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.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

TaraElla Report: New Format in 2019



Welcome to the TaraElla Report, where we build the classical liberal values revival, one day at a time, one issue at a time. This is the last episode for 2018, and I will be back early next year with a new format.

In the past year, we have explored many issues pertaining to freedom, the unhealthy culture of echo chambers on both sides of politics, the pointless culture wars and the people who profit from our pain, the rise of radical socialism, political correctness, issues around free speech, and the like. We will certainly continue in that direction next year. But I also want to focus on something else: how everyday people out there actually feel about things in this fractured and dysfunctional political landscape. Right now, I get a sense from talking to people that many people are simply confused. They want freedom, but they don't know how to get there. They are fearful of socialism, but they don't trust the right entirely either. Or alternatively, they certainly don't like some of what they see on the right, but they also can't put up with left-wing identity politics either. Many of these people have dropped out of politics altogether, and I wish to reverse this. I want to give the diverse voices out there a voice in this increasingly polarized world.

It is no accident that narrative-based political media is becoming increasingly popular. Traditional political commentary, focusing on propping up the Blue Team or the Red Team, has become uninteresting for many people, who want their politics to be more meaningful. Individual views, with all their complexity, is what people are increasingly interested in. A few years ago it was response videos and critique videos. But even these are a bit too simplistic, so they have gone out of popularity. The next wave was shows like the Rubin Report, where people actually get to talk about their views in all their complexity, and how they got there. Still, there is concern that these shows often invite experts with a set worldview, which may not be representative of the people out there navigating our confusing world. But the message is clear: we want more meaningful and genuine conversations, and less political point scoring.

So this is definitely the new direction of my show in 2019. It won't be about SJWs vs anti-SJWs. It won't be about Red vs Blue. It will be about you, the wide variety of individuals out there trying to navigate our complicated world.

Moral Libertarian View: How Radical Socialism Destroyed Family Values



Welcome to the TaraElla Report, where we build the classical liberal values revival, one day at a time, one issue at a time. If you're a fellow freedom fighter, you've come to the right place, and I highly recommend subscribing. Today we have another episode of How Radical Socialism Ruined Everything. Classical liberalism brought many truly progressive ideas into practice, only for them to be ruined by neo-Marxist socialism.

Today, we're going to talk about how Radical Socialism deliberately ruined our family values. By family values, I don't actually mean the kind of anti-gay rhetoric the Bush administration is famous for. I'm a strong supporter of gay marriage, by the way. By family values, I mean valuing the structure of society as made up of strong, stable families, founded on committed, ideally life-long, relationships. Many conservatives mistakenly believe that liberals are out to destroy family values. In fact, while liberals may have slight differences with conservatives on some issues, such as gay marriage, true liberals are just as keen as conservatives in upholding family values as a broader concept. From the classical liberal point of view, families provide a layer of separation of individuals from broader society, and are hence important in guaranteeing privacy and liberty. Furthermore, the aggregation of individuals into family structures is the natural, biologically ordained way, and classical liberals generally uphold natural things.

On the other hand, neo-Marxist socialist theories, sometimes wrongly promoted as 'progressive', do often attack family values. In the neo-Marxist worldview, families are not seen as natural or good. Instead, they are seen as a social construct to prop up capitalist relations, which socialists of course see as bad. From the neo-Marxist worldview, it would therefore be a good thing to weaken family values. In fact, many socialists have written about their desired future where people live in communes rather than families. Of course, this is against the natural, biologically ingrained nature of humans, and I can't imagine any good coming out of this project. However, unfortunately for us, some people out there do believe in ending family values. Therefore, I believe it is important to actively defend family values against attacks from the far-left. We need to emphasize, again and again, that the formation of the family is the natural way of living for humans, and that more generally, neo-Marxist critiques of culture are often misguided and potentially destructive to civilization.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

TaraElla Report: After 2016 (and 2018), How to Fix the Democrats Now?



