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Words Poorly Used #75 — Problem

” … there is always a well-known solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong.”  — H. L. Mencken Why is this true?  Firstly, we have to recognize that this may not be true in all cases.  After all, it is a simple solution for explaining human error — a persistent problem underlying other problems.  So, Mencken’s observation may not be absolute, but it is a powerful demonstration of what is practically true.  Any one of us may live a lifetime without seeing a “neat, plausible, and correct” solution.  We also may never see a neat (standalone, uninvolved) problem.  Problems come in squadrons entangled in wires, webs, nets, tendrils, embedding goo.  A simple solution tends to render the rest of the mess more impenetrable.  Humans, particularly politicians, exploit problems — even making them up when no real difficulty is at hand.  More on this elsewhere at EVC. Kilgore Words Poorly Used #75 — Problem Read the full thing

Words Poorly Used #74 — Duty

When a person tells you it is your duty to , that person is really trying to coerce you into relinquishing your future, for his or her own perceived benefit.  Let’s say, for example, that someone says it is your duty to vote, that means you are being guilted into a collective that means to dominate everyone who is not in that collective, and various factions of that collective mean collectively to domain all of the other factions as well.  To be sure, in this country, voting is voluntary.  The choices, however, are constrained so that your voluntary choice has little effect on the domination that is planned for you.  Think about some of the other events where you supposedly have a voluntary choice.  You can volunteer as to whether you will fight or support war, but do you have any choice as to whether war will be conducted on your behalf?  You can volunteer as to whether you pay taxes, but what do you see as the consequences for making that choice.  You may voluntarily move your permanent residence to another country (I hear Somalia is lovely at this time of year), but how is that working out for Syrians these days.  You may choose, for your own personal security, to ask the NSA to surveil everyone — realizing that such an idea may randomly bite you in a poorly guarded section of your anatomy.  You may worship as you choose (if you don’t believe me, read up on Koresh and Waco — I acknowledge that in the real world choices must be made between spirituality and immoral dominance, but do we want the Federals to be making those choices on our behalf?)  But in any event, when others say words like duty when all of the choices are immoral or have likely to be immoral outcomes, you are not mining in a seam of voluntaryism. Kilgore Read the full thing

Words Poorly Used #73 — Debate and Argument

Somebody wake me up when there is a true debate, not some tricked-up reality show imposter.  Of course, presidential debates have never been — either presidential or debate.  But I have listened to some more formal debates recently.  Tom Woods debated Michael Malice on whether Alexander Hamilton was a hero of liberty.  And Anthony Gregory has debated MP John Browne on whether Winston Churchill was a warmonger.  If I look at the Etymology Online web site, I find that “debate” actually comes from “beat down.”  In other words, it is not a constructive activity to participate in or to observe.  It is fight club for tongue lashers.   As you may know from reading my alter ego, Verbal Vol, I am pursuing a newly arisen interest in nonviolent communication, or NVC.  The whole idea of debating seems counter to NVC.  For awhile I had toyed with the idea that a debate was a mutual pursuit of truth, a seeking of accord.  But I stand corrected — it is distinctly adversarial.  I will cling, however, to the idea that argument is “the bringing forth of a proof” but not necessarily through debate. Kilgore Forelle Read the full thing

Words Poorly Used #72 — Law Enforcement

How might a collective arrive at a perfectly regulated law?  Well, it would by whatever decision making process it had devised (let’s say it is a perfect process, discovered somewhat as a blind hog occasionally finds an acorn) to decide on one law.  Then assuming that a perfect law requires perfect enforcement, the collective would divide itself in half, hoping again for a perfect process, to wit they can unerringly discern the half of the population who would be tempted to break the law and separate them from the half who believed in the law sincerely enough to enforce it.  Then comes an assignment of 1 person from the second half to 1 person from the first half, the former’s job to keep 24/7 watch on the latter for slippage in compliance.  Now, let us recognize that among the half who are enforcers, half of them are less likely to take their jobs as seriously as the other half.  Who shall guard the guard?  As an aside we know that one person cannot guard another in perpetuity, therefore, being reasonable we shall break the guarding up into 8 hour shifts — now we have 3 policepersons for every civilian.  But anything over 50-50 requires more people than we have at the start.  Therefore, I contend that we cannot have more than one law, and even that is, if not impossible, highly improbable.  Amiright? Kilgore Read the full thing

Words Poorly Used #71 — Compromise

Compromise always fails because self-perpetuating institutions always demand a place at the table where compromise is made, squeezing out unaffiliated individual people. Compromise thus is about the status quo and its preservation.  Pretending that these institutional tablegrabbers have interests consonant with real people is a deadly form of collective self-deception. — Kilgore Forelle Read the full thing

