Justice and “Justice”

The ongoing demonstrations, vandalism, violence, and hatred perpetrated and displayed by the Occupy movement compels me to again share my little graphic reminder of the fundamental difference between equal justice and social “justice”. I had fun making this mini poster and it serves to simply and succinctly illustrate how social “justice” is what you have when tyranny has destroyed equal justice—a fundamental pillar of American society.

Here’s a bit larger version.

Justice and "Justice"

Forewarned

The President’s re-election campaign announced its new slogan yesterday: Forward. It should be no surprise that the slogan is closely tied to the history of Marxism and socialism and is the logical followup to “Change.”

No matter, the 2008 election of an unvetted candidate brought with it inevitable consequences. Mr. Obama’s character and propensities have been clearly revealed. I therefore submit my counterslogan: Forewarned.

We've Been Forewarned

The American Pre-existing Condition

Imagine for a moment that you are a business owner. You run a flood insurance company and, like all business owners, you have to turn a profit or you have to close the doors. You work hard to meet your individual and family financial responsibilities and it’s your paycheck that allows for this. But you’re responsible and good at what you do. Therefore, you’re successful.

Your success allows for the success of others. Those whom you employ work just like you to meet their own responsibilities and the salaries you pay them facilitate their ability to do so. So long as you run your business smartly (and are allowed to do this), everybody wins. This includes your customers.

Like all insurance companies, yours allows people to invest in their own responsible preservation and perhaps even realize a sizable bonus return in times of crisis. Your customers enter into a voluntary agreement with you to pay a comparatively small amount each month, so that in the unlikely event of flood damage to their property you’ll pay to have it repaired or replaced. While few of your customers actually sustain flood damage, even when many at once do and you’re required to pay out enormous sums, those events are typically separated by many years. This allows for the accumulation of revenues used to meet your contractual obligations. In fact, your business is based on the idea that you stand a good chance to make a profit from your customers’ contractual payments. By the same token, your customers live with the peace of mind that their responsible, voluntary monthly payments buy them. Here again, everybody wins because of the mutually-profitable exchange.

The nice thing is that one need not have flood insurance in order to hire a contractor to perform home repairs or landscaping. Industry costs are reasonable for peoples’ common needs and insurance is required only for catastrophic circumstances. So each homeowner can choose to or choose not to purchase flood insurance. It’s all voluntary and workable.

Now imagine that in addition to insurance against unlikely, unforeseen events, people want “insurance” to cover the currently ongoing damage their property sustains due to the fact that they’re unlucky enough to live on a sandbar in a powerful river. The river rises and damages their homes on almost a weekly basis, requiring an equally sizeable river of cash to maintain their homes. Here, flood damage is not the unlikely and unforeseen event one might insure against, but rather a daily factor in the lives of these people. It’s simply an ongoing fact.

Given the circumstances, you can’t very well insure these peoples’ homes because the only possible arrangement is that you’d be continually paying out many times the sums you could possibly charge in premiums. What’s more, it’s not insurance if what you’d be insuring against is already a sustained, ongoing situation. In such a case, “insurance” is a non sequitur. Business, just like society, cannot work without a rational basis for relationships.

You’re assuming rationale. You assume too much.

Those who want to pay a small monthly premium in order to escape their own large and ongoing financial obligations are not looking for insurance; they’re looking for a subsidy. They just seemingly want to call it “insurance” while demanding that someone else take on their financial responsibilities. In other words they want a free handout, but insurance is not—cannot be—a handout. No responsible, intelligent, rational person believes that to be an appropriate arrangement.

Now imagine that in contravention of rationale and of the U.S. Constitution, the government proclaimed that your business must cover these peoples’ pre-existing and ongoing flooding. No, you don’t get any choice in the matter; the government has simply mandated that you must engage in unprofitable, illogical, unsustainable “business.” That’s not business at all, but rather slavery. Your rightful profits and property no longer matter. Morality no longer matters and neither does the fundamental basis for your industry. You are required to do as you’re told or you will be fined and/or imprisoned. In such a case, what you offer is no longer insurance, either. It’s just subsidy. You no longer own a business. Now you merely operate a doomed and unprofitable enterprise, the function of which is to destroy your property and wealth.

