Fall asleep in democracy – Wake up in dictatorship

Who falls asleep in a democracy will wake up in a dictatorship.

— Otto Gritschneder
(when asked why he wanted to publicize
the system of terror in German military justice under the Nazis)

Introduction

This article series addresses free speech, freedom of expression, Facebook censorship (allegedly measured against Facebook’s infamous “community standards” and thereby justified), identity politics, and the number of identities that identity politics must cater to. (A linked index is shown after the following image.)

Being loved 400 times on Facebook

Being loved 400 times on Facebook

Index

It is true, I must admit it.  With the pointing-out of it coming from Facebook, their telling me of all the loving of those three images during the past little while is very touching, especially because of one thing.  It surprised me that Facebook chose those images.  The three images Facebook chose to praise for the loving they got are not exactly politically correct, most definitely not the articles those images are linked to.  Is Facebook getting a change of heart, drifting towards conservative territory, or are the algorithms it employs not quite up to its liberal aims?  Is Facebook doing what it takes to create a better democracy?  Is it trying to create a global democracy or a global dictatorship, a tyranny of multiple identities, by means of promoting identity politics?

Facebook (apparently bent on creating an ideological dictatorship) had often told me before, and the last time was just a few days ago, that perhaps I would benefit from being shown a thing or two, by learning more about the FB “community standards”. (Well, Facebook did not exactly come close to telling me that, but – ever so politely – appeared to have hinted that my way of communicating my opinions to others should give me reasons to be apprehensive of repercussions, without Facebook actually stating anything I could put my finger on.)

Therein is a story that I will tell here: Sniffing butts is a No-No.


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How many identities must identity politics cater to?

How many identities must identity politics cater to?  The short answer to the question is, there are at least seven million different unique identity types that identity politics must address.  That figure is much larger when catering to identity types is not just demanded in two or three developed nations but within the context of the global village. 

If it is difficult to imagine why there should be such large numbers of identity types, consider the example of a man who is a gay, Black, an illegal Chinese, Lutheran, elderly, transgendered person.  (Caution: When contemplating such combinations of category attributes, it is entirely possible that, apparently, some of the attributes of specific categories co-exist, e. g.: homeless, imprisoned.  Upon further thought, however, it becomes clear that a homeless man, once imprisoned, is technically no longer homeless.)

Starting from the bottom up, what is the minimum number of identities we need in a radical-liberal, moral universe (a.k.a. the idealized version of a Marxist regime)?  More that just a few categories and sub-categories immediately come to mind, when contemplating the radical-liberal demands of a global village: 

  1. Sex (a.k.a. gender): 31 – That is a minimum, the number of genders officially recognized by New York City. There is little reason the number should not be a hundred and more, but let’s stick with 31 for now. 
  2. Race: 24 – That number is far too low, as far as perceptions of race in the world go. It is the number of races recognized in the criminal justice system of England and Wales. One must add to that number a large number of biological classifications, medical considerations, as well as perceptions of social constructions, different sets of which that have legal validity in many nations. There is some overlap between sets of races in different nations.
  3. Colour: 16 – That number, too is far too low. Colour could be regarded to be a politically correct euphemism for race. In the U.S. it serves to soften the political contrast between White (so far a majority that has ostensibly control over everything) and Black (so far the largest non-white minority, many of whose activists wish to have Black Power trump White control over everything).  It was found that there are other “colours” that need to be recognized.  Therefore, the U.S. uses now five “races” or “colours”, while the expression “Black” is preferred by Blacks, and, although there are many gradations of “colour”, only about three categories of Race or Colour are used to categorize all others who are neither White or Black.

    No one is truly White or Black.  Those designations serve to identify the extreme ends of the spectrum, with there being considerable overlap between degrees of colour and racial or ethnic origins or mixtures thereof.  Some Caribbean Islands have strict social codes of discourse and conduct that address gradations by 16 divisions of colour.  Other regions and nations do not have as many but have some. It would be a gross understatement to insist that there are no more than 16 colours in the world.  For the purpose of this exercise, 16 colours will be sufficient to make a point.

  4. Creed: 30 – That is an ultra-conservative number for just the major religions. The number considers religious orientations such as Christianity, Islam, Judaism as one each, while in reality each one of those is split into many different factions that are distinctly different and vehemently opposed one another within each branch (e. g.: Catholicism and Protestantism have each many different factions). Again, the number 30, although far too low, nevertheless will serve to make a point, eventually.
  5. Social status or caste: 20 – Many countries have different classifications that rank their residents by many different categories of rank. Different sets of civil rights may apply or not, by law, not necessarily by law, or perhaps not at all by law but in practice in each country. It may or may not be that someone assessed the differences between classifications for each country and all countries, but it is doubtful that anyone ever did that for all countries in the world.  Consider a set of classifications that would apply in two countries, Germany and the United States, about to equal extents:
    1. Illegal immigrant;
    2. Landed immigrant;
    3. Naturalized citizen;
    4. Citizen by birth;
    5. Renter;
    6. Property owner;
    7. Developing, pre-birth child;
    8. Minor;
    9. Age of majority;
    10. Elderly;
    11. Freedom to move anywhere;
    12. Freedom to move only within the country;
    13. Freedom to move only within a specific region;
    14. Freedom to move only within one’s home;
    15. Registered offender;
    16. Incarcerated offender;
    17. Released offender;
    18. Free to pursue a profession, an income, or to enjoy civil rights other than specific restrictions on freedom of movement and freedom of expression;
    19. Restricted freedom to pursue a profession, an income, or to enjoy civil rights other than specific restrictions on freedom of movement and freedom of expression.  That is the case when someone experiences limitations being imposed on his freedoms due to his government’s refusal to issue or renew licences he needs to make a living (e. g.: fishing licence, hunting licence, firearm ownership licence, passport, driver licence, pilot licence, boiler inspector licence; medical licence, etc…..);
    20. Illegal citizen/child – not merely an illegitimate child.  “Illegal citizen” is the lifetime status of someone born to his parents in excess of the number of children his parents are permitted to have.

