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.
Last year, I wrote a book called Dancing in Hellfire. It is essentially my autobiography, except that I didn’t stop at simply relating events that had happened. Instead, I looked back on them and thought about what I learned from them, because the functional mind is always learning–any mind that refuses to learn is effectively dead. To be sure, I’ve had some really screwed up things happen in my past: both parents are/were drug addicts, my father killed a woman when I was 4, my mother was murdered when I was 12 (her body never found, so she’s still listed as a missing person), and other, generally awful things that you would rightly expect to happen in circumstances like that. Before we even factor in transgenderism, there is easily enough material to fill an 80,000 word autobiography (a bit on the heavy side for a memoir anyway), and I found myself chopping out entire recollections to make room for the transgender stuff.
Really, you’d think in today’s political environment that it would be an easy sell. That’s opportunistic of me, and I don’t deny that, but I also don’t see it as a problem. Identifying a niche in the market and targeting that niche isn’t a bad thing–in fact, it’s a smart thing to do. Only in the past six months, as my search for a literary agent has hit a dead end, has it dawned on me that I still made a mistake with the targeting. As I said, the book isn’t about “Oh, poor me, this happened and society didn’t do anything to prevent it!” Instead, it’s a book about “This happened, and this is what I learned from it.”
The critical difference is that the former marks me as a victim; the latter marks me as a beneficiary.
Without a doubt, I’d rather have my mother alive today, but there’s also no disputing that it has marked me in many ways that are very positive. Foremost among these is surely my awareness of justice as a function of forgiveness rather than vengeance. Those wounds are real, and they are painful–however, those very wounds have also made me ask the excruciating question, “How might I have closure on this?” The answer to that is not “…by seeing the murderer in prison!” The murderer has already been to prison for an unrelated murder, and it did nothing to make me feel any better. While it sucks beyond the capacity of weak words to convey how much it actually sucks to have my mother gone, absent without a trace, like an episode of Unsolved Mysteries, I can detach myself from that enough to recognize that having a mind that is more focused on forgiveness than vengeance is a positive result.
It wouldn’t be worth asking whether I’d rather have my mother alive, and to still consider vengeance and justice to be the same thing, or if I’d prefer the current state of affairs. Just because these things happened in a way that are causal doesn’t mean they’re mutually exclusive. Maybe my mother could still be alive and something else could have happened to lead me to that realization. There’s no way to know, and so the hypothetical is useless–built, as it is, on the assumption that I can’t have both simply because I don’t have both.
I’ve neglected to talk about it publicly before now, but we do live in a society that glorifies victimization, and this is no more evident than in the bizarre way that Glamour magazine named the Stanford rape victim their Woman of the Year. This perplexes me in countless ways. I’m not demeaning her fight within the system to see Brock punished for what he did, but “having been raped” doesn’t strike me as a particularly good reason to be named “Woman of the Year” any more than being trans was reason to name Caitlyn Jenner woman of the year. Why don’t we celebrate accomplishments rather than victimization? It is an absolute slap in the face to the female biochemists who lead breakthrough research, the females at CERN, and the leading female experts in countless industries, to be passed up as Woman of the Year because someone was a victim of rape and the case was very public. Again, this isn’t to say that the rape should be ignored, but it certainly shouldn’t be celebrated.
Bad Stuff Happens
… all the time.
Earlier this month, I attempted to drive ~150 miles to see A Perfect Circle live, for probably the last live tour they’re going to do, and it was an ordeal just to get tickets, much less to find someone who would go. To give you an idea of how much this meant to me, a few weeks beforehand, in an article about scalpers, I wrote:
I bought tickets to the A Perfect Circle concert next month for well over what they cost initially, and the reason was precisely because my demand exceeds other people’s. I can’t even convey with words what A Perfect Circle’s music means to me. Being able to see them again–probably for the last tour they’re ever going to do, since no one expected this one and it’s been 14 years since their last one–is one of those experiences that literally makes life worth living (no exaggeration). Because of scalpers, I was able to acquire a ticket, and I would say it’s far more important that I was able to get a ticket than Random Joe who kinda likes their music and has nothing else to do that evening. The seats aren’t even that good, and I don’t even care. It’s A Perfect Circle. It means more to me than it will anyone else in that audience.
