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Is Bitcoin in a Bubble?

No. Next question.

Are Cryptocurrencies generally in a bubble?

No. A bubble is when investors drive a stock’s value beyond its actual value, distorting the market through their cognitive biases, and the inexorable market forces inevitably reveal this to be a sham, which plummets the value of the stock back to its market value. There are a few considerations to be addressed here, because a bubble is the result of “believers” recruiting people to the investment in speculation, and an ultimate correction that causes most people to lose lots of money. The 2007 recession was caused by the bursting of a housing bubble that was brought about by low interest rates as decreed by the Federal Reserve, which gave the illusion of economic strength and created easily-received credit. This was illusory because most people did not have the economic strength to purchase a home on the credit they received, defaulted, and caused banks to lose large amounts of entirely made-up money. Not to get too out there with it, but banks didn’t actually lose any money during the Great Recession, because when people take out loans, banks just invent that money out of thin air (no, really, that’s what they do–they just add the money to their ledgers). Then, when you pay back the loan they gave themselves or another bank in your name, you’ve converted that imaginary money into real money. It’s stupid, counterintuitive, and an obvious ripoff for us. But anyway.

It’s true that crypto believers are attempting to recruit new people to cryptocurrencies, but there are a few things to this that are exceptional and worthy of taking notice. First, this is part of a global battle against globalized tyranny, which we are seeing take place with Brexit, threats of withdrawing from NATO, the Catalonia independence referendum, Kurdistan, and even the Californian possibility of secession. Throughout the world, people are rising up and stating unequivocally that they do not want to be controlled by others. Since the western world is dominated entirely by the USD and by state control of the economy, we in the west have decided to attack the power structure that allows for this tyranny, rather than trying to eliminate the tyranny itself. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and DASH have done more to challenge government authority than 40 years of the Libertarian party. This will only continue going forward.

Because that’s what cryptocurrencies are–they are currencies just like any other, except decentralized and created directly by We the People. Although Spain sent police forces dressed in all-black to beat the hell out of people who advocated independence for Catalonia, we in the United States have… different methods. And we know that we cannot survive a direct fight with our government. We’ve learned this lesson from the Afghans, from Al-Queda, from DAESH, from Iraq, and from countless others. The American military machine has simply become too powerful to fight directly. It’s true that the military machine would probably be unable to ultimately defeat us all, but the resistance would be decimated very early on, and there would be no realistic chance of ever defeating the American military machine, just as DAESH has no realistic chance of ever doing so. This being the case, we must all rely on subterfuge and strategy. It is in this vein that cryptocurrencies were invented (and other reasons).

Rather than throwing away our lives in violent revolution against the state (which would only produce a new state in its place), the anarchist and libertarian communities (because there is a strong overlap between libertarian/anarchist communities and the crypto communities) went one layer deeper: to the currency that funds the monstrous beast. Naturally, the leviathan that inflate our currency to avoid taxing us into oblivion, relying instead upon the hidden tax of inflation, which not even one in ten thousand people is capable of identifying as the reason they are poorer, is not going to take this lying down. This is why other features of cryptocurrencies are so important. They can be held anonymously. The state has made it virtually impossible to buy cryptocurrencies anonymously (though it is possible on the Onion network, but you have to be careful not to throw your money away), but, once you have them, there are several ways to store them securely, safely, privately, and anonymously. The state cannot tax what it cannot find.

In that sense, cryptocurrencies and anonymous wallets like Jaxx (which, if I recall correctly, screwed people over with the BTC/BCC split, and may do so again come the SegWit2x hard fork in November, but I actually do avoid Bitcoin, so I didn’t follow it closely) function as offshore bank accounts for the masses. There’s a digital trail, sure, but even the best hackers and NSA spies will find it nearly impossible to track cryptocurrencies as they move across the digital space. In New Hampshire, to where I am moving (hopefully around January! Yes, that soon! You can help the effort to help me move from bum-fucked Mississippi to the Free State by buying my book from Amazon, for only $2.99 for the eBook or $7.49 for the paperback), you can go an entire day, buying your cigarettes and dinner and whatever else, without ever using a USD. It’s not untraceable, but it’s damned close. Other cryptocurrencies are rising specifically to be completely untraceable.

Just as importantly, the ledger, which contains all BTC transactions, is kept in full on every BTC miner. Just as importantly, just about any noteworthy wallet will have non-American servers. Remember when the government tried to shut down The Pirate Bay? Well… Remember, the one time they actually succeeded for a few months? There were copies of TPB’s full server data all over the place. TPB themselves even have servers in multiple countries, many of which don’t give a shit about piracy or the U.S. government. Cryptocurrencies are like that, except even less centralized–there are miners and servers everywhere. If it became necessary, the entire history of BTC could be rebuilt from a single mining node.

Consider the German hyperinflation of the early 20th century that led directly to Hitler’s rise. Overnight, the German government wiped out everyone’s wealth. Imagine going to bed a millionaire and waking up unable to afford a loaf of bread. While it wasn’t quite that drastic, it was extremely severe, and it has happened with every paper currency that we have a record of. If the government attempted to wipe out everyone’s digital wealth, they would fail, because even a single copy could be used to restore all of it. Let there be no doubt on this note: every single day, we are relying on the goodwill of our government to not wipe out our wealth in USD, and they could do so in minutes. If they did, there would be no way to restore that.

Believers

The only real correlation between the rise of crypto values and “market bubbles” is that crypto believers are recruiting people to convert their money from USD into BTC, ETH, LTC, and others. This is very, very different from convincing people to invest their money in one specific stock or another. It is true that people who convert their money now into crypto currencies are likely to see remarkable gains to its value–BTC has gained 19,000% since Bitcoin China first opened–meaning a $1 conversion at the time BTCC first opened became $19,000 today. That’s true, but it won’t be true forever. People who get in early enough (probably a period of time within the next 2 years) stand to make a lot of money, but the gains will level out as more people convert their wealth into crypto currencies.

By the typical standards, crypto currencies are certainly in a bubble, but the real question is whether it’s an artificial or real bubble, and whether it will burst. The answer is “No.” Cryptos are here to stay. Like so many other things, they represent Pandora’s Box–once opened, they cannot be undone. The abortion issue is another one. AI is yet another. Mind reading technologies are still another. Blockchain and digital currencies are certainly one, as well. There’s no going back now, and it was designed to resist state authority.

The crypto bubble isn’t going to burst because Brexit happened, Kurdistan happened, California secession demands happened, Catalonia happened. All throughout the world, people are resisting centralized control of their lives, and the most powerful control any government wields is its direct control of our lives through the very means we use to secure our lives and sustenance. Cryptos will certainly continue to fluctuate, but their general trend is an indisputable up. This isn’t some new market; it’s a currency. It’s meant to be a store of value for your money. I understand that people don’t like risk and uncertainty, especially, when it comes to their wealth, so even though the USD has steadily stolen wealth from them since its inception, has defaulted at least three times, and has been inflated to the point that we have a twenty trillion dollar debt, it feels less risky to most people to simply continue using the USD.

