Archives

Timing is Everything — Media Manipulation Part 2

And the media clearly knows that.

Much of what I hear on Facebook these days–aside from North Korea bullshit–is stuff about families being broken up by Trump’s immigration policy, and his harsh deportations. Yet, in reality, Trump has deported fewer people than President Obama did. In both absolute numbers and averages, Obama deported more people than Trump. But because the media chose not to report on any of that, people now being exposed to it are under the impression that it’s a new thing, and that Trump/Republicans are to blame for this “uniquely” awful problem.

I just watched a popular libertarian page say that they wonder if Trump will claim responsibility for the famine that is going to be caused by the “entire fields being left to rot” because so many people have been deported that there’s no one to pick the crops. I’m not even kidding. Those are the headlines right now: “Entire Fields Left to Rot Because of Deportation of Illegal Immigrants.”

But that’s been the case for years. The corn field right across from me is going to rot again–an “entire field left to rot.” This happens all over the United States, because the government just pays people to plant the crop, and doesn’t really care if the crop is harvested or not. The media didn’t report on it, though. Now they have. The result? Predictably, everyone thinks this is a new thing, brought about by Trump “deporting so many people.”

Two absolute falsehoods. Old news, really. But because it’s only now being delivered, people are manipulated en masse into believing that Trump is responsible, and that his “singularly harsh deportation policy” is responsible.

It’s scary, really, that people are so easy to manipulate. Because, two years ago, fields not being picked wouldn’t have been newsworthy. It still isn’t, really, except that it can be used to promote an agenda.

I would have hoped, and expected, if I had the interest, knowledge, and awareness then, in the mid 90s that the upcoming age of social media would have prevented this sort of thing from happening. It doesn’t seem to have abated, though, because not many people are sharing these experiences, but I know from firsthand experiences, having friends all over the United States and having been across most of the United States, that “rotting fields” are not new, and neither are they caused by a lack of illegal immigrants to be paid under the table for picking the crops. It’s actually quite standard. In the eons of human history, it has never been especially common that an entire society’s fields would be successfully picked–anything from weather to war to earthquakes to wild animals could destroy a crop. Yet now it is Trump’s fault.

I talked yesterday about how the media and the state are able to determine what you and I discuss, and I want to point out that I’m not asserting the state and the media are colluding together to control the conversation. They don’t have to, because the media wants your attention. It doesn’t really matter why they want your attention. They do. To get your attention, they’re going to talk about things most likely to interest you, and those will be the sensationalized things. That lunatic who we have as Secretary of Defense saying that he’s willing to annihilate the North Korean people would qualify, of course.

Another way of manipulating people, though, is to just withhold information. It’s inevitable that information will be withheld, and this is just part of human nature. Right now, your senses are taking in far more information than your brain can process, so most of it gets discarded. This has, on many occasions, resulted in strange things happening. Perhaps the most common is “hitting one’s funny bone,” which occurs when one collides with something and has no expectation of it at all. Psychologists enjoy playing with these quirks of the human brain and nervous system, and there are even a few television shows that exploit it. In one, viewers are asked to count how many times a person wearing blue jumps rope. Viewers, focused on counting, didn’t notice the man walk by wearing a giant chicken costume, because their brain discarded that information.

The media functions the same way, especially in today’s hyper-connected society. I could, if I cared to, find out exactly what conditions are like on the ground in Portland, Oregon, right now. I could find out the weather, the local issues, and could probably peer inside of a local restaurant as though I was there. How many people each day post something on Twitter and hope that it goes viral? How many people have family members killed by cops and attempt to spread it on Facebook and Twitter each day (note: at least three, just in the United States)? Yet these stories rarely gain traction. Just this month, an estimated 30 people have been killed by police officers. How many of them have you heard about? Probably “none.”

This is because there’s just so much stuff happening that it can’t all be talked about. The bulk of it is discarded as uninteresting and not newsworthy. Three years ago, a few rotting fields of crops across the United States was discarded as uninteresting and not newsworthy. But now! Now that the media has spent months telling us the previously-neglected horror stories of families being broken up by deportation, there is yet another angle that can be worked to push that agenda: finally mention the fields that have been rotting for years, if not decades, and people will come to the conclusion that it’s a new phenomenon, simply because they hadn’t heard about it before.

It’s clever, on their part, because they can’t be criticized for choosing not to report on something before. Something has to be discarded, after all, just like police officers can’t chase after everyone speeding on the highway. They can only go after some of the people they see speeding, just like we can only process some of the information our brains receive. The problem with police officers it that they appear to have racist motivations when determining who to pursue and who to ignore, given that a disproportionate number of black Americans are harassed by police each day. The problem with the media is similar: they often choose what to report on and what to discard based on their own agenda.

That agenda is clearly to manipulate Americans into disliking Trump and, in particular, his immigration policy, despite the fact that the numbers don’t bear this out, which even left-wing news sources admit. They’re perfectly free to admit this without hurting their narrative, though, because these are cold, emotionless, facts-based stories of numbers. It’s the personal stories that matter. It’s their focus on Juan Hernandez being deported from his wife and kids after 19 years in the United States that grabs people’s attention and is embedded in their minds. Similarly, news stories that properly cite that more than half of people killed by police are white, and the other half are divided among black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, middle Eastern Americans, and other Americans, have no impact, because the focus on the personal stories of black Americans who are killed by police do far more to construct the narrative than any raw numbers will.

Throw them a personal story that tugs at their heart strings, and it really doesn’t matter how many facts you throw out afterward that refute that personal story as an anomaly, or the agenda behind that personal story as flawed and biased. Once set, the narrative is set, and facts don’t change our minds.

Do I like Trump? No. I can’t stand Trump. Don’t take any of this as a defense of that buffoon.

Take it instead as a warning about manipulation. We must always be on guard against manipulation, because they are always trying to manipulate us.

Issuing a Challenge to the United States

To clarify the title (originally “War With North Korea is Inevitable”), within the confines of the current U.S. foreign policy, war is inevitable with North Korea. Since it seems extraordinarily unlikely that U.S. foreign policy is going to change very much, I’m reasonably confident that war with North Korea–even if it’s been avoided this weekend–remains inevitable.

First, Kim Jong Un and North Korea aren’t going to stop working out how to make an ICBM and how to lob it at the United States.

Second, they take so much pride in their nuclear program that they would all rather die than surrender it.

Third, the United States is not going to tolerate North Korea developing a nuclear warhead ICBM.

China doesn’t have the power over North Korea that we non-North Koreans like to think they have. It’s true that China is North Korea’s primary lifeline to the world, but North Korea is notoriously defiant, even of China, and if China could tell Kim to “Just cut it out” they would have done so by now–or around the time that we sent carrier groups into the Korean Peninsula. North Korea isn’t part of China, and they don’t like to be treated as though they are–the Sino-Korea Treaty takes great care to be a mutual defense pact, and not a case of “We’re going to protect our little brother.”

While we in NATO know that Montenegro isn’t going to come to the defense of the United States if we’re attacked–and, even if they do, they can’t contribute anything of any actual significance–this isn’t necessarily true with North Korea and China. While China can undoubtedly do more than North Korea, North Korea’s capabilities aren’t inconsequential, though they are limited to that region; North Korea would be almost no help in a war against the United States (except that they’d be able to decimate South Korea), but could contribute considerably in a war against Japan or India.

Our tendency to treat North Korea like China’s little brother, quite frankly, pisses off North Korea. And, realistically, it probably should piss them off. It’s supremely arrogant of us, first of all. North Korea came as close to “kicking our asses” as any nation ever has. It’s rather like getting beat up on a playground and limping away while telling the kid who beat you up that they should be glad they’re being protected by their big brother. They have a feather in their cap that few nations can claim: they took on and defeated the United States.

