In a single day–in the span of a few hours, in fact–the tone and overall vibe of this festival changed dramatically. Yesterday, it was a family. Today, it’s a festival.
It’s true that the majority of attendees showed up yesterday, but that’s not really what caused the shift.
Monday night we had an awesome rave. A Muslim DJ’d, the Anarchist Shemale recorded and took pics, and danced with gay dudes, and naked and half-naked people wandered however they wanted. No one judged, no one disrespected. There was the issue with the rave going on a bit late, and people taking to Facebook to bitch about the music, but the rave was in Agora Valley, not near the campsites. That is a curious thing itself, that instead of just coming over and asking us to wrap it up, they went to Facebook and bitched.
So what did they want? If they wanted us to wrap up the rave, all they had to do was come over and ask, and everyone here would have known that. But they evidently didn’t want the music to be turned down, or the rave to end–they just wanted to bitch. Two minutes to make a request versus an hour or two of bitching on Facebook? They just wanted to bitch.
Last night after I took some MDMA and went to sleep, there were several groups of people wandering around the campsites at 1:30 in the morning being loud as fuck. Some of them were just drunken, inconsiderate douchebags who had no idea how loud they were being. Around 2:00, some young chick came walking through the camps singing loud as fuck. There’s an enormous difference in raving in Agora Valley a little late during Somalia Fest, not Porcfest, and making a ton of noise through campsites where people are sleeping.
Mutual respect was a critical part of Anarchist Shemale Fest. No one ever stared at me. No one raised their eyebrows in surprise when I came out of the women’s restroom. I was stared at more yesterday than I did through the entire drive, and I got gas in Nashville, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
The best way I’ve come up to describe it is that it was an influx of hipsters, but they’re not hipsters, really. It’s a lot of young people–early 20s and such–and that’s great, but there’s been a shift. The incomers aren’t radical anarchists as I was four years ago.
It reminds me so very much of the young people who went to Standing Rock to protest the DAPL. To them, it was just a party. That’s the vibe many people are putting off today. Don’t get me wrong: Somalia Fest was quite obviously a party, but it was a celebration of peace, love, and liberty–individualism, mutual respect, and self-ownership.
Everyone is still friendly, for the most part, but now it’s a celebration of… something else. Words escape my attempts to elucidate the difference.
Great news! There’s a Soap Box Idol show, and if too many speakers are late, I’m really hoping that I can work my way in and speak on AnCap principles, justice, and forgiveness–topics that I know intimately.
Even greater news!
I officially left the Keyboard Activism. I went to attend a seminar, but the speaker didn’t show. My brain began working. The next thing I knew, I was talking to the organizer about giving a lecture on AnCap principles, justice, and forgiveness. Two minutes later, I was on stage in the main pavilion hosting a seminar. I recorded it, but it will be next week before I’m able to actually upload it. I do have a 4G signal, but of the 4000 people here, probably 20% use Verizon, so network congestion is killing my speeds. With a data cap, I just can’t justify a 1 GB upload that could ultimately fail.
I’m not particularly proud of the speech, though several hours later two people approached me to tell me that they enjoyed it. I finally got to meet Daryl W. Perry, too! Considering I’ve been told I’m “like Daryl Perry in drag,” it was a tremendous honor to finally meet him.
Regarding my speech, these factors need to be remembered:
Public speaking is hard under any circumstances
I am hungover from MDMA
I was thirsty as fuck
I had prep time equal to “The amount of time it took to walk back to the pavilion,” so about a minute and a half.
It’s extremely difficult to generate a coherent, effective speech on the fly, even for a topic I’m so passionate about and have written about so extensively.
But I did it.
As Ernest said, “Audacity ensued.”
And he’s right. That is audacious. Narrow window of opportunity, and the Anarchist Shemale jumped on it. Not only did it make many people I’ve met more aware of my interest and ability in leadership roles, but it also paved the way to make it much easier for me to speak at next year’s. My first Porcfest, and I gave a speech in the pavilion.
It’s not great. In fact, it’s not even good. Without a plan, without notes, without rehearsal, and without any time to clear my head and organize my thoughts, I went on stage and gave a speech. It would be hard to exaggerate how difficult it was. I can rant privately all day long, but there’s an enormous difference between ranting and recording it, and standing in front of a crowd to give a lecture.
Technically, I moved from Keyboard Activism to real activism a while ago, and now I’ve just moved further along that road. I intend to keep doing what I’m doing, and I’m evidently decently good at it, so I’m excited to see where it goes.
One thing is sure: I’m gonna push as far as I can.
So Will Coley invited me to attend Somalia Fest and PorcFest (Porcupine Fest) with him this year, and it’s such an opportunity (and a low cost one) that I really can’t pass it up. Separately from all other considerations, I’ve managed to generate $350 toward that end, which leaves me about halfway to be able to go comfortably and with a safety net so I don’t have to worry about things going wrong.
I have a client who owes $400 in back invoices, and I’m really hoping that I can get them to pay. But let me give a breakdown on things:
$100~ to cover my portion of the gas to get there and back. I’ll be riding with Will’s mother, but it’s still only fair that I cover half the gas. $100 is an estimate, though.
$50 to get to Knoxville and back. This isn’t a big deal. My car can do that just fine, and I’m assuming that I can leave it parked at Will’s property for the duration.
$25 to a cat-sitter who is going to check in on my cats once a day, refill their water and food and, if necessary, empty their litter box. I’m not sure how my cats will handle being away from me that long.
$200 is expected to be necessary to cover food and things “at festival prices.” I don’t go to a ton of festivals, but the last one I went to had people trying to sell grilled cheese sandwiches for $5. Those who know me know that I don’t eat a lot, so this isn’t much of a consideration, and $200 is likely overkill.
I eat cheap and, given the option, would much rather being a cooler of lunch meat and bread. If this is possible, I’ll obviously knock huge numbers off the expenses. I’m a frugal chick.
I’ve no interest in dropping LSD with people I’ve never met, so won’t really be purchasing any “party supplies.
Due to horrific timing, I’m set to run out of hormones on last day of the trip. That’s manageable, because my next shipment will have arrived by then. However, this does mean I have a present expense that can’t be avoided.
So why am I telling you all this? Well, because the client who owes me has been continuing to ignore my calls and emails, and it’s looking more and more unlikely that they’re just not going to pay.
GoFundMe has never sat well with me. To that end, I’ve started selling my book Dancing in Hellfire, which is currently on sale for $3.49. If you read my work, if you support my work, and if you enjoy my work, I humbly ask that you purchase a copy. Presently, this can only be done via PayPal, but who doesn’t use PayPal?
It’s a captivating tale, my autobiography, of dealing with drug-addicted and irresponsible parents, child abuse, murder, torture, domestic violence, and, on top of all that, coming to terms with being transgender in a fundamentalist Christian family in rural Mississippi. There were summers when we didn’t have electricity or even running water, much less anything to eat. It’s the story of how I came to be the person that I am, and the lessons that I learned from these experiences when I chose to be the beneficiary rather than the victim. It extends far beyond the scope of transgenderism and deals instead with two main devils: reckless drug abuse and oppressive parenting. It’s a good read, and it will pull on your heart strings and, hopefully, inspire you to never give in.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I intend to become a major player within the Libertarian Party. To that end, I purchased membership to the national party last week, and have contacted the state chairperson about state membership.
At the end of this month, I’ll be up for Full Membership in The Audacious Caucus, and have every intention of being a delegate in 2018 and 2020 to ensure the party gets back on track. If you agree with my message, then you can literally help me accomplish this by buying my book. Feel free to buy multiple copies, and give the extras to friends who fight the radical and audacious cause of ideology, not identity.
“The Anarchist Shemale” is a brand, and nothing more. I want to be known for being unflinchingly loyal to the principles of liberty, not for my gender identity and orientation.
Though I’ve honestly very little interest in attending and listening to seminars (You know me! I’d rather speak at a seminar than listen at one), the networking opportunity is too great to pass up. This dual-festival will put me directly in touch with many of the right people for me to begin making things happen at the 2018 convention. And by the 2020 convention, I should be positioned well to forward the audacious cause.
So I’m asking you to give me the benefit of the doubt. You know my ideology, my strict adherence to the NAP, and my laity to reason and principle over pragmatism. If radicals are to reaffirm our voice in the party, then this is how we do it. I humbly ask that you help put these plans into action. Not for free! You get what is truly a fascinating book out of it. After all, who else followed their mother’s murder from the American Justice System to one built upon forgiveness rather than vengeance? How many others have the experiential clout to stand there and say, “I’ve HAD a loved one murdered, and I’m still telling you: vengeance is not the answer”?
If $3.49 is too much, consider purchasing “Dead or Alive” instead, which is a short story being sold for $1. You can even use the coupon code “Real subtle, asshole.” to get it 50% off.
We don’t all have the time or energy to write such things and to take back the party. So, basically, make me your delegate. You know what I stand for, and you know that I don’t back down from the devil himself.
Gay couple in Norway attacked by Moroccans, and reflections on the Pulse Shooting, as well as the fact that we’re not able to fix a problem if we aren’t allowed to discuss it. Also the mess in Syria, why Trump thinks it’s okay to create more terrorists, and the clusterfuck state of American foreign policy.
Stupid Comment of the Week (10:06)
A “former AnCap” who left the ideology because… he couldn’t envision a way for the ideology to come to fruition…? It was really hard to make sense of his ramblings, and this is from someone who rambles a lot. So we discuss various ways in which the radical ideology of non-violence could be implemented, and mention again that beautiful event during World War 1.
News 2 (23:52)
There actually isn’t a second news item this week. I had one, but deleted it to instead talk about the fact that we shouldn’t have this much shit to discuss in the first place, and how it’s an indication that something has gone awry. My anarchism doesn’t come out often (much of the time, I could be mistaken for a libertarian), but here it really shines through.
Are You Fucking Kidding Me? (36:37)
Skittles’ attempt to show solidarity with a rainbow-oriented group by… removing all colors from their candy…? What? I’m far from a Social Justice Warrior, but they have a point. Removing all color doesn’t show support; it shows antagonism, morons. “I’m going to show my support for the women’s march by waving my dick around!” What? No, it doesn’t make sense. A candy with the slogan of “taste the rainbow” removing all its colors to show “support” for a group whose emblem is the rainbow is, at the very least moronic, and that’s assuming it wasn’t meant as a snub of LGBTQ people in a society that wouldn’t tolerate it.
Darkside Philosophy (40:53)
Justice and AnCap principles–most people don’t mean “justice” when they say it. They mean “vengeance.” So I talk a bit about my murdered mother and how I might have justice over it. Spoiler Alert: the only way for me to have justice is to forgive the murderer. The conceit that it’s okay to inflict violence on someone because they used violence is called Eye For An Eye, and it’s not justice; it’s revenge.
It’s come to my attention–via hearsay, as I’ve never read the person in question–that Walter Block argues that punishment in a stateless society isn’t strictly necessary, but what is important is that survivors are doubly repaid for losses. This seems to deal primarily with theft, but there was also a solution relayed to me regarding murder: simply, the murder would work for the surviving family for the rest of his life.
I… can’t get on board with any of this.
These are the moments when the principle of Non Aggression gets skewed. I have no idea if Walter Block advocates these things are not, but they are grotesque and immoral, and are no better than the state system of law and punishment we have now. So because a man did something wrong, he is to be condemned to being a slave for the rest of his life? What part of that is supposed to be in accord with AnCap principles? What part of that is supposed to be in accord with non aggression? Slavery is among the greatest violations of the NAP, to take someone and force them to work for you because they wronged you and your family member…
Two wrongs don’t make a right.
I know it’s hard. Believe me, I really do. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t see some news article from the tri-state area about a body being found in the mountains, in a lake, or in a ditch, and every single time some part of me hopes… “Could this be it? Could this be my mother?” I know damned well what it’s like to lose a family member to murder, and I know what it’s like to live with that, to live with the murderer getting away with absolutely no punishment whatsoever because the body was thoroughly discarded. So you’re not going to find too many more people with the stable ground to say this:
There is nothing that could be done to bring justice to my murdered mother. It’s done. It’s over. She’s dead. While I would love nothing more than to have her rotting body buried somewhere respectable, with a tombstone so that I could finally put her to rest, even that would do nothing to alleviate any of the sorrow or pain, and it definitely wouldn’t bring her back. I know exactly who killed her, but without a body there’s nothing to be charged with. He lives a life of relative comfort, now a trained engineer or something like that, and has the love of his children and his other family members. There is nothing that can be done to him that would constitute justice.
This is the conceit that is breaking modern society: there’s no such thing as justice. It’s an imaginary idea. What we mean when we say “justice” is “This person did something wrong, so we’re going to get revenge, but we’re going to call it something else because we want to convince ourselves that our wrongful act against him is somehow different than the wrongful act he committed.” But it isn’t, because two wrongs don’t make a right.
It’s wrong to kidnap people at gunpoint, hold them against their will, and force them into slave labor, to force them into situations where they live in concrete jungles and have to fight for their lives or be raped. That’s morally wrong. There are no exceptions.
