Tag: authority

The Milgram Experiments and What They Teach Us

Andrew Lepore | United States

In 1942, following the invasion of Poland and its defeat by Nazi Germany, Polish diplomats sought refuge in Great Britain. That year received a secret message from their occupied homeland confirming the Jewish genocide at the hands of the Nazis. Rumors of such an atrocity had been circling for years, but with this came the first official confirmation. Newspapers and journals from around the world reported headlines such as  “MASSACRE OF JEWS—OVER 1,000,000 DEAD SINCE THE WAR BEGAN” and “NAZI SLAUGHTERHOUSE”—GERMANS MASSACRE MILLIONS OF JEWS IN EXTERMINATION DRIVE”.

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Patriotism and the State are not your God

By Austin Anderholt | United States

In American politics, the right loves to poke fun at the left. What seems to be their favorite way to do this is poke fun at how liberals base all of their politics on “feelings”. The right loves to call the left “triggered snowflakes” and other assorted names.

This rhetoric stems from the fact that the American right sees itself as the messiah of hard facts and logic, uncaring of your “feelings”. This is extremely ironic, seeing as the American right is the most emotional, childish piece of American politics.

Right wingers love to bow down to their government, calling it “patriotism”. They chant slogans like “Blue Lives Matter” and “Support our troops.” When thibking about it rationally, it becomes extremely silly to imagine that people cherish so dearly the very police that infringe on their basic rights. It seems so crazy that people would let the government steal more of their paycheck to fund the killings of more innocent children through wars. It becomes even sillier to imagine that people think that action is “supporting our troops”. However, the right doesn’t look at the government through a lens of logic and reasoning. The right looks at the government through a lense of emotion, more specifically, fear.

If you take a look at how Americans view patriotism, you get a sense that the government is some sort of Orwellian god. For example, the government teaches American schoolchildren as young as five to put their hands on their heart and pledge themselves to the state every morning. We also look at our flag as something that can never touch the ground. Americans get offended when someone desecrates it. It’s an idol.

When you ask Americans why they voluntarily pledge themselves to the state, or worship a government that hurts them through stealing their money and infringing their rights, they give very vague answers.

“Because people died for America!”

Oh really. People died for the swastika and the hammer and sickle. Just because people that I’ve never met decided to risk their life for their opinion doesn’t mean I should worship said opinion.

“America means freedom!”

Really? The government that infringes on my rights, steals from my money, and indoctrinates the masses into hailing it represents freedom?

From these vague responses on such a big issue, we can conclude that something else is the reason that Americans are so overly patriotic and worship the state so much:

Group pressure and fear.

Every dictator knew that in order to make a individuals submit, you must make the group submit. This is why Hitler’s rallies were so powerful. When everyone else is hailing Hitler in unison, it’s human nature to feel like you’re making the incorrect choice by not hailing Hitler.

This is why the pledge works so well. Everyone stands up and recites that they pledge themselves to the state in unison. You feel like an outcast if you’re not also there pledging the state. Soon it becomes a competition. We all want to prove to everyone that we love our state more than the next guy. This is why everyone just says “I love America! God bless America!” So much. Do they have any idea of why they’re saying that? No! It just seems so romantic to love something unconditionally no matter what, especially when state education has glorified it.

This is why we love our military so much. The thought of saying “Sure people in the military have been killed, but people have died for many reasons, and I don’t have to agree with their cause just because they died for it.” Sounds scary. Humans want to be a part of a group. They don’t want to be labeled a “traitor” to the all righteous state that everyone is apart of.

This is what makes the American right so emotional. The state is their god. They are afraid to think or speak against it. They are afraid of not being apart of the masses, and they are afraid that they will be an outcast if they don’t hail Hitler like everyone else does. Remember, be a rebel. Don’t jump off a cliff just because everyone else is yelling at you to do it. The state is not your god.

