Everytown is Every Scaremonger

Here’s a list of things that haven’t been involved in the deaths of anyone that I know personally:

  • Anthrax
  • Killer bees
  • Immigrants
  • Terrorists (though, being from New York, I know many people who lost loved ones on 9/11 and am lucky not to have lost any family or friends of my own)
  • Ebola
  • White Supremacists
  • Sharks
  • The Russians
  • North Korea
  • Mad Cow Disease
  • MS-13
  • Pitbulls
  • The mentally ill
  • Net neutrality repeal
  • Tax cuts
  • Zika
  • Mass shootings

I understand that I don’t know everyone and that almost everything on this list is responsible for deaths, sometimes tens of thousands of deaths or even much more if you count people outside of America. But I live my life without worrying about any of them. Outside of ranking West Africa near the bottom of my preferred travel destinations, they don’t really affect my life at all.

This, however, does not stop the media, politicians, advocacy groups, corporations, and others from telling me and anyone else within earshot that we are in perpetual peril. Death is lurking at our doorsteps, and we must do something or people will die.

Predictably enough, the something the scaremongers want us to do almost undoubtedly involves parting ways with our property or our liberty. We need to increase funding, pass legislation, build walls, ramp up security, limit access, and fortify our home defense systems to withstand nuclear winter.

Please…

My skepticism of buying what the scaremongers are selling does not mean I believe there are no threats to public safety, that there are no solutions to these threats, or that we should never do something. My points are that these threats are almost always blown out of proportion, and becoming freer and more secure in our persons, papers, and property never seems to be the formula the scaremongers want to try.

In the wake of another horrific mass shooting at a high school in Florida, the mainstream media and the bulk of the left are engaging in their typical calls for gun control. With apologies to honest Progressives who admit they want to confiscate large quantities of privately owned firearms and repeal the Second Amendment, not many people have put forward ideas that could actually prevent mass shootings or even ideas that are not already legislated.

To sow fear amongst the masses and push for more gun control, the mainstream media has been reporting that the incident in Florida is the 18th school shooting of 2018 (which is only a month and a half into its existence at the time I am writing this). If that were the case, it would mean a school shooting has taken place roughly every three days.

This statistic appears to originate with Everytown for Gun Safety, an advocacy group which describes itself as follows:

Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund seeks to improve our understanding of the causes of gun violence and the means to reduce it – by conducting groundbreaking original research, developing evidence-based policies, and communicating this knowledge in the courts and the court of public opinion.

I do not intend to question the intentions of Everytown. In all likelihood, they believe what they are doing is right and just. But Everytown is being dishonest, and the mainstream media that cites their data is being irresponsible.

According to Everytown’s school shootings map, there have been 17 school shootings thus far in 2018 and 290 school shootings overall since 2013 (these numbers will jump to 18 and 291 respectively once the Florida shooting is accounted for). But after taking a closer look at the map, I noticed that Everytown’s definition of school shooting is not limited to the Columbine High School-like massacres the phrase brings to mind.

To put the 18 school shootings into perspective, I have divided them into five categories:

  • School Shooting (SS)-An instance in which one or several people brought at least one firearm to a school with the apparent intention of killing or harming others and fired at least one bullet at at least one person. Fatalities occurred in two of the three.
  • Red Zone Incident (RZ)-An instance in which a gun was brought to a school with plausible intent to kill or harm others, but no shots were intentionally fired at others. In one instance a shot was fired at the floor, in the other a student accidentally shot other students.
  • Suicide Attempt (SA)-An instance in which a person discharged a firearm at him or herself at a school, but not at anyone else. One instance involved a student, and one involved an adult from outside the school.
  • Miscellaneous (M)-An instance in which a gun was present at a school for any reason other than premeditated intent to harm or kill others, and at least one shot was fired. These instances include accidents, shots fired as a result of an altercation, and an attempted robbery.
  • Unknown (U)-An instance in which gunshots were reportedly fired in the direction of a school, but too few details are known about the incident to guess motive, and no one was shot. Gunfire at NET Charter High appears to have been directed towards students while the target is unclear in the other three instances.

