Obama Administration

Obama's Convenient (And Dangerous) Majoritarianism

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President Borg

President Obama's Borg-ish inaugural message has already been dissected by Matt Welch and Nick Gillespie. As Matt points out, "This is a man who literally cannot envision a world in which a Golden Gate Bridge gets built without central planning from Washington, or where the 21st century doesn't rely on a transport technology invented in the 19th." I'll add that the president's constant use of the word "we" conveniently assumes a mass identity and collective will for the American people that is not only impossible, but would be dangerous if ever taken seriously.

Fortunately, President Obama almost certainly knows that his repetition of "we" and "together" is triumphalist crap. When he says, "[n]ow, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people," he really means, "hey guys, I won the toss. Please let me have the ball!" But he's also appealing to an audience largely raised on simplistic ideas of democracy to view the outcome of a close presidential election as a "mandate," whatever the hell that is.

About a decade ago, I was invited to speak to a writing class at Northern Arizona University (motto: "It's a real college, honest!") to explain just what it is that I do. To keep things interesting, I wrote up a scenario in handout form about a hypothetical republic inhabited by adherents of a majority religion and a minority religion. In my scenario, the country's dominant faith is undergoing a religious revival marked by intolerance. In short order, the majority repeals the country's equivalent of the First Amendment by popular referendum, and then mandates the closure of the minority's temples and the education of its children in the majority faith. The minority faces suppression and, potentially, the extinction of their beliefs, all done perfectly legally and by majority vote.

"What," I asked the class, "should the minority do?"

"Aren't they protected by the First Amendment?" one student asked.

"Repealed," I said. "Read your handout."

Pretty quickly, the class divided roughly in half, between those who thought the minority should tell the majority to get stuffed, and those who invoked the phrase "majority rule" and thought that anything decided democratically was just swell.

Frankly, this was all a lot more interesting than really talking about what I do. I was also pretty encouraged that so many of the students rejected the idea that a majority vote can anoint every policy and act with righteousness. "We" and "together" become monstrous when they're invoked to deprive people of their freedom or submerge their identity into some artificial collective whole. I distinctly remember my own Social Studies teachers feeding us variations on "the majority is always right" — a proposition that, even to my young mind, seemed dubious when I considered the possibility of my classmates voting on anything. I would have preferred to see similar skepticism shared by all of the kids in that college classroom, but maybe their classmates didn't jam scissors through their hands while trying to open a horse chestnut (true story). And maybe the kids in the majoritarian faction really believe, deep down, that "we" have the right to do terrible things, or the obligation to abide by them, so long as we do them "together."

As I said, I don't think the president believes the Borg-ish nonsense in his speech. I think he's stroking his backers and taunting his opponents with the idea that he represents some collective American identity. But if any of those former NAU students remember the slightly prickly political columnist who showed up in their class one day, I hope they recall that handout when they hear politicians use the words "we" and "together."

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  1. As I said, I don’t think the president believes the Borg-ish nonsense in his speech. I think he’s stroking his backers and taunting his opponents with the idea that he represents some collective American identity.

    Seriously J.D. why do you not think the President believes this nonsense? Everything he has ever done in his political career is consistent with believing it. He has never once shown the ability to understand his opposition or view them as anything but immoral and illegitimate. I would like to think he doesn’t believe that. But I see no evidence that he believes anything different. I would be curious to hear what evidence you have.

    1. I tend to think he either believes this crap or thinks it’s useful to manipulate idiots that believe this crap. Or both.

      Until fairly recently, the idiots that believe that crap seemed to be a small enough minority to not be worth focusing on entirely. So I think it more likely that he believes this crap.

      1. But what is the point of manipulating the idiots? To destroy the opposition and rule unopposed would be my guess. If that is the case, then what difference does it make if he believes it or not? The result is the same.

        1. But what is the point of manipulating the idiots?

          I’d do it for my own amusement. And that’s just one of the many valid reasons why I should never be given too much power over other human beings.

          This informs my libertarianism a great deal. I’m well aware of my sociopathic tendencies, and I don’t see much evidence other people don’t have them as well.

          1. “This informs my libertarianism a great deal. I’m well aware of my sociopathic tendencies, and I don’t see much evidence other people don’t have them as well.”

            THIS. Sometimes I breathe a sigh of relief that I left the State’s Attorney and retired from the Army. I cannot exercise dominion over my fellow Americans as a lower/mid-level cog in a giant Swiss corporation.

            1. Have you spent much time in Switzerland? We’re planning on attending a friend’s wedding in Zurich this summer and I’m open to suggestions for side trips.

              1. Emphasis on trips

                1. No, I’m not at all interested in using any drugs other than alcohol.

                  1. If you’re. Going to do drugs, might as well go whole hog. Amirite?

              2. Lucerne is nice for a day trip. You probably should go see Geneva too – be prepared for hideous expense everywhere in Switzerland.

      2. When the majority start believing in the inherent rightness of majority rule, watch out.

    2. Because he won a close election and faces a House of Representatives controlled by an opposition majority. I don’t know that he can actually understand opposing ideas, but he must be aware that they exist and that much of the population is not embodied in some sort of collective identity of which he is the figurehead.

      1. But he considers that population to be both a majority and to completely lack any intellectual or moral credibility. You can know the minority exists and still think it is perfectly appropriate to disenfranchise and exile them from the political culture, which seems to be his only real goal.

      2. I think this is it. He understands there are “those who don’t agree with these ideas”. And further that “they must be co-opted or eliminated”.

        Chicago politics, submit or be crushed.

        What a fuckhead. FOUR MORE YEARS! FORWARD!

      3. I’m not so sure of that. You look at Bill Clinton, or Lyndon Johnson, or even Harry Reid… those are people who were aware that their opponents were passionate and numerous, and they actively worked to marginalize/demonize them.

        I don’t get that impression from BO. He’s made way too many political mistakes that the media and other Dems have had to clean up for him… he seems genuinely surprised at times that anyone disagrees with him for any other reason than just wanting their piece of the pie. He really seems to think that GOPers are demons.

        1. He has spent his entire life in academia and Chicago. He views the world as a zero sum pie to be sliced up among your supporters and taken from your opponents. If you look at everything he has ever done as President through the lens of how it benefited his supporters at his opponents expense, you start to understand pretty much everything he does.

          1. I think you give him far too much credit, John. His incredible blundering, the shellacking Romney gave him in the first debate, his idiotic staff; all these things scream unawareness and distraction, and I am assuming it’s basically because he’s utterly self-involved. To the extent he has “beliefs” they are utterly shallow and mean next to nothing to him.

            1. There may come a time when his golf score plateaues, and playing leader gets boring, and he seeks some deeper meaning in his life. But I’m going long on assless chaps anyway.

            2. So you are saying we are living some kind of real life “Being There”? It would definitely fit the times.

              1. I think he likes to watch the television.

            3. Yeah, I’m with Epi on this. All of this falls easily under the “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity”.

              I’ve yet to see a compelling argument as to why Obama is so amazingly intelligent and worldly in his views. The guy is basically a giant talking point who has others do his work for him so he can sound (somewhat) intelligent. This search to find his deeper perspective is fruitless IMO.

              There is no there there.

              1. No there is not Tman. Obama figured out a long time ago, if he repeated talking points and and kept quiet otherwise, white liberals would project their hopes onto him. He made an art form out of that. And that probably cost him his soul because at some point he lost the ability to do anything else.

