Fiscally Conservative, Socially… Uh… by BILL READER

Fiscally Conservative, Socially… Uh…

by BILL READER

 

Like every small-L libertarian everywhere, I am perpetually required to explain my beliefs to people who have me confused with one of the wide range of big-L Libertarian ideologies. And it was in one of these endless, unread letters to the internet about the difference between Anarcho-Syndicatilist-Voluntarist-Mocha-Grande-Double-Thunder-Signature-Homestyle-Extra-Crispy Libertarianism and libertarianism as practiced by sane people that I realized the classic representation of a generic libertarian to a person new to the term has changed. Or rather, it should change.

Now, doubtlessly many of you will have been quicker on the uptake on this point, but here is how the average layperson (who even knows what libertarianism is) hears about libertarianism: fiscally conservative, socially liberal. Don’t tell me I’m the only one who’s heard that. Following the new Reason study on millennials, which found a profile somewhat matching that definition, there are tons of people concluding millennials are libertarians (Someone ought to study the effects of being endlessly over-examined and studied on a generation’s behavior. It didn’t do good things for boomers, I know that.).

Here’s the problem. As I was writing my rebuttal it suddenly fell on me that “Socially liberal” doesn’t mean what it used to. It used to mean well, in any case, it used to be plausibly interpretable as wanting the government to be uninvolved in social matters. But to the extent that the Democrats represent social liberalism anymore, here’s what it means now.

It means that I can force you to buy contraception, abortions, vasectomies, hysterectomies, sex-change operations and, really, anything else I deem even marginally related to sex, regardless of your personal moral beliefs. Out goes keeping the government away from the bedroom, in comes getting three government lobbyists and a tax inspector in on the action. Hope you bought a sturdy boxspring! Why do you have to buy these things? Because if it’s not subsidized it’s illegal. So why can’t I make you buy me guns, which I remind you I have an actual constitutional right to (I assure you the founders DID have prophylactics, even if they were made of leather, so we must assume the right to have them provided by the state was forgotten, not excluded)? But guns ought to be illegal, because why would you want guns anyway? It’s to kill black people, isn’t it? Shut up, racist.

It means that I can force churches, in even more blatant contravention of the first amendment, to marry gay couples. Never mind that the federal government, an institution whose only role should be mediation of interactions between states and representation of the states as a whole to the world, has no business in a wedding unless Maryland and Ohio get hitched. Marriage is all wrapped up in federal tax law, so in a parody of droit du segnoir, the government gets to participate in the entire life of both members in a married couple, forever. If you want to turn marriage over to contract law, which already has a country-wide body of legal precedent and which does not give a fig what the genders of the parties are, you’re homophobic and probably also sexist.

Speaking of which, it also means that you accept without question the claims of feminists, who of all the constituent parties of the left have gone the furthest off the deep end. Women’s rights is a pretty easy social issue. I believe women should have equal rights, the way I believe people of different races should have equal rights. Hell, it’s so basic I practically don’t even think about it. It’s like asking whether people have a right to breathe. But if you’re “socially liberal” then you see actual equal rights for women and minorities as sexist and racist. When a Democrat says equal rights for women, they mean throwing out sixth amendment rights for males, massive settlements in favor of women, believing that writing lengthy dissertations about the inherent evils of PIV is empowering and intellectual as opposed to jaw-droppingly insane (If you don’t know what that is, I wish I could see your expression when you Google it), and believing that rape culture is everywhere even as the definition of “rape” is reduced to feeling that someone has done something sexually inappropriate in your vicinity.

For that matter, believing that people of different races should have equal rights isn’t socially liberal any more. “Socially liberal” is believing people of different races are interchangeable widgets who can be hired according to quotas rather than competence, believing that disliking the president with arguably the worst economic and foreign policy record in living memory is purely because he tans well (to which I respond that Kerry, I’m sure, would have done just as badly, and I recall that he tans very poorly), and believing that wanting to protect our southern border is an act of racism rather than a defense of our cultural values (For that matter, it means throwing out the idea that a country even can have cultural values. And here I fear many of my fellow libertarians often wander into the weeds, especially the one-world, no-conflict crowd. It’s sad when even libertarians fail to understand the tragedy of the commons. But I could write an entire post about that, and if Sarah lets me, I may just.).

Even the little things don’t hold anymore. I want federal laws on marijuana taken off the books. As with marriage, it’s out of the government’s jurisdiction. And in all jurisdictions I believe it’s a silly thing to regulate, just as alcohol, tobacco and caffeine are silly to regulate, but I at least respect the rights of citizens in individual states to say differently. Utah may well decide it wants to regulate alcohol and caffeine. Could it fairly be called a misrepresentation of the constituency in, say, Salt Lake City? Besides unless the government coerces states, as it does with the highway money to hold the drinking age where it is, there will always be a few states that allow marijuana. Democrats, to the extent they even do want action on marijuana legalization (the Obama administration, as in all things, talks a good game, but walks like it’s lame), would see it done through a federal amendment and the usual Washington pushing and pulling for general compliance. “Socially liberal” that may be, but a libertarian who turns around and asks for a centralized, top-down solution to a problem needs to examine the meaning of their terms.

I could go on forever, because the corruption of the Democratic party and, by extension, the public’s understanding of what “socially liberal” means has extended so deep an entire shelf of books could easily be written on the subject. Many of you will say it doesn’t matter. “Socially liberal” still means what it means regardless of how it’s used. I have a hunch you might also call yourself a “classical liberal”. I am forced to remind you again that you are misunderstanding how languages work. How words are used is primary and absolute in a language. Their technical definitions, as written in the dictionary, might as well be scribed in sand for all they mean beyond those pages. This is why languages known only through their written form are classified dead. Just as people who argue that “irony” should only be used in the strict theatrical sense are wrong, you too are wrong. You are dooming yourself to perpetually confusing those you communicate with and weakening your own ability to argue points over semantic disagreements. We both have an idea what “socially liberal” ought to mean, but I promise you that when we’re done hammering out the perfect definition between ourselves it will still mean the things I have said above to thousands of people out there. That, and many, many worse things, besides.

What am I, therefore? I am fiscally conservative and socially… well, socially libertarian. I believe in reserving to the states and to the people those rights and duties not clearly associated with mediating interactions between states and representing the United States as a whole to the world. I believe that, wherever possible, the individuals closest to an issue or, at worst, the state in which groups of individuals closest to an issue reside, should be allowed to decide on social issues. As a lodestar in that discussion I believe the best solutions will be the ones that involve the least paperwork, the least government interference, and the least litigation, but I also believe that groups and citizens alike are happiest, and find the best solutions fastest, when they are allowed to do things which I consider stupid. Because, ultimately, I am willing to admit that I am not omniscient, and suspect from history and from established patterns what the answers are, rather than knowing them absolutely. I am willing to let the laboratory of states take my hypotheses and test them. I do not demand 50 uncontested replicates of every idea, followed by endless press releases explaining the experiment was a success regardless of the actual results. I am many things. But I am no longer what we call a “social liberal”.

444 responses to “Fiscally Conservative, Socially… Uh… by BILL READER

  1. Regarding the correct term for our views on “social issues”: What do you think of the “constitutionalist” or “federalist” labels? I rather like them myself.

    • How about “Pragmatist”?

      Show me it works, and is an improvement, and I’ll back a change to social or fiscal policy. Can’t show it works? Can’t show it’s an improvement to the status quo? I’m sticking with what we know works, whether or not it is considered conservative or liberal.

      I don’t like the ideological labels we have for things. They don’t come even remotely close to capturing the nuances of how things really are.

      • How can you show it works if it isn’t implemented?

        I understand the social benefit to voices of caution, but if the only allowed changes were demonstrated improvements we would still be hitting each other over the head with sticks.

        • You’ve got a perfect means to test things out, here in the US: The Federal system allows states to do things their own way. If it works on a limited scale, then try it on a national one.

          The other thing a Pragmatist policy would do would be to clearly state the intent of a law or policy change before it is enacted, with clearly laid-out goals and targets. If it doesn’t work after a set period, it reverts to the former way of doing things.

          What I love is how all the damn idealists on both sides leverage government to try to enact their pet policies and ideas, and then never pay the least little bit of attention to whether or not the changed law or policy actually does what it’s intended to do. Case in point–The various acts regulating narcotics. If we set up government my way, the activists would have to say “Policy X (in this case, criminalizing narcotics possession and use) will lower the rate of narcotics abuse by Y percent…”. Then, when a set time goes by, and you evaluate the situation, you have clear-cut goals to use, and if the new policy/law isn’t making them happen, the law is automatically rescinded.

          If it works, fine. If it doesn’t? Do away with it. If it’s not amenable to being clearly evaluated, with goals, milestones, and clearly laid out intents, then it probably shouldn’t be addressed by the government in the first damn place. I’m tired of all these busybody do-gooders of all sorts sticking their noses into things, screwing them up, and then leaving the mess for a further iteration of idiotic law to address the problems they create. Had a Pragmatist outlook been taken during the period we were shutting down the mental health residential facilities, the laws would have been required to have clear intents, standards, and goalposts to use in evaluating the effects, good and bad, before making them permanent. Unfortunately, they didn’t take that sort of approach, and the mess they made of things is why we have a huge homeless population, along with all the people in prisons who really belong in long-term mental health treatment. I think that same sort of approach ought to be taken with the lawsuit industry, and the courts: If you’re going to legislate from the bench, then your decisions should be testable and held to the same standard: Does it work? Is it a better way of doing things? No? Then we stick with what we know works.

          Biggest problem I see with our government, to be honest? No clear standards, no requirement to actually accomplish squat. All you need to do is play at sweetness and light, and make mealy-mouthed sanctimonious speeches about what you “intend”. How about some damn hard-and-fast evaluations, before we make your policies permanent?

          Obamacare should never have been implemented the way it was. You don’t “fix” sixty years of government meddling in the health care system with one session of Congress, 2000+ pages of half-ass legislation, and then a bunch of bureaucratic rule-making beyond the reach of the electorate. Unfucking our health care system is something that’s going to take decades of work, and a lot of practical incremental experimentation, and that’s precisely what they didn’t do.

          • I am deeply suspicious of the pragmatist label. Implied in the term is a desire to perpetually tinker with mae and society. Government is not the way to find out what works – it’s a way to find out what works for politicians.

            • The proper role for government is protection of our inalienable rights. “What works” is often contrary to that role.

              Politics tends to attract those who will abuse their power and position (e.g., a fair mix of wolves, a smattering of sheepdogs, as Bill Whittle has said.) The actual rewards of a political life are not that great unless you are getting side benefits.

              Being on the school board or a county commissioner is a largely thankless job with many many inconveniences, so it is little wonder the field attracts those who see the role as an opportunity for graft of one sort or another — reaping either financial or sexual benefits, if not both. Predators are very adept at finding their opportunities.

            • Well, we’ve let the idealists do their thing, for generations. How’s that worked out for us?

              I don’t grasp your point about “perpetually tinkering”, either–Inherent in the idea of pragmatism is the idea of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…”. Most of our problems stem from the mentally deficient trying to “fix” things that are inherent to life, like “unfair” outcomes in the economy. I’m tired of people proffering “solutions” that are actually more likely to create bigger problems.

              Obamacare is a perfect example: Even a cursory reading of the legislation will convince anyone with an inkling of how the US government works that the actual point of the entire package of legislation had little to do with improving health care, and a lot more to do with grabbing more power for the entrenched interests of government and politicians. Hell, just the provisions for waivers, which aren’t really “there” unless you really squint your eyes, are perfectly designed to help friends of the government and screw enemies. The legislation should have been called something else entirely, because it sure as hell didn’t do much to make health care affordable or protect patients.

              I’m with Calvin Coolidge: Doing nothing is often the best solution, in government. Unfortunately, too few politicians understand this.

          • The Federal system allows states to do things their own way. If it works on a limited scale, then try it on a national one.

            That is the theory. Unfortunately the case law applying Amendment XIV, Section 1* has done much to shoot the theory full of holes.

            I believe that this section of the amendment was intended to prevent certain states from restricting the rights of the newly freed slaves…not that that always worked (see: history). Some things are not always best addressed by law, but that is another discussion elsewhere on this board.

            *All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

          • Whether it works is subordinate to whether it ought to be implemented if it does. There are things that ought not to be done, or not by the government.

        • William O. B'livion

          This is why federalism is so critical. You could, in a properly federalize system have *a* state that made cans is legal, and one that simply decriminalized it, and one that provides it for certain medical conditions, and then other states &&etc.

          But what we have now is a bastardized and broken system where there is some of that and a pile of lack wits at the top convinced by their breeding and education that they Are the second coming of Albert Plato Lincoln and as such KNOW their implementation is right and good and proper.

    • I loved your post bill reader

    • The problem with the “constitutionalist” label is just what Bill points out about the “social Liberal” label. It’s dictionary definition is great, but most of those who publicly claim the label “constitutionalist” are kooks, so the generally accepted definition is constitutionalist=kook who believes they don’t have to obey any laws except those written in the Constitution.*

      *Note the Constitution has very few laws (as it should, it actually has more than it should) what it mainly does is protect some basic rights the founders thought necessary in order for the people to retain power over the government (and while it may not seem like it has worked, it has at least worked better than other governments) and lay a groundwork for how to govern, create laws as needed, and repeal laws as they are no longer needed. Thus if you actually believed you had to follow the constitution, it lays out, at least in broad outline, how state and federal laws may be passed, under the assumption that those passed in accordance with and not violating the Constitution are legal laws that should be followed by followers of the Constitution.

  2. + infinity

    • Eamon J. Cole

      Hm. Kinda pointless for me to add +1 to that, huh?

      How about I square it?

      • Go for it. Just let me get out of the way before you do.

          • Eamon J. Cole

            I get the feeling you folks would happily hold my beer if I made the stereotypical redneck declaration, no? As long as you were out of the splash zone?

            • Gladly. I’m a teetotaler, so your beer would be perfectly safe.

            • Unless I’m helping, yeah.

              • Eamon J. Cole

                I cannot possibly imagine a situation wherein I might say “Hey, Wayne, gimme a hand. Ladies! Watch this!!”

                Two such mature and sober gentlemen as ourselves? Tempted into outrageousness, perhaps even danger? Couldn’t happen. Surely.

                • If it involves liquid nitrogen, I’m in. Or even better, liquid oxygen. Family friend did the LOX instant BBQ start thing and sent us the video.

                  Definitely a hold-my-beer moment, even if they poured it from the roof.

                  • Eamon J. Cole

                    Hun BBQ’s would be awesome.

                    But terribly, terribly fraught…

                    • Don’t try this at home. Try it at somebody else’s home. 🙂

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      Yep. Preferably somebody with acreage. And privacy.

                    • Hun BBQ?

                      I’m envisioning a constant stream of soaked wood chips falling through the flame from a Hydrogen/Oxygen test rocket to provide smoke, and the flame running under the grill to heat the lava rocks.

                      We’ve already done a Mammoth BBQ, so what’s on the grill today? Anyone know if Giant Sloth is good eating? How about Cave Bear? I suspect Sabretooth would be kind of stringy. Or maybe one of the giant ancestors to modern Elk? Or should we go back further and grab a few pteranodsaur and have sujpersized wings? Quetzocoatlus wings, anyone?

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      Bonus calamari!

                    • I was going to come back and suggest some kind of seafood, but does cthulu-mari lend itself to a BBQ? Wouldn’t something like Megalodon be more of the way to go? I guess we could go for both, though.

                      Hey, I wonder Ammonites or Trilobites tasted like?

                    • I was going to say, given the number of Navy vets hanging around here we should go for giant squid. Calamari you could hula-hoop (you know, for kids) with. Plus someone must have a line on the appropriate cooking system:

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      I’ll help Wayne cook it (I’m sure he has a recipe), but you salt-water types’ll have to do the fishing. And the cleaning, very much a “you catch it, you clean it” operation here.

                    • Why thank you for your kind offer.

                      Shh, don’t look now. Cyn it looks like we won’t be running the kitchen this time. Let’s find a shady spot from which to watch the fun. 😉

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      Did it for the daily wage, once upon the once. I can do my time, again. Long as somebody’s amenable to beverage resupply.

                    • I used to cook for the entire boarding school every Sunday night my senior year. Later I cooked for daily wage. Not anymore. A close friend has said that cooking is one of my love languages.

                      (One of the very few compliments that Momma ever paid me was, if only I could learn French, I could go to cooking school. Momma never gave me a compliment that was not connected to a conditional assumption that there was a reason it wasn’t going to work. Ah, mothers, do you know what you are doing to your children?)

