Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Will Excesses Really Neutralize Each Other under Libertarianism?

There is a tendency among libertarians to argue for more individual liberty and freedom as the key to societal good. This isn’t because everything people do with freedom is good but because bad things will cancel each other out. It’s like a vision of humanity as economic, social, or emotional billiard balls. There is a rational argument here but one minimizing the moral sense of limits and conscious self-control. The libertarian argument is essentially the Satan-ist argument. No, Satan doesn’t exist, and libertarians aren’t committed to evil. Still, libertarians seem to believe that vices naturally cancel each other out in an utterly free social order. Do they really?

I once came upon a book by some funny Jewish guy of the church of Satan. In it, he argues that the seven deadly sins are nothing to be afraid of. Instead of resisting them we should indulge them because they cancel each other out. For instance, take vanity and gluttony. Gluttony is pleasurable, but it’s bad because it turns us into gross fatties. But, not to worry since vanity is there to balance it out. In other words, a person may want to pig out, but his narcissism will control his appetite or push him to exercise. So, we need not fear these vices. If we indulge in them, we not only gain pleasure but also arrive at some kind of equilibrium. Somewhat true to be sure. But, would it be sufficient for a person to be healthy? Can we have a good society where vices simply cancel each other out? (Also, what about people who are so ugly to begin with that they would gain little by controlling their appetite or exercising? Despair & self-loathing in the looks department may lead a person to eat like pig to compensate for his or her ugliness.)

Libertarian philosophy comes pretty close to such thinking–the notion that vices, if let loose, will cancel or balance each other out and make for a decent society. While such ideas may have some macro-social or psycho-individual validity, there is no substitute for individual virtue and moral character in the maintenance of a healthy society. (Libertarians, of course, aren’t anti-morality, anti-virtue, nor anti-self-restraint, but they hardly emphasize such values in their preference of theory of freedom). Indeed, the beauty and power of virtue unite the individual with the community–made up of other individuals. Individual freedom is something we all prize and seek, but it has no inherent moral value(except in the vaguest and broadest sense; man needs freedom to choose good or evil, but freedom isn’t synonymous goodness; nor, can we expect the bad to simply balance out the other bads).
And, freedom is often socially destructive for the simple fact that people indulging in excessive behavior–even in private–are likely to cause problems spilling into rest of society. Fat people, for instance, make healthcare costs rise for everyone. And, people who gamble away their money become burdens on their family and rest of us.
The libertarian argument is most compelling when law enforcement against certain vices aren’t effective or counter-productive. This was certainly the case with prohibition in the 20s and 30s. The problem in a free society is that even criminals enjoy rights and protections which give cover to much of their criminal activities. The only effective way to eradicate such behavior is by eradicating freedom itself, but that would be throwing out the baby with the bath water. So, a free society simply has to allow certain kinds of freedom. We cannot legislate ourselves at every turn into a healthy society, and it almost impossible to legislate virtue in a democracy(and such don’t do much good even in a theocracy).
Nevertheless, who can deny that certain vices are extremely destructive, and we simply cannot expect other vices or virtues to naturally or organically balance them out. Though being fat is not a crime–and of course shouldn’t be–, the rise of fatassness among Americans shows us the serious shortcomings of the balance-of-vices theory. Though it’s true that people want to enjoy both food and have look goods, narcissism simply isn’t powerful enough to neutralize excessive gluttony in many people. Fatsos know they don’t look good, but they keep pigging out. Why? Because eating is fun and exercising is strenuous. People know they should eat less but they want to eat more and more. This is why so many Americans are fat-tards. Gluttony and narcissism are both vices, but one is much easier to indulge than the other(at least in modern society; gluttony would have been difficult long ago when procuring food was the hardest task of all.)
It’s quite obvious that people need another mechanism to eat less: shame. There is a thing called self-shame, but the most effective kind of shame is social shame. But, as we move away from a shame culture–due to both liberalism and libertarianism–, we have people who indulge in behavior that is immediately gratifying but harmful or destructive. In our politically correct, sensitive, and litigious society, we are not allowed to call fatsos ‘fatsos’. Some states are even considering protecting fatties from the evil of ‘weightism’. Now, I’m not recommending that we call fatsos ‘fatsos’. That would be rude. But, would it be so bad if there was some degree of social pressure or ostracism against fatsos? Indeed, it would be best for the fatsos. Fatsos are not victims. They are self-created self-indulged monstrosities. If they are shamed out of fatness, they would be better off and so would be–lower all-around healthcare costs.

