Joe Biden’s inaugural speech leaked – exclusive

Joe Biden’s speech for his Presidential inauguration tomorrow; revealed exclusively here:

All my life I have had a certain idea of America.  This sentiment inspires me as well as reason does. That which is the emotional part of me naturally imagines America, like the princess of the stories or the Madonna in the frescoes, as vowed to an eminent, exceptional destiny. I have instinctively the impression that Providence created it for successes achieved or exemplary misfortunes. 

If it happens that mediocrity nevertheless marks its actions and gestures, I experience the sensation of an absurd anomaly, to be imputed to the faults of the American people, not to the spirt of the motherland. 

But also the positive side of my mind convinces me that America is really itself only at the forefront; which alone, vast enterprises are likely to compensate for the ferment of dispersion that his people carry within themselves, which our country, such as it is, among others, such as they are, must, on pain of mortal danger, aim high and stand erect.

In short, to my mind, America cannot be America without greatness.

Friends, Americans, countrymen, I come to bury Trump, not to praise him. For twelve score and four years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

It’s one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind.

Your voice, your hopes, and your dreams, will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way. Together, we will make America great again. Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.

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What did You do in the Culture War?

It has to come to this: action or defeat. Act, and wisely. First realise that this is not a two-sided fight: the new-left and alt-right are both the enemy to the values of good sense and freedom; the ideals of the English-speaking world.

What to though: what can be done by someone with no influence nor any real desire to be shunned at social gatherings, when they are finally allowed?

For one thing, ask yourself why you think you would be shunned for acting as you must or expressing opinions which are actually those of the great majority of people. What actual power do the new-left have over you or polite society?  They have none but the power your fear gives them. The first enemies to defeat are your own lack of confidence and your fear of shadows.

The left-wing, the woke mob, whatever you call the general tendency, do not have a monopoly of spoken opinion. Even if they have the numbers, they cannot dominate because modern media does not work like that. Looking at America, it has in this generation few journalists worthy of the name, but a variety of online media which has broken the dull conformity. The mainstream channels can pump out lazy platitudes and woke nonsense all they like, but Ben Shapiro on his own can have just as much reach alone in a studio. That is how opinion balances in the open market: one young man can beat ten thousand hardened journalists.

Then again, Ben Shapiro is a genius. Were he not there, we would be in trouble. He has the reach with others do not have, and he can do more. Recently his company even launched a film studio, specifically to break the dominance of the woke-bound big players.

Jordan Peterson is another, calling out nonsense on both sides: who would imagine that a university lecture series on clinical psychology would be getting million+ hits on YouTube? It works because he speaks plainly and truthfully. A lecture series full of mendacious left-wing platitudes would fall flat.

A hundred years ago there were Marxists feeling frustrated that whatever they did, the Establishment institutions were in other hands and they would make no progress in breaking and remaking society until they could achieve a Long March through the Institutions. Well, now they have achieved that and are in command of the heights. Now it needs a Long March of common sense to drive them off.

Most of us are not capable of doing such great works as those like Ben Shapiro, but there must be things to do – the left-wing do not stop just because they are incapable.

First then, I will look at where those with power get that power, and how they pretend to power they do not have. There will be articles to follow. That is my target. What is yours?

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Hobbes and the Libertarian – 1

It seems a contradiction, to uphold the doctrine of absolute, unlimited, undivided sovereignty and yet to be a Libertarian demanding the minimisation of the state.

The Liberty of a Subject, lyeth therefore only in those things, which in regulating their actions, the Soveraign hath praetermitted; such as is the Liberty to buy, and sell, and otherwise contract with one another; to choose their own aboad, their own diet, their own trade of life, and institute their children as they themselves think fit; & the like.

Hobbes also characterises the social contract which creates the state as if each man were to say in complete abnegation of his natural freedom:

“I Authorise and give up my Right of Governing my selfe, to this Man, or to this Assembly of men, on this condition, that thou give up thy Right to him, and Authorise all his Actions in like manner.”

This done, the Multitude so united in one Person, is called a COMMON-WEALTH, in latine CIVITAS. This is the Generation of that great LEVIATHAN, or rather (to speake more reverently) of that Mortall God, to which wee owe under the Immortall God, our peace and defence. For by this Authoritie, given him by every particular man in the Common-Wealth, he hath the use of so much Power and Strength conferred on him, that by terror thereof, he is inabled to forme the wills of them all, to Peace at home, and mutuall ayd against their enemies abroad.

As there is no limit on the authority given to the ‘Leviathan’, and as sovereignty is indivisible, all theories that limit the state must be false ideas. Indeed, Hobbes points to the danger in any state limiting itself by promise only to have to break that promise when new circumstances emerge.

Nevertheless, freedom is prized by every thinking man and woman, and collectively we hold that we created the state in order to preserve our freedom, not to cancel it.