                    • Hmm… I always start out thinking too small (puts the test rocket away), so now we have a full complement of Space Shuttle Main Engines providing heat and being split 6 ways to the 1000ft-long grill. 4 pipes have wood chips being carried along on conveyors (mesquite, hickory, apple wood, and cherry wood) to provide smoke, and two without smoke – one for turf and one for surf.

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      See, I knew Wayne would have a recipe.

                    • Well, he does seem to have come up with one for a super grill (More power Tim!), but now you’ll have to determine what’s cooking.

                    • Oh, we’re being eclectic this time. Sarah has put in for Cthulu-mari, so that’s been marinated in lemon butter-dill sauce with several herbs, we have Megalodon steaks, trilobites, and ammonites prepared like escargot. For those who like both or don’t like seafood, we have cave bear tenderloins and ribs, haunch of megaloceros (Irish Elk), and daeodon (a giant pig) ribs and chops. The turf-meat has been soaked in buttermilk (from prehistoric buffalo milk) to take away some of the gamey flavor and tenderize it a bit.

                    • And now we know how dinosaurs became extinct 😉

                    • because smoked triceratops is the yum?

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      So you’re the guy that’s been pullin’ nibbles off?

                    • have to check to ensure its smoking properly.

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      Yeah, but quit grabbing all the crispy bits. I like those.

                    • Um… I’ll arm wrestle you for the bcbs. (Burnt crunchy bits.)

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      Hm. Counter-proposition (’cause I know this lot, while the arm-wrestling is going on somebody will be making off with the contested BCB’s): You distract Wayne and I’ll position a couple of slabs to maximize the BCB’s, then we’ll split ’em. Any extras can be used as bribes for bourbon-fetchers.

                    • Dinosaurs, extinct? What are you talking about? Haven’t the good mafiosa of Nevada elected one as their senior US Senator?

                    • A mummified dinosaur? I am sure Chuck Schumer is a velociraptor Dick Durbin, OTOH, seems related to Nessie albeit less bright.

                      Babs Boxer I am not sure about, but I suspect she is a form of prehistoric plankton.

                    • PLANKTON? I was thinking barely solidified lava. But I’m a bad woman.
                      Nancy Pelosi for sure is part rock. You can hear them knock about in her skull whenever she opens her mouth.

                    • Thank goodness he’s not MY mummy!

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      I hope somebody’s tending bar, because Wayne is a task-master on the BBQ and these are some large cuts of meat. I don’t mind the work, but there is an attendant thirst.

                      And I don’t like prehistoric buttermilk.

                    • You know those cargo moving exoskeletons from Aliens? We’re using those to turn the meat.

                      And you can have some of the cuts that were soaked in beer, if you’d prefer.

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      Oh, I’m quite fond of meat that’s been soaked in buttermilk. Yum.

                      I just don’t wanna stand around a hot grill in a metal exoskeleton quaffing buffalo buttermilk.

                      Not that I’m turning down the beer-soaked cuts, mind. There are reasons a body volunteers to help with the food.

                    • Oh, and the buttermilk is not prehistoric, the buffalo is prehistoric. We went back and milked ’em and brought the milk back last week.

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      It’s buttermilk — how can you be sure?

                    • Hey, Wayne, look here!

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      *innocent whistling*

                    • Oh, good grief. You’re not pulling a Thena stunt, are you? (Carefully looking away – my virgin eyes, you know).

                      Ok, typing that made me choke on my own tongue. 😛

                    • What? I DID write Athena. It does distract guys!

                    • It may just be where I presently live I can’t help but suggest that we do a slow pit roast of the daeodon. Serve it up in a pulled pork fashion with the option of both eastern vinegar/pepper and Lexington red style sauces, adding an option of red slaw to be served with the latter.

                    • Ah, good idea. I didn’t have anything to do for the haunches. That will work nicely.

                    • You missed the great Mammoth cookout. Came right after a wave of extreme trolling and we needed a break. Yeah, it was virtual, but it was wonderful.

                    • We really need to have another one of those. BBQs, not troll invasions.

                • Well, given my natural caution (I’m chicken), my escapades tend to be a little more thought-out, but I HAVE been involved in some ill-conceived escapades.

                  On second thought, though, it may be better off not partnering with me for such, as it tends to be my cohorts who get injured…

                • William O. B'livion

                  If there is enough beer involved that you are handing it off, are you really “sober”?

                  • You hand off the beer so you don’t spill it. You do it if you’re going to do a dance, or if you’re going to do something epic.

                    OTOH, if you’re, “going to do something epic”, it COULD be a sign that you’re not exactly sober.

                    • See I was always under the impression it was a better idea to chug the beer, then hand off the empty can. After all, the empty can is all you are going to get back anyways (unless of course you were drinking with me back in my partying days, and I wanted to get you drunk, then you would get your beer back with a swallow gone and a healthy dose of whiskey added to fill it back up to its former level) and that beer you chugged could very well help you achieve something epic, or dull the pain of achieving something epic.

      • Are you trying for improbability drive?

      • Squaring it doesn’t help. Gotta raise two to the power of it.

  3. “I am willing to admit that I am not omniscient” and that is what anyone voting for bigger government doesn’t get. It’s funny how a bunch of liberals don’t believe in God but think the federal government is omniscient, omnibenevolent and should be omnipotent.

    I’d like to see you do a post on the tragedy of the commons.

    • Eamon J. Cole

      Yes, I’d like to see one on TotC, as well.

      • On that, I’d like to put a bug in your ear anent my belief that the tragedy of the commons is the tragedy of the COMMONS — i.e., that the notion that anything should or CAN be held in common to all (or even to a limited group) is a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of property, which is, in my view, primarily an individual characteristic.

        I recall seeing refrigerators dumped into ravines along the forest roads in Great Smokey Mountain National Park and musing, “What belongs to everyone… No. What everyone owns, no one owns.”

        Riff on that. I would like to see what your clear voice has to say about it. Well done.

        M

        • And to complicate matters, there are times when the people on the Commons can see the problem, but the “managers” of the Commons refuse to allow groups of individuals to try and reduce the damage through informal agreements. On one hand the Commons should be open to all possible user/owners, on the other hand is it worth destroying the resources through overuse in order to keep the Commons common? (The case of eastern New Mexico in the late 19th and early 20th century comes to mind).

        • Hate to tell you this, but I lived for two years in Blount County, Tennessee: people did not always wait until they have crossed into the GSMNP. They dumped refigerators into ravines on private property as well.

        • The Other Sean

          There is a long-standing tendency of people to exploit land they don’t own, whether public or private, that isn’t actively occupied and being exploited by others. And by long standing, I mean goes back to before the Constitution. People on the frontier often ignored official land ownership and hunted, fished, trapped, farmed, and settled on land that was owned by others. Who those owners were didn’t make much difference: absentee landowners in the Eastern states, Europeans, Indian tribes, Federal government, etc. were all fair game.

          Fast forward to the turn of the century when bird hunters anxious for exotic feathers would routinely poach on private land, including privately-owned nature preserves. This was part of the impetus for Federal bird sanctuaries, but in truth it was less the Federal involvement than a change in women’s fashion that really accounted for the eventual end.

          Early long-distance automobile travelers often stopped at any convenient spot off the road to spend the night, trespassing, if they were at farms, frequently just stole fruits and vegetables to provide for breakfast and a snack along the way. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen junk dumped alongside a “rural” road (where “rural” means anyplace where there’s a stretch of undeveloped land running on both sides of the read). There’s a reason people post No Trespassing signs on there land: because people just don’t respect land ownership very much.

        • William O. B'Livion

          I would call that the “Phallacy of the Commons”. Er. Fallacy. Whatever.

    • I’m very interested in a post on the tragedy of the commons as well.

    • And what really annoys ME is how slow they are to realize that the government is omni-impotent.

  4. Jordan S. Bassior

    The true horror of it is that generations of Democrat small-f fascist education have essentially destroyed the old, classical definition of liberalism — there is now no good word to use to describe someone who believes that people should be free to choose their own behavior, with government playing the role of at most a neutral arbitrer should they wish to take each other to civil court.

    • If atheists had taken the word Christian for themselves, they could scarcely have done more damage than the anti-liberals taking Liberal.

      • The use of “Chrisian Democrat” as a political party name in Europe and elsewhere could explain much.

  5. PIV? Particle image velocimetry? What is the fuss about that? Oh, you mean the new thing the schools are putting in so you can check your child’s records: Parent Internet Viewer.

    What! Really? No.

    Sigh Bless their souls, somewhere along the line life and their brains let them down.

    • CACS: PIV? Particle image velocimetry? What is the fuss about that? Oh, you mean the new thing the schools are putting in so you can check your child’s records: Parent Internet Viewer.

      What! Really? No.

      Sigh Bless their souls, somewhere along the line life and their brains let them down.
      That was awesome. Made my day. Thank you.

  6. Safe Search on! SAFE SEARCH ON!!

  7. “I specialize in definitions.” – Humpty Dumpty

  8. Reblogged this on The CSR Bunker and commented:
    No, You Aren’t “Socially Liberal” & other crimes against language.

  9. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    “Social Liberal” also seems to include the idea that Conservative Christians are the Same as “Radical Muslims” and that Conservative Christians somehow “cause real harm” just by saying “homosexuality is sinful behavior”. [Frown]

    Sorry Bill & Sarah, I just got my “fill” from listening to some SOB who believed that nonsense and had to “spew”.

    • Yes, I was just reading that. Of course, you’re allowed to express your views and debate them publicly. Unless you express them publicly, in which case, it’s harmful, and shouldn’t be done. ::boggle::

      • I have come across people who assert the following two propsitions at the same time:

        1) Religion is a private individual matter that should kept to oneself and not be imposed on others in public policy.
        and
        2) You are a hypocrite if you do not practice your religion as I think you should, including which public policies you support.

        ::boggle::

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          The SOB had also stated that “Christianity doesn’t ban making cakes for same-sex marriages therefore the people not wanting to make cakes for same-sex marriage aren’t real Christians just bigots hiding behind religion”.

          • Rob Crawford

            Islam specifically exempts trading in alcohol, yet we permit Muslim cashiers to refuse to handle it.

        • They get incoherent when you call them on Martin Luther King Jr. — really? telling legislators to “to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God” — and often so incoherent you see they don’t get the point.

    • I wonder how SJW’s and GHH’s would react if Conservatives actually acted as they define them? Vindication along with obliteration! Cool!!

      • They be as afraid of us as they are of Muslims. Their “respect” for Muslims is fear with a seasoning of loving the other, nothing more.

        I’ve actually been told Conservative Christians are more dangerous than Muslim radicals by a trans gay women. She honestly believed she’d be better off under Sharia than she was under George W. Bush.

        • Ignorance is bliss — until reality hits you hard in the face and you find out that it underlies stupidity.

          I hope, for all our sakes, this woman never finds out on a practical level how she would fair under Sharia.

        • GOOD lord. Well, yes, she’d have been dead and past pain.

          • William O. B'Livion

            If one believes that her actions were sinful AND that there is the sort of God that would send one to hell for that then she would NOT be past pain, just dead.

            • (Shall I? Or shall I not? Sigh. Here goes, feet first, LOL!)

              William, there’s actually nothing in the Bible that says that God sends sinners to Hell. There is a Hell, yes, and unrepentant sinners do go there, but it’s because they CHOOSE it. There are only two destinations in the after-life — to be WITH God, or to be APART from God. Sinners don’t want to go to be with God (and He doesn’t want them, either, any more than I would want my nice peaceful home invaded by a bunch of foul-mouthed drunken murderers and rapists). They wouldn’t even be comfortable in His presence. So, they choose to go to Hell, rather than to obey what God says is the only way to be in His presence — believe on Jesus Christ.

              So. I guess I’m both fiscally and socially Conservative, or, a Constitutionalist. We each are responsible for our own decisions, and that includes where we spend eternity.

              • That’s an interesting interpretation (I’m not a scriptural specialist by any means). Do you have textual citations to support that? I’ve certainly *read* that interpretation before, but it was in fiction or comic books, so I took it as artistic license by the writers.

                • I think it was C. S. Lewis’s interpretation.

                  • It certainly matches the finale in The Last Battle, but I was wondering about more doctrinaire (biblical) citations.

                    • It’s a pretty basic Catholic teaching, too– although there is no official teaching I know of about Hell being, as some folks put it, “purely metaphorical.” (That is, the theory that there is no hell, there’s just a lot of people who are at absolute zero on the lonely-to-loved scale.)

                      It helps if you remember that sin is willfully separating yourself from Him.

                • I’ve heard it from a Greek Orthodox theologist before — if I can find it I’ll link — it can be summarized as “the doors of hell are locked from the inside.”

                  • The Orthodox Christian position (I am one) is that Heaven and Hell are basically the same thing. Being in the eternal presence of God. When you love Him and accept Him, His love is like a warm sun on a spring day. When you reject Him and His love, it is like the burning sun on burned skin.

                    Same sun, but because of the state of the person, different results. An inexact analogy, but it should get the picture across. And yes, we do choose.

                • There is one in the Old Testament – “Choose this day whom you will serve” ,and in the New Testament – “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.” So, you can take the easy path or the hard path.

                • It’s a fairly common interpretation, and in my view both correct and semantically splitting hairs. Saying God doesn’t send anyone to Hell, they choose to go there is correct, but it is just like saying that a Judge doesn’t choose to send anyone to jail, they chose to go to jail when they committed the crime. Correct, but the shorthand of saying X is sending you to Y is commonly used, with the assumption that you understand that it is actually your choice, not X’s.

              • I think of it as a question of alignment—not D&D-style alignment, but closer to magnetic alignment. Those that are in alignment with God end up with God, and those that are like the wrong pole of a magnet… well, they end up away from God.

                Please note that idea probably makes me a heretic in most major religions.

                • You’ll be in great company, based on what I’ve read and heard. 🙂

                • If heaven is God’s home, he can invite into it whomever he wants, and he can not invite in whomever he wants. Would-be gatecrashers will find the gate to be more than they bargained for.

              • That’s not … entirely accurate. Himself wants, indeed, desperately desires that all would come to know Him. The issue is that they will not. There are two kinds of people. Those who say to G-d, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom G-d says, “thy will be done.” Pretty much. Therein lies a theological difficulty that I’m this close to attributing to a finite mind attempting to understand infinity, wherein grace can only happen through an effort of will by Himself, and not through our doing, and yet He is holy. Theodicy is a stone cold, cast iron, heinous feckin’ bitch.

                • I have understood the evangelical position to be: Salvation is a gift, not earned, but given. You choose if you are going to open it or not. Once you open it your response, acceptance or not, will ultimately be reflected in your behavior.

                  You are correct, if G-d is infinite, it would be rather impossible for those with finite minds to grasp G-d’s mind. This is why so much of the teaching is done with word pictures, i.e., The kingdom of heaven is like

                  • There is a peculiar illustration in our courts of law which I came across yesterday.

                    In 1830 President Jackson issued a pardon to one George Wilson, sentenced to death for his participation in the robbery of a mail carrier. Wilson, who had pled guilty, refused the pardon. It was taken to court and eventually came before the Supreme Court (United States v. Wilson :: 32 U.S. (7 Pet) 150 (1833)). The following is part of the opinion of the court written by Chief Justice John Marshall:

                    A pardon is a deed, to the validity of which delivery is essential, and delivery is not complete without acceptance. It may then be rejected by the person to whom it is tendered, and if it be rejected, we have discovered no power in a court to force it on him.

                    • An execution or continued imprisonment is likewise a deed, and Wilson’s refusal to “accept” his pardon wouldn’t, AFAICT, obligate the state to continue to house, nor to execute, him. If he was determined to suffer the death penalty for his crime, while the state chose not to implement it, he could’ve simply executed himself.

                      So what was the final outcome?

                    • Although many who tell the story say that George Wilson was hung, I believe that he remained in jail.

                    • Beg your pardon, ma’am, but how many people could know he was hung? ER ER ER ER ER.

                      I think you mean hanged. And I’m running. In zig zags.

                    • Eamon J. Cole

                      If he remained in jail, I suppose any number of people would have an opportunity to observe.

                      People will talk about the oddest things.

                    • I have been informed by a dearest friend that I should not let this disrespect of Irish verb forms go unanswered. To wit:

                      Weela Wallia – Clancy Brothers

                      There was an old woman who lived in the wood,
                      Weela weela wallia;
                      There was an old woman who lived in the wood,
                      Down by the river Sallia.
                      She had a baby six months old,
                      Weela weela wallia;
                      She had a baby six months old,
                      Down by the river Sallia.

                      She had a penknife three foot long,
                      Weela weela wallia;
                      She had a penknife three foot long,
                      Down by the river Sallia.

