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Words Poorly Used #73: Avoiding War

There were a post and a thread of discussion on Facebook today covering the POTUS-Elect's nomination for Secretary of State. Someone ventured that we (the USA, I suppose) would "avoid war with Russia." One, we never avoid war, it is the health of the state (per Randolph Bourne), and it is the wealth of the oligarchy. And it is the joystick of the powerful. Two, haven't every POTUS and SOS always avoided war with Russia, or did I miss an episode? Give a little, take a little, but don't break up the game. continue reading

Words Poorly Used #72: Oligarchy

I got in trouble last month for using the term “oligarchy” in, admittedly, a pejorative sense. Here’s what I wrote on Facebook: “No matter how one votes tomorrow, the winner will be oligarchy A or oligarchy B (where A = B).” Very good friends called me to task for this logic fallacy, justifiably so since I had committed several logic fallacies, the worst of which was the fallacy of begging the question. My premises assumed their own truth without establishment. Is the USA really run by an oligarchy? continue reading

Words Poorly Used #71 — Majority

The two party system has grown from the fallacy of conflation.  Each party annexes wedge issues, then does nothing with them other than to form majorities within the herds of people.  Neither is a true majority, but a majority of a majority and/or a majority of a minority.  The former is rare, the latter is dominant, often describing both majors, then “third parties” are perforce smaller and smaller minorities, the majority of each must be smaller than its minority share of the whole.  Thus, even if there are 100 choices, 98 of them will have less effect than the top two — the oligarchy only has to recognize and manipulate the top two.  If some third party should unseat the second party, then the oligarchy only has to pretend that it makes a difference.  The cases in which a third party overtakes both of the leading two parties are nearly unheard of.  In any event, we can be assured in every realistic sense that a majority will never rule.  Only the oligarchy rules. — Kilgore Forelle continue reading

Words Poorly Used #70 — Market

The market is chaotic, therefore adaptive, responsive, communicative, evolving, instantaneously.  The state is the attempt to freeze change, therefore inimical to markets.  The claim is that markets can be stabilized by central planners.  The market, however, is as a river flowing to the sea.  The staying power of markets is the ability to survive change, even intervention. Kilgore Forelle continue reading

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 continue reading

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 continue reading

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 continue reading

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 continue reading