Language is everything – because language is thought.
Get people to accept a given meaning and their thinking follows. This includes inventing new meanings, the opposite of the original meaning.
Obvious examples include “liberal” – which used to mean someone who favored small government and leaving people alone. And “customer,” which at one time meant someone who sought a service or bought a product they were free to not buy.
The latest example of meaning inversion is the use of the word “market” to describe the use of government redistribution of other people’s money to promote something which would probably fail absent the government-redistributed money.
For example, the “awarding” – there’s another one! – of $60 million in “grants” to rural communities, for the purposes of Potempkin Villaging into existence a “market” for automated transportation, including automated shuttle buses.
Which, of course, are styled “autonomous” busses – another meaning inversion. But they are in fact automated, not “autonomous.” They are under the control of some other party, not you. They are certainly not independent, free from external control – which is what autonomous used to mean.
The obvious but never posed question arises: If there is a need for shuttle buses – whether automated or not – then a market (no italics or air quotes) already exists, does it not?
The market provides for such needs, without the need for redistribution – via the profit motive. If there is need enough to make it worth offering shuttle bus service – i.e., money can be earned by providing it – then someone would provide it.
If a market exists, there is no need to Potemkin Village one into existence; one which will only exist for as long as it is propped up by government redistribution of other people’s money – which those people would probably have rather spent on things of value to themselves.
Implicit in these “grants” is the absence of a market.
But that absence never stopped the busybodies and control freaks who constitute “the government.” These believe there ought to be automated shuttle busses and so on in these rural communities and are going to pop them into existence regardless of the absence of any actual market for them.
They will create one – in the manner of the “market” for health insurance, which everyone is forced to buy. Or rather, which everyone is forced to pay for – and then the busybodies and control freaks who constitute “the government” decide how much medical treatment we’ll get.
The media is dripping with saturation coverage about the Automated Future. Well, if it is The Future, by dint of its general marvelousness, why is it necessary to shove the proverbial funnel down the goose’s throat and force-feed it to him? Why does inevitability need a nudge?
But the rural communities aren’t victims – they are clamoring to be the recipients of stolen property.
The corrupting influence of this theft rendered something acceptable by the alchemy of transmuted meaning – a “liberal” is now someone who cannot conceive of a government that isn’t too big and doesn’t micromanage every aspect of a person’s life (except when it comes to a woman’s “right” to terminate a pregnancy; in that case, she is free to do as she likes) and – presto! – the busybodies and control freaks at the rural community level are just as eager to put other people’s money into their pockets as the busybodies and control freaks in Washington are to take it out of other people’s pockets.
Just call it a “grant” and it transmutes into innocuousness, like the package of ground beef nicely presented at the grocery store. No need to think about the cow and what became of him.
Thus, “73 proposals” have been received by the federal Department of Transportation, each a rent-seeking plea for other people’s manna to rain down upon them.
It’s all couched in gentle-sounding euphemistic language. The industry trade publication Automotive News published a “news” (really, opinion-mongering) piece describing the “conversation” between one of the small communities – or rather, that small community’s busybodies and control freaks – and the rent-seeking companies who will provide the automated shuttle busses there is no market for.
A conversation – in non-political language – is free of force. But the use of that word in this context is very deliberate; it is used to imply a free exchange – we’re just talking! But when the “conversation” involves the busybodies and control freaks who constitute the government – whether in Washington or in a rural community – there is always a gun on the table.
It is a “conversation” of the kind that Luca Brasi had with Johnny Fontaine’s manager – except less honestly conducted.
When it comes to the government and the busybodies and control freaks who make it up, it is necessary to mewlingly couch the violence inherent in everything they touch with airbrushed words designed to hide the violence, by preventing any discussion of it.
If the debate is merely about “expanding markets,” who could object?
. . .
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Another widely misused one is “Authority,” which I define as “The right to rule without the consent of the governed.”
This is distinct from “Power,” which governments wield through certain individuals like cops, judges, military officers, etc.
Power is the ABILITY to rule. Authority is the RIGHT to do so.