Here is how the 17 school shootings plus the recent Florida massacre* fall under my definitions:

Type Number Schools # Shot # Killed
SS 3 -Marshall County High, Italy High, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High* 50+ 19
RZ 2 -Metropolitan High, Salvador B. Castro Middle 2 0
SA 2 Coronado Elementary, East Olive Elementary 2 2
M 7 Lincoln High, Oxon Hill High, Wake Forest University, Dearborn High, Murphy High, Harmony Learning Center, Grayson College 3 3
U 4 Wiley College, The NET Charter High, New Start High, California State University 0 0

There are many ways to interpret and react to this information. And I can understand the feeling and the logic behind the urge to want to do something about gun violence and the presence of guns at schools or in public life in general.

But the fact is that we have not had 18 Columbines this year.

According to the Department of Education, there are about 76.3 million students enrolled in K-12 schools, colleges, and universities in America. If the 2018 pace continues, roughly 200 people will be killed in shootings at schools (though this is unlikely as 138 have been killed in total since the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012). This means each student has a roughly 0.0000026% chance of being shot to death at school this year. If you factor in school faculty and individuals from outside schools, the odds go down even further.

Of course, it is obligatory to say that each unnecessary death is one too many. Every life is precious, and I have no respect for adults who do not see it as their duty to protect children. And perhaps there are ways to make schools safer even without infringing upon anyone’s Second Amendment rights or other liberties.

But the fear induced by the rare and tragic shootings that occur at schools is largely unfounded, and those who push Everytown’s numbers are peddling shoddy data at best and flat out fiction at worst.

Keep calm, and carry on.

***

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Everytown is Every Scaremonger

Total Legalization: The Only Libertarian Position on Drugs

Via Reason Magazine:

“San Francisco may end up being the first city in the United States to open injection sites where drug addicts can shoot up safely…

“…The facilities will be funded from private sources, though Garcia declined to say where specifically the money will come from.”

San Francisco might be the least economically Libertarian city in the United States. But permitting the existence of open injection sites is as Libertarian as it gets (well, aside from the fact that permission is needed).

From what I gather, this initiative will provide heroin users with a safe and supervised hideaway to use their drug of choice. Although maintaining consistent funding seems a bit fishy, the project will be privately sponsored, which means taxpayers won’t be forced to subsidize drug use against their conscience. Allowing drug addicts to seek refuge, depending on philanthropists to assist the needy, and keeping the public purse out of it is a hyper-Libertarian trifecta.

I also predict that, assuming the funds don’t dry up, this will make the world a better place. Drugs are a fact of human life. Alcohol, caffeine nicotine, and harder substances are as old as humanity itself, and well-intentioned laws don’t deliver on their promises. Alcohol prohibition in the 1920s was a gargantuan failure of government policy, and the 40-year War on Drugs has been equally ineffectual.

Instead of trying to alter human nature, the existence of human drug use should be accepted, and those interested in helping others should seek out ways to make the best of a difficult fact of life.

The main point I’d like to make in this piece is that Libertarians should not tolerate a moderate position on drug policy. Weed should be legal, but harder narcotics should be banned is a cowardly opinion for a lover of Liberty. Drug use should be decriminalized, but the drug trade should not be legalized is weak as well. The only acceptable Libertarian drug policy is total legalization of the manufacture, sale, and personal use of all substances.

(Since I speak through an American-Constitutional lens, I’ll add at the federal level to the end of the only acceptable Libertarian drug policy. If a state or locality that I don’t live in chooses to prohibit drugs in one way or another, it’s none of my nor the external public’s business.)

Total drug legalization highlights the merits of both ethical Libertarianism and practical Libertarianism. By moral Libertarianism, I mean the extreme Anarcho-Capitalist view that no one has any right to force any individual to do anything with his body or property that goes against his will.

By practical Libertarianism, I mean the broad spectrum of ideas that are often described as socially liberal and fiscally conservative or Classically Liberal. Practical Libertarianism, by my definition, encompasses the likes of Steven Pinker, Dave Rubin, and Jordan Peterson as well as Ron Paul, Stefan Molyneux, and Ayn Rand (though not all of them would embrace my label or support total drug legalization).

The moral Libertarian case for total drug legalization is obvious. If no one can tell you what you can trade, what you can do with what you own, or what you can do with your body, no one can force you to refrain from making, buying, selling, or taking drugs. Not much else needs to be said.

The practical Libertarian case is far more interesting and may require a certain degree of counterintuitive thinking.