            4. Epi, I don’t see any contradiction between being utterly shallow and self-involved, genuinely believing your opponents are evil and illegitimate, and viewing politics as a game of taking from your opponents to give to your supporters.

    3. Seriously J.D. why do you not think the President believes this nonsense? Everything he has ever done in his political career is consistent with believing it.

      John, historically, Obama has talked the talk, but not walked the walk.

      The Obama you don’t know

      “I never drank the Kool-Aid about Barack Obama,” veteran Chicago black activist Eddie Read told The Washington Examiner. Read is president of the Black Independent Political Organization, one of Chicago’s largest black community groups.

      Read … said Chicago streets are filled with genuine “street gangsters” and phonies known as “studio gangsters.” The latter are impersonators who make money acting in studio-produced rap videos.

      The same dichotomy is found among Chicago’s street activists, Read said. “So what you get from me is I’m still up in the air on whether or not my brother Obama was a real activist or a studio activist.”

      Robert Stark… , told the Examiner that the demolition effort required to clear the way for the new affordable-housing projects advocated by Obama was disastrous for low-income blacks on Chicago’s South Side.

      “We don’t know what happened to those people,” Lavender told the Examiner. “What we didn’t do was keep track of them because a lot of them ended up homeless.”

      Obama is a corrupt, unprincipled, narcissistic shitbag. PERIOD.

      1. Obama is a corrupt, unprincipled, narcissistic shitbag. PERIOD.

        Without question he is all that and a bag of chips. But being that doesn’t prevent him from being a majoritarian shit bag who would gladly stomp on a majority. IN fact, it is consistent with him being that.

        1. Oh, I agree with *that*. But on the question whether Obama believe in the ideals he promotes, I think his performance shows he does not. The man is utterly unprincipled…

        2. Didn’t you support Bush and his phony wars you disingenuous piece of horse crap?

          1. Bush’s wars were phony?

            That must be a shock to the guys living in Fallujah. The artillery fire sure must have looked real to them.

            1. +100 That was one hell of a mass hallucination.

            2. and it is a good thing they all ended as soon as Big Daddy got in charge.

            3. The justification was phony. The deaths were quite real.

              All supported by John, who is pretending he wasn’t the biggest partisan majoritarian bootlicker in the universe before Obama was first sworn in.

              1. I still support the wars Tony. Even though Big Daddy is fighting them. You are the one who decided drone strikes and rendition were just great as long as your side was doing it.

                Stop projecting sock puppet.

                1. I prefer drone strikes based on intelligence to ground invasions based on neocon lies.

                  You still support Iraq because you don’t want to admit you were wrong, either to the world or to yourself, and face the horrifying truth that you supported one of the greatest evils of the new century, full-throatedly.

                  My only problem is you come here and pretend to be a libertarian and lecture people about what’s right and good.

                  1. You still support Iraq because you don’t want to admit you were wrong, either to the world or to yourself, and face the horrifying truth that you supported one of the greatest evils of the new century, full-throatedly.

                    You mean the evil that Obama continued and then took credit for wining? You mean that evil sock puppet? Face it Tony, you own the wars. You love wars. You love drone strikes in Pakistan, appointing the author of Bush’s torture policy to head the CIA, assassinating US citizens, and making war all over the globe. You love it Tony, provided your side is doing it.

                    Now shut up and start supporting Obama before he has to hit you again. He is under a lot of pressure right now.

                    1. I have never expressed full support of Obama’s foreign policy, only that I prefer it to Bush’s.

                      I don’t know why you’re so mad at Obama when he very conveniently became president and allowed you to transfer complete responsibility for Bush’s utter horrifying fuckup to him.

                    2. I have never expressed full support of Obama’s foreign policy, only that I prefer it to Bush’s.

                      Why would you prefer that sock puppet? Would it be the policy of assassinating American citizens? Is it the policy of just murdering suspected terrorists rather capturing them and having to mess with all that due process stuff? Is it unilaterally bombing countries with no prior Congressional or UN approval? Are those the things you like? Or is it leaving ambassadors to die for political reasons and to cover up the CIA prison that is there?

                      Which is it sock puppet? Tell us? Let me guess you have no idea why you prefer it. You just know that is what your talking points are and so that is what you believe.

                      I only think of you as a sock puppet Tony because it saddens me to think there might be a real person as stupid as you are.

                    3. Because there hasn’t been a war started based on a lie yet.

                  2. “…lecture people about what’s right and good.”

                    That is pretty fucking rich coming from you T o n y. You mendacious thieving shitweasel.

                  3. ” you supported one of the greatest evils of the new century, full-throatedly.”

                    I just can’t see removing a cruel dictator as “one of the greatest evils…”

                    Initiated under false pretense? Absolutely. But the outcome was positive, nonetheless.

                  4. Re: Tony,

                    I prefer drone strikes based on intelligence to ground invasions based on neocon lies.

                    How do you know the intelligence to which you allude is not also based on a bunch of lies? Drones HAVE killed a lot of brides and grooms – I wonder if Obama didn’t like the centerpieces or the color of the linens.

                    1. The above was for Tony.
                      List of children killed by drones in Pakistan and Yemen.

              2. so what does this have to do with Obama?

              3. John, who is pretending he wasn’t the biggest partisan majoritarian bootlicker in the universe before Obama was first sworn in.

                That’s crap. John was critical of Bush on a lot of domestic issues.

          2. Sock puppet is sad. All he can say is “But BOOOSH”. You are such a sad sock puppet Tony.

            1. …disingenuous piece of horse crap…

              He can’t even cuss right. What a loser.

          3. Didn’t some of your Team members in Congress vote to give Bush the authority to invade Iraq, you fucking tool of the state?

      2. Bingo. He regurgitates the speeches written by his sycophantic staff. He probably doesn’t think about anything past “aren’t I awesome?”

        This guy is a preening douchebag just like some idiotic actor in Hollywood, it’s just that he’s in Hollywood for ugly people.

        1. +1 for beating me to it

        2. You know, you’re on to something. How is Obama different than one of the more annoying leftie actors? In fact, let’s say he were Matt Damon. Would he act any differently or be treated any differently by the media?

          1. Yes he would…. Obama couldn’t hack it in Hollywood. He’s to self centered to settle for minor roles, too uncoordinated and unathletic to play action roles, and too wooden to play in dramas.

            He’d inevitably have an imdb listing with two or three minor roles, then nothing.

            1. I meant Damon in Obama’s role, but I left that opening for you, so I accept your comment.

              1. Crap! Reading comprehension, how does it work?!?

                I am sure that if Matt Damon had his butt in the oval office, the vast majority of journalists would be swooning over him even more disgustingly.

                1. Obama is like having a current actor in office. Reagan, on the other hand, hadn’t been an actor for decades (and had been in politics for a long time) by the time he was elected to the White House.

                2. No, there would be a bunch that would love him but still rue the fact he is a straight white male.

                  1. He’d have to go gay and reveal that his grandmother was a black woman. A gay black woman who was raped.

                    1. He’d have to go gay and reveal that his grandmother was a black woman. A gay black woman who was raped.

                      Yikes, taking a rape baby to term? You think the pro-choice wing would be cool with that?

                    2. She was FORCED to carry to term by the evil bigots of the day!

                3. MATT DAMON!

      3. It’s very possible he doesn’t realize how harmful his policies are.

        Of course, that doesn’t change the fact that he must be stopped.