There are a lot of reasons for that. Our hearts were never in it, and we had to impose the draft to get people involved–and it’s a matter of record that draftees are motivated more by the desire to get back home than to win a “righteous” battle. We ended the Korean War after only three years, making it perhaps one of the shortest wars in American history. That’s how little we wanted to fight it. We were also constrained by UN policies and regulations that, like Vietnam, seemed more designed to make the war perpetual than anything. None of this really matters, though, because the fact remains: North Korea fought us, and North Korea won.

Compare it to our involvement in World War 2, where we were ready to throw anything and everything into the war effort, and against Japan. Then, for the Korean War, we could barely muster an entire regiment of volunteers.

I was relieved today to wake up and learn that we hadn’t started World War 3 in response to North Korea’s testing of a nuclear weapon, primarily because North Korea didn’t test a nuclear weapon.

What does it really matter, though?

It has merely postponed it.

For months, indications have been that North Korea was about to test another nuclear weapon. This is why tensions have been so high–the evidence is pretty clear that we are going to attack if they do so. Satellite images routinely show the “right” activity to indicate there is about to be a nuclear test, and it’s pretty likely that Kim Jong Un backed out at the last minute precisely because of pressure from the United States and China.

But this hasn’t changed anything.

It’s worth taking a moment to ask ourselves why we care whether North Korea tests nuclear weapons. The answer is that our actions throughout the last century have left us having to look over our shoulders constantly, and the only solution we’ve found for this is to continually look over our shoulder and attack anyone we happen to see–which, of course, means that we have to spend even more time looking over our shoulder.

In less than a week, we went from “Are we about to start World War 3 with Russia?” to “Are we about to start World War 3 with China?” One gets the image of a lunatic spinning wildly in circles firing an Ak-47 at every moving shadow he happens to see, paranoid and terrified that someone is coming to get him–and, honestly, is correct that someone is coming to get him, but only because he went around shooting people like a psychopath in the first place.

From what I can tell, this madman could really use some sleep. But he can’t sleep, because he’s created so many enemies that any one of them would sneak up on him in the middle of the night and slit his throat. So the only thing he can do is continue standing and spinning, firing missiles at anything that dares move in his presence while laughing and proclaiming to the world how secure and safe he is now that he’s gone through the world and shot everyone.

I was born on a planet alongside about six billion other people. For the first few years, things seemed pretty ordinary and sane, but then I noticed something odd. These otherwise rational and loving people had the strangest tendency to wantonly kill one another.

And then I noticed something even more bizarre.

Everyone acted like it was totally normal, and as though I was the crazy one for suggesting that we stop killing one another.

We’ve been killing each other for so long that we don’t know any other way. We’re set on that path, and the idea of getting off it, for some reason, terrifies us more than the prospect of nuclear war. God forbid we try to be friends with these people. No, we’d rather risk the possibility of annihilating life on the planet. The notion of just putting down the guns scares us more than nuclear war.

Something remarkable almost happened during World War 1. We came so close to putting war behind us permanently. It marks the most tragic moment in human history, when both sides of a war realized that they didn’t hate each other and that they were brothers being pit against one another by governments. On Christmas Day in the first year of the war, Central Europe forces and Allied forces put down their weapons and met on the battlefield for a day of celebration and peace.

War ends when the soldiers decide to stop fighting.

This posed such a threat to the powers that be–the states of the world–that it was forbidden from then on, and anyone who attempted it faced treason charges. They knew the danger it posed; they knew how close we had come to permanently putting down the guns. All we had to do was make one more decision–“When the sun rises tomorrow, we won’t resume shooting.”

The courage it took those soldiers to rise out of the trenches and walk toward the opposing side was more courage than anyone else had ever displayed in human history. There was every possibility that the other side would seize the opportunity to kill them. “They’re coming at us without weapons! The fools! Kill them! Kill them all!”

But that didn’t happen. They put down their own weapons, and the two sides met in a scene virtually guaranteed to bring tears to any peace lover’s eyes. We were right there. We had put down our guns and approached the other side, trusting that they would accept the gesture of peace and that it wouldn’t prove to be the dumbest thing anyone ever did. And our enemies rose and met the challenge. We came so close to learning it all right then–war is a racket of states. They can order us to kill each other all they want, but they can do nothing if we refuse to. And if we refuse to, we learned on that day, then the other side will refuse to.

It just takes that first courageous gesture of peace, that first person putting down the gun and stepping forward with a hand extended.

The next thing you know, generals and politicians throughout the world are freaking the fuck out because they’ve lost control of the minds of the soldiers and can no longer tell them to go and kill one another.

I challenge the United States to do this today.

Disarm.

If you expect to find a bogeyman pointing a gun at you in every shadow, then that is what you will find.

So disarm completely. Dismantle our warships, our jets, our bombs, our nuclear warheads. Disarm and dismantle everything. Show how courageous you are. Be like those soldiers in World War 1. It doesn’t take courage to continue maniacally shooting at everything that moves. What took courage is throwing up one’s arms, rising out of the trench, and approaching the other side without weapons drawn.

If we put down our weapons, they’ll put down theirs.

It’s time to end the worldwide Mexican Standoff.

And if our government doesn’t do it? Then American soldiers need to just go home. Just put down the weapons and go home. They can’t imprison all of you, because the only people who would imprison you would also have put down their weapons and gone home.

Is it unlikely? Perhaps.

Is it impossible?

The first Christmas of World War 1 suggests that it isn’t. It just takes courage.

 

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.

Punching Nazis?

Question: At what point does a person’s political ideology become a determinant factor in whether it’s okay to inflict violence on them?

Answer: It doesn’t.

A lot of people have talked about this idea, whether it’s okay to punch Nazis, whether the NAP allows it, and even whether it means the NAP should be abandoned. It’s often treated as a “Gotcha!” question for Libertarians, either because the answer is so nuanced that the asker attests the libertarian has no answer, or because it causes the libertarian to stumble out of the gate. After all, Nazis are Ultra Super Evil, so it must me okay to attack them! So if your guiding principle doesn’t allow you to attack these symbols of unchecked evil, then your guiding principle has problems.

Right?

In some ways, it can be a difficult question to answer, and I understand why much ink has been spilled over attempting to dissect it and come up with an answer. This usually deals with the core of Nazi beliefs and the idea that it is the Nazi’s intention to use force, violence, and coercion against others; therefore, inflicting violence against the Nazi is an act of prevention.

But that’s the wrong answer.

We can’t allow ourselves to be distracted by magician parlor tricks that cause us to chase down obfuscations. The question is stupid and unworthy of an answer in the first place. It relies on widespread hatred of the very word “Nazi,” often regardless of whether a person knows what Nazism professes, and attempts to bait people into expressing any sort of sympathy with these people widely considered the symbols of evil. Nazis are the safe bad guy in any form of entertainment for a reason.

In fact, the person’s political identification is irrelevant to the question. Is it okay to punch a socialist? A communist? A racist? A sexist? A Muslim? A Christian? An anarchist?

“No” on all counts.

A Nazi?

“Well, you see, there are some complexities…”

“No” is still the answer.

Part of this idea that Nazis represent The Devil Incarnate is the notion that all Nazis are the same and believe exactly the same things to exactly the same extent. This is an assumption we don’t apply anywhere else, and for good reason. We all know that we’ll have a very difficult time finding two Democrats who agree on everything, two Republicans who agree on everything, two socialists who agree on everything, and you can forget finding two libertarians who agree on everything. I don’t think I’ve ever met two Christians who agree on everything, or two Muslims who agree on everything. But two Nazis who agree on everything?