When your demise becomes a surety and your customers logically will be left in the lurch (but not due to your actions), the government may step in to shoulder your “responsibility,” …and all they require is that you become a wholly owned subsidiary of The State. At which point you become a mere conduit mechanism between the confiscatory State and the needy, enabling, and irrational public.

The way things will work from now on is that your financial sustenance will come from the process of The State stealing from citizens—whether they require your services or not—and then feeding that ill-gotten revenue through your office according to an incomprehensibly obtuse and complex set of regulations. You now have a new mandate: ensure that you pay out as little in claims as possible so that you may survive on the meager stipend your new overlords have conceded to you.

This means that many legitimate claims must go unpaid, and that in order to receive any payments from you, the contractors who invoice you must be diligent in properly filling out and processing claim forms and citing specific, arcane codes for repair procedures. This also means that they have to balloon their own staffs in order to meet the new paperwork, form processing, and code intelligence requirements (but don’t worry about this. They’ll simply pass that enormous cost increase to their customers and it’ll get washed in the tax/spend laundry cycle. Getting “permission” to raise taxes is a snap. Besides, that’s someone else’s problem, not yours).

Yes, yes, the homeowner-contractor relationship is destroyed; replaced by the government oversight committee-insurer relationship. True, those who have modest needs and simply want to pay a contractor to put in a new window are now beset by a dizzying array of regulatory requirements…and the costs for even the simplest of procedures is now so astronomical as to require a comprehensive insurance plan to even begin that conversation…and ANYONE who ever may want to have any landscaping or home improvement or repairs of any kind done must now purchase expensive flood insurance.

But this is a small price to pay for “allowing” anyone to claim anything from you in order to avoid financial inconvenience. You’re serving the greater good now. Take solace in that profound fact, but remember who you work for. Or else.

You Have a Pre-existing Condition

This has all been allegory (for now). What I really mean by all of this is, welcome to the world of modern medical care and medical insurance. Tyranny, to be concise. The doctor-patient relationship no longer matters and the medical professions have been destroyed in favor of bureaucracy. This is what you have allowed to happen. This is, in fact, what you’ve demanded happen.

See, if you’re an American you have a pre-existing condition. It’s called colossal stupidity. Oh, and your claim is denied. Good luck with that.

AIGA Reaps What it Sows

For the first time in its 100-year history, AIGA has decided to consider and apply actually relevant criteria for evaluating entries in a design competition. Not surprisingly, and as if on cue, the old guard cries foul.

Yesterday, designer Paula Scher published an essay in Imprint magazine that took issue with the reformatting of the principal annual AIGA design competition, newly renamed “Justified.” This competition will apparently do what no AIGA competition has ever done: have the jury consider the results and effectiveness of the work as a part of its evaluations. This is bold and odd new territory for AIGA, but better late than never, I guess.

So in light of this clearly un-AIGA-like departure from what she has grown to love, Paula Scher put pixel to screen and wrote a response piece that artfully combined soaring condescension with flimsy straw men to craft a grand, hydra-like, multi-headed insult to AIGA administration and members, competition participants, and all of their professional clients. She called her essay, “AIGA: Unjustified.” Yep, clever (she’s a designer, after all).

You should read it; it is a petulant and myopic tantrum disguised as an obtuse essay that repeatedly tosses jibes at everything and anyone who detracts from or does not serve the ego-fueled cultivation of design celebrity among an insular clique of peer artists ever consumed by the fetish of artistic self flagellation. Basically, it’s a defense of traditional AIGA culture. But I repeat myself.

