Thursday, February 25, 2016

What do Swedish Youth policies really tell us?

You may have seen reports that the Liberal Youth of Sweden has called for incest and necrophilia to be legalised:
'We don't like morality laws in general, and this legislation is not protecting anyone right now,' Cecilia Johnsson, Liberal Youth chairperson in Stockholm told Aftonbladet.

'We are a youth wing and one of our tasks is to think one step further.'

And this is how liberalism functions. If you believe that there is nothing inherently good, except for the freedom to choose for yourself, then you will seek to extend this freedom to choose as far as you can. One generation will take it so far, then the next one will push the boundaries further and so on.

Remember, the only real sin in liberalism is not respecting other people's rights to choose likewise. So there is no offence for a liberal if two people choose to commit incest, or if someone consents before they die to permit themselves to be used for necrophilia.

I took a look at the website of the Liberal Youth of Sweden and their policies are what you might expect of a right-liberal party (i.e. a party which thinks of market freedoms as particularly important). In other words, the Liberal Youth of Sweden are consistent and principled in following a liberal philosophy. Here are some of their policies:

1. Abolish the Swedish monarchy. Why? Because it is something that people are born into rather than choosing for themselves.
The office of the Swedish head of state is inherited - it is an old tradition and undemocratic, contrary to fundamental liberal values...Who is Swedish head of state should not be decided by who happens to be born into it...

2. Impose feminism. Remember, there are no values for liberals except the freedom to self-define and self-create who we are. We don't get to choose whether we are male or female, therefore our sex becomes an oppressive restriction on what we might choose to become.
[We are] feminist youth, because we see that today there are strong norms in society that dictate how men and women should be. We have different expectations of a person depending on what they have between their legs, and we treat people differently depending on the sex they have. This separation between men and women leads to discrimination and the lack of freedom for the individual and makes it harder for the individual to live the life he or she wants, for fear of condemnation from the environment. A person's value is not in their sex, and therefore we want to actively combat the gender roles and norms that make it difficult for people to realize themselves and restricts their options.

3. Transsexualism. The pattern here is easy to identify. It is about unconstrained choice to self-define or self-determine:
People should have the right to choose what sex they want to belong to. Which biological sex you are born should not play any role for which gender you want to belong to later in life.

4. Open borders. The policy fits the principle. If the only value is a freedom to choose, then people should be free to move to any country they want to:
In a liberal world, everyone has the right to live where they want. No state has the right to keep people in a country - or to deny them to get into another. Man's freedom of movement and his right to move stands above all else. Therefore, we in the Liberal Youth support free immigration. Freedom of emigration and immigration is a matter of course for all the world's citizens. The EU must abolish the barriers for people to be able to come to the European Union. Labour immigration should be encouraged by abolishing work permits and visa requirements.

Note: This policy could easily be rejected pragmatically, on the grounds that it would be unmanageable. There are some voices in Europe expressing this view. The problem is that you also then get the Merkels who claim that the policy actually can be managed. It is better to oppose the policy in principle, by challenging the liberal idea that a freedom to choose "stands above all else". The principled opposition is to remind liberals that issues of identity, culture and kinship are core aspects of how we fully develop our personhood and that longstanding, distinct national cultures have a value in themselves (as unique expressions of the human soul) and draw out the love and commitment of those who belong to these communities.

5. Marriage. Can't fault these guys for sticking to principle. They want any number of people of any sex to be able to marry. So a man could marry two other men. Or a woman three other women. Why not, if the only thing of value in human life is the act of autonomous choice?
The state should not interfere with the sex of the person you want to marry ... [We] also believe that the state should ignore how many people you want to marry. There is a strong norm in today's society that makes people who choose to love and have a relationship with several people at the same time be viewed with great skepticism. But who or what you want to be with is your business and no state should prevent it.

The Liberal Youth is a right-liberal party so there are also various policies about deregulating the market.

What do we draw from all this? I would suggest the following:

a) It is not a good idea to oppose these policies on the basis that they "go too far." This might well be people's instinctive response, but the problem is that as long as the underlying principle is accepted, then the policies are principled and over time people will get used to them. What "goes too far" today will be the norm for the next generation.

b) You don't need conspiracy theories to figure out what has happened in the West. Yes, the way things get organised and financed is sometimes done clandestinely by various powerful forces. But the West has shifted in line with the dominant political philosophy. The first step in changing the direction of society is to promote better political philosophies for our political class to follow.

c) The Liberal Youth is actually a right-wing party. It is a free market party of the right. So the point is not simply to reject the left in favour of the right. The more important thing is to break with liberalism, whether of the left-wing or right-wing varieties.

