Democracy is Divisive and Hateful

One of the worst attributes of democracy is how it turns regular people who would otherwise have no problem with one another into bitter enemies. It gives control, or the illusion of control, into the hands of every person in the form of voting. Every person who resents being controlled ends up, reasonably, hating their neighbors. The bigger the government and the more control employed in a society, the more hatred is manifested.

Democracy is divisive, but it isn’t just an illusion that we should break and stand in unity. Democracy is system that empowers the worst in us to control our neighbors and turns regular citizens into petty tyrants and political oppressors. It isn’t the just system that we hate, democracy enables people to actually become the tyrant they should never become. Democracy doesn’t just divide people in an illusory sense, but in a highly literal sense.

In a democracy, it doesn’t just make you feel like you should hate your neighbor. You actually really should hate your neighbor since it is your neighbor employing their leverage over you.

This is why people should never have this leverage and coercive democracy should be dismantled in favor of individual liberty. We should not get a vote over our neighbors.

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Hope and Despair in Nearly Equal Parts

I’ve been observing and listening to what people around me are saying concerning recent events. It’s been interesting.

I’ve heard people say that they never thought tyranny in America was a possibility… until the pandemic. Now they see how easily it could happen.

Since the beginning of the pandemic I’ve heard the laughter at preppers be replaced by “show me how” and “I wish I had listened“.

I’ve seen people who never cared about liberty suddenly start to pay attention.

I’ve seen more and more people getting their kids out of kinderprison.

This all gives me some hope.

On the other side of the coin, I’ve also seen people watching and waiting, anxiously, for that next “stimulus check” from Uncle Scam.

I’ve seen people calling the socialistic nihilists in big cities “anarchists” as if that’s what they were.

I’ve seen people looking at events and stupidly saying “this is why we need police” and emphasizing how helpless and useless they are to take care of their own lives without a master to do it for them.

I’ve seen “libertarians” arguing for re-opening the government schools on schedule and/or using the stolen money to fund other forms of schooling.

My latest newspaper column offended another sort of person. The sort of person who doesn’t want to see anything which might disturb his dreams.

He began his one-run-on sentence email by saying this is his home town (OK… I was born here too, but how is that relevant?) and he hasn’t seen any higher prices (I have and so has the person I mentioned in the column and if you check gold, silver, and Bitcoin prices you can see them right now with your own eyes) and that to him, the dollar “hasn’t lost anything”.

I could show him charts, but the trick he plays is in the “to him“. The dollar is still worth what it was– to him— because he believes it is. No evidence will convince him otherwise because he believes what he believes. I wonder if he has ever once in his whole life complained about a higher price for anything. Because that would falsify his claim.

He ended by saying “God is in control” and knows what’s going on.

I probably shouldn’t have replied, but I did.

I’m glad for you.

I’ll tell the person who had started noticing higher prices in Clovis stores that you say she must be imagining it.

I’ll also tell the gold and silver sellers that they have to sell their products to me at last month’s prices because you say prices aren’t going up. I wonder what they’ll say.

God knowing what’s going on doesn’t mean God wouldn’t let humans suffer for doing foolish things. Actions have consequences.

Am I wrong?

As always, there are reasons for both hope and despair. The shining examples, the mistakes in human skin, and the self-deluding.

On the economic side of things, my income keeps declining due to the effects of the government-caused Coronapanic, so if you’d care to sign up for a monthly subscription on any of the platforms I use I’d appreciate it. See below for your chance to chip in or email me for more options.

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CNN: “Scientific” Means “Agrees With Us”

“Trump adds coronavirus adviser who echoes his unscientific claims,” reports CNN’s Kaitlan Collins.

Collins neither makes any scientific claims of her own, nor uses actual science to rebut any claims made by that adviser — Dr. Scott Atlas — or President Donald Trump himself, in the article under that headline. She merely notes that Atlas disagrees with claims made by the “experts”  her bosses at CNN agree with, and expects the reader to accept that disagreement with those favored “experts” flies in the face of “science.”

I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that Ms. Collins’s Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Political Science from the University of Alabama may not put her in the same league as Dr. Atlas when it comes to proffering scientific and medical judgments.

Resolved: Dr. Scott W. Atlas is, by any objective measure, an “expert” in the field of medicine. He holds a  Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Illinois and an MD from the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine. He’s published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles on the use of MRIs in neurological disorders. He helped write the qualifying exam in neuroradiology. He served as Professor and Chief of Neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical Center, currently serves as Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution where he works on health policy issues, and has advised three Republican presidential nominees on health policy.

The man obviously knows his medicine. So should we simply accept as gospel anything and everything he has to say, on the subject of COVID-19 or on anything else? Of course not. He may be an “expert,” but it’s the responsibility of every individual to judge his claims against the facts.

The same is true  of CNN favorites like Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx. Their credentials and qualifications put them in the “experts” category and entitle them to a respectful hearing, but they’re not omniscient and unquestionable demigods.

This ongoing duel over which “experts” to trust incorporates two faulty assumptions. One is that “experts” must be trusted rather than tested. Another is that “experts” can never disagree.

The duel also demonstrates that “public health” is at least as much a political ideology as a scientific endeavor, and that politics doesn’t end at science’s edge.

The truth will out, eventually. In the meantime, it’s probably a bad idea to let CNN choose “experts” for you.

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Let’s Adapt to Something Positive

Humans are adaptable. More so than any creature other than, possibly, cockroaches. It’s our greatest strength.

