TaraElla Themes 2017-18

A Moral Liberty
Contrary to popular (American) belief, real liberals are not Left (or Right), but pro-liberty.
The Ideas Lab is on a campaign to revive Moral Liberalism.
For more about Moral Liberalism, read TaraElla's book The Moral Libertarian Horizon.

More Music
More new work will be added to the catalog of TaraElla's Music.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Daily Moral Libertarian: Thanks Cassie Jaye, Jordan Peterson, and Dave Rubin. Together we are the Real Resistance.



Welcome to TaraElla Daily News, where we discuss recent social and political issues from a centrist and moral libertarian viewpoint. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday I discuss a recent social or political issue from the moral libertarian viewpoint. I wish to build a sphere of conversation around our ideas, and to increase the dismal classical liberal representation. If freedom-centered, non-echo chamber commentary is your thing, I highly recommend subscribing to this channel.

The Moral Libertarian Ideal: Equal Moral Agency for Every Individual.

The central moral libertarian principle is the equality of moral agency for every individual. That's why, in moral libertarian utopia, every individual would be able to live out their moral beliefs, as well as promote them on the free market of ideas. Unfortunately, we are far from being in a moral libertarian utopia. In fact, I'm worried that we may be moving in the opposite direction right now. In a recent interview, Cassie Jaye, director of the Red Pill movie which was released in 2016, likened her decision to release the movie to a suicide mission, in that she had to mentally deal with the fact that it may ruin her reputation and force her to go into hiding. I believe this is a wake up call for society. If the act of speaking up has the risk to end entire careers, we effectively don't have free speech anymore. We instead have a dictatorship of self-appointed censors, who threaten people with severe social consequences so they stay in line. That's perhaps even worse than the kind of dictatorship associated with Stalin and Hitler, because resistance is more difficult. Resistance is more difficult because it comes from everywhere around us rather than from one single dictator and his government. The far-left has effectively created the very situation that Foucault tried to warn them about. (By the way, I love to quote leftist heroes like Foucault back at the far-left, to demonstrate their errors.) Anyway, in these times, classical liberal values are the only effective form of resistance. Therefore, we must hold tight to these values, and not give an inch to those who want to dismantle our liberty.

It's about Free Speech, not the Content of the Speech.

Dr Jordan Peterson is another high profile individual, who has chosen to speak up about his moral views, risking his reputation and career in doing so. Whatever your opinions on his other stuff, he is doing a great service for the cause of free speech. Of course, we also have to bear in mind that, unfortunately, not everyone can afford to do what Peterson is doing. Peterson is an established academic, a professor with tenure. Still, he has suffered a lot of unfair treatment at the hands of mainstream media and left-leaning independent outlets alike, with great potential to undermine his reputation, something that is very important for any academic. Others in more difficult situations may be less willing to speak up, and we can't blame them. Again, what I am saying today has nothing to do with the views of Peterson or Jaye or any other individual. You don't have to agree with their content to appreciate my point. It's the fact that they have to be willing to put their careers on the line to say what they want to say. This is totally unacceptable. I believe this is something that is worthy of moral panic, in fact. Why? Free speech, and the free market of ideas, is the best way to ensure wrong ideas don't trample on right ideas. Without these mechanisms, the wrong may be able to suppress the right. The immoral may be able to suppress the moral.

Are we now Right Wing By Default? That's a Real Worry.

A worrying feature of the stories of both Cassie Jaye and Jordan Peterson is that, ever since they began to speak out about things the left didn't like, they have been mostly shunned by left-wing media outlets. This means that, they have had no choice but to turn to mostly right-leaning outlets to make their point. In turn, they have been unfairly accused by leftists of pandering to the far-right, whatever that means. Dave Rubin, host of the Rubin Report, has had this problem in reverse. Leftists have generally been unwilling to appear on his show, therefore his guests are on the whole more right-leaning. In turn, leftists have accused the Rubin Report of being a right-wing show, and even Rubin himself of being a secret conservative.

