Tag: hypocrisy

The Republican and Democrat Agendas are Hypocritical

By Ian Brzeski | United States

Disclaimer: When I refer to Republicans and Democrats, I’m not talking about every single person who aligns with the Republican or Democratic party. Rather, I am talking about their platforms as a whole as well as their “leaders” and hypocritical followers.

Both the Republican and Democratic platform are hypocritical in every sense of the term. Whether it is their agenda or on specific topics at hand, they allow themselves to fall onto multiple contradictions and fallacies in their arguments. For example, Republicans and Democrats both display hypocrisy when it comes to the issues of guns and immigration. Republicans are quick to push their agenda against illegal immigration when an illegal kills somebody because, according to them, illegal immigration allows those who like to murder and rape people to enter the US. They argue that if we had stronger deportation measures and a border wall, then many individual citizens such as Mollie Tibbetts would still be alive. Democrats are quick to push their agenda for gun control when a shooting happens because, according to them, guns and gun owners are dangerous and often kill many people. They say how if we had more gun control, then many of the victims in the mass shootings would still be alive such as the students who passed in Parkland.

Republicans defend guns by saying that Democrats are just trying to push their agenda when a horrible tragedy such as a mass shooting happens. Republicans say it is vile and disgusting how Democrats would try to push their agenda on gun control instead of showing respect to the victims. They claim that it is a societal problem and not a gun problem. People kill people; guns do not kill people, and besides, people are just going to get guns regardless.

Democrats defend illegal immigration by saying that Republicans are just trying to push their agenda when a horrible tragedy such as the murder of a girl from Iowa happens. Democrats say it is vile and disgusting how Republicans would try to push their agenda on stronger borders instead of showing respect to the victims. They claim that it is a societal problem and not an illegal immigration problem. People kill people; illegals are not the only people who kill people in this country.

Republicans and Democrats make the same argument when substituting the word(s) “guns” with “illegal immigration.” Who knew that the majority of Republicans and Democrats are not that much different? They use the same argument on various issues. They even both bash each other on how they portray their stances. To an extent, the parties also fall subject to the slippery slope fallacy when describing how guns/illegal immigration are the causes of the death of various people.

The slippery slope fallacy is a logical fallacy that implies that a small action will lead to a much more significant action with enormous consequences. Saying that having less secure borders will lead to more murders is a solid example of this fallacy and the same goes for saying that the sale of firearms will lead to more murders.

Who is the Bigger Hypocrite?

Most Republicans are bigger hypocrites than the Democrats. They claim to support small government except for when it comes to:

  • The wall across the Mexican border
  • The Space Force
  • A stronger governmental police force
  • A massive military
  • Tariffs
  • Military parades
  • The War on Drugs
  • The War on Terror
  • Trump regulating social media
  • TSA
  • NSA
  • DEA
  • ICE
  • And many more

The only difference with the Republicans and the Democrats here is that they disagree with what should be funded by the government. For every government program defunded by Republicans, another government program is funded that fits the Republicans’ agenda. At least the Democrats openly admit that they are for a bigger and stronger government.

Democrats could just as quickly say the phrase “Taxation is theft,” and it would still have the same meaning when Republicans say it. Establishment Democrats and establishment Republicans are the same; they are all pro-war and pro-big government hawks. Obama openly says he is against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and then proceeds to bomb more countries than any of his predecessors. The Republicans claim to be for smaller government and pro-life, yet when Senator Rand Paul introduces a bill to defund Planned Parenthood, the bill does not pass despite Republicans having the majority in the House and the Senate. Does this sound like a small government platform?

The fact of the matter is that the majority of the Republicans preach a pro-liberty position, but their actions and ideas say otherwise. However, not every single Republican is one of these establishment politicians. There are still few Republicans out there who stay true to their pro-liberty and small government agenda, such as Senator Rand Paul, Rep. Thomas Massie, Rep. Justin Amash, and Austin Petersen to name a few.