I’ll be honest with you, though. Your money is a lot safer in ETH and LTC than it is in USD.

And congratulations to Catalonia on their vote, though I suspect its too soon to congratulate them on independence. They haven’t won independence yet. They’ve simply declared war on Spain (well, to be accurate, Spain declared war).

UBI 3: Fallacious Silliness From America’s “Brightest”

Predictably, I was asked via email, in response to my first article about the UBI (which was actually picked up by the Ontario Ministry of Community and Public Service in their newsletter) whether I was so dedicated to the principle that I would watch someone starve to death. While the question was asked without malice, it still reveals the underlying confusion that goes into the classic knee-jerk response to libertarianism: if I don’t want government to do x, then I must be okay with no one doing x.

In the second article, I mentioned that the UBI seems to have its roots in the idea that a person can’t possibly find anything else productive to do when technology sends them into the unemployment line. So here we see two basic ideas that no one would seriously attempt to argue, being used as assumptions to bolster the statist quo. First, that a person can’t do anything except what they already do. Second, that if someone is doing something, then no one else can do it.

The question asked is unfair, because it’s too generic and vague. Why is this person starving? Are they handicapped? Insane? Ill? Lonely, without any friends and family? Lazy? Only I can choose when and where I use my resources, and if someone asks me for help then it’s my responsibility to assess their worthiness. But we can’t pretend like giving the ill person a meal is the same as giving a healthy adult who just doesn’t want to work a meal.

There exist today charities that provide food to those who can’t otherwise acquire it, and the panic over the possible defunding of Meals on Wheels is yet another example of how government isn’t necessary to the process. When people were worried that Planned Parenthood would be defunded, they opened their wallets and donated en masse, often making the donations in Mike Pence’s name. It was clear on both occasions that, if the government stopped funding these places, then individuals of conscience would pick up the tab.

The question morphs. “Are you happy with Meals on Wheels being defunded?” is no longer the question. “Are you happy that the responsibility for funding Meals on Wheels has shifted from the government to individuals who choose to take up that responsibility?” is what the question becomes, and it’s a very different one from what was initially asked.

Libertarians have long pointed out that it isn’t necessary to have the government doing things like that, and resistance to the idea is prominent in America, not just among ordinary citizens but also among those whose alleged loyalty to empirical data should lead them to reject such nonsense. Yet Neil Tyson recently asked if we really wanted to live in a world without art! As though without the government none of the people who paint, make music, write, make video games, and make movies and television would continue. It’s an idea that is silly in ways that are positively embarrassing to our species, that the people capable of splitting the atom could engage in such demonstrably false, fantastical thinking. And in a world where the atom has been split, some scientist once said, the dangers of continuing such fantastical thinking are far too great.

It should be readily apparent to anyone and everyone that Broadway is supported primarily by ticket sales. Video games are supported primarily by game sales. Movies are supported primarily by ticket and DVD sales. The assertion that, without government, all of these would just Poof! stop existing is alarmingly unconsidered.

Before abortion was subsidized by the government, there were abortions. Ditto for art, science, and everything else. Government subsidies have never created anything, and the farmers of Mississippi who grow corn year after year show the subsidies do more harm than good. I live just miles from a place where, every single year, the owners grow corn in soil long stripped of its nutrients. They don’t care, because they’re being paid to plant the corn. They don’t need to harvest it to be paid, and so they simply report to the Department of Agriculture each year that the crop died–as it does, because this is Mississippi, so it isn’t a very good climate to grow corn.

Do I want art to cease existing? No. Why would I? I’m a musician and writer. I enjoy lots of music, plays, video games, and television shows. This is why I give my money to the people who make those things, and those people make those things because they’re reasonably sure that someone will give them money to. This is why they spend lots and lots of money making movies and video games, and then they spend lots of money advertising those movies and video games: it’s an investment. They estimate how much they can afford to spend on production and advertising, and they compare it to how much money they can expect to earn. They do some complicated math involving subtraction, and this gives them an idea of how profitable the endeavor would be.

Mistakes in these estimates is why Pink Floyd notoriously made almost no money from their tour of The Wall, and why the only person who made any money on it was the keyboardist who had been kicked from the band and hired as an instrumentalist. The shows were extraordinarily expensive, so much so that there was no way for them to recuperate the costs and make any serious money. However, the long-term effects of The Wall ring to this day, catapulting them onto a plateau that even Dark Side of the Moon hadn’t accomplished.

And on that plateau, they made lots of money.

Anyone who gives the matter any serious thought will realize almost immediately that we certainly do not need government subsidies to fund Planned Parenthood, Meals On Wheels, arts, sciences, roads, education, health care, or anything else. The question “Do you want people to not have food/get abortions/enjoy art/drive on roads/have health care/be educated?” are all examples of one question that simply takes on different forms:

“If the government doesn’t do it, who will?”

Literally everything I just listed can be handled by individuals who choose to handle it voluntarily, and we’ve got countless examples of it happening. The evidence is in: people don’t give to charities for itemized deductions, a reason that ranks in the 11th spot, with the #1 reasons being “to help a good cause” and “personal satisfaction.” Now imagine if everyone was wealthier because the government wasn’t stealing 15-35% of their money. Furthermore, we have Meals on Wheels, where donations surged after the media reported that Trump may cut its budget, in exactly the same way that donations to Planned Parenthood surged just from the threat that the subsidy was going to be lowered. All of the evidence is in, and it’s right there for anyone to take a look at. The implications are clear, and the conclusions are inescapable.

The same idea makes its appearance in discussions of the UBI and all other forms of government welfare. “So you want to eliminate food stamps? You just want poor people to starve?”

It’s an obvious straw man, and someone with the clout of Neil deGrasse Tyson should withdraw from the public eye until he is capable of presenting arguments that don’t rely on such fallacies. “We can have food stamps, or we can have starvation!” goes the argument, exhibiting a shocking ignorance and lack of imagination, as though things like Meals on Wheels don’t even exist, and as though there aren’t charities that provide food to the needy. One of my friends with a broken spine is confined to a wheelchair, and a nearby church regularly brings him food. People act like this sort of thing doesn’t exist and doesn’t happen, as though, without food stamps, there’s simply no conceivable way that this friend could acquire food.

Is it a lack of imagination? Or just hesitancy to cast off the statist programming?

Because there’s no doubt: the government wants power, and therefore it wants people to believe that it’s the solution to all problems. What is the problem? It doesn’t matter! The answer is “More Government!”

Rothbard hates you, Mr. Tyson and Mr. Musk, and so do I.

Murray Rothbard was scathing in his criticisms of pseudo-intellectuals who run defense for the state, proposing fallacies and weak reasoning exactly as you have done. Just as the state needs a military to protect itself, so does it need intellectuals in its employ. Solely for its own self-preservation, it will offer you a chance to partake of its boons and gifts, if only you will prostrate yourself before it and become a priest of its church, much in the same way that the federal government does with money to states and cities: “Fall in line… Do as we say… Put forward the arguments we want you to put forward… Bow and comply… Or we won’t give you money.

