¡Papeles para tod@s! 1 May 2009, 3:30 PM @ Commercial Center Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada

Bring your signs. Bring your flags (all of ‘em, from anywhere). Most important, bring yourself and bring your friends! Stand up and march on with your fellow workers and your fellow immigrants, against international apartheid; against the bordercrats and their walls, their checkpoints, their paramilitary raids, and their police state; and for the human rights of each and every person to be left alone, to live and work in peace, without needing to get a permission slip from the State for their existence.

1-mayo-2009-handbills

Justice for Immigrants; Human Rights for All!

May 1st 2009

Meet at 3:30 PM at the Commercial Center (between Commercial Center Dr and E. Sahara Ave).

March will begin at 5 PM, ending at the Federal Courthouse

  • Support family reunification!
  • Support Comprehensive Immigration Reform!
  • Support Workers’ Rights to Organize!
  • Support the DREAM Act!

Sponsored By:

LiUNA, PLAN, MEChA, Young Democrats of UNLV, LUZ community development coalition, Hermandad Mexicana, Stone Wall Democrats, Si Se Puede, Latino Democrats, NV NOW, Así Se Habla and UCIR.

For More Information Contact Us at info@ucir.org

Justicia Para Inmigrantes; Derechos Humanos Para Todos!

May 1, 2009

Reunión a las 3:30 PM en el Commercial Center (entre Commercial Center Dr y E Sahara Ave).

La Marcha comenzará a las 5PM y Terminará en la Corte Federal.

Apoyen La Reunificación de Las Familias!

Apoyen Una Reforma Migratoria!

Apoyen Los Derechos del Trabajador Para Organizarce!

Apoyen el Dream Act!

Patrocinado Por:

LiUNA, PLAN, MEChA, Young Democrats of UNLV, LUZ community development coalition, Hermandad Mexicana, Stone Wall Democrats, Si Se Puede, Latino Democrats, NV NOW, Así Se Habla and UCIR.

Para Más Información Por Favor Contacte a UCIR en info@ucir.org

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89 replies to ¡Papeles para tod@s! 1 May 2009, 3:30 PM @ Commercial Center Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada Use a feed to Follow replies to this article · TrackBack URI

  1. Mike Gogulski

    Very nice. Though I might prefer “papeles para nadie”.

  2. Rad Geek

    Well, right — ni fronteras ni papeles ni un solo pinche rinche. But papers for everyone and papers for nobody come to the same thing in this political context, since standing permission that everyone has is functionally identical to just being left the hell alone. And it’s something that people committed to the existing immigration police state can understand fairly immediately (open borders and immediate amnesty, etc.), while saying papers for nobody might well just be taken to mean, horribile dictu, that the State ought to treat everybody like a constitutional non-person, subject to arbitrary violence. And after 8 years of Bushism, more than enough conservatives’ and liberal hawks’ positions are already close enough to that that I’m not sure I’d want to give them the idea.

  3. Sergio Méndez

    Charles:

    All of this is great, yet I will prefer “justicia para todos” rather than “papers for all” (the later implying that equall rights for inmigrants depends of papers GRANTED by the state).

  4. Reverend Draco

    Sorry… I cannot agree with open borders, and especially the dream act - when somebody jumps the border, it is the same as if they jumped the fence into my back yard - they better say a prayer of thanksgiving that they weren’t shot. When one is cooking a stew, and thousands of random people who have no interest in making a tasty meal start throwing random ingredients into the pot, you end up with an unpalatable mess, not a dinner… which is what we have with millions of illegals, who have no interest in maintaining, much less improving, the country… all they do is work very hard to turn the US into the same sort of shithole they came from. And this crap of catering to those illegal freaks by printing every damn thing in mexican needs to stop, NOW. CITIZENS have no need for it - and those who do need it should be tossed back over the border they jumped in a body bag. Bullets are cheaper.

  5. Marja Erwin

    In other words you’re calling for mass murder. And the rhetoric of property rights (“jumped the fence into my back yard”) soon turns into the rhetoric of racism (“random ingredients in the pot”) and other forms of nationalism (the citizen/noncitizen division).

    I don’t have much patience for nationalism. It invariably becomes an excuse for murder. And that is why we must tear it out, root and branch.

  6. Roderick T. Long

    Reverend Draco

    when somebody jumps the border, it is the same as if they jumped the fence into my back yard

    Wow, are you the owner of the entire United States? If so, I’m eager to find out how you acquired that position.

    But if not, then what the fuck are you talking about? If an immigrant wants to come into this country, and I’m willing to rent or sell them my apartment, or give them a job in my store, then how is this like their jumping into your back yard? Are you claiming to own my apartment or store?

    which is what we have with millions of illegals, who have no interest in maintaining, much less improving, the country…

    Wow — where shall I start?

    Well … I don’t see why they should have to have an interest in maintaining and improving an entire country just because they want to move from point A to point B. The notion that the freedom to peacefully live one’s own life and make contractual arrangements with consenting others is contingent on some sort of service to “the country” smacks more of Hitler or Stalin than of anything resembling a free society.

    But in any case, what is your evidence that immigrants have no interest in maintaining or improving the country?

    Moreover, why does this special requirement apply only to immigrants? Do you think nativeborn citizens should be deported if they show no interest in maintaining or improving the country? If not, why not? — what is the special right that the accident of birth gives them but not to someone born a few miles south?

    For that matter, what entitles you to live in this country? What have you done to maintain or improve it? It doesn’t sound like you’re working to make it freer.

  7. Aster

    Reverend Draco-

    Thank you for providing a rather graphic illustration of the kind of sentiment which national anarchists seek to legitimise.

    What is it about bigots that they can’t keep their bigotry straight in their own heads?

    You’re supposed to call queer people freaks. Or maybe BDSM types, or just individualists generally. Calling immigrants “freaks” just doesn’t make very much sense. It’s like calling a Jewish person a ‘n—-er’. People will laugh at you.

    If you’re going to be a bigot, it helps to get your epithets right. Otherwise, people might think that you’re trying to feel big by being a prick to people you don’t know anything about. And that would make you a waste of space.

    Do you wear leather pants?

  8. Rad Geek

    Sergio,

    I understand and share the concern. But the phrase isn’t something I made up on my own; I took it from a chant that the activistas I work with have been using for years. Papeles is just being used as shorthand, which is immediately understandable to the folks they’re addressing, for decriminalization.

    Reverend Draco,

    The country is not your private property. If anyone trespasses on that without your permission, then by all means do what you will to get them off of it. But you have no business telling other property owners who they can or cannot invite.

    As for maintaining, or improving, the country, I don’t give a damn about that, either. Nor should you. I don’t live in the country, I live in my house, and I tend to that. You tend to yours. And leave other people to tend to theirs as they see fit.

    As for printing things in Mexican, I agree that that’s both unnecessary and alienating. Hardly anyone speaks classical Nahuatl these days, so why print things in it?

    Oh, wait, you meant Spanish. Coño, 25% of la gente que viven in my city speak Spanish. If I have something to sell or something to offer, printing it in a language they speak ain’t catering. It’s common sense. I’m not out here to deal with citizens I’m out here to build relationships with people and do some business. I don’t care where their papers come from, or if they have any.

    As for the murderous racism, dude, please.

  9. Roderick T. Long

    P.S. - There’s no such language as “Mexican,” so that’s at least one thing you can stop worrying about.

  10. Roderick T. Long

    Aw darn, Charles beat me to it.

  11. Nick

    “When one is cooking a stew…” Interesting, and revealing, choice of metaphor. Long-time RGPD reader and satirist on our ruling classes, or a slip of unintentional idiocy and self-loathing?

    Sheep like you will make for one tasty meal, that’s for sure.

  12. Mike Gogulski

    Charles: Full agreement. And good luck at the event, if you’re going.