    4. I’m cynical about Obama when it comes to this stuff. He’s a product of the Chicago machine, and my guess is that it’s really all about the boodle for him and his friends. Of course, it’s also possible that he believes in “doing well by doing good.” Sort of a dimestore version of “L’etat, c’est moi”.

  2. “We” and “together” become monstrous when they’re invoked to deprive people of their freedom or submerge their identity into some artificial collective whole.

    And this is why I love JD most of all.

    But like John, I am not so optimistic that the president isn’t so Borgish himself.

    1. And this is why I love JD most of all.

      But Illuminati-sacrified Whitney Houston taught us that the greatest love of all is to love one’s self.

      And by that she meant masturbation.

      Why do you hate masturbating, nicole?

      1. Because…

        Because I hate myself!

        :runs away crying:

        1. If you don’t like manually stimulating your genitalia, I could stimulate them for you. 🙂

        2. Interesting.

          So if you hate yourself would that make Masturbation rape?

          1. Sexual assault, surely.

            “Why do you think they call it self-abuse?”

      2. HM, are you sure about that? I mean, if the alternative is to love Chris Brown, wouldn’t you go solo if you were a dame?

  3. As I said, I don’t think the president believes the Borg-ish nonsense in his speech.

    Pfffft. I do.

    1. We are the change we want to see in the world.

      WE are. Not anyone else.

  4. Pretty quickly, the class divided roughly in half, between those who thought the minority should tell the majority to get stuffed, and those who invoked the phrase “majority rule” and thought that anything decided democratically was just swell

    That’s pretty interesting, but throw in ‘and you get free stuff if you side with us’ and watch the majority shift over to the ‘majority rule’ side of the room.

  5. So, this was all a facade to avoid telling the class that you foment demoralization among Republicans and their allies.

    1. Why would he avoid telling them that?

      He’d probably hit some college lib tail if he told them that.

      That would be like trying to avoid telling him he was on an indie music label, or was a Google billionaire, or something like that.

    2. If your TEAM gave being libertarian a shot, then maybe we wouldn’t have these problems.

      Your fault, not ours.

      1. If the GOP went libertarian, the Greens would become the second major party.

  6. No, no, no…you all don’t understand the mind of the Messiah. This President is the sportiest president in history. And his keen sense of sport means that it doesn’t matter whether the score was close or a blowout…a W is a W…winners win and everything else is a loss.

  7. I distinctly remember my own Social Studies teachers feeding us variations on “the majority is always right” ? a proposition that, even to my young mind, deemed dubious when I considered the possibility of my classmates voting on anything.

    You should have immediately proposed a vote on the abolition of homework and pop quizzes just to watch him squirm.

  8. So what is the minority religion supposed to do, exactly? Make war? Stand in place and make declarations? Pout? I don’t get it.

    1. appeal to the supremes?

      1. NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!! DO NOT FEED IT!!!!

    2. Well of course you don’t because you are a retarded brown shirt sock puppet who would be the first one to go along with a majority tyranny.

      1. So explain it. J.D. says “tell the majority to get stuffed.” Okay, what does that mean?

        1. It means civil disobedience you half wit.

        2. Some type of resistance. The details will depend on the details of the situation.

        3. There are a whole palate of options, nonviolent resistance, going underground, shooting the cops who come to break up gatherings etc, assassinating enemy political leaders…

          Use your imagination.

          1. The problem is the 1st Amendment in the scenario isn’t like the one in America, because the one in America is specifically protected from majority whim.

            But it’s not protected from the democratic process entirely. The constitution can be amended. The idea, of course, is that these were really really good and necessary ideas, and there better be a really large consensus to undo them.

            But there is no freedom of religion etched in the cosmos. The people in the scenario have no more “right” to their religion than they do a right to own rare rain forest fowl. Unless rights are just things people claim or assert–and if they assert them with violence, then they’re pretty much conceding the practical nature of them in the starkest way.

            1. The problem is the 1st Amendment in the scenario isn’t like the one in America, because the one in America is specifically protected from majority whim.

              Except when it’s not. The majority just has to endure long enough to stuff the SCOTUS with living constitutioners to add exceptions at will.

              1. They’re all “living constitutioners.” Scalia has no more a telepathic link to the dead founders than Ginsburg. He just lies about it.

            2. Rights are “things where if you try to take them I away I can kill you and be morally in the right”.

              So sure, in that sense rights are “just things people claim or assert”.

              So what?

              Who promised you a rose garden where essentialist rights were possible? Not me.

              “Etched in the cosmos” is not the right standard to apply.

              The sequence is:

              1. Struggle to determine what morality is.

              2. Within 1, above, struggle to determine appropriate strictures for political morality.

              3. Within 2, above, establish the list of times it’s acceptable to kill people who violate those strictures.

              4. List the things you figured out in #3, from the perspective of the person empowered by 3 to kill. Those are “rights”.

              That puts “rights” pretty far removed from cosmos-etching.

              Naturally at each stage it’s possible for you to be in error. If you are in error, then the people who properly have gone through these steps are probably going to be gunning to kill you. And rightly so.

              1. I’d rather have a majority be wrong about this than a minority so sure it’s right that it feels entitled to start shooting.

                Unless the rights are written down and accepted as a legally binding component of the social contract, they are just assertions, and anyone shooting people over them is a terrorist.

                1. I’d rather have a majority be wrong about this than a minority so sure it’s right that it feels entitled to start shooting.

                  But what about the fact that the majority, being wrong about this and having the tools of the State at its disposal, will be engaging in violence to enforce its will?

                  1. Then find somewhere to hide.

                    1. Hidden may be a decent temporary strategy, but as a permanent one it is essentially the same as accepting the validity of the majority’s position.

                      And gays didn’t start to be accepted, btw, until they weren’t hiding anymore.

                    2. Which they stopped doing only after they stopped being killed and imprisoned for it.

                2. Unless the rights are written down and accepted as a legally binding component of the social contract, they are just assertions, and anyone shooting people over them is a terrorist.

                  ???????!!!!!!!

                3. I’d rather have a majority be wrong about this than a minority so sure it’s right that it feels entitled to start shooting.

                  Why?

                  You may think this is immediately obvious, but it’s really not.

                  Why is A better than B?

                  Simply on the basis of stability?

                  I need you to give me a reason.

                  1. Minorities making political statements with guns are called terrorists. Okay, that’s not an argument, but a definition. One person’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter, etc.

                    In the end there is no final arbiter, there is only what or who succeeds in the real world. You can focus on the basic rights we’re all accustomed to, but those are easy. Most of us agree about them. Indeed the reason they are so persistent is because most people agree about them and don’t want them touched. Talk about a more controversial right, say abortion, and it becomes a little harder to claim that there is a correct answer or that people have a right to get their guns out to defend their position.

                    Yes I prefer regular order to people shooting each other over political arguments. Call me crazy.

                    1. Minorities making political statements with guns are called terrorists.

                      It’s not the definition that’s commonly understood.

                      Terrorism is a tactic which requires neither minorities nor guns. It uses attacks against random members of a population which are likely to draw publicity, so that everyone in the population becomes fearful that they may be attacked next, and the population pressures their leaders to acquiesce to the terrorists’ demands.

                      The word is rarely applied to sympathetic groups, but it’s not like it’s totally subjective.

                    2. Yes I prefer regular order to people shooting each other over political arguments.

                      That’s not really the choice you have.