Truth be told, there is only one way for me to have justice over my mother’s murder by what most people would call my uncle, and that would be… forgiveness. Forgiving him is the only way to ease the pain in my heart and to release the sorrow. Isn’t that the point of justice? To ease the victim’s pain? Punishment doesn’t ease the victim’s pain; it converts it into zealous excitement and lust for vengeance. Just like if your wife cheats on you, it won’t ease your pain to then go out and cheat on your wife; it will only exacerbate it, enlarge it, and lengthen it. No, the only way forward, the only way to recovery, and the only way toward justice is through forgiveness.
That phrasing isn’t accidental. Forgiveness is a difficult labyrinth that must be navigated, with pitfalls and temptations hiding around every corner. Through the darkness emanate the whispers, “Why should you be the one putting in the effort? You did nothing wrong! He should be the one who pays! He should be the one who suffers! Haven’t you suffered enough? It’s time for him to pay for what he did!” These voices rarely cease while one travels through the labyrinthine, internal mind, coming to terms with the past and accepting its role in shaping the present.
It’s not supposed to be easy to forgive people, but forgiveness is all about the forgiver; it has nothing to do with the aggressor. I realized this when I was asked what, if anything, Vegas Chick could do to cause me to forgive her. I realized that there was nothing she could do, because it didn’t have anything to do with her. It had everything to do with me and my own emotional responses. I had a choice: to cling to the negative emotions, or to let them go. A demand for some kind of contrition, some kind of punishment… is clinging to the negative emotions. It never releases them, and releasing them is the only way to travel from the land of the wounded to the land of peace.
It’s also not easy to forgive the man who murdered my mother for unknown reasons. It’s not easy to forgive him for being the sole reason that I will be buried long before her body is ever discovered, if, indeed, her body is ever found. It’s not supposed to be easy to take a deep breath, let the negativity wash away, and say, “I forgive you.”
As a society, we have a passionate lust for revenge, and we love our euphemisms precisely because they allow us to pretend like it’s not revenge that we’re after. Years ago, when working through these ideas, I decided that the difference had to be that justice was impartial and vengeance was personal. In other words, if you enacted punishment against the murder on my behalf, then it was justice; if I did it, then it was vengeance. I’ve since realized how wrong that is. You acting on my behalf doesn’t change anything. It’s just a convenient way for me to shirk the responsibility; it’s just a handy way for me to pretend like I’m not the one responsible for the aggression being committed against someone else. “I’m not doing it!” I could proclaim. “They’re doing it!”
Except they’re doing it with my blessing. And whether I have the power to stop them or not–in the modern American system, I probably don’t have the power to stop the court system from prosecuting him, if her body was ever discovered–it wouldn’t change the fact that they’re doing so on my behalf, on my mom’s behalf, and on my sister’s behalf. But what if my sister and I both expressed that we wanted it forgiven, not punished? Because I would absolutely go before court and argue such a thing, even for the person who murdered my mother. Our testimony would mean little. We wouldn’t be able to simply drop the charges, despite being the only survivors of the murdered woman and therefore having more claim to express her wishes than anyone else.
And why? Because the state would be acting instead on behalf of Straw Victims it has imagined, and those Straw Victims are more important than my sister and me.
Punishment doesn’t end an injustice. It extends it.
The goal can’t be to punish someone. Punishment must be incidental, if it happens at all.
I don’t dispute that, once someone murders another person, individuals–whether elected or hired–have the purview to take measures to prevent the murderer from murdering anyone else. How this is to be accomplished, however, is a question of extreme importance. The obvious answer, according to most people, is to “Throw them in prison and throw away the key!”
No, because that doesn’t really prevent murder. The murder rate in prison is pretty high, and you won’t get most rational people to agree to a life sentence for one murder. Hell, the person we’re talking about served only 7 of a ten year sentence for murder. So the person is ultimately going to get back out of prison–or will kill someone in prison, bypassing the “out of prison” part altogether and committing a murder, meaning our preventative efforts failed. Since prison inmates have a 75% likelihood of going back to prison, prison is clearly an ineffective way of preventing crime from happening again. It may or may not prevent some crime, but it’s too ineffective to be our Yes, That’s the Best Solution answer.
I don’t know that I really have an alternative. Extensive therapy by trained psychologists would obviously be in order. Is there any way to fix this person’s damaged brain? Because, without exception, something has broken down in the moral centers of the murderer’s brain. That’s a given, because normal, healthy people don’t murder other people. We find the idea repugnant in every conceivable way, and we would not murder another person even if we knew that we could get away with it without any consequences at all. It’s not punishment or fear of punishment that stays our hands; it’s our own internal morality. Once that internal morality breaks down, no amount of laws will protect someone.
The goal of prison was supposed to be to segregate, punish, and rehabilitate. It fails on all accounts. A scary number of innocent people have landed in prison, without even getting into the number of people in prison for committing “victimless crimes*”. So criminals are not segregated from the innocent. Nor are they punished, at least not in the way that society likes to pretend. Drug abuse and sex are rampant in prison. It’s often easier to find hardcore drugs in prison than it is to find them on the streets. As for rehabilitation–you’re kidding right? I would bet my shiny new tickets to the A Perfect Circle show in Nashville that most the 25% of former prisoners who don’t return to prison are simply too old upon release to be out there raping and killing people, or whatever they did to go to prison in the first place.
There has to be some way of preventing someone from committing another murder, and that’s what our focus should be on. Not punishment. Punishment only exacerbates the amount of wrongdoing in the world. Killing someone because they killed someone doesn’t reduce the amount of killing in the world; it obviously increases it by one. Kidnapping and holding someone against their will for kidnapping and holding someone against their will doesn’t reduce the amount of people being kidnapped and held against their will; it increases it by one. There is no justice as long as we are doing things that add more murder, more kidnapping, more imprisonment, more rape, and more violence to the world.
Justice, as an ideal, must be incapable of increasing the amount of aggression in the world. If it increases the amount of aggression, then it cannot be justice. That must be our metric for determining what is justice and what isn’t.
It starts with forgiveness.
This doesn’t mean that a person shouldn’t be held to account for acts of aggression, or that there should be no consequences. It does, however, change the goals of the consequences. Rather than seeking punishment, we should seek prevention. “What can we do to make sure this man never kills again?” should be our guiding question, not, “How can we make this man suffer for what he did?” The act is done. Making him suffer won’t fix anything and won’t help anything; it will only increase the amount of suffering in the world.
And two wrongs don’t make a right.
This is very different from catching someone in the act of aggression and having the opportunity to stop the act from escalating. If you walk in on some thief beating the hell out of your family member and you shoot and kill that thief, you’ve done nothing wrong. You prevented a beating from escalating into what probably would have been a murder. Since the thief initiated the aggression, you did what you had to do to protect another human being who had done nothing to initiate the attack. But what if you came home from work and you knew who had beaten your brother half to death and stolen your laptops and television? Would it be morally right to chase that person down and kill them? I don’t think many people would say “Yes” to that, and I certainly wouldn’t. Because at that point, you’re no longer preventing; you’re punishing.
We need a lot of spiritual growth–a phrase I use colloquially. It’s true, though. Before we can have a stateless society, we have to have a society where no one is asking “How can we punish criminals?” Because a stateless society can’t answer that question, because a stateless society forbids the use of force, violence, and coercion. “How can we punish criminals” is the wrong question, coming from a dark place in the human heart that prefers vengeance to forgiveness, and that’s something we have to let go of. We have to learn to forgive. Once we have a society of people asking the right question–“How can we prevent a murderer from killing again?”–then we will be ready to enjoy the luxuries of a stateless society.
This is part of the reason that the state is so tied to the criminal system, of course. It wants us to confuse punishment with justice, because as long as we’re erroneously calling punishment “justice,” we’ll despise any system that seeks to deny it to us. “You mean you’re not going to punish that child rapist? He should have his dick cut off! He should be publicly castrated! Fuck him! Throw him in prison with Big Jim!”
That’s vengeance, not justice.
Yes, by all means, and absolutely: let’s prevent that rapist from raping again. That’s mandatory, once they have done such a horrific act. But punishment isn’t going to do it. And when taking steps to prevent the act from occurring again, we should be mindful whether our motivation is to sate our bloodlust for vengeance, or whether our motivation is to actually protect future victims from being similarly harmed. Only by using the correct path can we arrive at the correct destination.
Bloodlust leads to punishment and, 75% of the time, repeat offenses.
Forgiveness leads to justice and prevention.
So what do we do about criminals in a stateless society? I don’t know. But I’d love for us to put our brilliant minds and our empathic hearts together and come up with a solution that actually works without increasing the amount of suffering in the world and while releasing the primordial instinct within us that demands we take an eye for an eye.
There are three main threads through everything that I write:
A rejection of absolutist black & white thinking.
Strict adherence to the Non Aggression Principle, to the extent that punishment becomes off-limits in favor of forgiveness and prevention of future crimes.
What I now call Nietzscheanism*–that is: morality is a human construct that primarily exists to keep the strong from abusing the weak; it is a luxury of the middle class, one not allowed to the lower class and one that the upper class isn’t held to.
It’s immediately clear, from the second two bullets–the first is only mentioned because it simply is a common thread, but it’s not the point of today’s discussion–that there is a conflict.
Can there be a greater example of middle class morality than the NAP? In fact, I would say that the NAP is the shining bastion of middle class morality–fully swearing off and condemning all force, violence, and coercion and asking that everyone else do it. Obviously, this can only happen in a world where everyone compromises the middle class. This is the crux of anarcho-capitalism, and the reason I insist that Nietzsche would be an AnCap if he lived today, knowing what we know.
Goodness, there’s just so much ground to cover to bring my ideology full circle. It’s always difficult to explain to people exactly what I advocate, because it is very much circular, and that makes it hard to pinpoint a beginning. Here, we’ve started from Nietzscheanism and objectivism, and that works, but only if there isn’t a deity. After all, if there is a deity giving some sort of meaning to our existence, then life does matter. So before I could really get anyone on board with Nietzscheanism, I have to get people on board with atheism–Nietzscheanism, after all, is nothing but Applied Atheism. But before I can get anyone on board with atheism, there is a whole lot of groundwork to lay, and it’s groundwork that I’m not going to attempt to lay, because atheism and theism are irrelevant to the larger point. I can be right or wrong about individual pieces regardless of the existence of a deity.
However, I would say that before I could attempt to convince someone that there isn’t a deity, I would have to convince them the value of reason over emotion since, by any measurement, faith is an emotion-based position. We will keep going back and back and back until we arrive right back at subjective value determinations, which lands us right back in the territory of Nietzsche and the Austrian economists. I actually made a few years ago a document–a flow chart, for the most part–where one ideology led to the next, and it was clear by the end of it, after I was able to connect Nietzscheanism back to subjective value determinations–because the essence of Nietzscheanism is that morals are subjective–that I had just created a giant web. I know I still have it somewhere, but I can’t be bothered to find it, and it’s not that important anyway.
Morality, Very Briefly
There is no such thing as “morally good” or “morally bad.” These are values that we prescribe to various acts based on the consequences of those acts, the motive behind those acts, and the circumstances around which that act was committed. This is virtually a tautology at this point, but I will take the time to explain it anyway.
Let’s say that I push you down, causing you to break your arm. I have assaulted you. Everyone would agree that I was morally wrong to do so.
However, let’s say that I push you out of the way of an oncoming train that, for whatever reason, you aren’t aware is coming, and I cause you to break your arm. Suddenly most people would call me a hero and say that I’d saved your life.
In both scenarios, I did exactly the same thing: I pushed you, you fell, and you broke your arm. However, in the first scenario I was just being an aggressive bitch. In the second, I was saving you from being hit by a train. Yet the act itself and the consequence of that act are the same in both scenarios: the act was that I pushed you; the consequence was that you broke your arm.
What changed? In reality, what changed were the imagined consequences of me not pushing you. See, morality, as Henry Hazlitt observed in The Foundations of Morality, arises as a result of imagination, that wonderful characteristic that homo sapien has but so few animals share. It is our ability to imagine that gives rise to morality. Without even realizing it, so gifted are we at doing this, we imagine hypothetical alternative scenarios where I did not push you, and we compare the likeliest result of those scenarios with the reality that transpired. Marvelous creatures, we humans! And, in this way, imagination is literally the cause of morality, as it is precisely what allows us to envision these alternative realities.
In the first example, the most likely hypothetical alternative is that you continue standing unassaulted, and your arm is not broken. You go on about your day without a broken arm. By most criteria, that is certainly a better outcome for you, and since I am the reason you do not get to enjoy that superior outcome, it is determined in a fraction of a second that what I did was morally wrong. We do this innately; I’d almost say that we conceive these hypotheticals instantaneously, and the speed and proficiency are the reasons why we forget that morality is the result of imagination.
In the second example, the most likely hypothetical alternative is that you continue standing unassaulted right up until a train plows into you and utterly destroys you. By most criteria, that is certainly an inferior outcome for you, and since I am the reason that you were spared that inferior outcome, it is determined, perhaps instantaneously, that what I did was morally good.
These value statements themselves, though, are built on a few assumptions:
Empathy: This person is generally like me, and I should do unto this person what I would like this person to do for me. In most cases, what I want is much the same as what this person wants.
My own preferences: I prefer to not be in pain. I prefer pleasure. I prefer happiness. I prefer to not be sad. I prefer to remain alive.
By combining our own personal preferences with an extension of them onto other people–the very essence of what “empathy” is–we arrive at a criteria by which we assess whether something was good or bad. It’s by no means a perfect system–how could it be, when we are imperfect creatures?