The fact is, people who are for free speech have been cast out by the New Left, and have become right-wing by default. This is worring for two reasons. Firstly, it means the left is anti free speech by default. This is a major departure from centuries of Western tradition, where both sides of politics uphold free speech. It puts the legacies of Voltaire, Locke and Mill in grave danger. It also means the left has found a way to seal itself off from any criticisms of its party line, pushing them closer to Stalinist conditions. Secondly, there is a danger of us, free speech warriors, siding with the right-wing echo chamber in reaction to our treatment by the left. Now, as a centrist with quite a few conservative views, I do often make common cause with the right, but as a free speech advocate I have to warn against the free speech movement entering into the right-wing echo chamber. This is because, if what we believe in is a functional free market of ideas, we need people to debate all sorts of ideas honestly. And we all know that the echo chambers on both sides are full of people who will lie about their positions and flame non-existent culture wars for their personal gain. If we allow the cause of free speech to be entangled with this culture, it will just discredit our cause. Therefore, while we may feel more welcome in the right at the moment, we must be vigilant about remaining truly impartial and true to our original intents.

That's all for today. I'll be back with more moral libertarian commentary in three days' time. Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss it.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Daily Centrist: Why 'Conservatives' Like Candace Owens are Questionable



Welcome to TaraElla Daily News, where we discuss recent social and political issues from a centrist and moral libertarian viewpoint. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday I talk about the frustrations of a centrist trying to navigate the deeply divided political landscape we happen to live in right now. I believe we need something like this to break up the echo chambers, which are threatening the health of our free market of ideas. If you agree with me, I highly recommend subscribing to this channel.

Who is Candace Owens? And Why Do People Question Her?

Candace Owens is one of the most controversial conservative commentators out there right now. It's not that her opinions are particularly controversial. They're often just mainstream conservative views. The controversy surrounding Owens is mainly around how she became a conservative, and how sincere she is in her views. You see, Owens used to be left-wing, and that was just about two or three years ago. She used to work with SJWs, and she used to dislike Donald Trump. Suddenly, she flipped to the other side of the political spectrum. Now, it's not that people can't change, it's just that when people change abruptly like that, others will logically question the transformation. This past week, with Owens appearing on Fox News to talk about the controversial anonymous New York Times article, The Majority Report and The Young Turks both turned their attention back to Owens. And it was just fair. I mean, if Owens can question the lack of transparency around the New York Times article, why can't others question the lack of transparency around her sudden political change and subsequent rise to fame?

It's Not About Her Politics. It's About Keeping People Honest.

And let's not make it about the conservative views she espouses nowadays, or the direction of her political shift. I'm only interested in keeping people honest, especially influential people. I mean, some conservatives have welcomed her wholeheartedly, because they want to believe it as a win for their side. But accepting her story so easily, and even letting her be a spokesperson for conservatism, I mean, this is conservatives letting a supposed culture war victory blind their judgement in my opinion. Again, I'm not saying that Owens's conversion isn't real, I'm saying that there needs to be more transparency, she needs to demonstrate her change of heart in a more convincing way, before we can truly believe her. It's not that the other side would be better either: I'm sure if Ben Shapiro or Ann Coulter announced overnight that they were defecting to the left, the left would embrace them just as unquestioningly. The culture wars blind both sides. This is why, in this political climate, cool-headed centrists are needed like never before.

The truth is, our current political climate encourages people to be dishonest about their politics. Just last week, a popular conservative commentator on YouTube released a video talking about her experiences with dishonest political commentators, influential people who were being dishonest about their political opinions for their personal gain. Now, this kind of behaviour impairs our free market of ideas, and endangers liberty and democracy itself. People are right to be especially vigilant about fake commentators in this climate. Therefore, people are right to question the likes of Candace Owens. If she wants to be taken seriously, perhaps she should give a bit more transparency to her story of conversion. Until that happens, I encourage the media, both mainstream and independent, to continue to press on about their concerns regarding her politics. Again, it's not that I think she's insincere, it's just that I don't even know what to think, because I don't know enough. The point is, we need more transparency, especially in a world where fake people are everywhere.