    Rev. Draco: Would you mind reposting that in Choctaw, please? Some “Americans” don’t read that language, and might be interested. Ak akostiníncho.

  13. Reverend Draco

    Well… it is wonderful to see that idiocy is still alive and well in the good ol US of A… as the previous 8 comments prove.

    It’s so simple that even ignorant sheeple such as yourselves should be able to comprehend, but since you seem to be unable to grasp such a basic concept… I’ll try again, and use small words special for you guys…

    If you knock on the door and ask to come in… come on in… if you jump the fence, watch for flying lead…

    And yes… printing shit in Mexican (not Spanish, that’s the language of Spain, which is different from Mexicans speak) is catering… catering to people who don’t give a fuck about anything but turning everything they touch into a replica of the shithole they left. Mexico didn’t turn into a shithole by itself, it turned into a shithole because the freaks that live there don’t give a fuck about anything, and now they’re working very diligently to turn the US into the same kind of fucking cesspool.

    If you aren’t smart enough to figure it out, kindly remove yourself from the gene pool, we don’t need any more idiots passing their degenerate genetics.

    Get an education.

  14. Roderick T. Long

    Reverend Draco,

    In the words of Samuel Johnson: “Sir, I have given you an argument. I am not obliged to give you an understanding.”

  15. The New Anarchist

    “it turned into a shithole because the freaks that live there don’t give a fuck about anything, and now they’re working very diligently to turn [it] into the same kind of fucking cesspool.”

    I think there are aliens out there saying that about our planet right now - probably right after they read comments like yours.

    Mexicans are people.

    Other than that, I won’t try to debate your unnatural anger toward them. Not sure where that’s coming from, whether it’s traditional prejudice or that time a beautiful woman from Chihuahua left you for a taller gent.

  16. Soviet Onion

    I really have a hard time believing this guy’s for real. At least I hope he’s not for real, because it’s just sad to have people walking around totally oblivious to the fact that they’re a fucking cartoon character.

  17. Stephan Kinsella

    Roderick—a bit fiery for you—but great post. I agree.

  18. Rad Geek

    Reverend Draco:

    If you knock on the door and ask to come in… come on in… if you jump the fence, watch for flying lead…

    I agree with you that if someone trespasses on your personal backyard without your permission, you have a right to toss them out, and to use force if necessary. However, I have to confess that I wasn’t aware that the entire United States of America was your personal backyard. Or the personal backyard of the United States government.

    Back in the real world, outside of Know Nothing power-trip la-la land, undocumented immigrants live on private land that they were invited to live on by the previous or current landlord. They work in private workplaces where they were invited to work by the boss or by a willing customer. What you’re proposing to do is not to use force in order to defend the integrity of private property, but rather to use force in order to assault the integrity of private property, by attacking peaceful people who have asked for, and been graned, permission to stay where they are staying by the only person whose opinion matters — the property owner.

    And yes… printing shit in Mexican (not Spanish, that’s the language of Spain, which is different from Mexicans speak)

    Oye, vato, I know the differences between Mexican Spanish and the Spanish que se hablan en Castilla. (You might be interested to know that there is no one language of Spain; besides castellano, large communities of people in Spain also speak a number of different dialects, and also three other officially recognized languages, two of which have independent histories from, but are closely related to, Spanish, and one of which has absolutely no relationship to Spanish, or to any other known language in the world. Actually, I doubt you’re interested to know much, but hey, it’s always possible.) In fact, I was born in San Antonio and I’ve studied the differences and my roots influence the kind of Spanish I choose to speak, so when I speak Spanish, Mexican Spanish is mostly what I tend to speak (so I say guajalote instead of pavo and I say chapulín instead of saltamontes and, if things get nasty, I’m more likely to use chingar than joder to curse with; sometimes I even throw in some righteous frontera Spanglish like marketa instead of mercado and troca instead of camioneta) But what you may not realize is that Mexican Spanish is very clearly a dialect of the same language as castellano, and in fact, at the level of grammar and formation rules, it’s closer to castellano than some of the other dialects spoken within Spain itself (Asturian Spanish, say, which is really about halfway between castellano and galego), and for this reason, if you ask any Mexican what language she is speaking, when she speaks Mexican Spanish, what she will say is español, and any linguist would agree with her.

    There is a language called Mexican or mexicano, specifically the language of the Mēxihcah, a group of indígenas que la mayoría en los Estados Unidos call the Aztecs. The language, Classical Nahuatl, is now dead, but you can still hear descendant forms of Nahuatl (which have as good or better a claim to be called mexicano as modern English has to be called by the same name as the language of Beowulf) if you travel around central México, especially in small communities up in the hills, away from the big cities. But very few Mexicans who move to the United States speak Nahuatl in day-to-day life, if they ever spoke it at all (and many never did). If you want to come off as a Know-Nothing ignoramus, of course, you can call what they speak Mexican. I once heard someone ask if a dude spoke Jewish, when what he meant was modern Hebrew. Well, it just goes to show that it really doesn’t take all kinds.

  19. Victoria

    Maybe Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity sent Reverend Draco—-I recall reading somewhere that some right-wing hate-pundits invited their listeners to disrupt the leftist blogosphere. I am now most certainly taking the national anarchists seriously; where’s Bash Back?

    This is the language of a schoolyard bully, a deliberate attempt to intimidate us from free speech, and is in no way welcome in the discourse of an open society. He must have been terribly abused as a child, that’s how people get this way. I feel terribly sorry for him, while I am furiously angry that this sacred space of free speech is now under attack from the anti-intellectual right.

    If you’re telling us to get an education, you should know that NAFTA and US corporations have made it impossible for the people who live in Mexico to make a living there. And now comes the ‘NAFTA Flu’ from massively packed ‘cities of pigs’-and chickens too-unspeakably cruel ‘confined animal feeding operations’-and animal rights activists treated as terrorists to silence them. I really think knowledge of all the ramifications of US interference in Mexico’s economy compels a kind and compassionate welcome to economic refugees from a US-destabilised Mexico.

    Reverend Draco’s words are a chilling illustration of some wiser words recently read here: “We could lose the Enlightenment over this.”

  20. Janet Cannary

    Draco -

    I think there’s most likely some truth in your words.

    I’m curious about your thinking. Where do you get your ideas? How did you find Rad Geek Peoples’ Daily?

    • Jane
  21. Robert Paul

    Roderick—a bit fiery for you—but great post. I agree.

    Yeah, that’s just what I was going to say after reading that post. I agree with the post, of course, but it didn’t sound like Roderick at all!

  22. Soviet Onion

    Here in Chicago, as you might of heard, we’ve had a taste of swine flu already. The city actually asked the organizers to cancel the march on account of our sixteen cases (out of about 1.3 million Mexicans), to which they said fuck you. Actually they politely declined, but said they’d be willing to comply with the next request to at least wear masks if the city provided them. I didn’t see anyone wearing them, and it’s a bad idea anyway; don’t legitimize the hysteria.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/esther-j-cepeda/cure-for-hispanic-hysteri_b_193298.html

    The city did successfully cancel the Cinco de Mayo celebration that was supposed to happen this weekend.

    In more cheery news, if you want to see people confront the minutemen, I stumbled across one of their own videos:

    (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVj87vmX-Ag)

    Teh anarchists show up toward the end of the march. It keeps getting smaller every year.

  23. Roderick T. Long

    What was it that didn’t sound like me?

