You are currently viewing the aggregator for the Distributed Republic reader blogs. You can surf to any author's blog by clicking on the link at the bottom of one of his/her posts. If you wish to participate, feel free to register (at the top of the right sidebar) and start blogging.

The main page of the blog can be found here.

G. Liddy

The Anarchist Proof From Non-Bigotry

Widespread adoption and consistent application of a social norm of non-bigotry towards the non-native born must logically result in one of two policy options: Anarchy (in the best way) or a single world government. Hayekian knowledge problems make the second option impossible. Therefore, a consistent commitment to functional non-bigotry must lead one to anarchism. Q.E.D.

Jonah Goldberg is a Partisan Douchebag

Jonah Goldberg is a partisan douchebag. I met him for the first time in person a few months ago, and have been reading his columns for over a decade. I can confirm that he is, in fact, a partisan douchebag.

Mr. Goldberg wants to start with some data, but he doesn't cite any recent data about hate crimes against Muslims - or recent public attempts to block the construction of mosques. And not just two blocks away from Ground Zero, i.e. Ground 2.0, but also public attempts to block the construction of mosques in other parts of the country.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Tennessee No Evil
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

And since there is no justifiable reason to protest the construction of a Muslim community center apart from bigotry towards Muslims, we must conclude that 70% of Americans polled are bigots. This is not very surprising, as I explained earlier:

Can you think of any other time in history when 70% or more of Americans were intolerant bigots? I sure can. Is there any good reason to think that this collectivist impulse was just a passing phase in human history? Or is it more likely that we still have many of the same impulses our human ancestors had before us, including the intellectual ease with which we (including myself) fall into us-versus-them tribal thinking?

Republicans/conservatives/Tea Partiers believe that Muslim-baiting is a smart political tactic to win midterm elections, and perhaps they are right: They have had great success with race-baiting in the past. In fact, the very publication that employs Jonah Goldberg--The National Review--publicly opposed racial integration. Its founder, William F. Buckley, famously wrote within its glorious pages,

the central question that emerges... is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas where it does not predominate numerically? The sobering answer is Yes – the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race.

The new "Southern strategy"--the Islam strategy--may turn out to be politically successful, at least in the short run. It certainly polls well. But a Jew who knows the history of the Jewish people, or anyone who cares at all about civil rights, has no business supporting a politically successful but morally outrageous strategy.

Three of Jonah's paragraphs are particularly noteworthy:

No doubt some American Muslims -- particularly young Muslim men with ties to the Middle East and South Asia -- have been scrutinized at airports more than elderly women of Norwegian extraction, but does that really amount to Islamophobia, given the dangers and complexities of the war on terror?

No doubt some African-Americans-- particularly young black men with ties to a culture conservatives demonize for the glorification of crime and drugs -- have been scrutinized at traffic stops more than elderly women of Norwegian extraction, but does that really amount to racism, given the dangers and complexities of the war on drugs and crime?

The answer, of course, is yes: It does really amount to racism. In case you were wondering.

More Jonah:

It's an odd argument given that Americans have shed a lot of blood for Muslims over the last three decades: to end the slaughter of Muslims in the Balkans, to feed Somalis and to liberate Kuwaitis, Iraqis and Afghans. Millions of Muslims around the world would desperately like to move to the U.S., this supposed land of intolerance.

Jonah seems to be on the very brink of realizing that not all Muslims are the same, but he's just not quite there yet. Many Muslims would like to move to the U.S., and yet many Muslims also view American society as intolerant towards Islam. How could this possible be? Could it be that some Muslims like America and some Muslims do not? Could it even be that the *very same* Muslims who like America and wish to move here ALSO believe that America could be more tolerant towards people of non-Christian faiths, or even no faith at all?

Might it also be possible that some Muslims do not particularly want Americans shedding blood for them, and in fact believe (quite rightly) that Americans have shed a lot of *Muslim blood* over the last three decades? This might be worth investigating, instead of childishly pretending that "they hate us for our freedom." Sure, some Muslims might hate us for our freedom, but I have a feeling a lot more Muslims hate us for our foreign policy - an aggressive foreign policy that publications like National Review publicly support.

Conversely, nowhere is there more open, honest and intentional intolerance -- in words and deeds -- than from certain prominent Muslim leaders around the world. And yet, Americans are the bigots?

