Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Liberalist Society of "Many" Hats

Many of my subscribers are curious why I decided to post a clip of YouTuber and liberalist Sargon of Akkad getting upset at a livestream chat where he proceeded to call them "white niggers," so I think I should explain not only why I did it, but my overall critique of the liberalist society as it currently stands. There are two reasons why I posted this (now unlisted) video on my channel. (1) Personally I find it to be hilarious. I was in the chat at the time the hangout was live and his outburst seemed like it came out of thin air. One minute the host Michelle Catlin was talking about how their Twitter was taken down, then the next minute Sargon is interjecting by yelling at the chat calling us "white niggers," which if you must know I'm not offended by. (2) I wanted to see how my audience would react to his emotional outburst in particular. More specifically I wanted to test them if they could separate the man from the political principles which truthfully has been a major concern of mine about the liberalist society. The results to this test have lead me to believe the newly formed liberalist political action group isn't likely to survive.

To begin we must define "liberalist." It is a person who promotes liberalism. Next we must define what is liberalism and frankly the categories of political theory within the liberalism political branch are many. These classical liberal theories range from anarchism to civic nationalism to libertarianism to religious liberalism to secular liberalism and even liberal feminism. Each of these theories is liberal in so far as they want to enhance the freedom of the individual over the state, collective, or tradition. (Note: By tradition I mean in the terms of established rules for the whole group.) Now that we understand the term "liberalist," lets perform a thought experiment.

Lets say person A prefers wearing a hat above all other accessories, so much so that they decide to create a society of "hatists" or people who promote the idea of wearing hats. Other "hatists" start to join this society and soon person A is greeted with new members wearing all types of hats, some unique, others not so much. Until one day person A meets person X, a new applicant for the "hatist" society, who is wearing a scarf around their head. Question: Is a scarf around a head considered a hat? Person X would answer yes, citing the definition of hat is "a head covering worn for many reasons including protection from weather, ceremonies, or as a fashion accessory." Thus it is clear how the scarf can have the function of a hat. Person A would respond no, because although a scarf around the head could function as a hat, a scarf as an accessory has many other purposes than covering the head, unlike a hat. After this discussion person A doesn't accept person X into the "hatist" society, and it is through this conflict where we notice two things. (1) Person A doesn't just want anyone with a head covering to join, not even if they believe they are wearing a hat and ought to be able to join by definition or standards of a "hat". (2) It would be difficult for anyone looking into the "hatist" society to separate the definition of a hat from Person A's own criteria of a "hat."

If a liberalist is a person who promotes liberalism, and liberalism is defined as a putting the individual's needs above the collective, then a liberalist society could have members who wear many different political "hats" or political identities which could naturally flow from liberalism. But honestly, do we believe it would be possible for someone like Ayn Rand to wear the "liberalist" hat? Or Immanuel Kant? Or how about John Stuart Mill? Each of these figures wear with different political hats and come to different conclusions about the nature of morality, freedom, and governance but are all considered to be classical liberals. Now the question becomes would all of these figures want to become liberalists? Well this would depend on what you mean by liberalist, which would depend on what person A, Sargon of Akkad, wants the liberalists to be.

While reading the principles for liberalists you are greeted by a host of vague statements that ultimately leave the reader wondering who can or who can't actually be a liberalist. For example, under the democracy section, "Constitutional democracy is the best way for a free citizenry to maintain a state and resist tyranny." Someone who is a classical liberal anarcho-capitalist could say the very existence of a state is tyranny. A libertarian could be worried by the term "best way," because it could mean that other Constitutional democracies would feel the need to force this type of governance to other cultures, countries, etc. While someone who is a conservative constitutionalist would be questioning the purpose of every word in used in the principle. What does "freedom" mean to the liberalist? What does "tyranny" mean? Why a "Constitutional democracy" and not something like UK, where there is no codified constitution?