  24. Rad Geek

    Soviet Onion,

    I fixed the link to the Esther J. Cepeda story for you. For what it’s worth, you can block off a URI to make sure that it doesn’t get mangled (due to the inclusion of characters that get interpreted as formatting codes) by wrapping it angle braces. Thus:

     <http://http://www.huffingtonpost.com/esther-j-cepeda/cure-for-hispanic-hysteri_b_193298.html&gt;
    

    Produces:

    http://http://www.huffingtonpost.com/esther-j-cepeda/cure-for-hispanic-hysteri_b_193298.html

    Anyway …

    I’d heard (on Wednesday, from another organizer) that the Chicago organizers considering canceling their march (which is part of what led to the Counter-Intelligence post and the very unpleasant contentious meeting that followed that evening). We were getting calls from the media and random concerned citizens all Wednesday about whether we were going to cancel ours. When we found out that Chicago was going forward with the march, in the middle of our meeting at about 7:00 or 7:30 that played a major role in convincing the swing votes (about 2 people; for the most part the views and votes at the meeting were very sharply divided along some predictable organizational lines) to vote in favor of going forward. When we found out around 8:30 that L.A. was going forward, too, that cinched it.

    I didn’t know anything about the details (not enough time to find out at the time; I’ll be reading up on things more over the next couple days), and in particular didn’t know that the reason for the debate was a request from the city government (ugh). As usual, outraged, but not surprised, and I’m really glad that organizers managed to hold the line and put on the marches.

    It’s too bad that the marches in Chicago keep getting smaller. Our event this year in Vegas was nowhere near as big as 2006’s, but it was also much larger and better organized than 2008’s. I don’t know how things are in Chicago, but my own view is that, as a general matter, some of the decline in numbers just has to do with the natural dynamics of any movement that involves a lot of marches (numbers tend to decline with repetition if there’s no clear narrative of progress, since it begins to seem like the same-old-same-old). But a lot of it, a hell of a lot, maybe even most of it, has to do with the way in which smooth operators and politicos, and Ahora marchamos mañana votamos, and a general atmosphere of messaging and hand-wringing, have done their best to stage a creeping take-over of a movement that was originally created by radical demands, and by ad hoc networks of youth who didn’t give much of a damn about looking like Upstanding Citizens, and so were able to actually get people excited rather than bored as fuck. The radicalism is still there, and so are the radicals, which is why the marches haven’t died entirely. (If the liberals had their way, they pretty much all would have been called off due to the racist-ass swine flu panic.) But I do fear that some drastic operations are necessary if we’re going to prevent a killing sclerosis from setting in.

  25. Aster

    Victoria-

    People like Draco are capable of making life miserable for non-white people (and women, and queer people, etc.), but they’re not in themselves a danger to the Enlightenment. I’m not sure that this particular good reverend is a danger to a childproof medicine bottle. He sounds like a national anarchist sympathiser after six drinks and a date with tina. I wouldn’t worry about him.

    My concern for the future of liberal civilisation (especially in America) results from a convergence of (1) the gross corruption and incompetence of the elite class, (2) the rise of deeply anti-humanistic (in this case right-wing) populisms, and (3) the context of serious economic or long-term environmental crisis. All of these occur against, and are in fact part of, a background of the philosophic exhaustion of the liberal approach and outlook. What I fear is that a structurally and intellectually hollow modernity might implode, leaving the pieces to be picked up by the prerational social forces which have always been looking for their chance to re-establish societies fully dominated by patriarchal myth and authority.

    In this context, the mention of animal rights issues troubles me slightly- I have a very ambiguous feelings towards this particular ideal. Cruelty to nonsapient animals is definitely not an issue I associate with creeping fascism. At least some of the intellectual pressure in favour of animal rights comes from people who are very deeply hostile to the Enlightenment mind and who are themselves part of the problem. I think there could be a good case for a moderate animal rights stance, but on un-Kantian grounds which would strike most serious environmentalists(+) as obtusely morally tone-deaf. I agree with Soviet Onion that the idea has an absurd place of prominence in anarchist and other alternative circles. I’m myself a shameless omnivore.

    (+) Logically, environmentalism and animal rights are not closely related issues, but their cultural associations are strong enough that I believe it appropriate to link them here.

  26. Robert Paul

    Roderick,

    What was it that didn’t sound like me?

    Almost every other sentence in this comment. It isn’t uncommon on the internet, of course, but I’m just not used to that more confrontational style from you.

  27. Roderick T. Long

    Oh, ok. I thought you meant a different one.

    Yeah, my style is usually less confrontational, but then most of the people I argue with online don’t start off arguing for mass murder of immigrants in their very first post.

  28. Robert Paul

    most of the people I argue with online don’t start off arguing for mass murder of immigrants in their very first post

    That’s true. Clearly, you’re hanging around the wrong parts of the internet!

  29. Soviet Onion

    It isn’t uncommon on the internet, of course, but I’m just not used to that more confrontational style from you.

    I like to think that Roderick’s gearing up for his eventual showdown with Will and Aster at Ragnarok.

  30. chrisacheson.net

    It seems to me that randomly accusing people of being “national anarchists” isn’t a good idea. Doing so lends credibility and popularity to the concept. Has Reverend Draco put forth any claims of being an anarchist (of any variety)?

  31. Nick Manley

    ”(+) Logically, environmentalism and animal rights are not closely related issues, but their cultural associations are strong enough that I believe it appropriate to link them here.”

    How so? Apart from what the complete disappearance of animal species can do to human well being as part of the environment; why is it legally relevant? I think dog fighting is extremely distasteful, but it’s not a crime. I don’t think there any rational consistent way to grant non-human animals the same legal standing as animals.

  32. Soviet Onion

    Apart from what the complete disappearance of animal species can do to human well being as part of the environment

    That would be a consequentialist argument, not one that animals have “rights” independently of their usefulness to us. “Rights” advocates find the very idea of reducing animals to commodities repugnant on principal.

    Animal rights and deep ecology both share a common hatred for anything that reeks of anthropocentrism, and many environmentalists at least have that sentiment, even if they’re not deep ecologists. Then again, it’s hard to separate that from the standard garden-variety altruism that pollutes most “social justice” positions; it’s meta-selfish to care about our biological category more than others (because apparently when a wolf kills a rabbit it has the entire biosphere in mind, not just its own hunger).

    I tend to agree with Will that the consistent application of this kind of thinking logically requires anarcho-primitivism. Reject any part of it and you might as well reject biology as a basis for anything, in which case we shouldn’t shrink from actively using whatever biological superiority we have to transcend inconvenient biological limitations like mortality, limited memory, unwanted sexual dimorphism and substandard sense organs (I mean, we can’t even see most of the electro-magnetic spectrum. What’s up with that?!) however “essential” they might seem to the biologically reductionist definition of what it means to be human.

    I don’t think there any rational consistent way to grant non-human animals the same legal standing as animals.

    Would it be inconsistent, or just impractical to realize given the majority of people’s preferences? I think pacifism is consistent, but also ridiculously naive and unrealistic. Refuse to fight and you will be eaten.

  33. Rad Geek

    chris acheson:

    It seems to me that randomly accusing people of being “national anarchists” isn’t a good idea. Doing so lends credibility and popularity to the concept. Has Reverend Draco put forth any claims of being an anarchist (of any variety)?

    Agreed.

    As far as I know the Rev. hasn’t offered any particular evidence of being an anarcho-fascist. For those who are curious, he or she has commented here before this post, but I don’t see any particular indication of one or another over-arching ideology, just a preference for swagger and a bit of cap-doffing to The Constitution:

    In one of the comments, she or he lists http://dear_dragon.2ya.com/ as his or her website.

  34. Robert Paul

    I like to think that Roderick’s gearing up for his eventual showdown with Will and Aster at Ragnarok.

    That went way over my head.

  35. Soviet Onion

    Robert Paul,

    It’s an inside joke.

  36. Roderick T. Long

    You see, Will is from Asgard, Aster is from Vanaheim, and I’m a Frost Giant. Or is Will a Frost Giant and I’m from Asgard? Or … well, I get confused.

  37. Soviet Onion

    My only disappointment now that it’s a three-way is that I won’t be able to sit on the sidelines and chant “Two men enter! One man leaves!” over and over again.