Fatasses eat too much shit and don’t exercise enough. Sure, some people have slower metabolism, but then they should eat less. But, they pig out like the fatsos that they are.
Now, a fatso may not like being fat and may want to lose weight. But, many people simply cannot control their eating habits. They know they are fat and ugly and would like to look better(vanity factor), but the food is just too irresistible. Without strong external pressure associated with shame or a strong internally held philosophy of frugality, freedom and liberty themselves are not going to create some miraculous equilibrium. Without a strong set of moral values or shame culture, there is only the strong arm of the state to enforce and maintain social balance/stability. This is truer in some communities than others. Blacks, for instance, tend to be wilder and more aggressive. So, freedom and liberty for blacks naturally lead to more excesses than freedom and liberty among other races. We can even see this when we contrast normal whites with ‘whiggers’. ‘Whiggers’ are white people who emulate blacks, and they happen to be far trashier and more problematic than regular white folks.
At any rate, we don’t want the state to interfere too much with our lives, so we must prevent bad conditions that arise from freedom and liberty. Shame and morality are central to social stability. The idea that simply more freedom and liberty will fix the problems through an organic process of counter-actions is just wishful theorizing.

There is also the cultural factor. A traditional society with newfound freedom and liberty still holds an internal mechanism–handed down through centuries or even millennia–that restrains excesses of individual freedom or liberty. Such mechanism, apart from the law and government, plays a crucial role in curbing wanton excesses of freedom. But, as the generations pass, as youth culture develops, as cultural traditions and norms weaken, and as more kids listen to stuff like rap music & other junk, individual freedom and liberty take on a different color altogether; they lose the connection to the roots of civilization. Freedom and liberty go from liberation to decadence.
Compare blacks in the 50s to blacks today. Many blacks in the 50s still had what we might call ‘family values’. Freedom and liberty for folks in ‘Raisin in the Sun’ had different implications than freedom and liberty for black kids who grow up today to hip hop, nigga culture, jiggety doo, yabbity ho-di-di-do. Of course, black community had always been more problematic than the white community, but its freedom had been restrained by moral sense and order prior to the 60s. No longer.
So, a libertarian argument that black community will make progress through more freedom and liberty would be nonsense. This isn’t to suggest that bigger government is the solution either as it has, indeed, made things worse by encouraging destructive behavior among blacks–welfare checks for teen mothers, tendency for educated blacks to go into parasitic bureaucratics than productive economics. But, the main problem of bigger government in the black community was having pumped in all that money without social controls. If anything, the problem is that bigger government led to more freedom in the black community. The problem was not the government taking away freedom but encouraging and supporting too much freedom–a dangerous policy because blacks, being wilder, are tempted to abuse freedom. All that welfare money allowed blacks to do as they please in terms of having loose sex, dropping out of school, and so on. Every black girl knew that if she messed up and acted crazy, the government would give her money. The problem wasn’t big government per se but a big government that gave and gave but demanded nothing in return. If big government is bound to fail all the time and everywhere(as libertarians contend), Sweden and Canada would be giant Detroits, but they are not. Of course, one could argue nothing would have worked with blacks because too many of them are just too crazy.