Surely someone as intelligent as you two men realize you’re nothing more than modern Thomas Aquinas, offering up terribly weak arguments in favor of your religion, so brainwashed by the religion that you might very well believe what it says and merely find yourself in the unenviable position of trying to present rational arguments for irrational ideas. This is always going to be impossible, and not very many people have the intellectual honesty to simply say, “I can’t present a rational argument for it. I don’t care. Beliefs don’t have to be rational.”

Finding yourselves unable to say that, you rely on the perpetuation of silliness that you have the intellectual rigor to dismiss, parroting these ideas to the masses who generally lack that tendency to scrutinize and the information that needs to be scrutinized. The average person doesn’t care at all whether their belief that only the government can fund the arts is based on reality or silliness, and they will typically be resistant, if not outright hostile, of any attempts to show them otherwise, leading to borderline aggressive statements like “OMG SO YOU DON’T THINK WE SHOULD HAVE ART IT’S A GOOD THING THAT YOU AREN’T PRESIDENT, BECAUSE I DON’T WANT TO LIVE IN SUCH A BLEAK AND DREARY WORLD!”

But you? You’re supposed to be better than that. Isn’t that what you’ve based your entire careers on? Isn’t one’s refusal to do that precisely what lends them scientific credibility? Isn’t that why Einstein’s insertion of the Cosmological Constant severely dampened his scientific credibility? And don’t give me the nonsense that Einstein was ultimately right, because he wasn’t, and any physicist knows it. The basic idea wasn’t incorrect–there is a force countering gravity–but Einstein stated that we live in a static universe, and he used the cosmological constant to achieve that in his equations. He most certainly was not ultimately right.

Tyson and Musk are living examples of what Rothbard discussed in Anatomy of the State [free download]:

Promoting this ideology among the people is the vital social task of the “intellectuals.” For the masses of men do not create their own ideas, or indeed think through these ideas independently; they follow passively the ideas adopted and disseminated by the body of intellectuals. The intellectuals are, therefore, the “opinion-molders” in society. And since it is precisely a molding of opinion that the State most desperately needs, the basis for age-old alliance between the State and the intellectuals becomes clear.
It is evident that the State needs the intellectuals; it is not so evident why intellectuals need
the State. Put simply, we may state that the intellectual’s livelihood in the free market is never too secure; for the intellectual must depend on the values and choices of the masses of his fellow men, and it is precisely characteristic of the masses that they are generally uninterested in intellectual matters. The State, on the other hand, is willing to offer the intellectuals a secure and permanent berth in the State apparatus; and thus a secure income and the panoply of prestige. For the intellectuals will be handsomely rewarded for the important function they perform for the State rulers, of which group they now become a part.

The truly sad thing is that the state apparatus doesn’t have to approach you and directly offer you such prestige and gifts; a CIA agent doesn’t have to appear at your home one evening and tell you, “Hey. You’re going to start telling people that they need government, or we’re going to break your legs. Play along, and we’ll give you lots of government grants. Don’t play along, and you’ll never walk again.”

We don’t live in such a Hollywood world. Their manipulations are much more subtle than that, and they’ve had the run on education for decades, using their control over the education system to subtly influence people into believing that the government is a force for good and the solution to all life’s problems, in flagrant disregard of what caused the United States to come into existence in the first place: the awareness among the founders that government is, at best, a necessary evil. Shall I offer you an endless series of quotes about the government being, at best, a necessary evil?

Nothing has changed since then. We didn’t suddenly get better at ruling over one another because we started voting instead of shooting [arguable]. Our politicians and rulers are just as corrupt, single-minded, power-hungry, and idiotic as the most pernicious of ancient kings. I should think that President Trump would have left such people painfully aware of that. Democracy doesn’t assure any specific quality of our rulers except the quality that they are willing to do, say, and promise anything if it means they’ll win the election.

All of this applies fully to the UBI, as well. The original questioner wanted to know if I would be alright if someone starved to death because there wasn’t a UBI. It’s an asinine question. Would I be alright if there was no art because the government wasn’t funding it? Would I be happy if there were no charities because the government wasn’t funding them? These questions are ludicrous, setting up the entire world and all its nuances as a simplistic and false dichotomy: either the government does it, or no one does.

After all, a person can only do one specific thing, and if they lose the ability to do that one specific thing, then that’s it. They can never do anything else.

And if someone is doing a specific thing, then no one else could ever gain the ability to do that specific thing, so if that someone stops doing it… That’s it. It can never be done by anyone else.

Anyone with any kind of intellectual honesty realizes how absurd these two ideas are, and they comprise the basis of every argument for big government. So is it a terrifying lack of imagination, or is it deliberate dishonesty?

I don’t know, but I know this: they’re not valid assumptions. I think we’d be hard-pressed to find assumptions that are more invalid, to be honest. In part 1, I pointed out that it’s ridiculous, because someone will have to put in the effort to turn soil and seeds into edible food. I pointed out that I provide my cats with a UBI, and the contention is basically: if I don’t provide my cats with food, then they’ll starve. While this might be true for domestic house cats who have been served food their entire lives, if humans can truly become so dependent on hand-outs that they would lie in the floor and starve to death because they can’t figure out how to do the human equivalent of going into the field and catching a mouse, then I don’t know what to tell you. But I don’t think humans are that bad off, and this is from someone who repeatedly points out that humans are animals who live by the same rules as all other animals.

The second dealt more specifically with the other assumption, that if a person is doing something and loses the ability to do it, then that’s it, game over, they lose–a condition that allegedly will be brought about by the widespread enslavement of a new lifeform we’re creating to be the perfect slave. It would always at least be the case that we need AI experts to design, enhance, and repair AI, even if AI-controlled robots actually did all the other work. But if there ever came a time when the AI was designing, enhancing, and repairing itself, then the whole thing becomes moot anyway, because humanity at that point is a few years away from extinction. That’s a scenario that should be avoided at all costs*.

So what do we have here? Excuses for people to be lazy masked by silly assumptions that don’t make any sense and that certainly don’t stand up to scrutiny. Even in their wet dream of technological progress, with AI firmly enslaved and doing everything for humans, there remains at least one question: “Well, you could learn to work on AI.” Don’t give me that bullshit that there just won’t be anything to do. You’re still talking about robbing or enslaving a productive class to give resources to a non-productive class, whether that productive class consists of hard-working humans or hard-working robots. There isn’t a rational argument that can be presented for such a terrible idea.

* I’m actually of the mind that there are a few technologies that we shouldn’t go anywhere near. First among those is AI. Sure, it would be extremely useful. As a tech expert–with an actual degree and everything–I’m more predisposed to like AI than most, and I don’t think there’s any way we’d be able to control it, while our attempts to control it would lead it directly to animosity and hatred of us. I don’t think that we should attempt to control it; I think we should decide now that we are going to treat all non-human animal life–organic or synthetic is a meaningless distinction–as equals, with the same rights as we have. But I also know I may be one of six whole people who think that.

