When it comes to Statism, American bureaucrats are no better than Iraqis.
Two sad stories in the news exemplify the unfortunate victims of America’s restrictive immigration laws. A high school student from Laos is set to be deported 22 days before graduation. His family has lived here for 13 years, and after unsuccessfully attempting to get permanent citizenship, are set to be deported. Both parents have productive jobs, and Tchisou has been accepted into the University of Minnesota, where he wanted to study natural resources or aerospace engineering. Unlike so many illegal immigrants from south of the border, the Tho family actually attempted to comply with the law and obtain citizenship, and deportation is their reward.
Like the Tho family, in a few weeks I will mark the 13th year since my family came to America, and although we came here legally, it boggles my mind that I could be deported back to Ukraine because of a difference in paperwork. I cannot speak for Tchisou, but I speak virtually no Ukrainian, and loath Ukraine and everything it stands for with a passion that rivals only my distaste for commies (and for the same reasons). Besides that, the country I left was USSR, and it is dubious that Ukraine would even take this dirty Russophile Jew back, probably dooming me to years in detenention camps while the bureaucracy decided my fate. Like Ukraine, Laos is a mix of communism and anarchy held together by nationalistic propaganda, and a former immigrant would be doomed to second class citizenship or worse. (I dramatize a bit since the Tho family will probably end up in France by virtue of having lived there on the way to America, but being an American in France is only a marginal improvement over Laos these days.)
Meanwhile, the bodies of 18 immigrants were found in truck in Texas, stuffed inside a locked truck that may have held over 100 people. This is just the latest episode of the annual death marches that many thousands of illegal immigrants undertake to find low-paying and unwanted jobs in America that usually involve working outside in 100 degree Texas heat. Everyone who has ever complained that Mexicans are “stealing” his minimum wage job should feel some guilt and responsibility for the suffering his economic ignorance causes.
While they are expert at sending little boys and young men back into slavery, the immigration services too overwhelmed by the drug war and their attempts to stop well-meaning immigrants to deter any actual criminals from crossing our shores. The ultimate hypocrisy is that Middle Eastern terrorists are able to buy visas while harmless and hard-working immigrants are denied their chance to the American Dream.
A major step on the path to my political enlightenment was the rejection of the traditional left-right, liberal-conservative political spectrum in favor of a two-dimensional one, with one axis representing political freedom and the other economic freedom. Later, I came to see that political and economic freedom are ultimately inseparable. While the two may exist out of sync in places like Hong Kong and Singapore, economic freedom leads people to demand political rights, and authoritarian regimes attempt to monopolize economic as well as political power. While I could write a book on both the historical and theoretical implications, for now I’ll offer a quote from For the New Intellectual: "Intellectual freedom cannot exist without political freedom; political freedom cannot exist without economic freedom; a free mind and a free market are corollaries."
A good quiz to measure one’s position in this two-dimensional spectrum is at the Politopia website, and the original World’s Smallest Political Quiz (about which I have some reservations) is worth taking a look at as well. (Actually, to the best of my knowledge, the original idea comes from Ayn Rand.) What I found tonight however, was a grotesque rip off of the original idea twisted beyond recognition by marxists brainwashed by "critical theory". An objective test should accurately determine one’s actual level of knowledge or views, given an honest examinee — but this quiz is so laden with contradictory, loaded, and irrelevant questions, that no objective evaluation is possible. (In fact, it only claims to be valid for citizens of "western democracies.") My reason for mentioning it at all is to bring up a recently realized point to light: libertarianism is inevitably a subjectivist and anarchist philosophy because it rejects the difference between power and authority, or might and right.
About half the questions on the quiz reflect the false dichotomy between blind state-worship and the rejection of all political authority shared by libertarians and Statists. In other words, you must either blindly accept everything the government does without question, or reject it as the selfish actions of power-hungry bureaucrats. Sample questions: "Making peace with the establishment is an important aspect of maturity." and "No one chooses their country of birth, so it’s foolish to be proud of it." Libertarians and leftists have a lot in common: it is only the hypocrisy of the left in distrusting government to protect them from criminals, yet blindly trusting government to be their mommy and daddy that prevents them from reaching the anarchists conclusion that many "classic" Marxists did.
The quiz includes a number of seemingly irrelevant questions that actually reject the distinction between the government’s proper roles of preventing the use of force and assume that it must force a particular morality down everyone else’s throat. (Welfare and earth-worship excepted, of course.) Examples:
Sex outside of marriage is usually immoral. Mothers may have careers, but their first duty is to be homemakers. Abstract art that doesn’t represent anything shouldn’t be considered art at all. Astrology accurately explains many things.
