Transactional Consent

Some brief commentary on the recent passage of “affirmative consent” legislation in California that will no doubt be replicated across the country. I have two primary objections to it:

(1) If we assume the premise of a crisis of rape culture on university campuses, then the only just conclusion is the immediate termination of any state subsidy of this odious institutional setting. There are no if, and or buts on the matter, otherwise its mere toleration of culturally subsidized mass rape. There is no argument for tinkering at the margins for such a thing.

(2) Those that insist that a standard of “affirmative consent” be employed as a mitigating offset are typically the same ones that in any other context scoff at the human agency of transactional consent. So, in California, for example, you will have the left hand implement a legal standard of affirmative consent to address a crisis of mass rape while the right hand vigorously steps up a war on transactionally consensual sex, operating on the premise that transactional consent indicates a condition of human servitude. You are left wondering what exactly does “affirmative consent” entail? Who knows. According to Think Progress, the implied subtext is a legal standard of sufficient mutual titillation. But that nebulous standard implies not only the criminalization of bad sex, but pretty much the banning of marital sex(familiarity breeds routine, not excitement, and romantic love is a very temporary thing indeed).

Interestingly, this issue seems to split left-libertarians. On this one I break the apparent orthodoxy, and I break it hard. Mind you, I would pooh-pooh any suggestion this a consequence of some cultural defect on my part. And I have no interest in defending the sexual practice mores of university life. Frankly, my college years were pretty tame relative to the rest of my youth(gen x’er, so I’m old now). The better part of my experiences came on the streets, the strips and the clubs that proceeded all that. In those thereabouts, there was no “rape culture.”

What this doublethink on “transactional consent” does entail is a rather somber confirmation of the de Jasay model of the State. Even though the classic libertarian method revolves around the plunder of economic rent as the organizing principle of the State, the rational pattern suggests a firm that maximizes discretionary power, not economic rents. It is this descriptive fact that suggests not to rely on your fingers and toes to countdown the expiration date of this thing, the State.

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Circus Maximus

Last year, I criticized Matt Welch’s and Nick Gillespies’s book, The Declaration of Independents, as nothing more than journalistic wishful thinking and buzztalk that was completely irrelevant to the problem of political reform. Politics is not lifestyle consumerism. Political competition is not akin to competition in consumer electronics.

Gillespie only demonstrates the critique with this lionization of Andrew Breitbart. Breitbart clearly was Gillespie’s model entrepreneur regarding the “Declaration” thesis. Writes Gillespie:

t doesn’t matter who we is, kemo sabe. It’s the conservatives at Drudge, the liberals at HuffPo, the leftists at DailyKos, the libertarians at Reason. It’s all of us and Breitbart helped create and grow a series of do-it-yourself demonstration projects through which we can all speak more loudly and more fully.

Breitbart is dead, but the conversation pits he built will live on for a long, long time. A lot of people theorize about democratizing the public square and bringing new voices and sources into conversations about politics and culture. Breitbart actually did it. It wasn’t always perfect and it wasn’t always pretty (ask Shirley Sherrod, the former Department of Agriculture official who sued him for defamation), but he blazed a path that surely leads to a far richer and more interesting mediascape than the one we all grew up with.

I don’t really know what speaking “more loudly or fully means” nor do I quite get what is meant by “democratizing the public square” with “new voices and sources into conversations about politics and culture.” My take is that if you are interested in politicians’ crotch shots or Anthony Michael Hall look-a-likes dressed up as Superfly to dupe “liberal special interest groups,” then Breitbart was indeed your guy. However, I would point to Sacha Cohen as more of pioneer in this media space–and a much more of an entertaining one at that. If, however, you are interested in such mundane matters as secret US military operations in North Africa, the Middle East, Southern and Western Asia, then I would respectfully stick with that bastion of lifestyle consumerist mediascape, al-jazeera. Unfortunately, they ain’t available on my satellite TV, yet. And don’t hold your breath…

Only a crazy person would bother to waste the ammo

I’m “borrowing” the title of my post from a blog entry at Stop Me Before I Vote Again:

Now I don’t approve of shooting legislators. Don’t get me wrong. Hell, I wouldn’t even shoot Joe Lieberman. There’s no point. They just go find another one, without missing a beat, and the supply seems to be endless. That’s why only a crazy person would bother to waste the ammo — if politics really had anything to do with it.

I’m in full agreement, only adding that I would never support anything, strategically or tactically, that would so obviously result in sympathy for the political class.