Without doubt, there is a set of at least 5 different identity categories that each individual on Earth is being measured by.  All of those identity categories and their respective sub-categories were at one time or another addressed by ideological activists in the media, public discussions and political debates for a bewildering variety of reasons that will not be addressed here.

The number of identities every given individual is measured by determines the sum of the civil rights a given individual is permitted to enjoy.  It also determines the sum of the obligations and duties that every individual has, to ensure that all others will enjoy the varying extent of the civil rights those others are entitled to receive. 

Some such classifications appear to be idiosyncratic.  They are nevertheless real.  Their manifestations affect many, even millions of people in some nations.  Some of them are unheard of in some countries while common in others.  For instance, category 5.xx, “Illegal citizen/child”, in the list of attributes in category 5, puts severe constraints on many, perhaps millions of Chinese residents, restrictions that prevent them from being able to enjoy what is taken for granted in most countries, the right to partake of any and all government services (e. g.: welfare services, government-sponsored health care services and pension incomes, to mention some).

Let no one think that there are not equally severe restrictions in so-called “free” nations in the West on the extent to which ostensibly “free” citizens or residents can enjoy their allegedly God-given right to their civil liberties. Anyone who thinks that they do better consider what freedoms someone who is being punished by being assigned category 5.xix in Canada is left with to enjoy!

Now consider that Facebook is hot in pursuit of ways that will prevent those suffering from having category attributes 5.xix or 5.xx (or any other detrimental ones) in their identity types from pointing their fingers at anyone responsible for having made that happen.  No rational individual will think that Facebook should have that power!

Conclusion

Going by those five categories and their individual sub-categories, there is a total of at least seven million different identifiable classifications of identities that are of concern to radical-liberal advocates of identity politics.  The number of identities will most certainly be much larger when advocates of identity politics pursue as well the ideal of the global village.

In a conservative moral universe, every individual, regardless of which of the seven million different identity types he could be categorized by, has a just and equal opportunity to achieve what he can achieve. 

In a radical-liberal moral universe, every single individual has the right to clamor for the special rights and privileges that the one of the seven million different identity types he falls into entitles him to receive.  Conversely, his identity rank not only entitles him to his justly measured share of equity but also compels him to provide his justly measured share of contributions that will ensure that all others will receive what they are entitled to.  After all, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” (Karl Marx, 1875).

If he would have thought of it, George Orwell would possibly have summed that up in the slogan, “Equality of Outcomes is Tyrannical Classlessness.”