                      She stuck the knife in the baby’s head,
                      Weela weela wallia;
                      The more she stabbed it, the more it bled,
                      Down by the river Sallia.

                      Three big knocks came a-knocking at the door,
                      Weela weela wallia;
                      Two policeman and a man,
                      Down by the river Sallia.

                      “Are you the woman what killed the child?”
                      Weela weela wallia;
                      “Are you the woman what killed the child
                      Down by the river Sallia?”

                      “I am the woman what killed the child.”
                      Weela weela wallia;
                      “I am the woman what killed the child
                      Down by the river Sallia.”

                      The rope got chucked and she got hung,
                      Weela weela wallia;
                      The rope got chucked and she got hung,
                      Down by the river Sallia.

                      The moral of this story is,
                      Weela weela wallia;
                      Don’t stick knives in baby’s heads
                      Down by the river Sallia.

        • Eamon J. Cole

          o_O

  10. Egregious Charles

    Yeah, I have problems fitting with the socially conservative/liberal line too. In a way, I’m pretty socially conservative; I never used drugs, don’t get drunk, and don’t have sex outside marriage. And I think those would be the best choices for everyone to make.

    But then again I’m pretty socially liberal, I favor legalization of prostitution and all drugs and lowering the drinking age. Most good ideas are bad things when enforced, including charity, chastity, and temperance. Especially when they’re enforced by stormtroopers and bureaucrats with their hands out.

    • You can’t legislate morality. IMAO the most you can do is allow people to act as they wish then allow them to deal with the consequences of those actions. If you’re going to tell me I can’t interfere with your decision, I shouldn’t have to deal with the aftermath.

      • We legislate morality all the time. Murder, theft, rape…all immoral, all illegal.

        • Yes, but they keep happening. My point (which I did a rather poor job of doing) is making something illegal doesn’t make it stop happening. At some point you have to ask “Is making a law the correct way to enforce behavior?” Making murder illegal? That (to me) makes sense. Making marijuana illegal? Not so much. When it gets to the point where you have a law that is either difficult to enforce or is blatantly NOT enforced, all you do is degrade the rule of law. That is why I’m for legalizing marijuana but think that Washington and Colorado legalizing it while it is still illegal at the federal level a bad idea. What happens if the next president tells the Attorney General “Shut it down”?

          • We’re in agreement in regards to the legal pollution of unenforceable laws, or simply un*enforced* laws. I was primarily objecting to the phrase “we can’t legislate morality” because it’s used sloppily by so many people to say “we shouldn’t legislate on my particular issue*.

            Petty of me perhaps, but I yam what I yam:-).

            • Ah. Gotcha. That I agree with. Finding the balance is difficult but with humans it usually is.

            • In an ideal world we would not legislate morality. What should be done is to legislate against those activities that harm society. Not so much a moral issue as a group effort to protect one another.
              There is a common phrase: “locks are there to keep honest people honest.” By the same token, laws are there to serve as a guide and reminder of what is acceptable practice in a shared society. They also serve as a vehicle to punish those who step outside the bounds of common practice. It’s unfortunate that those bounds are often defined and set by one group’s moral code, leading to disfunctional and oppressive legislation that serves the good of few if any.

              • William O. B'Livion

                Honest people don’t need to be kept honest.

                If you have integrity I can leave you in my house with my guns, my whiskey and my hot as hell 24 year old daughter and there will be no problem.

                What locks do is keep lazy dirtbags honest.

                Laws are either (a) Morality, or (b) Regulatory.

                Laws are either legal instantiations of morality (murder, theft, rape) or they’re legal guidelines for behavior where it is immoral to do other than everyone else (regulatory). For example whether a geographic entity drives on the left or right hand side is of no moral consequence, but it is immoral (in the general case) to attempt to drive on the wrong side of the road (general case, not “to avoid and accident, get around a sinkhole &&etc).

                • What locks do is keep lazy dirtbags honest.

                  If you’re forcibly stopped from doing something, you’re not honest.

                  Laws help lessen temptation.

                  My grandfather use to say “a lock only stops an honest thief”– pointing to the way that locks will not stop someone who really, really wants to steal what’s locked up.
                  They will deter someone whose internal honesty line is crossed by, oh, breaking through a glass window when the door is locked, though.

                  • Locks deter impulsivity. It has long been acknowledged that a professional will be scarcely slowed by your having locked your car; it is for the dumb schmuck looking for opportunity that you don’t leave keys in the ignition.

                • I think the idea I heard once was that it was not necessary to make people good so they will act their nature, but make it useful for bad people to act in an acceptable manner.

              • “In an ideal world we would not legislate morality. What should be done is to legislate against those activities that harm society.”

                That’s legislating morality. Why else would we do it except that harming society is immoral?

              • Come to think of it. In an ideal world, we would not legislate morality because in an ideal world, the only thing we would legislate would be things like which side of the road you drive on. Because an ideal world would be filled with ideal people whose virtue and wisdom would ensure that if there were ever a moral difference between two courses of action could easily weigh them correctly and take the right one.

        • The infringement of basic rights to life and property are illegal. Whether they’re immoral too don’t make no nevermind.
          Beware going further than that. The Soviet union tried to legislate morality too. Laws can allow men to do their best, they can’t MOLD men into angels.
          Divine law wasn’t meant to be legislated, but to be taken to the heart, where it can transform you.
          Every theocracy in history, no matter the religion, has been a horror.

          • +1. Thanks for explaining this much better than I ever could. (Or why you’re a writer and I’m a coder.)

          • Egregious Charles

            As Sarah said. No, we don’t legislate morality in any of those cases. While those laws happen to follow the strong morality of the population, they do not create it. I’d turn in an acquaintance if I found strong evidence he were guilty of murder, theft, or rape. I wouldn’t if he smoked marijuana or visited a prostitute.

            The laws about murder, theft, or rape are good laws because the enforcement of those is essential to a functioning society. A law requiring you to do unto others as you would have them do unto you would be a nightmare even though it’s a moral law. Imagine the police and courts enforcing it.

            • This “Golden Rule” stuff is just silly. To whit: an eighteen year old boy and an eighteen year old girl in private. Should the boy do unto her what he would have her do unto him?

              • THAT is difficult. They don’t have the same parts. (Runs.)

              • I suppose I’d point out that in the situation you’re describing, I’m not aware of any law against what they’d want to do. (You know, hand-holding and canoodling and what-have-you.)

                • PARTICULARLY what have you. (GRIN)

                  • Embarrassing admission: At least once in my life I’ve been in the situation described here, almost exactly. (two 18 year olds, alone in the house together), and despite what I now realize was the very earnest desire on her part, neither hand holding nor canoodling nor what-have-you commenced.

                    I had the hugest crush on that girl, too. But I was almost stupidly naive in such matters. Something which I’m grateful for now.

                    • Glad I am to see this point did not have to await my coming to be made. The premise that 18-year-old girls are not at least as much interested in such activities as are boys is not supported by any evidence and contradicted by a significant quantity of anecdata.

                      Further, IIRC, the “proper” version of that Rule is “Do not do unto others what you would not have them do unto you” — a formulation leading to a slightly different approach.

              • If you analyze it down the line, then it would work out. He would not want her to force him to do anything he didn’t want to do, therefore, if he followed the Golden Rule, he would not make her do anything she didn’t want to do.

                And if you follow it down a little further, BOTH of them would also consider the ramifications of whatever they were doing upon a currently nonexistent, yet potential, child that such “doing” could produce.

                The biggest problem I see is that not only are many people incapable of such complex considerations, most today don’t even get a passing reference to such logical constructs in their education.

                • Josh A. Kruschke

                  Wayne,

                  Yes! This!

                  +1

                  🙂

                • Yes. (I had thought you were a thoughtful gentleman, this supports that.)

                  You do have to start teaching consideration of ramifications before hormones kick in and cloud the mind. Right now the prevailing theory of pedagogy does not support restricting impulses of those kinds. 😦

          • William O. B'Livion

            Got it backwards. The origins of laws are in morality, they are just morals written down and propagated.

        • You’re missing the point of the saying. It’s not an objection to a moral basis for law, it’s an objection to using the law to make people moral. A person who refrains from killing simply because it’s illegal isn’t a good person. Likewise, a law against homosexuality isn’t going to make a gay man dig women, nor is a law against booze and bacon going to make people good Muslims.

          The law exists to preserve rights. Not to make people respect everyone’s rights, but to deter and punish those who would infringe on those rights. If an action doesn’t infringe on someone’s rights (and you have no more right to be shielded from behavior you consider obscene than a GHH has to be shielded from Larry Correia’s writings) then it has no place being made illegal.

      • Making murder against the law certainly reflects a moral judgement. A law which dictates which direction traffic moves on which side of the road? While it could be argued that this is simply for the practicality and function — that these are seen as important is also a moral judgement.

        Any law reflects moral judgement, if only because you have deemed them important enough to put the force of government, possibily lethal, behind it.

        • Colorado Alex

          I would argue that the government at any level or any type has two basic functions: organize for the common defense, and provide a means for citizens to resolve disputes. The second part is where we tend to get tripped up, because over time it’s easier for the state to impose a general rule on a situation rather than deal with it time and again in the court system. For example: a rule against storing tires in your backyard. It seems stupid and meddlesome, but tire fires really really really suck, and tires are often breeding grounds for mosquitos and vermin that can carry disease.

        • Josh A. Kruschke

          Bastiat’s “The Law” is probably the best esay on what the law is and isn’t.

          The Law

          The law perverted! And the police powers of the state perverted along with it! The law, I say, not only turned from its proper purpose but made to follow an entirely contrary purpose! The law become the weapon of every kind of greed! Instead of checking crime, the law itself guilty of the evils it is supposed to punish!

          If this is true, it is a serious fact, and moral duty requires me to call the attention of my fellow-citizens to it.

          Life Is a Gift from God
          We hold from God the gift which includes all others. This gift is life — physical, intellectual, and moral life.

          But life cannot maintain itself alone. The Creator of life has entrusted us with the responsibility of preserving, developing, and perfecting it. In order that we may accomplish this, He has provided us with a collection of marvelous faculties. And He has put us in the midst of a variety of natural resources. By the application of our faculties to these natural resources we convert them into products, and use them. This process is necessary in order that life may run its appointed course.

          Life, faculties, production — in other words, individuality, liberty, property — this is man. And in spite of the cunning of artful political leaders, these three gifts from God precede all human legislation, and are superior to it. Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.

          What Is Law?
          What, then, is law? It is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense.

          Each of us has a natural right — from God — to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality? And what is property but an extension of our faculties? If every person has the right to defend even by force — his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly. Thus the principle of collective right — its reason for existing, its lawfulness — is based on individual right. And the common force that protects this collective right cannot logically have any other purpose or any other mission than that for which it acts as a substitute. Thus, since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force — for the same reason — cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individuals or groups.

          Such a perversion of force would be, in both cases, contrary to our premise. Force has been given to us to defend our own individual rights. Who will dare to say that force has been given to us to destroy the equal rights of our brothers? Since no individual acting separately can lawfully use force to destroy the rights of others, does it not logically follow that the same principle also applies to the common force that is nothing more than the organized combination of the individual forces?

          If this is true, then nothing can be more evident than this: The law is the organization of the natural right of lawful defense. It is the substitution of a common force for individual forces. And this common force is to do only what the individual forces have a natural and lawful right to do: to protect persons, liberties, and properties; to maintain the right of each, and to cause justice to reign over us all.

          The law is not there to enforce anyones morality, but to protect an individuals right to life, liberty and property. Anything else is a perversion of the law.

          • *applauds* Thank you. I hadn’t read that before.

            • Josh A. Kruschke

              FYI, That not the whole essay. You can read the all of it here:

              http://bastiat.org/en/the_law.html

              That was just the begining couple of parts.

              It’s the one essay Ron Paul wishes everyone would read. Frédéric Bastiat has some other great writtings that you might want to look up. Government and That Which is Seen and Not Seen- The origin of the broken window falicy quoted in economic circles.

              Good stuff.

              🙂

          • “The law is not there to enforce anyones morality, but to protect an individuals right to life, liberty and property”

            That statement right there is a moral judgment.

            • Josh A. Kruschke

              Yes it is, but I haven’t made it into a law. It’s only acstatment of my belief in what the law is.

              It would only become a law or hipocritical if I added and I will use the force of government and the state to punish those that make laws that break this morality.

              The law has a morality but isn’t enforcing a morality; which might be why it’s easilybperverted… but maybe I’m kibbling now on semantics.

              Hmmm…

      • The right to be stupid onto the criminally stupid (as long as you don’t directly and actively hurt someone else. I.e. drug addiction and destroy family fortune? Not DIRECTLY and ACTIVELY hurt someone else. Drug addition and shoot buddy to take his money for drugs. DIRECTLY and ACTIVELY hurt someone else. (Unless we draw the line that starkly penumbras start intruding)) should be enshrined in the constitution. If you don’t have the right to act like a moron and hurt yourself, you’re not free. Because someone, somewhere, can always explain why you’re being a moron, and if that person can make laws to stop you? They own you.

        • I feel like I’m splitting hairs and if I am, I apologize. If you shoot and rob your buddy, those crimes you go to jail for. The Why of the crime is less important. Although that does bring up a question. When does someone “need a little killin'”?

          You did a much better job of explain the right to be stupid.

    • Legalize prostitution, but criminalize lawyers. Let’s put the punishment where the blame actually lies.

      • Lawyers are useful when drawing up contracts.

        I say we divest the population of do-gooder politicians (many of whom were formally lawyers) of the power to inflict their vision of perfect upon us.

    • Thank you. Just had this argument on the echo of this post on my FB page…

    • waltpimbley

      Make something legal, you’ll get more of it. Legalizing all drugs? Heroin at the pharmacy? Not cool. Even pot – it’s an ambition killer. Won’t make society one bit kinder or safer.

      So why change?

      Alcohol’s been accepted for thousands of years. We’re used to it, know how to deal with it. And I agree with you that if one’s old enough to join the army, one’s old enough to drink at the bar.

      Embrace tradition. Arrogant to think we know better than all those generations that came before.

      Prostitution? Again, you’ll just get more. You want the gov’t licensing them, too? You won’t get rid of violent pimps that way.

      Suggest that Libertarians channel their political efforts into fighting Statism. Fighting Mrs. Grundy is fun, but she’s almost gone, and we’ll miss her.

      • Josh A. Kruschke

        Walt,

        The statistics of proabition despute your claim.

        • He did address alcohol*, so prohibition– which was an attempt to overthrow tradition, just like drug legalization attempts to do– isn’t a win-card.

          *seriously, it’s something that occurs naturally and accidentally often enough for there to be hundreds of hours of “animals that ate fermented food and got fall-down drunk” videos on youtube; it’s a major concern when processing silage– chopped whole corn plants –so that you don’t end up with drunk pigs or cows. The difference between trying to outlaw sugar and outlawing specific plants is… mind boggling.

          • Josh A. Kruschke

            Foxfier,

            A perceived problem drinking alcohol is bad.

            Perceived Solution Outlaw the consumption of it.

            They did outlaw it and they did enforce it.

            In economic terms they limited or made it harder to get (Supply). Demand stayed high. Not saying some where not deterred from drinking, but not enough to close the supply demand gap. Prices skyrocket. Criminals those who do not care about the law come in and make profit. Politicians those that passed the first law go, “See look at look at all this criminal activate, We were right to out law drinking.”

            That is becoming a solution to a problem they created.

            And it sure didn’t stop anyone that wanted to from drinking. And only profits the criminals.

            😉

            • How about gambling? Isn’t it great how we got criminals out of that?

              Sure, people are going to gamble. Can’t really stop it. But step back and ask if it’s good or bad for society. Most spousal arguments are about money, and nothing breaks up a family like blowing your paycheck on the ponies every week.

              Used to be you’d have to take a long trip to the track, or Vegas, or Atlantic City. Now casinos are everywhere, tracks ditto, and the governments are running lotteries.

              Gambling is now advertised, even advertised with our tax dollars. Have we got less of it, or more of it? And is it a good thing? Is our freedom enhanced?

            • I think you might profit from a better understanding of their motivations….

          • waltpimbley

            Good points, Foxfier.

        • waltpimbley

          Yeah, Prohibition.

          When I found out here on Sarah’s blog that Heinlein was not only a Dem, but a Pendergast Machine Dem, it made a lot of stuff clearer. I like him less. Still like him a lot, but less.

          All that guff about Mrs. Grundy, when it was Dem pols cynically legislating what they thought was Christian morality to get the Christian vote.