Whenever I think of empathy and the application of my preferences onto others, I recall the time in college that I was behind the desk unplugging my laptop because class was over. While back there, without even asking, I took it upon myself to unplug my neighbor’s laptop, because he was in the process of packing his backpack. It seemed perfectly reasonable to assume that he’d like me to go ahead and unplug his while I was back there. Because I have all the social graces of Dexter, it didn’t occur to me at all to ask if he’d like me to do it; I simply did it. And I immediately learned that his laptop’s battery didn’t work, and that I did a cold shutdown on his laptop. Not a big deal, but something that has always stuck with me about assuming that our preferences automatically apply to others. They don’t. However, generally, they do. I mean, what are the odds that his laptop battery wouldn’t work at all? Under 95% of circumstances, the person would have said, “Oh, cool, thank you!” instead of “Oh, hold… What the hell? Did you unplug me?”
Nietzsche described good as “the will to power” and happiness as “having power.” From a strictly Darwinian perspective, he’s not wrong. He’s clearly not wrong; he can’t be wrong. However uncomfortable it makes us, he’s right. If our criteria is “survival of the species,” then the only thing that makes sense is to let the powerful do what they can. Do the powerful want to wipe out the weak? Turn them into sex slaves? Install governments throughout the world and use those governments to control the weak? Then they must be allowed to, under this perspective, because we do live in a universe that is trying to kill us, where only the strong survive. It’s a straight line from there to Eugenics, to forced breeding programs to breed the “most capable human.” It’s a sickening path.
Now, to be clear, Nietzsche most certainly did not go that far, and he did not advocate any of that. He was merely arguing that morality is a tool used by the weak to neuter the strong, creating three classes of people in the process: the middle class who were strong and obeyed the morality, the lower class who were weak and therefore didn’t have the luxury, and the upper class who were strong and rejected the morality.
With all the above being true, we can see that the moral statement “force, violence, and coercion are unacceptable” is the epitome of Middle Class Morality. For one, this maxim is as close as we can get to a universally applicable morality. Is it true that absolutely no one wants force, violence, and coercion done to them? Certainly not. It’s no longer acceptable to say for some reason, but there are people out there who would genuinely like to be raped, for example. I’ve met a few, and their problem is always the same: they want to be raped without consenting to it, but giving someone permission to rape them is consenting to it, and the odds that a random stranger is going to rape them are not good. Beyond that, if they ran around clearly looking to be raped–wearing excessively revealing clothes and being unnecessarily sensual–it is passively consenting to it. I raise all this to make the point that they don’t want to consent to have it forced on them; they want it genuinely forced on them.
Rumor has it that Angelina Jolie once paid a hitman to kill her. She genuinely wanted someone to do violence to her, assuming it is true–and I don’t care whether or not it is, because there have been enough suicides by cop that it’s provable that some people genuinely want violence done to them. My own mother apparently sought out violent and coercive men. So obviously these things are not going to be universally applicable, because nothing is universally applicable to a species filled with individuals as varied and wild as we are.
In essence, all rights can be distilled to the following: we have the right to not have force, violence, and coercion used against us unless we consent to it priorily. This statement is all-inclusive. Just as you have that right, as does everyone have that right. This means, then, that you do not have the right to use force, violence, and coercion against someone without their consent. The right to free speech, free religion, free trade, free employment, and free everything else–they all stem from this basic right to not have force, violence, and coercion used against us. They are applications of this maxim to specific issues.
Are these inherent rights? Perhaps and perhaps not. It could be argued you have the right to attempt to stop someone from using force, violence, and coercion against you; in essence, it could be argued that you have the right to try to be strong, and, by being strong, subjugate the weak. It depends upon our subjective values–our criteria for determining morality. If we go with the Darwinian approach, then we arrive at this latter system of rights, where one has the right to do anything they can–this is an underground system of rights, the one that lives in the underbelly’s shadows in society, when certain behaviors are outlawed and black markets thrive.
Because that is, after all, the essence of the black market: a place where the forced middle class morality doesn’t apply because it happens in the shadows. The black market is generally created when the state outlaws something it has no business outlawing**, creating a new dichotomy of the strong and the weak, instead of the trifecta of those who can’t, those who do, and those who don’t. Since middle class morality ceases to apply to anyone, you’re left with only the strong and the weak–the victims and the aggressors.
It follows, then, that if outlawing things leads to the creation of a black market–which we know it does, from indisputable proof and countless examples from the drug war to abortions to ration stamps–that is differentiated from society by the fact that middle class morality doesn’t apply at all and we’re left only with the strong and the weak, then if we outlawed nothing, we would utterly eliminate this black market characterized specifically by the rule of the strong and Darwinian morality.
Application of the NAP Against Nietzscheanism
There are two things that must be done for the NAP to be realized, for middle class morality to be universally applicable–as much as it can be, at least. First, the lower class has to abolished and lifted up into the middle class. So let’s state this loudly and clearly:
No nation other than the United States has come close to eliminating its lower class.
This isn’t a bad thing. We look around the United States and, yes, we have a lower class still, but they aren’t really “lower class,” not in the grand scheme of things. They aren’t poor like the man in Ethiopia who throws out middle class morality to steal food for his family. By an overwhelming degree, the American poor abide middle class morality, though they have no qualms about stealing from the state. Seeing as the state is stealing from everyone, I don’t think it’s fair to condemn them for that one. Besides which, without the state and taxation, they wouldn’t be able to game the system to get “back” finger-quotes-wink-wink ten thousand dollars anyway.
Our “lower class” has electricity, clean water, running water, indoor plumbing, heating, air conditioning, vehicles, iPhones, laptops, steroes, flatscreen TVs, cable/satellite, Internet connections… Our lower class is so high on the totem pole that they’d be considered upper middle class in most parts of the world. This is actually part of the problem, since our lower class, our “poor” have totally lost all perspective on how luxurious their lives are.
To clarify the phrasing, the goal is not to kill off the lower class, not by any means. That’s horrible. No, the goal is to lift up the lower class and bring them into the middle class. Yes, this creates a new middle class, because humans naturally form hierarchies, but none of that matters. The point is that the applicability of middle class morality must be extended to the lower class and, if it is, then it is also true that they are not generally facing the threat of starvation, which is the escape clause that gives them an out from middle class morality in the first place.
Secondly, the upper class must be made to abide middle class morality. Currently, they don’t. I couldn’t even begin to guess how much shit the upper class gets away with in the United States. I’m positive that a solid portion of them engage in child sex tourism and pedophile rings. I’m not referring to the Podesta leaks, but a lifetime of hearing whispers and accusations directed at the upper class. It all may be false, but, in most cases, where there is that much smoke there is usually a fire.
But beyond that, does the upper class get away with theft? Holy crap, absolutely. Not only do they take part in the state and steal from us directly while calling it taxation, but they also use the mechanism of the state to create things like intellectual property and eminent domain, utterly gutting our property rights in the process.
Does the upper class get away with murder? Again, holy crap, yes. The death toll of the 20th century was 160,000,000 from war alone as upper classes in various parts of the world put the lower class to use killing lower class members who were fighting for other upper class groups. They call it “war,” but it is murder.
It’s indisputable that the upper class doesn’t just reject middle class morality; they do so brazenly and openly, in full view of everyone else, and they get away with it by using carefully constructed euphemisms, deceit, and manipulation. There are countless people who will insist that taxes aren’t theft. Except… they are, by any definition of theft. And sending a group of armed people to go kill another group of armed people is unequivocally murder. We cannot allow euphemisms and a refusal to face the truth obscure these basic facts.
So yes, it is true that we are animals who need to be strong in order to survive, and that our species as a whole must embrace strength and shun weakness. This does not mean a lack of compassion, though, as I’ve explained elsewhere. See, we have mistaken “compassion” as being hardly anything more than getting down in the floor with someone and crying with them. That is fake sympathy; it is empty sympathy.
If you are a herd of gazelle [humans] and are trying to get away from lions [the universe that kills the weak], and you have a loved one who is injured [weak, for whatever reason], then you are doing no one but the lions a favor by laying down with your weak gazelle friend and crying with them. This is empty sympathy. This is virtue signaling. This is nihilistic.
True sympathy leads one to help the other gazelle get up, heal their injuries, become strong themselves, and flee the lion.
We absolutely must have compassion and must be guided to help the weak–it is why we have our middle class morality. It is as close as we can get to “objective morality,” after all. However, if our gazelle friend refuses to get up, if they instead embrace their injury and their victimization, refuse to try to heal, and refuse to try to escape the lion, then we must cut our losses and flee before the lion gets us, too. There is a line between sympathy and nihilism.
Based on observable cause and effect–since it is impossible to speculate too much into our hypothetical alternate realities, and since we lack omniscience and can never know exactly how anything would really have played out if we had acted differently–we know that leaving the gazelle to be eaten by the lion would be bad, and our application of empathy derived from our own personal preferences compels us to help the gazelle. We know with reasonable certainty that the lion would eat the gazelle, and that, if we did not help, we would bear a portion of the blame in that.
We should all be strong; we should all be middle class, with no one enshrined above [through the state] or below [through poverty] anyone else. Now, what is the mechanism that allows that to happen? What mechanism eliminates the state that allows the upper class to escape culpability for their moral violations? Anarchism. What mechanism has provably lifted up virtually the entire population into middle class territory, where the fear of starvation is exceedingly remote? Capitalism.
So how do we create this world of people abiding the NAP, of all people being strong and none being weak?
* Thanks to the overwhelming number of angst-ridden ultra-emo millennials who think nihilism means “life sucks and death is cool,” I’ve been left with no choice but to change the label, but that’s fine; Nietzsche wouldn’t have approved of “nihilism” as the label anyway. Of course, these people have never read a word of Nietzsche and don’t fully understand the philosophy, because:
and they get lost on that second part: nothing matters. They don’t fully apply it, though, or they would realize that it doesn’t matter that nothing matters. That is completely and utterly meaningless.
** Anything they outlaw is something they have no business outlawing.
It took me one minute this morning to find three examples of absolutely horrific bias and fearmongering from liberal media elements–one of them from The Guardian, who claims each day in their subscription email that we should give them money to support “independent” journalism. I am so goddamned tired of the fearmongering. Just look at the bias and fearmongering in these three pieces.
This one, from a CNN affiliate, is so extreme I basically had to highlight the entire passage!
Now, this is alarming because there are tons of people out there who believe that CNN is unbiased, fair, reliable, and not sensationalizing everything they say. But holy fuck–the sensationalism! “…making of a dictator… attack on freedom of speech… attacked SNL… demanded the show change… this is what dictators do… we will slowly lose our freedoms… Chilled by Trump tweets? You should be… lashing out at anyone who dares criticize him should worry every citizen…”
I mean, I’m stunned. I’m legitimately stunned by this blatant bias and fearmongering.
Let’s not forget, because it is worth pointing out, that we are discussing some dumb shit that Trump said on Twitter. We are talking about tweets. Tweets. Donald Trump’s freaking tweets are a threat to freedom of speech, show that he is a dictator in the making, and will take away our freedoms.”
If you handed me a list of stupid tweets from Donald Trump and asked me to write the most hyper-sensationalized article that I could, I don’t think I would be able to succeed nearly as well as Dean Obeidallah has. Let’s be clear about this. This kind of insane senationalism is what you would expect to find at www.obamaistheantichrist.net, not CNN. “Here’s a picture of Obama not wearing his wedding ring… OMG, he’s a Muslim… going to impose Sharia law… turn the country over to Isis… supporting black supremacy…”
That’s the essence of sensationalism: taking something that’s pretty much meaningless and innocuous and drumming it up to fever pitch proportions, and CNN is clearly guilty of it here. Just stop what you’re doing, pull back for a moment, and remember that we are discussing Twitter. We are discussing tweets. And the mainstream media has gone so far into LaLa Land that Donald Trump’s tweets can make him a dictator in the making.
Does anything else have to be said about how insane the media has become?
Here is a headline in today’s subscription email for The Guardian–the only news outlet that I’m subscribed to. Why? Because I like getting news from the other side. Unlike most Americans, I have absolutely no desire to place myself in an echo chamber. I’m also subscribed to the Rational Review News Digest, actually, but they aren’t a media outlet. This headline appears almost immediately after the Guardian asks for funding to support their “independent and fair” journalism.
I’m sorry, Guardian, but you are jurnalizts, not journalists. Honestly, I am closer to a journalist than you clowns are, and I know that I’m a jurnalizt. Those who want to know the difference should follow Jim Sterling, because it’s not really a matter of “one is serious and one isn’t.” It’s more nuanced than that.
Anyway, these jurnalizts at The Guardian are neither independent nor fair. Just look at this madness.
Trump hasn’t even ascended to office yet, for crying out loud. We are still fully under the rule of exactly the same people who have been ruling us through the last two years. And I’ve already addressed the reality that requiring a woman drive to another state to get an abortion is not a threat to her abortion “rights.” Your ability to rule the entire country and tell everyone what to do is under siege, not your abortion rights. I’m sorry that you don’t know the difference.
What do you even say?