The principle of individual rights states, "Protecting the rights of the individual must be the highest value of society, to foster mutual tolerance and respect towards the cultivation of the dignity of every person." But it isn't enough to talk about a principle of securing individual rights if we don't talk about why individuals have rights and how these are secured. From previous conversations, Sargon of Akkad believes the government has the responsibility of protecting the rights of the individual through a "social contract," meaning the people have a responsibility to the government (an example would be by paying taxes) in so far as the government is responsible for securing their rights. During the Michelle Catlin stream I asked a question for clarification on what Sargon believes to be the responsibility of government. I received no answer, so I'm going to assume he stands by his belief the government is responsible for securing rights of citizens, something I wouldn't trust the government to do. But the question then becomes can you be a liberalist and not believe the social contract theory is correct. As for myself I don't subscribe to the social contract theory for two main reasons. (1) Since the founding of the United States there has been a culture of natural distrust over the government securing the rights of the citizenry. In other countries the government grants you rights, in the U.S. the government recognizes them. If a government is able to grant you rights, then surely they can (and will) take them away. We in the United States know there is always the chance the government will not recognize them, and when this happens individuals have the natural right of self defense. The Bill of Rights isn't there to let the people know what their natural rights are, it's there to remind the federal government we the people have these rights.

(2) What should happen when individual rights clash in the public space? Is the government the best arbiter when dealing with the war of natural rights? In November 2008, California decided to put Proposition 8, which would make homosexual marriage illegal, on the ballot. Just over half of the electorate (52%) voted for Proposition 8 and yet a federal judge ruled Proposition 8 unconstitutional. Seven million democratic Californian votes against gay marriage were tossed in the garbage because of one federal judge. Californians engaged in their tenth amendment right, meaning any powers not delegated to the federal government by the Constitution is reserved to the states or more specifically the people, and yet the federal government refused to recognize this natural right in favor of other individuals' rights. In this example was the social contract broken by the government or by the people? What will be the liberalist stance on issues involving rights pushing against other rights and the government response to them? Ultimately this will depend on how Sargon of Akkad feels on this particular issue, because he is person A. He is by de facto the main figurehead and advocate for the liberalists. Ultimately he will have to be the arbiter of political decisions and his attitude on the matter could shape the membership and future reputation of the liberalists.

Looking back at the principles of the liberalist society, it is easy to agree with them, but when we are dealing with political theories, vagueness isn't helpful, unless of course you are trying to market this political label to a widest amount of politically dissatisfied leftist liberals or centrists you can.

Political marketing strategies are a lot like marketing a drink, or a pair of jeans. It's not enough that the product is of good quality, rather it helps to have a good spokesperson along side it. Even if a jean company manufactured and marketed good quality jeans, if their spokesperson is feminist actress Lena Dunham, I'm not very likely to wear those jeans. I'm not their target audience and they know it. Question: Who does the liberalists appeal to? What type of political hats do they actually want? The answer is simple, they don't want me. It's understandable that the liberalist society wants to openly stand apart from radical political factions like the alt-right or progressives, but I would go as far to say that they don't want conservatives, right leaning libertarians or moderates and yet they need us. They need activist conservatives like Stephen Crowder, Ben Shapiro, and Dennis Prager who have a large online platforms where liberalists could expand their influence and audience. Then again, we could infer from previous liberalist discussions they don't feel comfortable with conservatives or libertarians who not only believe the government doesn't grant rights, but those of us who believe rights are unalienable, meaning there are rights people have which are not dependent society, culture, or government. People are the best protectors of their natural rights, not government. Government is best when it facilitates an atmosphere which promotes people to engage in their own rights, talents, and abilities. Who do they want? Centrists and left leaning liberals who are dissatisfied by the governments they once either ignored or supported. These people are mostly between the ages of 18-35, internet savvy, mostly male, who they don't care for political labels but feel comfortable with social online movements like GamerGate and they ignored most political matters until progressives within their own political spectrum tried to directly influence their favorite hobbies. This market needed a political movement, and they needed a leader to market it to them and now they have Sargon of Akkad.

