but to the Yishuv.”

But the Jews from Europe came – before the war, during the war, and after the war; the number of Jews in Palestine increased eight-fold during the Mandatory period, to one-third of the total population; Muslims and Christians doubled.

Terrorists

“The revolt sprang from the land and from the blood,” wrote Menachem Begin, Etzel leader.  Despite its name, though, Etzel’s action was not a revolt, but rather a decision to resume terrorist activities, largely against the British.

Menachem Begin was one of those immigrants turned terrorist, arriving in Palestine in May 1942.

Etzel (Irgun) announced the beginning of terrorism on February 1, 1944.  The more radical among the Zionists decided it was time to run the British out.

Etzel’s funds came from robbing banks or extorting money from local businessmen; the organization received contributions as well, mostly from America.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Why They Are After Trump…Revisited



For several months, I have felt that the Trump=Russia witch hunt was a diversion. Sure, they want Trump out, but not for the stated reason – not for Russia.  They want Trump out because what he represents is a voice for people who are tired of seeing every libertine, immoral, property-rights and wealth destroying progressive platform agenda shoved down their throats.  Trump ran against almost every plank of this life-destroying force.

I wrote on this topic in March; from the conclusion:

Russia is a diversion; it is useful as a means to an end.  It isn’t the end.  The end is the salvation of the many pillars of the progressive agenda; the end is the final destruction of western, classical liberal, civilization.

Don’t expect me to explain it as well as Judge Napolitano can and has; I have listened to and read several commentators on the topic of the special prosecutor, Comey’s testimony, etc.  I can only offer a semi-ignorant layman’s summary.

A special prosecutor was appointed with no crime to prosecute; with no crime to prosecute, you have a dozen of the most aggressive, capable attorneys looking for something…anything.  Show me the man and I will show you the crime. 

The narrative is shifting, from collusion to obstruction.  Without a crime for the special prosecutor to prosecute, why not? 

They ignore the overwhelming evidence of the Clinton crimes, former Attorney General Lynch and her visit with Bill, even the leaking admitted to by Comey.

But the special prosecutor is looking for a Trump crime.  And the collusion with Russia – after one year – is a narrative with no story.

They want Trump out because they want their progressive, cultural destroying agenda to crush us all.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Reset with Anonp



A more complete reply (and clarification) to Anonymous June 15, 2017 at 7:53 AM, aka “anonp.”

Anonp

I have assumed a certain context both in this post and in my dialogue in general regarding immigration and open borders.  My context is one of examining libertarian theory on these topics and attempting to apply the theory in this world, the world as it is today.

As you have been here often and commented often, I assumed you understood this; further, this specific post is in reference to a real-world example – the Jewish immigration into Palestine during the British Mandate period

Admittedly, I will write new posts as a continuing dialogue – a dialogue with myself and with regular readers; I feel no obligation or benefit to resetting the foundation and context every time I discuss a topic.

Now, with feedback from an individual who is new to this site – or someone I don’t recall – I am (or try to be) patient in my response.  With feedback from anonymous commenters (not you, as I recognize “anonp” that you include), depending on the nature of the feedback, I almost always initially assume I am being trolled.

With those who have commented often, I assume a certain context – that the foundation I have previously laid is understood.  This is the case with you.

Now, I also recognize that it is incumbent upon me to remember the foundation that regular commenters have laid.  Alas, I may not be perfect at this – better with those who are a) here regularly, and b) have offered something that really stayed with me.

With that out of the way, I would like to start over with your various feedback.  Call it a reset.

You can do everything you want, to show your disagreement.

You will understand now, I hope, the reason for my reaction.  In this world, I cannot do this – and this world is the context of both the subject post and my writing.  Further, part of the foundation is my extensive dialogue with Walter Block – the relevant portions of which I have written about publicly (here, and much more importantly, here).  To apply the NAP to this topic in this world requires full private property – and all that this implies.

So…I cannot do everything I want – within the context and given the foundation that I have built over at least 50 posts and hundreds of interchanges in the comments sections of these.

Are you calling for State intervention?

First of all, I hope you understand why the fact that you asked this question confirmed my belief that you understood the context and foundation.  In a world that respects the NAP, there are no states; in this world, there are.  So when you ask if I am calling for state intervention, in which world is your question relevant?

More importantly, I have written several times that I do allow myself to be boxed into a false choice: either open borders in this world or state intervention in this world.  At minimum, I had – and believe I have completely achieved – one objective: to demonstrate that application of the NAP on this topic in this world is not possible.  Absent full private property rights, every possibility is a violation of the NAP.  Just ask Walter Block!

My further objective is to demonstrate why managed borders – even if managed by the state (as if there is any other choice in a world of states) – is a reasonable second best alternative.  I will not here go into all of the reasons why; I have written on this too much already (read the fifty posts if you like).

If you bring one million people here to live on the welfare, you are not privately financing anything; you are using tax dollars, so you are violating the nap.

I should not have overlooked so quickly this line of reasoning from you, and the natural implications of this and other similar statements of yours.

That tells us something about the culture, the morals, the habits, the mentality that a society more coherent with the nap will produce.

Admittedly, I reacted strongly to this statement.  This time, I will merely ask: do you mean to say that the NAP will produce a culture?  This is unfathomable to me.  But, if this is truly what you mean, please expand on why you believe it.

Many here seem to love the state but only want a different orientation of statism.

Yes, there are some who comment here that have a view of the state not consistent with the NAP.  I do not stop them from commenting, and have learned much from their comments.  As long as comments are respectful and not vulgar, I allow these.

With that said, I never like such statements as the one you wrote.  To whom do you refer?  If we want true dialogue at this site, we have to talk to each other individually, not to “many here.”

My point being that the NAP is not so poor as you picture it, but that your example is misleading.

But this is my point, and consistent with my entire dialogue on this topic: we live in this world.  In the reality of this world, how do we apply the NAP?  In some things it is easy – robbery, murder, etc.  In some things, it is not so easy – in this case, immigration and open borders.

So my example is not misleading at all.  What would have been the proper libertarian response by Palestinians to the massive Jewish influx during the British Mandate?  They protested, they boycotted, they did all of the NAP-consistent measures that you offered (and, of course, some that were not consistent).

This wasn’t enough.  They left a failed legacy for themselves and their grandchildren.

If this is acceptable under the NAP we should ask ourselves: what are the implications?  Is the NAP a bad political theory or is it simply that we have not properly defined it?  Or, maybe, the NAP just doesn’t answer every single relationship question we might ask.

To this, I offer one portion of my response to Unhappy Conservative, from the same thread:

We want to think of aggression in three dimensions: height, width, depth. Perhaps Rothbard is suggesting we might want to think about a fourth dimension - time. To do so, we must consider human nature in the equation.

Where along that fourth dimension did Jewish immigration into Palestine turn into aggression? We cannot pick a moment, we only see the result - the reality that it happened.

Maybe libertarian theorists just haven’t yet properly defined aggression.  At least Palestinians at the time of the Mandate would say so.