Did Jonah Goldberg pass kindergarten? Did he fail to learn that "but he did it too!" is not a valid excuse? That it's possible for both parties to a conflict to be in the wrong? Shit, it doesn't take a bucky in Bava Kamma or a legal expert in joint liability to grok this concept; young children understand it. Pitiful.

The First Rule of Libertarianism is: You Must Not Question Libertarianism

Speaking of political tribalism, Bob Murphy's previous co-blogger, Gene Callahan, finds this revolting excerpt from Hans-Hermann Hoppe's Democracy: The God That Failed, via Daniel McCarthy:

As soon as mature members of society habitually express acceptance or even advocate egalitarian sentiments, whether in the form of democracy (majority rule) or of communism, it becomes essential that other members, and in particular the natural social elites, be prepared to act decisively and, in the case of continued nonconformity, exclude and ultimately expel these members from society. In a covenant concluded among proprietor and community tenants for the purpose of protecting their private property, no such thing as a right to free (unlimited) speech exists, not even to unlimited speech on one’s own tenant-property. One may say innumerable things and promote almost any idea under the sun, but naturally no one is permitted to advocate ideas contrary to the very purpose of the covenant of preserving and protecting private property, such as democracy and communism. There can be no tolerance toward democrats and communists in a libertarian social order. They will have to be physically separated and expelled from society.

So I decided to check to see if this was taken out of context, or preceded by any qualifiers indicating Hoppe was merely stating the fact that such a society could exist and still be described in some way as libertarian, rather than the much more troublesome interpretation that this is the kind of libertarian society Hoppe personally advocates. And what I found was even more astonishing: This is not only the view Hoppe personally advocates, but the view he believes is "obvious" all libertarians must share:

It should be obvious then that and why libertarians must be moral and cultural conservatives of the most uncompromising kind. The current state of moral degeneration, social disintegration and cultural rot is precisely the result of too much--and above all erroneous and misconceived--tolerance. Rather than having all habitual democrats, communists, and alternative lifestylists [read: gay - Micha] quickly isolated, excluded and expelled from civilization in accordance with the principles of the covenant, they were tolerated by society.

I invite any additional context that would show this interpretation to be mistaken.

Mosquare Tactics

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Extremist Makeover - Homeland Edition
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

On the second video, Catholic, Pacifist, Anarcho-Capitalist, Austrian Economist with a Ph.D. in Economics from NYU, and all around Cool Dude Bob Murphy writes, in a post titled, "The Mosque Controversy: I Am in Awe of Jon Stewart,"

Wow, look at what Jon Stewart and his writers did with this piece. Besides blowing up Fox News (and oh man the first clip is embarrassing), he actually admits his own participation in political tribalism in the past. Then he closes with an actually moving homage to Charlton Heston…and then a joke. Perfect.

The Bad Taste of Collective Guilt

If Nazi sympathizers and members of the Ku Klux Klan are guilty of anything, they are at the very least guilty of bad taste.

Many Americans apparently believe that building a mosque at Ground 2.0 would be in poor taste. This belief is itself in poor taste. To disapprove of Muslims building a mosque within an arbitrary, undefined distance from Ground Zero, simply on the grounds that they are Muslim, entails the implicit assumption that all Muslims should feel personally guilty and responsible for all of the actions of all other Muslims, even Muslims they may strongly disagree with. The bad taste here is the concept of collective guilt, a concept at the very core of intolerance and bigotry.

Much Christian anti-Semitism over the last two millennia arose from the belief that Jews killed Christ, or were at the very least indirectly responsible for his death at the hands of the Romans. Many Orthodox Jews believe this, as do some branches of Christianity, including Mel Gibson's denomination, for which his film The Passion of the Christ was wrongfully criticized as anti-Semitic.

It is not anti-Semitic to believe that Jews killed Christ. To the extent that I believe that Jesus Christ existed, I believe that Jewish people killed him, either directly or indirectly. It is, however, anti-Semitic to hold Jews collectively responsible for his death, just as it is intolerant and bigoted for Jews to hold Germans collectively responsible for the Holocaust. Not all Jews killed Christ. I certainly didn't, if only for lack of opportunity. Not all Germans are responsible for the Holocaust, and certainly no German born after the Holocaust happened could be held responsible for a crime committed prior to that same German's birth. So too, not all Muslims flew airliners into the World Trade Center, nor do all Muslims support the flying of airliners into buildings.

