The Irony Of (Self)Defeat

Lewrockwell.com’s Stephan Kinsella recommends John Derbyshire on immigration. Derbyshire lectures libertarians thusly:

As to why I think libertarians are nuts to favor mass uncontrolled immigration from the third world: I think they are nuts because their enthusiasm on this matter is suicidal to their cause. Their ideological passion is blinding them to a rather obvious fact: that libertarianism is a peculiarly American doctrine, with very little appeal to the huddled masses of the third world.

Kinsella echoes Derbyshire at the LRC blog that

… libertarians are nuts to want a more open immigration policy, since it’s self-defeating.

What Derbyshire and Kinsella both miss is that libertarianism has very little appeal to Americans in the first place. Forget about immigrants for a second: how well has the American public been swayed by this “peculiarly American doctrine”?

Answer is not at all, collectivism has won on all fronts and continues to be a landslide winner every election. Even counting every Libertarian Party candidate, even the ones clamoring for more taxes, as a “libertarian”, it’s clear that libertarian ideas have been handed decades of resounding defeats. The open borders issue isn’t self-defeating for libertarians because libertarians have already lost.

For clues as to why, we don’t need to look further than the fact that Kinsella and Derbyshire themselves are arguing for nothing more than a particular collectivist public policy on the grounds that this policy will advance the libertarian cause. Our self-appointed libertarian strategists are proceeding on the assumption that more collectivism now will manufacture more libertarianism later, and they can still talk about “self-defeat” with a straight face.

Bastiat on Tabarrok on Cost-Benefit

Over at Marginal Revolution, Alex Tabarrok writes:

Tyler asks, following philosopher Alastair Norcross, whether it could ever satisfy a cost-benefit test for one person to die a terrible and tortured death in order to alleviate the headaches of billions of others by one second. Tyler begs off with “a mushy mish-mash of philosophic pluralism, quasi-lexical values” and moral conceit. I will have none of this. The answer, is yes.

Bastiat presciently commented:

The plans differ; the planners are all alike.

Ditto for “libertarian” planners.

It’s Funny ‘Cause It’s True

If Sarah Brady could articulate a caricature of the American gun owner, it would be Kim DuToit:

And don’t give me that jive about “sensitivity”—the only sensitivity I care about is that of my trigger finger, and let me tell you, it’s itching right now.

At some point, I might be in a position of a passenger denied service, and let me tell you this: if some guy refuses to provide me a paid service, just because he thinks I’ve broken some nonsensical and inconsequential taboo of his tribe, I’m going to kick his ass all over the goddamn block.

How I Became A Scientologist

(…In The Deeply Confused Mind Of Meaghan Walker-Williams)

For more than a year now Meaghan Walker-Williams has been accusing the editors of No Treason of being Scientologists. Recently she clearly declared her suspicions:

Oh, btw Kennedy, the folks at Scientology’s FLAG in Clearwater stopped by, judging by sitemeter. You might be due for sec check real soon!

Casual Readers may want to check out John T Kennedy’s admission that he is a practioner of Scientology “tech” and his girlfriend Lynette Warren’s “warnings” to me, not to criticize her religion , Scientology, here on the prog-blog website. For More Info On Scientology’s Views On Abortions – and in fact COERCING women to have Abortions if they are low ranking Scientologists… visit the following website. ALSO visit HERE from Absinthe and Cookies.

(By the way, please follow her link and see if Lynette said what Meaghan claims.)

And:

A few years ago in a discussion, Kennedy and Warren let it slip out that they had a connection with Scientology, in that, during the middle of another weird situation occuring — See a mutual friend of ours was organizing a boycott of a Scientology Front Gun School called “Front Sight”,

[Here Meaghan again provides the link to her investigative piece that blew the lid off this story: No Treason Admits It’s Connection To The Dangerous and Criminal Cult Of Scientology. – jtk]

[…]

Now, I firmly believe that Kennedy and Warren are Scientologists based on their own admissions, and actions. And if other libertarians become aware of this, they will lose any credibility at all for anything they may be hoping to achieve. In Libertarian circles – not to put too fine a point on it… being a scientologist, (unless you are perhaps in South Florida, near Clearwater) – you are about as welcome as a KKK member at an African American Gospel Church Choir practice.