d) Breaking with liberalism means breaking with the idea that the only thing of value is a freedom to autonomously self-define or self-determine. Because we have been caught within a liberal politics for so long, it can be difficult at first to articulate the alternatives to the liberal idea, but the alternatives are certainly there. Is it really true, for instance, that there is nothing of value in the predetermined manhood or womanhood that we are born into? Does this manhood really not contribute in any way to a man's sense of his own personhood? Liberal claims are in many cases built on sand, they just need to be effectively challenged.

e) If left unchecked, liberalism will continue to develop along logical lines toward increasingly radical policies. There is no stopping point.

f) Currently, nearly all of the mainstream institutions of society follow the liberal philosophy. We cannot rely on these institutions to act for the good whilst we ourselves sit back and watch.

g) Nor can we somehow dramatically and suddenly force change. It is a matter of perseveringly building up an alternative politics, especially one that is articulated in a sophisticated enough way to attract younger members of the Western political class.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Subdued Twisty accepts inferior status

Many moons ago I wrote some posts criticising a very radical feminist who used the pen name Twisty. She really was out there. In one of her posts she suggested that the non-consent of women should be assumed in law, so that a woman at any time could change her mind about a sexual encounter and accuse her male partner of rape. She was forthright and uncompromising in her views.

Out of curiosity, for the first time in years, I revisited her site. I found a very subdued Twisty, uncertain and ready to admit fault. Why the change?

It seems that the sectional politics on the left is beginning to eat up white feminists. White feminists are supposed now to be focused on their own privilege as whites, rather than on their oppression as women. They are being attacked from the left as much as they are from the right. And, as much as they dislike it, that's the name of the game now. They just have to suck it up.

Here's an excerpt from one of Twisty's recent posts. It starts off crankily complaining about sectional politics on the left:
After a decade of web-based patriarchy blaming, if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s this: it is pretty inadvisable to make arguments, oppressionally speaking, that do not take into account the viewpoints of every possible marginalized group, particularly those groups of which one is not personally a member and the specialized interests of which one therefore has no direct knowledge. Of.

Of course there’s no way around that, so welcome to the personal attacks, rushes to judgment, tone-policing, out-of-context misquotations, sanctimonious castigations, and full-on misconstrutions of Internet Feminism. They will give you fits.
The phenomenon to which I allude ... is attributable not to the usual anti-feminist dudebros, but to the Mean Girls of Feminism Eating Their Own

...It all starts with the hurt feelings. If you are, as I am, merely a human internet feminist, rather than an omniscient deity of infinite scope and virtue, chances are the nuances and niceties of the Wide, Wild World of Oppression occasionally escape you, and from time to time you unwittingly commit, out of either naiveté or sloppiness, a privilege-based stupidity foul. Hell, I’m probably doing it right now! As I mentioned, failure to grasp every possible sociological subtlety from the point of view of every imaginable oppressed party can — and will — result in dispiriting beatdowns. Your intent is irrelevant. Such is internet feminism culture in its current form.

And what a curious form it is. With its demands that members conform to strict regulations, subject themselves to incessant policing, and submit to discipline and humiliation, much of internet feminism culture looks a lot like — lard helpis — BDSM ...Spawned by oppression culture, “feminist infighting” is, at its best, justifiable anger run slightly amok. At its worst it’s a sadistic mob indulging in an abuse fetish, slaking the bloodlust of the hive.

Many a spinster aunt finds that this hive stuff can paralyze the lobe, ravage the viscera, or chunk’er into a feminism-funk. For example, its prevalence is why — for the sake of my own delicate stomach lining — I keep disappearing on hiatus. It’s fairly depressing when your own tribe pillories you for unintended privilege infractions, or worse, when they inform you you’re not even in the tribe. In many respects it’s even worse than the “I hope you die in a rape fire” dude-threats. There’s a sense of betrayal and violation engendered by these smackdowns, and it takes a toll. You make some dumbass privilegey gaffe and suddenly you’re Public FemEnemy No. 1; women you had hoped were united with you against patriarchal tyranny turn out to have their own problems (indeed, you are one of those problems), and are now gnawing on your rotting carcass.

If it were me, I'd scramble out of such a gruesome politics as quickly as I could. But Twisty treats the whole thing like a kind of Stalinist show trial where the done thing is to plead guilt no matter what. She goes on to describe herself as a "writer of privilege" who deserves to be picked up on her obliviousness:
... it’s in everybody’s interest to use their hurt feelings as a privilege clue and quit being part of the problem. Writers of privilege who [care] about enbiggening their worldview (those who don’t ... should not be considered feminists) have a responsibility to examine with an open mind criticism — even sarcastic criticism — dispensed by the differently-privileged. Yet even among those who assiduously self-monitor, obliviousness will occur, so a good old-fashioned privilege-check can definitely be all to the good.

