Trump for President!

February 1, 2016 § 83 Comments

As a notorious and outspoken non-voter, I definitely plan to not vote for Donald Trump. I have to say that I really, really appreciate what he is doing for American politics.

Once we grant the premise of American politics – that government should represent the people of the United States, should be the political incarnation of the current American zeitgeist – well, I am hard pressed to think of a viable candidate who comes even close to representing the American people in 2016 as well as the Trump.  Who could possibly be more appropriate than a crass billionaire reality TV star, a hotel and gambling magnate with a new blonde on his arm every time we see him? His defining political position, his unprincipled exception designed for mass appeal, is just that he will keep America from getting dissolved by the dilutive power of mass immigration, making sure that America stays American by rejecting the ideology of white people. All hail the Donald, archetypical representative of our greatest aspirations!

Folks who think he can’t win are, I think, stuck in the past and do not understand the society in which we live. I don’t predict a win, mind you, but the notion that the Trump cannot win is just ridiculous. Modern effeminate Americans love to look up to a bad boy showman. Even if he slaps them around a bit and cheats on them we know they’ll still end up back with him. He’ll smile at them and say something that makes them all hot and bothered, and then they are his.

Establishment Republicans are so cute, the way they take the political process seriously (for values of ‘seriously’) — unlike the vast majority of voters, who do not have the intellectual resources or the inclination to take it seriously in the same way. For the great majority of people voting is just a signal of allegiance, a doffing of the cap, an expression of emotion, an outlet for frustration. The stereotype of the thoughtful voter on either the left or the right is one of those quaint things that certain people believe despite their lying eyes.

Another thing I appreciate about Trump is that he has introduced us to a new phase in the Hegelian Mambo. All the usual suspects will perceive this new step as the arrival — finally! – of the revolution we’ve really been waiting for! Pay no attention to what gets dropped on the floor as the dance proceeds.

The last few decades of American politics have involved a dialectic between nominally Christian liberals and anti-Christian liberals. In this new phase we can leave Christianity behind entirely, even that pesky nominal Christianity. This new phase ushered in by the Great Salesman with Fantastic Hair and Lots of Money will be one of nationalist liberalism versus globalist liberalism. Just watch that dowdy old religion disappear without a whimper!

And this could be a good thing for at least some, perhaps some small number, of even modestly serious Christians who have been stuck up until now, lured by the siren song of supposed personal relevance into lighting a pinch of incense. Though I suppose if decades of abortion rope-a-dope with the Republican party hasn’t cut the cord yet it must be a pretty thick cord.

§ 83 Responses to Trump for President!

  • Dear Zippy. You should know that one Glenn Beck says that this is prolly one of the most important elections ever (very one is, right?) and that if we don’t elect Ted Cruz then we will likely lose the Republic.

    ABS was thinking he is a bit late to the game since the 28 POTUS elections since Lincoln (Think that’s the number) were all elections after we lost the republic.

    In any event, this was great fun to read and not voting is a declaration of a desire for, something, something else than what we have, and not voting reminds me of when the Russians refused to vote.

    If folks want to vote as a way of affirming their approval of our Evil Empire, then, by all means, vote but leave me out for our Evil Empire legislates (yes, even from the bench) in favor of the four sins crying to heaven for Vengeance.

    Willful Murder  (Abortion, Unjust Wars, Drones, Assassinations)

    The Sin of Sodom (So-called Gay marriage, the acceptance of sodomy as permissible and praise worthy)

    Oppression of the Poor (Usury, which is state-sponsored theft of labor).

    Defrauding Laborers of their Wages (Mass immigration which undermines the wage scale, closing manufacturing in America and relocating it overseas to be done by slaves

    Men speculate that God has a sense of humor and ABS desires to discover a private revelation that cautions us that He will send his angels to kill any American in a voting booth on election day but He will pass over those not voting, staying at home, drinking cabernet and listening to Vivaldi and they will get to create a real nation that will legislate in recognition that Jesus is King of Heaven and Earth and will not pass legislation that violates any of His commands.

    O, and it will do public worship of Our Triune God.

  • CJ says:

    “This new phase … will be one of nationalist liberalism versus globalist liberalism.”

    Kewpie doll for the man with the John the Baptist avatar!

  • Alan K says:

    This is good one, Zippy! I can’t pick just one highlight for comment, so I’ll just say that I haven’t voted for at least 20 years. My ‘anti-patriotic’ stance is deliberate, with purpose–not via laziness or any futile attempt to protest: Voting is hardly an effective mechanism for changing our darkening world; repentance and prayer (both private and public, in that order) are much more powerful. Cheers. And Trump for President!

  • Kidd Cudi says:

    This is hilarious, by the way. Great post.

    > And this could be a good thing for at least some, perhaps some small number, of even modestly serious Christians

    these kinds of arguments/statements always hinted of the broken window fallacy to me.

  • Zippy says:

    Kidd Cudi:
    What if the broken windows are made by Overton & Co?

    We are obviously trying very hard to discredit democracy by practicing it.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    Zippy,
    What looks like an unprincipled exception to you, may be just a positivistic demand for completeness to the person making it.
    That is, when you castigate people for making unprincipled exceptions, they could very well reply that you are positivistically asking for completeness.

