Tag Archive | anarchists

Why Does the Libertarian Party Exist?

There are two main sides within the Libertarian Party these days. One side believes the party exists to win elections, and the other side insists that the party exists to spread the principles of liberty. We can definitively settle the matter right now by taking a look over at the Libertarian Party’s official website and checking out its official platform, wherein it states:

Our goal is nothing more nor less than a world set free in our lifetime, and it is to this end that we take these stands.

It’s pretty explicit and hard to misinterpret. So if you happen to fall in the “the party exists to win elections” camp, then I’m going to have to ask you to free your mind for a moment, because you’re wrong. The party exists to set the world free in our lifetime; winning elections is one of many ways of achieving that goal. The goal is “to create liberty,” basically, to  keep things short. The method–that is, how we get from here to “a world set free”–is not explicitly defined, except in the platform that follows, but that’s more or less just a list of ways that we aren’t free. There is nowhere in the platform any suggestion that we must or, heaven forbid, should go through the state in order to achieve liberty.

That is by design.

It is entirely possible that we may one day set the world free by doing nothing more than spreading the word and making people aware of the reality of the state, and that one day we might have the numbers to simply shake off the fleas and be done with them, without ever electing someone to a political office. That so many people assume that we must go through the state simply shows how trapped in the statist mindset they are. Not only have there been countless sweeping changes throughout human history that did not go through the state, but the best changes have always not gone through the state, and have always been spontaneous creations of individuals acting in liberty, not because of a mandate.

Anarchists Versus Minarchists/Classical Liberals/Statists/Big Ls

This is closest to being honest I’ve had one of the Big L Libertarians get. I’m sure many people reading will instinctively agree with what Tristan said. However, read what Tristan said. “This is our party, and we’re going to do what we want. If you don’t like it, leave.”

It’s been my contention for some time now that when Big L Libertarians talk about “compromise” they don’t mean “with anarchists,” and they actually mean “with Republicans and Democrats.” They love talking about compromise, but when it actually comes down to it, they’re typically intransigent and seem to think that “compromise” means that they get whatever they want, and dissenters get to go along with it or stfu. Compromise is a two-way street, and it means that one side gives up something to secure something that would be tolerable, while the other side gives up something to secure something that would be tolerable. If the nominations of Gary Johnson and William Weld, of all people, didn’t prove beyond any doubt that Big L Libertarians have absolutely no desire to make any concessions–when so many superior Vice Presidential candidates were available, like Will Coley–then I’m not sure what will.

I think that’s the part that Big L Libertarians don’t get: compromise means that they have to make concessions, too. The anarchist-preferred candidate of 2016 was undoubtedly Daryl Perry. Compromising on John McAfee would have been excellent middleground between Big L Libertarians and Daryl Perry. However, they had no reason to compromise, did they? No, because they outnumbered us and have always outnumbered us. We were willing to compromise with having Daryl Perry as a libertarian (not anarchist) candidate. And “we” (I say “we” meaning “me,” but surely most anarchists would have happily agreed) were more than willing to compromise with having John McAfee as something more like a minarchist (whether McAfee is a minarchist or anarchist, I don’t know, but he is certainly easier to sell in the mainstream, simply by weight of his name). And, of course, we had already compromised by playing at all in the system that we want to destroy.

We are, and remain, willing to compromise… with minarchists.

I gladly admit that I have no desire to compromise with Republicans and Democrats. I do not compromise with people who are so blatantly wrong and whose modus operandi is force, violence, and coercion. I will not compromise my freedom to people who see nothing wrong with outlawing abortion, or to people who want to steal from me to pay for other people’s stuff. Not only am I unwilling to compromise with the people who devastated the Middle East and the people who are gleefully beating the Drums of War with Russia, but if you are willing to compromise with such people, then that throws your judgment immediately into doubt, as far as I’m concerned.

