Tag Archive | and coercion

Stop Virtue Signaling.

It’s been a weird few days.

The Neo-Nazis have done more to make fascists out of libertarians than Molyneaux, Cantwell, and all the Jared Howes of the world could ever have dreamed; in one single day, they managed to take countless people who otherwise advocate the NAP and turn them into irrational hawks screaming for bloodshed. As one of a relatively small group of people advocating calm, peace, and dialogue, I’ve found myself insulted more in the last five days by allies than I have been by enemies across two years of being trans in the south. People who have routinely disagreed with me amicably about the radical/pragmatic split suddenly resort to insulting me.

If there is any succinct and honest way to describe what’s going on, it would be this:

The word “Nazi” has #triggered lots and lots of people.

I was surprised, honestly, on Sunday night to have host of the show Thom Gray yelling at me, angry and hostile, because I had the audacity to ask what the Neo-Nazis had actually done. He was angry. He wasn’t interested in hearing anything that I said, because he instead wanted to shout over me. That brief segment of Libertarian Drama of the Week was basically a preview of everything that has been going on since–right now, it is simply about who shouts the most and who shouts the loudest.

And virtue signaling. Oh, by God, there is so much virtue signaling right now that I’ve not scrolled through my Facebook feed since Sunday morning. Every other post is an open admission that they want to inflict violence on people they disagree with, because they disagree with them, and because the point of disagreement is something that they consider really, really, really awful. Hey, I totally agree. White Nationalism is horrific and stupid, Nazism is horrific and stupid, and the alt-right’s ideology is stupid.

And the fact that I don’t let the presence of Neo-Nazis reduce me to a drooling mess shouting and carrying a pitchfork somehow makes me less moral than the people itching to take up arms. That has been what I’ve observed. Two distinct cliques have formed, divided entirely on this issue, and the allegations coming from the other side are constant and bizarre. Just a little while ago, Vermin Supreme posted in the Audacious Caucus’s Facebook page that if you say something negative about Antifa and you don’t also say something negative about the Neo-Nazis, then you’re going to be taken as a Nazi sympathizer.

What kind of divisive, Us and Them bullshit is this?

When I condemn the United States’ actions in the Middle East, does that suggest or imply that I’m an Isis sympathizer?

It’s a measure of the loss of perspective that has occurred because of That Word–that Word of Pure Evil. I reject all Us and Them bullshit, and this is merely a new form of that. Whether they intended to or not, Vermin Supreme and all the others who are saying such things are carving the world in two and asserting, “You either explicitly condemn them every chance that you get, or you’re with them.”

It is the purest form of virtue signaling, least of all because none of these people seem to be making trips to the southern states to “punch a Nazi.” That’s what makes it virtue signaling. Not even 1% of these people are doing anything to punch Nazis. I would be more inclined to take them seriously and treat them as ideological equals if they were doing that, but they’re not. They’re just virtue signaling about how they want to punch Nazis, and, in the process, throwing absolute vitriol at me because I’ve proposed an alternative solution to dealing with the rise of Neo-Nazism, and have actually taken steps to implement that alternative solution: I’ve reached out to The Non-Believer, Atheism is Unstoppable, Chris Cantwell, and Molyneaux. I want to talk to them. And if they reply, I’m going to reach out to people like Michael Moore and other leaders on the left, and try to organize a sit-down for people to talk about this shit before it gets out of hand.

That’s a lot better than punching people, if you ask me, and it’s several orders of magnitude better than endlessly spouting on Facebook about the desire to punch people with no effort or intention of actually doing so. Posting about wanting to punch Nazis isn’t the same as actually punching Nazis. And I wouldn’t even have a problem with the people posting about wanting to punch Nazis if they weren’t bending over backward to take everything I say out of context, to twist what I say into bizarre and nonsensical forms, to insult me, to berate me, and to treat me like I’m some kind of scum because I’m not willing to signal the virtue that they want me to signal.

If you want to signal virtue about how much you hate Nazis, fine. I hate them, too, and have written at length about what’s wrong with their ideology. But don’t you fucking dare look down your nose at me because you’ve confused your virtue signaling with actually doing something. Talking about your desire to punch them on Facebook and Twitter isn’t going to do anything to stop them. And, you know what? Going out and punching them isn’t going to do anything to stop them, either; it will just reinforce what they already believe. But whatever. Actually going out and attacking them is a different subject entirely.

When Thom yelled at me on The Call to Freedom, it was before and after he’d stated multiple times how badly he wanted to go to Charlottesville and kick in some skulls. Am I missing something? These people aren’t hard to find, especially in Tennessee and Mississippi. I’d bet that he lives within ten miles of at least fifteen of these people. See, the thing is… People who want to do something… do it. It’s sort of how “desire” works. And if someone doesn’t do something, it serves as ipso facto proof that they don’t want to do it.

What do they want? They want to talk about punching Nazis. They want to make sure everyone knows what their virtues are, and they want to look down with disdain at anyone who dares express virtues that, you know, are actually in-line with the Non-Aggression Principle.

I intended to talk once more about how violence and force are the mechanics of the state, and so anyone who attempts to use violence and force to achieve a political or social goal, even if that goal is “getting rid of the Neo-Nazis” is, by definition, attempting to be a state, an Army of One, a dictator, a tyrant who backs up their moral proclamations with guns and bloodshed. Because that’s true, too–it’s the definition of “the state” that libertarians have been using for a long time. It must be the definition, because a single bloodthirsty tyrant ruling over a small village and enforcing his decrees personally is still a state.

But instead, the virtue signaling… It’s well past the point of obnoxious.

You want to punch Nazis? Stop talking about it and go do it.

Otherwise, come down off your high horse and admit that you’re full of shit. And stop pretending like you’re morally superior because you’re too chicken shit to do it yourself and instead want to cheer on for other people while they fight your battles for you.

Let’s Have A [Trade] War

Recently, a Chinese official warned that they don’t want a Trade War but, if there is one, then the United States would lose. I think this shows a lot of confusion about what is meant by “trade war,” because there isn’t a winner or loser in a trade war. Well, at least not in the sense that the Chinese government can win a trade war and the American corporations can lose one. In fact, the winners of a trade war are consumers, and the losers are producers. A trade war would be a good thing for the American People.

People talk about a possible trade war, and I get excited–fuck. Yes. Bring it on, please. There’s not a better way to save our economy than a trade war. As long as it doesn’t escalate into an actual war, there is absolutely nothing to fear from a trade war–in fact, they happen all the time, and they’re to be desired, because competition is the key element that drives down the cost of production by encouraging companies and nations to increase efficiency, cut waste, and lower prices.

But let’s get to a real example to explain what I mean.

Consider the Foxconn hardware, which has its various devices used in all sorts of consumer items from iPhones to Acer laptops. There are also Foxconn network cards–though they’re increasingly uncommon, and I think Realtek usurped them and Foxconn became just the chip manufacturer… It’s complicated and not really important to the point at hand–so consumers in the United States can buy Foxconn directly.

In real terms, a trade war with China would mean that they intentionally drove down the price of Foxconn hardware in order to drive American manufacturers of out of business. It’s similar to how Wal-Mart has a history of lowering prices to drive other companies out of business. It’s the same principle here: take a loss now to annihilate the competition, and then enjoy a monopoly.