                      A plethora of opinions exist in the US about what taxation rate is fair or permissible.

                      The majority “shoots at” or threatens to shoot at people who disagree with them all the time. Or they do so as soon as the minority in question disagrees strongly enough to not obey.

                      The state says, “We have this idea of what’s right, and if you don’t follow it, we’ll kill you.”

                      The angry minority in JD’s case would, if it made war, also be saying, “We have this idea of what’s right, and if you don’t follow it, we’ll kill you.”

                      The killing is utterly separate from the part where we try to figure out who’s actually right.

                    3. The killing is utterly separate from the part where we try to figure out who’s actually right.

                      Shorter: “War doesn’t decide who’s right, just who’s left.”

                    4. “Minorities making political statements with guns are called terrorists… unless they are liberal by nature, which absolves them of all harm they may cause”

                      FIFY’d, Tony. Again, no charge.

                    5. Yes I prefer regular order to people shooting each other over political arguments. Call me crazy.

                      So you would have firmly been in the Loyalist camp, then.

                    6. Yes, he would have been a Loyalist… and, if/when we ever become a police state, he’ll be a trustee.

                    7. Yes I prefer regular order to people shooting each other over political arguments. Call me crazy.

                      I’ll just call you inconsistent. Why do you prefer this? should we objectively prefer argumentation and non violence, as opposed to just using force to get our way?

                      If so, then, how do we start from this point, and come to the conclusion that initiating violence though the state is a great way to solve problems?

                      So, let me get this straight: the state initiating violence is a great way to solve problems, but we should always prefer to solve differences of opinion though arguments (i.e, justification), rather than violence?

                      You’re so blatantly inconsistent is humorous. Not only that, but you’ve immediately stumbled into the contradiction pointed out in argumentation ethics, one of the posed justifications for the Non-Aggression Principle.

                      Why you, of all people, whine about libertarian consistency is beyond me.

                4. This is incorrect.

                  A terrorist is not just someone who kills for political purpose, it is by definition someone who uses fear as method of achieving political ends.

                  Basically terror is the tactic that is used, if you are not using that tactic then you are not a terrorist.

              2. Rights are “things where if you try to take them I away I can kill you and be morally in the right”.

                That implies that any rights violation can morally be responded to with murder.

                So, if someone intentionally walks across your property, you can kill them?

                1. So, if someone intentionally walks across your property, you can kill them?

                  No, first I’d call the police.

                  But an unspoken, tacit clause attached to every police order and every court order is “…and if you make us, we’ll kill you to get this done.”

                  If the state is not prepared to escalate to the point of killing, it can’t enforce even the tiniest of its rules.

                  If I call the police to evict a trespasser, and the trespasser won’t leave, the police will use force to make them leave. And if they actively resist the police, the police will use whatever force is required, up to and including killing, to enforce their will.

                  1. But in that case the killing is not done because property rights were violated. The killing is done because the police’s, or someone else’s, right to life was threatened.

                    1. But in that case the killing is not done because property rights were violated. The killing is done because the police’s, or someone else’s, right to life was threatened.

                      Not really.

                      The police could just shrug and say, “Oh well, the trespasser doesn’t want to leave. It’s Miller time!”

                      If they do that, their right to life isn’t threatened.

                      The police assert the right to undertake violence to enforce the property right and to kill if their enforcement meets with active resistance.

                      You may want to try to claim this doesn’t constitute being willing to kill to enforce the underlying right, but I don’t see any material difference whatsoever.

                      In addition, we could always just resort to the desert island thought experiment. If all of us were on a desert island, and I caught a fish to eat, and you and Tony laughed and said you were going to come and take it from me and there was nothing I could do about it, would I be morally entitled to kill you to stop you? Yup.

                    2. In addition, we could always just resort to the desert island thought experiment. If all of us were on a desert island, and I caught a fish to eat, and you and Tony laughed and said you were going to come and take it from me and there was nothing I could do about it, would I be morally entitled to kill you to stop you? Yup.

                      In their moral view might makes right, so they are morally entitled make you their slave because they outnumber you.

                    3. I wouldn’t be stupid enough to say my intentions out loud or trust Tony as my partner in crime. I would probably eat some seaweed, wait till Fluffy fell asleep, and then fart into his nose.

                    4. The police assert the right to undertake violence to enforce the property right and to kill if their enforcement meets with active resistance.

                      Again, this is false. They assert the authority to overcome such resistance with force, such as handcuffs, pinning to the ground. pepper spray, etc. Killing is only supposed to be done when their lives are threatened, which is a totally separate rights violation.

                      What if the person runs across your property? Have they not violated your property rights? Do you personally have the right to shoot the person before they get off your property and disappear into the distance? (I’m not interested in what you would do, I’m interested in what you think you CAN do, as that was your definition)

                    5. Killing is only supposed to be done when their lives are threatened, which is a totally separate rights violation.

                      In practice, however…

                    6. Again, this is false. They assert the authority to overcome such resistance with force, such as handcuffs, pinning to the ground. pepper spray, etc. Killing is only supposed to be done when their lives are threatened, which is a totally separate rights violation.

                      They assert the authority to overcome the resistance with whatever level of violence is necessary.

                      If the trespasser was provided with a host of tools and weapons that made it impossible to taze them or wrestle them or what have you to enforce the property right, the state would kill them. It would have to do so, or it would cease to be the state for that geographic area.

                      After all, that’s what they did to the trespassers at Fort Sumter.

                    7. If the trespasser was provided with a host of tools and weapons that made it impossible to taze them or wrestle them or what have you to enforce the property right, the state would kill them.

                      Holy super-strong assumption, Batman. Under those circumstances it’s probably impossible to kill them too.

                      After all, that’s what they did to the trespassers at Fort Sumter.

                      Who’s “they”? South Carolina? South Carolina didn’t own Ft Sumter, as they had sold it to the federal govt decades earlier. The Union? They were fired upon first and in any case didn’t manage to kill any SC troops.

                      But if I gather a private army and declare that the speed limit in Vermont is now 100 miles and hour, the guys in Montpelier and the guys in Washington will get together and kill me if I don’t back down.

                      We’re going way far away from trespassing here. How are you going to enforce that declaration? I don’t see how it would involve you and your army trespassing. If you’re going to shoot up police cars or judges who enforce speeding tickets, that’s not trespassing anymore. If you set up roadblocks to keep police out, the police have authority only to try to remove the roadblock and arrest you; only if you threaten force against their lives or bodily integrity are they authorized to kill.

                    8. (Continued) If the state is not prepared to kill to enforce its sovereignty claims (which are expressed in the totality of its laws and its assertion of the primacy of its courts) it’s not the state any more.

                      If you’re some punk-ass bitch that can be pepper-sprayed and hauled off, that’s what the state will do. It can afford to do it, and it will choose to do it if it values due process.

                      But if I gather a private army and declare that the speed limit in Vermont is now 100 miles and hour, the guys in Montpelier and the guys in Washington will get together and kill me if I don’t back down. They’ll have to.

                      You are misled by the fact that people routinely back down to the state into thinking that the state doesn’t have to kill or threaten to kill to remain the state. But that’s just a measurement of the lack of appetite for conflict of the populace. It doesn’t change the definition of what’s required to be a state.

                    9. (Continued) If the state is not prepared to kill to enforce its sovereignty claims (which are expressed in the totality of its laws and its assertion of the primacy of its courts) it’s not the state any more.