It’s just assumed. “Oh, yeah, definitely… All Nazis are the same.”

I know that the propaganda during World War 2 was extremely effective, and that it has permanently colored our society, but it’s time we put aside the propaganda and evaluated things as rational adults. The fact is that, at the height of their power, lots of people were Nazis. And the reason that Hitler kept the Holocaust as quiet as he could was precisely that he knew the common people of Germany, many, many of whom were Nazis, would never have been okay with his proposed Final Solution. Many Nazis defected from the country and the party, not because they disputed National Socialism but because they rejected the Holocaust. That wartime propaganda still lingers, but all Nazis have never been the same.

The question has nothing to do with the NAP; it has everything to do with virtue signaling, as the asker attempts to test the waters to see if he can goad the libertarian into expressing virtues different from his own, at which point the libertarian can be called a Nazi Sympathizer, and, since everyone hates Nazis, it means whoever asks the question generally wins in public perception. A fair question is “At what point is it okay to use a person’s political beliefs as a factor in determining whether it’s acceptable to inflict violence upon them?”

The answer to this question is, “It’s never okay.”

Recently I read an article by a libertarian who wants to re-evaluate the NAP because it allows racists to be considered libertarians, and the author doesn’t like that. He seems to struggle with the idea of tolerance, that we must tolerate behavior and ideas we don’t approve of, as long as the person doesn’t use force, violence, and coercion. Since using force, violence, and coercion are the only ways to be intolerant of an idea, it basically means that “Everything is tolerable except force, violence, and coercion.”

While I can see why people would struggle with this, there is no identifiable link between a person’s religious or political beliefs and their willingness or unwillingness to use violence. Progressives have for decades condemned the use of violence, but now are the prime actors initiating it. If you ask some people, Hitler was a Catholic. If you ask others, he was an atheist. Whether Stalin’s atheism had anything to do with his atrocities is good troll-bait. Whether Islam has anything to do with the large amount of extremism coming out of the Middle East also makes good troll-bait.

But the reality is simpler: the reason we can’t find any direct correlation between a person’s beliefs and things like terrorism is that there really isn’t one. A few years ago, I came across someone who asserted that people who are homophobic are actually gay and just can’t accept it. That’s absurd, and the reasoning behind it is aggressively unworthy of our species. So a man who hates pedophiles is secretly a pedophile and can’t accept it? That’s the reasoning we’re going to go with on this?

As “evidence” of this claim, another person came forward and said, “I used to be homophobic, and I’m gay, so it’s actually true.”

No, it’s still not true. You’re connecting dots where there are no dots to be connected. You were homophobic and you are gay; you weren’t homophobic because you are gay. This person’s upbringing and social environment would have led him to be homophobic regardless of his orientation. Being gay is simply what allowed him to stop being homophobic. We find the same pattern everywhere, with people attempting to draw correlations between religious beliefs and violence, and between political ideologies and violence.

Is the man hateful because he is racist, or is the man racist because he is hateful? Is the man willing to use violence against black people because he’s racist, or is he racist because he’s willing to use violence against black people? Or is his racism unrelated to his willingness to use violence, and his racism merely determines who is the recipient of his willingness to use violence? In most cases, the latter. Being a white supremacist won’t turn a non-violent person into a violent one. I’m sorry, but it won’t. Neither will being a black supremacist, an atheist, a Christian, a Muslim, a Democrat, or a Republican.

In nearly all cases, extremist positions do not create a willingness to use violence. They are merely used as an excuse. The people who bombed abortion clinics didn’t do so because Christianity made them looney. They did so because they were already looney, and parts of Christianity gave them an excuse to do what they wanted to do anyway. Ditto for Muslim extremists, atheist extremists, socialist extremists, racist extremists, and other extremists. And in all of these cases, for every one who is batshit nuts and violent, there are 99 who are perfectly normal.

Question: Is it okay to punch a Nazi?

Answer: What the fuck kind of question is that?

Is it okay to punch someone who is engaged in act of aggression? Is it okay to punch someone who is a reasonable and credible threat planning an act of aggression? Is it okay to punch someone because you really, really don’t like what they believe? These questions don’t all have the same answer, and that’s why “Nazi” is used in the question. We’re just supposed to accept that all Nazis are supremely evil and willing, perhaps even eager, to kill everyone who isn’t a straight, white Christian. And even if that’s true about Nazis–which it isn’t, though it’s more likely to be true of neo-Nazis–it’s still the wrong question to ask, because the fact that they are Nazis isn’t a determining factor. The determining factor is whether the person is engaged in, or credibly planning to be engaged in, acts of violence and aggression. It doesn’t matter if they’re Nazis, socialists, anarchists, communists, capitalists, Christians, atheists, Muslims, or anything else.

 

The One About the CIA

For years, libertarians have been warning of the dangers posed by spy agencies and government secrets, the dangers of a powerful central government, and the threat posed by the destruction of checks and balances. When the news peddled the story that the U.S. intelligence agencies–freaking seventeen of them–concurred that Russians were behind the DNC Leaks, libertarians cautiously requested evidence.

This is, of course, the same CIA that notoriously met with Obama Bin Laden while he was hospitalized, the same CIA that has initiated coups and revolutions throughout the world, the same CIA that lied about Iraq, the same CIA that headed Project MK-ULTRA, the same CIA that planned Operation Norwood, and the same CIA that gave syphilis to black Americans in the south. The same CIA that told us to expect this sort of thing in Afghanistan:

Caution: may not be remotely representative of reality.

These people cannot be trusted. It is a documented fact that they have not merely kidnapped, tortured, and experimented on innocent American citizens, but they have also lied to the President, to Congress, and to the American people. They lied about the NSA, lied about torture, lied about surveillance, lied about Iraq.

This shouldn’t surprise anyone. They’re spies. No matter how we whitewash it, assuming false identities, using deception, and infiltrating are all lies. This is an agency filled with people who have literally been trained to lie however much is necessary to accomplish their objective. It’s what they do. They lie.

We can have a discussion about whether or not it’s actually necessary to have a spy agency. I don’t think it is. Even if we kept the state in a libertarian society, we wouldn’t need a spy agency, because we wouldn’t be making enemies of everyone. I don’t need to spy on my next door neighbor, after all. And why don’t I? Because I’m not enemies with him and I’m not antagonizing him. He’s simply a neighbor. Neither does he have any reason to spy on me. This same logic applies to nations, too. Just as my neighbor wouldn’t attack me while motivated by jealousy, requiring me to spy on him to prevent it, neither would other nations, and the idea that they would stems from the proven false idea that other people are jealous of our “freedoms.”

But if we’re going to have a group of people whose only job is to lie to accomplish their goals, then it’s supremely important that they be under constant oversight. We can’t trust them when they tell us something, because they lie. They’ve already developed a history of lying to Congress and the American People, but even without that long history of deception it would be stupid, reckless, and naive to assume that we were the only people these trained liars weren’t lying to.

They’re trained to tell whatever lie is necessary to accomplish their objective. What is their objective? On paper, it’s the protection of the American People. In practice, however, we can see from just two examples that this is not their objective. Project MK-ULTRA (which, yes, actually happened) and Operation Norwood leave it indisputable that they are willing to torture and kill American citizens in pursuit of their objective. It goes without saying that if my plan doesn’t preclude the possibility of killing you, then my objective clearly isn’t to protect you.