At this point we not only know what types of members the liberalist society wants, but we know who it doesn't want to join, and by knowing these we can assume how this political faction would respond to certain policy issues. Now on to answering the question of why I decided to share the video of Sargon yelling at the chat during the Michelle Catlin stream. It's because Sargon, like Lena Dunham, has the experience of being a horrible spokesperson. He can be overly emotional, quick to accusations, and has had multiple discussions with others in bad faith. In his latest discussion with Mr. Metokur, people like to focus on Metokur's aloofness and inactivity when faced with progressives influencing political and social institutions, but they ignored what Metokur was there to ask. The question presented to Sargon by Metokur wasn't "why are you doing something?" it was, "why are you doing this?" Out of all the things to do as a means to advance classical liberal principles, why is Sargon creating the liberalist society now? Why didn't he create a political faction when he created the online youtuber group called "the Rationalists"? Progressives were still around then and the Rationalists website, and with the slogan "activists for reason," I think this would have been a great platform to start a political group early on and gain traction. Why now instead of then? Metokur has the suspicion Sargon is doing this as a way to regain his popularity and save his ego after losing a debate with Richard Spencer, being made fun of in an episode of the alt-right online show Murdoch Murdoch, and being targeted by the alt-right figure heads in numerous videos and talking points. What was Sargon's response? I must do something because something must be done. Imagine having a leader or an activist figurehead who keeps saying "I don't actually want to do this..." How confident should I be in their ability to stay in the movement and debate, discuss, and negotiate for my political interests? I wouldn't be and frankly shouldn't be expected to. After the "white nigger" tirade do we seriously expect him to have an audience or an interview with a member of parliament? I don't trust Sargon's judgment because when he's under pressure he cracks and when he cracks it does reflect badly on the liberalist society and it's future as a political activist movement, not to mention there is no way to separate liberalists and what they believe from the large shadow of Sargon of Akkad.

Here comes the test of the liberalists, can you separate Sargon from the principles? Can the liberalists survive beyond Sargon? I don't think they can because they failed my little test. When I released the video "Liberalistism," people in the comments questioned my political beliefs all because I wanted to laugh at Sargon who embarrassed himself by cracking under the pressure of a trolling chat when he should have been experienced enough to ignore them. They questioned my judgement, not Sargon's judgment, my own judgement and political beliefs. They either told me that I shouldn't be engaging in alt-right tactics, or that I somehow actually agree with liberalists and should support Sargon in his never activism. Excuse me? Support Sargon? A man who when asked "Why are you against the alt-right?" he responds with, "Because they are people who oppose me." Not because the alt-right is against classical liberalism, no, it's because they are mean to him and disagree with his values. A man who says he would rather "do his shitty video games" (by this I assume he means Necromancer) but the liberalist society must take priority because other political groups somehow aren't presenting good arguments or aren't doing anything. A man who in previous debate with cartoonist Red Panels stated Christian bakeries should bake a gay couple a wedding cake because being a baker isn't mandatory. A man who recently decided he doesn't want to waste time debating or discussing anything with the alt-right, a policy he should've had after losing in a debate to feminist professor Kirsti Winters. A political ideology based the whims of a figurehead will fall the minute this head tilts itself in a different direction.

If you were wondering, there were some questions in the chat during the Michelle Catlin stream, some from the alt-right and some from myself. I wanted to know more about the "moral arguments" Sargon wants to present in contrast to progressive, conservative, and alt-right political arguments for future policy or basic political philosophical arguments. I'm confused what he means by "morality," because when he did reference morality he mentioned he was adverse to utilitarianism. I want to know which moral philosophical foundation is he proposing the liberalists use. As stated previously I also wanted him to clarify what he believes the role of government should be, and how this should be reflected in our society. As for an alt-right question I found interesting, there was an overwhelming alt-right agreement with liberal principles in so far as they are vague, however one person asked "is there a responsibility from the government to create a cohesive society?" If so, how does a government do this and not violate the rights of the individual? Could there be a different type of alt-right social contract, which reinforces the same values of the liberalists but doesn't want the government to ignore racial and/or cultural group cohesion as a necessary variable in keeping these values alive within society? Essentially, the alt-right in the chat says they like liberal principles, they only assert these principles are best created and facilitated when the population is predominately of anglo-saxon decent with an anglo-saxon history of liberal culture and law. If he wants to address this critique it would be best to provide examples of non-white societies that facilitate and promote classical liberal principles. To be fair I don't want to "strawman" him, and so these questions are necessary if I'm going to be talking more about liberalists in the future.