If These Are Your News Sources…
…then I can only imagine how terrified you are. I feel for you; I truly do, because you are a victim. No, you’re not a victim in the sense that someone said mean things about you. You’re a victim because the liberal media has been knowingly and consciously sensationalizing everything about Trump to the point of full-blown hysteria–and I know a thing or two about hysteria. In fact, I think 2016 has been the Year of Hysteria, and there are no signs that the hysteria is about to abate.
I also know first-hand how impossible it is to talk someone back from the edge of hysteria. Such people are fully caught in the grip of their emotions, have lost all perspective, and have been jumping at shadows for so long that they think standing in the darkness means they are surrounded by monsters. When I tried to reason with people over the clown bullshit, I was repeatedly attacked and viciously insulted, all because I dared tell these people that they were overreacting and needing to calm the hell down, because they had lost all perspective.
It’s not an accident that I have “PERSPECTIVE” tattooed on me; it’s a constant reminder to maintain perspective.
If you’ve been getting your news for months or even years from these websites like CNN and NYDailyNews and The Guardian, then it’s almost certain that their ultra-sensationalized headlines have driven you into a frenzied hysteria. It could very well be true that you’re no longer capable of stopping and saying to yourself, “Wait a minute. They’re accusing Trump of being a dictator in the making because of some stupid shit he said on Twitter. This… This has to be a joke, right? They can’t be serious. They can’t be writing an article that ridiculous, that absurd, and that sensationalized while trying to pass it off as genuine journalism, right?”
Except they are, and they’ve been doing it for a while.
It’s distressing, but leftwing media has gone totally insane, and the only question is whether they have gone so insane that they believe their own sensationalization, or whether they know that they’re sensationalizing everything and are just doing it to manipulate you in favor of their ideology.
It’s true, you know. Every time Trump says or does anything, this is exactly how the media reacts:
Let us not forget that because Trump said this:
“If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is, I don’t know.”
… and the left and media retaliated with “OMG HE’S CALLING FOR THE ASSASSINATION OF OUR LADY HILLARY”
Talking about Constitutional court battles in the Supreme Court where these judges would be, Donald Trump referred to Second Amendment advocates possibly being able to fight it anyway. And the media and left interpreted this as a call for the assassination of Hillary Clinton.
You can’t make this stuff up, man.
Well, clearly, you can. But you have to be a “journalist” employed by The Guardian, CNN, the NY Times, or the LA Times.
This happened repeatedly; it has been happening repeatedly.
Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t realize that this is sensationalized bullshit with little relation to what was actually discussed. Just remember that tweeting can evidently be an attack on free speech and make someone a dictator in the making.
Months ago, I recorded a podcast when I observed that a lot of people were projecting bigotry where there clearly wasn’t any, which did, of course, make them the bigots.
There were two, actually.
Projection is a serious problem, especially with Donald Trump, because he’s basically the Bible of American Politics, and there are millions upon millions of people who project things onto him, either as a reason to hate him or as a reason to like him. Donald Trump was supposed to be a threat to the sanctity of democracy and the peaceful transfer of power from one person to the next; Donald Trump was supposed to be a sore loser who wouldn’t concede the presidency. Then it turned out that Hillary said “Screw it” and waited to concede the presidency, telling her supporters to go home and go to bed. Then it turned out that the very people accusing Trump of undermining the electoral process went out and started rioting, petitioning for the Electoral College electors to vote faithlessly, to elect Hillary even though Trump won the electoral college, thereby undermining not just the peaceful transfer of power, but the entire Republic system that we have built.
The Electoral College
No, the electoral college does not exist to protect rural states. It does not exist to give disproportionate value to rural white voters. It exists because we are a union of fifty sovereign nations. We are not a single, unified state, and we never have been. We are fifty individual republics, and this is the result of a hundred years of fascism and an overblown federal government. Popular votes decide your Governor, your senators, your state legislatures. The popular vote doesn’t decide the presidency because the President isn’t your ruler. Your governor is. We’ve simply forgotten this. We’ve forgotten what “state” means.
Hell, I’ve seen people suggesting that California should form the Republic of California. It’s already the Republic of California!
The popular vote doesn’t decide the President because you are not, first and foremost, a citizen of the United States. First and foremost, you are a citizen of whatever state you live in. That is the way our republic was designed; that is the way our federalist government was designed. Once upon a time, we didn’t elect our national senators through popular votes, either, for the same reason–we are a coalition of fifty sovereign republics. We do not elect the President. Our states do. This is critical to understand the very essence of our nation. We don’t elect the President for exactly the same reason that popular votes throughout Italy, Germany, Spain, Greece, etc. don’t elect the President of the European Council. It’s not the way the system is designed.
Fakes News, Real News Projection 2
For all the talk of how Donald Trump is a threat to free speech and a free press, who is it that is actually campaigning for some kind of elite media group to determine who gets approved to be considered “Real News” and who doesn’t? That’s right–the liberal media. The very people who accused Trump of being a threat to a free press are now fighting to have sites that they deem to be “fake news” censored, shut down, and blocked. If you want to talk about a threat to a free press, let’s talk about the enormous dangers that such a cabal of elites represents to a free press.
Nowhere in the First Amendment is the press required to tell the truth. This seems to surprise a lot of people. In fact, the first amendment guarantees that the press can never be required to tell the truth. They can lie, exaggerate, manipulate, deceive, and stretch things as far as they want. Just scroll up to see how a few stupid tweets are stretched to the point of making Trump a dictator in the making. The only things that require the press tell the truth are libel laws, and those are extremely limited when it comes to the press. I don’t think they should be expanded–obvs–but if you’re afraid that Trump is a threat to a free press because he wants to expand libel laws while you advocate the creation of some agency–governmental or not–that rubberstamps some news as “real” and other news as “fake,” then you aren’t exactly on the side of a free press yourself.
Whoever made this, thank you.
It’s another case of projection. I don’t think expanding libel laws so that the media is held to account for saying that Trump “brags about sexual assault” would be a threat to a free press. In fact, I think that such an expansion, in the current system, would probably benefit the American People. Because, let’s be honest here: No, Trump most certainly did not brag about sexual assault. He said women let him. And the media took that and ran with it, completely forgetting what the meaning of the word “let” is. If you let someone do something, then you are consenting to it. If you’re consenting, then it is not sexual assault. I absolutely think the media should be held to account for that sensationalizing, that drumming up of hysteria, that fever-pitch insanity that completely twisted and ignored what Trump actually said so that they could push their narrative of some orange gremlin running around grabbing women by the pussy.
Because they harbor a desire to inhibit freedom of the press, they project that onto Donald Trump and accuse him of wanting to inhibit freedom of the press. Honestly, if I was Trump I would be pretty pissed off, too. I mean, the man spoke of how women consent to have sex with him because he’s rich and famous, and the media immediately accused him of sexual assault and twisted his words into being “bragging about sexual assault.” I’d be pissed, and if that blatant twisting of the truth and sensationalism doesn’t fall under the legal definition of “slander,” then our libel laws do need to be re-evaluated.
Liberals want to use the government to force everyone to abide their policies, their values, and their standards. This is no surprise–it’s what separates liberals from conservatives. We’ve twisted the meanings so that “liberal” now means “pro-tolerance on social issues” while “conservative” means “intolerant,” but this is ridiculousness that I’ve addressed before.
So because liberals want to enforce their worldview onto everyone, they can only assume that conservatives want to force their worldview onto everyone, but, again, that is the critical divide between liberals and conservatives. Theoretically, conservatives want small government. They don’t want the federal government to tell the state of Mississippi that it must allow gay marriage, and they don’t want the federal government to tell the state of California that it cannot allow gay marriage. Basically, liberals want democracy while conservatives want a republic.
It’s funny that, for the first time in my life, the Democrat Party is actually advocating a swap to a democratic government, while the Republican Party is actually defending a Republic government. So of course Democrats want the popular vote to determine the President–they’re democrats. They want democracy, not a republic. It’s literally what makes them Democrats. And they’re tied to liberalism because most people–I would say well over 50%–are in favor of gay marriage, pro marijuana, pro-choice, and so on. So they want these liberal positions adopted by 51=% of the population to rule over everyone because “democracy.”
It’s been a hell of a ride, this election, and battle lines were not re-drawn but reclarified. Democrats are, once again, pro democracy. Republicans are, once again, pro-Republic. Liberals are, once again, pro big government and pro ruling over everyone. Conservatives are, once again, pro small government and pro ruling at a state level–ostensibly. Time will tell, but it is my contention that Conservatives will not use the federal government as a vehicle for ruling over all 50 states and will instead attempt to send social matters back to the 50 states.
Of course, that’s not good enough for liberals, who are unwilling to compromise, but I think that’s where Trump will come in. “You can accept that Mississippi is banning abortion and that women in Mississippi will have to drive to Tennessee to get an abortion, or we can have the federal government ban abortion across the country. Which do you want, liberals?”
Liberals have been in power so long–even if they didn’t control all of the federal government, they did win the culture war, and they did dictate social issues–that they decided that they didn’t have to compromise. In order to teach them the value of compromise, I think we’re going to have to have a conservative play hardball with them, and I think Trump, the alleged dealmaker, is capable of doing that. I don’t know if that is what he plans to do, but it’s what he needs to do to heal our country. Because liberals aren’t willing to let Mississippi ban abortion if it means some women might have to drive all the way to Tennessee to get one. To them, that is unacceptable. They’ve convinced themselves that the women don’t have just the “right to an abortion” but have the right to a convenient abortion, and that if it’s even slightly inconvenient or difficult then she is being oppressed.
“We’re sending abortion back to the states, where conservative states are likely to ban it,” says Donald Trump*.
“That’s unacceptable!” the liberals would reply. “Then Texas would ban abortions, and women in Texas couldn’t have them!”**
“Sure, she can,” responds Trump. “She just has to drive to another state to do it.”
“That’s not acceptable,” the liberals would reply.
“Well, it’s either that, or I ban abortion across the country. Accept this compromise or we’ll ban it nationwide.”
I hate to say it, but it does seem that this is the only way to get liberals to compromise, and what we need, more than anything, right now is compromise between liberals and conservatives. But that can’t happen as long as liberals are getting their news from places that tell them that we are watching the “making of a dictator” because of some freaking tweets that Donald Trump sent out.
I’m an Anarchist. What Do I Care?
I have had a lot of anarchists–actually, let me stop right there. Every single person who has criticized me for taking part in current events and the election has self-described as a voluntaryist, not an anarchist. From what I’ve seen, voluntaryism is like anarchism, but with cult-like dogma to it. The voluntaryist is unrelenting, refuses to compromise, and refuses to accept any progress. They’re fools. Evidently, they expect that they can just keep putting out arguments and one day the entire country will wake up and say, “You know what? They’re right. We don’t need a state.”
The state isn’t going to dissolve itself.
We’ve been under a century of fascism, interventionism, an overbearing federal government, and a nanny state, to the extent that most people have no understanding of why the popular vote doesn’t elect the President. Come the hell on, man. You can’t seriously think that these masses of people, who are about as far away from voluntaryism as a person can get, are going to be swayed to go from fascism to voluntaryism in one swoop. These people don’t just think that the state is necessary to prevent crime; they have become convinced that the state is a good thing, that the state helps society.
Here, in a nation formed by people who characterized the government as a necessary evil that had to be bound by the chains of the Constitution, the average person now believes that the state is a force for good. Not a necessary evil. A force for good. And we are currently on the cusp of widespread liberalism and acceptance of democracy–a political system so flawed that it was discarded in the BCE age for being a tyranny of the minority by the majority. And voluntaryists, for all their words and arguments, are not doing anything to fight it. In fact, I would go as far as saying they’re accomplices in it.
We once had a nation of classical liberalism. Due to our lack of vigilance, the state steadily grew, and then there was the civil war, which marked the turning point away from the Tenth Amendment and states rights. That was the moment we became not fifty [though there weren’t fifty then] individual republics but fifty constituencies of a larger republic. Then the World Wars happened, and War Collectivism took over and we moved away from liberty and the free market toward fascism. The Great Depression saw an influx of people convinced that the government was the answer to all life’s problems, and government intervention in the economy and lives of the people became accepted as not just a necessary evil but a force for good. After the Cold War and decades of the Military Industrial Complex*^ spreading fear, deceit, and manipulation–with elements in the government so eager to give us a war that they repeatedly considered attacking our own citizens–and after 9/11 and fifteen damned years of a “War on Terror,” we have gone so far from liberty that even classical liberalism would be welcome at this point.
Now, this might seem strange, given as how I routinely criticized Johnson and his supporters for being pragmatic and choosing pragmatism over principle. It may even seem like hypocrisy. I’ve laid out my reasons for that, though, and it has more to do with “liberty” being redefined in the eyes of the masses, which leaves actual liberty as an incommunicable idea. And don’t get me wrong. When it comes to my actions and what I do, I advocate anarchism, and my goal is absolutely anarchism and nothing short of that.
However, I’m not so blinded by dogma that I’m unable to see that the road to anarchism is a long one that contains many, many steps. I don’t believe that Gary Johnson is one of those steps, and I think the Libertarian Party spreading actual libertarian ideology is the only way that we can get wider society to take those steps. Remember how Ron Paul pulled the entire nation toward liberty–albeit temporarily? He did. Let’s not forget that. Ron Paul’s platform was partially adopted even by Romney in 2012. Our goal must be to pull the entire nation toward liberty by running libertarian candidates. We get Republicans to become liberty-leaning conservatives and we get Democrats to become classical liberals. That is how we begin to restore liberty. We have to consciously work to pull these people toward liberty, because right now they are so far from liberty that classical liberalism is a relic of the past.
