So of late, I've been noticing...everyone is a moron. Everywhere you look, people say patently ridiculous things, violating every orifice of the Principle of Non-Contradiction. So, I thought I'd list just a few of their capital offenses against logic. Not that anyone will read them, but I'll have done my bit—the rest of you can go to hell.
- Routinely, conservative commentators denounce "spread the wealth" or "redistributionist" policies as Socialism. Um...you slept through Economics 101, didn't you? By definition, no economic system where the means of production are in private hands, whether distributed or concentrated, is Socialism. In Socialism they rest in the hands of the State. Now certainly granting the state the right to decide how wealth is distributed is somewhat socialistic, but in principle an even distribution of ownership of capital is preferable to concentrated ownership (notice, the capital itself may still be concentrated--I'm talking about ownership of it). Conservatives need to relearn economics.
- Another economic error conservative commentators make is equating Capitalism with a Free Market. Now, Capitalism means "that economic system where the means of production are possessed by a minority, and the majority, dispossessed of the means (proletarians) are compelled by economic necessity to labor for the minority, to the minority's profit, while political liberty is retained by all." Notice--nothing about state involvement at all. In 18th Century Mercantilism the state was seen as identical with trade, but the system was still capitalist because of its distribution of capital. A Free Market is one that is minimally regulated, and then generally only in the interests of public safety. One can have a free market without Capitalism--the American South had free market slavery (political liberty not possessed by all, but the market largely unregulated), and some medieval nations had fairly free markets with the capital all in the hands of private individuals, the peasants and the craftsmen.
Conservatives, or more usually Libertards (er, -tarians), having these two concepts muddy in their minds, frequently denounce grassroots, bottom-up movements to increase private ownership of stock and other forms of capital, as interference with the free market, since they increase the proportion of peopl with wealth. They interfere with capitalism; if anything they increase the freedom of the market.
- So over on Wikipedia, the policy that everything has to be backed up with a published source, the weirder the claim the more sources necessary, quotes Hume's soundbite that exceptional claims require exceptional proofs. Now, leaving to one side that Hume was a fourth-rate philosopher, Wikipedia has nothing whatsoever to do with Hume's conception of proof. "No Original Research" means, pure and simple, that you're forbidden from actually producing proof. No, on Wikipedia, you have to find some published source that says it. Of course, this is a classic argumentum ab auctoritate, the weakest form of proof, and is not dissimilar to the most blind, fideistic forms of Sola Scriptura. Maybe it's a bad idea to quote one of the early Empiricists in support of basing everything exclusively on blind allegiance to authority.
- So, Ayn Rand, again. God, she's dim. Let's count the ways:
- These two quotes:
Aristotle may be regarded as the cultural barometer of Western history. Whenever his influence dominated the scene, it paved the way for one of history's brilliant eras; whenever it fell, so did mankind.and
The Renaissance of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries was a conscious rebellion against the anti-human, otherworldly values of medieval Christendom. In its metaphysics and epistemology, the Renaissance was essentially Aristotelian.Hey, retard: the medievals were Aristotelian (heard, perhaps, of Aquinas?); the Renaissance saw a huge revival of Platonism, owing to the influx of Byzantine scholars after the fall of Constantinople. Also Hermeticism, Neo-Gnosticism, and less pleasant thngs--it was a golden age of alchemy and magic, compared to the rationalistic progressivism of Aquinas, Nicole Oresme, and the Chartres school. Two words the medievals coined: modern and progress.
- If one reads Atlas Shrugged, Rand's ideal seems to be one where individual craftsmen own the means to express their talents, independent of corporations or governments--and then the stupid bint goes on to sing the praises of capitalism! I must admit, while she seems to think competition is necessary to insure quality (it's not--do doctors compete?), she is remarkably free of the fetishization of it that characterizes many of her followers. But that's not really the point; the point is, Ayn, Ayn, Ayn, sit down before you hurt yourself. The system you dream of existed, it was real, it could've been yours (look, I referenced John Galt!): it was called a Guild. Competition is replaced as a barrier to entry by the simple expedient of tests (if you're not good you don't get in--again, seems to work for doctors); the individual owns all his tools and contracts with whomever he wishes.
- I'm not the only one who's noticed, but she completely ignores the existence of children. "I'm self-made!" she screams, and all her characters scream. Really? You fed and clothed yourself at the age of two months? Leaving to one side the fact she didn't make herself exist either (Existence exists, Aynny, true—your betters call it God), her philosophy breaks down the second one considers how people come into the world. Absent a concept of morality more complex than "rational self-interest," there's no reason to have children, certainly none to care for them.
- These two quotes:
- My sister (younger, not older) is currently in education college, training to teach English and Math. My parents are both teachers, as is my aunt and was my paternal grandmother. Now, frequently, they encounter people who complain about "teaching to the test," as though American teachers would go into so much depth if not for the tests. Thing is, though...Asia teaches to the tests. Has for 2400 years, give or take the odd rebellion by palace eunuchs. Their education systems ain't doing too bad. Funny how the problem with American education is always anything except "the teachers are incompetent" or "the parents don't give a damn" (God help the kid who's got both troubles).
- Just people in general, feeling themselves justified in spouting off with no information. A few gems from my first and second year at Northern Arizona University:
Capital offenses are handled at the national level.Um, not in America, 'cept for a very few crimes, dude. This from a Poli Sci professor, for god's sake.
In Japan they don't have schoolkids in all these clubs and sports, distracting from their education.Actually it's frequently mandatory to join a club, and when it's not, kids who don't are referred to as "the go home early club".
They don't have machismo in Japan.Just read that line a few times. Yeah.