Free Speech Through the Eyes of a Social Justice Warrior

Modern liberals hold themselves to be the defenders of civil liberties, freedom of expression, speech, etc. You can see them constantly in the streets exercising that freedom. Marching and protesting and rioting to defend their freedom from whatever boogeyman wants to take it away from them today. But are they really for free speech and expression? I submit to you that to today’s left, or the social justice movement, free speech is the most dangerous idea possible.

To understand the danger of free speech to a social justice warrior(SJW), you have to understand where they are coming from. These people are piggybacking off the free speech movement of the anti-war 1960’s. This movement started at the University of California, Berkeley, where students marched against the war and for civil rights. Today, students at Berkeley are rioting and protesting to prevent people they don’t like speaking at their school. Yet they still fancy themselves champions of free speech. How is this possible? In the book 1984, by George Orwell, this was called doublethink. This means holding and believing two opposing beliefs at the same time. Like championing free speech while trying to suppress free speech.

Only an sjw can really know the answer for sure, but if I had to guess I would say that they use the same thought process for speech that they do for human classification. It’s a thought process based in cultural Marxism where there is believed to be a hierarchy of privilege and oppression. Those at the top of the hierarchy are privileged and those at the bottom are oppressed. This is also an example of doublethink. Where you advocate for equality by oppressing those above you on the hierarchy ladder. Equality by oppression. This allows an sjw to be racist, bigoted and homophobic while at the same time claiming to help these same people. As long as the person you hate is above you on the ladder, it’s ok. For context, I’ll give you examples. Sjw’s generally agree that white people are at the top of the ladder, so it’s ok to be racist against them, to hate them, to cheer their destruction. It’s not racist at all you see, because you can only be racist to those more oppressed than you are. Doublethink. As we’ve seen by recent Islamic attacks against gay people, sjw’s put gay people higher on the ladder than brown people, so you can’t blame Muslims for killing gays, that’s oppressive. It’s ok for Muslims to be homophobic, since most Muslims are brown. It is not ok for Christians to be homophobic, because most Christians are white. Doublethink.

So let’s apply this logic to speech. How does someone justify advocating and suppressing speech at the same time? To a regular person there is just speech. Sometimes you don’t like what another person has to say. Sometimes speech is deeply offensive. Sometimes speech can be mean spirited, or crude, or funny, or uplifting. It’s all just speech. A social justice warrior classifies speech in a similar way that they classify people. There is free speech, or speech they approve of. There is hate speech, or speech they do not approve of. Hate speech, therefore, is outside the bounds of free speech. An sjw will use the hierarchy ladder to classify speech as either free or hateful based on who is speaking and about what. If a person who holds a certain place on the ladder is speaking negatively about something that might affect a person lower on the ladder, that is hate speech. A white man speaking about the dangers of illegal immigration for instance, is hate speech. A thin woman speaking about the dangers of women being overweight would also qualify as hate speech because thin women have more privilege than fat women. This is why comedians are protested, conservative speakers are protested, and anyone who does not subscribe to social justice is protested. Every time they hear a person with differing views it reaffirms to the sjw that there is oppression in the world that needs to be fought against.

If you wonder why these people are so angry all the time, why they need safe spaces, why they get triggered, just imagine how life must be for them. Literally, and I mean literally, everything they see, touch or encounter is sexist, bigoted, racist, xenophobic, homophobic, or some sort of “ism”, that they must fight against. This is because they live in a capitalist country. To them, the entire system is set up specifically to oppress everyone who is not a white male. They live in the twilight zone, an alternate reality than the rest of us. They live in a place where boogeymen are everywhere and you can’t get away from them. I would want a safe space too. In my opinion, it a borderline mental disorder. To think that a young person can get a degree in social justice is frightening. It’s like sending yourself to a re-education camp for brainwashing. Once the brainwashing sets in, it’s almost impossible to reverse the effects.

Advertisements

The Amusing Notion Of “Fake News”

I must say that in regards to the “fake news” labels being used to call out news outlets that you don’t like is very amusing to me. Especially so when it now seems to fall upon presidents and other government officials to determine what is and is not “fake news”. It’s one thing for Facebook or twitter to screen out what they believe to be fake news, after all, beyond the social platforms they own, they don’t have much of an impact on your life. It is a different thing entirely to have your government decide what is and is not actual news.