          Prohibition? Wilson and the Dems. (Remember Lazarus Long’s given name?)

          Sodomy laws? Dems. (The Stonewall Riot was in Greenwich Village, not Salt Lake City. And 95% of the fa**ot jokes I’ve heard came out of the mouth of some Dem; but it’s okay, you teaba**ers – they support gay marriage.)

          Blue Laws? Dems.

          Funny story about a born-again Dem: when the Carters got into the White House, they made a big fuss about getting rid of all the liquor. Can’t have it here!

          Then, the first Sunday morning they’re there, Jimmy and Rosalyn decide that a few bloody marys before church would go down good. The butler and staff are caught flat-footed: not a drop of vodka in the place, and Blue Laws meant that all liquor stores are closed!

          So one of the domestic staff that lived close by volunteers to go home and raid his own liquor cabinet.

          Heinlein’s kinda guy?

          • That was Heinlein’s FAMILY background. We don’t choose our family. Lazarus’ given name reflects when he was born — his parents named kids after the president, period.
            And you know what? I named Jarl on a whim, damn idiot took on a life of his own.

            As for HIS politics — I’ll remind you, sir, that he was Jerry Pournelle’s friend and they often discussed politics amicably.

            He was a complex man and judging him through your prejudices is no better than the GHH’s judging him through theirs. Don’t make me use language. I have a larger vocabulary than you can guess at.

            • waltpimbley

              Hey! Some of my best friends are Dems! 😉

              Didn’t Heinlein write a book about getting out the vote? Never read it, just wondering.

              So you don’t think naming one of his favorite characters after Wilson signals approval of Wilson? In NUMBER OF THE BEAST he mentions Carter, not disapprovingly.

              No mas on the vocab. I said I still like the guy a lot.

              • actually no. In number of the beast he basically spits at Carter’s name. If it interests you, he left a meeting of democrats in the forties, saying they’d been taken over by communists, and he’d no more brook the red fascists than the black.
                He voted for Reagan (unless you doubt Ginny.)

                • Wouldn’t doubt Ginny.

                  Thanks for the education – I like him better now (again). Still don’t like the name Woody, though.

                  Love Reagan, but he had a similar sea change. Said he loved FDR, and that the Dems left him. I don’t see it. Wilson and FDR – not halcyon times for freedom and limited gov’t. (Don’t think that’s prejudice talking, but perhaps you’re right.)

                  Anyway, sorry I rubbed you wrong. Take care.

                  • As a general rule, it is prudent to refrain from judging our elders. Different times, different milieus, different circumstances and, most importantly, different perspectives. Hindsight is more common than foresight.

                    Interesting people are complex, and you generally take the good with the bad. I look at what personal lessons a writer imparted and I look at his political and philosophical growth. Even if Heinlein and Reagan supported FDR and the Dems and Pendergast and who knows what else, eventually they did repudiate those views and promoted conservative values. I prefer a church that welcomes converts to one that turns them away.

                    Besides, plenty of the people opposing FDR and Wilson were, in their own way, no better if not somewhat worse. It is best to view the past charitably as someday we will be living there and our views judged by those more ignorant than we.

          • Josh A. Kruschke

            Walt,

            Nonme of that refuted any of the points that I made.

            Who’s morality get’s to choose. Your’s? A the Iranian Supreme ruller? The Majority?

            Anything and everything can and probable has ben abbused or used to harm some. Do we outlaw everthing on the chance someone.

            Where do you draw the line? Where do you stop?

            Some could ue a gun tomorrow to kill someone, should I give up my gun today. Even if I did and there were no guns at all anymore, we been finding interesting ways to kill each other from the begining.

            We have a law against murder, but it still happens.

            Sarah, I was going to quote Heinlein to just be annoying, but I didn’t. I think I’m becoming a better person. I learned.

            😉

            • Good on you, Josh. And by and large I agree with you, not on everything but on THIS. yeah, some people will get stoned and waste their lives, but here’s the thing they were already doing it. You can’t STOP people from doing stupid shit if they want to.
              The right to be stupid is in the end your ONLY right.

          • Walt, I happen to know that when you were much younger, you peed and crapped yourself so often your parents had to wrap a cloth around your nether regions so you wouldn’t make a mess.

            Then you grew up.

            So did Heinlein.

      • … if one’s old enough to join the army, one’s old enough to drink at the bar.

        While I share the conclusion I must challenge the reasoning (because that’s just how I role.)

        On the conclusion: there is ample evidence that early cultural acceptance and experience of alcohol reduces many of the negative effects associated with it. Wine at dinner, a drink afterward, in company of people concerned with your well-being is the best prophylactic against abuse.

        On the argument: different skill sets apply.

        To drink alcohol in public requires judgement and self-knowledge, the ability to know how and when to back away from the bar. Those come with experience and maturity.

        To serve in the army requires the ability to do what you’re told, when you’re told, according to prescribed procedure and without arguing. None of those skills translate into ability to hold your liquor. Experience and maturity come from those.

        BTW — the same logic applies to the “old enough to vote, old enough to drink” argument.

        • waltpimbley

          I’ve got a cross-grained uncle who’s never voted. He was in Korea in ’50 or ’52, fighting, when an election rolled around and an officer lined them up and asked who wanted to vote. (Army would help get them absentee ballots.)

          Uncle raises his hand.

          “How old are you, soldier?”

          “19.”

          “Too young. No ballot for you.”

          Really ticked him off. So he’s never voted since, just to teach the government a lesson.

          He does have a drink now and again, though. 😉

        • “To drink alcohol in public requires judgement and self-knowledge, the ability to know how and when to back away from the bar. Those come with experience and maturity.”

          I would argue that voting requires judgement and self-knowledge and the ability to know when and how to back away from the public trough. Frankly, if we can’t trust someone with a bottle of bourbon we have no place trusting them with even a fractional share in the decision-making apparatus of the country. The former can ruin a life (maybe a few more in conjunction with heavy machinery) the latter can ruin millions, if not billions, of lives.

          • Please note my comment about voting. Happily, the actual harm done by one fool’s (or a hundred) vote is limited. The costs of establishing any requirement of rationality as a preliminary to voting seems likely to exceed the benefits.

            Heck, look at how hard it is to limit the franchise to actual living people.

            • One fool’s vote is irrelevant. One hundred fools’ votes are a statistical blip. Two thousand fools’ votes got Obama reelected.

              I agree that keeping fools away from the polling place is a non-trivial task fraught with unintended consequences. However, I think demonstrating an ability to keep oneself alive as an adult for several years isn’t too terrible a burden, and the Republic seemed to survive 200 years without the insight and wisdom of the 18-21 demographic.

  11. Josh A. Kruschke

    Bill,

    “Many of you will say it doesn’t matter. “Socially liberal” still means what it means regardless of how it’s used. I have a hunch you might also call yourself a “classical liberal”. I am forced to remind you again that you are misunderstanding how languages work. How words are used is primary and absolute in a language. Their technical definitions, as written in the dictionary, might as well be scribed in sand for all they mean beyond those pages. This is why languages known only through their written form are classified dead. Just as people who argue that “irony” should only be used in the strict theatrical sense are wrong, you too are wrong. You are dooming yourself to perpetually confusing those you communicate with and weakening your own ability to argue points over semantic disagreements. We both have an idea what “socially liberal” ought to mean, but I promise you that when we’re done hammering out the perfect definition between ourselves it will still mean the things I have said above to thousands of people out there. That, and many, many worse things, besides.”

    Not sure if this is directed or referring to me? If so, please have the courtesy of addressing me by name.

    These parts are especialy of interest to me:

    “”Socially liberal” still means what it means regardless of how it’s used.” And, “How words are used is primary and absolute in a language. Their technical definitions, as written in the dictionary, might as well be scribed in sand for all they mean beyond those pages.”

    Used by whom individuals or groups. Not every individual use words the same way, and a groups understanding is represented by dictionaries to be used as a common reference point.

    You seem to take exception to the deliberate use of langue to confuse or mislead someone or group. Which is understandable, and I agree is a problem. 

    Someone calling Larry Correia (and others) a fascist doesn’t make him (or them) one, and Should I let the fact that someone labeled him one be the sole determiner on if I think he is one? I can waste my time try to figure out why someone used that label on him or I can move past the label and try to determine for myself what I believe his political leanings are. I might even get radical and ask hem personally. So, in that way it doesn’t matter (to me) why they used the word (label). 

    If I want to determine how or why someone is using a word… what they are trying to convey or communicate, in this instance, then I need to look at the context it is used in and the common usage or how it has been used in the past (A dictionary is useful in this.). If there is a conflict between how they are using the word (context) and my understanding of common usages (A lot of words have multiple meanings.), then this is a signal to me to dig deeper into what it is they’re trying to communicate.

    I was trying to point out a way to combat what you (rightly- my opinion) see as a problem instead if just bitching about it. The only way I know if combating name call is to teach people to think for themselves. To teach people to form their own opinions about people and things independently of the language used to describe it or them.

    I don’t know how to be any clearer than this.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Josh, IMO Bill was *not* talking about you. If you were the only person to “misuse social liberal”, it would not be a problem. The problem is much bigger than you.

    • Used by whom individuals or groups. Not every individual use words the same way, and a groups understanding is represented by dictionaries to be used as a common reference point.

      A friend has a degree in linguistics. One of the things that we enjoy is talking about is the nature of language.

      Yes, each individual brings an understanding of a word to a piece of communication. Taken to the extreme this principle lead to the most non-sensible applications of deconstructionism*. There must be a general shared understanding or no communication can take place. That shared understanding may change over time. (If you look at a truly comprehensive dictionary like the OED, which cites earliest known usage of a word in a particular manner you can see this.)

      Marketing, and in this case political marketing, use words to shape opinion. So we find, for example, Fascist looses its 1930s meaning and becomes I don’t like it. I don’t know how to counter your argument. You shut up. I call you Fascist; we all know that Fascism is unthinkable bad. That is what is meant by most people you hear using it. If the usage goes on long enough Fascism is unthinkable bad will become one of the actual meanings.

      *From the Oxford Dictionary (American English) Online:

      Deconstructionism, noun A method of critical analysis of philosophical and literary language that emphasizes the internal workings of language and conceptual systems, the relational quality of meaning, and the assumptions implicit in forms of expression.
      Deconstruction focuses on a text as such rather than as an expression of the author’s intention, stressing the limitlessness (or impossibility) of interpretation and rejecting the Western philosophical tradition of seeking certainty through reasoning by privileging certain types of interpretation and repressing others. It was effectively named and popularized by the French philosopher Jacques Derrida from the late 1960s and taken up particularly by US literary critics.

      • Gah.
        When people use words to both invoke emotion and obfuscate what they’re actually saying, they’re up to no good.
        It’s too bad it’s not considered socially acceptable to defenestrate them.

        Last week, I had a quack tell me that I “need to establish a relationship with my daughter”. I’m still pissed off about it.
        That was only one of a litany of her sins, of course. It came out as she was being defensive, after an initial attempt at dismissive contempt, which worked rather less well than she expected. I’d challenged her contention that she knew how my daughter thought, felt, and reacted better than I did. Especially given she’d never actually had any interaction with my daughter. And she was utterly disinterested in hearing that my child did not fit in the pigeonhole she was being assigned.
        I fricking hate quacks.

        And Marxists are even worse with their incessant “redefining” of terms.

        • And Marxists are even worse with their incessant “redefining” of terms.

          The manipulation of terms is often used to shape opinion and sell what would otherwise be unthinkable. How do you think that ‘worthless eaters’ became the overarching term for the infirm, the chronically ill and profoundly handicapped? It was for the good of the whole that they be eliminated. Now we are being encouraged to think of people in similar categories as ‘having lives not worth living.’ We are told it would be merciful to relieve them of the burden.

        • Eamon J. Cole

          Which sort of quack are you talking about? I’m curious about the details of who thought fit to lecture a father.

          • Epidemic in our public school system these days.
            I once had a vice principal get all up in my face over my insistence that younger son be tested for developmental issues. He went so far as to ask whether I really wanted the boy to be “labeled” which I believe I correctly interpreted as either slow or retarded. Luckily the wife was with me and had a firm grip on my right arm. Took all her strength to restrain me from my instinctive reflex to punch his lights out. Once I’d calmed down I informed the sumbeyatch that I didn’t care what his family might keep locked in a closet, the wife and I wanted to know the truth.
            First off, such testing is federally mandated, so if you ask they must provide it. School was just dragging their feet because it ate resources.
            As to the problem, kid was very bright, but functioned primarily on a verbal level. He did have an issue with being able to transfer verbal instructions to the written word. In short he sucked at taking notes. His verbal skills had carried him through fourth grade, but he hit a wall when he started fifth. Once we had the testing done there were exercises and a few accommodations that served to address and correct the problem.
            BTW he just turned 40 and is a very successful business owner.

            • Eamon J. Cole

              Once I’d calmed down I informed the sumbeyatch that I didn’t care what his family might keep locked in a closet, the wife and I wanted to know the truth.

              I’ll believe I’ll just jot this down.

          • In this case, a licensed social worker who does play therapy.

            The child has some issues with a lack of empathy. Using the role-playing shtick with a bit of professional guidance to work on that seemed appropriate.
            But that was not at all what the therapist had planned.
            First she decided on no evidence that the child has too much empathy. (Sure. That’s why she was kicking the dog and is completely oblivious to the emotional states of others. She’s just too sensitive!)
            Then the therapist declared that limitations and rules must removed from the child’s behavior, and that the child must be allowed to dictate events so that “power struggles” don’t occur. (That’s when I started bucking up. I am the parent. I have the power, and it is my responsibility to civilize my little barbarians. 🙂 Not to mention that my kids are pretty free-range. “Stay out of the ditch, stay off the highway, and take the dog.” are the types of rules I tend to impose.)

            • Eamon J. Cole

              Hm. Thanks for the broader picture. That is indeed, um — grumble worthy.

              Then the therapist declared that limitations and rules must removed from the child’s behavior, and that the child must be allowed to dictate events so that “power struggles” don’t occur.

              Right there is the sticking point for me. I thought this sort of nonsense had already been discredited. 😦

              • Sadly, because of lag time in education nonsense which has been thoroughly discredited my yet be practiced. This is especially so in professions where practitioners are lax about CPE requirements. The nonsense taught while in college often persists in practice for forty years, especially if there is no dramatic refutation (e.g., social workers end up in jail for promulgating the nonsense.)

                Ever stop to wonder how many Grade School science teachers are still pushing the “solar system” model of atomic structure?

                • “Ever stop to wonder how many Grade School science teachers are still pushing the “solar system” model of atomic structure?”

                  Almost all of them. A Grade Schooler’s brain has enough trouble dealing with the idea that everything around them is made up of atoms far too small to be seen, and that those atoms are in turn made up of even smaller particles. Try and tell them that those particles are actually smears of something that we don’t fully understand but know to be related to the probability of finding the particle at that particular location and that those smears are shaped by the interaction of every other particle in the universe and they’ll MEGO-lock faster than a wave function collapse.

                  The key to successful pedagogy is to create models that match the knowledge and mental state of the target. Once they understand the key concepts they can be taught a new, more accurate, model which will give them concepts necessary to learn more advanced things. There’s a reason every physics student in the world starts out playing with massless pulleys and frictionless planes in perfect vacuums (and spherical cows uniformly distributed with milk).

                  • My (younger) grade schooler explained the modern view to me and told me what I’d learned was wrong.

                    EH.

                    • Anyone who has been in theatre or otherwise had cause to “learn lines” knows that it is much harder when you learn something wrongly — you not only have to learn the proper phrasing, you have to unlearn the improper, and such erasures are never perfect.

                      The very ease of understanding the solar model of atomic structure ensures that many folk will never unlearn it and will reflexively and improperly employ it.

                      Admittedly most people’s inadequate comprehension of atomic dynamics will have little practical effect. A better example might be the dog’s breakfast made of teaching Darwinism in our High Schools, pushing a version that is not only inadequate, not only wrong but badly wrong (add to that the fact it is certain to be incompetently remembered long afterward.) People who imagine they know all they need to know about a topic rarely update their knowledge and will proceed subconsciously believing the twaddle they “learned” in school.

                      Or take a look at the utter crap feminists believe and are teaching, even after several decades of research have amply demonstrated that women and men are not interchangeable but that fundamental and profound differences exist between the two.

                    • Yes, but these are your kids we’re talking about. If we designed the educational system around them there would be a lot of 2nd grade dropouts.

                    • That’s a risk I’m willing to accept! (I wouldn’t have spent years trying to keep them interested in going to the prison-place. Okay, I’m a dumbass. I should have pulled them out.)

