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A Psychopath’s Responsibility

I’ve been asked repeatedly my thoughts on the girl who cajoled her boyfriend into killing himself, and I’ve been hesitant to really say much on the subject, but I’ve given the matter enough thought now. So strap in–we’re going to cover many different angles very quickly.

Prison?

Whether the girl is guilty of murder or not, prison is not the answer, because two wrongs don’t make a right. Whatever the girl may or may not be guilty of, prison is not the answer. So it goes without saying that, whatever my thoughts on what the girl did, I am not saying that she should be kidnapped and imprisoned against her will by the state.

With That Said…

I’m frankly stunned by the number of libertarians I’m seeing who express the sentiment that the girl bears absolutely no responsibility for the guy’s death, and, without being overly generalizing, I suspect that most of these people have never witnessed nor experienced psychological abuse. It should go without saying, though, that psychological abuse… is abuse. Not only is psychological abuse abuse, but it’s a critical tool in the psychopath’s toolbox, if not the most important tool at their disposal. It is, after all, psychological abuse that prevents men and women in violent relationships from leaving. It is what causes one to continually go back to the abuser, no matter how flagrant the abuses are. I’ve written about this before, having gone through it with a psychopath, and won’t spend a lot of time on it here.

I’ll say, however, that only someone who is ignorant of the damage that a psychopath can do to a person’s mind could allow someone to absolve psychopaths of the consequences of their psychological abuse. It is psychological abuse that causes teens to kill themselves. It is psychological abuse that causes transgender and gay teens to kill themselves. Psychological abuse, while not as obviously a violation of the NAP as punching someone yourself, clearly is a form of violence. I would argue that it’s a more horrific form of violence than physical abuse, because it is the psychological abuse that causes victims of violence to return to their abuser, and that causes kids in abusive homes to believe they are wicked and filled with demons, even if they have done nothing wrong, which may manifest in the person’s mind for decades to come, longer after the scars of any physical violence have healed.

It was long-term psychological abuse that caused me to be in the third grade and begging a devout Christian friend to stand before me and say, “Get thee behind me, Satan” to exorcise the demons from me–demons that I firmly believed possessed me because of the desires and needs that I had to repress. It was that same psychological abuse that caused me to be in my late 20s before I was able to come to terms with something that had been true at least since I was three years old and hiding my underwear so that I had an excuse to wear my sister’s. More than two decades of self-loathing, doubt, confusion, strife, and suicide attempts followed before I was able to come to terms with everything, and the psychological, religiously-motivated abuse is the reason why–a fact to which the scars on my wrists will testify.

I was in the fifth grade, I think, the first time I attempted to hang myself. Young and inexperienced, I used a braided leather belt. It snapped. For the next several years, I cut myself regularly. They were not suicide attempts by any means, but neither were they cries for attention; I did everything that I could to hide them. I wouldn’t be able to explain why I did it, but I did. My body is marked with scars from razor blades. My wrists, my upper arms, my chest, my legs… And, of course, there were the sincere attempts, the hospitalization in a behavioral ward, and all that fun stuff.

Testaments to the tremendous damage that extended psychological abuse can cause.

If you don’t think that the girl who texted her boyfriend and stayed on the phone with him as he cried out and choked to death bears any responsibility for that, then you don’t have any ground to stand on to lament what my father and grandmother did to me, because they are two manifestations of the same thing: psychological abuse.

The Psychopath’s Toolkit

The psychopath is an expert at manipulation. David Karesh, the Church of Scientology, and countless other cults around the world are experts at manipulation, but there are also those whose ambitions are smaller, and bloodlust more controlled. They seek out damaged people and then destroy them. They know exactly how to worm their way into your mind, and how to bend you to their will.

If you think you’re immune to it, you’re not.

The only thing a person can do to arm themselves against it is to gain knowledge in the psychopath’s tactics, to learn the manipulation techniques, to stay alert of them. However, in learning those techniques, a person will find out exactly how much damage a psychopath can do to a person’s mind, and I find it hard to believe, to be completely honest, that anyone aware of the manner in which a psychopath can manipulate a person’s mind and destroy their agency would go on to deny that the psychopath has responsibility for what this destroyed person does.

Where shall we draw the line?

Is it morally wrong to type out “kys” in World of Warcraft’s Trade Chat? Should a person be considered guilty of murder if, having typed that out to someone, that person then kills themselves?

Why do we have to draw a line?

“One size fits all” justice is fundamentally flawed, because the circumstances of actions matter, infinitely more than the actions themselves.

If I push someone down, and they break their arm, then I am guilty of assault.

However, if I push someone down and out of the way of an oncoming train, and they break their arm, then I am a hero.

What’s the difference? There isn’t one. In both scenarios, I pushed the person, they fell, and they broke their arm. The only thing that’s different are the circumstances. Since the circumstances are different, the hypothetical result if I had done nothing have changed. If I had done nothing in the first example, the person would have continued on through their day without a broken arm–a superior consequence than what came about when I pushed them. If I did nothing in the second example, though, the person would have died–an inferior consequence than what came about when I pushed them. We are comparing hypotheticals here, and we’re making our assessment of morality based around that. That is always how we assign our moral values.

The alternative, had this girl not taken her actions, are that the guy would still be alive. Because of her actions, he is dead.

I see no way of escaping the conclusion that she is responsible for that. We’re not talking about someone who opted not to run into a burning house to try to rescue someone else. We’re not talking about hateful children who laughed as they watched someone drowned, and who couldn’t have saved the drowning victim anyway*. We’re talking about a girl who explicitly told her psychologically vulnerable and long-term victim of psychological abuse boyfriend to get back in the vehicle and finish dying. I am stunned that so many people are arguing that she did nothing wrong simply because she didn’t physically hold the door shut.

Group Responsibility?

While discussing this with someone on Facebook, someone said that only the individual is responsible for their actions. I pointed out that, by this reasoning, Hitler was not responsible for the Holocaust, and Stalin was not responsible for the murder of twenty-five million Christian farmers. To my shock, she said that was correct–the individuals who carried out those orders were responsible.

I don’t deny that the individuals who committed the actions are responsible. I’ve pointed this out in the past. However, the person who gave the command is absolutely as responsible. That’s what it literally means to have authority, to have power over someone, to have the responsibility of making decisions for someone. The psychopath takes this power slowly and with systemic psychological abuse, but they take the power all the same. Even so, the brainwashing tactics of the military are shockingly similar to those used by psychopaths: destroy their individuality and make them dependent on the command structure. That’s at least as much the point of boot camp as is physical training. The stated purpose is to break people down as individuals and build them back up as a part of a machine. This is done through psychological abuse.

No one is saying “Group responsibility.”

I am saying that all individuals who play a role in making sure that an action is undertaken bear responsibility for that action being undertaken. Quite the opposite, I’m the one arguing for individual responsibility. I’m not absolved of responsibility if I order a friend to kill someone and that friend does it. “Woah! I didn’t kill that person!” I could argue, and these NAP-advocates, evidently (the ones with whom I’ve spoken directly) would agree. I didn’t kill that person.

Even though I’m literally the one who caused it to happen…

Yes, the soldier who drops the bomb bears responsibility for that. So does the commander who ordered the bomb to be dropped, though.

“They could just disobey orders” is an inadequate answer. And it’s true that, if everyone refused to obey orders, war would cease to exist. But who is advocating group responsibility now? For the individual, refusing to obey orders results in arrest, kidnapping, and imprisonment. Through coercive means, that individual has most, if not all, responsibility for the action waived, in the same way that we American citizens bear no responsibility for what the state does with our tax money because, through coercive means, we are forced to obey and pay taxes. You can’t have it both ways, where Americans aren’t to blame for how tax dollars are used because we could just choose to not pay taxes, but other individuals are to blame for the results of actions they take under duress.

To say that only the person who personally executes a given action is responsible for that action is short-sighted and extremely narrow. It is tunnel vision on the minutae of the action. There is a lot of cause and effect that goes into every single action that a person takes, and not all of that is the person’s fault–much of it is beyond that person’s control. To suggest that only the person who personally executes the action is responsible is to say that a man who wakes one day to find a gun to his head and someone telling him, “If you don’t find and kill one person right now, I will kill you,” is the only person responsible for the action he commits, and that the person who put the gun to his head and gave him that ultimatum bears no responsibility.

“He still made the choice, though… He could have chosen to just die. He didn’t. He chose to murder someone, so that’s on him!”

It’s such a narrow way of viewing… reality. Cause and effect. Actions and consequences. Responsibility.

Suicide Isn’t a Violation of the NAP

No, it isn’t, and a person of sound mind has every right to take their own life. I’ve argued before, and will again, that suicide is not indicative of mental illness. However, this guy in question was clearly mentally ill. He was clearly unstable and incapable of making the decision to kill himself. If he was capable of making that decision alone, he wouldn’t have gotten out of the vehicle, for fuck’s sake. That he did get out of the vehicle is ipso facto proof that he did not have the agency required to soundly make the decision to kill himself.