As for those who disagree with this article or my stance on liberalists and Sargon in general, please before you comment answer this question: are you able to distinguish liberalist principles from Sargon's own principles? If you cannot why not? If I have faith in liberalist principles, can I separate this from faith in Sargon? It's one thing to hold faith in principles, it's another to have faith in their representative. Eventually the latter will die, but the former will live forever.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Addressing the Altruistic Elephant In the Room

I care, you don't.

It is a phrase that has haunted the U.S. political landscape for decades. It is a clear example of what I'll refer to as political altruism; a cancerous catalyst leading to the disruption of law and order, and lack of political discourse the within the U.S. today.

Politics is the natural means by which the acquisition of power within a given society is possible. Although this tool is despised by many, this power struggle usually becomes the necessary barrier between unorganized chaos (or anarchy) and organized chaos (or war). Moreover, politics emphasizes rules and status within a society. In many cases it distinguishes between those who are dominant versus those who are passive.

I don't mean to say politics determines what is just or unjust, rather politics can only be so good as the character of those advocate within it. Which brings us to that pesky phrase, "I care, you don't." Why should the political animal be focused on what benefits others at their own expense? Answer: They usually don't, especially within the sphere of politics and the political elite. To believe political parties or figures have intentions that are completely selfless is not only laughable, but ignorant given what we understand about political behavior and philosophy.

Imagine there are two people, person A and person B, and they are walking around the city streets and both happen to come across a homeless person sitting on a corner. Person A wants to give money to the homeless person, but doesn't have money to do so, and continues to walk by. Person B has some money, doesn't  give any to the homeless person, and moves onward.
Question: Who was more selfless?

Most people would say person A because they wanted to give, but just couldn't. They will say person A's intention was an altruistic one, even if their action was not. Which begs the question, do altruistic intentions matter when the person isn't acting altruistically? Are we going to have to assume that a person can be selfless while at the same time not have this expressed by an action? At this point they're assuming person A's intentions were selfless, what if that yearning to give the homeless person money wasn't because they cared, but more so they wanted to feel good, take a selfie with the homeless person's funny sign and write a blog article about their experiences with the title of "How I Gave to the Homeless." Am I to consider this altruistic?

As for person B what we again have is the problem of assumed intent. We don't know why person B didn't give, but we know they have money, and we know what we would do with it if placed in their position... or do we? We don't know what person B's position truly is, that is to say they could've been going to a charity function for child cancer research, or perhaps a friend's birthday party, or even a strip club. The point is we don't know their destination or intentions, and yet many are eager to believe good intentions do more good than honest action. Frankly questioning "good" intentions can be a distraction unless you wanted to emotionally influence an electorate.

Now lets place this scenario into the political sphere. Person A and person B are having a political debate on the topic of homelessness. Person B lays out a plan to address homelessness with help from private charities and organizations focused on providing training along with help with mental illness and wants the police to deter the homeless away from public streets and parks. Person A's plan is to have the government intervene in homeless affairs, to create a "homeless union" and for the government to provide food, clothes, living quarters and education for the homeless. However just before a vote is taken from the audience, person A remembers seeing person B walking past the homeless man and decides to tell the audience in closing remarks, "I saw person B walk past a homeless beggar and donate nothing even when they had the money to give. They don't care about the homeless, and I do."