  • Polycarp says:

    The Obama revolution which moved so many is dead. Long live the revolution. Trump is the new Obama. The rich guy who is “anti establishment” aka old liberal anti-authoritarianism (like Obama skin color made it non white liberal elite). Obama promised peace and jobs. Trump promise peace and jobs. All hail our saviour.

    Nothing new under the sun.

  • Zippy says:

    vishmehr24:

    That is, when you castigate people for making unprincipled exceptions, they could very well reply that you are positivistically asking for completeness.

    An unprincipled exception is an inconsistency. But positivists can’t tell the difference between consistency and completeness, so if someone countered in the way you suggest that would just tell me that they don’t grasp the concepts they are employing.

  • CJ says:

    I think Trump’s popularity is a harbinger of the next stage after nationalist liberal vs. globalist liberal. Namely, the amoral, technocratic strongman Who Can Get Things Done.

  • GJ says:

    Establishment Republicans are so cute, the way they take the political process seriously (for values of ‘seriously’)

    Another thing I appreciate about Trump is that he has introduced us to a new phase in the Hegelian Mambo. All the usual suspects will perceive this new step as the arrival — finally! – of the revolution we’ve really been waiting for! Pay no attention to what gets dropped on the floor as the dance proceeds.

    The last few decades of American politics have involved a dialectic between nominally Christian liberals and anti-Christian liberals. In this new phase we can leave Christianity behind entirely, even that pesky nominal Christianity. This new phase ushered in by the Great Salesman with Fantastic Hair and Lots of Money will be one of nationalist liberalism versus globalist liberalism.

    The paradigm has shifted. And it is enormously entertaining to see ‘conservatives’ – who have long postured as rebels and anti-establishment – shrieking and flailing as the ground under them shakes and they are dumped unceremoniously with the left-liberals into the category of ‘mainstream establishment’.

  • Bruce says:

    I (much) prefer Pat Buchanan to Trump but Pat’s not running.

  • Zippy says:

    Bruce:

    …but Pat’s not running.

    That is how they get you into the store.

  • […] admit to some not insignificant amusement and schadenfreude over the sounding of the Great Trumpet accompanied by his Great […]

  • Mike T says:

    One of the funny things about Trump is that he is supposedly not a serious candidate, but the rest are. We live in an age where a kooky socialist uncle and an unconvicted felon who should be doing life in Leavenworth are the most likely opponents of the RNC.

    The Presidency is a martial office and yet none of the candidates that I know of have ever been in one of America’s many wars and fought. Governors lecture senators on stage about how they have no experience making “hard choices” when the only man on stage in any debate has, is the world famous neurosurgeon they’re overlooking.

    Perhaps God is revealing His grace in this age of decay by at least making our miserable elites laughable and not particularly cruel like the ones of earlier failing civilizations.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    One of the funny things about Trump is that he is supposedly not a serious candidate, but the rest are. We live in an age where a kooky socialist uncle and an unconvicted felon who should be doing life in Leavenworth are the most likely opponents of the RNC.

    Can’t argue with that. It would be less ridiculous, not more, if all of the candidates had to wear clown suits and juggle in order to qualify for the ballot.

    It is almost as if we are in some sort of perverse social experiment, a Truman Show in which the implications of The Emperor Has No Clothes are being explored by unseen alien overlords. I suppose it can’t be ruled out.

  • King Richard says:

    I am looking in from outside, in a very real way, but I cannot admit to any surprise. Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem shows (and has been confirmed numerous ways) that voting in a Democracy is inherently irrational. Irrational systems produce irrational results, irrational participants, etc.

  • Zippy says:

    King Richard:

    Arrow’s Theorem is like Gödel’s Theorems: very few people understand them on any level, and most who do have some grasp of them relegate them in their minds to a mystical domain of mathematical esoterica where they have no significant implications in real life.

    In reality these describe basic epistemic and social truths with pervasive implications, much like the arithmetic and logic from which they are derived.

  • Mike T says:

    Zippy,

    Another thing, there are grounds for suspicion that Bill Clinton may have engaged in some shenanigans with underage girls in the last 5-10 years due to his affiliation with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Knowing the Clintons, I can see them honestly believing that it would not come out that Bill had a three some with high school aged girls on a tropical island. This is one of the reasons I am actually enjoying Trump. If he wins the nomination, he might actually hire PIs to go snoop around on what (and who) Bill has been doing since he left office. If I were Clinton’s adviser, I’d urge to bow out of the race for “health reasons” if it looks like Trump will win the nomination because there is just no telling what he’ll do with the Clintons’ sordid dealings.

  • Zippy says:

    Aren’t bread and circuses fun?

  • Aethelfrith says:

    The sTrumpets remind me very much of love-drunk individuals who see everything except what is in front of their noses.

  • GJ says:

    Meanwhile strumpets are now the new untermensh: are they fully human?!

    I’d die of laughter if this wasn’t, well, rather sobering as well.

