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The Drumhead

Anyone who has seen the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode called “The Drumhead” will probably have a pretty good idea of where I’m going with this. In the episode, a klingon happens to be a spy, and is caught–however, an accident that occurred at around the same time went unexplained, and, worried about saboteurs and collaborators, Starfleet began an investigation into the crew of the Enterprise.

What began as a seemingly justifiable investigation devolved almost immediately into a witch hunt, or, as Picard put it, a “Drumhead Trial”–a mock trial put on by a military tribunal where punishment was swift and decisive. It’s a well-known episode, and generally considered among that series best’s. It’s a pity that we learned nothing from its rather anvilicious lessons.

Consider this excerpt from someone at Fox News who was writing in defense of Trump:

That doesn’t mean that, say, Michael Flynn, who just invoked the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying on the Hill, doesn’t have problems related to past payments from the Russians.

Er… No, Howard Kurtz, that’s not right. The way this is phrased creates the default idea that Flynn has those problems, and that his invocation of the fifth is evidence of that–otherwise, why even link these two things?

In the episode I mentioned, a young man is revealed to have lied about his heritage, having claimed to be half-Vulcan when he was actually half-Romulan, and the Romulans were essentially Star Trek’s Russians. During his publicly open interrogation, with dozens and dozens of people watching eagerly, he was asked about his true lineage, and he invoked the fifth (or, actually, Starfleet’s version of the fifth).

Immediately, the whispering and gasps rang out. Rumor swirled, and he was instantly assumed to be guilty.

Kangaroo done hung the juror with the innocent.

We would all do well to watch this tense episode once more, but allowing it to hit closer to home. You’ll see in the inquisitor none other than Democratic leadership, relentlessly pursuing every possible lead in their quixotic quest to find a collaborator or saboteur. In those nightmarish circumstances, where even Picard is ultimately brought in for questioning, even pleading the fifth becomes evidence of a person’s guilt.

The moral of the story is that we’re never more than one accident away from a witch hunt. We saw it last year when the clown sightings began–fully hysterical reactions from people over clowns who had done nothing to anyone and may very well not have existed in the first place. It’s entirely possible that there was never even a single clown, much less several, but that didn’t stop panic and hysteria from sweeping the nation: schools were locked down, clown masks were pulled from store shelves, and police investigations were launched.

Of course, we can look to an actual witch hunt if we’d like to depress ourselves, since 40,000 people were killed in puritan America for being witches–and, the reasoned mind of today understands that none of them were witches. The accusation alone branded one guilty, and often the trials involved horrific things like “Drown her. If she’s innocent, God will save her.”

Eyeballs deep in muddy water, fucking hypocrite.

I’m honestly not scared of much. I’ve had someone put a gun in my face and tell me to drop to my knees and beg for my life, whereupon I defiantly replied, “You’re gonna have to kill me, because I’m not doing that.” I’ve been left beaten and bloody in at least three parking lots. I’ve had picking up hitch hikers backfire on me in spectacular ways. But none of that scares me.

Hysteria, however… Hysteria terrifies me.

How long did McCarthy and Hoover’s reigns of terror last? There has even been talk of recognition the House of Un-American Activities. My death–who cares? It would likely be painful, but after that, over, so it’s really not something to be scared of. However, a witch hunt can go so very far beyond that–into tortured confessions, corrupt interrogators, presumed guilt rather than presumed innocence…

We played with the fire after the Orlando Shooting, as well, when people asked how this person who had been investigated three times by the FBI had been able to acquire guns. It is simply assumed, in their worldview, that a person is guilty if the FBI investigates them. Never mind that this could easily be part of the anti-Muslim witch hunt. “He was investigated three times? Then he’s guilty. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire! Besides, look what he did!”

Yes, but the fact that “what he did” was something he “hadn’t yet done” at the time he was being investigated is of critical importance. You can’t apply current knowledge about him to decisions people made about him in the past. And we damn sure can’t assume people are guilty just because we have an out-of-control investigatory agency that is perfectly poised to begin and instigate witch hunts.

I don’t know or care whether Flynn did whatever it is that he’s being presumed guilty of doing, and I don’t care if Trump played a role in it. Even if they do manage to demonstrate guilt (as opposed to assuming it), they still have to demonstrate why the whole thing is of any consequence at all.

Now people are talking impeachment. There’s no doubt: impeachment was on people’s minds on Election Day, as soon as the results came in. If the idea of having a hardcore religious nutjob as President sounds appealing, then, by all means, proceed with impeachment. People seem to think that we can make a Democrat president if we impeach Trump, or that we can spark an emergency election. Neither of these things will or can happen.

Kangaroo be stoned, he’s guilty as the government.

If Trump is impeached and remove from office, then Mike Pence becomes President. And any impeachment proceeding would look far more like a Drumhead Trial than anything that resembles a fair court. And, really, I think such an act could very easily spark a civil war, given that Trump has been in office barely four months and hasn’t done anything out of line with what previous presidents did. Removing the president that people chose before that president has even had the chance, in his supporters’ eyes, to do what they wanted him to do… I hope Democrats are ready for the fallout from that, because it won’t be the sunshine and daisies they seem to expect.

We have a problem, though, and the problem is fear. We are terrifyingly prone to panic, and that should be what scares us, not whatever bogeyman we’re panicking about at the given moment. Panic and hysteria shredded much of the Bill of Rights already. What is next in our witch hunt?

Call to Freedom (LRN Show) 5-21-17 & Aftershow Discussion

The Call to Freedom With Will Coley & Thom Gray

Last week and this week, I was a guest on the Liberty Radio Network show “The Call to Freedom” hosted by former Libertarian Vice Presidential candidate Will Coley and Thom Gray, who doesn’t get an awesome title before his name but doesn’t need one, because that’s how awesome he is. Due to it not having a podcast form, I wasn’t aware the show existed (without a permanent form, it doesn’t get picked up at the RRND, which is where I learn about such things). While I tried to get a recording of last week’s, I got the time wrong and forgot about it, but did get this one.

We discussed vice chair Arvin Vohra’s statements about veterans. Well… Jim Babbs and Larry Sharpe discussed it. I barely touched on it. Partway through the episode, I asked why Larry brought it up again, and this is something that badly needs to be explained. I did so in this article, where I elaborated that he kept bringing it up, even though he said he’d forgiven it and let it go. Live on the air, I couldn’t formulate my thoughts in a way that didn’t sound antagonistic as hell, so I instead chose to let it go and to just sound like an idiot instead. C’est la vie.

It was a great show, and, personally, I think the aftershow was even better, primarily because I was looser and more relaxed. By that point, I was beginning to get comfortable and fall into a groove, so any future appearances (crossing my fingers) won’t have me quite so silent. If you’re interested in liberty, be sure to check out these links.

I did edit the Aftershow. For one, all of my input was lost due to how I recorded it. Because of this, I had to record today’s encore airing, and then re-record and re-impose what I’d said during the aftershow discussion back into the audio. I think I achieved about a 99% accuracy, though I knowingly added one remark (and made note that it was an added remark not said during the conversation). Much of the aftershow discussion, about the possibility of me attending Somalia Fest and PorcFest with Will Coley and his family, was personal in nature, and so I removed it. Additionally, there is some beeping, because a few things were said that wouldn’t have been said if it was on the air. In consideration of all involved, I’ve beeped out some names, and removed one brief section about someone.

I cannot say that I will record and upload every episode of “Call to Freedom,” but it is something that I would like to do, and I’m generally available on Sunday nights. I know that I’ll record and upload any future episodes that I’m in, but I think it would be a little narcissistic to do only episodes that have me as a guest (even though it is a bit of work to do all this–removing commercials, tweaking audio, normalizing, compressing, adjusting EQ bands…).

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Sunday night I was invited again to be on “The Call to Freedom” hosted by Thom Grey and former libertarian Vice Presidential candidate (and possible future presidential candidate!) to discuss the neverending Libertarian Drama and the current status of the Libertarian Party, with two other guests: James Babbs and Larry Sharpe. It was a really good episode, though most of it was (frustratingly, honestly, as I had a lot I wanted to say, but I don’t get into shouting matches, and I try very hard not to interrupt people unless my point is very critical, like when I interrupted Jim at one point to say that if he wanted the LP to be a “safe place” for people to learn about libertarianism, than we can’t call people “murderers”), but it calmed down for about the last half hour and I got some words in.

Funnily, Thom messaged me through the episode and jokingly said something like, “When the cis men keep talking over the trans woman.” I lol’d, and I know he was joking, but my silence was 100% on me, and no one else. It’s true that Jim and Larry weren’t perhaps as considerate of the fact that they were co-guests were two other people, but my silence was totally on me for making the choice to sit out the shouting match, and for being extremely reluctant to interrupt anyone. I’m not knocking them–that’s often how these things go, and I don’t blame them for that. It’s just not how I prefer to do things. And it doesn’t seem to be how Will and Thom prefer to do things, either, as they were mostly silent through it all, too.

It made for a pretty good show, though.

