Kevin Williamson and the Perils of Brute Reason

Bait Ball

I am the kind of person who is willing to discuss and debate anything, regardless of what norms and sacred cows the conversation winds up defying. I’ve been this way my entire life. I used to think it was badass to challenge religious institutions and traditional ways of living. But as I’ve grown older, I’ve come to find those sorts of contrarian thoughts to be more cowardly and corny than rebellious. It’s easy to make fun of Christians and the nuclear family. How often do the people who find those critiques offensive come after your livelihood or your head?

Standing up to the real sacred cows of today takes guts:

Is homosexuality a choice? Has suffrage been a net negative for women? Was 9/11 an inside job? Has the Holocaust been exaggerated? Can we cut $1.00 from the Social Security budget?

Just asking these questions and having these discussions is enough to make many people tune out or condemn you of thought crime. I would not be surprised if much of my (admittedly small) readership has x’d out of this window already.

Part of me wants to blame those who are too squeamish to question their firmly held beliefs. Why are they so close-minded?

But it’s more likely that I’m the weird one. I am able to discuss and ponder about the most sensitive subjects while simultaneously keeping it together. Like Christopher Boone, the autistic narrator and protagonist in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, I am able to detach my mind from emotion and bias in order to solve problems and root out illogic (though I’m obviously not perfect at this and the shrewdness of my logic is up for debate).

I remember being in a staff meeting at my second school as a teacher. A coworker, who thought himself the department head, had questioned one of my teaching methods, and asked me to make an adjustment. The actual department head agreed. I responded by saying that I disagreed with their assessment, but I will make the adjustment anyway.

My willingness to voice my dissent enraged my coworker. In what seemed like the blink of an eye, he was stood screaming at me from across the table in front of the entire staff. He admonished me for daring to express my disagreement and, I felt, wanted me to say something along the lines of you’re right; I’m sorry. If this is what he wanted, he never got it. I held my ground and stuck to my guns.

Later that day, I ran into another coworker who had been at the meeting. He shook his head and put his hand on my shoulder before conveying how amazed he was by my calm in the face of someone so unhinged. He said that he would have leaned across the table and punched our coworker had he been in my position.

At this moment, I should have realized how different I am from the average Joe. I am afflicted with the capacity for brute reason.

Kevin Williamson, who was recently fired after writing only one column (and a great column at that) for The Atlantic, has the curse of brute reason too, and it would ultimately be his undoing.

I originally intended to name the most frightening components of the Williamson saga 1) the left-wing mob that regularly sabotages Conservatives and Libertarians who are given mainstream platforms and 2) the gatekeepers of intellectual thought (in this case, Jeffery Goldberg, The Atlantic’s editor-in-chief) who placate said left-wing mob.

But what can be done about these antagonists of antagonism? Is the left-wing mob suddenly going to calm down and listen to the other side if we keep insisting to each other that they do? Will our ridicule slowly chip away at their sensitivity until they are hardened objectivists? Are the gatekeepers going to choose to offend the bulk of their audience for the benefit of a handful of free thinkers? All of this appears to be a fruitless endeavor.

What I now believe to be the most frightening component of the Williamson saga is playing the character capable of brute reason. Like Pandora’s Box, my open mind cannot be closed. And those who do not want to trudge through the darker alleyways of reality have agency, both ethically and factually, to cover their ears, close their eyes, and sprint the other way, leaving me and those with similar abilities alone with each other in the shadows.

There are only two things I’m sure brute reasoners can do about our isolated state. The first is to try our darndest to persuade the masses even though our success rate will be minimal. This is and will continue to be a major hurdle because good marketing often requires piles of bullshit, and bullshit is like kryptonite to a brute reasoner. We aren’t appealing to the masses, and one of few things that we find too repulsive to bear is misrepresentation. Like sardines in a shoal, encircled by predators, whose survival instinct to follow the darting of our neighbors is now leading to our doom, the bait ball our nature and circumstances have got us in is going to be difficult to escape from.

The second thing we can do is to stay inspired by admiring the beauty of the products of brute reason. Kevin Williamson’s thought experiment conclusion about hanging women who have had abortions is a great example of this.

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Williamson’s conclusion rests upon several premises:

  1. Abortion is akin to murder
  2. Mothers are complicit in elective abortions; it’s not only the abortionist who is responsible
  3. The death penalty is a reasonable way to punish murderers
  4. The violence of the state should not be sugar-coated

Regardless of your or my or Kevin’s sincere agreement with any of these premises, let’s try to detach our minds and see if we can rationalize them.