The problem is this scenario isn't fiction, it is fact all too common expressed from political parties, more specifically parties with the United States, and even more specifically the Democratic party comprised of mostly liberals. Just pick a topic: immigration, gender equality, health care, foreign affairs, or climate change. Each topic platform comes with it not only a party solution, but the solution is always upon the foundation of "we care, they don't." We care about climate change and the government should enforce initiatives to promote lowering people's carbon footprint. We care about undocumented families so much so that we are willing to allow them access to city programs and receive benefits including providing them with IDs to drive or work. We care about the health and safety and believe health care to be a right of everyone within our society. As for other political factions, either the Republican or Libertarian Party, they don't care, because if they did they would agree with us.

This isn't a new phenomenon, especially as it pertains to the solutions within the framework of the left political spectrum. In Jeffery J. Mondak's book, Personality and the Foundation of Political Behavior, he states one of the five personality traits used to determine political alignment is "agreeableness" or having the desire to have positive relations with others, and in turn this would shape how a person would interact with the concept of "caring." Although research on the influence of agreeableness and it's affect on political behavior have been mixed, it is worth noting certain German research (Schoen 2007) in which people who are high in agreeableness "voice relatively high levels of support for international cooperation." Furthermore within the U.S. a study (Barbaranelli 2007) showed there to be a "positive effect of agreeableness on support for John Kerry in the 2004 Presidential race was the strongest influence of personality identified." When polled by the Pew Research Center 62% of adults within the recent survey said they would not describe Donald Trump as "caring about people like them." Even more interesting is the wide party divide in attitudes pertaining to Trump "caring about them," with only 8% of democrats surveyed stating this trait describes Trump versus 76% of Republicans. Again agreeableness is mixed between different political attitudes, however one thing is true, those with high agreeableness have a tendency to be more lenient in examining the intentions and actions of others including their peers, and it would be interesting to see more recent results on agreeableness as a trait for determining political behavior.

One of the ways I personally determine if someone is on the left is by waiting to how long it takes for someone to say "I care, you don't," and if you talk about politics long enough it will happen quickly. Does this mean that all liberals do this? For the most part yes, especially if they are part of the a political party focused on concepts of "agreeableness" such as the promotion of diversity. On a side note it is interesting to see how certain "compassionate conservatives" such as Jeb Bush and John Kasich, are among those on the right who also like to push the "I care" but they never seem to believe the other side doesn't care at all, and well we see how far this attitude got them during the 2016 presidential race.

Within the phrase "I care, you don't, " the "you don't" is important because it establishes a blueprint of how the conversation will go, eventually nowhere. You can't have a political conversation with a person who not only presumes your intentions, but they believe in the power of these intentions for good or for ill. Intentions, in the practice of open political discourse, shouldn't matter, rather the practical results of political policies and ideas ought to take precedent. Where they do matter, is mainly as a cheap means to influence the electorate on a basic emotional level to move them to vote and take action against your opponent.

Knowing this, if we were to reference the earlier debate scenario, what should person B do? Person B could reference statistics on the percentage within the homeless population who are mentally ill or who would use the money to purchase drugs or alcohol. They could evoke emotion to state why they decided to not give the homeless person anything and walk away or bring up some family story about homelessness. Or they could do what many on the political right refuse to do, address the altruistic elephant in the room. Ask person A if they donated to the homeless man, which according to the scenario presented, they didn't do either, when they answer press them on it. Use this point and repeat it with other topics. If they say they want universal healthcare for all people, ask them if directly who is going to pay for it and what percentage they are willing to pay out of their income for their own initiatives.

As stated earlier, the political elite who bolster a "compassionate conservative" narrative are no match for person A. For a compassionate conservative, the thought of saying their opponent doesn't care would be unfair, even if there is evidence to suggest otherwise. President Donald Trump changes this "off limits" attitude within Republican and conservative circles. His direct attacks on candidate Hillary Clinton's policies as a reflection of her character seemed to even inspire conservatives like Sen. Ted Cruz to display some similar tactics as exemplified in person B during his debates with Sen. Bernie Sanders and succeed. Therefore the best tactic against political altruism isn't to prove you care but to prove your opponent never cared either.