God has authority over nature and everything in it because He created it. Even if you’re not religious, the statement still works because the assumption here is that nature is God’s creation, and He can do whatever He likes with it because it’s “naturally” His.
Parents have authority over their minor children, which evaporates when the children become adults. At that point, they are nominally equal to their parents.
But any one human adult doesn’t have authority over any other given human adult, because we’re all equal.
Which is why it’s improper to say that governments have authority, or to call cops “the authorities.”
Bravo,m Ice Age!!!!!!
This is why the “No gods”/Atheistic contingent of the Anarchist movement is disturbing, and ultimately can not result in liberty. Failing to recognize True authority- the very source of our natural rights which men have always sought to comprise so that they might usurp that authority and subvert human behavior to serve themselves, is really the source of all tyranny, oppression, coercion and violence.
The practical counterpart of that, for an example, would be like treading on a piece of property but acknowledging that it is owned by someone- which would guarantee that we would not be following the owner’s wishes or rules (If we can trespass and wwhat we may or may not do while there) because we fail to even acknowledge that sdomeone owns that property and has a superior right to it.
Happy [belated] Passover! 1Cor 5:7,8
That should obviously be:
“The practical counterpart of that, for an example, would be like treading on a piece of property but NOT acknowledging that it is owned by someone-…”
I consider myself to be a pro-religion atheist. Nothing about my beliefs are opposed to liberty in general, or your religious liberty in particular. The new atheists like Harris and Dawkins, who actively seek to undermine religion and mock those who voluntarily accept its’ authority, represent a threat to liberty, my atheism does not. Atheism and anarchism are not mutually exclusive concepts, but Statism and atheism are. The most pathetic thing about the new atheists is that they’re not even atheists. They have simply made a god of the State and transferred their faith to that.
Oh, I guess what I said could be taken several ways. I should’ve been more clear. I did not mean that Atheists necessarily oppose liberty, nor anyone else’s beliefs; but rather that since Atheism doesn’t require nor dictate the acknowledgement of any morality other than whatever the individual chooses to believe and practice- be it the NAP or altruism; or conquest, tyranny and slavery. -It’s just dependent upon one’s preferences and character- which can be good or bad.
I do have respect for honest Atheists and Agnostics- such as yourself and Eric- in fact, more so than for many professing “Christians”, many of whom are essentially practicing Satanism under a Christian nomenclature- whereas some non-believers (such as you and Eric) actually practice a higher morality than said “Christians” [The state of “Christendom” today is really no different than that of Judaism in Christ’s day- which is why Christ was more critical of the Jews than anyone!].
I guess the contrast I was trying to illustrate in my previous post, was that acknowledging our Creator and His standards in honesty, will guarantee a Libertarian perspective. I am a Libertarian/Anarchist because I am a Christian. I can not be statist/collectivist, because the principles and practices of such are diametrically opposed to the morality of God and His economy; whereas if I were an Atheist, it would necessarily preclude me from being a Liber/Anarch…..but nor would it constrain me to be one- it would simply be a matter of personal choice- “how I felt”; how I view others; etc. I would be my only authority.
EDIT (What the hell is wronmg with me?!)
That should read:
“whereas if I were an Atheist, it would NOTnecessarily preclude me from being a Liber/Anarch…..
Sorry. (I’m a doofus!)
Thanks for the response. I know you were not taking a dig at all atheists. I deeply admire Christian anarchists as I believe that they take their faith very seriously and act accordingly. The State is an idol, isn’t there some prohibition against making/revering such a thing?
If we accept that property rights exist in persons, there seem to be three possibilities: God owned, self owned or collectively owned. Interestingly, God owned and self owned produce the same basic rules governing behavior to others. Collectively owned is just a dishonest term for government owned, which is simply slavery.
You write, “…that acknowledging our Creator and His standards in honesty, will guarantee a Libertarian perspective.” I realize that you qualified this statement with the word “honesty”, problem is far too few Christians see it this way. You argue that, “Atheism doesn’t require nor dictate the acknowledgement of any morality other than whatever the individual chooses to believe”, which is true but most of the “faithful” seem to integrate whatever they “choose to believe” into their religion. I don’t see much practical difference here.