Abortion as Murder

It is common knowledge that Conservatives (and many others) believe abortion is murder. They believe that life begins at conception, so terminating a pregnancy is terminating an innocent human life without its consent (which, like a child or unconscious adult, it does not have the ability to grant anyway).

Unless you do not value human life at all, it is probably the case that you would consider the killing of a mother’s developing child against her will to be akin to murder. If that is the case, the only way you would be unable to at least consider the possibility of abortion being akin to murder is to believe the value of a child’s life is determined solely the mother’s discretion. And even if you believe it is the mother’s choice exclusively, are you not somewhat persuaded by the reasoning of those who disagree?

Mothers are Responsible

Conservative thought-leaders rebuked then-candidate Trump when he suggested that women who have abortions should receive some form of punishment for their transgressions. It is the belief among the Conservative mainstream that abortionists, not mothers who have abortions, are the true guilty party.

But doesn’t that discount the mother’s agency? Isn’t she the one giving the okay and funding the operation? In what other circumstance does an adult approve and fund an action involving her or her child’s body and then assume zero culpability when they agreed upon action is carried out as planned? The case can certainly be made that mothers are partially, mostly, or completely responsible for the abortions they have.

The Death Penalty is Fair

The death penalty is a dangerous power to give to the state, and due to the possibility of wrongful conviction, can and does result in killings of those who did not deserve it. But let’s assume for a moment that we are privy to a case in which there is absolutely zero doubt that an individual accused of first-degree murder or another heinous crime is guilty. Under these conditions, is death a reasonable penalty?

You (and Kevin and I) may say it is not. Perhaps the potential to rehabilitate a criminal outweighs the need to inflict punishment. Perhaps a people who use violence to punish violence are becoming the thing that they claim to fight. But ruling that killing those who kill, as a means of justice, crime prevention, or something else, is not beyond the realms of sane policy. Can you at least see where they are coming from?

Exposing the Nature of the State

As Kevin Williamson has said, if you don’t pay your taxes, the government will sue you when they find out. If you fail to appear in court, they will get a warrant for your arrest. If you resist arrest, they will apprehend you and throw you in a cage or kill you if you put up a good enough fight. In other words, you will be killed or locked in a cage if you do not give the government the money it demands. This is the nature of government whether you like it or not.

If the government is essentially a monopoly on violence, why should we not be kept aware of this in our daily lives? Calls for transparency and authenticity are pervasive for all other things. Why should government be any different? If we are going to use state-sanctioned violence to punish those who break the law, why not make it as obvious as possible? Graphic hangings of murderers, as opposed to bloodless lethal injections, are honest and straightforward. If you do not support the death penalty without sugar-coating, you do not support the death penalty.

The Sublimity of a Gruesome Conclusion

Now that each of Kevin’s four premises is rationalized, let’s create a few syllogisms:

Syllogism A

  • Premise IA: Abortion is murder
  • Premise IIA: Mothers are responsible for their abortions
  • Conclusion A: Mothers who have abortions are murderers

Syllogism B

  • Premise IB: The death penalty is a just form of punishment for murderers
  • Premise IIB: The state should make its violent nature explicit
  • Conclusion B: Explicitly violent use of the death penalty (such as hanging) is a just form of punishment for murderers

Syllogism C

  • Premise IC: Mothers who have abortions are murderers
  • Premise IIC: Explicitly violent use of the death penalty (such as hanging) is a just form of punishment for murderers
  • Conclusion C: Explicitly violent use of the death penalty (such as hanging) is a just form of punishment for mothers who have abortions

This conclusion is beautiful for many reasons. The most obvious is that it follows a clean line of reasoning. If one accepts all of Kevin’s premises, none of which are completely unreasonable, it is hard to avoid his conclusion.

The more discrete reason Kevin’s conclusion is beautiful is that it is more challenging to those who tend to accept Kevin’s premises than to those who do not.

Conservatives who deny the mother’s culpability in her abortion are denying her agency, which is great cannon fodder for Liberals who accuse Conservatives of misogyny.

