Monday, February 24, 2014

Response to a Comment

In response to this comment, from Glen Filthie


Thanks for taking the time to share your comment with us here.  It always tickles me when people care to read what I’ve written and respond, even if they don’t agree. 

So what, in your estimation, is the trade-off with this particular item?  We give them enhanced surveillance abilities, essentially granting them even more ability to track our movements and know where we are at any given moment (which you absolutely must admit could have some very, very negative implications if the government there goes even a tiny bit feral) in exchange for…

…what, exactly? 

What is it that they are trying to do with this system?  Track down stolen cars?  A quick review of the statistics on stolen cars will show that crooks aren’t exactly “getting away” with stealing cars right now, so this is pretty clearly an attempt by these folks to “fix” something that isn’t broken (sort of like airport security), with a system that has an undetermined success rate and an absolutely certain ability to be misused. 

I don’t know about you, but regardless of the party affiliation, I do not trust them to use this appropriately. 

We give them control over our streets, and they use that control inappropriately (shutting down a major freeway for political revenge?).  We give them control over our monetary system, and they use that control inappropriately (cash in the freezer, the fact that Congresspeople are retiring a lot richer than their salaries should allow).  We give them control over most ANYTHING and they use that control inappropriately, and the one thing that all of these inappropriate uses have in common is that they are all selfishly motivated; they are using their power for personal enrichment, often times at the expense of the rest of us. 

If you cannot imagine how this system WILL be misused (not MIGHT BE, WILL) then you are experiencing a serious failure of imagination. 

Your response, however, went beyond just discussing the topic at hand, so I’ll try to respond to your points below.  I’ll point out one thing first, Glen, and please listen to what I’m saying: you claim that we libertarians need to listen to you conservatives, but the opposite is true, too.  You’ve spouted a lot of misconceptions and outright fabrications in your comment, so try to reciprocate and listen, okay? 

Well Goober as a hard core conservative, looking at libertarians, for me - is like looking in a fun house mirror.

Honestly?  Back at you.  Conservatives seem to me like a bunch of folks that want to vote people into power over them and then expect that person not to have ambition or desire to do anything at all (unless that thing is to keep out “undesirables” or restrict the freedoms of people you don’t see eye to eye with).  You give a person power, then expect them not to use it.  It seems extremely naive to me.   

Tam has always struck me a stunned c*nt - yet libertarians sing her praises.

Actually, I’ve not really considered Tam’s blog to be about libertarianism, for the most part.  It’s mostly about guns, and the rest of it is about the snarky, wryly humorous musings of a middle-aged woman with a massively cynical and humorous outlook on things, and the ability to turn that into something worth reading.  I’ll agree that she goes overboard with her abuse of people sometimes, but so does every decent comic on Earth – it’s kind of part of the trade.  She’s done it to me before, too, and I thought it was funny.  Sticks and stones, you know.  As for your view on her, you’re welcome to it, but I see a bit of irony in your attempt to denigrate her for being the very thing that you’ve become, yourself, by making the above statement. 

Marko is trying to pose as a sophisticated writer but is nothing but a pussified house husband - probably going stir-crazy as we speak.

You seem to take great offense to Marko’s choice of occupation.  Why?  Would you rather he got a job pushing paper in a cubicle somewhere while he left his kids to be raised by a bunch of progressive liberal 20-something women in a daycare somewhere?  Marko, in my opinion, has figured out something that the vast majority of Americans seem to have forgotten – we’re here to raise the next generation, not make sure that the TPS reports are done on time and have the proper cover sheet on them. 

Spending so much time around women and children during the day is mentally unhealthy - a man is prone to begin thinking like them if he is not careful.

Again with the insults.  Again with the thinly veiled misogyny.  You’re supposed to be convincing me to be on your side here, remember? 

Those 'brilliant' libertarians couldn't answer the question - so maybe you can: where are all these falsely accused good citizens that are supposedly rotting in prison, sent there by dirty cops?

Conservatives tend to have a cognitive dissonance when it comes to government.  They are convinced that the legislative and executive branches of government are flawed and need to operate on minimalist principles, but are likewise convinced that the judicial and legal side of our government is absolutely positively infallible, as if being on that side of the coin grants otherwise incompetent government service employees some special power of perfection.  As far as Conservatives are concerned, if the judicial side of our government says someone is guilty, then by God, they are guilty, when nothing could be further from the truth.  THe folks at the IRS?  Incompetent, stupid, and evil.  The folks at the county courthouse?  Enlightened demigods with superhuman abilities to see the truth and not allow their power to corrupt them.  