These acts of political violence bring out the cultural war in full force. No sooner than they occur, the usual suspects are immediately out in full force divining which side of the cultural war the shooter is on. Quoting Michael J. Smith, again:

More broadly in the pwoggienet, there seems to be universal agreement — based on what, I don’t know, other than wishful thinking — that the shooter must have been some Teabagger type. And of course this has fuelled a new torrent of brownshirts-on-the-march garment-rending and hair-tearing from the usual Chicken Littles.

My armchair powers of divination tell me that this guy, like most of the types that commit these acts, are not on any side of the cultural war. So I would laugh at the idea that this was an act inspired by a Sarah Palin poster. As far as “Tea Party” rhetoric creating a “Climate of Violence” that necessitates censorship and gun control, I would counter that it is the State, specifically the National Security State, that has a far greater interest in fomenting and securing a “climate of violence and fear.” It’s good for business.

I must say I’m a bit disappointed to see a petition showing up in the left Libertarian Feed to indict Sarah Palin. Fine, but every politician should likewise be indicted. Left Libertarianism is class war; it is not the fucking cultural war.

TSA and the Political Left Authority Tards

What a miserable comedown this is for the Democratic merit class. Reduced to the peckerwood perversions of the Republican Party…
Stop Me Before I Vote Again

Last week, I blogged about the relative silence of the Political Left regarding the new TSA security procedures. Since then, the crickets,to a certain extent, have stopped chirping. A near-unanimous noise that now emanates: Status Quo, bitch.

Here’s a brief rundown.

The Nation
The protests are nothing more than a Koch-funded libertarian plot. Polls show that 4 out of 5 Americans approve of the new procedures. Move along. Nothing more here to see.

Slate
Apparently, John Tyner reminds William Saletan of the underwear bomber. Writes Saletan:

Those words could just as easily have been written by the underwear bomber. Research the airports, look for the weak link, and pray that you don’t have to go through a scanner that can see what’s between your legs. So, yes, Mr. Tyner. Before you board my plane, I want the guys from TSA to look at your junk. And if you refuse, I want them to touch it.

Michael Kinsely
In Kinsely’s opinion, the TSA customer service experience puts the Post Office to shame. Stop your bitchin people, it could be worse…

But in my experience, the TSA people are unfailingly polite. I don’t mean almost always: I mean 100 percent of the time. Compare this with, say, the Postal Service. In five years, I’ve never had anything but a pleasant experience. (Well, you can’t honestly call the whole experience pleasant, but the TSA people have always — always, without exception — been pleasant and usually a bit apologetic.) And think of what they have to do and put up with all day: people’s smelly feet when they take off their shoes, repeating and repeating the same information about putting your cell phone in your carry-on and taking your laptop out, and then watching people get this simple instruction wrong, again and again.

Time Magazine
Same talking points as “The Nation,” just substitute Matt Drudge for the Koch brothers.

Wonkette
Left Authoritarian Porn.

Mother Jones
Yes, I hate some of these TSA security procedures, but because Obama is in charge, I now feel compelled to compose an anti- anti-TSA rant. The gist of this rant: Republicans are hypocrites.

Daily Kos
Kos can never pass up a good opportunity to exercise his cultural war bona fides. Yes groping is bad, but remember, the GOP is against abortion. And, we can’t forget, most of the noise is coming from white privileged males. Of course, Kos, being a white privileged male himself, pontificates that NSA wiretapping is actually far worse for white privileged males than groping. I’m not sure where that leaves females, children, people with disabilities, and non-white dudes, but I’m fairly certain he will grace us with a clarification at some point.

Think Progress
The TSA promises with right hand over bible and left-hand over dead mother’s grave to reform itself. Meanwhile, there is a sinister GOP plot afoot to introduce profiling. No other greater authority than Michael Chertoff debunks the danger of getting rid of these scanners.

Matt Welch at Reason has a scorecard on the TSA ass-kissing from our nation’s prestigious newspaper editorial boards. Damn, if only the radical center could figure out a way to subsidize these ass-kissers, sanity would surely follow.

Radley Balko digs up some historical dirt indicating that the LA Times is copying and pasting a way old editorial in favor of Japanese Interment with just a few modifications applicable to the current context.

