UK riots – my thoughts on who, what and why

As riots continued for a third night running in major cities across the UK, many have had their say on the animalistic slime causing massive devastation to property and lives. What should we do about it? What is an appropriate response and what is too far? Why do yobs do this sort of thing? I’ll give my thoughts.

First of all, it’s not really clear what these barely-human criminals are rioting about. There is no doubt in my mind that most of them are simply along for the ride, and enjoy the thrill and excitement of being in the mob, mindlessly ruining without consideration. Even if there was a legitimate purpose to riot, surely the cause is negated by the gross violation of the rights of innocent citizens whose lives and property are being wrecked? What cause could possibly be worth fighting for that is somehow not connected, or superior to, the legitimate rights of others?

So should the government call in the army? No. There is a reason why the army is not and should not be used to keep the law. The army defends the country from enemies of the state; the police protect the citizens and enforce the law. When the army is used against its own citizens, the enemies of the state become its own people. Government power should necessarily be heavily limited in this regard and we cannot throw away that principle when it seems expedient. So should police use lethal force against the rioters? Again, I would say no, not unless it is absolutely necessary. Whilst it is true that these rioters are degenerate insects who deserve no mercy, the law and the police derive their power from their citizens and cannot begin arbitrarily executing them when they get out of hand.

However, I should stress that the rioters have freely abandoned the rule of law and chosen to violate the Rights of their fellow citizens. The cause does not matter, if there even is one. Riot police should be deployed in full force and use water cannons, tasers, tear gas and rubber bullets. The rioters should be beaten into submission, even if it means hospitalising them. The message must be loud and clear: the government will protect the rights of individuals from any threat, foreign or domestic, and those who contravene this rule should be put down, hard. There should be no compromise with vicious thugs. Force should be met with force. Not for the purpose of hurting them, or teaching them a lesson, or quashing citizens under the boot of the government – no, for the purpose of protecting individual Rights.

One thing that also needs pointing out is the makeup of the mob: the majority are youths. The obvious question once again: where are the parents? Once again we are witnessing the result of mediocre and disinterested parenting, of a society where family and integrity is meaningless, where the mothering and fathering skills of adults have atrophied due to a government that insists on doing our thinking for us. How can you expect youths to respect the rights of others, when everywhere you look, the concept of Rights of individuals is watered down or ignored? How can you ask parents to do their jobs and regulate their children, when across the world we see parents asking the government to create yet another rule, regulation or law to restrict content on this, age limits on that, certificates on this, bans on that, censorship on this, criminalisation on that. Perhaps, just perhaps, if the government stayed out of our private affairs and parents had to actually do their job, they would raise their children in a more responsible and dignified manner? Which brings me to my next point: the parents of any youth found convicted in these riots should be forced to make reparations to the owners of damaged property. Your kids, your problem. They smashed, stoned, defaced and burned it? You will pay for it.

I’m not excusing the rioters at all, but I am hardly surprised by their actions. Our culture is warped and sick. In almost every article I write I talk about philosophy, and how it’s a vital part of everyday life, whether people realise it or not. But look at the “intellectuals” of today; look at the philosophy that pervades the world: we are told that reality isn’t real, that there are no moral truths, that there are no real whites and blacks, that morality is subjective and uncertain, that our senses are weak or useless, that the good is whatever the majority commands, that the purpose of life is to sacrifice it, that property is greed, that Rights are “selfish”, that intelligence is sad, that power is all that matters, that dedication and determination are a waste of time, that fame for fame’s sake and beauty for beauty’s sake and money for money’s sake is the lifestyle to pursue, that scientists and businessmen are fools and whores, but celebrities and sportsmen should be objects of idolatry and role-models to follow. This might not be the culture the intellectuals and the philosophers and the bureaucrats wanted, but it’s the one they deserved. This is the inevitable result of an evil and flawed worldview from Christianity to Socialism, from Islam to Communism, from Fascism to Humanism, from Libertarianism to Anarchism, from Hume to Kant, Christ to Mohammed, Nietzsche to Plato: the rejection of moral truths in this world; the denial of morality as useful to the individual in his everyday life. In essence it is this: the rejection of reason.