Ever looked into “The Innocence Project?”  You asked where these innocent people are, rotting away in prison, and put there by dirty cops?  How about the scores of people that just one crooked forensic “bite”expert put in prison?  How about the folks that the IP has freed and proven to be completely and wholly innocent for the crimes that they average 17.8 years of their lives being punished for; being raped and brutalized in prison and treated like animals with no freedom, because, as is stunningly common, the legal system not only made a mistake, but actively conspired to manufacture a case to put them away? Or the ATF that creates new laws to imprison guys because their gun malfunctioned?  

Estimates range from thousands to even maybe as many as ten thousand people are in prison without having committed the crime that they are in prison for, and they’re in there with the murders and rapists that you seem to fear so much. The only reason that those Duke Lacrosse players aren’t rotting away in prison right now is because the “victim” changed her story, and the absolutely crooked prosecutor couldn’t find a way to make a case once she retracted. 

And yeah, I know the cops make mistakes, that they have gone in with guns blazing at the wrong address. What the childish libertarians don't understand is that when they do that at the RIGHT address - which is the vast majority of the time - they are seriously in danger of facing a hail of lead from the type of scum that would cut your throat for a nickel.

No.  A thousand times, NO!  

They aren’t reasonably in that danger.   From the linked article:

So just how dangerous is police work? Generally, police are about three times as likely to be killed on the job as the average American. It isn’t among the top ten most dangerous professions, falling well behind logging, fishing, driving a cab, trash collecting, farming, and truck driving. Moreover, about half of police killed on the job are killed in traffic accidents, and most of those are not while in pursuit of a criminal or rushing to the scene of a crime.

The incidents of that happening prior to the development of SWAT teams was, well, it was completely unheard of.  

It has happened so rarely that to militarize our police force and kill the innocent people that we’ve killed in response to that is absolutely ridiculous.  That’s just fantasy.  What is NOT fantasy is that the use of SWAT tactics has been absolutely, positively PROVEN beyond a reasonable doubt to make things more dangerous for both the police and the occupants of the home, when used for any other reason than hostage rescue (which, I might add, is the only reasonable time a SWAT team should be used, ever).  

If you're so scared at work that you'd rather blow up a twelve year old girl while she slept in her bed than take the infinitesimal chance that someone will be waiting for you on the other side of a door someday, find another line of work, scooter.  

The reason that “no-knock” raids have been justified by law enforcement is the flushing of drugs and destroying of evidence.  That’s it.  Even law enforcement doesn’t argue that fact.  Should we be risking police lives and innocent lives for the chance that a drug dealer might get away with it because he flushed his drugs?  I think that tradeoff is ridiculous.  No life is worth that, whether it is a hard-working officer or an innocent 65 year old man who gets shot.  

I think it is really easy for you to shrug off the innocent people (and police officers, too, don't forget that) who’ve been needlesly killed during no-knock raids, but I think you’d be less apt to dismiss it if it had been YOUR twelve year old daughter blown to smithereens by a concussion grenade while she slept on the couch in your home, or YOUR 65 year old father that was shot in the back while laying prone on the ground, or YOUR daughter that was playing soccer on a field that was riddled with bullets by police officers “defending” themselves against a guy who had picked up his rifle because there were people trying to break into his home (a situation which would have been totally avoided if the police had knocked, identified, and waited for a reasonable time for the home owner to open the door).  I could go on for days with these examples, but contrary to your inability to accept this simple fact, SWAT teams do not make anyone safer.  They have increased the risk to both law enforcement and innocent bystanders.   

So what's the answer? Don't enforce the law because we might make mistakes? The mind of the libertarian wobbles.

That’s a straw man, and you know it.  There is a difference between enforcing the law, and using military raid tactics with automatic weapons and concussion grenades to enforce the law.  I’m going to assume that you know this, and know that you’re being completely dishonest in this argument, because my only other option is to assume that you’re a moron, and I don’t think you’re a moron. 

The hell of it is - as a conservative intellectual I can see and understand 95% of your libertarian agenda. I agree with your second amendment rights. I agree with the idea of smaller and more accountable gov't. I agree with your right to free speech.