I think a lot of the people arguing that the girl didn’t do anything “that wrong” don’t know what the girl did. They seem to think she just sent a few text messages. If only that was the extent of what she did… But it isn’t. He got out of the vehicle and called her, and she told him to get back in and finish killing himself. Then she stayed on the phone with him while he cried out in agony and died, because she wanted to ensure that he did see it through. That’s a FAR cry from typing out “kys” in a chatroom.

Through the verbal persuasion that is the gift of the psychopath, she held him in that vehicle until he died.

You can’t possibly think that a guy who got out of a vehicle, having decided that he didn’t want to go through with killing himself, called his girlfriend, and then climbed back in and stayed on the phone with her while he died was “of sound mind” to be making decisions about whether he wanted to live or die. The girl was clearly a poison to him.

If someone called you and confessed that they had been about to kill themselves, but gotten out of the vehicle, would you, under any circumstances, tell them to get back in, and then stay with them on the phone while they died? Absolutely not. Every single one of us would say, “Where are you? I’m coming to get you. Stay on the phone with me while I drive to you. Don’t get back in the vehicle.”

Because we’re not psychopaths.

No, we shouldn’t let the state set precedents in its One Size Fits All legal system that would allow it to prosecute anyone who ever said “kill yourself” in a text message, phone call, or chat room. Yet there’s an enormous gap between these things and what this girl did. And just as we should not allow the state to set precedents like that, neither should we set the precedent that psychopaths are not responsible for the consequences of their psychological abuse because it technically doesn’t include physical assault.

But abuse is abuse.

The NAP does not specify that violence has to be physical.

* Those who are not trained divers or trained lifeguards should never attempt to rescue a drowning person. Cold though it is to say, attempting it will ensure only that two people die. Drowning people thrash wildly, panicking, and are extremely likely to knock you unconscious. If you do not have a lifejacket and a rope or boat, you should never attempt to rescue a drowning person yourself, unless you’ve explicitly been trained to be a fantastic swimmer. Not only that, but if you do manage to get behind the person without being knocked unconscious, do you know how heavy another human being is when you’re pulling them through water? The average person doesn’t have the stamina to swim a hundred yards alone, much less when dragging someone else through the water.

Justice, Punishment, and AnCap Principles

It’s come to my attention–via hearsay, as I’ve never read the person in question–that Walter Block argues that punishment in a stateless society isn’t strictly necessary, but what is important is that survivors are doubly repaid for losses. This seems to deal primarily with theft, but there was also a solution relayed to me regarding murder: simply, the murder would work for the surviving family for the rest of his life.

I… can’t get on board with any of this.

These are the moments when the principle of Non Aggression gets skewed. I have no idea if Walter Block advocates these things are not, but they are grotesque and immoral, and are no better than the state system of law and punishment we have now. So because a man did something wrong, he is to be condemned to being a slave for the rest of his life? What part of that is supposed to be in accord with AnCap principles? What part of that is supposed to be in accord with non aggression? Slavery is among the greatest violations of the NAP, to take someone and force them to work for you because they wronged you and your family member…

Two wrongs don’t make a right.

I know it’s hard. Believe me, I really do. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t see some news article from the tri-state area about a body being found in the mountains, in a lake, or in a ditch, and every single time some part of me hopes… “Could this be it? Could this be my mother?” I know damned well what it’s like to lose a family member to murder, and I know what it’s like to live with that, to live with the murderer getting away with absolutely no punishment whatsoever because the body was thoroughly discarded. So you’re not going to find too many more people with the stable ground to say this:

There is nothing that could be done to bring justice to my murdered mother. It’s done. It’s over. She’s dead. While I would love nothing more than to have her rotting body buried somewhere respectable, with a tombstone so that I could finally put her to rest, even that would do nothing to alleviate any of the sorrow or pain, and it definitely wouldn’t bring her back. I know exactly who killed her, but without a body there’s nothing to be charged with. He lives a life of relative comfort, now a trained engineer or something like that, and has the love of his children and his other family members. There is nothing that can be done to him that would constitute justice.

This is the conceit that is breaking modern society: there’s no such thing as justice. It’s an imaginary idea. What we mean when we say “justice” is “This person did something wrong, so we’re going to get revenge, but we’re going to call it something else because we want to convince ourselves that our wrongful act against him is somehow different than the wrongful act he committed.” But it isn’t, because two wrongs don’t make a right.

It’s wrong to kidnap people at gunpoint, hold them against their will, and force them into slave labor, to force them into situations where they live in concrete jungles and have to fight for their lives or be raped. That’s morally wrong. There are no exceptions.

Truth be told, there is only one way for me to have justice over my mother’s murder by what most people would call my uncle, and that would be… forgiveness. Forgiving him is the only way to ease the pain in my heart and to release the sorrow. Isn’t that the point of justice? To ease the victim’s pain? Punishment doesn’t ease the victim’s pain; it converts it into zealous excitement and lust for vengeance. Just like if your wife cheats on you, it won’t ease your pain to then go out and cheat on your wife; it will only exacerbate it, enlarge it, and lengthen it. No, the only way forward, the only way to recovery, and the only way toward justice is through forgiveness.

“Through forgiveness.”

That phrasing isn’t accidental. Forgiveness is a difficult labyrinth that must be navigated, with pitfalls and temptations hiding around every corner. Through the darkness emanate the whispers, “Why should you be the one putting in the effort? You did nothing wrong! He should be the one who pays! He should be the one who suffers! Haven’t you suffered enough? It’s time for him to pay for what he did!” These voices rarely cease while one travels through the labyrinthine, internal mind, coming to terms with the past and accepting its role in shaping the present.

It’s not supposed to be easy to forgive people, but forgiveness is all about the forgiver; it has nothing to do with the aggressor. I realized this when I was asked what, if anything, Vegas Chick could do to cause me to forgive her. I realized that there was nothing she could do, because it didn’t have anything to do with her. It had everything to do with me and my own emotional responses. I had a choice: to cling to the negative emotions, or to let them go. A demand for some kind of contrition, some kind of punishment… is clinging to the negative emotions. It never releases them, and releasing them is the only way to travel from the land of the wounded to the land of peace.

It’s also not easy to forgive the man who murdered my mother for unknown reasons. It’s not easy to forgive him for being the sole reason that I will be buried long before her body is ever discovered, if, indeed, her body is ever found. It’s not supposed to be easy to take a deep breath, let the negativity wash away, and say, “I forgive you.”

As a society, we have a passionate lust for revenge, and we love our euphemisms precisely because they allow us to pretend like it’s not revenge that we’re after. Years ago, when working through these ideas, I decided that the difference had to be that justice was impartial and vengeance was personal. In other words, if you enacted punishment against the murder on my behalf, then it was justice; if I did it, then it was vengeance. I’ve since realized how wrong that is. You acting on my behalf doesn’t change anything. It’s just a convenient way for me to shirk the responsibility; it’s just a handy way for me to pretend like I’m not the one responsible for the aggression being committed against someone else. “I’m not doing it!” I could proclaim. “They’re doing it!”

Except they’re doing it with my blessing. And whether I have the power to stop them or not–in the modern American system, I probably don’t have the power to stop the court system from prosecuting him, if her body was ever discovered–it wouldn’t change the fact that they’re doing so on my behalf, on my mom’s behalf, and on my sister’s behalf. But what if my sister and I both expressed that we wanted it forgiven, not punished? Because I would absolutely go before court and argue such a thing, even for the person who murdered my mother. Our testimony would mean little. We wouldn’t be able to simply drop the charges, despite being the only survivors of the murdered woman and therefore having more claim to express her wishes than anyone else.

And why? Because the state would be acting instead on behalf of Straw Victims it has imagined, and those Straw Victims are more important than my sister and me.

Punishment doesn’t end an injustice. It extends it.

Alternatives

The goal can’t be to punish someone. Punishment must be incidental, if it happens at all.

I don’t dispute that, once someone murders another person, individuals–whether elected or hired–have the purview to take measures to prevent the murderer from murdering anyone else. How this is to be accomplished, however, is a question of extreme importance. The obvious answer, according to most people, is to “Throw them in prison and throw away the key!”

No, because that doesn’t really prevent murder. The murder rate in prison is pretty high, and you won’t get most rational people to agree to a life sentence for one murder. Hell, the person we’re talking about served only 7 of a ten year sentence for murder. So the person is ultimately going to get back out of prison–or will kill someone in prison, bypassing the “out of prison” part altogether and committing a murder, meaning our preventative efforts failed. Since prison inmates have a 75% likelihood of going back to prison, prison is clearly an ineffective way of preventing crime from happening again. It may or may not prevent some crime, but it’s too ineffective to be our Yes, That’s the Best Solution answer.