Followers of Hobbes are more likely to be libertarians. This is not an internal contradiction: there is no contradiction between a love of individual freedom and acceptance of the total abnegation of freedom in the state. The alleged contradiction is an error of definition, and:

The first cause of Absurd conclusions I ascribe to the want of Method; in that they begin not their Ratiocination from Definitions; that is, from settled significations of their words

To acknowledge the power of the state over everything is not the say that this power should be used. That is the distinction.

The social contract as explained by Hobbes is a statement of what the state is and what authority it has, not how it should use that authority. The state may act morally or immorally, and it may trespass into areas we do not want it to, but these are questions of ethics, preference and culture: the fundamental is that the state, “the mortall god”, can do whatever it likes, even if morally and culturally it should refrain.

If we read Hobbes and we read John Stuart Mill, the works are written on very different subjects: one explores the nature of mankind and of the commonwealth, which is in modern terms ‘the state’; while the other explores how the state should restrain itself for the benefit of its subjects.

A third voice which might to be heard, of the generation before Thomas Hobbes, is that of John Calvin, who built a state in Geneva hoping to exclude the imperfections of man and his “mortall god” by substituting instead the will of the Immortal God, a republic resting upon strict morality. However he found that it was still built of men, and of that crooked timber no straight thing can be made.

All these are lessons to us if we are to build government that allows a free nation: build governing systems that grant freedom and so benefit those governed, but build them on truths, cold, uncomfortable truths though they may be, not pleasant-sounding fancies.

Where there is no Common-wealth, which is to say in the state of nature, there is perfect freedom for every individual, in theory. However this is a state of war of one with all, and so there is no freedom in reality. When men create between them a commonwealth by the social contract there is no freedom at all in theory, but a greater freedom in practice. Therefore a true libertarian state must be a Hobbesian one.

That is something to be looked at again in another article.

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Books

We cannot win on social media

Social media belongs to the angry, the malicious, the conspiracists, the unreasoning corner of the brain. There is no point in discussing how to convert it to rationality any more than to moderate a rabid dog. Rage beyond the edge of sanity is fundamental to its nature.

Nutters will dominate social media because they are less likely to have settled jobs and responsibilities.  They have the time and presumably little sense or they would have jobs (or they are academics, which comes to much the same thing).

There is no need to recite yet again the ills of social media; the slanders, the wounding insults, the depersonalising expressions of hatred, the incitements to hatred or to violence (which are not the same thing), the threats. The conspiracy theories, well, those are a whole new topic. We know all this. There are articles aplenty on it, electronic jeremiads, bewailing the contents of YouTwitFace or whatever.

The big players of social media take the overwhelming bulk of traffic, though a discussion board or social exchange medium may turn up anywhere, for local groups. Where it is among friends, they will write rationally because they are known and judged by their peers; or there is the wilder tavern gossip we love which goes far beyond any moderation, because we are liberated from talking sense, and we know we do not mean a word. The internet takes it beyond even this. An anonymous board is licence for every explosion of the brain, and that dominates – be it on Twitter, Facebook, the BBC HYS columns, and many more.

This does not apply to profession fora where contributions are from those who putting their professional reputations and those of their companies on line in front of their potential customers and suppliers. You won’t get ‘Q’ trying to whip up crowds on LinkedIn, There is the distinction: the constraint of enforced respectability against the liberating sense given by anonymity.

There are many articles asking what can be done to clean up social media. My answer is ‘little or nothing’. We know what goes on, and what we also know, but do not want to admit is that all this is just a reflection of humanity. It Twitter is a sewer, it is simply because it reflects mankind.

Nutters will dominate because they are less likely to have settled jobs and responsibilities. The Devil makes work for idle hands: so does ‘Q’ apparently. Things said online have no consequences so there is no limit to what can be said, whether you believe it or not, and it could become addictive. Actions without consequences can be a dizzying liberation, as they were to the Washington crowd last week, right up to the moment that a shot rang out and Ashli Babbitt fell dead. That moment marked a sudden change in their dynamic, as it was the first time that a real world consequence struck, and with deadly force.

A way then to moderate, control or even eliminate the abuse of social media? There is none, while it lasts in its current form. The platforms might try to become active publishers, picking and choosing contributions, and they know that would kill their customer base and their business model.

Regulation of some sort would be barely different, and drawing the distinction between vigorous free speech and dangerous incitement is not something which I would entrust to any politician, frightened official or social media magnate.

(You must also ask yourself what sort of person would volunteer to be ‘Controller of the Internet’, and whether you would allow a person of those characteristics anywhere near the levers of power.)

If anyone wants to start fighting falsehood and conspiracy theories on social media, go ahead, if you have the time and resilience. Do not start though with things like QAnon, which is just too ridiculous, but with the most pernicious and commonplace conspiracy theory; the one which preaches that all your misfortunes are caused by rich people hoarding all the wealth to keep you down. Sometimes there is a racial slur added to it, and we all know where that leads. Can the champion of truth react to every post or tweet about ‘fat-cats’ and ‘Tories’, and who should do it? What fact-checker sites can be established to direct those caught in the delusion? It is a political issue, for politicians, and that is how they should be working.

