L.A. Liberty

A Libertarian in Leftywood

One of the speakers said the solution is nonviolent movement. No, my friend. I’ll give you two examples: French Revolution, and Indian so-called Revolution.

Gandhi… Gandhi today is, with respect to all of you, Gandhi today is a tumor that the ruling class is using constantly to mislead us. French Revolution made fundamental transformation. But it was bloody.

India, the result of Gandhi, is 600 million people living in maximum poverty.

So, ultimately, the bourgeoisie won’t go without violent means. Revolution! Yes, revolution that is led by the working class.

Long live revolution! Long live socialism!

— 

Occupy L.A. speaker

Remember when the tea tarty was panned across the media for repeating Jefferson’s “Tree of Liberty” quote? How the tea party was a bunch of violent, racist, backwater extremists who, despite not participating in mass public disruptions, were ostensibly responsible for rhetoric that agitated the masses into fits of violence (attributed arbitrarily ex post facto)? 

Of course, the media is much less disgusted this time around when the threat to that statist quo actually strengthens it in many ways.

The left, the race card, and Herman Cain →

Racial McCarthyism has been a staple of left-wing political rhetoric for years, but it went into overdrive with the rise of Barack Obama. Former president Jimmy Carter, for example, claimed that much of the backlash to the president’s policies was explained by “the fact that he is a black man.” Janeane Garofalo, the movie actress and liberal activist, called Tea Party protesters “racist rednecks” with one motivation: “This is about hating a black man in the White House. This is racism straight up.” Obama himself has sometimes played the race card; as a candidate in 2008 he predicted that Republicans would “try to make you afraid of me” by focusing on his color: “He’s young and inexperienced and he’s got a funny name. And did I mention he’s black?”

Of course such accusations are grotesque canards. But cynics and partisan ideologues have never been terribly squeamish about trafficking in ugly innuendoes to win votes, especially when a complacent media lets them get away with it. Still, you might have thought that surging Republican support for a proud black entrepreneur — an up-from-segregation business star who summarizes his identity as “ABC: American first, black second, and conservative third" — would make it tough even for cynics and ideologues to keep singing from the same racial hymnal.

Not a chance.

"Herman Cain is probably well-liked by some of the Republicans because it hides the racist elements of the Republican Party, conservative movement, and tea party movement," Garofalo theorized in a recent a TV appearance. “Cain provides this great opportunity so [Republicans] can say, ‘Look, this is not a racist, anti-immigrant, anti-female, anti-gay movement. Look, we have a black man.’”

In other words, if Republicans or conservatives oppose a public figure who happens to be black, it’s because they’re racists. And if they support a public figure who happens to be black? That’s also because they’re racists.

Needless to say, there is no point arguing with such “logic.”

Note: I, in no way whatsoever, support the central-banking, war-mongering, new-taxing Herman Cain. He merely serves an instructive purpose in this post.

Based on news accounts of the time, Barack Obama’s ascendancy to the presidency was nothing short of messianic. Hell, he even claimed that his inauguration was when “the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” Fixing myriad problems with a government or economy weren’t enough, he was going to repair an entire planet.

How has he fared?

The economy, clearly, is an unmitigated mess. Joblessness abounds. Health care expenses keep rising. American education continues to decline. Our international presence remains aggressive and costly. The noose around the neck of our civil liberties has tightened. The dollar, the reserve currency of the world, continues to be further exposed as a sham.

This was not the change we believed in, much less what we hoped for.

Indeed, disapproval ratings are as low as they’ve ever been for The One at, as of August 10, 56% “total disapprove.”

So how is this disconnect in results explained? Currently, there seem to be two primary forms of apologetics - often intermixed - from the left.

The first puts the blame of Obama’s failures squarely upon the shoulders of the unthinking masses, too stupid or self-centered or racist or confused to properly support the true savior. In particular, the tea party - that generally amorphous, decentralized coalition of libertarians and conservatives whose ostensible primary object is to effectively shrink the size and scope of government - has been directly implicated as the nefarious criminals in the plot to destabilize a nation.