  38. Aster

    Soviet-

    I’ve very close to zero hard disagreements with prof. Long’s politics, and very few significant differences with his philosophy on any issue, so I don’t expect to see him across the barricades at Ragnarok. If that does happen, the likely reason will be my own disillusionment with libertarian principles- and even then, he’s one of the last libertarians I’d wish to criticise, and wouldn’t look forward to the conflict. Leaving the earth stained with the blood of (say) H.H. Hoppe sounds like much more fun.

    Okay, I admit I don’t share his logocentric taste in gods, and I’m further away from Aristotelian realism than he is. Hardly a shield age a and wolf age.

    As for Vanaheim… let me get back to you after I’ve earned my way in. Working on it.

  39. Nick Manley

    I am trying to imagine an issue where Roderick and Aster would be on opposite sides of the barricades on now — let alone in the probable future. I am drawing a complete blank. The best of modern liberals see through the corporate state game — the alleged ones who don’t become president. Left-libertarians like Roderick are much closer to modern liberals using welfarism to boost material independence than Bob Barr.

    Articulated libertarian principles are really just basic 19th century liberal ones with some added verbiage. Granted, that’s an oversimplification, but it’s not completely false. I stopped calling myself a Libertarian and chose classical liberal to replace it. My principles haven’t really changed much. I can’t remember why, but it probably had to do with doubts about the current Libertarian scene.

    All of us seem to embrace the basic principles of early philosophic liberalism to one degree or another — despite some moderate disagreement over implementation. I look forward to the day when people stop referring to “social” liberalism and “classical” liberalism. Classical liberals have advanced relational models — Herbert Spencer. We need not be tarred with anti-social tendencies for being individualist ( :

  40. Aster

    “All of us seem to embrace the basic principles of early philosophic liberalism to one degree or another — despite some moderate disagreement over implementation. I look forward to the day when people stop referring to “social” liberalism and “classical” liberalism. Classical liberals have advanced relational models — Herbert Spencer. We need not be tarred with anti-social tendencies for being individualist.”

    Only if ‘all of us’ includes those who are, to begin with, liberals in the broadest sense- i.e., people who accept the basic premises of modernity.

    This would include most social democrats and American liberals, most anarchists, some market conservatives, and some libertarians. It does not include those for whom the basic political unit is not the individual but the nation, people, race, tribe, or family. It does not include those who are politically religious. It does not include people with contempt for autonomy and individuality or for a civilisation which aims to promote worldly human happiness. A key element is a focus on reality rather than on myth.

    I once assumed that libertarians rejected this groupthink as incompatible with individualism. Unfortunately, the reality is that while libertarians are rightly suspicious of leftist collectivism, most seem to regard right-wing collectivism as a prepolitical reality which one must ignore on principle (the pre-2006 LP; the Reason/Cato moderates) or should support and encourage as the natural alternative to the state (the paleos). I can live with the earlier kind of neutral libertarian, but not with the post-Rockwell variety (altho’ Rockwell himself isn’t as bad as some he’s attracted to the movement).

    One can make a profitable alliance between groups which operate on the same essential principles and hence have a view of the world which makes common interest is possible. But to show ecumenical goodwill towards people who seek to realise antagonistic principles, for the sake of superficial goals which are probably not even the same except in name- that is self-destructive.

    Bosses, slaves, teachers, fathers, and husbands often promote codes of value which demand that we be nice and smile around everyone and ‘not make waves’. These values often become internalised into the culture of the oppressed themselves, especially those who have given up and would rather silence troublemakers than risk collective reprisals.

    To seek peace when there is no peace works in favour of those with a need for a false pretense of peace. I don’t think social anarchists and other leftists should extend a hand in welcome to libertarians unless these libertarians distinguish themselves from those who use their political philosophy as ideological cover for oppression.

    The reason I can’t myself personally identify as a libertarian is because I’m not willing to distance myself from leftists who use mixed means to achieve benevolent and friendly ends in order to support a libertarian culture strongly influenced by those who ask for a purification of means in order to achieve often deliberately hurtful and hostile ends. It’s like being offered the same dish by two people, one who claims it’s delicious and the other who claims it will poison you. If you’re not currently sick, it seems more rational to stick with what you know is livably safe- which is how I feel living in a left-of-center country.

    So- yes, peace with friends, despite secondary differences, but not if the friends come with lethal enemies attached.

  41. Victoria

    Aster: “My concern for the future of liberal civilisation (especially in America) results from a convergence of (1) the gross corruption and incompetence of the elite class, (2) the rise of deeply anti-humanistic (in this case right-wing) populisms, and (3) the context of serious economic or long-term environmental crisis. All of these occur against, and are in fact part of, a background of the philosophic exhaustion of the liberal approach and outlook.”

    I agree that these three are by far the most important issues; the ones with the most serious and widespread, and threatening effects. We’re having both serious economic and long-term environmental crises together, and the first two factors, the elite and the right wing, greatly impair the political will to recognise and work in good faith on problem-solving.

    I’m still an omnivore, too. How I feel about the treatment of animals in factory-farming is an aesthetic matter where my knowledge of unpleasant and unsanitary living conditions degrades the taste of the meat somewhat to considerably, depending on quality of preparation. Factory farming inflicts deep environmental effects by burning massive amounts of petroleum and releasing much carbon into the air, with massive consumption of water, and groundwater contamination.

    New human infections with the H1N1 Swine flu (or NAFTA flu) seems to be winding down, now, but many people have died and many remain sick. It took root in enormous herds of pigs crammed into huge sheds where pathogens spread rapidly among them and were propagated downwind-along with the everyday stench-to sicken the neighbouring people with virulent and resistant influenza.

    My best response to all the problems I see with factory-farming is to mininise the amount of my hard-earned money I spend on factory-farmed products; decisions that are more aesthetic than altruistic. Honest disclosure: my dinner tonight was a very tasty barbeque chicken pizza. A minor vice: I said ‘minimise’, not ‘eliminate’.

  42. Nick Manley

    Aster,

    Most of my immediate family are left of center. A number of my friends in Kansas City are too. As for Libertarians, I know some around here who do make common cause with individual Ron Paulite conservatives. Angela Keaton was interviewed by Lew Rockwell. Roderick Long teaches at the Mises Institute.

    I don’t think you’re following your own formulations here ( :

    Doesn’t Roderick come with lethal enemies attached? You may not identify with Libertarianism like he does, but you seem pretty friendly with him.

  43. Nick Manley

    If I may add one more brief item: we need not choose between tribes. It’s stupid to not talk to a decent pleasurable Reason Libertarian who has a blindspot about conservatives. That’s treating them as part of a tribe — not as an individual. When applied consistently, this standard basically amounts to never talking to anyone who has friends you can’t stand or strongly disagree with. I’d have to throw out plenty of my more sociable extroverted buddies.

  44. Aster

    Nick-

    Neither you, Roderick, or Angela has tried to insist that I look the other way in regards to the hostile intention of proposed allies as the price of participating in a shared cause. I would, however, be grateful if all three would speak up more when others do the same.

    You can be a friend to someone and also be a friend to their enemy; friendship involves a somewhat (not entirely) different context of shared value than politics. I have friends who are statist liberals, but I would not ask libertarians to work with them in violation of core libertarian principles- at least not without explicit acknowlegement of the inherent contradictions in such a relationship and an explication of the unusual and severe circumtances which might justify it.

    You can’t be a friend to someone and insist that they cooperate with a lethal enemy- particularly an enemy whose essential goals require your partner’s oppression. If you tell a Jew that he is politically obligated to work with an anti-semite you are declaring that a Jewish individual’s life and happiness are acceptable causualties in pursuit of your political goals. You are essentially treated your ‘friend’ as a disposable resource. That’s insulting and dehumanising, and it’s incompatible with the solidarity required by an alliance, or the respect implicit in friendship.