The problem we now see can be put squarely on the shoulders of do-gooder progressives. The hypocrisy, arrogance and plain shortsightedness of these people and their ideology never ceases to amaze me. This is an ideology that, simply put, believes that the government is the best, most efficient way of spreading the most good to the most people. So, in this idea of ultimate altruism, they try to cede the most amount of power possible to the state (federal government). I really do think that these people are taking actions that they believe will help people. They are not villains in this story, which makes it doubly frustrating.

To combat those who do not share the notion that the government should be the giver of all things, progressives tend to, instead of debating in the arena of ideas, create a label to put on these people or groups. Labels like, homophobic, xenophobic, sexist, racist, bigoted, etc. In this case, they came up with “fake news”. They slapped this label onto any news site deemed to be biased toward the right politically. In the minds of the social media oligarchs, these dissenting news outlets cost Hillary Clinton the election, so must be stopped. This term was picked up by president Obama and he slung it towards places like Fox News, to the delight of progressives everywhere. Congress even got on board with the Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act of 2016. Signed into law just before Christmas. This bill concentrates on foreign interventions in our news. It doesn’t take much of a leap to imagine the law spreading to domestic news sources and alternative media.

The arrogance of these progressives shows when they create these labels and pass these laws thinking that they know best what people should be exposed to. They also are as arrogant as to think that ceding all this power to their government will only help them and hurt the people who disagree with them.

Maybe the shortsightedness stems from the arrogance, but it is beyond me how many times I hear that once this progressive is in office it will be impossible for any other party to ever win the presidency. This position is just not rational. In fact, it is almost always the opposite. So, the power collected by your president, always gets transferred to the next president. Obama has been the most imperial president of my lifetime, largely because the congress let him. His end-arounds of congress have come to the delight of progressives everywhere because he championed their cause by and large. Do you really believe that President Trump will just give that power back to congress? To the people? You are diluted, you are irrational, you are arrogant and shortsighted. This happens Every. Single. Time.

Finally, my progressive friend, you are a hypocrite. You cannot cheer when President Obama calls Fox News fake, and cry when President Trump calls CNN fake. You gave him this power. Freely. Cheerfully, even. You constantly advocate for this huge, do everything for everyone government, against the wishes of literally half the people’s will who live in this country. You tell them to sit down and shut up because you are smarter and know what’s best. Now, when the other party is in power, you protest, riot, boycott, cry and whine like petulant children who don’t get their way.

The moral of this story is that you should not give so much power away to any government that you cannot live freely under a government you may oppose.

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.

I’m Offended!!!!

I want to talk about the disturbing trend lately of being offended. Well, not so much the being offended, but trying to outlaw offensiveness. Whether we are talking about the confederate flag, words, a football team name or mascot, someone’s political views, religious views, lifestyle choices, comedy, or anything else people are being offended by this week. It’s all nonsense. All of it. I guess I’ll use the rest of this blog explaining why, although I wish I could just stop right here.

First of all, there are tons of things that are offensive. Too many to list. There are words I won’t say, and there are offensive words I love to say. People are social creatures and like to make each other laugh. They like to make fun of each other. People like to point out faults in a comical way. People can be mean. I don’t think this will ever change. The easy targets, or low hanging fruit, if you will are: looks, intelligence, attitude and physical ability. So we call each other “retarded”, “gay”, and any of countless other, more creative ways of saying the same thing. I know several people with children on the autism spectrum and can certainly understand how referring to someone as “retarded” would make them angry. But here’s the thing, before the word retarded was used, the technical terms for the different levels of low IQ were idiot, moron and imbecile. The word “retarded” was created as a way to replace those words as they became known as derogatory terms. Now “retarded” is derogatory and we can’t use that. Guess what, whatever replaces “retarded” will soon be used to call people stupid and will then need to be changed. It all means the same thing. It’s a never ending cycle!