This really says so much about Meaghan’s psyche. Her wet dream is that I will lose credibility in libertarian circles. It reflects her own deep-seated fear of losing acceptance. It’s why Meaghan routinely frames her arguments with long explanations of who is on the good team, who is on the bad team, and who is apt to get their good-team credentials revoked if they don’t stop consorting with the bad team – but pronto!

The only problem with her fantasy is that I don’t give a rolling donut about credibility in libertarian circles.

So anyway, how did Meaghan discover that I’m a Scientologist? She’s already provided the links needed to explain her detective work. It all started back on Mike Schneider’s American Liberty forum. There was an argument about Front Sight’s suit against Diana Hsieh in which Lynette and I argued (among other things) that Hsieh had been harassing Front Sight. Meaghan wrote to Lynette:

You and John can play pattycakes nice-nice with any Scientologists that you want, and even promote Piazza and his business and you are even free to suggest that Hsiah has somehow done something wrong by merely questioning what’s going on with an organization
that she was involved in, and had financially contributed to.

In response to this I “let slip” the following admission:

No Treason itself has no connection with Piazza and we are not promoting Front Sight or Scientology. Furthermore, No Treason is in no way, shape, or form connected to or affilated with ANY religion– Catholic, Baptist, Buddhist, Scientology, Mormon, Muslim, etc. We have 15 contributors and I cannot tell you what religious backgrounds they all have as it makes no difference to No Treason. We do not ask, we do not care. Does No Treason use some of the
business technology developed by L. Ron Hubbard, the Founder of Scientology? Yes, and so do the following companies:

Allstate
Bell and Howell
Nissan
McDonalds
Getty Oil
Honeywell
Mattel
Ralph’s
Rockwell
RotoRooter
Pacific Stereo
Sunkist
Winston Tires
Del Taco
Wherehouse
Broadway Department Stores
Earthlink

Does the use of Hubbard Business Managment Systems connect or affiliate these businesses and governments (or No Treason) with Scientology? Of course not.

Predictably, this “admission” distressed Meaghan. I thought Schneider gave the game away when, within 24 hours, he revealed that the text was a direct cut and paste (with a few substitutions) from Piazza’s email to Hsieh, which was (and remains) posted on Hsieh’s web site. And indeed, this revelation did give Meaghan some pause. But she still couldn’t figure it out. She wasn’t the only one. We had fun stringing the group members along for days with evasive answers and non-denial denials.

Eventually I explained it all to Tim Starr:

As to the gag, I admit to being mildly puzzled as to why you and Mike would have bought it. The text was a direct swipe from the web site under discussion, something I could not have suspected to go unnoticed for long. It’s a rather strange way to reveal NT policy, isn’t it? You missed my confirmation that the revelation was not real, and that’s fine because I was trying to leave people the opportunity to miss it. But I never confirmed that it really was NT policy, it was just hanging out there all by itself. I would think that for someone who had some significant experience of dealing with me and NT, the outlandish idea that we were really using Hubbard Management Technologies to put out a blog would not be the simplest explanation of the revelation. The simplest explanation was that the post wasn’t serious.

But hey, it’s not like I’ve never fallen hook line and sinker for a gag. Early last year Lynette announced on whitewater that she’d taken a job with the GSA, and she gave a link to the GSA showing Lynette Warren did work there and revealing her work number and email. I bought it big time and privately urged her to kill the post because it would give weasels direct access to her professional life. In the newsgroup I tried to muddy the waters by posting links to a bunch of different Lynette Warrens, attempting to pass off her announcement as a joke. But the joke was on me of course, her link was no more legitimate than the ones I posted.

I laughed my ass off when she let me in on the joke.

I made her pay for it though. She’s still paying for it.

