The Rights of Bastards Reconsidered, On Govt Compelling a Man to Pay Child Support

Previously, years ago, I had posted about the propriety of the government forcing a man to pay child support with an emphasis on bastard children. At that time, I emphasized that the child had a right to support from its parents Everything that I wrote was correct from the perspective of applying current legal considerations, but that a government can take that means is not the same as saying that it should to the exclusion of alternate means for protecting the same essential rights. Further consideration of current facts has led me to altering my stance about what is the correct government policy.

Why the emphasis on bastards? It is one of those edge cases that both raises the most theoretical objections and has in reality had widespread devastating impacts on men and children around the world. Further, in using that particular word, it emphasizes the long legal history of this particular problem.

I think that it is without substantial controversy to say that government has an obligation to protect the individual rights of a child when such are violated by the parent(s). Fundamentally, those individual rights of an actual existing child (as opposed to an incomplete non-viable embryo or fetus) are based upon his or her right to life. When such issues are brought before a court for a decision, the court must act in a legal manner for the best interest of the child.

Currently, the government’s policies related to the enforcement of child support are discriminatory and in some cases shocking to our sense of ordered liberty. On the later, with judicial passivity, a government acting in its own financial interests can order a man who is not the father to pay child support based upon the mother’s perjury or error as a means of recovering government expenses related to welfare. Technical means exist, through DNA testing, to prove paternity or the lack thereof but the courts do not protect the rights of an accused man by insisting on such evidence in these civil cases before issuing an order. In a return to the days of foundlings, in order to protect a child from harm by the mother, laws allow a woman to just drop off their child at designated public facilities or grandparent(s) without her retaining a legal financial obligation to the child; yet, a man has no unilateral method to renounce his financial obligation to the child regardless of his inability to pay.

Related to the best interests of the child, despite public policy compelling men to pay child support (including in the cases of bastards), the outcomes for children raised by single mothers are appalling with substantially increased future chances of education failure, criminality, and poverty.

Given these unjust and discriminatory policies that are leading to future life failures for the child, substantial changes are required if the government is to act to protect the child’s right to life. Part of that has to be removing financial incentives for the government to act against the best interest of the child related to collection of child support enforcement fees and reimbursements for welfare payments.

When a mother (or other legal guardian) comes before the court to request an order of child support for her bastard child (and perhaps for any child including in cases of divorce), this should be founded upon her admission that she is unable to provide the financial support that the child requires consistent with its rights, which may be determined by the court to be a false claim. Upon DNA evidence that the man is the bastard’s father, who was not so by being a clinical sperm donor, the man should be presented by the court with five options:

  1. Unless is he barred by his criminal history using the best interest standard from doing so, assume full legal custody of the child, if he is able to pay to care for the child (possibly with family assistance),
  2. Unless is he barred by his criminal history using the best interest standard from doing so, assume shared (half time) legal custody of the child, if he is able to pay to care for the child (possibly with family assistance), and have no additional child support payment to be made to the mother,
  3. Claim and demonstrate fraud, theft of sperm, or rape by the mother related to the conception of the child and receive neither penalty nor order of support,
  4. Make a mutually agreed financial settlement contract, which will have equal legal standing to any other contract, with the mother that will prohibit future new child support claims by the mother, or
  5. Renounce the child and pay a penalty equal to the price of three abortions into a private fund that aids indigent pregnant women with the cost of an abortion.

In the event that the man selects option 5, in order to protect the best interest of the child, the mother should lose custody of the child to the state unless family members of either the mother or father pledge in court to be guarantors for the financial support of the child, such terms by family members could include transferring legal custody to them and from the mother.

As an aside, it is fully proper based upon our right to free association for individuals to use public knowledge of a man’s renouncing of his child as reason to discriminate against him. As part of a background check, as an indicator of the man’s character or reliability, such could be grounds to discriminate in employment, housing, and credit score (thus, this should not be prohibited by law). As a service, It could also be legal for a dating website to flag this information in a man’s profile or deny the man access to the platform. Further, a government agency could make access to this information easier as is done with sex offenders.

This legal change should apply retroactively to vacate existing child support obligations and erase unpaid child support balances; however, there should be no refund of payments already made. Some fathers may choose to voluntarily continue these payments. Other parents may come to some new mutually agreed upon arrangement. If the mother is still unable to support her child, then she can return to court under the new paradigm.