Liberals can force Conservatives into one of three uncomfortable corners:

  1. Admit that they are misogynists
  2. Admit that mothers who have abortions should be treated like murderers (and a supermajority of Conservatives support the death penalty for murderers)
  3. Admit that abortion is not akin to murder

Williamson also confronts Conservatives, who provide constant reminders of the forceful and violent nature of government, by calling them liars for trying to cover up the fate they advocate for murderers.

Ironically, Williamson’s thorn in the Conservative side has wound up puncturing Liberal sensibilities far more than the Conservatives it should be bleeding.

If you are a brute reasoner like me, and you can see the beauty in all of this, it should inspire you to trudge on. We are fighting for something special.

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Kevin Williamson and the Perils of Brute Reason

The Top 5 Reasons Not to Go to War with Syria

I found Trump Version 20.17 to be a pleasant surprise. He stuck to many of the promises I had hoped he would keep (like nominating textualist justices, taking a hatchet to the administrative state, and cutting the corporate tax rate) while not doing anything too drastic regarding the promises I hoped he wouldn’t keep (like going over the top on immigration or starting trade wars).

Trump Version 20.18, however, is turning out to be an absolute disaster. This is largely due to his signing of an obscene omnibus spending bill, starting a trade war with China, and beginning to fill the foreign policy wing of the executive branch with neocons.

Just as John Bolton, who is essentially a caricature of a belligerent American war hawk, enters his role as Trump’s national security advisor, reports of a chemical attack in Syria have surfaced. The attack is being blamed on President Bashar al Assad, and Trump has tweeted a warning to the Syrian dictator, Vladimir Putin, and Iran.

It seems as though the US is on the verge of yet another attempt at regime change in the Middle East. The mainstream media and establishment wings of each major party are fanning the flames of war, and I would wager that our presence and involvement in Syria is fit to escalate soon.

I do not think the United States should get any more involved in the Syrian conflict than it already has and, in an ideal world, would like all US forces in Syria to return home immediately.

Here are five of the main reasons I believe we should stay out of the Syrian conflict:

  1. It’s complicated

The Syrian Civil War is complex and impossible to fully understand. There are many factors that make this so. The simplest is that this is not a battle between two opposing factions, but a proxy war with at least four direct participants.

Bashar al Assad, protected by the Syrian Armed Forces, is trying to maintain control over the nation. “The rebels” are his primary opposition, and they would like to see Assad removed from power altogether.

To me, this is already reason enough for the US to stay out. While I believe in the right of a people to secede from a government they find intolerable and would not be so squeamish about the US assisting a population in declaring their independence, I generally do not support revolutions that disenfranchise those who are loyal to an established government, and certainly do not believe the US has any business getting involved in conflicts of this nature, especially when they are contained within a single country.

Other opponents of Assad include ISIS and more undoubtedly terroristic organizations. Since fighting against Assad, as bad as he may be, is effectively fighting alongside ISIS, it seems like the best bet is to let the monsters settle their own scores.

The fourth major faction in the Syrian conflict is the Kurds. This ethnically-bound group occupies portions of both Syria and Iraq and have their sights set on founding a nation of their own. The Kurds are generally too busy fighting ISIS and other enemies to be in armed conflict with Assad.

Several months ago, when it felt like the Syrian Civil War was finally beginning to wind down, certain pro-government social media outlets I had been following were settling into victory. To my surprise, they quickly began espousing hostile rhetoric about the Kurds. To me, this suggested that Assad and his backers had no interest in allowing the Kurds their independence, which further illustrated how complex the situation is.

Keep in mind that what I have attempted to explain thus far is only the direct participation in the war. The proxy-component takes the situation to a new level. Assad is backed by Iran and Russia among other nations, the rebels are backed by most of the west, Israel, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, ISIS is backed by terrorist outfits across the Middle East (and indirectly backed by supporters of the rebels), and the Kurds are supported by the US (though the feds did not back their independence referendum), but brutally opposed by Turkey, Iraq, and Assad.

And that’s not all. We must also be aware (or aware that we are not aware) of the linguistic, ethnic, religious, and cultural divides across the diverse population of Syria. There are at least 16 ethnoreligious groups residing in Syria, and no one is capable of possessing the knowledge required to accommodate even a fraction of them. This challenge is Syria’s, not America’s.

  1. The evidence leaves much to be desired

The most recent “gas attack” continues the cliché of incidents that are blamed on Assad without verification. Aid groups on the ground tend to be the primary sources for the UN and the US federal government, and videos documenting the aftermath always accompany the reports.