Operation Norwood was a planned false flag attack where CIA agents were going to carry out attacks in Miami against the American People and blame them on Cuba, in order to justify an invasion of Cuba. Once again, it’s obvious that their objective wasn’t to protect the American People; their objective was to justify a war with Cuba, and they were willing to kill Americans to do it. Thankfully, Kennedy rejected the plan, but that doesn’t change the reality that clearly the CIA’s objective can’t be to protect Americans.

Some people would make a “for the greater good” argument here, but it’s easily dealt with. Even if this was the case, killing some Americans to justify a war wherein more Americans die in order to more firmly entrench America’s place at the top of the world isn’t “protecting Americans.” It’s sacrificing some Americans to justify a war where more Americans are sacrificed to secure the superior position of some Americans. While I sincerely doubt anyone would support such a sick idea, at best it means that the CIA’s objective is to kill some Americans to help other Americans.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think we need a government to be doing that sort of thing.

Who is sacrificed? The poor. The lower and middle class, of course. And that’s just from the false flag attacks themselves. Once the war is under way and Cuban missiles hit American shores and American soldiers die invading Cuba, who eats the losses? Again, the poor and middle class. Who benefits from these sacrifices?

The politicians who get to grab more power through more Patriot Acts. The CIA who gets more power and secrecy, and the literal power over life and death. Upper class munitions makers and CEOs who make money from war. War, after all, is a racket.

Is that the CIA’s objective? To sacrifice the American poor and middle class in the name of war and American hegemony that enriches the ruling class?

Um… Yeah, pretty much.

If the CIA’s objective was to protect American citizens, then they’d do that. Things like Project MK-ULTRA would never even be considered, much less executed. They would never lie to the body of citizens allegedly sworn to hold the CIA accountable. But they do lie to Congress. In fact, evidence suggests that Congress doesn’t know much more about what the CIA is up to than we do.

So who is in charge? Who is holding the CIA’s feet to the fire and ensuring that their mission statement of protecting the American People doesn’t twist into “protect some people at the expense of others”?

No one.

No one is holding the CIA accountable. This is America! And we have an unaccountable spy agency with a history of lying to us and it’s overseers while it operates in nearly total secrecy. And its own history shows that it considers it perfectly okay to torture and kill some Americans in pursuit of its objective. An extremely powerful group of professional liars who operate with very little oversight and have gotten away with kidnapping, torture, murder, and conspiracy to commit terrorism. That’s not hyperbole. That’s an examination of the facts.

The CIA must be abolished.

Conscription: The Bane of Self-Ownership

It’s been a while since the United States implemented conscription–what we now call “The Draft” since we’ve turned it into the lottery that no one wants to win–and there remains a lot of negativity attached to it. The last time there was any serious talk about conscription was during George W. Bush’s presidency, and my father was so convinced that the draft was imminent that he routinely suggested that I go ahead and sign up. The high school had just required us to take the ASFAB, and I scored very highly, which caused Army Reserve recruiters to pester me pretty extensively. When the recruiter insisted twice that there were no reserve units deployed to Iraq, my father thankfully made him leave.

I don’t know whether my father ever served in the military or not. Through most of my life he insisted that he fought in the Vietnam War, and my sister and I realized as adults that this couldn’t possibly be true. He said that he had been drafted out of high school into the Navy. I don’t know enough about the draft to know whether conscripts served in other branches, and I don’t really care, but he asserts that his recruiter told him he would be able to choose a submarine as his assignment, only to ultimately not be able to. Who knows? Nothing my father says is ever really true. At best, it’s a lie with a bit of lean toward the truth.

When I went through a difficult patch around 20 years old, I contacted the Navy about recruiting. Much to my dismay, I had to again take the stupid ASFAB, as well as a Navy-only code-breaking thing at the end, and it took all day even though I finished the test in about two hours. That’s the worst part of any standardized test. Just hand me the test and let me leave when I’m done. Don’t make me sit around for five hours waiting on other people to finish.

There were a few oddities, though. First, it was my intention to enter the nuclear research program. I hadn’t yet entered college, but one half-truth after the other led to the realization that, unless I had a BA, then I was going to enter the service at the lowest possible rank–which, not being arrogant, is a tremendous waste for someone of my talents. Handing me a gun and sending me to the frontline is probably the least effective way to put me to use–and yes, I realize that the Navy doesn’t really fight on the front. That’s not the point. However, I had a BA, then I would have no need or desire to enter the military.

The $5,000 signing bonus didn’t sound particularly appealing. That buys a ten year old car. I’m sorry, but if I’m signing my literal life over to you and essentially becoming your slave for a period of time, and if this gives you the right to basically tell me to go and die, then five grand isn’t going to cut it. Not by a long shot. Up that to fifty grand, and then we can talk.

It was hilarious, though, how the recruiter kept going on and on about how much money he makes by being in the service. In fact, he stopped by the bank while taking us to take the ASFAB, and made quite a show of transferring one thousand dollars from one account to another. I don’t know if the other kids bought it or not, but it was clearly a scripted piece of bullshit. After the test, he said he would treat us to lunch, at which point he began looking around the car for change, and then ordered us each two things from the dollar menu at McDonald’s. What a farce. I’ve taken clients to lunch before, and it has never crossed my mind to take them to McDonald’s, scrounge around for change, and then tell them to order from the dollar menu and drink a cup of free water. Coming after his display of how much money he has, it was really funny. No doubt, he had no more or less money than any average person–probably less, really–and the accounts he manipulated at the bank were official navy accounts for exactly that purpose: impressing impressionable teens.

The main killer, though, was when it turned out that I was qualified to join the nuclear program, but was told that I couldn’t apply to it until after I was in boot camp, at which point the decision would be made about whether I would be accepted.

Yeah, no. I’m not doing that.

They might fool people who aren’t qualified to join nuclear research programs with that sort of thing, but not me. I can tell you exactly how that would have played out. “You didn’t get accepted. Now march, maggot!”

At the moment, the American military is completely voluntary, and that’s a good thing–if there’s going to be a military, then at least it’s voluntary. I’m not particularly fond of the recruiting tactics, though. I hate that many young men and women just have no real options for making a better future for themselves than joining the military. I hate that recruiters know that and use it to their advantage by targeting poor and minority communities. One of the few Michael Moore documentaries worth a shit is the one where he confronts some recruiters on this sort of predatory behavior.

It’s voluntary at the moment, but that doesn’t mean it will stay that way. Conscription, however, isn’t a tool to protect the country. This is common sense, and it takes only a moment to think about it. It’s common knowledge that, immediately after Pearl Harbor, countless people joined the military. This is exactly what we’d expect if the United States–or any country, actually–was attacked by a foreign power. Just imagine what would happen if Russia stormed the beaches of California. Conscription wouldn’t be necessary to fill the ranks. We’d have people rushing out to California with guns loaded in their trucks without even bothering to enlist, they’d be so willing and so anxious to protect their country.

Conscription only serves the purpose of making people go and fight wars they don’t want to fight.

While there are pacifists, cowards, and sympathizers in all countries, if people want to fight, then they will volunteer to. That’s what it means to want something, after all. It’s readily apparent, and historically documented, that one of the things that make people want to fight is a foreign attack against their homeland. So while pacifists, cowards, and sympathizers wouldn’t want to fight, most people would, and I’m not seeing much benefit from making pacifists, cowards, and sympathizers fight. In fact, they’d probably do more harm than good.

Arguing this point with a friend a few years ago, he replied, “Yeah, but then they’d have to be sent through boot camp and trained, so there would be a delay…”

What a remarkable thing to say. That delay will exist whether the enemy attacks and people volunteer, or whether the enemy attacks and people are drafted. The only way to prevent that is to have a perpetual conscription requirement, which some people have campaigned for, where every adult must spend 2 years in the military or Peace Corps or something. I’m obviously not a fan of such an idea.

