On the Reformation of Law and Law-Enforcement

Libertarian social democracy, as I conceive it, is neo-republican. Republicanism defines liberty as the absence of domination. This differs from the definition used by most people today. Typically, people conceive liberty as the absence of interference. A man is free to the extent that no one else actively interferes in his actions. This is a conservative conception of liberty, known as negative liberty. Some, however, opt for a slightly more comprehensive form of liberty, seeking freedom to in addition to freedom from. This is known as positive liberty. These folks will say that a person is only free if (a) no one interferes with their actions and (b) they have the capacity to act in accord with their own will. This is typically a more liberal conception of liberty. Negative liberty is a classical liberal, conservative, or "libertarian" conception of liberty. Positive liberty is a modern liberal conception. In contrast to these, libertarian social democracy rests upon republican liberty , which is to say liberty conceived as non-domination. A man is free if no one else has the capacity to arbitrarily interfere with his choices.

Conservatism vs. Progressivism: Towards A Synthesis

In this essay, I use the term "progressive" in a broad sense, indicating political ideologies that are oriented towards rapid social change and that believe social change/progress is either inherently good or else inevitable and consequently worth embracing. I do not here indicate the sort of American progressivism that came with the Progressive Era, as that sort of "progressivism" was considerably more conservative than socialism, which is the most quintessential form of progressivism.

I recently saw something where someone said, "I'm a transhumanist and an anarcho-primitivist." For all the apparent absurdity there, there's also a certain rationality. The person who said this may have been thinking in sophisticated and dialectical terms. He or she may see the value in both perspectives and be attempting to synthesize them. In reality, most sane people are somewhere in the middle between the two extremes or else embrace aspects of both. We all have nostalgia for the primitive, a desire to reconnect with nature, a longing for the freedom enjoyed by our ancient ancestors. At the same time, we long for a future where disease and death are eliminated, scarcity is ended, and technology frees us from the necessity of toil. So, is the affirmation of this contradiction really that incoherent?

Justice, Emotions, and Reason

It is not uncommon for conservatives to claim that they have some sort of special relationship for "reasonable" behaviour, whereas progressives are people driven by emotional responses. Consider this recent assertion by Charlie Kirk:

Inside the Minds of the Syrian Children

Interview by Joanne Roberts, Written by Om Amran

With the massacre looming over Idlib we are lead to believe by the World Leaders and the media that those in Idlib are all terrorists. While the world has this view the lives of one million innocent Syrian children are at stake and everyone remains silent. I recently saw Vanessa Beeley and Eva Bartlett attacking a 6-year-old child named Hala on Twitter from Idlib and it made me realise these children have no way to fight back. This is their chance to do so. This is their chance to show the world that they too are human beings. They are children with hopes and dreams just like our own children and grandchildren. If we put a human face to these children of Syria then perhaps you all may think twice about condemning them. These children have emotions and feel pain. They laugh and they cry and they feel abandoned by the World. Please listen to Om Amran and the reasons why they suffer.

Om Amran has had the pleasure and joy and sadness of working with the Syrian children throughout the opposition-held region. She has listened to their fears, their hopes and their goals for the future. She will give us an inside look into the hearts and minds of this future generation of Syria. She will show us the human face behind the eyes of the Syrian children. What does the future hold for the children of Syria?

Isocracy 2018 Annual General Meeting

On Saturday October 20 the Isocracy Network will be holding its Annual General Meeting at the Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre, Faraday Street, Carlton at 3pm.

The guest speaker is Professor Clinton Fernandes of the University of New South Wales, a historian and foreign policy specialist. Clinton will be speaking on Australian Foreign Policy and the Australia–East Timor spying scandal.

Invasion Day and Captain Cook

In a desperate attempt to deflect attention on their economic incompetence, their war on the poor, the manipulation of the ABC, and the Banking Royal Commission, the current Federal government hopes that it can appeal to nationalism, but condemning Byron City Council for moving Australia Day celebrations one day earlier. The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, criticised the council for engaging in "indulgent self-loathing", claiming that "Our modern Aus nation began on January 26, 1788. That’s the day to reflect on what we’ve accomplished, become, still to achieve. We can do this sensitively, respectfully, proudly, together."