  • Jake Freivald says:

    One of the “ifs” in your position on voting seems to be that there’s literally ‎no effect of any individual vote on the results of an election; however, even in the moral cesspool of New Jersey, it seems like it would be important to let our leaders — who lead us whether or not we want them to — should know whether or not we want things like subsidiarity, abortion, heteronormativity, “a living wage”, and so on. Even if my vote has no meaning with respect to outcomes, doesn’t it have meaning with respect to communicating preferences? And might not that provide benefits to my city/state/country? A petition to Caesar, if you will?

  • Zippy says:

    Jake:

    Even if my vote has no meaning with respect to outcomes, doesn’t it have meaning with respect to communicating preferences?

    Infinitesimal meaning, yes. What the voter communicates in his infinitesimal voice is that the choices before him, the process by which they became the choices, and the general governing philosophy are all perfectly legitimate and personally approved by the voter enough to convince him to voluntarily go out and express that approval by voting. Oh, and by the way, pretty please, now that I have voluntarily and deliberately doffed my cap in respect, pretty please tone it down on all-sodomy-all-the-time and the mass slaughter of innocents and stuff.

    All of this ‘communicating our wishes to our rulers’ business pales to utter insignificance in comparison to the effects on the voter and his immediate circle — I would say ‘obviously’ but lots of folks seem to find it wildly counterintuitive.

  • Jake Freivald says:

    Well, yes, counterintuitive at least, and I’m not sure it’s even true — but then, that’s the nature of counterintuitive things.

    I think, for instance, that it’s objectively better that Ted Cruz won in Iowa, because it shows that being pro-life isn’t a negative, and might even be a positive. He wouldn’t have won if pro-lifers in Iowa hadn’t voted.

  • Jake Freivald says:

    When it was McCain vs. Obama, I voted Constitution Party because I wanted to register the fact that both were unacceptable, and that I want a more right-leaning leader. Staying home wouldn’t have done that, because they can’t tell the difference between apathy and disgust; a write-in vote wouldn’t have done that, because they don’t count candidates who get fewer than (something like) 250,000 votes, so they wouldn’t have been able to know whether my displeasure was with McCain being too far left or with Obama being too far right.

  • Zippy says:

    Jake:
    I’ve had this conversation about a thousand times and cannot express how uninterested I am in yet another repeat. Of course the system hands you small apparent victories which never actually alter the direction of things. That’s how it keeps you personally invested in its legitimacy — which is the true function of the whole ritual.

  • Jake Freivald says:

    Okay. I still don’t get it. I understand how bad it is to say, “Well, you have to vote for Trump because if you don’t, Hillary will win!” I don’t understand why it’s bad to vote for a good person. But I won’t bore you with the question.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    Is the argument for non-voting
    A) it does not matter numerically. It is just one vote out of a hundred thousand.
    B) We have been presented with unacceptable options?

  • vishmehr24 says:

    Jake Freivald,
    “why it’s bad to vote for a good person.”
    As I understand it, by taking part in an election where one of the alternatives is absolutely unacceptable (say, the candidate supports partial birth abortion), it serves to legitimize the process and hereby confers a degree of legitmacy on the absolutely unacceptable propostion.

    For one thing, absolutely unacceptable propositions shoud be excluded from the public square using pre-political means, The political process is meant only to choose between acceptable propositions.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    King Richard,
    For economists, rationality is pursuit of self-interest. Can this rationaity sustain a society?

  • William Luse says:

    “Staying home wouldn’t have done that, because they can’t tell the difference between apathy and disgust…”

    Who is “they”? No one’s deciphering the intention behind Jake’s vote. It’s just a number in the losing column.

  • GJ says:

    Who is “they”? No one’s deciphering the intention behind Jake’s vote. It’s just a number in the losing column.

    Right. And ever if someone bothered, there are myriad possible and actual reasons to vote for a certain candidate. Even if someone assumes that those who vote for an independent are unhappy with the two main options, it still remains very much unclear what precisely is causing the unhappiness (eg. what issues? conduct? laws passed? etc.). The noise caused by other voters swamps any possible signal you can possibly send through an action which conveys little information, ie. the action of casting a vote.

    If one seriously cared about making one’s opinion known to political powers, it would be much more useful to write letters to the relevant parties since your message actually gets sent in a comprehensible fashion (whether it gets read is another matter). But because the praxis of elections is central to the liberal worldview it carries on, both voting and also some form of not voting*, affirming both the voter as ‘relevant’ and the system.

    *Because not all abstentions from voting are the same.

  • Zippy says:

    vishmehr24:

    Is the argument for non-voting
    A) it does not matter numerically. It is just one vote out of a hundred thousand.
    B) We have been presented with unacceptable options?

    vishmehr24:

    That is close, but B is radically understated. It isn’t just unacceptable options with which we have been presented. That is just the tip of the iceberg. The entire metaphysic of governance which leads to mass market elections in the first place is despicably evil. Voting is like volunteering to pour Stalin’s tea or saluting Hitler even when nobody is watching.

    There are hundreds of good reasons not to vote, and no good ones which stand up to scrutiny.