It also brought a few things to my attention. First, I am extremely out of practice with having to think on my feet and formulate replies on the fly. Through the last two years, I’ve more or less avoided all “live” discussions of politics and religion (and, honestly, I just about don’t discuss religion at all any longer). When clients start talking about it, I simply listen, because they’re wrong on so many levels, and I know better than to try to point that out to them. When friends dive into it, I know I’m the only anarchist present, and trying to explain to someone why the entire tax system enslaves the American people is a bit too much for a light political discussion over a few glasses of wine when other people are interested in talking about a tax increase or decrease. Being an anarchist is like being the quantum mechanics physicist in the room full of people who are all discussing gravity, and each and every other person is wrong about something in spectacular ways. Does the physicist jump in to correct everyone? Almost certainly not. He instead quietly shakes his head and listens, lamenting all the way that they have failed themselves. Even with my family, I’m extremely unlikely to jump into a conversation, because trying to explain what libertarianism is and why I’m a libertarian is a fifteen minute ordeal, at best, and no one–absolutely no one–is going to sit and listen to you for 15 minutes. You might get thirty seconds before you’re interrupted, but even through those 30 seconds they won’t be listening–they’ll be thinking about what they’re going to say as soon as you finish talking.

During high school, I was an amazing debater. I don’t mean to brag, but it shouldn’t surprise anyone. I have a knack for analyzing things and picking them apart until nothing is left. I’d even call it my best skill. But once you start picking apart people’s assumptions, they always reply in a few predictable ways. They’ll either say that you’ve brought it to the level of reductio ad absurdum by asking them to demonstrate why it’s better that humans should survive instead of go extinct, when the reality is that it’s a completely fair question: there is much argument to be made that Earth and the universe would be much better off if humans suddenly ceased existing. Some other animal species would probably rise up at some point, and maybe they wouldn’t be as consumed by their egos as we are. Who knows? Regardless, it’s not an absurd question; it’s a totally fair question, and one that they can’t answer. That it’s better for humans to survive is an assumption, and the assumption is based on their value system, primarily the idea that “life is good.”

Anyway… So I’ve been very out-of-practice when it comes to arguing on my feet, though, luckily, stage fright has never been a problem for me. I intend to resolve this by going back to doing one “on-the-fly” response video on Youtube, where I record myself watching and replying to a video that I’m likely to disagree with. That’s essentially the same thing, and doing it allows me to go back to creating content, and has the added benefit of getting me back into practice, since it’s a skill like any other–use it or lose it. Anyway, so tonight’s podcast…

…is an episode of someone else’s show.

The Assumption Liberals Make

Elements on the left seem increasingly zealous about whether Trump was, perhaps, friendlier with Russia than they want him to be, but I’m not really interested in whether the increasingly desperate attempts to engage Trump and Putin in a bromance is based on truth or some mutated psychosis leftover from the Cold War. Actually, I’d say that Cold War paranoia is more like AIDS, because AIDS isn’t actually the cause of death for HIV sufferers–some other disease infects them due to their severely weakened immune system, and this disease is what kills them. So the Cold War paranoia is the AIDS that made us susceptible to this weird, virulent strain of “Them Damn Russians!”

But whether we’ve got a severe AIDS infection or whether we have cause to distrust Trump’s Russia connections isn’t of much relevance until another question has been answered: Why should we care if Trump has these alleged connections?

The first contention is that we should care because Trump is close to the country that subverted our democracy by interfering in our election. At best, this ranks among the most dubious claims that I’ve ever heard. The leaks ripped the DNC into pieces, but progressives have benefited from that as much as Trump did, so unless they’re guilty of the same collusion (in fact, irate Sanders supporters have at least as much motive as Trump–“Oh, hello, Seth Rich!”), the claim appears to be nothing but “You possibly benefited from this, so you’re guilty of collusion, and even though we provably benefited, we’re not guilty of collusion.”

Even if we assume that all of the Democrats’ bizarre claims are true, it still doesn’t answer the question of why I should care. Hillary was no better suited to be President than Trump, and that some people are willing to eat a plate full of dog vomit over a pile of festering shit is of no consequence to me, and certainly not reason for me to get mad that more people (by the weight of the political rules we all agreed to beforehand) scarfed down a helping of turds.

Even if Trump only won because of these ties to Russia (which, again, we’re assuming are true), so freaking what? If you’re going to hold up electoral processes as wonderful, quasi-magical things that must be insulated from influence of the outside world, and whose integrity must be beyond reproach, I’d take your claim more seriously if you hadn’t spent the last six months rioting because you didn’t get the election result that you wanted.

Until actual evidence has been put forward–something more than a laundry list of “He Said, She Said” bullshit–and as long as we live in a place where one of the great social principles is that one is innocent until proven guilty, it follows that the only people undermining the integrity of the election are the Democrats. Mind you, this is after Jill Stein’s recount attempts showed no disparity at all with the results.

So let’s be clear about this. It’s not “The election” that democrats are claiming was influenced. The vote totals were not changed via Russian meddling, and, to my knowledge, only the most uninformed and absurd progressives are making such claims. For the greater part, what liberals actually mean when they allege that Russia influenced the election is that Russia influenced voters.

Again, I must ask: “So?”

By the Constitution of the United States, an American voter has the immutable right to not only believe whatever the hell they want, but also (an extension modern liberals gloss over) to act in accordance with those beliefs. It doesn’t matter if Bob votes for Trump because he’s a Christian, as is Bob, and if Bob was convinced of Christianity by Americans or by Russian Jesuits. Why Bob believes what he believes is his own business, not ours, and we can’t threaten that without also curtailing his right to believe what he wants.

So, too, if Jim voted for Trump because he believes Hillary is the worst thing since gonorrhea, it’s not of any relevance to us whether he believes that because of the “documentary” “Clinton Cash,” because of the DNC Leaks, because of Wikileaks, or because he was taught to be Republicans by his parents and never looked any further. He cast his vote, and his reasons for doing so may be whatever he wants. Maybe he doesn’t like Hillary’s hair, or maybe he finds Hillary to be somewhat more psychopathic than the unpredictable Trump.

Whatever his reasons are, they are his reasons, and the alleged beauty of the American political system is that he gets the same number of votes to express his values as does anyone else. It’s fine that liberals would disagree with his reasons–either because they believe those reasons are factually incorrect, or they believe that one should value other things–and it’s fine for them to express this disagreement through the one vote that they each have.

What’s not okay is attempting to erase Jim’s vote because one disagrees with the beliefs he holds that led him to vote the way that he did. I notice there’s no criticism of the people who only voted for Hillary for stupid, demagogic reasons, or for equally asinine reasons like “Well, she’s the first female candidate!”

The liberals, it seems, don’t want to erase every vote that was based on reasons with which they disagree (since “She’s the first female candidate!” obviously flies directly in the face of the claim that “Gender shouldn’t matter,” the basis they use for criticising Trump supporters who voted for Trump because he’s a man), but only those for the other candidate with which they disagree, and, let’s be honest here, that’s basically all of them, because the entire fucking rift exists because liberals and conservatives value different things.

Is there such a thing, to the Democrat, as a good reason to vote for Trump? If there is, I’ve yet to hear a Democrat acquiesce that point.

You voted for Trump because you liked his expressed opinions on immigration? No, that’s illegitimate, you racist bastard.

You voted for Trump because you preferred his probable tax policy? No, that’s illegitimate, you elitist fool, dick-riding the rich.

You voted for Trump because you didn’t like Hillary’s arrogant and sociopathic demeanor? No, that’s illegitimate, you sexist pig.

You voted for Trump because you liked his abortion stance? No, that’s illegitimate, you fascist, because people have the right to convenient abortions.

The conservative/liberal rift occurs long before the candidates are chosen. The point of the presidential debates is not for the Republican candidate to entice Democrats, or the Democratic candidate to entice Republicans. Even independents are rarely swayed by such things. People simply don’t operate that way. Most have their value system and will vote for whoever best fits with that value system, and the divide between Republicans and Democrats is so large that there is almost no crossover. How many people voted for Trump because of Wikileaks or these presumed-to-be-true ties to Russia? I’d wager that the number is fewer than a thousand, throughout the entire country, because that’s just not how people work.

No amount of terrible things you told me about Hillary, however true they were, would have caused me to vote for Trump. No amount of terrible things you told me about Trump would have caused me to vote for Hillary. Honestly, how manipulable do Democrats think people are? At absolute best, the revelations of how much a candidate sucks will only reinforce whatever position I currently hold, and most Americans will readily pick and choose what information to take in and what information to discard.

This is practically a tautology. I’ve seen countless Democrats say that there’s no evidence that Hillary has ever done anything wrong–no hyperbole, no straw man. Yet these same people proclaim there is incontrovertible evidence that Trump did countless things wrong. Meanwhile, Republicans do the same and claim that there’s no evidence that Trump has ever done anything wrong, and that there is incontrovertible evidence that Hillary is the devil.

Anyone who is actually open to the information long ago concluded that both of these people are disgusting toads who have no business being anywhere near a position of power. That’s the keyword: open to the information. Because there is plenty of evidence that both Trump and Hillary are absolutely awful.

What we’re talking about isn’t that someone isn’t “open to the information.” It’s simply that someone disagrees with the liberal, and the liberal lost the election because of that disagreement.

Remember any of the 90s sitcoms that had families “vote” on what they were going to do, only for the adults to immediately lose the vote and say, “Well, our votes each count as two, because we’re adults”?

That’s all we’re seeing here.

And even if all this was true, no one has yet explained to me why it’s undesirable for the United States to have warmer relations with Russia. No one seems to care that the United States has warm ties to the European Union–or Pakistan, or India, or Saudi Arabia. So why Russia? In what weird understanding of the world is it bad for two great powers to get along?