* * * *

Suppose we apply libertarianism to gun ownership. A libertarian might argue that the best way to deal with gun violence is allow easier and freer sales of guns to more people. Eventually, things will balance out. If more people own guns, they would be able to protect one another. Criminals would think twice about robbing people. A sudden spike in gun violence may eventually drop once everyone has guns and an equilibrium has been reached. There is some degree of validity to this argument, but let’s not fool ourselves. This kind of ‘equilibrium’ will be violent, crazy, and tension-filled. (Actually, stability or lack thereof in any society may be the product of its system of laws, moral values, and racial make-up than on gun laws. A Yugoslavia divided by ethnicity was a dangerous place for guns since Serbs shot Croats, Croats shot Bosnian Muslims, Bosnian Muslims shot Serbs, and etc. Guns and ethnic diversity can be a deadly mix. But, once you have stable communities dominated by one race or ethnicity, there’s likely to be greater peace, with or without guns; indeed, each of the former Yugoslavian nations are safer now after the breakup and population transfers even though many people still own guns. On the other hand, a society dominated by blacks may not be safe with lots of guns cuz so many blacks act crazy. Indeed, fear of blacks has become the number one reason why whites want to own guns. In the past, it was fear of Indians and wild animals. If the wild frontier was tamed by white folks in the 19th century, today the urban jungle dominated by blacks is encroaching on white folks who want guns. Rich liberals, who can afford to live in safe neighborhoods, risk nothing when they yammer about the evil of guns and promote interracism since they don’t practice what they preach, but many common white Americans see the dangers all around.) If easy availability of guns is the solution, then why is there so much gun violence in the inner cities? Since just about every negro has a gun, he or she would be reluctant to use it; there should be mutual apprehension and respect. And, gangs would not shoot one another since all sides know the other guys have guns to retaliate with. But, the equilibrium and stability brought upon by guns in the inner city isn’t much better than the state of animal nature.
Bad and aggressive people will find ways to do bad things, and they’ll be far more willing to use guns. Bad people are more likely to be daring, reckless, and dangerous. Of course, they are likely to die younger(as in the movie City of God), but such idiots don’t think long-term; even if they know the dangers of crime and violence, they still prefer emotion over sense: the glamorous ‘badass’ life to one of sobriety; they don’t heed to the advice of ‘live a long life eating rice gruel’(Yojimbo by Akira Kurosawa).
Ever see a Western movie? Why do certain individuals or gangs gain great power over other people even though everyone has guns? Consider the movie "High Noon"; why is the entire town afraid of a few goons? Or, consider the mafia; how come a bunch of dago hoodlums could exert so much force on entire communities? Bad people have bigger balls. In truth, most people are chicken or ‘don’t want any trouble’. In other words, most people aren’t bungee jumpers.

So, if we ramp up the freedom for individuals, those with reckless tendencies will push them to excess and get in the way of those who tend to be wimpy(most people). The so-called organic equilibrium will vary from society to society depending on how many crazyass knuckleheads it has. A community of 1000 people with 10 Mike Tysons will be saner than a community of 1000 people with 100 Mike Tysons. The so-called equilibrium will be different between the two.

This is why we need many good laws and effective enforcement. To be sure, bad laws may be worse than lax or no laws.
It is the failure to enact and enforce good laws that leads to the excesses that eventually lead people to call for draconian, intrusive, or even oppressive laws(out of anger or in need for security). The best bulwark against the growing power of the state is to allow the state to play a constructive role in enforcing and regulating social order(within reason). Letting people do as they please can lead to social excess or chaos, in which case people fall under the sway of demagogues or ideologues who seek to greatly expand state power in the name of providing ‘bread and peace’.

