Saturday, August 20, 2016

On Korryn Gaines and (very) imperfect victims

For those not following the story, I’ll start with a recap of who Korryn Gaines was, and what happened to her.

Korryn Gaines was a 23 year old black Baltimore mother who appeared to have anti-government views similar to those held by the Sovereign Citizen movement.  In March, she was pulled over when police noticed that in place of a license plate, she had piece of cardboard with the following written on it:

“Any Government official who compromises this pursuit to happiness and right to travel, will be criminally responsible and fined, as this is a natural right and freedom.”

(While I cannot condone Gaines’ actions from that point forward, I must confess this rather endears her to me.  She reminds me of Ron Swanson with his permit, which sets my cold libertarian heart aflutter.  To think that all this could have been avoided, if only we had privatized roads!)

Needless to say, the police were not satisfied with Gaines’ sign.  The altercation which followed can be seen here, as can all subsequent Instagram and Facebook videos Gaines posted on the matter.  The clip is 20 minutes long, so here’s a summary: Gaines refuses to hand over any license, registration, or insurance information, instead insisting that policeman show her a so-called “delegation of authority order,” on the (very faulty) legal reasoning that such orders are the only constitutional law enforcement authorization.  The policeman very patiently provides proof he that he is in fact a police officer, and gives her several opportunities to resolve the situation peacefully, each of which she declines.  At one point she crumples up her ticket and throws it out the window.  The bickering continues, and eventually the police are forced to remove her from the car and arrest her, which they thankfully accomplished without inflicting any physical injury besides a scraped finger.

Gaines was charged with a slew of traffic violations and resisting arrest.  The video proves she was clearly guilty of each.  Her court date was set for July 16th. In April, while awaiting trial, she filmed herself entering the police department in search of paperwork pertaining to her case, where she started another confrontation with police.  Erratic social media posts continued in the coming months, including several of her holding a shotgun with captions threatening to use it on policemen.

Gaines did not show up in court on July 16th.  This eventually prompted a warrant for her arrest, which police attempted to serve her on August 1st.  She did not answer the door.  When police opened the door with a key borrowed from the landlord, she greeted them with a raised shotgun.

This prompted a six hour standoff, portions of which Gaines also live-streamed to Facebook and Instagram.  During the standoff, Gaines repeatedly pointed her weapon at officers and threatened to kill them, with her five year old son right next to her.  In response to one such incident, a policeman fired what he later described as a warning shot, after repeatedly instructing her to drop the weapon.  She then let loose a barrage of rounds, sparking a shootout that ultimately resulted in her death.  Her son was wounded in the arm by a police bullet during the exchange.

Incredibly, many in the BLM social media movement are holding this woman up as a martyr for racist police abuse.  GQ calls her death “a feat of violence that stretches the bounds of the imagination,” indicating that the author may have a much narrower imagination than most people.  This person employs such fantastic euphemisms for shooting cops as “making the rare choice to take agency over her life and the life of her son,” while the Crunk Feminist Collective labels men criticizing that choice as “mansplainers…turnt all the way up victim blaming her for ending up dead.”  A predictably absurd Black Girl Dangerous article asserts that "Korryn Gaines and Loreal Tsingine were both executed for refusing to lay their bodies at the feet of slave catchers and Indian Killers.”

Vox tries to justify these reactions in a more politically correct way, questioning whether lethal force would have been deemed necessary were Gaines white.  They should ask this question to the family of LaVoy Finicum, the Oregon Rancher who was killed in the standoff with police in a very similar situation (except that there were hundreds of them, and it lasted 41 days, instead of just one person and one day).  If that analogy doesn’t suit your fancy, just go to YouTube and look up police shootings of armed (or unarmed) white people.  You’ll find plenty.  Start here, here, or here.

The Crunk Feminist Collective continues:“Korryn Gaines was holding and protecting her son from state-based terrorists with guns.  That they thought he was an acceptable casualty in order to apprehend her is a failure of their logic not hers.”

Bullshit.  Whatever she may have fancied herself to be doing, Korryn Gaines was not doing jack-diddly-shit to protect her son.  Like the Oregon Ranchers, Korryn Gaines was making a deliberate political statement of high-profile resistance, broadcasting it to social media, and prioritizing that statement ABOVE the safety of her son (and herself).  Surely not even the most brainwashed BLM advocate can pretend that 5 year old Kodi would have been shot had his mother released him to negotiators, as they asked her to do countless times throughout the six-hour ordeal?  Nor would he had she not clutched him to her chest, while raising a shotgun at people who didn’t want to die?  No - Kodi Gaines was never in any danger that Korryn Gaines did not deliberately choose to place him in.  Her logic most assuredly failed.

Non-compliance is not an unreasonable response to oppression,” the Black Girl Dangerous article argues. “Murder is an unreasonable response to non-compliance.” But vehicle registration laws are not oppression, and neither are arrest warrants for failure to show up in court.  In any case, raising and firing a shotgun at policemen serving that warrant is not the same as “non-compliance,” and returning fire at someone shooting at you is not the same as “murder.”  No amount of euphemisms can change the plain truth that the most direct cause of Korryn Gaines’ death was Korryn Gaines.