It is not necessary to be specific with the details.  There is no reason one should make an exhaustive analysis of the details of the cause of the problem that constitutes the rock on which all identity politics will in short order founder.  The principle of the fallacy that makes identity politics founder on the immutable rock of reality becomes obvious.  Anyone may feel free to make an estimate of more precise dimensions of the factors that constitute the problem.  The principle will remain.

~~~~~~~~~~

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Identity politics founder on rock of reality

Identity politics founder on the rock of reality because, time and again, absurdities cannot circumvent reality.

An ideal, conservative, moral universe (let’s not quibble but assume there is such a thing) needs no identity politics.  No one is favored, no one unfairly burdened, everyone has equal opportunities, equal rights, equal obligations and equal privileges.  That’s it, that’s all, and it doesn’t get any simpler. People (except for some progressives) in a conservative moral universe will be free and generally happy.

An ideal, radical-liberal, moral universe (again, let’s not quibble but assume that Utopia can be created) needs a (at least theoretically) large but unknown number of identities.  Everyone is favored, everyone unfairly burdened, no one has equal opportunities, equal rights, equal obligations and equal privileges, but everyone is by law entitled to receive the benefits that his unique set of characteristics (shared with other members of his minuscule minority) entitle him to receive. All others are bound by law to do what it takes to provide what the members of every minority are entitled to.   That is a very confusing complexity, but it doesn’t get any simpler. People (mostly progressives) will to varying degrees be slaves and generally unhappy, because of their demand that every individual must be differentiated from others with a different set of characteristics and is entitled to special treatment.

Some may think that is absurd.  To some extent they are right, because reality demands that we cannot achieve the ideal moral universe of the radical-liberal (pure, ideal Marxist) variety. We cannot create a political structure or system that caters to a very large number of identities.  How large that number will grow depends on what people want and on which of those things or characteristics they want they will be able to give legal recognition to.  The number has practical limits set by what people and society can handle.  A lot of assumptions must be made, and there is an unknown number of unknowns that make that very difficult, to say the least, but there it is, the fact that those who are entitled to want everything can neither be satisfied nor ever be happy.

The next article in the series: How many identities must identity politics cater to?

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Equality of Outcomes vs Equality of Opportunities

Equality of Outcomes destroys Freedom.

“A society that puts equality—in the sense of equality of outcome—ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom. The use of force to achieve equality will destroy freedom, and the force, introduced for good purposes, will end up in the hands of people who use it to promote their own interests.”

—Milton and Rose Friedman, in
Free to Choose: A Personal Statement

The only thing that reflects Facebook’s design for the constraints it wants to place on freedom of expression, in the preceding quote, is that no one can accuse Facebook and the people who run and own it of failing “to promote their own interests” and to constrain freedom.

In the conservative moral universe, it is essentially true that, “In the land of the blind, a one-eyed man is king.”  If he rules wisely, he will be a blessing to his subjects. If he does not, he will be a tyrant, an exploiter of his people.

In the radical liberal universe (of which communism is a prime example), a one-eyed man will have his remaining eye put out, to make him equal, thereby to ensure that his ability to see is not an unfair advantage to him, whereby everyone will be forced to suffer equally, being unable to enjoy any of the advantages his ability to see can and will provide for all.

In the conservative universe, all who deviate (by nature or by choice) from the norms of the majority are free to enjoy life as well as they can, as long as they ask not for special privileges from anyone else, regardless of any distinguishing features (e. g.: sex, race, or colour) that they may possess, exhibit, or claim to have.

In the radical-liberal universe, the diktats of political correctness demand that everyone has the right to demand special considerations that are to be granted by law to anyone who is bestowed with or who chooses distinguishing features (e. g.: sex, race, or colour) that he may possess, exhibit, or claim to have.  That is because of the duty for everyone else to grant those rights, as that is what equality of outcomes means.  In case that is confusing, simple: If someone needs a wheel chair, then everyone gets one of those, and if someone is hired preferentially, then everyone else will automatically be given a job that poses equal demands on his time, skills and experiences, etc., whether he has any of those or not, and he will still be given the same wages or salary, regardless of his performance.

In reality, of course, there will be a more practical outcome.  Not everyone will get a wheelchair, only those who need it will receive one (which is not necessarily true of preferential hiring practices that often cause someone not fit for a given job to be hired, so as to meet affirmative action hiring quotas).  However, because being different, on account of which one may be experiencing or claim to be suffering disadvantages, a good number of people in a liberal regime will claim to be handicapped or discriminated against.  Victim status is a much sought-after state of existence.  It often provides intensively sought benefits that are being provided to claimants for extended periods, perhaps many years, at times for life.

Facebook’s “community standards” are obviously a creation of radical-liberal employees or contractors paid by Facebook.  They are the unavoidable cause of an enormous amount of confusion that will end in chaos and ultimately result in the destruction of civilization.  It is not likely that things will go that far.  Somewhere along the line, people (individuals, groups, or masses of them) will put on the brakes, assess how far the deliberate deconstruction of society went, and work on getting enough support from others to be able to salvage what can be salvaged, to restore order and to begin the process of reconstruction.

Some may find it difficult to understand why that should be so. Maybe the example of the Stockholm Syndrome will explain it.  In the aftermath of the 1973 Stockholm hostage-taking the hostages refused to testify against their captors.  Variations of the Stockholm Syndrome are used in many instances, when offenders claim that someone (usually a man), perhaps even the devil or their inner demons, made them do what they did.  More often than not, the self-acclaimed victim (women more often than men) will be able to gain considerations of extenuating circumstances, on account of which they will then be able to plea-bargain the charges against them down to a lesser offence, receive a reduced sentence or are perhaps even pardoned.

The Stockholm Syndrome is an example of an important difference between conservatism vs liberalism, equality of opportunities vs equality of outcomes, of the difference between being conservative while remaining absolutely objective vs drifting into the obsession with subjectivity – the inexorable transition into the Never-Never Land of ultimate radical-liberalism with its enormous number of identities and the tyranny of identity politics that has, for instance, Sweden in a tightening strangle hold.

Sweden is arguably the leader of the progressive pack of nations, but other nations are in hot pursuit and not that far behind in the race to achieve the hoped-for blissful oblivion of the radical-liberal Utopia (a.k.a. the idealized version of a Marxist regime).