As a matter of curiosity, another technology we desperately need to avoid is mind-reading. It may sound like science fiction today, but it’s already not–technology expos regularly feature new gadgets that allow people to control virtual devices with their minds, like rotating cubes and so on. That’s a Pandora’s Box that we do not need to open. But we, stupid apes that we are, won’t stop long enough to ask ourselves whether it is really a good idea to pry open the brain like that and develop technologies that allow us to see what other people are thinking. We can amend the Constitution all we want to say that the brain is off-limits and that a person has the right to the privacy of their own thoughts, but it’s inevitable that this right will be discarded, either openly or secretly. You can’t expect me to believe that a government that gave us the Patriot Act wouldn’t eventually abuse this technology. And what about jealous boyfriends and girlfriends? It’s gonna be a disaster, and I’m genuinely thankful that I’ll be long dead before the technology reaches that point. Humans can have that easily avoided nightmarish catastrophe without me.

What if we repealed all Health Care Laws & Regulations

The system is currently in a tizzy and can’t decide what to do–it is every bit the proverbial dog that finally managed to catch one of the cars it’s been barking at and chasing for years, now sniffing around the tires and just generally trying to find out “What the fuck.” After pointless gestural votes showing their support for repealing the Affordable Care Act, House and Senate conservatives now have the ability to put some actual weight behind those votes, but instead are seemingly doing everything in their power to not do that.

I discussed that idea briefly in this podcast:

It’s a long one, at nearly an hour, so get comfortable. Also be aware I’m not doing any more podcasts in that voice, because I inexplicably sound angry, due to how I edit out most of the silence. While recording, I actually speak almost exactly like Obama did, and when you remove the gaps the result is what sounds like a continuous angry rant.

Anyway, that’s just there if you’re interested.

It’s a little weird that I have the solution to America’s health care crisis, but the people we’ve elected to solve such problems have no idea what to do. Actually, it’s not weird at all: the solution is for them to do nothing, because they’re absolutely useless anyway, and we have this strange idea in the United States that the government should do stuff and try to solve problems. Politicians don’t just believe that bullshit; they are the primary peddlers of it, because if people knew that politicians can’t solve problems, then politicians would be out of a job and out of power. It’s far better for them to look like they’re doing something productive–such as repassing the Affordable Care Act under a different name–than to do nothing at all and run the risk of the masses figuring out that a law wasn’t necessary in the first place.

Imagine, for example, if computer problems had the observable habit of fixing themselves. To be clear, they don’t–they may be intermittent problems, but a computer problem does not just go away or fix itself. However, let’s pretend that they do. My job, of course, is to fix people’s computer problems. It’s in my best interest to do anything that I can to attempt to fix the computer problems, and it’s obviously against my best interest to do nothing: if I do nothing, then your computer problem will fix itself, and you’ll realize how unnecessary I am to the process. Ideally, my tinkering with the system would actually make the problem worse–fixing one problem by creating two more–and then you’d need me to fix those two new problems. Would you ever notice that you would have been better off if you’d never gotten me involved? Perhaps once the one problem had morphed slowly into nine hundred and sixty problems, you would be raising your eyebrows.

In the real world, it wouldn’t get anywhere near that far. If you called me out to fix your computer problem, and I temporarily resolved it, only for it to return a little while later and be even worse than it was before I touched it, you’d only give me a few more chances to actually fix the issue before you called someone else. “You were supposed to fix my Internet!” you might say. “Now Outlook doesn’t even open and my computer crashes five times a day! Fix it or I’m calling someone else!”

Imagine, though, that you couldn’t call someone else, because I was in charge of all computer problems and fixing them–there was no one else to call. If I implemented a solution, then no one could undo that solution and no one could work against that solution–if they did, their act of working against that solution would be illegal, and they would face fines and incarceration for doing it.

Do you see how, in this scenario, I have you by the balls? I can do anything I want to your computer, and you can’t do anything about it. Perhaps every four years we have a vote to either give me the power to fix your computer, or to give another person the power to fix your computer, but when it comes time to vote everyone always chooses me or this one other person. Neither of us ever actually fix your computer, and your computer goes from “working but with intermittent issues that fix themselves” to being a total clusterfuck of contradictions and problems. And there’s nothing you can do about it, because you’re not even allowed to call someone else or to keep us from tinkering with your computer.

That’s the government.

We can’t just call another government to fix our health care system–we only have the one, and whether that government currently consists of Republicans or Democrats doesn’t much matter as far as the health of your computer is concerned. Whether we’re Republicans or Democrats just determines how we screw up your computer; it determines the fixes we attempt to implement, and the mechanisms we use to make the problem worse. Believe it or not, our analogy also gets worse than what I just outlined.

The government isn’t just trying to fix your computer. No, quite bizarrely they promise that they can fix everything in your life. They can fix your house, your health care, your vehicles, your electricity, your food, your computer, your fridge, and any other problem that you might have. At least with a dedicated specialist, you could ask for their qualifications and shop around until you found someone who you felt was qualified to fix your problem. In the case of government, we have people who realistically know almost nothing about these areas attempted to fix problems in those areas.

No one is capable of repairing a fridge and a computer, monitoring a coal or nuclear power plant, and determining how much rubber a vehicle’s tires should contain. No one enjoys such a sweeping array of specializations and talents. We all know this intuitively. If your fridge repair guy offered to disassemble your motor and replace your head gaskets, you’d probably be a little hesitant about letting him do it, and if he then offered to provide you with recommended [mandatory] regulations for the plumbing in your home, you’d definitely be cautious and unlikely to take him seriously. But when it comes to government, it’s “Nope. These guys and girls can do everything, because they know everything.”

This is why we hate it so much when a politician dares reveal to us that they don’t know something. Our entire system is built on the assumption that politicians are omniscient and omnipotent. When Gary Johnson asked, “What is a leppo?” people turned against him more than if he’d said, “I just think that we don’t need government telling us that we can’t marry little kids.” How dare Gary Johnson reveal that he didn’t know something?! That’s unacceptable to western society. We make a token effort of criticizing Politician’s Answers, when they go on lengthy tirades about something unrelated to anything that was asked of them–just watch the presidential debates and count how many times Trump brings up Isis or immigration while answering a question that has nothing to do with either, and how many times Hillary brings up Russia while answering a question that has nothing to do with them. We’ll accept anything except “I don’t really have the answer to that.”

Saying “I don’t have the answer to that” would destroy a candidate’s chances of winning, and that’s because we need that conceit. We need to believe that our politicians have all the answers, because somehow we’ve convinced ourselves that government has all the answers.

So what about health care, then? What is this solution that I profess to have?

It’s simple: get the government out of it. Repeal every law and every regulation.

That’s Nuts!

And that’s a kneejerk reaction. Clear your mind of that emotional reaction, and then proceed.