Now, to be fair, the noise coming from the political left is not entirely unanimous1. FireDogLake, for example, has been highly critical of TSA and Obama. Crooks and Liars published a piece that blasted Chris Matthews of Hardball for his faux outrage over any insinuation that Michael Chertoff is operating in anything but the public interest. Digby seems to have taken a break from the cultural war on this issue and writes something that resembles empirical sanity. ED Klain, it looks like, survived the attempted purge at Balloon Juice, to to try to beat some sense in the yokels over there. Roderick Long commented in my previous post that Keith Olbermann has been pretty good on this issue. So Keith is just a Partisan Tard and not an Authority Tard. Well, I suppose that’s saying something…

Now, with respect to the Political Right, there is no doubt that quite a bit of this recent bandwagon jumping over the TSA is in part motivated to crack Dem skulls over profiling. And the GOP stench of hypocrisy on this matter is certainly nauseating, just as the current partisan Dem hypocritical stench is nauseating; just as the left over stench of Dem hypocrisy from the Bush years when when they pretended to oppose Bush authoritarianism is nauseating; just as the left over stench of GOP hypocrisy from the 90s when they pretended to oppose Clinton Authoritarianism is still nauseating. And I would be remiss not to point out that quite a bit of the current federal security apparati that came into being after 9-11 had their genesis in the wet dreams of Clinton and Reno and in Dem Authority Tards like Biden and Lieberman.

As a final note, one can probably use this post as a part III, and the final part, of a little series I’ve been posting on “What happened to Liberaltarianism.” The final conclusion seems to be that actual liberals are about as rare of breed as libertarians. I’m not one of those who demand liberal mean “classical liberal,” but “liberalism” sure as hell isn’t a synonym for Paternalism. What happened to Liberals answers the question of what happened to Liberaltarianism.

1 There is, of course, of sphere of the non-aligned left out there that is not libertarian and ranges from anti-authoritarian to highly political, that has been and remains fierce critics of Obama and the Dems. Think the writers over at Stop me before I vote again, Chris Floyd, Chris Hedges, Glen Ford, etc. By Political Left, I mean the “left” that is aligned with the Dems or institutions that are by and large subservient to the Dems.

The Strange Silence of the Political Left over TSA

Libertarians, of course, have been fierce critics of TSA since it’s bureaucratic inception in the immediate aftermath of 9-11. Nonetheless, at the time, there weren’t many listening to the libertarian critique, and a docile American public seemed more than willing to tolerate this new addition to the National Security State apparatus. Things now, however, have a changed a bit. The introduction of backscatter X-ray imaging technology that performs full body scans, and the recent introduction of a new screening policy that requires an invasive, full body pat down, including a probing of the genital areas, for those who opt out of the full body imaging scan, and, in some case, in addition to the imaging scans, has lit a fire under a previously docile public. The Pilot and Flight Attendant Unions are in almost open revolt. Internet videos of probings of small children and the elderly have gone viral; a computer programmer, who I believe has libertarian leanings, recorded a Kafkaesque conversation with the TSA on his iPhone that has introduced the phrase “Don’t Touch my Junk” into the socio-political lexicon. At the grassroots, “Direct Action” organizations such as wewontfly.com have sprouted up. There is a National Opt Out Day on Nov. 24th. Hell, even the political right press and commentators, and GOP politicos have jumped on board the bandwagon.

However, there is nothing but cricket chirping coming from the political left. Well, there are a few exceptions. FireDogLake, which is no longer beholden to the Dem Party establishment, has been covering this issue. Media Matters, which is very much beholden to the Dem Establishment, has been covering it, albeit from a slightly different perspective: It’s all a right-wing plot to privatize Airport security. The Dem Party Politicos have begun to trickle a few apparatchiks over to MSNBC to defend the TSA. Sen. Claire McCaskill described the invasive, full body pat down as “love pats.” Bedrock Authoritarian Joe Biden pronounced them “intrusive, but necessary.” John Pistole went on Hardball to defend the procedures as vital to a “risk-based” security protocol. But for the majority of the political left ecosphere, it’s been pretty much silence.

So, i would chalk this up as another data point empirically demonstrating that American politics, for the most part, is not about left vs right, or even liberal vs conservative for that matter. It is a cultural war…

Keith Olbermann’s Journalistic Faux Pas

Keith Olbermann, upon his return from his suspension from MSNBC, graced the world with a Special Comment directed against Ted Koppel’s Washington Post piece which decried partisanship in Cable News. Koppel had claimed equivalency between Fox and MSNBC. Olbermann would have none of that and in his self-important, My-Expansive-Cranium-Is-The Historical-Inheritor-Of-Edward. R. Murrow sermonized a history “news” serenade primarily around CBS News icon Walter Cronkite. The point was that Cronkite was a “liberal” and his liberal worldview allowed him to him to objectively construct the facts to speak to truth to power, particularly in regard to Vietnam and Watergate.

