Tag Archive | Arvin Vohra

Shut Up, FFS–Arvin Vohra is NOT Why the LP Loses

First of all, before I get into this, it’s worth pointing out that the LP isn’t really losing. In fact, we just won a number of local and state elections. The LP has no national Congressional officials and has never won the White House, but Libertarians of all people should understand the power of local governments. Yet we seem to have the same fascination with the Federal Government that the Big Government Party has–it’s all that matters to us. “Meh” we say to LP victories in local elections. Anyway.

I’ve noticed that libertarian types lose perspective on popularity almost as badly as anime fans. There isn’t an anime fan out there who doesn’t think their favorite show is extremely popular, even though there may only be 23 people who watch it. Anime fans, of course, tend to obsess over their favorite show, steep themselves in its forums and discussion boards, surround themselves with merchandise and other fans. Just like libertarians do with our political obsession. And with our cryptocurrency fascination. It’s hard to keep in mind that, though a few people know what I’m referring to, when I say something like “lol, S2X just got rekt” on Facebook, less than 1% of my friends have any idea what in the world I’m talking about. Seeing people regularly blame Arvin Vohra for the party’s relative unpopularity reinforces this notion: libertarians generally have no perspective on our reach.

The Libertarian Party is a minor political force in the United States. Running against the two most controversial and despised candidates in living memory, the Libertarian Party’s candidates failed to secure a single electoral college vote, not even from New Mexico, which was the presidential candidate’s home state. When this happens to someone in one of the major two parties, it spells the effective end for their political career (see Marco Rubio losing Florida during the GOP Primary). Absolutely nothing was accomplished by the total selling-out of the party to Bill Freaking Weld and Republican Lites, during the most divisive election in my lifetime.

Many people are looking for reasons to blame for this failure. It’s all rather simple, really. We ran two milquetoast, unlibertarian candidates in an election that a foul-mouthed, uncouth shock jock reality show star celebrity won via social media and jarring tweets. Despite this, people continue to insist that foul-mouthed, uncouth shock jocks saying jarring things on social media are causing election losses. This is quite clearly bullshit, though. Those things caused Donald Trump to win the presidency. It’s for this reason that John McAfee almost certainly would have outperformed Gary Johnson, and likely would have brought in the mythical 15% to secure a spot on the debate stage. Arvin doesn’t need to be toned down. He needs to be shared and given a larger reach, because this is the Golden Age of Grotesque.

“Why didn’t people see this coming?” is a pretty good question, but “Why are people acting like this isn’t the case?” is a much better one. Did these “Arvin is destroying the LP” people not notice that Donald Trump just won the White House? Did they miss that development?

But even if all that wasn’t true, the idea that the vice chair’s Facebook posts are the reason people aren’t Libertarians is horrendously stupid. They’ve lost perspective on the kind of reach the Libertarian Party has. Quick, who is the Republican Party vice chair? Who is the vice chair of the Democratic Party? What is the vice chair of the Democratic Party talking about on Twitter? The only people who know the answers to these questions are politics-obsessed Republicans and Democrats. Even Libertarians, who are notoriously obsessed with politics, by and large can’t name the chair and vice chair of any of the other parties. And those are major parties that regularly bring in more than 40% of the votes.

The Libertarian Party’s reach is a tiny, tiny fraction of what the GOP and Democratic Party’s reaches are. And the vice chairs in these parties have tiny fractions of their parties’ reaches. The only people who pay any attention to what the vice chair of the party says are members of that party. John Q. Public has no fucking idea who Arvin Vohra is, nor does he give a shit what Arvin Vohra is saying on Facebook during a non-election year. We need to step back and get over ourselves. The core idea here is that the LP has a tremendous reach, and that Arvin Vohra, being the vice chair, has a nearly equal reach. This is stupid and incorrect. The only people who know who Arvin is are members of the party.

If we are so overestimating our reach and the reach of the vice chair that we blame him for our party’s failures, then we’re going to overlook and not address the actual problem. The problem isn’t Arvin, Gary Johnson, Bill Weld, or Nick Sarwark. The problem is obvious: a strong aversion to third parties, brought about by the fallacious myths that a vote only matters if the candidate its cast for wins, and that third party candidates can’t win. The latter is quite obviously a self-fulfilling prophecy–“Third party candidates can’t win, so I’m not going to vote for third party candidates.”

The former, of course, is equally stupid. A vote doesn’t gain value relative to the outcome, but relative to its effect on the outcome. If Donald Trump won by ten million votes and you voted for him, then your vote has much less value than if Donald Trump won by one vote and you voted for him. People understand this when you explain it to them. “The only vote that is wasted is the one that isn’t cast,” I said to a person once who said that she liked the LP but wouldn’t vote third party because it was wasting her vote. She agreed with the statement, said that she had never thought of it that way, and went on to vote for the LP.