That's all for today. I'll be back with more Centrist commentary and drama in three days' time. Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss it.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Daily Moral Libertarian: Jordan Peterson and 'Postmodern neo-Marxism'



Welcome to TaraElla Daily News, where we discuss recent social and political issues from a centrist and moral libertarian viewpoint. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday I discuss a recent social or political issue from the moral libertarian viewpoint. I wish to build a sphere of conversation around our ideas, and to increase the dismal classical liberal representation. If freedom-centered, non-echo chamber commentary is your thing, I highly recommend subscribing to this channel.

The Moral Libertarian Ideal: Equal Moral Agency for Every Individual.

Dr Jordan Peterson is known for his commentary on what he calls Postmodern neo-Marxism. Many people familiar with leftist theory have commented that the two concepts cannot be combined into one, because Marxism has a grand narrative of history and postmodernism rejects it. Ever since popular YouTuber ContraPoints illustrated this point in a video that has since gone viral a few months ago, there has been even more discussion of this subject. So who is right? We'll have a rational look at it. And since this show is all about classical liberalism, another thing we'll be looking at is, is what Peterson calls postmodern neo-Marxism threatening to classical liberal values, and if it is, how should we respond to it?

Marxism has a Grand Narrative of History.
Postmodernism does not.
Can the two still go together? Yes.


If we look at it from a factual point of view, what ContraPoints said appears to be correct. It is a fact that Marxism has a grand narrative of history and postmodernism rejects all such narratives. Contra also made the observation that Peterson appears to have overlooked the range of different positions existing on the left. Again, this appears to be correct, at least to an extent. However, the fact also remains that many of us know exactly what Peterson is talking about when he says Postmodern Neo-Marxism. Therefore, even if the words used are not 100% technically correct, they do refer to something concrete. And even some people familiar with left have agreed with Peterson that the modern far-left is full of both postmodern and Marxist influences. This is possible because they reject certainty in the grand narrative of Marx, but use his worldview of class oppression and class struggle, as well as his view of dialectical materialism, as tools of analysis, alongside more postmodern tools of analysis provided by figures like Derrida and Foucault. This allows them to, for example, combine a Foucaldian analysis of power relationships in society with the Marxist view of culture being rooted in material conditions, and the need for class struggle. This also allows them to mix and match other thinkers as well, for example, the idea of cultural hegemony that comes from Marxist thinker Antonio Gramsci, and ideas from schools of radical feminism that are deeply influenced by postmodernism, creating a concept of hegemonic patriarchy that oppresses women. Furthermore, many of these syncretic ideas of the New Left are deeply influenced by Critical Theory, which was invented by Marxist thinkers in the Frankfurt School.

Now, all this remains a loosely organised network of ideas, still without a clear label, but with a clear demographic where it has strong support, and therefore a rising level of influence in our politics and culture. Therefore, it can and should now be considered its own broad school of thought, independent of both classical Marxism and classical postmodernism. As you see, when ideas from a school of thought need to be discussed, we need a label for it. The more traditional label for this school of thought was 'Cultural Marxism', but as this has certain negative connotations, some have been looking for a new term, and Peterson's 'Postmodern neo-Marxism' seems to work for many. To avoid the controversy, I usually just use 'neo-Marxism'. I guess that term is still open to the attack that this new school of thought is not actually Marxism. Therefore, maybe the best word for it is 'neo-socialism'. I will stick with neo-Marxism for now, because that's what people understand.

Is Neo-Marxism Against our Liberal Values?
Unfortunately, yes.
We must have a Good Answer to it.


As a classical liberal, and in particular, as a moral libertarian, what I am concerned about neo-Marxism is that it appears to be a systematic attempt to invalidate, discredit and turn people away from classical liberal values, using theories derived from radical thinkers. The emphasis on systems of oppression being everywhere, which I believe comes from a combination of the Marxist idea of class oppression and Focauldian power dynamics, perhaps with some radical feminism thrown in there, is a clear attempt at discrediting the individualistic focus of classical liberalism. It attempts to show us that, the premesis of classical liberalism, individual-level equality, is untenable, because there will still be some inequality in some way. And because we can't disprove what they say, classical liberal values will fall in an academic debate, especially one where utilitarianism is the yardstick.