And you know what happened? Shortly after I got onto i240, headed for i40 and the long eastward trip to Nashville, I saw that my temperature gauge was way higher than it should have been–like “about to overheat” high. I whipped over and got off the interstate, stopping on Airways. Not being an idiot, I’d left with more than an hour to spare, in the event that something weird happened. However, it took my car nearly 45 minutes to cool off enough to hold water, and we discovered that the upper radiator hose had come completely off, which is the rarest and most unlikely thing that could possibly happen with a working clamp (not to mention, of course, that the months of driving before that had no issue, so it happened at the worst possible moment). In doing so, it had brushed against the alternator belt, and had been cut open, so even after it was cool enough to travel again, it had a steady leak that meant the hose had to be replaced. This meant we had to go to an Auto Zone, buy a replacement hose, put it on, and then refill the thing with water (if you’ve ever driven a Chrysler, you know this isn’t as straightforward as with most vehicles). When we were finally heading back toward the interstate, the GPS called out, “Estimated time of arrival is 9:23 pm…” which was two hours after the concert started. That’s right. We lost nearly three hours due to that overheating.
This actually took me completely down for about ten days, as some people may have noticed, because I didn’t post anything. I didn’t have the strength. I was depressed; it’s really hard to convey how much it hurt to miss the concert over something so extraordinarily unlikely that no one would have taken the bet that it was likely to happen. Yet life goes on, I recovered, and got back to it–though I was down longer than I would have anticipated. Because I’m moving to Vegas and the state of Mississippi said “lol, fuck you” earlier this year, setting me back on that plan far more than I’d have liked, I don’t make plans to go and do things very often–spare money is better put toward moving to Vegas than going to see a concert, but this was no ordinary band–this is the band that has influenced my music more than any other. I didn’t really learn anything from that experience, because there was nothing to really learn. It was a freak accident at the worst possible time, and I’d checked my car that very morning. It’s true that I didn’t inspect the hoses, but, c’mon, no one does. That’s absurd. One might as well pull out and check each and every fuse. While I did inspect everything (on a different vehicle) before driving to Vegas in 2015, that was 1800 miles, not 180 miles.
I tend to think that I’m so anti-authoritarian because of the horrifically bad parenting of my mother and father, a point that I call attention to in Dancing in Hellfire. Through most people’s childhoods, and well into their adolescences, they have this idea that their parents are indestructible and supreme. I remember well being in the third grade and having Danny, a friend of mine, stand beside me in line at the cafeteria and put his fist to one of the cinderblocks in the wall and ask, “Do you think your dad could punch through this? My dad could!” Even then, at nine years old, it struck me as ridiculous. No, his dad could not punch through the cinderblock, but I didn’t challenge the idea with him. It did not occur to me then how odd it was that he would have this unrealistic idea of his dad, but it happened again much later, in the seventh grade, when a kid described his dad’s hand as “alligator skin,” proud of his dad being a Working Class Hero, and remarked that a puppy could chew on his fingers for hours and never draw blood.
I didn’t have any of that. When I was six years old, the state showed up with its footsoldiers to kidnap my sister and me, and our mother was powerless to do anything about it. All she could do was cry. I learned that day that my mother–who I’d been with since I was born–was ultimately not the one responsible for me, and that these other people called “the police” had usurped her authority. A brutal lesson for a six year old to learn, but one that has served me well since. My dad wasn’t ultimately the one in charge of me–my mother had trumped him by taking me in the first place, so clearly he was ranked below her in the hierarchy. My mother was also not ultimately the one in charge of me, because her impudence in the face of the state and its footsoldiers left no room to believe that.
And what of my father? Well, you lose the image of your father as the Glorious Personification of Everything Great around the time you see him faceplant into the dirt at a baseball field after eating too many Xanax and drinking too many beers. And if that doesn’t do it, then watching those very same police officers arrest him after a vehicle wreck and place him, powerless, in their police car will shatter that image. There’s absolutely no doubt: some of my earliest and most jarring experiences involved the state exerting its authority. I have very little doubt that this is what left me inclined to view the state as what it is: the slavemaster.
Would I be an anarchist now, if none of this had happened? Another useless hypothetical.
Every experience is not just an opportunity to learn; it is also a choice. No matter what happens, we never lose the power to choose how we react. We are not* mindless machines who operate on extremely complex if-then programming that dictates our responses; we are not powerless. We are not at the mercy of our reactions; our reactions are at our mercy, and nothing changes this. Just because some people choose to let their responses unfold emotionally, with no tempering or self-control, doesn’t mean that they have no choice in the matter, and we shouldn’t allow them to so easily escape the fact that their reactions to things are their reactions. We are not wild beasts braying in the field. We are human beings, and it’s time we acted like it.