                      Government is the people with last word in violence. It is nothing more than that.

                    10. Your rights aren’t violated when an unwanted visitor enters your property. They are violated when he refuses to leave.

                    11. Your rights aren’t violated when an unwanted visitor enters your property. They are violated when he refuses to leave.

                      Not so. That would imply, at the very least, that trespassing doesn’t violate the property owner’s rights if the owner isn’t present on the property.

                      How many times have you tried to pass the bar exam, Randian?

                    12. “owner or agent of the owner”, I should say, because I know Randian likes to nitpick.

                    13. “Killing is only supposed to be done when their lives are threatened,”

                      Hmmmm…you must be new to Hit & Run, yes?

                    14. That’s why I put the “supposed to” in there. Fluffy’s claim appears to be that resistance to the police authorizes them to kill the resister, which is basically the opposite of what we say on cop abuse threads, no?

            3. Yes, rights are just things that people just claim and assert.

              However regardless of what is writ in the cosmos the overwhelming majority of hummanity are in general agreement with the basics. The reasons for this are written into our genetic code. Our ape ancestors had no choice but to work together to survive and so we are encoded to prefer pro social behavior, cooperation, reciprocity, and fairness.

              Now of course these general principals can be distorted in millions of ways to result in varying moral and legal frameworks but ultimately if the minority in this situation is unable to successfully resist the attempted legal oppression by the majority they will go extinct.

              As far as what tactics are moral for them to employ. The question is largely irrelivant, morality only applies to individuals not groups. What matters is whether they are willing to try and untimately if they are able to succeed.

            4. “The constitution can be amended… and, eventually, that pesky right to redress grievances and publicly speak ill of Our Dear Leaders in the House and Senate and Especially Our President, Unless They Are Other Than Democrat, Then Shoot Them Dead, can and should be overturned”

              FIFY’d, Tony. No charge.

            5. Unless rights are just things people claim or assert–and if they assert them with violence, then they’re pretty much conceding the practical nature of them in the starkest way.

              They are not asserted with violence. They are infringed with violence. My religious practice (or lack thereof) is not an act of violence. When you try to stop it, you have initiated the violence.

      2. Might makes right. If you always side with the mighty, then you will always be right.

        1. So clearly you’re against making war.

          1. Clearly you are an idiot.

          2. So clearly you’re against making war.

            I’m against wars of aggression, yes. Defensive warfighting? Not so much.

    3. Refrain from accepting the validity of the majority’s actions is the first thing they should do…and Mr Tucille lost a lot of the students at that step.

      After that it’s dictated by the facts on the ground.

    4. Yes, make war.

      Absolutely.

      If you have any chance of winning at all, make war.

      Even if you probably can’t win, but at least have a chance of a “Hamlet Ending Where Everybody Dies” tie, make war.

      100%. Definitely.

      I have no problem saying that whatsoever.

      1. I just wanted someone to clarify. Calling an action illegitimate is well and good, but sometimes it seems as if libertarians (the sole arbiters of what constitute the list of natural rights, naturally) think God is just gonna come down and stick His tongue out at the offenders or something.

        1. Libertarians are not against the use of force. Libertarians are against the initiation of force. Reacting to force with force is entirely acceptable.

          Then again this has been explained to you a million times and you still don’t get it.

          I can only conclude that you are mentally defective.

          1. “It’s so simple it must be true!”

            –The complete works of the philosophy of sarcasmic

            1. “Might makes right!”

              –The complete works of the philosophy of Tony w/spaces

              1. It’s more like “might is might.”

            2. “It’s so simple it must be true!”

              I don’t even understand why that is supposed to be an insult.

              Are you saying that something simple cannot be true? That something must be complicated to be true? Is it a personal attack, that if a person believes that something simple is true than it must be false because only a simple person believes simple things? That complicated things are more true than simple things because only a really smart person can comprehend really complicated things?

              I don’t get it. Seems like you’re fellating the ad hominem fallacy again.

              1. So you’re against the initiation of force. Fine. How does pollution fit into that framework? Abortion? The point is the world is more complicated than you make it out to be even if you only live according to your simple maxims, and it’s probably additionally true that your maxims aren’t adequate.

                1. How does pollution fit into that framework?

                  The libertarian view on this has been discussed at length, but as usual you weren’t paying attention.

                  Abortion?

                  There’s a can of worms.

                  The point is the world is more complicated than you make it out to be

                  Straw men are made of straw.

                2. Sort of like how it’s incredibly stupid and simplistic to say that your maxim is “I don’t like the side shooting to try to enforce what it thinks is right!” even when all sides are demonstrably shooting to enforce what they think is right?

            3. No one says the real world isn’t complicated. It is in fact so complicated that expecting a group of top men to be able to direct it through violence is the height of folly.

    5. So what is the minority religion sexual orientation supposed to do, exactly? Make war? Stand in place and make declarations? Pout? I don’t get it.

      1. I’d rather not have a description of what Tony thinks gays should do.

      2. I think we handled things well. Stayed in the shadows until it was safe, then came out and gentrified your neighborhoods, decorated your homes, and dressed your wives. Generally made ourselves accepted as normal in decent society. Very little blood shed, and we still had time for gym and cocktails.

        1. Yes, Tony. Those pink triangles contrasted so well with the black and white stripes. And stripes are so slimming!

          1. If only Hitler had given them guns.

            1. I’m surprised to hear you say anyone should be “given guns”, what with your leftist dogma and all that.

        2. Stayed in the shadows until it was safe

          I don’t know about that.

          The odds that a late-medieval-western-Christendom society would jump straight from 1491 rules to freedom for gays is pretty slight.

          Freedom for gays was only achievable at the end of a process where freedom was established for a great many other people first. Certainly sexual freedom required freedom of conscience to exist first, for example. (Outside of the context of antiquity, at least. And antiquity ain’t been a context for a long time.)

          So in that sense just about all the blood shed anywhere for anyone for the last six centuries. was necessary for the freedom of gays.

          1. When Tony says that gay people ‘stayed in the shadows until it was safe’ he means they were abused, killed and imprisoned for centuries and are STILL abused, killed and imprisoned in some countries for no other reason than that the majority did not like them.

            Tony thinks this is okay because we should all defer to the majority.

    6. The minority must given to the jackboot of the majority! You fascist twit.

    7. So what is the minority religion supposed to do, exactly?

      Whatever is necessary to defend their fundamental human rights from a predatory majority/government.

      Violence (if that’s what it comes to) would be initiated by the predatory majority/government, so violence in self-defense would be justified.

  9. There is no cooperation without coercion.

  10. The problem is that many people believe that the outcome of a democratic election creates the good (“The people are sovereign!”) despite the fact that such a belief is an ontological and epistemological absurdity.

    1. DON’T TALK SHIT ABOUT THE AY-RAB SPRING!

      1. Meh, “Let’s listen to what Mubarak says and what the US State Department says!” isn’t exactly a great formula for discovering the good either.

        I think the best thing you can say about democracy is “It doesn’t create the good, but the decision making ability of millions of separate individuals might point the way to revealing the (pre-existing and independent of the majority will) good. But if you’re really, really sure the majority is wrong, and you can construct a syllogism demonstrating why, you can ignore what the majority has to say, because while it can point the way, it certainly isn’t definitive.”