Is it because of their human rights record? No, it can’t be that, because many of our Middle Eastern buddies have far worse records–as do we, as we house 20% of the world’s prison population while having only 4% of the world’s population, and you can’t get to those numbers without severe destruction of liberty and rights. Is it because Russia has nukes? So does India, Pakistan, China, many EU countries, the UK, and many others, so it can’t be that, either.

In fact, I’d bet everything that only a year ago the majority of liberals would have happily agreed that the United States needs to work with Russia. Why do liberals suddenly hate them so much that state congressional Democrats are seriously making the claim that the United States needs to break off all communications with Russia? What changed between then and now?

Democrats lost the White House. And since recount efforts showed the votes weren’t tampered with, rather than accepting responsibility and blaming themselves, they would undermine democracy itself with the contention that your vote only counts if you cast it for the reasons they want you to cast it. Put bluntly, your vote only counts if you cast it for their candidate.

They’d deny this adamantly, of course. “You can vote for a Republican,” they’d say. “Just not freaking Trump!”

I see no reason to believe that there’s any truth to this amended claim. In fact, I’m sure we’d be here today if Hillary lost to Kasich or Cruz. They say otherwise, and it’s useless to argue one hypothetical against another. Maybe they are telling the truth. I doubt it, though, because they’ve already lied to themselves about what they’re saying, and what they’re really saying is, “Your vote only counts if you cast it for reasons we agree with.”

If you want to talk tyranny and fascism, I think we’d have a hard time finding clearer examples.

Emotional Attribution

“No one can make you feel anything.”

One of the people who has greatly influenced me said that to me once–actually, he said it several times. It didn’t take much introspection for me to realize that he’s absolutely correct: emotions are internal things. They are internal reactions to external stimuli. While we lack control over the external stimuli, we have full and total control over our reactions, and we are not at the mercy of our emotions.

How many times have we heard something like, “That makes me so angry,” or, “You make me so sad”? I’m sure we’ve all uttered similar phrases, and I know that I have, yet the truth is that these statements are incorrect. It would be correct to say, “I react angrily to that,” and, “I react sadly to you.”

Saying something or someone “makes us” feel an emotion is a convenient way of pretending like we’re victims, and an insidious method of passing the blame from oneself to the external stimuli. “You make me angry,” after all, is a statement that carries some kind of implication of wrongdoing–the person is doing something they shouldn’t be. This usually results in a misguided apology: “I’m sorry [for making you angry].”

In fact, just moments ago I sent an email to a colleague about how a cop parked beside me made me nervous. In the email, I corrected myself: “I react nervously to the external stimulus of a police officer nearby.”

Because the cop didn’t make me nervous. I’m fully aware of what the police are: they are footsoldiers of the state, its lowest level enforcers. They are pirates and thugs who inflict their violence and evil openly, and nothing more than that. Yet despite all their immoral power, they cannot make me nervous, because they cannot determine my internal reactions. Through all their aggression, theft, malevolence, hatred, and murder, they cannot make me feel anything.

Believe it or not, I’m going somewhere with this, and I’m going to show many ways that this manifests and, often, contributes to the Victim Complex dominating western society. I like looking for underlying causes, and this is certainly one; the misattribution of internal emotions to others obviously has ties to the Victim Complex. Instead of properly taking responsibility for how one feels, it is blamed on others, and it is demanded that others change their behavior, instead of the “victim” changing themselves.

Over the weekend, I read this:

This is curious for a number of reasons. First, there’s nothing “annoying” about being trans. Whether one feels annoyance over something is internal. It would be more accurate to have simply stated, “I’m annoyed.” Nothing can make her annoyed, after all. That’s an internal feeling, and she controls it. Or, at least, she should, rather than letting it control her.

Next, she assumes that she knows how others feel. And what do they feel? The need to compliment trans people so that trans people feel validated. Good god, it’s such a mess of confusion, arrogance, and presumed omniscience.

How does she know that other people “feel the need” to compliment her appearance? Perhaps it’s just a “want.” While it’s obviously one or the other, since sans aggression people always do things they either want or need, it’s quite presumptuous to assume that others need to compliment her appearance. Notice, however, that she didn’t say that; she said “feel the need,” because it’s too easy to be called out saying, “…people need to compliment your appearance…”

It’s simply a euphemism that masks the presumptuous nature of the statement. If she’d said “need” instead of “feel the need,” I daresay she’d have gotten much less support. Regardless, she claims to know what others feel, and what they feel is “need.” How does she know this? Has anyone ever told her, “I feel the need to validate you by complimenting your appearance”? Bloody unlikely, but possible.

She doesn’t stop there with her omniscient assumptions, though. She goes even further and asserts that what they feel is the need to make her feel validated. So she knows what they feel, she knows what they need, and she knows what they want to “make” her feel. Quite a powerful bit of mind reading, and all based on the errant idea that one can make another feel anything at all.

It’s curious that she’s assumed others want her to feel validated, a sentiment she implicitly rejects; she didn’t say it, but what is “incredibly obvious” is that she rejects the notion that she needs validation from compliments. This rejection causes her to reject the compliment.

What Does She Want?

I’ve recently come face-to-face with the SJWs who have invaded libertarianism, and this is clearly one of them. The overall sentiment of her message is that she’s offended by compliments. Of course, that’s not quite the case. She assumes that she knows why people are complimenting her (attributing emotional needs to them in the process), and what she is annoyed/offended by is not the compliment, but all the things she has assumed about the person giving the compliment.

She’s not necessarily offended by being complimented. She’s offended when those compliments are given by needy people who want her to feel validated by the compliment. How does she know this is what they want? Either she has the gift of telepathy or she doesn’t know, and I don’t believe in telepathy. So she will assume this or not by whatever arbitrary internal reactions she has; if the mood strikes her, she assumes you’re a well-intentioned person motivated by the need to make her feel validated. Maybe sometimes it’s “just a compliment,” but we can’t say. In fact, only she can say when she chooses to interpret a compliment as a kind gesture and when she chooses to interpret it as a well-intentioned person fulfilling their own emotional needs. After all, it is her interpretation.

This would be fine, really, if she understood that it was solely upon her how she took the compliment. Even if the person meant it in such a way, it’s still solely upon her whether she accepts it as anything more than a nice word, and still solely upon her whether she reacts with annoyance.

This is the essence of the SJW, though. If you tell her she’s ugly, she’ll be offended. If you say she looks like a boy, she’ll be offended. If you say she is mentally ill, she’ll be offended. If you say she looks pretty, she’ll be offended.

Being perpetually offended is not a skill.

Having been dealt a hand in life that didn’t allow me the luxury of feeling sorry for myself by painting myself as a victim of actual fucking kindness, I have never seen much point in being offended.

Don’t get me wrong. I know it’s a “thing” to compliment trans people. I’ve experienced that countless times. Whether such people want me to feel validated or what, I don’t know. I’m not Jesus Christ. I have never asked what they want, even when they say things like “…in my experience, trans people could use a compliment…”

Who doesn’t appreciate a compliment?

I could assume his motive was simply to make me feel validated, but that doesn’t really seem to be the case. When men compliment other women, is it an attempt to make the woman feel validated? And here we’re getting to it, aren’t we? The answer is usually “No.” Often, it’s to make the woman feel better after having a bad day, reminding one’s wife that she’s beautiful, making her smile, or any number of reasons that have nothing to do with validation.

And that’s just it; that’s precisely it. “I’m trans, so if you compliment me, I’m going to interpret as you feeling the need to validate me, and that’s offensive.”

Her words suggest that she’d like to simply have no one speak of her appearance at all. You can’t tell her she’s ugly; you can’t tell her she’s pretty. It puts anyone interacting with her into a lose/lose situation–no matter what, she’s going to be offended. I would venture the assumption that she would say that she wants to be treated as any other woman, but that can’t be the case–you are allowed to compliment a woman’s appearance without it being interpreted as an attempt to validate her.

She doesn’t want equality. Like so many of the SJWs, she pays lip service to equality, but what she actually wants is special treatment–you aren’t even allowed to compliment her. She *sigh* wants to be treated like a special snowflake, handled with kiddy gloves, such that even complimenting her makes her into a victim.

And if she reads this, she’s surely unfriended me by now. It doesn’t matter; I warned people Saturday morning that I was no longer going to just ignore posts like that. It’s so blatantly wrong.

We are not victims, and we don’t have to choose to be victims. No one has the power to make you feel anything, and no one has the power to make you a victim. You’re only a victim if you choose to be. Until you give in, you’re a fighter, not a victim.

So fight.

Take control of your emotions and recognize them as internal reactions that you control, and that no one else can control. Self-ownership includes one’s emotions. Don’t surrender them. We’re not pathetic animals controlled completely by emotional impulses that we can’t affect. We can affect them; they’re our emotions, and no one else’s.

Rantings & Ravings Rebooted Ep 03 – “Gays & Justice”

Intro (0:00)

General conversation about stuff.

News 1 (2:33)

Gay couple in Norway attacked by Moroccans, and reflections on the Pulse Shooting, as well as the fact that we’re not able to fix a problem if we aren’t allowed to discuss it. Also the mess in Syria, why Trump thinks it’s okay to create more terrorists, and the clusterfuck state of American foreign policy.