Like it or not, before we can pull western society toward anarchism, we have to pull them toward libertarianism. And before we pull them toward libertarianism we have to pull them back to classical liberalism. So far, fascism has won. We have to start thinking strategically, not tactically. In order to do any of this, the Libertarian Party must be the party that does not compromise on libertarian principles. We are not going to pull the nation toward libertarianism if they think “liberarianism” is “pot-smoking Republicans who are okay with gay people.”
Fellow LGBTQ People, Please
Divorce the Democrat Party. They are lying to you. They are terrorizing you. They are manipulating you. They are doing everything in their power, using these sensationalized headlines, to convince you to be afraid so that they can paint themselves as your saviors. We don’t need saviors. We don’t need heroes. Do you not see what they are doing? They are blatantly terrorizing you and telling you that you’re going to be rounded up, killed, placed in FEMA camps, placed on national registries, and blah blah blah. That way, when none of that shit happens, they can say, “See? We saved you from that! We fought for you and protected you from the people who were going to round you up and kill you!”
I’ve already seen Twitter posts and Facebook posts of people boasting that their protests have “already had an impact” and caused Donald Trump to be more moderate. It’s absolute nonsense! Donald Trump was always going to be more moderate. Anyone with a brain could have told you that. But now they are saying that, thanks to their protests, Donald Trump has backed down and is now promising to protect LGBTQ people! Except it never had any basis in reality–Donald Trump has been pro-LGBTQ longer than freaking Hillary Clinton. Even during the Republican Primaries, when Trump was in Full Conservative Mode, he was pro-LGBTQ. These lunatics are telling you that there is a monster outside who is coming to kill you, and then they are asking you to bow to them and thank them for protecting you from that monster who was never there in the first place.
I Don’t Like Trump
I really don’t. I know it seems like often I’m defending Trump, and, to tell you the truth, I do often find myself defending Trump. But it’s because I fight hysteria. I fight sensationalism. And no one I’ve ever seen attracts hysterical sensationalism like Donald Trump. So if I fight hysteria and people become hysterical every time Trump opens his mouth, then, yes, it’s going to come out like I’m defending Trump. I’m not. I’m telling people to stop being lunatics.
* Overlooking, for the moment, that Trump himself can’t do this, but can appoint a Supreme Court judge who overturns Roe v. Wade and then orchestrates Congress to send the matter back to the states.
** In fact, we know they would say this, because this is precisely how the host reacted when Trump said this in the recent 60 Minutes interview.
*^ Don’t even get me started. Whatever is meant by “Military Industrial Complex,” there is absolutely no doubt that it exists–even Presidents have warned us about it, among them Dwight Eisenhower himself, who helped create the damned thing. Don’t be an idiot. It’s a fact, not a conspiracy theory.
I’m a transgender resident of #Mississippi. When I first accepted this and told a few people–only a year ago–I was told that it would make me a reject. They were right, of course. I didn’t have to be told that; my family represents the worst of fundamentalists, with actual compounds for when the antichrist takes over. So I know Mississippi well.
Aside from a small percentage of people, everyone would reject and dislike me. I would certainly be fired, and wouldn’t be able to find work. Both the message and the reality were clear: if I am who I am, then it will make my life almost unbearably difficult. Best to put it aside, bury it back in the closet, and wear the mask that the masses of people would accept.
The Libertarian Party has been facing an identical crisis. The masses won’t accept “true” libertarianism. Best to shove it back in the closet and wear the mask that the masses will accept.
So the party compromised. “We’re ashamed of what we have in the closet–please don’t look!” they’ve begged for months, going from disdainfully calling us purists to radicals to extremists to enemies.
It’s lethal to live a lie. Transgender people kill themselves everyday because of it. I would ask the #Libertarian Party to stop living a lie. Be the freak that it is. Stop shoving its identity into the closet out of some misguided need to have the masses’ approval. Yeah, it made my life difficult–more difficult than most people can guess, especially since I’m an #anarchist and would never use legal channels to violate their rights to refuse me service and employment (even if Mississippi had them, which it doesn’t).
It’s remarkable how liberating it is to stop compromising with people you *shouldn’t* be compromising with. It’s absolutely liberating to tell people, “You will deal with me on my terms, as who I am, or you will not deal with me at all.”
People are sick of compromise. People are sick of politics, of “business as usual.” We have the two most despised people in America as the two major party candidates, and a ticket that is not even polling 5% against them. Maybe it’s time we asked ourselves if the compromise that everyone hates is the *reason* we’re not beating these grotesque abominations of bad ideas and worse policies.
Stop hiding who you are. Say it loud, and say it proud. “We are #libertarians, and we don’t give a damn what you think. You will accept our party on its terms, or you will get out.”
It’s not about winning elections. It’s not about mass appeal. It can’t be. If all you want is to win elections, then take your ass to the #GOP or the #Democrats. Stand up for yourself and stand up for who you are. We need that more than ever. The last thing we need is to compromise the principles of liberty.
But Muh 5%!
This is something I’ve been hearing a lot. “But if we just reach 5%, then it will all be worth it!”
It was initially for “muh federal funding,” but we “purists” dropped the hammer on that real fucking quick. Taxation is theft means exactly that. It doesn’t mean “taxation is theft until we’re getting the money.” No, it’s still theft. If the Libertarian Party qualified for funding through stolen tax dollars, then it absolutely must reject that money. Even the Democrats and Republicans don’t accept that money; we’d be the only party who accepted it, and we’re the only party with a strong, principled reason why we shouldn’t.
That there is any “libertarian” out there arguing that we need federal funding tells us exactly how very, very far from principle Johnson and Weld have taken us. It is time to put the “libertarian” back into the Libertarian Party.
The reason they’ve since adopted–once they realized what a bad idea it was to even suggest we’d accept stolen money–is that it makes ballot access easier. So? It’s not like we really have a hard time getting on the ballot in all 50 states. We’ve done it several times; this is not the first time that we’ve done it, and neither are we the only party who has achieved it. There is no political party with more grassroots activism than the Libertarian Party. If we need to go out and get 5,000 signatures, then, by god, we go out and get 5,000 signatures.
But Muh Pragmatism!
Forgive me if you’ve heard me use this analogy before.
The Libertarian Party is like a fat woman who has her eyes on a pair of jeans that are way, way too small for her to wear. To remedy the situation, she takes up a razor blade and starts cutting huge chunks of flesh, fat, and muscle from her legs, hips, and ass, hellbent on fitting in those jeans that she can’t fit in. We are reaching for her wrist and telling her, “Baby! Stop it! You looked great! You don’t need to fit in those pants to be sexy!”
“Those pants will make me so much sexier!” she insists, shakes her hands free, and continues cleaving her flesh. Then, finally, as she stands among a pile of severed skin, tissue, and blood, she tries once more to fit on the jeans. To her horror, she finds that they still don’t fit. Frustrated, she begins sawing away at her bones. She is hellbent on fitting in those jeans, because wearing those jeans will make her sexy, and that’s all that matters.
If I was even remotely skilled with graphical stuff, I would make a cartoon of a very fat woman cutting off slices of her skin. She would wear a shirt that said “Libertarian Party,” and her legs would be drawn on with a Sharpie, separating her legs into numerous sections. “End the Drug war” would be written on one section. “Stop spying” would be written on another. Then, all around her on the ground would be strips of flesh that she’d already cut off, with one of them reading “Second Amendment” and another reading “religious liberty.” Beside her would be a pair of pants that were clearly way too small for her, and written on the pants would be the words “mainstream acceptance.”
The people who laid the groundwork for libertarianism absolutely hated pragmatism–his pragmatism was the primary reason that Hayek and Mises despised Keynes. They didn’t dislike Keynes because of his ideas; they were clear about that. They disliked him because he was pragmatic. He didn’t stand by his ideas; he chose whatever was most practical to achieving his own ends. That was what they disliked.
Today we have a political party founded on their words–for all intents and purposes–that is actively, consciously, and even gleefully choosing pragmatism over principle. I’ve written too much about this folly to go into it again. I’ve done videos on the subject, podcasts on the subject, and articles on the subject. It’s been thoroughly exhausted as far as I am able, and no one cares, because “But muh 5%.”
But Muh Dallas Accord
I’m sick of having people throw the Dallas Accord in my face. The Dallas Accord was an agreement between the libertarians and the anarcho-capitalists–such as myself, though I was one with oblivion then–that the official party platform would not mention whether or not a state was necessary or ideal. It was, in effect, an agreement that anarcho-capitalists would be welcome within the party as long as AnCaps didn’t make it an anarchist party, and an agreement that libertarians would be welcome within the party as long as they didn’t make it a statist party.
The Dallas Accord was meant to give middleground and forge a compromise between libertarians and anarchists that both sides could be happy with. The agreement was that anarcho-capitalists would at minimum support a libertarian candidate because, as I and countless others have said, if nothing else libertarianism is a probably necessary next-step on the road to anarchism. I would be 99% happy with a libertarian state, and would throw everything I have into supporting that state and seeing its existence come to fruition. No, it’s not anarchism. That’s where the Dallas Accord comes in; it was the agreement that the anarchists would be content with libertarianism until it was even possible to step from libertarianism to anarchism.
We’re a long, long way from the Dallas Accord with statists like Gary Johnson.
It was the Libertarians who did not hold up their end of the accord. They were supposed to hold up their end of the agreement by working toward libertarianism and proposing libertarian candidates, since libertarianism is something that we ancaps will at least tolerate. At absolute minimum, the Libertarians need to nominate people like Darryl Perry or John McAfee if they want to hold up their end of the agreement.
The Dallas Accord was not a blank check for the Libertarians to nominate whoever the hell they want with no dissent from the anarchists. It was the agreement that the question of the state’s necessity would not be addressed yet.
That’s correct, modern Libertarians. We were once considered so vital to the party, and so included within its ranks, that Libertarians forged the Dallas Accord with us.
Now we’re purists.
So you tell me who violated the Dallas Accord.
Anarcho-capitalists are a vital part of the Libertarian Party, and we have been since its inception. The Dallas Accord was our agreement that we would not try to warp and twist it into the Anarcho-Capitalist Party. And we haven’t. I didn’t even know about the Accord until a few weeks ago, but I’ve been adamant in my refusal to twist the LP into the AnCap Party. I would not support or endorse a candidate who somehow ran as an AnCap–even though he is an AnCap, it’s worth pointing out that Darryl Perry is not running as an Ancap; he’s running as a libertarian. I wouldn’t expect most Libertarians to understand that.
You were supposed to nominate libertarians. We’ve been asking you to nominate libertarians. We’ve been speaking up for and advocating libertarians. John McAfee is right there. Right there.
But Muh Conformity!
The national chair released a video today talking about how ridiculous we are to ask for a recall of Weld, how “we knew what we were getting,” and how his job is to unite behind the candidates. If we don’t like it, he said, then we needed to nominate a different chair in 2018.
2015 and 2016 were awful years for me. Getting to the LNC this year simply wasn’t feasible. I had just come out as transgender and was not in any sense ready to do anything that public, and I was broke anyway. This will not be true in 2018. My reach here at Anarchist Shemale is growing every single day. My financial situation is better every single day. I’m more passable every single day. I’ll be moving to Vegas soon, where I will be able to easily get employment, and that’s assuming the agents who are reading Dancing in Hellfire right now don’t help me become successful, and assuming none of the other things I’m writing will be successful. I’ve got lots of opportunities, and the last year of hard work and investment will have paid off before 2018. So you can bet your ass I’ll be there.
And, Sarwark, I will do everything that I can to have you replaced.
What will my influence be like in 2018? I don’t know. I know that I’m on the first page of Google results for a number of liberty-oriented search strings. Between 7 and 15 people find my site every day simply through Google. Not including Yahoo, Bing, the Rational Review News Digest, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
Just imagine how much traffic my work must be getting for any search string containing the word “shemale” to not contain any porn at all. When I first took up the moniker, “anarchist shemale” resulted in porn. Now there isn’t porn anywhere in sight. Once more–the word “shemale” can be searched on Google in some context and not result in pornography. Can you guess what it took to achieve that? People are finding something with the word “shemale” in it through Google and it’s not taking them to porn.
I don’t know how influential I’ll become if I continue what I’m doing, but I know my goals and my hopes. I also know that the Libertarian Party completely and utterly ignored my request to become an affiliate for my county. Despite routinely posting on Facebook about how they want people to become affiliates, they have totally ignored my email and my application form, none of which mentioned “The Anarchist Shemale.” I could understand why they wouldn’t want affiliation with me if I was pushing Anarchist Shemale as an official libertarian work, but I’m not, haven’t, and am not going to, regardless of how officially tied with the party I become. But what I do in my personal life and what I call myself is also not the Libertarian Party’s business.
Besides which–you want to get people’s attention or not? Send the Anarchist Shemale out there proudly and then just wait on the flood of liberals bitching that I dare call myself a word that they don’t like, and then celebrate as I rip apart their reasoning, because I have damned good reasons for it and the simple fact is that what I call myself has no bearing on anyone but me.