                    • You would be surprised at what children can learn.

                      How many kids do you think that learned the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States from School House Rock?

                    • In this case he’s right. Children that age trying to understand the modern model of the electron shell of an atom would be even more of a bad idea than teaching them the old solar system model. Attempts to explain it by teachers would have most of them thinking things like atoms being tiny cotton balls, or being like styrofoam peanuts, or any number of inaccurate assumptions. The majority of people who are ever going to need to understand better are likely to be able to set aside the old model in their heads and learn the new one anyway.

                    • The thing is, they don’t actually need to be taught squat about atomic structure, much less taught the wrong concept. They merely need to know that there is atomic structure, that it consists of sub-atomic particles (the widdle kids can even be taught the particles names) and that this will be a suitable subject for those of them who reach advanced education. They can even be told that (gasp) scientists aren’t sure what holds atoms together and that there are competing theories. Tell tham about Schoedinger’s cat (which raises the question: Why a cat? Why not a duck? For that matter, why not a bear — it would certainly make the opening of the box more interesting, and as we all know: some days you eat the bear, some days the bear eats you.)

                      But isn’t it better to teach them an accurate but incomplete truth — we don’t know — than an out and out lie?

                    • There’s a bit of difference between rote memorization of words and learning a concept that the most advanced theoretical physicists on the planet don’t fully understand.

                    • Advanced theoretical physics, no. That is something for later on. There are too many things along the line that they are failing to teach. They could and should make sure they cover essentials for learning other subjects — reading, writing and arithmetic. But how about the basic principles of physics? Quite possible:

                    • CACS: I enjoyed this program more. (Although the copy I got had subtitles)

                      (Goth Loli girl ends up on an island populated by the famous scientists of history, and can’t leave until she finally learns something. The portrayals of famous scientists are not meant to be accurate….)

                    • This: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRq-v4Gmzxg

                      Is the first part of a series of comprised of (IIRC) thirty-nine episodes, averaging five minutes each, covering the fundamental principles of Newtonian Physics in a manner accessible to most third-graders (Odd kids will devour in pre-school.)

                      There is a tremendous amount that can be done in such multi-media programming, making principles of science more accessible. There used to be (probably still is but I’m not going asearch the internet tonight) a series of programs by a group calling themselves The Standard Deviants, and I recall a terrific series of youtube videos on (IIRC, again) the basics of chemistry (long since lost the address.) Or search for videos from “Science Theater”, Veritasium, the Royal Institution, “Periodic Videos” and FavScientist.

                      Done right, Science is fun and it is red meat for kidlets who are inherently fascinated by the workings of the world.

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      I’m with RES on this one.

                      Some FYI note that anyone needs it. I just found it interesting.

                      Neuro-Plasticity shows that the brains ability to learn and form new pathway is greatest in the very young. The older you get the harder it becomes. 

                      And for some reason we hold off formal eduction till age 5 beceuse of some mistaken idea that older you are the more you will understand. 

                      An interesting read:

                      http://www.learning-knowledge.com/plasticity.html

                      There have been many a time that I been exposed to some bit of knowledge or skill and didn’t quite understand it. For what ever reason… lack of context… lack of perspective… what ever and sometime after, maybe years later, it just clicks and made sense. That understanding would not have been posible if I hadn’t been exposed to the information in the first place.

                      My2Cents

                    • most people talking about neuroplasticity are trying to tell you something. Usually, puzzle games to ‘exercise your brain’.

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      RIP Don Herbert your lifes work was in vain.

                      Draven,

                      Neuroscience is a frauded because some might use it to make buck.

                      That does not invalidate or refute my position.

                    • And for some reason we hold off formal eduction till age 5 beceuse of some mistaken idea that older you are the more you will understand.

                      I don’t think that’s the reason. I think it’s to ensure that almost all of the children are able to go to the bathroom by themselves, feed themselves at lunch time, etc.

                      That said, there are many things, at various ages, that MOST (obviously not all) children simply cannot grasp because their brains have not matured to the point of being able to comprehend yet. Example: understanding the volume of containers. It has been shown over and over that before a certain point, children cannot grasp the fact that a short fat container can contain more volume than a tall skinny one, no matter how many times they are shown it.

                    • It has been shown over and over that before a certain point, children cannot grasp the fact that a short fat container can contain more volume than a tall skinny one, no matter how many times they are shown it.

                      This is part of the why for the structure of the Montessori classroom. Much of the learning is done through guided exploration. For example, one of the stations will have various containers. The children get to pour contents from one to another. Overtime a child will, by personal observation, discover that volume is effected by breath as well as height of a container. Some children will own the idea faster than others. The ones who have can take their time on other activities.

                      I think that one of the things we don’t realize, because it does not occur in a formal setting, is that much of what a child is doing when we see play is learning. How to get muscles to cooperate when you want to stack items. How items stack, or don’t. How things and the people around us behave when a stack collapses. …

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      I’ve seen young children when given something will throw it to the ground and will do the same thing as long as the adults will give it back.

                      I’ve kidded that the child is performing a “scientific experiment” about “what happens if “he” throws something to the ground”. [Grin]

                    • More likely a behavioral experiment on how long the given adult will continue to pick the item up.

                    • *any of her kids at a year old*

                      *picks up object*

                      *chucks it*

                      *looks at nearest adult* “Uh-oh!”

                      *huge grin*

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Yep, they love to see how the adults will react. [Grin]

                    • Overtime a child will, by personal observation, discover that volume is effected by breath as well as height of a container.

                      Not until their brains are ready for it. Waiting until a later age, they understand immediately, even if they have never been shown before. People will use examples of extreme outliers to “disprove” this, but it’s like the fact that, on average, men and women have different abilities in math or language: While there are exceptions, the rule holds for far more than a simple majority.

                    • This is called concrete operational and speaking of outliers, one of my sons still has issues with this.

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      Wayne,

                      At what age is this point?

                      And how would you determine if an individual child has reached it?

                      By the way understanding the math/ geometry of Volume is one thing precieving it visualy is another. And the visual perception problem on volume you never out grow. It’s one of them cognitive biases that you can learn to look out for.

                      http://www.idahostatesman.com/2014/03/10/3072815/centurylink-o-change-beer-cups.html

                      For “lies to children”; which is what we are talking about, to work you have to inform them that it is a lie, that it is only there as a stepping stone. But all to often we don’t inform them of the lie or follow up to ensure that they lerned the correct way of looking at the problem.

                      Teach the truth. Test for comprehension. Then if there is a lack of comprehension, figure out why and try to compensate for it, if not ready move on.

                      The lie to children shouldn’t be the first option (IMO).

                    • I see that my memory of the specifics was a little off. It’s not merely comparing volume between two different containers, it’s understanding that volume doesn’t change when going from one container to another:

                      http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=37677&cn=1272

                      See the bottom of the page, under “conservation”.

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      Wayne,

                      From the introduction from you link:

                      “The stage-by-stage nature of Piaget’s theory, with each stage linked to an age group for whom the stage is typical, strongly suggests to many people that at a particular age, children are supposed to be functioning at a particular stage. It’s important to keep in mind that Piaget’s theory is intended to talk about how an average child might be functioning at a particular age; it is not a pronouncement about how any particular individual child should be functioning. Children develop uniquely and at their own pace depending upon their temperament (the inherited component of their personalities), genetic makeup, supports available to them in their environments, and their learning experiences. Different children will show mastery of specific operations sooner than will others, or display them in some situations but not in others. Newer research also shows that context affects children’s abilities as well. Most children will display more advanced operations when in familiar or mandatory environments (e.g., at school, working on school tasks). They may tend to become confused and perform more poorly when confronted with novel situations.”

                      A warning because often these theories are used to pigeon whole kids into age groups. Instead of getting to know the individual kids educational needs.

                    • A significant portion of that warning is a caution not to expect children to be able to do something by a certain age, NOT that they are likely to be able to do it EARLIER.

                    • Given: Some things just don’t happen before a certain age. I have yet to hear anyone proclaim, not even the most fancifully indulgent of grandmamas, ‘The little darling sat up all by himself at three weeks!’

                      At the same time, it is recognized that not mastering certain basic skills by a certain age is a sign of a problem. Proper identification of the problem then becomes the issue. Some children who have not mastered grade level reading at eight need the help of a reading tutor. Others simply need the services of a skilled optometrist. A couple will need more time to develop. A few will never be able to read, which may have nothing to do with a lack of intelligence, but everything to do with processing issues.

                    • True, but what I’m referring to here is the futility of trying to train a child in something their brains have not yet developed the capacity to grasp, and something which may well be counterproductive, by making them dislike the subject because they get frustrated.

                      When to decide that some sort of intervention or special handling is needed is another matter entirely.

                    • I don’t think this is a disagreement. I think we are on parallel tracks. I agree with you, particularly regarding the futility and possible counter productiveness issues.

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      Wayne,

                      How about sitting bored out of your mind on a class because that is the grade you are supoosed to be in.

                      I’m not suggesting beating your heading against a wall  trying to teach something they demonstratively have shown an ability to learn.

                      But I do think it is criminal to play statistical average and treat our kids as interchangeable widgets rather than  individual they are.

                      We should testing and challenging our children’s horizons. Not limiting them based on some perceived limittation that might or might not be true for them.

                      Should we only teach to the meadian of those at the top of the bell curve. Some are going to need special attention wether that is help learning things they are having a hard time with, and some are going to need chalanging because they have moved beyound where their peers are at.

                      The only way to do this is to test and monitor the students as individuals. Yes you can look to the adverages as a base line to start, but the model and the adverages are not the individual student infront of the teacher.

                      Instead of worring about failing because we tried something. We can also fail because we didn’t try something. A failure to learn something today is not perminent. There always the opportunint to learn it tomorrow or when you are ready. Failure to learn at the earliest opportunity is a wasted opportunity.

                      Instead of worring about wasting the teachers time how about the students?

                      🙂

                    • First of all, you’ve lost sight of the fact that this was started in response to a specific complaint, that of how atomic theory is taught. Demonstrating that there are things that the vast majority of children need to mature further before even thinking about introducing certain concepts was the entire purpose of my comments in this thread. You have expanded beyond the boundaries of my commentary and started arguing against them as if they were intended to prescribe a general methodology, which they were most emphatically not.

                      Regarding your statements here about tailoring a child’s education to their specific needs, by all means, homeschool. That’s the only way that such can be addressed for all ranges of development, until computers can be taught how to test the children and adjust the curriculum accordingly. I would love to see this country able to homeschool all of its children, but I simply don’t see it being possible in the near future.

                      Public schools have to have a tradeoff between being able to teach as many students as possible and being able to reach the students who fall outside the norm. It can’t be a perfect system. Can it be vastly better than it is now? Absolutely. But there isn’t time in the day for a teacher to adjust curricula on a per-student basis.

                    • … this was started in response to a specific complaint, that of how atomic theory is taught.

                      I believe that if you review the tape you will find that the pedagogy of how atomic theory is taught was merely used as an off the cuff example of how what is taught thirty, forty years ago and disproved twenty, thirty years ago still remains in the intellectual bloodstream, sorta like the impurities in last night’s booze remain in your liver today and the THC from last month’s reefer madness lingers in your fat today.

                      I might more accurately have cited (and indeed, believe I did reference) the hash that has been made of Darwin’s theories, but opted for the simpler and more immediately visual image instead, so blame me for an inapt example but focus on the main point, not the bunny trail. We aren’t out here to hunt wabbits.

                      And, of course, the atomic theory example, for all its flaws, contains an essential truth: we are deliberately teaching children Falsehoods rather than admitting an inability to explain (or understand) Truth. Shucks, we might as well be telling them babies are found under leaves in the cabbage patch or brought by storks.

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      Wayne,

                      Sorry for any confusion cased on my part.

                      The argument as I see it. Was the validity of the “Lie to Children” as a teaching method. ‘Kids can’t know something’ is a declaritive statement and justification without verification to see if it’s true for the individual child under consideration.

                      I didn’t mean for the focus to shift to public school. I only brought up public school as an example of how lies to children goes wrong. That the outliers are not well served. (And to be completely honest take a dig at public schools too.)

                      As RES brought up, if it isn’t pointed out that it is a lie to children and not the truth as it is actually understood, then it is often excepted as the truth and not as the stepping stone to better understandin.

                      The map is not the teritory. A lie to children is not the truth.

                      The map in this case is a model that states children learn in stages, and often is not representative of the actual terrain, the individual child.
                      (A lie to children that adults tell themselves.) Just as the false incomplete model of atomic stucture is not the true understanding of how quantum mechanics is understood it’s a lie that without follow up can be seen as the truth.
                      We often confuse are mental model or statistical models with reality/truth.

                      If you want to know the outcome of an event, you actually have to test to see what happens. If not your just gambling play statistical games. Take a look at some of the estaimsted age ranges given in the verious stages. We are talking estimates measured in years. Children grow an develope fast. A single year is a sinificant period of time, let a lone 2 or 3, in a childs development. That’s years you don’t get back if you guess wrong or just play the averages.

                      So, I didn’t lose track. I just moved beyond the lie to children to looking for the deeper truth.

                      Yes, there are trade off’s and considerations public schools have to make. That was’t underdespute.

                      Don’t confuse the lie to children as actually teaching the things under consideration.

                      A lie to chidren has it’s place if it leads to better understanding. If not, it can become’s a problem. But offten it’s just a crutch so we don’t have to try teach the more complicated subject matter. Oh they’re to young to understand, now we feel justified not even making the attempted. 

                      Plus the Piaget’s Concrete Operations & Conservation are only small parts of one of competing Theories of Child Cognitive development.

                      http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=7920&

                      The whole site that you linked to been interesting. I’m more in the Continues Development camp though.

                      (Have we beat this subject into the ground yet. I can be like a dog with a bone. So let me know if this becomes tiring.  🙂 )

                    • At this point, I’m too lost in the woods to know how to clearly articulate what I’m trying to say, so I’m going to have to back away from the subject and say that I agree with RES that actual lying to children shouldn’t be done, and that there are probably better ways to teach some subjects than are currently done, but I would question whether the label “lying” should be applied to teaching an outmoded model that is at least more understandable than whatever is currently the most common explanation for it, if it at least bears a passing resemblance to that explanation.

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      Wayne,

                      http://wiki.lspace.org/mediawiki/index.php/Lies-To-Children

                      An other good on is “Lies to Wife” – When she asks, “Honey, do I look fat in this?”

                      Sarah our estemed hostess is fond of , “Lies to Readers.”

                      And there are other lies we tell for suposed good reasons.

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      Correction:
                      I’m not suggesting beating your heading against a wall  trying to teach something they demonstratively have shown an [in]ability to learn

                    • And, as we all know, sometimes the test is borked.

                    • Our formal educational settings require kids to be able to sit down and listen for extended periods of time. This is something that few younger children do very well.

                      Working with underprivileged children Maria Montessori developed a class room setting designed for how younger children learn. It has a home-like setting, with learning stations around the class room. If you are not familiar with how it works, it would appear rather chaotic. This requires a different way of facilitating (presenting, guiding and monitoring) by the teachers.

                      I believe that at least one Scandinavian system starts later than we do, but that their students catch-up and surpass us in core subjects in a short period of time. Admittedly, some of this may be due to the difference in the overall cultural expectations.

                      Successful education is not the result of time served, but how that time is served. With the present theories of pedagogy, our public schools are having trouble producing students who have mastered the basics. Without addressing what has led to the present failures, I don’t think that giving the schools more time with children would help anyone. Well, maybe the unions and the politicians that they support … but that is for another thread.

                    • By the time Robert entered school, he was up to middle school level and writing fanfic (Winnie the Pooh fanfic. Hey, he was five!) How? Well… Magic school bus computer games and the fact we talked constantly.
                      I don’t know where Marsh was because a) he’s not verbal. b) he likes hiding stuff from us, otherwise known as secretive as heck — but I suspect around the same point.

                    • We are unaware of when The Daughter first could read. Although she had severe articulation issues and was secretive by nature, I suspect, in part because of how she revealed that she could read, that she simply hadn’t realize it was something she needed to let us know. She had apparently assumed we just knew.

                      Winnie the Pooh fanfic? Oh, I so hope you saved it.

                    • we presented it as evidence he was gifted to try to get him into the writing program. They never gave it back. :/

                    • Noooo. 😦

                    • I know. We tried to get it back several times…

                    • Did they, at least, let him into the program?

                    • Yeah. He was a kindergartner and they balked at putting him in a creative writing program with fourth graders. The program was frankly a little behind him, so he took over in short order. But he was so AWFULLY bored in kindergarten. That goes in my file of “I shouldof” and “Couldof” You know, if I hadn’t had pneumonia when he was four and Marsh 1 and taken two years to fully be up to strength, we probably WOULD have homeschooled. Ah, well.

