Category Archives: Argument

NEW COLUMN (1/16/020): The Punishing Agenda of the Anti-Punishment Movement

Argument, Britain, Crime, Criminal Injustice, Critique, Justice, Law, libertarianism, Political Philosophy

NEW COLUMN is “The Punishing Agenda of the Anti-Punishment Movement.” It is now on WND.COM and  The Unz Review. The column first appeared on American Greatness.

And excerpt:

On November 29, 2019, a man now called the London Bridge terrorist slaughtered British student Jack Merritt.

While the cutthroat has been named for a famous London landmark; his victim has been all but forgotten.

The killer’s family was quick to condemn the London Bridge terrorist’s actions.

The family of his victim—not so much.

David Merritt, the late lad’s dad, got busy condemning those who wish to condemn that killer and his ilk to life in a cell.

By December 2, Merritt the elder was already penning op-eds about clemency and leniency for criminals like the man who murdered his son.

Such minute-made forgiveness would have been Jack’s wish, asserted Merritt senior rather presumptuously—for how can the living speak for the dead?

David Merritt, then, proceeded to minimize what was murder with malice aforethought, by dismissing what his son’s killer did as a mere “tragic incident.”

Just how obscene is the progressive mindset can be gleaned from what Mr. Merritt wrote:

“If Jack could comment on his death – and the tragic incident on Friday 29 November – he would be livid. We would see him ticking it over in his mind before a word was uttered between us. Jack would understand the political timing with visceral clarity.
He would be seething at his death, and his life, being used to perpetuate an agenda of hate that he gave his everything fighting against. … What Jack would want from this is for all of us to walk through the door he has booted down, in his black Doc Martens.
That door opens up a world where we do not lock up and throw away the key. Where we do not give indeterminate sentences … Where we do not slash prison budgets, and where we focus on rehabilitation not revenge.” [Emphasis added.]

Anti-punishment ideologues like Merritt, incorrectly and condescendingly conflate punishment with “hate” and vengeance, and justice with restitution and “rehabilitation.”

They typically treat us to facile flimflam such as that the desire for vengeance cannot become the foundation of jurisprudence. By this verbal manipulation, these ideologues disingenuously advance a definition of justice that precludes incarceration and instead equates that object with restitution and rehabilitation alone.

Compared to David Merritt’s woke sentiments, the family of the London-Bridge Killer was mundane in its proper and civilized expiation:

“We are saddened and shocked by what Usman has done,” said the family. “We totally condemn his actions and we wish to express our condolences to the families of the victims that have died and wish a speedy recovery to all of the injured.”

But there was apparently no need to apologize, Mr. and Mrs. Khan. Speaking for his dead son, David Merritt appears to have already made peace with Jack’s ripper.

In their extreme versions, anti-punishment ideologues like David Merritt often plump for complete penal abolition.

Driven by parental and pedagogic progressivism, Jack, of blessed memory, had “devoted his energy to the purpose of a “pioneering program” called “Learning Together,” which aims “to bring students from university and prisons together to share their unique perspectives on justice.”

The imperative to offer up young lives to this or the other manifestation of Moloch is a progressive impulse—an obscene one, at that. …

… READ THE REST.  The complete COLUMN, “The Punishing Agenda of the Anti-Punishment Movement” is now on WND.COM and  The Unz Review. The column first appeared on American Greatness.

Suleimani: America Is Judge, Jury And Executioner; Decides Who Lives, Who Dies

America, Argument, Conservatism, Foreign Policy, Iran, Iraq, Republicans

“Suleimani deserved to die.” That’s the consensus on Fox News. It’s also how assorted commentators on the channel prefaced their “positions” on the killing of this Iranian.

Major General Qassim Suleimani was assassinated by a US drone air strike at the Baghdad International Airport (BIAP).

Even the great Tucker Carlson—the only mainstream hope for us Old Right, America First, anti-war sorts—framed the taking out of Suleimani as the killing of a bad guy by good guys:

“There are an awful lot of bad people in this world. We can’t kill them all, it’s not our job.”

However you finesse it, the premise of Tucker’s statement is that the American government, and the cognoscenti who live in symbiosis with it, get to adjudicate who’s bad and who’s good in the world. The debate is never over right or wrong, but over whether our universal American Judges should or shouldn’t act on their immutably just moral calls.

Even Tucker, whose antiwar sentiments are laudable, conceded that this Suleimani guy probably needed killing, which is the same thing Iraqis old enough to remember America’s destruction of Iraq, circa 2003, would say about President George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld.

