I have heard heard conservative and libertarian media pundits, academics, journalists, and intellectuals complain about Joe Biden’s recent U.S. Supreme Court pick of Ketanji Brown Jackson. Biden’s criteria was simple and straightforward—his nominee was to be, first and foremost, a black female. This was in keeping with his campaign promise to nominate a justice upon such criteria should he get the chance. He did, and here we are.
The problem, were are told, is that we should not be choosing those who shall serve on the highest legal court in the land, for life, according to immutable characteristics such as race and sex, but rather on “individual merit”.
I just have to laugh, here. I mean no disrespect, but seriously, the government wouldn’t exist if it acknowledged that individual merit was actually a thing. My goodness…I’m incredulous every time I think about just how unaware conservative and libertarian thinkers really are.
This assertion that Supreme Court nominees should be assessed on “individual merit” is of course rooted in what is ultimately a metaphysical premise regarding the nature of human beings. To declare that people must not be judged as members of a collective, exhibiting the proper, yet spurious, group-identity marker, or markers, such as race and sex, is to declare that what really makes a human being a human being is their individuality.
Well, what does that mean?
One’s singular, conscious frame of reference—that’s what it means to be an individual. What makes you uniquely YOU, is that you observe, interpret, and manifest your existence from a single existential frame of reference. This frame of reference is, functionally, the distinction between YOU and OTHER, where OTHER is other persons (other individuals), and the environment (the material context for the practical manifestation of Self-ness).
The distinction between Self and Other is the inexorable distinction between all human beings, and is why every one of us is morally equal to everyone else. No one person is any better than any other person, because “better” would mean possessing greater existential value. This of course is impossible since each individual is a function of an absolute and singular conscious frame of reference. In other words, each one of us is, at root, absolutely ourselves, and thus each one of us equally exists as Self. No one person has more or less existence than any other—to assert otherwise is obviously ludicrous. Thus, one cannot make an existential value distinction between individuals. Everyone, by dint existing as a singular Self, is morally equal. They have equal value and relevance to Reality,
The argument which naturally follows is this: Does this mean that the murderer and the thief, for example, are as “good” as anyone else? If all of us are morally equal at root because we all equally exist, what difference then does it make what a person does with his existence? How can we judge the murderer and the thief as evil if the plumb line for moral value is simply existing.
Here is the answer: The murderer and the thief have, by their choices and actions, utterly rejected themselves…that is, they have rejected their own existence as Self. In doing this, they no longer have meaning nor purpose, and thus can have no value.
Let me try to explain.
By violating the life and property of their fellow human beings they have forfeited all of their existential value by declaring, implicitly or explicitly, that such value is a lie. In other words, he who commits murder and theft rejects, first and foremost, their own individuality, and by this, their own fundamental worth. Having utterly devalued themselves, and so stripped themselves of any rational meaning and purpose to anyone or anything else, the criminal forces others to deal with him as a rank existential aberration—an object threat to individuality, not an expression of it. In other words, once the criminal rejects his own existence by engaging in theft or murder, he can be of no meaning, purpose, or value to others, and thus others have a moral right (and a moral obligation) to restrain him, and if needs must, eliminate him. To boil it down to a simplistic metaphor: If the glass refuses to hold water, then it has become nothing to me, an I shall throw it away.
There is much more to be said about this, but I will move on to the main point of this article.
The argument is that we should be selecting Supreme Court candidates based on their individual characteristics—how they think, how they interpret the law, their personal philosophies and morals, their individual experience in this or that school, this or that post, etcetera, etcetera—and not on collective, superficial, identity markers such as race and sex.
The problem, however, and one which our conservative and libertarian friends never seem to quite grasp for reasons that escape me, is that government is a collectivist institution, not an individualist one. In other words, the State simply cannot judge anyone according to their individual merit because the State does not and cannot recognize that individuality actually exists.
When I say that government is a collectivist institution, I mean that its very establishment is rooted in collectivist metaphysics, not individualist metaphysics, and these are mutually exclusive. The government exists to govern, and to govern means, fundamentally, to coerce behavior by violence and threats of violence. There is no such thing as government outside of this. None. There is no other real purpose for government besides coercing human behavior in order to serve the interest of a given Collective ideal.