I don’t know that I really have an alternative. Extensive therapy by trained psychologists would obviously be in order. Is there any way to fix this person’s damaged brain? Because, without exception, something has broken down in the moral centers of the murderer’s brain. That’s a given, because normal, healthy people don’t murder other people. We find the idea repugnant in every conceivable way, and we would not murder another person even if we knew that we could get away with it without any consequences at all. It’s not punishment or fear of punishment that stays our hands; it’s our own internal morality. Once that internal morality breaks down, no amount of laws will protect someone.

The goal of prison was supposed to be to segregate, punish, and rehabilitate. It fails on all accounts. A scary number of innocent people have landed in prison, without even getting into the number of people in prison for committing “victimless crimes*”. So criminals are not segregated from the innocent. Nor are they punished, at least not in the way that society likes to pretend. Drug abuse and sex are rampant in prison. It’s often easier to find hardcore drugs in prison than it is to find them on the streets. As for rehabilitation–you’re kidding right? I would bet my shiny new tickets to the A Perfect Circle show in Nashville that most the 25% of former prisoners who don’t return to prison are simply too old upon release to be out there raping and killing people, or whatever they did to go to prison in the first place.

There has to be some way of preventing someone from committing another murder, and that’s what our focus should be on. Not punishment. Punishment only exacerbates the amount of wrongdoing in the world. Killing someone because they killed someone doesn’t reduce the amount of killing in the world; it obviously increases it by one. Kidnapping and holding someone against their will for kidnapping and holding someone against their will doesn’t reduce the amount of people being kidnapped and held against their will; it increases it by one. There is no justice as long as we are doing things that add more murder, more kidnapping, more imprisonment, more rape, and more violence to the world.

Justice, as an ideal, must be incapable of increasing the amount of aggression in the world. If it increases the amount of aggression, then it cannot be justice. That must be our metric for determining what is justice and what isn’t.

It starts with forgiveness.

This doesn’t mean that a person shouldn’t be held to account for acts of aggression, or that there should be no consequences. It does, however, change the goals of the consequences. Rather than seeking punishment, we should seek prevention. “What can we do to make sure this man never kills again?” should be our guiding question, not, “How can we make this man suffer for what he did?” The act is done. Making him suffer won’t fix anything and won’t help anything; it will only increase the amount of suffering in the world.

And two wrongs don’t make a right.

This is very different from catching someone in the act of aggression and having the opportunity to stop the act from escalating. If you walk in on some thief beating the hell out of your family member and you shoot and kill that thief, you’ve done nothing wrong. You prevented a beating from escalating into what probably would have been a murder. Since the thief initiated the aggression, you did what you had to do to protect another human being who had done nothing to initiate the attack. But what if you came home from work and you knew who had beaten your brother half to death and stolen your laptops and television? Would it be morally right to chase that person down and kill them? I don’t think many people would say “Yes” to that, and I certainly wouldn’t. Because at that point, you’re no longer preventing; you’re punishing.

We need a lot of spiritual growth–a phrase I use colloquially. It’s true, though. Before we can have a stateless society, we have to have a society where no one is asking “How can we punish criminals?” Because a stateless society can’t answer that question, because a stateless society forbids the use of force, violence, and coercion. “How can we punish criminals” is the wrong question, coming from a dark place in the human heart that prefers vengeance to forgiveness, and that’s something we have to let go of. We have to learn to forgive. Once we have a society of people asking the right question–“How can we prevent a murderer from killing again?”–then we will be ready to enjoy the luxuries of a stateless society.

This is part of the reason that the state is so tied to the criminal system, of course. It wants us to confuse punishment with justice, because as long as we’re erroneously calling punishment “justice,” we’ll despise any system that seeks to deny it to us. “You mean you’re not going to punish that child rapist? He should have his dick cut off! He should be publicly castrated! Fuck him! Throw him in prison with Big Jim!”

No… No.

That’s vengeance, not justice.

Yes, by all means, and absolutely: let’s prevent that rapist from raping again. That’s mandatory, once they have done such a horrific act. But punishment isn’t going to do it. And when taking steps to prevent the act from occurring again, we should be mindful whether our motivation is to sate our bloodlust for vengeance, or whether our motivation is to actually protect future victims from being similarly harmed. Only by using the correct path can we arrive at the correct destination.

Bloodlust leads to punishment and, 75% of the time, repeat offenses.

Forgiveness leads to justice and prevention.

So what do we do about criminals in a stateless society? I don’t know. But I’d love for us to put our brilliant minds and our empathic hearts together and come up with a solution that actually works without increasing the amount of suffering in the world and while releasing the primordial instinct within us that demands we take an eye for an eye.

* Otherwise called “choices”.

I’m Thankful For the Free(ish) Market

Clearly, what we have here in the United States isn’t a free market. It’s occasionally free in a few places, if you’re careful and if you’re doing something very innocuous, but we can’t really say that there is “a free market” here simply because the state doesn’t intervene in a few limited areas. No, we have a Fascist Market here in the United States, not a “capitalist plus regulation” one, because one simple pillar of capitalism has been utterly destroyed: private property.

Just this week, during emails to a friend of mine, I said,

We have meaningless property–the same property we’d be allowed to claim as ours under communism. Consumption items, I guess I’d call them. Food, televisions, phones. But actual, meaningful property? It’s not ours. It’s the government’s. Your house will always be the government’s and if you don’t pay your extortion fee, they will take it from you. With private property, that’s not the case: you are the owner, and anyone taking it from you is stealing it (unless you explicitly signed a voluntary contract with the property as collateral). Your house isn’t yours. It’s yours as long as you pay the government. If it’s your property, why can’t you add your own septic tank? Why can’t you add a wing to it? Why can’t you raise cows on it? Because it’s not yours. You’re simply allowed the privilege of using it as long as you pay their rental fees and abide their ownership rules.

And if they want, they can go “eminent domain” and take it from you. Their claim to it always supersedes yours x but they’ll let you stay as long as you follow their rules and pay rent to them.

Private property protects us from exactly that. But it’s not private. It’s “private per the government’s TOU, per your payment of extortion, and per their disinterest in it.” It’s an illusion that we can maintain until we come face to face with it, like the illusion people have that the police aren’t omnipotent falling apart once a person has been pulled over at 3 in the morning and held at their mercy.

To this, the friend replied:

I truly am not following you. In fact, I’m wondering if you’re joking with me. Are you not aware that the vast majority of property in the US is owned – outright – by private interests? For example, my father OWNS two houses outright – bought, fully paid for. No mortgage, no loan, no rent, no monthly fees, certainly no “extortion.” The farm, for example: Dad owns that house, the place you live in, and 10 acres of land. He owns vehicles, tractors, farming implements, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in furniture and assets related to my mom’s business. He owns buildings in <area>, the property they sit on, and for years he owned mini-storage units that he sold outright to another individual. Before that he owned a large building on 3rd St in Memphis, paid it off, and sold it, too. At any point he can sell anything he owns and do whatever he wishes with the money.

The house I live in: it’s owned, 100%, outright, by my father in law. He paid it off in full when he sold his part of <edited> Company – a company that was co-owned by two men.  He can dig a hole tomorrow and bury a septic tank by lunch, if he wants. Neither my dad nor my father in law pays the government anything in the way of rent, fees, or extortion. I guess you could say property taxes are along the lines of “fee,” but that’s a totally different matter than private ownership. Taxes are real. And taxes suck. But the property – land, houses, assets, etc – are owned outright.
My cousin is a farmer. He farms about 3000 acres of prime MS Delta farmland. He owns about 1/3 of it, and he leases the rest – from rich, “landed gentry” in the delta. Neither he as leasor or the landowners are in any way beholden to the government. If anything, most Americans spend their lives beholden to banks and other creditors – which themselves are private interests, owners of vast assets. In fact, what individuals don’t own, banks do, generally speaking. But the government certainly doesn’t own it.
I’m really not following you on this one. Are you speaking figuratively, or perhaps referring to taxes?
And I was truly blown away.

How could he not be following me? What I described was clearly taxation. And despite drawing a direct line from taxation to how it turns us into glorified renters, because of the words involved, he was unable to see what I was saying. I remarked that it was curious how dangerous words are. It’s so clear I don’t know how else to put it: if you don’t pay your extortion fees–property taxes–to the state, then they will take your house from you. How is it your property if you must continually pay a fee just to prevent it from being taken from you?

So even though we have to pay the government taxes regularly to prevent them from taking our property from us, we are not beholden to the government. It’s one thing to have to pay a bank monthly to keep the land, and that certainly does curtail ownership, but it’s a completely different thing to have to pay the government to keep the land, which doesn’t curtail ownership because “those are taxes.” As I said–what a danger words are. The situation I described is unimpeachable; it is a fact of life in the United States, but because he waves it away as this word “taxes,” it gets compartmentalized in his head as something that must be ignored.

Medicine and the Free Market

the-state-vs-the-marketWe can never have free market medicine until the ability of doctors to prescribe medication is no longer sanctioned by the state. Pharmacies, of course, can set their own policies. Does Pharmacy X wish to allow people to get medications without a prescription? Maybe they will for most medications, but won’t allow people to get opiates without a doctor’s prescription? Maybe Pharmacy Y will allow anyone to get any medications they want–as long as they are 18, I suppose, though I would also be against that.