  • King Richard says:

    Mr. Freivald,
    You wrote,
    “… it’s objectively better that Ted Cruz won in Iowa, because it shows that being pro-life isn’t a negative, and might even be a positive…”
    Please go here:
    http://kingdomofedan.com/consent-of-the-governed-cooperation-with-evil-and-the-morality-of-voting/
    About halfway down you will see an analysis of American voting patterns.
    Federal election results have no relation to rates of abortion.
    This makes perfectly good sense when you realize that because of Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem, the Sorites Paradox, etc. prove that voting is inherently irrational and the act of voting is logically separate from (and causally remote from) the outcomes of elections.

  • King Richard says:

    Vishmehr,
    You wrote,
    “For economists, rationality is pursuit of self-interest.”
    This is not correct. A more accurate statement would be,
    ‘For certain schools of Economics economic rationality is pursuit of economic self-interest.’

  • CJ says:

    King Richard –

    I am incapable of following a mathematical theorem without narrative explanations. In your opinion is this an accurate explanation of Arrow’s Theorem?

    “Say you have a group of individuals and their individual preferences for a set of 3 or more alternatives and are trying to come up with a preference for the group.

    To translate these individuals preferences into an outcome for the group, we will have to use some sort of voting system.

    Some reasonable conditions one can expect the voting system we use to meet are:
    U – Universality i.e. Each of the individuals should be able to have any of the possible preferences. In other words, the preferences of the individuals should not be restricted in any manner.
    P – pareto efficiency. If everyone in the group prefers x to y, then the group should prefer x to y. Think of this as unanimity
    I – Independence from irrelevant alternatives. This is tricky to understand. The best way to think about it is that the choice between two alternatives x and y should depend only on their relative positions and not on the position of say a third alternative z. If z’s position changes but the relative positions of x and y are the same, then it shouldn’t make a difference to the choice between x and y. Therefore, for the choice between x and y, the profiles xyz and zxy are treated the same. (In both cases, x is preferred to y)
    ND – Non dictatorship. A dictator is defined as someone who gets exactly what he wants every time. Non dictatorship simply means that there shouldn’t exist a dictator as defined above.

    Additionally, we should want the voting system to output a transitive ordering (if a is preferred to b and b is preferred to c, a is preferred to c). If this isn’t the case, then our group choice might not make much sense, since we will have cycling between choices (say a is preferred to b which is preferred to c, but c is preferred to a. Which is the real winner then?).

    Such a voting system which outputs a transitive ordering is called a social welfare function.

    Arrows Impossibility Theorem states that there is no social welfare function that satisfies U,P,I and ND. Alternatively, it can be stated as: If you want a transitive group ordering that satisfies U,P and I, you must have a dictator.

    If you consider the above conditions as the criteria for a fair voting system, then what Arrow’s theorem basically says is that no fair voting system exists, which is pretty remarkable.”

    https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-Arrows-impossibility-theorem-in-laymans-terms-and-what-is-its-practical-significance

  • Mike T says:

    I saw a comment on another site about how Cruz cannot win because a lot of women think “he’s creepy.” Whether or not that impression is held is beside the point, as what really matters is that while elections themselves are not intrinsically irrational, the majority of the participants are.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    … what really matters is that while elections themselves are not intrinsically irrational, the majority of the participants are …

    ‘Both/and’ not ‘either/or’.

  • Mike T says:

    Humanity is not rational, but rationalizing in most cases. Crystal meth proves that. There is no level of functional intelligence where it is rational to look at what meth does over the course of, say, 5 years, to a regular user and conclude that it is worth doing meth. Yet plenty of people within spitting distance of normal intelligence do it anyway.

    There is an argument against democracy in there, but I would contend that there is an argument in there that all human systems will eventually collapse under the weight of human irrationality in its various forms. Even conservatives tend to irrationally defend what others did before them, even if it makes no sense at all.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    There is an argument against democracy in there, but I would contend that there is an argument in there that all human systems will eventually collapse under the weight of human irrationality in its various forms.

    That is because – again – you are only looking at the fact that the actual participants in our liberal democracy are, on the whole, irrational. But what things like Arrow’s Theorem and my arguments about liberalism show is that even with a rational electorate liberal democracy would still be irrational: it is (unlike other philosophies and structures of governance) intrinsically irrational in itself, independent of the rationality or irrationality of actual citizens or rulers.

  • If democracy is irrational then why is it that nobody is allowed to stand for election if his election meant he could dispossess the establishment of its power?

    If such a man was wealthy enough to stand on his own, both parties and the media would cooperate to take him down.

    It seems a rational system in that way.

  • Zippy says:

    ABS:

    Liberal democracy is ‘rational’ – after a fashion – if the goal is to perpetuate and advance political liberalism. It perpetuates an environment of faux-conflict over superficialities, thereby absorbing all of man’s political energy and making anything other than liberalism unthinkable.

    But it is not rational in the sense that people are saying that it is rational. If it were rational in that sense it would immediately do away with itself.

  • O, OK.

    Your points are becoming clearer even if, at the margins, a vote for one man might result in, say, fewer abortions or fewer wars but the “right” to such things would never allowed to revert to any proscription (internal pun).

    ABS sends these links to all his friends and they don’t know what to think of you; they were especially flummoxed by your great series on property taxes.

    You blowed-out their minds 🙂

  • Zippy says:

    ABS:

    You blowed-out their minds.

    I get that sometimes. That or rotten tomatoes.