The child support argument about the propriety in our age of sexual equality and legal abortions for a father having to pay money to a mother is superfluous. For bastards, the issue is the government acting legally in the child’s best interest in order to protect its individual rights. The current system of child support is failing children and destroying the lives of the father without benefit to the child. The presumption that a child is better off with a parent who can not afford to care for them has been a demonstrable failure. When parents, and their families, are unable to care for a child, a court order against a father for child support payments that cannot be paid is no aid to protecting the child’s individual rights.

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Thoughts on the Political Violence in Charlottesville

The recent political violence in Charlottesville has left me angry and sad. The ideas inspiring the violence are symptomatic of a concerning shift in our culture not just in the US but throughout the West.

The loss of life and injuries that were inflicted are appalling. The initiation of force through political violence has ABSOLUTELY NO legitimate role in our constitutional republic; NEVER as we have guaranteed freedom of speech.

In the criminal car attack, Heather Heyer lost her life. Additionally, while actively attempting to protect our fellow citizens’ constitutional rights to speech, assembly, and association, state troopers H. Jay Cullen and Berke M.M. Bates, died in a helicopter accident. Further, dozens of others were injured in fighting between opponents and in the criminal car attack. Political violence destroys, cripples, and maims the lives of actual people, which is why we freely engage in protected political speech.

Thankfully, the driver in the car attack against marchers has been captured and charged. There is a rhetorical debate about whether this was a terrorist attack, including both Democrat and Republican officials stating unequivocally that is was a terrorist attack. Yet, instead of being charged with capital murder for the death of Heather Heyer as would happen in an act of terrorism, the driver has been charged with second degree murder. Which is it, was he a terrorist or not? If he was a terrorist, the driver should be eligible for death row, because that is what we do by law to terrorists in Virginia.

For me, the question of terrorism has an additional question related to required action. Where is the terrorist organization to be destroyed? If he is like a Unibomber, then the organization is a future one that the terrorist hopes to inspire. Evidence for such intent by him…a manifesto? Related to his potential affiliation with an existing terrorist organizations, is there evidence for one? By reports, the driver has been associated with the ideas of white racism and Nazism, but is there a group of other terrorists to round up?

Some have expressed doubts that the Klansman, neo-Nazis, and white racists were true representations of those who intended to speak in Emancipation Park before their speech was violently suppressed by the counter-protesters. Jason Kessler, the organizer of the event, spoke explicitly as a white racist in his announcing press conference; thus, I think that it is beyond dispute that white racism was the explicit motivation for the event that attracted racists. Yet, the Southern Poverty Law Center and others have reported that Kessler had been an Obama supporter and an Occupy activist. Either the philosophical differences between the SJWs and the white racists isn’t as big as they proclaim or Kessler hasn’t changed sides, but tricked the Klan, neo-Nazis, and white racists into a trap. I expect that it is the former.

To be clear, Klansmen, neo-Nazis, and white racists are the enemies of America. Whereas America is an ideologically founded country focused upon individualism and the protection of individual rights, those other groups are fundamentally collectivist and anti-individual. Yet, as vile and evil as those ideas are, adherents of those ideas have the free speech rights that they would deny to others. When they go beyond speaking to violating the rights of individuals through the initiation of force, then they are subject to criminal punishment.

Now that we have reiterated the obvious that selfish citizens oppose these racists, does that mean that we are on the side of the SJWs, Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and assorted others in the counter-protest group? NO!! (Caveat: there were normal nice people in the crowd opposing the vile white racists, but they were effectively filler and not the leaders and organizers who framed the messaging.) That crowd is also full of racists, who are collectivists with hatred for individualism. Ideologically their unifying themes include hatred of reason, hatred of the Enlightenment, hatred of individual flourishing, hatred of America, and a love of human sacrifice (not in the Aztec sense, but in the Comte and Kant sense).

One of the things that struck me from the Faith Goldie video of the car attack was that the SJWs, et al marchers were celebrating that they had suppressed the free speech rights of the white racists. While I in no way intend to excuse the car attack, how ignorant and naive does one have to be to think that there would not be a violent retaliation eventually from historically violent groups like the Klan and neo-Nazis? Allowing such detestable groups to speak has the effect of keeping political action to speech and not violence. Leading up to this event, Antifa has been repeatedly engaging in escalating political violence (including destruction of property, suppression of speech, and physical attacks) without effective restraint by the police in areas controlled by Democrats.