You believe in God and accept the legitimacy of Christianity. You believe that natural rights, and the morality that flows from that, were created by God. That’s a great thing. I believe that the concept of “natural rights” was created by men, as an expression of nature and reason. The product of the minds of men are “natural”. Most atheists reflexively reject “natural rights” because they insist that they are actually “supernatural rights”. Ironically, they reject the best moral idea ever created by man because, like you, they believe it comes from God.
You write, “if I were an Atheist, it would not necessarily preclude me from being a Liber/Anarch…..but nor would it constrain me to be one”. I believe it does. Just as you believe that “honestly acknowledging our creator” guarantees a libertarian perspective, I believe that honest atheism leads logically to anarchism. But, most atheists, just like most Christians, reject this (or have never thought about it).
Atheists reject the legitimacy of religious authority because they believe that the existence of God is a myth and therefore the institutions and beliefs based on that myth are invalid. Yet, most atheists accept the legitimacy of political authority, without ever considering that the beliefs that underly that supposed authority (will of the people, consent of the governed, delegation of authority, the social contract, etc…) are also myths. But, unlike the central “myth” that underlies the legitimacy of religious faith and religious institutions which, at worst, is probably false, the myths underlying political authority are provably false.
Sorry for the delayed response.
***”The State is an idol, isn’t there some prohibition against making/revering such a thing?”***
Hmmm, I think I vaguely remember something to that effect 😉
That is actually the crux of the matter from a Biblical perspective; not only is the state an idol, but it is another god- literally- a competing system of morality and authority.
***”If we accept that property rights exist in persons, there seem to be three possibilities: God owned, self owned or collectively owned. Interestingly, God owned and self owned produce the same basic rules governing behavior to others. Collectively owned is just a dishonest term for government owned, which is simply slavery.”***
***” problem is far too few Christians see it this way. You argue that, “Atheism doesn’t require nor dictate the acknowledgement of any morality other than whatever the individual chooses to believe”, which is true but most of the “faithful” seem to integrate whatever they “choose to believe” into their religion. I don’t see much practical difference here.”***
This is very true- but what people who claim to embrace a given philosophy do in the name of that philosophy, which may in actuality have little or nothing to do with the actual tenets of that philosophy, really have no bearing on the philosophy which they claim to represent- any more so than Elon Musk or Adam Kokesh represent Libertarianism/Anarchism.
***” I believe that the concept of “natural rights” was created by men, as an expression of nature and reason. The product of the minds of men are “natural”. “****
This I do not quite understand. Collectivism and many other philosophies were also created by men- but that does not make them natural; nor (assuming that we accept the concept that natural rights were invented by men) does it obligate anyone to accept and practice it anymore so than any other philosophy which they might choose to advocate, based solely on their own personal interpretation of what constitutes good or bad; appropriate behavior towards others and their property; and their own opinion of the value and sanctity of life, and whether that sanctity applies to all, or just some, etc.
***”Ironically, they reject the best moral idea ever created by man because, like you, they believe it comes from God.”***
Although my alignment with the concepts of natural rights do stem mainly from belief in God, I think in a broader sense, the reason that they are called ‘natural rights’ is because it has been universally observed that in nature, there are no constraints put upon men which limit such things as their speech, or their right to possess property, or remain silent, etc. The breaching of such an unfettered existence only comes about as a result of the interference of other men- so in either sense- whether theological or natural, I believe that it can be argued that such rights exist outside of and apart from man.
If, conversely, they were invented by men, then they would not necessarily be superior to any other concepts of men; and would also not be sacrosanct- as if they are the product of men, then they could be legitimately be altered; applied discriminately; or revoked.
***” I believe that honest atheism leads logically to anarchism. “****
This, I must say, I do not understand. What exactly is ‘honest atheism’? I mean, if it suited a particular atheist, why couldn’t he view all other (or some other) humans as inferior or as otherwise for whatever reason, not deserving of the same rights as himself; or perhaps, to be forced to live in a certain way, as he sees fit (Which seems to be the goal of all utopians!).