The comments (273 of them last time I checked) are an anguished mixture of "the call out culture sucks" to "I must unquestioningly do everything that those claiming lived experienced of oppression say I should do" to "this is the price we must pay to build alliances". And it's the last point that is the most insightful. There are white women who think they can get stuff from white men by making an alliance with other groups hostile to white men. Those other groups know that white women need them and are willing to extract a heavy price for their support, i.e. making white women kowtow to them on the basis of their relative positions within the leftist hierarchy of oppression.

Twisty has chosen to kowtow. So much for the idea of the feisty, proud, independent feminist woman. There is no such woman, only a grasping materialist willing to prostrate herself for some of the trinkets in life.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Recovering prudence

Take a look at the photo below (hat tip: here):

It seems so foolish. These are left-wing homosexuals who are demonstrating in support of the Islamification of Europe - when Islam right now in the Middle-East is brutally persecuting homosexuals.

On seeing the picture my first thought was that these people lack prudence. It is another reminder that some people do not have prudence and are therefore not fit for a leadership role in society.

I thought it interesting to look further into the quality of prudence and discovered that it was once considered to be a cardinal virtue. The Wikipedia page on prudence tells us that the word derives from the Latin "providential" meaning "foresight, sagacity" - and this, it seems to me, remains the core meaning of the virtue. It is exactly what the homosexual protesters lack: foresight and wisdom in considering the possible consequences of their demands.

The Wikipedia page also has a section on the "integral parts of prudence". These seem to have been formulated by St Thomas Aquinas, writing in the 1200s. Aquinas adds a great deal to understanding what is required for the virtue of prudence:

The following are the integral parts of prudence:
  • Memoria : accurate memory; that is, memory that is true to reality; an ability to learn from experience;
  • Docilitas : an open-mindedness that recognizes variety and is able to seek and make use of the experience and authority of others;
  • Intelligentia : the understanding of first principles;
  • Sollertia : shrewdness or quick-wittedness, i.e. the ability to evaluate a situation quickly;
  • Ratio : Discursive reasoning and the ability to research and compare alternatives;
  • Providentia : foresight – i.e. the capacity to estimate whether particular actions can realize goals;
  • Circumspection : the ability to take all relevant circumstances into account;
  • Caution : the ability to mitigate risk.

Given that prudence has so many parts, it shouldn't be a surprise that it does not come equally to people.

There is a very good and more detailed discussion of the virtue of prudence here.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Australian senator takes feminist by surprise

Below is a clip of Australian Senator, Mitch Fifield, firing back at a feminist senator, Katy Gallagher, who accused him of "mansplaining". He successfully puts his feminist attacker on the defensive. It's good to see a Liberal Party senator stand up for himself like this (the Liberal Party is the Australian centre-right party, meaning it is a right liberal party). Fifield's tactic is to point out the hypocrisy of a feminist using a sexist term. The strategy worked, but it has the limitation of remaining within the framework that feminists use.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Emma Thompson, old white men and ancient virtues

British actress Emma Thompson suggested this week that the Oscars will become more diverse when the white men who are Oscar members either die or are killed off:
Let’s face it, the Oscar membership is mainly old, white men ... That’s the fact of it. Either you wait for them all to die, or kill them off slowly. There’s so many options, aren’t there?

There's an important point to be made here. Emma Thompson is one of those women who think in "sectional" terms. It is becoming common now to hear women like Emma Thompson boasting proudly of their commitment to a sectional politics, in which certain groups (women, ethnic minorities etc.) form into a hierarchy in order to make claims on society.

It is a mentality I find deeply alien. Instead of a "claim making sectional politics" I find it more natural to think in terms of loyalty to the larger tradition I belong to, and of what is required to carry this tradition into the future.

And perhaps this gulf between myself and Emma Thompson is to be expected. The ancient Romans held there to be a specifically masculine virtue called gravitas. A male was thought to have reached a point of adulthood (i.e. of a fully developed masculine nature) when he demonstrated this virtue. What was gravitas? It was a deep-rooted seriousness, and a sense of responsibility to go with this. Men were supposed to demonstrate gravitas alongside the complementary virtue of pietas. Here are some definitions of this virtue:
Aeneas ... represents "pietas" which to the Romans meant dutifulness, doing what was right for the family, the community, the civilization, and the gods.

Around the year 70 BC, Cicero defined pietas as the virtue "which admonishes us to do our duty to our country or our parents or other blood relations."