    It helps that Roderick has a well-developed and significantly systematic philosophy which makes clear that his tolerance is a matter of Socratic principle, not a lack of standards. Angela similarly has a very clear and forceful approach to life and has clearly articulated to me her intensely individualist principles and the mature reasons for her own alliances. Both are able and willing to identify evil. This isn’t the same as trying to love everyone and refusing to see. I know where they stand and can trust them on that basis.

  45. Nick Manley

    Statist liberal is a very broad category. I tend to support pretty much everything the ACLU does. I don’t mind them sueing government school systems or welfare agencies that oppress the citizenry that maintains their existence. If people are genuinely concerned about individual freedom, then their statist liberalism is less of an issue.

    For example: my stepmom and dad support publically funded education. Nevertheless, they do not support state compulsion. They are even friendly to Sudbury schools. Their reasons for favoring public schools within a liberal constitutional framework revolve around everyone having access to a quality education. On the other hand: I’d find it difficult to get along with a statist “liberal” who really believed in 19th century Prussian style forced schooling for collectivist social engineering reasons. Fortunately, I don’t run across many centre-leftists who would embrace it.

  46. Aster

    Note:

    There’s a problem a description of liberalism and libertarianism a ‘tribes’. A tribe’s membership is defined by a mistique of belongin, archetypically by unchosen inheritance. A rational alliance is determined by the common activity, interest, ideas, or ends of its members. In the first, membership in a group requires that the individual adjust to the group’s values; in the second, one’s values determine which group one belongs to, promotes, or joins.

    I certainly think that liberals and libertarians can be tribal, but to the degree they do so they are at the very least operating suboptimally. More likely they’ve forgotten the point altogether. When Keith accuses liberals of ‘tribalism’, he’s sometimes right in callling out specific failings, but the implication that liberalism is inevitably just another arbitrary group defined by a subjective sense of belonging is bilge. It’s certainly not tribal to carefully choose one’s membership in a group according to the character a group demonstrates by its practice, even if this practice contradicts the group’s stated purpose. This is just looking beneath names.

  47. Marja Erwin

    Aster:

    Historical tribal societies have always been fluid. For example, the English are primarily descended from the ancient Britons, not the Low Saxons. Many tribal societies have defined themselves by a myth of common descent, but it’s largely fictive kinship. Other tribal societies have defined themselves in other terms.

    Modern tribal systems, where colonial and post-colonial governments require tribal identification cards, are very different.

  48. Marja Erwin

    Of course, the tribe is not an agent. “The tribe defines itself as X” meaning that “narratives of tribal identity focus on X.” And the narratives are not agents either.

  49. Soviet Onion

    Marja beat me to the punch on that one. Fictive kinship is also often just a mythologized excuse for a union that is really based on practical need.

  50. Nick Manley

    “1. We look stupid, shifty and unprincipled.

    Bush and Cheney did this much better. So many lies, so much deciept. They just did it how it’s always been done. Scare you and make you belive it was them. OLD WAYS are going and the truth comes out. Your old views are nothing but fear mongering and have nothing to do with reality.

    1. We sound cynical and outdated.

    That’s why America sounded it’s voice and elected a man with integrity. A real man, not a spoiled pupet named Bush. He compeletely ruined us, and you thin President Obama did it. IT’s going to be a while to get this country feeling better again.

    1. We attack the individualist dream.

    Greed and fear is your message. It’s about time someone started protecting US from the individualist who takes advatage of another just to make a buck…. The OLD ways are SAD and are going and you are all going to go away screaming and kicking with nashing of teeth… FEAR MONGERS, GREED, and you are ok with the elite getting what ever they want. Humanity is far more precious than worrying about Socialism. You’re SAD, very SAD”

    OMG! Here is an example of annoying as hell tribalism. Some person left this comment on my last blog post.

    William, I had posted your thing about Obama. He reads pro-Bush into it. What the hell?!?! With this kind of “intellectual” analysis, we’re going to have an America ready to follow Obama off a cliff.

  51. Soviet Onion

    Greed and fear is your message. It’s about time someone started protecting US from the individualist who takes advatage of another just to make a buck

    I really can’t get that angry over someone who chooses to be the living embodiment of a cliche, because it’s just so damn hard to take them seriously.

    S/he also spelled “advantage” wrong. Try to remember that “n”.

    Scare you and make you belive it was them.

    As if exploiting an economic crisis to push through your own legalistic bullshit isn’t just more of the same. Ya better “belive” it!

    With this kind of “intellectual” analysis, we’re going to have an America ready to follow Obama off a cliff.

    My recommendation? Get behind and push.

  52. Nick Manley

    Soviet seems a bit too eager to avenge liberty by pushing Americans off a cliff…

    ( :

  53. Aster

    The American empire may deserve to be pushed off a cliff, but I don’t think that any of us would like the world which will come afterwards.

    Now, there are probably a reasonable number of particular Americans who could benefit from terminal velocity therapy….

    (writing from Sydney, Australia)

  54. Soviet Onion

    Oh, you people and your damn sensible skepticism toward revenge killings. Come over to the Dark Side already.

  55. Aster

    I’m with the morally ambiguous side of the Force….

    I think integrity and spiritual independence are neccesary to make life worth living. I think controlling people is a terrible way to live, and that friendship is one of life’s deepest pleasures. I think learning to give others a chance to show their best is essential in the eternal search for that most rare treasure of the intelligent mind. I think we need to carefully set up a society which lets people live according to what can most move them. I think we need social codes which set the rules slightly more sternly than the way we ourselves would find it worthwhile to act. and I think that living with passion and seriousness can add immense depth to existence.

    But ultimately I do not believe in the respectable sort of morality. I see no evidence. Ayn Rand claimed that you can be be both passionately self-interested and classically moral, but I don’t believe she was that innocent, and all my evidence suggests that she was offering something a bit too neatly good to be true. Roderick Long and Charles Johnson both seem to believe in a perfect correspondence of reason and happiness. I don’t see it, not in human society’s bloody world. I feel that Roderick’s strength in happiness is connected with something that feels more like rigorous kindness than rigorous morality, Charles offers a pure model of perfect morality which tends to drive out his warmth of happiness. My experience tells me that we will find that love can make us selfishly selfless and that pain can make us degraded monsters at the whim of society and circumstance, and that one’s energy is better spent trying to be true to thine own self than in worrying about whether one is good. But I am curious: if morality and happiness really do perfectly correlate, I would really like to know, as it would make the math much easier.

    Watching Kieth Preston shows me beyond the shadow of the doubt that life isn’t worth living as a cold manipulator. Watching Gus diZerega get up in front of the chu—- I mean circle and preach doesn’t precisely inspire me to a passion for virtue. I feel very certain that I don’t want to be either a crusader or a predator. But I am past admitting that wordly happiness and spiritual excellence so often don’t go together. Doing things by what matters most doesn’t pay the rest, and yes- one can find touching friendship with those who do evil and find the deepest kind of happiness. The miller tells the truth, not the knight. In this mess of circumstances sometimes named the human condition it is best to walk the line and give both light and shadow their due. The real rules are crazy. I can sleep at night if I can honestly believe I break even.

    Ideas are fascinating. The world is beautiful. It has city lights and ice cream and falling in love. Humanity can be the delight of humanity. And history is the slaughterbench of individuals where horror usually wins. The answer is to dodge life and find a niche where one can find life’s good things cheaply and in peace and to contemplate things better than life. Always remembering, of course, that it all doesn’t last very long.

    If there is more, I have not found it. I will not respect demands that I bleed my life for alleged moral glories which I do not see. If the world calls that depravity, so be it. I think I’m doing as fine as most. And that’s not one of the words that really hurts.