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      Sarah,

                      Sorry if I stuck my foot in my mouth on the hoomschool front before.

                      I’m still learning to butt out and mine my own business. Having an opinion on something doesn’t mean I have to express it.

                      😦

                    • Well, Marsh had a severe speech issue, which made it hard for him to talk, so he grew up the strong, silent type. He talks, but only when needed.
                      I KNOW he was reading fluently at six because my mysteries kept changing places on the bookshelf. He knew how to read, but he’d never learned the alphabet in order.

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      CACS,

                      By formal I was thinking mire along the lines of public.

                      The Montessori School our what I was kind of getting at. I like the system very much,and can be applied to a home school setting or home school co-op too.

                      Start earlier finnish earlier. Use mid to late teens as a buffer to experiment. Start small business, Or College. Find mentors, take paid and unpaid internships. Travel  a little bit see the world.

                      Just a thought.
                      😉

              • It has, but not everyone has gotten the message yet.

      • Sometimes it’s nice being married to a History/English major, because then he can say things like this: “HOAs are fascist by definition; they have public control of theoretically private property.”

        IOW, he understands the actual meaning of words and their historical context, and applies them correctly. And not just because he hates HOAs… 😀

        • For those of us that are… um… challenged; what is an HOA?

          • Homeowner’s Association, the little fascist organizations that infest some suburban communities

            • I have never understood why people would be willing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for a place, and then let someone else tell them what they can do with it. It boggles the mind.

              • Probably because they want to be able to tell other people, via the HOA, what those other people can and can’t do with their place (e.g., the oft-quoted — but rarely seen in practice — threat of rusted pickups on blocks on the front lawn). And for the sake of maintaining that power over others, they willingly grant others the same power over them. The impulse to be a tyrant (“if only I could MAKE them do the right thing”, for varying definitions of “right thing” and even of “them”) can be found in just about every human being — including me, though I try hard to remember what the consequences would be should I indulge that impulse.

                • From my experience, those who would leave a rig up on blocks permanently (rather than just until they got the parts needed and the time to install them) are too lazy to put them up on blocks in the first place. They will just leave them parked wherever they are; until the tires rot away.

                • Josh A. Kruschke

                  Robin,

                  The State is [HOA’s are] that great fiction by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else.”

                  – Frédéric Bastiat

                • Rusted pick-upsm no, but, when in Tennesse, there was a rusted Edsel on blocks on a front lawn that I passed everyday. Later, in North Carolina, the husband of a fellow worker of The Spouse’s worked on cars in front of his house. Some of the cars tooks him months to repair.

              • It for the reassurance that they will be able to expect their neighbors held to a standard.

                It can be easier to have the association explain to your new neighbors that the six cars on cinder blocks at various levels of repair/disrepair are not considered appropriate artistic ornaments for the front yard.

                • It can be easier to have the association explain to your new neighbors …

                  There’s a line I vaguely remember, but I don’t remember if it was in a Heinlein novel, or in Darkship Thieves or Renegades. Something about how a jury trial for murder was just a way of spreading the responsibility out among twelve people so that no one person felt the whole weight of sentencing someone to death. Seems like a similar principle applies here: the HOA is a way of hiding behind other people when you don’t want to take responsibility yourself.

                  • Seems like a similar principle applies here: the HOA is a way of hiding behind other people when you don’t want to take responsibility yourself.

                    “Taking responsibility” doesn’t matter for much when the neighbor who is burning used diapers in his front lawn, next to your property line, just tells you to “go molest yourself, you incestuous fornicator.”

              • Those cases where I’ve seen HOAs formed, they weren’t willing. The HOA was formed by abusing rules about how many people show up to vote…over, and over, and over. With various levels of the flyers being “lost.”

                It’s a little like unions. In some places and times, they were useful. They’re just Libertarian zoning laws.
                The abuses, though….

      • Josh A. Kruschke

        CACS,

        Agreed!

        The extreme opposite of Deconstructionism is Dogmatism though. Just as you can’t have meanigful comunication (if we are defining communication as the exchange of ideas) with out comming to a consensus of the meaning of the words we use. We can’t have an conversation or exchange of ideas with at lest trying to understand the othersides point. This doesn’t mean you have to agree with it or condone it.

        Communication is a two way street. If the flow of information is only going one direction that is not communication but a lecture.

        That why I framed the process in two parts. First a check of context then a check against common usage. Then if there is still confusion asking of clarifing questions.

        This doesn’t, if they are using the word out of the most widely used context, we can’t point out that the word has a more common meaning and their use of the word outside that understanding is confusing. That if they want to be more clearly understood use it this way. If the word has several common usages, and they say they are using it to mean one of them then accept that is how they are using it and move on.

        Which is what I’m going to be doing. nolonger going to get into nuanced battles over niggling little details.

    • Josh,

      Bill rarely reads comments here. He has a demanding day job. That’s why he doesn’t answer comments here. The last time he answered and to my knowledge read comments here was when we had an egregious communist posting and he ripped her a new one and tossed the carcass aside. Last time he posted here, I read him the complimentary comments over the phone, because he didn’t want to get caught in the comment morass.
      This refers to friends of his with whom he’s had the argument and I’m sure he has no clue who you are.

      • Josh A. Kruschke

        Sarah,

        Fair enough. It seemed to mirror the last blow up that I had on this site.

        I appologize for any confusion that this has caused on my part.

    • Others have addressed the issue of bill referring to you or not, so I’ll ignore it.

      The problem with public opinions of the meaning of words comes into play when one tries to communicate to someone whose opinion of the meaning is so out of whack with the meaning that a person is trying to convey, that they have a complete misunderstanding of what is being communicated.

      We had a long discussion a few weeks ago with someone about how the current popular meaning of the term, “feminism” is not what it was a few decades ago, nor the one in the dictionary. She was saying she was a feminist, but details indicated that she was what I would refer to as a “classical feminist”. We were trying to explain that by calling herself a feminist, she was telling most people, without realizing it, that she was one of the modern, GHH-style radical feminists, rather than what she actually was, which is the “classical feminist” as I said above.

      Likewise, if you define libertarian as “Fiscally Conservative, Socially Liberal”, then you are telling most people that your social outlook is the radical, Hyper-Left, Government-over-all type, instead of what you actually intended to say.

      • Josh A. Kruschke

        Wayne,

        I get that if I use a word and give it a non-standard definition and the context of use doesn’t make it clear I’m doing this, that I’m coneying an unintended message. The one conveying infirmation should try to make his message as clear as possible and the reader/listener should make an effort to place the words used into the contect of the message.

        Both have some responsibility for understanding of the context of comunication. Active Listing and Reading Comprehension are valid and integral parts of comunication.

        • Both have some responsibility for understanding of the context of comunication. Active Listing and Reading Comprehension are valid and integral parts of comunication.

          Oh, absolutely! My main concern with such things has less to do with individual comprehension on the part of those who aren’t trying to understand, than it is with political opinion, statistical measurements, and such. That is to say, I’m concerned how many people who are nominal allies in the culture wars are being counted as being on the other side, simply because of hanging onto older definitions, when those definitions have been changed in the minds of many as the goalposts get moved around and the Progressives take over words and phrases.

          It would matter less if the media and most of publishing were not complicit, so that enough people could be heard correcting the false meanings, but the landscape isn’t currently like that.

          • Josh A. Kruschke

            Wayne,

            Fair enough, but untill the we have bult under or regained control academia, media and the like all we can do is work on not letting their use of obfuscation turn us into useful idiots ourselves. All we can do is promote independence of thought in those around us in our spheres of influance.

  12. In my mind everything you say is nothing more than common sense, intuitively obvious to the casual observer, a “well duh!” set of statements.
    Which does help explain why I have been somewhat frustrated my entire life with my fellow citizens.
    Why on earth can they not see the truth in front of them? It’s not intelligence per se, I have belonged to Mensa in the past and that organization is rife with folks who pride themselves on being the sort of social liberal you so aptly describe. Main reason I no longer participate, got weary of the politics in what was ostensibly a social organization.

    • Bill used to be in Mensa too, so I suspect he’d nod along, if he read this. (I’ll read it to him later.)

    • I have a friend in Mensa who spent years trying to get me to join. When I finally said I had no interest in belonging to a group the majority of whose members cannot seem to function day to day she admitted it was a true observation of the membership.

      Mensa: For people so smart they don’t have to bother to actually doing something with like.

      • Mensa: For people smart enough to pass the test and dumb enough to think being in Mensa matters.

    • What do you call a Bugatti Veyron with my grandmother behind the wheel? A slow car. It’s not just the horsepower that’s important, it’s also the will to use it. You can have an IQ that registers as TILT, but if you refuse to think about a topic and just swallow someone’s dogma whole you are an idiot.

  13. Just as people who argue that “irony” should only be used in the strict theatrical sense are wrong, you too are wrong.

    Now here we’re going to have to part ways not because you’re wrong about the use of words having primacy but the devaluing of language in general by the type of drift created when irony becomes yet another word meaning unlucky or serendipity.

    English is one of the richest languages in the world due to both its own efforts as well as its ruthless theft from other languages. When we have unlucky, serendipity, inappropriate, mismatched, and dozens of other words to describe the events of a certain pop single it is sad to cram them all into one word that occasionally is appropriate.

    We have a similar case in describing women. Women who are physically appealing have been reduced to hot in much English discourse while their less appealing sisters are now only ugly. Handsome broads, plain girls, striking women, lovely ladies, cute girls, stunning women, pretty girls, and all their brethren have given way to naught but hot chicks and ugly women.

    This is different to what has happened to liberal. The political world still has a rich language of distinction despite the efforts of leftists to limit it to progressive and fascist. We have liberal which is synonymous with progress, socialist which is a communist without a gun, fascist which is a communist who puts national solidarity over worker solidarity, conservative which means different things in the UK and America, anarchist, and so on. That’s lots of different terms with plenty of nuance not yet squeezed out of them.

    Instead of surrendering to the efforts of the leftists to squeeze that nuance out as they work to create newspeak by default we need to counter-attack against hot and irony and restore the richness of the words we use. Leaving us with ironic hot chicks was the vanguard of leaving us with only progressives and fascists.

    • It all depends upon whether you’re a prescriptivist or a descriptivist, truly. And the world of discourse would be a much nicer place if people understood the difference between denotation (the actual dictionary definition) and connotation (the emotional weight). I tend to stay out of discussions entirely if people cannot agree on the basic premises (yes, I’m THAT commenter, the one trying to get people to agree on definitions before moving forward.)

      • If it is clear that people are trying to muddy the waters while I try to gain coherence on definitions, I shake the dust from my feet and move on. THAT is the kind of commentor I am.

      • Dawn Dreams

        Oh, so agreeing here.

      • (yes, I’m THAT commenter, the one trying to get people to agree on definitions before moving forward.)

        Same here. When I try to bring that into a conversation, the Leftist invariably tries to say I’m derailing the conversation, because “everyone should know what those terms mean.” (ergo “You’re keeping me from trying to move the goalposts!”)

        So instead, I use their own definitions against them >:-D

    • P.S. People don’t understand why I object to being called “pretty.” I will accept many positive comments about my looks, but “pretty” is a specific subset that I don’t feel applies to me. (My favorite description is actually “strapping” because I am proud of my strength. 😉 )

      • It all depends upon whether you’re a prescriptivist or a descriptivist, truly.

        I will accept many positive comments about my looks, but “pretty” is a specific subset that I don’t feel applies to me.

        Now I’m confused as to what you’re saying in response to me.

        My complaint is that historically we had a broad set of terms in common usage to describe women physically although I emphasized the positive terms while my observation of usage indicates more and more hot is the universal positive term In my analysis I’m acting in a descriptivist manner by looking at how words are used. However, in advocating to combat this by restoring to usage, and arguably restoring emotional weight, to the broader selection of terms I’m clearly engaging in a form of prescriptivism although arguably a weak one.

        I’m arguing that in a form of contraction all the connotations of handsome, pretty, cute, striking, stunning, lovely, strapping (thanks for the addition although it’s not one I’ve generally associated with women in all honesty), sexy, and so on have been crammed into one word hot. Similarly the connotations of a whole host of words have been crammed into irony. I believe this reduces our ability to communicate nuance and creating atheistically pleasing expression of our ideas. I then argue for a prescriptive push back to regain that breadth of expression.

        By your post-script you seem to at least be open to the prescriptivist camp by rejecting pretty due to specific connotations. My argument is just one level deeper in that we’ve allowed that connotation to be pushed into one word, hot, at the expense of pretty. I’ve seen some evidence that pretty, for a term when I was a kid, was a similar one stop shop although it seems to have been rejected in favor of hot.

        Does that clarify things?

        • Like many people, I’m not completely one thing or another. Most of the time, I’ll accept a definition as long as it is commonly agreed upon (though grammatical shifts such as the misuse of the word “literally” drive me up the wall.)

          I certainly agree that reduction of many terms into one catch-all is a loss to the language, though. Different terms have different meanings, and using just one means we only have one meaning to fall back on.

      • People don’t understand why I object to being called “pretty.”

        One of the girls in my High School graduating class who wrote a note in my yearbook described me as “sweet”. My mother was offended by that. I think because she thought it insulted my masculinity.

      • So you’re the purty, strapping gal? 😉

        Actually you look kinda hawkish, to me.

    • waltpimbley

      “…fascist which is a communist who puts national solidarity over worker solidarity…”

      Fascists were Leftists for sure, but don’t get the rest. Has Castro kept his promises to Cuba’s “working classes” any better than Mussolini did to Italy’s?

      • I was trying to phrase it to emphasize their interest in national revolution and pre-eminence over the international. Fascists don’t export communism so other communists can take over their nation. They conqueror other nations to rule as colonies.

        In the end there isn’t much practical difference but if you know anything about communists they’re all about hairsplitting theoretical disputes. They make theologians look like people who ignore all the details by comparison..

    • I recommend C. S. Lewis’s Studies in Words for anyone who wants to consider the problem.

  14. John C Wright

    May I suggest “fiscally conservative and socially federalist” Meaning that social decisions should take place at the lowest possible level of society, closest to the citizen: individual rather than municipal; municipal rather than county; county rather than state; and federal decisions should only concern those powers clearly enumerated and assigned to the federal government by the states and by the people in our instrument the Constitution: and since none of these has the remotest application to social issues, in effect, the federal government is forbidden from interfering with state, local, and individual decisions on the matter.

    Then you would only need one more word, like ‘classical liberal’ or ‘socially libertarian’ or ‘leave me the hell alone’ to describe that you would like the state and local governments not to interfere with self-intoxication or fornication or perversion decisions, but leave those up to the individual conscience or lack thereof.

    • As important as language and labels are, the real change is in actions. For instance, Glenn Beck, who describes himself as libertarian, is raising money to help the unaccompanied alien children at the border. One of the Ace of Spades bloggers said this in response: “…doesn’t the responsibility of caring for the illegal immigrant children fall on the federal government?”

      So you have one person acting on his beliefs, whatever you may think of them, and another arguing about the correct course of action. both may claim to be libertarian, but in the end, how each acts, and which has the greater impact, will win the language war. Liberals (in the progressive sense) love to trumpet the wrongdoings of conservatives for this reason. And it’s also the reason why the progressive movement has to change its name periodically.

    • Oooh, that’s a handy way to put it… I’ll have to think on it a bit more before I consider spreading it. 😀

    • Personally, I go with ‘fiscally conservative, socially equalist and socially responsible,” for myself.

      Yours seems like a nicer formal definition though.

  15. A person can be libertarian and deeply socially conservative… it’s not got anything to do with your particular ideas about right and wrong and everything to do with whether you think the proper role of government is to enforce your version of morality… to prohibit what you view as wrong and to require what you view as right.

    What we have now is an assumption that requiring what you view as right is assumed… the laundry list of what it is right for people to be accepting of, must be required, enforced, and otherwise made to happen. There is no “I don’t support that, don’t want to be involved in that, am not going to celebrate that,” that is answered with “Well, obviously, that’s up to you.”

    • Pre-zactly. “If you support smaller government, then you must support [social cause frequently imposed by large government] too.” And they call you a hypocrite when you say, “No. I don’t approve of [social cause]. But that’s your business, not the government’s or mine, unless you try to shove [cause] in my nose.”

      Like Kate says, after I take over the world, I’ll tell everyone my opinion and then ruthlessly leave people alone.