But, once more, indications are that the Libertarian Party is afraid of stepping out of the mainstream, of doing anything weird, of generating any controversy, of ruffling any feathers. So fixated on “Oh, my goodness, but what will the masses think?” that they probably wouldn’t formally associate with anyone called the Anarchist Shemale, even though libertarians are exactly the people who you’d expect to not give a damn what I call myself. And they don’t. But neither are they willing to take a stand on that, either.
Liberty.me, the RRND, and some others have absolutely no qualms about calling me the Anarchist Shemale. Officials within the Libertarian Party, though–I can only imagine their discomfort, like a white person who is hesitant to quote an episode of The Boondocks, “And then they defined the… uh… the… the… ‘N-word’ moment… as the moment when two… uh… when two… African American men… are… uh…” I can only imagine poor Mr. Sarwark trying to reference me. “As for what the Anarchist sh… The… uh… Hm. As for the Anarchist… Uh… Aria… DiMezzio? Dimeggio?”
Grow a spine, cowards.
Now, that’s supposition. They haven’t replied to my email, but I can think of only two reasons that they would not accept me as an affiliate for my county, when my county does not have one. The first is irrelevant. I’m not a dues-paying member, but have no issue with becoming one. As I said, I only recently learned of the Dallas Accord and didn’t think the Libertarian Party would be welcoming enough of a dyed-in-the-wool anarcho-capitalist. Officially, the party is. I made it clear that I have no hesitation regarding purchasing membership–when I can afford it–if that’s necessary. Considering that I do work actively to spread the cause of liberty, though, I’m not entirely sure formal membership would be required. And even then, they’d list me as my male name since this is Mississippi but let’s not get into that. It’s not why, anyway.
No, the reason is that I’m closely tied to the Anarchist Shemale. If you google “Aria DiMezzo,” then you will find–in addition to links to the masterpiece song from which I derived my name both because of its beauty and its translated meaning–the Anarchist Shemale right there, #Godless and #Lawless. I imagine that, before any political party formally associates themselves with someone, they at least do a Google search.
At any rate, I am disappointed. It has been at least a week now since I applied, and I know the Libertarian Party of Mississippi with all four of its members aren’t that busy. Moreoever, I know that I can coax at least six or seven friends into formally joining the party, too, since they’re all anarchists and libertarians themselves. If I was the affiliate for the party, they would do so, because the party would immediately become something that they personally knew of and understood, not some distant monolith. It would become more personal for them; it would mean more.
I said on Facebook last night:
There are two kinds of people with whom I’ve never hesitated to inform that I’m transgender:
Me: “I’m a shemale.”
Republican: “Ah! FIEND! Malificarum! Simm sallabim!”
Democrat: “Ah! Satan!”
Libertarian: “Is this relevant to the discussion?”
Gamers (to everyone): “Shut up, faggot. You’re gonna get us killed.”
I fully appreciate that I do have to stop dropping the word “faggot” and so much profanity in my articles. I am working on that. By the same token, though, the Libertarian Party is the last group of people who I would expect to care. I do have two distinct styles–one that is official and formal, and one that is loose and sometimes profane. I am more than capable of writing formally; just check my reviews and editorials at Cubed3, or buy V2: The Voluntary Voice. So that’s something I need to address if I want official ties with the party, but, once again, it was not The Anarchist Shemale that was seeking party affiliation.
It is Aria DiMezzo.
Their silence dishonors them.
The cowardice on display in so many ways dishonors them.
Be proud of who you are, libertarians. Don’t apologize for it. Get out of the closet. You’re libertarians.
The yellow you’ve chosen for your party color has become more appropriate than you think. So tell me, Sarwark and Libertarians, are you yellow? Because it looks to me like you are, and not because I haven’t heard anything about affiliation; that isn’t a big enough deal for me to think that. That’s just one more example of what I’m perceiving as Libertarian cowardice and fear of rejection.
The McAfee/Weiss campaign released a new video today, one I’ve been eagerly waiting for since John McAfee said yesterday that they’d be doing so:
When Ludwig Von Mises was asked at a dinner party what he would do if he was completely in charge of the United States and could pass any legislation he wanted, what would he do, without hesitation Mises answered, “I would abdicate.”
It’s the most curious of things that, for the most part, the very last people who would abuse power are never the ones who seek it, a point made well in M16’s latest “campaign” video. It’s much as I’ve mentioned in the past about police officers–not every police officer is a power-hungry psychopath, but if you have a power-hungry psychopath, they will become a cop. Neither is every politician/world leader a power-hungry lunatic who wants control, but if you have a power-hungry lunatic who wants control, they’re likely to become a politician.
This is why it’s always so difficult to elect a President McAfee, a President Perry, or a President Mises. They don’t really want to be the President of the United States. They want to leave you the hell alone so that you can do your thing–whatever “your thing” is.
I spent a lot of time in 2012 wondering what, exactly, Ron Paul would do if he had won the presidency. What would a “true libertarian” do with the Oval Office?
Nothing, for the most part.
They’d veto almost everything that Congress attempted to do–rightfully so. They wouldn’t get anything done, because they’re not supposed to get anything done. I wondered, though–would Ron Paul abuse Executive Orders to promote libertarian policy? Ron Paul is a Federalist through and through–a lot of libertarianish people are–and they firmly believe in the Constitution. I, however, don’t. I would be totally okay with President Paul using Executive Orders to abolish the Fed, the IRS, the NSA, the CIA, Homeland Security, FEMA, the TSA, and a few hundred others.
I would, however, want the last Executive Order by President Libertarian to be a full and absolute revocation of executive authority.
It’s tricky, you know? Isn’t this essentially allowing the presidency to become a dictatorship in the name of libertarianism?
Yes. It is. I can’t hide from that. It is a wish that the President would bypass the Constitution, checks & balances, and all of that other stuff to “illegally” enact libertarian policy, and then, once that was done, dial back the powers of the presidency to their Constitutional levels. Bypassing Congress, though… That’s pretty close to tyranny, and I wouldn’t be okay with the Libertarian Party storming Washington, D.C. with a military, setting up a dictatorship, and using it to impose a new libertarian government.
The difference, of course, is that the channels are already there for the abuse of Executive Orders; it has been a practice for several decades.
Realistically, though, what I want is for Mises to become President and enact the legislation that he does think is best. However, what he thinks is best is not enacting legislation, so it’s a contradiction in terms. Tyrannizing for the sake of liberty, to put it bluntly. There can be no delusions about it; that’s what it is.
Whether we like it or not, the POTUS has extraordinary power. A lot of people like to say that the Executive Branch can’t really do all of the things that candidates promise on the campaign trail, but that has long been false. Those people who still talk of checks and balances are clinging to lessons from high school civics classes that no longer have any bearing on reality. The President legislates, for all intents and purposes.
What is Gary Johnson’s plan? To go in there and veto everything? That’s great and all, but it just wouldn’t achieve anything except piss off the masses of people who are already irritated at Congress because Congress isn’t getting anything done. Suddenly we’d have an antagonistic Libertarian President who purposely vetoes everything and keeps Congress from getting anything done? The approval rating of such a president, realistically, would be lower than Congress’s record low of 23%.
The American People don’t seem to care what is getting done; they just want Congress to be getting it done. We Libertarians view gridlock as a beautiful thing, as something the American Founders intentionally built into the system, precisely to keep the government from fucking us over. The American People don’t think that way, though–many, many people have called for Congress to be abolished. If you send a Libertarian President in who does nothing but stands in Congress’s way, you will achieve nothing but pissing off the entire country, and you’ll never get a Libertarian elected again.
As far as plans go, that’s a terrible one.
The reality of the situation is that the only way to keep Approval Ratings out of the toilet is for the President to do stuff. If the President purposely prevents stuff from getting done, approval ratings plummet and the chances of ever electing another libertarian go to zero. So we need a Libertarian to go in, willing to use the power of the office to promote a libertarian agenda. There’s no way around it. I don’t like it, and I would so much rather nominate a Libertarian Congress to do it, and that will ultimately be the route we take, I think. However, if we do get a Libertarian President, the absolute last thing that President needs to do… is nothing.
Instead, we need a candidate who would be willing to use the power of the office as it is to enact libertarian ideology and then, only once the leviathan state was pulled back to reasonable levels, would the president need to enter “libertarian mode” and veto everything to prevent the leviathan state from going. Let’s not be confused about this. Unless we do take majorities in the House and Senate, there is no other way to dial back the power of the state. While taking Congress is ideal, and the way we will end up going, we’re speaking hypothetically right now–what would a Libertarian President need to do with a Congress that was Republicrat?
There are only two people in the world–that I know of–who I would trust with this level of power: John McAfee and Darryl Perry. Judd Weiss, by extension, since McAfee vouches for him, but I wouldn’t elect Weiss of my own accord.
Of course, neither of them has made any indication that they would go into the Presidential office and decimate the state by using Executive Orders to disband hundreds of three-letter agencies. It’s largely implied, but it has never been explicitly stated. That’s the question we have to ask ourselves: these people want to abolish the Fed, IRS, NSA, etc…
They’re presidents, not legislators.
Only through Executive Orders can the President achieve such things. Libertarian Presidential nominee Gary Johnson, how would he downsize the IRS? Without an Executive Order, he couldn’t. He could repeatedly veto Congress’s budget, but they could just override the veto–as they would, once the purse strings are threatened.
No one seems to be talking about it, but this is a reality that has to be addressed. For the libertarian, the Oval Office is mostly inconsequential: it’s the last roadblock to keep legislation from fucking over the American People. So… Other than to stop legislation, what is the point of having a libertarian president? Stopping legislation is great, but it does nothing to undo past legislation, like the Federal Reserve Act and the Income Tax. By this reasoning, nothing improves, but nothing gets worse, either. Meanwhile, the American People, sick of nothing getting done, reject libertarianism and vow to never again elect a Libertarian.
It would be an unmitigated disaster.
The only hope we have is to get a President who is willing to use the power that is there to undo past damage. Unconstitutional though it is, Executive Orders must be used by the Libertarian President to forcefully repeal the Income Tax, the IRS, the Fed, the CIA, FEMA, and all these others. “Preventing things from getting worse” isn’t enough, not when the state already breathes down our necks virtually every moment of every day, and not when footsoldiers of the state are out in American states with tanks and armored vehicles arresting protestors who didn’t want to let corporations use land that the state stole on their behalf. No, “preventing things from getting worse by vetoing everything” isn’t enough by a long shot. Worse yet, doing this would do nothing more than piss off the population. You think Congress’s approval rating is bad? Why do you think it’s so low? People are clear about why they disapprove of the job Congress is doing: because nothing is getting done.
I trust McAfee with the job, and I trust Darryl Perry with the job.
I trust that they would use the power of the office to destroy the nanny state, to at minimum pull it back to its Constitutional levels, and then to destroy the power structure that they used to unwind the state. Because that’s what is necessary. “Doing nothing” isn’t enough, not when we already have a nanny government. That would have been fine before FDR and the rise of fascism. Now, though? Now there is much to be undone. A Libertarian President has to both keep shit from getting worse and undo past shit that was bad. Vetoes accomplish the former; only Executive Orders can do the latter.
I would trust Ron Paul with the job, as well, come to think of it. Ron Paul, however, would decline to use Executive Orders to that end, even if it was to abolish the hundreds of state agencies that have destroyed liberty.
That’s what it comes down to, though. The President has tremendous amounts of power. Who do you trust to wield that power? I don’t trust Gary Johnson, and I damned sure don’t trust Bill Weld. Somehow, I manage to trust Trump and Hillary even less than I trust Weld–and that’s saying something, because I wouldn’t piss on a fire to put out Bill Weld.
The latest M16 video is absolutely right. I don’t trust many people with that kind of power.
I’d rather that power not even be collected to a single individual, or to a single body of people. So the question, really, is who do we trust to diffuse that power? Because that’s necessary to the process. That power is there. It’s collected already. Someone has to diffuse it.
I am more frustrated than I should be by how fucking common it is that anarchists and voluntayrists (it exists among libertarians, too, but not in numbers nearly as high, though it seems to represent a majority of A/Vs) basically speak in tongues trying to make their points. I am going to build off what I wrote before, and explaining why it’s such a problem.
Actually, the funny thing about that little thing I wrote above is that… those are pretty much exactly the right words to convey what I was trying to get across. By obsessing over grammatical structure, they are confusing obedience with knowledge, and they are hiding weakness behind linguistic parlor tricks. I am proud to make arguments for anarchism without resorting to such nonsense. I would suggest that if you cannot make the argument for voluntaryism or anarchism without saying something like:
Bezboznik’s argument for taking this route, in a manner of speaking, was multifaceted, in stating that it would lead to a reduction in congestion since there would be “no free riders”; that it would lead to less crime, citing private roads that are rarely utilized by comparing them to public roads utilized by nearly everyone; that it would hold road owners to more responsibility for maintaining both order on, and sustentation of the roads compared to that of government monopolies, a free market point I won’t refute; that it will encourage construction of infrastructure, which goes without saying; and that it will encourage small business, which brings me to the alternative that will later be discussed.
… then you, to be perfectly frank, have no business writing in the first place. That’s okay–writing is not your strong suit. Not everyone is good at everything. Writing, however, is about communicating via the written word. That is all it’s about. That is why it exists, and that is why people do it: to communicate via the written word. Throwing out such needlessly pretentious writing is the equivalent of being the world’s best guitar player while being totally unable to improvise a solo or to write music that comes from the heart. Music, of course, is the language of emotion, and the goal of music is to communicate emotion. All of the technique in the world will not let someone do this:
Not to brag, but did you hear that? Just saying–no death metal guitar player could have conveyed that.