Most commentators were less than happy with this. My own comment parodied the response; "Let's respectfully, sensitively, and proudly whitewash 250 years of dispossession, rape, and murder. We've achieved so much". Others argued that the account was a parody. Noongar author Claire Coleman reminded the Prime Minister that the day will not be forgotten as invasion day. Others pointed out that even on a technical level the Prime Minister was completely mistaken; "Technically this date is 'Foundation Day; of the Penal Colony of NSW. The Commonwealth of Australia - Australia as ‘Nation’ commenced on 1 January 1901. Before that it was a collection of 'colonies'". Sydney-sider parochialism now unites with white invader imperialism.

Matters took a step to the bizarre when Nationals leader Bridget McKenzie told Sky News, referring to the day, "The reality is that is when the course of our nation changed forever. When Captain Cook stepped ashore, "And from then on, we've built an incredibly successful society, best multicultural society in the world." Marque DC responded in parody: "Capt Cook was a great Australian! He was the guy who rode Phar Lap in a cavalry charge across the open plains of Gallipoli against the Japanese. He got a VC for that action. I saw it on the #NationalPartyHistoryChannel"

Isocracy Profiles: Martin Luther King, Jnr.

The same motivation appears here as did the previous "Isocracy Profile" profile article on Albert Einstein; an attempt to identify inspirational individuals who have contributed to the nascent social and political theory that is isocracy. As with the previous article the same words of caution can be expressed; it is unlikely that anyone would agree with everything that constitutes the Isocratic outlook as expressed on these pages, and likewise identification of a deceased person with a named political theory can only be done on the basis of evidence from their works, rather than their explicit statement of identity - especially when that political theory only sees development after their passing.

Nevertheless, there is some a degree of certainty that Martin Luther King Jnr would be supportive of the Isocracy program, based on the content of the works and their actions. Martin Luther King, Jnr. was, of course, primarily a social activist and a moral theorist. Whilst the former is well-known, the latter is often overlooked. His social activism came from his moral theory, and his moral theory initially comes from an intuitive sense of injustice. The theory rationalises the feeling, ensuring that it is a deeply considered conviction rather than a deeply ingrained prejudice, the activism tests the theory, recursively applying theory to practice, to test its grounding. In one of his early sermons [1], King argued: "This is a moral universe. It hinges on moral foundations. If we are to make of this a better world, we've got to go back and rediscover that precious value that we've left behind". What was the value left behind? It was a moral commitment. Certainly, as a reverend, he phrased them it in religious terms. But nevertheless, they were practical and earthly, rather than metaphysical objectives; "We are reaching out for the daybreak of freedom and justice and equality." [2]

Against Anti-Abortionism

The Historical Basis of Anti-Abortionist Sentiment

If we put aside all metaphysical and religious dogma and rely only on facts, or objective truths, then it is impossible to arrive at a hard anti-abortion position. Historically, abortion was condemned in Christianity (and in its derivative Islam) because it was believed that ensoulment—the obtaining of a soul—takes place before birth. In Christianity, it was held that ensoulment must take place at conception otherwise the human nature of Christ would have been fashioned in the womb, apart from His divine soul, prior to ensoulment. Since orthodox Christian theology held that Christ was not a man who became God (or a God who indwelt in a man) but rather God incarnate (the God-Man), it was necessary to insist that ensoulment happened at the very moment of conception. Thus, ensoulment was believed to take place at conception. Consequently, any abortion would necessarily constitute murder.

Only baptized individuals were allowed into heaven, which is why the early Church insisted on baptizing infants. Abortion would damn an infant/fetus to hell for all eternity as the souls of the unborn were unable to be saved through baptism. Abortion was also frowned upon by early Christians because of its association with Temple prostitution. This is the religious background for why abortion was viewed as murder. Islam, lacking the concept of a God-Man, held that ensoulment occured four months into the pregnancy. Thus, abortion was regarded as somewhat permissible prior to ensoulment, but not permissible after. The thing to note about these justifications for opposing abortion is that they are anti-scientific. They are based on arbitrary religious dogma and not on objective fact.