    One of the interesting functions of the Supreme Court in the American system is that it gives conservatives a strange attractor for hope and blame: a political sink to absorb their resentments, hopes, and fears while keeping them shy of repudiating the liberal democratic political metaphysic. The SC keeps everyone on the reservation: part of the problem with populism is that sometimes people decide that liberalism isn’t what they want, and will start violating the Bill of Rights and the principles of the Declaration willy-nilly if someone doesn’t keep the electorate in line. So social conservatives end up simultaneously excoriating the SC and hoping to gain control of it, so that their truly authentic vision of freedom and equal rights can be achieved.

    Meanwhile even when most of the judges are appointed by conservatives, those judges inevitably find (shocking, I know) that liberal principles imply substantively liberal outcomes for disputes in law.

    When Kurt Godel was applying for US citizenship he almost got his citizenship denied, because he would argue that theoretically the US could vote itself in a king or strongman dictator. His friend Albert Einstein calmed him down and reassured him that this theoretical possibility was not really a practical possibility: whatever the formal structures may theoretically allow, the United States was incorrigibly committed to freedom and equality as bedrock political principles.

    I’ll just suggest that ‘liberal democracy would be great if it weren’t for the tyranny of the Supreme Court’ conservatives are no Einsteins.

  • Jake Freivald says:

    I’ll disagree with (what I believe to be) the thrust of Professor Luse’s argument.

    Who is “they”? No one’s deciphering the intention behind Jake’s vote. It’s just a number in the losing column.

    If there’s one thing we do an awful lot of, it’s decipher what votes mean. If 250,000 NJ’ans vote for the Constitution Party rather than for either the Democrats or Republicans, one thing that will be noticed is that John McCain lost those votes, and it’s not because he needed to capitulate to the leftist Democrats more. (One might argue that he would only learn to capitulate to the leftist Republicans more. While certainly possible, it’s not the only possible thing to take away from the election.)

    I don’t believe that it’s impossible to take real messages from the vote. One real message that came from Cruz’s victory in Iowa: The pro-life position is acceptable, and even preferable, to many voters. Here in New Jersey, I think many people don’t know that, and wouldn’t believe it unless the votes showed them so.

    I disagree with GJ that letter-writing would be effective. Quite the opposite, actually. If you write because you can’t tolerate the stance the pol has taken, then you’re a lost cause; if you would vote for them *except* for this one issue, then you probably still like them more than the other guy. And you may be more of a whiner than a voter. Letter-writing, then, is a slow, boring, hard-to-quantify poll, nothing more. But when you refuse to pay them with the currency they understand — when they lose elections — then they will take note.

    This is the thing I can’t wrap my head around:

    The entire metaphysic of governance which leads to mass market elections in the first place is despicably evil. Voting is like volunteering to pour Stalin’s tea or saluting Hitler even when nobody is watching.

    If we voted to abolish the representative democracy and establish a monarchy whose selection of monarch would be wholly out of the people’s hands after the first one, and elected as our first monarch an orthodox Catholic who held no positions that were contrary to the natural law, would that also be pouring Stalin’s tea? Not just irrational, but evil?

    If we were choosing between two good candidates, we’re still playing footsie with Hitler?

    I think that Zippy’s position on both counts would be “Yes.” It doesn’t matter whether one side were unacceptable, either. He’ll correct me if I’m wrong.

    Meanwhile even when most of the judges are appointed by conservatives, those judges inevitably find (shocking, I know) that liberal principles imply substantively liberal outcomes for disputes in law.

    Why would we necessarily expect that? Liberal principles don’t imply any particular outcomes for disputes in law.

    Thanks for the commentary and link, King Richard. I’m trying to absorb Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem. It seems bizarre, for sure.

  • Zippy says:

    Jake:

    A liberal democratic election explicitly repudiating liberalism, etc is a different and wildly counterfactual imaginary situation. One which liberalism itself will (as Einstein told his friend Godel) never allow.

    If we were choosing between two good candidates, we’re still playing footsie with Hitler?

    You are begging the question by defining them as good candidates to rule in the first place. Someone who accepts the liberal metaphysic of politics enough to be a viable candidate for office in our actual polity is – demonstrates by that very fact – not objectively fit to rule.

    These candidates may be ‘good people’ in some sense or other or even in many senses. They may be better people than me along all sorts of different dimensions.

    But they are not objectively fit to rule, because of their allegiance to liberalism. Setting aside mind games about nonexistent realities, in our polity and culture it is simply not possible for someone to simultaneously be electable in a liberal democratic election and fit to rule.

    Liberal principles don’t imply any particular outcomes for disputes in law.

    Then why should anyone care about them at all? If they have no implications when it comes to controvertible cases they are vacuous and can be discarded without affecting anything.

  • Jake Freivald says:

    Then why should anyone care about them at all? If they have no implications when it comes to controvertible cases they are vacuous and can be discarded without affecting anything.

    Since they have no specific implications, they can lead to any result. Discarding them and following non-contradictory principles will lead to specific results — whether those results are better or worse depends on the principles, I would guess.

    But of course contradictory principles can’t be discarded in favor of non-contradictory principles without changing (narrowing) the set of rational outcomes of a case. Discarding a set of non-contradictory principles to pick up contradictory principles also changes (widens to infinity) the set of rational outcomes of a case.