  56. Roderick T. Long

    Aster,

    Roderick Long and Charles Johnson both seem to believe in a perfect correspondence of reason and happiness.

    I think my own view would be best described as saying that reason and morality are necessary for happiness but not sufficient for it. Dammit, Jim, I’m an Aristotelean, not a Stoic!

  57. Rad Geek

    Like Roderick, my view is that reason and morality are necessary but not sufficient for happiness. (Also, specifically, that they’re necessary conditions because they are constituent factors of happiness, not just because they are instrumental to attaining or sustaining it.)

    I feel that Roderick’s strength in happiness is connected with something that feels more like rigorous kindness than rigorous morality,

    I’m not sure I understand the contrast. Isn’t kindness a moral virtue? Aren’t its opposites — cruelty or callousness — moral vices?

  58. Roderick T. Long

    Ditto on constitutive as opposed to instrumental.

  59. Clarissa the Vampire

    Feasting on the soul of a truly happy person makes me happy. It is better than chocolate. Would I be happier without this?

  60. Rad Geek

    Well, depends on how you conceive of happiness, I suppose. If you think of happiness as being constituted by some sort of psychological state — momentary pleasure, or habitual pleasure, or some sort of overarching feeling of satisfaction or contentment, or… — then, who knows? Maybe vampires have happy lives. But I don’t think that happiness is constituted only by psychological states. At least, not in the sense of happiness that Roderick and I are using (which is, roughly, the Aristotelian conception of eudaimonia, and which has to do with leading a happy life rather than just with feeling happy).

    On my view, psychological states are part of happiness but not all of it, so that (among other things) the exercise of intelligence, ethical living, the extent to which one’s psychological states are based on truth, and the nature of the enjoyments that one takes pleasure in, are all relevant. So, for example, someone who is pleased or satisfied all the time, but based on a lie, is to that extent not living a happy life, even though she may feel like she is (suppose she believes she has a happy marriage, when in fact her wife is actually a duplicitous creep, who constantly lies to her, cheats on her, destroys little things just of hers just for the pleasure of it, and talks shit about her behind her back; suppose also that her wife is very good at deceiving, so she never finds out about any of this as long as she lives; I don’t think that qualifies as a happy life). Similarly, someone who gets their pleasures by hurting or disrespecting or degrading other people (say the wife we just discussed; or a man like Trujillo or Mobutu Sese-Seko or Beria; or your average garden-variety rapist) is thereby living a miserable life, even if, at the time, they do not realize that it is miserable; even if, at the time (as was the case for, say, Trujillo) they feel perfectly pleased with themselves and feel quite content with living that kind of life. The fact that they enjoy the kind of life that they lead, in fact, makes the whole thing more miserable, not less.

    So, to answer the question, I do not think that enjoying the destruction or damnation of others makes a vampire happy, even though the vampire may believe that it does. It may please the vampire, but that’s not the same thing. I don’t know whether or not the life of the vampire would be happier without destroying or damning others (I’m sure it depends on the details; different vampires seem to have different relationships with their condition), but if it turns out that the vampire could not live a happy life without destroying or damning others, then I’d say that the vampire cannot live a happy life at all, and would be better off accepting death than continuing to live under such conditions.

  61. Roderick T. Long

    Here’s a piece I wrote that gives some background on the Aristotelean conception of happiness.

  62. Rad Geek

    Or, in a related note:

    People pay for what they do, and still more for what they have allowed themselves to become. And they pay for it very simply; by the lives they lead.

    —James Baldwin

  63. Nick Manley

    “I’m not sure I understand the contrast. Isn’t kindness a moral virtue? Aren’t its opposites — cruelty or callousness — moral vices?”

    Kindness is underrated by too many people. I admit I’ve been kind with people whose views totally repulse me. Anyone whose met me in person knows how soft/traditionally “femme” I am. Nonetheless, I don’t think we can posit kindness as an instrinic good. Like every other principle: it has to be applied contextually. Can a Jew be genuinely kind to an active Nazi stormtrooper? Imagine the emotional denial involved in that. Then again: Roderick may have the right answer here — being angry at someone without hating them. I’d be curious to hear him expound upon this further.

    I guess I am personally closer to Aster in behavior…I am no saint in thought or deed — although; I don’t mind living my life according to the principle of non-aggression. I’ve found no conflict between this and my own happiness. There’s no necessity to work for the IRS or the DEA — thank goodness!!! I am not sure I could stomach it.

    Nonetheless, I always loved how Rand forged a link between self-interest and “societal interest” — for lack of a better way of stating it. It really does inspire me! It speaks to the desire within me to remake the world — dwindling admist the realities of activistism. The idea that no one has to be sacrificed for the good to occur is revolutionary. Most people I encounter hold the opposite view. It’s at the root of a leveling sense of equality — the idea that there is a fixed amount of wealth/value and one has to give up one’s share to allow others to flourish.

    “and yes- one can find touching friendship with those who do evil and find the deepest kind of happiness.”

    Do you mind elaborating on this?

  64. Marja Erwin

    Roderick:

    I think your argument equivocates between two senses of happiness, and collapses what should motivate us into what does motivate us.

    In particular, the arguments regarding life insurance are less than convincing. An individual may not trust the hypothetical pill - it an unnerving situation - or may fear the short-term unhappiness of choosing the false belief over the long-term happiness of falsely believing he has purchased life insurance.

    Aster has noted that kittens are never happier than when they (the kittens, not Aster) are torturing smaller animals. A rational cat’s sense of happiness might well offend our sense of the good life. A moral theory which ignores our nature as biological creatures, adapted to certain niches and behaviors, has little power to motivate us without alienating us from ourselves. A moral theory which ignores our nature as rational creatures has little power to correct our mistakes and prevent injustice. I fear that a moral theory which equivocates between the two will combine the problems of each.

  65. Roderick T. Long

    Marja,

    I think your argument equivocates between two senses of happiness, and collapses what should motivate us into what does motivate us.

    How so? At what point(s) do I make this equivocation?

    In particular, the arguments regarding life insurance are less than convincing. An individual may not trust the hypothetical pill - it an unnerving situation - or may fear the short-term unhappiness of choosing the false belief over the long-term happiness of falsely believing he has purchased life insurance.

    OK, but that’s changing the hypothetical situation. What I’m claiming is that even in the case as I described it, when people do trust the pill etc., they still wouldn’t prefer it. And for this I simply appeal to the reader’s self-knowledge.

    I fear that a moral theory which equivocates between the two will combine the problems of each.

    Again, OK, but how and where, precisely, do you think mine equivocates between the two?

  66. Marja Erwin

    Roderick:

    We may be deluding ourselves about the pill. The idea that we would prefer the false memory to life insurance is justifiably disturbing. If the false memory is unreliable, then it is not worth the money. If the false memory is reliable, that implies exceeding vulnerability in other matters. Our fear and queeziness will bias our responses to the thought-experiment. I don’t think either of us knows how we would respond without that fear.

    Furthermore, if the false memory is absolutely reliable, so that we might research some other topic, discover that our insurance account is missing, discover that our pill-taking appointment took place, etc. and still believe we bought the insurance, the example challenges our ability to know anything at all.

    On the other issue, I think you need to show why MaxPref necessarily includes agent-neutral considerations.

  67. Roderick T. Long

    We may be deluding ourselves about the pill.

    I can’t imagine why we would be; at any rate, the burden of proof seems to lie with those who say we are.

    I think you need to show why MaxPref necessarily includes agent-neutral considerations.

    So what do you think is wrong with the argument I gave?

  68. Marja Erwin

    Roderick:

    The point is not that agent-neutral ethical norms can somehow be derived from agent-neutral linguistic norms; the point is rather that once such a thing as agent-neutral value is so much as recognised, it must forthwith be integrated into one’s MaxPref. Thus, although happiness is in some sense an agent-relative value, it turns out to include agent-neutral value as a necessary component.