...a respectful and faithful attachment to gods, country, and relatives, especially parents

So my way of thinking was simply the normal one for an adult male - it was the normal expression of adult manhood.

This doesn't mean that women cannot know these virtues. Courage, for instance, is held even today to be a defining aspect of manhood, but this doesn't mean that women cannot be courageous.

The point I would make is that perhaps the real surprise is not that Emma Thompson thinks in sectional, claim making terms rather than in terms of a larger duty to family, nation and civilisation, but that so many men do not - given that this was held in the ancient world to be a defining feature of adult manhood.

I have been reading a book called "The New Liberalism". In the introduction, the editors, Avital Simhony and David Weinstein, admit that a dominant strand of liberalism has been based on a highly abstracted, ahistorical and individualistic view of the human person. For instance:
The analytic nature of much contemporary liberalism, by featuring solitary abstract individuals who find fulfilment in separation from each other, has probably contributed to its individualistic anthropology. (p.2)

This is how the editors describe the individualism that is characteristic of many variants of liberalism:
Individualism conceives individuals as competitive, self-centered, and independent, and social life simply as an arena for coordinating the competitive pursuit of private interests. (p.16)

Is this not as equally alien to the ancient understanding of masculine virtue as Emma Thompson's sectional, claim-based politics? Where is the sense of responsibility in an individualistic liberalism to the larger tradition? And yet it was a philosophy pushed on society mostly by men. That is the thing really to wonder at. How could grown men adopt a philosophy so much at odds with a fully-developed masculine nature? So much at odds with masculine virtue?

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Calais & open borders

If you want some idea of what Merkel-style open borders will bring to the West watch the following video:

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Trump scores amongst the well-educated

One of the more significant aspects of Donald Trump's campaign is that he is garnering support from those with university education. In the recent New Hampshire Republican primary vote, the results were as follows:
Trump earned the support of 38% of those with some college; second place was John Kasich with 14%. Trump earned the support of 32% of college graduates; second place was John Kasich with 18%. Trump won 23% of those with post-graduate study; Kasich came in second with 22%.

I can only hope that this is more evidence that the educated middle-classes are starting to break from the liberal orthodoxy. I think this is a precondition for any real challenge to the status quo to take place. Furthermore, if even a section of this class does break from the orthodoxy it undermines the idea of liberal beliefs as signalling a class status.

If you're interested, James Kalb has set out his attitudes to the Trump phenomenon here.

Monday, February 08, 2016

The revolution of the 21st century

Tiberge at Gallia Watch has been reporting on the Pegida demonstrations in Europe. One of her posts includes part of a stirring speech by Pierre Vial, leader of a group called Terre et Peuple:
For the first time in History, the European peoples no longer reign spiritually, ethnically or politically on their own territory. We have entered into a system of nihilism and chaos. Only firmness of mind and resolution of heart can save us. We must awaken the consciousness of others. Those who want to destroy our identity cannot tolerate it when we speak of our ancestors, the Gauls. They have not ceased to annihilate this collective memory. The revolution of the 21st century will be identitarian, with the awakening of peoples that our enemies label as populism. Each people has a right to its identity. Long live the right to our differences. We need a united front of patriots in all European countries. The awakening of peoples and carnal homelands is in progress.

Well said. He is right that this might be the first time that the European peoples no longer reign "spiritually, ethnically or politically" on their own territory, though there have been times in history when they did not reign politically. Russia was ruled over by the Mongols for an extended period of time; parts of Spain by the Moors; most of south-eastern Europe by the Ottomans.

Finland's President takes the lead

It's been obvious for a long time that the international convention on refugees needs to be reformed. Yes, there are people displaced by war who need to be resettled. But it makes sense for them to be resettled in countries with a similar standard of living and a similar culture. Otherwise you end up with millions of economic migrants claiming to be refugees and you fail to allow either the migrants or the host populations to keep their own cultures.

The President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö, has used his address to the parliament to raise these issues:
Speaking at Finlandia Hall for the official opening of parliament ... Niinistö said that most asylum seekers were not fleeing immediate danger.
"The flow of immigration into Europe and Finland is largely a case of migration rather than a flight from immediate danger," said Niinistö, who was a lawyer before he entered politics. "All estimates predict that the flow of people will increase this year...

The solution, according to Niinistö, will have to involve some changes to established practice around the asylum process. The Geneva Conventions, upon which modern, western states base their approach to refugees, are outdated and states will need to be creative in how they apply them. Otherwise, anyone who can say the word ‘asylum’ will have the right to cross the border and enter Europe, said Niinistö.

"The international rules were drawn up and their interpretation evolved under quite different circumstances," said Niinistö...