My next post will be a video sharing recent examples on political altruism direct from recent campaign ads and slogans along with a historical example of what happens to a when "I care you don't" political stunt goes wrong. Enjoy.

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Allegory Of The Race Train

A black man buys a railway ticket and enters a train. He finds a seat next to a window and sits down. Soon after a white man buys a railway ticket, makes his way onto the train, and enters the same section as the black man, finds a spot a couple of seats behind the black man and sits down. An hour goes by with neither man talks to the other. Then another hour. Upon the third hour of the trip the train takes a hard sharp curve, causing the train to shake. The black man, curious about what's causing the commotion, decides to look through the window, but it's night and he doesn't see anything. The train jostles again. Confused, the black man then decides to open the window, sticking his head out of the moving train to investigate. Meanwhile the white man notices something near the upcoming tracks. The white man suddenly yells at the black man saying, "Nigger, get your head back in here before you get hit by that sign!" Upon hearing this, the black man becomes angry, turns his head to yell at the other passenger and in less than a minute loses it, head crashing into a railway sign. The black man dies.

Who is responsible for the death of the black man?

The gut reaction of some people is to answer that it's the fault of the white man. The white man didn't need to yell "nigger" (a contemptuous term for a black or dark-skinned person) to the black man. The white man must have known this would make the black man angry. From this some could claim the white man must have had motives or some ill intent to say "nigger" to the black man thus the white man believes the black man to be inferior in some manner even though they are both passengers on the same train. Some may even use the evidence of the white man not sitting next to the black man as some sort of disapproval of black people. The implication of "disapproval" here is what most in our society call "racism." Therefore the death of the black man is predicated on the assumption that not only the white man is responsible, but that racism is responsible. In spite of this, I've decided not only is the white man not responsible in this scenario, but that racism never existed.

Referencing the allegory, we see that both are men, one "white" and one "black," both are passengers and both have the ability to view the window safely from inside of the train car. For those wondering, the newfound racial argument of power plus prejudice equaling racism doesn't apply here, because both are passengers, none is the conductor or person of power or authority. The differences which caused death were not racial, but are primarily based on what actions each took in response to the train shaking. Examining these actions, ignoring for race, we see that one man put his head out of the window, while the other soon afterward warned him about the upcoming danger. Understandably the main objection would be "you can't take race out of the equation," "you can't ignore the when term 'nigger' was used." To this I say, why not? Listen to what the white man said again and ask yourself, did the white man lie? The white man saw the danger and saw the black man putting his head out of the window. He then decided to tell the black man the truth in a very harsh manner. Nevertheless the truth is the truth even when wrapped in crass or rude language. Is it not a fact that if the black man wanted to keep his head he would've moved it back inside of the train car? Keeping your head and knowing the truth should be more important than losing it reacting to the uncouth nature of others.

Next the question becomes, could there have been an optimal way to tell the truth? If the white man would've said "Hey there dude, get your head back in here! A sign is coming up ahead!" The assumption by many would be that the black man would've listened to him, but how would we know this for certain. How polite should the white man have been for the black man to take his warning seriously? Let's replace the white man for a black man and have him warn the other, "Nigger, get your head back in here before you get hit by that sign!" Would it suddenly be polite then? Would the black man have lost his head?

Regardless of these questions, in the allegory there was a purpose to the action the black man did. He wanted to find out what was going on for himself. After the second jolt of the train, he decided to put his head out of the window. Honestly, we can't say for certain if the black man would've pulled his head back into the train car, but what we can say is that the word "nigger" when stated, invoked a negative response from the black man, which some claim left him no other option than to become angry and while distracted he died. However this is wrong. They're ignoring one side of the equation in favor of another, again they use the premise of racism as a motivation for the black man's death. If you believe the white man should've known better than to say the word "nigger," then should you also believe the black man should've known better and put his head out the window, or remove it when someone warns him of danger? If there ought to be a good way to tell the truth, shouldn't there also be a good way to respond to the truth, regardless of the way it is packaged? If the answer is no, then the black man's emotional response, the same response which clouded the truth to the danger, is made more valid than the truth itself. The black man becomes the perpetual victim no matter what action he would've done because people would rather put focus on how the truth was said rather than what the truth was.