There are several gatekeepers in the way of a person getting medication that they need.

First, it is simply assumed that the doctor knows more about your condition and physiology than you do. In a lot of cases, this is true, because someone who self-diagnoses through Web MD may go to the doctor asking for treatment for a disease contracted by not properly cooking frog legs that came from the Amazon Rainforest, when they really just have a cold. Is this always going to be the case, though? Certainly not.

I’ve contracted pneumonia four times in my life; I have a known susceptibility to it, and it will almost certainly be what kills me one day. I know exactly what it feels like, and I don’t need a doctor running a bunch of tests to confirm that I have pneumonia. This is a minor example, because the “tests” involve little more than using a stethoscope to hear your breathing, but the point remains perfectly valid. I can probably recognize the illness better than most doctors, but there isn’t a doctor alive who would just “take my word for it,” because the state would drop the hammer on them quickly if they turned out to be wrong.

The pharmacy, though, is the true holder of the drugs and the true gatekeeper. After all, they are the ones with shelves full of all kinds of pills, most of them as damaging as whatever symptom they’re supposed to address, but they will only give you those pills if you have a sheet of paper from a doctor–which costs, roughly, $100 to acquire. Why? Because the government has sectioned these pills off into varying degrees of acceptability, and if they let you have those pills without that doctor’s scrap of paper, then the state will drop the hammer on them. If they have that sheet of paper, then they have no responsibility in the matter; the responsibility is shifted to the doctor who gave you the prescription.

So what I’m about to call “free market medicine” isn’t in any sense truly free market.

My Involvement With Free Market Medicine

Last year, I took the extraordinary step of accepting that I am transgender. It was actually about a year ago today that I dropped the ultimatum on my sister that she could accept me or lose me, but I’m not going to hide it. Still, I was not doing well financially, having had my life completely wrecked by someone who betrayed me about as completely as anyone ever betrayed anyone, and it was a long, painful, awful road from that to where I am today.

Obviously, she chose not to have anything to do with me.

Click for full image

Click for full image. It’s more self-aware and devastating than you’d expect, so be warned.

So in January I moved, and I was not making very much money–about $150 a week on good weeks, but it actually came closer to about $100 a week on average. It certainly wasn’t easy, but I managed.

I had spent the previous few months looking into hormone therapy, and ran into brick wall after brick wall. Everything I found online suggested that even if I did find a doctor in Mississippi who would be willing to prescribe me estrogen, they would not do so until I had been in therapy for at least six months, and then all they would do is send me to an endocrinologist who, after extensive testing, would determine the quantity of estrogen that I could take.

Not only was I too old for that–because late twenties is old to be taking hormones to change your freaking gender, so don’t offer me any of that “No, you’re still young!” crap if you don’t know what you’re talking about–but there was no way that I could possibly have afforded it. Affording all that was a pipe dream with no relation to my situation. And I didn’t want to wait six months; I’d waited more than twenty years, mostly because my fundamentalist Christian parents had traumatized me to the extent that I’d forced myself to forget… It’s not something that’s easy to convey. But it took a long time to come to terms with all of that. And it took courage to say, “I’m an adult with friends and family who all know me as a male. But screw it. I’m coming out as transgender.”

So I turned to the Internet.

I was not just researching how to get hormones through the previous few months; I was learning everything there was to know about estrogen and taking it, with the only thing I couldn’t find being its impact on a person’s face. Luckily, it absolutely does impact the face–which is good because I’m sick of my masculine eyebrows, and they are, thankfully, the result of fat and muscle rather than the result of bone. It’s why it frustrates me when transgender friends lie to me about the effects hormones have on them: one girl told me that, after a year, she had already grown C cups. And no… No, she hadn’t. She might have had B cups, but with her using her arms to prop them up it was hard to tell. I know Cs, though–that’s my favorite cup size, and those are no Cs. Plus, the idea that a transgender person will grow C cups in one year is absurd. They probably won’t ever grow C cups, and if they do it will only be after the full 2+ year period of taking high doses of estrogen everyday.

I finally found a website that would let me order them, but it seemed a bit fishy. It was located in China, first of all, and no prescription was required in order to buy the estradiol. Most places I checked did require that a prescription be faxed to them, so obviously I was a bit skeptical. However, I took some money and ordered 56 quantity.

Nearly a month later, they arrived. That was in February.

The next several months were extraordinarily difficult. Every time that I tried to repurchase, the payment failed to process. The pharmacy said that my bank was blocking the international transaction. I spoke with my bank repeatedly, and they were not receiving any attempt to charge my account, much less blocking one. We underwent 3-way calls, and never arrived at a solution. Finally, I took some money and, after having been out of hormones for weeks because of the delays–

For whatever freaking reason, this international pharmacy does not process payments when you make them. They process your payment at some point “within the next 24 hours” after you give them your info. This meant that I had to give them my info one day, and then wait until the next day to find out if there was a problem. If there was a problem, then we would try something else–usually speaking with my bank–and then we’d try again, only for it to fail again. These sort of delays cost me months of being on hormones.

I finally bought a reloadable debit card from a store, loaded it with the money I needed, and the purchase went right through. The next month rolled around, and I took the card to the store, reloaded it, and–once again, the payment failed. Now, it was already difficult to come up with the $60~ I needed every month; there was no way at that point in time that I would have been able to order the next batch of hormones until the very last minute. Now I order them with plenty of room to spare, but I wasn’t able to then.

After a week of making no progress and repeatedly running into that same problem where they couldn’t process the payment because my bank was “blocking the transaction,” even though Visa insisted that they were not blocking the transaction, I broke down and asked a friend to order them, and I’d give him the cash. He did, and the payment went right through. There was yet another period of going 2-3 weeks without any hormones, completely undoing the previous period of taking them.

Not to mention that I was in some kind of emotional state from this extreme fluctuation of hormones. From 8mg estrogen a day for three weeks to zero mg of estrogen a day for three weeks. It’s amazing that I managed to be calm to any degree.

The next refill time came around, and I decided to just purchase another identical reloadable card. But wouldn’t you know it? I bought the wrong damned one. I meant to buy a My Vanilla card, and instead bought a One Vanilla card because, fuck me, I didn’t expect there to be a fucking difference. There was a difference, though, and that difference was that One Vanilla cards couldn’t be used internationally. So I had $65 on a reloadable Visa that served absolutely no purpose, and did not have the $65 I needed to buy the correct one for another week, since you can’t use a debit card to buy a reloadable debit card.

I think it was in July that I worked out the last of the problems, and had been taking hormones consistently for about two months–even though there were fluctuations in the dosage to avoid running out–when I ran into the last snag. I don’t recall what the last snag was; it may have been the one I just described, of buying the stupid One Vanilla card. No, it wasn’t that. Fucking USPS had lost my shipment. That’s what it was. They were just gone, having been sent to Jackson, MS, which was currently being overhauled and which was out of the way of where I lived. They should have gone to Memphis, and then to my local post office. Instead, they went right past Memphis and onto Jackson. And I had one day left, at only 2 mg a day–just enough to keep from undoing the progress I’d made, perhaps.

With nowhere else to turn, I called a pharmacy and told them everything. The pharmacist there, when I told him I’m transgender, confessed that he wasn’t that, but he was “something” himself. Like “No kidding, dude. You’re gay. I think everyone knows that.”

Thanks to his kind heart and sympathy, I was able to make it. He stole something like 46 2mg estrogen tabs, met me when he got off work, and then gave them to it at no cost. Why couldn’t I just have walked into the pharmacy and bought some of these non-narcotic meds? Because of the government. I am extremely thankful to this person for helping me out. And, wouldn’t you know it, ten days later USPS finally delivered the hormones, and I’d already ordered another batch, finally placing me ahead of the cycle.

Customs in New York rubberstamps my packages now when they arrive from Denmark. It’s a strange thing, but yeah–order from China, they ship from Denmark or Germany. Initially, my packages stayed in Customs for 2 or 3 days; now, they’re in and out. So I’m thankful to the people in Customs for recognizing the name on the package, the size of the package, and the contents of the package, and sending it straight on without delay.

Believe it or not, I’m also thankful to Barack Obama, who has promised not to prosecute or impede anyone who orders their medicines online from other countries. While that is fantastic, this entire arrangement could change under President Trump, and that does scare me. Rather than giving a blanket pardon and absolution to everyone ordering medicine internationally, Obama would have done more for health care in the United States if he had repealed the laws that make it technically illegal in the first place–even if he has promised not to enforce those laws.

I suspect, given his propensity for “free-ish markets” that Trump won’t do anything to limit the competition, either.

But this is why competition is such a beautiful thing. If all of these laws were repealed, then pharmacies here in the United States would have to compete with the International Drug Mart to get my business, by offering me lower prices and lower shipping. But they can’t, and they won’t, because they don’t have to. Instead, they can just petition the government to make it illegal to order medicine internationally, and then they have me by my transgender balls, able to charge me whatever they want and capable of making me jump through whatever hoops they want.