The problem with all of this is that hard evidence is never presented to the public. Perhaps the government has evidence that it refuses to release, but as far as anyone can tell, hard evidence does not exist.

Just two months ago, Defense Secretary James Mattis publicly stated that the US is still looking for proof that Assad is the culprit in previous gas attack allegations. Per ZeroHedge:

“I don’t have the evidence,” Mattis said. “What I am saying is that other groups on the ground – NGOs, fighters on the ground – have said that sarin has been used, so we are looking for evidence.”

While it is silly to use President Trump’s Twitter handle as a source of factual information, the president seems to have admitted that he has no evidence the latest gas attack is Assad’s doing either:

If the area in question is “inaccessible to the outside world,” and it needs to be opened up for “verification,” it is obviously not confirmed that Assad launched the chemical attack.

As I outlined in my latest blog post, applying Occam’s razor to the situation makes it hard to imagine that Assad is the culprit. Why would Assad, on the verge of victory and fully aware that the bulk of the Western world is seething for a reason to remove him from power, commit a strategically and economically idiotic war crime that makes it impossible for the US to exit? Why would he do this on the heels of Trump saying that the US would be exiting Syria very soon? Could any remotely rational human being be so evil that he puts everything he has spent most of the past decade fighting for on the line just to murder a few civilians?

It is true that logic may not be the best means of understanding Middle Eastern conflicts. But I still find the possibility that Assad was framed by his enemies to be far more persuasive than Assad effectively committing suicide.

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  1. Regime change does not work

Let’s give two huge benefits of the doubt and assume that 1) we know who the good guys are in Syria and 2) we can verify that Assad is intentionally engaging in something akin to genocide.

Even under these circumstances, contemporary history teaches us that toppling dictators and installing democracies is a futile effort. Iraq and Libya remain failed states years and year after their autocrats fell. There are probably many reasons for this, but I will extrapolate on two.

First, I believe, as Andrew Breitbart famously stated, politics is downstream from culture. Unlike many radical leftists, I generally do not believe in social constructionism in which oppressive systems are put in place and dictate the way society turns out. Instead, I believe people get the governments they deserve. In other words, Saddam Hussein was a result of Iraqi history, values, and living conditions, not the other way around. If I am right, removing the system will not lead to sustained improvements in the way a people do politics. They will resort to their old ways quickly, and the effort will be all for naught. The people must change before the way they are governed can.

Secondly, Jeffersonian Democracy is not for everyone. While I am only in favor of government if its purpose is to protect natural, individual human rights, other people may have other preferences. You cannot force a form of government on people who do not understand it and do not want it.

  1. Trump is president

Here’s a brief list of accusations that have been hurled at Trump over the past few years:

  • Idiot
  • Liar
  • Conman
  • Racist
  • White Supremacist
  • Nazi
  • Fascist
  • Homophobe
  • Xenophobe
  • Misogynist
  • Rapist
  • Thief
  • Russian agent
  • Corrupt
  • Lunatic
  • Mentally ill
  • Reckless
  • Immature
  • Ignorant
  • Illiterate
  • Vengeful
  • Narcissistic

I’m not going to say which ones I think are accurate and which ones I think are off base. But if a handful of these are true, anyone that would follow Trump into war is a complete and utter dotard. Since there is a common hawkishness among many of Trump’s most fervent critics, they must not believe what they say about Trump or are miles past sensibility in their stubborn desire for war.

  1. We are $21 trillion in debt

Last but not least, war has costs. The most horrific tragedies of war are the lives lost, both military and civilian. Injuries are suffered, homes and livelihoods are destroyed, and relationships are torn to shreds in all armed conflicts.

With that being said, I understand that war is sometimes the best option, and that the costs of not going to war can vastly outweigh the costs of participating.

But based on the complexity of the situation in Syria, the unproven nature of the claims that would justify intervention, America’s recent history of failure in armed conflict, and the lack of competence in the White House, this is not one of those times.

Since intervention remains unwarranted, exhausting more US resources as a trillion-dollar surplus looms would be beyond the pale. As Pre-President Trump tweeted way back in 2013:

Let’s hope the new Trump channels the old Trump before we get ourselves in another mess.