But oops! We’ve already seen the problem, haven’t we? Indeed, there is no American manufacturer that competes with Foxconn. America doesn’t make network cards, are you kidding me? We may nor may not have research teams that devise new chipsets that are leased to other companies, like NVidia does, but I don’t think we even have that. So the grand effect from China driving down the cost of the devices manufactured by Foxconn would simply be to lower Apple’s and Acer’s costs in producing new iPhones and laptops. If it costs less money for Apple and Acer to make laptops, then that benefits consumers, even if it’s not at a 1:1 ratio. I mean, if Apple saves 3%, we wouldn’t see a 3% drop in iPhone prices, but we would see some drop–possibly 0.5% or even 1%.

We know this to be true, because it was only about a month ago that I finally replaced the television that broke down last year. The one that broke down last year was an off-brand I’d purchased from RadioShack for $200. It was a 27 inch television that didn’t handle 1920×1080 especially well, though it did do it. I replaced it with a 32 inch Sanyo television that cost $128 after taxes. Regrettably, the universe conspired to throw that television from my wall, where its screen smashed rather unceremoniously on my hardwood floor, but I can still buy another 32 inch Sanyo–not imminently, though in a few months, when things have calmed down–and will effectively have bought two larger televisions for a price only slightly higher than what I paid for one smaller television a number of years ago.

We lose sight of how much progress we have made in the United States, and how high our standard of living is, because we enjoy all the luxuries of modern society. Fifteen years ago, a 70 inch television would have been unheard of, and would have been either an imaginary item or a pipe dream for the majority of Americans. Today, you can get one for about $1,000. I remember one Black Friday sale around 2004 that Wal-Mart put 27 inch televisions on sale for under $100. But they weren’t flat screens, lol. They were enormous, about the size of a mini-fridge, and maybe had a single composite and coax input. Fast forward to last year, and Black Friday saw sales of 27 inch flatscreens capable of 1080p with 3 HDMI inputs, 2 composite inputs, 1 component input, 1 USB input, and 1 VGA input for the same price.

This is the hidden progress that Americans generally haven’t noticed. We complain about the American poor not making any progress, completely glossing over the fact that in less than 2 decades the American poor went from buying the gigantic CRT-type televisions while only the wealthy could afford LCD screens to having multiple LCD screen televisions, most of them ranging from “very large” to “uselessly large.”

Do you remember when a “big screen tv” meant this gigantic thing that took up an entire living room wall and was two feet deep? Do you remember when that “big screen tv” was a big deal, when it was a point of pride to own one? Again, just compare that to today, when it’s a rarity for someone to not have a widescreen, LCD television pushing at least 720p. The cost of televisions has steadily gone down over the decades, as a result of competition and things like the Foxconn example I gave above. It probably wouldn’t be instant, but the price of phones and laptops would steadily lower as the savings get passed onto consumers, who don’t stop to realize that they’re buying the iPhone 7S today for the same price that they’d have bought the iPhone 6S only a year before, only now the 7S is the latest and greatest and the 6S is a model or two behind. We haven’t stopped to notice that we’re routinely buying and discarding televisions that would have cost three children, half an arm, and one testicle twenty years ago for a half of week of minimum wage labor today.

The other direction that China could go is to increase prices. This also only benefits the United States. It’s a simple matter of supply and demand, and the relationship between them setting the price. Just as selling something for less than it’s actually worth will create a shortage of that item, so will selling something for more than it’s worth create a surplus of that item. One hundred people may be willing to license a Foxconn chipset for $0.50, but if only fifty people are willing to license the chipset for $0.75, then Foxconn has lost money, and that’s how economics works, and why economics always uses curves.

Demand and supply lines are only straight in simplistic economic exercises. In the real world, things never work that way. If I can make one hundred televisions for $50 each, that doesn’t mean I can double production and make two hundred televisions for $50 each. Average laws tell us that I would expect doubling the production to increase costs to about $60 per television. It works in terms of selling things, too, and is the reason that everyone in the world is used to things being cheaper when bought in bulk. One roll of toilet paper may be sold for fifty cents, but four rolls of toilet paper will be sold for $1.50, not $2. This is mathematically a curve, of course, because it’s obviously not a linear progression.

It’s obvious when we stop to think about it, and it’s the reason that a trade war–artificial changing of prices–benefits consumers and ultimately hurts producers. The consumer benefits from buying 4 rolls of toilet paper for $1.50 instead of buying four individual rolls for fifty cents apiece. The consumer has benefit from all the technological innovations and pricing wars over the last twenty years, and now a widescreen, flatscreen LCD television is as much a staple in American homes as the microwave. Oh, there’s another, of course. Microwave ovens were once the property of the rich and wealthy. Today, they’re so cheap and abundant that entire YouTube channels exist of people microwaving random things in order to destroy them. Ditto for refrigerators, washing machines, driers, hair blow driers, and just about any-damn-thing else you can think of.

It wouldn’t be all sunshine and daisies if China foolishly took this route, but it would, in the longrun, help the United States. There is a demand for Foxconn devices, after all. If I can produce bananas so cheaply that I can sell them at a cost that no one can compete with, then the bar of entry is so high that new companies won’t be able to enter the banana production industry. They won’t have the resources or knowledge necessary to compete with me, the very same reason that we see companies like Microsoft dominating industries with inferior products and shady business practices. There’s really nothing that can be done about this except wait until their monopoly destroys itself, because monopolies are self-destructing in the market.

As a monopoly dominates, it grows larger. This increases waste, inefficiency, and loss, not just because production costs and profits don’t scale linearly, but also because competition is the driving force that minimizes waste, inefficiency, and loss. Without someone to compete with in the OS market, Microsoft can release one terrible Operating System after the other, and practically force an “upgrade” onto everyone, while also losing money and absorbing losses due to bad ideas, waste, and inefficiency. They continue to grow, of course, because they’re the only option, and this only generates more waste, inefficiency, and bad ideas. With more and more money being lost to these things, Microsoft has to raise prices to continue making money, so Microsoft Office 2016 goes from $199 to $249. At first, this is bad for consumers, but it also means that a new company making an Office competitor has an extra bit of padding they can work with to improve their software. Maybe they couldn’t afford to implement this feature, because it would have increased the price of their software from $180 to $210, and selling their software for $210 would have made it more expensive than Office. Office, being the champion already and being cheaper, would win that contest. But if Microsoft has to mitigate its increased waste and inefficiency by increasing prices to $249, then the new competitor can implement that feature and still be cheaper than Microsoft Office.

Maybe the company American Network Chip Manufacturers would like to make its own chips, but can’t afford to because Foxconn’s chips are so much cheaper. Foxconn raising the cost of its chips just might mean that ANCM can finally afford to hire American manufacturers and still produce a chip that is cheaper than Foxconn’s. Oh, no, what a disaster! Hiring Americans and creating American manufacturing jobs?! Woe is me, how awful!