Meaghan read all of this four years ago. I answered her questions directly once the gag had run it’s course. She stopped accusing me of being a Scientologist until last year when she got pissed off about my exposé of her sock puppet theater and she went on the warpath.

I couldn’t believe my good fortune. How could Meaghan imagine I was a Scientologist after reading those threads? Could it be that when she got angry it simply became easier to believe whatever she wanted to believe? Lynette and I were delighted and started googling the web for scientologist jargon to sprinkle into our responses to Meaghan. We let Lopez in on the gag and he eagerly joined in. It was all obviously way over the top but it worked like a charm! She became more and more certain that we were scientologists.

And now that she’s sufficiently pissed again she thinks an anti-Scientology crusade is just the thing to bring us to our knees.

NOW THAT’S FUNNY!!!

mww_pinata.jpg

What’s a party without a Piñata?

Update (11-7-06): The candy continues to spill out of the piñata as Meaghan ramps up her delusions.

Libertarian Conspiracy in Full Swing

Liberal meathead Alan Wolfe writes in “Why Conservatives Can’t Govern”:

[R]ight-wing pundits are furiously blaming right-wing politicians for failing to adhere to right-wing convictions. Libertarians such as Bruce Bartlett fret that under Republican control, government has not shrunk, as conservatives prescribe, but has grown. Insiders like Peggy Noonan complain that Republicans have become–well, insiders; they are too focused on retaining power and too disconnected from the base whose anger pushed them into power. Idealistic younger conservatives bewail the care and feeding of the K Street beast. Paleocons Pat Buchanan and Robert Novak blame neocons William Kristol and Charles Krauthammer for the debacle that is Iraq.

All of which is true. But why is it that conservatives can’t govern? Simply, because they’re all nihilist libertarians:

Contemporary conservatism is first and foremost about shrinking the size and reach of the federal government. This mission, let us be clear, is an ideological one. It does not emerge out of an attempt to solve real-world problems, such as managing increasing deficits or finding revenue to pay for entitlements built into the structure of federal legislation. It stems, rather, from the libertarian conviction, repeated endlessly by George W. Bush, that the money government collects in order to carry out its business properly belongs to the people themselves. One thought, and one thought only, guided Bush and his Republican allies since they assumed power in the wake of Bush vs. Gore: taxes must be cut, and the more they are cut–especially in ways benefiting the rich–the better.

Ooh, you liberals are so smart. You caught us! That’s right, we sneaked a full-throated, red-blooded libertarian into the White House while you guys were laughing it up about his language blunders. And now he’s implementing the libertarian agenda: tax cuts for the rich and pork for the rich!

Despite the fact that Nixon, Reagan, Bush, and Bush the Younger have all presided over massive increases in federal spending, proposed and signed legislation expanding the welfare, warfare, and regulatory state, and played the Great Game in various regions of the world, the real problem is that they’re all closet libertarians. Call me crazy, but perhaps the problem is that conservatives don’t actually want smaller government, but want votes from those who do. You know, like the liberals who promise black people salvation through government while destroying their communities?

Conservatives have been walking and talking like big government people for a long time, with the occasional nod to tax cuts. Are liberals so dumb that they take conservative politicians at their (occasional) word?

If It’s On The Internet, It Must Be True!

Remember Alexa rankings? Wow, them things were the cat’s pajamas. If you don’t remember that far back, Alexa rankings were generated by a piece of software that users downloaded, and thus supposedly measured the real-life popularity of websites. Certain movementarians encouraged everyone in sight to download the thing and so thus increase their Alexa ranking, presumably increasing the number of people converted to the libertarian cause. Sign up now! No money down! Libertopia awaits!

Problem was that pretty much the only people who bothered to download it were libertarian movement types. Hilarity ensued as the Alexa rankings became the victims of movementarian hyperinflation and the movementarians themselves started overdosing on their own Kool-Aid: More popular than the Washington Times? I saw it on the Internet, so it must be true!

