Category Archive 'Collectivism'

31 May 2018

“This Sand is Your Sand” (Even Though George Over There Pays Taxes On It!)

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Sunbathing on a beach at Bohemian Grove.

Collectivist ideological entitlement hilariously meets Get-Off-My-Lawn entitlement on Northern California’s Russian River in Outside magazine.

For neighbors in Harreld’s quiet river community, 90 minutes northwest of San Francisco, the image of the then 43-year-old starting his day in the sand had become a regular, if provocative, sight. Several times a week, he’d plant himself in a folding chair overlooking a gentle bend in the mellow Russian River. Sometimes a buddy joined him; other times he sat alone. The job was simple: Enjoy the beach. Sip coffee. Maybe spot an otter slithering up the lazy current. Most of all, do these things in clear view of the camera hidden in the trees.

The man who’d hung the camera believed that Harreld was trespassing. Harreld believed he was reclaiming land that belonged to the people. On a literal level, that’s all the two were fighting about: just 20 feet of gravelly beach.

But at the heart of the fight swirled bigger and fundamentally contradictory ideas. Remarkably basic questions about America itself were woven through their dispute. There would be no bloodshed—the same could not be said elsewhere—but the level of fury would nevertheless become shocking for the once friendly neighbors.

Harreld and his wife, Judith, live in a one-story home a short stroll from the river, with sunflowers and a tomato garden out front. …

On this June day, as he walked down the dirt path to the beach for morning sentry duty, he was pursuing his newest hobby: being the Rosa Parks of obscure riparian law.

Fifty yards or so above this quiet stretch of the river is a vacation home owned by Mark O’Flynn, a lawyer from San Francisco. Nearly four years ago, O’Flynn posted his first NO TRESPASSING sign. Like many property owners, he had come to equate public access with broken glass, poop in the bushes, and bad music blaring from drunk strangers’ speakers.

The problem, as Harreld saw it: the sign stood in flagrant violation of federal law. As he would explain to anyone who’d listen, the beach was subject to a public easement below a line called the ordinary high-water mark—a calculation roughly analogous to the average high tide. In 1981, the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed in Montana v. United States that this easement trumps private ownership in navigable rivers.

Navigability, in turn, is established by proving that the river has qualified as a “highway of commerce,” used by ferries carrying tourists, say, or loggers floating felled trees downstream, both of which happened on the Russian River.

In other words, Harreld believed, that gravelly beach was everyone’s to enjoy, regardless of what signs were posted.

Harreld had known O’Flynn socially. His house is a minute’s walk away, and Harreld and his wife had been over for dinner. When he saw the sign, he e-mailed Mark to ask if it was his. Indeed, Mark replied.

There would be no more neighborly meals. Over the years that followed, a full-on cold war blossomed. Someone would run a shin-high line of wire across the path. One of Harreld’s allies would remove it. O’Flynn would hang cameras in the trees. Someone would paint over the latest NO TRESPASSING sign.

And now, on this Thursday morning in 2015, Harreld and some friends approached the beach only to find the path blocked by “cut bamboo, tree branches and matts of algae,” according to the June 18 entry in a detailed journal he’s been keeping since the conflict started. The next day, the group began removing the makeshift barricade, and O’Flynn ran out of his house.

What ensued borders on slapstick, with O’Flynn, according to Harreld, “pulling the bamboo out of my hands, then dashing over to pull some out of my friend’s hands, then dashing back to me.” (I don’t have O’Flynn’s account; he won’t discuss the dispute in detail.) Soon two sheriff’s deputies arrived, but they declined to take action.

Perhaps at this point you’re marveling at the amount of free time that middle-aged white men have. I marveled, too. But as I got deeper into the dispute, I came to see that this picayune squabble wasn’t all that it seemed. Behind the folly of turf wars and the arcana of river law, a larger conflict was playing out, one rooted in a profound disagreement over how we think about nature and how we divide it.