Stupid Comment of the Week (10:06)

A “former AnCap” who left the ideology because… he couldn’t envision a way for the ideology to come to fruition…? It was really hard to make sense of his ramblings, and this is from someone who rambles a lot. So we discuss various ways in which the radical ideology of non-violence could be implemented, and mention again that beautiful event during World War 1.

News 2 (23:52)

There actually isn’t a second news item this week. I had one, but deleted it to instead talk about the fact that we shouldn’t have this much shit to discuss in the first place, and how it’s an indication that something has gone awry. My anarchism doesn’t come out often (much of the time, I could be mistaken for a libertarian), but here it really shines through.

Are You Fucking Kidding Me? (36:37)

Skittles’ attempt to show solidarity with a rainbow-oriented group by… removing all colors from their candy…? What? I’m far from a Social Justice Warrior, but they have a point. Removing all color doesn’t show support; it shows antagonism, morons. “I’m going to show my support for the women’s march by waving my dick around!” What? No, it doesn’t make sense. A candy with the slogan of “taste the rainbow” removing all its colors to show “support” for a group whose emblem is the rainbow is, at the very least moronic, and that’s assuming it wasn’t meant as a snub of LGBTQ people in a society that wouldn’t tolerate it.

Darkside Philosophy (40:53)

Justice and AnCap principles–most people don’t mean “justice” when they say it. They mean “vengeance.” So I talk a bit about my murdered mother and how I might have justice over it. Spoiler Alert: the only way for me to have justice is to forgive the murderer. The conceit that it’s okay to inflict violence on someone because they used violence is called Eye For An Eye, and it’s not justice; it’s revenge.

Neo-Cons Didn’t Corrupt Trump

I must confess that I’m pleased to see the general condemnation from Trump supporters of the attack against Syria, motivated primarily by incredulity over the absurd claim that Assad, to better fight a war that he’d nearly won, saw fit to do something that would certainly drag the West into the war and thereby assure his defeat. The whole thing stinks, for several reasons. I suppose first among those is that Assad surrendered all of his chemical weapons to Russia, as overseen by the United States and United Nations. This would mean that any chemical weapons since constructed couldn’t have been made by Assad’s forces, who were being monitored by the UN as part of the agreement that John Kerry accidentally forged with Assad.

It’s also alarming that we, the United States, killed 230 civilians, and no one retaliated against us for the atrocity. We escaped unpunished, and that we murdered 230 civilians is an undisputed fact. Meanwhile, Assad allegedly kills about a hundred civilians, and we hypocritically take it upon ourselves to punish him, thereby handing an endangered city directly over to Isis.

It should be a cause for concern that McCain, Hillary, CNN, NBC, and others who have long demonized Trump are applauding his actions. If McCain gives you the thumbs up, then you’re doing it wrong.

Now Rex Tillerson has openly stated that our goal for Syria is regime change.

I never expected better of Trump, but, for unknown reasons, a lot of people did. We knew that Hillary would put us on this path, and I’ll admit that Trump was a bit of a wild card–based on what he said, I don’t blame the people who fell for his seeming policy of non-interventionism at least in Syria, but he backpedaled, lied, and contradicted himself so much during his campaign that anyone who took anything he said seriously might be a little touched in the head.

Yet here we are, preparing to go down exactly the same road that Hillary would have led us down, although we might have gotten here a few weeks sooner under President Hillary Clinton. It’s hard to say, honestly. Trump hasn’t even been President for three months, and he’s already getting us into a war to topple a Middle Eastern regime. One would expect the tragedy that is the current situation in Iraq and Afghanistan would have taught us better, but we seem to have a remarkable inability to admit when we’re wrong. As long as we can’t admit that we screwed up, we can’t learn from the screw-up.

The similarities between Syria and Iraq are too much to ignore, especially given that ISIS stands for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. This is an organization that first appeared in 1999 in Iraq, but was unable to generate any momentum, especially with the world’s most famous terrorist bin Laden being part of Al Queda. A competing terrorist group just wasn’t going to get much coverage, as Boko Haram learned a few years ago, around the time that Al Queda fell. Remember them? They were going to replace Al Queda in the west’s zeitgeist of organized terror perpetrated by the government against its own citizens, but they failed to inspire us to give a shit.

It’s no coincidence that the vacuum of power we created when we deposed Saddam Hussein and then vacated the region allowed Isis to come forward and fight against the western-friendly government we had installed. When rebels began fighting against Assad in Syria, we “humanitarians” that we are took it upon ourselves to arm the rebels and help them, while Russia and Putin attempted to crush the rebellion. It’s probable that if we hadn’t gotten involved–much as we had during the Iran-Contra affair–then Russia wouldn’t have gotten involved.

Anyway, this new vacuum of power allowed ISIL–Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant–to spill over into Syria, at which point its name was changed, although “Levant” was always a reference to eastern portions of Syria, if my memory serves me correctly. I do have a good memory, but it’s honestly hard to keep track of all this shit that we’ve done and caused.

Suddenly that civil war between Assad and governmental forces with Russia’s backing against rebel forces with our backing had a new combatant, which had grown powerful in the chaotic Iraq and seized the confusion in Syria to establish footholds there.

It’s comforting, for what little it is worth, to see Trump supporters criticizing Trump for his actions, and Infowars has finally taken Trump’s dick out of their mouths long enough to criticize the attack against Syria for playing right into Isis’s hands by further destabilizing the region, weakening Assad, and allowing them to take more territory. They rightly point out that it’s absolutely absurd to think that Assad–who publicly surrendered his chemical weapons while the entire world was watching–would have used chemical weapons in a war that he had all but won, considering that he knew the reaction it would have and considering that even Putin, gremlin though he is made out to be, condemns the use of chemical weapons against civilians.

However, these people contend that Trump has been “corrupted” by the Neo-Cons in his cabinet.

The cabinet that Trump himself appointed.

It’s an argument that is truly facepalm worthy. Trump appointed the very Neo-Cons who are now supposedly corrupting him. This means he wanted them to be where they are, and he wanted them to influence him. People he personally selected are advising him. It’s not like he inherited his advisors and cabinet from Obama and George W. Bush. It’s not like the cabinet came with the job, and he was totally unable to remove the CFR members and Goldman-Sachs executives. Quite the opposite–those people left with Obama, and the entire idea of “draining the swamp” was that Trump would refrain from bringing a bunch of CFR globalists, Goldman-Sachs executives, and neo-cons back into power. Yet instead of draining the swamp, Trump brought those people right back in and gave them jobs.

He didn’t get corrupted by them. He brought them in to advise him, and they gave him the advice that he clearly wanted and expected from them when he appointed them. It’s not like he appointed Ron Paul as his Defense Secretary, and Ron was assassinated with Trump receiving a letter that read in letters cut out from newspapers and magazines, “The next will die, too, unless it’s one of Cheney’s friends.”

It’s like if I went out with a bunch of friends to get ecstasy and have a good time, and someone said that those friends “corrupted me” when I was caught buying MDMA. It’s a blatant denial of responsibility. Trump chose those people, knowing who they were and what they represented. They didn’t corrupt him. They did exactly what he knew they would do when he chose them.

Trump wasn’t corrupted by the Neo-Cons in his staff. He wasn’t corrupted by the Deep State. He wasn’t unduly influenced by the CFR globalists in his cabinet. He hand-selected those people. Trump is to blame for this. He picked those advisors and cabinet members. He appointed these people.

So now Trump supporters have this idea of their savior being corrupted against his will and cajoled into taking actions that he doesn’t want to take by evil, corrupting Neo-Cons. It would be funny if this wasn’t what they evidently think. The swamp didn’t corrupt Trump while he was desperately trying to drain it. Trump dived headlong into the swamp the first chance he got, and that was his choice. He’s not the non-interventionist that people think he is, and he’s not the anti-establishment president that people think he is. He fooled such people, and it’s time they admitted that.

Stop making excuses for him. He marketed himself as a quasi-sorta-but-not-really-non-interventionist, although he did say some things that did lean a little bit in that direction, and he marketed himself as an outsider, someone who would fight the system and drain the swamp. Continuing to deny the fact that he lied to you and played you is not going to avoid war with Syria. He’s not being manipulated and [neo]conned by his cabinet. He’s doing exactly what he wants to do, and following the advice of people he appointed to give him exactly the advice they gave him.

The Government is Driving Me Crazy

This isn’t finished–and it actually gets worse, due to what happened in court–but I’m posting it now because I don’t know when I’ll be able to get back to it.

As I sit in court this morning waiting on that judge to make his appearance, despite it being ten minutes after the time I was legally mandated to appear, I’ve got plenty of time to reflect on why I’m here. I’m here because the state has persistently screwed me over in the name of money.

In fact, my driving record would be impeccable if not for two things: the government, and other, careless drivers. I’ve been doing for 13 years, and I’ve had two accidents, neither of which was my fault. In one instance I was rear ended, in the other, more recent, someone attempted to turn out of a driveway in front of me, and didn’t see me coming. I’ve been ticketed for not wearing a seatbelt, not having insurance, for running stop signs that even the judge didn’t believe I ran, for not having insurance, and for not having insurance.

This entire thing is wrong. Why do we tolerate it?

It was only last year, or the year before, that Mississippi finally repealed the bill that forced drivers to buy inspection stickers. What was undoubtedly meant as a boon to the mechanics industry became a formality: Everyone knew at least one mechanic who would clear any vehicle. Yet the ticket for not having this sticker ran $500–one hundred times the cost of the sticker itself.