So who’s right? Or must we accept that it is up to the United States government and its ruling elites to determine who lives and who dies around the world.

The atavistic argument—“Suleimani deserved to die”—made on Fox News holds true only if you believe that the US is the repository of an international and universal code of law and is deputized to uphold this code of law.

This primitive argument is true ONLY if you believe the US government is universal judge, jury and executioner, deciding who may live and who must die the world over.

As to whether the US government has a right to eliminate a state actor by declaring him a “terrorist”:

Like it or not, Suleimani was an Iranian state actor, the equivalent of our Special Operations Commander.

We would not tolerate Iranians designating America’s Special Operations Commander, Gen. Richard D. Clarke, as a terrorist, although they may have plenty reasons to do so.

Our Special Operations forces and their command encroach on the Iranian neighborhood much more so than Iranians and their special forces encroach on American territory.

If Iranians took out America’s Special Operations Commander somewhere in North America—we would definitely consider it an act of war by Iran.

* Image courtesy BBC News.

UPDATED (9/30/019): Mises Institute in Seattle: Why American Democracy Fails

America, Ancient History, Argument, Democracy, Ilana Mercer, Intelligence

I spoke at the Mises Institute’s annual gathering in Bellevue, Washington, Saturday, September 14.

I was asked to address the dumbing down inherent in democracy.  The title of my presentation was “How Democracy Made Us Dumb,” or “Democracy As Idiocracy.

Indeed, the greatest thinkers (before Hans-Hermann Hoppe)—the Athenian philosophers—distrusted democracy. The Athenian thinkers held that democracy “distrusts ability and has a reverence for numbers over knowledge.” The Founders agreed.

Thinking in opposition to democracy is part of our heritage, yet you won’t hear a critique of democracy in mainstream circles, conservative or liberal.

Many thanks to Jeff Diest for his introduction—and for including me in this well-attended event. Liberty still flickers in Washington State.

The podcast is up. A YouTube is to follow.

UPDATE (9/30/019): YouTube of “How Democracy Made Us Dumb.”

The ‘Demographic Decline’ Argument For Mass Immigration

Argument, IMMIGRATION, The West, Welfare

The “demographic decline” argument, in the context of the immigration S.O.S, has been used as an excuse to swamp—and weaken—native European populations. From the fact that a nation isn’t breeding to some state-set, desired level—it doesn’t follow that said nation “deserves” to be swamped with better breeders.

Mark Steyn used to be a proponent of this non-argument. I dissected his fallacy in “Beck, Wilders, and His Boosters’ Blind Spot”:

I am told that I don’t understand Mr. Steyn of the dooms-day demographics. So I listened to his “End of Europe” lectures, in which he vividly describes the multitudes of Muslims going forth to North America and Western Europe to be fruitful and multiply and push for Islam. Their Pan-Islamist identity trumps their new assumed identity. Because of numbers, Mark asserts, History is on the march in the Muslim direction. By 2030 much of what we think of as the developed world will be part of the Muslim world.

Here Steyn hits a brick wall. Other than making babies at home and total war abroad, he proposes nothing much at all. Oh yes, if you’re not already fighting (futilely, in my opinion) in Iraq and Afghanistan, you can show your marbles by publishing offensive cartoons, making rightwing movies, and writing right-wing text.

The “One-Man Global Content Provider” is wrong. Demographics need not be destiny. The waning West became what it is not by out-breeding the undeveloped world. We were once great not because of huge numbers, but due to human capital — people of superior ideas and abilities, capable of innovation, exploration, science, philosophy.

Declining birth rates?and their antidote; the mass immigration imperative?are the excuses statists make for persevering with immigration policies that are guaranteed to destroy western civil society and shore up the State.

If, as Wilders and Steyn contend, “Islam is a problematic religion; every school of Islam is basically at its core jihadist; and the religion is much closer to a conventional imperial project than to a faith” ? its religionists must be kept out. State-engineered mass immigration must be halted.

Yes, postmodernism, political correctness, and relativism hobble the West. Post-colonialism, however, affords it the opportunity to redraw the frontiers at the borders. This is the Wilders project. It has yet to be embraced fully by his American boosters. As Steyn has openly conceded, “For a notorious blowhard, I can go a bit cryptic or (according to taste) wimpy when invited to confront that particular subject head on.

When he cops to being “wimpy,” Steyn means on immigration. He and others are latecomers to the immigration S.O.S.