The dawning of opposite day

July 20, 2018 § 39 Comments

The phrase “equality before the lawsociopathically frames the question of how the law should authoritatively discriminate as if it were a question of whether the law should authoritatively discriminate.

§ 39 Responses to The dawning of opposite day

  • LarryDickson says:

    Zippy, you hurt your argument by promiscuous use of the word “sociopath” to apply to anyone who disagrees with you. A sociopath is someone who enjoys torturing a little child. It is not just to apply that to all believers in equality before the law, many of whom are making a prudential decision on an approach toward assuring a good output.

    Inequality before the law is exemplified by the British leadership in the 19th century, which encouraged famines in Ireland and India that cost millions of lives, because they believed it was a good thing to exterminate unequal nations and races (free-market economics and social Darwinism). This is documented in Merchants of Despair, by Robert Zubrin.

  • Zippy says:

    LarryDickson:

    Doesn’t the whole “if you don’t buy into liberalism you favor mass extermination” schtick ever get old for you?

  • Exterminating them had nothing to do with them being unequal but rather treating them as *inhuman*.

    For some reason people seem to have a devil of a time wrapping their heads around the idea that you can be unequal to other humans without giving up your humanity.

  • Zippy says:

    Malcolm:
    Liberalism tends to define humanity in its own terms: to be fully human just is to be a (my kind of) liberal. If you are not politically free and equal, or do not acknowledge the political freedom and equal rights of others as I understand those things, you are literally less than human: you are the oppressor-untermensch, the Low Man.

    [Note: comment tweaked for clarity.]

  • Zippy says:

    As for my use of the term “sociopathic” to describe the phrase/meme, I think it is accurate (inasmuch as psychological terms can be understood as descriptors of phrases/memes). Sociopathic behaviors are engaging, convincing, superficially charming, self-centered, compulsively dishonest, subversive, manipulative, lacking in empathy, lacking any sense of responsibility for the consequences of their own actions, and ultimately destructive of the very social order which makes their existence possible.

    I think these terms accurately describe the effects – upon which I have elaborated many times – of framing the question of how the law ought to authoritatively discriminate as if it were a question of whether the law ought to authoritatively discriminate.

    That isn’t to say that everyone with liberal commitments is a sociopath. Quite the contrary: if this were the case then opposing liberalism would be far easier.

    It is true though that everyone with liberal commitments materially contributes to a sociopathic project.

    Relevant:

    https://zippycatholic.wordpress.com/2016/09/03/antigravity-jack-boots/

  • donnie says:

    Liberalism tends to define humanity in its own terms: to be fully human just is to be a (my kind of) liberal. If you are not politically free and equal, or do not acknowledge the political freedom and equal rights of others as I understand those things, you are literally less than human: you are the oppressor-untermensch, the Low Man.

    Zippy – you’ll appreciate the latest case in point over at SSC. The first quote in the post sums up the inevitable liberal mentality rather succinctly:

    “[F]undamentally… it’s not true that conservatives as a group are working for the same goals as I am but simply have different ideas of how to pursue it…my read of the psychological evidence is that, from my value system, about half the country is evil and it is in my self-interest to shame the expression of their values, indoctrinate their children, and work for a future where their values are no longer represented on this Earth.”

    Scott attempts to debunk this line of thinking by arguing that in actual fact very few people, whether conservative or liberal, have principled values, that it’s all unprincipled exceptions all the way down. He may even be right in general, but I doubt that will stop anyone from breaking out the tar and feathers…

  • We know that a class system which denies the meritorious opportunity because of their class is not optimal. We also know that a society which denies the meritorious opportunity in order to equate them with non meritorious. But aren’t these the extremes? Is there not a middle ground of equity?

  • Zippy says:

    winstonscrooge:

    But aren’t these the extremes? Is there not a middle ground of equity?

    I am sure that when it comes to the particulars there are many different views on what is good, practical, etc. But the basic background question common to all of these views is how the law should authoritatively discriminate, not whether the law should authoritatively discriminate.

  • But it is possible to discriminate such that more people are free to aspire to their conception of the good.

  • Zippy says:

    Every actual authoritative discrimination necessarily favors that particular conception of what is good over all alternative conceptions.

  • Are you saying it is impossible for a government to authoritatively discriminate in such a way that promotes freedom for its citizens? If you are then how do you account for nations whose citizens enjoy different levels of freedom?

  • Zippy says:

    It is impossible to authoritatively discriminate in a way which does not authoritatively discriminate.

  • But if authoritative discrimination can result in such different outcomes such as Stalinist Soviet Russia and the United States how is that informative?

  • Zippy says:

    How does the fact that different choices by authority result in different outcomes – something so obvious that it is almost ridiculous to say it out loud – even address, much less call into question, the fact that “equality before the law” sociopathically frames the question of how the law should authoritatively discriminate as if it were a question of whether the law should authoritatively discriminate?

  • Assistant Pig Keeper says:

    Denying the meritorious opportunity because of their class is the entire point of every socially positive class system, and every working human institution is effected by explicitly doing exactly that.

  • Assistant Pig Keeper says:

    “people are free to aspire to their conception of the good” is literally nonsense. There is no meaning contained in that phrase. No thinking person ever says anything like that.

  • So you believe there is no difference between being a citizen of the USA and the DPRK?

  • John K. says:

    “It is good that the maximal number of people get to pursue their conception of the good” is itself a conception of the good.

  • Good. Because it would be ridiculous to think that given the obvious differences between the two societies. Most notably, one society adheres to the rule of law and seeks to secure freedom for its citizens and the other does not.

