July 25, 2012

The Tea Party: the New Anarchists

Source: Wikipedia
Wikipedia defines Anarchism as "the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority and hierarchical organization in the conduct of human relations. Proponents of anarchism, known as 'anarchists,' advocate stateless societies based on non-hierarchical voluntary associations."

If you remove the references to hierarchy and change 'stateless' to 'weak-state,' you essentially have the Tea Party. Since an extremely weak state is the closest manifestation of statelessness that can be achieved, the difference on that issue is purely theoretical, not practical. With respect to hierarchy, my perceptions are that the Tea Party has a frail alliance with Big Business (and their love of hierarchy) and, were it not for their common Liberal enemy, they would turn on each other post haste.

So for now, I think it may be useful to think of of the Tea Party as burgeoning Anarchists. 

July 23, 2012

Gun Debate Dysfunction

AP / Damian Dovarganes
Regarding the latest tragedy that one might think would lead to a debate on gun regulation, but has not so far, I have come to a sad conclusion. I believe that Liberals have to step back and allow Conservatives to discover for themselves that restrictions on gun ownership are not an expression of burgeoning governmental tyranny but indeed are a necessary component of a civilized society. As long as Liberals continue to advocate for stricter gun control, most Conservatives will instinctively recoil from it.

Those who have followed my blog are likely aware that I am convinced that modern American Conservatism is better characterized as a reaction to American Liberalism -- Anti-Liberalism, if you will -- than an organic analysis of the human condition that developed independent of any other philosophy. (There are certainly Conservative thinkers, e.g., Edmund Burke, that could provide a strong basis for a true Conservatism, but they are rarely quoted by politicians or pundits.) The conversation on the right side of the aisle with respect to gun regulation is completely dominated by the NRA. The tack of this organization is purely reactionary -- they do not actively advocate for any restrictions but sometimes concede to them when pressed. This approach pushes the inertia of the debate towards a zero-regulation mindset.

Therefore, I think the President and other Liberals are wise to pull back from this debate. As these sorts of tragedies continue and increase in frequency (the statistics do support this sad conclusion), Conservatives will be forced to take ownership over this problem and propose common-sense regulation instead of wasting their energies demonizing Liberals.

July 05, 2012

Inconsistent Individual Mandate Logic

Source: Wikipedia
Once again, leading Conservatives (e.g., Mitt Romney) are promoting internally inconsistent positions. Their party line is that John Roberts made the wrong decision when he agreed that the Individual Mandate was a tax. (In fact, they are going so far as to accuse him of dishonorable motivations.) However, they are now crowing that, because of this ruling, Obama has raised taxes. One of the ways that Conservatives feel that they resolve this cognitive dissonance is to say something like this:
"No, I myself don't believe that this is a tax, so Roberts ruled incorrectly. However, since the court ruled that this is a tax, then I can honestly say that he raised taxes because the official ruling is that it's a tax. Therefore, it is completely consistent for me to say that the Individual Mandate is not a tax, but that Obama raised taxes by imposing the Individual Mandate."
It's sad to have to clarify for people how to advocate with honesty and integrity. Unfortunately, it is called for too often these days. So, here goes: Your positions need to be consistent with your opinions. If you take a position on Topic B based on your position on Topic A, you can't take a position on Topic C based upon a contradictory position on topic A. It's irrelevant whether others have taken that position -- it's your position on the topic that matters.