The first point to make is that prohibition is destructive. As I alluded to earlier, alcohol prohibition led to a massive crime wave that only ceased when the 18th Amendment was repealed. The War on Drugs, which began in the early 1970s, has failed to make a dent in drug addiction while costing over $1.5 trillion (equal to ~8% of our national debt). Making drugs illegal creates new problems without solving old ones.

The second point to make is that legitimate businesses and non-profits are safer than cartels and gangs. Here, Conservatives and Progressives who oppose total drug legalization can have their own logic turned against them. When Conservatives are faced with anti-Second Amendment arguments, they often retort by noting that criminals who really want guns will find a way to acquire them. The only difference is that criminal organizations do not operate in accordance with rules and regulations, do not have legitimate businesses to keep on the up and up, and have no oversight in terms of training or licensing. Gun control laws interfere with the lives of law-abiding citizens while providing free reign to crooks.

On the Progressive end, consider abortion. Every pro-choice advocate is ready to note that women will not cease from having abortions if they are forbidden, but will instead go to back-alley clinics where there is little concern for medical degrees or hygiene. Banning abortion will spread death and disease without actually banning them.

The logic of each of these positions is accurate and sound, regardless of your feelings on firearm and reproductive rights. The same thinking should be applied to drug prohibition, which already provides glaring real world illustrations that the naked eye can see: the underground drug industry is unimaginably violent, drug abuse is as rampant as ever before, the quality and content of the drugs being taken is a mystery to dealers and users, and people who could benefit from some guidance wind up hurting themselves and others every single day. Name a legally-operating industry that experiences these problems, and I’ll delete this column.

The third point to make is that drug laws don’t stop people from doing drugs. I can prove this point from personal experience. For starters, I smoked pot regularly in high school and college and also experimented with psychedelics, cocaine, and opioids. The fact that these drugs were illegal for me to use made them easier for me to acquire than alcohol until I turned 21. Alcohol distributors that want to keep their licenses must follow the rules or lose a great source of revenue, so it took elaborate plans to fool them into selling booze to my friends and me. Drug dealers did not face this kind of dilemma, so all I needed to procure them was a contact and cash.

More importantly, prohibition laws did not deter my friends or me from buying drugs in any way. We were unafraid of the legal consequences, and did what we wanted. We did not, however, attempt to buy heroin or crystal meth. This is because we were afraid of what those drugs could do to our minds and bodies. It had nothing to with the law. As Ron Paul cleverly asked a GOP presidential debate audience in South Carolina, “How many people here would use heroin if it was legal?”

A total drug legalization policy initiative could include some modest regulations. Perhaps age limits, manufacturing protocols, advertising restrictions, distributor licensing, and some other rules could have a positive impact without meaningfully impeding Liberty. But the general proposition of treating drugs like any other consumer product is supported by evidence and common sense, and Libertarians should promote it unapologetically.

***

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Total Legalization: The Only Libertarian Position on Drugs

The Libertarian Case for Supporting Trump’s Military Parade (Under One Condition)

The hawk moth caterpillar’s head resembles that of a snake. This evolutionary innovation helps to defend the caterpillar from predators, such as birds and rodents, which are fooled into believing it is they who are susceptible to becoming prey.

The coral snake is one of the most venomous snakes in the United States, behind only rattlesnakes and water moccasins. Although their docile and secretive nature typically keeps them free from human contact, they pack venom toxic enough to kill a person in less than two hours. The milk snake, on the hand, is not venomous at all. But due to its close inhabitance to the coral snake, natural selection has provided the milk snake black, yellow, and red stripes that nearly match those of its venomous cousin. Displaying coral snake colors forces predators to think twice before taking their chances with the milk snake.

Frilled lizards, when threatened, spread out a mane of skin around their necks to appear larger and more formidable than they actually are. Before a predator realizes he’s been had, the frilled lizard escapes into a tree.

Clownfish, despite their miniscule size, swim towards and sometimes bite anything that gets too close to their anemone homes (I have come face to face with these courageous souls while snorkeling!). As predators are used to prey that darts away, they might decide to back down from the clown.

Even my adorable pet sugar glider Penelope has a means of scaring off attackers. Disturb her while she’s sleeping or try to grab her when she’s not in the mood to play, and she bellows a loud and horrible cry that would startle any hunter. This sound is called crabbing, and it’s just the worst.