On the surface, the insurance regulation seems to make sense. Ignoring the overarching concerns about what right the state has to coerce me to buy something, if I’m in an accident then it’s not really fair to you if I can’t cover my responsibility. Never mind as well the fact that this is clearly a civil matter, and that, in the worst case scenario, you could sue me for damages. Yet after 13 years of driving, two of which were spent delivering pizzas in a city, I think the absence of any fault on my end serves as sufficient proof that I handle my end of the responsibility.

Strangely, no court will admit that I’ve never been at fault in a wreck as evidence that I’m responsible for the things I do on the road, even though they, better than anyone, have my driving record to look at.

Actually, insurance is obscenely expensive generally, but especially for me. Any driving ticket is considered a moving violation, including not having insurance and not wearing a seatbelt. These are tickets I obviously shouldn’t have in the first place. If I don’t want to wear a seatbelt in my vehicle, then that’s my business. If I solve my responsibility to other drivers by being cautious and careful, then I’ve solved my responsibility and insurance is a moot point. I don’t need liability insurance if I’m not a liability.

None of this matters, of course.

The episode of The Big Bang Theory  wherein Sheldon goes to traffic court struck home for exactly that reason: judges don’t want to hear it. They want to get you in and out. They don’t want to hear long winded, obvious arguments about how no one with any sense in their head would believe that you ran a third stop sign in two weeks when there was literally a cop right behind you. And even though the judge agrees, because you’re a respected businessperson in the small town and he knows you’re not an idiot, you’re still going to pay that $172 that some cop on a whim decided you were ultimately going to have to pay.

The Constitution has no place in American court rooms, especially traffic courts, where 13,000 page documents of legalese have been written explaining why it’s totally not a violation of our Fourth Amendment right to have paperwork demanded of us at roadblocks as we exercise our inherent animal right to move around the land. They assure us that it checks out, and we should totally trust them on that, but if we don’t then we can always read the enormous, confusing document ourselves. Because the founders who wrote a framework for our government that was less than thirty pages long totally intended for bills to become a thousand times longer than that. Certainly some part of the Bill of Rights should have mandated that all bills must be less in word count and page length than the Constitution itself.

I have no doubt that someone who has literally dedicated their life to understanding this minefield of complexities and jargon could decimate me in an argument about them. I’m not an attorney, and I don’t know or care about the gigantic documents they create in their efforts to convince us that this totally isn’t tyranny. For the most part, I don’t really care what they do in their world of make believe. It’s only when their world of make believe overlaps the real world, and I find myself losing an entire day just to be commanded to pay a fine, that it becomes an issue.

And it is a world of make believe that they’ve crafted. They aren’t the only ones; most Americans are fixated firmly on this world of make believe. Just recently, I got to listen to my father talk about Trump’s congressional speech, and how he’s looking forward to the perks brought on by President Trump.

What is he talking about?

Sugarcandy Mountain, really. Surely some part of him knows that nothing Trump does is going to have even the tiniest measurable effect on his life. In fact, this is true for most people. We’re in our second month of his presidency, and nothing has changed and nothing has happened. Everyone’s daily lives are exactly the same as they were a year ago, yet half the people are convinced things are about to get better and the other half are convinced things are about to become catastrophic.

Of course, “things” aren’t about to do anything or be anything. It’s all inconsequential. Whether the hope or fear that Trump would shake things up was well-founded or not, it should be obvious by now that the status quo reigns unchallenged. Shortly after his election victory, I said in a video that I think America just got played, and that nothing was going to change, which would piss off the people who voted for Trump, leaving them even angrier and less trusting of politicians than they were before.

Yet two months later, I’m beginning to remember that they honestly just lack the capacity to notice that, just as the average liberal lacks the capacity to recognize that Obama didn’t really do anything. Nor did Bush Jr., or Clinton. I’ve seen “Libertarians for Trump” continue praising the buffoon, despite his constant executive overreach, which, while it isn’t new, is certainly something they should be against–and were against when it was Obama.

I’d hoped that conservatives would seize the rare opportunity to actually begin embracing small government and states’ rights, but they have shown no sign of caring any longer. They just have a different set of pet issues they want the federal government to control than liberals have. I knew this, of course, and have said it as long as I’ve been writing, but I did hope that they wouldn’t be as stupid and hypocritical as allowing the federal government to usurp not just states’ rights but city and county rights as well.

It’s useless to point out the hypocrisy, though. No one has ever succeeded in getting a hypocrite to realize they were a hypocrite, and that’s only exacerbated in politics when the stakes and rewards are “OMG WE GET TO TELL OTHER PEOPLE WHAT TO DO!” Unable to resist that urge to tell everyone else what to do with their pet issues, they’ve stepped right back into the path of big government and have ensured that the best we can look forward to is another Democratic President in 4-8 years, and then, perhaps, another chance for conservatives to note that, since they didn’t like the liberal federal government telling them what to do, then maybe they shouldn’t use the conservative federal government to tell liberals what to do. But, of course, when it comes to issues conservatives care about, it totally doesn’t count as usurping states’ rights.

It’s now fifteen minutes after nine, 45 minutes after I was required to be here. The courtroom is still filled with the steady droning of thirty conversations happening at once, and neither the bailiff nor judge have made an appearance. The state and its puppets, of course, have no concern for my time. And why should they? They’re at work; this is what they get paid to do. If having a day in court meant that every judge, officer, and other associated person wasn’t getting paid for each moment they were in court, this shit wouldn’t devour our entire days.

One odd thing I noticed the last time I was here is that people with attorneys go first. I suspect this is true in every court across the country, but I’m not aware of any attorney who charges by the minute or hour in a courtroom, so the argument that the judge is trying to keep the people’s costs low doesn’t hold up. Several of my clients are attorneys, and none of them charge by the hour, while all of them include a presumed court appearance or two in their estimate.

It’s because, without exception, the judge used to be an attorney. If there’s any position I’ve ever thought about running for, it’s a judicial one. I would make a fantastic judge, if I do say so. Case after case would be dismissed unless the state provided evidence, and an officer’s word wouldn’t be enough. “Oh, you ticketed her for not having insurance? What proof do you have that she didn’t have proof of insurance?”

“Well, your honor, she didn’t…”

“Ma’am, did you have proof of insurance?”

“Yes, your honor.”

“Case dismissed.”

Most cops don’t even bother to show up. That’s how little our rights matter, and how little presumed non-guilt matters. Cops don’t even show up. I’m sorry, your honor, but where is the evidence that I didn’t have insurance? Where is the evidence that the officer didn’t take a lighter to my insurance card? No, your honor, I *don’t* have to prove that I had insurance; the officer has to prove that I didn’t.

Where is the evidence that I was driving on a suspended license? That the officer said so? In what vehicle was I driving? There’s no proof of this; the vehicle wasn’t impounded. Where’s the evidence that I wasn’t out walking when some cop arrested me and said I was driving? They didn’t impound the vehicle, so they wouldn’t be able to prove I was driving.

If I did attempt to dispute any of these charges, then it wouldn’t matter; the officer would be called in to testify. Of course, the judge would be happy to wait twenty minutes while the officer showed up. After then, it would be a simple question of the officer’s word against mine, since there doesn’t even exist evidence that this whole mess was caused by someone pulling out in front of me in the first place.

This whole thing is just ridiculous.

“Innocent until proven guilty.”

A statement so true that cops don’t even bother to show up to court, much less to provide evidence if they do appear.

A year or so ago, a friend’s son was arrested at 2 in the morning. He was pulled over in a city for having a headlight out. Before anyone comments that it’s dangerous to drive without headlights, I’ve had numerous military people inform me that drivers in Iraq don’t use headlights at all. Anyway, the kid was arrested because the father had left Xanax in the truck in an unlabeled pill bottle and couldn’t prove that he had a valid prescription.

With a discount because they’re a client, an attorney charged $1250 to take the case. The expected fines were $1000. In the end, the kid had to take three drug tests at a doctor’s office, and the charges were dropped, not appearing on his record.

If that had been me as an 18 year old, I’d have been fined. I’d have pled not guilty, explained the situation, and then would have been found guilty and fined. I’ve been there, found guilty for contributing to the delinquency of a minor when I was 18. It was that day that I learned how pointless it is to plea not guilty over a misdemeanor without an attorney. The judge doesn’t give a shit about your arguments. You’re guilty. It’s that simple.

The judge will listen to the attorney’s arguments, and, in my experience and observations, will just go with whatever the attorney says. The judge won’t fine you, because you’ve already been fined. You simply paid a private attorney instead of the state. Since the judge himself used to be a private attorney, it creates a cycle. Your attorney will be your kid’s judge. Your kid’s attorney will be your grandkid’s judge. They won’t fine you because they once made their money because judges didn’t fine people with attorneys. If they start treating people who have attorneys the same way they treat people who don’t, then their entire circle jerk falls apart.

Trying to put a vehicle on the road is an exercise of such obstruction that Stalin would be proud. First, you need a licence that you purchase from the state after buying two rubber stamps. This license, of course,

Reductive Reasoning: Genders & Immigration

So I’m working on a new thing that I’m calling Reductive Reasoning. To my surprise, such a thing doesn’t already exist, and any searches regarding “reduction” and “reasoning” lead to reductio ad absurdum, which is certainly a type of Reductive Reasoning, but not the only type. I’m so intrigued by this idea, in fact, that I began a new book last night on the subject. I think I’ll provide this one for free, and the first draft will be finished around mid-April. Following a three month period of leaving it alone, I’ll begin the editing in mid-July, and should produce the finished version around the end of August. I’ve dropped other writing projects to pursue this one, because I think I’m onto something here.