  • T. Morris says:

    The post title provided a good chuckle when I first read it. Since I believe it has been well established in these precincts that every day is opposite day in the land of lies, with the dawning of each new day comes fresh new iterations of the same old lies repackaged and re-sold for public and private consumption. Gotta keep them outdated vegetables looking fresh!

    Anyway, thanks for that.

  • Zippy says:

    Assistant Pig Keeper:

    Denying the meritorious opportunity because of their class is the entire point of every socially positive class system …

    Correct. As an example, while it is true that a very small percentage of women might be capable of fighting on the front lines in infantry (and are thus meritorious in the pertinent sense), denying women in general the opportunity to do so is socially positive.

    As another example, many non-property-owning men are capable of stealing the property of other men. Denying that class of men this opportunity is socially positive.

    In general, the central question of governance is not whether there ought to be authoritative discrimination (as the phrase “equality before the law” suggests); it is how exactly the law should authoritatively discriminate.

  • T. Morris says:

    Zippy:

    Correct. As an example, while it is true that a very small percentage of women might be capable of fighting on the front lines in infantry (and are thus meritorious in the pertinent sense), denying women in general the opportunity to do so is socially positive.

    Zippy, you are of course very much aware of how very many instances in which your above statement may be customized to fit virtually an innumerable number of cases, but I thought I might should mention it in any case. Examples, as you often point out, may be multiplied.

  • You can’t get past the problem that one nation can be more free than another.

  • Zippy says:

    … one nation can be more free than another.

    Or, said differently, one nation puts the right sort of people in prison.

  • That’s kind of a weak argument. It ignores due process, rule of law, the freedoms generally agreed up that free societies respect such as speech, press, religion, association etc.

  • KevinD says:

    winstonscrooge:

    And some animals are more equal than others.

  • Patrick says:

    Something else about pretending that your own nation’s constraints constitute freedom is that it puts you in a rhetorical trap where you can’t uphold your own nation’s standards without people constantly saying, “that’s not freedom!” And you have to stupidly go along with them because they’re right–it’s not freedom. And you can’t have any rational discussion about not only about what is right but even about what your nation arbitrarily prefers based on tradition or temperament. You ironically aren’t free to maintain anything the way you want it when “freedom” is your principle.

  • TomD says:

    Law does nothing, never does anything. Only persons do things. Law just sits there. The law has never stopped anything; but the threat of the authority enforcing it (and the action thereof) certainly has.

    And in our “liberal democracies” any “freedom” only subsists as long as the majority (or 75%+) of the people feel it’s a wonderful unprincipled exception.

  • Hezekiah Garrett says:

    Winstonscrooge @0909H

    I just don’t believe for a minute that the DPRK adheres to the rule of law and seeks to secure freedom for its citizens. But I admit I don’t know.

    I do know putting that description on the other state you named is hilarious!

  • You are free to perceive the world as you wish I suppose.

  • donnie says:

    Hezekiah Garrett – I’m sure 90% of the readers here know what you meant by your comment, but I’d bet my bottom dollar that winstonscrooge thinks you meant to say that the USA and DPRK are basically the same place.

    winstonscrooge – you appear to be stuck in a cached thought loop that prevents you from thinking critically about what politics actually is in substance. It’s as if you perceive freedom, equality, rule of law, etc. as quantifiable, measurable substances akin to something like sand, and political acts like shovels digging on the beach – every political act must necessarily carry some quantifiable amount of sand, and some shovels will necessarily carry more or less. Therefore, if someone says, “it is laughable to call the USA a free country” this must mean that the USA shovel digs up zero grains of sand. Which would mean it is the same as this DPRK shovel that also digs up zero grains of sand.

    But a better analogy is to imagine political acts by authority as acts which necessarily prohibit certain people from standing on some specified portion of the beach. No one is free to roam the beach as they please.

    The thing that makes the USA beach and the DPRK different is that in the USA most people are generally satisfied with the sections of the beach they’ve been restricted to. Over on DPRK beach the folks are forced to practically worship the lifeguard on their tiny allotment of rocky sand, and the lifeguard shoots them if they try to leave. At the USA beach people are so satisfied with being herded off to the portion of the beach next to the Snack Shack that they either don’t mind, try to ignore, or actually celebrate the fact that the lifeguard’s chair sits atop an ever-growing pile of skulls.

  • Using your analogy, what do you suppose to be the reason that the citizens of the USA are generally satisfied with their sections of beach as opposed to those on the DPRK’s beach? And what skulls are you referring to? Abortion?

  • djz242013 says:

    because the USA is a government that is often more just and aligned with the Good towards its already-born citizens than the DPRK is.

  • Hezekiah Garrett says:

    The United States does not adhere to the rule of law. Well connected political candidates and low ranking military officers are treated very differently for violating the same statutes in similar ways. That’s an example, not an exhaustive list.

    The US doesn’t seek to secure freedom for it’s citizens. It empowers some citizens to kill others for mere convenience.

    The US and the DPRK can both be dystopian cesspool, while being entirely different KINDS of cesspool. That one state has expanded its elite, favored class from “relatives of the leader” to “anybody who can squawk about their rights, or wave money around” might be an improvement. But it depends on a lot of things having nothing to do with freedom, and everything to do with justice.

  • Rhetocrates says:

    I love it when Winston Scrooge wanders into the comments section. He does such a good job driving home the original point that it’d be a shame to lose him.

    Anyway, it struck me the other day that this is also true about so-called ‘free trade’. Such trade is never actually, nor is it intended to be actually, ‘free’, meaning ‘not regulated in any way, shape, or form.’ In fact, so-called ‘free trade agreements’ are themselves masterpieces of diplomatic and legal authority.

    So the question of ‘free trade’ vs. ‘protectionism’ treats the question of what authorititative discriminations should be enforced as a question of whether authoritative discriminations should be enforced.

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