Why could an honest atheist not believe that it is natural for the strongest to survive, and thus to condone the robbery and murder of the weak- for one example?
(Sadly, most professing Christians seem to have no problem with such conduct either- especially if done in the name of the state…. 🙁 )
**”Atheists reject the legitimacy of religious authority because they believe that the existence of God is a myth and therefore the institutions and beliefs based on that myth are invalid. Yet, most atheists accept the legitimacy of political authority, without ever considering that the beliefs that underly that supposed authority (will of the people, consent of the governed, delegation of authority, the social contract, etc…) are also myths. But, unlike the central “myth” that underlies the legitimacy of religious faith and religious institutions which, at worst, is probably false, the myths underlying political authority are provably false.”***
Again, well said!
I guess my main point is that atheists can accept or reject any morality, and any view of humanity as legitimate, since they ultimately acknowledge no moral power higher than the self- unless of course they happen to be statists. It is great to see an atheist such as yourself come to an understanding which affirms the truths of existence, life and being- but the thing is, mnot recognizing any higher moral power than one’s self, an atheist could just as easily be a Hitler or Stalin, if such were to suit your particular tastes.
And, as always, it’s a treat to see you participating here more, and to be able to have these conversations with you.
Thanks for the detailed response! In contrast to postmodern theorists, I believe that human nature is a meaningful concept. While aberrations do exist, it is clear that humans, as a class, are social beings and prefer cooperation over conflict. This helps to explain why the minority of violent outliers often succeed against a much larger group. I claimed that “natural rights” were created by men. Perhaps, recognized or discovered more accurately conveys my meaning. “Natural rights” are aligned with human nature, promote human flourishing, and place constraints on behavior that, if made universal, would likely lead to destruction.
It is true that authoritarian collectivism, in all its’ forms, was created by men and, in that limited sense, are “natural”. However, these ideas are created by the outliers, those who wish to rule and prefer violence over cooperation. These ideologies are intrinsically dishonest, as they mask the ultimate goal, power and control, behind a false veil of benevolence. They are not conducive to human flourishing and place no constraints on destructive behavior. They are consistent with the “nature” of the outlier and sociopath, not the majority of humanity.
“What exactly is ‘honest atheism’?” An honest atheist is one who applies the same critical standards to his own beliefs as he does to those of others. Above, I described why the “new atheists” fail in this regard.
You write: “Why could an honest atheist not believe that it is natural for the strongest to survive, and thus to condone the robbery and murder of the weak- for one example?”
Well, they can but only if they condone the same behavior directed toward themselves. To claim otherwise is necessarily dishonest. And, as you point out, “most professing Christians seem to have no problem with such conduct either…”
“I guess my main point is that atheists can accept or reject any morality, and any view of humanity as legitimate…”
But, anyone can do this, not just atheists. I understand your point above describing why the “misdeeds” of some self-professed libertarians, are not relevant to the validity of libertarian theory. But, I am not persuaded by the claim that an external power (God) is necessary for moral conduct and belief in the superiority of certain views over others. Disbelief in God does not require rejecting any “moral power higher than the self”. I believe that acting on my desires is constrained by the rights of others, as such that constraint is a recognition of a “moral power higher than myself”. In simple terms, I believe that the golden rule is valid, with or without the existence of God. It is logically fallacious to argue that I may behave in a manner barred to others.
As I said above, I am not persuaded by the idea that God is required in order to accept the validity of morality. I believe that the concept of natural rights is a product of reason and human nature. Also, I consider myself to be a pro religion atheist. Absent cooperation with the State (or being the State), religious faith is unambiguously beneficial.
So, now to the crux of our “disagreement”. Your argument is predicated upon the actual existence of God. Absent that, belief in “natural rights” is every bit as valid as belief in God, from which moral beliefs flow. I do not mean to offend anyone here bit, I believe that God is very real, but has no independent existence outside of the minds of men. In short, I believe that God is real, but does not “exist”.
