August 12, 2014

Terminal Pedantry

Red Eye ombudsman Andy Levy was a guest on the AoSHQ Podcast this week and at one point used the term 'micro-aggression' to describe a woman clutching her purse when a black person approaches. A similar example, provided by the race-baiter-in-chief,  is a car door locking when a black person walks by. While I agree that these behaviors may hurt the feelings of the offended race/gender/religion, I strongly disagree with using the term 'micro-aggression' in these cases and think it does more harm than good.

I don't know all of the subtle differences between the non-aggression principle, the zero-aggression principle, and all of the other narrow variations but, to me, as a libertarian, the initiation of force against another person or their property (what I generally call aggression) is immoral. I don't think a person's thoughts can ever be aggressive, regardless of how vile and immoral they would be in practice. The only thought crime I can conceive of would be a cyborg with a human brain directing limbs or objects against another person, but even then I'm not sure there's a difference between using thoughts to maneuver flesh or machinery.


When I envision that woman clutching her own property and essentially making an effort to avoid conflict, however biased or unwarranted, it seems like a disservice to freedom and libertarianism to say she behaved immorally, however microcosmically.

Let's imagine that woman clutching her purse and then getting punched and mugged. Did she start it? She was technically the aggressor, 'micro-aggression'-users must say. Is a woman securing the clasp of her bag the equivalent of a finger in the chest? Was she asking for it?

So, in my opinion, as far as the language of liberty goes, 'micro-aggression' is a misnomer, and a harmful one at that. It is very similar to the 'CC' phrase that I will never utter again, except that 'micro-aggression' might actually have a place.

Reaching out and touching someone's hand as they grasp a pole on the subway and filming their reaction for youtube because you are unfunny could possibly be described as a micro-aggression if you were ranking aggression on a scale of micro to murder. But that's about it.

When I hear 'micro-aggression' in place of self-expression, I hear 'hate crime'. When I hear 'hate crime', I hear 'thought crime'.

Clutching a purse or setting a car alarm simply cannot be associated with aggression. There are plenty of other words like bias, preference, or bigotry that accurately describe the behavior, that wouldn't muddy 'aggression', and still be recognized as an exercise of free expression. Peaceful people come in the ignorant and paranoid varieties, too.

UPDATE: Andy Levy himself has responded to tonight's story requesting a clarification.

He thinks that he was mischaracterized and that's probably true but he inspired a small exercise and serendipitously replied within minutes to the publishing of that exercise so Thanks Andy!

UPDATE 8-14-14: Reworded the opening paragraph to remove any motivations I had assigned Mr. Levy.

June 4, 2014

EXCLUSIVE REPORT: Part II of Project Veritas' Hollywood Eco-Scam Series Gets Release Date

I can exclusively report, or at least report that I was nominally informed exclusively while thousands of others potentially became aware, that Project Veritas will release the eagerly anticipated sequel to their exposé of eco-hypocrites from two weeks ago.

The anticipation since has been dark and merciless but it appears the doctor is in. James O'Keefe took to Twitter this evening and shared with me, and through me exclusively to the rest of the world, that our satisfaction will finally arrive early on the morning of Thursday, June 5, 2014. That's tomorrow morning. Early.

Like I said.

Editor's Note: Thanks, James!

April 16, 2014

Turbotax: To Have And To Hold

Despite being morally opposed to their wretched existence, I would still appreciate some decency from my tax-preparers. An understanding of our relationship beyond the tedium and fees straight on through to the slavery. Perhaps some philosophical alignment as we navigate the cruel forces which brought us together on this day. Something unspoken, transmitted chemically, validating a mutual bloodlust.

But since I just used Turbotax*, I'd like them to reconsider the language of the first step in their process:

"...the portion the (federal) government kept" - Turbotax

The government did not keep anything, Turbotax; it took. It stole. It collected. However you want to say it. The government did not hold a portion back of what it allowed me to possess. The IRS is not permitting me an honorary slice of a whole which it provides. Instead, I'm left with a remainder after whatever political whim confiscates my money by force this year. I think some simple rephrasing would do better justice to the situation. Might I recommend some of the pep and hustle of Boxes 15-20?

"...state taxed...hard-earned..." - Turbotax

"Taxed". "Hard-earned". Consistent with this language and insight, Boxes 1-6 could read: "Let's start with the money you made this year, and the portion the federal government taxed. That's what these boxes are about." Nice and easy. I'm not asking Turbotax to tell me the government will screw me based on these figures, I would just like to know they understand the nature of this transaction.

They approached the state tax section so heroically that it's a wonder the same species could have written the federal section. Maybe they assigned a Progressive to Boxes 1-6 and a Tea Partier to 15-20 and their personalities shone through and Turbotax is to be applauded for their diverse and unpredictable tone. 

Or maybe Turbotax labored over every syllable of those blurbs and what we have is exactly what we're meant to have. With this possibility in mind, there are a couple of reasons these blurbs can be read as anti-federalist, pro-centralized-government subtleties.

 1) Notice how a (non-specified) government 'keeps', yet a (non-governmental) state 'taxed' 'hard-earned money'? One is nebulous and a keeper, the other specific and a taker. The federal government has been othered as non-aggressive while the state is the explicit taxer.

2) In Boxes 15-20, the word 'too'. This, Turbotax could claim, is proof they meant the government also taxes hard-earned money. Fine. I will just note this is the (federal) government from several sections ago that also taxes hard-earned money, and that the jab is taken in the state tax section, allowing the (federal) government's blurb to remain pristine. The correlation between the (federal) government and taxes, linguistically, is distantly removed. Maybe some ass-covering by Turbotax just in case there are people like me, but do note that the government as keeper blurb is untainted by these revelations.

Subtle, yes, but that is the nature of psychological warfare.

Whether it's philosophically inconsistent copy or centralized-government astro-turfing I leave to you.

*I experienced no technical problems filing my taxes.