A Libertarian Challenge to our False Political Dichotomy
© 2009 Ross Williams
I got into a brief email discussion with a lady at work a few weeks ago. She's a city councilman, er, -woman, for the town where my office is located, and she had sent out an email notification to everyone that her town was going to participate in one of the many state and/or federal programs by which cops violate everyone's civil rights by setting up slowdown roadblocks and check drivers for seat belt usage, handing out tickets for those not in compliance. ...not to mention also handing out tickets for anything else they could think of at the same time. This was the second such slowdown roadblock in this town paid for by the feds in a year. My co-worker was being nice in trying to warn us to slow down, buckle up, strap in the kids, wear pants, hide that open can of beer, yadda yadda.
I replied that’s all we need is more warrantless searches on the feds’ dime trying to convince us that we're all really only 7 years old and need constant nannying in order to keep us from getting booboos.
She replied that if it was up to her, the cops would spend a lot more time enforcing traffic law in her town.
I replied that I wasn't surprised since she got a kickback that went into her city budget from each traffic fine written in city limits.
She replied that they only get a small amount of each fine.
I did not reply that any is too much and moves the law enforcement incentive away from "public safety" to "secondary taxation" ... though I used the phrase "secondary taxation" in a few of the emails. Instead I replied that they need more civil libertarians in her town who prefer freedom and liberty to being hectored to death by a group of self-righteous, power-hungry ninnies. I may be paraphrasing somewhat in my use of adjectives...
She replied that her town needs lots of things, including political diversity. I spit coffee all over my keyboard at this comment, and stopped replying. She can justify warrantless searches on her streets, but try telling her that the entrance to our parking lot is like driving over logs, and she'll make excuses about "curb profiles" and claim nothing can be done. You're on the city council; it can be done if you do it.
Then earlier this week I read this article in the Chicago Tribune. Honestly, this has been "news" for quite a while, and I can only think that it's being replayed now because of the coronation of "Barama" as the new National Savior. Those who were sociology students and paid attention to this particular sub-field already knew what the article said. It's been happening for decades.
At any rate, the upshot of the article is that we, indeed, do not like diversity – at all. People in general hate diversity. And yes: even those who say they like it, love it, want it, or need it.
No, you don't.
If you still wish to maintain that you do, I'll be forced to conclude that you're a liar. And possibly the worst kind of liar there is: the type who doesn’t know it and lies to themselves. They end up lying to everyone, and they actually believe what they say. Think what you like about the callous and calculating liar who knows what he says is a lie; they're in it for personal gain. The lie-to-myself-first dope is in it for the ideology – the political equivalent of religion.
Diversity does a great many things to us and for us, nearly all of which are only theoretically good. We can sit around the coffee shop, or the bar, or the college classroom, or the stage in front of the live studio audience for The View and piously declare that we want to have differing positions in order to test our worldviews, but the reality is far, far different. Dissention is not tolerated. Not officially, not unofficially.
Dissenters – and it doesn't matter the political leanings of the majority – are hooted down at a minimum by that majority. Dissenters are frequently hounded out of the discussion completely by the majority. Dissenters – and this is particularly true in other parts of the world; in the US it is thankfully rare – are sometimes even beaten or killed.
And before anyone gets their sanctimonious nose out of joint because America's liberals, America's tolerant of diversity liberals, do not do blanch at diversity and only the evil, nasty, quasi-nazi conservatives do, let us just recall that Modern American Liberalism grew up in the 60s where they learned how to drown out political discussion by shouting "BABY KILLER!!" at the top of their lungs every time someone disagreed with them. As of 2003, individuals of their temperament were engaging in the same practices. They are implementing “speech codes” every chance they get.
Let's not forget Indoctrinate U, which convincingly describes the college experiences of many, from both sides. There are those who have been silenced for providing a [typically conservative] dissention to the local [liberal] orthodoxy, and there are more who blissfully recall silencing that [conservative] dissention with the [typically "tolerant" liberal] majority at their side.