If Big L Libertarians want to compromise with Republicans and Democrats, there’s not much we anarchists can do about it, because we are outnumbered–we seem to comprise about 15-20% of the party. Obviously, they are perfectly free to compromise with whoever they want… Or are they? Does compromising with a tyrant or a sycophant not stain one’s hands? Isn’t this a bit like compromising with Charles Manson–“Okay, Charles, we’re going to compromise. You can’t kill anyone, but, I tell you what, we’ll let you torture one person every six months, as long as you don’t kill them. Deal?” How clean would one’s hands really be in such a compromise? And aren’t we all aware that the state is infinitely more horrific than Charles Manson?

Regardless, the issue is that Big L Libertarians act and speak as though what they want is to compromise with the anarchists who actually belong in the Libertarian Party. This is part of the leadership crisis that we face, but we’ve also got a major problem with collectivist thinking having infected the party. They regularly talk about how they wish that the in-fighting in the party would end, and I have to agree, but I dispute their understanding of the in-fighting. The rift is between anarchists and minarchists, or radicals and moderates, however one would like to put it, and exists because the minarchists/moderates have convinced themselves that the Libertarian Party belongs to them and that, at best, anarchists are the red-headed stepchild.

It is not and has never been a minarchist party–nor is it an anarchist party. It is, however, every bit as much an anarchist party as it is a minarchist party, and as it is a classical liberal party. Larry Sharpe came under fire recently (does the drama never end???) for making a video that people interpreted as his saying that he didn’t want anarchists in the party. Even though that isn’t what he said or meant, the whole thing still dances around the issue without actually stepping foot on it: it’s not Larry Sharpe’s party. It’s not minarchists’ party. It’s not their party to say they do or don’t want us in it.

This is my house that I’m writing this from. It belongs to me. If I don’t want you in it, that matters. But if I’m in Bob’s house and I don’t want you in it, that doesn’t matter, because it’s not my house. The very idea that Larry Sharpe or anyone else is in any position to want or not want anarchists in the party is patently absurd–this house belongs every bit as much to the anarchists as it does anyone else. It’s not Larry Sharpe’s house for him to proclaim who he doesn’t want inside, and neither is it any other minarchist’s or anarchist’s.

And the entire root of this rift is that the Big L Libertarians (of whatever variety) do think that it’s their house, and that we’re simply guests whom they allow to sleep on the couch. That… is… wrong. It is factually and historically wrong. Minarchists simply told themselves and convinced themselves that it was their party, and then they began marginalizing the anarchists. However, proclaiming something to be true does not make it true.

The Libertarian Party of the United States was founded in 1971–some of its founders are still around, and you can find them on Facebook and discuss it yourself with them (assuming they are willing). Merely three years later, the Dallas Accord was struck between the anarchists and the larger minarchist faction, wherein the two sides agreed that the question of whether a state was desirable would be intentionally avoided until such time as a libertarian society had been achieved; it was the agreement that the Libertarian Party was neither a minarchist nor an anarchist party, and this was only three years after the party was formed.

In 2006, the minarchists took control and became hostile to the anarchists, deleting most of the party platform and replacing it with things like “Government exists to protect rights…” This doesn’t make it right, and it’s an outright betrayal of the anarchist faction. It caused a mass exodus of anarchists from the party that had betrayed them so brazenly, and was dubbed the Portland Massacre. Now we have a party platform that says that a state-owned military is necessary! It was an obvious stab in the back to the anarchists, and in the years since the minarchists have not only betrayed anarchists further but have betrayed themselves and leaped right into classical liberalism and something very much like Constitutionalism.

I dread to think what the Libertarian Party would become if there weren’t still anarchists out here trying to stick it out and keep the party tethered to its principles, because it has betrayed so very many people, factions, and ideas. Now we have language that says the state should use immigration laws to “protect” us, which not only is patently un-libertarian, but it’s not even classically liberal–it’s full-blown statist, as even the Constitution didn’t grant the Federal Government the power to control immigration. In its desperation for mass approval and Quixotic quest for electability, is there any principle that the Big L Libertarians won’t betray?