The very idea is stomach-churning. By what right does the government kidnap me, put a gun in my hand, and tell me to go and die? Shouldn’t I be the person who gets to make the determination that a cause is worth fighting for? Why does the government get to make that decision for me? So let’s call it what it is: enslavement. Literal enslavement, at that.

If the government needs soldiers, then the government has two options. It can either enslave people against their will, or it can offer people more stuff to enlist. If the government really wanted my service, they could have upped their bonus to fifty thousand dollars. However, force is what people use when they don’t want to compete. So instead of competing with non-dangerous employment by offering me a better wage and better signing bonus, the government chooses instead to circumvent that whole process and simply kidnap and enslave me.

If it ever so happened that the government needed more soldiers, they wouldn’t take the obvious route of offering people more money and more perks. They may make some token effort of doing this–raising the signing bonus to $5500, for example, as though an extra $500 will entice many more people to risk their lives for Uncle Sam–but they wouldn’t put any serious effort into it. Why should they? They hold the ultimate trump card: force. They don’t have to compete with free market jobs if they don’t want to, and they don’t have to expend much effort trying to compete, because they can just force people to join.

It’s bad enough that the state enslaves us through taxation and steals a sizable chunk of the fruits of our labors for itself. Conscription, however, allows the state to take 100% of our labor and to dictate exactly what that labor is. Maybe it’s digging trenches in Europe and fighting people who haven’t done anything to you. Maybe it’s taking and abandoning one hill after another in Vietnam, where success is measured in body count rather than territory. With conscription, you belong to the state. Your life belongs to the state, and it can effectively order you to end your life.

Now American society is asking whether women and transgender people should be required to sign up for selective service. Obviously, the answer is “No.” Instead of asking whether this archaic vestige of state supremacy should be expanded, we should be pointing out that it has no place in anything that calls itself a free country. If the cause of a war is just to a person, then that person will enlist to fight it. If the cause is not just, then they won’t. We cannot steal this agency from people. Their lives don’t belong to us or to the government. We don’t get to tell them to go die for a cause they don’t think is just. We don’t get to kidnap and enslave them.

Sure, we have an all volunteer military right now. But we’re only one major terrorist attack away from throwing that away, and tradition won’t stop people when the cards are down. Other people generally have few qualms about throwing away other people’s lives. The draft isn’t just some idea. It’s an omnipresent threat to every American, that we are never more than a moment away from becoming slaves to the government, and being sent to die in other parts of the world. It must be abolished. We do not belong to the government, and our lives are not its to throw away.

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.

 

The Politicization and Exaggeration of Reality

I’ve seen President Trump talk about the terrible things that happened in Sweden on Friday night. I’ve seen a video from… Sweden…? Some Swedish government agency…? that reiterated that nothing of much import happened in Sweden. I’ve seen people sharing articles about riots that took place in Rinkeby. And I’ve got to be honest.

I don’t who to believe.

In fact, I believe none of them. I refuse to form any sort of understanding on what may or may not be happening in Sweden, because everyone involved has a vested interest in lying to me. I don’t remember all the details, but I do remember reading from a reputable source that police agencies in <some European country> were told to downplay crimes committed by refugees. I also know that Trump and his ilk have a really, really bad habit of blowing everything out of proportion, inflating numbers, and telling outright lies. Everyone is telling a bit of truth, and everyone is burying the truth. So it’s impossible to figure out what is actually true.

It’s not a subject I talk about much because there’s no need to get involved in the controversy, but the Holocaust suffers from the same problem: what actually happened is now forever lost to history. We do know that much of what we were told during the 30s and 40s about Nazi Germany was exaggerated by, yes, Jewish-owned media outlets who were using propaganda to incite the American People into entering the war. See? I can hardly even make that statement without risking being called anti-Semitic. But that Jews controlled most of the media then is a matter of record. While he was certainly no bastion of reliability himself, the problem was notable enough that Charles Lindbergh stood in Congress and spoke about how the media was using propaganda to stir us into entering the war.

Whatever did happen was indisputably terrible and unforgivable, but we do know that much of what we were told was greatly exaggerated, and much of it was blatantly false. For example, claims of the Nazi soldiers incinerating bodies by the dozen in mere minutes are obviously false, yet these provably false statements were admitted as evidence and have entered the official zeitgeist of what happened during the Holocaust. Even though it takes modern crematoria more than two hours to incinerate a single body, and even though this involves crushing the bones–which was never mentioned in any of the testimony–the overwhelming majority of people today simply accept it as fact that the Nazis incinerated bodies by the hundreds.

I’m not making any case for or against anything. I’m just pointing out that the tendency of people to exaggerate to further their political ends has resulted in a situation where all sides are filled with liars and con artists, and the long-run result of that is that whatever “truth” might once have existed is now simply a matter of which side of the argument you fall on. I’ve no doubt that anyone who would instantly reject any talk of Holocaust Denial–which I’m not doing–will probably have stopped reading during the preceding paragraph, called me anti-Semitic, and completely ignored the point. This is because they have fallen on that side of the issue, and it has no tolerance for the arguments of the other side.

It refuses to hear, and so it can’t listen.

Does Sweden have some kind of issue with immigration? I have no idea. It would seem that they do have some sort of problem–everything isn’t great, at least. Is Trump pulling more “alternative facts” out of his ass? I have no idea. Based on his history, I would say “Probably.” Is there an element of truth in both statements? Yes, without doubt. Will one side acknowledge the element of truth in the other side’s statements?

Not before Hell freezes over.

Global Warming faces the same politicization. We know for a fact–thanks to hacked and leaked emails that appeared around 2007*–that the leading scientists who were arguing that man-made global warming was real doctored evidence, concealed evidence, and cherry-picked their data so that their report was colored by their political message. We also know that no amount of 114 degree temperatures in August will cause Climate Change Deniers to say there might be something to it, not as long as one random day throughout the year is unusually cool.

If a person begins from a neutral position and simply follows the evidence to determine what is up with the Holocaust, the Trump/Sweden thing, and global warming, they will end up running in circles and ultimately declaring, “I don’t know. It’s impossible to know. Everyone is lying, and everyone is manipulating the truth to say what they want it to say.”

Over the weekend, some altercation happened at the Students For Liberty Conference when an alt-right dude Something Spencer showed up and set up a booth pretending to be part of the conference. What happened next? Well, Spencer says that he was threatened and forced to leave. Libertarians say that Spencer requested that security escort him out, and that he left of his own accord. Jeffrey Tucker may or may not have been drunk and may or may not have shouted at Spencer. I wasn’t there, and only about 300 people were, so I can’t say what happened.

People who I generally find reliable, like Will Coley, insist that Spencer left of his own accord. However, his posts about it contain comments from people who dispute that account, and who say that Spencer was forced to leave because the crowd was turning violent. Others have said that everyone ultimately had to leave, including Students For Liberty.

Recently, some Conservative group uninvited Milo Yuanwhateverus from speaking at their event. They say that it’s because Milo made comments that condoned pedophilia**. Not being a Milo fan, I only know his reply secondhand, but it was basically something like “No, that’s not at all what I said. They edited the videos to make it appear that way.” Then someone posted the full video unedited. Did Milo condone teen-adult relationships? I don’t know or really care; this is just another example of how truth gets shoved through the meat grinder because everyone is just trying to push an agenda, and will pick and choose parts of the truth that further it while denying or burying the parts that don’t.