For years, the SJWs and their allies have been invoking the strawmen of white racists and fascists especially against opponents who did not deserve such slurs. The consequence of this irrational posturing has been to actually resurrect the Klan, poke the dormant neo-nazis, and inspire new white racism in the ignorant young, who had become sick and tired of being rhetorically pilloried by racist SJWs.

It is fitting that this violence occurred in a college town, because it is public education that facilitated the creation of this political violence. Beginning with primary and secondary schools that teach that political violence is practical, that principles do not matter, that feelings are superior to facts, and that the purpose of learning is political indoctrination. Meanwhile, the rise of the SJWs on campus has led to corruption throughout our culture, the growing politicization of our lives, the subjugation of civil society, and the Puritanical attack upon free speech and against heterodox ‘thought crimes.’

Government has not only failed our citizens in education, but at this event they utterly failed to keep the peace. Government officials claim that they were well prepared. However, witnesses report that the police passively allowed the fight to break out between the opposing groups of racists both by poorly establishing boundaries between the groups and being inactive in the face of breaking violence. Given that the effect of this violence was to suppress the speech of the white racists, it should be investigated as to whether city officials were complicit, violated the court order, and intentionally deprived these despicable white racists of their civil rights.

What is a selfish citizen to do?

  • Personally, denounce the racists on both sides.
  • Challenge public officials and political candidates who associate themselves with the racists on either side.
  • In discussions, champion the ideas of American individualism, including freedom, as they are the antiseptic for the alien German ideas (Hegel) that are the ideological foundations of the collectivists of each side.
  • Object when others make excuses for the actions and ideas of the SJWs, Antifa, and the assorted white racists, including the Alt-Right and Identitarians.

Extra point, unfortunately, this comment is coded for those who are familiar with DIM: While I am not going to develop the idea in detail in this post, in viewing the cultural impact (much more than just politics) of the SJWs, I have begun to think of them as an emerging M2 (see DIM Hypothesis), which is a disturbing cultural shift from our current D1. While it requires research, my hypothesis is that they are integrating around Michel Foucault’s ideas around power, which were based upon his observations of the mentally ill. While Peikoff expected a rise of M2 from the religious right, some have disputed that and said that the ‘Left’ were a bigger problem today. My view is that when the culture shifts to M2 that there will be many alternative misintegrated options that will be there in the beginning but that the most effectively violent of those options may prevail in a contest. In Charlottesville, we see the SJWs and vile white racists demonstrate that their opposed ideas will be contested with violence.

Related posts:

 

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Stupid Teachers – Our Synonym Problem

Douglas R. Burgess Jr. authored an op-ed in the New York Times , which stated that piracy is by definition terrorism. Reading it, I wanted to SCREAM! It reflected one of the critical problems with fighting terrorism, the inability that most people and government officials have in defining it; consequently, everything is terrorism and nothing is terrorism.

In this error, Burgess made the oft-repeated mistake of diminishing the scope of terrorism to a criminal justice issue that fit nicely within his narrow point. But that has to be a rant for a different day, as this post deals with a different insidious evil that threatens to destroy our republic, the incompetence of public school teachers.

In general, why is it that we can not effectively define terrorism? It is linked to the broader problem that we have trouble objectively defining anything.

This epistemological handicap is not an accident, but by design. Further, this invasive weed has a common source that should be pulled root and branch.

The common element is how we learned to define words back in school. Think back to learning your vocabulary lists. How did you do it? Encouraged by your teacher and the evaluation tools, what was the short cut that you chose to use to make the task easier? Close your eyes for a moment and really think back.

I expect that you attempted to learn each definition using the briefest terms, and most frequently as a single word synonym. Consequently, many words tend to all mean the same thing without distinction; like seeing piracy as terrorism. Almost like Orwellian Newspeak, some words lose their utility as they become indistinct; “Freedom is Slavery.”

However, definitions have two components, the genus and differentia. Through an emphasis on synonyms in learning vocabulary, the genus is being retained; however, the differentia is being lost. Thus, teaching vocabulary by this shortcut is gross negligence and incompetence by educators.

Consider this problem in the context of terrorism and the oft-repeated phrase ‘one mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter.’ Our common definitions have been so corrupted by this epistemological error that we cannot distinguish a terrorist from a freedom fighter in public debate. It is more than this one issue in our corrupted public dialogue; from just recent news:

  • reducing the increase in spending is synonymous with cutting spending,
  • cutting taxes is synonymous with spending,
  • transfer payments to those that do not pay taxes is synonymous with a tax rebate, and
  • market dysfunction caused by government regulation is synonymous with a consequence of excess freedom.