To those of who you say there is no such thing as morality, that truth is ambiguous, that reality isn’t real, that good and bad are just matters of opinion, that man is just an animal in shoes, that we carry original sin or instead are merely slightly-evolved apes, I say: this is the world you wanted. Well you have it. You wanted a world where reason didn’t matter, where good and bad were just opinions, where truth was both sides of the coin – well this is what happens in such a world. People blow each other up, they fly planes into buildings, they commit holy wars, they rob and pillage in the name of “welfare”, they set fire to buildings, destroy livelihoods, and they riot for the sheer thrill of rioting. Because they don’t know any better, because you told them there was no better, and if there was, there was no way to know it, and so it didn’t matter what they did, because nothing was right or wrong anyway and no one alive could ever know it.

To those who believe that truth and morality are subjective, I say I hope you’re happy with the results of your philosophy. These riots across the UK are just one symptom, but they aren’t the disease itself.

Animal treatment and Rights

One story that made the news recently is that of two police dogs who died after being trapped in a car for six hours in the heat of the day. Link.

Across the internet, animal lovers everywhere have condemned the man and called on him to face heavy punishment. Some have even offered prayers and chain postings in memory of the two dead animals.

The topic of animal welfare has been raised and most arguments in support of stiffer punishment for animal mistreatment rest on the presumption that animals have rights. In this article I want to comment on cruelty to animals, whether animals do have rights and the implications of this, and why it matters. I’ll also tell you what I care about and why.

Cruelty and/or mistreatment

Cruelty is the needless and wanton infliction of suffering on a sentient creature. (Contrary to some popular misconception and aided by science fiction, sentient doesn’t necessarily mean intelligent, it means capable of experiencing sensations.) So by this definition, cruelty is always irrational. Being irrational is antithetical to human well-being (that of one oneself and others), and is therefore evil. Cruelty is therefore always evil.

There’s a line of thought that goes: a man who likes to hurt animals will also like to hurt people. I’m not a psychological expert but I wouldn’t disagree with this. I think a person who gets any kind of pleasure from cruelty has poor ethics at best and mental health problems at worst.

Mistreatment of animals is by no means as clear cut: what defines mistreatment? Certainly all handlers agree that animals should be trained and kept in line. Is hitting a dog mistreatment? How hard is acceptable? Leaving it out in the rain? Leaving it out at night? I don’t have the answers to this and I don’t think it’s important to scrutinise it in depth here. But what must be said is: an owner is responsible for their pet and how they treat it. If a pet hurts someone or damages property, the owner of the pet is made to pay compensation, rightly so. Buy why? Well it’s obvious but needs explicitly stating because some people out there (who don’t so much love animals as hate humans) will gloss over this vital truth: animals are not capable of rational action, which means they cannot make moral choices. Therefore, they are not morally responsible for their actions. A human owner is however.

Rights

If you disagree with what I’m about to say, the first thing you must do is offer your own definition of Rights and justify it. Remember that emotions don’t stand up in court, and the issue of Rights and legal action is precisely what we’re talking about.

The philosopher with the most (and only) rational and objective description and justification of Rights was Ayn Rand. Her attention to detail and philosophical genius don’t need restating here. She defined Rights as moral principles defining freedom of action. But why does a being need Rights? Simply put, to act freely. But what good is the freedom to act unless one is capable of freely choosing in the face of alternatives? None. Human beings must consider the choices available to them and make free moral decisions. Being a moral being, which we are, is meaningless though unless we are also free to act. After all, what good is the freedom to choose if we aren’t free to act? Prisoners aren’t free, like hostages aren’t, or mug victims. So our nature as free moral agents necessitates Rights. But then the obvious conclusion to this fact is that creatures which aren’t moral agents, which don’t have the ability to think rationally and choose in the face of alternatives, cannot have Rights. Remember: rights are not entitlements; they aren’t blessings or favours which are granted to certain people from others, from society, from the State, or from God. They are principles inherent in our nature. So by definition, animals cannot have Rights.