If someone says “Fuck you, you’re an idiot” to me, it’s true that I have very little control at this time over my initial emotional reaction of anger and desire to retaliate. Evidence suggests, however, that extensive meditation and self-reflection can, in fact, put us in control of even that lightning-fast emotional reaction. And that’s the key: “lightning-fast.” Emotions are instantaneous. That anger lasts only a flash of a second. If left to its own devices, it would immediately die out, but more often than not we embrace it and purposely keep it going, stoking the fires. Larry Sharpe Sunday night (and today at 2pm Central at www.lrn.fm) is a clear example. After saying that he’d accepted Arvin’s apology and forgiven him, and that they were “good,” the indignation and anger in Larry’s voice were still audible–he was clearly still clinging to those emotions. I actually initially attempted to call attention that, but couldn’t formulate my thoughts quickly enough in a way that weren’t antagonistic, so I instead let it go immediately. While saying that he had let the matter go, he kept bringing it up, even after we tried to move on to other matters, and his voice was absolutely dripping with emotion. Regardless of what he said, it is clear that Larry is keeping those emotions alive rather than releasing them.
Still, that I would immediately react with anger and a desire to retaliate is still on me. It’s still my emotional reaction, and my failure to control my emotions to that degree is my failure. It’s not this person’s fault. They didn’t “make” me angry. I made me angry. They were merely the catalyst–they merely presented me with the choice of how to react, and I chose to react in anger. However, I would typically choose within a second or two to let it go and to release the anger, rather than dwelling on it. Unlike Larry Sharpe, if I forgive what I perceive as a transgression, then I’m not going to bring it up again, because forgiving someone is an internal thing–it has nothing to do with the transgressor, which the Vegas Chick made me realize when I pondered whether she could do anything that would “cause” me to forgive her–the answer was that whether I forgave her had almost nothing to do with her. Demanding contrition or restitution isn’t forgiveness, even if that restitution comes in the form of a simple apology.
Through my own failure, I have no control over the initial emotional reaction. Through much work, I have largely (though certainly not perfectly) taken control of the following moments. My own failures lead me to make the wrong choice in the first place, by reacting with anger, but the choice that immediately follows is whether to release that anger or to embrace it. Both of these are choices.
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.
“Anarchy” is derived from the Greek an arkhos, which translates literally to “without rulers.” It follows, then, that we have our universal definition of anarchy: a state in which there are no rulers, and our definition of anarchist: someone who advocates that there should not be rulers.
Then we have something that is completely unrelated–the point of divergence between anarcho-communists and anarcho-capitalists. It is a statement of fact that this thing is not related to anarchy, and this “thing” is hierarchy, which derives from hierarkhes, which means “sacred ruler.” Anarchy, then, means “without a sacred ruler,” because “sacred” is a type of ruler, and anarchy means “without rulers” of any and all types–sacred or mundane. In this classical, etymological sense, yes–anarchy does mean “without hierarchy.”
But what does hierarchy actually mean today? Briefly, we turn to Google for the definition:
a system or organization in which people or groups are ranked one above the other according to status or authority.
Not a mention of rulers or anything sacred.
It’s a matter of record that the meaning of “hierarchy” has changed considerably over time–clearly, and no one can dispute this assertion. This is a word game that the Anarcho-Communists pull, as follows:
“Anarchy” means without rulers.
“Anarchy” means without hierarchy [sacred rulers].
“Anarchy” means without hierarchy [a system in which people or groups are ranked…]
We can tell with no more than a glance that “sacred rulers” and “a system in which people or groups are ranked” are not even kinda the same thing. For example, in a lot of ways the colleague I’ve mentioned several times is my boss, and I am subordinate to him; in our two-tier hierarchy, he is above me. He is not, however, sacred nor a ruler. He is not my ruler because I am free to disobey and disassociate from him at any time I would like, and that is not the case with rulers, least of all sacred ones.
It’s a word game that the AnComs are playing, by saying that anarchy means not having “this word,” knowing that “this word” has a new, modern meaning that has absolutely nothing to do with its ancient meaning–and they know they are correct when they reference its ancient meaning. The Anarcho-Capitalist would gladly agree–anarchy most certainly does mean “without sacred rulers.”
Does anarchy mean “without a system in which people or groups are ranked”?
To the Anarcho-Communist, the answer is “Yes.”
To the Anarcho-Capitalist, the answer is “No.”
No True Scotsman
This post is motivated by the claim I hear ad nauseum that AnCaps aren’t true anarchists. This is nonsense. We established the definitions clearly above. Their etymological origins are in full accord with their modern meanings–notwithstanding statist propaganda that has attempted to redefine “anarchy” to mean “lack of a central authority or civil war.” Anarchy means today exactly what it did when the Greeks combined an with arkhos: without rulers. So anyone who advocates the ideology that there should not be rulers is an anarchist.