In the case of the United States, the government claims in its founding documents to act on behalf of what it calls “The People”. However, one should not take this to mean “the persons”…even if the Founding Fathers intended it to mean this, because, given the nature of government, it can’t. No, no…these are completely different categories, rooted in completely different metaphysics. “Persons” are a group of individuals. “People” are a a sociopolitical entity to which individuals are inexorability fused. Put simply, the individual is a function of the People, not the other way around.
Government is Authority and Authority is Force. The government cannot consider one’s individual merit because as far as government is concerned, there is no such thing as the individual. It cannot consider one’s individual experience, because individual experience is by definition a function of one’s individual existence, which the collectivist metaphysics of government do not recognize.
Government does not and cannot and never will act in the interest of the individual, but only in the interest of the Collective Ideal it represents. This makes sense even on a the most rudimentary of logical basis. I mean, think about it. Think about the nature of your individual existence—what makes you YOU—and the complexity of it, and then see how stupid and ludicrous is the idea that somehow all which makes you individually you can be compelled/coerced by some third party Authority outside of you, which you most likely have never met and will never meet, and which knows nothing about you as a person. Think about the thousands of choices you make per day; your fleeting whims; your changing opinions; your capricious tastes; the fundamentally unpredictable nature of your environment from moment to moment; your fluid schedule, daily, weekly, monthly, or at the very least yearly. Even the most organized and regimented among us is faced with a thousand options per day and a mind that is constantly analyzing and assessing, evaluating and critiquing; and though it may seem like many of us simply operate on rote in some meta existential context, I can assure that this is not the case. Existence is contextualized to the individual…you observe and manifest your life from a singular conscious frame of reference. You are, at root, an “I”, not a “We”, and you know this in your heart. There can be no such thing as a fundamentally plural existential frame of reference. The relative relationship between environment and observer, which is a necessary prerequisite for Reality, Itself, can only work if the observer is singular. A “plurality of root observation”, or, simplified, a “plural observer”,” is a contradiction in terms. Sometimes you hear it called a “collective consciousness”. It’s complete nonsense.
For the government to presume that it can control the individual without denying individuality is a lie; and until we all understand this, government will continue to reduce humanity to corpses and chaos, just as it has always done and will always do, because that is all its nature can allow.
All this being said, it is a farce to think that the government can ever fundamentally judge a person based on their “individual merit”, as though the State is able to acknowledge that such a thing exists, let alone care about it. For the government to acknowledge individual merit—to acknowledge that the indiviudal is capable of any meaningful manifestation of his or her existence without the presumption and intrusion of the State—is for the government to deny its own legitimacy and thus its own existence.
The government will always and forever collectivize humanity…and, again, this is entirely unavoidable because it is a function of government’s nature at root. If the government is not collectivizing humanity, then it is not the government. The government will never consider one’s “individual merit”, for the simple reason that it doesn’t accept “the individual” as a legitimate existential concept. The government will judge, vet, review, examine, and consider every single of one us, be it a Supreme Court nominee or the guy selling oranges on the street near the quarry, only according to whatever Collective Ideal it decides it is manifesting and expressing at any given moment—in modern U.S. terms, Social Justice, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The government will value each and every one of us based upon the degree to which we serve and affirm this Collective Ideal, and this means that it will not judge us according to the complexity of individual characteristics, but the superficiality of group identity—that is, whether we are black or not. and female or not, with respect to the case of Biden’s Supreme Court nomination.
The government will never consider a Supreme Court nominee, nor anyone else, for a position on the basis of “individual merit”, and it has never really done so. Just because the Collective Ideal which makes one valuable to the State happens to be more ham-fisted, less nuanced, today (i.e. skin color and genitalia) than perhaps in the past doesn’t mean that the government is any more tolerant of the individual.
Biden simply did what was, in fact, the most rational thing he could do in picking a Supreme Court nominee: Promote the interests of the State over those of human beings.
What else is new?