  • Zippy says:

    Jake:

    Since [liberal principles] have no specific implications, they can lead to any result.

    Abstractly and in theory, yes. (A and not-A) implies everything and its opposite all at once as a matter of abstract logic, as I have explained many times in my many discussions of liberalism.

    Dropped into the context of an actually existing concrete society – our society – no. In context liberal principles imply the political primacy of whatever people happen to expect and want over any principles or natural law which might propose to interfere with people getting whatever they happen to expect and want. I’ve explained this many times and in many ways.

  • GJ says:

    Jake:

    The question was whether your individual vote conveys anything meaningful; your response conflates a single person’s vote with the tally of the entire election.

    For the latter, it may be possible to infer certain vague motives instead of being a mere Rorschach blot but even though someone might infer from a certain election result that many voters are unhaaaaaaappy, what your own vote means is again swamped by all the noise from the other voters.

    Your original comment was this:

    One of the “ifs” in your position on voting seems to be that there’s literally ‎no effect of any individual vote on the results of an election; however, even in the moral cesspool of New Jersey, it seems like it would be important to let our leaders — who lead us whether or not we want them to — should know whether or not we want things like subsidiarity, abortion, heteronormativity, “a living wage”, and so on. Even if my vote has no meaning with respect to outcomes, doesn’t it have meaning with respect to communicating preferences?

    Now even if it’s possible to get pass all the noise: again, how on earth is a single vote supposed to communicate all the information about a set of political preferences on a large number of issues?

  • William Luse says:

    If there’s one thing we do an awful lot of, it’s decipher what votes mean.

    In the aggregate, maybe. But no one knows what Jake’s inconsequential vote meant except Jake, who feels good about himself for having cast it.

    If 250,000 NJ’ans vote for the Constitution Party rather than for either the Democrats or Republicans…

    Did that really happen? Or are we just supposing?

    …one thing that will be noticed is that John McCain lost those votes, and it’s not because he needed to capitulate to the leftist Democrats more.

    I’m willing to bet McCain thinks he lost for entirely different reasons. In other words, he couldn’t decipher the vote even after the fact. Do you think Romney learned anything? Or does he still support gays in the Boy Scouts?

    The pro-life position is acceptable, and even preferable, to many voters. Here in New Jersey, I think many people don’t know that, and wouldn’t believe it unless the votes showed them so.

    Does this mean that the people of New Jersey will vote pro-life as long as someone else sets a good example? I don’t think so. I pray I’m wrong. In fact, I pray very hard for N.J. and Florida and a thousand other places because I surmise that prayer might be a more powerful weapon than the vote.

    Btw, I thought for a while that something might be said for the caucus process, since at one point Sanders and Clinton were separated by 3 votes. Then they had to ruin it with 6 coin tosses, all won by Hilary. A coin toss seems to say something significant about liberal democracy, though I’m not sure what.

    Would you please stop calling me ‘Professor’?

  • Zippy says:

    Bill:
    What the coin toss – in what is supposed to be an important political decision – shows (among other things) is that we prefer living under the rule of putatively neutral mechanical procedures and random mindless chaos over living under any genuine authority of men. The thing that must be avoided at all costs is anyone actually exercising authority, as opposed to simply carrying out the general will filtered through the requirement of perfectly equal rights.

  • King Richard says:

    Mr. Frievald,
    Not that long ago I was speaking with a young man born and raised within a monarchy who has an advanced degree in Political Science and is a diplomat from a monarchy to a monarchy. I mentioned Arrow’s Theorem and his reply was [paraphrase],
    “To someone raised within a Democracy it is incomprehensible. To someone raised in any other system it is an obvious fact.”

  • Zippy says:

    KR:

    Democracy is the mechanical or procedural embodiment of the idea that no man has (or no group of men have) a right to rule other men: that decision authority must be equally distributed among all men. Democracy is political equality made concrete in a formal procedure.

    It really should be no surprise to find that, even at the level of foundational logic and mathematics, democracy not only fails to achieve a good result in practice but makes it impossible, even in principle, to achieve a good result.

  • Zippy says:

    This is similar to the situation with positivism. The basic irrationality of positivism and democracy are confirmed ‘all the way down’ into mathematical proofs like Arrow’s and Godel’s theorems.

    But it isn’t as if you have to be a mathematician or grasp those theorems in order to understand that (and why) positivism and liberal democracy are, literally, irrational.

  • Zippy says:

    Just as a refresher, here is a recent post in which I explained how liberalism – though logically self-contradictory and therefore logically implying everything and its opposite all at once – in context confirms whatever views a given liberal happens to have, making him see other kinds of liberals as inauthentic.

    Yes, liberalism is rationally incoherent. But, like a random noise generator placed into the context of a larger circuit, liberalism nevertheless has real implications that we can understand (in this case the triumph of will and expectation over objective reality).

    So when Justice Anthony Kennedy says:

    “At the heart of [political] liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life…”

    … he is right.

  • CJ says:

    Zippy – Do you think the answer I posted from Quora is an accurate representation of Arrow’s Theorem? I was having trouble wrapping my head around it and that answer makes sense, assuming it’s accurate.