It’s a two-sided game, and I am more than willing to stop playing it if the AnComs will stop playing it. If you guys stop saying that we aren’t true anarchists, we’ll stop saying that you aren’t true anarchists. This is most definitely an argument that we can make.
For example, the anarcho-communist would not allow me to voluntarily subordinate myself to my colleague. In so doing, the anarcho-communist has granted themselves authority over me, and I must obey them. They are, in every sense, attempting to be my ruler–attempting to decree what I can and cannot do, rather than what I should and should not do. There is nothing anarchistic about this, as they are making themselves rulers. Far from eliminating rulers, anarcho-communism attempts to turn an idea into the ruler–the idea of equality across the board, whether people like it or not, and the anarcho-communists become the footsoldiers of the state to enforce that ruler’s decrees.
See, I don’t have to rely upon word games to say that AnComs aren’t real communists. They do. They have to perform a literary sleight of hand, by saying that anarchy means “without hierarchy” while using the classical, original definition, and pretending that this applies to the modern, unrelated definition. If you argue for them to explain what is meant by hierarchy, you will ultimately beat them back until they confess that what they want is not a society without rulers but a society where everyone is a ruler as long as they bow to this idea and attempt to enforce it.
Person A to Person B: “I hereby voluntarily agree to work for you and to do as you say.”
AnCom: “No, you can’t do that. You have to be equals.”
Person A: “Says who?”
AnCom: “Says me. Everyone has to be equal.”
Person A: “But you have the authority to tell me what I can and can’t do?”
Person A: “Then everyone isn’t equal, are they? You are my ruler.”
AnCom: “It’s for the greater good. Everyone must be equal.”
Person A: “Except they aren’t. You’re at least my ruler.”
AnCom: “It’s for the greater good of equality. You can’t be allowed to subordinate yourself to someone.”
In the anarcho-communist society, entering into a voluntarily subordinate agreement becomes an act of revolution.
It’s a blackhole of contradiction and oxymorons that, in order to ensure that there are no rulers, everyone must become a ruler and rule over everyone who doesn’t agree ideologically–which we see play out precisely in the above conversation. It’s impossible to force people to be equal without setting yourself up as a ruler over them, and why is that? Because the use of force, violence, and coercion are what mark a state, and the state is the ruling caste. Anarcho-Communism does not abolish the state. It widens it.
Leaders & Rulers
The problem is the inability to see that there is a difference between choosing to be subordinate to someone, and being forced to be subordinate to someone. In the above conversation–which, I daresay, few AnComs could actually dispute as being a realistic interpretation of the ideology–in order to stop someone from choosing to be subordinate to someone, they are forced to be subordinate to someone–under the auspices that it is unacceptable to be subordinate to someone. We can see the doublethink and cognitive dissonance in action, can’t we? We know the AnCom is shaking his or her head and mumbling, “No, no… That’s different. That’s not the same.”
And they’re right–but not for the right reasons. They’re right that it is not the same to choose to be subordinate to someone and to be forced to be subordinate. It is the critical difference between a ruler and a leader. A leader is someone to whom we choose to defer–either because of their expertise, knowledge, strength, wisdom, intelligence, or whatever. A ruler is someone to whom we must defer–because of their use of force, violence, and coercion.
It is the difference between following and obeying.
It is the difference between choice and force.
It is the difference between advice and mandate.
It is the difference between suggestion and requirement.
The AnCom, by extension, sees no difference between the above dichotomies, yet there is a world of difference. For example, I have suggested repeatedly that people who read my stuff should use Firefox, Ghostery, NoScript, and Adblock Plus. I have never mandated that these things are required. Of course I haven’t! I have no authority or power to make any mandates or demands. This is the difference; this is where the distinction lies. That some people choose to follow what I write, and on some occasions to even acquiesce to my ideas and adopt them, gives me no authority over them or power over them whatsoever. They can disavow me and disassociate from me at any time. I am not their ruler*.
If I attempt to enter into a voluntary agreement with someone else, and you tell me that I can’t, then how do I not have a ruler? In fact, I’m quite far from being an arkhos, aren’t I? I have a ruler: you. The ruler is the one who mandates that I cannot enter into this voluntarily agreement; the ruler is the one who requires that I not enter into this voluntary agreement.
* To be fair, I would also say that I am not their leader, either. Except, perhaps, in the case of a few examples–two in particular, those same two to whom I posted videos a while back. But let’s not get into that.
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.
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.
