Questionable Motives

October 28, 2018

Is the future of politics popular or liberal?

Filed under: Uncategorized — tildeb @ 10:48 am

If you find this question of any interest to publicly debate, then who might you get to present the populist side? How about Steve Bannon who organized the rise of Trump? Does that give him bona fides? 

There is a semi-annual event held in Toronto discussing public policy issues to “provide leading thinkers with a global forum to discuss the major issues facing the world and Canada.” These debates are called the Munk Debates after the person who funded a charitable foundation to organize them.

Concerning this particular question up for debate, arguing on the other side is David Frum.

Well, according to the Bannon-Frum Welcoming Committee organizing an online petition and call-in tactic (with written script available and below), we need to dis-invite Bannon because he is described by this ‘liberal’ organization as “a leading figure for the racist White ethno-nationalist movement.” That’s really bad, you see, and we are told this is why the New Yorker Magazine cancelled a high profile event featuring Bannon, and Scotland’s First Minister pulled out of an event which included Bannon calling him a fascist.

Fascist?

Fascist definition (OED): extreme authoritarian, oppressive, or intolerant views or practices

Who is being oppressive and intolerant here? Someone willing to publicly debate controversial ideas about the rise of populism in today’s political culture or those who want to stick their fingers in your ears and stop you from being able to listen?

Look at the charges being leveled here by these ‘committee’ members and the claims being made:

PHONE SCRIPT

Hello my name is _______________

I’m calling your office today because, as a Torontonian, I am disgusted at the platform you are giving one of the most notorious, contemporary white supremacist, racists of our time, Steve Bannon.

Hate and warmongers like Bannon increase violent hate crimes in cities across the US and Canada. We are facing violence, danger, and division in our communities. I am outraged that you are actively choosing to make our city less safe, for all of us.

I’m calling to demand that you condemn the actions of white supremacists and the politics of hate in our city by canceling this Munk Debate!

I’ll be watching closely to see what actions you take.

My question – politically incorrect, I’ll grant you – is how do we allow Bannon to publicly respond if we are to close our ears to what he has to say by doing our part to shut down any and all public means for him to do so? Or should we just go along to get along with these illiberal liberals on the Committee and pretend the accusations they make are sufficient in themselves to allow them to decide for each and every one of us who we may and may not hear in the public square? Is that call to dis-invite Bannon not fascist by definition?

October 26, 2018

What are ‘Western’ values?

Filed under: Uncategorized — tildeb @ 10:22 am

Image result for pondering a question

 

There is much confusion between what constitutes ‘Western’ values versus ‘Western’ culture. I see these ideas conflated all the time, which indicates to me that there is widespread confusion. And this confusion matters. Greatly.

So let’s take a moment and check out what the Oxford English dictionary tells us about these two terms.

What is a value? A value is the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something; principles or standards of behaviour; one’s judgement of what is important in life.

What is culture? The arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively; the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society; the attitudes and behaviour characteristic of a particular social group.

To assign descriptive values to a civilization like ‘The West’ means these assigned values must be of central importance to defining the civilization itself. In our borrowed definition, which parts do this job? The regard, importance, worth, and usefulness of the values have to be fundamental to the principles of that civilization itself (without which the civilization is no longer defined). That is what we’re trying to define here: what are these values that define Western civilization?

My answer is that they are Enlightenment values.

Enlightenment values are concerned primarily with cultivating the conditions for human freedom. That freedom to be realized has to be demonstrated on the individual level. That’s very much a Western principle about placing authority with the individual and not authority derived from some other source. This source of authority – the individual – was the revolutionary aspect of Enlightenment thinkers (which is why implementing this revolutionary value required revolutions…) and one not shared by other civilizations built on communal principles and exterior authority. So governments that legitimize this individual authority in law are considered ‘Western’ no matter where on the globe they may be found. Respect for individual autonomy in law is the cornerstone value of all secular liberal democracies meaning that without this central legal position demonstrated in law, a country cannot be said to be Western.

Enlightenment thinkers expanded other values from this central one, values like rationalism, human rights shared by all, the search for truth using disinterested methods, the separation of church and state, trade, freedom of conscience and expression and assembly, the rule of law, equality before the law; these are the hallmarks established in law of a ‘Western’ liberal democracy. The exercise of law upholding this idea of trying to maximize human freedom for the individual is an ongoing attempt to try to achieve these common values in common behaviour, which necessarily involves tension between the core value of individual autonomy and the public authority to impose it! That’s why liberal democracies are always a work in progress, always require diligence of its citizens to constrain authority whether it comes from an individual over the State or from the State over the individual. The measurement to adjudicate relies on the fundamental core value, which is cultivating human freedom for the individual to whatever maximum extent it can achieve without mitigating the same cultivation for every individual.  That’s the ongoing work. And it involves all citizens who wish to improve rather than subvert ‘Western’ liberal democracies.

