Archive for the ‘Freedom of religion’ Category

From Chapter 11: The End of Truth

The most effective way of making everybody serve the single system of ends toward which the social plan is directed is to make everybody believe in those ends.  To make a totalitarian system function efficiently, it is not enough that everybody should be forced to work for the same ends. It is essential that hte people should come to regard them as their own ends.  Although the beliefs must be chosen for the people and imposed upon them, they must become their beliefs, a generally accepted creed which makes the individuals as far as possible act spontaneously in the way the planner wants.  If the feeling of oppression in totalitarian countries is in general much less acute than most people in liberal countries imagine, this is because the totalitarian governments succeed to a high degree in making people think as they want them to.

This is, of course, brought about by the various forms of propaganda.  Its technique is now so familiar that we need say little about it.

Choice architectureNudge.  A velvet glove on the iron fist.

Hayek elaborates on pg 174:

The most effective way of making people accept the validity of the values they are to serve is to persuade them that they are really the same as those which they, or at least the best among them, have always held, but which were not properly understood or recognized before.  The people are made to transfer their allegiance from the old gods to the new under the pretense that the new gods really are what their sound instinct had always told them but what before they had only dimly seen.  And the most efficient technique to this end is to use the old words but change their meaning.  Few traits of totalitarian regimes are at the same time so confusing to the superficial observer and yet so characteristic of the whole intellectual climate as the complete perversion of language, the change of the meaning of the words by which the ideals of the new regime are expressed.

The worst sufferer in this respect is, of course, the word “liberty.”  It is a word used as freely in totalitarian states as elsewhere.  Indeed, it could almost be said – and it should serve as a warning to us to be on our guard against all the tempters who promise us New Liberties for Old – that wherever liberty as we understand it has been destroyed, this has almost always been done in the name of some new freedom promised to the people.  Even among us we have “planners for freedom” who promise us a “collective freedom for the group,” the nature of which may be gathered from the fact that its advocate finds it necessary to assure us that “naturally the advent of all planned freedom does not mean that all [sic] earlier forms of freedom must be abolished.”  Dr. Karl Mannheim, from whose work these sentences are taken, at least warns us that “a conception of freedom modelled on the preceding age is an obstacle to any real understanding of the problem.”  But his use of the word “freedom” is as misleading as it is in the mouth of totalitarian politicians.  Like their freedom, the “collective freedom” he offers us is not the freedom of the members of society but the unlimited freedom of the planner to do with society what he pleases.  It is the confusion of freedom with power carried to the extreme.

A simple example is universal single-payer health care.  It’s to provide freedom from the evil insurance companies.  It provides “freedoms” as quoted here in remarks by a speaker at a press conference by Nancy Pelosi:

The new law has not only given me the freedom to stay covered, but has also freed me and my family from the fear that an insurer could drop me at any moment or limit me to go without treatment.

The “freedom to stay covered” is at the expense of someone else – at the expense of the individuals who make up an insurance company, or at the expense of the individual taxpayer.  Their freedom is traded for this patient’s priviledge.  Being “free” from “fear” that he could be dropped means that the insurer, or taxpayer, is now enslaved to his treatment.  He is now a guaranteed recipient of the labor of individuals, whether those individuals who also purchase insurance from a company, and now face increased premiums because of this government-protected claimant, or he is dependant on the taxpayer to cover his bill.  Ultimately, he is “free” only insomuch as he takes from someone else.

He is not free to choose a less expensive company, or free to go to a non-profit charity that would look out for his special case and would desire to help him – he is “free” by shackling others to his needs.  That is not freedom – that is parasitism enforced by the state.  Person A now must pay for Person B’s medical needs because Person B is “free” from the costs.

Hayek continues on pg 175:

In this particular case the perversion of the meaning of the word has, of course, been well prepared by a long line of German philosophers and, not least, by many of the theoreticians of socialism.  But “freedom” or “liberty” are by no means the only words whose meaning has been changed into their opposites to make them serve as instruments of totalitarian propaganda.  We have already seen how the same happens to “justice” and “law,” “right” and “equality.”  The list could be extended until it includes almost all moral and political terms in general use.