If you voted for Donald Trump and he won by ten million votes, then your vote* was almost completely without value.

If you voted for Hillary Clinton and she lost by ten million votes, then your vote was almost completely without value.

If you voted for Donald Trump and he won by one vote, then your vote had extremely high value.

If you voted for Hillary Clinton and she lost by one vote, then your vote had extremely high value–you forced every single Trump supporter who voted to get out and vote. If even two of those had decided not to, your vote would have been the reason your candidate won. So while your candidate didn’t win, that doesn’t really matter.

LP Federal Fascination

As stated in the intro, Libertarians seem to focus almost exclusively on federal elections, seemingly forgetting that we’re a party that advocates that government, if it must exist, should be local and small, and this focus is so intense that many Libertarians continue to call the party a failure that doesn’t win elections despite having just won elections this very month. This is our Achilles’ Heel. We’ve let ourselves buy into the Federal Government Obsession.

We expect the Big Government Party to focus on federal elections–and they do. The Republicans and Democrats out there in the mainstream have no idea that an election just passed. I accidentally texted someone a few years ago telling her to vote in the election, and she replied, “What election?” I’d bet that most of the country has no idea that there was an election this month. But they’ll turn out in 2020, and they turned out in 2016. Why aren’t we taking advantage of this?

We know that they don’t pay much attention to local and state governments. Odd years should see Libertarians swept into offices in enormous numbers. Instead, I don’t know of many Libertarians who voted this month at all. If we play their Only Federal Elections Matter game, we will lose. We have been losing, and we will continue to lose, because they have an enormous aversion to voting third party. But they also don’t matter when it comes to state and local elections, not nearly as much. If everyone who voted for Gary Johnson had actually bothered to go and vote for Libertarians this month, we’d have won thousands of elections. Voter turnout during odd years is so low that it’s hard to even find stats on it.

Republicans and Democrats do not care about odd year elections. And they only partially care about non-presidential even year elections. Those are our times to shine, because we’re supposed to be the party that doesn’t care about the Federal Government, and that cares about local elections. Combine all of these things together, and the reasons for the LP’s failures become obvious:

  1. Mainstream voters have an extreme aversion to third parties.
    1. This is because they think their vote’s value is derived from the recipient’s victory,
    2. And because they think that third party candidates cannot achieve victory.
  2. Mainstream voters don’t care about odd-year elections, and only kinda care about non-presidential even years.
  3. Libertarians have almost fully adopted the same mentality, caring only about the Federal Government and outright ignoring local and state elections during odd years and non-presidential even years.

It’s got nothing to do with Nicholas Sarwark, Arvin Vohra, Gary Johnson, Bill Weld, John McAfee, moderates, centrists, anarchists, socialists, or anyone else. It’s the fixation on the Federal Government, where competition is extremely tight, and almost total ignoring of state and local elections. We shouldn’t need to win Federal Elections, because we should have taken control of local and state governments to such an extent that we could resist all efforts by the federal government to tyrannize the states and localities.

Want to achieve liberty in our lifetime? That’s how. Ignore the presidential elections entirely. We probably have to run a candidate, sure, but it should be a quarter-hearted effort at best. Instead, save our energy, money, and resources for odd years and non-presidential election even years.

 

* Ignoring the intricacies of the electoral college and the fact that the mythical popular vote doesn’t strictly determine the election outcome, but the electoral college does nothing but give your vote more value by creating the possibility of you being the one vote that flips your state from Red to Yellow, or from Blue to Red, or from Red to Blue, or from Blue to Yellow.

Libertarians and America-centrism

If there is one thing that nearly everyone who has studied the matter agrees on, it’s that United States global dominance is on the executioner’s block and cannot last forever. This has been said by Ron Paul, who repeatedly pointed out that the militaristic propping up of the USD is unsustainable, but libertarians are not the only people saying such things. It’s well-known that, around 2030, China will have passed the United States economically, and by 2040 technologically and militarily. Regardless of the angle we take–whether internal collapse or external excellence–the conclusion is inevitable: the U.S.’s enjoyment of its time as “the world’s only superpower” is coming to a close.

Earlier today, I defended points made by Libertarian Party Vice Chair Arvin Vohra (who routinely #triggers people who want to call themselves “libertarians” without actually abiding libertarian ideology, as well as those who cry “Muh marketing!” and threaten to take their ball and go home) by asserting that it really doesn’t matter whether Americans find Arvin’s statements palatable or not. He’s right. And the consequences of everyone else being wrong (e.g., the collapse of the USD and American military dominance) will happen whether people find his message agreeable or not.