All cultures have creation stories. This fact can be seen as evidence that a creator exists, or evidence that human beings desire meaning, purpose and understanding. Given that creation stories vary widely across time and culture, I believe the latter explanation is more likely. Seen this way, man created God, not the other way. I do not mean this to mock or trivialize religious faith, I sincerely wish that more people viewed faith as you do. The “death of God”, in the Neitzschean sense, is a moral tragedy. Unlike many arrogant atheists, I do not consider my lack of religious faith to be a moral virtue, I consider it a personal reality and, quite possibly, a genetic defect.
Also, it’s a treat to participate here and converse with you and others.
Another timely article.
“Driving? The kids are so over it….”
Course, they don’t mention some other valid reasons, like leaving yourself at the mercy of Officer Friendly and his Goon Squads every time you pull out of the driveway, or that government “cash for clunkers” programs dry up the supply of older used cars, that cars today are overcomplicated nightmares and hellishly expensive to maintain, and that new cars are rolling Panopticons, spying on every thing you do and say.
20 somethings do not know what they lost, just in the ability to “take off” in the car or motorcycle and cruise down the road, rolling along for nothing more than the sake of rolling along.
What’s happened to all of us is a God damned crime…
True, AF. When I was a teen, one big thing about having wheels was getting a beater and doing the rat rod number on it: dragging home components and parts from the junkyard and adapting it all to have something that rolled for you.
I had a ’60 F100 that came with a 292 V8 which kind of blew up, and I got a 223 six from the junkyard that ran fine once I pulled the side cover and put a couple of pushrods back on the lifters. $50 for the six cylinder engine and about 8 hours work and I had a hell of a truck. ‘Course it also had a front seat from a Falcon that didn’t fit like a truck bench seat, but anyway.
I just saw “The Road to Paloma” about an indin dude who was a hell of a mechanic on old stuff. He rode a ’47 knuckle that he had ratbiked with a 55 panhead engine, keeping the foot clutch with the knuck’s transmission. He did some wrenching on a ’30’s Chevy for a guy with a shop in exchange for a carb for his bike. Later, he fixed a gal’s pink ’54 Deville in exchange for some of her pink. It made me remember that way of doing things, which is so far in the rearview that the headlights look like a match flame.
My first truck was a 1969 F100. It came from the factory with an FE class 360 cid block, not an FT class, a 4V carb and four on the floor with a limited slip diff. It was just an old work truck, but in studying up on it many years later, turns out it was a very limited offering in that model year to help Ford meet NASCAR (or some sanctioning body’s) street sales requirements.
Sold it to a buddy of mine who wrecked it while driving high on the Garbage State Parkway.
That was over thirty five years ago now.
Wish I still had that truck.
Yeah, that series of F’s are called “bumpside” by enthusiasts. Mine is a ’68 F250 Ranger Camper Special and it has that same 360/4V that you mentioned.
It’s going in for a suspension restoration as soon as I get the substitute (a ’92 Sierra) roadworthy. When my bump comes home, I intended to sell the Sierra, but maybe not, now. A previous owner stuck in a TH400, which I like and messing with it has given me crate engine fever. I might just restore the Sierra enough to make it my trailer puller for powwows.
Something about the old gal just makes me want to keep her, though I’ve never much cared for that series of GMCs. I had a ’70 GMC 1500 w/ 350-3speed that served me well back in the late ’80s- early ’90s. I gave it to my brother in law when we moved to a city in ’94 and didn’t have garage/parking space for it anymore.
Make a cardboard cut-out of a guy in overalls with a John Deere hat and prop it on the side of the road along the route of one of these toys. Have a recorder on it that’ll say “Does this go by Bubba’s place? Wait! Here comes my wife-sister!….” See the bus sitting there for twenty minutes flapping it’s doors open and closed!
Just ridiculous excuses to give our money to their favored corps…and then raise taxes again.
Nothing beats the automobile for the ability to go “where one wants, when one wants”. Trains and buses might be viable for extremely long distances or even city transportation, but the automobile is still the preferred method of transportation for most Americans. Nothing compares to the the freedom that the automobile enables.