This is a major, major point.  This is why “liberals” today are intolerant, closed-minded people.  Virtually every aspect of who they are is the exact opposite of what they are.  They fight for “social justice” which is just redistribution, they fight for “human rights” that include health care, and even food – which cannot be rights – as they come at the expense of others.  They call themselves progressives, but they don’t progress towards greater liberty for the individual, they progress towards greater power for what the state “must do on your behalf“.  This is regressive, towards the totalitarianism of dictatorships and kings, not towards the greater well-being of the individual.  Liberal in Hayek’s day meant closer to what libertarian or even conservative means today.  Not what libertarian or conservative is demonized as by the political left/progressives, but what they actually are.

It is for this reason that conservative author/radio host Mark Levin refers almost exclusively to the left as statists, as their main function is to expand government to their own ends.  Also note that there are right-wing, or socially traditionalist/conservative statists, who are often simply a different brand of moralist from the leftist statist.  The leftist statist wants you to stop drinking and smoking for your health and because it’s good for you, the rightist statist wants you to stop drinking and smoking because it’s “fiend intemperance”.  The leftist statist will force you to drive a hybrid car because of his Gaia-worship, the rightist statist will force businesses to close on Sunday to keep the Sabbath holy.

A major difference is that a rightward traditionalist in America, a mindset which often goes hand in hand with the moralist, can still be reminded that a reason the country was founded, and indeed the 1st Amendment was written, was to escape state-mandated religion.  The leftist, by contrast, believes that history started last week, and will reject the past as outmoded and obsolete in their own quest for power and The Greater Good.  As Thomas Sowell writes in his book “The Vision of the Anointed”:

“For the anointed, traditions are likely to be seen as the dead hand of the past, relics of a less enlightened age, and not as the distilled experience of millions who faced similar human vicissitudes before.”

Returning to Hayek, pg 175:

If one has not one’s self experienced this process, it is difficult to appreciate the magnitude of this change of the meaning of words, the confusion which it causes, and the barriers to any rational discussion which it creates.  It has to be seen to be understood how, if one of two brothers embraces the new faith, after a short while he appears to speak a different language which makes any real communication between them impossible.  And the confusion becomes worse because this change of meaning of the words describing political ideals is not a single event but a continuous process, a technique employed conciously or unconciously to direct the people.  Gradually, as this process continues, the whole language becomes despoiled, and words become empty shells deprived of any definite meaning, as capable of denoting one thing as its opposite and used solely for the emotional associations which still adhere to them.

To sidetrack a while from the explicitly political, using a pop culture reference as an example, you can see how freedom has changed.  Most of the readers of this blog will know who this is.  On the off chance we have some very young readers or very old readers, this is Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots – the good guy Transformers.

His motto: “Freedom is the right of all sentient beings.”

Now consider this online discussion amongst a group of Transformers fans.  Here are a few lines from the discussion, starting off with forum member “Octavius Prime” (hereafter OP) citing a movie review that had this line:

(Movie Review): And when Optimus Prime, the chief good Transformer, declares that “Freedom is the right of all sentient beings,” we know we’re in a Bush-era universe.

(OP): if the reviewers had done maybe 10 minutes of online research (say, on the Teletraan-1 wikia), they’d know that Prime has been spouting his line since before Bush’s dad was president. Moreover, what is so bad about freedom being a basic right? Isn’t that in the hugging Declaration of Independence? What is so quintessentially “Bush” about it?

(SD): Pretty much a case of people shooting words off before doing proper research, and an annoyingly over-liberal mindset. I mean, I don’t care for Bush, to put it lightly, but I also don’t wedge my political views into whatever I type/write.

(S): I can see how that line might be used by the likes of Bush to justify a war like Iraq (the lie that the war is all about human freedom rather than oil).

(PTP): Technically we were in a Regan-era universe when it was written, which isn’t all that much better…

(OP): Maybe, but I still don’t see how the motto that encapsulates democracy would be reduced to represent someone’s biased view of the Bush administration.

(D): I’d be hard pressed to vote for a president who didn’t believe in the basic right of freedom.  I mean there’s liberal, and then there’s blindedly liberal. Gah.

(TNG): I don’t really get why anyone would think that “Freedom is the right of all sentient beings” is a particularly conservative viewpoint. Definitions of exactly what freedom means may differ within the political spectrum but I don’t think you’d find many democrats arguing against freedom as a basic human right.