Things are different now. Obama, I have heard, has mandated that all doctors must assist transgender patients. I’m not okay with that, because I think that should be between the doctor and the patient. I was not happy when regulations required the doctor to send the patient to six months of therapy, and I’m not happy now that regulations require the doctor to write hormones to anyone who asks for them, whether they may be making a mistake or not. I think the doctor should be able to sit down with me and make that determination himself about whether he thinks I’m serious, without being afraid that I will sue him if he thinks some therapy would do me some good. If he did, I would just find a different doctor.

That wasn’t the case in January, though, that’s for damned sure.

Those eyebrows and cheeks, though... Just gotta let the hormones do their thing now. :/

Those eyebrows and cheeks, though… Just gotta let the hormones do their thing now. :/

Because of all these shenanigans, I don’t actually know how long I’ve been on hormones. It’s not an easy estimate to make, and international delays still occasionally cause me to have to cut down to 4mg a day–on occasion only 2mg a day–while I wait on the next package to arrive. I would guess, though, that it’s coming on five months of continuous, uninterrupted estrogen. The funny part about that is that my situation would be about the same today if I’d gone through the “proper” channels, only I’d have burned through a whole lot more money and would have been totally at the mercy of people who, for some reason, had the right to decide for me whether or not I should be on hormones. And, no, I’d probably just be in month 2 or so, if I’d gone the official route, when instead I’m actually starting to look fairly feminine.

My muscles are finally beginning to drop off–if only slightly so far–and there’s no doubt whatsoever that I’m growing breasts. I’m thankful that there was a backdoor for me to take control of my life and not be at the mercy of the government, its machinations, and the myriad mechanisms it has in place to force me to live according to the parameters set by other people.

The free market allows me to be transgender.

What are you not allowed to do because markets aren’t free? I’d wager there are more things than you’d immediately think of.

How To Stand Corrected

In the course of my life, I have been wrong about plenty of things. This should be obvious, since I started life as a typical Christian conservative who believed I was possessed by demons because I was transgender and ultimately became an atheistic anarchist, passing through socialism and full-blown communism in the process. So not only have I been wrong in the past, I have been absurdly wrong.

stand-correctedWhen one undertakes the quest to find the truth, it’s never about finding out what is true. It’s about ruling out what isn’t. You have to try an idea out like a pair of glasses, walk around with them on for a little while, and only then can you determine whether they feel right. You have to keep an open mind, always willing to put on a new pair of glasses, no matter how silly you might think they initially look.

I used to make a little show of correcting myself, in fact. When I argued with Matt Dillahunty of the Atheist Experience over the Great Pyramid and his assertion that its “size” is analogous to the Luxor in Vegas because he was intentionally excluding mass from counting, when the reality is that the fact that it’s made out of 70 ton stone blocks is precisely what makes the Great Pyramid so damned remarkable, just so that he could write-off what some conspiracy loon was saying about ancient aliens, there was one point where I had to backpedal.

While it did seem to me that the best way to backpedal, since the discussion was relatively public, was to publicly acknowledge that I was backpedaling, that I had been mistaken on one area or another, the entire thing was irrelevant. Matt then, in the way most people do, took my clarification of something as admission that I was wrong, declared himself the victor, and walked away. Austin Petersen attempted something similar, when I foolishly allowed for the possibility that I was mistaken in my understanding of his positions, seizing the opportunity–as Matt did and as any troll would–to say something like, “If your facts are wrong, how can your conclusion be right?” even though it had no bearing on what I said.

Even among people who ordinarily function as intellectuals, debates devolve into a bitter war between two sides who refuse to appear weak. Since any hint of weakness will be touted by the spectating masses as losing the argument, no backpedaling is allowed–and, if you must backpedal, you must do it quietly, without anyone noticing. But, realistically, the best thing you can do–in the eyes of the masses–is to dig that hole deeper. Anything but admit you’re wrong and need to re-evaluate your position.

Gary Johnson did this in the Stossel Debate, when asked whether a Jewish bakery should have been forced to bake a cake for Nazis. Everything about the question screamed two things. First, Johnson had to find a way to deny the validity of the analogy. People do this a lot–in fact, Americans are great at it. It doesn’t matter how obvious and clear the parallels are; they will deny its validity. Johnson was intellectually honest enough to not attempt this route, though. The second response would have been to stop and re-evaluate his position, to backpedal, and to admit that he may be wrong and needs to consider it further. Instead, Johnson dug deeper, saying there before all the people watching that, in his opinion, yes, a Jewish bakery should have been forced to bake a cake for Nazis.

Unsurprisingly, Johnson went on to quietly rectify this remark–somewhat–and quietly tried to smooth over how he called religious freedom a black hole. It’s revealing that Johnson didn’t do this in the debate with everyone watching; he chose to do it later, rather than appear weak.

I’ve long since stopped bothering to admit that I’m wrong about something, but it’s not because I refuse to appear weak. I don’t have enough of an audience for that to matter.

It’s because those public admissions that I was wrong were never anything more than showcases of ego. “Look at me! Look how intellectually honest and humble I am! I’m so humble and so great that I’ll write a 2,000 word article admitting that I’m wrong!” Honestly, I’m disgusted that I ever did it, but human existence is a constant battle against one’s own ego–I don’t mean “ego” in the Freudian sense, but in the sense of “the image of self.”

As a transsexual person who often finds herself explaining to people that there is no meaningful difference between me today and me of two years ago, the image of self is something I spend a lot of time thinking about. You undoubtedly have some image of me, just as I probably have some image of you. Let’s not kid ourselves here. Your image of me probably doesn’t look anything like me, and my image of you probably doesn’t look anything like you. You might have the advantage and may be closer to “me” if you’ve watched my more personal videos on Youtube, but even then you’re only getting an incomplete picture.

This is intentional, though… Putting up a complete picture has bitten me in the ass at least twice. But even if I wasn’t intentionally separating things today–another reason I took down Shemale Diary and renamed it elsewhere, to write about my personal affairs–you still wouldn’t get a full picture of me. This is neither here nor there, though.

The reality is that you have some image of me in your head, but you know what else? I have some image of me in my head, as well.

And you have some image of you in your head, as well.

The reality is that these images very rarely coincide with us in reality. I’ve always been fascinated by the topic of wondering how other people perceive me, but it’s a question that can never be answered. Where does their image of me differ from my image of me? Where does my image of me differ from me? Who is “me?” Is “me” the image that other people have, the image that I have, or none of the above?

This is the crux of ego: that self-image, and conflicts between that self-image and the actual self. This is why transgenderism ends up claiming so many lives: people don’t just have a self-image, and people don’t just see disparity between that and who they are, but they also have an idealized image. I realize this sounds similar to Freud’s Id, Ego, and Superego. That’s probably coincidental. Anyway, conflicts between these things cause substantial internal conflict. The person who looks in the mirror and sees a man while looking in the mind’s eye and seeing a woman has their work cut out for them in resolving the disparities. We all have these conflicts, whether it always includes gender and sex or not.

I feel like I’m rambling, but also that it’s important rambling.

The point is that my self-image through all of those public acknowledgements that I’m wrong was this ultra-intellectual person who was so humble that they drew pride from their humility. That’s the problem of ego, of course. Attempting to abolish the ego is, by definition, an act of ego. I could put up the pretense of humility, and many people would accept it at face value: “Look at this person so humble that they can admit when they’re wrong! Awesome!” Yet the reality was far more insidious than that. There was nothing humble about it, because it was “Look at me, I’m so humble that I can admit when I’m wrong! Admire that!”

I don’t mean to suggest that I ever consciously did this. Of course not, and I haven’t been clear if that seems to be what I’m saying. An act of ego is so rarely aware that it is an act of ego. I didn’t see the underlying sense of pride in what I was doing, but there it was, nonetheless, hidden beneath the mask of humility.

In the past six months or so, I’ve altered my worldview in several ways, and I will continue to do so as new facts are brought to my attention and as I am exposed to new perspectives. I am more correct today than I have ever been, because that is the search for truth and I have left thousands of ideas lying in the wreckage behind me, but it’s not about never being wrong.

It’s about being less wrong today than you were yesterday.

Libertarian Abortion: The Murkiest of Murky Murkiness

Has anyone else noticed a tendency among pro-life libertarians to be smug and self-righteous in their assertions that the libertarian platform is unequivocally pro-life? I don’t mind people being confident in their positions, but there’s an inherent smugness in saying something like this:

libertarian-abortion

It’s funny because he’s wrong.

I always look dubiously at people who say things like “This group…” and follows it with a statement that they consider universally true, unless that statement can be demonstrated. For example, I’ve said that libertarians are against the use of force and violence to achieve political goals, and that’s a general statement about a ton of people. Yet I’m okay with it, because “being against the use of force and violence to achieve political goals” is quintessentially what “libertarian” means, so I basically just gave the definition of a libertarian by saying that.