Beyond these old religious dogmas, the main argument against abortion is that the fetus either is human or has the potential to become a fully-developed human. This, though, is also non-scientific and non-objective. It is based on a vague sentiment and usually also on the speciesist assumption that human life is somehow more valuable than all other forms of life. This sentimentality and speciesism that lies beneath anti-abortion sentiments is really, in my opinion, based upon subconscious religious assumptions that have become ingrained in us through cultural and social conditioning—we, knowingly or unknowingly, assume that we are the greatest of all creatures, alone created in the image and likeness of God.

Is Social Democracy Socialism?

Socialism proper refers to the advocacy of some sort of collective, social, or public ownership of industry/enterprise and, usually, of land as well. We find many different varieties of socialism. Ricardian socialists advocate replacing private ownership of the means of production with worker-owned cooperatives. Marxists advocate public ownership by the State, which in turn would be run by the proletariat. Lange-Lerner socialism advocates public ownership of enterprise within a market system with central planning. Then there are the libertarian socialists, like Proudhon and Bakunin, who advocated worker-owned cooperatives alongside public ownership of land at the municipal level. Kropotkin’s variation of libertarian socialism had communal ownership, like decentralized Marxism minus the State, rather than independent worker-owned cooperatives as with Proudhon's mutualism and Bakunin’s collectivism. But all varieties of socialism have one common characteristic: they oppose private ownership of the means of production in favor of some sort of social ownership.

Capitalism, unlike socialism, refers more to the condition of things than the precise form of ownership. Capitalism is not private ownership and markets. There are countless examples of market economies with private enterprise that we would not regard as capitalism. Feudalism is a key example, as was medieval distributism. An essential characteristic of capitalism is the division of society into two classes, haves and have-nots, where the have-nots must work for the haves as wage-laborers in order to survive. Under capitalism, most people do not have any share of private ownership over the means of production, meaning that a small group of capitalists and landlords essentially rule over the masses. The vast majority of people under capitalism are not capitalists, which means that they must sell their labor to the capitalist class in order to survive. Wage-slavery is an essential characteristic of capitalism. For a system to be capitalism, it must have money, markets, and private ownership. It must be industrialized. Those are necessary but not sufficient conditions for classifying a system as capitalism. To be capitalism, wage labor must also be the normal mode of survival. Markets, private ownership of land and enterprise, and wage-slavery are the three necessary conditions that must be met in order for a system to constitute capitalism. There are other systems that also have division of people into haves and have-nots but do not constitute capitalism. Feudalism may have markets, private property, and division into haves and have-nots, but it doesn't have wage-labor as the norm and does not have an industrialized economy, so it is not capitalism.

The Displacement Continues

Exclusive interview with Om Amran on her Displacement from Daraa

Edited by Joanne Roberts

Last time we spoke with Om Amran she was in Daraa after being displaced by Assad for the fifth time. When asked whether she thought she would be displaced again. She said "No...... do not worry". Little did she know at the time that her days there were numbered.

I do not think the World let alone the Syrian people thought that Bashar Al Assad would actually empty another town of all it's inhabitants. Displace thousands of families and for what? Their only crime in this conflict was that they spoke the truth and spoke up against oppression and war crimes.
They asked for Freedom.

Q1 Whilst in Daraa is it true that the regime dropped leaflets asking you all to surrender or die? What did you think when you saw these threats?

About two months before the invasion of areas outside control of the regime in Daraa, the regime's planes occasionally dropped leaflets. The leaflets included messages from the regime which called on the people to fight terrorists and insurgents and promised that the militants would die if they did not lay down their arms. The words and phrases used by the regime were sometimes nice but often violent, included was the threat of death and murder. It should be noted that the areas where leaflets were dropped became areas of de-escalation under the truce declared in South-west Syria on July 9, 2017. It was under the control of the armed opposition factions that were not classified by the International community as extremist or extremist terrorist groups or extreme Islamic groups.


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