        1. It is more complex than that. The majority doesn’t always win. The winner is the side that has the most intensity. And that is different than pure numbers. In a situation like Egypt, whoever is the most fanatical and ruthless and well armed is probably going to come out on top. If one side is willing to kill and the other isn’t, it won’t matter if the peaceful side is more numerous.

        2. Meh, “Let’s listen to what Mubarak says and what the US State Department says!” isn’t exactly a great formula for discovering the good either.

          That’s true, I’m not saying it is. Nor do I see how that should make me happy that Egypt chose it’s pharoah this time around.

          A democracy is not a path toward the discovery of good, for the good is not a property of the collective. We can only meaningfully talk about the good in the context of an individual. What democracy can do is provide a system where the right of the minority or the individual to puruse their vision of the good is protected.

    2. Sometimes the people take leave of their senses and go insane. Tragedies like Revolutionary France, Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany didn’t happen because the will of the people was ignored. In fact it was just the opposite. We only pretend it was against the will of the people afterwards because the survivors feel ashamed and guilty about what happened.

      1. The Bolsheviks came to power by force. The Mensheviks and Social Revolutionaries had won the most recent elections.

        The same thing was true in Nazi Germany. The Nazis didn’t win a majority or even a plurality before they seized power. Rather, they used political maneuvering to leverage their minority into political ascendance.

        I’m guessing you already know that, so that leaves me puzzled as to what you’re trying to say. Maybe what you’re getting at is that most people didn’t seem to mind these groups taking power, so there was tacit consent and support for these regimes.

        Seems right to a point, but the Bolsheviks in the early days after the revolution made a point of executing people grabbed off the street at random to instill terror into anyone considering resistance or political opposition. I doubt that most of the Russian people were terribly happy about the Bolshevik takeover.

        1. Maybe what you’re getting at is that most people didn’t seem to mind these groups taking power, so there was tacit consent and support for these regimes.

          That is exactly what I am saying. The Germans may not have voted as a majority for the Nazis, but they sure as hell never complained when they got free stuff and low taxes thanks to the Nazis robbing first the Jews and then the rest of Europe. Same with the Russians. The Russian people never did squat to stop the Bolsheviks. They were at minimum abetters of the terror and in many cases down right accomplices.

          Nazis and Reds didn’t come down from the moon. They arose and from the societies they terrorized and were allowed to flourish by those same societies.

        2. The Nazis didn’t win a majority or even a plurality before they seized power.

          That’s not true.

          They were the largest party in the Reichstag in the last few election rounds contested by the Social Democrats in 1932 and 1933. [That’s “a plurality”.]

          Saying that their government wasn’t the result of democratic procedures is like claiming the current government of the UK is not the result of democratic procedures.

          Had Germany in 1933 had congressional elections on the US model, it’s virtually certain that the Nazis would have had a strong majority in the Reichtag, because they would have rolled up all the smaller Nationalist parties into their voting bloc.

          1. Hm. I thought they were the 2nd largest party in the Reichstag and that Hitler had essentially blackmailed the Kanzellor into handing him power.

          2. The Nazis seized power when Hitler negotiated a deal where he controlled the military and police, and the other parties got everything else — for a few months.

            Any elections after that reflected the terror that citizens understandably felt about voting against the Nazis, when the Nazis got to view the ballots and count them. Those elections did not reflect when people wanted.

            Hitler understood well that power comes from a gun.

    3. Fortunately for them, they mostly have no idea what ontology or epistemology are.

    4. The problem is that many people believe that the outcome of a democratic election creates the good (“The people are sovereign!”) despite the fact that such a belief is an ontological and epistemological absurdity.

      The funny thing is that so few people vote. Apathy won the last election with 40% of the vote. So doing nothing should be the plan going forward.

  11. Obama is not the POTUS, he is the COTUS: Celebrity of the United States. That’s why he’s able to brainwash the millions of sheep whom support him, and why any opposition against him is swiftly squashed. Obama’s no different than Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, George Clooney, and so on. It’s just that he actually wields tons of power.

    1. I linked to a Foreign Policy article yesterday. In it, some political reporter for the Washington Post argues pretty convincingly that Obama’s entire national security team is so dangerously arrogant and incompetent they don’t even realize when they get things wrong and crush anyone who tries to tell them. But at the end of the article he goes to great lengths to explain how he still likes Obama.

      Regardless of what you think of his case against the National Security Team, the cognitive dissonance of believing it is that bad but still liking the guy who leads them and hired them is just staggering. Liking Obma is like some sort of secular church for these people.

      1. Liking Obma is like some sort of secular church for these people.

        Well said. Which is the same type of opinion you’ll see when a certain Hollywood actor makes an atrocious movie. Remember “Green Zone”? Flop of a film, yet Matt Damon was still personally praised because the media loves him.

  12. Now see what has happened? Ya’ll done went and fed the troll. A troll should only be fed a few times, and after that, it should be summarily ignored, forever.

  13. Like all of his big speeches this was a perfect example of neuro-linguistic programming. His repetition of “We the people” hypnotizes the sheeple into a collectivist mindset.

  14. Why is anyone bothering to argue with T o n y? This is a man who has literally said that nothing is wrong if the current majority thinks it’s right. When you have a person who can’t come up with a logical reason why slavery was wrong beyond ‘eventually we decided it was,’ I’m not sure what the point in arguing with him is.

    1. There isn’t. This is also the person whose only response to Obama’s failing is to scream “Bush”. Tony is a sock puppet run by pathetic liberals who come here to fuck up the site.

    2. People are allowed to have ethical beliefs that differ from those of the majority. Nothing wrong with that in the slightest. There is something wrong when they start shooting people over it. The majority is not always right but they are due some deference merely by being the majority. Some decisions have to be made collectively, and majority rule is the generally accepted fair order of things. Majorities can sometimes become tyrannical. Minority rule is always tyranny.

      1. majority rule is the generally accepted fair order of things

        Is that etched in the sky somewhere?

        1. Don’t you love Tony scolding us for our simplicity when the best he can come up with are stupid maxims like that?

      2. Minority rule is always tyranny.

        Bullshit. If Ron Paul were dictator, that would not be tyranny because he would let people do as they please so long as they don’t harm others.

        Inability to subsidize your birth control with someone else’s forcibly taken money is not tyranny.

        1. Tulpa, the logic is airtight.

          Majority rule is right because the majority says it is. The minority might say that minority rule is right, but they’re the minority. They can only win if God sticks his tongue out. Even if they do somehow win, it’s tyranny.

          The majority wants to force minorities to violate their ethical codes and subsidize abortions and birth control. The majority is in the right because it is the majority and — as already explained — that majority says that majority rule is right.

        2. Absolute despotism is one definition of tyranny, however benevolent. And it wouldn’t be benevolent because Ron Paul is stupid and dogmatic and would allow for untold levels of misery and justify it with his dogmatism.

          1. Arguments are so much easier when you can just redefine terms with negative connotations to mean whatever you oppose. That must be why leftist love to redefine words.

      3. The majority is not always right but they are due some deference merely by being the majority.

        Why?

        I’ve actually given more reasons why in the course of rejecting the idea than you’ve given in the course of supporting it.

        So why? What’s the source of the deference?

        1. You have 10 people who have to make decisions that will affect all 10. It’s practically a primal conception of fairness that demands that on a question for which there are two sides, 6 votes should trump 4. The alternative is for 4 votes to trump 6.