The next article in this series discusses The rock on which identity politics founder.

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Freedom of expression vs Identity politics and censorship

Individual rights and freedom of expression took thousands of years to evolve.  They made civilization great and held the promise to make it greater yet.  Facebook is out to dismantle much of the progress in attaining universal free speech.  Instead, Facebook promotes speech codes and censorship.  That is not progress, it is regress.

Human nature strives to achieve improvement, perfection, with the limits to that only being set by human imagination, and that is limited only by human ingenuity.  No flights of unlimited human imagination are achievable by using anyone’s “community standards” that constrain freedom of expression.  They cannot even be launched, let alone be completed, when they are limited through arbitrary constraints imposed by the “community standards”, the rules, of profit-hungry corporations.  What a pretension it is to call corporate rules, constraints, restrictions and censorship: “community standards”!  They are no more “community standards” than “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.”  It would be far more accurate for Facebook (and any other comparable corporation correspondingly) to insist that, “Facebook is the Ministry of Truth.”  George Orwell would rage in his grave, if he knew and could, but he most certainly saw what was in store for us.  He was a prophet whose dystopian visions are becoming reality.

Which democracy ever had any say in what Facebook’s “community standards” should contain?  Which member of the community of mankind ever attended any meetings, discussions, or debates at which it was determined whether FB “community standards” were needed and what they should entail?  Who are the elected representatives whom the people sent to any parliamentary sessions at which Facebook’s “community standards” were hammered out, amended, put into their final form, voted on, ratified and published?  Which legislative assembly appointed Facebook judge, jury and executioner?

Everyone, including Facebook, knows that Facebook cooked up what it calls “community standards”, without anyone anywhere in the world providing the least semblance of legal authorization for Facebook to do so, let alone allow Facebook a free hand to judge anyone’s conduct based on those standards, and to hand down any sort of punishment to perceived violators of “standards” that are not accessible to the public and were, as far as I can determine, never published as a formal, comprehensive document.

Community standards cater to the ideology of communism.  We know where that leads.  It starts out with identity politics and goes from there to where everyone’s individuality is made equal by brutally hammering it flat.  Under communism, anything and anyone remarkable, outstanding, admirable, and excelling, Whack comes the hammer!

Facebook’s “community standards” that make the quest for perfection deplorable, and the drive to deprecate established ethical traditions desirable, are not worth pursuing.  Aside from that, Facebook’s “community standards” suffer from at least one fatal strategic flaw, amongst others that are firmly based on logical fallacies.

The next section addresses Equality of Outcomes vs Equality of Opportunities.

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Speech codes limit the right to free speech

Update 2018 12 31: Rewritten to incorporate two sections, “Comparing Facebook to other utility-access services,” and “FB must not have the right to censor” 

I’m no longer confused.
I became confused when I heard the word ‘service’ used by these agencies: Revenue Canada Service, Canada Postal Service, Telephone Service, Civil Service, Provincial-, Municipal-, City-, Public Service and Social Media Service.
That is not what I thought ‘service’ meant, but today I heard two farmers talking.  One of them said he had hired a bull to service a few cows.
BAM!!! It all came into focus.

—With apologies to Anonymous

Speech codes limit the right to free speech and to freedom of expression.  Who gave Facebook the right to act as judge, jury and executioner, to be a lawmaker, to issue the rules, to enforce, monitor compliance, judge adherence, hand down punishment for non-compliance and administer punishment accordingly?  Why did Facebook assume the powers of legislator, police, judge, jury, and jailer?

In some fashion, the powers that Facebook wishes and began to impose are being used by other social media corporations, too.  YouTube most definitely does.  That means that, collectively, all of the social media services will eventually do so, when one of the largest sharks swimming in the tide pool of public opinion, Facebook, is permitted to gobble up the right to free speech and prevent the little fish swimming in the tide pool from using Facebook to hitch rides that Facebook had offered.

Comparing Facebook to other utility-access services

Facebook without doubt offers a utility-access service, comparable to those offered by utility-access corporations for access to water, natural gas and electric power. Facebook explores and exploits a niche in the utility-access market, an opportunity that it saw and jumped to employ when Mark Zuckerberg realized how popular the initial launch of it was in 2004.  It caught on like a wildfire in dry grass on a windy day in California. 

Many people jumped to what was being offered by the novel, new-age utility-access service, the simplification of getting in touch with relatives and friends, the opportunity to make new friends, faster.  Facebook made that possible by nothing more than to offer convenient, user-friendly access to a utility network that would carry interpersonal communications from one individual to another, some or many individuals.  Facebook offered user friendly access, friendlier than anything closely comparable had been.

The new Facebook utility-access service brought the promise of the global village a lot closer to reality, within reach of many who longed for it.  In some ways it was like bringing water to the thirsty, electricity to those who wish to be able to read after dark, natural gas to those who can no longer look for the nearest forest to cut down and haul back home the firewood they need for cooking or to heat their homes. 

When Facebook launched its utility-access service, it was a eureka-moment every bit as monumental as was permitting private individuals access to a road-network that could not be accessed before, as convenient as installing private phones in every home compared to having prior access only via pay phones that could be a few blocks or even miles away from home.  So far, so good.  After all, unlike the construction of utility networks that many utility corporations and governments at many levels had to design, engineer and build over the span of many decades and even centuries, Facebook did not have to do much.

Facebook merely provided convenience of access to an existing communication network that others had laboured by the sweat of their brows to put into place over the span of generations.  What Facebook thereby did was comparable to:

  • Enabling readers of books and newspapers to use eye glasses for reading;
  • Providing home owners with instructions for conveniently operating their heating furnaces and cook stoves:
  • Providing home owners with the ability to use programmable thermostats to control their furnaces;
  • Training people to use intelligent remote controls for their televisions, and thereby
  • Enabling billions of owners of smart phones to use the latter as devices for convenient, speedy access to the Internet, giving them quick and easy contact with their friends.

Just as in each case of those examples of utility-access service use and improved user-friendliness, Facebook offered convenience, more convenient access to, and a user-interface for, a utility network, the telecommunication network that was in place, to which new Facebook users in virtually all cases were already connected.  So far, so good. Facebook had put together an application, a social media service that became popular.