Call it a failure to stay on top of things if you’d like, but one way or another I had no idea that McAfee was still remotely interested in the 2016 presidential race; I wasn’t aware that he was willing to “fracture the party” as so many people accuse Darryl Perry of doing. The truth, though, is that McAfee isn’t fracturing anything, and neither is Perry; there was never any chance that I was going to vote for Gary Johnson, and I’ve been clear from the start that I’ve intended to write in John McAfee even though Gary Johnson won the nomination. My loyalty is to liberty, not to the nominee of the Libertarian Party.
These two should be aligned. My loyalty to liberty should mean that I am loyal to the Libertarian Party and its presidential candidate. However, that is not the case this year, as Gary Johnson and Bill Weld are running a campaign that is contrary to the principles of liberty and, in many cases, to the actual party platform.
I’m an anarcho-capitalist, so why don’t I support Darryl Perry? That’s just it: Darryl Perry is an anarcho-capitalist. We are talking about the Libertarian Party, not the Anarcho-Capitalist Party. Obviously, there is no AnCap Party–there can never be one–and the party to which we AnCaps most closely align is the Libertarian Party. I’ve often had people accuse me of wanting the LP to become the AnCap Party, but that isn’t the case; I want the Libertarian Party to nominate libertarians, not anarcho-capitalists.
In the long-run, of course, it is my position that libertarianism would lead to anarcho-capitalism, just as classical liberalism led to libertarianism. If we don’t include the rise of Fascism in the 20th century, that would be the case, anyway, but that’s really just a stern warning that we must always stay on guard against regressing back toward authoritarianism and losing the right to self-governance. We did used to be a society of classical liberals. Now we’re a society of fascists. I’ll substantiate that claim some other time, but if you’re reading this about why you should vote for John McAfee, then chances are you already know what I mean.
There’s some confusion about what distinguishes a minarchist from a libertarian. Quite a bit, actually, as minarchists and libertarians address totally different things. A lot of people think they’re synonyms; they’re not. A minarchist believes in a minimal state–one that provides for hospitals, schools, roads, or other similar things. There’s some debate among minarchists about what the state should provide, but it’s not important for our conversation. One way or another, the minarchist position is that some degree of state is necessary in order to provide for some services.
The Libertarian position, however, is that the role of the state should be to protect liberty. That’s it. That’s where the role of the state begins and ends to the libertarian. “Taxation is theft,” says the libertarian, while taxation is the only viable way of paying for the roads, hospitals, and schools that the minarchists want. So right there, we find a critical distinction between them.
An anarchist is someone who holds that the state is fundamentally and constitutionally incapable of protecting liberty and that it’s very existence is, in fact, an assault on liberty. This is the position that I hold. However, I know enough about human nature and power vacuums to know that abolishing the state today would do absolutely no good; before the end of the year, we would have simply produced a new state that rose in the vacuum. The goal of classical liberalism was to put 51% of the power back into the hands of the people. The goal of minarchism is to put 75% of the power back into the hands of the people. The goal of libertarianism is to put 99% of the power back into the hands of the people. The goal of anarchism is to put 100% of the power back into the hands of the people. To go from the 49% we have today under an unaccountable fascist government where we are tyrannized by a thousand bureuacratic despots to 100% would be an unmitigated disaster; the vacuum of power would be filled by the power-hungry, violent, and bloodthirsty, and it would immediately produce another state.
That’s my favorite thing to point out to people. What is the worst thing that could happen if we gave anarchy a chance? The absolute worst that could happen… is that we’d simply create another state. :/
Anyway, all that said, Darryl Perry is an Anarcho-Capitalist. I don’t know enough about his official platform, but I imagine that ideologically he is almost identical to John McAfee and to myself; the difference is that he’s an AnCap who is willing to become President and institute libertarian policy. Obviously, you can’t “institute” ancap policy. I don’t have a problem with this. I’m an anarcho-capitalist and I intend to vote, after all. It’s all about seeing the big picture and doing something in the short-term today that will pave the way for the future.
But that’s an excuse, really. Going from his positions, John McAfee could very well be an anarcho-capitalist himself.
The truth is that John McAfee has my support because he’s the first candidate who I’ve ever heard speak with whom I agreed 100%.
Voting for John McAfee is like voting for myself.
Perry wasn’t in the Stossel Debate. Maybe if he had been, I would have been torn between him and John McAfee, but, honestly, it seems that it would have been redundant for Perry to have been in the debate too. When you have two actual libertarians talking, both of whom actually understand the NAP and abide it, you’re not going to get much argument between them. You’ll hear me squee in those podcasts as the awesomeness that is John McAfee washed over and converted me.