These examples prove that creatures do not always require the capacity for overwhelming violence to survive and thrive in nature. While tusks, claws and poisonous barbs are a plus, persuading your competitors that you are not to be messed with is sufficient and sometimes even preferable. After all, an untouched porcupine is better off than an injured one whose quills have just taught a young lion to leave it alone next time.

President Trump has reportedly expressed interest in a little crabbing of his own. Via the Washington Post:

Surrounded by the military’s highest-ranking officials, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., Trump’s seemingly abstract desire for a parade was suddenly heard as a presidential directive, the officials said.

“The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France,” said a military official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the planning discussions are supposed to remain confidential. “This is being worked at the highest levels of the military.”

Trump’s idea has been met with harsh criticism from both the left and the right, and many are saying his Kim Jong-Un-like despotic tendencies are finally coming to bear.

(I’ll get back to North Korea later.)

In a vacuum, I would never support wasteful and statist nonsense like marching my nation’s brave men and women in uniform around as if they were pieces of property. I have more respect for our volunteer military than I do for just about anyone else, and I don’t need a parade to remind me of their importance. While I don’t know for sure, I imagine that the vast majority of America’s soldiers can feel the American people’s appreciation for them as is.

On the contrary, a peaceful display of military might could be a step towards a big Libertarian political victory: an anti-interventionist revolution.

As it stands, the United States spends roughly $600 billion a year on defense (the Trump administration has requested an increase to nearly $640 billion for the upcoming fiscal year). This represents about 3.3% of our annual GDP, which is a greater portion than any other first world nation. The US’s total military budget is greater than the next eight nations combined, most of whom are allies.

As Libertarian as I am, I do not mind spending more money than other nations on military dominance. I’m grateful that the world’s most powerful armed forces belongs to a nation that supports free speech, equal protections under the law, individual liberty, and the free market (though I certainly wish it supported these values more consistently). If Russia, China, North Korea, and the whole of the Middle East abolished their militaries tomorrow, I would still want the US to maintain an invincible army.

What bothers me most about my country’s military budget (and I assume most Libertarians would agree) is the chunk that is spent on overseas bases and missions. In 2017, the Pentagon spent $206 billion on “Operations and Maintenance” alone. The total sum of money spent abroad for military and defense purposes is likely much higher.

America has no right to police the world’s other nations, and with $20 trillion in debt to its name, it has no financial ability either.

Libertarians should tell President Trump that we’ll attend and cheer on his military parade under one simple condition: end the American empire, and bring our troops home. The fundamental benefits of this would be 1) freeing up some of the budget to return to taxpayers, pay off the debt, or have parades and 2) freeing foreign nations to handle their own business.

An added benefit of a military parade brings North Korea to mind. Michael Malice is an author with some expertise on the DPRK. A point he consistently makes in his writings, lectures, and interviews is that the Kim Jung-Un regime is not stupid or crazy, but efficient and evil. A few moments of critical thinking should reveal this to anyone as it would not make much sense for the only intact nation of the Soviet era to be run be dumb lunatics. Malice references a North Korean analogy that pits an anthill (North Korea) against an elephant (USA). Although the anthill is much smaller than the elephant, it can persuade the elephant to move anywhere it wants. While one must never lose sight of the unthinkable oppression suffered inside the North Korean concentration camp, one cannot help but respect how half of a peninsula with a population the size of Florida manages to keep the world’s wealthiest and most powerful nations constantly on their toes.

I am not saying the US should adopt any of North Korea’s habits or seek to keep the world on edge. What I am getting at is that an American display of power (in North Korean fashion) could help foster global peace through strength. Instead of secretive meddling throughout the world that costs thousands of lives and billions of dollars, the US could be more honest about our potential for destruction without actually invading anyone. Perhaps Teddy Roosevelt’s speak softly and carry a big stick strategy could be outdone by boasting loudly and wielding a giant ax.

***

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The Libertarian Case for Supporting Trump’s Military Parade (Under One Condition)

Diversity is a Regular (Not a Sacred) Cow

Here’s something that’s probably true: no two people experience the world the same way, and members of groups of races, genders, and sexual orientations are more likely to experience the world more similarly to each other than to members of other groups. Although it’s certainly debatable, let’s call this a fact and name it the ID Principle.