The Alexa rankings disappeared into embarassed obscurity, but our never-flagging movementeers have a brand new promotional scheme: Digg. Digg promotes articles and links based on other Digg users’ recommendations – so totally not like Alexa rankings!

Can you guess who’s recommending that their readers all sign up and recommend articles? And can you guess what that sort of gamesmanship will do to Digg’s wonderful, “democratic” recommendation system? That’s right. More readers than the New York Times! Doubling in users every two months! I saw it on the Internet, so it must be true!

The Perils Of Partisan Politics, Part II

Among other dangers: trying so hard to score points during a publicity stunt that you fail to see how much of a fool you’re making of yourself.

Tim Eyman, in a stunt that was not wholly unexpected, arrived at the state elections division building Monday dressed as Darth Vader and wielding a plastic light saber. Missing were the petitions full of signatures in support of an effort to overturn the state’s new gay civil-rights law.

Memo to Tim Eyman: Darth Vader was the bad guy.

The Million-Year War for Earth Continues

Hollywood Interupted on Comedy Central’s decision to spike South Park’s Scientology episode.

Scientologist movie star Tom Cruise threatened to cancel all publicity for Mission Impossible:3 if Comedy Central aired the episode that satirizes Scientology and mocks his sexuality again. Not only is this the first time that the South Park creators have been officially censored in their ten hit seasons with Comedy Central, Viacom officials also reportedly ordered Matt Stone and Trey Parker not to discuss the reason why their episode was cancelled.

While hilariously lambasting yet another religion on South Park doesn’t exactly qualify Parker and Stone as suppressive persons, I have to question Mark Ebner’s characterization of Tom Cruise’s alleged efforts to nix Wednesday’s planned re-airing of the episode as blackmail. How is it blackmail for Cruise to stay home rather than to promote Mission Impossible 3?

“So, Scientology, you may have won THIS battle, but the million-year war for earth has just begun!” – Trey Parker and Matt Stone

Freedom Of Contract: A Novel Libertarian Interpretation

Libertarians enthusiastically defended oil companies that raised their prices in the wake of Katrina, but they’ve had little appetite for defending the NY transit workers who decided to raise their prices.

It was amusing to see someone who calls herself Jane Galt chiding workers for striking selfishly. Bloggers at Catallarchy were particularly vocal in defending the oil companies, but the only mention of the strike I can find on that blog just quotes Galt lamenting how strikers made victims of millions of New Yorkers. I can’t imagine them letting similar charges against oil companies pass without comment.

KipEsquire seemed pleased that strikers would be fined under the Taylor Law so I asked him a question. His surprising reply is in the comments:

Kennedy: Why aren’t libertarians commenting on the obvious injustice of outlawing strikes?

KipEsquire: Because libertarians believe in freedom of contract. If you don’t like the terms of employment, which are made clear upfront, then don’t take the job.

Now how about the injustice of requiring people to join unions, or at least to pay union dues, against their will?

Freedom of contract?

Their contract expired before they went on strike. So how can fining them for not working in the absence of a contract be squared with freedom of contract?

Bush’s Advantage

The President was on TV the other morning. I pretty much pegged whatever it was he was blabbing about as either lies or stupidity or both, and promptly turned him off. Turns out I was right:

Addressing the largest audience he’s had since launching a series of speeches two weeks ago to discuss progress in Iraq, Bush told the nation that “to retreat before victory would be an act of recklessness and dishonor and I will not allow it.”

“Now there are only two options before our country — victory or defeat. And the need for victory is larger than any president or political party because the security of our people is in the balance.”

Remember “Mission Accomplished“? I mean, “major combat operations” were over a long Goddamn time ago, according to the Prez, and now he’s claiming that “retreating before victory is a dishonor”?

Didn’t he say he won, already?

You’d think that Bush would be making more of an effort to tell consistent lies, but as it turns out he really doesn’t have to. He could come out tomorrow and say that Iraqi rebels were sacrificing Christian babies and not too many of his supporters would raise an eyebrow, because he isn’t a Democrat.