During the recent debt negotiations, Vice President Joe Biden agreed with Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) that the tea party were “terrorists,” echoing sentiments by former Rep. Martin Frost that the tea party had “much in common with the Taliban.” Not to be outdone, New York Times columnist Joe Nocera referred to the tea party as “terrorists” waging “jihad” with “suicide vests.” Washington Post’s Kathleen Parker took exception to this: “Actually, no, Mr. Vice President, the Tea Party gang wasn’t ‘acting like terrorists.’ They were acting like kidnappers. Let’s get our insults correct.” Economist Paul Krugman concurs with this assessment, as he declared that they “Republicans have, in effect, taken America hostage.” Jacob Weisberg of Slate referred to some of those who would obstruct Obama and the left’s Keynesian economic manipulations as “intellectual primitives.” Bill Maher preferred a fight-fire-with-fire approach: “The only way to pull the debate back from the far right is for liberals to elect their own slate of 60 unstable, loony tune, mad-as-a-hatter, crazy motherf*ckers.”

Not that the tea party does not deserve some grief, particularly its current neo-con-usurped mutation that is more establishment than revolutionary - but the criticisms of the tea party here are more broad strokes against all critics as a way to deflect liability. As the left sees it: if only the unhinged “teabagger” dolts and other non-leftists simply acquiesced to the enlightened whims of their loving statists in power, we’d all be drinking rainbow milkshakes and dancing on cotton candy clouds.

The other popular form of leftist apologetics actually does blame Obama. But he is blamed for being too conciliatory, too centrist, too much to the right, too eager to compromise. 

Drew Westen, a professor of psychology at Emory University and Democratic “strategic consultant,” wrote in the New York Times last week that Obama’s weakness is that he is a “centrist” who “seems so compelled to take both sides of every issue.” (And to not leave the first narrative unsaid, he also added: “we are a nation that is being held hostage… by an extremist Republican Party.”)

Krugman, in writing about the “cult of balance” and “centrist fantasies,” bemoaned Obama’s “extraordinary concessions on Democratic priorities.” And he took it further still, claiming many of Obama’s policies have been downright conservative. 

Slate’s Weisberg continued on his aforementioned piece about the imbecilic opposition: ”there’s no point trying to explain complicated matters to the American people. The president has tried reasonableness and he has failed.” He calls Obama the “supine president.”

Of course, anyone who’s not a partisan ideologue can plainly see the ridiculousness of such claims. There was nothing “centrist” about the largest entitlement expansion in the history of the country rammed through without a single vote from the opposing party. There is no “reasonableness” about continuing the steady march of government spending and expansion and debt accumulation - during a recession and facing a debt crisis, no less - and calling it a “cut.”

Ultimately, the truth is Obama is pretty much exactly what intelligent detractors expected him to be: a slick, central-planning authoritarian. Nothing he has done - except for his very Bush-esque foreign policy - should be surprising; nor has it likely surprised anyone with a proper distrust of government and a firm appreciation of presidential history. 

The commonality between the two popular forms of apologetics is that it is not the ideology itself that is blamed. Never must the benevolent state of modern left-liberalism be questioned! In Obama, the left truly had, in nearly all respects, the president they wished for - but reality never comported with their dreams.

Unfortunately, it’s only in existing outside of reality that the leftist worldview could ever work.

And to admit that would be blasphemy.

(Source: laliberty)

Based on news accounts of the time, Barack Obama’s ascendancy to the presidency was nothing short of messianic. Hell, he even claimed that his inauguration was when “the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” Fixing myriad problems with a government or economy weren’t enough, he was going to repair an entire planet.

How has he fared?

The economy, clearly, is an unmitigated mess. Joblessness abounds. Health care expenses keep rising. American education continues to decline. Our international presence remains aggressive and costly. The noose around the neck of our civil liberties has tightened. The dollar, the reserve currency of the world, continues to be further exposed as a sham.

This was not the change we believed in, much less what we hoped for.

Indeed, disapproval ratings are as low as they’ve ever been for The One at, as of August 10, 56% “total disapprove.”