    Since you concede neither the survival-based argument nor the language-based argument justifies this assertion, it seems unclear, as if you are begging the question.

    I can’t imagine why we would be; at any rate, the burden of proof seems to lie with those who say we are.

    I don’t believe in burden of proof. Anyway, although we come to the same decision in the thought experiment, I’m wondering if we come to the same decision for the reasons you describe, or others which do not support your argument. I would like to see a version which removes these issues, but I’m not sure there can be one.

  69. Roderick T. Long

    Marja,

    Since you concede neither the survival-based argument nor the language-based argument justifies this assertion, it seems unclear, as if you are begging the question.

    No, they’re two different assertions. My claim was that these other arguments fail to derive agent-neutral from agent-relative value. In other words, there is (so far as I can tell) no argumentative path that starts from purely agent-relative value with no agent-neutral dimension and somehow gets from there to agent-neutral value. It’s the attempts to provide arguments like that that I’m rejecting. But what I was trying to show is that we “always already” start with agent-neutral value indispensably woven into our perspective.

    By analogy: there’s no way to get from inside the event horizon of a black hole to the outside. (Aside: at least that’s the science I was taught as a young’un; I gather that theory is in flux now, but let’s assume it for the sake of the example.) But it doesn’t follow that there’s no way to be outside the event horizon; there is a way, but it involves already being outside to begin with. And if I claim that we’re already outside the event horizon, that doesn’t mean that I’m claiming to have found a new way to get out of the event horizon.

    I don’t believe in burden of proof.

    Can you explain what you mean?

  70. Marja Erwin

    In my understanding, burdens of proof are methods for choosing one position, when there is no compelling argument or evidence for any of two or more alternatives.

    If there is a compelling argument, then there is no need to fall back on a burden of proof.

    If there are multiple compelling arguments, then we may choose one working hypothesis, or multiple working hypotheses, on various grounds (elegance, explanatory completeness, etc.).

  71. Roderick T. Long

    In my understanding, burdens of proof are methods for choosing one position, when there is no compelling argument or evidence for any of two or more alternatives.

    Oh, that’s not how I understand it. I think that if there’s strong evidence for p, that shifts the burden of proof to the deniers of p, but it doesn’t make the concept of “burden of proof” inapplicable.

    I also think, though, that if it seems to be the case that p, that by itself shifts the burden of proof to the deniers of p, even if there’s no evidence for p beyond its seeming so. (In other words, seemings count as evidence — in the broad sense, not an inferential sense) So although we could conceivably be mistaken about our motivations in the life insurance case, if it seems to us that out motivation is such and such, we’re entitled to treat it as so until shown good reason otherwise. That’s what I meant in saying that the burden of proof lies with the denier. But I don’t take the life insurance case to be one in which the initial evidence is equally balanced.

  72. Roderick T. Long

    Maybe I should make clear that I’m relying on a coherentist rather than a foundationalist (at least in the usual sense of “foundationalist”) approach to epistemic justification; see here.

  73. Marja Erwin

    Mine has been shaped by an awareness of my own and other people’s bad reasoning habits. I used to be a system-builder; now I try to be a system-breaker. I probably ought to re-read Sextus Empiricus, I think I’d appreciate him more now than before,

  74. Aster

    Marja-

    Hey, Clarisse’s an ethical vampire! She raises rats and ferrets to deal with the blood dependency issue. When she needs the spiffy blood with extra soul she employs perfect Rothbardian contract principles, and everyone leaves smiling. OK, so she occasionally engages in dodgy deals to fund her opium addiction, but none of it’s red market- really. It’s not her fault if she sometimes hangs out with theosophists and jingoistic idiots who read way too much Kipling.

    Of course, she doesn’t get along with society very well, but Victorian Britain is not precisely friendly territory for women with brains. Actually, it’s not terribly friendly to any kind of people with brains (PWBs), but then again that would describe all human societies(+).

    (Clarisse was an RPG character for the Space 1889 setting, which Marja here confuses with my advocatus vampyri dialogical persona, who tends to come up in the presence of her Christianity.)

    (+) I often feel as if leftists call out the forms of oppression which hold everyone else below rich white guys, while Randian libertarians call out the forms of oppression that strangle human potentiality even for rich white guys. When Randians talk about how privileged people like themselves should have much more freedom, they’re right- but half the time they phrase it as if the problem is the lower orders, who are lower by nature and just want to tear the great down. Then progressives counter that the rest of the planet would kill to me get the privileges the white guys have- and they’re right, but half the time they phrase it as if the freedom which the people on top have is the problem, and set about tearing them down.

    Why can’t we have an alliance where privileged individualists make a point of letting the rest of the world have a fair go and a place at the table, in exchange for the expectation of respect for all of the admirable things which those in a relative position if advantage have been allowed to create and experience? The real enemies are those who don’t recognise or care for human potential at all. Those who want to keep it and those who want their own chance at it are natural allies- or should be. The enemies know it: those who want who want to protect closed society from individualism will put everyone who isn’t a head of household that much more deeply into the gutter, and those who want to put the lower orders in their place ultimately do so because they think that everyone should shut up, stop complaining, and do what they’re told.

    Humanism and liberalism for everyone. Humanism and liberalism for everyone.

  75. Roderick T. Long

    Marja,

    Problem is, if you start with the default assumption of your own and everyone else’s bad reasoning habits, you run the risk of undermining your very ability to identify bad reasoning — because how do you know that your argument for such-and-such’s being bad reasoning isn’t itself bad reasoning? Sextus thinks this will lead to a salutary suspension of judgment about everything, but it seems to me more likely to lead to people just picking whatever belief feels good to them, because hey, it’s no more problematic than everything else.

  76. Roderick T. Long

    Aster,

    I often feel as if leftists call out the forms of oppression which hold everyone else below rich white guys, while Randian libertarians call out the forms of oppression that strangle human potentiality even for rich white guys

    That’s really dead on.

  77. Soviet Onion

    Aster and Rod,

    Ok, I finally managed to read some Rand for the first time yesterday. I picked up The Virtue of Selfishness because I though it was short enough to finish in one go while holding my nose, if necessary. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, and even had some sparklingly good points. I actually liked the sections by Nathaniel Branden better than Rand’s.

  78. Robert Paul

    Rand isn’t nearly as bad as statists would have us believe. A lot of the differences between Rand and left-libertarians don’t go far beyond emphasis and context.

  79. Aster

    Soviet-

    I think Rand’s fiction is generally far superior to her nonfiction, as a general rule. I also prefer the earlier Rand, before she made it and made terms with respectability, as more spiritually interesting than her later writing.

    For full disclosure, I should admit that I fall deeply into the ‘it usually begins with Ayn Rand’ set. Read her at age 15, went totally Randroid for a few years. The only things that saved me from a face worse than Borg were 1) the Objectivists never liked me, 2) Saint Chris Sciabarra, and 3) becoming a girl and finding out what the world looks like through less than privileged eyes.

    The typical Randian is a shallow dogmatist who pretends to wear a cape and a cigarette holder but who never actually does so, because that would offend the parents and the boss. Unless they are the boss, in which case goddess help you if you’re working for the bastard- he’s a Babbitt with a whip who thinks he’s Howard Roark. Or a Republican without the guilty conscience; look at all the ARI editorials defending mass murder and torture (because, after all, the Persian enemy serves Ahriman himself).

    When I first tried talking to Randians, years and years ago, I was treated suspiciously because I 1) linked Rand with Nietzsche and compared her to phenomenology and existentialism, 2) worked with libertarians, and 3) liked the wrong music, for instance Beethoven’s 7th. On my second try, this time seriously and in a new body, I got verbally transgender-bashed, repeatedly. I could respect their disapproval of Paganism and prostitution, but not this. And, in good social Darwinist fashion, everyone who wasn’t a bigot stood by and did nothing.