RTWT

Personally, I find it easy to detest both sides: the city jerks who purchase a quarter acre in the country, and then right up go the No Trespassing signs! are just about as objectionable as the ideologically-driven busy-bodies patting themselves on the back for pushing their way onto people’s backyards to prove a petty legal point and to assert a collective right over private property.

05 Jun 2016

Alt-Right Is an Evil Movement

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WhitePride

Walter Hudson contends that Alt-Right is evil and we have a duty to oppose it.

Collectivism is evil. That is why racism should be opposed, not because it offends, but because it denies the nature of human beings as individuals and places a group above them. Collectivism comes in many forms, with beneficiaries defined on different terms. But whether it’s the nation, the race, the faith, the tribe, or any other overriding entity, no group has the right to subordinate individuals, ever, under any circumstances. That is the American way of life. Far from preserving it, the alt right stands poised to crush it. The alt right acts as a hammer to the anvil of the regressive left. In the crossfire between the two, what remains of personal liberty will die.

21 Oct 2014

Keep the Planets Collectivist!

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little-green-men-2
Lockean Individualist enterprise might again threaten aboriginal rights and cultures.

Saskia Vermeylen, a Senior Lecturer at the Lancaster Environment Centre at Lancaster University, shudders at the thought that there might possibly one day be private property and private enterprise in Outer Space. No, no, no, Space must be reserved only for collectivist statist administration.

Perceiving outer space as a commons was also another way of preventing national sovereignty in space. But neither the USSR nor the US was keen to fight out the Cold War on yet another front. Geopolitics dictated the decision to treat outer space as being non-appropriable.

This principle can be found back in Article II of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty which clearly forbids “national appropriation by claims of sovereignty, means of use or occupation by any other means”. It has been widely accepted: no one complains the various moon landings or satellites in space have infringed their sovereignty.

However, legal commentators disagree over whether this prohibition is also valid for private appropriation. …

[W]hile the idea of buying some lunar real estate might be fun, in order for these plots to be recognised as property there needs to be legal recognition by a superior authority such as a nation state. As states are not allowed to claim sovereign rights in outer space, landed property on the moon and planets will in all likelihood be outlawed.

Legal commentators are hopeful that states will remain loyal to the treaty and refrain from recognising or endorsing a private property claim. …

But all of these arguments are rather theoretical. If you just simply occupy a place and no one else can access or use it, aren’t you the de facto owner? Lawyers call this corporate possession (corpus possidendi) and it represents another reason why title deeds cannot be a legal proof of lunar ownership – no one is physically there. In order to possess something, both mind and body need to be involved. Intention alone is not sufficient; possession also requires a physical act.

The difficulty of physically establishing an act of possession on the moon should protect it from private development, but it seems technology is once again outsmarting the law. Back in the late 1990s commercial firm SpaceDev intended to land robotic prospectors on an asteroid to conduct experiments and claim it as private property. he project eventually ran out of funds and was shelved, but advocates of such “telepossession” point to cases of salvage companies claiming undersea wrecks as property after exploring them with robots. After all, if an undersea probe with a TV camera was all that was required to take possession of a (previously owned, earthly) shipwreck, why shouldn’t a space probe be enough to take possession of an unowned and unclaimed patch of celestial real estate? …

I get the uncomfortable feeling of a déjà vu. Was it not Locke’s property theory that justified possession over nature and vacant land and eventually led to the colonisation of the Americas?

And we all know how that worked out!

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It is never easy to bring oneself to respond in seriousness to editorials so simultaneously fashionable and conventional in their perspectives, yet built upon such completely astounding and preposterous assumptions.

Saskia Vermeylen is a professional scholar specializing (with the support of Western society and the British state) in property theory, from “a critical socio-legal and philosophical perspective,” meaning that she is a Marxist communist and a committed adversary of the civilization, culture, state, and society in which she was born and educated, and which is currently supporting her professional career.

