Hypocrisy Part I

The basic fundamental flaw in modern progressive thinking can be summed up exactly by their stance on gun control, wherein they feel that only police officers ought to have guns on the one hand, while also loudly proclaiming that police are corrupt, racist and cannot be trusted on the other. Of course, their explanation for this logic is simple. The racist and corrupt officers should be relieved of duty, and only good police officers should be left on the force to protect us. This is a fine sentiment, but it is not based in any sort of reality. Firstly, because a sense of what is good moral behavior is relative, and secondly because it is simply not possible to monitor that closely and predict the future behavior of any human being who desires to take the job as a police officer. The more robust system is, as Milton Friedman puts it,

“The important thing is to establish a political climate of opinion which will make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing.”

A Nation Which Seeks to Conquer All, Will Conquer None

Martin Luther King Jr. was an extremely eloquent and intelligent man, far ahead of his time in many ways. Besides the equal rights he fought for here at home he had much wisdom to impart regarding America’s foreign affairs as well. Since his passing America has only increased their meddling in the affairs of foreign nations, most of whom present no immediate threat to the safety of the United States. This pre-emptive war presents possibly the greatest risk to the safety and well being of America. Stretching resources which could be used here at home or in case of actual defensive needs and creating enemies by imposing our will on those who do not seek it.

Some of my favorite excerpts as well as the recorded speech follow:

“As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they ask — and rightly so — what about Vietnam? They ask if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government.”
“I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as one who loves America, to the leaders of our own nation: The great initiative in this war is ours; the initiative to stop it must be ours.

This is the message of the great Buddhist leaders of Vietnam. Recently one of them wrote these words, and I quote:

Each day the war goes on the hatred increases in the heart of the Vietnamese and in the hearts of those of humanitarian instinct. The Americans are forcing even their friends into becoming their enemies. It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom, and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism (unquote).”

Congress Votes; Denies themselves right to Vote

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Last Wednesday Congress voted on an amendment introduced by Senator Rand Paul. This amendment was set to curb the authorities introduced in the Authorization for the use of Military Force Act (AUMF), which was introduced in response to the 9/11 attacks. It should be clear to anyone that this authorization has far exceeded its intended duration. Any military action set out by the United States in direct response to the terrorist attacks of September 11th have ended a long time ago. Yet 16 years later, two different presidents have continued to piggyback off of this authorization. If you give a mouse a cookie….

The bill introduced by Rand Paul seemed like it should have been a slam dunk, after all, why wouldn’t Congress have wanted their power back? Apparently this just goes to show my foolishly naive thinking yet again as the bill was voted down 61-36. There was a pretty good mix from both Democrats and Republicans on how they voted, with some of the most progressive senators voting in favor of Paul’s amendment. This should come as no surprise as the one area where “progressives” and libertarians can usually agree is on limiting the United States’ military empire.

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This of course used to be a key platform of the conservative party. George W. Bush won his first election on the idea of non-interventionism. Sadly, the conservative party platform is quite different today, in large part due to W’s response to 9/11 and the AUMF. Those who voted against Paul’s amendment spit out the same tired rhetoric that an amendment such as this would put the country at risk because it would limit our ability to respond to national security threats quickly. They missed the irony that that response is both an insult to congress itself by confirming that they are incapable of getting anything done in a timely manner, and in opposition to the constitution which they were sworn to uphold.

Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) even went so far as to say, “you can’t replace something with nothing, and we have nothing.” Well, I for one can think of something that you do have…

War Powers Clause - Wikipedia
Article 1 Section 8 of the US Constitution grants congress the ability to declare war.

 

The Notion of Voluntarism

Recently I found myself in a Facebook “discussion” with someone, regarding the image shown above. My argument went something along the lines of pointing out that if the birds in the image were acting of their own self-accord, without force from some other entity then this was not communism, or even socialism, but rather voluntarism.

The original poster laughed at this assertion, giving me the proverbial pat on the head at my innocence. “How could this possibly be voluntarism?” She cried. “In a volintaristic society the brown bird would be left behind unless he could pay the blue birds!” She then proceeded to spout off a bunch of terms such as anarcho-communism among others, which apparently explained this comic better than voluntarism; at least to her.

Since I was unfamiliar with many of the terms she used, I figured perhaps she was unfamiliar with the true definition of the term voluntarism, so I thoughtfully provided the Merriam-webster definition of the word, it is: “the principle or system of doing something by or relying on voluntary action or volunteers“. Seemed like a pretty good fit to me, but she still wasn’t buying it and insisted that I was not seeing the image correctly. Apparently I was too focused on the hammer and sickle, and not focused enough on the color black in the background. Well, this was getting truly confusing to me now as I had no idea which parts of the strip were supposed to have meaning and which weren’t, so I decided to leave the conversation at that point.

So my question is, was this person seeing something in the image that I am missing that makes it not voluntarism, or was she arguing with the dictionary?