    It stopped hurting when I realised that anyone who reads Rand and responds, not by living life to the fullest, but by serving the cause by spreading the Objectivist gospel, has totally missed the point. It’s all about class for them- and FYI they’re predictable hypocrites off-camera. There are real Randians in the world, and they have better things to do than loudly tell other people how Objectionable they are. But they are rare as roc’s teeth, and loftily inaccessable on principle. It’s hard to admire someone who’s not only better than you but expects you to show that you know it 24/7. No offense meant, but see you across the barricades.

    I consider Ayn Rand to be one of the greatest minds of the XX century, on par with Jean-Paul Sartre or Leo Strauss. I consider that immortalising praise. But Randian culture expects you to treat her as the One who solved philosophy, literally the End of History. You aren’t allowed to see her failings and are expected to swallow, for instance, her naive American exceptionalism and reprehensible class politics. The result is to confirm the image of Rand as shallow cult-leader. Rand’s admirers do as much to bury her as do the snobbish arbiters of leftist academe, who consider her an uncultured actress who got above herself and failed to properly identify with the class interests of the intelligentsia (of course, they don’t put it that way).

    I’m still in love with Rand. I still worship her for what she’s shown me. I don’t look at her as flawless or as the last and greatest of the prophets. Actually, her characteristic flaws are one more reason I love her- tho’ I expect saying so to the likes of George Reisman or Peter Schwartz would cause heads to explode. Incidentally, someone really ought to follow Sciabarra’s advice and do some work on Rand’s use of classical symbolism, and take a look at her in the context of continental literature. Angela Keaton’s the only person I know who reads her the way I do.

    There was a Viking whose eyes never looked farther than the point of his sword, but there was no boundary for the point of his sword; a Viking who walked through life , breaking barriers and reaping victories, who walked through ruins while the sun made a crown over his head, but he walked, light and straight, without noticing its weight; a Viking who laughed at kings, who laughed at priests, who looked at heaven only when he bent for a drink over a mountain brook and there, overshadowing the sky, he saw his own picture; a Viking who lived but for the joy and the wonder and the glory of the god that was himself. When the Viking stood on a tower over a city he had conquered, he smiled as men smile when they look up at heaven; but he was looking down. His right arm was one straight line with his lowered sword; his left arm, straight as a sword, raised a goblet of wine to the sky. The first rays of the coming sun, still unseen to the earth, struck the crystal goblet. It sparkled like a white torch. Its rays lighted the faces of those below. ‘To a life,’ said the Viking, ‘which is a reason unto itself.’

    (from We the Living)

  80. Aster

    Roderick-

    Thank you! Now how do I say that with actual grammar?

    (now writing from Chonburi, Thailand.)

  81. Roderick T. Long

    Aster,

    Looks grammatical to me. And I’m in general agreement with what you say about Rand above. I too discovered Rand at 15; but while I used to be more Randian than I am now, I never completely brought my mind into captivity to Rand. And studying academic philosophy helped me to avoid the cartoonish stereotyping and demonising of almost-every-philosopher that Rand tended to practice.

    I remember one step on the way to breakthrough. I was part of an Objectivist group in college, and I was making silly jokes as was my wont, pretending to be a Kantian, and one of the leaders of the group took me aside and said “You shouldn’t joke about being a Kantian — we know you hate Kant, but some of our younger recruits might think you’re serious.”

    Even more than my annoyance at being told to curb my sense of humor was my realisation that I didn’t “hate” Kant. I disagreed with Kant about all sorts of things (far more so then than now, though I still disagree with him about plenty) but he was obviously a very smart guy who was trying his damnedest to figure stuff out, and I realised I couldn’t buy into this picture of evil Kant hatching his system as a deliberate ploy to enslave the human mind.

    Soviet,

    I too would recommend reading some of the fiction (which I think is a serious contribution to the philosophy). I would recommend proceeding in the order We the Living, Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged (although that wasn’t the order I followed myself — but it puts off the apotheosis of the Titans of Industry until the end, making it less annoying for the left-libertarian reader) (although maybe for the feminist that’s a reason to save The Fountainhead till the end …). In secondary lit I would recommend Sciabarra’s Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical, Douglas Den Uyl & Douglas Rasmussen’s Philosophic Thought of Ayn Rand, and David Kelley’s Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand.

  82. Soviet Onion

    Can’t wait to get yer hooks in, huh?

    But I kid. Thanks for the well-considered recommendations.

  83. Soviet Onion

    Actually, her characteristic flaws are one more reason I love her- tho’ I expect saying so to the likes of George Reisman or Peter Schwartz would cause heads to explode.

    Oh, please do! I so liked the movie Scanners.

  84. Aster

    I think that Kant was intellectually dishonest in some aspects off his project- I think he did wish to force philosophy to re-establish the essentials of Christianity. The postulates are embarassingly lame.

    Then again, how can you read ‘What is Enlightenment’ or ‘Perpetual Peace’ and totally hate the guy? He may have kicked out some crucial philosophical precondition for the open society, but he was also the first to formulate certain absolutely priority one crucial planks of its program.

    I think the CofPR1 did genuinely break new grounds, but I don’t think it has the kind of reason-invalidating implications which most pro-Kantians and anti-Kantians claim. It properly notes problems in the Greek model of reason, but they’re solvable problems. I tend to ascribe to Sartre’s realist version of Husserlian phenomenology… actually, Sartre’s ‘ontological argument’ is very close to Rand’s axiomatic validation of existence, even if they managed to phrase it in very different ways.

    I’ve been inching towards a more classical realist stance in recent months, primarily after reading some bits of neurochemistry which seem to provide very materialist explanations (yick, but facts are facts) for subjectivity issues I’ve previously dealt with by phenomenology.

    In my Randroid phase I liked to use ‘Kant’ as a four-letter word. This caused a somewhat embarrassing stir in a classroom when a friend tried to refer to the Kantian professor as ‘Dr. Kant’ and then made a further… er… lapsus linguae.

    If I do get back in a classroom some day I will make certain that any scenes I cause show more subtlety. Doing otherwise could cost me entrance into Folkvangr, and we kant have that. Oops.

  85. Roderick T. Long

    I think he did wish to force philosophy to re-establish the essentials of Christianity.

    I agree; and I think his argument for the necessity of religious belief is embarrassingly bad. But I don’t think his major moves were motivated primarily by that. What’s most important to me in Kant is his anti-psychologism; but I think in both his metaphysics and his ethics he tripped himself up.

    In metaphysics he correctly (from my point of view) saw that there are conceptual constraints on what kind of world we can make sense of — but then he slid into thinking that these constraints were imposed on the world by the logical structure of our minds, and so got what Strawson calls the “austere” and “transcendental” sides of his thesis entangled.

    In ethics he correctly (again from my point of view, of course) saw that ethics needed to be grounded in the conceptual structure of agency itself and not just in appetites and sentiments. But because he had a fairly crude conception of happiness and left it to the domain of appetites and sentiments, his rescue operation on morality resulted in widening rather than narrowing the gulf between morality and self-interest; whereas I’d have preferred him to follow the Greeks in grounding both in the structure of agency and so keeping them together.

  86. Nick Manley

    Chris’s book was my first introduction to the complexities of Rand. Arthur Silber was the one who recommended The Fountainhead to me. I had written to him at age 17. I spoke of teenage angst/lack of passion. He ended up pointing me to a passage in The Fountainhead about a man on a bicycle.

    I’ll be 22 on June 24th. I can’t believe its been 5 years since Rand took hold of me.

  87. Nick Manley

    This was directed at “our” new reader of Rand, BTW.

    Alongside Chris S’s book, I’d also add her essay on Marylin Monroe. You should be able to Google search Through Your Most Grievous Fault.

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