Liberals=progressives=statists, specifically here, anti-Bush statists, who are competing for the same space as state controllers.  Thus Freedom=Bush talking point.  Freedom=bad, to liberals, who are really progressives, who are really leftist-statists.  Also thus the word liberal, which is supposed to mean accepting of others, is now explicitly anti-freedom (even just in this discussion).  Liberal has gone so far as to also include Reagan and all non-leftist statists, thus even the original quote by Optimus Prime waaay back in about 1984 is rejected as being related to Reagan, Republicans, and therefore to a Liberal is a Bad Thing.

According to the leftist-statist, when Bush says freedom, it means ruthless oppression, even if it is freeing a nation from an actual ruthless oppressor.  Don’t bother them with the facts.  Criticism of a poor operational plan and shoddy intelligence (that leftist-statists agreed on) turned into a rejection of freedom in its entirety.  Leftist rejection of Bush-era domestic policies (that pretty much only targeted terrorists, but that should definitely be questioned in Constitutional interests) including the Patriot Act turned into Bush hates freedom.  This year when the Patriot Act was renewed by Barack Obama, without any of the reforms that were complained about during the Bush-era… well, Obama is still a good-guy to the leftist-statist, because he’s their guy there for The Greater Good.

Liberal is anti-freedom, freedom is oppression, progressive is statist.

Even the notions of left and right are reversed.  In France in 1789, at the French Assembly, the rebels who resisted the state sat on the left, while the supporters of the state sat on the right.  Except the French state was a monarchical state that didn’t represent the people, and had subjects, not citizens.  A rebel to the French state would be resisting tyranny.

The United States, by contrast, were formed by the people, for the people, and of the people.  The government was explicity designed to respond to the citizenry, and to be accountable to the citizenry.  The Constitution itself was a charter document designed to constrain any government to the initial agreement that the citizens had made when they settled on a government.  Consider first that the Declaration of Independence was a rejection of tyranny that called for the people to institute a government from the people, then consider that a government, instituted by the citizenry who choose their government, is how the democratic republic set up by the Constitution was designed.

Thomas Paine explains in concrete terms what a Constitution is:

But it will be first necessary to define what is meant by a Constitution. It is not sufficient that we adopt the word; we must fix also a standard signification to it.

A constitution is not a thing in name only, but in fact. It has not an ideal, but a real existence; and wherever it cannot be produced in a visible form, there is none. A constitution is a thing antecedent to a government, and a government is only the creature of a constitution. The constitution of a country is not the act of its government, but of the people constituting its government. It is the body of elements, to which you can refer, and quote article by article; and which contains the principles on which the government shall be established,  the manner in which it shall be organised, the powers it shall have, the mode of elections, the duration of Parliaments, or by what other name such bodies may be called; the powers which the executive part of the government shall have; and in fine, everything that relates to the complete organisation of a civil government, and the principles on which it shall act, and by which it shall be bound. A constitution, therefore, is to a government what the laws made afterwards by that government are to a court of judicature. The court of judicature does not make the laws, neither can it alter them; it only acts in conformity to the laws made: and the government is in like manner governed by the constitution.

The Constitution is static.  It is what the government is based on, and the laws that the government, in order to remain legitimate and existing upon the consent of the people, must adhere to.  Being on the left in the US and rejecting the established Constitutional order is rejecting a truly classically radical liberal document that enshines the rights and liberties of all citizens.  Being on the left is pushing for statism.  Being a conservative who wishes to conserve Constitutional principles is being a classical liberal, a radical libertarian – one who is opposed to the idea of a controlling state.

Religious liberalism and conservatism became injected into political liberalism and conservatism, as well as social liberalism and conservatism – but there is a wide gulf between what one preaches in one’s private or even public life, and what one inflicts through force of government.  Conservative has come to mean statist-religious, liberal to mean statist-humanist/statist-Gaia-or-Science-worshipper.