Let’s not forget–I went into the debate as a Gary Johnson supporter. Just moments before the debate, I tweeted that it was pointless; they’re libertarians, so what could they possibly disagree about? Minutes into the debate, Johnson had revealed how horribly un-libertarian he is, and Petersen was rejected from the outset for actively speaking out against the NAP. Meanwhile, there was John McAfee, saying exactly what you’d expect a libertarian to say, sticking to the principles of liberty, and advocating the NAP.
People like saying that “no libertarian is libertarian enough for an AnCap.”
Bullshit. John McAfee is.
I don’t demand that libertarians be anarcho-capitalists. I demand that they be libertarians.
I don’t demand that the Libertarian Party nominate anarcho-capitalists. I demand that they nominate libertarians.
I don’t demand that the Libertarian Party become the anarcho-capitalist party. I demand that they be the Libertarian Party.
The Libertarian Party has failed us horrifically by giving us a candidate who doesn’t seem to have ever read anything about libertarian philosophy, a candidate who “Thinks everyone should have liberty, as long as they don’t want to do something that I really, really dislike,” and a candidate who breaks from the NAP in a number of places. To add insult to injury, they also gave us Bill Weld, after Gary Johnson called him “the original Libertarian.”
Lots of people have fallen for the trap. Yes, it’s a trap.
They say that we hare hurting the “liberty movement” by standing by the principles of liberty. No, seriously–they actually say that. I’ve had countless people tell me that I’m hurting the movement because I dare to stand by the principles that founded the movement, that are the movement. One person accused us of “sabotaging” the liberty movement.
I think these people could use a dictionary. Sabotage:
deliberately destroy, damage, or obstruct (something), especially for political or military advantage.
These people took the liberty movement, destroyed its principles–by their own admission–and twisted it into some liberty-leaning conservative “fiscally conservative, socially liberal” stuff that only resembles libertarianism in the way that, if you squint and turn your head and gouge out one of your eyes, I look kinda like Victoria Justice.
You’ve gotta squint really hard.
The principle of liberty is the NAP. Live and let live. A truce, as John McAfee and Judd Weiss rightly say. Liberty is tolerance; it is maximized tolerance. It is “I do not agree or support what you say and do, but as it does no harm to me or anyone else, I certainly will not stop you.”
Quote of the Day: “Gary Johnson looks like a libertarian in the same way that I look like Victoria Justice.”
This watering down of the principles, twisting them and distorting them, and sometimes outright discarding them is, by definition, sabotaging the movement.
Imagine if the Communist Party had an influx of Socialists, and the Socialists nominated a Socialist to be the presidential candidate of the Communist Party. Now imagine that the Communists in the party were ridiculed, mocked, and told that they were hurting the communist movement. Now imagine that the Communist Presidential candidate goes on television and tells people that his socialism is what “Communism is all about,” so masses upon masses upon masses of people come to believe that communism is socialism. Now imagine the sheer audacity, the arrogance, the stupidity, the deceit, the self-deceit… of having one of those socialists tell the communist, “No, you’re hurting the communist movement. This [Socialist] candidate is what the communist party is really about! We’re helping the movement! We’re growing the movement!”
No. You’re not.
You’re tainting the communist movement by twisting it into the socialist movement.
Worse yet, you’re actively destroying the communist movement by taking the name of their movement and using it as your own for your socialist movement, all the while refusing to admit that there’s an enormous, fundamental difference between the socialism you’re peddling and actual communism. Now the rest of the world is looking at those few communists who are actually communists and who actually advocate the communist movement and calling them “wackos,” “extremists” and “fringe lunatics,” because they are taking their cues from you. You have redefined “communism.” Whereas it once was a reflection of the communist movement, it has become a reflection of the socialist movement, and you’ve muddied the waters so much that no one even knows the difference, and those few who do know the difference are busy being attacked by you for daring to stand by the principles of the movement and for daring to try to stop you from destroying it.
You are not helping the liberty movement by turning it into some twisted “liberty-lite conservativist small government” movement that calls itself the “liberty movement.” You are, in fact, actively destroying the actual liberty movement. And you’re so convinced that you’re absolutely right, so convinced of your own self-righteous glory, and so convinced of your ultimate rightness that you are incapable of seeing that you are the reason it has become impossible to nominate an actual libertarian.
A: “We’re the x movement, and we’re built on y principle.”
B: “Yep, it’s great.”
A: “So let’s nominate someone who stands by y principle.”
B: “No. Let’s nominate someone who stands against y principle half the time, and who argues z principle the other half.”
A: “No, let’s not.”
C: “I agree with B.”
A: “But y is literally the principle of our movement.”