          There are a few specific instances in which simple majorities are considered too low a bar to change policy, like amending the constitution. But this isn’t protecting a minority’s point of view, it’s actually protecting a supermajority’s. It’s protecting it from a simple majority, and it goes without saying, a minority. This is not to be confused with the fact that some of what is protected from simple majority whims are minority rights. But not everything under the sun is a minority right.

          1. Keep defending Jim Crow, Tonykins…

          2. 6 people vote to enslave the other 4. The decision indeed affects all (6 are masters, 4 are slaves). Does this comport with primal conceptions of fairness?

            1. Luckily they had a bloody fight about the issue and the nonslavers won and codified abolition of slavery as above the whims of majorities. The slavers’ ancestors can be found today arguing that they’re living in tyranny and that they deserve more local rights.

              1. Yes, slavery and Jim Crow are long-dead, and deservedly so.

                So… why does your side keep picking at the scabs? Why can’t they just be fuckin’ happy about that?

              2. First, you’re dodging the question. How does it not comport with the “primal conception of fairness.” And if it does, what makes what the minority did right? And were they right simply by virtue of winning? If the slavers had won, would that have proved their moral rightness? And by what metric can we demonstrate that what a given minority fights for ought to be one of those things that it is difficult for a majority to change? Please avoid circular answers.

          3. False dilemma is false.

      4. ‘Minority rule is always tyranny.’

        Hahahaha. Of course it is. What you don’t bother mentioning is that majority rule is ALSO always tyranny. That’s why we have a system with popularly elected government officials but which also has protections for minority rights built in. That way, neither the majority nor the minority can rule.

        I love that you claim to be some massive intellectual, yet you’re so stupid that you can’t envision a world in which someone uses power to control someone else’s life. You’re like a child who thinks the person with the biggest stick should be allowed to make all the rules.

        1. Goddammit, we need an edit button.

          ‘You’re so stupid that you can’t envision a world in which someone DOESN’T use power to control someone else’s life.’

          1. Ah. That makes more sense.

            FWIW, Tony goes round and round on this.

            Sometimes, the person with the biggest stick should make all the rules. Majority rule is good. This is the normative, “might makes right.”

            Other times, the person with the biggest stick does make all the rules. Majority rule is inevitable. He has retreated to, “might makes right is descriptive, not normative.”

            Today, he went with (earlier in the thread), “might makes might.” Majority rule is majority rule. This is tautological and irrelevant unless the implication is that your morals don’t matter in a practical sense, so there’s no use arguing about them. This third position, much like the first two, is a cynical attempt to fool or shame others into abandoning their principles as irrelevant while continuing to preach his perverse and amorphous morality as the one, true, humanist secularist credo written in the sky.

            1. Wasn’t Tony hardcore against Bush’s various policies? How can he justify being against any policy of George Bush since Bush was in office by majority rule?

              I don’t understand.

              1. There’s nothing to understand. He’s being disingenuous.

              2. You don’t understand because you suffer from having swallowed the same stupid pill as so many others here–that just because I think that, in general, majorities should get their way instead of minorities, which is pretty much the most basic form of fairness you can describe, doesn’t mean I support every policy ever sanctioned by every majority. That’s absurd.

                Part of living in a peaceful society is realizing you won’t always get your way. The libertarian seems to think he deserves his way all the time, or else it’s tyranny. But the libertarian often fails to realize he shares the planet with anyone else, probably because his head is too big for him to see past.

                1. Wrong. The libertarian thinks everyone should have the capacity to make their own choices in life. The libertarian is the only person who DOESN’T think he deserves his way all the time. Progressives and conservatives believe that they deserve to have their own way, which is why they use government to force other people to do what they want.

                  This is yet further proof that you have no idea what libertarianism is and you’ve been arguing with the voices in your head this whole time.

                  1. No, you’re wrong iggy. The type of society you want, which you describe as all lollipops and unicorns, is still a choice with consequences. It has to be enacted through some process, and it entails a huge number of specific restrictions and allowances that differ from the society we have. It’s not a form of society I want, or, I would wager, that upwards of 90% of the people want if they sat and thought about it. You want to affix a moral gold star to your form of society and claim that if a majority, even a vast majority, wants a different form, then they are corrupt and immoral because they don’t buy into your simplistic, nonsensical, hellish definition of individual liberty that consists only of liberty from government but not guaranteed liberty to do anything or from any other peril.

                    You hold majority will as suspicious because it never gives you your way. So you declare your way the only legitimate way and wash your hands of majorities.

                    1. No libertarian argues that it would be a land of puppy dogs and rainbows. They argue that bad things would happen, and that the most effective way to fix them is with WILLING action rather than force.

                      Like I said, you are arguing with a foe that does not exist. You are willfully misconstruing our arguments. You are a liar and a fraud and you use pseudo-intellectual jargon to mask what a fascist you are.

            2. Actually, I think this time he’s saying:

              “If the minority will just suck it up and take it, things will be generally peaceful. I want things to be generally peaceful, even if that means that monstrous bigots get their way for the time being.

              “If the minority doesn’t just suck it up and take it, they might blow stuff up. I don’t want that to happen, because if stuff starts blowing up, I might get an ouchie. I am afraid of ouchies, so I want the majority to get its way, even if it’s abusing the minority for trivial or immoral reasons.”

              Today’s T O N Y is the cowardly lion T O N Y. Tomorrow we’ll get cynical T O N Y, or maybe mystical sovereignty belief T O N Y.

              1. But don’t you see, Fluffy? You’re taking stupid pills. You’re not as enlightened as Tony. Instead of arguing for what you believe is correct, you should take it and like it.

        2. On most matters of normal business, the majority does indeed rule. The majority gets their elected officials, and majorities of those elected officials get their policies. It’s the only way to get normal stuff done. That shouldn’t be controversial.

          It’s also not controversial that certain specific things are protected from mere simple majorities, like certain individual rights, the altering of the constitution, and whether you’re found guilty of a crime. I’ve not argued against any of these.

          Ideally we have a system that gets stuff done and protects minority rights without any bloodshed. But in most of history, it’s not that the person with the biggest stick has the best moral claim to making all the rules, it’s that he gets to make all the rules because he has the biggest stick. Democracy, the thing you’re trying and failing to argue against, is quite an improvement over that, and democracy with sophisticated protections for minorities and such is even better. Nobody is really disagreeing here, except with strawmen.

          1. On most matters of normal business, the majority does indeed rule

            Yes. Might makes might. That’s tautological. What you’re arguing, though, is more insidious. You are arguing that it is tyranny for the minority to complain or resist when oppressed by the majority. Libertarians are authoritarian simply for disagreeing with the majority and wanting their policy preferences to prevail. They should shut up, take it and like it. Otherwise, it is minority rule in your world. Even if the minority in no way brings any harm to the majority, they are operating tyrannically by resisting oppression. Freedom is slavery.

            Yes, our Constitution requires super-majorities for certain things. I like that, too. Humans — yourself excluded — have the ability to think in terms of principle when they are not focused on the minutiae of current circumstances and issues. Freedom of Speech, for example, sounds great until somebody says something you don’t like. Of course, if we hadn’t codified Freedom of Speech in the Constitution, then asserting such a right would be tyranny in your confused brain. I would look at it as a just moral claim. I don’t dispute your right to be a moral idiot, however.

            I’m not arguing against democracy. I’m arguing against your moral idiocy. You pick up and abandon principles so quickly that nobody knows what side of the argument you’ll take next. You yourself can’t remember from moment to moment what side you’re on.