Although such a thing would still result in higher prices for consumers, which is the problem with protectionism and tariffs. If we put a 20% tariff on Mexican bananas and Jose starts selling his previous $1 ea bananas for $1.20 to cover the tariff, then obviously it’s the people buying bananas who are paying for the tariff, not Jose. But it’s a bit of a double-edged sword, because it also means that American Banana Producer can now charge up to $1.19 per banana and still beat out Jose in the market. Maybe American Banana Producer was about to go out of business because its banana costs can’t be lowered beyond $1.10. This is bad for consumers, who now pay ten cents more to buy an American banana picked by an American worker, but it also means there is now another American manufacturer with a job. And though banana farming isn’t the most lucrative industry, I would guess, industrial manufacturing jobs generally are.

It’s true that we’ve become a society of service people. Very, very little is manufactured in the United States, and that is a problem in the grand scheme of things. The only reason it works now is because much of the world hasn’t noticed that we’re giving them sheets of paper in exchange for actual goods they manufacture, but that gravy train is inevitably going to crash. I make a living fixing, installing, and configuring computers and networks, almost none of the components of which are manufactured in the United States. What happens to my job, when the USD collapses and China, Japan, and South Korea stop accepting the USD as payment? I’ll have nothing to service if Americans can’t buy the things I service. The very existence of our service-centric economy–from auto mechanics to gas station employees to I.T. people to fast food workers–is dependent upon the USD and the willingness of manufacturers to accept it. The moment–and I mean the very moment–that they stop, the United States will enter a depression that makes the Great Depression look like Disneyland. And that’s not hyperbole; the entire American economy will collapse, virtually overnight. The only reason it persists today is that we’ve managed to keep the world using a dollar standard–often by invading nations who want to stop accepting it. That can’t last forever.

Even so, the way out of that is obvious. It would take a while and would be tremendously unpleasant, but the solution would be to re-open all the American factories that have since been exported to China, Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea. A trade war with China would allow this to happen slowly, as opposed to all at once with the collapse of the USD, but it’s inevitable. The chips will fall eventually, and the gravy train will be derailed. We can count on it with as close to absolute certainty as a person can get. Having it happen slowly and over a years-long trade war with China would drastically reduce the hardship, starvation, and interim poverty. Having it happen suddenly at some unknown point in the future will result in widespread starvation. And that’s just a fucking fact.

So yeah. Bring on the trade war. Let’s do it. Let’s get it over with. The longer we kick the can down the road, the more devastating it’s going to be when it finally happens–like the requests to raise the Minimum Wage that are the most blatant examples of kicking the can down the road that we can look to. The Minimum Wage is a Price Floor on the price of labor, of course, and is only “necessary” because the market price of some labor is lower than the Minimum Wage. There’s a disparity between what a job is worth to an employer and what an employer has to pay, so any non-critical task results in a fired employee, because the employer isn’t going to pay someone $7.25 an hour to clean windows when the market price of a window cleaner is $2.50 an hour. So increasing the Minimum Wage just causes a greater overlap between “non-critical tasks” and “not worth it to pay someone to do,” the result of which is unemployment.

Economic law tells us that reckoning is going to happen sooner or later. The market will come to equilibrium one way or another, and it won’t be pretty when it happens. We should be reducing the Minimum Wage–or abolishing it altogether, I’d prefer–incrementally until such time as we can abolish it, not increasing it. Making the disparity greater is the dumbest thing we could do. Let’s get it over with. Let’s crash the train.

Let’s have a war.

As long as force, violence, and coercion are forbidden and it remains a market matter solved by non-violent competition, of course.

TASVideos: Law & Order Without a State

I don’t talk about it much, but I have more than a passing interest in Tool-Assisted Speedruns and, though I’m not particularly active in the community, I’m a member at tasvideos.org and once was working on a TAS for Gun-Nac. I ultimately abandoned it, because it’s an auto-scroller where I could only aim for Highest Points, a goal that was not much higher than just “Get weapon upgrades, Hold A, don’t die.”

Recently, I wrote that we have examples of anarchy all around us–that is, we have examples of people solving complex problems without relying on force, violence, and coercion all around us. I gave then the example of IEEE, a completely independent, non-governmental body that prescribes guidelines for communication technology. IEEE is the reason that you can connect your any-brand phone to any-brand Wi-Fi that itself is connected to any-brand gateway and access the Internet–a phenomenal achievement by anyone’s standards.

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

precedentNow, put aside your reaction of laughter, that people are discussing something of such insignificance with such gravitas, because people are interested in things that you’re not interested in. If you spend any time at TASVideos, you’ll learn that people take it very, very seriously–and that’s okay. That’s great, in fact. It’s no more silly that they take it seriously than that Bubba has a New York Giants football jersey and won’t miss a single game. Other people laugh that I take politics and anarchism so seriously.

But even taking it seriously, the people at TASVideos aren’t frothing at the mouth and launching into irate tirades. This does happen, but it’s almost always new members doing it. It’s why one of my favorite places on the site is the Gruefood Forum section. It’s surprisingly common. Someone will discover a TAS on Youtube–presumably–and think “I can do that!” and proceed to make one. Without any further anything, they submit it to the site. This never goes over well, because by the eighty-ninth time you see someone publish a Super Mario Bros. run that is seven hours slower than the published run, you begin to lose patience with these people who can’t bother to find out what the site even is. TASVideos, of course, is a repository of the best TAS Videos, not a place for someone to showcase how good they are at TASing, or whether or not they can TAS. Youtube is the home of the latter.

Anyway, it’s a remarkable thing. The site has rules–lots and lots of them–and plenty of structure. There are categories upon categories, and some of the best reading material are the 14 page discussions where they decide whether or not they are going to allow the creation of a new category. It’s truly fascinating stuff. Often, they extensively discuss whether something meets the guidelines for Moon Tier, the Vault, or wherever else.

I know what you’re thinking, though. “That system of administrators who ultimately act out the forum’s wishes–that’s the state and its representatives.” You’d be right that those people are, strictly speaking, representatives. However, they don’t function as representatives do, because what we have at TASVideos is more analogous to direct democracy than representative democracy. As far as I’ve seen, the site administrators and moderators, while their opinions do go a long way, don’t make unilateral decisions on behalf of the people they “represent” and instead basically are figureheads that enact the results of various votes.

How has TASVideos kept off a slew of bullshit, unentertaining videos? By policing itself to remarkable effect, just as IEEE and the tech world does. There is no one going through the forums with a billy club threatening to kidnap people and throw them in prison if they don’t comply. If you don’t want to abide their guidelines and standards, they will shun you from the community. Seeing as the Amish typically shun people, no one can expect to be taken seriously that shunning someone is an act of aggression. So we have an example in the Digital World and we have an example in the real world, of small communities rising and developing their own codes and guidelines, and using those rules in the absence of a state, to maintain order, productivity, and cooperation.

We laugh–I’m sure you’re laughing–that anything that happens at TASVideos could possibly serve as an example of why we can abolish the United States Government–and all world states. I encountered that recently when I pointed out to Tyler Preston that Maghribi traders of the 11th century organized international trade without the benefit of the postal service, telephones, telegraphs, and the Internet; they needed a way to ensure that their employees at a distant port were truly working in their best interest, and they came up with one. It worked beautifully. Tyler said, “Meh. 11th century Maghribi traders? Big whoop. But the diamond traders you mentioned… That’s serious business.”