To this, my answer is that, yes, there's a grain of truth in what the neo-Marxist say. There's always a grain of truth in any idea that has some support, and to deny this is usually not fruitful. Life is suffering, the world is imperfect, and whatever system we have, there will always be some form of inequality. To emphasize one form of equality is perhaps to sacrifice equality in another domain. Classical liberalism emphasizes one form of equality, neo-Marxism perhaps emphasizes other forms. So what form of equality does classical liberalism emphasize? To answer this question, we must look at the roots of classical liberalism. Liberalism arose because there was a need for religious toleration, freedom of religion. Freedom of religion is thus the foundation liberalism is built on. Of course, in the modern world, there are many non-religious people, and many people's consciences aren't as tied to religion nowadays. Therefore, this principle needs to be expanded so that it can apply to the modern world.

The Moral Libertarian Ideal: Equal Moral Agency for Every Individual.


The classical liberal demand for equality is one of equality of consciences. It exists on the moral level, the highest level of humanity. From what I can see, the neo-Marxist demand for equality is one of group-based standing, that is, every group in society should have the same outcomes. This is focussing on lower level equality at the expense of higher level equality in my opinion. It is also focussing on class-level equality at the expense of individual-level equality. There is a clear incompatiblity of worldviews here, and I can't help but stand for what I believe to be a superior way. May the best ideas win in the free market of ideas.

That's all for today. I'll be back with more moral libertarian commentary in two days' time. Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Daily Moral Libertarian: Progressives Claim a Problematic Victory over Milo Yiannopoulos.



Welcome to TaraElla Daily News, where we discuss recent social and political issues from a centrist and moral libertarian viewpoint. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday I discuss a recent social or political issue from the moral libertarian viewpoint. I wish to build a sphere of conversation around our ideas, and to increase the dismal classical liberal representation. If freedom-centered, non-echo chamber commentary is your thing, I highly recommend subscribing to this channel.

The Moral Libertarian Ideal: Equal Moral Agency for Every Individual.

The central moral libertarian principle is that we strive for every individual to have an equal amount of moral agency. In simpler terms, we each get to live our lives according to our own moral compass, and get to preach our moral beliefs equally. Of course, we naturally value free speech, and completely oppose the idea of de-platforming that is unfortunately becoming common in some sections of the Left. Recently, many progressive commentators claimed victory over Milo Yiannopoulos, after he was disinvited from Politicon, and especially after he made a long rant on Facebook. They claimed that this is evidence of de-platforming working. Well, I would counter that this is evidence of many progressives being unprincipled, claiming to attack structural privilege but ignoring the issue altogether when they have other conflicting priorities, like de-platforming Milo. Why would I say that? Watch the rest of this video, and I will explain. I will also make a case as to why de-platforming should never be accepted.

In his Facebook rant, Milo claimed that he spent millions of dollars trying to do talks, speeches, events, rallies and protests. He claimed that every event, and every cancellation, cost him lots of money, up to hundreds of thousands in some cases. I thought the Left would have something to say about structural privilege here, their favourite topic. But they didn't. Instead, they just attacked Milo, as if it were only his problem.

If you're going to lay out hundreds of thousands of dollars for a speaking engagement, you might want to reconsider the way you're running your business.
-Sam Seder, The Majority Report, 9/9/18.


Look, Sam, Milo probably spends more than some other people, but these days, you can't get a decent platform without a very decent amount of money. As a classical liberal, I certainly do not agree with the left-wing assertion that there is structural oppression everywhere. Still, there may in fact be structural inequalities in some particular pockets of society, and in my opinion, this applies to the media sector, both online and offline. As you can see with my work in WikiEqual, I strongly agree that there is structural inequality in mainstream media representation, and the number one factor behind this inequality is that you need plenty of cash to even join the club in the first place. The rest of us are stuck out here, trying to do our best, but even our best won't ever reach enough people. This means the free market of ideas isn't as free as it should be. Milo's comments provided plenty of opportunity to have this discussion, but instead, you made it look like it's a problem only Milo has. I'm disappointed. And Sam wasn't the only left-wing commentator to disappoint me on this issue.