Welcome to the TaraElla Report, where we build the classical liberal values revival, one day at a time, one issue at a time. Classical liberalism is the ideology of freedom for individuals, and that's the lens through which we are going to look at various social issues. If you're a fellow freedom fighter, you've come to the right place, and I highly recommend subscribing. Today, we're going to look at the issue of the US Democrats and similar parties in other Western countries being too eager to play identity politics, and not keen enough to uphold classical liberal values like free speech.

In recent years, the US Democrats and quite a few similar parties in other Western countries have let their supporters down, by playing identity politics and refusing to uphold classical liberal values like free speech. Recently, Dr Jordan Peterson uploaded a video, in which he read out what I understand to be an advertisement that he had hoped the Democrats would have aired this election season, apologizing for their behaviour in recent years, and promising to change course.

Of course, realistically, no political party is going to apologize on national TV, even if they may privately acknowledge how bad their recent strategy has been. On the other hand, the results speak for themselves: an unexpected loss in 2016, followed by an underwhelming performance in 2018. The disappointment of many previously strong supporters, people like Dave Rubin, and there are many others like him out there too. If the Democrats still wish to have a future, it's clearly time to change course. And I would agree that listening to what Jordan Peterson had to say would be a good start.

But I think they will also need a more positive vision. Perhaps it's up to the good people out there to supply them with this vision. The Democrats are a liberal party, and liberalism is ultimately the ideology of liberty. They need to be reminded of that. Perhaps a strong culture of classical liberalism, a revival of classical liberal values throughout the Western world, would help. This is what I am hoping for, and what I am working for here. Right now, the weakness of classical liberal values in intellectual circles throughout the West has encouraged a revival of socialism, and I think this is the reason why the Democrats and other similar parties are increasingly walking away from classical liberal values. This has to change if things are to be reversed.

TaraElla Report: The False 'Choice' of Identity Politics or Class Politics (They Are The Same!)



Welcome to the TaraElla Report, where we build the classical liberal values revival, one day at a time, one issue at a time. Classical liberalism is the ideology of freedom for individuals, and that's the lens through which we are going to look at various social issues. If you're a fellow freedom fighter, you've come to the right place, and I highly recommend subscribing. Today, we're going to look at the aftermath of the US mid-term elections again.

As we all know, the mid-term results were a mixed bag, and both sides could sort of claim some victory. If I understand him correctly, Rubin seems to be concerned that, whatever small victories the Democrats got last week would convince the Left to double down on their identity politics. While his concerns are valid, because some in the Left are always looking for ways to bring back identity politics, I don't think this is the inevitable outcome. Going forward, multiple outcomes are possible in the next few years, and I believe that we have a good chance to get the outcome we want, that is, a revival of classical liberalism.

Right now, the mixed result has got both Democrats and Republicans talking, not to each other but among themselves. On the Democratic side, people are already talking strategies for 2020, and contrary to Rubin's beliefs, those pushing for identity politics are not winning the debate right now, from what I hear. Instead, in activist left circles, the push is for more socialism, more Bernie than Hillary. Some socialists have also called for dropping identity politics, which is perhaps a surprise to people like Rubin. While we know that identity politics is actually a manifestation of socialist thought, in many left-wing circles identity politics and socialist economics are seen as different, even alternative, approaches to move the party to the left. And because identity politics failed in 2016, they are more likely to try the socialist angle in 2020, simply because identity politics failed but socialism is still untried.

The False Choice of Identity Politics vs Class Politics: We'll End Up With Both, Either Way

What I am worried about is that, the hard left are able to move the Democrats to the left by arguing over two alternative choices that are ultimately the same thing. I'm not saying that this is a co-ordinated strategy, but this is effectively what happens, because the two wings of the hard left share the same ideological roots, and hence logically prefer each other over a return to liberalism. When one wing is weak most of them will line up behind the other wing, after some initial disagreements. Since identity politics was rejected in 2016 and has been weakened, economic socialism will be on offer instead in 2020. On the other hand, if socialism also fails in 2020, they will probably go back to identity politics in 2024, the memories of its previous defeat faded by then. The cycle keeps going, and the Democrats are pushed leftwards every time.