    • You just described me. I generally describe myself as; politically libertarian, personally conservative, or something to that effect when trying to explain it. It is highly irritating to have to constantly explain that just because I don’t care what you do, and who you do it with, (or at worst, don’t believe I have the right to Tell you what you can do, or with who), that does not make me libertine. By definition be a libertarian means you can be EITHER conservative or liberal on any or all issues, IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT YOU BELIEVE, AS LONG AS YOU DON’T TRY TO FORCE YOUR BELIEFS ON OTHERS!

      • I’m not deeply conservative — personally — but I am. What I mean is, you know, I don’t sleep around, I hold to principles of honesty and thrift, unless I’m sampling Speaker’s scotch I have a glass of wine with dinner twice a month. We raised our kids to be hard worker and honest… etc. because that’s the standard I hold myself to. BUT it’s neither my duty nor my right to IMPOSE it on anyone else. Advice is a different thing, and if asked I give advice consistent with my principles. But I’m not the boss of anyone, except my kids and only because they live in my house. Oh, and myself (I work for myself, and the boss is a right b*tch.)

  16. How about Localist?
    I want my government done locally. I want to be able to drive over to the county commissioner’s house and tell him he’s being a fool when he is. Since he’s human, there will be times he will be a fool.

  17. I solve the problem of label by classifying myself as a Crank. It has the merit of warning people in advance that I won’t spout the usual platitudes, and don’t give a fat damn if they are offended.

  18. Here’s the problem. As I was writing my rebuttal it suddenly fell on me that “Socially liberal” doesn’t mean what it used to. It used to mean — well, in any case, it used to be plausibly interpretable as — wanting the government to be uninvolved in social matters.

    Oooh, well said… and it triggers me to going “hey, that makes a lot of sense if you look at the world as either “individuals” or “gov’t,” with no voluntary association of individuals — including businesses — allowed in there. (Because if there are two or more of you, you’d better either have gov’t authority or you’re nothing.)

    • Josh A. Kruschke

      Voluntary Association OK.

      Forced Association Not OK.

      Progs (and some religious persons) believe they have the right to force people in line with their morality.

      • Problem: some folks think that reality shouldn’t be able to “force” associations– and a smaller group don’t believe that even voluntary agreements should be able to “force” an association. (Most common example, they believe that THEY should get to decide if something is involuntary or not.)

        Probably the simplest example is children, although the specific examples tend to be flame bait.

        • Josh A. Kruschke

          Foxfier,
          Yes! But reality will assert itself whether or not you believe it to be so or not, and it is a personal problem if they believe life is fair.

          🙂

          • While I agree with the sentiment, strongly even, I’ve been bitten WAY too often by someone else’s refusal to believe in reality– so their personal problem causes real problems for me.

            Simplest example: you HAVE noticed how many bicyclists believe their moral superiority overwhelms physics, right? Or how many people in trucks or large autos think the physics involved are identical to a small sports car?

            • Josh A. Kruschke

              Foxfier,

              You can’t control what other people do, you can only control what you do.

              They think that passing a law solves a problem and it doesn’t.

              People being an asshat on the road passing a law doesn’t fix that.

              The nature of conflict is when we have two or more people in contact they are going to cone into conflict over something. Which is where the none aggression principle comes into play and our right to self-defense. We should not initiate force onto others but we have the right to defend ourselves.

              Those people you have given as example are intruding on your life and you have the right to set boundries, but you don’t have the right to force them to do what you want when it doesn’t effect or have an affect on your life directly. (IMO)

              I’m not sure if I’m making myself clearer or mudding the water further.

              Sorry.

              • You can’t control what other people do, you can only control what you do.

                That doesn’t mean that their “personal problem” isn’t my actual problem.

                They think that passing a law solves a problem and it doesn’t.

                I don’t think you’re accurately describing the process.

                Passing a law is step one; enforcing it is step two. This can improve a situation.

                There might be people who think that passing a law solves a problem, but they’re unlikely to be correctly identifying a problem.

                We should not initiate force onto others but we have the right to defend ourselves.

                By what right do you force your morality on everyone else?

                Those people you have given as example are intruding on your life and you have the right to set boundaries, but you don’t have the right to force them to do what you want when it doesn’t effect or have an affect on your life directly. (IMO)

                I chose those examples because they are fairly simple; one doesn’t use illustrations that are obscure, after all.

                Who gets to define “defense,” “force” and “harm”?
                Even “direct harm”– I have heard people make the argument, seriously, that rape is not harm unless there is actual damage done. Because “sex” is not an inherently harmful thing and a raped woman who does not become pregnant, get an STD or suffer damage is thus not harmed. No, they were not insane, at least not in the “something in the brain is broken” way. They just had vastly different viewpoints*.

                I understand the theory. I think it’s a lovely, elegant theory. You’re explaining it fine.
                I just notice that part of the appeal is that it can mean almost anything to almost anyone, and when you actually get a dozen folks who all strongly support it to describe exactly how it applies, they no longer agree with each other.

                *yes, this means that– rather ironically– libertarianism would work great if applied to a population that was uniform, and would stay that way

                • Josh A. Kruschke

                  Foxfier,

                  Oopsy

                  I never did get around to replying to this, but I think I cover the points in other replies.

                  Sorry

              • And what happens when someone decides to ignore your boundaries?

                Anarchy – in any of its incarnations – is nothing more than feudalism via the scenic route.

                • Josh A. Kruschke

                  Jeff,

                  We discuss it, and if needed and we feel that it is seious enough we go to war over it. How is it considered morally superior to get some third party to do your fighting and dying for you.

                  Do it my way or I’ll get the state to force you to do it.

                  • Josh A. Kruschke

                    P.S. that third party always your friend right up until they descide you’re the but of the joke.

                  • How quaint that you think an aggressor is going to give you time to discuss anything. Anarchists have a grasp of reality even less tenuous than that of Progressives.

                    Because war isn’t unique. Professionals have a distinct advantage over amateurs. One of the dumbest ideas the Founders held on to was that the state militias could effectively defend the country* (it wasn’t the militias at Lexington and Concord that prevented the British from achieving their mission). Fortunately for us, we learned our lesson after the War of 1812 and the British at the time were focused on dealing with Napoleon.

                    You pay professional farmers to grow your corn, professional ranchers to grow your beef, and professional technicians to provide you with power. Why not hire professionals to defend you?

                    Anarchy also ignores moral hazard. What do you do if someone hires you to dig a ditch and then refuses to pay? Demand money up front? Then flip it around: You hire someone to dig a ditch for you, they demand money up front, you pay, they disappear.

                    *Not that militias don’t have their place. They’re a useful counterweight to a standing army, and Morgan used them (mostly their reputation for running the hell away) to good effect at Cowpens.

                    • *Not that militias don’t have their place. They’re a useful counterweight to a standing army, and Morgan used them (mostly their reputation for running the hell away) to good effect at Cowpens.

                      They also make it so that invading armies cannot assume that only professionals will resist the invasion.

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      Jeff,

                      Sorry, there is some confusion by my use of the word discuss. And that is my fault for using it in a non-standard way.

                      Sorry, I use ‘discussing something’ to encompass all forms if despute resolutions including force.

                      Conflict is communication. An agressor is communicating they want something from you, and it’s your job to communicate back to them why that isn’t a good idea and to stop them, if you descide to not too just give them what they want. (Resist or Capitulation: your two options.)

                      Again sorry for the confusion. 

                      “You pay professional farmers to grow your corn, professional ranchers to grow your beef, and professional technicians to provide you with power. Why not hire professionals to defend you?”

                      1) This assumes that under anarchistic system their can be no professional solders, army or security specialists.

                      2) You can teach, and we use to do so, basic marksmanship in High School. On that note everything that is taught in basic training can be taught at the high school level (and IMO should be.).

                      3) When our FF’s talk about the Militia their often using two at the time understood meanings
                      a) An armed populace able to take up arms in their defense. and…
                      b) Organized state militia’s that trained together. Often ran by “ex-” professional solders from other armies. What was one of the reasons Japan descide it would be a bad Idea to invaded the US mainland? Also what professional colonel army at Lexington and Concord are you talking about? There were some ‘Ex’- Professional Officers in charge that was all.

                      http://militaryhistory.about.com/od/americanrevolution/p/lexconcord.htm

                    • And when those armed populations took up arms in their defense against the professional British Army they were routed. Nearly every time. There’s more to infantry thank marksmanship, it was true in the 18th century and it’s even more true today. That’s why nobody goes to an infantry unit straight out of boot camp. Every goundpounder first goes to Advanced Infantry Training to learn all the things not taught in boot camp, and then they’re placed under the command (and continuous training) of commissioned and non-commissioned officers who have the better part of a century of combined experience. You cannot replicate that in a militia environment, and the only way a militia will defeat a professional army is if the professionals do something stupid. The only thing an armed populace does is dramatically raise the costs of invasion.

                      The Japanese didn’t invade because they were afraid of our armed population. They didn’t invade because they lacked the ability to project power across the Pacific (Pearl Harbor was at the extreme range of what the IJN could do – indeed one reasons PACFLT was put there was because it was thought to be outside Japan’s striking capability. Nagumo had to choose between launching a third strike against Pearl’s fuel and repair facilities or abandoning most of his destroyers for lack of fuel.) and because they had no interest in doing so. At the time Japan was focused on securing the resources of China and Southeast Asia. All they wanted from the US was to be left alone.

                      My point about Lexington and Concord was that the militia didn’t stop the British. If the colonial intelligence network hadn’t gotten word about the mission in time to move the stockpiles, the British column would have seized the arms either destroyed them or taken them back to Boston. Tactically the events of April 19, 1775 were a British victory. Strategically they were a wash. Psychologically they were an American win.

                      If there are professional soldiers (AKA mercenaries) under your anarchic system – and there will be – then ones security is directly related to the number and quality of retainers one can afford, and the retainers can extort goods and services from those weaker than they are. That *is* feudalism.

                  • How is it considered morally superior to get some third party to do your fighting and dying for you.

                    How is it morally superior to die– along with all those you are responsible for– because you didn’t take reasonable precautions against those who build their life around killing people to take their stuff?

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      But Foxfier! The theory says it’ll work!!!! [Very Big Sarcastic Grin]

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      Foxfier,

                      I take personal responsibility to ensure my own-defense of life and property.

                      That is not doing nothing and it is not turning that responsibility over to a state, that has no duty to protect you.

                      The state can not protect you. The state has no powet to stop anyone from farming you. Period. At best it can punish people after they have already harmed you.  It can act after the fact. It can possible act as a deterrent. The greatest lie the government tells is that it can stop or prevent anything.

                      Again the Supreme Court over and over has up held that there is no duty to protect, but they sure do tell you it’s their job.

                      http://www.google.com/search?q=duty+to+protect+supreme+court

                    • Foxfier,

                      I take personal responsibility to ensure my own-defense of life and property.

                      That is not doing nothing and it is not turning that responsibility over to a state, that has no duty to protect you.

                      That is not what was under discussion, and that is not what I pointed out as an alternative.

                • Interesting. Not DISPUTING this, but so is communism. I wonder if we, humans, have to fight not to end up in feudalism.

                  • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                    Agree.

                    The desire for “strong man” leader does seem to imbedded in humans.

                    It somewhat works in smaller societies where there are strong Betas willing and able to take down the Alpha if he goes too far.

                    Of course, absolute rulers always had to have the support of lower-level strong men in order to keep their power.

                    Often, the “absolute” rulers were “absolute” because they played the lower-level strong men against each other.

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      Paul & Sarah,

                      Anarchy (Free-market Anarchy or Anarcho-Capitalism) is not feudalism. Yes a strong charismatic leader could and probably will build a personal fiefdom within the Anarcho system, but he will have to compete with the guy next door for personnel and resources. (Would you personal want to work for someone that abuses you are someone that values you and respects you.)

                      Bastiat and the Austrian economic principles apply government as well to business. The business cycle is more aptly the cycle of life.

                      Anarchist (other than the Social-Anarchist) believe in more leaders and ways of organizing ourselves not less. Think Ancient Greece City-states. I believe that their is a bell-curve on the size that can be realistically managed. That for leaders to stay in-charge they will have to respect certain unalienable rights. Why is it we tolerate State Monopolies but not in business world; other than those monopolies only made possible buy the state by the state killing competition through regulation.)?

                      I personally am against the state belief in their supposed monopoly on forces. (No matter what the people will always have the last say.) Yes, there will be some stupid people that will try to control and and enslave people. But the majority of people are good and descent, so why give stupid, greedy people the platform of a central/single authority so their policies can harm and effect everyone?

                      There are no single right answers for everyone (why central planning doesn’t work) why organize a central authority  or have a central authority at all. Instead of deffending our Rights oursrlves (rightly or wrongly) we push this personal-responsibility of ours onto a impersonal government and then bitch when they inevitably mess it up.

                      I personaly would rather have several hundred minior tyrants at a city state level than one Mao, Stalin or Hitler all only made possible by the peoples belief that States are needed.

                      I do not know how to get to a stateless society.

                      I only know that a belief that a Nation State – Statism – (in all their myriad of forms) as the only way to effectively organize ourselves will only lead to more Mao’s, Stalin’s and Hitler’s.

                      Hmmm…

                      Sarah would you be interested in me righting a post on what Anarchy is and isn’t? Because Anarchy is one of those labels that has morphed into being synonymous with chaos reather than it’s original meaning.

                      Foxfier, working on a reply to adress your points you made. I got distracted. Sorry.

                    • Actually anarchy right now is synonymous with socialism, which is even crazier.

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      Sarah, you have a point that’s why when I tell people I’m an anarchist I got to and Free-market or Capitalist to it so I don’t get lumped in with them.

                      🙂 *Sigh*

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Josh, IMO you’re talking theory. IMO Sarah is talking about what the reality would be.

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      So, Paul what your telling me is that Sarah’s a fortune teller.

                      In that case… Sarah can you give me the next power-ball numbers. I’ll split the jackpot with you.

                      😉

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Sarah and me may be wrong, but we have history to back up our opinion. Where has your system actually worked for more than a few months?

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      Paul,

                      Do you really want to examine and see if history is on your side, because I’m reminded of this quote by Robert Higgs

                      “Anarchists did not try to carry out genocide against the Armenians in Turkey; they did not deliberately starve millions of Ukrainians; they did not create a system of death camps to kill Jews, gypsies, and Slavs in Europe; they did not fire-bomb scores of large German and Japanese cities and drop nuclear bombs on two of them; they did not carry out a ‘Great Leap Forward’ that killed scores of millions of Chinese; they did not attempt to kill everybody with any appreciable education in Cambodia; they did not launch one aggressive war after another; they did not implement trade sanctions that killed perhaps 500,000 Iraqi children.

                      In debates between anarchists and statists, the burden of proof clearly should rest on those who place their trust in the state. Anarchy’s mayhem is wholly conjectural; the state’s mayhem is undeniably, factually horrendous.”

                      And then there is this:

                      http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/bob-black-anarchy-101

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Don’t play the fool. I’m not saying governments are more “moral” than anarchists. I’m saying anarchist systems will not survive except under very limited situations. IE very small numbers and no outside enemies.

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      Paul,

                      Who says I’m playing.

                      Your and others arguments seems to be because it seems doomed to failure that we shouldn’t try. That I’m doomed to live under some form of state control, so get used to it? To live under a soft tyranny of a constitution or the hard tyranny of Statism unleashed. I say these are false choices and there is a third.  

                      My only argument is to continue working towards my ideals. That is what my morality dictates for me to do. Which might seem foolish to you, it might actually be foolish. Remember no one thought this great experiment would work. A lot of people were certain we would slide right into feudalism and Washington could even have been our 1st king, and Roosevelt almost was. Obama thinks he is one, so maybe he’s are first. Maybe we can elect Jeb and he can be our first king of America.

                      Long live the Bush’s!!!

                      Agreat man once said, “Give me Liberty or Give me Death.”

                      😉

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Oh Yes! You’re as Smart as the Founders!!!

                      Sorry Josh but IMO the “Great Experiment” as you call our founding wasn’t “Great” because we avoided a King. It was Great because they took thirteen Independent States and managed to create one Nation out of them without having one of the States conquering the others.

                      Our Founders had plenty of experience (both intuitional and personal) in government.

                      They took the experience of their Colonial Governments (actively working long before the ARW) as well as their historical knowledge to create a Federal Government with enough power to fulfil its obligations along with limits to prevent the Federal Government from being a tyrant over the State Governments.

                      No, the real concern wasn’t that the US would become a monarchy but that the US would become several little countries. Which would either fight among themselves or become “pawns” in the wars of the Great Powers of their time.

                      In addition, I dislike you using the term “tyranny” in this situation. I don’t consider “enforcing governmental decisions with force” necessarily tyranny. (Which is how I’m taking your use of the term “tyranny”.)