Consider guns and the recent financial mess. If we have very loose guns laws and if too many people have guns, there are likely to be more shootings and bloodbaths such as the Virginia Tech shooting. http://groups.google.com/group/neo-fascism/msg/a491ffaa4f7a7035?hl=en&
That will lead to an outcry for truly draconian guns laws by people who react EMOTIONALLY than rationally to such things. Emotions matter in society, especially in respect to who controls the media. In the US, the media is controlled largely by liberal Jews, and they don’t want guns in the hands of white Americans. Horrible gun tragedies will be played up by the liberal media in order to push forth their anti-gun agenda.
Sometimes the image or news story is so ICONICALLY or symbolically powerful that the world community feels compelled to DO SOMETHING even if unwise--think of the humanitarian mission in Somalia. Just consider the effect that the images of dead Palestinian children had on the world community and peace processes in the 1990s. Those images played a key role in pressuring US and Israel to go for policies with little likelihood to succeed. When things get bad, people will grab at anything, especially if some news story crystallizes the urgency and desperation of a situation.
Of course, not all crises are caused by lack of laws or social stability; in the case of Israel and Palestinians, the cause of the violence is competing nationalisms. In any case, the problem exists due to impossibility of effective political control and stability in that part of the world--which makes lawful governance difficult or impossible.
But, even in a nation such as US or Iceland, we can end up with major social crisis if the pillars of society crumble. Too much gun violence resulting from too many guns is one form of crisis. The financial collapse in the US and Iceland is another kind of crisis resulting from too muchness or excesses(of 'free markets').
When things like that happen, people grow angry but also feel helpless. They fall into the hands of those who say they can fix the problem if they’re given tremendous government power. People ‘think’ with their emotions than with their minds. (When times are too good, same can happen, which explains why so many upbeat people in the late 90s ‘thought’--more like felt--that they were all going to be millionaires thanks to internet stocks.) Same can be said of the political and social 'thinking' and expectations during the Civil Rights Movement in America. It was the emotional power of watching ‘helpless’ and ‘innocent’ blacks being bullied and attacked by ‘vicious’ whites(especially on TV) that added tremendous momentum to the movement. Also, the gravity and complexity of the racial problem made people desperate and anxious; they wanted something to be done that would end the problem; so, they just decided to hold their breath and take a leap of faith off the cliff into the water they hoped was deep enough. Alas, the water wasn’t deep and we’ve broken many bones since.
Americans–and the rest of world–ignored the complexities of the social problem and just chose to believe in simple good vs wrong, a scenario where heaven on earth would be achieved if white folks only embraced the negro(when in fact the negro had many biologically rooted problems regardless of whether white folks embraced him or not). And, this sort of thing continues to hold sway over us because the liberal Jews who own and run the media and academia still employ those images via movies, PBS documentaries, and school texts to EMOTIONALLY inculcate us into being ‘virtuous’ people according to their agenda.

We should all realize that terrible crises and incidents can be exploited emotionally by the other side. So, if freedom lovers push for too many and easy access to guns, the series of gun-related bloodbaths can be emotionally exploited to turn the majority of people against ALL guns and ALL gun-owners. This is why people who oppose all gun laws will eventually end up with no guns. Zero gun control will lead to more and more horrible bloodbaths, which will be exploited by the liberal media to shock people. More and more people will EMOTIONALLY support tougher gun laws, not only in fear of gun violence because the growing consensus moral pressure says, ‘you must oppose guns to be a good honorable decent person’.

By now, we should know that thought is really steered by emotions. Prevalence of incidents that stir people’s emotions against gun violence will shape their minds against all guns. Consider the impact of liberal media on racial violence. They cover up or under-report news of black-on-white violence, but still remind everyone of the killing of Emmit Till and exaggerate white-on-black violence(which is almost non-existent). White kids grow up reading about or watching that liberal biased stuff(showing us the evils of white ‘racism’) in the various media; their emotions are stirred first, and then their thoughts follow. In boxing, you hit the head and the body follows. In education and culture, you grab the heart and the mind follows. This is why people think Holocaust was worse than other mass killings. Our hearts have been targeted with heart tuggers like Diary of Anne Frank, Schindler’s List, and Angel on the Fence. In contrast, we know of the other killings through the head than through the heart. We know Stalin killed millions but only through dry books, not through wet movies, music, tv, heart-tugging documentaries. We think of the history of communism; we FEEL about the Holocaust.

We must be wary of extreme liberty and freedom because excesses lead to backlashes.
The great backlash against drugs happened because pro-drug folks failed to understand the emotional impact of bad news. Drug advocates of the 60s would have done better to call for strong laws keeping drugs legal but regulated and controlled. Instead, people like Timothy Leary said it would be no problem at all if all the kids smoked pot, tripped on acid, or whatever. Such messages and attitude led to drug orgies and terrible excesses(easily exploited by the media and alarmists), which led to public outrage and tough drug laws that totally banned most drugs.
And, liberals messed up on the crime issue through the EXCESSIVE pro-negro policies. By apologizing for black crime and naively believing that the crime problem would go away if government provided more welfare, love, and job-training for blacks, liberals ended up creating a scary social reality where blacks thought they could run rampant and do as they damn pleased. With cops’ hands tied behind their backs, with criminals being let out through revolving door system, many cities became uninhabitable, and white folks fled for the suburbs. Though conservatives didn’t control the media nor have the means to portray liberal proponents of laxer crime laws as fiends or louts, many ordinary people saw the reality and simply voted with their feet. Because of LIBERAL control of the media and academia(the power to control the heart), many white folks who took flight felt guilt and self-loathing. On the ground, they readily saw black lunacy and crime all over, but the forces(media) controlling their hearts(thus minds) said, ‘shame on you for running from the wonderful negro(who, in reality, wasn’t so wonderful)’. This explains the popularity of Oprah and Obama among gulli-wullible white people. All those white folks who ran from ‘bad blacks’–but were afraid to admit their fear of blacks–wanted to prove that they aren’t ‘racist’ after all. So, they go gaga over Orpah and Obama.

