Sunday, 13 July 2014

It's Hard To Be A Moderate Conservative Pirate, But Somebody's Got To Do It

In last night's post I blogged about how I argue with people on the internet, not to win them over, but to influence their audience. If they can't answer my questions and can't contradict me with evidence, they lose credibility.

But a matter of opinion is just that, however controversial that opinion may be. It's not worth arguing about, however vehemently you disagree with it. The only time I'll go after someone online is if I feel threatened by their stances.

I want to talk about some of the stances people have that I don't like, why I disagree with them and why I push back on them. If you're basically left-liberal, you're not going to like what I have to say, and I make no apology for that. You may as well stop reading now.

The slippery slope

I've been reliably informed that "the slippery slope" is a logical fallacy. More often than not, it turns out to be true. You can actually feel the ground beneath your feet begin to drop away when people get all emotional about a given subject and refuse to think through the implications. Insert the language of human rights and stories of extreme cruelty and suffering to get people on side, and Bob's your second-degree relative.

The trouble with arguing a slippery slope point is that it's easy to fall into exaggeration. Don't. Stick to the facts and have your evidence ready to display or your opponents will succeed in shutting you down with the Left/Liberal instant dismissal tag: bigot.

Redefining marriage? Surely not!

One of the biggest arguments made by the pro-gay marriage alliance was that marriage was not going to be redefined and that "other groups" weren't going to be permitted to wed.

MYTH: This is the thin end of the wedge – further changes to the law to enable other groups to marry are likely.
REALITY: This is simply not the case - we have absolutely no plans to amend the law on marriage in any other area. - UK Govt.

I was already skeptical about that, having seen the case of a man who married a horse, followed by a Brazilian chap who wanted his girlfriend to be recognised as an equal partner with his wife in a polygamous civil union.

Peter Saunders of LifeSite News argued,

Myth 6 - Opponents are just bigots 

This slur is meant to shut down debate and stop people thinking for themselves. Nick Clegg landed in hot water over a draft speech which called opponents of redefining marriage ‘bigots’. He later retracted the word, but there’s no doubt that many who support this radical agenda think anyone who disagrees is not worthy of respect. 

Now Pirate Party Founder Rick Falkvinge has come out as a polyamorist and is already wanting to change the law even more:

And the reason for his complaint is:

Erm, Rick, we're just getting used to gay marriage — and gay divorce. Now imagine the mess if one of the members of a polyamorous union wants to get out of it. Turn to Islam for an idea of what that is like in a conservative society. Now imagine it in a me-first liberal one. Mono divorces are miserable enough, but imagine what it would be like if Daddy, Daddy, Mummy, Mummy, and Mummy get divorced here in England and one of the Mummys wants to go back to America taking the children she has borne with her. When such a case arises I will jerk my thumb at this and ask you if you still think I'm a backwards bigot.

Gay marriage is here to stay, I'm not campaigning against it or anything, I just had my doubts that "the line drawn in the sand" on marriage would stay there. It seems I'm right. This is the will of the people. However, I can't help wondering how much all the legal issues that arise when things go wrong is going to cost — and who's going to pay for it. Needless to say, the prospect of having a civil discussion about this is probably nil. That's why I haven't gone to Rick directly; everyone and their dog would pile in on top of me. It's not worth the aggro.

There is no alternative

If there's anything I can't abide, it's extremists. While I often bash the Right for it, left/liberals are guilty of it too. Their usual targets are people who disagree with them, even if their views are moderate, often because they believe their are correcting errant thinking in one of their own.

I just got into an argument with a CI (Citizens Income) enthusiast who thinks that CI is great because it's less complex (in his eyes) than the current Byzantine maze of a system we have now. The trouble is, he's a Pirate. I worry that the Party is being infiltrated by a left/liberal element that is slowly moving it away from this:

Forget about right and left, it's what's right that matters...
...Outdated politics must change, and will change. - Pirate Party UK website

to the kind of gloopy, woolly-minded thinking that would make us unelectable. The Liberals (embrace weirdness! Love it, you bigot!) and the Left (capitalism is evil. Let the state provide for everything) are already well-represented in our political system. If their ideologies continue to seep into the Pirate Party's policies, we'll soon be no different from them, the "identikit grey politicians" we're supposed to be providing an alternative to. If we let the radicals take over, we'll only appeal to radicals.

The left, the right, and the middle ground

Read through my argument with Romain Guillebert. As far as he's concerned, there is no alternative to the left/right dichotomy. I had to school him.
Holy sense of entitlement, Batman! Yes, he really wants to sit around on the dole making art and volunteering when he feels like it. Off the sweat of my brow.
Well, at least he didn't say he was more special or deserving. However, he had no clue as to how we could make this work:
As an administrator, I can only imagine the headaches that would come from having to "giveth and taketh away." It's easier to not pay CI to the rich in the first place, to restrict it to those who need it. But he said:
Or, as the Rolling Stones would sing, "Hey you get off of my cloud!" That was when he thought he could put me in my place with one pithy comment, but I was having none of it.
His ignorance swinging in the wind, he doubled down:
but I swooped in with the final end-it-all argument:

I've heard nothing from him since.

The Pirates are supposed to be the missing middle-ground party. If they turn into yet another gloopy trippy-hippy left/liberal outfit I'll withdraw my support for them. All I ask is that they do exactly what it says on the tin. We've already got more fringe loons around than you can shake a bong at, and we need an alternative to that. If we're going to be A New Hope, we need a new ideology so we must stop re-hashing the old ones. Both the Socialist and the Free Market Capitalist arguments have been lost. Forget them. It's time to move on.

Freedom for all, not free for all

One of my biggest critiques of Libertarianism is that they seem to think of freedom as having no responsibilities. Meanwhile they urge others to be personally responsible and say that social responsibility is an option, not an obligation. Even those who don't subscribe to that odious ideology end up being caught up in those elements they find most appealing. Freedom meaning "no responsibility" has seeped so deeply into the American and Western consciousness that this has been a thing for some time now:
When respected web designer/developer Jeffrey Zeldman tweeted that, he got a lot of responses. I favourited the ones that pointed out that this is a demand-side issue. We want it, so we pay for it, fueling more pop culture stereotypes in which the dumb dad gets dumber.

An alternative drama

Imagine a sensible, hairy, hard-working father who works from home to care for his kids. Maybe one is disabled. Mummy works as a legal secretary to help make ends meet. This is a situation they fell into because he lost his job and she got promoted at hers. Drama revolves around covering the ever-rising costs of living and concepts of family and gender roles. Comic relief is provided by the clueless privileged wannabe dancer (who has ZERO sense of rhythm and a massive sense of entitlement) who lives next door in a house shared with other arty types of varying ability and success. He or she means well and wants to help but doesn't want to get too involved, so ultimately isn't much use. Main antagonists are the left/liberal political activists at one end of the street and the right wingers at the other, each of whom offers solutions, none of which work particularly well because they're more interested in scoring points off each other than actually helping the family. Besides, Dad's particular problems aren't addressed by their ideologies. Dad finds each of them very annoying and feels as though he's caught in a tug of war between them. He's constantly trying to avoid them but they always find him...

Okay, who wants to make that?

Would we rather watch Jamie rape his twin sister right beside the congealing corpse of their son? Yuck. Well, it's the will of the people, the demand-side has spoken. There is absolutely no point in trying to control it, of course, but we can promote alternative dramas like the one above so there's more of a discussion in popular dramatic discourse.

What annoys me is that the middle-ground, sensible, moderate approach to everything that I espouse is rapidly becoming the fringe alternative, not the mainstream that I wish it was.

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