            1. I don’t believe that at all. Shout and argue all you want. That’s a vital part of the process. But to get your way, you have to convince a majority. Doesn’t that seem perfectly fair?

              I think you’re proto-authoritarians because you have a form of society that you think is the only acceptable one, and seem quite clearly willing to impose it over the objections of the people should you ever get the opportunity. Correct me if I’m wrong, but this entire thread is one big hatefest for democracy.

              1. I don’t believe that at all.

                You don’t believe anything at all. You argue on all sides of every issue. It’s a cynical game with you.

                Shout and argue all you want. That’s a vital part of the process. But to get your way, you have to convince a majority. Doesn’t that seem perfectly fair?

                Unless the majority says that you can’t shout and argue all you want. Then the majority should rule because it’s the majority and the majority says it should rule.

                I think you’re proto-authoritarians because you have a form of society that you think is the only acceptable one, and seem quite clearly willing to impose it over the objections of the people should you ever get the opportunity.

                Impose it how? Do you think there’s a plan in the works?

                Correct me if I’m wrong, but this entire thread is one big hatefest for democracy.

                You’re wrong.

              2. Tony said:

                But to get your way, you have to convince a majority. Doesn’t that seem perfectly fair?

                This is just a demonstration of the argument from ingorance: democracy is deemed fair because you can’t imagine why it’s not. Well, your lack of imagination isn’t a justification for anything.

                Should you only have the right to live or avoid slavery if it satisfies some greater good (i.e., their majority happiness vs. yours)? We need another word for that than “fair.”

                I think you’re proto-authoritarians because you have a form of society that you think is the only acceptable one, and seem quite clearly willing to impose it over the objections of the people should you ever get the opportunity.

                And this distinguishes libertarians from yourself, democrats, and republicans, in what way, exactly?

                Why don’t you look up authoritarianism. Not wanting to live under authority and resisting authority != authoritarianism. Noticing that you have to force your will on authoritarians in order to avoid authoritarianism does not imply that one becomes authoritarian, and to suggest this is one of the stupidest arguments I’ve heard in a long time.

      5. Back to the temple scenario, because that’s what you’re ostensibly arguing over. Even Rawlsians don’t think the majority should impose their will on the minority in that way. Behind the Veil of Ignorance, we don’t even know if we will be in the majority or the minority. We could be in the majority today and the minority tomorrow. Thus, even if it frustrates the majority’s current whim, protecting minority rights is in the interests of the majority.

        This sounds a bit like, “do unto others as you would have them to unto you.” Thus, we bridge the pragmatic and the principled case for minority rights.

        Principled: We should treat other how we wish to be treated because it is a morally good thing to do.
        Pragmatic: Protecting minority rights is also a good strategy, knowing that majorities come and go.

  15. Nine out of ten people love a gangbang. Great post, J.D.

  16. Re: Tony,

    People are allowed to have ethical beliefs that differ from those of the majority[…] The majority is not always right but they are due some deference merely by being the majority.

    If the first statement were true, then the second CANNOT be true because the minority is ispo facto NOT granting deference to the majority, if the minority holds different beliefs.

    So that means the only way the second statement can be true – that the majority deserves deference merely due to being a majority – ids for the first statement to be false.

    For the first statement to be true, the second statement HAS to be false. You cannot have deference to the rights of the minority if the majority is due deference simply for being the majority – those two ststements contradict each other. Which is not surprising: Many arguments from lazy leftists such as yourself contradict each other, primarily because they are born from expediency, emotion or nonsense, and not logic.

    Some decisions have to be made collectively, and majority rule is the generally accepted fair order of things.

    You’re now BEGGING THE QUESTION.

    Some decisions have to be made by the collective then the collective gets to make the decisions. That’s your argument.

  17. Pretty quickly, the class divided roughly in half, between those who thought the minority should tell the majority to get stuffed, and those who invoked the phrase “majority rule” and thought that anything decided democratically was just swell.

    That’s pretty much what you can expect as a result of the Amerikan Pulbic Skool Seistem Dat Teeches Childrun To Red an Wrait.

    What is interesting is that the other half has not drunk the kool-aid yet… That school is certainly behind in achieving its goals. Or you’re not being accurate in your recollection of the anecdote.

    1. All you and many of your comrades here are arguing is that you should get your way on all things because you’re special and supersmart, and everyone else should take it and should like it.

      1. Yes. Exactly. Old Mexican is plotting to overthrow the current government and crown himself emperor. You’re such a clever boy that you figured it all out.

        Well, I guess we can pack it up and go home now. No use arguing now that the democrats realize we are crypto-monarchists.

        1. I’ve been calling you authoritarians for years.

          1. Well, then that makes it true.

            1. Everyone’s arguing against the pitfalls of majoritarian governance but nobody’s offering an alternative. Perhaps because the alternative is authoritarianism?

              1. Plenty of people have provided alternatives. This is a lame attempt at burden-shifting.

              2. Everyone’s arguing against the pitfalls of majoritarian governance but nobody’s offering an alternative.

                You mean like majoritarian governance with strong constitutional protections for individual rights?

                That’s pretty much what we have got, except ever since the New Deal the left has been intent on eviscerating every one of the protections for individual rights, and Obama is determined to protect and extend that legacy.

          2. Oh, the irony in you calling anyone else “authoritarian”, especially given your choice in politicians.

      2. Re: Tony,

        All you and many of your comrades here are arguing is that you should get your way on all things because you’re special and supersmart

        I’m going to hack through your highly hysterical tirade to see if I understand exactly what you’re trying to say:

        You don’t want to let the smart crabs climb their way out of the bucket because they’re making the other crabs (and you) feel bad about yourselves.

        Am I right?

  18. Obama’s Convenient (And Dangerous) Majoritarianism

    It’s important to consider that the belief in majority rule comes from a lack of self-worth, for it is in the feeling of belonging to something greater that the mediocre, the lazy, the envious and the underachiever can find comfort. It is also a good way of avoiding responsibility, by appealing to the “everybody agreed” canard. That kind of immorality can be found also behind such a lame excuse and cop-out as “I was only doing what I was told.”

    1. OM, I believe I’ve heard you talk about coming from a Catholic background. So, you probably know that heresies generally follow a certain structure. You elevate a truth so high as to obscure another truth. That’s what Tony is doing here.

      For example, I’m on a softball team. I joined the team without demanding a charter laying out how we would settle potential disputes. The other day, we held a vote as to whether we wanted to add an additional player to the roster. 7-3, the majority voted no. Had anyone objected to the process, they could have left the team. I was disappointed, but felt it wasn’t worth arguing about. No injustice was done to me or the player denied a roster spot. Majority rule here was somewhat arbitrary, but satisfactorily “fair.”

      So far, nothing pathological. I suspect you and I are in agreement.

      Now, had we been voting on whether to cook and eat the shortstop, that would have involved a moral claim that should be immune to majority sentiment. That’s where Tony gets lost. He thinks that moral claims are really just products of general consensus. So, if society thinks that we should cook and eat the shortstop, then we should. It’s moral because we say it is. If he resists and imposes his will by not allowing others to eat him, he is tyrannizing the majority.

      Oh, I know. Tony doesn’t really believe that. He will conveniently switch sides, as he invariably does, in order to “prove” that he’s not really a moral monster.

  19. “you should get your way on all things because you’re special and supersmart, and everyone else should take it and should like it”

    Lefitsts NEVER act that way. Nope. Never.

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