Now comes the problem that makes Facebook different from the providers of any other utility-access service in the history of mankind.  Imagine what would happen if all utility-access service providers were to follow the precedent set by Facebook.  No one would be satisfied with having,

  • A natural gas utility-access corporation cut off the natural gas, to boot without warning, when one is cooking a steak, a roast, a chicken, a filet of sole, or anything other than veggies;
  • A water utility-access corporation cut off the water when one intends to shower with a friend;
  • A paper-supply company – offering writing pads or printing paper – dictate what words or expressions may be recorded or printed on the paper they sell and cut off sales and deliveries of their products if a violation of their undocumented “community standards” were to happen, plus prevent the printed products (letters, newspapers or books) from being sent out by the user to their destinations.

As surely as travel restrictions in the USSR and in the Hitler regime constrained the right to freedom of movement for individuals who were regarded a danger to the State, so does Facebook censorship constrain the right to freedom of expression for those whom Facebook deems to be in violation of its nebulous rules of conduct laid down in its unpublished, non-legislated, uncontrolled, unauthorized “community standards” Facebook cooked up.

FB must not have the right to censor

Why should FB have the self-assumed right or obligation to tell anyone what sort of words, sentences, messages or images their utility-access service must be used for? That is not the only concern we must have about what Facebook is setting a precedent for. 

Precedents – once set – will be used, time and again.  We must be very concerned that the precedent set by Facebook will be used time and again, for anything that may serve to constrain interpersonal conduct, for anything that constitutes or is part of any human conduct!  Just leave it up to innovative corporations or any sort of lawyer to find ways to make that happen, to follow Facebook’s lead.

Without doubt, we do not wish to have governments, bureaucracies, and corporations impose speech codes that constrain, restrict or prohibit free speech and freedom of expression.  It does not matter how badly or for what reason any of them want to have the power to do so and what methods they wish to use to impose their power.

The more a government uses its power to restrict and censor freedom of expression, the more totalitarian it is.  The extent of restrictions on freedom of expression is not the only but a very good measure of the extent of totalitarianism in any regime.  What business do corporations out for profit have to seek and impose the power to limit free speech and freedom of expression?

What purpose is being served in spending countless hours and literally hundreds of millions of dollars discussing (in anyone country), designing, implementing, administering, and monitoring adherence to rules for the promotion and safeguarding of free speech, when a corporation can undo those enormous efforts in a flash?  Facebook provides the means for transmitting an ever-increasing portion of everyday exchange of interpersonal communications in which the exercise of freedom of speech is being shackled.  It is being shackled through Facebook or any comparable corporations out on self-imposed missions to re-engineer society, and, in doing so, Facebook and other social media corporations are more Draconian, and ever more and faster so, than even oppressive governments are.

The next section discusses the subject, Individual rights and freedom of expression vs identity politics and censorship.

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Facebook : legislator, police, judge, jury, and jailer

Facebook becomes a contender in the realm of the business of the law.  That is not a good state of affairs.   Facebook assumes the roles of police, judge, jury and executioner, even that of the legislators (legislators means lawmakers, our legally elected, legal representatives, who “hammer out the laws” that our employees – the police, the judges, and our jailers and executioners of our system of jurisprudence – install, monitor adherence to, judge the quality of performance on and administer, are put in charge of performing the duties required to ensure that punishment ordered by judges is administered properly).    Facebook takes on all of those roles and the duties that come along with them by assuming power over and control of interpersonal communications in a very large sector of human discourse in the whole world. That will force us a long way from established legal and legislative practices that evolved during the course of many thousands of years of civilization.

The assumption of the new Draconian powers that Facebook exercises over a large part of humanity in all of the world is a significant achievement for a corporation that began to offer its services on February 4, 2004.  The assumption of those Draconian powers did not pose much of a problem, initially.  The powers that FB assumed for itself evolved gradually but at an enormously quick pace, much faster than anything comparable ever did in the history of mankind.  They grew and keep on growing ever larger and more oppressive, much like those do that the UN or the EU wish to put into place.  Such powers are presumptuous, whether installed and executed by any non-elected, nongovernmental, corrupt, bureaucracy, or by a public social media service run by a corporation out to make astounding profits.

The extent of the Draconian powers used by all organizations having them depends on the rate of growth of such powers.  That rate of growth is substantial but also substantially different with respect to whether the organizations wishing to have the Draconian powers are bureaucracies or corporations.  The growth rates for their respective Draconian powers differ enormously.  There is a good reason for that.

The UN bureaucracy (founded in 1945) and the EU bureaucracy (its first foundations were laid in 1948) acquired their powers through time-consuming negotiations with mostly democratic nations.  Facebook is a corporation with a vested interest in avoiding all negotiations with all governments, because democratic governments are seen as a hindrance to speedy progress and to growth of profit.  Circumventing of all negotiations with democracies ranks high on the list of priorities of corporations such as Facebook.  That is all the more so because the impact of the services they offer grows at a much higher rate than the understanding that the politicians and bureaucrats of the democracies have who need to be able to comprehend a very important circumstance.  It is extremely dangerous and destructive to give a corporation that offers services to the public the ability to exercise its power without any guidelines or supervision that those guidelines are being adhered to. 

The next section will address the problem that speech codes limit the right to free speech.

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Turning moral traditions topsy-turvy

The drive for re-education, to turn established moral traditions topsy-turvy, is a convoluted road to travel.

The FB-reality of that is that the use of bad and inappropriate language of the gutter variety is good, while even to insist only slightly on that established, more conservative traditions that society came to hold dear must be regarded as being in bad taste, wherefore it is verboten.  Things become very difficult and confusing, when good becomes bad and bad becomes good, when it may be that either or both are verboten, especially when it appears that good things may at times be verboten, while bad things (things that were judged bad hundreds and even thousands of years ago) are hardly ever considered to be bad but most often good.  The confusion that causes seems to be a deliberate aspect of the social engineering that Facebook is eager to bring to civilization. 

It is difficult for old dogs to learn new tricks.  It is especially hard for an old dog to learn that the new trick he is to learn, that to have a moral universe that he has come to appreciate and even to love with his whole heart, is to be turned topsy-turvy and to be adhered to.  I taught a dog or two during my life and learned, that to confront any dog with such absurd notions is the most effective means of spoiling him.