Politics & Elections

As stated clearly, the party exists to cause liberty to happen. It is certainly conceivable–although I find the idea incredulous for reasons I’ll detail in a moment–that winning elections could be a valid method of achieving that goal. However, it is foolish, absurd, and narrow-minded to act like it’s the only possible way of achieving that goal, or even acting like it’s the best method of doing so. Given the results so far (widespread betrayal of anarchists and libertarian principles, schisms in the party, some Big L Libertarians even calling people like me enemies…), I’d argue that it’s not even an acceptable way of achieving that goal, even if it is possible in theory.

There seems to be this idea that we can pull a Bait & Switch on the electorate, and that we can run a “moderate Libertarian” who gets into office and enacts actual libertarian policies. This is called “deceit,” and it is generally frowned upon. It is false advertising, and it is considered to be deceptive–because it is deceptive. It’s like marrying a woman not because you love her (as she thinks you do), but because she’s a millionaire with no kids and no one to leave all her money to when she dies. It’s a clear case of false pretenses–everything about it is immoral, and that’s before we get into whether or not it would actually work.

Hint: it wouldn’t.

It is strangely denialistic to think that if you can convince Bob to legalize marijuana, then you’ll have an easier time convincing him to legalize all drugs. If there was any truth whatsoever to that, then the repeal of Prohibition in the 1920s would have prevented any further substances from being outlawed in the first place, because, in American history, Bob was convinced that outlawing alcohol was more trouble than it was worth, didn’t actually eliminate alcohol, created a black market, created gangs, and was a gross violation of people’s liberties. That didn’t stop Bob from turning around and making marijuana illegal barely a decade later, or from adding methamphetamine, heroin, and countless other substances to the list of banned narcotics.

Libertarian: “Bob, Prohibition isn’t working. We need to repeal it and just let people be free. This has done nothing but caused death and misery.”

Bob: “You know what? You’re right. Repeal Prohibition!”

Libertarian: “Alright! Let’s not make this mistake again, either.”

*Ten years later*

Bob: “We’re outlawing marijuana.”

*Seventy years later*

Libertarian: “Bob, marijuana prohibition isn’t working. We need to legalize it and just let people be free. This has done nothing but caused death and misery.”

Bob: “You know what? You’re right. Repeal marijuana prohibition!”

Here we enter Fantasy Land.

Libertarian: “Great! Let’s repeal prohibition of heroin, too! And cocaine! And crystal meth!”

Bob: “Hey, you’re right!”

… That’s so obviously not what would happen. Bob would reply, “Are you out of your mind? Marijuana is one thing, but heroin? No way! That’s something else entirely!”

That’s the flaw with the incrementalist/moderate approach. Just because you can get me to drive five miles doesn’t mean you can get me to drive five hundred miles. It’s absurdly unrealistic, and I find it hard to believe that anyone actually thinks such an approach will have any success. Legalizing marijuana won’t end the drug war; it won’t shift Bob’s position on the Drug War even the tiniest bit. I can already point to at least a hundred people I know who want to see marijuana legalized but who would recoil in shock and incredulity if I suggested to them that we should also legalize heroin.

Phase 1: Legalize weed!
Phase 2: ????
Phase 3: The drug war is over!

Phase 2 is “something magical happens.”

The “legalize marijuana” versus “end the drug war” thing is such a wonderful parallel to the radical/moderate divide, because this is true in nearly every sense. I’ve convinced plenty of people that a business owner has the unalienable right to choose the people with whom they associate, and that they therefore don’t have to serve LGBTQ people if they don’t want to. It’s not too difficult to convince people of this. But the next thing out of their mouth is always, “But what if they’re racist and don’t want to serve black people? We can’t allow them to do that!”

It’s insane. It’s either a huge misunderstanding of reality or a purposeful self-delusion about human nature. Though I’ve convinced at least twenty people that discrimination of LGBTQ people by business owners is an unalienable right, I have never convinced anyone that discrimination of black people by business owners is an unalienable right. According to the incrementalist approach, once I convince them that discrimination against LGBTQ people is a right, they should be receptive to the “more extreme” form, yes?

Except they’re not, and they never are.