Indeed, it’s serious business either way. I thought we’d established that earlier. The NFL doesn’t go around with billy clubs and guns to kidnap its players and force them to comply–it censures them and shuns them when necessary. Tyler seemed to interpret “Maghribi” to refer to some type of good that was valuable in the 11th century. However, “Maghribi” refers to a type of merchant–the Maghreb–and not the good that was being traded. It was, basically, a nationality. They may have been trading anything from life-saving salt to gold to the diamonds that are, as Tyler admits, “serious business.”

At TASVideos, we see a community extensively discussing precedents. They’ve even brought up different precedents. One person pointed out how the Japanese rom of Dragon’s Lair obsoleted the American version of Dragon’s Lair because it was 20% faster. Another person countered that Super Metroid set the example otherwise. I stopped reading at that point, to write this, but I guarantee you that the conversation continued as they determined which precedent was more appropriate and finally came to a decision.

Anarchists sometimes disagree about what anarchy is. I don’t really care. Atheists disagree about what atheism is. There’s only one definition that is true of every single atheist out there, though: an atheist is someone who does not believe that there are gods or a god. Some will tell you that an atheist believes that there is no god, and others will tell you that an atheist merely rejects the theist gods and doesn’t address the deist one. It’s irrelevant. Our task is to find a definition that applies to all of these different people, and only then can we know what “an atheist” really is. The only universally applicable definition is the one that I gave: an atheist is someone who lacks the belief that there are gods or a god.

Similarly, anarchists have this problem. Some say that it means there is no hierarchy. Some say it means there is no government. Some say that it means there are no rulers. Once more, our task here is to find the definition that applies to all anarchists, not just one subset of anarchists. When we do this, we find that anarchy must be defined as the condition where there is no state. If there is no state, then there is no one using force, violence, and coercion to achieve their goals. It’s readily apparent, then, that any time people solve problems without the use of aggression, they are showcasing an example of anarchy.

And TASVideos gives us yet another look into how, exactly, this functions.

It is interesting to me that, unlike in the real world, we don’t see at any of these online communities people crying things like, “This is what I think, and anyone who disagrees is stupid and should have to go alone with what I want!” In fact, they would reject such an awful idea. They may or may not acquiesce to a vote through direct democracy, but there are usually good reasons for this, and they’re more than likely to err on the side of caution–this is true in any online community. And even then, the price is never anything that rings with the finality of force, violence, and coercion.

One day, some enterprising individual bought the domain name for TASVideos, and they soon put together a community. Through totally voluntary cooperation, they came together and they worked together. No one ever beat the hell out of anyone else, no one ever killed anyone else, and no one ever threw anyone else into prison. There were undoubtedly disagreements, especially in those early days, as powerful personalities each wanted to take the site different directions. But still, no one was ever beaten, robbed, or kidnapped.

Today we have a community that comprises untold members, and it functions well–very well. See the above linked image I took from a screenshot, where they are discussing honest-to-fuck legal precedents, for all intents and purposes. It’s a beautiful thing–just people… doing stuff. And working together, because they know–as we’ve so often observed–that their own best interests are served in the long-term by working with others, by not being asshats.

I didn’t join the community and start calling everyone fags, after all. That would have harmed my own best interests. Maybe–stretching things a bit–I could have called everyone a fag and gotten my Gun-Nac video published by doing so. I never finished that stupid game and never came close to optimizing it, but that’s not the point. Would it have helped me any? No. The day would have come that I needed someone’s help, and no one would have offered it. I would have shot myself in the foot.

I don’t know how many members there are TASVideos, though I’m sure that info is readily available. I’m also sure that it’s much smaller today than it was six years ago, because so many of the most popular games are nailed to what we might as well call perfection. This is basically the reason I stopped being active on the site–there just aren’t really any games left. There are games left, of course–supremely technical ones that would require a year of research before a rom is even booted. TASVideos, in fact, is so good at doing what it set out to do that it succeeded. The best are there, exactly as they intended, and the odds that anyone is going to top the best…

Don’t even bother.

HappyLee’s run of Super Mario Bros. will tell you everything you need to know. I would not dare to imagine how many TASes of SMB he has made, but he has obsoleted his own video several times, each time moving closer to frame perfect precision. The video up now is one of such astounding technical perfection that it may very well be impossible to beat it. This is true of every single game that you would want to do–the Mega Man games, the Zelda games… They’re all nailed to what might as well be called perfection.

Not only did their system work, it set out to do exactly what it did, and it achieved it to a degree that can just about be called perfection. Is it perfection? Probably not. Maybe one day someone will beat HappyLee’s run. They nailed perfection, though, as closely as IEEE nailed perfection with its 802.11 standards for Wi-Fi.

Compare to the bumbling service offered up by the United States Postal Service.

 

The How and Why of Anarchy Part 4: The State, War, and Anarchy

Well, here we are, with three lengthy discussions behind us about the Free Market and the nature of the State. The main thing now to do is move on and ask ourselves… “If we know that Representation is inherently flawed, as is Democracy, and if we know that the Constitution has failedand we know that the Free Market solves the problems of Government better than Government itself does, then… what do we need to do, as a Society, to safeguard our Liberty, Lives, and our right to pursue happiness?”

On a brief note, if you dispute any part of the above question, then I encourage you to read Parts 1 through 3. All of these concepts are demonstrated clearly in the previous parts of this series. Representation has been shown to be inherently flawed (even if it was what we wanted it to be); Democracy has been known for thousands of years to be inherently flawed (a dictatorship over the few by the many); the Constitution has clearly failed to protect the rights which it was established to protect; the Free Market has been shown to handle issues like health care, Social Security, and Medicare much better than any Government ever could. All of these things are true and have already been demonstrated.

To continue, we must return to our previous definitions:

  • The State is the collective governmental body which oversees a given society. The State is a collective whole which, in the United States, consists of the Federal Government, all of its branches, and all pseudo-governmental agencies such as the Federal Reserve.
  • The Society is the collective body of People. It shouldn’t be necessary to point out that Societies do not require the existence of a State; the existence of a Society is independent of whether or not the Society has a Government. Any group of people of any size who work together, whether voluntarily or by being forced, is a Society.
  • Once a Society has a State over it, the two collectively are the Nation. That is, the Nation is a Society and its Government.

The question is that, since the State in its current incarnation (and all past incarnations) has clearly failed in its duty to act in our best interests and under the mantra of Liberty, what kind of State do we need?

If the goal is to protect our Lives, Liberty, and right to pursue happiness, then we need NO state. Governments are incapable of protecting any of these things, and Governments have, throughout all of human history, been proven to be detrimental to these things. Who causes war? Governments. This is at least true in the modern world, although it is true that, in the past, societies actually waged war against one another, but this comes from the days of ancient history and has not been true in a very, very long time. Moreover, wars against societies are much more localized and much less destructive than wars between Governments.

In the modern world, if there was no Government, there would be no war; there could be no war. In order to justify this statement, we have to stop the car and reverse a little bit. It’s one thing to say that Government is the cause of modern wars; it’s quite another to say that if we removed Government, there would be no war. Before I slam on the brakes, though, I want to point out that hardly a month goes by that I don’t get into a conversation with someone (generally under 30) who shows sincere confusion and says, “I don’t… I don’t get it. Why are we fighting? It’s the 21st century–shouldn’t we have… ‘evolved’… past war by now?”