In fact, the most common whine directed at Arvin is that he’s right, but they wish he would be more diplomatic in expressing it. They assert (without evidence) that statements like his are the reason the LP isn’t taken seriously, are the reason the LP doesn’t win elections, and are the reason the party’s membership is waning. These statements are made entirely without evidence and in full disregard of the obvious facts that the LP didn’t win elections long before Arvin came along.

The most glaring omission from such stupid statements like “This is the reason liberty will never be popular–Arvin is making unpopular statements” is probably the most American-centric thing a person can say. It’s true that Arvin’s statements are not typically popular among Americans, but Americans make up less than five percent of the world’s population. It’s absolutely stupid to act like that five percent is “all there is” or that the 5% are the only people who matter. It’s exactly that kind of attitude that makes people hate Americans–that horrific short-sightedness that cares only about what other Americans think, so much so that the speaker apparently isn’t aware that most of the world’s population isn’t American.

Are Arvin’s statements about the military unpopular? In America, maybe. We really don’t know. There’s been no study of that, so it’s impossible to make any credible analysis. Not much of the American population even pays attention to Arvin, and, of those who do, roughly half seem to be supporters. The other half, strangely, seem to follow him just to argue with everything he says. Being extremely generous, no more than 5% of the American population even knows who Arvin is, so even if we assume that half of those vehemently oppose Arvin, what we’re left with is half of 5% of 5% of 7,000,000,000. So even with unrealistically high numbers, no more than 8,750,000 of the seven billion people on the planet could possibly turn from libertarianism because of Arvin. And, again, since we’re using stupidly generous numbers, 8,750,000 of the seven billion people would also be turned to libertarianism because of Arvin.

And this is only in the United States. How do you think people in Pakistan react when an American political leader boldly speaks out against the crimes committed by the American military in Middle Eastern countries? How do the people of Russia react? The people of China? Half of Americans might get deeply upset that Arvin dared point out that the American military murders people, but the vast majority of Earthlings fiercely nod and agree–having seen and felt the sting of American bombs falling on their cities.

We can’t just zoom in on the United States and pretend like the rest of the world doesn’t matter–it most certainly does. And I know people would say, “But the American Libertarian Party isn’t running for election in the rest of the world! So it doesn’t really matter what they think in this regard!”

That’s wrong, though.

We are running for election with the rest of the world, and it’s an election for survival, peace, prosperity, and forgiveness.

The United States doesn’t exist in a bubble. And while it currently doesn’t matter what the rest of the world thinks, every indication is that we have only two or three more decades of this being the case, after which it won’t matter what America thinks. It’s hard to overstate the impact that being overtaken militarily, technologically, and economically will have, but, for the first time since its inception, the United States will truly be vulnerable to foreign aggression. And we won’t have the infrastructure, money, technology, industry, or military might to do anything about it.

The rest of the world is watching us put our vast industrial and technological might to use by picking on countries that can’t possibly pose a threat to us. They’re not happy about this. Even our oldest allies, like Canada, Australia, and the UK, aren’t happy with American hegemony these days. Saudi Arabia may be the only country in the Middle East that isn’t deeply pissed off at the United States. China certainly isn’t pleased with us, and neither is Russia. In fact, Russia drew a line in the sand around Assad and refused to let us topple him as we had done to so many in the past. That’s how fed up Russia is with our bullshit.

We have created lots of enemies, and many of them are eagerly waiting on the edge of the darkness, hungrily licking their lips and hoping for our defenses to fall, wishing to see us taken down a peg. And here’s the bad news: that is going to happen. There are only two ways of avoiding it, and we won’t pursue either course of action.

The best way of avoiding it is to stop the hegemony. Let cryptocurrencies thrive, withdraw all of our troops, and, at the very least, return to being a Constitutional Republic of limited government and pro-liberty. It would be even better if we went the Minarchist route, beyond classical liberalism, and best if we went full anarchism. All of these actions would create genuine prosperity, which would make us excellent trading partners, and which would in turn drastically reduce people’s reasons to want to see us destroyed. Because, of course, the thing about using might to enforce one’s position is that might fades, and, when it does, the previous ruler is overtaken and defeated. Look at Rome, Mongolia, the British Empire, and countless others, and know, without a doubt, that their people once thought that it would be impossible for their place as the rulers of the world to be challenged. We have the chance–but maybe not the time–to stop ruling with might, and to instead rule with peace, friendship, and liberty. We can lead the world not by bombing everyone and fighting countless indefinite wars, but by being loving and peaceful, and inspiring people to come to our land and enjoy the most freedom to be had anywhere on the planet.