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Unity of All Forms of Anarchism: A Common Rival

Ryan Lau | United States

Throughout mankind’s war-torn history, involuntary authority and its following upshots continually stunt civilization’s growth. Such a notion is not dubious, for it simply confirms intrinsic traits of such authoritarianism. A stunning majority of individuals carry on through hours, days, and months, knowing naught of a possibility of a moral civilization that abandons tyranny. As it stands, tyranny is crippling all nations today. Thus, in a world of mass misinformation and thought control, can any individual find this surprising?

Still, though, a fraction of civilization has not lost its gait. This fraction has an ability to admit civilization’s faults, but in doing so, typically fails to act against said faults. Such a division of humanity favors two distinct groups: anarchists and statists. Statists favor status-quo laws and authority, with political and social transformation as ways to work for gains. Withal, political and social transformation, naturally, is no action. In fact, it is inaction of a horrific rank, in which participants draw an illusion of action. Applications of this illusion of action favor trivial variations in public policy, not substantial paradigm shifts.

At this point, naturally, humanity should abandon such applications. It should find a tactic that is pragmatic and rational, but also purist and virtuous. Many individuals, from scholars to radicals (and uncommon but alluring fusions of both) throw out proposals, which humanity is apt to laugh at. From Agorism and Anarcho-Capitalism, to Syndicalism, Mutualism, and Communism; individuals amass philosophy constantly. Still, though, involuntary authority afflicts humanity, with copious solutions. With this laid groundwork, what is humanity’s path to a moral civilization?

Collaboration. Among said various divisions of anarchist philosophy, all must show unity against statism. Only at this point will statism fall to anarchism. Gladly, I will admit that various forms of anarchism vary drastically, and to abandon such variations for humanity’s own good is a difficult task. Although this holds truthful upon much scrutiny, this variation is nothing in comparison to that of a statist and an anarchist. Our common villainous bandit is statism, and to vanquish it is our top priority, our task with most gravity.

As it stands, statism and its choking grip hold authority in might. Intrinsically, it holds a monopoly on all things involuntary, assaulting and purloining individuals at will. Though it may claim morality through word of law, all statist action is still as morally wrong as assault or banditry by an individual (or group of individuals). Alas, statist might and monopoly is crippling. Though this is wrong, stating so is no way of changing this truth. Asking tyranny kindly to go away has no way of bringing about anarchy and Natural Law. Though morally right, such notions must hold backing in our civilization to amount to any triumph.

Thus, might and right both will fail to guard individual rights. Facing such an unpromising thought, it is not out of sight to simply abandon all thoughts of anarchy, of morality. With promising thoughts lost, agorism will support humanity. Agorism, or trading goods without authority’s totalitarian watch, allows for all anarchists to join for a common goal. By abandoning statist sanctions and tariffs, by using agorist ways of trading, statism fails. Agorism allows for communism, allows for individualism, allows for capitalism. In a voluntary agorist civilization, all anarchist forms may occur in harmony. Such a truth allows for agorism to draw all anarchists to it.

Without a doubt, statism’s choking grip is difficult to crush, but it is not without its limits. Just as I can affirm such truths without Anglo-Saxon Idiom’s fifth symbol (following “d” but prior to “f”, I solicit you to hunt for but a singular utilization of that symbol in my composition), civilization can find anarchism through agorism.

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Raleigh Police Demand Google Release GPS Data Of Users Near Crime Scenes

According to WRAL, North Carolina police have successfully convinced a Wake County judge to order Google to hand over the data records of citizens found to be within a digital corridor on the night or day of a specified crime scene. The state claims they have the right to access Google’s database in an effort to identify suspects in the area of a crime.

The two cases in question revolve around the murders of a taxi cab driver and another man killed in his driveway last year. Drawing on a satellite map, Raleigh police presented the Wake County judge with a highlighted area encompassing the crime scene. Any citizen that passed within this territory during an estimated time of criminal activity would be included in the digital roundup.

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WRAL

While privacy activists across the country criticized the news, county officials suggested that this is simply the natural evolution of forensic techniques. Raleigh police presented the tech giant with warrants to provide the digital information of any active cell phones found within the area of the two separate murders.