By all means be offended, nobody can take that away from you. Just realize that whatever you change the word to, it will also be used in a way that is offensive. Instead of trying to change the language, try creating an argument that would persuade people to be nicer to each other. Better yet, understand that when you hear one person call another one “retarded”, they are not making fun of your child or mentally disabled people in general. A literal comparison is not being made. If I were to call someone a “scumbag” or “douche”, I’m just calling them a jerk in a slightly more creative way. There is no literal connection between jerky behavior and used condoms or vagina cleaner. When the vast majority of people call other people “retarded”, there is no literal connection between the victim of the insult and mentally handicapped people, in their minds. The few for which there is a connection are scumbags. (See what I did there?)

The other currently trendy way to be offended is through symbolism. Specifically in the news right now is the confederate flag. Ever since a racist, white moron shot up a black church, and we found out he loved the confederate flag, there has been a concerted effort to eradicate that flag from human existence. This is the same flag that previously represented southern pride, or pride in being from the south. It was proudly worn by white people and black people alike. Sure, it was one of the flags of the south during the civil war. Yes, the south had slaves. Yes, at one point the confederate flag represented a system that endorsed slavery. I live in the south. My relatives, for the most part live in Georgia. You can’t get more southern that that. I have met many a racist in Georgia and not one of them would advocate for the return of slavery. The meaning of the flag has changed over time. What I believe the racist moron who killed those people, and the people I hear making racist comments when visiting family in Georgia mostly complain about is the perceived preferential treatment for black people over white people by the government. What the flag means to these people is a solidarity against northern aggression, (Washington, DC). In and of itself, this is not racist. Their racism is a completely separate issue. While their logic is maddening to say the least, it’s not the flags fault.

Again, eradicating the confederate flag from Amazon.com, Walmart and the television will not take away the history of the civil war. It will not end racism. It will not even change the attitude of racist people. If anything, it will make it worse. The civil war was a real thing that really happened. The other thing is that it’s a slippery slope when you cave in to mindless, mob mentality, pop culture rage protesters. There are very few flags or symbols that don’t offend someone. How can Walmart sell Che Guevara t-shirts, but not confederate flag t-shirts? He was a sociopathic killer and communist revolutionary! How can you want to eradicate Chic Fil A from existence for supporting traditional marriage, but freely fill up your tank with gasoline made in Saudi Arabia where being homosexual is illegal?

There are tons of arguments against the banning of books, symbols, words, etc… They are all good arguments, but apparently they are not working. We are raising a generation of people who are perpetually offended. My guess is that this mentality is mostly coming from college campuses where social justice warriors are castrating the minds of young people. When these young people graduate and enter the real world, they are not prepared for what they see. Catering to the mild sensibilities of these people is enabling in a way that is not only harmful to their perception of the real world, but dangerous to our freedom. These young people will be the next generation of elected officials. They will be in a position to make laws. They will be in a position to redefine what free speech is. If we let them define the terms of our language now through private means like social media, is it a stretch to think they won’t define those terms through legal means later?

At any rate, supporting free speech means defending offensive behavior, but not necessarily agreeing with that behavior. I firmly believe that words and symbols only hold the power that we give them. Please give me your best offensive term in the comments below so that we can laugh at them and remove some of their power.

Social Justice Warriors Are Killing the World

This week’s blog is an extension of last week’s blog. It was brought to my attention that my blog last week on feminism could apply to almost every special rights group, and they were right. Who and what are special rights groups? They generally fall into 3 main categories: women’s rights, minority rights and gay rights groups. However each main group may have their own set of sub-group, For instance, the body image group is a subset of feminism. They specialize in trying to get photo-shopped models off the cover of magazines because it may make an overweight girl feel bad. These people are generally called social justice warriors (SJW’s) and are basically just professional victims.

As far as I can tell, there is no widely accepted definition of the SJW movement. Generally, it is based in cultural Marxism that sees built-in inequality in the western culture based on things like race, gender, religion and sexual orientation and seek to make every group equal no matter what. To a SJW, some people have a natural advantage in any given culture. Because men, and white/European men in particular, have built and run the world for the vast majority of human existence, they are at the top of the cultural food chain and therefore “privileged”. Thus, a hierarchy of human existence is born. The goal of cultural Marxism and the SJW movement is to eliminate this hierarchy so that everyone is on a level playing field. To a SJW, any group above any other group needs to be attacked and brought down a few pegs to achieve an equality of outcome. It is easy to see then, that white males are the main target of their hate. Any group that does not cater to the wants and desires of a group lower on the hierarchy is a target for destruction.