A World Set Free

It should come as no surprise that the Big L Libertarian faction (which doesn’t include every libertarian, minarchist, or classical liberal) seems incapable of grasping the idea that there might be some other ways to set the world free than by going through the established political system. For anarchists, the established political system is optional–however, we do not deny that it is an option. In contrast, the Big L Libertarian faction denies that there are any other options: they know only the state, and so they only know to go through the state. But that’s where libertarianism starts to contradict itself in the first place, because anyone who follows the ideas to their logical conclusions will end up as an anarchist, since aggression is the only way that the state can do anything while still being a state.

It’s just another example of how anarchist ideology isn’t even being considered by the larger faction, and, if they’re not even considering it, they can’t possibly be able to compromise with it. It’s like that Jody guy who blocked me when he claimed to be an anarchist immediately after saying that the state should exist to protect liberty. If you’re unwilling to even learn what anarchists think, then how can you compromise with them? If you’re trying to sell something to a person, don’t you kinda have to know what they’re offering to pay? But, of course, they’re not willing to compromise–as we’ve established–and they aren’t willing to even consider anarchists enough to learn what we have to say. If they were, then they would already know that going through the existing state is most certainly not the “only” way to set the world free (and, if one follows the ideas to their conclusions, it’s actually impossible to use the state to set the world free because the state is literally what you’re trying to set the world free of).

To compromise with someone, you must first know what they want and what they believe. Judging from my person experiences, the Big L Libertarians (which, again, isn’t inclusive of every minarchist, libertarian, and classical liberal) have no idea what anarchists want or believe. Jody’s silliness was the most flagrant, but it was hardly unique.

These Big L Libertarians seem to operate solely on their belief and their idea of what they want the Libertarian Party to be, making whatever assumptions they like, and from there they seem wholly resistant to facts. This Travis person has the idea in their head of what the Libertarian Party is (and, it’s worth mentioning, that their understanding of the Libertarian Party just coincidentally is exactly what they want it to be), and nothing will shake that delusion.

To say that the Libertarian Party exists to win elections is to say that anarchists aren’t welcome in the party, because we imagine different ways of achieving the Libertarian Party’s goal (which, one will read, is to set the world free, not “to win elections, duh!”). Having our methods spit upon and waved away even as we’re willing to go along with their methods, as long as they agree to the standards that we laid down in 1974 to solve exactly this problem… We’re using our preferred method, but we’re also willing to help you and use your preferred method to get libertarians elected to office. Our method and your method are only at odds because you set them to be by saying our method is meaningless, that yours is the only method that matters–by usurping the entire party and proclaiming it to be nothing more than a vehicle for your chosen method!–and that we’re not even welcome in the party if we don’t cease our method, shut up, and meekly go along with you.

This is our party, too.

And that’s why the goal of the party is to set the world free, not to win elections. Like the liberals I’ve talked about before who associate their emotion with their preferred method, it has trapped you and left you unable to even fathom that there might be some other way of achieving that goal. After all, the liberal takes “There shouldn’t be anyone starving in America!” and links that directly to “We need to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour!” It’s the basest and most confused of human behaviors to link a given goal inextricably to one’s preferred method of achieving that goal, and then dogmatically sticking to that method regardless of whether it works (like how liberals continue to demand increases to the Minimum Wage, despite the unemployment that it has caused).

Our method is 100% as valid as yours, and the Libertarian Party is 100% as valid as a vehicle of our method as it is a vehicle of your method.

We are anarchists, and this is our party, too.

Anarchists & Voluntaryists Continue Their Circle Jerk

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.

anarchistsActually, 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.

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:

azureOh. 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!”

ceruleanCerulean 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:

  • posit
  • “moral and utilitarian as seen empirically”
  • “have the engine behind which the serf, slave, and farmhand…”
  • “three subsets of common laborers”
  • “but extremely poor subsistence hunter, gather, farmer.”

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.

Negative > Predicate Noun

Negative (Implied) > Possessed Predicate Noun > Possessor > Verb recipient > Passive Predicate Verb

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.

SCORE!

Omg.

Brace yourself.

[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?]
  • anti-socialist neocons
  • “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.

Moving on.

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.”

TASVideos: Law & Order Without a State

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.

I was reading earlier today at TASvideos, and I saw something that caught my eye:

precedentNow, 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.