Why Can’t We Communicate?

It seems as though the war of ideas between the social justice warrior (SJW’s) and the anti-SJW’s is coming to a head. At least on social media platforms like Youtube, the anti’s have won. On college campuses and in government, SJW’s won a long time ago. This would make sense because social media is available for any voice who wants to join the conversation. College and government is just not like that. They are both sheltered from the real world. Social media is a more interesting beast. A better description of what is happening on social media would be to say SJW’s vs. The Real World.

Right up front, I have to admit that I’m in camp “real world”. It seems obvious to me that the majority of positions held by the SJW crowd is not only wrong, but dangerously so. It would be easy to say that I have yet to hear any convincing evidence showing concepts like, “patriarchy”, “systematic oppression”, or “privilege” are even real, much less happening. I’ve written several times as to why I think they are not, and my opinion as to what I think those things really are. But here’s the problem, SJW’s absolutely think those concepts are real. For real, real. It is virtually impossible for most people who advocate for social justice to even entertain the thought that what they believe may be wrong. Why can’t we communicate? I have an idea as to why, and I will try to be as neutral as possible, with the reader’s understanding that I am an anti-SJW.

Have you noticed how anyone who disagrees with an SJW is called a Nazi? Then the person being called a Nazi says something like, “you’re the real Nazi!”? Well, this got me thinking. Picture a line moving from left to right. The extreme left is labelled communism. The extreme right of the line is labelled anarchy. Anarchy involves zero government, rights are personal. As you move left, the government plays a larger and larger part in your life until you get to the extreme left, communism, where government controls 100% of your life. At this point rights are communal. You can find the different political philosophies along this line. Next to anarchy is libertarianism, then republican, then democrat. From the other end, next to communism you have socialism, then ancillary socialist like philosophies such as syndicalism, then progressivism. What about the mid-line? Just to the left of the mid-line you would have a system where the means of production are owned by the government but controlled by corporations. Just to the right of the mid-line you have a system where the means of production are owned by the private segment of society, but controlled by the government. This describes two sides of the same coin…fascism.

Now picture the line from above with a concrete wall, with barbed wire running over the top where fascism goes. Social justice is solidly on the side of communism, communal rights, group ownership, etc. When they look right, all they see is the wall of fascism in the way of progress. Anti-SJW’s are on the whole, solidly on the side of the individual and support individual rights, ownership, etc. When they look left they see a wall of fascism in the way of progress.

I believe this is why it is so hard to communicate with each other. An SJW sees things like race through the lens of collective power, whereas on the other side, we see race and color more as demographics describing individuals. For example, you might hear an SJW say that the black experience is one of systematic oppression by white people. Therefore, all white people are racist and all black people are oppressed. An anti-SJW would argue that there is no such thing as the “black experience” because every black person goes through life individually and their experience is their own. Also, “white people” do not make laws or the system. Elected individuals might be overwhelmingly white, but those people are not all people. All people are subject to the same laws as all other people. To an SJW, you are just part of a group, not a person per se. Interestingly, they acknowledge that most people are part of several groups and try to reconcile the concept of being, for instance, both a woman and black with the concept of intersectionality. This is where all your group identifiers intersect to tell you how oppressed or privileged you are. Anti-SJW’s see an individual and everything about that individual are just adjectives describing that person, for instance, you are a black, gay, obese woman. The important part of you is the “you” part, not the adjectives that describe you.

The non-partisan section is over. So What’s the solution? This is the hard part. Due to the nature of individualists, we tend to be much more open to dialogue than those on the left. Leftists tend to make anyone who disagrees an “other”. We tend to get auto-blocked by the major SJW leaders. For this reason, I would start small. A small Facebook or twitter discussion, or one on one. Be courteous and understanding. Do your best to explain the concepts I outlined above. If they are receptive, great. If not, bid them a good day and move on. I think we have an excellent opportunity with women or people in the gay community. Social justice seems, to me at least, to be in direct conflict with a woman, or a gay or trans person’s personal interest. Especially now that it seems Muslims are seen as more oppressed than either of those groups. If an SJW does take an interest in what you have to say, run with it. Sure, it may be a waste of time in the end, but at least they escaped their bubble for a few minutes and heard your point of view. None of this is easy, but we can’t give up.