One designer summed up her arguments rather concisely and appropriately as: “Having objectives is hard. Just reward me for making things I think are pretty.”

Indeed.

A comedy tragedy of errors

Given the competition description and criteria for “Justified,” Paula responds with the obtuse question,

“…did you notice that words like beauty, creativity, surprise, innovation and inspiration are nowhere to be found?”

Really? Her question here begs another compelling one: why should anyone suppose that these admirable qualities are unwelcome or irrelevant in an effective design effort, or should be considered outside the context of the “Justified” competition? Indeed, should we each propose to imbue our client-project design work with these qualities only if they’re listed in the RFP or creative brief we’re offered at the start of a project? No, it’s simply stupid to make these obtuse assumptions. Yet, this is precisely what Ms. Scher has done.

She goes on to completely miss the point and then beat up her own mistake- (or purpose-built) straw man:

“‘Justified’ changes the goals of AIGA’s only remaining competition. The goal of the new competition is not to inspire the design community to better design, but to ‘explain design’s value to clients, students, peers and the general public’ by ‘justifying’ the work. The justification is part of what is being judged.

I’ll just come straight out and say it: if educating clients is the goal here, this competition probably won’t achieve it’s goal [sic], and moreover may have bad consequences for the designer who hopes to enlighten their clients about the ‘value’ of design.”

No. Either Paula misses the point entirely or she purposes to flog her own fiction. I’m going to surprise myself and give AIGA the benefit of the doubt here by pointing out that, contest specifics aside, they’re endeavoring in this contest to encourage the development of actually useful skills among their members. For, in fact, the ability to convincingly describe the beneficial results of one’s efforts at cultivating success IS a professional responsibility and must be developed through practice. Paula Scher disagrees. Odd.

It requires a willful pessimism to assume that the presented case studies will have no impact on potential clients, and a certain willful myopia and distortion to assume that the contest itself is meant to do nothing more than “educate clients.” I’m no fan of AIGA and even I can find the genuine value in the exercised results of what AIGA is doing here; yes, even if they’re missing the point, too.

I agree that design contests are a waste of time and distract from what matters in the design professions, but it is the substance of Paula’s criticisms and what it reveals that is so shameful and disappointing. She goes on to criticize, malign, and marginalize, in various ways, all of the imagined goals and possible outcomes of a results-oriented endeavor (she does know that design is a results-oriented endeavor, right?). The result of which is that she betrays her (and the traditional AIGA) fundamental definition of design and what purpose it should serve. Her clear view is that design for prescribed aims is a naïve and worthless endeavor; design should be eschewed for artistry, and so should simply be beautiful, daring, innovative, and surprising for its own sake—client’s interests be damned. Screw the client; I need to work on my celebrity status and get some accolades from my peers, yo!

Not surprisingly, Ms. Scher demonstrates her obviously shallow understanding of results, of customer habits, of clients, and of the designer/client relationship with this vacuous statement:

“The ‘Effectiveness’ criteria are scarier. It’s rare that clients and designers will totally agree on what makes a design successful. That’s because, for the most part, clients and their audiences are most comfortable with things that already exist. Relying on sales as a demonstration of success or popular response as a criteria ensures a predictable mediocrity. It’s counter to AIGA’s goals toward better design.”

Firstly, why on earth should it matter that a client agrees with the designer’s professional understanding of design success? Initially, this is a matter for the competent designer—who should only ever take up with clients who are willing to invest in the designer’s expertise rather than be limited by their own ignorance. Later, the success will be self evident. So, again, the straw man argument. And the market public has demonstrated time and time again that it will respond to excellent, new, disruptive design. Secondly, sales ARE the appropriate measuring stick for retail success. There are other measures of market success, and these should be accounted for, too. It’s a shame that a lauded design professional would assume otherwise. Thirdly, aiming for market success in no way ensures predictable mediocrity. Rather, a designer working with clients who demand success-destroying practices and deliverables that obviate the designer’s professionalism and expertise is what ensures predictable mediocrity. No designer should entertain such unprofessional relationships or projects. Yet Ms. Scher assumes that this is all to which a designer can ever hope to aspire.