Reductive Reasoning is all about sets and set theory, but, thankfully, doesn’t have to dive into the mathematics. In fact, it’s almost completely a logical exercise designed to separate fictitious sets from real items. There are countless ways in which this can be applied, and the book is going to spend most of its time providing these examples and explaining how it works. The interesting thing about this is that earlier I received an email from a colleague who was sharing with me an anti-transgender article from The Federalist, where I found myself immediately dissecting the assumptions and sets in my reply. The colleague wasn’t condoning the article; he just sent it as a point of interest.

Then, when I was working on this article about video games and RPGs, I found myself using it again, though only briefly. I mentioned that the definition of RPG must necessarily be a defining element–an element that is unique to the genre and ubiquitous in all games that are RPGs. If the element is not unique to the genre, or if the element is not present in all games that are RPGs, then we know that our definition isn’t adequate.

I’ve Got a Cat

Suppose I say “A cat is an animal that has fur and sharp teeth.” Here, obviously, my definition of “cat” is “an animal that has fur and sharp teeth,” because… that’s what “is” means.

We can immediately see that my definition is wrong. A dog has fur and sharp teeth. According to my definition, a dog is a cat. Similarly, hamsters have fur and sharp teeth, so, according to my definition, a hamster is a cat. Since we know that a dog is not a cat–because the entire meaning of “species” precludes the possibility that one species is another species, just as “is” has its own meaning–we also know that my definition is wrong.

For the most part, it’s irrelevant that my definition is wrong. However, suppose that I said “All cats know how to use a litter box.” It suddenly becomes very important to know what my definition of “cat” is. As I’ve provided my definition that “A cat is an animal that has fur and sharp teeth,” my statement is actually “All animals that have fur and sharp teeth know how to use a litter box.”

This statement is obviously false. Not only is a typical hamster incapable of using what we understand as a litter box, but you’ll go insane trying to teach a dog how to use one. My statement that “All cats know how to use the litter box” is built on the definition of what a cat is. It’s equally built on the assumption of what a litter box is, and what it means to use one. For the sake of keeping things simple–though I’ll probably delve into this in the book–“litter box” can be defined as “any small container filled with some sort of sand or gravel with the express purpose of being a repository for animal waste” and “using a litter box” means “releasing waste into the small container filled with some sort of sand or gravel.”

When attempting to determine whether my statement about cats using litter boxes is true, we must reduce it into its components:

  • What is a cat?
  • What is a litter box?
  • What does it mean to use a litter box?

These three things are assumed by my statement, and must be individually demonstrated and defined before the statement can be decreed as true or false. We’ve already defined “litter box” and “using a litter box” satisfactorily enough–there may be some problems with those definitions, but, for the sake of the argument, let’s just go with “common knowledge” here. The remaining question is, “What is a cat?”

My definition that a cat is any animal with fur and sharp teeth yields a statement that is obviously false–hamsters and dogs both meet that criteria. In fact, whether my statement is true or false depends entirely on what the nouns and verbs conjured even mean. Even using the scientific definition of a cat–a felis catus–won’t result in a true statement. “Any animal that is a member of the felis catus genus and species knows how to use a litter box” is still a false statement, or, at best, unfalsifiable. For whatever reason, not all cats will use a litter box, and so whether or not they even know how cannot be determined.

Immigration

Recently I pointed out on Facebook that “The United States” doesn’t share a border with Mexico. This is because “The United States” is a set, and sets aren’t real things. They’re imaginary human constructs that are often treated as real things, but aren’t. This is important, because the statement “The United States has every right to determine who can enter its borders” is just as open to reduction as the statement about cats. Does the United States even have borders? No. It’s a set of other states, and some of those other states have borders. California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas share a border with Mexican provinces.

So the United States can’t have the “right” to determine who can and can’t enter its borders, because the United States doesn’t actually have borders in the first place. Instead, we would have to say that California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas have the right to determine who can enter their borders.

Except we immediately have the same problem there, don’t we? These states are also sets without real existences. We treat them as real, but they aren’t. So the statement “California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas have the right to determine who can enter their borders” has to be reduced. And there’s no such thing as “California” or “Texas.” There are only sections of land with populations that we’ve artificially divided into different groups and that we treat as though they are real divisions. In reality, there’s just a large section of land, some of which is owned by individuals, and some of which isn’t owned by anyone but which is claimed to be own by the fictitious set called “the government.”

Well, “the government” isn’t a real thing, and so it can’t own property. It would be like if I gave my lighter to Casper the Friendly Ghost, and then everyone began acting as though Casper was the rightful owner of my lighter. In practice, I would contend that it constitutes a form of insanity to treat imaginary things as though they’re real; the only difference is that Casper is an imagined individual while “the government” is an imagined set. Who really owns my lighter, if I have given it to an imaginary entity?

No one.

Anyone who wanted to could take the lighter and then say that Casper gave it to them, and they would be just as correct to say that as I was to say that it belonged to Casper in the first place. We can attribute literally anything to a fictitious entity. “Casper hates black people,” I could say. “Casper doesn’t hate black people,” you could reply, “and actually worked in the Civil Rights Movement.” We’d have no problem recognizing any two people having a conversation about whether Casper worked in the Civil Rights Movement as being batshit crazy. And “government” is just as imaginary and fictitious as Casper. The only differences are that “the government” is a set and that a lot of us are batshit crazy enough to treat “the government” as though it’s a real thing.

When we get down to it, we find ourselves saying that “An individual who owns land has the right to determine who can enter that land.” This, too, is open to reduction and a discussion of the nature of property rights and ownership. That’s not my subject here; I only bring it up to point out that I know even this seemingly obvious statement is open to reduction–however, this statement also stands up to reduction if it is assumed that force, violence, and coercion are morally wrong.

So does the United States have the right to determine who can enter its borders? Obviously not. The United States doesn’t have borders, because it isn’t a real thing, and so it can’t have any characteristics. Do California, Texas, et al. have the right to determine who can enter their borders? Obviously not. These states don’t have borders because they aren’t real things, and so they can’t have any characteristics. Does an individual have the right to determine who can enter their property? Briefly, I will say “Yes,” though I’m aware that I have not, in this article, attempted to demonstrate that. Instead, I’m going to rely on common knowledge again so that I can move on to something else. In the grand scheme, yes, even “common knowledge” must be reduced, but I want to get to the next subject because I have shit to do.

Sex & Transgenderism

At one point in the Federalist article I linked above, the author says something like “This is a boy pretending to be a girl.”

Relying on “common knowledge” isn’t helpful here, because there is too much disagreement there. Here, whether one agrees with the statement or not merely depends upon their bias and what they believe to be common knowledge. However, we’re going to reduce it.

  • What is a boy?
  • What is a girl?

The quick-thinking person might say, “A boy is someone born with a penis. Duh. And a girl is obviously someone not born with one.” And they might roll their eyes in exasperation at how they were being asked to define something that they consider “common knowledge” or “common sense.” But not only is this not pedantic to ask, it is critical. The statement’s status as true or false depend entirely on these definitions; they are hardly inconsequential. Whether or not his person is a boy pretending to be a girl depends completely on what a boy is and what a girl is.

Well, that definition clearly doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. There exists a medical condition where boys can be born without penises and/or without testicles. The statement “This is a boy pretending to be a girl” becomes “This is a <person born with a penis and testicles> pretending to be <someone who was not born with a penis and testicles>.” But this statement is obviously not true, per the link I just provided.

If the person has any intellectual integrity at all, they’ll sigh in exasperation, admit that they’re previous definition doesn’t hold up, and might say, “Then a girl is someone born with a vagina, and a boy is someone who wasn’t born with a vagina.”

Again, though, this definition doesn’t hold up. It’s a bit rarer, but there have been born girls without vaginas. By the latest definition, this woman born without a vagina is actually a boy.

Frustrated and probably getting angry, the person might turn to what they learned in 8th grade Biology: “A boy is someone born with XY chromosomes, and a girl is someone born with XX Chromosomes.”

Until recently, I would have accepted that definition tentatively, because I lacked the knowledge to dispute it, but in fact human sexuality isn’t anywhere near that simple. It turns out that every single cell in a person’s body has its own sex. This means that, far from having “all XY chromosomes,” a boy can have anywhere from 0% and 100% of their cells having XY chromosomes. So no one is born “with XY or XX chromosomes,” because everyone is born with some combination of cells featuring both XX and XY chromosomes in virtually any conceivable ratio. So the statement “This is a person born with XY chromosomes pretending to be a person born with XX chromosomes” is similarly false–the statement isn’t scientifically valid and isn’t applicable to anyone.