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The Top 5 Reasons Not to Go to War with Syria

Assad’s Razor

Here are the conditions that would have to apply for Assad to be the perpetrator of the latest “gas attack” in Syria:

  1. Assad is evil beyond imagination.
  2. Just as Trump announces he wants to pull the US out of Syria, ceding control over the region to Assad and his allies, Assad decides to commit a war crime he knows will prevent the US military from being able to leave.
  3. Assad’s unimaginable evil is so overwhelming that he cannot keep it together for a few months to give the US the impression that it can exit the region in good conscious.
  4. In the midst of a seemingly endless war, Assad thinks killing civilians with WMDs, despite no strategic benefit, is a wise use of time and resources.
  5. Previous reports about Assad turning over his chemical weapons to the US and Russia are completely false.

Here are the conditions that would have to apply for “the rebels” to be the perpetrators of the latest “gas attack” in Syria:

  1. “The rebels”, ISIS, or another organization friendly to their cause staged the attack in one way or another to frame Assad in order to prevent the US from leaving Syria, which Trump recently announced he wanted to do, and which would be devastating to their war efforts.

Occam’s Razor is the theory that the simplest explanation is more likely to be the correct explanation. Guess who I think is responsible for the “gas attacks”?

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Assad’s Razor

Stop Following Children

“You’ve got to be oriented towards something. Otherwise, you’re disoriented. You just spin around in circles. And then you suffer, and so do people around you. It’s not a good solution. Orient yourself towards something. You have to figure out what it is. What will work for you? What goal would justify the suffering of your life? Start trying to piece that together, and you’re going to get better at it. But it’s a personal process. And you should use your education to inform that. You need a personal place to stand because otherwise you’re going to be handed a place to stand on a plate. And maybe one that makes you a puppet of someone else’s goals. So, what are the processes? Well, what I’ve recommended to people is clean up your room. That’s a good start. Organize your local landscape. Schedule your time. Start taking control of yourself. Stop seeing if you can say things you know to be lies. That’s not the same as telling the truth. You don’t get to do that to begin with because you’re not good enough at it to even attempt it in some sense. But everyone can stop saying things they know to be falsehoods.”-Dr. Jordan B Peterson

For the past two or three years, I have become one of millions of individuals to spend hours of my life watching Dr. Jordan B Peterson lectures, interviews, debates, and videos of his own making. Some say that Peterson is turning into a bit of a cult leader. Others refer to him as a prophet. To me, he’s just a well-informed and well-intentioned guy with a lot of important stuff to say.

Beginner Peterson followers often parrot what has become one of his most popular catch phrases: clean up your room. While it sounds simple (and may have been the case for most pre-millennial generations), what Peterson means when he recommends cleaning one’s room is that getting yourself oriented towards a meaningful goal is a slow, personal process. As beginning the journey towards individuality and a meaningful life is likely the hardest part, focusing on a simple task like keeping one’s room tidy is a great way to get started.

I admire Peterson not only because his advice and knowledge are useful and entertaining, but because we have a common craft as educators. While my ESL teaching in Thailand is not nearly as prestigious as being a tenured professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, I, like Peterson, am tasked with the responsibility of transferring knowledge to students and, more importantly, providing them with the intellectual tools they will need to survive and thrive in the world.

Living abroad and observing the progress and events taking place in the USA has both advantages and disadvantages in terms of the ability to analyze situations proficiently. On the one hand, I am not in the United States, and I view my home country through a mass media filter. Mainstream media, alternative media, and social media provide a tremendous amount of information, but all skew reality in various directions. This makes my interpretation of what is going on skewed as well (though each of our interpretations of the world is skewed irrespective of media to begin with).

On the other hand, observing my nation of birth from the outside gives me a unique perspective and removes certain biases. As events and happenings in the US have a limited effect on my life in Thailand, I am able to analyze with less prejudice than someone directly affected by them. For example, if a new law or regulation winds up providing an American with greater job security, he will probably have a harder time judging the ethics and overall impact of the new rule. If it makes his life better, his confirmation bias will highlight the personal benefits and blur the negative effects the rule may have on others. Since I am outside many of the effects of US policy, I may be better able to analyze them dispassionately.

Based on my exo-observations, I am alarmed at the state of discourse in America, particularly in education and academia. Curricula that view government with rose-colored goggles, policies that value group identity over individuality, and rising intolerance of views that counter leftist dogma have given me cause for concern for several years. But nothing has sent a chill up my spine like the current media obsession with the Parkland massacre student survivors.