My problem with emotions is that I can’t communicate them otherwise. Emotions don’t translate well into words; that is what my old moniker “I/E” was about. Language is handled by an entirely different part of the brain than that which handles emotion, and there is literally a translation between the two. “Love” as a word doesn’t even start to convey the emotion. “Despair” as a word doesn’t even start to convey the emotion. It is a translation of the emotion, a very weak attempt at communication. Music, however, speaks directly to that same part of the brain that deals in emotion, bypassing the language translation altogether.
My journey with writing is actually a funny one. From 18 to about 23, I read a lot of 18th and 19th century writers. Of them, Benjamin Franklin was my favorite, and I desperately attempted to emulate his style. My first semester in college had me doing that, and I received perfect scores on my essays. In fact, the professor commented that I had a “very mature style!” She included the exclamation point. I wish that I still had the essay that I’m thinking of, but it has long been gone.
One day while reading one of Franklin’s works, I paused on a sentence and remarked aloud, “That is the worst sentence I have ever read.”
I read it again, and then again. I went to the preceding sentence, and found that it was just as terrible. Shocked, I went through what was then a large library and pulled the collections I had, searching them for Franklin’s writings, and going through them quickly. All I found was terrible writing, though. This person that I had spent years successfully emulating… was a terrible writer. He used one hundred words to say something that could have been said in ten. Brevity is still a huge problem for me; you can imagine how bad I was back then.
I turned to my other idol of the period. This idol had a wildly different writing style–one that I didn’t like nearly as much, though I loved what this other person had to say. This other person was Thomas Paine, who stands in my mind as one of the most talented writers who ever lived. In fact, compare his The Rights of Man to Mary Shelley’s A Vindication of the Rights of Men, and you’ll see basically the Thomas Paine / Benjamin Franklin divide clearly, though Shelley was much better than Franklin.
I am more frustrated than I should be by how fucking common…
… is what I say today. Back then, I probably would have said:
Only after considerable ponderance have I determined that the source of my ire is the ubiquity, and the mundanity which so often accompanies the familiar, of…
To me, it’s just about saying what I mean to say. It wasn’t always this way. Sometimes, this does produce some pretentious stuff, like when I said:
It’s clearly meant to screen out people who don’t confuse pretentiousness with intellectualism. People above a certain threshold of intellect will recognize this for the codswallop of trite inanities that it is, while people below a certain threshold will not even understand it. There is a narrow place between those two thresholds, where there exist people who can be dazzled by the spectacle, much in the same way that people are enraptured by the antics of stage magicians.
The above is more pretentious than I would like, but it says exactly what I meant to say.
Generally speaking, Rule 1 of writing anything is that the first word you think of to use is the right word to use. If you go to the second word, because it’s a synonym, a bit of it gets lost, and if you proceed to the third or fourth–or use a thesaurus, you piece of shit–then the original meaning is often lost entirely. Think about words like colors. If I wanted to describe a color to you, I could say that it’s blue.
“Ew!” I might think quietly. “‘Blue’ is such a short and boring word. It’s mundane. No one will be impressed if I describe the man’s shirt as ‘blue,’ so he needs a better color than that. People will read it and think, ‘Oh, he’s wearing a blue shirt… How fascinating… not!’ like it’s the nineties and they think Wayne’s World is still cool. And I do not want to be associated with Wayne’s World! Oh, my god, I just started a sentence with ‘and!’ Argh! What is happening to me? I can’t keep–this is terrible writing! Blue! I need a synonym for blue! <Opens Google> Aha! Azure! Perfect!”
So the shirt is azure now:
Oh. But… those aren’t the same color, are they? They’re not even close. If you were filling out a police report and they asked you what color shirt he was wearing, and you said “azure” they may very well leave your perp alone because he’s wearing a blue shirt, and not an azure one. “Yeah, ‘azure’ is a step in the wrong direction. How about cerulean? That’s a four syllable word, for fuck’s sake! Oh, my god, I just wrote ‘fuck!’ Do I turn myself into the Grammar Nazis, or will they come find me? Cerulean, though… That’s four syllables! I can’t pass that up. It’s too perfect!”
Cerulean is certainly closer than “azure,” but we’re still pretty far from what we meant, if what we meant was “blue.” Now we’ve mixed in some grey and given it a sort of purple tint. Or violent tint? Maybe we added a slight dash of magenta to it.
Whatever we did, we didn’t simply say what we meant.
We looked around for a fancy synonym that was close to what we meant, willing to trade off accuracy to our meaning for a four-syllable word.
When we’re dealing with the color of someone’s shirt in a short story, it’s probably irrelevant whether the shirt was blue, cerulean, azure, sapphire, or some other shade. However, here in the real world of political ideologies and social constructs, we’re not dealing with things as trivial as the hue of a shirt; we’re discussing changing the very shape of the world and human society. This deserves clean and effective communication, not pretentious diatribe.
As I remarked previously, not very many people will be fooled by these linguistic magician tricks. For one, some people are too stupid or uneducated to know the meanings of the words being used. I only had to go to the second post of a Voluntaryist / Anarchist group I’m in to find this… “gem”:
I will posit that freedom is good, and free markets as part of that system are also good. Free markets (let’s call it laissez-faire capitalism, not the crony capitalism in which business and government work hand in hand to gain influence and wealth at the expense of taxpayers) are both moral and utilitarian as seen empirically and have been the engine behind which the serf, slave, and farm hand (just to name three subsets of common laborers) have managed to escape the grinding poverty that divided us into a very thin but extremely wealthy upper class, and a very fat, but extremely poor subsistence hunter, gather, farmer.
Now, every now and then, I posit things. Not very often, though.
“Laissez-faire capitalism” and free markets aren’t synonymous, because there’s fascist interventionism even in Reaganomics, but I’ll let it slide. Anyway, let’s take a look at it:
“moral and utilitarian as seen empirically”
“have the engine behind which the serf, slave, and farmhand…”
Now, pretentiousness aside, what did the paragraph actually say? “I think freedom and free markets are good, because they helped us escape poverty.”
Look how many words this guy took to convey that simple idea. Is his gargantuan sentence of tangents and unnecessary explanations stronger or more effective than mine? No. In neither case did he explain how the free market helped us to escape poverty; he only speculated that it did. His statement and mine have precisely the same meanings; his simply is horrifically inaccurate in conveying that meaning from his head to yours. There’s a lot of bullshit you have to cut through first. You have to cut out the entire parenthetical phrase, but not just because it’s meaningless and irrelevant–it’s also wrong. “…influence and wealth” is also redundant, for obvious reasons. “…as seen empirically” is of no value to anyone when you’re offering an opinion, which you are clearly doing when you “posit” something. Did you just say that free markets lifted the slave out of poverty? I don’t even know where to start with that. They are not subsets of common laborers; common is a subset of laborer, and the examples you gave are instances of that subset. The last statement is also mostly meaningless, as the free market had very little to do with the rise of technology; abundance gave rise to technology, and this abundance also gave rise to the free market–again, for obvious reasons. If you have an abundance of grain, it’s in your best interests to trade it to someone who has an abundance of chickens. Boom, the free market is born.
Now, I’m nitpicking this guy’s paragraph. I confess to that. I don’t consider myself a Grammar Nazi, though, because there are only two types of people that I turn this ire onto: Grammar Nazis and pretentious writers. Yes, if you’re going to be a Grammar Nazi on someone, then you’d better make goddamned sure that your grammar is impeccable, because I will rip it apart. So, too, if you write pretentiously, you’d better be certain that it’s flawless. Here, for instance, “behind which” is incorrect, because it should be “through which.”
The important thing to take away, however, is that his entire paragraph can be reduced to a single sentence, and it’s pretty much the first sentence he wrote. This is a common mistake that people make; they lead with a brief summary of their idea, and then spend the paragraph repeating that idea, rather than expanding on it. We can see that his is repetition, not expansion, because it adds literally nothing to the conversation that isn’t conveyed in “I think freedom and free markets are good, because they helped us escape poverty.”
Moving on, though, let’s see how many more posts I have to go before I find something horrifically superfluous.
Ooh! Here’s someone’s Steemit post!
I hate this. People write on Steemit and share their stuff to the page often, and I don’t think that’s right, because they’re trying to make money directly from it. Buy a domain name or join WordPress. Join WordPress, build a following, and then buy a domain name. I’m not wildly popular, but I have enough readers to justify the whopping $10/month it costs me to maintain www.anarchistshemale.com. I’m not just some random person writing and making videos; I’m the Anarchist Shemale. Anyway. I haven’t even looked at the post yet; I’ve only opened it. It’s a Christian case for spanking. In an Anarchist / Voluntaryist Closed Group. While you let that sink in, I’ll be looking for a juicy bit of nonsense.
Christ, himself has referenced Proverbs and yet, his reaction to the boy possessed by demons, who more than likely engaged in baneful activity to acquire such spirits, was not a beating rod or a suggestion to his parents that he be spanked.
The article was really short, mostly about a few Bible verses, and didn’t really have anything to say. That was the only really pretentious bit I found.
I’m the last person to criticize someone for not editing, because I don’t edit 15% of the things I write, but I do know how to edit. I always re-read my articles… after I publish them… and fix glaring typos and sentence problems. Because I intentionally don’t write pretentiously, I don’t ordinarily have a problem with sentence structure. I’m convinced that I would catch a sentence like that before publishing, though… Good god.
Christ has personally referenced Proverbs, yet his reaction to the boy who is possessed by demons (and was more than likely engaged in baneful activity to acquire such spirits) was not a beating or a command that the parents spank the child.
There are several issues with the first iteration. No comma is needed after Christ, obviously, and should come after “and,” rather than “yet.” There are way too many commas for a sentence of this length, so the phrase about “baneful activity” needs to be separated by parentheses or a dash. There is nothing wrong with using a dash. I’ve been through college level writing. It is accepted in formal writing. I wouldn’t recommend using them in every single sentence, but the dash is a great way to avoid using a semi-colon, or to separate out a part of the sentence that would otherwise go in parentheses. Here, I chose parentheses because of the “and.”
“…was not a beating rod or a suggestion to his parents that he be spanked.”
I’ll be honest: I can’t identify exactly what it is about this section that is sloppy. “…that he be spanked” is obviously not good, because “be spanked” is much weaker than “spank.” It’s passive, at least. I arbitrarily changed “suggestion” to “command” to make the statement more powerful, but “suggestion” could have been left. “Rod” was removed entirely because it confused the flow of the sentence for modern readers. Honestly, when was the last time you heard anyone talk of a “beating rod?” Probably only just now? It’s antiquated as fuck. We could change it to “…was not a belt or command that the parents spank the child.” and it would be a tad stronger.
The final section breaks the parallel structure, too.
I’m not enough of a grammar expert to know what a “possessed predicate noun” would actually be called “technically,” but it doesn’t matter. We can see that there is no parallel structure. There isn’t a parallel structure to mine, either, so maybe it’s just the passive verb that makes it so bad.
Parallelism is actually broken quite a lot by people who aren’t writers. I don’t mean anything arrogant by saying that I’m a writer. In fact, I’ve never made any judgment about the quality of my writing. I am, however, a writer, because I trained to be a writer. From the time I was about 13 years old, when we got our Compaq 386, until today, I have trained to be a writer. I have read tons about writing. As I once remarked to someone, “I’ve written more words than you’ve read, and I’ve read more words than you’ve said.”
What I mean by parallelism is this:
We are going to the store, to the cafe, and then watch the football game.
Putting aside that this example actually begs to be made parallel and is a shitty example, the parallel way would be:
We are going to the store, to the cafe, and then to watch the football game.
I’m going to one more example–another Steemit article. Because of course it is.
[The United States Armed Forces has] been used against the anti-socialist neocons since the end of the Bush era, but never seemed to serve as a caveat for antiwar and noninterventionist libertarians—in fact, it’s a talking point that is foolproof in attracting converts—but there have yet to be proposed any free market solutions to a program that is arguably essential to the security of a society that is unanimously envied and insusceptible to any imminent threat, whether it be foreign or domestic, because such a program exists.
One single sentence.
What a way to start an article. Jesus fucking Christ. Did anyone out here writing on the Internet bother to learn how to write? Actually, I didn’t include the first sentence. I did so just so that I could point out that it was one long fucking sentence. Here’s the entire two sentence paragraph:
As is commonly known, the United States Armed Forces is a product of state socialism. It’s been used against the anti-socialist neocons since the end of the Bush era, but never seemed to serve as a caveat for antiwar and noninterventionist libertarians—in fact, it’s a talking point that is foolproof in attracting converts—but there have yet to be proposed any free market solutions to a program that is arguably essential to the security of a society that is unanimously envied and insusceptible to any imminent threat, whether it be foreign or domestic, because such a program exists.
Without getting into whether the military is a product of state socialism (it isn’t–it’s a product of fascism, I would argue, but not socialism), things almost immediately go awry with this trainwreck, stream-of-consciousness paragraph. Honestly, I haven’t even read the entire thing. I get to “foolproof” when my eyes glaze over. How far do you get? That’s alarming, because my life is words. If I can’t get through your opening paragraph without glazing over, then you catastrophically failed your duty as a writer. <Sigh> Where to begin? Should I begin? Let’s just dissect the word salad:
“product of state socialism” [Is there any other kind?]