Well, given that AIGA has ever been led with this manner of unprofessional ideal, distorted view, and distracted practice, one can understand how Ms. Scher would make such assumptions; despicable though they are.

The list of myopic, vacuous, and insulting observations by Ms. Scher is far too long to list here (read the article yourself). However, in her entire essay, she made but a single astute observation:

“There have always been many complaints about these kinds of competitions in general. Work that was awarded tended to be pro bono assignments, or personal promotion pieces, or in other areas where a client didn’t interfere much. There might be a lot of work that wouldn’t immediately — or perhaps ever — have a measurable effect in the marketplace. It could be dismissed as ‘design for designers.’”

Ya’ think? This is, in fact, the fundamental problem with design competitions; they tend to ignore anything practical or results-oriented and focus solely on the subjective artistry and masturbatory qualities of the work. Thanks AIGA—design as self pleasure is sure to have a grand impact on everyone’s rent payment and payroll this month. You stay classy!

Paula made her morality and ethos abundantly clear when she observed that,

“The AIGA membership never believes that their clients respect them.”

Wow, thanks, Paula, for encapsulating the predictable results of AIGA membership in such a concise manner. I’m sure the aspiring design pro community is now clamoring for inclusion in this august preparatory institution. Sarcasm aside: no, really; thanks. You’ve likely just saved the careers of an entire generation of design professionals by revealing what it means to be an AIGA member instead of a competent and prepared design professional.

Finally

Culture creates consequences. This is what you get from a celebrity-driven, art-misrepresented-as-design culture comprised by folks ever distracted by design competition (there’s no such thing as a design competition, by the way) and subjective peer accolades. There should remain no question why I have for years been a vociferous detractor of AIGA and the distorted values the organization represents and perpetuates.

I sincerely hope that Paula Scher’s exposure of what AIGA has for 100 years worked to effect has a consequential impact on today’s design aspirants. As for AIGA and its apparent referendum on design-as-art culture—you reap what you sow. Good luck with your new competition.

Project Your Values and Commitment

Too many people live timidly, avoiding promises and trying to avoid the shame of being caught in transgression of their own professed standards. It is best, they believe, to proclaim no standard and project no values in order to keep their options open. So in an effort to fully indulge fetish and avoid episodes of momentary shame they instead become impervious to shame, oblivious to the fact that they lead entirely shameful lives.

A denial of morality and commitment is not the clever trick many believe it to be for obviating shame or building unassailable character. Indeed such denial reveals the utter absence of character for all to see. Without the bond of commitment nothing can be built and growth becomes impossible. By avoiding commitment you ensure that no one remains committed to you. A life of avoidance is a shrinking life.

Live a life of commitment. Project your values and proclaim your highest standards, then do your best to consistently meet them every day. Face down your fear and make your word your promise, then keep your promises. When you fail—and you will—acknowledge the shame you’ve earned and earnestly commit yourself to doing better and being better. That is how you grow, and only in this way may you grow.

President Obama’s AIPAC of Lies

Yesterday, President Obama delivered what amounted to an election stump speech (mentioning “I” and “my” 75 times, but “we” only 33 times) to the attendees at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Where the President should have atoned for his many affronts, failures, and derelictions of friendship toward Israel during his administration’s term, he instead demagogued the the issue with outright lies and audacious platitudes.

The primary purpose of the speech was for President Obama to heap accolades upon himself by describing his supposed many proclamations (“…as I have made clear time and again…” or “I have said that…”) of stalwart support of Israel as evidence that his administration’s commitment to Israel’s security “…has been unprecedented.” Whether or not the President has proclaimed unwavering support in words is certainly debatable. In deeds, however, he has a rather unblemished record of antagonism, criticism, and political sabotage.

