Tag Archives: Abortion

Attempting to Understand the Alt-Right Part V

In its essence the Orthospherian-conservative argument against liberalism seems to be that liberalism is a rebellion against proper authority and ultimately God. They see all authority as derived from God in a continuous hierarchy. Thus a rejection of any link in the chain is a rejection of the chain entire (i.e., a rejection of God). I assume according to this philosophy that all authority is good in their eyes and thus any attempt by an authority to apply an ethic of freedom and equality (i.e., liberalism) onto its citizens is an abrogation of its authority and in effect a self-contradictory rejection of its own goodness (which is therefore bad).

img_0827The Orthospherians assert liberal authority is self-defeating at best and self-destroying at worst. A liberal authority by definition supports those who rebel against authority (i.e., liberals). This rejection of authority takes the form of fighting for freedom and equality. Liberals, therefore, exist in a perpetual state of revolution against the injustice of inequality and because inequality is inherent to existence. Thus, although liberalism on some level purports to have an idyllic end game it is the struggle itself that is the real end game.

Liberalism as defined by the Orthospherian contributor named Zippy is the political doctrine which holds that securing individual freedom and equal rights is a primary and legitimate purpose of government. There is a standard meme on the Othosphere declaring that liberalism is “incoherent” as a political philosophy. This meme is most clearly championed by Zippy who argues that the primary purpose of securing freedom and equal rights for its citizens which defines liberalism is at odds with a government’s other primary purpose which is to maintain law and order. It is because of this supposed incoherency that any liberal government must become more and more repressive over time in order to maintain the freedom and equal rights of its citizens. This repression works against anyone who would champion conservative values which stand in opposition to freedom and equal rights. Because (as is believed by the Orthospherians) the universe is fundamentally unfree and unequal the liberal government has set itself against the universe. This is ultimately self-defeating and can only be maintained by becoming more and more repressive in its means of maintaining this system as the reality of the universe closes in on it.

In this way the Orthospherians can make the argument that Stalinism and Nazism are both liberal ideologies even though neither one respected the freedom and equal rights of its citizens. I suppose the argument goes something along the lines of, but for a liberal authority seeking to create a society of free and equal citizens there would be no need to become authoritarian so as to suppress the conservative forces opposing it. As such it is the initial aim of freedom and equality that matters when labeling a government liberal and not the ultimate unfree and unequal outcome.

In contrast to liberals, the true Orthospherian-conservatives believe in authority and obedience to authority. In this dynamic there is no contradiction of primary purposes and thus no need for the ever increasing level of authority that liberalism inevitably brings about. It would seem that authority is good but ever increasing authority is bad in the eyes of the Orthospherians. Moreover, an authority based government whose primary function is not to create a society of free and equal citizens is stable and unchanging (which is good).

I have not observed any Orthospherian make the argument that the citizens of such a state will ultimately be happier in the bargain but I assume they would naturally think this. I also assume they at least believe that the members of the elite class in this society would be happier than under liberalism. I suspect there is somewhat of a “tough shit” approach to anyone who might feel cheated by their place in society under an Orthospherian ideal government. But to complain would be to espouse liberal values after all and such is the price to pay for stability.

I must admit that the Orthospherian world view seems logically consistent on a broad theoretical level but only if the terms “freedom” and “equality” are defined absolutely and not relatively. Certainly no government can maintain law and order while at the same time leaving its citizens free to do whatever they want. But no liberal has ever defined freedom in this way. So long as there is a balance between the two there really is no incoherence in liberalism as defined by Zippy.

Another way Zippy attempts to chip away at liberalism is to argue that there really is no objective thing called freedom. Specifically he asserted in a comment,

Borrowing from liberal philosopher John Rawls, whether or not you consider a particular society ‘oppressive’ generally depends entirely on who you happen to be in that society and (adding the part that Rawls carefully avoids) what you think it is good to enforce. A ‘free society’ is – the question is begged – one which sends the right sort of people to prison.

I think this argument fails because it ignores the fact that there is a generally agreed upon view as to just what rights are respected in a free society of the West. These rights are very well articulated in the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution and can be clearly demonstrated when one compares the society of North Korea with the United States. Obviously one society is more free than the other and it is not merely a difference of opinion as to who belongs in jail.

Zippy also tries to demonize liberalism by pointing out the evils it is responsible for,

When it comes to the matter of ‘repression’ and the like, it may be worth pointing out that (e.g.) feminism (which is as American as Rosy the Riveter) has slaughtered far more innocents than the Nazis and the Stalinists combined.

Of course Zippy is alluding to legalized abortion within modern Western countries. I suppose the argument goes that a government whose primary purpose is securing individual freedom cannot deny a woman the right to have an abortion. Therefore liberalism is responsible for all the deaths abortion has caused. There may be some merit to this position but it is worth pointing out that abortion existed prior to the advent of liberalism. I honestly do not know if the number of abortions practiced since it became medically safe and legal exceeds all prior abortions in raw numbers or in frequency. But I do know it cannot logically be said that liberalism is responsible for abortion if it existed both before and after liberalism came into being.

The supposed evils of liberalism are debatable. I do not know that liberalism always and necessarily leads to more authoritarian governments. I do not know that liberalism is any more or less stable a form of government than is a monarchy. History has demonstrated that monarchies can be overthrown by liberal forces and I do not think any revolution happened simply because the citizens were acting naughty and not respecting their proper authorities. It seems obvious to me that there were more real and complex dynamics at work.

