Vote Leave, the safer option

At stake – the future of our democracy

On issues like the economy, immigration and the NHS, should decisions be made by an open, public debate or behind closed doors by un-elected and unaccountable officials? As the EU has grown in strength, decisions have increasingly been made by people we have no control over.

We don’t have to stay in the EU to trade with EU member states

The pro-EU campaign wants us to think leaving the EU would bring trade to a halt with other EU countries, but that is not true. Norway and Switzerland outside the EU enjoy trading with the EU, so do many other countries like China and the USA.

The EU threatens our legal rights

In this country we have rights to protect us from arbitrary punishment. Jury trials and Habeas Corpus mean we cannot be locked for days without a fair trial. However, under the European Arrest Warrant, we can be sent to another country where these protections do not exist.

Choosing independence is not racist

The people of Ghana were not called racist when it became independent. No one said the Jamaicans turned their backs on the world, when it gained independence. Voting to leave is about the people of Britain choosing to manage their own affairs through a democratic political system. It has nothing to do with being against anyone else.

If in doubt, vote out!

We face a momentous decision: whether to remain within the EU and see our democratic system of government wither away, or choose independence and take control of our nation and its laws.

The Freedom to Speak about Islam

I’ve been frustrated recently for having become curious about Islam. Specifically, I have questions which I would like for a Muslim person to answer, but I can’t find anybody discussing such questions. What I find are mostly one way monologues from opposing sides. (in the last week or so, thanks to Trump, US media like Fox news have taken up questioning Islam, but in a very biased manner. I’m looking for an honest, agenda-less discussion.)

My questions:

  • The Quran urges Muslim believers to “fight until all religions are only for Allah.” Qur’an (8:39) Can we take this literally?
  • Ideally, which ought to be obeyed? Sharia law, or laws of the land where you live?
  • How Muslim is ISIS?
  • How can I trust that you are not deceiving me in your answers (Taquiyya)?

I’ve searched on YouTube for decent debates or tutorials, but besides an agonizingly tamed debate between Roger Scruton and Imam Zaid Shakir, and a few debates between a Christian, David Wood, and various Imams, there’s simply not much out there.

Which reminds me of Innes Bowen who embarked on writing her book Medina in Birmingham, Najaf in Brent: Inside British Islam, because she could hardly find any decent studies on Muslims living in Britain. (9/11 didn’t spark any such studies?)

I have a Muslim acquaintance who might be willing to answer these questions without taking offense, we’ll see. I’ll invite her to ask me about Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism and Shintoism if she wishes.

Which brings me to the main topic of this article: How can we discuss sensitive matters openly, without being deemed offensive, politically incorrect (culturally insensitive), or __phobic?

On being offensive

I did a quick Google search of “offensive to” in ‘news’. A few articles came up:

“The everything-is-offensive brand of campus activism has struck a new low: Students at the University of Minnesota killed a proposed moment of silence for 9/11 victims due to concerns—insulting, childish concerns—that Muslim students would be offended.”
Robby Soave, The Daily Beast

Putnam calls Trump proposal ‘offensive to American values’

“Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam on Tuesday denounced a proposal by Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump to prevent Muslims from entering the country (as being offensive to American values).”

It’s offensive to talk about reducing minimum wage:

“Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo state (Nigeria) says it is offensive for his fellow governors to entertain the thought of reducing workers’ minimum wage.”

We discussed this trend of people taking offense at a recent Libertarian Home meeting. A philosopher who was sitting next to me pointed out how it’s become a power word that often attracts a mob of sympathisers. Being ‘offended’ has much more clout than being ‘angry, ‘upset’; or ‘annoyed’.

Often, people who are offended play victim and bark at the offender like a Maoist bulldog. I’ve come across the term “cry bully” which seems befitting. A Yale student’s remark “I don’t want to debate, I just want you to hear my pain” sums it up.

You can’t have an open discussion with people who are likely offended by what you might say.

On being politically incorrect (and culturally insensitive)

A common theme in this thread of thinking is “cultural sensitivity”. Most often, Caucasian (to be precise, white, Christian, heterosexual men) are told to be sensitive to minority cultures (non-white cultures, women and LGBT). It doesn’t seem to matter if white men are at times numerically in the minority. The white man’s colonial ancestors have dominated the scene for so long, goes the cry, that it’s high time the minorities get paid proper attention. One can sense a strong animosity to white Christian male culture by the PC police.

So we get crazy news like Starbucks abandoning Christmas signs, a university banning yoga classes and schools banning Halloween costumes, all because it’s ‘culturally insensitive’, and politically incorrect.

On being __phobic

Islamaphobic, homophobic, racist, sexist, these are all very strong terms that get thrown at people for being ‘offensive’, ‘politically incorrect’ or ‘culturally insensitive’. Phobia is a mental illness. When a PC police tells you that you are __phobic, effectively what he/she is saying is “you are mentally ill, therefore your opinions are not valid.”

In all three cases, the accuser is saying “shut up, your opinion has no place in this peace-loving, fair and equal society.” They might as well be waving around a little red book.

What happens is people start to self-censor, and people like Trump become very popular for speaking out his mind and making space for honest debate, while he takes the blunt by a PC public, for things people want to say but feel they can’t.

Going back to my questions. I’m hoping my Muslim acquaintance won’t take offense to the questions I have of Islam. I really don’t want to offend her, but who knows what offends anybody? I want to come to a clearer understanding of Islam. It’s a big and hot topic. If we want to stop real racism, we have to be able to talk openly.