It’s a matter of semantics to phrase the first statement so poorly, so let’s go ahead and rephrase that to add clarity to his statement.

Libertarians believe in abortion being illegal.

Except… they don’t.

The official party platform is explicitly pro-choice, as found here:

Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration.

Seeing as the state is the only institution capable of making something illegal, if the government is to be kept out of it then it is, ipso facto, a pro-choice position. The libertarian position is “You may not like abortion, but you can’t stop anyone from getting one, though you can refuse to get one and refuse to perform one.” In this way, people who are against abortions are not un-libertarian–they are merely exercising their right to act in accord with their own conscience.

The problem is that you certainly can make the case that the fetus is a person due the same rights as anyone else, and so it is wrong to initiate violence against the fetus by killing it. That’s not a position I have any desire to argue with, for the most part, except it forces us to ask a few questions that pro-life people can’t answer.

  1. What is the difference between a fetus and a tumor?
  2. If potentiality equals actuality, then people who fantasize about killing someone are criminals.
  3. If the difference between a fetus and a tumor is that the former is a living human, what is a human?
  4. If a human is life, what is life? How do you distinguish life from non-life?
  5. If you presume it’s okay to force a woman to donate her womb space to an unborn fetus, then you must presume it’s okay to force her to donate a kidney if that child later becomes sick, since both are ipso facto consequences of her decision to have a child.

These, honestly, are questions that can be asked period, except for the first two and last one, and that’s my point. We have no idea what life itself is, and we have no valid metric of distinguishing life from non-life. I would argue that this is because “living matter” is an illusion, and that there is no difference between life and non-life, that there is only matter and energy and one of the remarkable elements of matter is how it can interact with itself. But until you can show me how fire isn’t alive but people are, I have no reason to take you seriously if you claim that a fetus is a living person.

The biggest point of contention, though, is #5, because pro-life people assume that the fetus has the right to be inside the woman’s womb. It is well-established that a womb is part of a woman’s body. As pro-life people love saying, the fetus is a separate life, and therefore not part of the womb.

Think about a kangaroo and its pouch. Pro-Life people are arguing that the baby kangaroo has the right to be inside the mother’s pouch, and that the mother’s pouch is so much the baby kangaroo’s right that the mother can be forced to have the baby in her pouch whether she likes it or not. So you would force the woman to let the kangaroo into her pouch, because the kangaroo will die if it isn’t allowed to be in her pouch. In order to prevent an act of violence, you commit an act of violence.

Pro-Choice is no better, don’t get me wrong. In fact, that’s why I’m writing this, because there isn’t an easy answer, and there is no “objectively right” or “logic dictates” answer. The issue is the murkiest of murky murkiness. Pro-Choice chooses to allow violence to be done to what could be argued is a human being, in order to prevent someone from having their body forcibly used by another person against their will. That’s not a particularly great position to be in, either.

I am pro-choice. Worse–because this is almost certainly going to make you angry–because I don’t think that anyone with a penis has any right whatsoever to weigh in on the subject of abortion*. I’ve caught a lot of heat for saying this, but c’mon, let’s be realistic here. Pregnancy is the one fucking thing that women can do that men absolutely cannot, but men still can’t resist trying to dominate the subject and saying what can and can’t be done about it. When I said this two years ago, no one really minded. Most people didn’t agree, but I didn’t catch heat for it. Now, people act like I cut off their goddamned balls my saying it, and then they say “There’s no such thing as sexism in America.”

How remarkable.

You’d think such people would gladly listen to what a transgender person who has lived as both genders has to say about sexism in the country. There is no one more qualified to discuss sexism than a transgender person. I’ve had girls tell me there’s no such thing as sexism, and call me a stupid cunt for suggesting there is. To me, this is like a black person saying there’s no racism just because they haven’t noticed it. There’s plenty of sexism, but my position on it is that it’s not automatically a bad thing.

But yes, one of the ways that the sexism manifests is in men believing they should have a say-so in abortion.

Guys, if you get a girl pregnant, it is one hundred percent up to her whether she wants to take your feelings into account. If she wants an abortion but you want her to keep the baby, if she wants to ignore your wishes, then she can, and she will. I’ve been there. I got the Vegas Chick pregnant, in fact. Unsurprisingly, she totally ignored my wishes on the matter; there was nothing I could do about it, and it never occurred to me that I should be able to force her to carry the baby.

Is that what you want, men? To be able to force your girlfriend or wife to see the pregnancy through? And you don’t see how that reeks of sexism? Sticking your dick in that girl didn’t give you any ownership claim of her. Her womb is still hers, and that’s the bottom line. Her womb isn’t your property, and if she doesn’t want something in that womb, then…

“Tough titty said the kitty.”

If you get a girl pregnant and she ignores your wishes, then tough shit. Find a better girl, one that will take your feelings into consideration. This holds true in the other direction, as well. If she wants to carry the child and you want her to get an abortion, it’s tough shit again for you. However, I’m obviously against the state forcing you to give her money to raise that child, too–or forcing you to pay for the abortion, either. If she wants to raise that child on her own, never even telling that child who the father is, then…

“Tough titty,” said the kitty.

Men have no perspective on the issue of pregnancy and abortion because, until very recently, men were utterly unable to be pregnant. This is something that only women can do, guys. This is the only area in human life that belongs 100% to females**. You are at their mercy here. If your girl wants to be a bitch and abort the baby, tough shit. If she wants to be a bitch and have the baby but keep you out of the life, tough shit. I know this bothers you. I know it angers you. And I know that having someone tell you this directly angers you even more.

Because men are used to being in control. You’re not used to being at anyone’s mercy. You’re accustomed to having the authority to tell people what to do, no matter the topic, and it drives you fucking crazy to have this one area where you rightly have no authority or say-so at all unless the woman wishes to allow it. Think about the long history of humanity and the countless areas where women have had no authority or say-so at all unless the man wishes to allow it.

You gotta let girls have this one, dudes. The issue doesn’t affect you.

And that’s why I’m pro-choice. I’m not “pro-choice” as much as I am “I don’t have a womb, so this issue can’t possibly apply to me, and thus I have no right to dictate one way or another.”

If your girlfriend or wife wants an abortion and doesn’t care that you don’t, suck it up.

If your girlfriend or wife doesn’t want an abortion but you do, suck it up.

You have no rightful claim to anyone’s womb, whether you want something to be in there or not.

* Said, of course, as someone with a penis. However, it’s impossible to point out that men shouldn’t have a say-so on the matter of abortion without being involved in the subject of abortion, and genitalia is irrelevant to that. I’m not arguing pro-choice or pro-life, really–I’m arguing that it’s not our damned place to say, because the issue, by definition, cannot affect us in any direct sense. If you want to argue that your feelings will be hurt, then you are also making an argument against outlawing hate speech and anything else that hurts feelings, so that’s a slippery slope we shouldn’t jump down. “Hurting your feelings” is not an injury.

** Actually, there is also breast-feeding, but breast-feeding reeks of its own sexist displays, doesn’t it? Rest assured that breast-feeding would not be illegal if men could do it. Why do I say that? Because this picture is totally acceptable:

1780

But this one is not:

My boobs are still small, but that's not the point.

My boobs are still small, but that’s not the point.

Video: Transgender Life in Mississippi

Hey, if you like the video, be sure to actually go to it on Youtube and like, share, comment, and subscribe. There’s a lot of that, where my shares will get Likes and +1s, but that doesn’t really help the video any, since the post and not the video is what gets the attention from that.

Anyway, this is a general overview of life being transgender in Mississippi, how I came to accept it, how I dealt with it, how my fundamentalist drug addict parents fucked me up, and just conversation in general about what life is like in Mississippi–for transgender and non-transgender people.

I know that it’s pretty long, but that was kinda necessary, because there’s a lot of ground to cover.

I’m working on the audio quality issues, but there aren’t many ways that I can solve it in my current situation beyond using my microphone. I mean, I can’t just go out and buy a high quality audio recorder; I have to work with what I have. I mean, I can’t even just go out and buy the correct foundation, as I mentioned in the video (which is why my face is a different color than my body… I know.). I just have to work with what I have, in pretty much every part of my life.

Here is the GoFundMe page I mentioned…

I’ve got to figure something out. I’ve got to move, or depression is going to kill me. Despair already peeks its ugly head around the corner, and I’m still months out from the birthday that is going to wreck me no matter what I do. I need to make progress. If I wake up where I am, in this same situation, on that day, then it’s unlikely I’ll ever wake again.

Yet I’ve spent the last year trying to make progress, and nothing has panned out. No employers have called me back, and I’ve exhausted the local jobs with standing applications already. I’m dying to hear back from an agent, but even if that happens, it won’t be that they’ll be ready to publish it–it will be that they want to read the rest of it, and then make a decision. There’s just no way that will happen before That Day.

And I need it to.