"We have to ask ourselves whether we aim to protect Europe's values and people, and those who are truly in acute danger, or inflexibly stick to the letter of our international obligations with no regard for the consequences."

...At the moment, however, we cannot help those who are merely seeking a better life or feel that their circumstances and future are difficult in their home countries."

Saturday, February 06, 2016

The cruellest trick

Laurie Penny, outspoken English feminist, has written a book which apparently includes this:
Perhaps the cruellest trick played on my mother’s generation was the way they were duped into believing that the right to work in every low-paid, back-breaking job men do was the only and ultimate achievement of the women’s movement.

In reply:
  • It was feminists themselves who played this "trick" - though the word "trick" is misleading, as the belief that paid work is the ultimate meaning in life is part of modern liberal thought. For liberals, there are no forms of given identity that are legitimate; nor are there given standards of character or virtue. Instead, individuals have to be "self-made" and when confronted with this belief, many people turn to the idea that the most significant path to being self-made is through the market.
  • The reality for most people, though, is that work roles do not bring the kind of metaphysical satisfactions that were promised. What is more, although there are benefits to these roles, there are major sacrifices attached to them as well: of time, energy, health and of the opportunity to live a balanced life in which we can develop in a rounded way.
  • Men have stuck with paid work roles, despite the disadvantages, often because of a sense of masculine duty to provide for their families.
  • Laurie Penny seems to assume that men "just do" these roles. There is an implication that it is OK for men to do "every low-paid, back-breaking job" but a cruel trick to play on women if they are to do the same thing.
  • In reality, women are more likely than men to have choice when it comes to paid work. Women are more likely to be able to work part-time; to retrain with the support of a spouse or partner in order to change career; to live off a combination of hobby work, financial support from a divorce husband and welfare; and so on.
  • In spite of all this, Laurie Penny still fills her twitter feed with talk of "male privilege." She isn't intellectually reflective enough to grasp that one of her ideas (women duped into traditionally male back-breaking work commitments) runs counter to another of her ideas (men occupy a privileged position in life).

Friday, February 05, 2016

Banned French Identitarian video

Last month I posted a video from the German branch of the Identitarian movement. It is excellent and I encourage you to watch it if you haven't already done so.

A reader sent in a link to a video from the French branch of the same movement. It is more forceful than the German one, a bit more at the edge, and it was supposedly removed from YouTube. See what you think - overall, I believe it to be well done and I hope it has helped to build support for the French movement.

Monday, February 01, 2016

"There's going to be so many casualties in the abolition of human nature"

Cartoon captures the liberal moment:

On the same issue, there's a Facebook post doing the rounds that is popular on the left:
Ryan Calhoun
Yesterday at 10:10 · Keuka Park, NY, United States 
I just feel bad for people who are weirded out by gender that's non-binary. Like, this is just the start, dude. Strap in. If technology keeps progressing you're in for a lot more radical alteration of people's identity than individuals telling you they don't want to be referred to as sir or ma'am. What are these m...... gonna think when we're all meshing our appearance and personality traits with computer simulations and turning into wolves, and fairies, and floating metal spheres? Masculine-presenting people showing up to work in dresses better stop freaking you the f... out soon or you might as well go live in the woods cause one day your friend Bob is going to show up mind-melding with your other friend Cathy and they'll be presenting themselves as a series of ever-morphing color patterns. You'll have to deal with that, so for now just understand that people have been non-binary for centuries and centuries, gender is fluid, and you aren't the boss of other people's identities or appearances. There are going to be so many casualties in the abolition of human nature. Don't be one of em.

One of his supporters wrote "I just feel sorry for cis people. That must be boring."

So here we have a couple of moderns who think that it's boring to be a man or a woman and who want to abolish human nature. They "feel sorry" for those of us who aren't ready to be transformed by technology into fairies or floating metal spheres.

It's that underlying difference between the modern and traditional understanding of things again. If you are a liberal modern and you don't believe that there is anything given to us as part of our objective reality that has value or meaning, then you might well look forward to abolishing human nature. You might well believe that the given categories of manhood and womanhood are "boring" and that becoming something arbitrary instead, as an expression of choice, is more interesting.

But what if our given nature connects us to something that is inherently meaningful? What if manhood gives men an identity and an aspect of their being which draws together self, the inner spiritual life, and objective sources of truth and meaning. Is that then boring? Is that something you would readily abolish? Is that something you would trade in, in order to turn yourself into a computer simulation?

We are called to be men not machines or morphing colour patterns. To Ryan Calhoun someone like myself is boring, but to me Ryan Calhoun is not so much boring as lost.

(Cartoon hat tip: here)