That doesn’t sound right to me

That is something I hear a lot. It’s something I had to come to grips with too. It does fly in the face of a lot of what we’re brought up to believe and get told. But there is a false assumption implicit in the deniers of the fact that animals don’t have Rights: they perhaps think “if animals don’t have Rights, it’s ok to abuse them”. But that is not the case! The false premise lurking here is that Rights are somehow based on the ability to feel pain. But as I’ll explain next, that doesn’t make sense:

As we saw above, Rights are moral principles to guarantee freedom of action for moral agents like humans. It is the Right to Life, which all of us have, that gives rise to all our other rights: the right to pursue happiness, the right to liberty, the right to not have force used against us. To say that a person has the Right to live but not have the right to not be killed for food, is an obvious contradiction which no one in their right mind would claim. We don’t kill people for food (culinary arguments aside), not because they have a “Right to not be eaten for food” but because they have a Right to life! The “Right to not be eaten for food” makes no sense! And who would claim that a person has the Right to avoid suffering, but not have the Right to live? If this were true, it would be legal to murder someone, but not torture them! Bear this in mind when we talk about animal rights: animals are killed for food by the millions every day. Some small sects aside (like vegans), even those who believe in animal rights still accept that it’s ok to eat them for food. But there is a massive contradiction here: if animals have the right to live, they should not be killed at all! I wouldn’t accuse well-meaning people of being hypocrites, as I think a lot of us do and have made this mistake in innocence, but I think a lot of people could do with stopping and checking their own premises. As a good writer said to me: “if you believe in animal rights but eat meat, stop right there – go away and rethink your position.”

“But surely animals have Rights to protect them from cruelty?” some say. That sounds fair, it sounds nice, but it is false. Rights aren’t based on the ability to suffer, but on the necessity for freedom which only a moral agent needs.

Why does it matter?

It matters because the real issue here isn’t whether animals have Rights or not, it’s what Rights actually are. The issue of individual Rights is possibly the most important issue in human history because all crimes committed by one person against another involve the violation of Rights, that’s why it’s important to be very particular about the concept. ‘But why is this about human rights and not animal rights?’, you might ask. It’s about human Rights because Rights are the principles that say to every one of us “you may act as freely as you want, but you must not violate the Rights of others.” Which means you and I are totally free to live our lives as we choose. Your Right to live doesn’t clash with my Right to live: as long as we don’t infringe on the Rights of others, there is no contradiction between our lives, or Rights, ever! In fact, when understood this way it is clear that Rights simply cannot conflict. To illustrate this, let’s say that you have the Right to your earnings after a day’s work. I come along and claim that I am hungry and need your money. I claim that I therefore have a Right to your earnings. Here we have a conflict, but it’s easily resolved. If you have the Right to life, you must have the freedom to pursue that life. One of the ways of doing this is through work and earning money – in other words: property. Your right to property is a result of your Right to life. So since the property is rightfully yours, it cannot be rightfully mine. Your right to life, and property, and earnings is the only claim that matters. I can therefore have no “right” to any of them.

Humans versus animals?

Now, because humans make moral choices, we can choose to not violate the Rights of others, and most of the time we do this quite well. I choose not to violate your Rights and you choose not to violate mine. But, animals can never make this kind of choice. An animal does what it does either by training or by instinct, but never after rational and moral consideration. If animals were to have Rights, they would necessarily clash with human Rights, since we would be forced to respect their rights but they could never respect ours. There would be no resolution to the contradiction: humans would necessarily have to surrender their Rights to unthinking amoral animals. Imagine the full implications of this: no meat for food – at all. No wood for homes or fuel if animals need the trees. No cultivating fields to grow vegetables in case it displaces or kills animals. A world where animals have Rights is a world where humans can’t.

So where does the Law come into this?