In this, the leftist-progressive-statist has changed the entire discussion by changing the meaning of words.  For another example: the religious-statist who would use force of government rather than persuasion has changed the word conservative to also mean moralist authoritarian – a term the leftist-statist is very much willing to embrace, as it drives people into their camp – to accept the “freedom from religion” that then turns into trying to destroy the religions of others – which is explicitly illiberal.  Another example: fascism was a brand of statist totalitarianism wherein the economic means of production were controlled by the state, but not always wholly owned.  Communists attacked fascists, with whom they were competing for the same leftist anti-capitalist statist-totalitarian space on the political spectrum, and accused fascists of being capitalist.  Fascism, descended from national socialism as opposed to communist international socialism, suddenly became its opposite, when the two are nary a hair’s breadth apart.  Yet the modern leftist-statist who favors socialism as an economic means to his Greater Good, will accuse someone who opposes them of being a national socialist.

Paine set up concretely what a Constitution is.  Those who support it, must support it for what it is.  It is a compact between we the citizen and those citizens we choose to serve us.  Words do mean something.  Our Constitution was established as a document that can change through the amendment process, but it is not to be manipulated until freedom means slavery.  But that is precisely what the leftist-statist has embraced (as well as the rightist-statist to a lesser degree).  George Orwell summed much of this up with his coining of the term “Newspeak” in his book “1984” several years after The Road to Serfdom had been published.  As Orwell says in “1984”:

By 2050—earlier, probably—all real knowledge of Oldspeak will have disappeared. The whole literature of the past will have been destroyed. Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Byron—they’ll exist only in Newspeak versions, not merely changed into something different, but actually contradictory of what they used to be. Even the literature of the Party will change. Even the slogans will change. How could you have a slogan like “freedom is slavery” when the concept of freedom has been abolished? The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking—not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.

Sadly, Orwell himself was a democratic socialist, basically a theory of benevolent socialism, but that can be the subject for another tl;dr post.

Lest I forget, the other Hayek:

Eventually I’ll just end up with pictures of chicks from Vienna to represent the Austrian School.

>ACOGs for Jesus

Posted: January 19, 2010 by ShortTimer in Freedom of religion, islam, US Military

>Looks like the Satanists are getting revenge for the secret messages on heavy metal albums being exposed.

US Military Weapons Inscribed With Secret “Jesus” Codes

We train young men to drop fire on people… but we won’t let
them write fuck on their airplanes because it’s obscene!
- Col Kurtz, Apocalypse Now

Note that it’s not even the morality of killing human beings that’s being discussed here. It’s that someone being killed might be offended. It’s okay to kill people, you just can’t hurt their feelings.

>

<img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/e/e4/Cass_Sunstein.jpg" alt="Cass Image via Wikipedia

Our most daunting task to date is going to be giving you all the information when it comes to Mr. Cass Sunstein, one of the few “Czars” who has been confirmed by the senate. From proposing a 2nd bill of rights to advocating that our pets are entitled to representation, Mr. Sunstein offers us a look of what it means to truly be out of touch with reality.

Mr. Sunstein is a “constitutional” (I use the term loosely) lawyer. He is on record for the following statements made either in print or in the media:

On terminal patients: “the state owns the rights to body parts of people who are dead or in certain hopeless conditions, and it can remove their organs without asking anyone’s permission…. Though it may sound grotesque, routine removal is not impossible to defend…. In theory, it would save lives, and it would do so without intruding on anyone who has any prospect for life.”

My question is since when does anything having to do with my body belong to the state? If I want to be a donor that is all fine and good, after I am dead take what you need. If I am still breathing hands off the scalpel and keep trying to save my life.

Sunstein is also on record for saying things like:

“(the) socialist movement (never took hold because of the)….”smaller and weaker political left or lack of enthusiasm for redistributive programs.”

No kidding this is America.

“If the United States agrees to participate in a climate change agreement on terms that are not in the nation’s interest, but that help the world as a whole, there would be no reason for complaint, certainly if such participation is more helpful to poor nations than conventional foreign-aid alternatives.”

Again this is America we don’t believe in this type of thinking. Any charity we give comes from donations to non-profits or volunteering our time.

Sunstein also believes:

“The absence of a European-style social welfare state is certainly connected with the widespread perception among the white majority that the relevant programs would disproportionately benefit African Americans (and more recently Hispanics)….”

So every white man or woman out there is a racist and that is why we do not want socialism? Are you serious? He also lends support to communism by stating:

“During the Cold War, the debate about [social welfare] guarantees took the form of pervasive disagreement between the United States and its communist adversaries. Americans emphasized the importance of civil and political liberties, above all free speech and freedom of religion, while communist nations stressed the right to a job, health care, and a social minimum…. I think this debate was unhelpful; it is most plausible to see the two sets of rights as mutually reinforcing, not antagonistic.”