The entire chronology of this story, from March through August, is a series of unnecessary fights that Korryn Gaines picked.  Had she registered her vehicle, like she knew she had to, she would never have been pulled over.  Had she accepted the ticket, like she knew she was required to, she never would have been arrested.  Had she showed up in court, nobody would have tried to arrest her again.  And had she not threatened policeman with a lethal firearm for six hours, she would not be dead.  Again and again, she went out of her way to start trouble, knowing full well what the consequences would be on each occasion.  She very clearly wanted a showdown with the Baltimore Police Department, and eventually she got one.

The police, by contrast, wanted no part of this showdown, especially in beleaguered Baltimore County.  From the outset, they did everything in their power to avoid it, bending over backwards to de-escalate the situation during all three of their interactions with her.

Each time, she deliberately forced their hand.

The police were to Korryn Gaines what a grizzly bear is to a hiker.  If a hiker encounters a grizzly bear, that’s not their fault.  One could argue it is the Park Ranger’s responsibility to protect you from bear attacks, so it would be reasonable, after such an encounter, to march down to the Park Ranger’s office and demand they do something about the overpopulation of bears, so that you can enjoy your “pursuit to happiness and right to travel” without ursine molestation.  This is what BLM does, in our analogy.  I mostly agree with them.

But it would not be reasonable, not matter how unjust the continued presence of bears may strike you to be, to walk up to one and poke it with a stick until it ate you.  And if you did do that, people may rightfully say you brought your death upon yourself, because for so long as there are bears in the park, you can’t really blame them for doing what bears do.  Anyone who knows what bears do, and still decides to poke one with a stick, probably deserves some of the blame for their own death.

Just as bears do not meaningfully “choose” whether to protect their cubs, the institution of law enforcement has no agency on the question of whether it’s necessary to enforce the law.  It’s what they do.  That’s their job. The moment government lets people opt out of its laws is the moment it becomes a private organization.  The moment police decline enforcement of those laws is the moment they cease to be police.  For better or for worse (and I think it’s for worse), violence is all government is capable of by definition.  Until laws are done away with, people of all races have to navigate that landscape.

This state of affairs is not Korryn Gaines fault, but it was her decision how to respond to its existence.  And just as hikers know what bears do, Gaines knew how police would respond if she pointed a weapon at them long enough.  She knew they had no option to walk away – that they could not leave until they served this warrant – and she deliberately left them with only one means by which to do that.  She had the full and exclusive power to determine how the incident would resolve, and she used it to make a series of decisions calculated to provoke a certain reaction.  She may not have hoped to die, but she certainly hoped to make some headlines, and at the decisive moment she proved willing to make a martyr of herself to do it.

Gaines had the opportunity to surrender up until the moment she pulled the trigger, but the police lacked that luxury by virtue of their being police.  To give law enforcement a choice between not enforcing the law, and killing you, is to commit suicide by cop, and that’s what Korryn Gaines did.

***

Why have I spilt so much ink on this three-week-old news story?  In short, because the progress BLM and I jointly seek on criminal justice reform is hindered each time the far-left revs up the outrage machine in cases where it just isn’t warranted.  It waters down our message and arms our opponents with the anecdotes they need to depict ALL our concerns as crazy.  The biggest threat to any good idea is not that it be skillfully attacked, but that it be improperly defended.  There are more than enough examples of unconscionable police violence against blacks and whites to make our case without resorting to incidents that are either super murky, or really, really a stretch.

Not all victims need to be perfect to warrant our indignation.  But not everyone killed by police is a victim – in fact, most are not.  There are roughly 1100 police killings every year.  Many of them are filmed, and only the most egregious make it onto social media.  The rest are predominantly justifiable responses to armed and dangerous people (and usually white people) who are threatening innocent life and frankly had it coming.  Police deal with armed robbers, gang shootouts, hostage situations, serial killers, school shootings, and high speed chases on a daily basis in this country.  The world is a happier place without such people.

None of this means we shouldn’t be vigilant in keeping the police accountable, it just means you should have a filter and reserve judgment.  Don’t be gullible.  Left-leaning, quasi-media clickbait outlets like Salon, NowThis or Mic.com have discovered it is extremely profitable to stoke up racial tension as much as possible.  Reporters in search of controversy descend like hounds each time a black person is shot by police, hoping against hope that the circumstances will allow them to make it into the latest viral horror story of police abuse.  Sometimes it is – sometimes it isn’t.  Be able to tell the difference.

With that said…

It is possible for police shootings to be both justified on the individual level, and problematic on the systemic level.  On the individual level, Korryn Gaines brought this on herself - and yet, her death is still a tragic consequence of vast and interconnected systemic failures. The CFC got it right for once when they wrote this in their article’s comments section:

“It’s the convergence of many things — disability, poverty, housing discrimination, militarism, patriarchy, and white supremacy, all on the body of a 23yr old Black woman/girl (and her baby). It’s soul crushing. One of my friends said, “the state been killing her since childhood.””