The ultimate goal of the SJW movement is to quell any humor, speech or actions deemed to be offensive (by any SJW) from a group that is higher in hierarchy directed towards a group lower on the hierarchy. This makes for some interesting battles sometimes. This is also why it is deemed to be ok for a member of a minority to say something that would be considered racist if said by a white male. It’s not labelled offensive for instance if a Latino comedian uses typical white stereotypes to make fun of white people in a joke because they are lower on the cultural scale and therefore have less “privilege”. It gets interesting when the gap in hierarchy is smaller, such as the case between slim women and overweight women. Both groups would be low on the hierarchy, but thin women would be slightly higher and therefore an acceptable target from the pro-plus-sized women group. You see this in action on your Facebook with meme’s that say things like, “only dogs like bones”, with a picture of a slim woman. Another popular meme says, “Real men like curves” with a picture of an attractive plus-sized woman. Once only plus-sized women are on all the covers of magazines the term plus-sized is no longer acceptable and some other less offensive term will be invented.

So how does all of this work in the real world? What’s so bad about wanting equality? In order to answer these questions, let’s look at each category of SJW group briefly, excluding women’s rights since I used the above example and wrote about modern feminism last week.

The largest network of SJW groups would be minority rights groups. There are probably dozens or possibly hundreds of sub-groups for every race/nationality on the planet. The point of this group is not to build up minorities to better achieve the life goals of the individual members of that group, rather to destroy and bring down the groups that would be considered higher on the cultural scale. In America, you can see this in action in the outrage over white police officers killing black people. To be sure, police killing any innocent person is a tragedy, but to the SJW what matters is that not enough white people are getting killed by cops. This is the fallacy of the SJW movement. Facts, science, logic and reason don’t matter. Arguments like twice as many white people are killed by police than black people don’t matter. What matters is feelings and pop culture trends. What matters is the color of the person, not the argument or idea that is offered. The exact opposite of what Martin Luther King Jr. preached. Minorities of all nationalities, you have value outside your skin color. You control your own destiny, no matter what they tell you. If someone doesn’t like you because of your skin color, screw them and succeed anyway.

The other major category of SJW is the gay rights groups. There are several sub-groups in this category. Each letter in the LBGTIAQ (sorry if I missed any letters), could be considered a sub-group. The target of gay rights right now seems to be religious groups, especially Christian ones. I am guessing from the media coverage that conservative religious groups are higher on the “privilege” scale because they are all about forcing religious business owners to cater to their every whim. Because the gay people are lower on the hierarchy their rights supersede the religious rights of business owners. Truly, I cannot think of anything more demeaning to a person than being reduced to a letter in a long incoherent string of letters. How dismissive is that of an individual’s personal experience, existence, opinions. Gay people of all stripes, you have value outside your sexual orientation. You are not just a letter. If someone hates you for who you love, screw them and succeed anyway.

The SJW movement is killing the world because it is propelling political correctness to dangerous levels. They are killing free speech on college campuses, and in the media. They are killing social media, where they for the most part live. They use social media to ruin the lives of dissenters, by doxing individuals in order to threaten their employers into firing the dissenter. They use twitter, Instagram, tumbler, Facebook and youtube like a SWAT team uses a sniper rifle. They have propelled being a victim to rock star status. If you are not a victim, you are a misogynist, sexist, bigoted, member of the patriarchy. When your goal is to tear down instead of build up, you are doing it wrong. When you can no longer speak your mind on a college campus something is wrong. Eventually, normal people will stop using social media. Sjw’s see capitalism as the enemy because is based in the patriarchy created by white/European males and needs to be destroyed. They have no facts, no logic and no reason. Science is not on their side.

When I got my white privilege certificate in the mail, it came with a secret decoder ring. We white males get secret updates on a regular basis and are prohibited by the patriarchy to discuss the contents of those secret documents. I am going to spill some of the beans right now. This may get my privilege reduced or even taken away, but I’m willing to risk it. Here goes. If you have goals, work hard, figure out what you are good at and work towards getting better anyone can succeed. If you worry about what other people have you will fail. A great man once said, “But let me offer you my definition of social justice: I keep what I earn and you keep what you earn. Do you disagree? Well then tell me how much of what I earn belongs to you – and why?” –Dr. Walter Williams. There, I have transferred some of my privilege to you, don’t make me regret it.