Really, so how do we pay enough taxes to ensure everyone has a home, a job, health care, a decent wage? Also the Soviets weren’t big on free speech nor religion because they wanted to replace religion that involves the soul with a religion that involves the state, and to accomplish that they could not afford to have people professing their beliefs freely so they also heavily suppressed freedom of speech.

Sunstein has also proposed a 2nd Bill of rights which entitles the following:

“The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation” — Ok. What if I don’t have the proper skill set or intelligence to be of use?

“The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation.” — Define adequate are we talking Latrell Sprewell ( the Minnesota Timberwolves offered Sprewell a 3-year, $21 million contract extension, substantially less than what his then-current contract paid him. Insulted, he publicly vented his outrage, declaring, “I have a family to feed.”) adequate? Or are we talking Jed Clampett before he discovered oil?

“The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living.” — Again please define “decent living” are we talking barely surviving or living in style? Who do we fund it?

“The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad.” — In the free market business rise and fall based on the decisions of that leadership. We have no business leveling the playing field. If a person can corner the market by supplying a better product at a cheaper price, more power to him.

“The right of every family to a decent home.” — Aren’t we in trouble from this right now? Isn’t the federal government in charge of making loans through Freddie and Fannie? –Wasn’t that part of Barney Frank’s progressive agenda?

“The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.” — Heath care is a service, it is not a right. If you can’t afford it, consider changing your life style or by getting a better job.

“The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment.” — What does this entail? Don’t we already have Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security? Does it mean that I have the right to protection from defecating on myself when I am 100 years old?

“The right to a good education.” — This one is a tough one to argue but in this day and age there are already several programs that help people go to university and get a degree. Does it really need to be legislated?

So after taking all of that in it is fairly clear that government is supposed to control and decide all the issues of your life. Do you trust them to do a good job if the 2nd Bill of Rights gets implemented? I don’t.

Cass also has interesting views on abortion like:

“I have argued that the Constitution … forbids government from refusing to pay the expenses of abortion in cases of rape or incest, at least if government pays for childbirth in such cases…. There would be no tension with the establishment clause if people with religious or other objections were forced to pay for that procedure (abortion). Indeed, taxpayers are often forced to pay for things – national defense, welfare, certain forms of art, and others – to which they have powerful moral and even religious objections.”

So, not only does he espouse federal funding of murdering unborn children but he expects the average citizen to be forced to help pay for it.

He is also a fan of dismantling free speech:

“purely commercial (television) stations (should) provide financial subsidies to public television or to commercial stations that agree to provide less profitable but high-quality programming…. worthwhile to consider more dramatic approaches as well.”

Like:

“compulsory public-affairs programming, right of reply, content review by nonpartisan experts or guidelines to encourage attention to public issues and diversity of view…. It seems quite possible that a law that contained regulatory remedies would promote rather than undermine the ‘freedom of speech,’

Really, so Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and other would be forced to present “both” sides of the issue or be forced off the air. If they chose to comply and couldn’t find an “opposing” viewpoint then they would be unable to air the story or segment. How do you like that for freedom of speech?

Last and possibly the most interesting is his views on animals and their “interest:”

“If we focus on suffering, as I believe that we should, it is not necessarily impermissible to kill animals and use them for food; but it is entirely impermissible to be indifferent to their interests while they are alive. So too for other animals in farms, even or perhaps especially if they are being used for the benefit of human beings.”

While I have never advocated the mistreatment of animals do they deserve legal representation? Sunstein thinks so:

“We could even grant animals a right to bring suit without insisting that animals are

persons, or that they are not property. A state could certainly confer rights on a pristine area, or a painting, and allow people to bring suit on its behalf, without therefore saying that that area and that painting may not be owned. It might, in these circumstances, seem puzzling that so many people are focusing on the question of whether animals are property. We could retain the idea of property but also give animals far more protection against injury or neglect of their interests.”

Wow, I mean wow, really? So how would my dog, if she became distraught because I only give her a cup of dry dog food instead of a can of “wet” dog food retain that lawyer?

If your interested in finding out more on Cass Sunstein here is a PDF file full of quotes.