Are public school teachers just evil? Probably not, they are just incompetent. In general, the worst students who advance to and graduate from college, become teachers. With generation after generation of incompetent teachers, the problem becomes progressively worse.

Where did this problem start? In philosophy, of course.

Several years, I was explaining this idea about synonym education and its consequence while chatting before a lecture by a visiting professor. In her lecture about the tie between a particular philosophical perspective and current politics, the professor discussed how this philosophy’s methodology included an effort to erase and deny the importance of differences. That philosophy is Pragmatism, which established progressive education in our public schools and guides the methodology of our current political leadership, both Republican and Democrat.

What can a selfish citizen do?

  1. If you have not recently done so, I recommend that you read Dr. Tara Smith’s article “The Menace of Pragmatism,” which was the basis for the previously mentioned lecture which included the subtitle, “How Aversion to Principle is Destroying America.”
  2. Whenever you hear an idea or person described as pragmatic, lookout, stop, and think; what important differentiating characteristics are they attempting to erase?
  3. Give thoughtful consideration over whether public school teachers merit the deference and respect that they receive.
  4. Don’t forget the differentia in your definitions.

Extra Point: Below is the old 2009 video from which the text for this post was revised.

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Deflating the Student Loan Bubble with Better Risk Management

The student loan market is broken again: too much student debt, too many defaults, and large write-offs pending as a result of income contingent repayment. Not that it was ever fixed, but it’s gonna blow again to hemorrhage real costs across the federal balance sheet.

Back in 2008, as the first step in the financial crisis, the Bush Administration led the federal government to take over the private elements of the student loan industry. Today, talks of evil banks continue, but student loan lending is done by the federal government and the “evil bank” is actually the Department of Education. Thanks to an overindulgent Pelosi Congress in 2007, education credit has been easy and plentiful without serious consideration of risks; this error has been costing both the students and the taxpayers.

Previously, there were three legs helping to manage risk in the federal student loan system:

  1. state and regional guarantors who would absorb defaults and collect debts before the Department would take losses,
  2. a risk share penalty against external lenders on defaulted loan, and
  3. loss of access to all Title IV program dollars for schools having a quarter or more of their students default in three consecutive years.

Now, there are no intermediary guarantors and no external lenders to limit federal exposure to losses; as a risk to taxpayers, it is worse than the bad old days of FISL in the 1970s as if nothing had been learned from that mistake. Further, currently, schools will not lose access to federal loans and Pell grants until they have had three consecutive years of 30% or more defaults per year.

The Department of Education has reported that the cohort default rate for FY13 is 11.3%, which is down from 14.7% in FY10.  There are several problems with this calculation that underreports the true impact of bad debt, including:

  • a changing definition of default,
  • the possibility of gaming the numbers by delaying defaults so that they are not counted in the numerator,
  • not accounting for future loses due to income contingent repayment, and
  • measuring rates by people and not dollars.

Thus, the Department of Education is not measuring the taxpayers’ actual loss risks with those cohort default rate numbers.

While my solution to the risk of losses to taxpayers and the harm identified by former students is to sell the loan portfolio and fully privatize student loans, I lost that argument in 2008. Given this terribly flawed government financing of post-secondary education, what could be done to address the already evident problems before the taxpayers make the politicians pay the price for this bad government policy? Better risk management as a lender by the Department of Education, which will require statutory changes by the current Congress.

So what are the risks to be managed better:

  • Post-secondary costs have grown through gold-plating on campuses due to the abundant financing provided by the federal government.
  • Students are borrowing more than a reasonable person would expect for them to be able to repay.
  • The lives of former students are being crippled by student loan debt when it comes to marriage, family, independent households, and employment.
  • Students are getting degrees unrelated to available future employment, which contradicts the idea of borrowing and lending as an investment.

Related to these problems, the stupid long-standing Republican idea on the legislative committees has been to implement federally mandated cost controls to slow tuition increases. Sorry Comrade, but that is an ineffective five year plan.

However, it is easy enough to manage immediately by reusing existing concepts and data. The idea is simply: no new government student loans to students enrolled in majors with historically high rates of underperforming loan assets based upon modernizing the long standing Department of Education cohort default rate sanctions.

Previously, the government attributed the risk of default to underperforming schools and the government cut off bad actors from future federal financing to reduce defaults. Now, we can use a similar default rate strategy, but instead target rates by the Major Course of Study (MCS); thus, if history majors or hair stylists have had unacceptably high rates of underperforming loans, then stop loaning them money.