THIS should be our response to stuff like this.  Just as BLM is wrong to blame the individual cops who were forced to take her life, resentful whites are even more wrong to dismiss their concerns or ignore the larger issues that contributed to her death.  Which leads me to my next post…

Thursday, August 18, 2016

A brief and cordial discussion on the merits of banning handgun ownership

I recently discussed gun control with a smart friend of mine from college.  Here’s a transcript:


My Friend: The only area I've become less libertarian on in hand gun ownership.  The use of rifles in mass shootings and terrorism doesn't suggest restriction can be justified, because those events are so rare. On the other hand, handguns are responsible for a lot of dead Americans every year.  There is, I think, a pretty strong case for limiting their ownership to the same class of people that qualify for a concealed carry permit.


Me:  First, I’m glad you look at the numbers, instead of just the shootings that make the news.  It’s refreshing to see data-driven gun control proposals.

You’re right that many Americans die from handguns every year.  The bulk of those deaths are either suicides or gang-related.  I understand that suicides are often impulsive acts, such that having an easy means readily available makes it more likely to happen.  Nevertheless, I think it’s fair to assume that even without handguns, there would be a considerable substitution effect in the particular method chosen.  Suicide deaths would decrease a little in a world without handguns, but not by nearly so much as the current number of handgun suicides.

As for gangsters, most of them don’t even abide by the limited firearm registration laws that are already in place.  What legislation could you possibly craft that would convince the class of people that is both a) least likely to obey the law in general, and b) most in need of a handgun for self-defense, to turn theirs in? 

And if you agree that they likely won’t give them up, how are we justified in taking them from everyone else?  There are hundreds of thousands of “defensive gun uses” in this country every year (the exact figures are disputed, but some estimates reach several million).  Most of these do not even require firing the weapon, as brandishing it is often enough to send the assailant running.  Surely this saves some lives that would otherwise be lost.  It’s impossible to say how many, but whatever we suspect that number is needs to be deducted from whatever number of lives you suspect would be saved.

And of course, the same substitution effect applies for crime too.  In a world without handguns, the number of drive-by’s and nightclub shootings conducted with shotguns and rifles would not remain static.

Ultimately, I don’t think laws trying to take guns off the streets are going to be any more effective at doing so than laws have been at taking drugs off the streets.  Black markets thrive in both cases, and efforts to stamp out those markets will disproportionately target poor racial minorities, without noticeable reductions in the original problem.  The bottom line is that there are already 330 million firearms in the US, which to me means the cat is out of the bag.  Going door to door trying to confiscate them is going to result in more violence, not less. We need to come to terms with the reality that, for better or for worse, anyone who wants one badly enough can probably find a way to get it.

Lastly, I hope you recognize that what you propose requires a constitutional amendment.  The entire purpose of a “right” to something is that you don’t need anybody’s permission to do it, and requiring permits for anything is basically just making it illegal unless you ask for permission.  It’s reasonable to think that not everyone should have the right to bear arms, but if that’s what you believe, it warrants saying plainly.


My Friend: That was quite the wall of text. Your argument about substitution effects is worth further study, but merely pointing out the possibility without a firm prediction on magnitude does not invalidate the proposal.

As far as the existence of 330 million firearms already, what you need to know is the "time to crime." After all, those millions of law abiding owners would not suddenly start selling their firearms to shady people if you decided one day that only those qualifying for a concealed carry permit would be able to buy a handgun.

But even that does not really invalidate the proposal, if handgun limitations were considered worthwhile, reducing deaths years down the road would still be worthwhile.
As far as constitutionality, there are already established limits on firearm ownership (process to buying automatics, the stupid "assault weapons" ban), so the amendment argument does not stand.

I used to be a 100% gun ownership guy, so you probably don't have an argument I haven't used before. I actually did a major paper and oral defense in high school on preserving second amendment rights.


Me:  First, it isn’t me who has to provide a firm prediction of magnitude to invalidate your proposal; it is the proposer who has the burden of providing a firm prediction of magnitude, in order to subsequently argue that such an improvement justifies restricting people’s liberties.  For the reasons I mentioned, pointing out how many currently die from handguns each year doesn’t count as that.

How many deaths would banning handgun ownership among this class of people save, why, and why is that number so morally imperative as to justify the trade-offs?  Why is it more likely to reduce deaths years down the road than it is now?


Second, the existence of some legal firearm ownership limitations does not mean ANY firearm ownership limitations you want to dream up are constitutional.  DC v. Heller pretty clearly stated that handguns count as “arms” for the purposes of the Second Amendment, which makes them distinct from automatics and assault weapons.  There were also handguns around long before the time of the framing, which means that even the dumb “the framers could have never conceived of this type of weapon!” argument doesn’t apply here.  The courts have declared it flatly unconstitutional to prohibit handgun ownership from law-abiding citizens on multiple occasions, and they’re right.