So how is this disconnect in results explained? Currently, there seem to be two primary forms of apologetics - often intermixed - from the left.

The first puts the blame of Obama’s failures squarely upon the shoulders of the unthinking masses, too stupid or self-centered or racist or confused to properly support the true savior. In particular, the tea party - that generally amorphous, decentralized coalition of libertarians and conservatives whose ostensible primary object (at least at its inception) was to effectively shrink the size and scope of government - has been directly implicated as the nefarious criminals in the plot to destabilize a nation.

During the recent debt negotiations, Vice President Joe Biden agreed with Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) that the tea party were “terrorists,” echoing sentiments by former Rep. Martin Frost that the tea party had “much in common with the Taliban.” Not to be outdone, New York Times columnist Joe Nocera referred to the tea party as “terrorists” waging “jihad” with “suicide vests.” Washington Post’s Kathleen Parker took exception to this: “Actually, no, Mr. Vice President, the Tea Party gang wasn’t ‘acting like terrorists.’ They were acting like kidnappers. Let’s get our insults correct.” Economist Paul Krugman concurs with this assessment, as he declared that “Republicans have, in effect, taken America hostage.” Jacob Weisberg of Slate referred to some of those who would obstruct Obama and the left’s Keynesian economic manipulations as “intellectual primitives.” Bill Maher preferred a fight-fire-with-fire approach: “The only way to pull the debate back from the far right is for liberals to elect their own slate of 60 unstable, loony tune, mad-as-a-hatter, crazy motherf*ckers.”

Not that the tea party does not deserve some grief, particularly its current neo-con-usurped mutation that is more establishment than revolutionary - but the criticisms of the tea party here are more broad strokes against all critics as a way to deflect liability. As the left sees it: if only the unhinged “teabagger” dolts and other non-leftists simply acquiesced to the enlightened whims of their loving statists in power, we’d all be drinking rainbow milkshakes and dancing on cotton candy clouds.

The other popular form of leftist apologetics, when the previous administration is not blamed, actually does blame Obama. But he is blamed for being too conciliatory, too centrist, too much to the right, too eager to compromise. 

Drew Westen, a professor of psychology at Emory University and Democratic “strategic consultant,” wrote in the New York Times last week that Obama’s weakness is that he is a “centrist” who “seems so compelled to take both sides of every issue.” (And to not leave the first narrative unsaid, he also added: “we are a nation that is being held hostage… by an extremist Republican Party.”)

Krugman, in writing about the “cult of balance” and “centrist fantasies,” bemoaned Obama’s “extraordinary concessions on Democratic priorities.” And he took it further still, claiming many of Obama’s policies have been downright conservative. 

Slate’s Weisberg continued on his aforementioned piece about the imbecilic opposition: ”there’s no point trying to explain complicated matters to the American people. The president has tried reasonableness and he has failed.” He calls Obama the “supine president.”

Of course, anyone who’s not a partisan ideologue can plainly see the ridiculousness of such claims. There was nothing “centrist” about the largest entitlement expansion in the history of the country rammed through without a single vote from the opposing party. There is no “reasonableness” about continuing the steady march of government spending and expansion and debt accumulation - during a recession and facing a debt crisis, no less - and calling it a “cut.”

Ultimately, the truth is Obama is pretty much exactly what intelligent detractors expected him to be: a slick, central-planning authoritarian. Nothing he has done - except for his very Bushesque foreign policy - should be surprising; nor has it likely surprised anyone with a proper distrust of government and a firm appreciation of presidential history. 

The commonality between the two popular forms of apologetics is that it is not the ideology itself that is blamed. Never must the benevolent state of modern left-liberalism be questioned! In Obama, the left truly had, in nearly all respects, the president they wished for - but reality never comported with their dreams.

Unfortunately, it’s only in existing outside of reality that the leftist worldview could ever work.

And to admit that would be blasphemy.