How could this work? Using existing Department of Education data, and without delay, calculate a cohort rate for each of the past 10 years to identify the rate of underperforming assets [including all defaults (non-payment, death, disability, and bankruptcy) and assets with income contingent repayment terms); the equation would simply be the current outstanding principle balance on underperforming assets as of the end of the fiscal year divided by total disbursed loan amount (less school refunded amounts) entering repayment during the cohort year.

If an MCS’s bad asset cohort rate for any one of the prior 10 years is more than 10%, then no new federal student loans in the new school year for students with that MSC, but their students would still retain access to all other Title IV programs. If psychology majors or education majors have not been repaying their loans timely, then the federal government will stop making new loans for that major. Note that the threshold rate can be set by the Congress differently than 10% according to how much loss risk the Congress has the stones to embrace or more reasonably based upon the loans’ interest rates.

How does this help the Department of Education manage its loss risk?

  • It can immediately stop investing good money after bad.
  • Schools that are dependent upon federal loan financing will shift their educational focus into areas that will benefit future earnings for current and future students.
  • Schools will be impacted immediately by the negative consequences of their high costs, which should inspire greater frugality on expenses such as on-campus recreation facilities and activities.
  • Schools could develop effective education programs to encourage students and parents to pay unsubsidized accrued loan interest during the interim period before loan repayment.
  • Some schools could attempt to reduce their costs so that students can cover their bills with other Title IV programs, but not loans.
  • Accreditation bodies and professional organizations have a role to work across schools to improve performance and to weed out ineffective programs.
  • Students and parents can use the published rates to better understand risks associated with a MCS and debt choices, including the potential to lose access to future student loans before their program has completed.
  • Schools and other interested organization can help reduce the historical rate of bad assets by refunding to students that were not benefited by their education, educational intervention to rehabilitate bad assets, and interventions to increase job placements for former students with bad loans.

Some people may object to this new risk management policy, because of their feels; sorry, it is simply math. However, there are two salves that can be offered for their feels:

  1. federal loan repayment profits are supposed to finance Pell Grant entitlements so bad loans hurt the poor, and
  2. consider the suffering of the former students under the current destructive federal student loan program.

The below brief documentary offers testimonials about how federal student loan debt has crushed these individuals’ lives. Not loaning students more money than they could hope to repay will be a good start to preventing government created hardship.

What are the lessons to be learned for selfish citizens from this incremental transitional proposal?

  • Moving from the current bad government programs to private solutions will likely require a transition period.
  • Current laws substantially diminish the actual value of government assets, so that simply selling them can require the government to take losses, which are often hidden in pension costs and debt.
  • As part of the transition, current laws can be changed to increase the value of government assets for potential sale.
  • Early transition of failed government programs leveraging market discipline can help initiate corrections to irrational behaviors, caused by irrational government price signals, so as to mitigate disruptive transition impacts.
  • The negative impacts of failed government programs affect the lives of real people and those costs should be publicized with correct attribution to the guilty government program.
  • Sometimes the confluence of governmental problems (student loan losses and unfunded guaranteed pension liabilities) create unusual opportunities for reform and privatization, because they exist as concurrent problems requiring immediate solutions, without additional government money, from the same legislative committee.
  • There is a substantial recidivism risk to offering incremental reform to some temporal government program problems, like the above. Legislators may assume that, instead of full privatization, old errors can be renewed later after the crisis has passed, because of feels (aka irrationalism). This has been historically true of the “public-private” partnership that had been the student loan industry…private means subordinated to public ends until the private was consumed.
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Reply to Dishonest @NeilParille re: @YaronBrook on Immigration

Recently, Neil Parille started replying to tweets I had made, in which Parille criticized Yaron Brook regarding immigration. Given the number of his comments, it started to seem that I was being trolled, but it turns out that Parille has been trolling Brook and I simply walked into his muck. My take away from this exchange is that Neil Parille was being dishonest in his criticism of Brook’s positions on immigration.

It all began for me when I tweeted a video of Yaron Brook’s “Free Will and Free Borders” from AynRandCon 2016. [EVENT: Ayn Rand Student Conference 2017 will be held 11/3-5.] As part of a theme from that conference exploring free will, Brook discussed the role of free will vs. Determinism in the immigration debate.

In response, Parille replied with tangential concretes which seems too obviously trolling for a response, so I moved on with my life.