The other, more immoral, way is to pre-emptively attack China before they can overtake us. I fear this is the route that we will ultimately go, probably around 2024 or 2026, when it is painfully obvious that, if nothing is done China will overtake us. I don’t think most Americans will be able to tolerate that, not when so many Libertarian Americans view the world in such American-centric terms that they don’t understand that “popularity in America” isn’t the same as “popularity.”

The United States is part of the world. It isn’t above the rest of the world, it’s not greater than the rest of the world, and it has no right to bully the rest of the world. We need to come down from our high horse now, not when we are knocked from it by competing countries that have overtaken us. The criminal who stops committing his crimes and apologizes before he is caught is forgiven to an infinitely greater extent than the criminal who only stops and apologizes after he is apprehended. And by the standards of almost everyone, the United States’ actions especially of the last 60 years have been indisputably criminal. Bombing hospitals, weddings, and the like…? We cannot hide from this. And one day–very soon–we will be punishable.

Libertarian Developments

In a series of awesome developments, Austin Petersen defected (I wish him well but I’m glad he’s gone) from the Libertarian Party to the Republican Party, as I and countless others predicted he would, while Vice Chair Arvin Vohra signed up for the Audacious Caucus and announced his own Senate campaign, and while the Audacious Caucus released its proposed platform.

Show them no mercy, my dude.

There unfortunately is little that I can do to help Arvin Vohra with his campaign, but I’ve signed up to do so as a general volunteer and offered my services as the owner of a tech consultant firm. My only regret is that he’s not running for my state, because I can think of no one better suited to be in the Senate than Arvin “Pull No Punches” Vohra.

Transphobia

I’ve seen many people accuse Arvin of being transphobic. This is abject nonsense stemming from the idea that anyone who doesn’t toe the social justice warrior line is some kind of phobic. Arvin is not and has never said anything that was remotely transphobic.

The primary point of contention is that Arvin dared point out the glaring conflict of interest that pharmaceutical companies have regarding transsexualism. This is an observation, not a judgment. Getting medical advice from pharmaceutical companies is like getting diet advice from Burger King. Pharmaceutical companies are trying to sell people stuff, and their advice is going to be biased toward selling people stuff.

It’s true that pharmaceutical companies would love the entire population to be lifelong purchases of cheap and easy-to-produce hormones. A transsexual person is a lifelong customer, and that’s going to remain the case until medical science advances to the point that we can use stem cells to grow a person their own replacement testicles or ovaries or whatever. In other words, it’s going to remain true for a very long time–decades, at the very least.

John McAfee once remarked that he spent an evening wining and dining a stunningly beautiful woman, whom he described as, “One of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen.” And she turned out to be a drag queen. Although McAfee didn’t say, it was left implied that he walked away, and he remarked about it, “Once you’ve experienced that, you realize how mercurial perception really is,” or something to that effect. I’m sure some lunatics accused McAfee of being transphobic, but he clearly isn’t.

Earlier today I saw an article written by a trans woman about how straight men “should” be attracted to transsexual women, and that they’re homophobic if they aren’t. That’s the sort of SJWism that runs rampant, and anyone who disagrees with any aspect of their worldview becomes some kind of phobic. However, it’s bullshit. I’m not attracted to guys and find the notion of two guys kissing to be gross. It’s not because I’m homophobic; it’s because I’m not attracted to one guy, much less two. Meanwhile, there’s nothing more awesome to me than two women kissing.

I love chicks. I consider myself a lesbian. Technically, that makes me both sexist and homophobic. Although the reality is that everyone who isn’t omnisexual is sexist. If you’re a straight man or woman, then you’re sexist. If you’re a gay man or lesbian, then you’re sexist. The trans woman who wrote that article is sexist, because she didn’t point out that women should be interested in trans women. That sort of thinking is a rabbit hole of hypocrisy, because the truth is that everyone is sexist, and it doesn’t really matter. Why would she specify that men should be interested in trans women? Such a contention is automatically sexist itself, and an attempt to dictate her sexual preferences (noting her usage of that terrible word “should”) of heterosexuality (with her provision that trans women “should” simply be considered women) onto others. In effect, she was stating that men should be straight. So how dare she accuse anyone of homophobia while arguing such a blatantly homophobic thing.

And those are the kind of people who accuse Arvin of transphobia, so it’s best to take their accusations with a grain of salt.

Audacity

Arvin will fit in well with the Audacious Caucus. I’m up for Full Membership right now and expect to be voted in successfully, although I’m worried that my disagreements about identity politics with Outright Libertarians is going to hurt me. It shouldn’t, since the caucus exists to inspire audacity and not force 100% agreement among its members (if anything, one’s willingness to disagree should earn “Yea” votes, as long as the disagreement isn’t about the NAP), but one never knows.