Those on the left, the “urban planners”, environmentalists, and other communist types HATE the automobile, as it is impossible to control those who have the ability to travel on a whim, not constrained by bus or train schedules.
If the leftists, communists, and environmentalists had their way, most of humanity (after a scientifically-engineered plague) that survives would be herded into cities, living in soviet-style high-rise apartments, limited to using trains and buses for travel–no cars allowed for the masses-“for our own good”.
Of course, the intelligentia would have cars to get to their country “dachas”-off limits for us ordinary humans.
Folks, it’s always been about CONTROL–nothing more.
I’m convinced that if automotive technology had existed 300 years ago, it’d be protected by the Second Amendment right alongside guns.
It’s not enough to just be able to shoot back. You also have to mobile – and in a mechanized society where motor vehicles exist that means a car, truck, motorcycle, boat, even an airplane or a submarine.
The idea of government licensing and controlling personal travel was simply absurd in the 18th century. The automobile was leveraged by government to gain powers that simply didn’t exist previously best that I know. There may be some examples but if they were more than isolated I am sure someone on ‘driving is privilege’ side would have brought them to my attention by now. Anyway if the automobile existed then in regular practice I don’t know if it would have made it into the BoR simply because it wouldn’t be thought of to control personal travel.
When folks used horses to get around, they weren’t licensed then. So how did the gov’t get away with licensing cars and drivers? When the automobile was first invented, horses were the rule; that means the lack of licensing was the rule too. Why wasn’t there pushback to licensing?
Scary new technology used by “the rich”. Then incrementalism. That’s how.
By the time the model T had made motoring something for the ordinary person licensing was already established.
Even complicated early cars had to be easier to learn than controlling a horse. But a crash caused by some rich guy and his new toy makes for easy new law.
It sadly never made it into the actual Constitution- but I do remember reading in some of the writings of the founders, regarding the right to travel, something to the effect of ‘shall not be hindered whether on foot, horse, carriage or the common conveyance of the day…” [Realizing that there would likely arise other forms of trasnsportation outside the bounds of what was known at the time of their writing]
I wish I could remember what that was from- as it definitely shows that they were thinking of the subject, and realized the importance of it.
But of course, even if it had made it into the Constitution, what would it matter- just like the Second or Fourth Amendments, or any of the others that are long dead?
If I had to guess, I’d say it’s from the Anti-federalist Papers. But yeah, even if that HAD made it into the Constitution, it would have been one more amendment that the gov’t would trample under its jackboots…
Gotta love how little is spoken about who would be needing rides on these shuttles. If they are like suburban buses, they won’t go places most people want or need to go. So they drive around with few people (at least the ones by me). Most routes would be over-served by minivans.
Rural communities would have even less need of “mass” transportation.
It kind of reminds me of The Last Chase with Lee Majors. The movements of the citizenry are under the direct control of the “authoritas” except for Lee of course. He decides to go speed racing across what was once the country.
Jesus, Eric, those “transports” are some dorky looking pieces of shit! They look like streamlined cattle cars, oh wait….that’s what they are! “Futuristic” AMWs, automated meat wagons, custom made for the androgenous
worker drones of the Great Utopia! Makes me want to shove M.A. and 49 others like him into one and “drive” it off the summit of Mt. Ranier!
It makes me (per the Reichsmarshall) feel the urge to grab my pistol…
One twist in language that I think is funny is how people say they “win” an auction. You don’t “win” anything. You are willing to pay more than anyone else is. It just cracks me up to hear it.
Step 1: Stifle innovation through capital restriction and regulatory capture
Step 2: Create hype in the media to convince the public that there’s an innovation gap
Step 3: Hire lobbyists to complain to legislators about the lack of innovation, who are receptive because of what they read in the media about our utopian future if only we could speed up the process
Step 4: Get a few vague lines in a spending bill which then leads to funding.
Step 5: Hire a few dozen grant writers to supply boilerplate proposals that happen to fit into your design
Step 6: Grab the money, build a few demonstration lines, get more hype in the media, write up a bunch of analysis
Step 7: After spending all the money with no real ROI, go back to step 3.