Parille_1

A week later Parille started up with a flurry of replies on immigration, after I retweeted a compliment Rob Schimenz made about Yaron Brook in the context of Brook’s availability to speak to campus and other groups.

Parille_2

I’m not going to get into every reply Parille tweeted, but instead focus on a few points of evidence; you can go to Twitter for the full exchange if you have nothing better to read. In general, every time I demonstrated Parille’s factual errors, instead of acknowledging his error, Parille would change to a different point; it was willful dishonesty on his part. A relevant point Rand made, from which Parille would benefit:

Intellectual honesty [involves] knowing what one does know, constantly expanding one’s knowledge, and never evading or failing to correct a contradiction. This means: the development of an active mind as a permanent attribute. [“What Can One Do?” Philosophy: Who Needs It, 201; via Lexicon]

Bizarrely, Parille challenged whether Brook (co-author of Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand’s Ideas Can End Big Government) is an advocate of freedom. As evidence, Parille asserted that Brook is in favor of the current immigration crisis in Europe.

Parille_3

In response, I identified that Parille was in error and provide a 15-minute video clip from 11/15/2015 in which Yaron Brook made a clear statement about recent Muslim immigration to Europe; this proved that Parille’s statement was false.

Parille responded with misdirection and another falsehood.

Parille_4

How could Parille possibly know that what he said wasn’t true? I replied with a link to a post that Parille had himself made entitled Brook Debates Immigration (Believe It Or Not) (6/2/2017). The post is video of an exchange between Canadian-born Gavin McInnis and Israeli-born Yaron Brook about US immigration policy. The debate Parille should focus upon is the contradiction in his own statements.

When you find yourself in a deep hole, stop digging! However, Parille digs deeper with more factual errors.

  • Parille_5

Regarding Lindsay Perigo, I linked to evidence from Amy Peikoff that Perigo had pulled out of a debate with Brook on her podcast Don’t Let It Go Unheard; in the interview that replaced the canceled debate, Brook directly addressed those who have criticized him on immigration. In response to her statement, Parille smeared Amy Peikoff by stating “I don’t believe amy [sic] wold have enforced the debate rules fairly.” Yet, later he talked about how he tried to get Amy Peikoff to moderate a debate between Parille and James S. Valliant (author of The Passion of Ayn Rand’s Critics: The Case Against the Brandens and co-author of Creating Christ: How Roman Emperors Invented Christianity). That makes no sense; in one moment smearing Amy Peikoff’s integrity and in the next soliciting her as a moderator…more of the Parille versus himself versus reality debate.

Regarding Ed Powell, I suggested that I debate Ed, because Brook has other work to do. I know Ed. He has written a critique of statements by Objectivists on open immigration; it is titled “The Underdeveloped, the Undeveloped, and the Not-to-be-Developed Cultures: Objectivism and an Immigration Policy of Self-Interest for America Today.”  I have it bookmarked to review for a future post as a mutual friend had asked my opinion on what Ed wrote.

Eventually, Parille’s volume of repeating replies became boring to me and I had to get to the essential point about his repeated errors in the face of evidence.

Parille_6

Why does any of this matter to selfish citizens, who already respect honesty as a virtue?

  • This post contains three really good sources with Yaron Brook speaking on the subject of immigration for your consumption.
  • As a counterpoint, for your consideration, also available is Ed Powell’s criticism of open immigration today.
  • Further, this post is a warning about the time waste that Parille can offer.
  • In future, both you and I can save time related to Parille’s trolling by replying with “Neil, you are in error again. See link…” with a link to this post. You’re welcome.
  • Finally, this post is a reminder that I am sharing valuable content created by others via Twitter @SelfishCitizen.
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The Objectivist Conference (OCON) and Ideas for Living Life on Earth

In Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged, the world’s hidden producers gathered for one month each summer and in part they traded the intellectual products that they had produced during the prior year. Similarly, Objectivists (those who study and apply Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism) gather for a week to socialize with their peers and trade ideas relevant to living life on Earth.

This gathering is called OCON and information about the current conference can be found at ObjectivistConferences.com.  Additionally, for those who can’t break away from producing to travel, the conference offers a LiveStream option of selected content.

If you are missing out on this opportunity to selfishly enhance your own life, the Ayn Rand Institute has shared some full presentations by leading Objectivist thinkers from prior OCONs on their YouTube channel; I have listed many below for your enjoyment. Not to worry, if this sampling only wets your appetite, MP3s of many more OCON lectures and additional materials are available via the Ayn Rand eStore.