The provisional platform is:

Platform of The Libertarian Party Audacious Caucus

Preamble

The Libertarian Party Audacious Caucus (LPAC) is an audacious group that puts principles first, setting personalities free. We assert the primacy of the Principle of Non-aggression enshrined in the Libertarian Party’s Statement of Principles. Our silence here pertaining to any particular subject should not be interpreted as indifference, but rather as an acknowledgement that our stance on the issue can be easily derived from our firm stance of non-aggression.

Instead, we choose to use this platform as a tool to set ourselves apart from other factions within the party. We choose to use this document to boldly proclaim what other Libertarians dare not whisper. The intent of the planks found here is to provoke and inspire those who fear a world set free in our lifetimes. Our goal is not to parrot those who have come before us, but to delineate what makes us unique.

We, the members of the Libertarian Party Audacious Caucus, proudly adopt the following platform:

Statement of Principles

The Libertarian Party Audacious Caucus holds firm to the Principle of Non-aggression. Around the globe, people live, work and die under the shackles of the state. We stand as not only a challenge to the cult of the omnipotent state, but a threat to it.

We hold one goal above all others, a world set free in our lifetimes. We will not limit ourselves to one tactic, instead, we set individuals free to choose their own paths, asking only that they hold firm to the Non-aggression Principle.

We wish to see the Non-aggression Principle as a valuable vehicle for reshaping society into one that respects the rights of individuals. We know that replicating the failed ways of the old parties that dominate political discourse is a recipe for stagnation, not growth.

All we ask is that you lose your chains, and join us in our fight to liberate mankind. Be audacious!

I. Rothbard’s Button

The Audacious Caucus accepts incrementalism only as a last resort. Recognizing that social change can occur gradually, or through massive upheaval, we favor the method of change that gets us to our goal as quickly as possible. If we are to achieve a world set free in our lifetimes, we cannot fear change, we must embrace it. While the abrupt elimination of the state may have a negative impact on many of those who depend upon it, we see this as an acceptable trade for eliminating it as an impediment to achieving liberty. We advocate maximum freedom, achieved as quickly as possible, by any means necessary. The Libertarian Party Audacious Caucus considers temporary chaos to be an acceptable risk, if the reward is a chance at a world set free from the tyranny of the state.

II. Criminal Justice

We believe that the state is an invalid institution, and thus we believe all convictions and punishments meted out by a state sponsored criminal justice system are equally invalid. We call for the immediate release of all persons currently incarcerated by the state and federal government, regardless of the nature of the offense for which they were convicted. We also demand the immediate expungement of all criminal records created by state and federal courts.

III. Drugs

The LPAC supports an end to the war on drugs. Our support is not limited merely to legalization of marijuana, we support the full removal of all government intervention in any drug usage, production, sale or distribution. We encourage individuals to reject the war propaganda that surrounds drug use. We support the individual right to experiment with any substance consumed voluntarily.

IV. Unions

We support the right of the people to voluntarily associate in, or to establish, labor unions. We believe that an employer may recognize a union as the collective bargaining agent of some or all of its employees. We oppose governmental interference in bargaining, such as banning of closed shop contracts. We demand that so called “Right to Work” laws be repealed. We recognize voluntary contracts between employers and labor unions as being legally and morally binding on the parties to such contracts.

V. Immigration and Borders

The Libertarian Party Audacious Caucus is not for closing or opening national borders, it is for eliminating national borders. Borders exist only as the limit of the jurisdiction of gangs, competing over control of territory, resources and people. Until those gangs are tossed into the trash bin of history where they rightfully belong, we will tolerate them staying out of the movement of people across these arbitrary lines. We will fight against any attempt to enforce the tyrannical dictates that tear apart families and punish peaceful people for not asking permission to cross an imaginary line.

VI. War, Violence and Military

War, being state sanctioned mass murder, is steadfastly opposed by the LPAC. Its ramifications, economically and morally, are never justifiable. We do not accept the need for violence outside of defense, and disavow all those who voluntarily support the military, war or who participate in violence outside of defense.

VII. Policing

The police exist as the domestic enforcement arm of the gang known as the state. Without their constant aggression, the state would be powerless to enact the theft, coercion and degradation that is it’s modus operandi. There is no such thing as a “good cop” because by their very nature police are compelled to enforce edicts that even full blown statists would consider immoral. The LPAC rejects the Nuremberg Defense that “just following orders” is a valid excuse for immoral actions.

VIII. Children’s Rights

We believe that “children” are human beings and, as such, have the same rights as any other human beings. Any reference in this platform to the rights of human beings includes “children.” We believe that “children” have the moral authority to live their lives independent of externally imposed authority, and challenge the right of anyone to impose restrictions on them based solely upon their age.