Early yesterday, I made a post commenting about the left’s rhetoric calling their philosophical rivals “terrorists,” among other things - while at the same time Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, whose shooting was (wrongly) attributed to the uncivil rhetoric and climate of hate fostered by those ostensibly supporting smaller government, had returned to Congress.

I wasn’t, of course, the only one to notice this deplorable hysteria. Here are some other worthy posts on the same theme, from the vile duplicitousness of leftist politicians and pundits to shameless media bias.

The Tea Party - despite its more noble, decentralized, and genuinely grass-roots origins - has unfortunately become saturated with neo-conservatives who have usurped the movement for their own political gain, rendering it into a muddled version of the establishment GOP. And neo-cons, like their leftist counterparts, are perfectly comfortable with big government - as long as its for their purposes.

So I’m no longer as sympathetic or hopeful about the Tea Party as I once was (though I’d be happy to be proved wrong). Unfortunately, however, they make a convenient foil for the left. Indeed, various Tea Party signs have famously provided nigh-exhaustible fodder for detractors (even if a not inconsiderable portion of them were faked by those very detractors).

And we all remember how the motivations behind Jared Loughner, the Arizona killer who shot Representative Gabrielle Giffords in the head earlier this year, were pegged on the Tea Party and the uncivil rhetoric of the “right.”

Yesterday, during debt deal “negotiations,” Joe Biden (Vice President of the United States of America, by the way) called the tea party “terrorists”. Not to be outdone, New York Times columnist and leftist mouthpiece Joe Nocera referred to the tea party as "terrorists" waging "jihad" with "suicide vests." Which of course means that the leftist blogosphere is being even less polite.

Also yesterday, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was present in Congress for the first time since getting shot. Nothing shows her our new level of civil discourse and respectful rhetoric quite like Joes Biden and Nocera.

They certainly placed the right tone in their crosshairs.

Bravo!

I once posted a quote by Thomas Jefferson. It was one I quite liked and was widely credited to Jefferson. I saw it quoted in a book I was reading at the time.

Turns out, the quote never came from Jefferson’s mouth (or quill, as it were). Some bloggers on the left [mockingly] brought it to my attention, and, after confirming through some research, I quickly (the very same day, I think within the hour) issued a correction and fixed the original post to reflect that the quote’s author was indeed unknown. Frankly, I was a bit embarrassed to have posted something incorrect and there was no way I would have left it up untouched.

Yesterday, a quote was posted and featured in the #Politics tag. Unlike the Jefferson quote, this one was very clearly misattributed to Jon Stewart - as I explain here - for the sole purpose of gaining popularity. And popular it is: garnering over 6,000 notes in less than a day.

But instead of correcting the quote, we get petulance from its originator on tumblr who said he would continue to attribute it to Stewart “until the matter was settled.” Problem is, the matter was settled even before he posted it. And it is more than settled now - yet the credit to Stewart remains. Another blogger won’t correct it because “it still rings true” no matter who said it. Yet another blogger who once claimed that what separates lefties from everyone else is “when we get information wrong we have the integrity to correct ourselves immediately.” Well, that quote remains attributed to Jon Stewart on his blog as well…

Is fabricating quotes and sticking by their fabrication the rhetorical tactic du jour?

(via azspot)
Those right-wingers and their violent rhetoric and images.
Waitaminute…

(via azspot)

Those right-wingers and their violent rhetoric and images.

Waitaminute

Anyone who’s spent half a minute perusing my blog knows that I loathe those government-granted monopolies of labor arbitration known as unions. Public sector unions in particular are especially ruinous.

You would likely also know that I work in the film and television industry in Hollywood. There isn’t a better city in the world for job opportunities in my field. Problem is, the industry is rife with unions: the actors, writers, directors, producers, editors, costume designers, composers, matte artists, sound technicians, film technicians, camera operators, script supervisors, drivers, set painters, lighting technicians, wardrobe personnel, grips… even set nurses and administers of first aid all have unionized “representation.”

This is why I call it Leftywood. As is expected from so many union employees, the non-leftists are a tiny, tiny minority. Of the potentially hundreds of people I’ve worked with and gotten to know out here, I’ve met no libertarians and can almost count the republicans on one hand. In other words, only my wife is my ideological peer.