If we accept that the job of the Law is to protect Rights (and how could it be anything else?) then it becomes clear that only humans should be protected by the Law. One of the ways it does this is to arbitrate in legal matters. Consider how silly it would be if we put cats on trial for killing mice, lions on trial for killing gazelles, dogs on trial for mauling babies. Consider the travesty of proper justice if we appointed lawyers for gerbils or took testimony from rabbits. ‘You’re being silly now. No one goes that far!’ some might say. Yes, these are ridiculous examples, but I’m not the one saying that animals should be protected by the legal system. If we “gave” animals Rights, they would have all the benefits of a legal system they can’t comprehend, and none of the consequences.

So it’s ok to abuse animals?

No no no. But before we condemn the actions of genuinely evil people, let’s take a step back. What do we mean by “ok”? Do we mean “legally accountable” or “morally reprehensible”? Before you jump to answer, think about this because there is a difference. In days gone by, homosexuality was punishable by death. It still is in some parts of the world. Sex outside marriage and blasphemy were (and are) also considered criminal acts and worthy of capital punishment, based on some rather warped moral opinions. Am I equating cruelty to animals with being gay or blasphemous? Of course not. The point I’m making is that the law isn’t there to police morality, but to protect Rights. There are many people out there who’d love the chance to use the Law to police their version of morality on you. The last thing we want is a government that polices morality. We’ve seen it before, we’re seeing it now, and it never looks pretty.

So animals aren’t protected at all?

Actually, they are. There is a very important exception to how animals should be protected under law, and that is as the property of humans. If a person harms or kills a pet they should absolutely be punished.

Do I care about animals?

They say it’s bad form to answer a question with a question, but I’ll do both. I’d say “which animals?” Do I care about animals? Well, do you care about humans?

You see, I look at the millions of human beings, beings of our own kind, around the world dying from starvation or disease – I look at scientists, thinkers, creators, businessmen – exploited and robbed of their property – I look at the successful and innovative penalised for the crime of being successful and innovative – I look at how our governments keep infringing on human Rights, granting more and more power to the state and less and less freedom to individuals – I look at how fiat currency and government-caused inflation and recession has caused economic collapse and riots across the continent and how it might well come here soon – and I think there are more important issues than two dogs dying in a car.

I care about my animals. I can’t pretend to care about yours, and if you really care about some random animal you have no connection with, why not that one and not the millions which are butchered for food every day?

How do we fight animal cruelty?

The same way we fight any legal but morally wrong action: by social ostracism. We condemn the person and refuse to deal with them. We can encourage others to do the same. The person might lose their job, their reputation, their relationships, and most likely won’t be able to buy another pet from someone else.

What we shouldn’t do is think of the law as our personal exactor of vengeance. The fact that the Law must ruthlessly protect human rights makes it all the more important for it to only protect human rights – because no other Rights exist.

Priorities

I think it’s time for a wakeup call, people.  Fellow humans are having their Rights violated every day, in the simplest to the grossest of manners. This is the sort of thing we should be shining a spotlight on and spreading chain e-mails about. Our tempers should burn when we hear the plight of an innocent man robbed or doctors put on trial by despicable governments for trying to tell the truth, or yet another business being double-taxed and charged for being “too big”, or teenage girls being groomed for sexual abuse or drug dealers and their empires, pathetic little teenagers and their gangs spreading mayhem and violence around towns… These are crimes committed by humans against their own kind. The least we can do, out of respect for ourselves and our fellow beings and our respect for justice and individual rights, is to consider where our priorities lie and what we want to be campaigning for.

UK citizens arrest judge over illegal council tax

Yesterday I saw the news that UK citizens tried to arrest a judge in an act of “legal rebellion”. The reason? The judge refused to acknowledge that he was acting under his oath of office, as he attempted to sentence Roger Hayes on charges of council tax evasion. A judge not acting under their oath of office is a fraudster. But did you also know that council tax is illegal?

The full story behind the protest is here.

Roger Hayes, a former UKIP member who has consistently refused to pay council tax on the grounds that it is illegal, and as a political protest against the British government’s sacrifical and treasonous actions with the EU, gives us the full story here.