Stuck in the Same Cycle

Regardless of who is in charge, the government still become stronger, taxes and spending increase, and our national debt continues to grow. We have a “pro-liberty” president who keeps fighting the war on terror, keeps funding the war on drugs, has the notion that tariffs are good for the economy, and now wants to start printing money to get us out of our national debt. Nothing of recent has changed regarding the United States. Voting Republican or voting Democrat will be practically voting for the same person the majority of the time. Not voting for a third party because you are afraid that it is giving away a vote to the “rival” candidate may be one of the worst excuses to use because either way you are most likely voting for big government establishment hawks.

As a result of this two-party system and hypocritical nature of the parties, the government continually grows into a stronger, more coercive force that inhibits on our personal freedoms to make decisions for us. Thinking that voting third party is a waste is a dangerous ideology. We will never see a real change by always voting in these establishment candidates. We will have the same problems that we continuously complain about, nothing will get changed, we will continue to stay in the same cycle that we have been going through, and people are too blind to realize this.

Republicans and Democrats have the false sense that they are pitted against each other. There are other options out there, and people need to realize that. People need to stop voting based on parties and need to start voting based on principle.  Watch a debate between Republicans and Democrats, and it is easy to see that the discussion just turns into a name calling blame game. It is one of the most pathetic things a person could ever see. Their arguments have no real substance or conviction, and they always seem to attack the person as an individual and not their ideas.

“When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the losers” – Socrates

Republican or Democrat, it doesn’t matter. We are always going to be stuck in a never ending cycle if people do not stop blindly following party positions. It does not matter whether you identify as a Conservative, Progressive, Libertarian, or Socialist. Do your research and vote for who you think is going to bring about the most significant possible change to our crooked establishment system. Don’t vote for somebody based on their party or if they are a lesser evil, vote for somebody you believe in.


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Russia Isn’t Why Trump Won, Get Over It

By Glenn Verasco | Thailand

As the Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theory has, via lack of evidence, all but withered away, it is time to set the record straight on Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election. What many dramatically refer to as an attack on our democracy or even an act of war was actually closer to a non-event that U.S. foreign policy is to blame for. Instead of fear, anger, or hostility, we should react to Russia’s alleged involvement in the 2016 election with empathy, pity, and national self-reflection.

Unfortunate Diplomatic Circumstances

In an ideal world, the Kremlin and the U.S. federal government would be mutually respectful allies, In this reality, American and Russian people would engage in commerce with each other freely. But we do not live in an ideal world. We live in a world in which both governments’ choices have inculcated Americans and Russians with different languages, cultures, values, and fears. Because of this, it may be impossible for the US and Russia to ever eliminate hostilities wholesale and create a live-and-let-live type of atmosphere.

Even so, a Washingtonian/Jeffersonian foreign policy is our best and safest bet. Instead of getting caught up in entangling alliances, we should seek to make the best of an imperfect world. To do so, we must accept countries for what they are, imperfect. Thus, we should allow people of both countries to seek roads to happiness and prosperity when they see fit.

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson summed up what I believe to be the core of good foreign policy in each’s farewell and inaugural addresses respectively:

“It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world…Harmony, liberal intercourse with all nations, are recommended by policy, humanity, and interest.” -George Washington

“Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none.” -Thomas Jefferson

What Will This New Direction Look Like?

Instead of sanctioning Russia and allowing NATO to usurp our national interests, we should knock down any roadblocks in our trade routes that we have the power to. If Russia reciprocates, great. If they don’t, our liberal policies will serve to the betterment of all anyway. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

I empathize with the heart of neoconservative foreign policy. The way I see it, it refuses to stand idly by as major human rights violations occur. Admittedly, there is virtue in universal recognition of the individualist philosophy that our forefathers preached, and in seeking to approach foreign affairs this way.

One problem, however, with this foreign policy is that it can create a hammer-without-a-nail mindset. Though simple from the outside, many foreign conflicts are complicated internal disputes that the U.S. has no business in. Histories external to America, when avenged in real time, do not reveal their depth to our media agencies. Here again, President Washington provides wisdom:

“Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification.”