Monday, August 1, 2016

The one good thing about Donald Trump's success

Zach Beauchamp of Vox writes the following:

"Conservative intellectuals, for the most part, are horrified by racism. When they talk about believing in individual rights and equality, they really mean it. Because the Republican Party is the vehicle through which their ideas can be implemented, they need to believe that the party isn’t racist.
So they deny the party’s racist history, that its post-1964 success was a direct result of attracting whites disillusioned by the Democrats’ embrace of civil rights. And they deny that to this day, Republican voters are driven more by white resentment than by a principled commitment to the free market and individual liberty.
'It’s the power of wishful thinking...It’s a common observation on the left, but it’s an observation that a lot of us on the right genuinely believed wasn’t true — which is that conservatism has become, and has been for some time, much more about white identity politics than it has been about conservative political philosophy.' - Avik Roy"
******************
I haven't considered myself conservative for seven years now, but this hit home all the same. Avik Roy is who I used to be. As recently as last year, I'd have quibbled with some of this author's claims. They seem so obvious now...

If anything positive has come from Trump's success, it's that it has made it nearly impossible for his conservative foes to keep lying to themselves. In destroying the Republican Party, he has demolished the dual hiding place of nativists pretending to be intellectuals, and intellectuals pretending half the country agreed with them. His divisiveness has delineated, in plain sight, what's worth keeping in the conservative movement from what is rotten and needs shedding. That process won't happen quickly, but it's the first step to a Pheonix-like, anti-Trump conservative movement rising from the ashes of the past 14 months.

The credibility of our public discourse - and especially the discourse among progressives - hinges on that resurrection.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Immigration restrictions are incompatible with libertarianism (and won't help it win)

The same so-called libertarian from my last post – who I will call Matt – wrote the following to one of his friends, trying to convince her to vote for Donald Trump.

“Trump is in no way a Libertarian. I have to make that clear first because any time I say why I support Trump people immediately "HOW CAN YOU CALL TRUMP A LIBERTARIAN!?"

He is not, I know that, however I believe pragmatism is useful, particularly when there is no actual other option. Gary Johnson is not a Libertarian, for many other reasons that abortion.

We are in a situation where leftists are trying to import as many democrat voters as possible because the intellectual argument for Communism and Socialism was lost a long time ago. There is a point of no return when socialist minorities gain too much population in this country and we are heading there, with Hillary in the office that will only increase.

Libertarians have the best arguments, we are in the right, but that doesn't matter when we are not playing on a level field. We need to stop immigration so that we can convince those who respect Western values to become Libertarian. Otherwise we will never be able to argue our case and our rights (including guns and free speech) will be voted away. That is the point of no return.

Furthermore, Trump is a cudgel that can be used for Libertarian purposes. The mainstream media has forever been the key player keeping Libertarian ideas out of the argument. Trump is a cudgel that can be used to bash down this media and destroy the power held by those who shut down an argument by saying "racist!" We already see this happening as Trump forces a discussion about immigration to be had, one that would never have been had otherwise. As the power of cultural marxism wanes under Trump, the ability for Libertarians to have honest discussions about things like social spending opens up.

Trump is also the least likely to keep war from starting, should Hillary win, war with Russia is almost unavoidable and I certainly don't want that. That would be disastrous and if you don't think this is likely you need to go listen to Putin's speeches. He is constantly begging our media to talk about the war Russia is being forced into. He constantly talks about how hawkish Clinton is and how she has broken many promises after the reset button and positioned America to go to war. This is massively important.

Lastly, Trump is an advocate for Western culture, which is objectively the best for any Libertarian.”


Here are four reasons why Matt’s argument is wrong.

1. Matt’s premise is that loosened immigration policies are antithetical to liberty; in fact, they are a prerequisite to liberty, because any restriction on immigration an unconscionable infringement of liberty.

Imagine I own a farm in Arizona – perhaps even one along the Mexican border – and that I wish to hire a Mexican to live and work there.  By what right does anyone prevent that agreement?  I have a right to do what I please with my property.  Both the Mexican and I have rights to contract with others.  For armed border guards to prevent our mutually voluntary, mutually beneficial exchange at gunpoint is a clearly unjustified initiation of force - especially to people like Matt, who call themselves anarchists, and presumably agree that all national borders are imaginary lines in the sand with no moral implications. Trump and those who agree with him have no greater moral right to decide who may live and work within the territorial United States than do any of the Mexicans he seeks to deport.

If the success of libertarian ideals depends on our willingness to perpetually violate those ideals, libertarianism is already doomed.  Thankfully, it doesn’t which leads me to reason number two.

2. Matt’s argument relies on collectivist generalizations which are not only false, but antithetical to the individualism upon which libertarianism relies.