IX. Reproductive Rights

Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good faith views on all sides, we believe that the state should be kept out of the matter. The state must repeal all existing laws that restrict, regulate or impose civil or criminal penalties on providers and patients for the production, distribution, or use of contraceptives, abortifacients or abortion procedures. Additionally, the state must not require medical professionals to provide their patients with any controceptives, abortifacients or abortion procedures. Furthermore, we oppose public funding of any controceptive or abortion procedure for the same reason we oppose public funding of any medical procedure or service.

X. Sex Worker’s Rights

Sex workers are the unsung heroes of freedom in America, many of our social freedoms were pioneered by prostitutes, strippers and porn stars throughout our history and continue today as the sex industry moves to capitalize on modern innovations. As such the Libertarian Party Audacious Caucus will take up the banner of sex work as a genuine and worthwhile profession that puts food on the table in thousands of American households. We oppose the regulation and banning of any area of this industry by moralizing busybodies. We support the repeal of all laws regulating or prohibiting the possession, use, sale, production or distribution of sexually explicit material. We reject the tying in of human trafficking with sex work and recognize that by pushing what could be a lucrative industry for millions of Americans into the shadows, it is those who oppose it that fuel human trafficking.

XI. Intellectual Property

Intellectual property exists as a form of government fiat over the ideas and property of all those under its jurisdiction. As technology advances through the innovative sharing of ideas and digital goods, it is up to those creating such goods to innovatively guarantee their own revenue stream, without reliance on government to protect their monopoly. We support an end to the war on file sharing and “piracy” which is both an immoral, and an ineffective, means of preventing the sharing of ideas.

It’s a thing of beauty, isn’t it?

I included links to show that my position on these issues predates my membership in / exposure to the Libertarian Party Audacious Caucus, and to provide my reasoning to support those positions. Others may provide better reasons, but those are mine. I’ve intentionally not written about sex here, since I’m using the alias “Anarchist Shemale,” it’s important to me to maintain that distance, but I suppose I’ll have to now.

Anyway, so awesome stuff is happening! Join the Libertarian Party today. Our Vice Chair is about to rock the political arena.

Call to Freedom (LRN Show) 5-21-17 & Aftershow Discussion

The Call to Freedom With Will Coley & Thom Gray

Last week and this week, I was a guest on the Liberty Radio Network show “The Call to Freedom” hosted by former Libertarian Vice Presidential candidate Will Coley and Thom Gray, who doesn’t get an awesome title before his name but doesn’t need one, because that’s how awesome he is. Due to it not having a podcast form, I wasn’t aware the show existed (without a permanent form, it doesn’t get picked up at the RRND, which is where I learn about such things). While I tried to get a recording of last week’s, I got the time wrong and forgot about it, but did get this one.

We discussed vice chair Arvin Vohra’s statements about veterans. Well… Jim Babbs and Larry Sharpe discussed it. I barely touched on it. Partway through the episode, I asked why Larry brought it up again, and this is something that badly needs to be explained. I did so in this article, where I elaborated that he kept bringing it up, even though he said he’d forgiven it and let it go. Live on the air, I couldn’t formulate my thoughts in a way that didn’t sound antagonistic as hell, so I instead chose to let it go and to just sound like an idiot instead. C’est la vie.

It was a great show, and, personally, I think the aftershow was even better, primarily because I was looser and more relaxed. By that point, I was beginning to get comfortable and fall into a groove, so any future appearances (crossing my fingers) won’t have me quite so silent. If you’re interested in liberty, be sure to check out these links.

I did edit the Aftershow. For one, all of my input was lost due to how I recorded it. Because of this, I had to record today’s encore airing, and then re-record and re-impose what I’d said during the aftershow discussion back into the audio. I think I achieved about a 99% accuracy, though I knowingly added one remark (and made note that it was an added remark not said during the conversation). Much of the aftershow discussion, about the possibility of me attending Somalia Fest and PorcFest with Will Coley and his family, was personal in nature, and so I removed it. Additionally, there is some beeping, because a few things were said that wouldn’t have been said if it was on the air. In consideration of all involved, I’ve beeped out some names, and removed one brief section about someone.

I cannot say that I will record and upload every episode of “Call to Freedom,” but it is something that I would like to do, and I’m generally available on Sunday nights. I know that I’ll record and upload any future episodes that I’m in, but I think it would be a little narcissistic to do only episodes that have me as a guest (even though it is a bit of work to do all this–removing commercials, tweaking audio, normalizing, compressing, adjusting EQ bands…).