Based on my understanding of what today’s postmodernists believe, I imagine that they would accept the ID Principle enthusiastically.

By “today’s postmodernists,” I mean the individuals who are preoccupied with identity politics. This includes two opposing groups of activists. One group has their mind set on deconstructing institutions of power that are dominated by certain identities, especially straight, white men. They abhor the supposed over-representation of straight, white men in politics and the corporate world most fervently. Members of this group are often referred to as Social Justice Warriors.

White Nationalists and their ilk share the SJW philosophy, but are fighting for the other team. They see the diversification of “their” institutions as a threat and would prefer to keep them in the hands of individuals who share their identity.

While these groups appear to be diametrically opposed, they are actually one in the same. Both have a strong belief in collective identity and want some to dominate others. It’s obvious that they believe experience and identity are intertwined.

The difference between these two groups and me is that I don’t think the ID Principle is important or interesting. While White Nationalists and SJWs found their worldviews on the existence of collective identity, I list it near the bottom of things that matter to me. It is far more important that individuals raised in rigid, isolated communities still have the potential to break away from local norms and accomplish unique and extraordinary feats. That dissent and apostasy exist everywhere inspires me far more than that the masses are often frozen in a rut of groupthink.

This brings me to a paradigm that many powerful, modern-day institutions world refuse to entertain divergence from at all: is diversity a good thing?

From Silicon Valley to nearly every college campus in America, diversity and inclusion are presumed to be necessities in the creation of a positive and virtuous environment. Heads of departments tasked with pursuing greater diversity and inclusion are regularly paid six-figure salaries, illustrating how highly they value diversity

Former Google engineer James Damore famously challenged the methods used by diversity promoters in his workplace while simultaneously voicing support for diversity in general. He was subsequently fired in a high-profile manner. This too makes it obvious how dearly the pursuit of diversity is worshiped at Google and other powerful and influential establishments.

Rather than address the broad topic of whether diversity is good in general, I will aim my inquiry at a more precise target and try to think my way to the end of it: Does racial diversity have any inherent economic benefits? And when I say racial, I mean White, Black, Asian, and what have you. I don’t mean culture, religion, or anything else that is a result of our environments and societies. I’m talking about the fictional genetic groups that we are foolishly lumped into.

My short answer to this question is yes, racial diversity has inherent economic benefits.

Imagine the garment industry in a racially homogenous society. As an American living in Thailand, I have experienced something like this up close. When shopping for clothes, I rarely find anything that fits. An extra-large t-shirt in Thailand fits me like a medium back home. The selection of shoes I have to choose from is extremely limited as well although my size-11 feet don’t appear to be particularly gigantic. Boxer-briefs in my size are nowhere to be found, and it took me several weeks to procure a motorbike helmet that I could fit around my noggin.

Because of this, I wait for my annual trips to the US to do the bulk of my clothes shopping. The Thai baht I earn are converted into dollars, and those dollars return to America.

But what if there were a larger number of White and Black people here in Thailand? I imagine that one or more of several interesting things might happen:

  • A local manufacturer could notice opportunity in the marketplace and begin to make larger sizes available
  • Retailers could decide to import larger clothes from abroad and sell them locally
  • White and Black residents could start their own clothing lines

Any or all of these occurrences would bring about economic benefits:

  • More currency would be spent in Thailand
  • Thailand would become more attractive to foreign investors and visitors
  • Greater production of clothing, especially larger clothing, means merchants sell more materials used to make clothing and more jobs are subsequently created
  • A diversified supply means a more robust supply
  • The presence of new kinds of clothing can inspire innovation

The same story could be told in other major industries such as medicine.

I grow out my mustache every “Movember.” As a school teacher, I see it as a fun way to raise awareness for men’s health issues like testicular cancer. After I bit of research prior to one Movember in Thailand, I found that testicular cancer is far rarer among Asian and Black men than White men.

This likely means that Thai hospitals are less prepared to deal with testicular cancer patients than those in the US or Europe. With greater racial diversity, doctors and hospitals would probably be better prepared to deal with ailments that occur in different levels of frequency among the races. This would also benefit the individuals who suffer from health issues that are uncommon among their racial groups. Further positive effects could be accidental discoveries made when experimenting with medicines to treat a more diverse array of illnesses. Many medicines and other products are invented this way.

