Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘SJW’

My Corner by Boyd Cathey – Woke Rebellion

Posted by M. C. on September 14, 2020

Boyd Cathey


The noted English professor and philosopher, John N. Gray, is controversial for his views expressed in a number of highly-touted books. If I can summarize one of his main contentions it is this: the experiment in universalist “democratic liberalism,” unleashed by the 18th century Enlightenment (and partially fulfilled by the American Revolution in conservative fashion, but by the Socialists and Marxists in a more radical fashion), is coming to a gagging and sputtering end. In a certain—if remote—sense, what Gray is saying is what the traditionalist Christian poet and author T. S. Eliot once famously wrote in his epic poem “The Hollow Men” (1925), written in the disastrous aftermath of the devastation, both intellectual and material, after World War I: “This is the way the world ends/Not with a bang but a whimper.”

In the following essay, Gray examines the current woke rebellion in the streets, but also in the ivory halls of academe and among our elite government and cultural classes. The Age of Enlightenment Liberalism, he asserts, is ending.

And in reading and thinking about it, his short piece seems to go hand-in-hand with something I published recently both at The Abbeville Institute and My essay titled, “Cancel Culture Comes South,” in a different version, was first issued in the MY CORNER series on September 6, as “Cancel Culture and the Religious Origins of the Revolution in the Streets.” I rewrote it to give it more emphasis on the effects of “cancel culture” in the South, and in that new version it was published…and it is that version that I offer today, immediately after Gray’s essay.

Gray compares the present day woke Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) to chiliastic millenarians—religious hyper-fanatics of the past—who attempted to overturn and in effect destroy the traditions of Western Christianity. Those movements, including the Cathares, Lollards, Puritans and Fifth Monarchy Men, and in particular, the Anabaptists with their supreme leader John of Leiden [AKA, Jan Bockelson], sought to either destroy those traditions, or, at the very least to completely re-invent them. And what followed was inevitably a period of social and political anarchy, and quickly the imposition of an authoritarianism more severe and brutal than anything established historic Christianity ever contemplated. They would bring on the thousand year terrestrial reign of the Deity, even if it took the massacre of every human life where they dwelt to do it.

Although there are striking parallels between those earlier millenarian movements and today’s zealots, there are also some significant differences. While both illustrate a kind of frenzied religious fanaticism, these latter day millenarians are mostly characterized by a dominant anarchism. Their religious zeal is secularized. Save for “defunding the police” and demands for total (but ill-defined) equality and reparations of some kind, much of their rhetoric betrays a lack of precision and deeper thought. And unlike earlier movements, our present SJWs are being funded and to some degree directed by our elites, ensconced many times in Silicon Valley, or Hollywood, and on Wall Street. It follows that those empowered elites wish to use the street warriors and the widely-diffused and praised Black Lives Matter campaign for their own purposes, their own well-being, and their own power. And, thus, they have literally cowed and shamed most of our political class into submission; who now dares criticize Black Lives Matter or the s0-called demands for “equality” (and some form of reparations for “white oppression” and past “injustice”) without bringing down the wrath of the entirety of the media and most political leaders? And this includes Republicans and establishment conservatives who run as fast as they can to the tall grass.

Notice one more significant characteristic: many of the street terrorists are rich white kids, children of wealth and position, educated usually (and badly) at places like Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth, UNC, and Duke, and with families who can afford to live in gated communities, and who, in fact, in their insouciant and sneering liberalism, disdain and despise what the Jewish writer Philip Roth once called despectively, “fly-over country.” In other words, anyone outside of those centers of power and wealth who might possibly challenge their hegemony.  For them the SJWs are effective storm troopers…that is, as long as they don’t get out of control, or go into those posh neighborhoods where a Nancy Pelosi or Madonna live.

Or, if it seems that politically the street terrorism appears to get out of hand, maybe favoring President Trump politically. Ah, then those elites must offer their pro forma, generalized condemnations, just to be on record…despite their real encouragement of the revolution.

Never mind, Gray seems to say, the American faith in a secular universalist redemption and the myth that somehow we are a kind of New Jerusalem, that shining City of a Hill, is dying and we can hope only to pick up the pieces in the new age that is being born.


The woke have no vision of the future

Like medieval millenarians, today’s SJWs believe all that needs to be done to bring about a new world is to destroy the old one

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Abolish the Tampon Tax, Even If It’s What SJWs Want | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on October 25, 2019

Remember when the progressive media was up in arms about Warren Buffets secretary paid more or had a higher tax rate (can’t remember) than Buffet?