Trump said while talking to a reporter that women “let” him do whatever he wants because he’s rich and famous. People took this and ran with it, coming up with the certifiably insane idea that Trump was bragging about sexual assault. I’ve tried, and I can attest: absolutely nothing that you can say to these people will convince them otherwise. Pointing out what the meaning of the word “let” is? It’s a No Sale. They have that in their heads, and that’s just what they’re going to believe. Use an example about how “letting” your nephew play with your pet cat isn’t forcing your nephew to play with your pet cat? They genuinely don’t understand what relevance that has.

But it’s not just the left, obviously–I’ve criticized the right just as much here.

It’s fucking maddening.

Everything gets exaggerated to reductio ad absurdum degrees, but the people exaggerating absolutely refuse to admit that they’re blowing things way out of proportion and are engaging in hyperbole. “Scientific fact” has become both meaningless and a holy grail, thanks to one segment of the population that unwisely believes anything a scientist says is absolutely reliable, and the other segment of the population that simply cherry-picks. The first segment, of course, hides from the science they don’t like–like the measurable differences in athleticism and education between races and genders–and refuse to admit that such scientific facts even exist. The second segment will print out and piss on a paper about climate change but will decide scientists are great if a report comes out that they like.

I just… I really wish people would stop exaggerating and stop lying.

I can already hear the mainstream responses to that.

Conservatives: “Damn straight! Tell them damned liberals to stop exaggerating and lying!”

Liberals: “Yes, please! All conservatives do is exaggerate and lie!”

Because of this, truth just gets eviscerated and swept under the rug, forever lost and with no way to ever recover it. It is impossible now to determine what actually happened during the Holocaust, whether Hitler actually intended to exterminate or move the Jews, whether the Jewish murders were planned or incidental, or anything else. We are doing a great disservice to posterity, who will one day look back on our mess and shrug before saying, “I don’t know. They’re all liars and exaggerators.”

* “The gist” of all this stuff gets logged in my memory, though the details rarely do.

** Widespread acceptance of hyperbole is another serious issue. What Milo is accused of condoning are relationships between teens and adults, not kids and adults. As far as I’m aware, there isn’t a -philia label for this, but there actually is a pretty major difference between being attracted to a pre-puberty kid and a post-puberty teenager. I’m condoning neither, but don’t pretend like they’re the same thing.

Gorsuch, Life, and Church/State Separation

A lot of people, even some Libertarians, seem perfectly happy with the selection of Gorsuch to join the Supreme Court, and most of the praise stems from a few basic things. I’m going to take them in reverse order (from what would be logical), though. First, then, is his probable pro-choice positions.

Though Gorsuch has never ruled one way or another on abortion, statements in his book that “Human life is intrinsically valuable,” which were made regarding assisted suicide and euthanasia (I can’t help but wonder if he applies the same statement to the death penalty, though), have been extrapolated and assumed to apply to abortion.

This means that in the last few days, I’ve seen “Libertarians” praising Gorsuch and hoping that this civil issue can find its way back to the Supreme Court so that the Federal Government can further regulate abortion. *sigh*

Anyway, whether he is pro-life or would send the matter back to individual states isn’t much of a concern to me right now. The bigger concern is this notion that “Human life is intrinsically valuable,” which forms a basis for his legal rulings, and as such constitutes a violation of the separation of church and state. It’s subtle, but it’s a violation all the same.

If I were to say “All life, plant and animal, is intrinsically and equally valuable as human life,” no one would have a hard time noticing the heavy religious (Hindu, specifically) overtones. It wouldn’t be a matter of debate. If I was a federal judge and went on to make rulings on that basis (such as outlawing the eating of meat by arguing it is murder), there would be widespread protests about how I’d be violating the separation of church and state by ruling based on my personal religious beliefs.

Though it’s generally shared by most Americans, even non-religious ones, penetration into the cultural zeitgeist and widespread acceptance doesn’t turn a religious idea into a non-religious one. We can argue the NAP, make a utilitarian argument, or use some other argument in favor of pro-life, but we can’t make a religious one in a federal court.

Human life is not intrinsically valuable. In fact, nothing is. A thing’s value does not exist independently of the person observing it and assigning the value. We can easily see the fallacy by applying it to anything else.

  • Steaks are intrinsically valuable.
  • Television is intrinsically valuable.
  • Planets are intrinsically valuable.

Now, if I know the types of people I’m thinking about, they’re reading this, shaking their heads, and mumbling, “You can’t compare LIFE to television and steaks! This is… This is existence! The gift of life! Human life! It can’t be compared to a steak!”

Right… Because they’ve decided that life is intrinsically valuable, for no reason other than that they think it is, and so it’s “obviously” different from these other things. It’s a circular position; they can’t see that life’s “intrinsic value” is fairly compared to the “intrinsic value” of television, because they’re starting from the assumption that life is intrinsically valuable.

“I have ten red jelly beans, and they’re automatically better than other jelly beans,” A said

“That’s silly. I have ten green jelly beans, and they’re just as ‘automatically better’ than other jelly beans,” said B.

“No, because red jelly beans are automatically better, so they can’t even be compared to those other ones,” replied B.

This is an issue, and I don’t think supreme court justices should start from the basis of a religious belief to decide an issue.

The Constitution

Much fuss has been made about Gorsuch’s position on the Constitution, that it must be interpreted in a way that common people of the day of its writing would have understood it, which is a common sense position. I’ve seen even more Libertarians excited about this than the prospect of his being pro-life.

I’d be excited, too, if I was delusional enough to think that the Constitution has any bearing at all in the modern United States, but it doesn’t. The Constitution hasn’t meant anything in decades–more than a century to be honest.

Having a branch of the government assigned the duty of determining whether or not the government has the legal authority to do something is “intrinsically” flawed. We might as well go ahead and accept that internal police investigations will be the sole deciders in whether an officer acted unlawfully.

At absolute minimum, here we need to take a lesson from the British, although instead of having a dual parliament (which we sort of have, but in a somewhat less effective way) we need to have a dual court system–the government’s and the people’s. It’s not enough that the Federal Supreme Court would say that something is Constitutional; the People’s Supreme Court must agree. If the two do not agree, the law is sent back to Congress for amendments, per instructions included.

The Federal Supreme Court sounds like a good idea… at first. And then it becomes apparent that we’ve given the government the exclusive power to determine whether the government has the authority to do something. As we’ve seen from blatant abuses, it becomes a rubber stamp of state power, with no way for us to appeal it. If the Supreme Court says something is Constitutional and produces a 3700 page document of legalese explaining how it’s totally fine, then we have no recourse for addressing it.

All branches of the government threw out the Constitution. I’m glad people are beginning to pay attention to how the President uses Executive Orders to legislate, but none of these reach the Supreme Court, nor can they. They exist outside of the confines of the Constitution entirely, as they are typically directives to other governmental bodies. The Supreme Court can’t rule on whether it’s constitutional for the President to sign an executive order placing a gag order on government agencies, because neither the government agencies nor directives have anything to do with the Constitution.

Congress, the only people who could do anything about it, don’t, and it’s easy to see why. Republicans want their Republican President to be able to impose conservative policy without going through all the hassle of a constitutional republic and trying to get bills through Congress, so it’s easier to grit their teeth through a Democratic President. Overturning the system, after all (which republicans could have done in the last few years), by easily passing a law that reaffirms Congress as the controllers of these agencies, would have meant that President Republican wouldn’t be able to unilaterally rule the country and Congress might actually have to do something.