We have adapted to living almost everywhere on the planet and, soon, with the right technology — an adaptation we’ve created — off-planet, too.

We’ve adapted to a different diet than our ancestors ate. In some cases, we probably haven’t adapted well enough yet, and our health can suffer the consequences, but we’re getting there.

Not all adaptations are helpful. We have adapted to some things we should have resisted.

We’ve adapted to having our freedom and property rights trashed by the worst among us. Ironically, in the beginning they used the excuse of protecting our freedom and property rights as to why we should go along with what they were doing to us. They were lying.

We’ve adapted to the demand to hand our children over to the state to be indoctrinated during their most impressionable years. We are told this is for the purpose of educating them because we are incapable and too ignorant to educate them ourselves. If that’s true, it’s only because we were victims of the same indoctrination system in our youth. It’s time to break the cycle.

We’ve adapted to tax burdens far beyond the levels that caused our ancestors to violently throw a government out of the country. Some people have adapted so well they want taxes to be even higher.

We recently adapted to stifling conditions imposed by governments using the excuse of COVID-19. Whether or not the restrictions were necessary, or even helpful in the slightest, most of us complied and adapted. Probably more than was healthy.

As bad as these things are on their own, it’s more tragic to passively accept them. Most people have adapted so completely they don’t even notice and accept it as “just how it is done.” It doesn’t have to be.

To adapt to certain conditions isn’t anything to be proud of. You shouldn’t tolerate having your natural human rights violated by anyone under any circumstances, but most of us do to some extent.

You are expected to adapt to even more restrictions with each new year. It’s time to make a stand. If we lose this fight — if we don’t resist — our grandchildren won’t understand what they’ve lost.

Let’s adapt to some positive things for a change, such as a life of liberty, including real property rights. The future can be great. It’s up to us to make it so.

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Our Responsibility To Protect Innocence

I really want to live in a world in which most people don’t have to know about things like the #1 song in America, a song whose lyrics a number of people (who are likely at different spots on the political spectrum) rightly find horrifying.

Insofar as we can do nothing or little about an issue, it behooves us to limit our exposure to that issue. We shouldn’t constantly bathe in outrage. I understand this and yet am failing myself.

That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try to protect others.

There are billions of people who don’t know about the latest political hypocrisy, “woke” overreach, leftist neologism, or cultural depravity with which we “tuned in” people bathe our brains each hour. Imagine the happiness of living life assuming the best about your common man and not attaching shame or fear to things as simple as sitting in a chair (now a “micro-aggression” of “manspreading” according to some).

Sadly, the innocent folks who haven’t heard about the latest outrage are a dying minority.

I shouldn’t try to bring more people – perfectly oblivious people – into the swarming vortex of “awareness” of the various gaping cracks in our culture. I shouldn’t try to make people feel badly about their fellow men. I shouldn’t take away innocence – once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.

Originally published at JamesWalpole.com.

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The Long, Hot Summer of 1967: A Forgotten Season of Riots and Urban Unrest Across America

The Book of Ecclesiastes says that there is nothing new under the sun. And while many have spoken of the “unprecedented” nature of the rioting in the early summer of 2020, it is actually quite precedented.

The Long, Hot Summer of 1967 was the peak of urban unrest and rioting in the United States in the lead up to the 1968 election. While there are certainly a number of key differences, there are also a number of striking parallels that make the topic worthy of discussion and examination.

The long-term impact of the urban unrest of the summer of 2020 is unclear, but the long-term impact of the Long, Hot Summer of 1967 and related urban rioting was a victory for Richard Nixon in 1968, and a landslide re-election in 1972. One must resist the temptation to make mechanistic comparisons between the two, and we will refrain from doing so here. But the reader is encouraged to look for connections between these events and more recent ones.

Prologue: The Ghetto Riots

The riot wave in America’s urban ghettos might have peaked in the summer of 1967, but it certainly didn’t begin there. 1964 is generally thought to be the beginning, with a riot that began in Harlem after the shooting of a 15-year-old black teenager named James Powell.

The story of how this happened is familiar to anyone who read the news in the summer of 2020: The superintendent of a building in a predominantly white working-class neighborhood turned a hose on black students who had been congregating on the stoops of his buildings. The black students alleged that he used racist language with them, a charge that he denied. It is worth noting how often alleged racial slurs are invoked as an excuse for violence. In any case, no one disagrees that the students then began throwing garbage can lids and bottles at him. He retreated into his building where he was pursued by three of the students, one of them being James Powell.

A white off-duty police officer, Lieutenant Thomas Gilligan, arrived on the scene and fired three shots at Powell. One of these was a warning shot, but the other two connected with Powell’s forearm and abdomen. Lieutenant Gilligan claimed that Powell had a knife, raised it and then he fired first a warning shot, then a shot into the forearm to disarm him before firing the third shot. Gilligan had an impeccable record with the New York Police Department. Powell had a few interactions with the law: twice for boarding a subway car without paying, once for breaking the window of a vehicle and once for an attempted robbery (he was cleared of the robbery).

The result was a week of rioting that left one dead, 118 injured and 465 arrested.

Between the Harlem Riot of 1964 and the Long, Hot Summer of 1967, there were riots in Rochester, New York, Dixmoor, Illinois, Philadelphia, Watts, Chicago, Cleveland, Waukegan, Illinois, San Francisco and Benton Harbor, Michigan. But the Long, Hot Summer was when things really picked up.

Continue reading The Long, Hot Summer of 1967: A Forgotten Season of Riots and Urban Unrest Across America at Ammo.com.

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