I didn’t realize how prevalent unionism was in Hollywood until I moved out here after college. As goes every Hollywood story, I started out trying to “catch a break.” I even snuck onto three separate studios to slip my resume to anyone with an open hand. But no one would look at me unless I was unionized. And make no mistake: save for the rare indie flick or documentary, unions have a stranglehold on most of the good gigs thanks to government interference. Every major studio has contracts with unions, which means anything they touch has to be unionized.

So a young and eager guy (like I was those years ago) can’t even offer to work for less pay or fewer benefits in exchange for a metaphorical foot in the door. I tried. There is no bargaining without collective bargaining; because of unions, the individual is powerless.

So I went the non-union route, and I quickly found success. In less than a year, I reached the highest level attainable in my specialty. Non-union employment allowed me to flourish off my talents and abilities without considering things like seniority or the compensation of others around me. If I was better than my co-worker, I could be paid more. But I didn’t give up a promising engineering career back east to make decent but still relatively meager money (cost of living in L.A. is ridiculous) working on reality tv shows with no artistic value.

The project that served as the last straw for me was actually a cop show. (Cops are another topic you may know my opinion of.) I couldn’t continue watching these government thugs abuse their power and trick individuals to give up their rights, to then make them look like heroes on the air. 

I decided to take a step down and use all those hours I had accumulated to join a union and get a union gig. 

The irony of a unionized libertarian is not lost on me. Although I’d consider it more of a tragedy that to follow my dream and pursue what I’ve worked for I have to swallow this bitter pill. 

I do have pretty good benefits, yes. But I’m confident I could achieve this and good pay without a union (that is, without union coercion through government affecting the market). Indeed, years later my pay is still less than what I made as a non-union worker, though without the health benefits which are almost offset by the union dues anyway (and make no mistake, health care would be far more affordable if not for government inflating the costs). Plus, if this industry-dominated city were free of union manipulations, cost of living would surely be lower for everyone. As is, my ability to advance is hampered. I can’t, for example, negotiate for a promotion with a smaller bump in pay on the condition that I prove myself. Instead, my next step up is a huge increase in pay, so most people in my position languish without promotion for an average of more than ten years, whereas I made three jumps within a year outside of union work. In other words, my personal, individual ability to advocate for myself is made secondary to the group.

Still, I’m in the private sector - which means that, although my employers are forced by government to cooperate with unions, I do not benefit from the government’s monopoly on force to coerce individuals out of their wealth through taxes. 

But my union “leaders” don’t see it that way. Naturally, they subscribe to the trite communist credo, “workers of the world, unite.”  As such, every union struggle in the world is ostensibly supposed to be my struggle too. Evidence of this mindset is, in addition to the emails supporting leftist policies and politicians, the steady stream of emails about “valiant” strikers.

Here’s an email I received from union “leadership” in November: 

The benefits of working union all derive from generations of employees having shown the courage to stand shoulder to shoulder in defense of one another. This principle of solidarity means that IATSE members — even those who are strangers or who work in different crafts within the industry — recognize one another as brothers and sisters. Never is this principle of mutual aid more urgent than when our colleagues are threatened for having bravely stood up for themselves.

The production crew of “The Biggest Loser” remains on strike. The producers stubbornly refuse to negotiate. They instead try to limp along with a skeleton crew of scabs. The livelihoods of our sisters and brothers are still in jeopardy.

Notice who the “courageous” heroes and “stubborn” villains are in that email. We’re all in this together. Us vs. Them. Language and symbolism - “brothers and sisters,” “derive from generations of employees” - that demand a responsibility to something bigger than our [individual] selves.  Meanwhile, who advocates for the non-union individuals who are subsequently unemployed when those same producers have to find those inflated union wages from somewhere else? Further, the union doesn’t really care about the striking “brothers and sisters.” They care about their dues. It happens all the time: a production finds replacements (scabs) for their striking workers; the stand-off between the production and the union drags out; eventually, an agreement is made and the “scabs” are hired into the union, leaving the original “brothers and sisters” without work and the only resolution was the union increasing its dues-paying membership and closing doors to non-union opportunities. 