Social media will continue though to belong to those who have too much time on their hands and no responsibilities. Bringing calm reason to bear with the aim of creating a space for respectful collaborative development of ideas is an impossible dream.

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Books

Gorged Washington

If it was an insurrection, it was a pretty pathetic one. It was a demo gone wild in the last fling of a movement with pretended power.

I saw the scenes from across the pond and I was shocked as we all were that a seething mob could overwhelm the seat of American democracy in the form of a rebellion as if to overthrow the pillars of the state. A great, excoriating narration began to form with which I would blast the mob that defiled the soul of that nation. However in the cool light of the morning, it was nothing.

Washington still stands. There are broken windows and scuffed furniture, but otherwise you would not know. No one set the buildings alight or strung aged senators from lampposts. The riot was in the United States, where even children carry guns, but these were an unarmed crowd just rampaging in sheer joy through buildings which they could have visited any day with an admission ticket. It is not an attempted coup; more a “coo-ee!

Even so, there were deaths, and they are not anonymous figures – all lives matter remember. (Ashli Elizabeth Babbitt, since you ask, or should – 35 years old, ex-Air Force; victim of a conspiracy theory as much as a policeman’s bullet; unarmed; leaves a grieving husband. Also Brian Sicknick, police officer; died of wounds suffered in action.)

If it had been a coup or a rebellion, we would know about it. There would be blood on the streets and hundreds weeping for lost children. As the riot seemed to be led by followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory, it matched it in form: much chatter, symbolism, oaths to take action, but no reality.

Did we not warn of this, when the integrity of elections is questioned and their validity is challenged? On this very website we foresaw the dangers:

A comparison has been made with 1814, and they say it is the only time since that fateful year that the Capitol has been overrun; but it was not 1814 and these protestors were not General Ross. There were no flames to douse this time.

I will condemn utterly the actions of the mob that day, because I can. It turns the stomach thought to see people like the high officials of Sinn Fein daring to condemn political violence without burning with the shameful hypocrisy of it, and the shock at this protest from France, whose streets still reek from the smoke of riots far, far worse.

Some things from my discarded excoriation remain. This was a disgraceful action, astounding, shocking and an assault upon the very pillars of democracy. The rioters need to face trial and those who encouraged or excused it have morally disqualified themselves from high office, and Donald J Trump, I mean you in particular – I can giggle at your playacting when you use empty words just to position yourself to achieve good things, as you have, but when it comes to that rhetoric playing out in this mob violence, there is no respect remaining to you. This was an exuberant play-rebellion, but in the land of guns it could have been very, very different. You did not know it would not be that way.

Who will feel kindly ever again towards the US Republican Party, after this, which their shenanigans encouraged? They will need to do some serious repair work and reinvention of what they are all about. That said, the Democratic Party did worse: they started the Civil War, all because they could not accept a Republican president or the abolition of slavery, and on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line they endeavoured to defeat the Union. They came back, eventually.

Things should calm down. In a week and a half a new President will take office, and the old establishment will reassert itself. It may be uncomfortable for that establishment though as a more radical fringe has invaded and occupied much of their party. Revenge will be in the air just as consensus is needed.

If there can be calm, then many guilty men will have to apologise and try to rebuild the mythology on which democracy must be built, and have the humility to yield their forfeited leadership to those who did not endanger the foundations of the state.

There is no avoiding a reckoning, in which the actions and words of those in positions of responsibility and influence have undermined the very system which gave them position and salary.

However, it is not just those you are thinking of who face that reckoning in the court of public opinion and at the harsh judgment of the ballot box. Those who without sufficient cause sought to undermine this election or to overturn the election by refusing to do their duty in Congress must answer for the damage they have done to the stability of the democratic settlement. Those who whipped up the mob, yes, they will be named. It is beyond party though; it must be.

  • Those who tried to subvert the Electoral College are guilty – and so are those who tried the same subversion in 2016.
  • Those who cat-called at Joe Biden that they did not accept him as a legitimate President are at enmity with democracy; as are those who called ‘Not My President’ at Donald J Trump, who shunned his inauguration and publicly tore up his speeches.
  • Those who tried to overthrow Barack Obama are guilty; and also those who laid knowingly false charges against Donald Trump to unseat him.
  • Those who refused to do their duty according to the American Constitution are culpable, but also those who conspired to disaffect appointed officials from performing their duties to the sitting President.
  • Those who propagated the QAnon idea, who whipped up and then excused the mob – they must face the consequences. Also though, those who excused the mobs which rampaged through the cities of America in the summer. They declared from their high positions that violence by a mob, when carried out in the name of a cause firmly believed in is a good and noble action. They set the tone, the landscape and the rules by which others led their own riot, and they should be thankful that those who rampaged over Capitol did not even approach the rage of the mobs in the cities. Such a one must be named, howsoever high she may have climbed, and face the like judgment.

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Books