If my hypotheses are correct, racial diversity has real and inherent economic benefits.

SJW obsession with diversity ignores the actual benefits that diversity could bring about and instead focuses on belligerent social change. It is ironic that their crusade for diversity is for such petty ends when it could be pursued reasonably. And by pursuing diversity with hostile intentions, White Nationalist groups are better able to legitimize their claims that their race is under attack.

These same SJWs also promote a concept called intersectionality which argues that being in more than one minority group simultaneously (such as a black female or a homosexual immigrant) results in increased oppression and discrimination, which must be recognized.

I wish these SJWs would take their logic to its most extreme conclusion and realize that each individual belongs to infinite minority groups and is oppressed and discriminated against constantly as a result. If they realize that each of us is fighting a unique and arduous battle in the game of life, maybe they’ll notice that they are no better than the White Nationalists they hate, and maybe we’ll all learn to get along.

***

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Diversity is a Regular (Not a Sacred) Cow

The Trump behind the Curtain

The big reveal at the end of The Wizard of Oz is that there is no Wizard of Oz. Behind the curtain, there is only a man, and a humbug of a man at that.

It seems to me that President Trump, whether intentionally or not, is revealing a very Libertarian truth: that the government, particularly the federal government, doesn’t matter as much as some would have us believe.

The first evidence I can present to you is that, despite the federal government recently being shut down for three days, just about everything in America and the world bumbled along as charmingly and imperfectly as it always does. To be fair, the federal government being “shut down” is far less serious than it sounds. Only non-essential government functions are suspended, an admission of lack of necessity I wish more people would catch on to. Either way, everything was fine. The markets didn’t even react.

Another example is the Paris Climate Accord. As Syria and Nicaragua have officially joined the agreement, the United States is now the lone nation in the world to be absent after President Trump’s reneging of US participation. And have the doomsday predictions of Climate Alarmists come to fruition? Not even close.

In fact, the United States of America is the world leader in carbon emissions reductions. Thanks to the magic of the free market, the dawn of hydraulic fracturing has shifted the US energy sector away from coal and towards cleaner and more efficient natural gas production and usage.

What’s more is that a new, landmark study suggests that the Armageddon narrative surrounding Climate Change is verifiably incorrect. While Global Warming is certainly occurring and has the potential to cause harm, there is no scientific evidence that the end of the world is upon us (I have made it clear that this is my position on Global Warming many, many times).

But there’s more. Just as Toto exposed the man behind the curtain, Trump has revealed the man behind the net… net neutrality, that is.

It was really only a few weeks ago that FCC head Ajit Pai was worrying about protestors ringing his and his family’s necks for undoing Obama-era internet regulations. We were told that this was the end of the internet as we know it, and, well, a whole lot more bologna than that. But has anything changed? Or is everything bumbling along as it always does?

Did the Dakota Access Pipeline kill you? Are the tax cuts bringing the global economy to its knees? Are Title IX reforms allowing rape to flourish on college campuses?

Donald Trump may have Libertarians and other limited-government proponents like me excited about the aforementioned deregulations, but the president is no laissez-faire hero. The worst of what the president has done is just that: what he has done, not what he has undone.

Putting in place sanctions on Russia, North Korea, and reauthorizing sanctions on Cuba make the world a poorer and more dangerous place. His immigration restrictions are both inhumane and futile, and will wind up being a cost without a benefit. His support for increased military funding is completely unnecessary and will only lead to long-term financial woes. And his recent decision to place tariffs on imported washing machines and solar panels excuses US manufacturers for making inferior products and will force American consumers to foot the bill.

The bottom line is that non-Libertarians, especially those on the progressive side of the political spectrum, need to start taking a more measured and skeptical approach to government, particularly the US federal government.

How much of this $4 trillion behemoth do we really need?

I do not hate President Trump the way many left-wingers, Conservatives, and my fellow Libertarians do. This is probably because I feel that he is no worse or probably even a bit of a step up from the Wicked Witches of Texas and Hawaii who came before him. But even on his best days, I can see as clear as day that Trump is not leading us down the yellow brick road that will take us home.

To those of you most enraged by our president’s behavior and ethics, please reconsider using Trump as the center of your political paradigm. He’s nothing more than a symptom of the real disease: big government.