Recognizing this fact, President Obama made a point to cite the obvious upcoming review of his record on Israel during the approaching US Presidential election, proclaiming that criticism on support of Israel will “not be backed up by the facts”…

 

 

As to those pesky facts concerning President Obama’s record on Israel, this video (below) published by the Emergency Committee for Israel lays them out rather clearly, revealing President Obama’s self-congratulatory platitudes in this speech to be a simple pack of lies:

 

 

Israel deserves a better friend than they have in the Obama administration. Proponents of liberty, truth, and sincerity must sincerely hope that in January of 2013 they’ll get one.

Congress Must Impeach Justice Ginsberg

Outrageous.

Given that Justice Ginsberg believes the United States Constitution is no longer relevant, her presence on the bench as one of only nine ultimate defenders of the Constitution is an affront to liberty. Her stated opinion of our founding, fundamental laws reveals that she lacks the capacity to fulfill her sworn duty to this nation. Congress must act now to impeach Justice Ginsberg in order to preserve and defend that which remains of our culture and our liberty.

 

 

Also amazing is that she is so out of touch as to believe that Egypt is “striving to achieve a genuine democracy.” It seems there are several reasons why our nation is imperiled by her continued presence on the Supreme Court.

The New Pillars of American Society: Theft and Slavery

Of the two most prominent social ideologies in the United States of America, one is on the rise and one is doomed. Conservatism, which as its name suggests seeks to conserve the Constitution and the traditions and ideals upon which our nation was founded, will soon die because the term will lack meaning. There will in some short time be so little of these aforementioned things left in place that conservation will be purposeless, as well as a meaningless ideal. Conservatism, you see, does not add or invent. It merely conserves what yet exists.

By contrast, progressivism (modern liberalism), just like its cousins socialism, Marxism, and communism, seeks to sweep away society’s foundations and replace them with their antitheses. Yet for obvious reasons, progressivism neither does nor professes to do so overtly. Few would stand for or allow the destruction of rights, liberty, justice, equality, and morality. Progressive activists, however, need not remove them as ideals, but instead can simply and progressively change the meaning of these words so that they serve progressivism’s destructive, collectivist purpose.

Changing the definitions of words changes the ideas and ideals they represent. So changing their definitions results in and/or necessitates changing the meaning of the laws that use them. Thus little by little—progressively, in fact—a society is transformed into its antithesis. This is exactly what is happening in the United States of America. The transition is one from the world’s most successful, moral, and exceptional example toward a clichéd, historically failed example.

Why? Power inevitably preys on laziness, depravity, and complacency, that’s why.

Redefinition

Throughout human history, the collectivists have sought and often succeeded in redefining critical words that define the critical ideals. In every case the result has been a society destroyed, because this redefinition requires that the singular capacity for human survival—rationality—must also be destroyed. This is what progressivism seeks and is achieving in the USA. It seeks it because like every other collectivist system, progressivism is the quest to remove power from individuals and place it entirely in the hands of an elite group: government.

The critical terms and ideals that have in the United States of America been under assault for more than 50 years include, primarily, those mentioned before: rights, liberty, justice, equality, and morality. According to The Constitution and our founding ideals, those words have specific, rational, and consistent meanings. Under the antithetical morality of progressivism they have entirely different ones. The result of more than 50 years of constant assault on rationality is that we now have a nation that stands upon and functions primarily according to two gravely important new virtues: theft and slavery. Here is how progressive redefinition of critical words works.

Rights

A right is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context. An actual right is one that places no obligation or limitation on anyone else’s rights. Yet according to progressivism, rights are indiscriminate with regard to how they obligate individuals to groups of individuals. A right to “affordable healthcare,” for instance, obligates some to provide services and material according to arbitrary mandate rather than voluntary agreements. It also requires members of one segment of society to give up their sovereign property to members of another segment of society. In other words, the “right” to affordable healthcare requires that some people be slaves to other peoples’ needs or sense of entitlement.