I also do not know that liberalism is a rejection of God. I believe in freedom and equal rights and I also believe in and love God. I further believe that one has to be free in order to love God authentically. Is that not the point of God endowing man with free will?

As I have said before, it is not my intention to argue against conservatism in this series of blog posts. I merely wanted to document my thought process as I took in what I learned. So any counter argument I may have made is simply what came to mind when I considered the various positions I encountered. My original intention was to better understand the Alt-Right in connection with the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States. It turned out that the Orthosphere was not the best place to do that as most of the contributors there identified themselves as Traditionalists. But I do feel like I have come to a better understanding of the wider conservative movement through this exploration. Even though the conservatism I encountered at the Orthosphere is probably more intellectually grounded than the conservatism espoused by the bulk of those who voted for Mr. Trump. I suspect their conservatism is more emotionally based but I do not know that for a fact.

Obviously there is more to learn but I am going to leave things here for now. Once more I thank the commenters from the Orthosphere for the information they provided me along the way.

 

 

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Deconstructing a Radically Autonomous Box of Subjectivity

SkylineOver the course of my last two blog posts, How to Get More Traffic to Your Blog and The Mentality Behind Baiting and Trolling, as well as their respective comment sections I have been having a dialog with an individual named Thordaddy. I assume from his perspective our discussion has been a debate about what he thinks “Liberals” believe about abortion and contraception. From my perspective the dialog has been more of an exploration of his belief structure. In particular I have observed that he maintains this belief structure through the use of a box of subjectivity. Within this box he is free to make up his own definitions and rules of logic. In a sense he is free to believe anything he wants because inside the box his subjective mindset becomes objectively true.

Most notably, Thordaddy argues that Liberals believe abortion is reproductive right. He also argues that Liberals believe contraception is reproductive right. He defines reproductive right as the right to reproduce. Abortion / Contraception and reproduction are antithetical. Therefore Thodaddy concludes that the Liberals’ belief structure is illogical and wrong.

There are many problems with Thordaddy’s argument however.

First of all not all Liberals are in favor of abortion. In fact, it has been my experience that most people are liberal on some issues and conservative on others. A good example of this are Libertarians who tend to be conservative on issues of economics, public policy and foreign policy but liberal on social issues. So the label of Liberal as a monolithic category in which to place people is highly suspect. I suspect people who are monolithic in their thought structure (like Thordaddy) will always see the world and other people in this way. This tendency to categorize and label (in effect to place people in boxes) is analogous to the box of subjectivity in which he has placed himself.

Second, Thordaddy argues that because Liberals believe abortion “is reproductive right” and Liberals also believe contraception “is reproductive right” then abortion and contraception are per se the same thing. This is the transitive property which holds that if A = B and B = C then A = C. The problem with this argument is, however, that no one but Thordaddy use either phrase “abortion is reproductive right” or “contraception is reproductive right.” It would be more accurate to say that the right to abortion and the right to contraception are legal rights related to a person’s reproductive right. As such you might be able to say that C = A + B + Other rights not discussed in this blog post. But, this in no way makes A and B equal. A reading of the comment section in the previous posts will show that I pointed this out to Thordaddy but he did not acknowledge it. This is a great illustration of how he is free to believe what he wants within his box of subjectivity.

Third, Thordaddy switches back and forth between saying Liberals believe Abortion IS REPRODUCTIVE RIGHT (which no one does) and saying Liberals believe ABORTION IS A REPRODUCTIVE RIGHT whenever it suits his purposes to do so. These two phrases do not mean the same thing. The first phrase if true and if it is also true that Liberals believe “contraception is reproductive right” would support his transitive property argument. However, none of that is true. Thordaddy also says Liberals believe ABORTION IS A REPRODUCTIVE RIGHT (which is true to the extent that abortion is a legal right which is related to the reproductive process). However, the fact that he has argued using both phrases further diminishes the potency of his transitive property argument. Unfortunately, explaining these nuances is complicated. Accordingly, it is a simple task for him to persist in his illogical argument as if its logical flaws have not been demonstrated. This is a key strategy that allows him to remain inside his self constructed ideological box.

Fourth, Thordaddy self identifies as a Christian but does not seem to follow any of the tenants of Christianity. I do not say this to judge his religious beliefs, mind you. I am pointing it out because he has judged other people’s religious beliefs rather harshly. He seems to argue that because he self identifies as a Christian and he self identifies as a white supremacist that therefore Christianity is white supremacy. This is another obvious misuse of the transitive property objectively speaking. But it serves his subjective purposes well in that it provides moral cover for his racist beliefs even though there is no logic or reason supporting it. But logic and reason exist in the realm of the objective which he is not ultimately interested in. His ultimate interest is to remain encapsulated within his subjective box thinking that it is objective.

Fifth, Thordaddy argues that I am not Christian because I use contraception in the context of marriage after having had two children. Because he equates contraception and abortion he sees this (I presume) as a violation of the Sixth Commandment, “Thou Shall Not Kill.” (Ex 20:13). Let us put aside the argument that contraception is not killing a life but rather preventing a life from coming into existence in the first place. Let us also put aside the argument that abstinence and contraception produce the same result. Now, Jesus Christ (from whom Christianity gets its name and belief structure) stated that the “Great Commandment” is to Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself. (Matt 22:36-40). This in effect, elevates Love Thy Neighbor above Thou Shall Not Kill in importance. Why then would he believe that the use of contraception bars a person from being a Christian whereas hating one’s neighbor does not?

Clearly, both logic and Christian doctrine are not his strong suite. But none of this matters to him while he is encapsulated inside his radically autonomous box of subjectivity.

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