Why should you care what Objectivists are thinking? Check out this video overview of Objectivism in Ayn Rand’s own words from her initial column in the Los Angeles Times.

If after consuming this feast of ideas, you decided that this is a value that you want to add to your life, including meeting such thinkers face-to-face, then plan to attend the next OCON and I will see you there, or watch the LiveStream and you can look for me in the audience.

Live virtuously, achieve your values, and enjoy your life, because it is your life.

Real Life Inspiration

Objectivism Championing Reason

Objectivism as a Tool for Life

Objectivism for Understanding Politics

Posted in Economics, History, Political Discussions | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Reason and Rights Republicans? To Be or Not To Be; That is the Question

Recently, Ari Armstrong recommended joining the Republican Party as a Reason and Rights Republican, which he called the ONLY solution for participation in party politics.  Armstrong is a serious thinker and experienced political activist. However, Selfish Citizenship disagrees with his recommended course of activism based upon the virtue of integrity.

Armstrong’s objective is to identify what a reasonable, liberty-loving, reality-oriented individual can do to make a difference in achieving political goals and educating the polity through engagement in party politics, if that is that individual’s objective. We agree that political activism is an optional value, which is not required, but is instead objectively based upon an individual’s selected hierarchy of values.

Based upon Armstrong’s actual experience with the Libertarian scum, he dismisses participation in a minor party as a waste of one’s resources, time, money, effort. He applies his personal lesson to the recent platform of the American Capitalist Party.

Despite loathing several factions (theocrats, anti-immigrant, and anti-market) within today’s Republican Party, Armstrong has joined that party in order to change it from within. He expects that liberty minded Independents and Libertarians becoming Republicans will shift the Republican Party’s program towards protecting individual rights.

On this, Armstrong and I have different conclusions. Should either effort amount to anything, then reality will judge who chose wisely.

In part, I am influenced by an experience with a telemarketer decades ago. He attempted to get money from me for Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD). While I objected to drunk drivers, I also objected to the political actions of MADD related to a national drinking age and draconian criminal penalties for impaired drivers. The telemarketer attempted to persuade me that I need to pay in order to influence the political policies of MADD. Armstrong is as wrong as that long ago telemarketer.

Engaging in the rhetorical flourishes that Armstrong made in dismissing any alternative idea, I am concerned that he is starting down a path towards a painful breakup; like the girlfriend who thought that she could change her incorrigible boyfriend, but instead compromises her integrity, wastes her time, and inadvertently supports negative behaviors that she had intended to oppose.

Engaging in the vulgarity of LBJ, the difference between Armstrong’s recommendation and my personal choice is…do you want to be inside the tent pissing out or outside the tent pissing in? Without a doubt, the Republicans want Armstrong in the big tent.  That 26 year old goal should give Armstrong pause to consider if he is allowing himself to be duped by the ghost of Lee Atwater.

Let’s start to chew Armstrong’s idea by identifying the nature of the Republican Party. My post-election analysis of the Republican Party, in 2013, as a hydra remains true today.  The Republican Party is an ideologically incoherent coalition of factions, which has been true since its creation, through the period of Stalwarts and Half-Breeds, and on to today. Essentially, the Republican Party is a pragmatist party that believes in stewardship as a governing philosophy. As pragmatist stewards lacking the ideas for managing political affairs, policy innovations come from the neoconservative, theocratic, and libertarian minority factions within the party. Armstrong’s recommendation is to marginally increase the ideas from the small faction of the Republican Party supporting individual rights.

What is the price to be paid for that minority influence that Armstrong seeks? To really be influential, Armstrong will need to be a “good Republican,” which means actively supporting candidates who he opposes, the pragmatists, the theocrats, and neocons. It is a package deal! You do not get the influence unless you compromise your integrity to advance candidates who you personally oppose. That is the choice Armstrong will have to make in exchange for influence.

Importantly, if Armstrong plays by the Republican Party rules, he is foolishly naïve if he thinks that the evil elements of the Republican Party will do the same. Best case scenario, Armstrong sacrifices leads to the selection of a pro-freedom Republican candidate for the general elections. He can count on the theocratic Republicans to abstain from supporting any Republican Party general election candidate that fails to promote the rights hating anti-abortion positions of the theocratic Republican faction. That has been a fact in Virginia elections where gubernatorial candidates lose for their failure to adhere to the theocrats while the lower positioned but ‘faithful’ Republican candidates for Lt. Governor and Attorney General receive move vote than the faithless candidate for Governor. It is a trick me fuck me game that Armstrong will lose after wasting his life energy supporting Republicans.