Everyone wanted to raise Buffet’s taxes. No one mentioned lowering his secretary’s taxes.

The latest evidence of the brutality of the patriarchy, we are told, is the fact that sanitary napkins are subject to sales tax. Thus, some protests have sprung up around the country decrying the fact tampons and pads are made less affordable by taxation.

Some the SJW-world’s natural enemies were quick to point to the hypocrisy of a group that tends to never meet a tax increase it doesn’t like. Laissez-faire musician Eric July, for example, quips , “Oh so nooooow it’s theft?” He means taxation.

The reasoning used by the protestors was summarized by Congresswomen Sylvia Garcia who complained “I’m convinced that if men menstruated, there would be a tampon machine in every bathroom everywhere.”

Moreover, as public radio station WBUR contends , people who menstruate (i.e., women and girls) “spend an estimated $150 million a year just on the sales tax for these items.”

Thus, the alleged fact the “tampon tax” targets only these groups — and the fact men don’t menstruate — shows we must end the tax on these items immediately.

In Fact, Lots of Men Pay This Tax

One doesn’t need to endorse the line of reasoning used by Garcia and the WBUR authors to be fine with a tax cut on these items.

After all, as a man with a wife and two daughters (among other children), I can assure my readers that “people who menstruate” are not the only people who pay taxes on feminine hygiene products.

Taxes on these items dent the household budget of every person in every household that purchases these items. That includes a lot of men. These taxes also reduce overall consumption for every shop, store, and merchant who provides these sorts of products. Which means entrepreneurs — both male and female — are also hit by the tax. Like all taxes, the “tampon tax” drains wealth from both buyers and sellers, and sends it to government bureaucrats.

Yes, the general framing of the issue by the protesters is silly. The idea that old men in charge of the machinery of government only tax tampons because they are are indifferent to the cost imposed is implausible. After all, there is no known case of a sales tax being levied specifically on sanitary napkins. They’re simply taxed at the usual sales-tax rate imposed on many, many items. Moreover, when men (mostly in local governments) were first imposing these sales taxes, the taxes were more likely to directly affect men than they are now. In the past, men were more likely to share a household with a women than is the case today. Thus, modern men, freed from the shackles of a shared household budget with women, should be clamoring for higher tampon taxes now.  No evidence suggests this is true.

Of course, the protestors have a wide variety of reasons as to why men might tax themselves more, just to spite women. As noted by Catherine Rampell , the idea here seems to be that men “one day decide[d] that periods were gross and therefore ought to be made more expensive.”

This might make sense if seventh-grade boys were setting sales-tax rates, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. After all, as the left is so fond of telling us, right wingers all worship the idea of homo economicus and are unable to refuse the prospect of monetary and material gain. Clearly, these people wouldn’t tax themselves more for such an inane reason.

Raising Taxes to Own the Libs

The tribalism encouraged by the culture war has driven some opponents of the protesters to embrace higher taxes, apparently out of spite. Writing for The Federalist, Elizabeth Bauer opposes lower taxes, so long as the tax cut happens to be for tampons and pads. Such a tax cut, she contends, is “a crazy sort of scorekeeping” and is “more about scoring points for one’s tribe” than what we really need which is “a tax code that is sensible and reasonable for everyone.”

The idea here seems to be: “higher taxes are good, so long as it means sticking it to those leftists!”

I hate to break it to Bauer, but the tax code is already rife with “a crazy sort of scorekeeping.”…

If there is perceived unfairness in the tax code, the solution is to lower taxes on the groups currently paying higher rates, until rates are equalized. Opposing tax cuts for reasons of “fairness” or sticking it to leftists just ends up ensuring tax rates never actually go down. Besides, demanding that menstruating women pay more taxes does not make for a great political cause.

Be seeing you

tax crime




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SJWs As Bourgeois Bolshies | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on October 23, 2019

By Rod Dreher

I’m reading one of the best books I’ve ever seen, historian Yuri Slezkine’s The House of Government: A Saga of the Russian Revolution. It’s a massive — over 1,000 pages — history of the Bolshevik movement, focusing on the people who lived in a vast apartment building constructed across the Moskva River from the Kremlin, for party elites. In the 1930s, during the purges, it was the most dangerous address in the country. The secret police came for people there all the time.