Saskia Vermeylen was educated (at Surry and at Lancaster, but she could just as well have acquired the same perspective at Oxford or Cambridge or Yale or Harvard) to believe that the European settlement of the New World and the development of the United States of America was overall a Bad Thing, and that it is somehow reasonable to imagine Columbus turning around and going home, and the European states of France and Spain and England, the Netherlands, and Sweden all declining, on moral grounds, to settle and develop unoccupied, newly discovered territories for fear of coming into conflict with the interests of Stone-Age barbarians residing nearby.

If Ms. Vermeylen is correct in her beliefs, it would somehow, mysteriously, be possible for the Iroquois to make war and compete for control of territory with the Hurons, the Susquehannoks, the Eries, and whomsoever; but not for Englishmen and European Civilization to compete with the Iroquois. If Ms. Vermeylen were remotely rational, it would be necessary for it to be possible to argue plausibly that, had Europeans never crossed the Atlantic, after four centuries, the aboriginal inhabitants of the Americas would themselves have constructed a state, society, and civilization worthy of comparison in artistic, scientific, philosophical, technological, and political achievement to the United States (and Mexico and Canada), equal or superior in the development of human potential and the promotion of human happiness.

It should be needless to note that imagining any such successful comparisons would be absurd. Consequently, there is no legitimate possible justification for Ms. Vermeylen’s treasonous and nonsensical perspective and no explanation for its etiology other than ignorant conformity to a certain kind of pathological local intellectual fashion.

16 Jul 2012

Obama is Definitely Running as a Rand Villain

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Barack Obama, in a statement to an audience in Roanoke, Virginia, gave one of the all-time classic statements of collectivist denial of individual achievement. He said: “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

An English professor I know was moved to quote William Butler Yeats in response to the president.


Come let us mock at the great
That had such burdens on the mind
And toiled so hard and late
To leave some monument behind,
Nor thought of the levelling wind.

12 Nov 2009

Buy Insurance Or Go To Jail

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Bird Dog asks: If the ObamaCare proposal is so good, why do you have to imprison people who don’t want to participate?

Dick Morris identifies the relevant portions of the Bill.

The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation reported that the House version of the healthcare bill specifies that those who don’t buy health insurance and do not pay the fine of about 2.5 percent of their income for failing to do so can face a penalty of up to five years in prison!

The bill describes the penalties as follows:

Section 7203 — misdemeanor willful failure to pay is punishable by a fine of up to $25,000 and/or imprisonment of up to one year.

Section 7201 — felony willful evasion is punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment of up to five years.” [page 3]

That anyone should face prison for not buying health insurance is simply incredible.

And how much will the stay-out-of-jail insurance cost? The Joint Committee noted that “according to a recent analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, the lowest-cost family non-group plan under HR 3862 [the Pelosi bill] would cost $15,000 by 2016.”

08 Nov 2009

“What Side of History Do You Want To Be On?”

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Rep. Paul Ryan ( R — 1 WI), in his 2 minute House speech captured in this 1:53 video, correctly observes that the democrat’s health care bill is not about reforming the system or lowering costs. It’s about ideology.

What side of history do democrats want to be on? Not the side of Washington and Jefferson.

John Cassidy
, in the New Yorker, identifies whose side they are on.

In extending our health-care system, all we are doing is catching up with Otto Von Bismarck’s Germany, which recognized a hundred and twenty-five years ago that universal health and disability coverage, along with old age pensions and a system of public education, were essential elements of a modern society.


Otto von Bismarck

Der Staatssozialismus paukt sich durch. (State Socialism will forcibly move forward.)
— Otto von Bismark.

Democrats want to replace the Liberal American ideals of limited government, personal freedom, and individual responsibility with Mitteleuropean statism, socialism, and collectivism. Their “modern society” is, just like Bismark’s, centralized, bureaucratized, and dirigiste.

Socialism, statism, collectivism are all actually terribly old-fashioned ideas, representing nothing other than a variety of negative responses to the Liberal Enlightenment ideals of individual liberty and the restraint of state power in favor of voluntary and organic order. The would-be rulers of mankind simply ceased appealing to claims of Divine Right and hereditary superiority and began attempting to gain power by flattering and bribing the masses, while arousing their passions with fraudulent claims of injury and entitlement.