Don’t take me wrong!  FB did not ever tell me that I had done anything wrong (except for telling me, now and then, that something I remarked did not meet Facebook’s “community standards”), or that anything I had posted had violated proprieties other than their “community standards”. It’s just that it is hard for old dogs to learn new tricks, especially when all or most of the tricks they know are suddenly made to do a 180. This dog is 82 years old, and even the youngest dog has a tough time learning tricks for which the instructor gives instructions that flip to being diametrically opposed to all he has learned since he was born, even if a young dog doesn’t have to unlearn anything.  Such a crazy thing is not merely contrary to the nature of dogs, in general, it is even against human nature!

To be accused in the Facebook reality of being politically incorrect can have a range of consequences, some of which can be severe.  An offense may involve having pointed the finger, maybe once or maybe once too often, perhaps not at someone but at an organization, a government or society, for having done something remarkable, annoying, harmful and not merely annoying but enormously harmful to humanity, fathers and families, perhaps even to the whole environment and the globe. 

In such a case, finger-pointing may well be deemed not merely impolite but politically incorrect.  The pointed finger that raised Facebook’s ire may not even be directed at anyone or anything other than that it pointed out an idea that may or may not be politically correct although nevertheless wrong. It may involve nothing other than to express dissatisfaction with any aspect – no matter how trivial or inconsequential – of anything at all and no one in particular.

That sort of political incorrectness falls without a doubt into the category of thought crime, but that does not matter much.  If Facebook doesn’t like it, a thought crime can or will be used to apply a judgment.  No finding of “guilty” will be announced, nothing more will happen than that the designated, unsuspecting offender will suddenly find that he no longer can use Facebook.  There may or may not have been a notification sent to the individual judged to be an offender.  That notification then states merely that a comment or posting violated FB community standards.

Even though several times I tried to catch on to what the FB community standards imply and demand, I never succeeded.  Anyone who ever tried to figure it out soon found that the FB community standards are hopelessly nebulous, convoluted and lacking clear directions. They would not have the chance of a snowball in Hell to measure up to the standards of evidence in a court of law.  Nevertheless, Facebook refers to them when justifying why they found someone guilty of violating them and deserving of being sent to “Facebook jail” (if Facebook should happen to tell the alleged offender, who receives his punishment before even knowing he did anything wrong), meaning that Facebook will ban them from using the services Facebook offers, for various lengths of time, ranging from a few hours to a life time.  No court in the world could solve that dilemma, not in a year full of Sundays, but Facebook insists that its community standards are just the thing for judging how individuals must conduct themselves.

Nevertheless, whether or not any of that should be done by basing Facebook’s decision on its ill-documented “community standards” should be left up to the individual doing it, and it should be left to the “accused” to feel whether the accusation should be ignored or to let it bother them, with the range of possible outcomes extending all the way to taking the accusers to court.

The range of the emotions and reactions following a perceived insult in the past extended to where they led to duels by swords, foils, handguns and other means intended to kill the accuser who was often right and had to die on account of it.  Challenges involved rituals, the drop of a hat, the slapping with a glove of the face of the challenged, knocking a chip of the shoulder of the challenged or of the shoulder of the challenger (with the first of the contenders to succeed with knocking the chip off the shoulder of his opponent being the challenger, a dubious distinction in the ensuing brawl).

Today, those extremes are no longer legal.  Instead, we amended laws as well as civil and criminal court procedures, in efforts designed to economically devastate accusers, whether those are right or not.  Thereby we ensure that judges, prosecutors and other attorneys, lawyers and adjuncts of the legalistic industry are not deprived of a rich source of income that they intensely crave.  After all, they too must feed their families, pay bills and pay back loans. Having accusers and accused try to settle things out of court by killing each other was therefore a powerful incentive for the advocates of the legalistic industry do get such attempts ruled to be illegal, and they achieved that aim.  That was a great boon to the business of the law.  With Facebook throwing its hat into the ring, things are becoming unnecessarily complicated once more.

Consider the next section, Facebook becomes a contender in the realm of the business of the law, being self-appointed Legislator, police, judge, jury, and jailer.

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Sniffing butts is impolite

Sniffing butts is impolite.  Sniffing butts is a No-No.  I know that it is, because my parents and my oldest sister (17 years older than I) told me so, a long time ago, without any help or nudging from Facebook.  It was in 1939 when that happened.  Facebook had not yet come on the scene. It made it first appearance 75 years later, in 2004.   Humanity had managed fairly well until then to catch on to the rules of politeness and of political correctness, without Facebook’s help.

Still, being blessed with an analytical mind and fairly early in my life, before the invasion of Poland by Hitler’s Armed Forces, the Gestapo and the SS, between the time when I had started to play with the other kids in the neighbourhood, but before I had begun to attend Kindergarten, I had learned how to determine the source of farts.  Believe me. It’s true. (The simple fact of it is that even little kids know where farts exhaust.  When they are quite small and laugh about it, older people even think that is cute.  Most people who had children know that, and those who don’t didn’t pay attention to their kids.)

If I remember correctly, it was when many of my oldest brother’s friends filled up our fairly large kitchen, talking, while standing around, waiting for my dad handing out a few drinks of schnapps, in celebration of a job well-done. 

They had come to spread the sand and laid the patio blocks on it, with which to pave the sidewalk from the street, past the entrance to the house, and the space between the house and the small barn that had been built behind it.  It had been a fairly big job. I know, because 14 or 15 years later, after the war, I had to redo the laying of those blocks (they had settled in places, allowing puddles to form).  When I did the job, after hours and on weekends, it took me about two weeks to do what my brother and his friends from the Reich Labour Service had done in a day when I was 3 or 4 years old.  To get it done in a day was worth a celebration.

As those young men were standing around and talking, in our kitchen, someone remarked “Man, who let that one go!” (A piece of advice, if you should happen to have done it, always divert attention by saying something like that. Always blame someone else, right?) I soon found out what they were talking about but also, that no one was willing to admit to having done the deed. 

There was enough room amongst all those legs through which I had to navigate, but I was the right size for the job, able to do it without bending, and I began to investigate.  I went to sniff butts and soon announced who the originator was of the smell that had caused the frantic opening of the windows.

Proud of having achieved my objective, I pointed my finger and announced “He did it. He farted!”  I remember that the young man denied it (I imagine that the colour he turned helped to give him away, I wouldn’t have known), with my accusing finger-pointing at him giving him no escape.