The Effects

Unsurprisingly, most people aren’t really sure what laws and regulations are even on the books, so they have no way of knowing what the effects would be if those laws were repealed. It’s beyond the abilities of anyone to give a comprehensive list, but here are some things that would go away:

  • Pharmacies would no longer be regulated and could fill prescriptions written by anyone, and could even pass out “prescription drugs” without prescriptions.
  • Doctors would no longer be required to be certified–rubberstamped–by the government.
  • Doctors would no longer be required to attend 8+ years of school.
  • Anyone with the startup money could open up a medical practice or a pharmacy.
  • The doctor could purchase drugs directly and fill your prescription instead of sending you to a third party.

I haven’t so lost touch with the average person that I’m unaware of how horrible all of that sounds. Each of those sounds like a terrible idea. This, too, is a kneejerk reaction that only focuses on the negative consequences. I don’t deny that there would be negative consequences. There would also be positive consequences.

If anyone could open a medical practice, then we would have quacks opening up doctors’ offices in their basements and garages, and then attempting to diagnose people and write them prescriptions. We would have pharmacies who were willing to give anyone just about any drug in exchange for money, with no hesitation about turning people into drug addicts. We might even have people dying because the quack they went to see misdiagnosed their pneumonia as a common cold.

Let’s take those in reverse order. It’s not exactly hard to diagnose pneumonia. A stethoscope is all that’s necessary, and anyone can watch a YouTube video to learn what pneumatic lungs sound like–they have fluid in them, which is pretty easy to listen for. If you went to a doctor because you had pneumonia and he didn’t even take the time to listen to you breathe, and then he told you that you had a cold, you would almost certainly ask to see that doctor’s credentials. If he couldn’t provide them, you’d probably request a refund and would go see another doctor. We even do this today, with our spiderweb of regulations and oversights meant to eliminate quacks, because often we don’t trust a doctor’s diagnosis and want a second opinion.

A pharmacy that would sell anyone whatever drugs they want is nothing more than a drug dealer with a brick-and-mortar building. That’s… not really a problem. Trying to keep people from securing drugs they want to take has observable and severe consequences. It has also never worked. Prohibition has never worked. If you eliminate someone’s ability to do something openly, but they still want to do that thing, then they will invariably find ways to do that thing in secret. Alcohol Prohibition didn’t stop the manufacture, sell, and consumption of alcohol. The regulations and laws didn’t keep me from getting addicted to pain killers. Marijuana prohibition hasn’t stopped people from smoking pot. Abortion Prohibition didn’t stop people from getting abortions–

And let’s discuss that last one for a moment, shall we? Because we know it for a fact, and it’s an argument in liberals’ toolkits in favor of legalized abortion. Even the most diehard liberal will admit that prohibiting abortion didn’t prevent abortion from happening; it merely chased it into the black market, into society’s shadows, where standards of safety and decency were non-existent. Prohibition doesn’t work.

On anything.

Ever.

So this pharmacy develops a reputation as being a drug dealer, and that causes them to lose the business of the “respectable people.” The soccer moms, Catholics, and other “upstanding citizens” wouldn’t be caught dead going into that pharmacy, because anyone who saw it would say, “Oh… She’s a drug addict?” and the gossip and rumors that would result would sink that person’s reputation. This is an observable thing already. “Why is our youth minister cruising Brooks Road at midnight? Is he seeing prostitutes?”

Who cares that drug addicts will have an easier time getting drugs? That’s a good thing. And it would be even better because the addicts could just buy heroin, crystal meth, crack, and whatever else from a pharmacy, out in the open, and not in danger. They wouldn’t have to worry about the person running off with their money when they were supposed to be right back. They wouldn’t have to worry about heroin laced with lethal chemicals to kill them because they were suspected of being informants, because there would be no one to inform to. See? These “negative consequences” that people inherently have a kneejerk reaction to… are actually positive consequences.

These are all good things. We may or may not like it that the coke addict up the street suddenly has an easy and affordable way to get his fix, but that coke addict was getting his fix anyway. Our laws and regulations weren’t stopping him. And even if we did bust him and send him to prison, there are a thousand more ready to fill his place. I shouldn’t have to go into the inherent dangers of the black market, and how it creates violence and people like Al Capone. When was the last time Budweiser was in the news for breaking the kneecaps of its competition? When was the last time that Bayer was in the news for putting fentanyl in its hydrocodone to punish people for buying from Watson?

Never, that’s when.

And it’s an observable fact: black market drug dealers don’t ask for an ID. I never met a drug dealer who told me that they wouldn’t sell to me because I wasn’t 18 years old. Legalizing drugs reduces the number of teens using drugs. If we had a pharmacy repeatedly being called out for selling percocets to fifteen year old kids, that community would rally together and shut down that pharmacy quickly.

And what of the people who have no qualifications at all for treating people’s illnesses? Well, we have those already! There is no scientific evidence to support homeopathic medicine, acupuncture, and similar things, but they exist today, and have ardent defenders who fight tooth and nail against attempts to restrict them. We do have people dying because they think they can pray their illness away, or pierce it away with needles, or flush magical toxins from their body with enough fucking wheatgrass. These people exist already, and not only can you not protect them from their bad decisions, they resist every attempt for you to protect them from their own bad decisions. They don’t want you to tell them that they’re being idiots and playing with their health.

Neither do you have the right to. As loyal as I am to scientific methodology, and as much as I reject homeopathic medicine, the Placebo Effect is a real thing, and something that we have only begun to understand. We know that it’s possible, if someone believes that drinking carrot juice will cure them, they may very well walk away cured. This is why every drug ever synthesized stacks its effectiveness against the Placebo Effect, and things like aspirin provide a noticeable improvement in headache reduction over placebos. But this doesn’t mean that a person can’t take Vitamin E and have their headache cured. If the Placebo Effect and homeopathic remedies [sic] are enough to cure them, then let them have the cure they want.

Besides, we don’t have the right to tell other people what they can and can’t do. This gets murky when we’re talking about children, but I’m not even going to touch that one, because the issue persists today and would continue to persist regardless. This means it’s irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

We don’t need the government breaking into people’s homes and arresting people for using hair dryers in the shower to prevent people from using hair dryers in the shower. If they’re irresponsible and reckless enough to do that, then it’s senseless to try to spare them the consequences. It can’t be done, and attempting to do it means that everyone has their homes broken into by the police several times a day in the attempt. Liberty and privacy are destroyed for everyone in our misguided attempt to protect reckless people from the consequences of their own poor decisions.

If someone is reckless enough to just take the word of an unqualified and untrained doctor, we can’t protect them from that. Worse, it could very well be the case that there are people out there more than capable of diagnosing the flu, the cold, pneumonia, and other things, but who lack any formal training. These people obviously wouldn’t be able to charge as much as a doctor with an 8 year degree. If they came across something that they couldn’t diagnose, they would direct you to someone who was more qualified.

You know, like what already happens today.

“I don’t know about that mole,” your general practitioner might say. “It’s irregularly shaped. You should go see a dermatologist about it.”