                      A state that lacks any government will fail as they can’t protect their members from external or internal enemies.

                      A government that is unable to use force, when necessary, to enforce its decisions is not a government and will fail.

                      If you want to work to lessen the power of the current Federal Government, fine but until you can find a “state” that has worked as you imagine, then your dream is a pipe dream (ie the dreams that come from smoking Opium).

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      Paul, making the old Federalist’s argument, and you make it well. Madison and Hamilton would be proud. Though Madison waffled back and forth on this issue.

                      We needed to give up some of our liberty for percieved security. And we been giving up our liberty ever since. We don’t know what would happened if we would have stayed under the Articles of Confederation, because we choose another path. Just as we will not know of the outcome of any Anarcho-Capitalist society untill it has been tried in ernest.  And there is no guaranties in life but one.

                      Which leads to:

                      “Government with enough power to fulfil its obligations along with limits to prevent the Federal Government from being a tyrant over the State Governments.”

                      Hmmm… How did that workout. 

                      I do know the states warred amongst themselves anyways, so having a Federal government didn’t prevent that. So the states gave up some sovereignty for nothing, because they didn’t in the long run get any security out of it.

                      Our belloved Feral government is failing and bloated. I believe just as the Anti-federalist said it would become. Though it did take longer than they thought.

                      I do not know of any argurment that you can give to change my mind, so I think we will have to agree to desagree on this.

                      🙂

                    • I don’t consider “enforcing governmental decisions with force” necessarily tyranny. (Which is how I’m taking your use of the term “tyranny”.)

                      If it is, then the word is worthless– all it means is “anything that can be called government.” Including a system for enforcing bargains.

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      &

                      http://theruleoffreedom.wordpress.com/2012/06/11/has-anarchy-existed-before/

                      Yes, they were eventually supplanted by state governments.

                      So maybe the cycle goes something like this Anarchy —> Feudalism —> Some Form of Nation State —> Collapse —> Reseting to an earlier form —> Repeat.

                      Hmmm…

                    • And any anarchic system ends up being significantly like Feudalism once someone starts organizing a few people. I love when anarchists organize a rally using their iPhones- something that would NOT exist in the system they advocate. Or a working internet, or satellite communications, or any kind of space travel.

                      Pretending that no one would organize an armed force and roll over ant theoretical little anarchist state is yet another form of utopian idealism.

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      Draven,

                      You’re correct us Anarchists are just going to sit in are caves whittling sticks. We’re not going to start business or organize for defense.

                      I guess Obama is right we didn’t build any of this.

                      I’m now an Obama supporter. Thanks for showing me the light.

                      😉

                      “Who will build the roads?”

                    • Well, you’re certainly not going to have the capability to produce a shoulder-launched guided antitank missile, which is what you’re going to need .

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      Draven,

                      Your correct I won’t be able to make “shoulder-launched guided antitank missile.”

                      🙂

                    • Than have fun hitting the tank moving at 40 mph with your unguided rocket.

                      Also have fun hitting the helicopter flying in support without guided missiles or antiaircraft guns, all of which require complex electronics you won’t be able to produce.

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      Oopsy

                      …writing…

                    • Josh,
                      “Just as we will not know of the outcome of any Anarcho-Capitalist society untill it has been tried in ernest.”

                      I think what Paul is trying to point out when he says history backs up his position is that Anarchy has been tried, many times throughout history. You may not believe it has ever been tried earnestly, but Paul is saying that it has, it has just always failed, ergo, history backs up his position that it doesn’t work.

                      I’m sure it isn’t exactly what you mean, but what it sounds like you are saying is the exact same thing Communists say, except about Anarchy instead of Communism; “it just hasn’t been done right, it’ll work if WE do it, because WE will do it right.”

                      “Your and others arguments seems to be because it seems doomed to failure that we should’t try. That I’m doomed to live under some form of state control, so get used to it? To live under a soft tyranny of a constitution or the hard tyranny of Statism unleashed. I say these are false choices and there is a third.”

                      You sum up what I am saying rather nicely (can’t speak for anyone else). Personally I like the theory of Anarchy (I like to picture Heaven basically that way) I just don’t think it is possible to have it work here on earth with humans running (or not running, we are talking about Anarchy) it. Yes I do believe that you are doomed to live under some form of state control, so don’t just get used to it, expend your excess effort to make it as uncontrolling and inconclusive as possible.

                      I say your third choice is the false one, because it doesn’t work, by choosing the third choice, what you are actually choosing is to let others make the choice of what type of government you will be living under. Because you WILL be living under a government. If you leave a power vacuam (which your choice does) it WILL get filled.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      That’s my position as well. IE you can never “get rid” of government as long as people aren’t perfect. Thus your proper action is to work to limiting the “reach” of government. The “funny” thing to me is that Josh praised the Articles of Confederation but ignores the fact that the State governments of that time were “tyrannical” by Josh’s apparent standards. Heck, many of the States at that time had Established Churches which is something I don’t like and I doubt that Josh would like either.

                    • Government should be kept small, starved and scared. But we need one.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Minor nit, government shouldn’t be scared of doing its proper job (for example the police shouldn’t be scared of “taking down” a mass-murderer because of the power/position of the murderer’s father). It should be scared of going beyond the limits of its authority.

                      Oh, I don’t know how well the system in Piper’s “Lone Star Planet/A Planet For Texans” would really work, but it was a cool idea. [Very Big Evil Grin]

                    • No but it should be scared of extending its job. So, fear and awe of the populace works. otherwise the bastages think EVERYTHING is their proper job. As we have proof daily.

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      Sarah,

                      And as long as we believe we need one we will have one.

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      Paul,

                      “That’s my position as well. IE you can never “get rid” of government as long as people aren’t perfect. Thus your proper action is to work to limiting the “reach” of government.”

                      I take your logic to the next step.

                      My position is, We can not “get rid” of Nation States (I’m not against government only governments that believe they have a monopoly on force.) as long as people are dependent on them and believe they are needed.  People don’t needed perfect and neither do our governments. (By the way we are practicing Anarchy right this minute on this blog.) Thus I believe the Proper action is to work towards limiting government interference in our lives, Teach Independence (A lot of us have become dependence of our Government/the State.) and Self  -Sufficiency with the ultimate goal of never need government.

                      I don’t believe an Anarchist Society could work today. We are not Mentally Prepared or Have the Skills  sets to live with out government. That is not to say this will “always” be the case. I do not believe that we should collapse the system on purpose. I do believe that the system will collapse on it’s own. I would like to see an Free-market Anarchist system emerge after, but more likely we will reset the Republic (if we are lucky) or It will collapse into some form of Socialist Dictatorship (if we are not).

                      P.S. I did not prase the Articles of Confederation, but I do believe it was closer to my ideal. Smaller governments where people can vote with there feet. Freely choose whom the let lead them.

                      What is Einstein’s definition of insanity?

                      By your characterization of the state governments at the time. We have many bad governments so lets put one central authority over them all. Let’s have more of that thing we are not happy with, that won’t end badly.

                      Because if the goal is to limit government adding another layer ontop of what is already there is the opposite of that.

                      😉

                    • If Green Socialism is a church, then CA has an established church *now*

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      Bearcat,

                      Yes, it does seem that way. The use of ‘Earnestly’ did give the wrong empresion. The difference between Anarchy and the hard Statist forms of Government at lest is that the Statist collapse from within. To put it in systemic terms there is a flaw in the system that cause a feed back loop that grows until the system collapse in on itself.

                      Anarchy at lest for the most part are conquered from without (or they morphed into feudalism still working on researching this concept it into my mental model.).

                      The mental model as it curently stands:

                      Anarchy “Tribalism” (and we still for the most part organize at the family Clan level) has been the default state for organizing ourselves for all of human history one million years of living as Tribal Hunter Gatherers.

                      Around 40 thousand years ago the agricultural revolution happened. Which alloud larger communities. Which aloud for specialization. There are some that are better Leaders than others, and some choose to follow rather than lead. (Jeff asked me this, “Why not hire professionals to defend you?”) And there is nothing wrong with this. Where it all goes wrong is when the Ruller goes I have the right to rule over you whether you want me to or not. Yep, some genius comes up with devin right or I have all the arms strongmen. Now that Genie is out of bottle and we have to deal with it.

                      It not that we have leaders (or governments). It’s that some of those leaders (and governments) feel that you don’t have the right to choose whom to follow. Or the group, organization or State becomes all important over the individual.

                      Free-Association is the Key. Not the form of government. It is the ideals that are important. Paul made this comment, “A government that is unable to use force, when necessary, to enforce its decisions is not a government and will fail.” Maybe governments (Paul,Are we using government to mean States?) should fail if the people nolonger support them or unable to convince them that it trully is in their best interest.

                      America again is not it’s form of Government, but the ideals behind it.

                    • “Actually anarchy right now is synonymous with socialism, which is even crazier.”

                      Follow the money! Of course anarchists protest losing their state-supplied funds.

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      Mary,

                      Which kind of Anarchist are we watching their money trail.

                      And if they are relying on government are they then an AINO?

                  • Feudalism is merely a form of tribalism, nicht wahr? So yes, I think a strong argument can be made for it as the natural endpoint of human politics.

                    • Josh A. Kruschke

                      Interesting.

                      I was thinking of Feudalism as rule by devine right or Strong are only, not as an extension of tribalism.

                      Hmmm…

                      I think of Anarchy as an over arching philosophy that’s promotes individual rights over how we organize ourselves. That we the people have the right and ability to change how we organize ourselves; which we Amaricains seem to have forgotten. We are not Americans because of our form of government, but because of the founding ideals that brought us together. If the Feeral Government fell tomorrow we would still be Americain. Sarah is not an American because she lives in CO, but because of the Ideals she holds dear.

                      Why are we so tied to or define ourselves by the form of our government? The Constitution is a great document, but either we didn’t live up to it or it was not up to the task of keeping us free? It’s our ideals that keep us free or not. Not a peace of paper.

                  • Since feudalism is nothing more than the primate band writ large, I wouldn’t be surprised.

  19. Far too often, I have seen socially liberal used to justify non-conservative fiscal policies. I tend to wince internally when I hear that phrase.

  20. The thing that might save the “socially liberal” half of the equation is to add “liberal, not Progressive”. People who don’t understand the difference probably are stuck in the 1980s when socially liberal mostly meant “libertarian on social issues”, and so calling yourself that will give them a reasonably accurate idea of what you mean. People who do understand the difference, will understand the difference.

    • “Fiscally conservative, socially lenient” might work.

      Of course, when you are dealing with folks who confuse “limited government” and “anti-government” there needs must be acceptance of what you cannot convey.

      For that matter, the kind of idiots who take “your employer cannot be forced to provide abortifacients” and contort it into “your employer can deny you birth control” are probably beyond anything that reason can achieve. You are coding COBOL and they are decoding GIGO.

  21. Dawn Dreams

    How about, “fiscally conservative, socially hands-off?” Though I’m certainly willing to use the “Crank” descriptor myself…

  22. Marmots in lederhosen.

  23. Nice essay. One point to consider: eschew labels. Once most people see a label on your ideas they think they know what the content is and get fussy if you don’t conform to their idea of what you should therefore believe.

    When asked my “social” philosophy I find the most accurate summation is MYOB.

    • Josh A. Kruschke

      RES,

      That was beautifuly put.

      🙂

    • Josh A. Kruschke

      I find having some read this essay:

      http://www.friesian.com/quiz.htm

      Is a good place to start, if I want to have a political conversation on what someone believes.

      Gives a good framework and points of referance for each side to organize their thoughts around. Instead of arguing from two different points of view on what labels mean to each other.

  24. David in Cal

    Some years back I recall explaining to a friend that I supported Lawrence v. Texas because the government should be out of the bedroom. Then, I was supposed to support gay marriage, which brings the government into the bedroom.

  25. Gerald Hibbs

    I would bet that a good 70% of Americans have pretty similar views. Presented without labels, the philosophy is a winner. It is too bad, and insane, that the two parties we actually have are so far beyond the common sense of the American people.

    • Repeated surveys have shown that many conservative policies enjoy widespread support of a significant public majority — until they are labeled as Conservative or Republican, at which point the public’s support drops significantly (typically, from over 70% to under 50%.)

      That is why the Democrats and the MSM (but I repeat myself) spend so much of their political effort attacking conservatives as heartless, greedy corporate stooges in spite of the facts which demonstrate the Left’s policies leave vast swaths of the public in worse shape while private and corporate Democrat backers end up in highly enriched condition. Most Prog Policies have as their function — if not their goal an inevitable byproduct — the creation of gates which require keepers, with those gatekeepers making a handy commission for protecting the public from unsafe goods and services, such as unlicensed hair braiding. Obamacare was, if not in intent, in function a tremendous sop to the health insurance industry and Big Pharma.

      That is also why MSM moderators of GOP candidate debates ask the candidates whether they’ve stopped beating their wives/husbands/children/dogs/meat and moderators of the Democrat debates never ask the candidates how their policies will “bend the cost curve down” or how increasing the number of people with health insurance while reducing the number of doctors will result in improved health care.

      It is also why they were so aggressive in discrediting the TEA Party movement and denounce the Citizens United decision. Anything that allows their victims opponents’ voices to be heard threatens their control. (See: The Democrats’ Effort to Drive Conservatives Out of Politics Ramps Up In the Senate) Their continued existence depends on their discrediting any opposition, because as we can see, their own policies bring disaster.

      • waltpimbley

        Same goes for “liberal” and “progressive” labels. That’s why they switch between them every few decades when the damage piles up.

        The No Labels crowd is Lefty. Wear your label and defend it.

        I liked the thing about hair braiding, RES! The Imperial Chinese came up with the licensing wheeze, and paper currency, too. It was all that testing – they culled the best brainpower of the upper classes into bureaucracy for a couple millenia.

  26. How about just plain Conservative?

    What a fun thread! Great to see writers arguing about words.

    “Socially liberal” have always been weasel words, take it from a former social weasel. As a teen in the ’70s, after Roe came in, I’d pass by the local abortion mill and see the Christians out protesting. Made me cringe! What was it to them? And kinda gross to wear religion on your sleeve in public.

    So all through college I distanced myself from the kooks with “fiscal this, social that.” Kept me from getting called names, helped me get along with the gals.

    But it was wrong. They were brave to protest, and a sleeve is a fine place to wear your religion.

    There are things that taint a whole society. In fact, there’s a hierarchy of them. Human Sacrifice tops the list. Everybody agrees, members of a society that kills people only for the sake of enjoying human death deserve all they get.

    The Pawnee did that. Used to kidnap teen girls from other tribes and burn them at the stake while the whole tribe danced around the pyre. Kinda ticked off the Sioux, who decided to genocide the Pawnee after a few Sioux girls got “sacrificed.” Raid after raid after raid, down from the Dakotas and into Nebraska, and the Pawnee population fell from 30K to 800 in a few years. The US Cavalry finally stepped in then to protect the remaining Pawnee.

    If you don’t agree that human sacrifice not only trumps but justifies genocide, ask yourself about the point of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

    Genocide’s next, and that trumps the third, slavery. Nobody mentions much that Nazi Germany enslaved the Jews. It pales to what came next. Nice Germans who didn’t try to stop the Holocaust, who didn’t vote with their feet when they saw no other way… maybe not so nice. Tainted. (Not their descendents, them.)

    Citizens of the Confederacy, even those who didn’t own slaves? Tainted. (Again, not descendents.)

    I submit to you that Abortion on Demand, especially as it’s practiced in the USA now, is one of these societal sins. (Our tax money goes to Planned Parenthood, whose mills have been targeting minority neighborhoods since abortion became legal.) Dismemberment in the 2nd trimester, brain-sucking in the 3rd. T’aint right.

    End Roe. It’s the libertarian thing to do, the localist thing to do. Some states will vote to keep all abortion legal, many will only allow only 1st trimester, a few will ban it completely. It’ll give Americans the option of voting with their feet, to escape taint.

    And you can’t forward that goal by distancing yourself from those labeled by NARAL as “absolutists.”

  27. When those “socially liberal” policies are implemented, any notion of “fiscal conservatism” is defenestrated unless your “conservatism” means that you’re going to increase taxes on all to pay for the benefits/demands of the few – as in: Bob Dole, Tax Collector for the Welfare State.

    • Which is why “socially liberal” doesn’t mean what many libertarians mean when they say that. Which for most libertarians is more “Don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff.”

  28. Bastiatarian

    I just tell people that I’m a Bastiatarian minarchist.
    It confuses them and they leave me alone, the latter being the point.