Principles of TaraElla
My social and political commentary is all about engaging diverse and interesting ideas, and thinkers promoting such ideas, including academics, activists, commentators, politicians and others alike. However, it is often the case that interesting people often have controversial things to say, some of which could be quite offensive indeed.
While in my commentary I may state some level of support for certain figures and/or their ideas, this support does not necessarily extend to all their other ideas or stances. In this era of rampant misattribution and ‘guilt by association’, I feel like I must clarify what I support and don’t support. In particular, I strongly stand by the following principles, and will NEVER support or condone ideas or actions that are in conflict with the following fundamental stances:
1) One of my major objectives is to argue for the philosophical soundness of the liberal tradition, and hence to argue for its continued application in the 21st century West. In a debate, we always use the strongest language available to make our case. But outside of the philosophical debate, I am not inherently opposed to people or groups based on their political label. I believe that, in real life, liberals, conservatives, socialists alike can and should cooperate where we have common ground.
2) I oppose and condemn any statement or action that is racist, sexist, homophobic or transphobic, or is otherwise bigoted or discriminatory in any way. While I respect the right to free speech of all parties, I also believe that bigotry must be condemned, using our own free speech, from our own conscience.
3) I oppose and condemn any statement or action that is discriminatory or derogatory towards others based on their religious beliefs or affiliation. I condemn equally any statements against any religion.
4) I oppose attempts to stifle free speech by using social justice as a wedge, including, but not limited to, the promotion of so-called ‘safe speech’, de-platforming of speakers, or ‘progressive stack’ speaking systems. Nothing in what I say should be ever construed to lend any credibility to these ideas.
5) I strongly support family values, and oppose any attempt to undermine them, including, but not limited to, critique of the nuclear family other than to support stronger extended family ties; harsh immigration policies that result in the permanent separation of families; and calls to ‘abolish’ marriage (other than marriage privatization that removes government involvement but still keeps marriage culturally intact) and/or the family.
6) I oppose unconditionally any policy stance or action that could be detrimental to world peace, including, but not limited to, inciting ‘regime change’ wars like the 2003 Iraq War; promoting ideas which could lead to a ‘new cold war’; promoting trade or economic wars; state-level actors meddling in the internal affairs of other countries to promote disharmony and destabilisation; promoting separatist movements which may cause highly dangerous conflict and possible civil war in any country; and making uncalled for and inflammatory statements about other countries in general. I call on all who support any such policy stance to reconsider their stance, and think hard about the widespread detrimental effects they can bring. Many of us are sick of the endless international conflicts, and I believe each country must respect each others’ sovereignty for peace to really happen.
7) I am opposed to cultural supremacy in any form. I do philosophical, sociological and political commentary about the West, simply because it’s what I can study, it’s what I’m familiar with. However, I think I should make it clear that I respect all other cultures equally.
8) Consequently, all my positions, including Moral Libertarianism and all associated ideals, are aimed only at Western audiences, and only applicable to the Western world. By extension, I also do not endorse or comment on anyone's views of events or phenomenon outside the West. (See FAQ for further explanation.)
9) Unless otherwise specified, all terminology used shall have their common meaning(s) in the Western English speaking world. I know that this is not always the most correct or universal meaning, but this choice is based on the audience of my work, and the people I will generally be responding or reacting to. The goal is to get the point across, rather than be 100% correct.
1) Why do you say that Moral Libertarianism and your political commentary is specifically for the West?
The most suitable way to resolve issues and conflicts is always, to a great extent, dependent on the context. I believe that liberalism is the most (only) moral sound way to resolve our conflicts by the standard of the Western culture I operate in. However, history has shown us that failure to respect that things operate differently in different contexts is always a recipe for disaster. The Western world trying to export and universalize its ideals led to disasters like the Vietnam War and the Iraq War. I think we need to learn from those lessons. Therefore, I’m always against ‘spreading democracy’, ‘spreading liberalism’, or any of that nonsense.
The point is that, context is important. All my political and social commentary assumes the context of a Western liberal democratic system, where there is approximately one person one vote to elect our governments, where interest groups and ideological factions aim to sway the decisions of voters, and where a government of almost any ideology could be elected, potentially beholden to one or more interest groups. (It is this situation that Moral Libertarianism was specifically developed to guard against.) In such a system, if voters receive biased information due to interference with free speech, they could get their decision totally wrong. If they elect a culturally authoritarian government that, for example, treats people differently based on identity or opinion, this would have severe moral consequences. Of course, these assumptions don't necessarily apply outside of the West, and as I said before, people in the West need to respect the fact that things may work differently in another culture.
Furthermore, given our politicians’ repeated attempts to manufacture consensus for international conflict (Vietnam, Iraq, etc.), I believe we, the pro-peace and anti-war citizens of the West, should actively avoid contributing to that in any way. Staying out of things we don’t understand is the best way to do that. Therefore, as a citizen of the West, who is not sufficiently familiar with the society and politics of anywhere outside the West, I am committed to not commenting on events outside the West.
I oppose taking my political commentary out of context. Unless otherwise specified, the context of all my commentary is the Western world (i.e. Western Europe, USA, Canada, Australia and NZ). Please do not quote me and extrapolate it to other cultures and contexts that I haven’t commented on. I have no intention of meddling in ethnic, religious, political or other cultural conflicts that I am not sufficiently familiar with, and I really do not want to be accused of doing so. I understand that not everywhere is like the Western world, and frankly I am not familiar enough with most of the world to make fair comments about them.
2) Are there any translations of your work?
All my commentary is in English only, because I only intend to speak to a Western world audience, and primarily the English speaking part of the Western world. I have not authorized any translations, and if there are any translations out there, they are not authorized, and I am not responsible for their content.
3) You once said that 'other ideologies are too similar to fascism, from a Moral Libertarian point of view'. Does this mean that Moral Libertarianism is intolerant towards other ideologies?
I actually meant to make a philosophical point there. All ideologies found in the contemporary West, from conservatism to postmodern critical theory, are ultimately rooted in some kind of philosophy. I think that the philosophy behind all of them is, to some extent, similar to fascism, because they place some other grand goal ahead of respect for each other's equal moral agency. This, I believe, makes them morally less sound from the point of view of the Western moral system. However, I’m certainly not saying that other ideologies are anywhere as immoral as fascism. It also doesn’t mean we can’t cooperate when we have common ground.
Think of it as a spectrum thing, with Moral Libertarianism being the most morally sound, and fascism being the least. Every other ideology found in the contemporary West would be somewhere in between.
4) Why are many of your books in yellow and purple?
I think they look good! Also, these colors often represent a moderate 'third' option in Western English-speaking world politics (as opposed to red and blue). Yellow is often associated with liberalism or libertarianism, and purple is often associated with moderation and compromise.