Glen, you absolutely positively CAN NOT be simultaneously FOR the militarization and expansion of police powers and police violence against the citizenry, and AGAINST big government.  They are the same thing.  Hence, my comment above about cognitive dissonance when it comes to conservatives and criminal justice.  How can you simultaneously hold the opinion that government should be small and constrained because they are not trustworthy and won’t act as rationally as an individual will, while believing that one faction of the government is completely infallible and never makes a mistake or does anything dishonest or untoward and should be grown by factors of ten and given military grade weaponry?  Doesn’t that smack of cognitive dissonance to you? 
 But idiots like Tam will scream that I am as bad as the progtards because I don't think drugs should be legal.

Again, your undying faith in the criminal justice system is showing.  I understand the conservative position “don’t do drugs, because that’s stupid.”  I agree with that position, and in fact have never even touched an illicit drug in my life, and recommend that no one does.  Not even pot. 

What I don't understand in your position here is, how does “don’t do drugs, because it is stupid,” which is a valid and intelligent conservative position, then morph into “we should militarize our police force, increase the violence of law enforcement operations, violently insinuate ourselves into the politics of Latin American countries (creating enemies in a region where we should have allies), run guns into Mexico in order to find the cartels, spend obscene amounts of money, get people killed on two continents at shocking rates, set up highway checkpoints 200 miles inside the US as if we’re some sort of third world banana republic where INS and DEA agents ask people for their “papers, please” and incarcerate hundreds of thousands of people for harming no one” translate into sound conservative policy? 

I don’t care what your intent was.  The result is as anti-conservative as could possibly be imagined, and yet you cons line up behind this policy like it’s the bees knees, when your political ideology should consider it to be totally obscene. 
 You MAY have a case for pot - but drugs like meth destroy both the addict and their families.

Agreed.  That’s why I’m not for legalization at all, and neither is Tam, or any other decently intelligent Libertarian.  I’m for ending the “war on (some) drugs” and decriminalizing the use of illicit drugs.  That doesn’t make them legal.  Speeding is not criminalized, either, but that doesn’t make it legal. 

I support a system like Portugal, where the “punishment” for taking illicit drugs is treatment, not incarceration.  It is amazing that their drug use rates plummeted over there after they changed their laws, and if you want to snuff the drug trade, what better way than to eliminate or reduce demand? As long as there is demand, there will be a drug trade, no matter how much violence you apply to the situation, and no matter how many lives you ruin.  

We’re doing it wrong right now, Glen.  I think if you really got honest with yourself, you’d have to agree with me, but your unwavering faith in our criminal justice program will have to go before you can accept that I’m right, here. 

How can a libertard defend that and reconcile it with their non-aggression and "do no harm unto others" philosophy? If you make, sell or use that shit it WILL destroy you and in the process you WILL hurt others.

Except for the ad-hominem name-calling, I absolutely agree.  See above. 

And cults - JFC - can brainwashed people, or those being coerced by cult leaders and polygamists - make their own decisions freely?

You can’t fix every problem with government intervention, Glen.  I know that we’re all searching for our own perfect world, here, but a reasonable person will understand that sometimes, there isn't a good fix to a problem.  My opinion is that we have a choice here:

Allow the government to determine whether a religion is a cult or not (I'm certain they'll never fuck that one up) and break up cults, al la Waco, or allow cults to exist and accept that, and teach our kids to be wary of snake oil, and be vigilant to the signs of cultism in our families and neighbors.  We can treat violence and abuse within a cult the exact same way that we treat it outside the cult - arrest the offender and prosecute his ass.  I think that option B is the lesser of two evils, Glen.  There really are no other options.  Voting for the forcible disbandment of cults is voting in favor of mass killings like Waco.  Care to argue? 

Do idiots like Tam ask themselves questions like this?

Every day.  And they come up with reasonable, reasoned arguments to believe what they believe, just like I’ve done.  You can call us idiots if you’d like, but the fact is, YOU are the one with the blind, unthinking faith here, not us. 

but I am as bad as the Donks and progtards for even bringing this up, right?

No, but you certainly aren’t good.  Like I said above, your vote is to screw me more slowly than a dem or prog vote.  So it takes longer your way, but we still get to the same point.

Better to shut up and let an unemployable house husband like Marko - or a gun store clerk like Tam - do your thinking for you, eh?

You seem to be wholly convinced that a person’s occupation is directly proportional to their worth as a person, or at least to the worth of their opinion.  I don’t get it, but whatever.  