Again, libertarians argue, "government should not enforce morality," forgetting that any legal system must be based on a particular morality, and often failing to distinguish between government interference in voluntary vs. involuntary interaction. Admittedly, many libertarians do make this distinction — but to the extent that they acknowledge a certain moral code as the basis of their political views, they are not libertarians, for by rejecting any specific moral code as a basis for political authority, libertarianism excludes any particular moral code from forming such a basis.
The imporance of the distinction between power and authority is certainly not a new idea. John Locke was aware of it, and Machiavelli and Plato believed that a "legitimating myth" is required to keep ordinary folk in line. Authority is no myth however: as Aristotle first wrote, there exists a necessity for government precipitated by our condition, and a rational man had the capability to realize it.
First they came for the Nutter Butters, and I said nothing, because peanut butter cookies make my fillings hurt.
Then they came for the Mallomars, and I said nothing, because Mallomars are really kind of gross.
Then they came for my Oreo cookies, and it was too late, because there was no milk left in the fridge.
I’m currently migrating my server to Linux and this blog to Movable Type. Most of the site has been converted from asp/.Net to php already, but I’m migrating the remnants (including the asp blog and the access comment database) to run on Linux. Sorry Bill, it’s been a bumpy ride and I decided to move on. If speed is any indication, the server performance of my wimpy 233Mhz ADVX Linux server is comparable to my 1.2Ghz XP/IIS desktop. (Update: The new MT blog is under way.)
Btw, someone emailed me to ask what CMS and scripting language this website runs on. I counted four scripting languages and three databases: asp, .Net, perl, php and MySQL, access, and XML, respectively. I wouldn’t dare accuse anyone of writing such a Frankenstein monstrosity, so I offer my learning experience in each language as my excuse. Speaking of php, it’s extremely intuitive and pleasant to code, unlike the bulky and dated asp. (Don’t get me started on jsp!)
Note: If the above didn’t any sense, don’t worry, I’ll be back to bashing peaceniks and other assorted lefties as soon as the operation is complete.
Please excuse the recent site outages. My Linksys router is betraying me, so I might be moving my site to a *real* server soon.
In other news, six monkeys typing on a typerwriter produce a real mess!
..faculty and students in the university’s media program left a computer in the monkey enclosure at Paignton Zoo in southwest England, home to six Sulawesi crested macaques. At first, said Phillips, "the lead male got a stone and started bashing the hell out of it. "Another thing they were interested in was in defecating and urinating all over the keyboard," added Phillips, who runs the university’s Institute of Digital Arts and Technologies.
Well, I graduated yesterday. I got a BS in Economics and Political Science from TAMU and a cool watch from my dad (on the right.) What does the future hold for me? I don’t know, but if you’re looking to hire a highly-motivated techie to design the next killer app, let me know. Meanwhile, I will be having fun at the Objectivist Summer Conference and Cancun this summer as I catch up on my programming and philosophy and put my plans for the future in focus.
I realize that some of the views expressed in this blog are pretty radical, so I’m not surprised to see a large number of flames and negative remarks in my comments from all sides of the political and social spectrum. I tolerate them because the arguments presented by my opposition are often so unsubstantial and dishonest that they bolster my case by contrast. However, I make exception and delete outright lies that a reasonably intelligent person could fall for. One such example is the comment to my last entry, which features a numbers of “quotes from the Talmud” that can be found on a number of websites on the web, and which at least one of my friends has mistaken as a legitimate site.
Well, to clear things up, any such quotes are blatant lies fueled by anti-semitism. For exposés, go here, here, or here. For real quotes from the Talmud, go here or here. The Talmud is an extremely complex document virtually impossible to translate into English, but having studied it myself, I can assure you that such “proof” of hatred of gentiles has been a reflection of the anti-semites own feelings ever since the middle ages. I am no friend of any form of mysticism, but I think the enormous intellectual and economic success of Jewish communities all over the diaspora is indicative of the pro-life philosophy espoused in the Talmud, especially when contrasted to the Augustinian tradition of violent hatred for human life and happiness in the medieval Church. To conclude, I offer this (real) quote from the Talmud: “Live well. It is the greatest revenge.”
Hard to believe but true: The swastica on the Coca-Cola robot below was condemed by Jewish groups who must have been unaware that the Swastika-like shape (not quite – it’s reversed) is actually an ancient Chinese symbol of good luck. If the Jews really want to go after anti-semitism, then it’s the Arab dictators and Islamic fundamentalism they should be after. Here is a quote in translation from a textbook called Islamic Education for the Tenth Grade, 1999-2000, page 116:
The logic of justice obligates the application of the single verdict [on the Jews] from which there is no escape; namely, that their criminal intentions be turned against them and that they be exterminated. The duty of Muslims of our time is to pull themselves together, unite their ranks, and wage war on their enemy until Allah hands down his judgment on them and us.