It is important to note that while our nation was founded upon and our Constitution refers only to individual rights, progressive ideology immorally and irrationally recognizes group rights at the expense of individual rights. It is also worth noting that the reason our nation was founded upon individual rights is because groups may be afforded rights only with the destruction of individual rights. Therefore, the progressive redefinition of foundational words and concepts must embody the rise of groups and the decline of the individual. The result and the ideal is collectivism.

With the establishment of group rights, society becomes cannibalistic. You see it already. Since group rights require the destruction of other rights, some groups feel harmed by other groups…and they are harmed by the irrational rights bestowed upon other groups. Constant destruction of rights will be required to fuel the ensuing spiral of entitlement. It is happening almost every day here in the US.

Liberty

Liberty by the Constitutional American definition is individual; that of a man’s individual sovereignty (in his ideas, person, and property). According to progressivism, it means freedom from whatever responsibility enough people or certain elite people decide is untenable…without regard for how that decision imposes obligation on other people. In other words, the progressive definition of liberty means that some must be slaves so that others may enjoy their own definition of liberty.

Justice

Under the Constitution, the definition of justice has to do with equal justice (under the law). Progressive ideology ignores the idea of equal justice in favor of “social justice.” According to social justice, equal justice is only good so long as everyone “feels” they are equal. In the event that any group decides it is unfairly treated—or that its long-deceased members were wronged, in some distant past—equal justice is moot so that social justice may be achieved. Justice, in the progressive morality, is for groups and not individuals. Social justice is a mechanism primarily for achieving the progressive definition of equality.

Equality

Our Declaration of Independence observes that all men are created equal. According to this tenet we have crafted laws that ensure equality of opportunity, for this is the only equality that does not destroy individual liberty. This idea and these laws impose no tyranny upon individual sovereignty and, therefore, constitute actual rights. “Equal rights” according to progressive morality are concerned mainly with results. Our being created equal is not enough, it says, for progressivism demands that we all achieve equally as well. Therefore, progressivism requires that those who by their own efforts achieve more than others be obligated to share with those who by decision or circumstance achieve less. Indeed they must share; else their property will be seized and distributed according to the whim of those who rule. Thus, the idea of equality becomes nothing more than a weapon used by the politically powerful upon the successful, and theft becomes a societal virtue.

Theft and Slavery

Americans would never allow theft and slavery, according to their rational definitions, to become the fundamental pillars of our society. And yet the deed is almost accomplished. If not checked while we yet have a mildly functional Constitution, progress toward a wholly collectivist, progressive society will meet its conclusion. Once this happens, no degree of social outcry or civil action will be able to reverse it.

Social conflict over civil disagreements within a rational, moral society is appropriate and productive only when victory is defined by the preservation and perhaps affirmation (legal, etc.) of Constitutional, individual liberty and justice. In this way, ideological arguments must be resolved within the moral structure of society as defined by our founding principles and governing laws (which must be consistent with one another). With the redefinition of critical terms and the establishment of their antithetical ideals, however, this morally appropriate result is not possible.

Under progressivism, social groups vie and may even believe that a legal victory is theirs, but it never is. The nature of collectivism ensures that such victories only ever result in more power being ceded to the government. Mechanism will require that government invent or confiscate the power to bestow the new rights. Then, with all of society’s rights flowing from the government, citizens are left only with the power to ask—or beg—for whatever they desire or require. History is filled with examples of what this is like, if you care to look.

There will be consequences

For all the reasons cited here and many more besides, there should be no doubt in any rational man’s mind that an effort to reestablish our Constitution and reclaim our morality, rights, liberty, and justice in the United States of America would be impossible through civil means. All civil means presuppose actual morality, liberty, and justice as foundations.

With those foundations destroyed there will be only one way left for Americans to reclaim their nation from the progressives and their despotic government. And you know damn well what it is.