My oldest sister told me instantly and quietly: “Walter, you are right, but you shouldn’t and mustn’t tell about such a thing when it happens!”  That was that, and I learned from it.  I learned at a young age that, to point at someone for having done something remarkable because it was not enjoyable is impolite.  Still, there come instances in every life when finger-pointing is a civic duty and must be done.  Consider the next section.

Being politically incorrect is verboten.

Being politically incorrect is verboten. I know it is, because Facebook told me so.

That was after I had remarked on the trustworthiness (or better, the lack of it) of climate science or the poor quality of social research relating to families and fathers or some such things.  Facebook told me (ever so politely, as Facebook invariably is about such issues), that they were always open to teach me about what the desired community standards should be when I make comments that perhaps fall short of meeting such standards.  That was not the first time Facebook insinuated such, apparently in the hope that I will figure it out what it takes to be politically correct.

Facebook has “community standards” that they wish to be used, and they wish others to accept that their self-assumed role as arbiter and judge of the propriety of the quality of human discourse is correct, politically correct.  I know that, because they insist often enough that established ethical traditions that were distasteful are the new normal, and that what was once regarded as good is now bad.  That poses a problem for many and me who consider themselves to be old dogs and therefore find it very hard to adjust to the Facebook-reality.   

Look at the next section.  It describes some of Facebook’s efforts to change the world, to do its part in bringing about the New World Order, by Turning moral traditions topsy-turvy.

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Peace on Earth – Good Will to Men

Update 2018 12 31: Added quote from opinion piece by Danielle Smith, the table for Canadian federal transfer payments (Alberta and Quebec, 2013 to 2017), and information on Canada’s involvement in two world wars.
Update 2019 01 02: Added bar charts for Canadian Federal transfer payments (Quebec and Alberta, 2013 to 2017, provincial totals and per-capita amounts).

It’s the season to be jolly, and what does that have to do with the price of oil in Alberta?

Peace on Earth and the price of oil in Alberta

Nevertheless, war is an opportunity for employment and profits.
War is good business. Invest your sons.

h/t to: Rick Garza

Yes, but what Col. Wilkerson reports is not news. It has been known for many years. He is not the first but merely one of the last in a long string of people to lament that it is deplorable to be involved in promoting wars for the wrong reasons. Col. Wilkerson is also not the first but merely one of the last to identify that, in spite of the US being involved in a war for trumped-up reasons, the US is still merrily pursuing one military action after another and continues its military engagement in the Middle East and elsewhere, time and again.

Now, if Col. Wilkerson were to identify why the US does so, that would be great, but, although the reason for that is not as well-known, it is nevertheless the primary motivating factor. That is, military engagements cost money. The military engagements by the US in the Middle East (and everywhere else it does so, by the way) cost vast amounts of money and cause a lot of misery.  That is good for business.

Col. Wilkerson points out that one percent of Americans suffer and sacrifice for the 99 percent who need to be kept safe.  He is more than a bit light on that, where the one percent do the suffering and sacrificing, they cause damages to the localities and the locals that is orders of magnitudes greater.

What is it with the claims that the military actions and wars fought by the US in other parts of the world are being fought for the safety of the US? To insist that they are is ludicrous. That is well-known but hardly ever, if at all, discussed in the MSM or any media.

The primary reason military actions are being started and perpetuated is greed, the pursuit of profits by arms manufacturers in the US and elsewhere. Arms manufacturers have no allegiance to home and country. They have no allegiance to anyone or anything and worship no one but Mammon.

No one should have any illusions that the arms industry in the US is the only one to do so. The arms manufacturers in the US merely comprise the largest hotspot of arms manufacturing in the world.

What good would arms manufacturing be if there would be no demand for arms? Nothing creates demand for arms as well as does the starting and perpetuating of wars. Using the arms where they are being produced is bad for the business of producing them there. The smart thing to do is to use them elsewhere.

Certainly, to use arms elsewhere causes much misery and destruction, but that is there and not at home.  It produces more business opportunities for the home industries, the need for more arms to be produced, and the opportunity of opening up markets for reconstruction. That is good for the country in which the arms are being manufactured. That country, with the ability of keeping its manufacturing base secure, will of course exploit the opportunities for supplying the market for reconstruction that its tradition for starting and perpetuating wars elsewhere created. Halliburton and any other comparable corporation operating internationally, while not involved directly in military operations, can tell a thing or two about that.

Therefore, war is good business, invest your sons.

WWI: The War That Changed Everything, is a good example of how the international arms manufacturing industry benefitted by cashing in on a global free-for-all.  As the Prager University video accessible at the preceding link shows, a local brawl between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Serbia soon escalated to a global riot.  That gave all of the industrial nation’s arms manufacturing industries a chance to cash in. 

Shortly after the end of that war, in 1918, they all had another chance at it.  In 1939, WWII started and continued what the first had not finished, but on a substantially greater scale.  If anything, the video not only understates the scale of both of those wars, because it identifies only some of the major players in both, it does not even touch on the involvement of Japan in WWII, even though the Brits played a small part in the Pacific, while the U.S. fought the Japanese expansion back throughout the Pacific.  Perhaps the fact that WWII brought the beginning of the end of the British Empire has something to do with the oversight of the important aspect that, if it would not have been for the U.S., all of the Pacific region would have become and stayed part of the Japanese Empire.

All of that shows that the U.S., even though only a late-comer (although a deciding one) in both wars,  isn’t the only country engaged in exploiting the business opportunities created by the demand for arms.   

The omission of the war in the Pacific is not the only omission in the Prager University video (mind you, it is mainly about WWI, but how can there be a world war that does not involved all of the world?).  Amongst a large number of omissions, it also neglected to mention the involvement of large parts of the British Dominion that were no longer part of the British Empire by the start of WWI, foremost Canada, Australia and New Zeeland, for example.  Canada needs to be mentioned, most certainly, as it owes much of its industrial expansion and modernization to the need to manufacture arms and military supplies for WWI and WWII, at the relatively small price of sacrificing the lives of only 40,000 and 37,000 men respectively, a small price for the economic returns it reaped.  Those returns were not temporary.  They left a lasting impression, a substantial capability to manufacture arms looking for a market.

Canada has a fairly large sector of its economy involved in the production of arms, for export to other countries. Nevertheless, Canada provides an excellent example of why – contrary to received wisdom – the business of arms manufacturing (and exporting the products therefrom) harms Canada’s economy, even though Canada’s arms-manufacturing industry is profitable and safe from interference by outside forces.