The Problem With Corporations

“There once was a time in history when the limitation of governmental power meant increasing liberty for the people. In the present day the limitation of governmental power, of governmental action, means the enslavement of the people by the great corporations, who can only be held in check through the extension of governmental power.”

– Theodore Roosevelt

I’ve seen this meme, or some variation, floating around social media a lot this week. I guess it’s supposed to prove that Bernie Sanders is right and we need the government to control all these out of control corporations that control the government. I am assuming that it is supposed to carry more weight because Teddy Roosevelt was a republican, so republicans must think what he says makes sense. Well it doesn’t. It reeks of 100 year old garbage, said by a garbage president, and would only make sense to people who don’t bother to think about the words they read beyond the mouth that those words came from. In other words, a typical Bernie Sanders supporter.

So what’s so wrong with this statement? Let’s break it into its parts to find out.

The first sentence is ok. There once was a time in history when the limitation of governmental power meant increasing liberty for the people. ” That makes sense. When you limit the power of the government, the people under that government are freer. That is to say, a less powerful government would have less authority to make rules that would affect your life.

The second sentence is the problem. “In the present day the limitation of governmental power, of governmental action, means the enslavement of the people by the great corporations, who can only be held in check through the extension of governmental power.” This is a nonsensical statement. To explain why we first have to understand what a corporation is and does, generally, and the part the government plays in the role of a corporation.

A corporation is an independent legal entity owned by the people who have invested money into the business. These people are called shareholders. Usually, there are a main group of people that decide which direction to take the business of the corporation in order to make the most money for the shareholders. These people are called the board of directors. When people sue corporations, they are not suing the shareholders or even the board of directors, they are suing the actual corporation, which is legally considered a person. Some people have a problem with this, I don’t. The goal of a corporation is to make money for its shareholders. No more, no less. They have a self-interest in making the government work for them and they are very good at doing just that. I have a huge problem with that.

A government is wholly responsible for the existence of a corporation. Governments rely on experts in various areas of life for the purpose of regulating commerce for a variety of purposes. Since the government is not an expert at anything really, it makes sense that they would rely on bankers to draft banking regulations, and manufacturers to write regulations for manufacturers and farmers to make farming regulations. Of course, the experts writing the regulations have an interest in writing them in such a way as to make competition from new ideas easier to battle. New business regulations are easy to afford if you are already rich, it’s the little guy with a great idea that will have trouble getting off the ground due to these regulations. On top of these regulations, governments pass laws allowing people to copyright and trademark their ideas so that no one else is able to use them to improve on the products or ideas being protected by the government. The truth is that without government corporations would not exist.

So why the second sentence in Teddy’s quote nonsensical? Well, because without corporations the government could still function as it does today, but without the government corporations could not function as they do today. Corporations, at the end of the day, just want to sell you stuff. They can’t force you to buy their products unless a government helps them to create a monopoly, like with your internet/cable providers or your healthcare options. At the end of the day, you can tell the corporation no. With governments, they are able to write laws that force you to act in a certain way and to deem your behavior illegal, even when you are not hurting others. If you tell the government no, bad things will happen to you.

I ask you, which entity is more dangerous? The one with the power to control your life or the one that wants to sell you stuff? Is it a rational position to say that governmental policies have made corporations too powerful, so we need more governmental policies to make them less powerful? Wouldn’t a simpler solution be to eliminate the governmental policies that made them too powerful in the first place?

If it is a true statement that when a government is smaller people have more freedom, then making the government bigger to deal with a problem strictly created by the government cannot by definition make you freer and to the contrary, will make you less free. The truth is that you have much more control over the corporation than you do over your government. You vote for an American president once every 4 years, an American senator once every 6 years and an American congressman once every 2 years. We vote for and against corporations on an almost constant basis with our dollars. Corporations fear you more than your government does and it’s not even close.

When you hear politicians speak about the problems with big business controlling the government, listen to make sure their solutions are not making government bigger. When they start sentences with: “We will make those corporations…” what they really mean is that “We will make the government more powerful.” When the government gets bigger corporations get more powerful, no matter what they tell you. Who do you think is going to write all those anti-corporation laws?


The Politics of Feelings

Watching the political coverage lately, I feel like I’m living in a bizarro world where the laws of common sense are completely the opposite of common and things that make sense. This is true on both sides of the political spectrum. I am not going to use this blog to condemn or praise either side. I will criticize both sides, and try to work through what I think may be happening though. I chose the below examples because they are the ones in the spotlight right now. Every other Facebook post is about one of them. These are guys you either love or hate. I hate both of them. That’s not a criticism, just an observation. Having said that, I think I get both of them.