Reasonable Mistrust

Despite my awareness of the complexity of history and geopolitics (which is another way of saying my awareness of my infinite ignorance) as well as my strong non-interventionist leanings, I am still sympathetic to the notion that the U.S. must treat Russia with an exceptionally strong level of distrust. I can even rationalize our military blockading what was once the epicenter of the Soviet Union. The map I have created below shows Russia, the United States, and the countries/regions surrounding Russia that at least 5,000 US troops occupy from a top-down point of view:

Russia Blockade

Whether you support the Neoconservative tendency towards caution or the Libertarian preference for sovereignty, such an immense military presence around Russia is going to have consequences. These may include, but are not limited to, intimidating military exercisesexpansion of territory via brute force, increased centralized control over the flow of information internally, and a greater focus on collecting intelligence from adversaries. It should be no surprise that the Russian government engages in all of these defensive practices.

Is U.S. Intimidation Working?

The counter to this claim could be that the consequences of the U.S. and its NATO allies easing up would be even worse. One might say that the only reason Russia has been so meek in its hostilities is due to the current robust military presence.

This is a chicken or the egg dilemma that I cannot solve, but, for the sake of argument, I will give the benefit of the doubt to the neocons and concede that western military might in some form is needed to keep Russia at bay. Accordingly, we must accept the consequences of this choice, one of which is Russian intelligence agencies seeking information and causing disruptions, i.e. their involvement in the 2016 US election.

The Myth of Trump and Russia

From what I understand, the extent of Russia’s “meddling” in the 2016 US election does not amount to much. Based on the latest indictments brought by the Mueller investigation, Russian military intelligence operatives may have tried to hack the DNC’s server to expose information about Hillary Clinton. Previous indictments allege that Russians may have purchased Facebook ads aimed at sowing discord within the American public (not simply backing Donald Trump for president, as many lazy and/or biased media outlets continue to assert).

On hacking, I am not convinced that the Russians are responsible. As the race in the Democratic Party between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders was extremely divisive and contentious, it would be unsurprising to find out that various pro-Bernie members of the DNC with access to various servers decided to leak damaging documents about Clinton and her campaign. The motivation makes sense, and so do the logistics. It would have been far easier to get inside and download files at close proximity than from Russia.

An Expert Opinion

Patrick Lawrence, in a summary of a memo released by Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), writes in The Nation:

“On the evening of July 5, 2016, 1,976 megabytes of data were downloaded from the DNC’s server. The operation took 87 seconds. This yields a transfer rate of 22.7 megabytes per second.

“These statistics are matters of record and essential to disproving the hack theory. No Internet service provider, such as a hacker would have had to use in mid-2016, was capable of downloading data at this speed. Compounding this contradiction, Guccifer claimed to have run his hack from Romania, which, for numerous reasons technically called delivery overheads, would slow down the speed of a hack even further from maximum achievable speeds.

“What is the maximum achievable speed? Forensicator recently ran a test download of a comparable data volume (and using a server speed not available in 2016) 40 miles from his computer via a server 20 miles away and came up with a speed of 11.8 megabytes per second—half what the DNC operation would need, were it a hack.”

This forensic evidence, combined with Occam’s Razor, makes it difficult for me to accept the accusation of Russian hacking at all, no matter how many US intelligence agencies say otherwise. I am not saying that the Seth Rich conspiracy theory is likely to be true, but I find it equally as persuasive as the Russian hacking theory.

Accusation Without Proper Evidence

The indictments of the Russian operatives accused of hacking the DNC server will not result in extradition or trial, so the accusations will never be tested in a court of law. And some of the most fundamental pillars of reason, liberty, and the Bill of Rights dictate that we cannot accept claims ad verecundiam. In fact, it is assertions from those in power, like the FBI and NSA, we must cast the most doubt upon.

The indicted Russians are not guilty until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. It would be nice to have a civil libertarian organization like the ACLU actively reminding us of these things, but identity politics and Trump hatred have resulted in many such groups losing their way.

