Big Head Press


L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 759, February 23, 2014

It isn't really that surprising: underneath
the skin of every "progressive", there is a
would-be plantation-owner and slave-keeper,
struggling to get out.


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Re: "Attack the System: A New Anarchist Perspective for the 21st Century by Keith Preston" Reviewed by Sean Gabb

To the editor:

In the Feb. 16 issue of TLE, Richard Blake, discussing the limits of the knowledge of historians, states: "This is not to say that miracles do not happen—only that there must be a strong presumption against specific interventions by God," by which I assume Blake means that the historian should harbor a strong presumption against accepting claims that supernatural entities have intervened in the natural course of things.

This is not a valid principle for guiding the study of the past, or any subject; for it implies that there is some principle which on some occasions could justify one in ignoring the mere "strong presumption" that the world human beings confront is governed by causality and the law of identity.

If so, when would that mostly sturdy presumption be disposable? When would it be reasonable to say that the law of identity has been violated in a particular case, that an entitiy or entities have acted in contradiction to their nature thanks to a miraculous intervention? But it would never be reasonable to say that. One can't with honest scientific conscientiousness investigate anything without relying on the foundational and inescapable assumption that things are what they are, and behave accordingly. There can be no "evidence" that an axiom at the base of any study of evidence or claim of evidence isn't operative. The law of identity is inescapable. There is no way for a consciousness to void the nature of things merely by willing that a thing act in contradiction to its nature—which is what miracles supposedly consist of.

But if, despite the fact that things do not and cannot contradict their own natures, we pretend that there is indeed a way for a miracle to happen, for wine to flow from rocks or feathers to crush like boulders—how are we to distinguish between charlatanry and wishful thinking on the one hand, and "actual" miracles on the other? There is no way to do it. To attempt to rationally establish any criterion for distinguishing between real and fake miracles, one would have to rely on the law of identity, the very law which miracles, by definition, are supposed to be able to suspend. This means that the criterion for distinguishing between fake miracles and allegedly real miracles can have no basis at all in reality. Deciding which miracles are true miracles is then necessarily arbitrary, a matter of feeling or faith. An investigator who seeks to investigate objectively cannot tell himself that maybe, on very rare occasions--he's not sure when be he'll know it when he sees it—evidence and logic just won't matter.

David M. Brown
dmb1000@gmail.com


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Strange Times

The Police officer involved in a flaky 2013 shooting in El Paso, Texas has been no billed by the grand jury. The EPPD is conducting an internal investigation that seems to be more rigorous. A PD trying harder to police their own than the court system does. There may be hope yet.

As of 21 February there have been zero murders reported in El Paso. No one shot dead for sure. There have been 15 deaths from the flu, most of the victims had not been vaccinated. Only in El Paso, more people are dead from not getting shot than from being shot. ( I know the anti vaccine types are upset by and disagree with this observation, but the gallows humor was irresistible.)

A.X. Perez
perez180ehs@hotmail.com


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TJ's Thought for the Day:

TJ Mason's thought for the day:

Each person has a natural right to defend their life in any way they see fit. Governments denying that right are imposing a death sentence.

T.J. Mason
tjmason@oneamericanvoice.me


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