For one of the warrants, the judge ordered Google to hand over the data of any user within a 17 block radius of the crime scene. This area includes residential houses and businesses, meaning that the data dump could potentially include thousands of free and lawful citizen’s private information. Some have suggested this is a breach of our constitutional rights to search without due cause.

According to research, 92% of all Americans own a cellular device. While users have the option to turn off GPS location services, citizens can still be tracked by connected cellular networks that constantly monitor users. Google has remained quiet on the proceedings and offered a brief statement regarding how they decide to release information to authorities:

We have a long-established process that determines how law enforcement may request data about our users. We carefully review each request and always push back when they are overly broad. – Google

The statement suggests that Google protects the rights of its users up to a point. Without any specifics, however, it is tough to assume what their policy really is and how dedicated the tech giant is to its user’s private information. Furthermore, the data was not limited to Android users. Any user connected to a google app was targeted in the sweep. In the case of the two murders in Raleigh, perhaps the search optimization site was shown convincing evidence that compelled them to release the records of thousands of area citizens. Or perhaps this isn’t a battle the Silicon Valley enterprise wants to fight.

According to the presiding judge, this ruling does not allow for a limitless search of a user’s phone. Text messages, emails, and phone calls were precluded from the warrant although the judge suggested these could be obtained with through a different process. This ruling holds precedent in Orange County California where a digital search warrant to comb through the records of cellular users has been used in past cases.

Americans are not stupid. They know they are being watched and recognize that the monolithic tech giants of our age often have no recourse (or interest) in protecting the rights of their consumers. This decision stands and Google’s weak stance on privacy helps illuminate the reality that your right to digital privacy in The United States continues to be eroded with certainty and precision by a new grouping of technological authorities that seem not to possess an understanding or care for constitutional rights.

The fourth amendment to the constitution states:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Constitutional advocates will recognize the issue with judges ordering private data of citizens that happen to pass through a geographical territory while a crime is committed. While the information could be used to prosecute a killer, it also serves to disenfranchise the property rights of the other 99.9% of citizens who have a right to be secure in their persons against unreasonable search. Ordering the release of is an unreasonable search.

What’s worse is that this sort of legislation will undoubtedly target minorities as it already did in the taxi driver case. Crime is highest in places of poverty, and if authorities are allowed the opportunity to search private citizen’s property based on territorial generalizations, it is a certainty that the weakest among us will only get weaker. Furthermore, this new technique could possess technological challenges. For instance, this modern form of analytics could lead to false accusations based simply on being within a 17 block area of a committed crime.

As we move into the era of complete technological adoption, clarification regarding privacy and the rights of individuals in the digital age are becoming contested issues. While officials suggest these new measures are in line with a mentality required to investigate crimes of the 21st-century, where does the breach of privacy end? Every inch we give up as Americans is another inch gained by the corporate monoliths of government and business. These latest cases are simply another example of how commonplace it has become for the state to monitor its citizens without their consent.

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Spreading Libertarianism in the Classroom

By Glenn Verasco | Thailand

For the past six years, I have been teaching high school English in Thailand. I love what I do, and I’m good at it. My classroom, for the most part, reflects my Libertarian worldview, and it works.

I certainly don’t preach my politics to my students. This is because most students treat me as a respected and benevolent authority figure. In all scenarios, it is against my pedagogical creed to use my authoritative position to inculcate my students. Anytime my views slip out, which is rare, I take responsibility for the opinion, rather than allowing my students to believe them factual.

This does not mean my views are never a part of class discussions or activities. When we discuss and debate political and social issues, I sometimes ask questions that allude to the Libertarian thought process, if my students do not invoke them on their own. For example, when discussing pollution or other environmental issues, my students generally want to ban certain practices or subsidize solutions. Prohibiting plastic bags and limiting car usage are common suggestions. If the conversation comes to a standstill, I may try to get their brains going. I ask if society can do anything without the government’s participation. This sometimes leads them to suggest privately-organized awareness campaigns, neighborhood cleanup efforts, or innovations that can lead to profitable and environmentally-friendly business ventures.