So this brings me to last night’s email. While the messages are typically about other strikes in the industry, this time the union is branching out:

Throughout the Midwest, our union sisters and brothers are under attack. In Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, and elsewhere, governors and legislatures threaten to strip employees of collective bargaining rights and to otherwise hobble their unions. Although the would-be union-busters use state budget shortfalls to justify their actions, they are really motivated by a fierce ideological antipathy towards organized labor. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker compared his efforts to break Wisconsin’s public employee unions to Ronald Regan’s 1981 firing of striking air traffic controllers, an action universally regarded as having undercut the clout of workers in every sector and industry. Make no mistake: public-sector union-busting in Wisconsin, if successful, will have ripple effects felt in the private sector in Los Angeles and New York.

In the face of these attacks, the labor movement and our allies have closed ranks and mobilized to a degree unprecedented in recent memory. In the tens of thousands, people have taken to the streets and to the statehouses, demonstrating their willingness to fight in defense of the right to a voice on the job.  Protests in Indiana have already succeeded in forcing lawmakers there to drop a bill that would have made Indiana a so-called “right-to-work” state.  But still greater displays of solidarity will be necessary in order to fight back all of these efforts to undermine the right to organize. 

Tomorrow, Saturday, February 26th, the AFL-CIO and allied organizations will hold rallies around the country in support of workers under attack in the Midwest. The rally at L.A. City Hall will begin at 12 noon; the rally at New York City Hall will begin at 11 o’clock A.M.  If you are able, please come to one of these rallies to show your solidarity with workers under siege in Wisconsin and elsewhere. 

Again note the language of war: “attacks,” “allies have closed ranks and mobilized,” “under siege” - the only violent rhetoric missing is cross-hairs. Also, note the straw men and non-sequiturs or other rhetorical conventions of big government sympathizers: misrepresenting the motives of the “opponents,” claiming that without unions, people would lose their “right to a voice on the job.”

Because of this message, I thought it important to offer a small glimpse behind my self-imposed veil of anonymity. Now, you know a little about what I do. But I do this to serve as a provider of insider information.

Those union workers in Wisconsin and elsewhere aren’t any more my “brothers and sisters” than the taxpayers they are fleecing. And their plight is not more relevant to my well-being than my own desires to bargain for myself.

Finally, the media has lately been shining a spotlight on the scam that is unions in the public sector; how unions (who are one of the biggest “special interests,” despite what the left claims) trade their members’ votes for higher pay and benefits, all at the expense of the freedom, wealth, and prosperity of everyone else.

Tonight, I’ll be posting a roundup of related union editorials worth reading. For now, I wanted to share this anecdotal peek behind the union’s astroturf curtain. They are continuing to assemble a top-down “unified front” to protect their pernicious practices.

The public needs to wake up. Because the unions are right about one thing (in the public sector): it is “us vs. them.”

But the us and them are the tax-feeders and tax-victims. Those government workers who force us to pay for their services… who are net tax beneficiaries not net tax payers… who are difficult to fire, less accountable, and have better pay, benefits, and even extravagant early pensions off the backs of those they purportedly “serve”… will slurp the marrow out of our very bones if we do not put an end to their guarantee of collective bargaining.

-

Update: See follow-up here.

Oh, wait

No, this is just a little “Organizing for America”-sponsored union civility.

Democrats want to ban the term "ObamaCare" (in the House) →

evilteabagger:

anxiousweasel:

After two House Republicans called it “ObamaCare,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) asked the chairman whether these “disparaging” remarks should be allowed on the House floor.

“That is a disparaging reference to the president of the United States; it is meant as a disparaging reference to the president of the United States, and it is clearly in violation of the House rules against that,” she said. 

(via littlerrepublican)

(Source: moralanarchism, via antigovernmentextremist)

…MSNBC over the course of five hours mentioned Palin in connection with the massacre 166 times while mentioning the alleged killer, Jared Loughner, only 18 times.