Modern Warfare: Revolutions

The vast majority of warfare in the world today is insurrection and rebellion. These are not our concerns. Rebellions, revolutions, and insurrections happen, and there is nothing anyone will ever be able to do to stop it. As long as there is Government, there will be rebellions and insurrections. Without Government, there is nothing to revolt against. One cannot revolt against Society, because there is no such thing (as Part Two demonstratedas Society; there are only Individuals.

Revolutions happen when a Society (using the term colloquially; do not make the mistake of thinking that any “Society” actually exists) becomes unhappy with its Government to the point where Individuals are willing to risk their livelihoods and lives bringing it down and/or replacing it. This can happen because the Government is oppressive and totalitarian; this can happen because the Power in the Nation (Nation = Society + Government, remember) is concentrated almost entirely in the Government or because power is more evenly distributed among the Society and the Government yet the “Government” is made up of too few members, thus the power the Government contains is concentrated with too few Individuals for the comfort of Society (Constitutional Monarchies, for example); in short, revolutions happen because there is Power and because the Individuals who revolt want to take back that Power which belongs, rightly or wrongly, to the Government.

This is always true, and there could never be an exception to this rule. When Cuban rebels led by Castro overthrew the Cuban Government, it was because they did not like the previous Government holding the power which it did and they, whether for the good of other Cubans or merely for the good of themselves, wanted that power for themselves. When the American Colonies rebelled against the British Empire, it was becasue they did not like the previous Government holding the power which it did and they, whether for the good of other American colonists or merely for the good of themselves, wanted that power for themselves.

All revolutions are a matter of seeing power, wanting power, and taking power.

So when you remove this apparatus which maintains this concentrated power, there is nothing to see, nothing to want, and, therefore, nothing to take. Revolutions cannot happen when there is no Government because there is no entity which has this power concentrated within it. Without Government, the Power which a Society has is vested and distributed equally among all members of whom the Society consists. If 100 is the value of a Nation’s Power, then, in theory, 51 would be the Society’s power in a Constitutional Republic and 49 would be the State’s power in a Constitutional Republic. A revolution will occur when the members of Society determine that they want that portion of power back, since any power the State has necessarily comes from the Society’s consent; the Society gives up certain rights and power and vests them instead in a State. In practice, the 51/49 ratio will not last more than a century or so, and the power of the State will grow while the power of Society (distributed still evenly among its members; there is just less of it to distribute because a portion of it has been handed over to the State) weakens. We have reached a point in the United States where it can be argued that the State holds 51% of the power–or more–and that Society now holds 49%–or less*.

Individual Power Within a Society

Economic power is important to the discussion, especially if Free Market principles are to determine the course of Society. Naturally, in a Free Market, power is evenly distributed amongst all Individuals; even if one Individuals owns 99% of all the wealth in the Free Market, then that Individual has no more power to dictate the flow of Society than any other Individual. This comes back to “voting with the wallet,” as mentioned in Part Three, except that it should be noted that one person can have no impact on the Free Market simply because that Individual has an inordinate amount of wealth.

For a time, one Individual could keep alive any number of corporations and businesses which other Individuals do not support. If Bob owns 99% of all the wealth in our economy and Bob loves Monsanto, he can continue pouring his wealth into Monsanto, voting with his wallet to keep Monsanto alive. But without the support of others, the money he pours into Monsanto will, because of their employees earning money and spending money elsewhere, be redistributed from Bob to Monsanto to Monsanto’s employees to other businesses and corporations. By standing alone, Bob is actually redistributing his wealth to everyone else, temporarily propping up Monsanto in the process. But if no one else likes or approves of Monsanto, even its employees who just work there because they need a job, then Monsanto isn’t getting any other income, and Bob’s investments cannot return any profit–his investments can only return losses, as surely as if he’d simply set his money on fire. Bob will continue pouring money into this corporation which he alone supports, and he’ll eventually run out of money and be able to do it no more. Even though Bob owns 99% of the Society’s wealth at the beginning, that wealth purchases him no more power or authority than any other Individual has.

In a Free Market, boycotts have an effect, as does rallying around one business or another to support it. A single Individual cannot simply throw a bunch of money at this corporation or that industry and have any lasting effect; it is a black hole, and there is no surer way to bankrupt oneself. But if 30% of Americans stand with Chik-Fil-A’s right to spout ignorance and bigotry–as I do stand with the owner’s right to do so–then those 30% have a real, lasting impact on the corporation. If, however, 70% of Americans stand against Chik-Fil-A’s spouting of ignorance and bigotry (Though they must acknowledge the owner’s right to say it and enforce whatever policies he desires), then those 70% who boycott Chik-Fil-A will quickly override the 30% who support it. Thus, Democracy, in effect, happens, and no State or social protocol was needed in order to accomplish this.

But Democracy Is Bad…

Democracy as a form of Government is bad, because it allows the Majority to become dictators over the Minority. But the will of the Majority overriding the will of the Minority isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it only can become a bad thing when the principles of Life, Liberty, and the right to pursue happiness are not revered as they should be. If Liberty is held in proper esteem, then the 70% will recognize that, even though they despise what the ignorant dick thinks and says, they have no right to stop him from saying it and no right to make him change the policies of his company. Similarly, those 70% have the right to not do business with his company. No one is being forced to do anything and no one’s rights are being violated.

Yeah, But Couldn’t We Just Do This With a Government?

In theory, yes, but as I just showed: a Government isn’t necessary to the process. Government isn’t necessary or even mentioned in the above Free Market boycott scenario involving Chik-Fil-A. We could have the Government do this or do that for us, but it can only do that through the use of force and not through the voluntary choices of a Free People. What could the Government do in the above Chik-Fil-A situation? The Government can do absolutely nothing that doesn’t violate someone’s rights. Perhaps, with a Government, Chik-Fil-A approaches bankruptcy because of the boycott, so they go to the Government and ask for a bailout. “We’ll have to fire all our employees if we go bankrupt! And that will mean ten hundred quadrillion jobs will be lost, and the sky will fall, and terrorists will have gay sex with puppies in front of children on the front steps of family homes!”

At this point, the Government can say, “Okay, we’ll bail you out, but in exchange, you must open your doors on Sunday and you must recant your position on homosexuality.” At this, the 70% will cheer and the 30% will cry “violation of rights!” Or the Government can say, “We can’t bail you out… 70% of the People are against you, and they’d never support you,” at which point pragmatism on the part of politicians has made the decision. “If you step down and install a new CEO, one who is less anti-homosexuality, then we could probably bail you out.” At this change in leadership (which is precisely what happened in Dodge, GM, AIG, and other corporations, though for different reasons), the 70% will cheer and the 30% will cry “violation of rights!” Or the Government can say, “You’re right. We can’t let unemployment rise! Here, take some money. Will thirty billion dollars be enough?” At this, the 70% will cry foul and will say that their tax money shouldn’t be used to support corporations they are against, but the 30% will cry that it is a victory for Liberty. Or Chik-Fil-A will be denied a bailout altogether, and some other portion of people will scream that the Government should have done something instead of allowing all those jobs to be lost. There is no way to please any significant part of the population once a Government becomes involved.