Department of Transportation…Muh Roads!

images (6)This is the fifth installment dealing with the federal departments of the executive branch. In this piece, I will be looking at the Department of Transportation. I will continue to try to answer the questions posed in the previous blogs. What was it designed to do? What does it actually do? Would the average person be affected if it were not there? Is it a necessary department? I would imagine from the title of the blog that you could guess where I stand, so let’s get right to it.

The Department of Transportation (DOT), was established in 1966. The mission statement of the DOT is:

Serve the United States by ensuring a fast, safe, efficient, accessible and convenient transportation system that meets our vital national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people, today and into the future.

The DOT has a budget of about $95 billion an employ’s about 60,000 people. It presides over the land, air and sea regarding anything remotely having to do with transportation. It has 12 agencies that make the rules and regulations for things like highways, railroads, air travel and water safety. The DOT is responsible for maintaining the roads, bridges and tunnels. Considering that more than 1 in 10 bridges in the US is structurally deficient and 5 in 10 bridges over the age of 65 are deficient, I’d say that they are doing a great job! Hope you caught the sarcasm, because I was laying it on pretty thick. The state of our highway system, where most of the budget goes, may be even worse. About 25% of all highway systems are in need of repair. When you exclude rural areas with less traffic that number jumps to about 35%.

Let’s talk about public transportation for a second. As I am typing this, there are no publicly funded modes of transportation that are profitable, or self-sustaining in the United States. Whether you are talking about the subway systems, train systems, bus systems or any other publicly funded transportation systems that you can think of, they all spend more than they make. Why do you think that is? Could it be that the people in charge of running these systems are not using their own money to do it? Maybe innovation is slow because there is no threat that the business will fail? Is it possible that it is public transportation because it can’t be profitable? Even in a city like New York with millions of users there is no profit. The subway system that is in part responsible for the city of New York’s growth and wealth creation over the last century should be able to pay for itself. If they were able to charge people what it would cost to be profitable, (and they’re not), it would cost prohibitive to use the subway. When was the last time you saw a city bus that was full of people? Never? I’ve never seen that either. So why can’t they rethink the size of the busses? What would happen if they were forced to be private tomorrow and the CEO was using his own money to run the bus system? You would have half-filled minivan’s driving around the city.

How about safety? If not for DOT regulations the trucking industry would be wild and unsafe right? I would just ask why? What’s in it for any industry that makes a profit driving on the highways, sailing on the seas, flying in the air to be unsafe? In the absence of DOT safety regulations there is still insurance to pay for. There is still fault that would be determined in the event of an accident. There would still be claims payouts for at fault accidents. There would still be lost contracts if unreliable trucks missed delivery deadlines. The thought that the only thing keeping trucks, ships and planes reliable and safe are government regulations is absurd. There is already a motivator in place for that. Profit.

The DOT is there to ensure fast, safe, efficient transportation. They are failing miserably, even by governmental standards. If the DOT went away, what would happen to muh roads! Muh roads! Muh roads! Well, if the responsibility was shifted to local and state level, communities who actually use and pay for the roads would be in a better place to demand better, more cost effective maintenance. You would still have your roads. What about federal highways! How about each state maintains the roads on its own side of the fence. You would still have your roads. What the DOT actually does is waste a lot of other people’s money, in the form of hundreds of millions of dollars for safety research, and general bureaucratic red tape. They try as hard as anyone using other people’s money feel like trying to be as efficient as possible, which is probably not very hard at all. All in all, the world would not look a lot different if the DOT went away tomorrow. Except maybe a few less potholes.