The book has given me a breakthrough in understanding why so many people who grew up under communism are unnerved by what’s going on in the West today, even if they can’t all articulate it beyond expressing intense but inchoate anxiety about political correctness. Reading Slezkine, a UC-Berkeley historian, clarifies things immensely. Let me explain as concisely as I can. All of this is going into the book I’m working on, by the way.

In my book, I identify two main factors that make the “soft totalitarianism” we’re drifting into different from the hard totalitarianism of the communist years. One is the vastly greater capabilities of surveillance technology, and its penetration into daily life in this current stage of capitalism. The other is the pseudo-religion of Social Justice, the holy trinity of which is Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. The mathematician James Lindsay last year wrote an insightful essay analyzing Social Justice ideology as a kind of postmodern religion (“faith system,” he writes). Reading Slezkine on Bolshevism illuminates this with new depth.

To be clear, Social Justice religion is not the same thing as Bolshevism, which conquered a nation and turned it into a charnel house. But the psychological dynamics are so similar that I can understand now why Soviet-bloc emigres feel in their bones that something wicked is coming, and coming fast.

I’m going to give a brief overview of the ideas in this part of Slezkine’s book. Slezkine describes the Bolsheviks as “millenarian sectarians preparing for the apocalypse.” He gives a short history of apocalyptic sects, which he said began in the Axial Age, the period between the 8th and the 3rd centuries BC that saw parallel developments in civilizations — Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern, Greco-Roman — that caused a fundamental shift in human consciousness. The Axial Age introduced some concepts that are still with us today, including the idea that history is linear. Religion and philosophical systems of the Axial Age developed a sense of separation from the Real (that is, what is material), and the Ideal (what is transcendent). They also introduced the idea that time would culminate in a final battle between Good and Evil that would result in the End of History and the everlasting reign of Justice. The rich will be conquered, and the poor will triumph.

Slezkine writes at some length about these themes in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), but points out that they also existed in parallel in other religions of the era. The two Abrahamic religions that emerged from Axial Age Judaism — Christianity and Islam — modified these same concepts for themselves. The Book of Revelation in the Christian Bible is the standard Western account of the Apocalypse, but not the only one.

In the 16th century, the radical Protestant theologian Thomas Müntzer, leader of an apocalyptic Reformation sect, led an armed revolt against the Catholic Church, Martin Luther, and feudal authority. He and his followers believed the Last Days were upon the world, and that revolutionary violence was necessary to prepare for them.

These movements, says Slezkine, often depend on the virtuous mutually surveilling each other to keep everyone in line. Calvin’s Geneva was like this, and had laws prescribing the death penalty for relatively minor violations of its purity code. In the 17th century, the English Puritan movement under Thomas Oliver [the mistake was mine — RD] Cromwell (the “Puritan Moses”) was in this same vein.

The Enlightenment birthed apocalyptic millenarianism without God…

Here’s another interesting difference, and an important one: SJWs may want to destroy the oppressive practices, but unlike the Bolsheviks, they don’t want to destroy the institutions of society. Rather, they want to conquer them and administer them. The religion of Social Justice has already conquered the university, as James Lindsay points out, and is moving quickly into other institutions: media (the NYT is its Pravda), law, tech, entertainment, and corporate America. The Social Justice faith system can be easily adapted by the institutions of bourgeois capitalism — a fact that conceals its radicalism.

The people who have lived in societies suffused with this kind of ideology — emigres from Soviet-bloc countries — can see through the veil. With this new book I’m working on, I’m going to do my best to help readers see through their eyes. Meanwhile, if you are really interested in the Russian Revolution, I strongly urge you to read The House Of Government — all 1,128 pages of it. Yuri Slezkine is a masterful storyteller. It reads like a novel.

Be seeing you



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Patriot’s Lament: The State will gladly protect you from Freedom of Conscience.

Posted by M. C. on June 4, 2018

So what is the State to do? What States always do. Make the people fear their Liberty more than Itself.

…Today, we have access to information that only 20 years ago was other-worldly. Anyone with a cell phone can post a rant or share information to literally the whole world. Because of this information access, people take the information they get from the State influenced main stream media with a grain of salt, or immediately disbelieve it, and usually, rightfully so.
This is dangerous for the State’s propaganda machine, but the State realizes what is even more dangerous to it, would be for the State to appear to suppress it. Whether on the Left or the Right of the political spectrum, people tend to cherish what we now call, “Free Speech”, and rightfully so. Read the rest of this entry »

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