Moreover, why should we want to give over any amount of our power to a Government when we can use that power at least just as effectively as the Government? What is our motivation for installing a Government with part of our power when we can accomplish our goals while also maintaining our power? 

Modern Warfare: Terrorism

The bulk of international wars now raging in the world stem from one thing and one thing only: American occupation of the Middle East. In fact, other than the Middle East, there really aren’t any international wars right now. And make no mistake: it is our presence in the Middle East that has made us into the enemies of Middle Eastern Peoples. They don’t hate us because of our values, because of our Liberties, because of our religious beliefs, because of our free speech, because of the sex on our television shows, or because of our “democracy.” They hate us because we’re allowing our Government to have occupational forces in their lands.

It has been demonstrated over and over again that American presence in the Middle East creates terrorism. Prior to the American invasion of Iraq, terrorism was non-existent in Iraq. Now terrorism reigns Iraq, and people die there every single week in terrorist attacks. Terrorism is more problematic in Afghanistan than it has ever been, mostly because we brought down the Taliban (which opposed the Caspian Pipeline that we wanted) and made them install a government of our choosing. It should be noted that, whether we like it or not, the Taliban did have the consent of those who they governed; if the Taliban did not have the consent of the Afghan People, then, as mentioned above, there would have been a revolution against the Taliban. As Murray Rothbard points out in “Anatomy of the State,” it is not just democratic governments that need the consent of the majority of the people–all governments need the consent of the majority. If they do not have the consent of the majority, then revolution occurs. We didn’t like the Afghan Government, so we invaded and deposed it, but this doesn’t mean the Afghan People didn’t approve of their Government and it doesn’t mean that they approve of the one they’ve installed under our guidance. In fact, given the way insurgents are kidnapping and killing political officials–something that never happened to members of the Taliban–it is pretty clear that the Afghan People do not consent to this new Government.

The Taliban’s role in 9/11 was clear, and there needed to be consequences for that. I do not dispute that, nor do I excuse the Taliban’s involvement. However, we can’t just punish the Taliban and think that doing so will end terrorism. After all, the Taliban was not the cause of terrorism. Al-Queda is not the cause of terrorism. Osama bin Laden was not the cause of terrorism. Terrorism is, in fact, as has been pointed out even by a former leader of the CIA and the world’s foremost expert on the now-murdered Osama bin Laden, caused by American occupation of the Middle East. This isn’t providing an excuse–it’s pointing out the motive. And motives are critically important.

After all, when criminals are on trial, whether motive can be demonstrated is a major part of the trial. If there is no motive, there is generally no crime. Nor is pointing out why we’ve agitated the terrorists “making up excuses for their actions” or “blaming America.” If a murderer’s motive was to kill the man with whom his fiancee was cheating on him, asserting that this was the motive is not “excusing” the actions of the murderer, nor is it blaming the fiancee or blaming the man with whom she cheated. It’s simply pointing out what the motive was. These things are common sense; use your critical thinking skills. 

The idea that saying, “America’s presence in the Middle East pissed off Muslims so badly that they flew two planes into the World Trade Center” is the equivalent of trying to excuse their actions or trying to blame America is preposterous. C’mon, people–use your gifts of critical thinking and reason. It’s not “blaming the victim” when we say that the murderer killed the man because the murderer’s girlfriend was committing infidelity; it’s just pointing out the murderer’s motive. It’s not “excusing the murderer’s actions” when we say that the murderer killed the man because the murderer’s girlfriend was committing infidelity; it’s just pointing out the murderer’s motive. So I am neither excusing the actions of terrorism or blaming America. I’m simply pointing out the motive behind terrorist acts and asserting that, if we want to stop terrorism, then we need to not give them a motive to commit terrorism. What would we say if the fiancee continued cheating on her murdering boyfriend (who somehow kept getting out of prison for some reason) and the murdering boyfriend continued murdering the men with whom she cheated? How many people would have to be killed in this scenario before it was recognized that the fiancee had some responsibility for the deaths?

And that statement is not placing the blame on the American People. It’s not even asserting that the American People bear some portion of responsibility for the deaths of Americans which were brought about by terrorism. I am, however, asserting that some portion of the blame rests on the American Government. As I pointed out in Anarchocapitalism, Part Two, we have developed the tendency to identify ourselves with the State, rather than with “Society” or with ourselves. I alleged that this is predominantly because many people have no achievements from which they can draw a sense of pride or a sense of satisfaction, so they are forced to identify themselves with the State so that they can share in its accomplishments. Because people have no successes of their own, they tend to identify themselves with the State, a mechanism which allows them to feel proud, to have self-esteem, and to revel in glory without having to actually do anything to earn a sense of pride or self-esteem. They need do nothing when they identify themselves with the State; they are great simply because they are Americans and live in the land of the free. No further effort required.

But as Part One demonstrated unequivocally, we are not our Government. We therefore have no justification in feeling any connexion with our Government or its actions. We are not responsible for the wrongdoings of our Government any more than children are responsible for the wrongdoings of their parents. We cannot take pride in the achievements of our Government any more than children can take pride in the achievements of their parents. While we do have some amount of control over our own Government, this does not justify holding the American People responsible for the actions of our Government, especially since the disconnect between the Government’s actions and our desires is steadily growing. This was made abundantly clear by Obama’s insistence that he was free to strike Syria no matter what Congress said and no matter what the People wanted. We are not responsible for a Government that does not abide our wishes. And even if the Government did abide the wishes of the Majority, then, as Part One explained, we are still not responsible because there is a necessary disconnect between our Representation and ourselves, even if there is a 99% Majority.

Modern Warfare: International War

Aside from an imperialist American presence in many parts of the world and terrorist acts which result from that presence, there are hardly any international wars to speak of. Nearly all of them are motivated by our presence in the Middle East, which motivates terrorist acts against America, which in turn motivates militaristic retaliation against those who committed the terrorism. Eliminate the prime motive, which is American presence in the Middle East, and terrorism abruptly ends–as does the international militaristic retaliations, since there is nothing against which we would retaliate.

This is not to say that there aren’t other conflicts in the world–there are. But these are exclusively the province of Governments wanting more territory or having ideological differences with other Governments. Wars are not a matter of one Society against another; Societies have not fought wars against each other since the time of ancient history. We believe that these wars are being fought against the People whom they involve, but this hasn’t been the case in thousands of years. Wars are fought between Governments, and the first goal of Government in these wars is to convince its people that they are the ones who are being threatened. In reality, though, it has been the case for thousands of years that the Government, and not the People, are the ones in danger from war.

Wars are fought between Governments, and the People only become involved when they are convinced that the enemy Government wants to kill them, but this is hardly ever the case. Even Adolph Hitler didn’t want to kill the British People–he only wanted to depose the British Government and install a new, German-controlled government (Hitler did, however, want to eliminate the Jews–or so it is alleged–but since the Jews had no Government to protect them in the first place, or to be destroyed, this is, actually, irrelevant to the discussion at hand).

We must not lose sight of the truth of war, which is that Governments fight against other Governments. This is why attacks on civilians are held to be so horrible and why they are generally avoided at all costs: wars are fought between entities, not between Peoples. While attacks on civilians do happen, wars are not explicitly declared against civilians, nor are wars fought with the intention of fighting civilians. Instead, wars are fought with the intention of fighting against another Government and its army.