Next, how do we know the white man is racist? How would anyone know without a any doubt the white man is a person who engages in discrimination or prejudice directed against others of a different race based on the belief that his own race is superior? The answer is we don't but what we do know is although he said the derogatory term of "nigger," the mere attempt to warn the black man about the upcoming danger indicates something other than malice or hatred. Yes, it was rude to use the word "nigger," but would a racist white man who disregards the life of another person due to race, have warn him at all? Yet the white man did. What does this tell us about his character? Why would a man tell another man the truth if not to benefit the flourishing of the other?

This is my main contention the term racism. It's vague presentation in the world today makes it nearly impossible to locate or pin point it in our lives or even in this silly allegory. How would I truly know if someone or something is racist? Do they have to say a crass racial term for me to know for sure? Could someone have internalized racism? Couldn't a racist person decide not to say crass language and engage in racist action? What is racist action? Is it the action of prejudice? Is there a person alive who makes massive presumptions of character based on only the race of another person? I would say no. When we view others we take in the whole of that person in the moment. We notice body language, clothing, hair color, eye color, height, weight, voice (if they speak), smell, as well as skin color, and even this is not all. We take into account not only the person's voice, but what they're saying, how they say it, and most importantly what actions they take, not to mention the results of those actions. If we know this to be true, why is it easy for us to believe in the concept of racism or that we may be racist? Why do we believe one person or a group of persons can purely use race as a criteria for perceiving others?

It's important to note I'm not saying there aren't people who make judgements declaring them to be based on race, what I'm saying they don't merely take race into account. Usually they address history, their own personal experience, overall trends using data of those who identify themselves a specific race, ethnicity, or culture. Now is this racist? I wouldn't say so. According to the CDC, it is a fact that nearly 3 in 4 black (or African American) children are born illegitimately.  It is also a fact that homicide is the number one cause of death for black males between the ages of 15-34. Are these facts racist? While there are some who would make the claim just categorizing statistics by race is racist, most understand these stats are addressing a group's behavior (or the result of behaviors) more so than the color of the specific category. Merit or virtue determines performance, not race. Interestingly enough this presumption of facts being labeled bigotry also exists when addressing differences between the sexes. I'll talk more about this in an upcoming article on misogyny.

When a person accepts racism as possible, it makes any solution to it impossible. As it is defined, it is a mental framework which cannot be solved by policies, rhetoric, or in this case allegories, but still people want to put more focus on the existence of racism than the real issues behind what they deem to be "racist" rhetoric. The more I reflect on the allegory of the "race train" the more it becomes clear that the sheer acceptance of the concept of racism has the potential to cloud our judgement and paralyses the search as well as recognition of truth. That truth being, we are not struggling with flesh and blood but against the evils of deception, confusion, and lies. When we're too focused on the intentions of others or the offenses we feel, we let our emotions get the better of us and we begin to care very little about the actions we engage in and the result of those actions upon our lives. The black community is a clear example of this stagnation in truth because when faced with the dilemma of harms the black community racism or moral bankruptcy, most choose racism. Most choose to blame the white man. Most lose their head in the process.

Friday, May 5, 2017

How I Became A Conservative Unicorn: I Went To Public School

Whenever someone is curious enough to ask me what my political leanings are, I usually let them know that politically I'm a conservative unicorn: a person who doesn't fit the stereotypical "face" of a conservative. If you didn't receive the memo, a conservative is usually a close-minded traditionalist, white, cis-gendered male, whose life is privileged regardless of his social or economic status. Although I don't care for the "close-minded" or "white privilege" sentiment, there is a vein of truth in this stereotype. According to the Pew Research Center study on deep divides between United States political parties, there are "sharp differences between race, gender, generation, and education." Demographic groups that tilt Democratic are blacks, Hispanics, Jews, Asians, post-graduate women, the religiously unaffiliated, and those born into the millennial generation (those ages 18-33). Now I'm not going to argue that the statistics or that the stereotype is wrong, however I'm a college educated, Hispanic, millennial woman, but I've been leaning politically conservative since grade school. To many I shouldn't exist. How does a young Hispanic girl from Chicago, a city enveloped by liberal policies and values, become a conservative unicorn? It's simple; I went to public school.