While I have no issue with allowing these students to share their experience and even express their views on gun policy, a feeling of nausea comes over me when I see how many people are following them on Twitter, bringing them on to major news networks to comment on all sorts of issues, and marching behind them at political protests.

The media, namely the increasingly pathetic CNN, is certainly favoring the views of the students pushing for gun control over the voices of those who support the Second Amendment. But the Conservative following of the anti-gun control students is equally appalling. I will not publish the names of any of these young people or link to media that features them because I do not wish to promote it.

By all means, we, as adults, should be encouraging kids to engage in political, social, philosophical, and all other forms of discourse and debate. It is vital that young people expound their views and have them scrutinized. However, we should advise against their undying commitment to agendas and principles, especially in the form of public advocacy, until they have had the time to think them through and defend them from sincere contrarian challenges.

Far more despicable than failing to advise students against premature advocacy is exploiting their passion and marketability in pursuit of one’s own objectives. This is one of the most sinister potentialities of the human condition.

Here’s a picture of Khmer Rouge teenagers rounding up guns in Cambodia.

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Image Source

Like just about every other government atrocity of the 20th Century, which combined to murder over 100 million people, the heart of the Khmer Rouge movement was Cambodia’s impressionable youths.

Pol Pot along with Stalin, Hitler, and Mao were keenly aware of the deadly combination of idealism and ignorance that is most prevalent among the young, who also happen to be the most physically fit and have the least to lose in a radical upheaval of cultural, societal, economic, and political norms. Taking power the way they did would have been impossible without children to prey upon and carry out their misdoings.

These murderers were also aware of how persuasive the illusion of protecting the lives and safety of children can be to the general public. As Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf, “The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation.”

History and common sense teach us that we should provide young people with loving humility and liberal education, not emotional coddling and political clout. They are in search of guidance, but lack the judgment to know which guides are leading them in the right direction.

Seven years of teaching middle school and high school have taught me how easy it is to persuade and stimulate teenagers. I remember walking out of an 8th grade class after a grammar lesson several years ago. After exiting the building, I realized I had made a mistake about something and misinformed the entire class. The embarrassment of my error quickly subsided after I became aware of how easily I could stand in front of my students and fill their heads with anything I wanted to. I immediately felt sick.

Part of my code of conduct as a teacher has always been to do my best to keep my opinions out of the classroom. Being that my students generally trust me and see me as a good man, it would be unethical for me to use my position of authority to promote my views as it would serve as a form of indoctrination, not education. Instead, I teach them to analyze rhetoric, apply logic, and think critically. With these tools at their disposal, they come closer to having what it takes to fend off opportunistic users and abusers, and make good decisions on their own.

I hope more adults, especially teachers, will follow my and Dr. Jordan Peterson’s lead instead of putting ignorant children on the front lines.

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Stop Following Children

Trump’s Epically Anti-Libertarian Moment

Note: I had previously adopted a ‘no profanity’ rule on HowToCureYourLiberalism.com. It is no longer in effect.

President Trump’s trade war is officially under way. After stupidly placing tariffs on steel, aluminum, and a laundry list of Chinese imports, the PRC has announced plans to return the favor with tariffs on hundreds of American exports. While this may be helpful to a handful of workers in domestic and Chinese industries, it will be a headache for far more workers and nearly all consumers in both countries. Presidents Trump and Xi, however, live on the taxpayer’s dole, so will probably not be subjected to any of the negative consequences their stupid tariffs bring about.

While it has been clear all along that Trump is in no way a free trader, the most recent advisor he has appointed is a dramatic departure from his anti-interventionist palaver. John Bolton is Trump’s new national security advisor. John Bolton. The big mustache guy who’s never met a war he didn’t like. That guy. Is now. Trump’s. National. Security. Advisor.

While I hate to be cynical (although I am enjoying it right now), I really wish Trump had “colluded” with the Russians to steal the 2016 election. If he had and was now remaining loyal to Putin, there is no way Trump would consider regime change and Iraq-esque permanent occupation in Syria. But since it is becoming increasingly clear that Trump did not collude with Russia and as more and more neo-cons swamp the White House, war with Russia and/or Iran seems likelier by the day.

This is all very frustrating and un-libertarian. But what Trump tweeted out yesterday might possibly be the worst 47 words I or any Libertarian has ever come across. Take a look:

Everything in this tweet is bad. Let’s take it from the top:

Got $1.6 Billion to start Wall on Southern Border,

We don’t need a wall on the southern border. The southern border is very big. A massive chunk of illegal immigration is a result of visa overstays, not just border crossings. And Illegal immigration isn’t that big of a problem to begin with.