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Sunday night I was invited again to be on “The Call to Freedom” hosted by Thom Grey and former libertarian Vice Presidential candidate (and possible future presidential candidate!) to discuss the neverending Libertarian Drama and the current status of the Libertarian Party, with two other guests: James Babbs and Larry Sharpe. It was a really good episode, though most of it was (frustratingly, honestly, as I had a lot I wanted to say, but I don’t get into shouting matches, and I try very hard not to interrupt people unless my point is very critical, like when I interrupted Jim at one point to say that if he wanted the LP to be a “safe place” for people to learn about libertarianism, than we can’t call people “murderers”), but it calmed down for about the last half hour and I got some words in.

Funnily, Thom messaged me through the episode and jokingly said something like, “When the cis men keep talking over the trans woman.” I lol’d, and I know he was joking, but my silence was 100% on me, and no one else. It’s true that Jim and Larry weren’t perhaps as considerate of the fact that they were co-guests were two other people, but my silence was totally on me for making the choice to sit out the shouting match, and for being extremely reluctant to interrupt anyone. I’m not knocking them–that’s often how these things go, and I don’t blame them for that. It’s just not how I prefer to do things. And it doesn’t seem to be how Will and Thom prefer to do things, either, as they were mostly silent through it all, too.

It made for a pretty good show, though.

It also brought a few things to my attention. First, I am extremely out of practice with having to think on my feet and formulate replies on the fly. Through the last two years, I’ve more or less avoided all “live” discussions of politics and religion (and, honestly, I just about don’t discuss religion at all any longer). When clients start talking about it, I simply listen, because they’re wrong on so many levels, and I know better than to try to point that out to them. When friends dive into it, I know I’m the only anarchist present, and trying to explain to someone why the entire tax system enslaves the American people is a bit too much for a light political discussion over a few glasses of wine when other people are interested in talking about a tax increase or decrease. Being an anarchist is like being the quantum mechanics physicist in the room full of people who are all discussing gravity, and each and every other person is wrong about something in spectacular ways. Does the physicist jump in to correct everyone? Almost certainly not. He instead quietly shakes his head and listens, lamenting all the way that they have failed themselves. Even with my family, I’m extremely unlikely to jump into a conversation, because trying to explain what libertarianism is and why I’m a libertarian is a fifteen minute ordeal, at best, and no one–absolutely no one–is going to sit and listen to you for 15 minutes. You might get thirty seconds before you’re interrupted, but even through those 30 seconds they won’t be listening–they’ll be thinking about what they’re going to say as soon as you finish talking.

During high school, I was an amazing debater. I don’t mean to brag, but it shouldn’t surprise anyone. I have a knack for analyzing things and picking them apart until nothing is left. I’d even call it my best skill. But once you start picking apart people’s assumptions, they always reply in a few predictable ways. They’ll either say that you’ve brought it to the level of reductio ad absurdum by asking them to demonstrate why it’s better that humans should survive instead of go extinct, when the reality is that it’s a completely fair question: there is much argument to be made that Earth and the universe would be much better off if humans suddenly ceased existing. Some other animal species would probably rise up at some point, and maybe they wouldn’t be as consumed by their egos as we are. Who knows? Regardless, it’s not an absurd question; it’s a totally fair question, and one that they can’t answer. That it’s better for humans to survive is an assumption, and the assumption is based on their value system, primarily the idea that “life is good.”

Anyway… So I’ve been very out-of-practice when it comes to arguing on my feet, though, luckily, stage fright has never been a problem for me. I intend to resolve this by going back to doing one “on-the-fly” response video on Youtube, where I record myself watching and replying to a video that I’m likely to disagree with. That’s essentially the same thing, and doing it allows me to go back to creating content, and has the added benefit of getting me back into practice, since it’s a skill like any other–use it or lose it. Anyway, so tonight’s podcast…

…is an episode of someone else’s show.

Slavktivism or Activism?

There sometimes comes a time when the voices of internet activists are so loud that they begin to effect an actual change in the real world. There sometimes comes a time when enough people shouting, “We aren’t happy!” prompts other people to ask, “So what do you want us to do about it?”

It’s true that my activism takes place primarily on the Internet. There are a few reasons for this, but it’s mostly a matter of timing, and I’ve been working through the last six months to transition that activism into the real world. Even so, I don’t think that internet activism is automatically slacktivism, because I can point to at least five people whose ties to libertarian thought originated with my Facebook posts. Five, of course, is a drop in the bucket, but I would consider the time spent writing to be well used if I’d introduced even one person to libertarian philosophy.

Something I’ve written about before is continuing to happen, though, and Arvin Vohra gives is a clear case of it within the Libertarian Party. I’ve frequently said that Black Lives Matter enjoyed the national spotlight for nearly two years and yet didn’t accomplish a single thing except to make people aware that they weren’t happy. No policies were changed, and no police were found guilty. You’d be forgiven for thinking that we hadn’t just seen interstates throughout the nation shut down by protests. It’s a curious thing that protesters could command that level of attention and organization, yet accomplish absolutely nothing.