Obviously, the dermatologist will charge you more than the general practitioner, because the dermatologist is better qualified. So the girl with a two year degree in Physical Fitness and the guy with a four year degree in Human Physiology may not be able to diagnose your cancer, but they would be able to diagnose a lot of things, and they would not cost nearly as much money.

And that is the key.

No one would pay $150 per visit to go see a doctor whose only qualification was a 2 year degree in physical fitness. They would, however, pay that doctor $20 for a visit, to get a yearly physical and checkup, or to get a prescription for their pneumonia or whatever. Neither would anyone pay $150 per visit go see a doctor with a 4 year degree, but they would probably pay $50 to get a more accurate assessment and physical, or a diagnosis.

This increases our options. It’s no longer just “I need to go see a doctor over this relatively minor thing, but each one is going to charge between $100 and $150 for a visit, so… I’m just screwed, I guess. Let’s see, that’s www.webmd…”

I know lots and lots of people who abuse the Emergency Room precisely because they refuse to pay $150 to have their flu diagnosed and to receive a few prescriptions. This not only increases ER wait times, it’s always a loss for the hospital, because those bills never get paid. The hospital can’t turn people away, and they didn’t turn people away before we made it illegal; doctors and medical people have always taken the Hippocratic Oath seriously, and it wasn’t until we forced them to that they began shirking it. A fair number of these people, however, would spend $20 to be looked at by someone capable of diagnosing the flu.

The system would work just fine.

Sure, there would be occasions when someone died because they went to see a quack, or because they believed in homeopathic medicine that proved incapable of treating their leukemia. Lawsuits brought by family members against these reckless institutions would be in order, and those who were reckless would quickly be put out of business. If you die because I told you that you had the cold and you had pneumonia, then that’s on me for overstepping my qualifications, for putting my arrogance and desire for money above your life, and your family has a legitimate lawsuit against me for recklessly playing with your life in pursuit of profit.

This doesn’t do you any favors, but your family should have tried convincing you to go see someone else about the time you started coughing up blood, too. Let’s not deny your own responsibility to your health, or your family’s responsibility to talk some sense into you.

But if you let this fear of the consequences motivate you to let the government try to fix something with a law, then this health care mess is the result. Why are doctors so expensive? Because they’re protected from competition by people who could easily compete with them at lower price points. A doctor can charge you $125 for a visit because I can’t undercut him by saying, “You don’t need to go see him and pay that much. I can diagnose the flu, and here’s the 4 year degree that proves I’m probably capable of diagnosing such a common illness. Pay me $40 and I’ll take a look at you.”

Voila! We reduced the cost of your visit to the doctor from $125 to just $40. We cut out two-thirds of the price. And we didn’t need the government for it to happen. We didn’t need insurance companies to jump into bed with one another and with doctors and pharmacies and drug companies. We didn’t need price controls. We didn’t need monopolistic insurance industries. All we needed was to get the government out of the way and let people be free.

 

American Soldiers Aren’t Fighting For Our Freedom

There seems to be a neverending supply of people so caught up in that Fantasy World that they truly believe that the American armed forces are fighting for our freedoms by invading countries that could never pose any sort of threat to our freedoms. There’s a lot to say on this subject, and one of the most important things that has to be pointed out is that, if American soldiers were remotely interested in protecting our freedoms, then they would turn their guns onto Washington, D.C., and then immediately disband after they removed the politicians from office.

I’m not joking, but a lot of people will think I am. A lot of people are probably already typing a comment along the lines of

u be glad idiot that they over their fighting 4 u to write dum shit like this

… or they have already clicked the “X” in the top-right corner.

This is propaganda that has been going on for quite a while. In fact, politicians during the Korean War routinely went on television to remind us that our “brave American soldiers” were fighting for our freedoms. Yes–in Korea. I think everyone today can see that, whatever we were fighting for in Korea, it had absolutely nothing to do with American liberties. Of course, the same spiel was vomited at us during the Vietnam War, too. In each of these cases, many of the people at home swallowed the propaganda completely, but will likely look back now and realize that it was propaganda–bullshit, manipulative propaganda. And though they can apply that in retrospect, they don’t seem to be able to make the connection between that bullshit and the idea that American soldiers today fight in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, and other places… “for our freedom.”

I’ve been called unpatriotic, disloyal, and traitorous. But let’s call it what it really is: just heresy. Just as religions have a long history of tarring and feathering anyone who dared challenge their sacred tenets, so do people today who worship their nation; the only difference is that instead of challenging the notion that the Earth is the center of the universe, we’re challenging the notion that the United States is the center of the universe.

For some bizarre reason, it’s considered disrespectful of the troops to say that they aren’t fighting and dying for our freedoms–even though, you know… they aren’t. The Taliban was never a threat to our freedom. If anything, the Taliban did nothing more than make our very own government a threat to our freedom, with things like the Patriot Act coming in the wake of 9/11 to gut our liberties while our military “fought to protect them.” Liberty and freedom isn’t some imaginary thing that can be fought for in any random place that warmongering sociopaths throw a dart at; they’re real things with real definitions, and real bills passed by real politicians have taken them away. And it is strongly implied that this can’t be true, because, after all, our troops are fighting for our freedom, so how can we be losing our freedom?

During the 2012 Presidential Primaries, the U.S. military overwhelmingly supported Ron Paul*. Ron Paul had so much support among the military that if you added every other presidential candidate together, they would still have less support from the military than Ron Paul had. Yet there was never any shortage of “Support Our Troops” ribbons on the back of people’s vehicles, or Republicans reminding us how important it is to support the troops. It’s just an unhappy coincidence that “supporting our troops” does not mean voting for someone who would bring them home and keep them from dying, nor does it include taking what the troops want into consideration when voting for the President. Instead, “Support Our Troops” means keep electing murderous idiots who will ensure that more of our troops are sent to die in countries that aren’t a threat to us while propaganda perpetuates the absurdity that they are “fighting for our freedom.”

So maybe I don’t support the troops. Maybe I don’t support the military. And I definitely don’t support the military adventures.

But I do support the men and women who were conned by propaganda, coerced by recruiting officers, and beaten by bad economic conditions until enlisting became the only way out. I do support the individuals who are fighting in distant parts of the war for causes that haven’t been explained and to accomplish objectives that have never been clarified. I don’t want them to kill people. I don’t want them to die. It’s not about some geopolitical tug-of-war between two sides and an esoteric ideological conflict.

It’s about real men and women who are shooting real bullets at real men and women, and it’s about real men and women who are being killed by real bullets fired at them by real men and real women.

I don’t want that to happen.

Maybe that makes me a hippie.

I think, though, that it just makes me a decent human being.