Instead, Congress simply creates the agencies and turns the keys over to the oval office. Even if they don’t specifically turn over control, they always end up under the President’s control anyway, since he goes on to hire and appoint tens of thousands of people. Even if he didn’t, control is only one negligent Congress and one executive order away.

So you’ll forgive me for not being happy we’ve got a constructionist going to the Supreme Court. It’s irrelevant, because nothing that actually matters will ever find its way before the Supreme Court. Whether Congress has the authority to create the EPA, USPS, the Department of Education, and all the others will never, ever be brought to the Supreme Court.

At absolute best, we might end up with one of these unelected, unaccountable government agencies doing something unconstitutional, and that one act may end up at the Supreme Court, but even that isn’t likely, and instead the Supreme Court will continue on rubberstamping government power grabs and either pushing a liberal agenda onto the entire nation or, at freaking best, sending issues back to the states.

I’m disappointed in myself for how much I was truly hoping that Judge Andrew Napolitano would get the nomination. It isn’t like Napolitano could have done much, but I would tentatively trust him with that level of power–with one scrutinizing eye on him the whole time.

There aren’t many people who I trust with power, and even those don’t get a blank check. I’d trust John McAfee as President, but I’d keep my eyes on him. I will never trust someone enough to give them power and turn away, trusting that they wouldn’t abuse it. I simply can’t, because I know how power is. Neither could I simply rejoice at Supreme Court Justice Napolitano and trust for the next three decades that he was doing the right thing. No one should trust anyone to that degree. I wouldn’t trust myself with that level of power, and would rely on people close to me to keep me in line.

Power corrupts. It is not just a corrupting agent; it is intoxicating and addictive. I was once in a relationship with a very submissive chick, and I ended the relationship because it simply was intoxicating and addictive; I’ve felt it personally, that primal sense of control and authority. I loved it, as anyone would (most people would dispute that, but most people would say they wouldn’t abuse the presidency, too, when the truth is… Yeah, they would…), but I don’t like things beyond my control.

That requires more elaboration than I really care to get into, but it’s just like any other addictive intoxicant. You’re addicted and intoxicated; you’re the opposite of “in control.”

Sure, we could have gotten worse than Gorsuch. But I’m tired of settling. I’m tired of “Well, it could have been worse” being stated after the government does anything. It could always have been worse. Nazi Germany could have been worse. “Sure, you have syphilis, but it could have been worse! You could have gotten HIV!”

It’s not much consolation, is it?

And we’ll be dealing with it again soon as we move toward war with China. “It could have been worse,” people will say. “We could be at war with Russia right now.”

In my focus on Hillary’s transparent attempts to ignite a war with Russia (attempts that live on in John McCain and other congressional vulture hawks), I missed most of Trump’s intentions of starting one with China. 2016, evidently, was the year we chose between war with Russia and war with China.

All because people settled for someone who wasn’t as bad as Hillary.

Not me, of course. I voted for McAfee.

There’s No Such Thing As the Popular Vote

It certainly hasn’t been a smooth ride, but it looks like the people–specifically, Democrats–are going to have to move out of the Bargaining Stage, since there are no bargains left to be made. I want to also credit them for mostly skipping over denial, because there weren’t very many people who really took the #NotMyPresident crap earnestly. I suspect that Denial is always the shortest stage of grief, at least when it comes to politics and elections, because people woke up on November 9th and there wasn’t really any way to live in denial. Denial requires people to enable it, and no one was willing to do that. Of course, we could make the argument–and I would make the argument–that anger and bargaining are both encapsulated by “Denial,” so the Denial Stage is actually three parts: abject denial, anger, bargaining. I would also contend that “depression” is part of the acceptance phase, but none of that is really important; it just occurred to me that anger and bargaining are part of denial–last ditch efforts to escape the consequences, to deny the outcome.

So the Electoral College voted and, to the surprise of no one with a brain and experience in politics and the ability to look at the issue rationally, Trump has been named the next President of the United States. That’s pretty much it for the denial, though, isn’t it? There are no tricks left up the denier’s sleeve, no cards left to be played, and no more opportunities to overturn the results of the fifty state elections. Jill Stein’s recounts were a total bust, only verifying the outcome in the one state that actually had a recount, and all of the anti-Russian propaganda has amounted to nothing.

It’s fascinating that so much attention was paid not just on the Electoral College but on the people themselves. One day Democrats argue that the Electoral College should be abolished, that it isn’t democratic, and that it’s not right. Then the next they’re lining up and begging the Electoral College to curtail the will of the people they represent. All of this confusion comes from the misunderstanding Democrats have, not realizing that we are fifty individual republics and there is no national popular vote; there are fifty elections on Election Day–one in each state–and the outcome of those elections determine who those states give their votes to. The people of Mississippi didn’t vote for the President. The State of Mississippi did, and the People of Mississippi simply told the state who to give its votes to.

Not as long as I’ve been paying attention to politics has so much focus been put on the Electoral College, not even in 2000. Both articles I’ve seen on the subject tonight express a sort of disappointment, saying things like “Trump clears the final hurdle…” and “Trump completes the final lap…” as though there was ever any doubt. The election is over, and it has been over since 2:00 AM on November 9th. Everything that has happened since in the mainstream media–all of the anti-Trump stuff anyway–has been a form of denial, up to and including the absolutely preposterous notion that there was ever any chance at all that the Electoral College might fail to install Trump.

This is the first time in my life that I’ve even bothered to look at what the Electors’ results were; even though I fully expected them to be what they were–though I didn’t expect any Republicans to defect*–but that really speaks to how sensationalized and extravagant the media and Democrats have been, that even though I knew beyond the shadow of a reasonable doubt that the electors would elect Trump, I still went to see the results. I can only imagine how people less grounded in reality–like the Democrats who have accepted the swill that Trump is a tool of Putin–feel right now, their hopes again dashed on the rocks.

But none of this is really what I want to talk about. I want to talk about this fully insane article from the Washington Post.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/the-electoral-college-is-poised-to-pick-trump-despite-push-to-dump-him/2016/12/19/75265c16-c58f-11e6-85b5-76616a33048d_story.html?utm_term=.aa42daef7342

Donald Trump clinched the presidency Monday as members of the electoral college cast ballots declaring him the victor, a perfunctory conclusion to the most stunning presidential contest in modern history.

Trump became the winner Monday afternoon after electors from Texas cast ballots and put him over the 270 electoral votes needed to win. Results will be officially announced Jan. 6 in a special joint session of Congress.

While Democrat Hillary Clinton amassed a nearly 3 million-vote lead in the popular vote, Trump won the state-by-state electoral map, making him president-elect. That political dichotomy sparked special scrutiny and intense lobbying of electors by Trump’s opponents in recent weeks, including mass protests. It also drew outsize attention to the usually overlooked, constitutionally obligated gatherings of 538 electors in 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Sorry, but I do have to call you out on this. See, Washington Post, I went to your article from the Electoral College votes in 2012, and… Oh. You don’t have such an article. You didn’t write an article when the electors voted in 2008 or 2012, because the process is pretty automatic, isn’t it? It’s a formality.

Anyway, the reason I bolded that part is that it’s kinda sore-loser-ish, isn’t it? First of all, stop saying “the popular vote.” There is not, and never has been, any such thing as “the popular vote.” When you speak of this, you are cultivating and spreading a myth and a lie. Hillary Clinton absolutely does not “lead in the popular vote” because there is no “the popular vote.” There were fifty popular votes. By a large margin, Donald Trump won most of the popular votes. Popular votes. As in–plural. Because there is no “the.”

The mostly symbolic calls for an electoral college rejection of Trump grew after revelations of a CIA assessment that Russian hacking could have boosted his campaign, which in the view of many Trump critics raised doubts about his legitimacy.