Words Poorly Used #69a — Fear, II

You will often hear various people say, “fear is a great motivator.” And that is eminently true. Granted. Let’s look at a great motivator (however misguided), Franklin Delano Roosevelt. FDR famously spoke, “Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”  I repeat the second part, which is often left off, ” … nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes … ”  FDR was telling us that fear need not be connected to reality, and that feature has been used by fear-mongers, particularly the state’s fear-mongers, ever since.  FDR immediately launched the most massive array of paranoid bureaucratic agencies, borrowing from the model of J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI, seen so far in the memory of humankind.  Kim Davis, in my home state of Kentucky, no matter what you may think of her intent, is the logical descendant of Roosevelt. And now we turn to John Adams, who warned us, “fear is the foundation of most governments.”  And to continue, we will examine the case of petty tyrant, Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian, who it appears can put people out of business at the stroke of a pen.  He has put the fear of unrestrained state power into every business owner in the state.  “Nothing is terrible except fear itself.” — Francis Bacon kilgore Read the full thing

Words Poorly Used #69 — Fear

Now I learn today, through Jason Stapleton, that some European politico is playing the Fear Card.  I paraphrase, “If this refugee crisis continues it will mean the collapse of the European Union!”  My first reaction?  Please don’t throw us in that briar patch.  There are two basic human tendencies, buried in our genetics, fear leading to fight or flight, and the need by politicians to induce such fear in the hearts of any other human within the pol’s ambit.  So this European personage is shopping this combo slippery-slope/strawman dodge in search of a hidden agenda item.  There are approximately 733 million Europeans awaiting this tsunami of 4 million (?) Syrian refugees (pardon the UN link).  So that is just over 1/2 a refugee for each thousand Europeans.  Do we have a bit of overreaction here?  The fear response is not based on a fact of danger, it is elicited by the appearance of potential danger..  Just today, while reading The Girl in the Spider’s Web, I observed that the author, David Lagercranz, was able to push my fear button with nothing more than fictional craft, just as if I were a child afraid of the dark.  Without the truth that fear needs no connection to reality, children would sleep well and there would be no more plays, movies, or novels in the thriller genre. kilgore Read the full thing

Words Poorly Used #68 — Real Voluntaryism

Voluntaryism is not just individualism.  Your voluntaryism is every association that you make voluntarily.  You own your associations.  You own the facts of where and when you were born and all of the places where and when you have lived.  You own the facts of who, where, and when you know other living beings.  You own the facts of who you follow from afar (David Hume, for instance).  You own the facts of what and when and how you have tried to know persons, places, events, and things.  Many people may make the mistake of thinking that voluntaryism is just individualism, or personal freedom, or personal choice.  But you may expand your voluntary world by exposing yourself to new elements, to new consequences, even at personal risk.  For example, I am in my 50th year of marriage and 73rd year of life, but I still add new things, nearly every day.  I started blogging some time ago.  I have made nearly 5,000 friends on facebook.  I have joined a Writers Shared Interest Group (SIG).  I go to the Socrates Cafe meetings in Louisville.  I try new plants in the yard every season.  I continue to expand my music collection and discover new artists. Kilgore Read the full thing

Words Poorly Used #67 — Real Libertarian

Lately, I have been seeing a number of references to what “a libertarian” would think or do.  An example is “would a libertarian support Israel?”  But this blog is not about Israel or foreign policy, it is about the far more universal vice of labeling.  One of the real problems with labeling is the ad hominem nature of such labels.  Calling another person something so narrow as “libertarian” completely misses the point of how deep and wide and ever-changing a person can be.  Libertarian is a perfectly good description of things, such as ideas or principles or dynamics.  Conceptual things have more-or-less definite meanings, look for example at the non-aggression principle.  I would call that principle part of the libertarian philosophy.  There are others who may say that the self-defense exception is not roomy enough.  These may be people who have a different idea about what non-initiation means.  In any event, I don’t like wearing a label, particularly one that may include me among people with whom I may disagree.  Furthermore, I don’t like being mislead by labels.  Please enlighten me, what possible reason could JEB come up with that would make me care that he believes he has “libertarian blood” in his veins?  What reason does Rand Paul have for being coy about the things on which his father took a courageous stand?  And in the instance of Ron Paul, even though he was the most libertarian officeholder I can imagine, he and I differed on the GOP, immigration, and public office as a public good. Kilgore Forelle Read the full thing