This core value of cultivating human freedom for the individual within nation states whose populace identifies as ‘Western’ is what we use to evaluate the effects of any and all cultural expressions as a ‘Western’ value. Does the cultural expression, the ideas, customs, attitudes, and social behaviour of a particular people or self-defined society, improve or subvert the central value of ‘Western’ civilization? This is the question that every individual who values individual autonomy in law must ask of him- or herself when it comes to evaluating one’s individual behaviour under the banner of ‘culture’ because we can’t have it both ways: we can’t rely on widespread respect for our individual legal autonomy while advocating and acting for its destruction in the name of some other core ‘Western’ value. That’s lying. That’s what we call hypocrisy in action and this the element – hypocrisy – that is fast becoming the core value – an anti-‘Western’ value – infecting those who claim to be ‘correcting’ ‘Western’ liberal democracies towards antithetical communal values in the name of Identity Politics, in the name of Post Modernism, in the name of Social Justice. When measured against the core ‘Western’ value of individual autonomy in law, it becomes obvious that these social movements demanding our submission to them – just like authoritarian religions that demand submission of the individual to their communal authority – are deeply anti-Western and a direct threat to maintaining our defining core values.

 

October 23, 2018

Why do we need New Atheists more than ever?

Filed under: Uncategorized — tildeb @ 5:46 pm

Image result for Images for the Regressive Left

Because the New Religion is not the woo laden superstitious nonsense of old but the New and Improved version: the GroupThink of Identity Politics and its faithful followers the Social Justice Warrior, the Storm Troopers who form the legions of the Regressive/ctrl Left.

This religious social movement – and all its sectarian branches, from Black Lives Matter and the #MeToo bandwagon to transactivism and the McCarthy-esque motives of the Southern Poverty Law Center lists – is in desperate need of loud, sustained skepticism  and legitimate criticism. We need New Atheists of this New Religion.

This New Religion is a pernicious ideology that is attacking and dismantling the core uniting tenets of our Western liberal democratic civilization by vilifying classical liberal values (like freedom of expression, due process, the presumption of innocence, individual autonomy and equality in law and so on) and now are attacking studies of inconvenient science. It is a destructive political ideology based on believing groups of people are real and concrete things, real units that are divided cleanly and neatly into oppressors and the oppressed, victimizers and the victims, the morally virtuous and morally bankrupt, that not only seeks to silence its legitimate critics through violence and interruption but uses the bludgeon of social and professional shunning, by campaigning for deplatforming, disinviting, censoring those who do not support the GroupThink, by using accusation as the launchpad for vicious and untrue personal attacks carried out by offence archaeologists on social media. It is led by people who believe most fervently that they are the ones of the people, by the people, for the people who alone can determine what true social justice looks like in action even if it relies on personal injustice. The belief is that we are all an omelette, you see, and so the breaking of a few eggs – each individual that constitutes any social group – is an acceptable and reasonable cost.

This is the Big Lie.

The New Religion is recognizable by its promotion of a mirror language, a verbal means to hide its ideological injustices and shortcuts and perniciousness and fascism upon which it stands, a inverted language that means the opposite of the term. We see it ina action when free speech is banned in the name of protecting free speech, intolerance implemented to justify tolerance, supporting diversity by implementing equity of outcomes, and so on. The clerics of the Ctrl Left rewards those invertebrates who stay silent when the duplicitous actions are carried out against real people in real life, who congratulate those who self censor, stay silent, say nothing, who go along with whatever these fascist wannabes claim is the necessary personal cost and injustice of some to obtain its Utopian social end point of justice for all… except those real world victims who don’t deserve it because they don’t support the GroupThink ideology, you see.

Truth, as the saying goes, is its first victim and I will be posting regularly on just how prevalent and obscene is this movement’s actions here and now and how cowardly has been the public and professional response to its illiberal intrusion into the public domain.

We need to wake the fuck up and start challenging this toxic GroupThink ideology on principle before we are all silenced by its institutionalized corrupting power. It’s already happening. We need to return to and uphold respect for classical liberal values of individual autonomy in law, with individual rights and freedoms and responsibilities,  and never, ever, let anyone or any organization take it from us in the name of something else. We need to stop foolishly and naively believing in this New Religion of Identity Politics and the political correctness it demands from its adherents and collaborators. We need to be its outspoken New Atheists more than ever and we need to tear away the facade that hides its totalitarian mechanisms and reveal its illiberal tenets. If we don’t, no one else will be able.

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