Of course, ultimately, it doesn't matter which side wins elections, because they are just two sides of the same neo-Marxist coin. If identity politics win, it will come with the Marxist oppressor and oppressed language, which can be used to introduce economic socialist ideas. If economic socialism wins, it will also come with the Marxist oppressor and oppressed language, which can be used to introduce identity politics down the road. The difference is more of which comes first, but ultimately you get both. We need to argue against both at the same time, and rest our case on the fact that both are actually the same thing. The only alternative is a return to classical liberalism.

Which is why I think Dave Rubin is too quick to give up on the Democrats. I know how frustrating it can be to talk to some people on the Left these days. Rubin said he feels more comfortable talking to Republicans, and I can understand that. But to give up on half of the political landscape just like that is to concede half of the territory, and hence half of our future effectively. Instead, we need to also participate in the debate on the Left, no matter how hard it has become. We need to show progressives why classical liberalism is still a better choice for them, and why neo-Marxism, in both its economic and cultural forms, is actually a road to nowhere.

Monday, November 12, 2018

TaraElla Report: So What Happened to that 'Blue Wave'?



Welcome to the TaraElla Report, where we build the classical liberal values revival, one day at a time, one issue at a time. Classical liberalism is the ideology of freedom for individuals, and that's the lens through which we are going to look at various social issues. If you're a fellow freedom fighter, you've come to the right place, and I highly recommend subscribing. Today, we're going to look at what actually happened to that Blue Wave that many Democrats anticipated but never came. So what happened to that Blue Wave? But why did the blue wave turn into a purple puddle? I've actually got a simple answer. But be warned, many of you may not like it. It's a simple answer, but it may not be an easy one for some of you.

In the aftermath of the mid-terms, many Democrats and Republicans alike tried to make sense of the mixed bag of results. In particular, many Democrats were disappointed that their Blue Wave did not happen. Of course, as the activist wing of Democrat supporters today is largely made up of left-wing people, many of them suggested that the Democrats should just move further to the left. Move to the left and they will win in 2020. But while they may sincerely wish that to be true, it doesn't make it true. Facts don't care about your feelings, people.

So what are the facts? From what I can see, the Democrats who won were generally in suburban districts, and they were generally not hard left or socialist. They generally didn't either play identity politics or socialist class politics, which, by the way, are actually two sides of the same coin that Democrats should just abandon wholesale if they want to have a future. Many Democratic gains came from those who were adversely affected by government actions, like the trade war, so their motivation in voting Democrat was probably to send a message to Trump, to just leave the economy alone. By the way, that's what I think he should do. The free market needs no government meddling; every time the government tries to help, it can only create trouble. We need to bring back Ronald Reagan style skepticism of government. Trump needs to hear the message coming from the people, he needs to learn to trust the free market.

The fact is, people generally want to be left alone to live their lives. That's why I often say that people are naturally classical liberal. It's common sense in the electorate, but it's something the elites don't get. Hence their repeated attempts to push 'socialism', despite the people repeatedly telling them, no, we don't want any socialism or Marxism. Socialists like to say how it's not the Cold War anymore and people aren't scared of socialism anymore. But the fact is, people want to be left alone to live their lives, people don't want to live in societies of forced cooperation, and that has nothing to do with the cold war. And in these mid-terms, we have ample evidence that the people of America have rejected socialism again. The vast majority of new Democrat members aren't socialist. And while, yes, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has also been elected, she is in a very safe district, with no other outcome possible. You can hardly call that a socialist victory.

So why did the Blue Wave not happen? Because Democrats didn't give the people what they want. People generally want their government to promise to leave them alone, and they weren't getting that from the Democrats. I mean, some Democrats gave the people what they want, for example ending the trade wars and resuming free trade, and they were rewarded with victories. But there has also been concerns about increasing socialist influence in the Democrats, and you and I both know that most Americans don't want socialism. The high profile of socialists like Ocasio-Cortez couldn't have helped Democrats. It may have even contributed to the loss of a few close races, and there were quite a few of those. I think that if Democrats ran on a classical liberal platform, they would have got the Blue Wave they wanted. Maybe they should consider that for 2020, now that their strategy of being okay with socialism has failed.