  • Zippy says:

    CJ:

    At a glance, yes, that is a reasonable gloss.

  • King Richard says:

    CJ,
    Re-reading your earlier entry on Arrow’s Theorem, I apologize – I did not notice that you were essentially asking me a question.
    Yes, that is a good overview of the theorem.

  • CJ says:

    No problem KR. Thank you both.

  • P.B. says:

    I get that liberal democracy is incoherent because it is liberal and that voting is irrational because of the 0 utility of a vote (though I’m not 100% convinced on the latter point). However, it seems that at least at the state level, a bunch of people irrationally participating in an irrational system saved a good number of lives by electing pro-life state legislators. Republican state legislators have helped to prevent abortions with ultrasound mandates:
    http://www.na-businesspress.com/JABE/GiusM_Web12_5_.pdf

    I get that arguing from results doesn’t somehow make something that is irrational become rational. I’m just unsure about all this.

  • Zippy says:

    P.B.

    Even a wicked and irrational system has to give you good things sometimes, to keep you invested in it. Rudolf Hoess reportedly was kind to animals.

  • P.B. says:

    And Hitler loved his dog. Well, until he tested a cyanide capsule on her.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    King Richard,
    I admit that this Arrow Theorem goes far above my head. Could you help me out a bit
    When you say that voting is an irrational act, what does this irrationality consists in?
    That is, what consititutes “rationality” according to this theorem?
    It is necessary since the word “rational” has different meanings depending upon the context and the techincal use in a mathematical theorem might be quite different from the use in non-techincal contexts such as an election.
    For instance, if the Church says that all persons have an obligation to further common good and advises that voting (after due consideration) is an act that furthers common good then voting might be a truely rational act irrespective of what theorems say.

  • GJ says:

    vishmehr24:

    It is irrational to attempt what is mathematically impossible. For example, trying try to divide two bananas amongst three people so that each person gets his own whole banana is irrational.

    Similarly, conducting elections under liberalism so that a good and fair result is achieved is trying to achieve a mathematically impossible goal and therefore irrational.

  • GJ says:

    In addition, if anyone still thinks that voting in elections can communicate whatever meaning you want to magically imbue your own individual vote with, imagine that you have an actual ballot of the 2012 USA elections in front of you with one candidate chosen. Now, master psychic, please deduce why the voter voted the way he did.

  • King Richard says:

    Vishmehr,
    GJ described it well.
    Democracy is ” a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections”
    Elections cannot represent the preferences/will/consent of the governed.
    Democracy is, in a way, a diesel engine into which we are required to pour maple syrup.

  • Zippy says:

    King Richard:

    You are being too magnanimous with the diesel engine analogy. It isn’t just that democracy literally cannot do what it is designed to do – though that is true. In addition to being incapable of doing what it is designed to do, what it is designed to do in the first place is wrong.

    Liberal democracy is like ugly, repulsive pornography or an ineffective method of contraception: it offers an immoral result and fails to deliver.

  • Zippy says:

    vishmehr24:

    … the Church says that all persons have an obligation to further common good and advises that voting (after due consideration) is an act that furthers common good …

    In other places though the Church disclaims any charism about what structure of government is best, and the Church certainly claims no special charism in mathematics or (von Neumann’s) game theory.

    The Church’s charism is on matters of faith and morals, not higher math. Doctrine is often expressed catechetically in the context of the general public understanding of things like science and mathematics and contemporary institutions at the time, but it is a mistake to see teaching through examples in the catechism as some sort of baptism of those specific examples.

    People make this mistake all the time: ‘obey your masters’ becomes magisterial endorsement of the institution of chattel slavery, ‘heresy is just as bad as theft and murder’ becomes endorsement of torturing heretics (because thieves and murderers were tortured), etc.

    In general people are usually pretty good about picking out what is being said, but are not very good at recognizing what is not being said and instead project their own assumptions and world view upon what was said.

  • King Richard says:

    Zippy,
    To echo that, I often remind people the catechism is mainly written as a guide and that it does not replace moral theology or obeying your pastor. I have encountered the rather odd notion that since the catechism mentions unions we must support all unions and (the most interesting to me) if Democracy were really bad the catechism would forbid voting.

  • Zippy says:

    King Richard:

    I have encountered the rather odd notion that since the catechism mentions unions we must support all unions and (the most interesting to me) if Democracy were really bad the catechism would forbid voting.

    Modern people are reflexively positivist, Catholics no less than Protestants. The first religious logocentrists were probably the followers of Mahomet in the 600’s; but, like their numerals and hot beverages, their logocentric errors have spread everywhere. Protestants often contend that if sola scriptura means the triumph of private judgment then adding the texts of Magisterial documents on top of Scripture doesn’t really change anything. They are pretty much right about that, in the same kind of way that the Reagan-appointed Justice Anthony Kennedy is right about the Constitution.

    So if the catechism says anything which can be construed as favorable toward X, X is infallible dogma. And if the catechism fails to condemn Y, Y must be morally licit.

    The two biggest complaints about the Church are that she is always telling everyone what to do, and that we need to know what to do but she isn’t telling us what that is.