What’s true of guns and crime is also true of economics. Reagan did a lot of good things for the economy, but the libertarian economists who pushed the envelope on deregulation were asking for trouble. It led to excesses in the financial sector which led to the current crisis which is paving the way for socialism. Deregulation and free market economics were not the only nor the main cause of the crisis, but they played essential roles. Had conservatives been more interested and invested in good government, its operations, and what it can do against market abuses, then the current mess could have been avoided, and we wouldn’t be on the road to socialism. But, free wheelers and dealers got the green light to do whatever clever crazy stuff they desired–all the more dangerous because those instruments and policies got intertwined with forces and policies that had little or nothing to do with the free market. Instead of opposing anti-free-market policies on principle and employing the necessary instrument of government to regulate the financial sector and enforce laws, conservatives got ideologically and politically lazy and thought that more and more deregulation and wheeling and dealing would fix all problems and be good for the economy. It led to excesses, and excesses led to the current meltdown.
And, it’s been EMOTIONALLY exploited by Obama and the liberal Jewish media that made him. And so, we are headed to socialism.
Ancient Greeks valued moderation. Libertarianism is the very anti-thesis of moderation. It is inherently supportive and bolstering of excessive behavior in the belief that all the excesses will counter and balance each other out. But, do we want an ‘ecological’ society? There is ecological balance in nature brought upon by ugly processes. We humans cannot live like that. The balance in nature is achieved by animals fighting and devouring other animals, by forest fires, by all sorts of crazy stuff. Animals act excessively, and the ‘natural balance’ is the outcome of all these competing excesses–constant warfare.

Humans, on the other hand, can maintain order and balance through self-control, shame, laws and enforcement, understanding, virtue, etc. Libertarianism mocks all that and says everyone should just do his or her thing to excess and not worry since the excesses will be balanced by counter-excesses of others or by internal psychological mechanism(like vanity neutralizing gluttony).
It’s no wonder that Ayn Rand had no use for morality as we know it. It was all about ‘me, me, me’. I’m not arguing for altruism or socialism. If anything, I think the individual is of paramount importance. But, an individual must be a person of virtue, with respect for others, and such. Also, every individual must realize that he or she is a link in a long chain of humanity. No individual was created by himself or herself. Nor, did he or she leap out of a theory or book. He or she is the product of union of man and woman and part of a long line of history and society. Individuals need freedom to explore and find his or her place in society and history, but there is no such thing as a pure individual, which is just an abstract theory.

1 comment:

  1. Government-made fatsos - When studying health and nutrition, I found reports of some of the childhood factors that were correlated to obesity later in life: being formula-fed as an infant, watching TV (amount not specified), consuming soda pop, and receiving vaccines and amalgam dental fillings (mercury damages thyroid, metabolism regulator), fluoride treatments (also suppresses thyroid), and consumption of MSG (now legally found under many names in most processed foods - lab mice are given ONE DOSE as youngsters and are obese for life, thereby aiding in obesity studies.) When people eat too much food, and that food is stripped of most or all intrinsic food value and nutrition, people are still HUNGRY. When they are told that good fats in food are fattening, when it is actually SUGARS that are converted to FAT in the body, they cut out the main food that triggers the "I'm full" response in the body. I had all seven of the above risk factors as a child, and dieting DID NOT HELP OR LAST until I worked on thyroid function. Amount of calories didn't help - the KIND of calories did (more protein and fats, less carbs). So, there are many hidden factors about why our bodies are fat (including the government "food pyramid"), that those of us who are no longer obese, or have never been overweight, should consider when beolding the growing hoard of fatties amongst us, like maybe it's partly by design. Not that that is an excuse, but a tool in the knowledge toolbox to affect change.