Friday, November 9, 2018

TaraElla Report: Facts Don't Care About Feelings. But People Do. (Re Ben Shapiro)



Welcome to the TaraElla Report, where we build the classical liberal values revival, one day at a time, one issue at a time. Classical liberalism is the ideology of freedom for individuals, and that's the lens through which we are going to look at various social issues. If you're a fellow freedom fighter, you've come to the right place, and I highly recommend subscribing. Today, we're going to look at the popular idea that Facts Don't Care About Your Feelings, from a classical liberal perspective. The phrase, popularized by Ben Shapiro, is now one of most popular slogans of right-leaning circles. Last week, conservative commentator Roaming Millennial, a.k.a. Lauren Chen, uploaded a video with a twist on this, titled 'Feelings Don't Care About Your Facts', in which she discussed how progressives probably think quite differently from conservatives. So how can a classical liberal make sense of all this?

What Happens When We Don't Care About Feelings? We end up in Gulags.

First of all, it is a cold, hard truth that facts don't care about your feelings. Objective facts always remain as they are, regardless of your feelings towards them. This is especially true of scientific facts. For example, if you feel that the Earth should be flat, it wouldn't make the Earth flat. But then, the issue is actually more nuanced than it is, should I say. Firstly, it would be dangerous to ignore feelings completely. In her video, Lauren made the case that progressives probably act on feelings more than facts, because of their personality types. Lauren said she was an INTJ, and she was geared to facts, which made her a conservative. I think this is not entirely sound, and I will come back to this, but it does have some truth to it. I am an ENTJ, so basically I am similar to Lauren but extroverted. So it's also definitely facts over feels for me. But a fact of life is, half the population are feeling types, and since this is the way nature intended, it should also be seen as a good thing. It does have its upsides: I can see that feeling types are definitely more compassionate than myself, for example. They are often very nice people.

The trouble with not caring about feelings is that, since half the world are feeling types, they can easily be won over to ideologies based more on feelings than facts. And such ideologies are usually both illiberal and dangerous. Radical socialism both left and right-wing, neo-Marxism, political postmodernism, radical feminism and identity politics, these are all feels over facts basically. If classical liberals do not care about how people feel, we will lose badly, no matter how good we can argue on the facts. If we cannot show people how free speech is good for everyone, there will be demand for safe speech, like it or not. If we cannot show people how classical liberal ideas are good for them, we risk ending up in gulags, all of us. Therefore, developing a reluctance to entertain feelings is essentially digging our own grave. We also have to remember that, historically, classical liberals did care about feelings. The pursuit of happiness has always been a large part of the classical liberal tradition.

The point is, a large part of the classical liberal tradition is that we care very much that people live happy lives. Thinkers like John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham were utilitarians, first and foremost. I'm personally not always a utilitarian, because it can clash with my moral libertarian principles in some situations, but helping people live happy lives should be a large part of any classical liberal agenda.

"A large part of the classical liberal tradition is that we care very much that people live happy lives."

Which brings me onto why I prefer classical liberalism over conservatism. Basically, it's a matter of which feelings to care about. While both ideologies are more about facts, there is also a certain amount of feelings involved. Historically, the distinction has been that conservatives care about not upsetting traditional feelings, like religious teachings, and classical liberals care more about letting people be happy, and also exploring the truth of things. This distinction matters most where the science isn't settled yet. For example, progressives love to point out that Ben Shapiro may have let his religious feelings get the better of his factual thinking when it comes to LGBT issues. And there is unfortunately some truth to this. The fact that people are born gay doesn't care about how Ben Shapiro thinks that gay relationships are sinful. And while we don't have conclusive scientific proof that people are born LGBT, the bulk of everyday lived experience certainly points that way, and it is hard to conclude otherwise without using religious doctrine. Of course, I am a big supporter of religious freedom, but that doesn't mean I have to take religious feelings into account when thinking rationally. That would just defeat the point of thinking rationally.