(And, no, I’m not sorry about all these hacky Wizard of Oz references.)

***

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The Trump behind the Curtain

Explicit Designation: A Solution for PC College Campuses, Fake News, and #MeToo

Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist and professor at the NYU school of business, is an outspoken free speech and viewpoint diversity advocate, and is the founder of Heterodox Academy, a website dedicated to studying and promoting viewpoint diversity on college campuses.

I consider Haidt, a hero of mine, to be a Classical Liberal politically. He believes in equal rights and views capitalism favorably, although he is not a proponent of the extreme free market solutions that Libertarians such as myself prefer. Haidt’s signature issue, though, is viewpoint diversity.

The word diversity seems to captivate left-wingers like few others. The problem is that many on the left believe that varied skin pigmentation, genitalia, sexual preferences, and gender identity constitute meaningful diversity. But this is not so. An individual’s sexuality and appearance tell you nothing about their beliefs, ideas, fears, experiences, feelings, talents, or much else of importance.

Real diversity comes from the inside. Those who have different concepts of God, different family backgrounds, different innate gifts, different tastes in art and culture, and different opinions on social and political matters generate real diversity regardless of their ethnicities and sexual proclivities.

In a must-watch presentation filmed at Duke University in October 2016, Professor Haidt highlights the social justice wave that has invaded college campuses across America, and argues that social justice values are incompatible with the pursuit of truth that academe has historically waged.

Haidt concludes that there is nothing inherently wrong with a university making social justice its mission. The actual problem is that professors, universities, and programs that focus on social justice have become entwined in institutions that have typically made Veritas (Greek for truth) their actual mission, and that this blurs the lines between the pursuit of the ideal and the recognition of the real.

His solution to this problem is for universities to more explicitly state their overlying objectives. If a university is committed to truth, science, and reason, it should call itself a Veritas university. If its mission is social justice, it should call itself a social justice university. And if its purpose is to serve God’s glory, it should call itself a Christ university.

There are other institutions in which variations of Haidt’s solution, which I will refer to as explicit designation, can be useful in fostering and preserving diversity to serve the most people in the best possible ways. The media and the workplace are two places that could benefit most from explicit designation.

Possibly the most popular term of 2017 is Fake News. While initially used by the media and Hillary Clinton to refer to websites that intentionally publish certifiably false stories, the phrase has since been coopted by Donald Trump and conservative-leaning members of the public to describe biased and sensationalized reporting from mainstream media outlets.

Examples of the former, which typically emerge from the dark alleyways of the internet, are Hillary Clinton and Jonathan Podesta attending human flesh cooking parties and Barack Obama being born in Kenya. Examples of the latter are Trump’s CDC “word ban” and Mike Pence supporting electroshock therapy to reverse homosexuality.

To solve the fake news problem, newspapers, websites, and magazines should explicitly designate themselves according to their biases.

Prager University, which releases 5-minute video clips about social and political issues, makes their conservative biases clear in their mission statement:

Prager Mission Statement

Two larger media organizations that could lead the way in explicit designation are MSNBC and Fox News. Whereas I believe it is generally well-known that MSNBC leans left while Fox leans right, these outlets could enhance their credibility and the public’s level of awareness by outright saying it. MSNBC’s and Fox’s leanings are so obvious that simply labeling themselves left/progressive or right/conservative respectively could be an easy fix.

More supposedly objective organizations like CNN, Reuters, ABC, and The Washington Post could refrain from labeling themselves, but instead provide a score based on their staff’s leanings. If News Channel A has 30 journalists on their payroll, and 16 are liberal-leaning, 8 are centrists or apolitical, and 6 are conservative-leaning, News Channel A could say they are L 33. Here is how a Left 33 score could be determined:

30 Reporters – 8 Centrists = 22 Biased Reporters

16 Liberals – 6 Conservatives = 10 Liberals

10 Liberals / 30 Journalists = 33% Liberal

33% Liberal = L 33 Score

Scores could be given to staff journalists, columnists, and editorial boards separately.

By displaying this score on their website’s about page, within paper publications, and during a broadcast’s title sequence, the media outlet will assist the public in leveling their skepticism and locating a diverse array of viewpoints and interpretations.