No, we do not like diversity. We're not crazy about it in matters of race or religion, but we really hate diversity in political perspective.
Possibly the worst aspect of political diversity is that it forces us to confront our biases. That is an unpardonable sin. Our biases have typically been cared for and fed for years, and we are loath to dispense with them just because we happen to live in a democracy where no citizen's politics are better or more informed than another's. ...and judging by how informed most citizens are about military doctrine, wars in general and foreign policy at all – the area I work in – few citizens can legitimately consider themselves more informed than any plastic ficus collecting dust in the corner of a dentist's office.
No, our political biases cannot face outside scrutiny. We may find that we are, like, biased or something. That we are acting like petulant spoiled children, afraid of change, afraid of discourse, afraid of having to justify our political positions. Afraid of learning not that we are wrong! god forbid, but that ours is not the only valid viewpoint in existence – which is far worse than being wrong. We can tolerate being wrong if the other guy is also wrong; but the other guy cannot be right, not even if we are as well.
Since everyone has biases, it should not be that difficult a proposition to simply admit it. But many of the most biased people will not. And they compound their dishonesty by largely denying that they have any biases in the first place. They claim their bias to be "objective". "It's acceptable to think like this because those who don't are immoral..."
Intellectually, everyone is correct in their political views. It's just that the scope of correctness may not be as universal as we may wish to believe. Folks who are liberal are correct in that the specific liberalism [whatever may be under discussion at any given time] is useful for reasons X, Y and Z. Yes, it is. But as I keep having to remind people: you don’t get points for being right; you get points for being pertinent. The issue is: the reasons you claim for implementing your policy is not the entire reality that needs to be considered. And the conservative wags who dismiss the specific liberalism under discussion are also, themselves, correct about the drawbacks that will go with the policy.
...and ditto in reverse.
I, myself, have very pronounced biases. For example, those who move into agricultural communities and do not farm need to stop doing so: they're chewing up farmland by the hectare, pestering zoning boards to chew up even more, getting indignant when the farms still operating around them smell like animal shit or other fertilizer, and filing lawsuits because of it and driving farmers out of business. ...apparently these new transplants can be sufficiently nourished on their self-righteousness that they don't need beef, pork, chicken or more crops than they can grow in pots on their back patio. "We'll just go to the farmer's market..."
Another of my biases is that the government needs to confine itself to those authorities it was given in the Constitution and not be cutting new authorities out of whole cloth the way they've been doing with increasing rapidity in the last generation, which results in the loss of constitutional rights for everyone not named "government".
And there are others besides. But I am self-aware enough to understand that these are biases. I am aware of the counter-arguments, and that the counter-arguments are more or less valid. I just don't buy those arguments. I do not think they trump my own. For instance, people are allowed, in this country, to move where ever they wish and participate in the political process in those new communities – even if it means paving over next year's wheat crop, liberating the "enslaved" beef cattle, ensuring that we have no corn-based ethanol to free us from foreign oil, and all the rest.
Sure, you wanna starve by driving farmers out of business? You have that right, shortsighted though it may be.
For another instance, political needs and sensibilities change over time, and what the Constitution once meant may not actually serve our purposes any longer. Stipulated. I concede that very valuable point. But if current needs are such that each citizen must be considered guilty of terrorism until they prove themselves innocent in a compulsory and warrantless search at the airport, then change the fucking Constitution to say so. If current needs are that every driver is subject to warrantless search [and sometimes to compulsorily provide evidence against himself] on our roadways to fight drunk driving [et al], then change the fucking Constitution to say so.
Yes; our needs change over time. But if the needs change, then the written rules have to change in order to allow those new needs to be satisfied. The written rules have not changed; the rules still tie "unreasonable search" to lack of a warrant naming the person to be searched and the items to be seized.
I am just as in love with my biases as anyone else is with theirs, but I know they are biases. I'm not lying to myself and everyone else by extension. Because I know these are biases, I don't have any particular problem when they are challenged. I am more than capable of defending them – and commonly using the words of my challengers to make my points, for most people are hypocrites and easily trapped. ...not to mention I can throw around the odd and inflammatory adjective or seventy.