$1.6 billion is a lot of money. But it’s not nearly enough to build a wall to separate Mexico and the United States, which share the 10th longest international land border in the entire world.

Immigration is supposed to be a state issue, not a federal issue anyway.

rest will be forthcoming.

If he were talking about taking a rest from doing things, that would be great. Tragically, he’s referring to the other $16-17 billion needed to build the wall (which is not needed or legal and will never be built).

Most importantly, got $700 Billion to rebuild our Military,

Our military is already built. It’s the most powerful and most expensive in the world. Since it’s already built, rebuilding it is not important, let alone most important. $700 billion is too much money for the military. In fact, it’s too much money for anything. Any time you pay $700 billion for something, you are getting ripped off.

$716 Billion next year…

Shit!

most ever.

SHIT!

Had to waste money

No! You didn’t have to waste money. You are supposed to veto things that waste money or are otherwise bad. What the heck did you waste it on?

Dem giveaways

SHIT!!! WTF?!?! WHY?!?!

in order to take care of military pay increase and new equipment.

I’m not saying whether or not I support a military pay increase or “new equipment”. Maybe it’s appropriate. I don’t know.

But you know what would have been a better way of accomplishing both of these goals, Mr. President?

Come a little closer so I can whisper it in your ear. Ready? Here goes:

BRINGING OUR TROOPS HOME AND PUTTING AN END TO OUR PSYCHOTIC FOREIGN POLICY, YOU FUCKING IDIOT!!! DO YOU REALIZE HOW MUCH THAT SHIT COSTS?!?! YOU MUST REALIZE BECAUSE YOU’VE BEEN RANTING AND RAVING ABOUT IT FOR 30 FUCKING YEARS!!!

You used to talk about America First. I kind of liked that. The wild idea that a nation’s government would put its nation’s interests above, say, Israel’s or a bunch of politically well-connected cronies’ is a really swell idea. Even though I disagreed with many of your domestic ideas, I actually considered voting for you and wrote why Hillary was a worse choice for president simply because you said you wanted to concern yourself with issues at home exclusively.

But it looks like either that was all talk or you have become a full-fledged neocon cuck.

It’s silly for me to be angry at President Trump. He never claimed to be a Libertarian, Constitutionalist, or Budget Hawk. And he always lies and contradicts himself, so there’s that too.

There is a bright side in all of this, though, if you look hard enough.

Let me know if you find it.

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Trump’s Epically Anti-Libertarian Moment

Bring on the Blue Wave

This is going to be quick.

Considering the omnibus package and John Bolton’s appointment as national security advisor, there is officially no reason for Libertarians to prefer President Trump and the Republicans over the Democrats.

The omnibus package and its ensuing passage were summed up quite well by Senator Mike Lee:

‘Nuff said.

As for John Bolton, just imagine a caricature of an American war hawk so over the top that it loses all comedic value. That’s who is now in the president’s ear regarding national security.

I am not going vote for any Democrats in this year’s midterm elections or in 2020 unless they magically nominate a dovish free marketer. But at this point, I think I’d like the Democrats to take the house and senate. I don’t want them to win for the sake of their party’s platform, but to give the Republicans a well-deserved loss.

Vote Libertarian or stay home.

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Bring on the Blue Wave

The Prototypical American Candidate

The Pennsylvania 18th district special election appears to be a good teachable moment for Democrats, Republicans, and Libertarians.

Democrats should learn that they can win in red states and counties by nominating handsome moderates. Republicans should learn that campaign spending is not the key to victory. And Libertarians should learn that we are a permanent minority political point of view.

Since President Trump’s election, I have had several thoughts and discussions about what the Democrats should do in response to huge losses in 2016. My thinking is that Democrats have to choose between being the party of inclusion and the party of the working man. If they go full Social Justice Warrior, they will regain many of the minority votes that came out for Barack Obama yet stayed home for Hillary Clinton. If they go full working man, they will regain many of the working class white voters who voted for Obama twice and then switched to Trump.

I have another, more complex idea for what the Democrats or Republicans could look for in a candidate to have the best chance at winning just about any election in America outside of major metros like New York and Los Angeles which are unusually left-leaning. Unfortunately, the prototypical American candidate will be far from Libertarian.