Defenseless? No. Better Protected Than Ever.

It is alleged that, if nothing else, we need the Government to provide us with defense against other Governments. This overlooks, first, the obvious truth that it is not us who other Governments–or even terrorists–want to impact; it is our Government. If we have no Government for them to fight or impact, then they have no motivation for messing with us. However, it is asserted that if we have no Government, then others will be irresistibly tempted to conquer us and make themselves into a Government over us. If we had no Government, then the Russians or the Chinese would invade to fill the gap in power.

What they would quickly find, however, is that the apparent “gap in power” was illusory and that we were, in fact, more powerful without a Government than anyone would ever be with a Government. Not only would Individuals, now that Individual Responsibility was recognized as critical, rise up to fight against any invading force, but the corporations and businesses for whom we provide luxury would have more interest in protecting us than any Government ever would. While it’s true that the CEOs of multibillion dollar companies don’t care much for their minimum wage employees, if their way of life is threatened, they will contribute wholeheartedly to the protection of that way of life, because they have more in danger than even the Individuals who would be fighting tooth and nail.

It was quite common in the Middle Ages for wealthy merchants and individual lords to purchase mercenary armies for their defense and for the defense of the people who they needed to protect. At their own expense, lords hired mercenary armies to protect their way of life, protecting, in the process, the people over whom they were in charge. While an anarchocapitalist society would not have lords and peasants, it would have CEOs and workers (just as we do now), and the two systems are much more alike than you think–and this is why many people call our current system “Feudalism 2.0”. Just as the lords of the Middle Ages hired mercenaries, purchased catapults, walls, castles, and trebuchets to protect themselves, their way of life, their power, and the people who gave them their way of life and power (those in charge need the underclasses much more than the underclasses need those in charge), so would the CEOs of today hire mercenaries, purchase drones, satellites, tanks, rocket launches, missile defense systems, and invest money in better ways of protecting their lives and livelihoods (thus protecting our own lives and livelihoods).

In World War 2, the Government forced many industrial companies to do this, but many of them wanted to do it anyway. Some of them wanted to because they wanted State-sanctioned monopolies (impossible in a Free Market system), but some of them wanted to do it because their lives, livelihoods, and ways of life were being threatened. And yes, we can rely on corporations to do the right thing and to be good to us, because the only thing that allows evil corporations like Monsanto and Tyson to fuck us over is the fact that the Government allows them to maintain a monopoly in their markets. If Individuals had a choice, no one would choose to use either Tyson or Monsanto, and both corporations would either go out of business or would quickly have to modify their behavior. Through competition and choice, we are assured to have corporations who protect us, who pay us well, who treat us well, and who recognize us as living beings who have the same rights and privileges as they, because if they didn’t do these things, we would vote with our wallets and would shut them down just as surely as the 70% shut down Chik-Fil-A above.

We can’t presently trust our corporations. I freely admit that. But the only reason we can’t trust our corporations is because they don’t have any competition and because we have no choice but to continue supporting them, even as they screw us over and commit acts of evil. Farmers have no choice but to continue supporting Monsanto’s tyranny because the Federal Government has regulations and codes that are preventing Monsanto from having any competition. Look at the Mississippi Casino market. All of the casinos offer health insurance, 401ks, Paid Time Off, opportunities for advancement, and all sorts of other perks to their employees, even though they don’t have to. They do this to attract better workers; to help themselves, they realize that they must help their workers and that the more they help the workers, the better the workers they will attract. People now compete with one another for these good jobs, allowing the casino to pick the best candidate. While this is true in every company in times of high unemployment, the casino has more of an advantage and gets much better applicants than, say, Domino’s Pizza. This is because the casinos offer substantially better pay, benefits, and perks. Many corporations already know that if you scratch your workers’ backs, they will scratch yours. If, however, all of the casinos were owned by a single conglomerate, then there would be no competition and the corporation could strip away most of these perks and benefits. And they would. But if suddenly a new casino opened and offered those perks and benefits, all of the best employees of the old casinos would leave and would go to the new casino. The old casinos would lose their best workers because the best workers would apply and would get jobs with the new casino because of the perks it offered them. At this point, the old casinos would have to reintroduce the perks in an attempt to get good workers back.

Competition protects us because Competition makes businesses and corporations need us as much as we need them. If the Communist China attempted to attack an America ruled by Anarchy, then the corporations and businesses of America would fight tooth and nail against the invaders, using the power of voluntarism and free will to create a force far more powerful than the conscripted and choice-less invaders. With not only their livelihood threatened, with not only our livelihood threatened, but with also the very notion of Capitalism and private property being threatened, everyone would voluntarily unite and fight to protect their individuality and their right to be free. Even if a non-Communist Government attempted to do this, the same thing would happen.

Competition and private property give us multitudes more power over corporations than we could ever have over our Government. And this is why I supported the secession last year–it would provide competition for the United States Government. As long as we have no other choice, the American Government can do what it wants to us, because they have no competition to which we can devote ourselves instead. If some of the States seceded and formed a new confederation with more desirable policies, then people would flock to this new Confederation, attracted by its perks and benefits in exactly the same way that people would flock to a new casino if it offered health insurance and a 401k but their old casino didn’t.

* For example, in 2012 Colorado and Washington had on their election ballads proposals which would decriminalize the possession of marijuana in quantities of less than an ounce, making it legal for Individuals to have and smoke weed. When this legislation passed, there was some concern that the Federal Government would overturn these initiatives and would re-criminalize the possession of marijuana. Obama announced that he would not have the Federal Government ignore the decisions of a Free People who voted democratically to legalize the plant, but it remains possible that he “could” have. President Obama could easily have thwarted the will of the People of Colorado and Washington, despite the fact that they legalized marijuana through a general vote, thus ensuring that the Majority felt that way. Violating this result would have been saying to the People of Colorado and Washington, “You do not govern yourselves. We govern you.” While President Obama chose not to do this, he still maintains that he had the power to do so. So how much power does Society really hold when the results of a vote held within a general election can be overruled by the State?

But… Mad Max!

I absolutely LOVE IT when I make the argument for anarchy and anarchism, and someone mentions Mad Max in reply. Because without knowing it they just proved that anarchy is necessary. The Road Warrior is probably the most misunderstood movie in the history of cinema, because there’s nothing anarchic about it. Those gangs–they are states, governments, nations. Call one of those gangs “North Korea,” another “America,” and another “Russia,” and you have a setting that is identical to modern Earth. We can even set it up so that the American gang chooses its leader by voting instead of brute force (brute force, of course, is the way that the earliest governments were formed), but it doesn’t change anything–it’s still a gang. The Road Warrior is a beautifully subtle argument against the state. It just goes way over the average person’s head because they don’t understand what they’re seeing–they lack the information needed to put it in the proper context.

Before I proceed, I have to explain what I mean by “state.” To be clear, I mean by “state” what you probably mean by “government.” In fact, most people use them as synonyms, but they’re not. The state is a type of government; it is not the only type (and certainly not the best type). It’s a type that we’ve always considered necessary, but we make that argument out of ignorance, and I’m not going to dive into that today. I don’t think. I might end up doing that accidentally, but whatever. The point is: when I say “the state,” I mean “the form of government that has a monopoly on the use of force, violence, and coercion.” Regardless of whether people like that definition, it remains the correct definition.