“never seemed to serve as a caveat”
“for antiwar and noninterventionist libertarians”
“foolproof in attracting converts”
“there have yet to be” [Not pretentious for “long” reasons, but still pretentious-sounding]
arguably essential to the security of a society
unanimously envied [by who?]
and susceptible to imminent threat
Oi vey. I don’t even know where to start.
Actually, yes, I do: with a simple question.
Just what in the fuck is “[The United States Armed Forces has] never seemed to serve as a caveat for antiwar and noninterventionist libertarians…” supposed to mean? Do you mean to say that the question of how we can defend “the nation” without the armed forces has never been a point of contention between libertarians and non-libertarians? Because it has–it most certainly has. In fact, it’s the main caveat. It is not only ineffective at “attracting converts,” but is the primary reason that people do not become libertarians.
The United States Armed Forces is a product of state socialism. It has been used against the anti-socialist neocons since the end of the Bush era, but was never a caveat for libertarians–in fact, it’s foolproof as a method of attracting converts–but there has been no proposed free market alternative to this program that is allegedly essential to the security of an envied society, because such a program already exists [important corrections in bold].
It’s still a nonsensical word salad that is blatantly false and self-contradictory.
The military is socialist and has been used against the anti-socialist neocons? This writing needs some major clarification. If the neocons can support this “state socialist” organization, then they are, ipso facto, not anti-socialist. Here is where the fascism/socialism difference would have been important. If the military is fascist, then the neocons can still be anti-socialist, because the fascism we have today is quasi-socialist, but only insofar as fascism obviously contains a bit of socialism.
Secondly, “But who will protect us from the Russians?” is at least the second most common argument I hear against libertarianism and anarchism, beaten out only by “But who will build the roads?”
The USAF is quite possibly the strongest defense agency in the world, if not, that the world has ever known, despite its shortcomings—the collateral damage caused by drone strikes, the needless deployment of troops to Germany and Japan, where there is no conflict, etc.—but despite the libertarian solution to state policy being privatization, such is not the case with military. Unlike roads and infrastructure, national security is not provided through private contractors, which means that it will disappear along with the state. In a manner of speaking, the military is not socialist because it’s funded through taxes. It’s socialist because it is one giant government union.
Okay, I want to say something–this really irks me. There is nothing socialistic about unions. In fact, unions are an essential counterbalance against corporate employers in a free market society. If a corporation isn’t treating its employees well, they have two options: unionize and demand better benefits, or leave. Leaving is usually the most difficult of the two options. There is not a tiny bit of force, violence, or coercion in this, and no one ever demands that anyone else relinquish their property against their will, or communally share it. Many modern unions do take this avenue, but it is not a feature of unions themselves. Many automobiles have trunks, but that does not mean that a trunk is an essential characteristic of an automobile.
This “RAWR, UNIONS ARE BAD” attitude is precisely why many people say that libertarians only give a shit about corporations and rich people. You would apparently argue that unions are inherently socialist–that’s nonsense. There is nothing socialist about a people coming together and asking for better wages, benefits, or whatever. Just as the company has every right to simply fire the employees if they want too much money, so do the employees have every right to ask for more money, and to drop an ultimatum on the employer. Unions are not tertiary to the process of checking corporate power; they are critical. Unions do on the inside what consumers do on the outside. To say that unions are inherently socialist is to say that consumers banding together to boycott a store is socialistic; the only difference is that one is an employee and one is not. It’s still just a union.
It’s hard to move on, because the sentences are long, weaving pieces of nonsense strung together by haphazard dashes and commas. Remember what I said earlier, about not overusing them?
Despite its shortcomings (the collateral damage by drone strikes, and pointless deployment in places like Germany and Japan, where there is no conflict), the USAF is the strongest defense agency that the world has ever known, but, despite the libertarian solution to state policy being “privatization,” such is not the case with the military [What? Or anything else, for that matter…]. Unlike roads [See? I knew we’d get there eventually] and other infrastructure, national security is not provided through private contractors [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_defense_contractors would like to have a word with you], which means that it will disappear along with the state [a fallacy]. In a manner of speaking, the military is not socialist because it’s funded through taxes [Um… Yes, it is. If it’s socialist at all, then that is precisely why]. It’s socialist because it is one giant government union.
Alright, well. This is blatantly wrong, for one, so I guess we’ll start there. “National security is not provided through private contractors…” Are you kidding me? AirScan, Academi, Titan Corporation…
I can’t finish this now. Sigh.
Anyway. Please remember that your primary goal, when you write something, is to communicate. Your goal is not to impress people with your command of technical grammatical syntax, and if that is the reason you are writing, please stop. Don’t say “cerulean” because it sounds fancier if what you mean is “blue.”
I don’t talk about it much, but I have more than a passing interest in Tool-Assisted Speedruns and, though I’m not particularly active in the community, I’m a member at tasvideos.org and once was working on a TAS for Gun-Nac. I ultimately abandoned it, because it’s an auto-scroller where I could only aim for Highest Points, a goal that was not much higher than just “Get weapon upgrades, Hold A, don’t die.”
Recently, I wrote that we have examples of anarchy all around us–that is, we have examples of people solving complex problems without relying on force, violence, and coercion all around us. I gave then the example of IEEE, a completely independent, non-governmental body that prescribes guidelines for communication technology. IEEE is the reason that you can connect your any-brand phone to any-brand Wi-Fi that itself is connected to any-brand gateway and access the Internet–a phenomenal achievement by anyone’s standards.
Now, put aside your reaction of laughter, that people are discussing something of such insignificance with such gravitas, because people are interested in things that you’re not interested in. If you spend any time at TASVideos, you’ll learn that people take it very, very seriously–and that’s okay. That’s great, in fact. It’s no more silly that they take it seriously than that Bubba has a New York Giants football jersey and won’t miss a single game. Other people laugh that I take politics and anarchism so seriously.
But even taking it seriously, the people at TASVideos aren’t frothing at the mouth and launching into irate tirades. This does happen, but it’s almost always new members doing it. It’s why one of my favorite places on the site is the Gruefood Forum section. It’s surprisingly common. Someone will discover a TAS on Youtube–presumably–and think “I can do that!” and proceed to make one. Without any further anything, they submit it to the site. This never goes over well, because by the eighty-ninth time you see someone publish a Super Mario Bros. run that is seven hours slower than the published run, you begin to lose patience with these people who can’t bother to find out what the site even is. TASVideos, of course, is a repository of the best TAS Videos, not a place for someone to showcase how good they are at TASing, or whether or not they can TAS. Youtube is the home of the latter.
Anyway, it’s a remarkable thing. The site has rules–lots and lots of them–and plenty of structure. There are categories upon categories, and some of the best reading material are the 14 page discussions where they decide whether or not they are going to allow the creation of a new category. It’s truly fascinating stuff. Often, they extensively discuss whether something meets the guidelines for Moon Tier, the Vault, or wherever else.
I know what you’re thinking, though. “That system of administrators who ultimately act out the forum’s wishes–that’s the state and its representatives.” You’d be right that those people are, strictly speaking, representatives. However, they don’t function as representatives do, because what we have at TASVideos is more analogous to direct democracy than representative democracy. As far as I’ve seen, the site administrators and moderators, while their opinions do go a long way, don’t make unilateral decisions on behalf of the people they “represent” and instead basically are figureheads that enact the results of various votes.
How has TASVideos kept off a slew of bullshit, unentertaining videos? By policing itself to remarkable effect, just as IEEE and the tech world does. There is no one going through the forums with a billy club threatening to kidnap people and throw them in prison if they don’t comply. If you don’t want to abide their guidelines and standards, they will shun you from the community. Seeing as the Amish typically shun people, no one can expect to be taken seriously that shunning someone is an act of aggression. So we have an example in the Digital World and we have an example in the real world, of small communities rising and developing their own codes and guidelines, and using those rules in the absence of a state, to maintain order, productivity, and cooperation.
We laugh–I’m sure you’re laughing–that anything that happens at TASVideos could possibly serve as an example of why we can abolish the United States Government–and all world states. I encountered that recently when I pointed out to Tyler Preston that Maghribi traders of the 11th century organized international trade without the benefit of the postal service, telephones, telegraphs, and the Internet; they needed a way to ensure that their employees at a distant port were truly working in their best interest, and they came up with one. It worked beautifully. Tyler said, “Meh. 11th century Maghribi traders? Big whoop. But the diamond traders you mentioned… That’s serious business.”
Indeed, it’s serious business either way. I thought we’d established that earlier. The NFL doesn’t go around with billy clubs and guns to kidnap its players and force them to comply–it censures them and shuns them when necessary. Tyler seemed to interpret “Maghribi” to refer to some type of good that was valuable in the 11th century. However, “Maghribi” refers to a type of merchant–the Maghreb–and not the good that was being traded. It was, basically, a nationality. They may have been trading anything from life-saving salt to gold to the diamonds that are, as Tyler admits, “serious business.”
At TASVideos, we see a community extensively discussing precedents. They’ve even brought up different precedents. One person pointed out how the Japanese rom of Dragon’s Lair obsoleted the American version of Dragon’s Lair because it was 20% faster. Another person countered that Super Metroid set the example otherwise. I stopped reading at that point, to write this, but I guarantee you that the conversation continued as they determined which precedent was more appropriate and finally came to a decision.
Anarchists sometimes disagree about what anarchy is. I don’t really care. Atheists disagree about what atheism is. There’s only one definition that is true of every single atheist out there, though: an atheist is someone who does not believe that there are gods or a god. Some will tell you that an atheist believes that there is no god, and others will tell you that an atheist merely rejects the theist gods and doesn’t address the deist one. It’s irrelevant. Our task is to find a definition that applies to all of these different people, and only then can we know what “an atheist” really is. The only universally applicable definition is the one that I gave: an atheist is someone who lacks the belief that there are gods or a god.
Similarly, anarchists have this problem. Some say that it means there is no hierarchy. Some say it means there is no government. Some say that it means there are no rulers. Once more, our task here is to find the definition that applies to all anarchists, not just one subset of anarchists. When we do this, we find that anarchy must be defined as the condition where there is no state. If there is no state, then there is no one using force, violence, and coercion to achieve their goals. It’s readily apparent, then, that any time people solve problems without the use of aggression, they are showcasing an example of anarchy.
And TASVideos gives us yet another look into how, exactly, this functions.
It is interesting to me that, unlike in the real world, we don’t see at any of these online communities people crying things like, “This is what I think, and anyone who disagrees is stupid and should have to go alone with what I want!” In fact, they would reject such an awful idea. They may or may not acquiesce to a vote through direct democracy, but there are usually good reasons for this, and they’re more than likely to err on the side of caution–this is true in any online community. And even then, the price is never anything that rings with the finality of force, violence, and coercion.
One day, some enterprising individual bought the domain name for TASVideos, and they soon put together a community. Through totally voluntary cooperation, they came together and they worked together. No one ever beat the hell out of anyone else, no one ever killed anyone else, and no one ever threw anyone else into prison. There were undoubtedly disagreements, especially in those early days, as powerful personalities each wanted to take the site different directions. But still, no one was ever beaten, robbed, or kidnapped.
Today we have a community that comprises untold members, and it functions well–very well. See the above linked image I took from a screenshot, where they are discussing honest-to-fuck legal precedents, for all intents and purposes. It’s a beautiful thing–just people… doing stuff. And working together, because they know–as we’ve so often observed–that their own best interests are served in the long-term by working with others, by not being asshats.
I didn’t join the community and start calling everyone fags, after all. That would have harmed my own best interests. Maybe–stretching things a bit–I could have called everyone a fag and gotten my Gun-Nac video published by doing so. I never finished that stupid game and never came close to optimizing it, but that’s not the point. Would it have helped me any? No. The day would have come that I needed someone’s help, and no one would have offered it. I would have shot myself in the foot.
I don’t know how many members there are TASVideos, though I’m sure that info is readily available. I’m also sure that it’s much smaller today than it was six years ago, because so many of the most popular games are nailed to what we might as well call perfection. This is basically the reason I stopped being active on the site–there just aren’t really any games left. There are games left, of course–supremely technical ones that would require a year of research before a rom is even booted. TASVideos, in fact, is so good at doing what it set out to do that it succeeded. The best are there, exactly as they intended, and the odds that anyone is going to top the best…
Don’t even bother.
HappyLee’s run of Super Mario Bros. will tell you everything you need to know. I would not dare to imagine how many TASes of SMB he has made, but he has obsoleted his own video several times, each time moving closer to frame perfect precision. The video up now is one of such astounding technical perfection that it may very well be impossible to beat it. This is true of every single game that you would want to do–the Mega Man games, the Zelda games… They’re all nailed to what might as well be called perfection.
Not only did their system work, it set out to do exactly what it did, and it achieved it to a degree that can just about be called perfection. Is it perfection? Probably not. Maybe one day someone will beat HappyLee’s run. They nailed perfection, though, as closely as IEEE nailed perfection with its 802.11 standards for Wi-Fi.
Compare to the bumbling service offered up by the United States Postal Service.