Canada has a reputation of being a peaceful country.  Canada does not fight wars, at least not on its own turf.  Everyone knows that.  Therefore, Canada religiously restricts its participation in military actions entirely, except for those that take place far away – as far away as possible – from Canadian shores.

For example, Canada exports annually a billion dollars worth of arms (mostly armored vehicles) to Saudi Arabia. In return, Canada imports annually about a billion dollars worth of oil from there. One may think that is good business, and that would be correct. It puts a lot of bread and butter on the tables of the Canadians in Quebec and Ontario who produce the arms. Roughly half of Canada’s population resides and works in Quebec and Ontario. Therefore, federal politicians support trade deals that ensure a good state of health for Canada’s arms exports. After all, at least half of Canada’s politicians (actually more, but that is another issue) represent Quebec and Ontario (to what extent they represent the voters or themselves is an issue worthy of much discussion).

Well, Canada has no need to import oil. It is potentially self-sufficient with oil production. Canada’s oil is produced in Western Canada, primarily in Alberta. Alberta has about nine percent of Canada’s population and an a proportional share of Canadian voters.

There is no oil pipeline from Alberta to Quebec and Ontario. There is insufficient capacity of the oil pipeline from Alberta to Vancouver, British Columbia.

Western Canada has plenty of oil pipeline capacity for exporting to the US, to where customarily most of the oil produced in Canada was shipped.  It used to be that virtually all of the oil required in Quebec and Ontario was imported from the US. Incidentally, initially, when Alberta’s oil industry emerged, there was much lobbying and pressuring by the US to prevent the construction of an all-Canadian pipeline from Alberta to Central Canada. That is the way things stayed and remain until today.

Thanks to the large-scale application of fracking, the US is now essentially self-sufficient with its oil production (it has become a net-exporter of natural gas). That drives down the prices for Canadian oil exports. The US is the major market for Canadian oil exports (about 80 percent). Prices for Canadian crude oil fell as low as $10 a barrel during the past few weeks. Now comes the clincher.

Canada is missing out on $80 million dollars a day ($30 billion a year) of net revenues for oil it would like to but cannot export. That is because Canada cannot supply its own oil to itself where oil is needed, and because it cannot export enough of what it can easily produce to satisfy the demand market in the Pacific region. Nevertheless, Canada’s federal politics aim at preventing the construction of sufficient pipeline capacity to Central Canada and to the Canadian West Coast. Not only that.

Canadian federal policies constrain tanker traffic in Vancouver to prevent the export of Canadian oil to the Pacific region. On the other hand, Canada does all it can to keep the trade deal going that exchanges Canadian arms for Saudi oil imported at Canada’s East Coast, a trade that is worth a billion dollars a year, just to keep voters in Quebec and Ontario happy, so that they will vote half of Canada’s politicians back into office in the next elections.  Does anyone think that Quebec and Ontario voters will not put Trudeau and his party back into office, or that Alberta voters are clamoring to vote for Trudeau’s Liberal Party?

Well, here is how that works.  It is not what the Liberal Party can do for you, but what you can do for the Liberal Party.  Vote the Liberal Party into office, and the Liberal Party can do all that is needed to make sure that the voters voting it into office have jobs.  A lot more jobs are involved in making armored vehicles than in producing oil, thinks the Liberal Party.  Even if the production of oil is far more profitable, what good will it do for the Liberals to make sure that Albertans have jobs producing it?  Albertans don’t vote Liberal!  The Liberals know that.  Albertans know that they don’t vote Liberal and have good reasons not to, while the Liberals have good reasons not to do much or anything to help Albertans, as long as Albertans and the other hicks in the sticks in the West, traditionally seen – especially in Ontario – as hewers of wood and drawers of water, keep the federal transfer payments coming.  The latter, once the federal contributions for Alberta are taken into account, amount to a net benefit of $22 billion a year for the Feds, from Alberta alone, with Quebec getting fairly substantial chunks of the loot.

“In 2017, according to Statistics Canada, the federal government generated $50.3 billion from Alberta taxpayers and only spent $28.5 billion in Alberta — a net transfer to Ottawa of $21.8 billion. Albertans pay more in federal taxes than we get back in federal spending. It is this difference that goes in part to support the equalization program.

Meanwhile, the federal government generated $53.7 billion from Quebec taxpayers and spent $70.1 billion in Quebec — a net transfer to Quebec of $16.4 billion.

To suggest that rich Quebeckers are somehow shouldering the burden of equalization is absurd. Quebeckers don’t pay anything into equalization because the province receives more in overall federal spending than Quebeckers pay in federal taxes. The extra money comes from taxpayers in other provinces, with Alberta taxpayers paying the largest share.”

Source: “Alberta needs a firewall, the sooner the better
Danielle Smith, 2018 12 28, Calgary Herald

Canadian transfer payments: Quebec and Alberta

(Cdn$ ‘000,000’ omitted)  Even a farmer who is not too bright knows:
Feed the cow you intend to get milk from.

Bar charts showing provincial totals and provincial amounts per capita are contained in appendix.

Armored vehicles for the Saudi’s and for anyone else whose credit is good (if not, then the losses are written off) provide jobs and the desired voters in Ontario and Quebec, the more than half of the voters that bring the Liberals back into office, time and again.

Armored vehicles keep the world at peace.  The war by Saudi Arabia against Yemen is a good example of how well that works, isn’t it?  On the other hand, what has oil – especially that dirty oil from the Tar Sands in Alberta – ever done for Canada, other than to cause global warming?  

Certainly, with Alberta going ever deeper into debt, it will eventually become a net recipient of transfer payments (no one knows where those will come from, because all of Canada will be broke) but first things first!  This is politics, not economics!  The transfer payments are still coming, right?  They will keep coming for long enough to give the Liberals another chance to get elected.  

Arms from Canada to keep the world at peace, keeping Western Canadian oil in the ground to help to clean up global pollution,  surely, who wants to blame the Liberals for doing an excellent job?  

Politicians are a consequence of a deeply rooted system of greed and its consequences. The international arms trade is an unduly large motivational force influencing the greed that controls local, national and international politics and economics.

It is not reasonable to saddle one or more politicians in Canada, the US or anywhere with the blame for the undue influence that the arms industry and the arms trade have on the workings of national and world economies. It would be far more reasonable to figure out ways by which that undue influence can be rooted out at the source.

Nevertheless, politicians can be and almost invariably are opportunistic enablers.  We, the people, make that possible.  The politicians we elect are enabled to do good and bad, but the politicians – and we who elect them – are not the only players in the game of “Peace on Earth and Good Will to Men.”

A government is not the expression of the popular will, but rather the expression of what a nation’s people are willing to endure.

— Kurt Tucholsky

Appendix


#PeaceOnEarthAndThePriceOfAlbertaOil

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