One chapter of the textbook I use with my 11th graders focuses on the topic of food concerns. Bangkok, where I currently teach, is famous for its delicious street food, which is often less than sanitary and unhealthy. The vendors are usually low-income, so regulating their businesses could lead to them having to absorb crippling costs. This winds up being an excellent opportunity for libertarian thinking.

As a brainstorming activity, I put my students in groups. They then come up with several specific food concerns they are aware of in Bangkok. At this point, they choose one and find a solution to improve cleanliness or health.

Next, I use the Socratic Method to show students that laws and regulations do not always serve their intended purposes. I do this by asking them if drugs are legal in Thailand. They say no. I then ask whether people still use and abuse drugs in Thailand. They say yes resoundingly, often giggling as well. So, do laws always work as a means of solving problems?

I then explain our activity. Each group is to come up with a solution to their chosen food concern. However, they cannot use laws or other government-enforced methods to do so. This forces them to consider the profit motive, the fundamental motive for business. They must manipulate it so that people will make the world better and also satisfy rational self-interest. When the easy way out, prohibiting unfavorable human activity, is not an option, the creative ideas my students generate consistently amaze me. Their critical thinking ability, in an educational system as anti-intellectual and archaic as Thailand’s, blows me away.

Another Libertarian component of my classroom is the way it is governed. I make many of my rules in the spirit of the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution. Naturally, many are a reflection of negative rights. In honor of the First Amendment, all opinions are both welcome and subject to encouraged scrutiny.

Students are allowed to exit the room to use the restroom at will. Moreover, they are not even required to pay attention, and I make this explicit. These freedoms are retained under the condition that my students do not disrupt my teaching, or their classmates’ learning. I explain on the first day of class that they are personally responsible for themselves only. Thus, I do not allow them to make others’ decisions, such as drawing their classmates’ attention away from my lesson. This is essentially an expression of the non-aggression principle as I only treat acts that victimize others as transgressions.

Fortunately, and I do not mean to boast, I happen to be quite charismatic at the head of the classroom. The vast majority of my students find my lessons to be engaging, and they eventually respect me enough to behave relatively politely (at least as far as teenagers go). I do not know how much of this is a result of my teaching, how much is a result of my Libertarian governance, and how much is a result of their character independent of me.

There are, of course, instances in which my students break the rules. Some of my pupils seem to lack the ability to remain reasonably quiet for more than a few moments during my interactions with the class or quiet work activities.

While my students are aware of my rule against audible disruptions, I enforce it within reason. My personal view, as a so-called poor student throughout middle and high school myself, is that not all children and teenagers are predisposed to the capability of learning and behaving in a traditional classroom setting. If I could go back to my childhood and be presented with the option of working a part-time, minimum wage job instead of going to school, I’d jump at the opportunity. I have learned more at work than at school throughout my life, and my main motivation for becoming a teacher was to provide an outlet for students who, like me, do not mesh with school.

So, I do not lose my rag as soon as a student causes a disruption. I let them get away with a few shushes before taking action. Authoritarianism demands perfection; small-government libertarianism understands that that is impossible.

When shushes don’t work, I have no choice but to bring the gavel down. And this is when I do something that may seem anti-libertarian at face value. When I lose control of the class, they lose points collectively. Rather than punishing the individuals who are causing disruptions, I deem all of them guilty by association and reduce all of their scores.

Punishing many for the actions of a few is sacrilege to an individualistic philosophy like Libertarianism. But the lesson learned, not the punishment itself, is the key. What I hope the well-behaved students learn (and I explain this to them if they don’t seem to) is that failing to police one’s neighborhood autonomously eventually leads to restrictions in freedom from a higher authority. If a society (or classroom) can keep itself in order, there is little risk for strict laws, rules, or interventions to be enacted. Peaceful populations are more likely to retain self-governance than chaotic and unruly ones.

One can easily argue that a public school teacher arbitrating the way a classroom runs is a laughable attempt to illustrate libertarianism. But as of now, I think I’m practicing what I preach.

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