Beyond all this, the documents released by Wikileaks provided the public with more truthful information, which is most certainly a positive development for the democratic process. For those who purport to care about an informed public determining their destinies via the vote, it would be quite hypocritical to claim otherwise.

Hypocrisy at Home

Even if it were irrefutably the Russians who hacked the DNC server, the US has no moral high ground when it comes to intervening in foreign elections (or intervening militarily for that matter). The map below highlights the nations that have faced election interference from the US since the end of WWII (a total of at least 80 instances):

Bringing these facts to light in the current climate can result in accusations of treason as Senator Rand Paul has been subjected to. While this is to be expected when it comes to warmongering neoconservatives, hearing it from self-described liberals has a chilling effect. This sort of with-us-or-against-us, pseudo-patriotism is far more reminiscent of nazism than the enforcement of immigration law is.

Did Russia Have Any Significance?

To once again be extremely generous to the opposition, let’s accept three premises:

1) That the U.S. must take extreme measures to contain Russia

2) That Russia directly hacked the DNC server at least partially as a means of promoting Trump’s campaign

3) That the U.S. does not have to practice what it preaches in terms of respecting the right to self-determination of foreign peoples

Even with all of this accepted as fact, there continues to be zero proof that Russian “meddling” changed anyone’s vote. And there are monstrous hurdles one must overcome to prove the positive claim that Russia successfully influenced the 2016 election.

The first is that the amount of money Russia allegedly spent on influencing the election is a drop in a bucket at the bottom of a massive sea of campaign financing and media coverage. Unbiased America illustrates the incredible disparity between Russian spending and non-Russia spending. The foreign nation accounts for about 0.1% of the total money spent on the election.

And even without juxtaposing the amounts spent to influence the election, there is no scientific proof that campaign contact or advertisements can persuade voters in the first place. In a study published by Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business in 2017, researchers concluded that “the best estimate of the effects of campaign contact and advertising on Americans’ candidates’ choices in general elections is zero.” In other words, if you are looking to alter someone’s vote, it is going to take more than slogans, attack ads, and memes to do so.

How did Trump Really Win?

I imagine that the way to get voters on your side is to stump for policies they prefer and to create some kind of unified identity. Trump ran on making America great again, draining the swamp, defeating the establishment, protectionist economic policy, restricting immigration, non-interventionism, and lowering taxes without lowering welfare spending. I imagine this formula is what put him over the top, not these crude supposedly Russian-made memes:

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screen_shot_20171101_at_3.37.07_pm

To sum up, any genuine hysteria over Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election is misguided. There is no reason to believe Russia affected the US election in any way of their own volition, nor that they broke any laws. Freedom of speech is a human right, not one reserved for everyone except those who have some distant connection to the Russian government. Human nature and far greater influences impeded any attempts to impact the election. And Russian meddling in U.S. affairs is a small price to pay for containing them (or, rather, bullying and threatening them).

The More Chilling Issue

What should be of far greater concern to all Americans are reactions to the Trump-Russia narrative by individuals, the media, and especially the US government. Sanctions against Russia will harm the Russian people and strengthen its government. Already suffering from a lackluster economy, sanctions will further thin out their opportunities. On a global scale, sanctions and other barriers to trade create an invisible domino effect that hits sectors of economic activity around the world too. Growing economic anxiety and economic hostility from NATO combined with a global media that paint Trump as Russia’s lapdog will inevitably guide the Russian people deeper into the protecting arms of Vladimir Putin.

Many members of the public and in Congress have called for increased regulation of the internet and social media as a way to prevent Russia from “meddling” in future elections, a dangerous undermining of free speech and expression no American should tolerate.

Instead of making peace and harmony with Russia more difficult, we should accept the minor consequences of containing Russia or leave NATO and let Russia be. The men who fought off a bullying foreign nation to found the United States of America would have preferred the latter option.

***

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Should Colleges Remove Thomas Jefferson from Curricula?