It’s so refreshing and encouraging to see free people peacefully demonstrating, with morality on their side, against the arbitrary and excessive power of government (local and national.)  On this occasion unfortunately, the police did not take the side of the “rebels”, but if this knowledge becomes more widespread and the average UK citizen wises up on their legal position, who knows what the future might bring.

Regardless of your opinion on Council Tax (I am opposed to it), every self-respecting citizen should object to it on the principle that any phony power imposing arbitrary demands on you without your consent is wrong. It is a scam being perpetrated on us through legal trickery and our own ignorance – and it must stop. Legally, politically, and morally, we must spread the news of this and make these shifty charlatans realise we are not cash cows.

The 2011 UK Census is totalitarian and impractical

The 2011 UK Census comes down to this: “share your private information with the government, or go to prison.”

No, this is not “anti-establishment” scare-mongering, but a real life concrete example of totalitarianism. If anyone disagrees with this, simply ask them: “what happens if you refuse to complete the Census on the grounds that the only proper role of government (protecting your Rights) does not extend to gathering personal details about your life and property?

Let’s not forget that the Census itself costs £480,000,000 to conduct. That’s almost half a billion pounds. Remember that the next time someone complains about the state of the NHS. The justification for the Census? It helps government planning in the public sector – another huge waste of money that is the government’s own doing; (jobs created out of thin air that would be unnecessary and unsupportable in the private sector. For “private sector” read: the real world where you have to earn your money.)

Hang on, doesn’t this mean that in order to keep the “public” sector running (paid for by the taxpayer) so as to provide mediocre services, personal intrusions, or economic distortions (that hurt the taxpayer), a Census is required (costing the taxpayer half a billion pounds), which you much comply with under penalty of a fine and (if you refuse) inprisonment (paid for by the taxpayer)? Well, yes.

Of course, if you refuse to comply, the odds are that you won’t be prosecuted. However, the census does prove how utterly impractical force is as an inducement: when people are forced to do something they’d rather not do; when their only incentive is not to be met with force, they’ll do the absolute bare minimum, or undermine the enforcer as much as possible. This is counterproductive to getting useful honest information. If people saw how they could benefit by sharing their personal information, they would – as evidenced by the many private endeavours (such as credit cards, petitions, private insurance, magazine subscriptions, social networking sites, charities etc) where they do give up such details. The fact that a hollow threat of a £1000 fine (backed by a gun) is in one hand whilst the government holds the 2011 census in the other, speaks volumes about how much faith the government and the public have in yet another waste of money and flagrant abuse of state power.

Sexism and political correctness

Sexism is essentially the judgement of another person based primarily on their gender. It isn’t exclusively the physical discrimination of a person, for example by treating them as inferior or denying them equal opportunities, because these actions are preceded by the belief of sexual superiority in a person’s mind.

Since a person’s character should be evaluated by their chosen morals and free actions, to judge someone based on unchosen factors is to ignore the only basis on which to properly evaluate another human being. Not only is this irrational, but it treats the other person as sub-human; a being without a mind, without conscience, with volition. And since rationality is the most fundamental moral choice, irrationality is antithetical to all human life. In short, sexism, like racism, is an evil.

Throughout history, and mainly due to religion, women have been seen as second class citizens. It was ultimately reason and (its corollary) political freedom that enabled women the chance to demonstrate their ability on equal footing with men. A similar thing happened with race. Sadly, there are many parts of the world where these revolutions haven’t taken place.

I can’t help but notice a similarity between the revolution of female political freedom and that of the American Revolution; both based on the principle of individual rights which demands equality before the Law. Whilst the US was founded on the right ideals, the driving principles were not clearly identified and thus became distorted, hence the total mess that is the modern concept of Rights. Similarly, whilst the sexist ideas and discrimination of women slowly started to evaporate (and in many respects and places, still need to), they have morphed into something else; a formless mess of false notions and irrational demands. The same could be said of other groups demanding more Rights, such as ethnic minorities or gays.