Matt assumes that the people Donald Trump wants to keep out - Hispanics and Muslims seeking entry to the US – are inherently more prone to socialist ideologies, less respectful of Western values, or less likely to be convinced by “the best arguments.” This is completely baseless.  Hispanics are free-thinking individuals linked only by skin color, and Muslims are free-thinking individuals linked only by religion.  Like whites and Christians, each group is full of independent-minded people perfectly capable of forming and evolving their political beliefs based on their experiences, interests, and conversations. Cuban Americans are famously conservative, largely because they saw how bad things got under Castro; likewise, many of those who wish to immigrate to the US today are doing so precisely because they, too, wish to flee the horrors of Islamic theocracy or South American socialism.  Even within South America, the tide is turning against the left (see the departures of Kirchner and Rousseff, and the massive losses for Maduro in recent elections) and recent polling reveals Hispanics are open to voting Republican (http://www.politico.com/story/2015/12/poll-not-too-late-for-gop-to-compete-for-hispanic-vote-216587) – or at least, that they were before Trump.

By Matt’s logic, the left should be equally fearful of Mexicans, since they are predominantly pro-life Catholics.  The left is not “trying to import” anybody; immigrants come of their own volition.  It is right-wingers who are trying to prevent their coming, by means of violent force.  That is not what it means to have “a level playing ground,” especially for a libertarian.  To give up on trying to convince the people who disagree with you, in favor of a futile effort to capture and deport them, is the height of intellectual cowardice.

In any case, libertarianism is not a right wing ideology, and “leftists” are not its enemy.  Our enemies are authoritarianism and collectivism.  These mindsets come in both left- and right-wing flavors, and Trump’s immigration policies rely on both of them.

The entire point of libertarianism is that we treat everyone as an individual, and that each individual has rights which cannot be taken away by the actions of a group. When you clump entire races of people together, associate them with hated ideological boogeymen, and use that association to justify restricting their freedom of movement and right to contract, you completely ignore that principle.

3. The particular generalizations Matt’s argument relies upon happen to be racist.

What Matt is essentially saying here is this:

“I’m no racist – I don’t hate Hispanics at all!  I just hate socialism – and by the way, Hispanics are socialist.”

“I’m not Islamaphobic – I don’t hate Muslims at all!  I just hate fascism – and by the way, Muslims are fascist.”

You see why that doesn’t work?  To say that “the best arguments” cannot win unless we exclude a certain group of people from the electorate is inherently demeaning towards that group of people, because it insinuates they lack the cognitive facilities necessary to discern which arguments are the best.

In our last conversation, Matt wrote that we need to restrict Hispanic immigration so we can “convince people in America,” because unlike Hispanics, they “generally have a respect for the ideals of equality under the law, liberty, innocence until proof of guilt etc.” The irony is that in making this argument, he advocates restricting freedom of movement for some people more than others, due to an unproven presumption of socialistic tendencies, thereby violating ALL THREE OF THOSE IDEALS!

It is true that South America has a lot of socialist leaning governments.  You know what other continent also has a lot of those?  Fucking Europe!  And yet, I don’t hear any Donald Trump supporters proposing a moratorium on all Spaniards and Italians who want to immigrate to the US.  Imagine my surprise.

To Matt – I am not smearing you.  I’ve said more racially inflammatory things in my day than you have here, and making bad arguments doesn’t make you a bad person.  Nor am I sidestepping the debate – I got five paragraphs deep in the debate before I even brought it up.  But it isn’t “shutting down an argument” to call racism by its name, and what you’ve written here is merely a fancy, dressed up version.

Finally, even if you disagree with everything I’ve written so far about immigration and race, it’s irrelevant in the larger picture.

4. Whatever contributions toward the cause of liberty you imagine a tighter immigration policy would yield are far, far outweighed by the damage a Donald Trump presidency would inflict in other areas.

Donald Trump does not espouse one single libertarian policy proposal.  Besides the immigration stances I’ve already discussed, his most prominent policy position is trade-protectionism, which is the literal antithesis of free trade.  He has no discernable foreign policy besides being “tough” on everybody, because “China is killing us.”  He enthusiastically supports torture, and has supported extrajudicial killings of the family members of suspected terrorists.  He has expressed support for liberal campaign finance reform. His tax plan is a mathematical impossibility.  He has not one iota of government experience.  He has praised the internment camps, praised FDR, praised Putin.  He has threatened to punish Apple and Amazon for not coughing up information.  He has threatened to censor The Washington Post.  He has floated the idea of a registry wherein all Muslims in the country would have to check in with government officials to track their whereabouts.  He has openly admitted that he will ignore the constitution when he deems it necessary.


Were he elected, our esteem as a nation in the eyes of the world would plummet.  He would be the most effective propaganda tool against democracy in the Middle East you could fathom.  Terrorist recruitment rates would increase even faster than they are now. Every State of the Union Address or major speech at some global conference would be the same uneducated, conceited, rambling stream-of-consciousness nonsense about how awesome he is as a person that it’s been so far in this campaign, and I don’t know how anyone can listen to that without being horrifically embarrassed.  He would make us into the laughingstock of the world.