B: “We’re still the x movement, even if we don’t support y. Our nominee’s z positions are vaguely similar to y. Support our nominee. Stop trying to hurt the movement.”
A: “No. We’re x movement, and we stand with y principle.”
B: “You’re sabotaging the x movement.”
A: “The nominee doesn’t stand by the x movement’s principles!”
B: “Stop trying to sabotage the x movement.”
This is what has happened with the Libertarian Party. And we are the heretics.
I’d never even heard the word “purist” thrown at a libertarian until this election. Previously, I heard “not a libertarian” and “is a libertarian.” The idea that someone could be a libertarian without being… a libertarian… was nonsense. Maybe people were throwing it out in 2008, I don’t know; I was a bit young then. 2012 I wrote in Ron Paul anyway. I might have voted for Johnson, I don’t recall. It was a decision I struggled with. Loyalty is important to me. Once I pick a candidate, I pick a candidate.
Come to think of it, having an LNC nominate a candidate is somewhat counter to the party’s principles anyway. It’s not fully counter to it, but it doesn’t make sense. The Libertarian Party should handle its candidates exactly how it’s doing, except that an “official” nomination shouldn’t have been given to Johnson. We don’t do it that way with other offices–in fact, that’s been a problem in the past, with that Invictus clown who declared himself a libertarian. No LNC nominated him to be the party’s candidate. He simply said he was, and thus he was a libertarian candidate for that office.
Why do we change the rules when we’re discussing the Presidency?
The Libertarian Party just generally does strange stuff when it comes to the White House. Nominating a candidate at all is a great symbol of that. John McAfee is a Libertarian presidential candidate because he says he is. End of story, just like Invictus was a Libertarian representative candidate because he said he was.
That is something that needs to be addressed and fixed: the Libertarian Party’s insanity regarding the Oval Office. The party totally loses its mind when it starts looking at the White House, and I think that we even have an “official” candidate is the best example of that–if not that, then how about the fact that this “official” candidate stands counter to the party’s platform?
I had no idea that McAfee was still interested in the 2016 race. This is probably my fault for not following him closely, but half of the stuff he shares–if not 90%–is regarding his I.T. firm, not politics, and many of his official candidate accounts have been quiet since the LNC stupidly gave the nomination to a guy who couldn’t possibly stand up to Trump and Hillary. Even after my endorsement, I made it clear that it was still a toss-up, and that I might still vote for McAfee. There’s no “might” to it now.
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.
A few days ago, I watched the American media and the two leading presidential candidates stumble in confusion over whether or not they were allowed to call an explosive device a “bomb.” I watched Trump be criticized for using “the b-word” and then I watched Hillary, mere seconds after criticizing Trump for it, call the thing a “bomb,” and I watched the media frantically dance around and try to paint one incident or the other in a better light.
This election, I’ve seen CNN edit videos so that a young girl who explicitly calls for violence and the burning down of white people’s homes instead sounds like she’s advocating peace; in other words, they flipped her message 180 degrees, quietly issued an apology through a nobody affiliate on Twitter, and then buried the truth. I’ve watched CBS edit interviews with Bill Clinton to cut out things that they didn’t like, and then, as CNN did, hide behind the same bullshit “We edited it for the time allotted… It’s just an unfortunate coincidence that we cut out something that would, by itself, have been newsworthy.”
I’ve watched the Washington Post, which rode the tail of the leak to win journalism awards, turn around and condemn Edward Snowden with an editorial that argued he shouldn’t be pardoned. I’ve watched a presidential candidate’s son comparing Syrian refugees to a bowl of Skittles where some of them are poisoned, only to have someone stupidly respond, “Are you suggesting that we eat refugees?”
And, most remarkably, after following the analogy of Trump’s son (which we could discuss, and whether or not it is fitting) with such a horrendously dumb-ass remark, the idiot didn’t go and bury himself for the crows to come and feast on his eyes.
What in the hell has happened?
I’m too young to remember a time when journalists gave a shit about the truth. As long as I’ve been an adult, journalists have had angles, and the closest I’ve ever come to believing in the fairness of a journalist was just before Anderson Cooper got his own show on CNN. Prior to that, I thought he was just a guy trying to do what he thought was decent.
The entire thing is a game, as the alt-right has made clear. These people like Milo Yiannopoulos–they don’t believe the racist shit they say. They are professional trolls, and they’re good at it. There is overwhelming evidence of this. They are playing a game, and they know that they are playing a game, and that’s okay, because they’re good at it. When I see national news networks editing interviews and videos to drastically alter the message, it seems inescapable that it’s not just the alt-right that is trolling.
It’s the entire media.