When I look locally at vile Republican scum like state Sen. Dick Black and state Del. Bob Marshall, I can’t even stomach voting Republican much less actively advocating that those troglodytes be re-elected. It is personal! Those knuckle-draggers should not be substituting their judgment, using the force of government, for my daughters’ choice when it comes to abortion and emergency contraception. Armstrong, if he really intends to be influential in Republican Party politics, would advocate that I support my political enemies who intend to violate the rights of my daughters so that I can be effective in politics. Is that really being effective? I say no, but such would be a sacrifice of my integrity.

Personally, I have not been actively involved in electoral politics besides voting and limited participation in primaries, but in the past as a then-Democrat, I did involve myself with the local party. My principle professional involvement in politics has been at implementation, including regulatory compliance issues. In my lost youth, I spent more than 20 years attempting to privatize post-secondary education finance including defending private schools from Republican regulatory sanction. On the cusp of realizing a major success in privatizing education finance, a single Act passed by the then new Pelosi Congress, without committee hearings, destroyed decades of my effort.  In the end, I recognized that I had been helping to aid those who I opposed through a ‘private-public partnership’ that was betrayed by the public. In joining the Republicans, I expect that Armstrong is making the same mistake that I had.

In fairness, I cannot take a big ol’ crap on Armstrong’s recommendation without putting forward an alternative. Currently, I remain as an Independent pissing in the tent.

I decidedly disagree with Armstrong’s judgement of third-party candidates. In doing so, his experience with the Libertarian scum is contrasted with the historical facts of third-party candidates. For more on this issue, see my video to ‘Open Letter to Gary Johnson, Libertarian for President,’ which explores how third parties candidates can be influential in changing the policy discussion. Note the correspondence between the populist messages that I identified then and the recent popularity of Donald Trump according to polls.

However, I look favorably at the example of Freedom Party in Ontario as the best option. It is a party whose activism in electoral politics changes the policy debate by concretizing political issues into platform issues that impact the lives of real people, whether it relates to blue laws, public financial support of the Pan Am games, local garbage strikes, irrational speed limits, public ownership of alcohol stores, public control of health care, or ending the self-destructive drug war.

While I have not yet explored the platform of the American Capitalist Party, I unreservedly endorse the author of its platform Dr. Andrew Bernstein. Not only is he an engaging and humorous dinner companion, but he is a brilliant thinker and writer on the subject of Capitalism. Further, at OCON 2015, he proved himself to be a passionate defender of the right of racial minorities not because they are a collective, but because they are individuals. For my black daughters, and his own adoptive Asian daughter, I celebrate Dr. Bernstein for the integrity of his argument.

What is the take away for Selfish Citizens?

  • It is for you to decide what to do based upon your own personal hierarchy of values.
  • In today’s confused political environment in which principles are called ineffective, you will hear many optional paths of action, but it will be for you to decide what is best for you.
  • The following are all good guys doing their best in a horribly contradicted environment: Ari Armstrong, Dr. Andrew Bernstein, Paul McKeever, Robert Vaughn, Robert Metz, myself, PRODOS, and one of my personal heroes Nicholas Provenzo of the Center for the Advancement of Capitalism.
  • Ultimately, the objective is to create a government based upon objective laws that will protect the rights of the individual from the opinions and whims of the collective.

I encourage each and every reader to engage constructively and lovingly with all of the individual political activists that I mentioned either through Twitter, Facebook, their blogs, or their organizations’ webpages.

The objective is a better future for each of us individually through the promotion of reason, justice, freedom, production, and achievement.

Based upon our mutual concern about this subject, I encourage Mr. Armstrong to PM me if he would like to discuss this further and productively.

Extra Point: Nothing in this post is intended to detract from the high regard that I have for Ari Armstrong as a thinker and political activist. Individuals with broad agreement on essential values may disagree upon points of application. As an example of his stellar activism, I point to his video series related to his living, eating, and making healthy choices on an expenditure amount equivalent to Food Stamps.  It is a masterful job of concretization!!!

Extra extra point: It took a lot of effort on my part to avoid asking the question “What is the difference between a Reason and Rights Republicans and a moderate Muslim?” You can examine that question for yourself in the comments, but please do so with due love for the meritorious intellectuals involve in this minor disagreement.

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