Let’s be clear: the basic principle underlying the moral evaluation of all human beings is: we are all free-willed individuals with the capacity for reason. We should be praised or condemned for our actions, not those who share our gender, skin colour, or race. The political expression of this moral principle is freedom before the law, i.e.: no forcible discrimination against us and no special favours either. Political freedom means freedom from the use of force from other humans; it means equality of treatment by the government. It not does not apply to the chosen interactions between private citizens, which may or may not be moral or rational.

Political correctness has taken the concept of Rights and equality as moral and political ideas and corrupted them in terms of practical effects. The egalitarians operate on the same premise. In other words, whilst all human beings should be politically equal, the simple fact is that we are not all morally, intellectually, or physically equal. As these factors are not determined by our gender or race, they cannot be equalised by special treatment in favour of said gender or race. Egalitarianism in politics and metaphysics is impossible and self-contradictory, and so is political correctness. It is wholly hypocritical. It is hypocritical because it pretends that all human beings are necessarily equal regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, height, age, weight, skin colour, but in an attempt to make the practical realisations of individual traits equal, it promotes certain groups of people over others, based on their gender, race, sexual orientation, height, age, weight, or skin colour!

From what should be a demand for political equality: the right to life, and therefore the right to liberty, the pursuit of happiness, property, the right to vote – various pressure groups, such as women’s rights, gay rights, ethnic minority rights – are all demanding more and more. But it’s actually special treatment they are asking for; the entitlement to something beyond political equality, for example a job or a pay rise.

I’m not saying that these groups are treated perfectly; far from it. Even today in the western world, sexism, racism, and sexual ignorance are present. They should be opposed ideologically and intellectually. But they shouldn’t be opposed by over-compensating and granting a group of people special consideration. Special consideration is precisely what activists claim to be fighting, when it isn’t in their favour, that is.

I am totally supportive of those who are discriminated against for irrelevant attributes. What I don’t support is the use of the word “Rights” here. There is only one type of right: individual; individual rights apply to all individuals, but only individuals.

It is true that men and women, gays and straights, whites and blacks all have rights, but to say “women’s rights” or “gay rights” is to misuse the word. It seems harmless enough, but it conceals a false premise: that a certain group is entitled to something. But contrary to popular belief, a right is not an entitlement; it is the freedom to act. It’s the freedom to try and get a job, but not freedom to be given a job because the employer already has “too many” of a certain colour. Freedom to vote, but not freedom to be given what you demand, like a minimum wage. Freedom to marry whom you wish, but not freedom to be approved by the ignorant by flaunting your sexuality for prestige, “cool” points, or to make a political statement. Freedom to work hard and merit a pay rise, but not freedom to be promoted or remunerated to meet an “equality” quota. Freedom to use reason to overcome bias, prejudice, and discrimination, but not freedom to have respect or followers through emotional blackmail.

I oppose feminism, because it is not a movement asking for freedom and equality, but special treatment to evade and ignore the reality that men and woman are different. Not different intellectually, morally, or politically – but different emotionally and physically. To take one example: the feminist campaign to have the New York fire department’s criteria for strength changed so that a certain (arbitrary) number of women could pass the requirements test. To use an extreme example, should the requirements be further changed to allow the wheelchair-bound or blind to become fire-fighters? The strength requirements would exclude many men who fell short, but the feminists didn’t want the rules changed to be more objective and tolerable for all, but for women simply because they are women.

The premise of feminism is that women are disadvantaged deliberately based on gender, and thus feminists must fight for entitlements based on gender. But this isn’t equality! And it ignores the truth that the real requirements for a great many things have nothing to do with gender, but objective standards (for example, being a fire-fighter, or simply being good enough to obtain a job). Arguments for equality should be made by pointing out why exclusionary criteria are objectively wrong, not by promoting women simply because they are women. Men and women do have natural differences and although neither sex is “better”, it is a fact that some tasks are more suited to one gender than the other, and that people of one sex tend to prefer certain occupations over the other, hence the apparent disproportion in occupational demographics. But to pretend these differences don’t exist is a denial of sexual identity.

What we should all be demanding is what we have earned, and not be demanding what we haven’t; the word we should be using isn’t equality or Rights, but justice.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 68 other followers