Here are the qualities I believe would combine for a winning formula in almost all US elections:

Xenophobic

The prototypical American candidate must be ready to appeal to the American people’s fear of foreigners. This includes supporting trade barriers to prevent people in other countries from “stealing our jobs” and sending us “dangerous” products. The candidate must also be wary of immigration and outraged by crimes committed by foreign-born residents. Bombing countries that end in “stan” and enforcing travel bans are a plus too.

Buy American, Hire American, and America First are winning slogans.

Socially Moderate

Social Conservatism and Social Liberalism are both unappealing to the broader American public. Social Conservatism is stupid and hypocritical, and Social Liberalism is scary and dangerous in the mind of the average American voter. This means abortion bans and late-term abortions are both off-putting. It means supporting gay marriage, but not transgender students using the toilet of their choice. It means supporting medical marijuana use, but not full decriminalization. If you consider gun rights to be more of a social than a political issue, supporting a few restrictions on the gun trade while still believing in the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense purposes is the way to go.

(This is as good as it’s going to get for Libertarians, by the way.)

Fiscally Apathetic

The national debt is concerning to Libertarians and Conservatives, but not concerning enough to most Americans that they would sacrifice a single penny to deal with it. The perfect political candidate would share this lack of concern. This means cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and the military are out of the question, and spending increases are always welcome. Tax cuts, especially for a self-glorifying middle class, should be promoted as well, the deficit be damned.

Economically Socialist

Middle class tax cuts paired with upper class tax hikes might be the best policy position to win an election in America or anywhere else. Soaking the rich to pay for the middle class’s healthcare, education, social security, and infrastructure is irresistible for the average voter. Economic redistribution plays on tribalism, envy, greed, anger, hate, short-sighted arithmetic, and basically every other flaw in the human condition. Sharing is caring as long as you think you’re on the receiving end.

Constitutionally Ignorant

The Constitution requires reading. It contains antiquated vocabulary words that need to be researched. And, as the fable goes, it was used to justify slavery and subjugation of women. Why would any candidate intent on winning an election waste their time with this silly, old document?

That being said, shouting “The Constitution!” when it suits your argument doesn’t hurt. The prototypical candidate just has to avoid going into too much detail.

Young, Male, and Attractive

President Trump embodies the prototypical American candidate fairly well until it comes to his face, his hair, and his waistline. And this is a big deal. How many times have you heard voters who would otherwise agree with the bulk of his platform make horrid comments about Trump’s appearance? He is so unpleasant to look at that he’s probably turned a fair amount of populist moderates into left-wing radicals, Russophobic neocons, or even Libertarians (one can only hope).

The only thing Trump has going for him on paper is that he is male. However, I do not think this gave him much of an edge against Hillary Clinton. Trump is male, but not masculine in appearance. His voice is not deep and commanding either. He isn’t stoic, and he is more petulant and defiant than confident. Clinton was so unattractive, both physically and behaviorally, that Trump’s appearance and demeanor could probably be overlooked when the two were juxtaposed.

This video shows an experiment in which an exchange between Trump and Hillary are acted out by members of the opposite sexes. While the woman playing Trump might not be particularly appealing, the male playing Hillary sounds like nails on a chalkboard. This reaffirms my belief that the genders of the candidates played a very minor role in the 2016 election.

If you go back and look at the GOP primary candidates Trump defeated, you might notice that being young, male, and attractive was irrelevant. Jeb Bush looks dorky and weak, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio are short, Ted Cruz and John Kasich are hard to look at, Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson are fidgety and spastic, and Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee are fat. Compared to this crew, Trump is tall and fills out a suit quite nicely.

I hate to be a bummer, but there is scant hope for the Libertarian Party and for more Libertarian-leaning Republicans like Rand Paul and Thomas Massie. Our views are terribly unpopular politically, and our candidates tend to be weird-looking and nutty.

Democracy is active organization and participation with little risk involved for those who take part. Making an organized, collective effort to win an election goes against our independent, non-interventionist, and anti-tyrannical nature. Spontaneous order and market forces are not the name of the game in politics.

So, what should we do? Moderate our platform to make it more palatable? Lie to voters about our intentions? Retreat from politics altogether and live our lives as if government doesn’t exist? Or am I underestimating the potential for Libertarians to make gains in elections around the country?

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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The Prototypical American Candidate