Archive for October, 2014

Partyism: The New Stupidity

Dave Killion — October 29, 2014

According to polling data, one in twenty Republicans and Democrats polled in 1960 said they’d be “displeased” if their child married someone from the other party. By 2010, that spread had changed to 1 in 3 for Democrats, and 1 in 2 for Republicans. This phenomenon (known as ‘partyism’) is claimed to be even more influential than racism. For the New York Times, David Brooks argues this is bad

“The problem is that hyper-moralization destroys politics. Most of the time, politics is a battle between competing interests or an attempt to balance partial truths. But in this fervent state, it turns into a Manichaean struggle of light and darkness. To compromise is to betray your very identity. When schools, community groups and workplaces get defined by political membership, when speakers get disinvited from campus because they are beyond the pale, then every community gets dumber because they can’t reap the benefits of diverging viewpoints and competing thought.”

I think Brooks has it backwards; as people are increasingly able to discriminate and separate into communities built of others with similar values, we will not only be better able to discern which groups have superior values, we will also be better able to reap the benefits of diverging viewpoints and competing thoughts, as we could more readily discern which lead to peace and prosperity, and which lead to violence and poverty. This, however, is not to say that partyism is good!

No, the real trouble with partyism is that it is yet another form of collective discrimination. Sure, it might be that liberals and conservatives are, on the whole, close-minded and/or unintelligent. But it is also possible that any individual liberal or conservative is simply uninformed, and, therefore, a potential libertarian. To indulge in partyism would be to miss the opportunity to bring those individuals to the one true faith… and that’s a mistake libertarians just would not make.

Canada Still Funding Repression

Dave Killion — October 19, 2014

The pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong continue their efforts, despite arrests and a violent police response. Although I think Hong Kongers might find find having democracy not such a wonderful thing as wanting democracy, I certainly would never go so far as to provide support for their opponents. At least, not voluntarily

“Many have persistently questioned why China received bilateral aid from Canada, given its economic superpower status, military muscle and increasing influence on world affairs, including a growing development budget of its own.

“When you go to the eastern part of China, which is where probably where 99 per cent of Canadians, if they go to China, do go, places like Beijing or Shanghai, they would put to shame almost any Canadian city,” said Bruce Muirhead, associate vice-president of external research at the University of Waterloo, who has studied the issue of Canadian aid to China.

“But if you go a little bit into the interior, it’s a completely different situation. … It’s not the urban areas where CIDA puts its money, it’s in the rural areas. Those people really need help.”

Then those people should get it directly from the people who are trying to help them! Because when the Canadian government gives money to the Chinese government, it all goes in to one big pool, no matter how much anyone pretends it gets spent on one thing and not another. So long as the money moves from one government to another, taxpayers are funding mace and truncheons for opression to the same degree as they are funding health care and eduction for liberty.

Small comfort to the protesters currently being clubbed, but aid to China ceases at the end of the year.

Hamstrung By Principle

Dave Killion — October 16, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 6.50.57 PM

Elected leader of the Libertarian Party of Canada in May 2014, Tim Moen has attracted a lot of attention with his well-known campaign ad (above). Not long ago, Moen made his way to Victoria, B.C., where he met with a small group of local liberty lovers. After speaking briefly about his recent campaign efforts, and the importance of freedom, he fielded a wide assortment of questions concerning both his views and the actions he proposes to take if he should ever attain office. It was all very pleasant, and I found the new leader engaging, attractive, and diplomatic without being evasive. He strikes me as sufficiently ‘pure’, and I think he is a worthy representative of Canadian libertarians. But Mr. Moen has a problem.

The problem is that, aside some outliers like Justin Amash and Ron Paul, politicians get elected by log-rolling, compromising, and horse-trading… none of which are libertarian practices. Libertarians (like Tim Moen) are upright, forthright, consistent, and logical. Voters don’t really go for that. So, what does the Party intend to do? Is it going to be pragmatic, compromise, and do what it takes to get people in office? Or is it going to maintain integrity, at the cost of being relegated to an educational body and, likely, irrelevance? I put the question to Moen.

After acknowledging that this dilemma is well understood by party leadership, Mr. Moen explained that without an ideologically pure stance, the Libertarian Party of Canada could wind up as simply another statist tool. Clearly though, he (like many of us) is frustrated by the implications. To my surprise, he asked if I had any thoughts on the matter. Well, it just so happens that I do: I think that Tim Moen is right.

Give the party another name, and it can adapt, compromise, evade… whatever. But a Libertarian Party, well, that’s a different thing. It is a rigid thing, a principled thing; bend it more than a little, and it shatters into nothing. It must remain pure. Even in party politics, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Keep campaigning, run all the candidates you can, and perhaps a black swan event  will put some of us in office. But I’m sorry to say, if you are a libertarian who means to get elected, I don’t think the Libertarian Party is where you should be.

“Grow A Pair”

Dave Killion — October 5, 2014

Unknown

If you took the message from Harry Browne’s “How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World“, stripped away 1/2 the pages, added a sprinkle of H.L. Mencken, and delivered it in the style and voice of a television pitchman, you’d have something that looks and sounds very much like Larry Winget’s “Grow A Pair“. Here are some choice quotes –

“Growing a pair is a state of mind, an attitude, and a way of thinking. It’s about giving up being a victim and taking control of your life at every level. It is the willingness to do the right thing even when everyone else is doing the wrong thing.”

“Bottom line: People believe they are entitled to compensation for consequences they brought on themselves due to their irresponsible lifestyle and stupid choices.”

“Your thoughts, your words, and your actions created the life you are living. You create your results— no one else.”

“The constant need to make everyone else happy at the cost of your own happiness will destroy you.”

“Make yourself happy and surround yourself with people who are cool with that.”

“Success comes from what you do, not from what you say you are going to do.”

“You can’t step up to the next level as long as you keep one foot on the lower level.”

“No one ever wrote down a plan to be fat, broke, stupid, lazy, unhappy, and mediocre. Those are the things that happen to you when you don’t have a plan.”

“Do what you said you would do, when you said you would do it, the way you said you would do it.”

I find Winget’s style grating, and there are too many reminiscences in which he (predictably) triumphs in the moment by practicing what he preaches. None the less, his philosophy is sound and his message is clear. If you don’t have six hours to give over to Harry Browne’s book, you might find the couple of hours Winget requires to be a good investment.