It says a lot that one of the Tweet responses that Trump’s song received and that was broadcasted at Raw Story is the one that stupidly asks, “Are you proposing we should eat refugees?”
Motherfucker, do you have a brain?
I would be ashamed to say something like that. And while this person (gods willing) doesn’t appear to have been a journalist, it’s hardly important, because this is the world journalists have created, by pulling shit exactly like that.
Social media could have helped, but we immediately turned to the algorithms to protect us and create our own echo chambers. Go to any Trump supporter’s Google News feed, and you’ll find it filled with pro-Trump articles. Go to any libertarian’s Facebook page, and you’ll find their feed conspicuously missing pro-Hillary people.
They attempted to address this by leaving their algorithms “context-neutral.” That is, the algorithm doesn’t care if you liked a video or disliked a video; the algorithm doesn’t care if you +1’d a post, Liked a post, or left a scathing comment. Did you interact with the post? If so, posts like that are added to the “stuff you’re interested in” pile and become more likely to be served to you. This doesn’t help the issue with people being exposed to contradicting information; it only ensures that we have two types of echo chambers: those filled with circle jerks, and those filled with angry yelling.
The only way to fix this is to consciously look for the things you don’t want to see. Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Youtube all exist to help you find the things that you do want to see. This isn’t a problem–it’s what they exist to do, after all. But more and more these are important tools of communication, spreading the DNC Leaks even as the media attempted to ignore them, revealing the truth of the video edits even as major networks obviously tried to hide them, and giving us a way to communicate directly, in a p2p way, bypassing the server altogether.
Social media networks were not made to accommodate that, though, and so the onus falls to us to destroy our own echo chambers. This is all the more difficult because half of everyone is lying, and the other half is stupid. You can’t rely on Facebook because it will serve you memes that are demonstrably false, because no one is willing to take ten seconds out of their day to fact check the damned thing–If it’s on the Internet, it must be true.
I’ve written about this before, and how, in the long-run, the prospects for American society are extremely bleak. We are all racing to the desert to bury our heads in the sand, and we’re somehow totally unaware that we’re doing. We are just a few decades from people who will go their entire lives without ever hearing the words “presidential election.” Such a bizarre thing to imagine today, I know. But just apply what we’ve discussed here and look forward.
These algorithms aren’t going anywhere. In fact, they’ll only get better.
How can you express an interest in something that you don’t know even exists? That is the question that will bury our heads in the sand and leave us firmly under the grip of a ruling elite; it is precisely what will make us the disinterested proles of Orwell’s 1984. Furthermore, it is exactly what these algorithms will produce. It’s not simply journalism that is the problem; the problem with journalism is that it’s merely a reflection of American values.
And these are American values:
It’s actually worse than this. The first article is about the recent American bombings. The second article is about Trump’s response to it. The third, we finally get to the horrendous state of affairs in Syria–which deserves its own article, but I don’t have time for that right now. The fourth, an article about how George H. W. Bush is voting for Hillary. Fifth, an article about the wage gap that is probably 99% bullshit and 1% outright lies. I say this because the preview here cites the wage gap for women at around 19%, while research shows 1.9% would be much more accurate (but still too high in most industries).
This isn’t how humans were meant to live.
Isn’t it time we took back the world from these psychopaths and trolls?
That is the state. The other people were our parents and grandparents, who set up this world in the fucked state that it’s in, and we inherited it without questioning it. Just like they did, we started standing up when the bell rang. We didn’t ask “Why?” and we didn’t consider remaining seated. We just blindly followed them, doing what they did, even as the entire planet was engulfed in war. It’s so bad that I’ve heard people characterize this state of affairs as “world peace.”
No, really. I’ve been asked on Quora, “Isn’t Donald Trump a threat to world peace?”
A threat to–
A THREAT TO WORLD PEACE?! ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!
What the hell part of the world is at peace? If this is what world peace looks like, then it is my deepest hope that someone will rise up and threaten it. But, like everyone else, he isn’t thinking, the person who asked that question. He’s just standing up when he hears the bell, just like his pappy and grand pappy did.
And we have the power to change it overnight, almost instantly, simply by wanting to. We just have to stop standing for the fucking bell.
It’s pointless, isn’t it? I just scrolled through my Facebook feed, and this is what I found:
I’m fucking stunned.
Americans spent the weekend dealing with the bombs of a Muslim terrorist.
The Cease Fire in Syria was Dead on Arrival.
Americans killed nearly a hundred Syrian “allies.”
Syrian “allies” killed dozens of UN humanitarian workers.
BUT ANGELINA AND BRAD ARE DIVORCING OMG OMG OMG OMG