It’s slacktivism.

The activist has goals, and usually has at least some idea of how to get from where we are to that destination. The slacktivist has no goals, and instead has only emotions. “Everyone should be treated equally!” isn’t a goal, after all–it’s an emotional statement that could lead one to formulate a goal. “The military should be dismantled entirely” is a goal, albeit one that is hard to sell to the masses. It’s an actual action with an actual outcome, not a loose guide.

Considering Arvin Vohra, the emotional statement is “You shouldn’t say negative things about this group!” while a concrete action would be “Arvin should be removed from office!”

At a glance, I’d say that the difference between activism and slacktivism is that the slacktivist wants to tell other people what to do, while the activist wants to do things that have a desired outcome. The slacktivist proposes mandates of other people’s actions, knowing that they can’t be enforced, while the activist cares little about what other people are doing because the activist is working personally for the change they want to see. The slacktivist says, “You do this.” The activist says, “I’m going to do this.”

The goal of the slacktivist is nothing better than ensuring that everyone knows how unhappy they are; the activist doesn’t really have time to wax at length about their emotional reactions to various stimuli. In Buddhist terms, the slacktivist says, “I am suffering,” while the activist says, “There is suffering.”

Everyone has goals, though–even the slacktivist. However, the slacktivist just wants everyone to know that they aren’t happy. Slacktivism obviously isn’t limited to the internet, but the internet has made it much easier for Random Joe to spread his discontent, so it’s going to be more common on the Internet. How many pointless, ineffectual petitions are there on Change.Org? Tens of thousands? That’s slacktivism in a nutshell.

Why, there’s even a petition there to remove Arvin.

When the slacktivist sets out, their goal is to make sure other people know they are unhappy, and their method is to tell everyone that they aren’t happy. They want nothing beyond that, and if their voices become so loud that it seems they could actually achieve something beyond that, they’ll strangely back off. The child doesn’t want the parent to do anything except acknowledge that the child is throwing a tantrum.

It came as no surprise to me, to see a motion put forward to remove Arvin, and to immediately have the masses of people calling for his head to say, “Oh, hold on, let’s not be hasty here!” The same thing happened with Comey just a few weeks ago–mere months ago, liberals were calling for his head, but as soon as something real happened, they flipped entirely to the other side.

It reminds me of when I ran for class President my senior year, and proceeded to Ralph Nader the crap out of it. I didn’t want to win, and it’s a tremendously good thing that I didn’t. But, strangely, that didn’t stop me from running and campaigning. I didn’t win, but I split the white vote (in a school that had a very slight white majority, and it’s a matter of record that most people voted along racial lines–yes, even the black kids) enough that the black girl who had run and lost each year actually won the election. All that said, I didn’t want to win, and I didn’t even really want to spoil the vote. But that didn’t stop me. I guess I just wanted to see if I could. I don’t know. I was an idiot high schooler who dropped out a month later.

The platitudologists among us would probably say that the slacktivists truly want to accomplish things, but they are more paralyzed by a fear of success than anything else, and that could work as an explanation of this strange behavior, but I don’t think that “fear” is the right word. They’re not afraid of success; they’re just not aiming for the goal that most people assume, and that they even express to be their goal.

They say they want Arvin removed, and I know of many people who said that, right up until a motion was made. The removal of Arvin Vohra was not their goal; however, the threat of removing Arvin Vohra was among their methods for achieving their goal. They just wanted everyone to know they weren’t happy, to give them attention and acknowledge their discontent, and to at least pretend to give a shit what they feel. Toward that end, they did two things: they bitched, and they made what they thought were mostly empty threats. Like if I said I was going to nuke Washington D.C. (Hello, NSA/CIA!) if Trump didn’t step down, that would be an idle threat that no one would take seriously. But what if some rabble-rouser who shared my sentiments agreed and sent me a nuke?

Uh-oh. I’d suddenly be in a pretty awkward position (not to mention–in Gitmo) of having to find some kind of way to avoid admitting that I was totally full of shit. To that end, I’d backpedal from my previous hard-line stance, and would probably say, “You’ve gotta give Trump a chance to comply…”

Just like people backpedaled on Vohra and, now that they metaphorically have nukes, are suggesting that he must first be given a chance.

“Full of shit” indeed.

They didn’t want to remove Arvin. They just wanted to threaten to, as a way of forcing people to take their incessant whining seriously. Without that threat, they have nothing, and can easily be dismissed. “I’m not happy!” by itself is a lulz-worthy whine. “I’m not happy! Fix it or I’m gonna…” can be a potentially serious threat.

I say we should call them on their bluff, and call them on their bullshit.