You just can’t help it, can you? I compared this to your article from where Obama defeated Romney in 2012. For it to be fair, you would have had to have mentioned the possibility that Obama was born in Kenya, because I’ve figured it out, Washington Post and Democrats. This whole “Trump is a Russian puppet!” thing–it’s just your Birther Movement. Don’t pretend like it’s more than that, or that it’s more dignified than that. This is you demanding to see Trump’s long-form birth certificate. However, you didn’t mention the possibility that Obama was born in Kenya in your article celebrating Obama’s victory.

And why did you say Obama won? Well, obviously, for very positive reasons. Let’s take a look at your language:

  • “reassembling the political coalition that boosted…”
  • “remaking himself from a hopeful uniter into a fighter…”
  • “scored a decisive victory…”
  • “capped a night of gains…”
  • “run as a symbol of limitless hope…”
  • “Obama’s promises had won…”
  • “had promised to fight the hardest…”

Wow! One might say you had your lips to his ass so fully that you were tonguing his large intestine.

For curiosity’s sake, let’s compare that to your language about Trump’s victory on November 9.

  • “Hillary Clinton’s quest to become the first female president…” [C’mon. Seriously?]
  • “Trump, a 70-year-old celebrity businessman who had never before run for office, is poised to become the oldest president ever elected to a first term. ” [Just had to take that whole sentence.] [Age Discrimination–you liberals aren’t fans of that, right?]
  • “After running a divisive campaign…”
  • “With Trump’s ascension to the White House, the nationalist wave that has swept capitals around the world — including in Britain, which voted to break from the European Union this year — came crashing onto U.S. shores.” [Again, just… wow.] [“Came crashing” is obviously heavily loaded language]

In fact, I’m going to stop here a moment to reflect on the horrifically biased language, because word choice is exceedingly important–it’s what gives away the bias. Hillary, you see, was on a quest. Quick, what do you think of when you hear the word “quest?” Unless you’re a World of Warcraft player, you think of an honorable, just mission undertaken to do something good and righteous. Trump is a “celebrity businessman.” Quite a contrast to Hillary’s quest.

Obama “capped a night of gains.” Powerful, positive language. Trump “came crashing onto U.S. shores.”

The primary reason I care isn’t that I like Trump. I don’t. I care because lots and lots of people don’t see the bias, and generally believe the Washington Post is neutral. You can’t claim neutrality while using language like “run as a symbol of limitless hope” for a Democrat, language like “quest to become the first female President” for a democrat, and stacking it against “built his campaign around the single contention…” [Romney] and “came crashing onto U.S. shores.” [Trump]

Moving on.

Trump has dismissed the intelligence community’s analysis of Russia’s role in the election and has boasted, including on Monday, of a “historic” electoral landslide. But his 305-to-232 win over Clinton ranks just 46th out of 58 electoral college margins.

I honestly don’t know what you’re talking about. The intelligence community’s analysis? There has been no such analysis.

You mean this one?

I realize you guys are the experts at this, but isn’t this, you know… bullshit?

His detractors called on electors to buck the president-elect in favor of Clinton — or Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, or another Republican such as Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Yes, and you denialists enabled that delusion by pandering to those detractors and giving the false hope that there was ever any chance in hell that this was a possibility. I don’t mean to say that it was a “one in a million” chance or that it was “really long odds.” There was no chance; there were no odds. It was an impossibility, and you guys knew it. You knew most of these states have laws in place preventing it, and that most of the electors would be replaced if they wouldn’t vote for the person they were supposed to.

But not even once did any mainstream media outlet mention that little detail. I read the news everyday, and a lot of those are liberal outlets, and I never once saw any of these liberal sites mention the fact that most of these electors have alternates standing by and ready to go if the first elector doesn’t vote for the person they’re supposed to vote for. That’s a pretty big detail, but I never saw it mentioned. If it was mentioned, it certainly wasn’t stated nearly enough, and why not? Because that little fact nips the whole delusion in the bud and renders it absolutely impossible.

Across the country, critics of the president-elect braved cold temperatures and rallied outside state capitol buildings in hopes that electors might act as an emergency brake on Trump.

More examples in shockingly biased language. “Braved cold temperatures… rallied outside… hopes that electors… act as an emergency brake…”

And how does it convey the message about Republicans immediately after that sentence?

In Pennsylvania, which voted for a Republican president for the first time since 1988, a few hundred shell-shocked Democrats protested in Harrisburg while all 20 electors backed Trump. In Utah, protesters booed and shouted “Shame on you” as the state’s six electors cast votes for Trump in a capitol building conference room in Salt Lake City.

  • “shell-shocked Democrats…”
  • “booed and shouted…”
  • “‘Shame on you'”

I know what you’re thinking. “They’re just reporting what happened!” Yes, and that’s the problem–the language with which they are reporting it is extremely biased. Allow me to rewrite this <sigh> two sentence “paragraph” without all the loaded language:

In Pennsylvania, which voted for a Republican president for the first time since 1988, Democrat detractors continued protesting while all 20 electors backed Trump. In Utah, protestors jeered as the state’s electors cast their votes from Trump.

See? That is just reporting what happened. I’m not a big fan of “jeered,” to be honest, and if I was a journalist I would spend the time to look for a more neutral word, as “jeered” sounds negative to me. Why is that? The use of “jeered” paints the protestors as snarling, grimacing, unhappy people–which, by all accounts, is exactly right. “…booed” and “shouted” have the same effect, of course, unless you agree with those people, in which case it doesn’t sound so negative.

Ooh! I especially love this:

In Florida, a crucial swing state where Trump defeated Clinton by about a percentage point, Trump won all 29 electoral votes.

I’ll fill that out for you. I’ll fill you in on what the Washington Post actually meant.

In Florida, Trump defeated Clinton by one measly percentage point. One freaking point. But even though he won by only a single point, Trump gets all 29 electoral votes, which is bullshit and unfair. At the very least, Clinton should have gotten 14 of them. Fuck you, white America, you racist, misogynistic pieces of sh–

Okay, maybe not that last part.

What’s the point of even bringing up this info about Trump’s victory in Florida, the margin of his victory, and the distribution of electoral votes? Specifically to make you think what I said. Really, I mean that–they said that, and they put it the way they put it, precisely to make you think what I just said. It’s called manipulation, and there is a reason they spend billions upon billions of dollars each year learning the best ways to manipulate public opinion. Look how subtle it is!

They don’t have to state it. They just have to tell you the facts in the right way.

Again, I can hear you. “But that’s all they did! They just stated the facts!”

But they didn’t. Here. I’ll state the facts.

Due to his narrow victory in Florida, Trump claims its 29 electoral votes.

See? That is what the facts look like. The other stuff–that’s called “slant.”

And they are good at it. Man, are they good at it. It’s all about context, phrasing, and word choice–calling attention to the right facts at the right time and using the right words to convey it.

Some held signs, including one that read, “Resist Putin’s Puppet.”

Pictured: signs with EXACTLY as much truth, credibility, and decency as the sign that called Trump Putin’s puppet.

I mean, if you’re going to hold up a stupid sign, you might as well go all the way, and hold up the most stupid sign you can find, right? “Resist Putin’s Puppet,” are you freaking kidding me? It’s no surprise this idiot was out protesting the electors and evidently believing that there was even a remote chance that the electors wouldn’t elect Trump: clearly, this person is woefully out of touch with reality.

It’s probably because he gets his news from the Washington Post.

* On that note, congratulations Ron Paul, on securing an electoral college vote!