If America falls, it will not be from invasion at the hands of an external power, but from irreconcilable internal discord.  Hillary Clinton is no saint, and her hawkishness on foreign policy frightens me too.  But I can say with extreme confidence that if she is elected in 2016, the country will survive as one unified nation for long enough to have another election in 2020.  I am much less confident that the same is true should Donald Trump win.  Racial tensions are already at a boiling point; were he elected, they would absolutely explode.  He may not destroy the country outright, but he would test the strength of its seams, and he sure as hell wouldn’t make it anything resembling “great.” Vote for Gary Johnson if you can, and Hillary if you must, but please don’t make my nightmare a reality.

Supporting Donald Trump is incompatible with being libertarian

I have an acquaintance who calls himself a libertarian, and yet enthusiastically supports Donald Trump.  I like to call him out on how contradictory those two things are, so I recently posted this list of reasons Trump is unfit to be president to his Facebook wall.  Below is the conversation which followed.


Trump fan: Did you even read this or just assume that I wouldn't? FFS these are the stupidest and most misleading claims ever.

RECENT:

1. Political move, every politician does this
2. He said that NATO needs to be renegotiated. Currently the US defends basically all of Europe and picks up the tab too. This gives Europeans plenty of money to spend on socialist policies. This is only a good thing.
3. I dont know anything about the sexual harassment allegations except that they are being made like 10 years after the fact.
4. Good. Obama is corrupt and putting terrible people like Loretta Lynch in charge.
5. Quoted? Really? You believe this crap? That's why he hires black people all the time he thinks they're just lazy. Jesus.
6. Yeah? When Kasich is trying to take votes away from Trump he comes out saying something bad about Trump? Can you imagine my surprise?
7. False. Even if true, so what?
8. This makes him unfit to be president?
9. And?
10. HAHAHA DID YOU EVEN READ THE ARTICLE? FFS GO READ IT.
11. Yeah? She deserves to be imprisoned. So?
12. Any entrepreneur of high up businessman will tell you the same thing, or at least "very little time". That shit take a long time and these people are very busy.

ALL:

1. DID YOU WATCH THE VIDEO? HE NEVER SAID THAT.
2. DID YOU READ THE ARTICLE? "His contempt for beautiful women who like to be abused is boundless..." He is literally talking about women who like to be abused ffs.
3. Trump likes spying. Sure, I don't like that about him. Congrats, 1 out of 15 when almost every other candidate would be just as bad.
4. He was correct. The judge is a member of La Raza. Go look it up.
5. He said the families usually know about the things they're doing. Go after their family for information since they won't give it and are allowing attacks. This is totally misleading.
6. Okay. This makes him unfit to be president? Really?
7. THAT'S WHAT A LAW IS. If you believe in speed limits you believe that people should be punished for going over the speed limit. If you believe abortion should be illegal you believe women should be punished for doing it. Are you serious?

No. I can't keep doing this crap. You clearly didn't even read this or research ANY of the claims made. It's amazing how these SJW sources work on conservatives too now days. Stop drinking the leftist kool aid

Trump fan (the next day): *crickets*

Me (the day after that): I work from 0600-1900, and we have a 13 hour time difference to navigate, so my apologies if my response wasn’t fast enough for your standards.

The beauty of a list of over 100 reasons why someone is unfit to be president is that even if it’s 99% bullshit, that person is still unfit to be president. Keep that in mind as we go here – if you lose even one of these, you concede the premise.

I’m relatively uninterested in the 12 “new” ones and don’t know why Slate chose to highlight them at the top of the article (maybe just to even out the vote exposure time disparity?). Your rebuttals are still mostly unconvincing. The plagiarism was far and above what most politicians commonly do and telling the world she came up with the same two paragraphs of text in isolation is a laughable lie; the comments about the system being rigged against him (when he inherited a real-estate empire worth hundreds of millions and got sent to an Ivy League school as a legacy applicant) are so preposterously out of touch that they indicate near total ignorance of the systemic problems a president will have to deal with; Erdogan is turning into a totalitarian tyrant, which probably shouldn’t be praised. But I do admit 10-12 are bullshit (which is probably why they’re down-voted and ranked last), and most of these do not make him unfit on their own. So for the sake of brevity, I plead no-contest on all 12 – we’re down to 141.

I will now start at #1 on the big list. Buckle up.

1. DID YOU WATCH THE VIDEO? HE NEVER SAID THAT.

I did watch the video, and in that video he plainly defends and reiterates a desire to do two things: 1) torture enemy POW’s with waterboarding or worse, and 2) kill the unarmed families of terrorist suspects.

Both of these things are war crimes under the Geneva Convention and Uniform Code of Military Justice.  As soldiers, we are trained to never do these things, to disregard any order to do so, and to report anyone making such an order to the Legal Office for a criminal investigation.  Trump doesn’t need to explicitly say the term “war crimes” himself for his proposals to be no shit, full out WAR. CRIMES.