If we can more openly talk about sensitive issues without fearing judgement by a thought police, I bet we wouldn’t have gone into Syria so haphazardly, and maybe we can come up with a more peaceful solution to the problem of terrorism. We can do this not least by first clarifying what Islam is, and what it’s not.

Libertarian World Computer Simulation

I just took a “Libertarian Purity Test” that asked me a long list of yes or no questions, many of which I wanted to say “neither” or “it depends”.

Some simple questions were:
“Should the Fed be abolished and replaced with free banking and privately-issued money?” (Yes of course)
“Should all drugs be legalized for adults?” (Yes!)
“Are you against the draft? ” (YES!)

Then, other questions that depended on things like timing :
“Should all of the public lands be privatized? ”
(Eventually, yes, but if this were to happen before anything else, then we’d risk Monsanto buying up Yosemite with its holdings of inflated fiat money and create a GMO zombie zone)

“Should we abolish welfare?”
(Eventually, yes, but this should be done lastly, after a Libertarian society is well in place to be able to take on such people who otherwise would die on the streets.)

We see a diagram of a national budget, and think of ways to cut it, and think what would happen if we cut a little here, a little there, in which order we would do it, what the consequences might be; crash of the market? Jump in homelessness? Social uprising? Rise in entrepreneurship? More money flowing to R&D? Better schools? A rise in morale, especially of the young?

I’m not a techie, not much of a numbers person, but I remember playing a game called Civilisation, and I remember enjoying it. You had to build a civilisation from scratch, and the game incorporated different forms of government you could choose from, and the people of your land reacted differently to it. A different game my brother played was more detailed. In it, you owned an amusement park, and if you increased the amount of salt in the chips at the stall, (and if you put a drinks stall close to it), the sale of drinks went up. Brilliant game.

So, why not a Libertarian Civilisation simulation game? Input the national budget, the population on welfare, on housing, in prison, input all the various social movements, etc? Goal of the game – UK, or US, whatever version, to cut the gov. budget by 100% without letting die or upsetting the population? Happiness rate of 70%, say?
Let’s have the architects of the game be an Austrian economist, a Libertarian think tank, include unbiased historians, scholars of current social / political movements, etc. We need to configure where currently the power lies? (May be easier to track where the money is). How do we shift power? (How will money move, as we cut the budget?)

And on and on. Might be a fun project. What do you think?

Freedom and The Seven Deadly Sins

If you knew you had half an hour left to live, how would you live it? Would you obey a humiliating command and run naked to your death, as the Nazis commanded their victims do?

Let’s get serious for a moment. Think about yourself. Your past. Your family. The choices you’ve made, your fate, your circumstances, the people you’ve come to know: Everything encapsulated in the person that you are today. Then, imagine, it’s war. A group of people escort you to your grave with guns pointing to your head. These are the last moments of your life.

How would you act?

Would you have the courage to say no, stop, look around, forgive, even? Would you risk dying sooner, so you can walk it your own way, because it’s your life, because in your heart you know that your conscience is truly free?

Most of us are mentally enslaved. We’ve been taught not to question, to learn what’s taught, to do what’s expected, to follow the herd because the majority is always right.

‘So, I run because they tell me to.
I run because everyone else is.
I’m scared of repercussions if I don’t obey’

The Nazis with guns, they too were enslaved. They’d forgotten they were free. Even if it meant death, they could have chosen to obey their own conscience. But no.

‘I kill because they tell me to.
I kill because everyone else is.
I’m scared of repercussions if I don’t obey’

Freedom takes courage.

My dad gave a lecture one time, the topic was genocide. ‘Would you do it?’, he asked. ‘Can you?’
A few students sheepishly raised their hands ‘yes’. Most shook their heads ‘no.’
When asked ‘why not?’ a student answered, ‘because I’m not that kind of a person’.

‘What if’, my dad asked. ‘What if you were given the power to do so. What if your friends admired you for it. What if your nation encouraged it? What if your family were compensated for it? Would you then, not commit mass murder?’ The classroom was silent.

‘Don’t forget your freedom’ he said. ‘Everybody has the capacity to commit evil, but don’t forget, you have a choice. Know your vices. Don’t be a slave. You have to take a leap and claim freedom for yourself, in every situation, in face of all challenges.’

“The cost of liberty is eternal vigilance” (Jefferson)

What I see at the heart of the Libertarian movement, is a quickening of the freedom inherent in every individual. In this sense, I see it is a spiritual battle.

What are we fighting against, exactly?

Seven Deadly Sins:

Sloth —> Let them (the state) take care of it
Envy —> It’s not fair, our outcomes should be equal
Gluttony –> I want more, more more!
Covetousness—> Let’s take what’s not ours
Lust —> Forgetting boundaries of private property
Anger —> Why don’t people see my view?
Pride —> I know best

It’s understood that with freedom, comes responsibility.

This is an ancient battle: Humanity has always fought against these sins. Yet, this time is different because of the sheer scale of things: We are the most populated, most networked, interdependent, international, militarised, and powerful (nuclear energy being the most powerful) population the world has ever seen. Are we not fighting a Leviathan of the greatest magnitude? Everywhere there’s chaos, anger, confusion, and still we fight the same battle! This message of freedom is paramount now, more than ever. It’s time to wake up, learn our lesson, evolve. Only we can save ourselves.