Human appetite for power is unlimited and the possession of power is always addictive. The Central European monarchies, Germany, Austria, Russia, which pioneered centralizing statism with unprecedentedly expansive regimes of taxation, regulation, and conscription, inevitably turned their power against one another, and destroyed themselves with the war they launched in 1914.

From its grand dynastic monarchies, the tradition of Continental European collectivism passed in 1917 to populist rule by cafe intellectuals, bringing within a generation an even greater war and murderous barbarism producing atrocities and deaths on a scale unprecedented in European civilization.

European exhaustion and the demoralization of the traditional leadership classes, after WWII, produced generally more benign socialist rule, but the European welfare state politics American liberals yearn to share produced nothing but European stagnation and decline. Britain was still rationing food as it had in wartime in 1954.

America surged dramatically ahead of Europe, economically and culturally, and (until the late 1960s) enjoyed decidedly less divisive and destructive politics.

Europe only began catching up to the United States in material prosperity, after many long years, when deference to market considerations on the basis of the American example significantly began to influence European economic policies.

Yet, despite the manifest superiority of the American political tradition and the American ideals of Liberty and Individualism, our domestic community of fashion continues to yearn to replace those with European-style statism. They seem to feel instinctively that, because French cheese, German cars, and Scandinavian design are such effective markers of class superiority that Europeans must also possess a more chic and desirable kind of politics. They are dead wrong.

Our liberals are like the Bourbons, and the Fall of Communism (whose anniversary, with respect to the opening of the Berlin Wall, we begin to celebrate tomorrow) is like the French Revolution, a historical watershed producing some definitive judgments on the Past. Like the Bourbons, American liberals have learned nothing about economics. And like the Bourbons, they refuse to relinquish their illusions and their ancient animosities.

10 Jul 2009

Ubuntu Has No “I” In It

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Episcopal High Priestess Katherine Jefferts-Schori

Addressing delegates at a recent triennial meeting of Episcopalians in Anaheim, California, Katherine Jefferts-Schori won this month’s Rand villain award by arguing passionately that the Christian doctrine of individual salvation was all wrong.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told delegates to the group’s triennial meeting July 8 in Anaheim, Calif., that the overarching connection to problems facing Episcopalians has to do with “the great Western heresy — that we can be saved as individuals, that any of us alone can be in right relationship with God.”

“It’s caricatured in some quarters by insisting that salvation depends on reciting a specific verbal formula about Jesus,” Jefferts Schori, the first woman to be elected as a primate in the worldwide Anglican Communion three years ago, said. “That individualist focus is a form of idolatry, for it puts me and my words in the place that only God can occupy, at the center of existence, as the ground of being.”

Schori said countering individualistic faith was one reason the theme chosen for the meeting was “Ubuntu,” an African word that describes humaneness, caring, sharing and being in harmony with all of creation.

“Ubuntu doesn’t have any ‘I’s in it,” she said. “The ‘I’ only emerges as we connect — and that is really what the word means: I am because we are, and I can only become a whole person in relationship with others. There is no ‘I’ without ‘you,’ and in our context, you and I are known only as we reflect the image of the One who created us.”

Jefferts Schori said “heretical and individualistic understanding” contributes to problems like neglect for the environment and the current worldwide economic recession.

“The sins of a few have wreaked havoc with the lives of many, as greed and dishonesty have destroyed livelihoods, educational possibilities, care for the aged, and multiple forms of creativity,” she said. “And that’s just the aftermath of Ponzi schemes for which a handful will go to jail.”

She said in order to be faithful, “we need to be continually rediscovering that my needs are not the only significant ones.”

“Ubuntu implies that selfishness and self-centeredness cannot long survive,” she said. “We are our siblings’ knowers and their keepers, and we cannot be known without them.”

“We have no meaning, no true existence in isolation,” she said. “We shall indeed die as we forget or ignore that reality.”


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