  • Mike T says:

    Democracy is ” a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections”
    Elections cannot represent the preferences/will/consent of the governed.

    Elections can represent the consent to be governed by a particular man exercising an office. The problem is that modern values do not recognize that once a man has legitimately taken an office in a republic, he is not bound to follow the arbitrary and alleged will of the temporary majority but to do two things:

    1. Pursue the common good according to the role of the office.
    2. Within the scope of #1, to act upon the things which he pledged to do once in office as that is a matter of honor.

    The Romans would probably find our concept of representative democracy bewildering. They’d probably say that if are that changeable in our views on issues we are fools for having offices that have long term limits and are even bigger fools for thinking that state officer holders are beholden to the whims of an alleged temporary majority.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    Elections can represent the consent to be governed by a particular man exercising an office.

    No they can’t. KR’s point (I used to raise this point in Mark Sheas’s comboxes often, and there are probably comments buried here about it somewhere) is that Arrow’s Theorem literally rules out the possibility of a rational preference ranking of the candidates for office, as long as there are more than two options and no dictator.

  • Mike T says:

    The two biggest complaints about the Church are that she is always telling everyone what to do, and that we need to know what to do but she isn’t telling us what that is.

    If you are going to comprehensively weigh in on things where scripture is silent, then the two complaints can be related. I one time looked up a list of “potential mortal sins” and found something like an “excessive love of speed” on there implying that if you drive too fast that could be a mortal sin because it puts others at risk. The irony is that as I recall, there was no actual formula for determining what “excessive” means. Must be like softcore pornography vs art: you know it when you see it.

    There are actually two main divides on Protestants when it comes to scriptural silence: those who assume it means God is a-ok with it and those who assume it merely means God didn’t care enough to have a prophet or apostle reveal His will.

    That’s actually where the contraception issue falls for Protestants. There are plenty who think it’s just alright, but plenty like me who think that (non-abortifacient) contraception can only be used morally if one is otherwise chaste and pursuing God’s commandment to be fruitful and multiply.

  • King Richard says:

    Mike T,
    I hate to flog a dead horse (and one so freshly shot by Zippy) but this is critically important.
    What Arrow’s Theorem proves (proves, as confirmed several ways) is that IF:
    1) Every voter were rational
    2) Every voter was fully informed
    3) Every voter voted rationally
    4) Every voter voted
    5) Every vote was properly tallied
    6) There was zero fraud, coercion, error, etc.
    then it is still impossible for voting to represent the will/consent/desire/preference of the governed.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    If you are going to comprehensively weigh in on things where scripture is silent, …

    Thems a whole lotta questions you are beggin there, pardner, despite the small word count. Not to mention the ‘comprehensively’ straw man.

    … then the two complaints can be related. I one time looked up a list of “potential mortal sins” and found something like an “excessive love of speed” on there implying that if you drive too fast that could be a mortal sin because it puts others at risk …

    Well, if someone wrote it down it must be true.

    There are actually two main divides on Protestants when it comes to scriptural silence:

    The logocentric approach is positivist and incoherent in the first place, has been since it was popularized by the Mohammedans to be later adopted by Wycliff and the Lollards. So the way word taffy is made afterwards to beg various questions by starting from contradictory premises doesn’t much concern me.

  • Mike T says:

    Well, if someone wrote it down it must be true.

    And if a group of men declared it in counsel without a prophetic calling, it must true as well because dontchaknowit, our betters are more spiritually connected to the almighty than the hoi polloi.

  • Mike T says:

    King Richard,

    6) There was zero fraud, coercion, error, etc.
    then it is still impossible for voting to represent the will/consent/desire/preference of the governed.

    In practice, the vast majority at least acquiesce to being governed by the victor in advanced societies. Maybe that isn’t fungible with consent, but I think that just shows that democratic mechanisms can survive the falsification of liberal claims.

    I see the issue as much like how Capitalists make it sound like free markets and property rights didn’t exist before the rise of liberal Capitalism. It serves their purposes to make people think that until modern times, no leaders had observed that economic freedom, low taxes, security of contract and such tended to benefit society.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:
    You still have not adequately grasped the situation. It is as if you have been told repeatedly that two plus two is not equal to five, and you keep insisting that in some sense or other two plus two really can be equal to five.

  • King Richard says:

    “Turtles all the way down”

  • GJ says:

    Then they had to ruin it with 6 coin tosses, all won by Hilary. A coin toss seems to say something significant about liberal democracy, though I’m not sure what.

    As always, money determines the winner.

  • […] the fatty vote, the feminist regret-is-rape slut vote, and prudes (in the pejorative sense) who (unlike me) support Trump for president as long as what everyone already knows about him doesn’t actually […]

  • GJ says:

    Another thing I appreciate about Trump is that he has introduced us to a new phase in the Hegelian Mambo. All the usual suspects will perceive this new step as the arrival — finally! – of the revolution we’ve really been waiting for! Pay no attention to what gets dropped on the floor as the dance proceeds.

    Great call, Zippy.

    Trump unfurled a LGBT flag, and the independent ‘true conservative’ McMullin is just fine with the legalisation of same-sex marriage.

    Meanwhile adoration of Yiannopoulos among conservatives is only increasing.

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