What Is Our Nature?

images (5)I found myself in an interesting discussion a couple weeks back with a likeminded person at the tail end of a Facebook discussion. I can’t remember what the Facebook post was about, but as the post was coming to a close the subject came up regarding the nature of people. Are we born good or bad? It turned into a “Hobbes vs. Locke” type of discussion. I thought it would be worth blogging about because how someone answers that question can shape their entire worldview regarding politics, thoughts on laws, crime and punishment, etc…

I would imagine at this point it would be a good idea to somehow define what about human nature I would consider “good” and “bad”. I believe that at the heart of all living animals, self-preservation is what drives us. We do what is necessary to be able to take that next breath. Some would describe this as selfish, and that characterization is true, but misunderstood. The trait of self-preservation in neither good, nor bad. It just is. It is present even in the most basic of life forms. Let’s keep that in the back of our minds when we decide what is good and bad. Characteristics that would be “good”, in my opinion would be peaceful, cooperative, charitable and honest. Characteristics that would be by nature “bad”, would include violent, combative, thieving and compulsive lying. This is a short list, but it gives you the gist. The characteristics of basic human nature are designed to propel the deeper nature of self-preservation. Logically speaking, the set of characteristics that would best support self-preservation would probably be the nature we are born with.

This is a subject that I never really had to think about growing up. Long before I ever heard of Thomas Hobbes or John Locke, I read “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding. It was a class assignment, where the topic, “what is human nature” was discussed. The book asserts that the basic human nature is a state of savagery. At the very base of us is something that must be contained, denied, resisted, in order to live peacefully among other humans. We need a heavy handed government to do the containing, denying, resisting for us, since our nature would prevent us from doing it ourselves. Now, this is my impression of this book close to 30 years after my one and only reading of it, so if I missed some nuanced meaning, forgive me, it was my impression at the time. I can tell you that something about that did not sit right with me, even at my young age.

It seems fairly obvious to me that human beings are social animals. We thrive when we are part of a community. We are herd animals. Of course we can survive alone, but very few people try to live that way. Living in a community is built in to our DNA, from early humans to now. Communal living is safer and satisfies our need to be social. So if self-preservation is the goal and we have evolved to learn that living in communities are the best way to achieve it, which set of basic human characteristics would best complement our dealings with each other? Would having a nature that is peaceful be better than having a violent nature within a community? Would being perceived as honest or a liar be more beneficial to self-preservation within a community? I submit that we are born “good” because that is the best way to achieve self-preservation.

But what about all the people who lie, cheat and steal in the world? What about all the perpetual wars for the last several thousand years? What about all the murderers, rapists, pedophiles and bicyclists in the world? How can the nature of man be good when these people exist? The answer may be too complicated for this simpleton’s blog. I would imagine that nothing is ever absolute. People can be born sociopaths and psychopaths. Good people can make bad life choices. Bad people can choose to live decent lives because they understand self-preservation, and good people can choose to be bad for the same reason. When you look at the nature of man, you have to look at it as a whole. The vast majority of people do not steal, murder, touch children or perpetrate genocide. The vast majority of people live peacefully among each other. They trade with each other, they play with each other and they help one another. The vast majority of the people do not have to resist an urge to lie, cheat or steal because this is not a natural gut reaction. A small percentage of people who do those things have made us a little more paranoid. Even as the camera’s watch the shoppers at a grocery store, the vast majority of people are not caught stealing. This is not because they are afraid of getting caught, but because the thought never crosses their minds.

As I became a teenager and more interested in politics, I found that most self-described democrats also called themselves pessimists. They believed people were by nature bad, so laws and structure needed to be made to keep people from becoming savages. This is why the thought of a large government appeals to liberals. They just want to keep the sheep safe from the wolves. The people I knew that self-described as republicans were also optimists. They believed that left to their own devices, people would peacefully interact and therefore needed less government. I wouldn’t meet Hobbes and Locke for a couple more decades, but the theories that they so eloquently proffer are in a more simplistic way ingrained in each of us. Subconsciously, this may have played a part in my becoming a republican early on, and a libertarian later. Why would humans be the only animal on earth that has to fight its very nature to survive? It simply doesn’t make sense, therefore liberalism doesn’t make sense.

If you are a person who thinks that the nature of people is bad and we need a large government to keep the peace, let me ask you this: If the nature of man is bad, wouldn’t the large governmental structure also be created by bad people? If the bottom line is self-preservation, is that not the goal of the people who create this benevolent government? A government that is against the very nature of man, yet created by men? I will leave you to ponder…