This makes him unfit to be the Commander and Chief of our Armed Forces on face.  Torture is not only horridly immoral and completely ineffective, but also strategically unwise.  It aids enemy recruitment far more than it helps us eliminate the threat, damages our national security and devastates our influence and moral high-ground abroad.  I made a brief moral and practical case against it here.  Opposing it strongly is a NO-BRAINER political position for anyone who fancies themselves libertarian.

Intentionally killing the unarmed, captive family members of terror suspects is even worse than that, from both a moral and strategic perspective.  That he has occasionally backtracked from this in the face of massive public backlash does not console me, nor fool me into thinking he wouldn’t still secretly do it.  The comments alone have already done irreparable damage to our image abroad, and as someone who serves abroad, that makes my job harder.  I am embarrassed by the thought of what he might say – and even more horrified of what he might do – should he actually win.


Trump fan: Preamble: No, if one of these things is true about him that is not conceding the point. If one of these things are true about him that does not mean he is unfit to be president. Moreover, even if he is, then it's all relative. Nobody is fit to be president because there should be no president. So to say that in strict terms is useless. Really this is a question of strategy, who will be most useful to the cause of Liberty? Undoubtedly Trump.

1. "Said he would force the military to commit war crimes"
Wrong. He never said that. He said they would not refuse him.

You've made a lot of -opinions- about torture clear and so did that article. Sorry, statistics please. How you or others -feel- about torture is irrelevant when discussing whether it works. And an opinion about whether it is necessary (ie philosophically moral) is not relevant to whether he is unfit to be president.

Watch the video. Go after =/= kill. Watching that makes it clear that his intention is to not treat the family as though they are entirely innocent and ignorant of the terrorist plots.

5. He said the families usually know about the things they're doing. Go after their family for information since they won't give it and are allowing attacks. This is totally misleading.

No, that’s not what he said!  His original remarks were in December: the other thing is with the terrorists, you have to take out their families. They, they care about their lives. Don’t kid yourself. But they say they don’t care about their lives. You have to take out their families.”

If you sit there and try to bullshit an explanation for how “take out” could be anything other than a euphemism for kill, in that context, you are transparently lying to yourself and the world.  And if you admit that Donald Trump proposed the killing of terror suspects’ families as a means of deterring terrorism, you admit that he proposed killing unarmed civilians (which is a war crime under the Hague and Geneva Conventions), and then defended that proposal for three months, only to reluctantly and temporarily retract it when it proved politically dangerous to him.

That is literally evil.  I joined the military on the supposition that should we ever go to war, we would be the good guys – not the ones killing unarmed women and children to send a message.  And he wonders how ISIS gets more recruits?

The most generous interpretation of this behavior is that he didn’t really mean it, but just has no idea what the fuck he’s talking about during interviews, so he rambles on spouting ideas to test the waters until he sees which poll well and which do not.  Even this, most generous characterization of such remarks renders him unfit to be president.

6. Okay. This makes him unfit to be president? Really?

YES. It really, really does. See point #1.

***

Me again: 3. “Trump likes spying. Sure, I don't like that about him. Congrats, 1 out of 15 when almost every other candidate would be just as bad.”

You cannot be fucking serious dude…This isn’t about spying.  The NSA is spying.  Obama and Hillary “like spying” too, maybe they are “just as bad” on surveillance issues.  That’s not what Donald Trump proposed.  Donald Trump proposed creating a database OF ALL MUSLIMS in the country, with legal requirements for them to check in with the government solely on account of their religion.   http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/trump-says-he-would-certainly-implement-muslim-database-n466716
……

….again, ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?

This violates so many constitutional provisions I don’t even know where to being.  Multiple clauses in the 1st amendment…probably 4th amendment unreasonable searches/probable cause, definitely 5th amendment due process rights, even 10th amendment reserving powers to states (it sure as hell isn’t an enumerated power)……Rounding up everyone of a certain religion, marking them as a potential threat that needs supervision, and burdening them with special legal requirements people of other faiths/races don’t have is like textbook Nazism in it’s infancy.

Whatever it is, it sure as fuck isn’t libertarianism.  It’s regressive, it’s authoritarian, it’s unconstitutional and it undercuts all our human rights advocacy aboard.  It’s a discriminatory, plainly bigoted disaster for race relations that stirs up statistically unfounded suspicions and racial division/hatred, at a time when more of that is the last thing we need.  It also plays off these baseless fears to justify new and ever-growing government agencies, and if you were a sincere advocate of liberty and small government all of this would make you sick to your stomach.  How can you support this guy so enthusiastically in one breath, and then call yourself a libertarian in the next, while keeping a straight face?

I reject the whole dichotomy of the two-party system and I don’t think “well at least he isn’t Hillary” is a good answer on any of these points.  You’re not holding your nose and complaining about this awful choice we have but reluctantly voting Trump, anyway – you’re all aboard this MAGA train and cheering him on.  But to the extent the comparison is relevant, it’s worth mentioning that no Democrat would dream of doing this.  Libertarianism is socially liberal, or at least socially tolerant, and this is about as intolerant as it gets.