I didn’t make this point early on, Glen, because I didn’t want to shut you down to reading my responses, because I really do think you’ve got libertarianism all wrong.  The fact is, though, it is a marked sign of the weakness of a man’s argument the more he has to resort to insult and denigration to get his point across.  I do it, too, but it is a good thing to try and avoid if you can.  We get it: Marko has made choices in his life that you don’t agree with.  He’s decided that his calling is to raise his kids instead of allowing someone else to do it while he works in the corporate grind somewhere.  You think that’s lamentable and wrong.  I get it, but I don’t agree.  In fact, I think it was probably a tough decision, and a brave one, to boot.  He now has to face men like you that will call him "less than a man" because he’s chosen to be a Dad instead of a mid-level process manager in some gray office complex somewhere. 

Fact is if assholes like Tam and Marko could STFU and stop preaching and start listening, thinking and actually discussing things with conservatives we would all be better for it.

I find it absolutely hilarious, this coming from you, with your misconceptions of libertarianism and your inability to separate intentions from results.  You, Glen, are the one who needs to listen a bit.  Not us.   

The fact is that both Tam and Marko have EXACTLY the gov't they deserve, and at the rate libertarians are going you will be licking Hillary's boots in 2016. 

As opposed to, say, licking Chris Christie’s boots?  Would you care to express the marked difference between the two? 

You’ll forgive me if I’m a little put off by the fact that a cohort of people that includes a man who thinks that putting too many people on an island will cause it to capsize, and a woman worth $25 million dollars who bitches incessantly about how unfair “income inequality” is, and a man who advocates the blind discharge of firearms into the sky (or even worse, shooting through a door at an undetermined target), and a woman too afraid of dealing with the implications of a terrorist attack ignoring that attack and allowing good men to die needlessly for her own political gain, and so on ad nauseum; all who want power over me, and all complete with an accoutrement of people like you who rush gleefully to give it to them, certain that THIS time, he’s telling the truth; that he really means what he says, and will live up to his promises, and he won’t bend us over and dry fuck us all the first time it is going to benefit him. 

You think I give a shit whether there is an “R” or a “D” behind the name of the guy that’s screwing me? 

You want to argue that George Bush’s expansion of entitlements, increase in government spending, and nationalization of industry is any different from Barack Obama’s expansion of entitlements, increase in government spending, and nationalization of industry?  Because if you do, come loaded for bear, because the only point I’m willing to concede is that Bush did it at a lesser magnitude.  The only argument you’ll get me to concede to is that George W. Bush dry fucked me a little less violently and told me he loved me when he was done.  


  1. Classy gent, that one. As a man raising my son full time while my wife works for wages, I'm a little offended, but honestly not that much. I might care a little bit more about his opinion if he were someone whose opinion of me mattered, but he made it clear very early on that he is not. Bitter and entrenched, lashing out with harsh words and insults, displaying a vulgarity and failure of logic I usually associate with 17 year olds, he certainly doesn't make me particularly confident in him, his associates, his chosen political party, or his stated goals and beliefs. Is there any wonder that we of a libertarian bent are steadily decreasing our support, when they've made it so clear we have no seat on their committee?

    1. Wolfman:

      I definitely picked up some serious denigration of stay at home fathers in his comment, and I've seen it from that particular commenter before.

      I can't figure out why a man who is so fiercely conservative would be fighting so hard to ensure that we're all putting our kids in daycare to be raised by young women who are mostly of a leftist/progressive bent.

      I guess he simply cannot fathom how a woman could be the higher earner of the two people in a married couple.

      He needs to understand that it happens all the time, and in my estimation, the measure of a man in that circumstance is what he chooses to do:

      Continue to work outside the home and let someone else raise his kids, or raise his children, himself.

      Glen wants to denigrate that, but I honestly don't know where he's coming from. I can't imagine a more noble thing to do.

    2. Its a blast, and it beats the alternatives all hollow- for the price of letting somebody else raise my kid, I could go to work full time for $2-4/hr, as a skilled carpenter. I love building, I miss it, but it doesn't make any sort of fiscal sense right now. His being mean to me, while not likely to bring me around to his point of view, doesn't bother me too much; I give his opinion about as much weight as Joan Peterson's. Meh. More insidious is the idea that libertarians and Republicans are somehow natural allies. I don't see much of an ally in a group that thinks its a good idea to discriminate by religious beliefs, race, gender alignment, or personal beliefs, especially considering I base my own political system on treating people in a level manner and not interfering with them. What angers me far more than crude (and rather poorly done, at that) personal insults is the base belief that he feels qualified to instruct me in any meaningful way. I made this point around the last election- they keep expecting us to toe the line, forgetting that our political platform is grounded in non-conformity.