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paulkienitz's Journal
paulkienitz's Journal
September 25, 2023

Why do even the most authoritarian right wingers keep using the words "liberty" and "freedom"?

This is the paradox of the US right wing which baffles non-Americans trying to observe our country, plus Americans in the center and left trying to understand the weirdos who keep messing things up for us: the fact that the fascist wing in our country, and all their right-of-center allies, keep pronouncing how much they believe in liberty even as they destroy it. It cannot be made sense of in logical terms, or "libertarians" would be staunch foes of fascists instead of all too often being their friends and allies.

As far as I can see, the answers vary -- there are nuances that differ based on the particular flavor of right winger in question. For instance, those who belong to religious cults define freedom in a narrow specific way: freedom from government authority which competes with the religious authority they want to establish. Their internal rules might be downright totalitarian, but when the government interferes with their ability to impose such an authoritarian way of life, out comes the rhetoric of freedom.

Capitalist types, of course, define it as freedom to make money without the government causing problems when their profits come at a human cost. Small-government types focus on freedom from paying taxes. And racist types may define it as freedom to not associate with minorities, or freedom from being expected to meet some basic standard of decent civil behavior around people they don't like.

The common ground is that they all believe in "freedom for me and mine, but not for you and yours".

November 4, 2022

If nothing has changed, why is Ye back on? ...and how is Twatter even going to survive?

All the other Musk ventures, no matter how much you dislike his bullshitting and worker abuse, have an upside that some of us can be enthusiastic about. But not this one. This looks like the first Elon company where his involvement consists of 100% fuckup and 0% genius.

And it's gonna stick to him. Twitter is going to collapse at least partially, maybe entirely, and his responsibility for the collapse will be remembered for the rest of his days.

September 16, 2022

contrast Florida's behavior with California

California may well be getting a larger total of refugees and undocumented immigrants than Florida gets, yet we don't dump them anywhere. In fact, we get dumped into, because most states other than New York like to ship their homeless population here. They call it "greyhound therapy" in the social assistance trade. So we end up taking care of half of the entire country's homeless population, and on top of that most of the immigrants and refugees from the Pacific side. And nobody needs to be sent anywhere else.

Zero excuses for Florida and Texas.

August 12, 2022

So which is more fascist, Parler or Gab?

I took a peek. Parler had the likes of Newt Gingrich and Tulsi Gabbard prominently featured, and lots of right wing fantasy retellings of recent events... but Gab led off immediately with Trumpsky himself, and only took six more posts to feature someone saying the Jews are behind it all. And RT is on there, acting as bad as the domestic conspiracy theorists. Gab wins — if you're a Nazi, that's the place for you.

August 5, 2022

They don't want to be ruled by an autocrat, but they do want autocracy

if that's what it takes to retain privilege and patriarchy. They see the end of democracy as a better alternative than letting a long-term majority of minorities and progressives govern in a way that doesn't respect their historical advantages. They feel the loss of control in their own lives and instead of connecting it to lowering wages and wall street greed, they link it to better treatment of women and minorities, thinking that the wrong people are getting things that should be rightfully theirs.

But of course they never spell that out to themselves, because everything to do with privilege and prejudice in this country is constantly wrapped in doublethink and self-deception. They get constantly fooled and duped because they are constantly fooling and duping themselves with rationalizations to tell themselves they're not bigots.

Also, most of them are evangelical, and have spent their entire lives forcing themselves to believe myths and fairy tales instead of evidence. Anyone who can piggy-back on the type of religious authority to which they have granted power over their belief systems, can exploit it to get them to swallow political myths and fairy tales too. They don't need evidence, they only need the stories to reinforce their sense of cultural identity in the same way that religious fundamentalism does.

July 28, 2022

third parties might be fine if it weren't for the electoral college

The Electoral College punishes third parties and makes them irrelevant unless they can basically steal a majority right away from existing parties. I think that's what the Yangsters are hoping for.

If we had a different voting system, like a ranked choice popular vote, then third parties would fluorish because they could contribute their positives without the penalty of being spoilers for the consensus majority.

I would like to hear somebody articulate a centrist position which acknowledges why centrism has failed and everyone has gone to the edges, which is basically because of income inequality and wage suppression. People are not supporting moderate status quo policies because the status quo is not supporting them back. This is the core of why Hillary wasn't able to sail to easy victory with a centrist position.

July 14, 2022

there are two Frank Wilhoits, and the one you googled is probably not the one who coined the law


I do like the turns of phrase of Wilhoit #2, like "Conservatism has long been surrounded by an enormous shimmering halo of pseudo-philosophy." I've noticed this myself: that through their punditry and movement leaders, right-wingers like to throw up a big facade of ideals and ideology, when in fact they don't believe in any ideology at all. The entire Libertarian movement is a piece of that fake-ideological facade, and really, so is a lot of evangelical Christianity. It's all a smokescreen for the simple fact that they want themselves to be privileged and everyone else to be suppressed or subjugated.
July 13, 2022

Biden is the most valuable and least appreciated president I've ever seen.

I thought Obama was the best prez of my lifetime but honestly, Biden is outperforming him.

July 9, 2022

the reddest flag

In some countries, people manage to own guns without enabling hordes of trigger-happy killers, but sadly, we do not live in such a country. Trigger-happy killers are abundant here, and we are forced to act accordingly. So we enact "red flag" laws to identify who we really should consider not giving guns to.

And in our culture, just wanting to have a gun is already a red flag in itself. When you say you want to keep one or more guns in your house, I feel that you are already letting me know that you have a dark side I can never fully trust.

But that's not the reddest flag. The thing that really lets me know you're not someone I want to trust with a gun is if you show clear racism. I suspect this country has a lot of racists in it who want guns just for when the day comes that they can open fire on people of color. In self-defense, of course, if only in their own minds. They think the threat they will someday need guns for is most likely to be black people.

If a red flag law was really designed to be effective, it would examine people not just for a violent history or mental instability or bloodthirsty ideation or drunkenness, but also for bigotry. Of course, the howls of protest at the unfairness at that would be deafening. They'd say we were just trying to take guns away from everyone who wants one... which in practice might not be all that far off.

July 6, 2022

If you want an AR15, my question is how many of your neighbors you think are going to need killing.

What are you afraid of? A zombie plague? A Chinese invasion? A post-nuclear battle for survival? A race war? A driveby from a rival drug cartel? Under what scenario do you think you'll need to fight an advancing horde of other people? Why do you imagine that the citizens around you are someday going to end up needing to be gunned down?

If you just want to shoot automatic weapons because it's fun, why not just go to a range that offers a rental? We could set that up. Why do you want it in your house?

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Bay Area, California
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 1,288

About paulkienitz

Software engineer who thinks a lot about the future. http://paulkienitz.net/future/

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