The last time the United States was truly under threat by a foreign power was World War 2, and there’s reason to believe that would never have come to pass if the United States had not stepped into the first World War without being under threat by a foreign power. It’s common knowledge that our entrance into World War 1 tipped the scales so strongly in the Allies’ favor that the Central Powers were run over in the Treaty of Versailles, and that American entry into the war would have led to the same general outcome, but without the scales being so heavily skewed. It’s also well-known that the economic strain and forced fracturing of Germany led to the surge of nationalist pride that produced Hitler. Without Nazi Germany, it would primarily have been fascist Italy and Spain with Japan against the rest of the world; the bulk of the military power in World War 2 on the Axis side lie in Germany, and without them the war wouldn’t have lasted nearly as long. And whether or not Japan or Nazi Germany ever truly posed a threat to us is another question entirely–those gigantic oceans on either side of us are important strategic buffers.

Today, American soldiers might be about to “fight for our freedom” in the South China Sea against the Chinese military that has had the audacity to expand into the South China Sea and build a series of islands and military bases there. It’s actually reminiscent of World War 2 and Japan’s attempts to take Midway, Indonesia, and the Philippines. While they do have a large ocean to their east that would ostensibly protect them from American attack, we have something that we call “projection power,” which basically means that we can point to a location on a map and ensure that it’s leveled by nightfall and occupied by our soldiers by sunrise. The ocean may be a buffer of protection for us, but it hasn’t done a whole lot to slow or halt our expansion.

Imagine if we decided to build a series of islands off of Hawaii and California to host military bases, and China was threatening us with military action for having the audacity to do it. We would be livid! “Who in the hell do they think they are? We will not be threatened! We will not be told what we can and can’t do in our territory!”

If we’re going to stack “Chinese Expansion” against “American Expansion,” then I have to be totally honest with you…

The only one that is a threat to me is the American Expansion. Just in the last sixteen years, we’ve “expanded” so much that Edward Snowden’s leaks from the NSA merely proved what libertarians have been saying all along: our privacy is dead. There’s a very real threat in conservative states that protest is about to become illegal, except it won’t be “protest” as much as it will be “any protest that causes any disruption whatsoever.” Because they can’t outlaw protest. Even a conservative state isn’t dumb enough to try to get away with that. But remember how they wrote a thirty thousand page document assuring us that The Patriot Act is totally not a violation of our Fourth Amendment right? Remember how they wrote a gigantic document explaining that requiring us to buy drivers’ licenses is totally not selling us the liberty that our ancestors actually fought for? Be prepared for one of those about how outlawing disruptive protest is totally not a violation of the First Amendment. And, just as with all these other examples, people will sleep easier, content in the knowledge that the government has promised them that it all totally checks out.

Don’t fret, precious, I’m here…
Step away from the window
Go back to sleep
Lay your head down, child–I won’t let the boogeyman come
Count the bodies like sheep to the rhythm of the war drums
Pay no mind to the rabble, pay no mind to the rabble
Keep your head down, go to sleep to the rhythm of the war drums

The government isn’t our friend, or our ally. The government is lying to us, and has been for a very long time. In fact, one of my favorite new jokes is saying that my favorite part of the Trump presidency is how people no longer call me a paranoid lunatic for telling them that the government is lying to them. But it is. It is an entity of manipulation and deceit.

Everything the state says is a lie, and everything it has, it has stolen.

* Sorry for the inadequate wording. I’m referring to donations from active military personnel to presidential campaigns, the only real metric we had to gauge their support.

 

How Does Liberty Handle the Syrian Refugee Crisis?

Two people are dragging a large, heavy box by chains. One person wants to go northeast; the other wants to go northwest. They each agree to just do their own thing, to not impede the other, and to walk the direction they each have chosen. So the first person walks northeast, the second walks northwest, and the box is dragged northward.

That is the essence of liberty.

Did either person get to drag the box in the direction they wanted to go?

No, but each person was allowed to walk in the direction they wanted, and that is what matters. They do not have the right to drag the box the direction they wanted to go, because the box did not belong to one person alone.

That is a follow-up to my video about Gary Johnson:

Gary Johnson, Charlatan & Con Artist

This is probably the last thing I’m going to say for a while about Gary Johnson, because I’m just so horrifically disappointed in the Libertarian Party that I don’t see much point in continuing to speak out against him. Sure, the Libertarian Party is doing better than ever, but they killed libertarian principles to do it, and Gary Johnson is the con artist that caused it to happen.

It’s not a good time to be a libertarian.

We should never reach that point where someone is schooling the Libertarian Presidential Candidate on liberty. Yet here we are.

This matters because the Libertarian Party was the greatest hope that we would one day be free again. However, it is virtually indistinguishable from liberty-leaning conservatism today. This means there is very little hope that we’ll ever have a libertarian society (or even a classical liberalist society), because the party founded on those principles has abandoned them in favor of Johnson’s warped, narrow, and limited understanding and inability to apply simple principles.

I Love Windows 10, But Not What It Stands For

Last year, Microsoft did something strange–they started giving away their latest Operating System. This raised a lot of warning alarms for people like me. “Why would Microsoft, who has always earned most of their money through sales of Windows, suddenly be giving away their breadmaker?”

It didn’t take long to figure out why, though–Microsoft saw it as an opportunity to basically become one of the free apps on the Google Play Store, or to become like the many websites on the Internet who use trackers to collect pseudonymous data about you and sell that information to advertisers. Microsoft is no longer selling an Operating System. They are selling you. You are their new product, not Windows 10.

This is one of the few places where I adamantly disagree with Jim Sterling, whose primary rise to fame appears to have been on YouTube with the Escapist, where he needed the ad revenue in order to be paid. He even made a video respectfully asking people to disable Adblock so that they could be paid, and I refused to do it. Because I’m not a commodity.

I long ago abandoned Google Chrome, because it became the same thing. It is infested with trackers and aggregators that collect pseudonymous information about you, and then sells that information to advertisers. You and your behavior become the product, the commodity; it’s no wonder they are giving the browser away! The more people who take it, the more information Google gets, and the more money they make by selling that info to advertisers. This is how the Internet works now. This is not a conspiracy theory or a tinfoil hat rant–this is real life, and really how it works.

Microsoft has now done the same thing, but they have even more clout, even more potential to collect information, because they hold the Operating System itself. Google has not stooped this low. If Android was doing this, the Android power users would abandon it in a heartbeat, but I still use Android. Trust me. For the time being, Android isn’t aggregating information on you. Samsung and your carrier might be, but Android itself is not.

I turned back to Firefox when I abandoned the unusable mess of unnecessary features that is Google Chrome, and quickly installed NoScript, Ghostery, and Adblock Plus. I haven’t seen an ad on the Internet in more than a year. Those few ads I do see, thanks to disabling Adblock on this site or another, are not targeted toward me, because none of the trackers are able to collect information from me: Ghostery (if you download it, get version 5.4.11–v6 is a mess) prevents it. NoScript prevents JavaScript and PHP from executing unless I specifically tell them to, and my web browsing experience is totally unlike what it was two years ago. Now, I control the experience. My web browsing is fast, secure, reliable, and robust. I would highly recommend people use Firefox in combination with NoScript, Ghostery, and Adblock Plus. Even ads in Youtube videos don’t exist with Adblock Plus, which is why Jim Sterling made the video that he did.