By Kaihua Zhou | United States

Among the Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson is one of the greatest. His accomplishments include largely authoring the Declaration of Independence, helping pass the Virginia Statue for Establishing Religious Freedom, and enacting the Louisiana Purchase. Many principles that conservatives and libertarians hold dear first took form under Jefferson. Jefferson extolled the virtues of limited government, stating that “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” America is fundamentally Jeffersonian in its outlook. It is almost impossible to imagine America without these signature accomplishments.

However, Jefferson is increasingly labelled as a hypocrite. In March 2018, student activists in Hofstra University protested Jefferson’s statue on campus.  A number of liberal organizations such as Young Democratic Socialists of Hofstra denounced Jefferson as a white supremacist icon who justified slavery. This disgust has spread to Jefferson’s native Virginia. In the University of Virginia, a vandal defaced Jefferson’s statue, marking him as a racist and a rapist.

While it would be easy to dismiss these incidents as isolated cases of iconoclasm, they are part of a larger trend. In 1996, Stephen Ambrose, a celebrated historian, attended a panel on “Political Correctness and the University” at The University of Wisconsin. During the discussion, he discovered that one of his fellow professors, teaching American political thought, had purged Jefferson’s from her curriculum. When Ambrose inquired why, she simply responded that Jefferson owned slaves. What about Jefferson’s extraordinary accomplishments? They were erased merely for Jefferson’s status as a slaveholder.

How justified are these criticisms? It cannot be denied that Jefferson owned slaves, more than 600 of them at given moments of his life. Moreover, it cannot be denied that he held repulsive prejudices. He could not foresee free African Americans peacefully coexisting with Whites.  Moreover, Jefferson denied the potential of African Americans to obtain the same accomplishments as whites. “Comparing them by their faculties of memory, reason, and imagination, it appears to me that in memory they are equal to the whites; in reason much inferior, as I think one could scarcely be found capable of tracing and comprehending the investigations of Euclid: and that in imagination they are dull, tasteless, and anomalous.

By contemporary standards, Thomas Jefferson was a racist.  Despite such prejudices, there is much more to his legacy.  What is too often forgotten in such denouncements is Jefferson’s anti-slavery efforts and views. Jefferson recognized that slave-owners were tainted morally by their practice: “The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other.

Far from being an unapologetic white supremacist, there is a note of self-awareness in Jefferson’s tone. It’s possible to imagine Jefferson privately feeling a very human remorse for his hypocrisy. Such remorse led to action. Jefferson limited slavery, barring it far from the contemporary Midwest in the Northwest Ordinance of 1784. Such legislative foresight prevented slavery’s depravity from expanding further into the new nation. As a revolutionary in 1774, Jefferson attacked the royal British government for allowing the slave trade.  As president, he acted on these noble instincts, passing the Act of 1807. This act concluded the slave trade in the United States, giving severe fines for illegally purchasing slaves.

Was Thomas Jefferson a hypocrite? Yes: his powerful mind was severely constricted by his era’s racial prejudices. Is this grounds for retroactive demoralization? If Jefferson’s primary accomplishments are insufficient to redeem him, what can? His anti-slavery views demonstrate that there is much more to his legacy than pure racism. This complex legacy deserves to be seriously studied by college students. Seeing Jefferson as “merely” a hypocrite or a racist oversimplifies the issue.  He should be respected and celebrated, not worshiped or demonized. He was a hero, but also deeply flawed.


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Anti-Spending Conservatives Jump On The Military Parade Bandwagon

 

By Andrew Lepore | United States

Recently, news has emerged that President Trump has instructed military officials at the Pentagon to begin planning for a grand military parade. Trump’s inspiration for the parade, likely to be held on Veterans day, came from the French Bastille day celebration which he attended last year as a guest of newly elected French president Emmanuel Macron.

The President was apparently awestruck by the display, telling reporters at a press conference following the parade “It was one of the greatest parades I’ve ever seen. It was two hours on the button, and it was military might, and I think a tremendous thing for France and for the spirit of France.”

This move could’ve been predicted, as Trump added: “We’re going to have to try to top it.”