Milo revealed in a Facebook post that his wealth has virtually vanished. And no one seems to care.
-Taylor Link, Salon, 8/26/18


And there were quite a few other people making similar comments elsewhere. The point is, look, people, I get that you are opposed to Milo and you don't personally care too much about him. But I care about Milo's wealth vanishing, if that is the case. The fact is, if someone needs to spend their millions of savings to have a public platform for just three years, this is really worrying for our free market of ideas. This means that, lots of people won't speak up, because it costs them. This means that, people without millions of dollars in the bank, people like myself, won't ever be heard properly. I'm disappointed that none of you reflected on this.

Now, what I'm going to say is a general reflection, and I'm not saying that it necessarily applies to the people I just quoted. This is a general observation of the left. It appears to me that, in the free market of ideas, many people on the left don't care about structural unfairness. They don't care too much that you need plenty of money to just have a decent platform. All they care about is their team winning. And if this means keeping the status quo of letting only the rich elites speak, so be it. After all, in a truly fair free market of ideas, de-platforming won't work. And as we know, many left-wing people are in favour of de-platforming.

That's all for today. I'll be back with more moral libertarian commentary in two days' time. Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss it.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Daily Centrist: Who is Faking Their Politics? Probably More People Than You Think.



Welcome to TaraElla Daily News, where we discuss recent social and political issues from a centrist and moral libertarian viewpoint. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday I talk about the frustrations of a centrist trying to navigate the deeply divided political landscape we happen to live in right now. I believe we need something like this to break up the echo chambers, which are threatening the health of our free market of ideas. If you agree with me, I highly recommend subscribing to this channel.

Last week, a popular conservative commentator on YouTube said in her video that she knows of certain people who are being quite dishonest about their political opinions, because of financial incentives, or because they just say what their fans want. Some examples of very unacceptable behaviour were given in the video. People suddenly switching sides in their politics, likely because they were chasing the money, rather than because of a genuine change of heart. Fake opinions against LGBT people from someone who didn't actually believe what they were telling their fans. And even network news asking people to take a certain stance on their show, as well as to say certain things. In short, people were dishonest because they could benefit from it. The person making the video refused to name names, but in the comments section, speculation was all around, especially about famous centrist and conservative commentators who may be fake. Big names like Milo Yiannopoulos, Dave Rubin, Steve Crowder, Ben Shapiro, Candace Owens and many more were thrown into the speculation. Well, I'm pretty sure that Ben Shapiro is a real conservative seeing his long track record, the others I can't really comment on because they haven't been around long enough. It could be the case that none of these people are fake, but many more out there are.

So, who is FAKE? We'll probably never know. But it's the bigger picture that matters.

Anyway, from a realistic perspective, I'm too old to be surprised by any of that anymore. However, from the perspective of concerned citizens who demand a healthy democracy, all of this is rather worrying. A healthy democracy can only arise from a functional free market of ideas, and when you have people, very influential people, faking their opinions, and fanning non-existent culture wars, there really can't be anything close to a healthy democracy. In fact, playing to your fanbase, playing to the echo chamber, this is the kind of behaviour that has caused our dangerous polarization of politics. And why do people do it? Because there is money in it. While this time the focus has been on conservatives, I'm sure the left has similar problems too. Because, hey, the incentives to be dishonest exist on the other side too.

In fact, as long as we have political echo chambers, we can't avoid this madness. As long as people wish to listen to somebody who preaches to the choir, this will continue to happen. The only way to change this is to change how people think about politics. And there is a glimmer of hope. Increasingly, I'm seeing people who say they don't want to hear the same things over and over from the echo chambers anymore. I'm seeing people who say they want to hear genuine and original thoughts. And this is what people like myself, independent commentators who don't belong to the echo chamber, provide. Sadly, we generally don't have much financial backing either, and we often get drowned out by the big money that creates the echo chambers. What people need to remember is this: commentators who play within the echo chambers often do so for personal gain. But when they gain, democracy loses, and the rest of us lose. Keep this in mind, because it will turn you off echo chamber politics forever. It will red pill you to the point of no return. And the more people get red pilled this way, the better, because this means the echo chambers will lose their popularity. Of course, many lucrative careers will be put on the line too, but who cares? People who profit from the destruction of democracy deserve their career ruin once people wake up.