Trump fan: Yes it violates the constitution, most things he says do. Same with every other president. Like every single one. Including George Washington. Trump wants to target an ideology (a religion is an ideology). Fine. Obama and Clinton label people who support the Constitution as potential terrorists as well.

But this is the bigger point, which would save us from having to go into all of this:

"I reject the whole dichotomy of the two-party system and I don’t think “well at least he isn’t Hillary” is a good answer on any of these points."

I am an anarchist. I don't believe in any government. Anybody I support I do so out of practicality. The Constitution means nothing, it is just a piece of paper that happens to be very old. I want to further the cause of liberty, and am looking for the most practical means of doing so. I don't like the dichotomy either, in fact I wouldn't like it if there were 100 different choices. It makes no difference. Gary Johnson is not practical, he will not win and if he does he will not further the cause of liberty. PRACTICALLY, having more socialist hispanics and islamists is going to result in a future where all of our rights are voted away and we are oppressed further. That is the future of an open borders policy. The best way to spread Libertarian ideals is to close the borders so that there is a fair playing ground, and try to convince people in America, who generally have a respect for the ideals of equality under the law, liberty, innocence until proof of guilt etc. Importing more people who will vote for cultural marxist ideologues will only serve to destroy Liberty. I never said Trump is a Libertarian and I never will, he is not, he is a useful means of securing Libertarian ideals for the future. That is all.


Me: "The best way to spread Libertarian ideals is to close the borders" may be the most ironic political statement I've ever read.

 “4. He was correct. The judge is a member of La Raza. Go look it up.”

First, no, he isn’t - you look it up.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2016/06/07/trump-supporters-false-claim-that-trump-u-judge-is-a-member-of-a-pro-immigrant-group/.  The judge is a member of the San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association, which is non-partisan and completely distinct from the National Council of La Raza.

Secondly, Trump originally made no reference to the La Raza thing, he just said he was unqualified solely on account of his “Mexican heritage.”  That’s an interesting thing to say for someone who bloviates about how beloved he is by Latinos and insists his policies would be good for them.  It’s also completely preposterous, and literal de jure racism, to suggest that Mexican heritage should disqualify someone from serving as a judge in any case, but especially a case about Trump University that has nothing to do with immigration at all!  Even Newt Gingrich admitted Trump was totally out of line here.

Finally, even if he were a member of the real La Raza, and even if that were what Trump originally objected to, so what?  La Raza is not like some terrorist organization, it’s just a political advocacy group.  Judges are allowed to hold political opinions!  It’s ordinarily understood that they will be able to keep their opinions on political matters separate from the facts of a case, especially on unrelated matters.  Had a white judge presiding over an NSA spying case been discovered to be a member of the NRA, nobody on the Obama administration’s legal team would have dared suggest a conflict of interest; the NSA has nothing to do with guns, and judges are professionals, trained not to let personal vendettas against a defendant color their judgment.  For Trump to do otherwise when the issue is racial is to hold white and minority judges to a double-standard regarding how much their impartiality can be trusted, which adds to the enormous mountain of evidence that Donald Trump both bigoted and deliberately stoking racial tensions for political gain.  That is extremely unpresidential.

Trump fan: Typical unnecessary and unusually strict and narrow interpretation of what he says. He is a normal human being who talks like a normal human being. Yes he said Mexican. Any rational human being without an ideological brainwashing lens can look at what he said and understand what he meant.

Mexican heritage is not what disqualifies him, it's the political opinions that may cloud his judgment. But nitpicking his exact words is the only way to make a case against him so that is what you'll do.



Me:
“7. THAT'S WHAT A LAW IS. If you believe in speed limits you believe that people should be punished for going over the speed limit. If you believe abortion should be illegal you believe women should be punished for doing it. Are you serious?”


When abortion was illegal, that prohibition was enforced at the point of sale – doctors were prohibited from providing them, and punished if they were found to be doing so.  But even then, decent people recognized that those desperate women who sought dangerous, back-alley, coat-hanger abortions needed HELP much more than they needed jail time, fines and moral scolding.

I won’t get into the abortion debate here, but by analogy, another part of being libertarian is supporting bodily autonomy on drug use.  Ideally, this means legalizing all drugs, or at least marijuana for starters.  But as an interim policy, many states and countries are moving to “decriminalization,” wherein it’s still illegal to use and can’t be sold in stores, but those found to be using it are merely given treatment, or sent to drug courts with non-punitive aims.  This isn’t nearly as good as legalization, but it’s still preferable to War on Drugs style criminalization.

In the same way, supporting punitive measures for women who seek abortions amounts to CRIMINALIZING abortion, which is a much more severe position than merely prohibiting its legal sale.

To be fair, if you watch the interview in which Trump made those remarks, he seemed to not really know the difference.  This should not reassure you that he is qualified to be president.