And it is in bad taste to claim otherwise.

I have no problem concluding that this means 70% of Americans and 63% of New Yorkers are intolerant bigots. So they are. Intolerance and bigotry are common intellectual and moral mistakes. The concept of collective guilt - though riddled with bigotry, intolerance, and incoherence - satisfies a natural human impulse, for we evolved as tribal creatures, and treating people as individuals worthy of respect in their own right and not merely as members of collectives - the outgroup, the other - is counterintuitive.

Can you think of any other time in history when 70% or more of Americans were intolerant bigots? I sure can. Is there any good reason to think that this collectivist impulse was just a passing phase in human history? Or is it more likely that we still have many of the same impulses our human ancestors had before us, including the intellectual ease with which we (including myself) fall into us-versus-them tribal thinking?

This is not an issue of free speech. Intolerant bigots have the right to protest the building of a mosque anywhere they like, just as intolerant bigots have the right to declare - seemingly at random - that God Hates Fags, just as intolerant bigots have the right dress up in Nazi regalia and march through Skokie, Illinois, a largely Jewish community with many Holocaust survivors. But all of these activities are in bad taste.

Surprisingly Not From The Onion

Attention Jürgen Habermas:

To Protest Hiring of Nonunion Help, Union Hires Nonunion Pickets
WASHINGTON—Billy Raye, a 51-year-old unemployed bike courier, is looking for work.

Fortunately for him, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council of Carpenters is seeking paid demonstrators to march and chant in its current picket line outside the McPherson Building, an office complex here where the council says work is being done with nonunion labor.

"For a lot of our members, it's really difficult to have them come out, either because of parking or something else," explains Vincente Garcia, a union representative who is supervising the picketing.

So instead, the union hires unemployed people at the minimum wage—$8.25 an hour—to walk picket lines. Mr. Raye says he's grateful for the work, even though he's not sure why he's doing it. "I could care less," he says. "I am being paid to march around and sound off."

Protest organizers and advocacy groups are reaping an unexpected benefit from continued high joblessness. With the national unemployment rate currently at 9.5%, an "endless supply" of the out-of-work, as well as retirees seeking extra income, are lining up to be paid demonstrators, says George Eisner, the union's director of organization. Extra feet help the union staff about 150 picket lines in the District of Columbia and Baltimore each day. [...]

The union's Mr. Garcia sees no conflict in a union that insists on union labor hiring nonunion people to protest the hiring of nonunion labor.

He says the pickets are not only about "union issues" but also about fair wages and benefits for American workers. By hiring the unemployed, "we are also giving back to the community a bit," he says.

Performative contradictions in action!

Missionaries of Hate

Anyone who thinks they can sit on the sidelines and not get involved in "social issues" or the "culture war" needs to watch this video and decide if they are okay with Americans spreading their hateful, homophobic, bible-based religious beliefs in other countries.

Fundamentalists have their missionaries; who will stand up to counter them?

For Orthodox Jews in particular, I ask: How can you as an Orthodox Jew oppose Uganda punishing homosexuality with the dealth penalty (supposing you do oppose this) when the fourth of the Noahide laws prohibits homosexuality and the seventh Noahide law requires the establishment of a system of courts to enforce this law, for which the punishment is death? (Sanhedrin 57a)

Quote of the Day

I got out of the Right-wing not because I ceased believing in liberty, but because being a libertarian above all, I came to see that the Right-wing specialized in cloaking its authoritarian and neo-fascist policies in the honeyed words of libertarian rhetoric. They need you for their libertarian cover; stop providing it for them!

- Murray Rothbard

via Zac Gochenour

Screw Saint Patrick's Day, This Is America

Suppose we were living in a culture rife with anti-Irish sentiment (as American culture once was not so long ago). Further suppose New York recently passed an ordinance making it much more difficult for Irish to enter the country (legally or illegally), harder for those who look Irish to find work, and easier for police to harass those who look Irish.

Along comes Saint Patrick's Day, and instead of wearing the traditional green and shamrock, or choosing not to celebrate at all, some people who don't normally display such symbols decide to wear t-shirts and bandannas emblazoned with American flags, in an obvious attempt to respond negatively to the wearing of green and shamrock.

Would Eugene Volokh agree with the following?