This is yet another example of the problem with majoritarian politics – you don’t get a better President even if you vote against all of the liars (hint: that involves finding something better to do on election day), so most people adopt the candidate who tells the most pleasant lies. In this case, Bush is saying that winning the war in Iraq is necessary for “security”.

“Security” of course is deliberately left undefined, so that folks can plug whatever fuzzy concept they have into it. Almost everybody agrees that they want “security”, especially when the alternative is admitting to themselves that the government can’t do much except extort their money, waste most of it, and use the rest to kill people who mostly don’t deserve it.

That’s Bush’s advantage. Like a carnival barker (“See the World’s Smallest Horse!”) he’s telling the rubes what they want to hear, taking their money, and then letting them tell themselves that they’re getting what they wanted.

John T. Kennedy Is Confused

Or so says one Paul Charnetzki, posting at the Anti-State.com blog:

Though the Bush administration has gotten some kind of Bill of Rights included in the Iraqi constitution, they hardly emphasize it. What’s important is not actual freedom, but its appearance, which is created by the ritual of voting.

Some libertarians, like Tom Palmer and John T. Kennedy, get confused by all this freedom talk. This confusion is so great that it leads them to believe they live under the Badnarik administration, and the Iraq invasion will result in liberty of the Iraqi people.

You heard it there first: John T. Kennedy is confused by all of Bush’s freedom talk.

Glad that’s cleared up.

The Problem With Majoritarian Politics: A Case Study

A commenter at Uncommon Sense, giving unintentional support for that site’s title:

Why would Bush knowingly promote the WMD aspect when the success of that argument would cause him to send the military to uncover the fact he lied in the first place?

So the utter lack of “WMDs” (in scare quotes because the term is rife with dishonesty) is somehow proof that Bush & co. acted in good faith by insisting, over and over again, that there were such items in Iraq?

Let’s apply a little bit of Occam’s Razor here. Which is the simpler explanation for the conspicuous lack of Weapons of Mass Destruction (so-called) in Iraq?

A) The President of the United States acted forthrightly and honestly and presented the most accurate case established by American and allied intelligence, which as it turned was totally wrong, or

B) The whole “WMD” scheme was a cynical ploy to help sell this stupid war to conservatives, who blindly cheerlead this nonsense even after it’s been exposed for what it is.

You’d think that if a mistake of this caliber was made, the Republican end of the political spectrum would be just a tad outraged. I mean, let’s suppose that their dreams all come true and they get the war they want with Syria, or Iran, or whoever. If an ememy’s capabilities could be honestly overestimated to this degree, couldn’t they be underestimated as well? “Well, Mr. President, you know how we determined that the Iranians didn’t have nuclear weapons? That turns out to not be the case…”

The overwhelming silence on this matter is instructive. What that silence indicates is that not even the most true-blue O’Reilly Factor conservative out there thinks that this WMD fiasco was even one quarter based on reality. They wanted a war to avenge September 11th, never mind on who, and they got it. Now they can feel better about things.

So why rock the boat about dumb ol’ facts?

This one drop of stupidity serves as a lesson on the problem with mass politics. The reality of the situation is that facts don’t matter in mass politics, because the participants don’t pay a price for their own mistakes. This is in stark contrast to markets. A driver who holds on to the idea that his car can run just as well on water as on gasoline pays a signifigant price for his folly, and so his goofy notion is soon corrected. A voter who holds on to the idea that there are WMDs in Iraq is never corrected, because he gets the exact same government as everyone else does.

This is also why rational argumentation is usually futile at changing people’s political opinions. People are generally comfortable with their routine habits and thoughts. Changing that routine, even if it means dropping incorrect ideas in favor of correct ones, comes at a price of some discomfort. So why would the average person pay that price when there is no direct benefit to them?

Answer is that they won’t.

They’ll continue, despite reason or logic to the contrary, to hold wrong ideas. Again this is because they suffer no consequences for doing so: Bush voters got the same government that Kerry voters got, which happens to be the same government that nonvoters such as myself got.