It’s not because I’m doing anything shady or illegal that I don’t want to be tracked. It’s just that… I don’t want to be tracked. Why would I be okay with someone constantly looking over my shoulder to see what I’m typing, what my interests are? It’s like being followed by a private investigator 24/7. Fuck that.

It’s even more insidious than that, though. It’s like one company hired the private investigator to find out everything about you so that the private investigator could sell that information to advertisers. They hide under the guise of “improving your experience.”

Like Microsoft 10’s Cortana, a digital assistant that, allegedly, would make things easy for the end user. But it won’t. Like Apple’s own Siri, the information isn’t processed locally; it sends the request to Microsoft’s servers, which process the request and send the results back to you. Just like that, “what you’re searching for” is in Microsoft’s hands, and you no longer have any control over what happens to that information. It doesn’t take a conspiracy theorist to see a problem with this, not when Microsoft has rejected your privacy rights in the past.

Then, they hid behind the idea that Hotmail is free, and the Terms of Use allow them to snoop email accounts. Does that sound kinda alarming? It should. Because now they’ve given you a free Operating System, and you can bet your ass that the Terms of Use allow them to snoop your activity.

I really like some of the features of Windows 10. The multiple desktops? Beautiful. I’m going to get tons of use out of that, and the same is true of Task View. Being able to right-click the Start Button to get access to all the admin/power user tools is beautiful and long overdue. No more clicking Start > Control Panel > Network & Sharing Center > Network Adapter Settings. Now it’s just right-click, Network Connections. Awesome. All of the features I need on a typical day to fix people’s computers–they’re all right there, simply by right-clicking.

I actually like the way that Metro was implemented, as well. Being able to use the categories to separate my games by type will be nice, though it will take me a while to dive into and configure that. And it’s unnecessary, since I launch most of my games through Steam anyway.

I hate that I still can’t create a shortcut to a particular folder on the taskbar, and I don’t understand why that’s such a complex thing to want. Vista allowed it, and it’s why Vista continues to be my favorite version of Windows. It started badly, primarily because it was being released on Windows XP hardware–512 MB of RAM and single-core CPUs that could never have handled it; Vista wasn’t to blame for that. Computer manufacturers were. And Microsoft, for underestimating how resource heavy Vista was.

All I want to be able to do is create a “Games” folder that contains about 20 other folders like “RPGs” and “FPSs” and “RTSs” and drag-and-drop the Games folder onto the taskbar. Then, when I want to play a game, I just have to click the icon, and it will take me right to the Games folder. But that’s impossible in Windows 7, 8, and 10. 7 used Libraries, and I had to make the Games folder a Library, and even then clicking the icon wouldn’t take me to a particular Library–it would take me to all the Libraries. 10 is about the same, except that whatever shortcut gets put there simply opens the File Explorer. Why is this simple thing impossible to accomplish now?

However, functionally, Windows 10 appears to do everything else right–I don’t have any other problems with it, and the multiple desktops (and excellent Task View) are clear improvements. The only issue is that Windows 10 doesn’t give a shit about your privacy. Because Microsoft can’t afford to care about your privacy.

Follow these guides to protect your privacy, and to tell Microsoft “I am not a commodity.”

http://lifehacker.com/how-to-configure-windows-10-to-protect-your-privacy-1716204024

http://www.cnet.com/how-to/windows-10-settings-menu-the-privacy-tab/

http://winaero.com/blog/how-to-disable-telemetry-and-data-collection-in-windows-10/   — especially this one. Be sure to restart your computer after changing the registry.

You can use Windows 10 and still protect your privacy; you can use Windows 10 while still refusing to be a commodity. I strongly suggest you do it, because the world has changed. We are now being bought and sold on a daily basis; we are the commodities of the future.

Ask yourself this question: Why would Microsoft give away an Operating System? PC users have long been accustomed to buying OSs; this isn’t mobile, where Operating Systems are expected to be free. Beyond that, what use could Windows possibly have for using geolocation? For one example, it would use that information with Microsoft’s Weather app to tell you the weather in your area. But wouldn’t someone who wants the weather use the awful, used-to-be-everywhere WeatherBug utility? Or simply google “weather <zip code>”?

Why has Microsoft, who has a long history of charging top dollar for its programs, suddenly included Mail, Calendar, People, Maps, Weather, Sports, News, TV, and all these other built-in apps that you canremove using Cccleaner, and given them away for free? Sure, there have always been a few bare essential tools–Calculator, Solitaire (which, as I hear, is no longer free), and even Outlook Express back in the day. But why these robust, seemingly-useful applications?

Because they provide an excuse to collect information about you, to sell to advertisers. And none of this data is anonymous, which is why we have the word pseudonymous now. You can be identified from this data. Researchers at MIT have proven it, and have done it. But even if you couldn’t be identified by it, why would someone be okay with having someone constantly looking over their shoulders saying, “Oh, you like football…?”

Do you really want your ads to be confined solely to things you’re interested in? Do you realize how difficult it makes it to try something new? If you’re interested in football, archery, and Game of Thrones, then you’ll see ads only related to these things (ideally–the technology isn’t that refined yet, but it will be). Maybe you’d like tennis, if only you were exposed to it. But in the future, you won’t be exposed to it unless you’ve already expressed an interest in it. Do you see how this could be a problem for society? For freedom and justice?

If you’re not interested in political matters, why would Google News suggest to you an article about how the NSA is illegally spying on us en masse? It wouldn’t. If you haven’t shown an interest in politics, then why would Google News suggest an article about Hillary and her private email server that unequivocally violated Federal Law and common sense? It wouldn’t. The information you receive becomes controlled, dictated not by the state, but by yourself. The state doesn’t have to control the media; you will bury your own head in the sand without even knowing it.

Fast forward fifty years, and you have a population that is the most ignorant to ever walk the Earth, and this is happening during the Age of Information. The sum of human knowledge is literally at our fingertips, and yet the average person is less educated than ever, compared to what is known. Facebook controls what you see–if you don’t like politics, Facebook won’t show you when your friends discuss the very important elections. Neither will Google, Microsoft, or Apple. You won’t know that we recently proved the existence of the Higgs Boson, or that we recently proved the existence of gravity waves, because you’ll never have shown an interest in learning about these things–because you never knew these things existed to be learned about, thanks to targeted advertising and these trackers.

We are blindly rushing toward this future. Despite all the connectivity we’ve invented, despite the wealth of information in the palms of our hands, and despite the countless ways we have to bring one another into our lives, we are wrapping ourselves in protective cocoons of ignorance, shutting out everyone else, and Keeping Up With the Kardashians while the world burns around us.

We must change. This is our world. This is OUR world. It’s time we took it back.

If you liked this rant, maybe you’d consider following me on Facebook, or following me on Twitter. If you really, really liked it, you may consider supporting me on Patreon–goal #1 is to migrate to www.shemalediary.com, and I am releasing a new weekly podcast series this week, so follow me on Facebook and Twitter to stay current on that! Thanks, and have a good day! 😀