Even if the students wore American flag garb only on Saint Patrick's Day, I take it that the message was “you want to stress your Irish heritage, and we want to stress our American heritage” or at most “we don’t entirely approve of your stressing your ethnic heritage, since we should all think of ourselves as Americans.” This might convey some disagreement, but it hardly strikes me as discourteous; and to the extent that it’s a “rebuke,” it’s the sort of message that people are entitled — not just as a matter of law, but also of good manners — to send. Courtesy doesn’t require absence of disagreement. It requires that the disagreement not be framed in a rude way, and I don’t think there’s anything rude in the messages that I infer the clothes were trying to send.

Is it good manners for your wardrobe to scream "AMERICA, FUCK YEAH!" on Saint Patrick's Day? Or do we tend to view people who make these kind of fashion choices as juvenile, ignorant, and rude?

Another ethnic group, which immigrated to America and experienced discrimination, has a word for this kind of behavior: Chutzpah.

The Mortar of Assimilation (1889) - Only the Irish immigrant is causing trouble.

Lord Jesus Christ...

Five For One

Unless one believes there is a categorical moral duty to allow healthy patients to live, something that to my knowledge only a few people believe, one must consider all the costs and benefits when deciding whether or not hospitals should kill healthy patients in order to harvest their organs for transplantation to unhealthy patients.

Update: The friend who tipped me off to the Volokh post responds:

Even if your post wasn't a joke, the cost of killing a healthy patient would far outweigh any benefit.

I ask, how can you be so sure? Five lives saved is greater than one life lost, no?

A good utilitarian can point to the social costs associated with patients refusing to go to the hospital out of fear that they will be killed for their organs. But then, a good utilitarian isn't a nationalist bigot, and doesn't ignore or discount the utility to the immigrants themselves of immigration. When we take the immigrants' own utility into account, the cost of keeping immigrants out far outweighs any benefit.

All Praise And Blame Be To God

You know what really grinds my gears? Thanking God for miraculously saving someone from harm. Under what conceivable theology does God deserve thanks for miraculously saving someone from harm, but not also blame for failing to act miraculously and preventing the harm from ever occurring in the first place?

A friend (currently a med student) updated his status on Facebook with:

Was just nearly killed on I20 by a police officer not paying attention, but I was miraculously saved from any harm. Thank you God for saving me!

Note: for saving me and my dear wife

I responded, trying to remain polite yet antitheistically contrarian:

I'd blame God (and the police officer) for putting you in that situation to begin with. Glad you are safe, though :D

At this point, I would expect the theistically inclined to respond with some sort of apologia about the free will of the police officer, as if the police officer and God cannot both be held jointly liable: The officer for choosing to be negligent, and God, for choosing to miraculously create the circumstances leading up to this outcome, and/or failure to miraculously intervene and prevent one or more of these contingent circumstances from happening.

My friend responded with more detail and a possible justification:

3 people were injured, including a pregnant woman.

I try to be optimistic, because it could have been so much worse had several things not conspired in our favor.

I'm not sure if optimism is offered as serious justification, but I just don't see how it's relevant here, other than as a confused post-hoc rationalization. Being thankful that things turned out fortuitously is great, but its not a thanks that God deserves, unless God also deserves blame from the three injured people, as well as blame from all those who were needlessly scared by an event that God could have easily prevented, just as easily as God miraculously saved those involved from even greater harm.

My latest response:

Optimism is great, but I see no reason to thank God for saving you unless you are also willing to blame God for creating all of the factors that led to this incident, in which case the net thanks/blame God deserves is unclear. The fact that 3 people were injured, including a pregnant woman, leads me to believe that God deserves net blame, not thanks, if we are attributing the outcome of events to divine intervention. The world would have been better off had this event never happened.

Is it too soon to say "I told you so"?

Because I told you so.

Why any libertarian thinks a neo-fusionist alliance with the teabaggers is a good idea is beyond me, given the past few decades worth of conservative-libertarian fusionism.

It's all supposed to be about economic issues, while putting social issues to the side for the sake of maintaining the alliance, right? So is immigration an economic or a social issue?

Useful idiots, indeed.

Sarah Palin Network

The Hilarious 30 Rock parody, 30 Main Street, with parody character Lez Lemonz, an uppity bitch so focussed on her career that she is in her late 30s and still doesn't have grandchildren.