— Sarah Palin: MSNBC’s Obsession With Her (via nomosshere)

(via antigovernmentextremist)

With discussions of “rhetoric" in the air, I thought it timely to propose what I have observed - from online discussions, family get-togethers, and everything in between - as the archetypal rhetorical conventions of big government sympathizers (i.e. the left, generally, though not exclusively):

  • deflections (altering or averting the basis of the discussion to a different but seemingly related topic. this is related to ignoratio elenchi, or irrelevant conclusion. also known as using ‘red herrings’), 
  • assertions of pathos (appeals to one’s emotions, usually in the form of a sad hypothetical or a specific personal account, intended to either pity a concession or portray the opposition as a monster; this could also take the form of fear mongering), 
  • assertions of ethos (attempts to find hypocrisy in the opposition’s position, either by alleging that a different position held by the opposition is counter to their opposition’s current position, or by simply alleging “You would sing a different tune if it were you [or other person you care about] who needed [said government program]”; this could also take the form of tu quoque, or justifying something because someone else has done something similar),
  • cum hoc ergo propter hoc / post hoc ergo propter hoc (conflating correlation with causation)
  • ad hominem attacks (related to pathos and also a form of ignoratio elenchi; such an attack charges the motives, intellect, or character of either the opposition or another person who shares the opposition’s position in order to render an argument invalid, this often takes the form of accusations of racism, sexism, or some other form of bigotry), 
  • argumentum ad ignoratium (positing that because something is not proven false, it must be true)
  • straw men (absurd conclusions or false examples, ostensibly based on the opposition’s argument, created in order to be refuted),

    and perhaps most common of all… 
     
  • non-sequiturs (similar to straw men, these are failures in logic that assume incorrect conclusions; often a form of illogical reductio ad absurdum as it is based upon incomplete or incorrect data or conjecture).

These conventions can be explained by what is arguably the greatest weakness of big government sympathizers: a lack of reasoned thought and creativity that is the result of their inability to look beyond the status quo*. In other words, because government does it, they have a hard time envisioning how it could be done without government.

This lack of reason and creativity leads to a bounty of non-sequiturs:

Being against so-called “gun control” means that I want a world where people launch rockets at their neighbors. Being against drug prohibition means that I want a world filled with violent drug-dealers and abusers in psychotic rages. Because I am against government schooling, I am against education and I want the world to be illiterate. Because I am against the government taking my money and inefficiently giving it to the poor, I loathe poor people. Being against the FDA means that I think it acceptable that companies would poison their customers. Wanting to eliminate the FCC is tantamount to championing porn on every television channel. Because I am against government-run health care, I want children to die in the streets. Being against the warfare state means I’m an isolationist who wants us to be defenseless. An argument against farm subsidies is an argument to let the world go hungry. Because I’m against the minimum wage, I am pro-slavery. Advocating against public parks means I hate trees. Because of what I believe, no one would ever build a road, pick up garbage, police the streets, put out fires, patrol our coasts, or protect us from evil corporations, slumlords, and insurance agents.

So every argument usually ends up becoming a defense of what’s possible when government is not there to provide a good or perform a service (poorly and inefficiently).

But the salient point in my consistent position against government overreach is: no one could really know how something may best be done once free people are able to utilize the market’s ingenuity-incentivizing system of supply, demand, competition, cooperation, and comparative advantage to create efficient alternatives.

The mutually beneficial trade of a free, decentralized market is far superior to central planning, and, as I touched upon in my Case Against the TSA, the results of which are essentially unknowable for two fundamental reasons. First, to paraphrase Hayek, there’s no way to imagine what can be designed by millions of people acting freely; and second, to paraphrase Mises, it would be impossible to implement any scheme properly or efficiently even if planned by intelligent, well-meaning angels.

_

*(This is not unlike their seeming lack of ability to consider the unintended consequences of policies. What Frederic Bastiat termed “that which is unseen”, and what Thomas Sowell calls “thinking beyond stage one.”)

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