On one side you have democrats like Bernie Sanders, who want to make everything “free”. College is free. Healthcare is free. Jobs for everyone at whatever arbitrary wage he deems “livable”. You want it? He’ll give it to you. Free. Unless you are one of those evil people who actually produce what the rest of us consume. If you are one of those evil people you will pay, oooohhhh you will pay. People love them some Bernie Sanders. Especially college students who by and large have never had to pay for anything. People love him because he “says it like it is”, and is not afraid to ruffle some feathers. He is a self-described socialist and is not afraid to admit it (unless he’s running for president, then he denies it). One compliment I can give Mr. Sanders is that I get the feeling he truly believes what he advocates. Honesty is a rare commodity, especially in Washington, DC. It’s easy to see young inexperienced people and old hippies could fall for the dribble that he spews. I mean really? Free college for anyone who wants to go to a state college? I guess the professors, textbook providers, school related businesses and everyone else related to public universities will be perfectly ok with providing their goods and services at no charge. No? Well how do those people get paid if the education is free? Oh, that’s right. Those evil producers who make everything and give everyone jobs will be forced to pay for your kids’ college. Free.

On the other side you have republican superstar Donald Trump dominating the airwaves and social media. Love him or hate him, he is saying what conservatives want to hear right now. He is riding the wave caused by his remarks about Mexicans a few weeks ago. Apparently, he thinks half the people coming from Mexico illegally are rapists and felons. Of course that is wrong on a variety of levels, but it taps into the feelings of American’s towards illegal aliens in a very Trumpesque over the top way that makes people scream, “He says it like it is! You can’t handle the truth!” Trump has the appeal of not being a Washington insider. To my knowledge he has never held any kind of office. What Trump is, is an opportunist. In the past he was a huge admirer and supporter of Hillary Clinton and universal healthcare. He calls himself a “big second amendment guy” and then advocates for outlawing assault weapons, because only criminals and cops need those. Now that it’s a popular position, he wants to repeal and replace Obamacare. He wants to reduce or eliminate corporate taxes, but advocates for a 14.25% one-time tax on the top 1% because they hold 99% of the wealth and can afford it (paraphrasing). He is really good at making general statements and platitudes without having an actual plan to back them up. He is the worst kind of crony capitalist in his own business pursuits. He at one time tried to take private property through eminent domain. He has strengthened the already dizzying array of necessary license agreements necessary to open a casino in Atlantic City to make competition against him harder. The one compliment I will give Donald Trump is that he is really good figuring out what people want to hear and then telling them that. In times past, I will remind everyone that “crony capitalism” went by a different, more sinister name. You can discover that name for yourself.

So what does all this mean? Why these two? My best guess is that these two guys fill a need. They are a voice that is getting overshadowed by the established leadership on both sides of the political spectrum. People are sick of hearing meaningless political talking points, stated in the same words by different politicians and pundits over and over again. They are saying new things, in a non-politically correct way that speak to the core belief systems of normal citizens everywhere. They are blunt and unapologetic in their commentary. Frankly, it’s refreshing to hear something different. Never mind what they are actually saying is nonsensical, ridiculous, without factual merit and utterly ridiculous in many cases. They make themselves seem to the average guy, with no political pull, just like them. They will work for you when they get to Washington. I would caution everyone to not only listen to what they promise, but to ask how they plan on doing it. Before you grab your pitchfork and cleverly worded poster and head out to the Mexican border or a mega-millionaire’s home, say to yourself, “I know I liked what he said, but does that make it true?” I would certainly personally benefit if all state schools were free, but can we really get enough new money from rich people to pay for it? No. Of course not. Sure, illegal immigration may be a problem in some areas, but are half of them really rapists and felons? No, of course not.

Bottom line, get past the feelings politicians give you. The worst thing anyone can do in politics is trust a politician. Americans love to cheer for their team and boo the opposition. Politics is not sports, it’s not professional wrestling with baby faces and heels. These are real people with real control over your lives, treat them as such. Like I said, I’m not condemning Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. If they weren’t in the headlines I would have used other examples. If you like them, by all means, you be you. I just think you are wrong, that’s all.