I’ve asked everyone in my family, but the only ones who have that kind of money are my uncle and aunt, and they won’t do it. I’ve sincerely thought about loading up into my car and being homeless in Vegas while I seek a job, and I probably would if not for my cats. I’m dying here, and there’s nothing I can do about it.

What options do I have here?

None.

I’ve thought about selling my car and buying a plane ticket, but that wouldn’t really do me any favors, because I’d run out of money too quickly relying on Uber and walking to get around. Besides, I wouldn’t get that much for this car. Not enough to do what I need to do.

Each day, those shotgun shells look more tempting, because nothing is happening. No matter what I do, nothing is moving forward. And when I think about how the girl whose impatience is the primary cause of this has the audacity to stalk me and peek in, I become furious.

For the past three days, I’ve been perpetually on the verge of tears, trying not to think, trying not to face life. I’m not as feminine as I want to be. I’m broke. I’ve got no prospects toward getting the hell out any time soon. I’ve tried everything a person can do, except giving up.

www.gofundme.com/transgendermove is the only hope I have.

 

Podcast: “As I Live” & Video: “A Message to Transgender Teens”

I used the Podbean app to record this podcast, and I’m really sorry that the audio is so low. Use headphones, but be aware of volume spikes. I hate that about the Podbean app: it records at super low volumes. 🙁

I also published a new video this morning: a message to transgender teens, because it was on my mind as soon as I woke up. I hope you enjoy it:

Hopefully, I’m not talking a mile a minute in it!

Looks like my internet has finally straightened itself up! Huzzah!

But yeah.

I don’t typically check my Analytics page on Google, because I’m not really popular enough to get good info. I know most of the people watching my videos, listening to my podcasts, and reading my articles, and they tell me directly what interests them and what doesn’t, and I try to accommodate that anyway. So until I’m average 100~ downloads per podcast, and 250~ views per video, Analytics just isn’t much use to me. However, I like to keep it in place, because it’s not that all the data is useless; it’s just that the data doesn’t have a very big scope.

Last night I merged my Podbean analytics with the new website (the one you’re reading), and in so doing caught a glimpse of the last 30 days of data. My view defaults to the United States, because that’s obviously where most of my audience is, and I’m simply not trying to appeal to people in Uganda, you know? It’s all well and good that they like it, but I’m not really going to take Pakistani people’s interests into account when I do a podcast. And what I saw was that Nevada had an unusual number of views–more than any state but Tennesse, and Tennesse is supposed to have a lot of views, because that’s where my gateway is. Every time I visit the site to upload a podcast, change something, or whatever, it logs another visit from Nashville. The only state that came close to Tennessee…

was Nevada.

So I clicked the state, though I knew what I would find. I was not surprised to see this:

stay away from me

I eliminated the #2 location of Paradise from the image. Paradise is still Vegas anyway, and it’s still you.

Why?

Why are you here?

Derailed Thoughts & Thoughts of Leaving the South

I’ve never been so surprised and so happy about the outcome of a vote.

The British people have voted to leave the European Union, and I’m thrilled for the longterm hope this brings me, that we will move away from central authority and back toward self-governance. Before I dive into the meat of this article, though, I want to mention what a UK citizen told me earlier on Facebook:

Let’s not even talk about how we’ll probably lose Scotland too. My point is yes we’ll survive leaving the eu but we really didn’t have to.

“…how we’ll probably lose Scotland…”

Shit, dude, that’s exactly the problem! That mindset you have, that Scotland is yours to lose! What the fuck? Scotland is Scotland’s! Scotland does not belong to the UK! Jesus! No wonder you’re in favor of staying in the EU! You think it’s perfectly okay to consider other peoples and societies as your property. How else could you possibly justify that statement? “We’ll probably lose Scotland…”

Fuck.

Scotland isn’t yours!

My reply to this, however, was more direct and focused:

If the differences between the Scottish and British people are so fundamental that this rift is irreconcilable, then a fracture between Scotland and England was inevitable anyway. If the British are so in favor of self-governance and the Scottish so in favor of central authority (tendencies that appear to reverse when we start talking of Scottish Independence), then it was never going to work out. And I think that’s pretty obvious–how many times has Scotland voted for independence? I think it is inevitable that they will leave the UK. The only question is when. And perhaps “What will be the final straw?”

Moving On

I want to return, however, to something that I became aware of last night, with the help of awesome patron and supporter Michelle, which is that… it’s bizarre that millennials, who I recently characterized as being “Changeists” without ideological backbones, were almost universally against Brexit.

There’s an enormous difference between “We want change at any cost!” and “We don’t even care what the facts or reasons are–we must not change!”

I think the distinction hinges upon what they consider “Progress.”

It’s no secret that “progressive” has come to mean two things in the west. First, it means being pro-tolerance, at least in the typical usage of the word (not my usage of the word that actually reflects is meaning).

Goodness, the links and inline videos… You can really get a complete picture of my ideology if you follow the trail, I guess. I like to think that it’s pretty circular, and that creates a large problem: where do I start if I want to express my worldview? A circle has no beginning. One thing I say will sound silly without having something underlying it, and if I say the underlying thing, it will lead to another underlying thing. Regardless, my “online presence” has pretty much dived straight into my ideology, so I started somewhere. But if you’re curious to get a complete picture of my worldview–the worldview of an atheistic shemale anarchist–then I like to think it’s becoming possible. Another central piece of that wheel, however, is my presence on Quora, which isn’t typically included in this circle of things that I do. Anyway.

We think of “being progressive” as a good thing, and no one wants to say that they’re regressive or anti-progress. So it’s automatically biased when used in any political context, because it paints a false dichotomy. If your position is “progressive,” then other positions stand in the way of progress. This is a deceitful tactic meant to discourage people from expressing disagreement, as it leaves you able, the moment they speak, to call them backward, “stuck in the past,” and “living for glory days that never were.”

I’m not a fan of that sort of thing.

At any rate, it typically means “tolerance,” or, at least, they say that it means tolerance.

Annnnd my thoughts just got thrown off because I made the mistake of emailing my colleague about paying me for some work I did Thursday, and he replied with his typical criticism:

I wrote you a $250 check Monday. How are you without money today?

Well, I’m not out of money, and I made that clear in the email I sent. I will be, after I purchase some important things.

But one would think this guy had never lived alone. I agree that a $250 check sounds pretty awesome, but what you have to remember is that… that was my paycheck for the week before. $250. A worker at McDonald’s working 40 hours a week at Minimum Wage makes $290, before taxes. That Minimum Wage worker, however, also qualifies for a lot of welfare benefits that I don’t because my employer is a small business. Even after taxes, the McDonald’s worker is still making about the same thing that I made, but most weeks I don’t make anywhere near that amount of money–I usually end up with $150 or $175. $250 was a good week.

Welcome to Mississippi.

But oh, no, everything costs the same here that it costs in states where people can get real jobs. Rent is cheaper here, but that’s it. The price of milk, gasoline, paper towels, cat food–they’re all standardized across the country, from Los Angeles to Boston, because they’re all bought from national chains that standardize their prices regardless of the local economy. This guy knows that I already subsist on a diet of water, ramen noodles, and bologna sandwiches–what the fuck else does he want from me? He knows that I quit smoking because I couldn’t afford it, and that I’m using a vapor device despite their horrendous consistency and my utter inability to find a reliably good liquid.

I mean, really. The only way I could cut down on expenses would be to die.

My television broke, and my only hope was to be able to get the service people down the street to repair it, because they do stuff like that and because I have a great business relationship with them. I’m not convinced that they even looked at it. After nearly 2 weeks, though, they finally called me and told me that they couldn’t fix it. So now I have a 22 inch monitor (which isn’t even 16:9, though it is at least a flat screen) that is the center of everything that I can do in my spare time. While it’s better than nothing, have you tried sitting on your couch and typing something on your 22 inch television? Because that’s essentially how my setup is–everything feeds from my computer, and my computer feeds into my television. A replacement 32 inch (which is smaller than the 72 inch that I used to have, but that my cats broke, leading me to switch to the 30 inch television that I had been keeping in my bedroom) 1080p television is only $160, but it might as well be $1600.

On top of that, my phone is fucked and I can’t receive calls. It needs a new battery, at the very least, but there’s a larger problem with it–any time I receive an incoming call, the display goes black and nothing will light it back up. I cannot see who is calling, and I cannot answer the call. My phone is totally unusable until they stop calling, and then I can look and see who it was. It could probably be resolved by reformatting it, but it would be less trouble to reformat my fucking computer. Given that the last time the battery drained, it took me nearly 3 hours to get it back on, I just don’t think the phone is worth putting much money or effort into.

Things aren’t made to last anymore, and that makes life very difficult when you’re me, because I simply can’t replace these devices that were designed to tear up and stop working. Sure, being able to replace your television for only $160 sounds terrific–until you bought a television a few years before and simply can’t afford to replace it now.