Over the past several months, the #MeToo movement has brought abusive treatment of women and children, especially in the workplace, to the forefront of American discourse. Revelations about Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Matt Lauer, and many more have caused tensions and suspicions to rise. Here, explicit designation can encourage diversity too.

Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street depicts a brokerage firm filled with debauchery like sex, profanity, substance abuse, and testosterone-fueled competition. To many in the #MeToo movement, this kind of office culture would be lightyears beyond the pale.

But what if there are people who feel happier and work more productively in an aggressive and high-energy environment? What if there are people who revel in the midst of sexual tension and an emotionally-charged climate? Should these people be prevented from pursuing their happiness and career potential because others place a higher value on respect and dignity at work?

In another attempt to cater to diversity, places of employment should advertise and offer jobs that explicitly designate their office environments. Designations could work like this:

Designation Speech Code Flirtation Dress Code Humor
Zero Tolerance No foul or suggestive language Forbidden Formal, non-revealing Non-suggestive, politically correct
Playful Some off-color language tolerated Not recommended, but permitted if not-aggressive Respectable, but not particularly formal Some off-color humor tolerated
Politically Incorrect None Not recommended, but permitted if not overly aggressive Individuals have freedom to dress as they please within reason No holds barred
Aggressive None Common None No holds barred

Of course, an aggressive or politically incorrect workplace would still be required to follow the law and respect human rights.

The diversity would come from specialized and varied definitions of certain human interactions. For example, in a zero tolerance workplace, saying “you look nice today” or asking a co-worker out on a date would be treated as sexual harassment. In an aggressive workplace, one would have to be told to stop making advances explicitly before the possibility of sexual harassment could even be broached.

If institutions like higher education, the media, and the private sector do not begin to regulate themselves, the government may seek to. Hate speech laws already exist in Canada and much of Europe. Mayor Bill DeBlasio of New York has expressed interest in city-owned media outlets to filter information in NYC. And sexual misconduct regulations are being pushed by some US lawmakers.

While I certainly have my own personal preferences, I would not want others to be forced into a one-size-fits all scenario. Diversity is our strength. And explicit designation will make us stronger through greater diversity, transparency, and freedom of choice.

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Explicit Designation: A Solution for PC College Campuses, Fake News, and #MeToo

The Democrats are Doing Their Darndest to Elect Roy Moore

I have a theory that right-wingers can fool people into believing they are left-wingers, but left-wingers can’t fool people into believing they are right-wingers.

This is because left-wing views are so ingrained in our media, education system, and entertainment that no right-winger could possibly escape them. The same is not true of right-wing ideas. Many left-wingers have never engaged with right-wing ideas, so they cannot empathize with people who believe in them.

This is on display in the Alabama senate race between Roy Moore and Doug Jones. Democrats are idiotically using celebrities and cries of racism to attempt to persuade Republicans to vote for Doug Jones. This is idiotic because Republicans expect to be smeared as racists by celebrities. The populist uprising that got Trump elected is a response to that more than just about anything else.

If Democrats took the time to hear right-wingers out, they would be able to win their votes easily in this senate race and probably in politics in general. But their commitment to upholding their “everyone is racist except me” delusions makes it impossible.

The following is all Doug Jones would have to do to beat Roy Moore: walk out on stage with a cowboy hat and a shotgun, say something like “no child molester is gonna get his sinful hands on Alabama’s senate seat,” then walk off stage slowly. That’s all it would take. Telling Planned Parenthood to shut down their Twitter feed wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

But instead, Alyssa Milano and Charles Barkley are telling Alabamans who to vote for and everyone on Twitter is calling them dumb and racist. This will make what should be easy (defeating a child molester in a general election) extremely difficult.

The left’s year-long failure to take a look in the mirror and admit that they lost the 2016 election because they sucked (not because of Russia or Nazis or gerrymandering or whatever) is a gift that will keep on giving to Republicans.

If Roy Moore loses tomorrow, it’ll be because a large portion of Alabama Republicans would rather be governed by people who despise them than side with a sinful man despite the fact that he loves them. It will not be a result of the Democrats’ campaign tactics. But the delusional Democrats will go with that narrative anyway.

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If you enjoyed this post, please follow me at www.howtocureyourliberalism.com. Also check out my podcast on iTunes  and like my Facebook page.

The Democrats are Doing Their Darndest to Elect Roy Moore