What we find, as we continue reducing and continue digging, is that the entire argument is built upon the assumption that there is such a thing as “a boy” and “a girl,” and that these things are clearly defined along some delineating characteristic. Basically, “boy” is a set and “girl” is another set, but the person–any person–making the claim will be unable to provide any definition that doesn’t either apply to “boys” that the definer himself would dispute as being boys, or would not apply to boys that the definer himself would call “boys.” A hermaphrodite, for example, born with both a penis and a vagina, would count as a “boy” per the person’s first definition, but the person would adamantly deny that a hermaphrodite counts as a boy, even though his own definition means the hermaphrodite counts as a boy. Similarly, a male born without a penis would not count as a boy per the person’s first definition, though the person would adamantly insist that such a person counts as a boy, even though his own definition means the penis-less baby doesn’t count.

Any definition given for a set must include all members of that set and must exclude entities that aren’t members of that set. Otherwise, the definition is wrong and the set is improperly defined. Since the set itself isn’t defined properly in the first place, any statement made about that set must be either false or unprovable. As an example, any definition for “boy” must include all members of that set, at the very least according to the person defining it, and the definition must exclude all girls. The person must be able to delineate the set about which they are making a truth statement. Before it can be said that “This is a boy pretending to be a girl,” both “boy” and “girl” must be unambiguously and all-inclusively defined into their different, non-overlapping sets. Not only did the writer of that article fail to do that, but everyone would fail to do that, because it can’t be done.

Digital Homicide Homicides Itself–But Not Digitally

So I’ll provide a brief recap before sharing Jim’s video with you. Jim does a series called Jimpressions, where he downloads and plays games to get a first impression of them. While doing this one day, he played a game called “The Slaughtering Grounds,” which was, at the time, just another shitty game in a long list of shitty games that The Steam Cleaner had been trying to protect gamers from. The people who put The Slaughtering Grounds together, in their confusion, mistook the first impressions video as a review, proceeded to shit themselves in ways shockingly glorious for those who weren’t involved, and ultimately filed a lawsuit against Jim Sterling for ten million dollars.

Now that it’s over, Jim can finally talk about it, and the above video is spectacular, and a long time coming. Since the suit was filed, we’ve all known that it would ultimately be dismissed, although–having been hit with a frivolous suit myself in the past–this is of no consolation to the defendant, who has to lawyer up and deal with the possibility of a judge being in a bad mood. I actually lost the frivolous suit filed against me. An ex-girlfriend had given me a guitar, and six months after we broke up showed up at my house to ask for it back. I no longer had it, as I’d traded it for a new amplifier. She decided to sue me. Seeing as she was asking only for $300, I did not seek an attorney, and I instantly lost the case the moment that I told the judge I’d sold the guitar–which was technically true. Someone bought the guitar from me, and I used the money to buy an amp.

It was immediate, and my father watching from the back saw exactly the same thing: the judge’s demeanor instantly changed. It was no longer a simple matter of someone having given something away and then decided half a year later that they wanted it back. Suddenly, the judge saw this mean boy–I was 18 at the time–and this poor, impressionable little girl who had left her guitar at her boyfriend’s, decided one day to go get it, only to learn that the ex-boyfriend had spitefully sold it. It did not matter that I could prove the guitar’s value was only $75. The judge said, and I quote, “She can say it cost however much she wants.”

This, of course, is Mississippi, so it’s hardly surprising. This case that should have been instantly thrown out as soon as we both said the same thing–that she’d given me the guitar and then decided she wanted it back–yet I lost it anyway. The very fact that I’d sold it painted me, in the judge’s eyes, as a dick ex-boyfriend being a dick to this poor, sweet little girl. It was the most audacious thing I’d ever heard until he found for the Plaintiff in the amount of $300 and I objected, saying, “Your honor, here is the official listing of the guitar from the manufacturer–it’s a $75 instrument,” and the judge replied, “She can say it cost however much she wants.”

Life is funny sometimes, because I ended up marrying her.

So I know first-hand that stupid, frivolous lawsuits are never a sure thing, and even the dumbest lawsuit represents a very real danger to the defendant, especially since legal costs get exponentially more expensive. I could certainly have appealed the decision, but it would have cost well over the $300 I was demanded to pay–and never did pay, by the way. We ended up getting back together less than 3 months after the lawsuit was over, and neither of us ever mentioned it again. That is how frivolous and obscene the lawsuit was.

Knowing this, I was worried for Jim. I like Jim, and I don’t want to see anyone have the legal system weaponized against them, much less in a way that is blatantly unfair–even by normal societal standards–and aggressively stupid. But I also knew that Jim had gotten a lawyer, while the idiotic James Romine was exercising his right to represent himself.

In a lawsuit for ten million dollars.

And this is where, at least for me, the imminent uprising of fascination truly begins.

James Romine: A Study in Sheltered Delusion

I absolutely cannot believe that no one close to James at any point in this utter stupidity told him that this was horrendously stupid. Watch Jim’s video above for the full recap, but let’s keep in mind that James attempted to sue one hundred anonymous users on the Steam platform, which caused Valve–the company that manages Steam–to remove all of his games from their store. We have to marvel, we rational, thinking, non-delusional adults, that someone who reached the age of adulthood somehow got it into their head that it was not only possible but a good idea to attempt to file a lawsuit against one hundred anonymous people on the Internet.

It’s a downright shocking detachment from reality.

I’m perhaps unusually able to see just how remarkably stupid the lawsuit was. Not everyone got sued for stupid shit when they were 18, of course. Not everyone got to spend a 25 hour period in solitary confinement at the age of 17.

A Story About a Dog

One day, I was called to a client’s–Revid Realty in Memphis, Tennessee. They had this big ass dog who walked the office as he pleased. I’m very familiar with dogs, so I did what everyone is supposed to do: I presented my hand for the dog to sniff. And, for whatever reason, the dog bit me and drew blood. At that very moment, I had a lawsuit against Revid Realty. But I’m not that kind of person. Their employees freaked out, washed out the wound, put some Neosporin on it–no doubt, they were all thinking the same thing: they had to make me very happy, or I was going to sue them. Of course, I had no intention of doing so.

The owner of the realty company, and the person who “owned” the dog, decided to keep the dog in his office. I continued going about doing my job and went into an office to check the network settings. While I was behind the desk connecting the toner to the ethernet jack, I heard growling behind me. I jumped up and turned around, and the big ass dog was right behind me, growling. It attacked.

I immediately left the site. For several hours afterward, the owner attempted to go through who was then my boss to contact me, but I had nothing to say to him. He knew that his dog had attacked me, and yet he let the fucking animal back out to walk around freely anyway. That is not only grossly offensive, it is indisputable, classic legal negligence. Any attorney in the tri-state area would have taken that case, and I’d have owned that realty company by the end of it. Perhaps if the dog had attacked me once, there wouldn’t have been much of a lawsuit, though there probably would have been, in today’s overly litigious system.

However, after the dog had bitten me once, it absolutely crossed a line that he allowed the dog out unsupervised, where it attacked me a second time, this time far more viciously than the first. It not only tore open several bites on my arm, but destroyed my shirt in the process. I looked like I’d been attacked twice by a fucking dog. And I had been. And it was 100% the owner’s fault, and 100% gross negligence since the dog had already attacked me. This was actually such a jarring experience that for years afterward, my sister’s pit bull scared me, even though the pit bull had never done anything even remotely aggressive toward me. For years, big dogs scared me. I’m still hesitant around them.

It only takes once.

Based on that alone, that I’m still dealing with a fear of large dogs, I could probably still sue. We have email records and phone records of how it all transpired, and the owner admitted fault. He attempted to appease me by offering to buy me a video game, and then said the most shockingly offensive thing yet: “Look, kid. I’m a millionaire. I mean, how many times in your life do you think you’re going to have a millionaire apologize to you? So just accept this and let’s put it behind us.”

There, on site at another client’s premises, I replied over the phone, “I don’t give a fuck how much money you have. You’re a piece of shit and your money can’t fix that,” and I hung up.

But that’s what an actual, valid lawsuit looks like. It takes someone being a total dick, and usually not just once. A reviewer saying that your video game is shit… does not qualify. And attempting to sue an independent video game reviewer for a sum of even one million dollars is exorbitant and would never, ever be awarded by any sane judge.

James Romine’s detachment from reality is nothing short of shocking. Not only did he truly believe–clearly, as he not only filed the suit, but he stood against Jim Sterling’s lawyers and amended the suit after having stood before a judge–that he had a chance of winning, but his understanding of finances are so bewildering that I think we can piece together a clear picture of Romine and the background he comes from.

He’s spoiled.

He’s spoiled as fuck.

He’s not simply spoiled, though. He’s also sheltered. One or both of his parents has almost certainly babied him through most of his life. If I told my father that I was going to file a ten million dollar lawsuit against someone who said some mean things about one of my articles on the Internet, once he stopped laughing he would probably finish disowning me. And while, clearly, James is an adult or he wouldn’t have been able to file a suit in the first place, I still have to wonder why he never asked either of his parents about this. One of my parents was murdered when I was 12, and my father is a drug-addicted, pathologically lying amoral sociopath, but even so there are plenty of older, wiser, more experienced people of whom I could ask about this lawsuit, if I didn’t already know that it was completely retarded.

It’s not James Romine that I pity. It’s his brother, who was not a party in the suit, and, though I can only speculate, I would wager these things:

First, the other Romine brother is the older one. This is because younger ones tend to be the babied ones, and I’m sticking with that contention: only someone who was ridiculously sheltered through their life could ever think that “someone saying mean things about my game” justifies a ten million dollar lawsuit.

Secondly, the other Romine brother probably wanted nothing to do with any of this, and has probably taken great care to separate himself professionally from James.