The idea has unsurprisingly seen disdain by democrats who are now conveniently concerned with the cost to taxpayers; Democratic Senator Jack Reed was amongst those in opposition to the parade, stating “At a time of stress and strain on our military budget, President Trump is proposing a costly parade that would divert needed resources from our military’s core missions.”

Also unsurprisingly, many conservatives who aren’t as quick to spend the taxpayers dollar unless the military is involved, are fully behind it.

Tammy Bruce from fox news writes on the issue “Who could argue against a parade that highlights the Americans who defend our freedom and make everything else possible? A military parade would be fun, would honor our vets and would remind the world that America is a superpower and proud of it.’ she adds “it is a perfect event symbolizing the fact that America is getting back on her feet after eight years of a commander-in-chief who reveled in complaining about America and decimating our military.

With a $700 billion military budget proposed for next year and 800 bases in 80 different countries, I don’t think the world needs anymore reminding that the United States is a superpower.

The idea that America needs to reassert itself as a superpower comes from the false notion that our military was gutted and crumbling after eight years of Obama. This is simply not true. The military budget saw a minor cut during his presidency, but even then the budget was a few billion dollars more than the next seven super powers combined. Nobody can deny the massive, almost imperialistic influence the United states has across the globe.

With that being said is there really a need to spend an undetermined amount of taxpayer dollars on a needless display of ego? The last full scale military parade was in 1991 requested by George H.W Bush to celebrate the end of the Persian Gulf War. That was a costly parade coming to a total of $9 million, in today’s value that would be almost $14 million. But at least that was for something, to celebrate the end of a war that just happened, not out of the egotistical desires of the president to throw a DPRK style military parade in order to “demand respect”.

I do believe the left is making a bigger deal out of this than they should, Some saying he’s a “Napoleon in the making” and saying he is akin to a military dictator. Although this is ridiculous, I think it is less ridiculous than the claim that America needs to “reassert its military might and command respect” as if we lost either of those in the first place. Overall, I think the idea is corny and and a parade is unneeded, not to mention a waste of taxpayer dollars.


Image from Bloomberg.

The Left’s Contradictions on Gun Control

By Will Arthur | USA

One of the few issues dividing the economic left and right today is their respective views on gun control. Generally, Republicans and conservatives support and respect a citizen’s right to own a firearm to a greater degree. However, Democrats and liberals are more likely to fight for gun control, believing it would bring safety to our nation. They claim this safety as more important than the freedom it restricts. Despite this claim, there are serious contradictions with who the left thinks should own and control firearms.

Far too often, citizens are shot, tazed, brutally injured, or even killed by police officers. The vast majority of the time, these acts are wrongful, but courts rarely deem them as such. Frequently,  the officer in question receives no trial at all, let alone an adequate punishment. When these awful events occur, Democrats are often keen on pointing out cases of police brutality. Perhaps most famously, they spoke out against such police violence at their 2016 National Convention.

However, what makes these protests interesting is that the same ideology supports gun control, enforced by the U.S. police. As a Pew Research poll shows Democrats are more likely to lack confidence in the police force, it seems rather strange that they are willing to place the dangerous and complex issue of gun control into the hands of the police. When enforcing gun control, protests and lack of compliance may cause more conflict, injury, and death. So, why then, do Democrats oppose preventable violence in one area but not another?

Yet, Democrats’ desire for a police force that they often protest to enforce gun control is not the only contradiction. If police enforced gun control, Democrats would have to put full trust into the police force not to abuse this given power. If the state stopped citizens from buying certain guns, this would not eliminate them. Instead, state funded groups like the military, FBI, CIA, and the police would be the only ones with them. This transfer of ownership of firearms would create huge differences in power between the people and government.

Essentially, Democrats are protesting one part of our government. Yet, as soon as they would like a law enforced, they turn to this same group of people. They have no problem giving power to the same group they accuse of committing murder. This shows how fast some Democrats will go back on their word. Any supporters of gun control should know this. Gun control is not anti-gun; rather, it is simply giving the guns to a corruptible police force.

(Image from thedailybeast.com)