Even though I know my politics is constructed out of bias, and even though I don't have major issues with confrontation over those biases, even I don't want to live in a community in which this political confrontation is the typical case. Know how I know that? Because I am constantly in the political minority, am virtually guaranteed of confrontation every time my political sensibilities get aired in public, and it is simply tiring. I don't fit into the mold of either common political religion. I am not a democrat [ew!] and my sympathies with liberalism are on an extremely short leash. I am not a republican [ack!] and my conservatism is more personal than public.
But I can sympathize with liberals and democrats who do not want to have those [ack!] pesky conservative republicans around reminding the lib-dems how big a bunch of totalitarian freaks-in-denial they are. And I sympathize with the conservatives and republicans who do not like having the [ew!] pesky liberal democrats around to remind the rep-cons how insufferably smug they are. I understand both their desires for a uniform community where dissention is suppressed as the inconvenient outrage it is.
As a libertarian [lower-case-l], though, and one who is frankly sick and tired of both, I cannot identify with what most lib-dems and rep-cons enjoy: actually living in such a like-minded community where I am in the majority.
I wouldn't know how a libertarian community would operate ... apart from staying the hell out of everyone else's business. Don't wear a seat belt? It's your brain damage if you crash, bozo; don't come crying to anyone else. Drunk driving? If you kill someone, you can fry for all anyone cares. If you don't kill someone ... life is a risk under the best of circumstances; it's foolish to pretend otherwise. It’s a denial of liberty to act otherwise.
Staying out of everyone else's business is simply not in the game-plan of the lib-dems or the rep-cons; they are both intent on creating incremental tyranny – along frighteningly similar lines I might add, though they both deny it – because they arrogantly believe that a government built on their biases and their biases only is the best government there is. We libertarians believe the same. Only we have the Constitution as support. They don’t. They have, at best, an interpretation of the Constitution – an interpretation that commonly relies on closing one eye, squinting the other, and blacking out three or four words of every twenty, and sometimes adding a few "for clarity" in order to reach the conclusions they've come to.
A "reasonable" search does not require a warrant if we can point at terrorism or drunk driving as a justification. We can ignore whole constitutional requirements if enough of us are wetting our panties in fright. And we don't want to hear otherwise. And – how convenient is this? – most of us don't have to; most of us live in monotone communities in which meaningful dissention from the local orthodoxy does not exist.
We've long ago gotten used to the farcical notion that "freedom of religion implies freedom from religion" and stifling public religious expression as a consequence; it's a short step from there to "freedom of speech implies freedom from speech" and effectively silencing public dissent ... or causing it to relocate, which is the same thing for all practical purposes.
Congratulations, retards. You got what you truly wanted, and which many of you still aren't honest enough to understand you wanted.
 A slowdown roadblock is where cops risk their necks by standing in the middle of the street – essentially jaywalking – and where, if they get hit by a car which should be the fault of the pedestrian, it is very likely to be considered vehicular assault on a police officer, or otherwise deemed a ticketable offense.
 "Immoral" is code for "wrong, because if you disagree with me you cannot be correct." As opposed to "wrong, because your argument is based upon desire and not meaningful factual support".
 …take, for example, Universal Healthcare … please [with apologies to Henny Youngman].
 And let’s just mention No Child Left Behind for grins, not to mention a conquest of Iraq when a mere ass-kicking would have sufficed, and Abstinence Only AIDS policies for Africa in place of the equally feeble and culturally doomed “Condoms For All” notion … ad nauseum.
 or were, up until November 2008, at any rate
 Libertarians are called, by democrats: "republicans who don't believe in god." By republicans we are called "democrats who don't like taxes." In this way, libertarians are trivialized and co-opted into a unifying "other" [another sociologist's term] in order to make it easier to dismiss us as a class ... by including us as the demonized "other party". Fuck you all for your puerile and self-righteous superficiality.