Before I elaborate on the environmental influence leading to my political choice, on a previous blog post I mentioned how inherent personality can explain why people engage in certain types of political behavior. To do this I examined prominent feminists what types of choices they make politically and how these choices may reflect there inherent personality. As for myself, using the same (Big Five) framework to describe my personality, it does reflect the personality of someone who would be typically conservative. Although I'm open to all types of information, I'm conscientious and value order,  hard work, and perseverance. Frankly, I don't believe people are born "blank slates." We are all born with personalities that can be shaped by outside factors. As for myself one of the major factors that influenced the way I think about politics was my journey through the government bureaucracy called the Chicago Cook County public school system.

After living in Puerto Rico for almost two years, my parents decided to move back to the United States, and I was sent to (a predominately African-American) public school. As I started school in the second grade it became apparent what the school's motto should've been, "ask not what your school can do for you, but what you can do for your school." If a student was to succeed, the school would succeed, no matter if the school was responsible for the student's success or not. However if a student failed or disrupted the classroom the whole class would be punished. Collective justice, the idea that we are our brother's (and sister's) keeper, is one of the most fundamental moral lessons taught to most while attending public school. My school was just one of many that decided to take it upon themselves to promote values founded upon the philosophy that it takes a village to raise a child and no child should be treated unfairly. Newly instated fair school programs such as free student breakfast and lunch, because children who are impoverished should be feed for free, even though in most situations their parents are being paid by the government to feed them. Other changes included the dismantling of the school uniforms, because some parents felt they were not affordable or wanted their children to wear some outfit they bought them. As for academic changes, the school to created a specialized class for gifted students. It lasted less than a week due to complaints from some parents due to their child not being one of the few students privileged enough to join the class.
Although these incidents annoyed me, at the time I was quite indifferent, and throughout my early school life I never questioned the intentions of the school authorities. If they said they were working for the good of the students then, no matter how idiotic they seemed, their solutions had to be worth it. It wasn't until the fourth grade when I picked up a book and read the simple line, "all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." George Orwell's Animal Farm was my gateway into questioning the true intentions of authority when compared to the results. The system I was placed in began to dissolve and reveal in it's place the consequence of a revolution in political thought within public education, in which every teacher was a believer in the soft bigotry of low expectations. Since these expectations were low investment, usually tossing money at the perpetual problem, ought to be done.

In the 2017 school year, the Cook County school district invests an average of $12,075 per student, and administration along with teachers still want more. Why? Teachers and faculty cry out that every student, no matter their race or gender deserves not only an education, but a quality education. All student outcomes must not merely be equal, but equal and of the same quality. In my opinion the quality is poor but if you disagree with this opinion, it is a fact the quality is poor. According to the Chicago Sun Times, the Illinois State Board of Education tests in reading and mathematics lead to the result to "one in four CPS students in grades three through eight and high school performed at a level necessary for post-secondary education." When taking into consideration the race of most of these students in these Chicago Public Schools, it becomes inevitable that someone will use this as a means for political and social outrage, along with a steady flow of income.

But is this true progress if the result leaves many students lacking in independence, confidence, along with social and educational skills? By questioning the results of the bureaucratic nature public education system along with the authority that surrounded me, I was able to forgo the collectivist principle of equality within the public commune, and in it's place a more conservative and individualistic framework spurred by my personality began to take shape, and to take this step and seek diversity of political and philosophical thinking as a young girl of Puerto Rican heritage within a public school environment, is what I call progress.