Olbermann’s ulterior argument here was obvious: to exonerate him vis a vis his political contributions. And that such contributions had no bearing on his objectivity regarding his mission to speak truth to power. But this is laugh the fuck out loud comedy.

Olbermann’s claim to speak truth to power is simply belied by the fact that he anchored the only News Organization “special coverage” of Obama’s staged final combat troop withdrawal from Iraq. No other news organization bought that bullshit, and the AP went out of their to call it bullshit. Olbermann covered it like it was the Japanese Armistice. Mission Accomplished. This from the guy who had made his reputation on “Countdown” by daily signing off with a mocking of “Bush’s Mission Accomplished.” Regarding Obama’s “Mission Accomplished,” Olbermann didn’t quite evoke memories of Cronkite or Murrow, but rather Soviet Pravda Journalism.

By Olbermann’s own standards, this is the obvious Faux Pas. Libertarians could give a rat’s ass about the political contributions, although I will note that Olbermann donated money to Jack Conway. From a libertarian perspective, there is much to criticize about Rand Paul, but we should note that Dems attacked Paul as if he were a radical liberal. They attacked him for being a closet atheist, for mocking Christianity, for being anti-war, for being in favor of drug legalization, for being soft on Crime. This is the candidate/campaign Keith Olbermann donated to. You donate to Jack Conway, you simply are not a liberal; or whatever liberal principles you claim to adhere to, such are subservient to partisan concerns.

Olbermann is no heir to CBS’s Edward. R. Murrow. Rather he’s an heir to CBS’s Less Nessmann of “WKRP in Cincinnati.” WKRP was entertainment. You are supposed to get the joke. With Olbermann, I don’t his partisan tard audience quite gets the joke…

Update:
Added a multimedia touch to this post.

Found a link to Mr. Edward Murrow/Walter Cronkite, circa August 18th, 2010. View Video.

A Note on Dinesh D’Souza

Back in July, in my post, No Political Gods, I noted the Dinesh D’Souza vs Doug Casey debate at FreedomFest regarding the positive role of religion. Of course, it should be evident which side the respective debaters were taking. Reports are that the attendees overwhelming sided with D’Souza. And I further noted that this indicated to me that FreedomFest was more or less a conservative event.

Some might have taken exception to that, but to me, events keep vindicating the little value of conservatism from a radical libertarian perspective. As Sheldon Richman writes: Dinesh D’Souza has gone over the edge by peddling this nonsense of Obama’s “Kenyan, anti-colonial worldview” that has since been picked up by Newt Gingrich.

Quoting Gingrich:

I think Obama gets up every morning with a worldview that is fundamentally wrong about reality,” Gingrich says. “If you look at the continuous denial of reality, there has got to be a point where someone stands up and says that this is just factually insane.

One thing I’m noticing these days is that “reality denial” is starting to creep into the language of the political and media classes. I don’t think this by accident. So when Richman writes that D’Souza is in “denial,” I don’t really think so. I think he is quite cognizant of what he is doing. As I have written in a bunch of previous posts, the culture war drives a restricted political vocabulary dominated by Newspeak and DoubleThink that excludes empirical reality from acceptable political debate. Political Reality is a DoubleThink Reality. And DoubleThink Reality destroys ideology. If you thought the “Tea Party” was at one time libertarian, it’s certainly clear that it is not now. Whatever ideology it may have once had has now been destroyed.

This is how DoubleThink reality works. A President declares an end to a war that has not actually ended. His “political enemies” accuse him of having a “Kenyan, anti-colonial worldview” despite the fact that he perpetuates and increases the permanent wars. Each side accuses the other of insanity for refusing to accept the other’s DoubleThink reality. This is a political reality that quite effectively excludes any rational critique tied to empirical reality. As Orwell wrote in “The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism,” doublethink is “reality control.”

For those libertarians who cheered D’Souza, understand what you are cheering. As of now, we don’t have to engage in the irrational world of Doublethink, where the political class gets to invent their own realities out of thin air(unfortunately, we do have to bear the burdens of these “realities”); but the same culture war that makes ending the permanent wars impossible also makes repealing the Stasi intelligence State impossible. What do you think these fuckers do in the end? In the end, what is the permanent war actually against? It is against any ideological challenge to the Status Quo.