If we go way back in time, we’ll find a few powerful people in each tribe, village, or whatever who decided that they should work together to take over other tribes, that they should use brute force to rally other villagers to their cause, and then expand their borders to include other villages. This is how the earliest states were formed: the Aztecs began as a single village somewhere, and they conquered another, and then another, and then another, and ultimately there was the Aztec nation. The Bible, unreliable though it is as a source of historical record, paints the history of the Jews in the same light: from one group, they conquered until there was the nation of Israel. That’s not a remark against Aztecs and Jews, though, because that’s ultimately how every nation came about. Even those like the United States are merely descendants of those early proto-nations.

So when we look at a gang of people in The Road Warrior who are doing exactly this, we can immediately see the correct parallel: the gangs represent the nations of the world. The gangs are smaller, and they are still in the early stages where their leaders are generally determined by brute force and barbarism, but it doesn’t matter. We can call one of those gangs “America” and allow that it elects its leader by popular vote, and it changes nothing–it’s still a gang fighting against other gangs.

I thought that this blog post would be considerably longer, but it’s actually pretty simple, isn’t it? People just miss the point, because there are two elements at play here. First, there is the existence of these gangs/nations in the absence of an “Absolute Power” that would crush these gangs and nations. But, as I’ve pointed out, what is this Absolute Power but a larger gang? If we envision each of the gangs in The Road Warrior to be a nation, going as far as to name one “America,” one “Russia,” and one “United Kingdom,” then the parallel becomes inescapable; other than size and scope, there is not mechanism by which we can distinguish gangs from nations.

As I’ve pointed out, the internal workings of the gang and how they determine their motives has very little impact on their behavior. The American gang, though it elects its leaders democratically, is still at war with other gangs. After considerable amounts of devastating war leave innocent people decimated, the gangs might come together and set up some rules for their battles, and they might call them the Geneva Conventions, agreeing that, though they will continue to fight, the innocent people who the gangs are supposed to be protecting (represented in The Road Warrior by children and women, though not all members of the innocent are women and children–it’s simply metaphorical) need to actually… be protected.

It’s all the same. Everywhere we look in The Road Warrior, we find undeniable similarities to Earth and to our own states and nations. So what, the American Gang passes a law that allows transgender people to use the restroom of their choice? Does that really make them better than the Syria gang that openly beheads transgender people? Keep in mind that the American Gang’s leadership still enforces its rulings at the barrel of a gun. High-minded though their ideals may be, the imposition of those ideals is achieved via brute force, violence, and barbarism. It is still, at the end of the day, the behavior of a gang.

I’ve thought about writing my own novel that attempts to use gangs in such a setting as metaphors for nations, but I’ll probably never do it, because there’s no point. I couldn’t possibly do a better job with the parallels and metaphors than whoever wrote The Road Warrior, and no one caught the message of The Road Warrior. It went way over everyone’s heads, so perhaps it was too subtle? People now point to it as an argument against anarchy, when it’s not and never has been. It is a clear and concise indictment of states.

To return to a previous point, “on the world stage,” yes, there is no central, Absolute Power. That becomes an argument for a one world government that is authoritarian in nature, something by which even the masses are repulsed, as well they should be. This goes back to what I’ve said about economics and the world stage; on the world stage, the unbridled free market clearly is lord of all. Whatever their internal economic structures may be, on the world stage China is a corporation competing with the United States who is competing with Russia who is competing with the United Kingdom, and, at the end of the day, free market principles oversee the entire process. Similarly, on the world stage the absence of an Absolute Power with ultimate authority over the various gangs means that anarchic ideas oversee the entire process. In the long term, that’s certainly true, but the gangs do interfere with the anarchic processes, and they do this with brute force, just as the gangs interfere with the free market principles that govern international competition: the United States might invade Iraq and force that gang to accept its currency, despite the fact that free market principles are attempting to crush the USD.

When people cite The Road Warrior as a symbol of anarchy because there is no Absolute Power or Ultimate Authority, they are making the argument that the United Nations should have Ultimate Authority on Earth, and that’s a position that nearly everyone rejects–and rightfully so, since we must not allow ourselves to be ruled by the people of Venezuela or Russia or anywhere; the people of America must rule the people of America. It’s the principle of self-governance, and an Ultimate Authority directly crushes self-governance, since “we” will obviously not comprise 100% of the Ultimate Authority.

Unfortunately, I accept that there will come a time when the United Nations is the Ultimate Authority over the planet, and I don’t think we’ll be able to escape from that future. We need only look to the history of the United States. In its beginning, and for the first century and a half of its existence, the United States was far more like the European Union than it is the homogenized, centralized nation we see today. Just look at the key part of the name: United states. Each “state” was its own nation, and the states banded together through agreement to form a more powerful collective, but the Tenth Amendment was written into the Bill of Rights (which almost no one was willing to sign until it was expressly agreed that the Bill of Rights would immediately be ratified–the Constitution itself was not ratified until it was agreed that the Bill of Rights would also be ratified immediately) specifically to ensure the right of individual states to govern themselves and not be dictated to by the Federal Government.

But look at the United States today. We’ve gotten so confused about what “state” means that we invented the term “nation-state” just so that we could let ourselves forget that these 50 states in North America are nation-states. All of our states are individual republics with their own laws and own ideals. Mississippi, California, Ohio, New York, and all the others stand as sovereign nations alongside nations like China and Germany. We’ve forgotten that, however, and have granted the Federal Government Ultimate Authority. Instead of the people of Mississippi having Ultimate Authority over the people of Mississippi, the people of the other 49 states, through the mechanism of the Federal Government and its many machinations to usurp power, have Ultimate Authority over the people of Mississippi.

While this is Constitutionally allowable (note: I’m not a Constitutionalist, and, if given the opportunity, I would rewrite the Constitution and attempt to get the new one ratified by the people), it must be necessitated as a way of protecting people’s rights. The forced allowance of gay marriage in all 50 states is a perfect example of how the Federal Government will use the will of the 49 states to overrule the will of the 1 state; in this example, Mississippi is not allowed to govern itself, and the states who are for gay marriage instead have governed the state of Mississippi, doing so under the guise of protecting rights. As I have pointed out repeatedly, however, this only violated people’s rights; it did not protect the rights of anyone.

Those who look at the setting of The Road Warrior and see something that is fundamentally different to modern Earth lack the information to put the film into the proper context, because its setting is virtually identical to modern Earth. The gangs are clear parallels to nations, and calling that “anarchy” is woefully misguided and ignorant–it is not anarchy. It is the chaos caused by numerous gangs fighting against one another.

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Hello! Wanted to take a moment to share my most recent podcasts with you, because you might find them interesting:

Rantings & Ravings Episode 07 – Transgender Bathrooms

Rantings & Ravings Episode 06 – Google, I’m Sorry My Existence Offends You

Rantings & Ravings Episode 05 – Help! I’m Transgender and I Have To Pee!

Music: “Teddy Bears and Such” (a tribute to JFK)

Music: “The Honeymoon” (Creepy ProgRock song)