We can consciously reject echo chamber politics, and the self-interested liars who play the game. We can consciously reject the people who fan the flames of fake culture wars to divide us, while they make a profit. We can reject it all. And for the sake of our democracy, for the sake of liberty itself, we must.

That's all for today. I'll be back with more Centrist commentary and drama in two days' time. Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss it.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Daily Centrist: Sorry Ben Shapiro, there's no Culture War Against Donald Trump (or Obama, or Bush)



Welcome to the reborn Daily Centrist on TaraElla news. This is a daily segment looking at the frustrations of a centrist trying to navigate the deeply divided political landscape we happen to live in right now. I believe we need something like this to break up the echo chambers, which are threatening the health of our free market of ideas. If you agree with me, I highly recommend subscribing to this channel.

Recently, conservative commentator Ben Shapiro made an episode of his show titled 'The Anti-Trump Culture War'. A very clickbait title sure, but it was successful, because I clicked on it. I really wanted to see what this anti-Trump culture war was. The video started off discussing the confirmation hearing of Brett Kavanaugh. So that's part of a war against Trump? Of course not, because opposition parties have had a habit of making it difficult for supreme court nominees since time immemorial, and there's nothing special about what's happening now. I mean, in 2016 Republicans refused to confirm Merrick Garland. Was this a culture war against Obama? I think not. The next thing Shapiro talked about was the Nike Colin Kaepernick saga. Now, President Trump has made his opinions on Colin Kaepernick clear, but I can't agree that Nike's actions were in any way about Trump. It was more about them making a profit from the divisive culture wars, as I discussed yesterday. So no, this isn't part of the war against Trump. The third thing was the funeral of John McCain, where a few individual speakers decided to criticize Trump. Now, you may argue about the appropriateness of that, but hey, that's not a culture war.

The truth is, there is no culture war against Donald Trump. And I am saying this from a balanced point of view, as I am neither a fan nor a hater of Trump. I also don't discount the fact that some media outlets have been unfair to Trump at times. But that's life. It's not like Fox News was fair to Obama. Even Jordan Peterson is often unfairly treated by mainstream media. The thing is, if the current opposition to Trump is a culture war, then the Tea Party and the Ron Paul 2012 supporters would have been a culture war against Obama. And the Iraq War opponents would have been a culture war against Bush. To describe opposition to the president as a culture war is nonsense. And it is a dangerous attitude. I mean, if opposition to the Iraq War was seen as a culture war against Bush, there would have been even less dissent on the right for that war. And most of us can agree in hindsight that the war was a mistake. Back then, most Republicans were on board due to party loyalty. Still, at least a substantial number of Republicans were able to speak up against it, because while the culture wars have always been with us, people were a little saner back then. Also, over time, more Republicans have come to agree about the error of that war. If it were a culture war issue, I don't think people would have been able to come around to that extent.

The Cold Hard Truth About Culture Wars: Some Profit while the Rest Of Us Pay

The cold hard truth is, people make things look like culture wars all the time because it personally benefits them. I mean, taking a side in the culture wars in the current climate is very financially rewarding. I know how much reward I am forgoing just by refusing to fan the flames of the culture wars. But sometimes, you need to put the future of humanity first. Right now, while the instigators of the culture wars profit, the rest of us lose out. Our political landscape becomes hopelessly divided, and our free market of ideas becomes unworkable. As a moral libertarian, I believe the free market of ideas is the key to not just rationality, but morality itself. Hence, I believe the broken political landscape is actually a cause for moral panic. Right now, we are, perhaps, only a few minutes to midnight, and those who stand to profit from the culture wars have gotten us here. It's still not too late to say no to the culture wars however. This wretched industry is certainly not too big to fail.

That's all for today. I'll be back with more Centrist commentary and drama on Monday. Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss it.