Plus, my graphics card is pretty much shot, and gaming is what I do with about 15% of my spare time. It can increase, if I’m particularly into a game. When I was recently playing Star Wars: Rogue Squadron 3D, for example, I was playing about 3 hours a day. Now that I’m using mods to wear the alternate outfits and was able to grab Resident Evil 6 on PC for like $6 (a game that I’ve had my eyes on for more than a year, and nearly purchased a year ago for $50–I have a love/hate relationship with RE6), I’m playing about 2 hours a day.

Or, at least, I was. Now, my graphics card simply stops working. Every three minutes or so, GPU usage will drop to 0% while CPU usage skyrockets, and my fps drops from 30 or 60 (depending on the game and settings) to 7 to 10. This lasts for about a minute, with the game being totally unplayable (I’ve found it’s best to just pause the game until FPS goes back up) in the meantime. Extensive testing has revealed that the GPU simply stops trying to process anything, but it’s not a heat issue. I can verify that. Not only is the case open, but there is an actual box fan on Hi blowing directly into my PC, on top of the CPU fan, three case fans, and the gfx card’s fans. Temp monitoring shows that the GPU never goes above 50 degrees (which is trivial for a graphics card), the CPU never goes above 60 degrees (AMD CPUs tend to idle around 45), and the motherboard occasionally hits about 65.

This has always been an issue, but it’s also one that I’d resolved. It seemed in the past that sometimes the GPU just wouldn’t “catch” properly. I’d boot up a game, it would work fine, and then FPS would drop to unplayable levels. The first time I experienced this was with Mortal Kombat 9, and I initially blamed the game. But I quickly learned that I could also boot up any other game, and it would do the same thing. In the end, MK9 simply became the “test game.” If I launch it and the fight begins still at 60 FPS, then everything is fine. But if the fight begins and immediately drops to 7 frames per second, then things are not fine. So I would reboot the PC, and then test again. Eventually, it would function correctly. It’s anyone’s guess why this happened. I’m an I.T. consultant, yes, and a damned good one, but hardware function and driver interactions operate at a level more specialized than I can handle.

The problem is more persistent these days, and I haven’t gotten it to “catch” in days. I’ve essentially stopped trying, and I believe the card is simply dead. That’s not the end of the world, since I needed to re-upgrade anyway, but that’s another $300 that I don’t have.

And am I really being criticized that I’m broke six days after receiving a paycheck that would make a Minimum Wage employee angry? It’s possible to live on such wages–I can attest to that, and I do attest to that–but it’s far from easy, and there’s very little luxury. It infuriates me to basically be living on Minimum Wage, in my own place with all my bills paid, and be criticized for not being able to make $1 pay for $1.50 of things. And if I’d known he was going to take this avenue, instead of just “Oh, yes, I’ll write you a check for the money that I owe you,” then I would have just gone without paper towels.

I can’t afford anything to break, and that has been the case since I returned from Vegas–something that will likely inspire me to go ahead and do that video. While I don’t blame the girl for that, I do blame the experience–and obviously, I undertook the experience–but none of that really matters. It’s simply the case. And it’s going to get worse before it gets better, as I become increasingly androgynous, breasts start to grow, and my hair grows–things that I’m not willing to undo or stop. The bottom line is that I have to move, but I can’t afford to move. I’m a goddamned college graduate with years of experience managing a company, managing large I.T. projects, and being the I.T. firm of multi-million dollar companies. Not only would moving allow me to get a real job, it would allow me to be transgender in peace, allow me to get my ID changed easily, and allow me to get hormones more easily.

Hm.

That’s something I need to really think about. Why… Why am I staying in Mississippi? I don’t even like it here, and it’s not like I really have a family anymore.

In Memory of a Day

I’m not sure what I’m really about to write about. I’ve been fighting off depression the past few days, but it’s not really depression–at least… it doesn’t feel like depression. There’s certainly a bit of surrender in it, in a sort of “Meh, who gives a shit” way, but it’s not really depression as I’m used to it.

Although, it also is familiar, really.

I’m bored, really. Not “bored” as much as “lonely,” perhaps, though they’re one and the same for me these days. I keep running into unexpected problems with females, and the one I’ve run into most recently is her apparent inability to recognize me as a female. I didn’t think it was an issue until I mentioned that I focused on my legs and ass when exercising because I want a sexy butt, and she replied something like “Ew. TMI.” When I asked how that was too much info, she said “I thought about gay stuff.”

I stopped replying to her, and I’ve only said one other thing to her since, a tangentially related thing about how guys are really bad at sex, with very few exceptions, primarily because most guys think that it’s something that would come naturally, and so they think if they spend any time reading about how to actually pleasure a woman it means they’re lesser men. It doesn’t help that American sex education is a joke, and I’ve been saying for years that sex ed should separate boys and girls, and then spend a semester teaching boys from the book The Black Box of the Female Orgasm, because it would go a much longer way toward making the world a better place than another lecture about STDs and condoms.

It was strange to me that this chick who I was talking to romantically interpreted me talking about my butt as “a gay thing.” While there’s also that underlying idea that she seems to think I’d want my butt to look sexy for anyone’s benefit but my own, that’s not the issue here. But yes, I want to have a sexy butt. I don’t care if you think my ass is sexy. Why do people have such a hard time understanding that? It’s really not complicated.

But why would she think that my butt has anything to do with “gay stuff” anyway? She knows that I identify as a female–or a shemale, if you will–and she knows I’m only interested in women, that I consider myself a lesbian. How badly does she have to not be listening, in order to interpret what I said as having to do with gay stuff?

She replied to my message about guys and sex with “Yeah, blah blah, only one guy was different, blah” and I said “Yeah, that’s what I figured. Guys always struck me as pretty selfish.” I mean, I don’t have a lot of experience with guys, and that’s why I had texted her about it.

She replied: “Uhh… Feeling guilty?”

As though I needed it nailed in, she essentially confessed that she views me as a guy.

You know, it was the Vegas chick who really made me realize that I couldn’t keep parasitically deriving feminine beauty from women as I’d always been trying to do, and I no longer do that, but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating to find that, even without that, the chances of me finding anyone who is even somewhat “on my level” are slim to none. That’s why the Vegas experience was so damaging; for years, it had seemed that she was “on my level”–which is not to say my level is above or below anyone else’s, because it could be parallel. Then it turned out that she was, how to put this kindly…

Just like Toni.

Oh, but I haven’t told you that story, dear readers. Oh, goodness, what a story that one is. Not really, actually. She was just a manipulative, drug-addicted sociopath who was a fucking tornado that destroyed everything around her.

fly away–fly away, phantom

Rainbow is in heat again. I say “again,” but “still” would be just as accurate, because I don’t think there’s been more than 5 days this entire year that she hasn’t been in heat. And if you’ve never experienced it, you just can’t imagine how extraordinarily frustrating it is to have a cat constantly walking around the house, meowing loudly.

I still think about the Vegas chick, but not very often. Surprisingly, it’s only been about two months since we last communicated. It feels like much longer than that, but my measurement of time isn’t exactly reliable anyway. I try to slow it down as much as I can, by forcing myself to constantly remain aware of its inexorable passage, but sometimes entire weeks pass me by without me noticing. I hate that. I hate time.

I don’t want to live forever, but I don’t want to age. I want to stay pretty much as I am (except for the obvious changes, of course), and then randomly die a few decades from now.

I should probably play the guitar.

I haven’t done that in a while. Not in a meaningful way, and it kinda feels like I could use that release. I can get lost in my music in a way that I can’t really explain.

Another day has died.

Goodbye, moments of the day.

Countless opportunities were squandered today, and I can think of plenty of ways I could have seized the day better than I did. Carpe diem, after all. Or, for the stupid, YOLO. But I didn’t. And I’d wager that you didn’t, either. An entire day was born, filled with countless moments that waited to happen, and then never did. And we all moved one day closer to death, those lost moments forever gone and beyond our reach.

But we still have this moment, at least. In fact, we’ll always have this moment. Even if you’re reading this five years from the time it was posted, we are still in this moment.

Well, this was utterly pointless, but I think I do feel a little better, so that’s something. And Rainbow shut up, but she’ll be back at it in a few minutes. I am almost able to cast off the wig entirely, which is good because I found out recently that one of my cats put my wig through hell after knocking it off my dresser and then deciding that it would make a great bed.

Humans are funny creatures. We’re easily the most vicious species on the planet.

Think about the dozens of things you do every day that your cat or dog hates. I won’t hesitate to start playing the guitar if my cats are sleeping. There have been several times I pushed Rainbow off my pillow so that I could lie down. And she never hissed at me for it. But reverse the roles, and imagine yourself sleeping on that pillow, only for the cat to come along and try to take it for herself. The human would wake up angry, grouchy, and would probably yell at the cat. A lot of humans would even slap the cat.

Honest to fuck animals are less vicious and temperamental than we are. My cats never yelled at me because i accidentally kicked over their water bowl, but I’ve certainly yelled at them for doing the same. These days, I catch myself, of course, but I’ve still done it in the past: “Goddamnit, cat!” Who the hell am I to bitch at the cat? The cat doesn’t bitch at me.