We can’t speculate too much about people based on things they say, but we can make pretty good speculations based on the things people do. And filing a ten fucking million dollar lawsuit against a YouTube personality because he didn’t like your game… That doesn’t even qualify as “delusional.” By the time you reach that point, “Delusional” is twelve miles back in the rearview mirror, and the next exit involves a straight jacket. I am a linguist, and we don’t even have a word for that level of delusion.

Clearly–and I do mean clearly–James Romine does not live in the same world that the rest of us live in. His understanding of the world and the roles that other people play in the world is so James-Romine-centric that his vague and wild conspiracy theories about collusion between a foreign company called ECC and Jim Sterling, and between Jim Sterling and Valve, is substantial enough to be put in an actual honest-to-fuck legal document. You know–to go to court. Where people are innocent until proven guilty. Where evidence is required. Where you can’t just say “Jim is conspiring with Valve. Trust me, I totally know what I’m talking about, and I’m not a lunatic, like totes 4 real” and expect the judge to say, “Ah, well shit. Seems legit, bruh. Pay up, Jim.”

I hate that Jim–one of the few people I consider worthy enough to personally sponsor on Patreon, by the way, to give you an idea of how much I respect the man, his opinions, and his work–had to put up with this, but what is “this?” What, exactly, did Jim have to put up with?

The insane, delusional ravings of a spoiled, sheltered baby who appears to still have no idea of how the world works, or what his place in that world is. I had a clear, easy-to-win, demonstrable lawsuit against an actual fucking millionaire, and I didn’t pursue it. As an aside, we did drop the client for it. Conversely, James Romine acted out his delusion on an epic scale, for all the world to see, throwing a temper tantrum through the legal system and trying desperately to find some way–some fucking way–for baby to get what baby wanted. Because that’s how it’s probably always been for him.

Being just totally honest here, I think we can take it as a given that, if not literally every single person, then at the very least almost every person to whom James Romine talked about this nonsensical lawsuit surely advised him against it, and surely told him that it was the dumbest thing they’d ever heard, that it could not possibly end well for him, and that now was as good a time as any to sack up and stop being a baby. I cannot make myself crazy enough to even fathom the possibility that everyone around him told him to proceed with this. My brain cannot detach itself from the real world enough for me to even imagine the hypothetical scenario where friends and family are saying, “Yeah, man! His saying that there isn’t enough popcorn on Earth–that’s totally libel against you!”

And yet… He did it.

He proceeded with it.

Once he stood down Jim’s attorneys, he continued pressing with it, and allowed the stupid thing to actually go to a court. An actual fucking court. And here the judge’s hands were bound: he could not fully dismiss the case because it could be amended to be compliant, and the judge couldn’t deny Romine the opportunity to amend it. Rather than going, “Oh, shit. I don’t know fucking anything about law, do I? I’ve sent my evidence to the opposing attorney. I’ve initiated proceedings in the wrong order. I’ve sorta asked Jim’s attorney for legal advice, when you really get down to it… And now a judge has told me that I didn’t even properly do the thing right! I should just let this go!”

Rather than doing that, he amended the thing nonsensically, having decided that because he checked the sole proprietor box on PayPal, this meant that he was actually the owner of a sole proprietorship.

No, James. That’s not how this works. PayPal doesn’t have the legal standing to declare you a sole proprietor.

As the sole proprietor of an I.T. firm–with an actual bank account and business phone lines and stuff–I can tell you that it’s a bit more involved than checking a box on PayPal. In fact, the process is so convoluted that I’d recommend anyone wanting to do it to go through LegalZoom. Seeing as I’ve got an actual DBA with an actual EIN and an actual tax identifier, I could sue someone as <the I.T. firm that I own>. You checked a box on fucking PayPal.

The sheer scale of the misunderstandings shown by James Romine–not to even mention how he interpreted “fair use” to mean that the reviewer had to be “fair to the game,” rather than actually, you know, having anything to do with copyright–are absolutely astounding. Granted, I lived a childhood and adolescence bad enough to write an actual book about, so I’m about as far from sheltered as a person can get, but I still cannot comprehend how someone could reach the age of adulthood–but clearly, not actually adulthood–and misunderstand things in such fundamental ways. And not just misunderstanding, but misunderstanding them in a way that is noticeably skewed in his own favor. His understanding of how “fair use” is applied clearly works in his favor. His understanding of how libel laws work is clearly bent in his own favor. His understanding of sole proprietorship is similarly skewed so that he understands it only through the lens of how it benefits him, instead of understanding it as an actual thing with an actual legal existence, which is odd considering Digital Homicide is [allegedly] an LLC.

Jim and Jim’s attorney had to face this sad, pathetic man’s delusions and James Romine-centric understanding of the world head-on.

I have no doubt in my mind that James Romine still believes that he is right, and that the only reason things turned out the way they did is that he couldn’t afford an attorney. Because that’s the end result when someone is so sheltered, and so babied through their entire life, that they honestly think that there is the smallest chance in hell that suing someone for libel because they said on Twitter that there wasn’t enough popcorn on Earth will be successful. I don’t know how else to explain that level of delusion, that level of reckless detachment from the real world, and that level of ego that interprets everything solely through a filter of how it can benefit him.

By the way, James, if you found this by Googling yourself, this isn’t libel, either. But you’re welcome to try.

Libertarians, Stop Feeding the Troll

In the past few days, I’ve seen an unusual amount of criticism directed at Milo Yuanwhateveris from libertarians, so I assume that Milo recently said something negative about libertarians. I’ve seen one such post, where he called libertarians “selfish,” but there was no time-stamp on it, so I don’t know if it was recent or not. Whatever spurred the recent insults toward Milo, I want to explain why this is a bad idea. No, scratch that. I want to help other libertarians figure out for themselves why this is a bad idea. So let’s sit back and run an experiment.

Step 1: Start a YouTube Channel

For the sake of this experiment, we’re going to create a Video Game Let’s Play! channel. So we’re going to record ourselves talking and playing video games, like PewDiePie or Markiplier or that Irish dude my nephew likes. Then, of course, we’re going to upload these videos onto YouTube.

Step 2: Find a Much Larger Channel, and Comment Its Videos With Insults

So now that we have our YouTube channel created and have a few videos on it, the obvious next step is to go to Markiplier’s and PewDiePie’s channels, load several of their videos, and then leave numerous comments attacking them, saying their videos are poor, their commentary is weak, and their expressed opinions are wrong. Perhaps we can even demonstrate that we are correct–maybe Markiplier hates Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on NES because it’s “a piece of shit LJN game,” and we leave a comment about how he’s wrong because it’s not an LJN game–his conclusion can’t be correct because the basis upon which it is built is incorrect. In this comment, we’re going to make it clear that we have our own Let’s Play channel, where we get our facts right.

Step 3: Count Your Subscribers

Now that we’ve done Step 2 for a few days, let’s go and look at our Subscriber count. This is multiple choice, so choose the most appropriate:

  1. YouTube deleted my channel for harassment.
  2. I gained zero subscribers, and all of my comments were ripped apart by Markiplier and PewDiePie fans who said that I was just attacking someone more popular in the hopes of leeching subscribers.
  3. Apparently YouTube’s subscriber count is an unsigned integer, and I lost so many subscribers from this crap that it caused an underflow glitch and left me with 231 − 1 subscribers, although none of them are actual people, so they probably don’t count.

Step 4: Apply This Lesson

Milo is insanely popular, and so is the alt-right. For all intents and purposes, they just won the election, so it’s fair to say that the alt-right is popular enough to make someone president (even though obviously not all Trump supporters were alt-right, in the end, the alt-right played a key role in his victory in the Republican Primary), while libertarians… managed to get a debate aired on Fox Business. I don’t mean to undercut that accomplishment, because it truly was awesome, but if we’re talking popularity comparisons, Milo could run for President and easily beat the numbers that Gary Johnson got. Milo’s books are selling better than ever, while the only libertarian selling books en masse today is Ron Paul, and his aren’t selling these days.

It doesn’t matter who is right or wrong, not in the court of widespread public opinion. Whoever is most popular is right and wins the argument; whoever is least popular loses and is likely going to be written off as some butthurt crybaby who is being a hater because someone is more popular. It doesn’t matter if that’s true or not in the court of widespread public opinion. Once an allegation is made and starts spreading, very few people look into it enough to find out who is right or wrong; they’ll just retweet and share with no research. The things spreading will be Milo’s evisceration of libertarianism, not the libertarian response. The libertarian response will spread only among other libertarians.

Step 5: Don’t Feed the Troll

Just ignore him. We’re not going to win anyone over to libertarianism by attacking Milo, or even by defending ourselves against his wild criticisms. This is why Jill Stein’s attacks against Gary Johnson came off as so contrived and weak–it seemed that she was desperately seeking validation and recognition by someone more popular, trying to bait a more successful candidate into acknowledging the existence of her campaign and treating her like a serious player. However, we know that we don’t need validation from the alt-right, or even from Republicans; the fact that they’re attacking us makes it clear that we’re a threat.

So ignore it. Otherwise you’re giving the troll exactly what the troll wants. It’s what trolls do–they bait people for reactions. Milo took Internet Trolling and brought it into the real world. Or, perhaps, it was already in the real world and Milo simply removed the mask. Regardless, we’ve all been on the Internet long enough to know how this works, and long enough to know how to deal with trolls.