Tag Archive | evolution

Alt-Right-Del 2

Rik Storey is what I call a diving board.

That is to say: he’s flat, stiff, homogenous, and mostly uninteresting, but he adequately suffices if one wishes to use him to launch oneself to greater heights.

His latest article, not content to simply be wrong and leave it at that, sees him dragging Nietzsche’s name through the dirt, proposing some sort of conflict between Nietzsche and Dawkins’ Gene Machine, while also fundamentally misunderstanding the root cause of what he calls “white genocide.”

Now that we’ve got all the links out of the way, allow me to clear the air: Storey is wrong, and doesn’t grasp what is happening.

In fact, there is a single source of the white guilt that Storey refers to–a condition whose existence I don’t deny, because it’s obvious to anyone who cares to look that a shockingly large number of white liberals spend much of their time denigrating white people–and it is derived wholesale from arrogance.

Pictured: modern liberals and the alt-right taking up the White Man’s Burden to carry the “savage races”

Whereas in the 19th century, White Man’s Burden consisted of the notion that it was the duty of the educated and enlightened white race to take care of the world’s “savage races” (a sentiment expressed clearly in Storey’s idea that white people are “spreading democracy”), in the 21st century… it consists of the idea that it’s white people’s duty to make sacrifices of themselves for the benefit of the “savage races.”

It’s hard to understand how Storey (or anyone, for that matter) misses the obvious strains of Manifest Destiny running unchecked through modern liberalism. Just look up any video along the lines of “What white liberals think of…” and you’ll find countless examples of this playing out in increasingly absurd ways, from the idea that black people can’t work computers to the arrogant notion that black people can’t find a DMV.

Considering such videos usually come from alt-right sources, I’m not even sure what Storey is talking about.

Nothing has changed since the days of Andrew Jackson, which saw a U.S. invasion of the Philippines and widespread slaughter of the indigenous people (for their own good, of course). The obvious similarities between those atrocities and more recent ones–like the spread of “democracy” to Iraq, which entailed more than 100,000 dead civilians (again, for their own good)–shouldn’t necessitate pointing out, and neither should this idea’s representation on the left, which manifests in things like white guilt.

The conceit, naturally, is that black people are too weak, too stupid, and too defenseless to stand against Mighty Whitey, and that if they don’t take up the burden of self-hate, they run the risk of allowing the Omnipotent White Man to rampage over all the non-white people who just don’t stand a chance. The entire basis of the idea that the power of white people must be checked through self-hate and sacrifice is that, if it isn’t checked, then poor, weak black people just don’t stand a chance. Their contention is that the only thing that can stop Mighty Whitey is Mighty Whitey.

And so we end up with positively bizarre statements that paint minorities as helpless, stupid, bumbling straw people who are completely and totally at the mercy of nearby white people, and it is the burden of the educated, liberal white person to take up their defense against the other white people; after all, no one else can do it.

The modern liberal truly believes that Voter ID Laws (I’m not expressing a position on them in any direction) are racist, and will mince no words in stating that this is because minorities are often unable to get to a DMV (black people can’t afford cars, of course, or buses), unable to navigate a GPS menu to even find a nearby DMV, and totally flummoxed by one of them new-fangled compooters anyway, making the whole thing irrelevant. I’d only be moderately surprised to hear a modern white liberal say that they don’t think minorities can spell “ID.”

It’s worth pointing out that these are not my contentions; I don’t believe that crap. I’m not the one walking around college campuses saying that black people don’t know what GPS is and can’t find the DMV. I recognize that bullshit as the ignorant, racist trash that it is, yet it does seem to be the official liberal position, given that their official stance is anti-Voter ID, and the official reason is that they are racist because minorities run the highest chance of not being able to obtain an ID. As a black dude in one such video asked, “Who doesn’t have an ID? What kind of person doesn’t carry an ID?”

When challenged on this, the liberal quickly backpedals and clarifies: “No, we’re talking about minorities in rural, white communities.”

That doesn’t change anything, though. It’s still an expression of the same idea: “The poor, weak black people need to be rescued from the powerful white people.” Changing the location of the imagined travesty and racist fix from a city to the country doesn’t change anything else.

I recently wrote that it’s easy to earn someone’s pity, but it’s much more difficult to earn their respect. In addition, pity and respect are mutually exclusive: if someone pities you, then they can’t respect you, and, if they respect you, then they can’t pity you. This is because pity comes from a place of dominance and supremacy, as anyone familiar with Nietzsche knows: compassion is a luxury afforded to the comfortable.

It’s quite clear that modern liberals take pity upon non-whites, which hails from the same presumed supremacy that gave us Jackson’s Manifest Destiny. Pity is something that only a powerful person can have, and it can only be held toward a weaker person. Any statement of pity carries the connotation that “in this area, I’m better than you.” If I pity Bill Nye for how he’s fallen to liberal propaganda and statism, it stems from the notion that, at least in terms of resistance to propaganda and allegiance to free thought, I am superior to him.

No one pities an equal or a superior, because that isn’t how pity works.

So yes, it’s easy to get someone to pity you: simply convince them that they’re better than you are. Since natural human arrogance probably leads them to believe this anyway, it’s like purposely trying to be struck by rain. The real test of humanity is to not succumb to that arrogance.

Storey rhetorically asks what is driving the “white genocide,” and then postulates his thoughts, which is particularly hilarious given the same underlying tendency drives it as compels his own self-engrandizing image of the Glorious White Race as the Saviors and Bringers of Democracy and Enlightenment ideas. Of course, Storey cultivates this picture with all the self-righteous Quoxotic nobility and grace of the man in Blake’s “The Poisoned Tree,” and the identification of an individual with a “greater” collective serves the same purpose, because the vengeance-seeker in the Romantic’s poem does not view himself as an evil monster but an enforcer of justice and higher cosmic principles that supercede trite, little things like dead people and quaint thoughts of morality. The age old cry of the oppressor, wrapped in a new mask: “What are a few dead or enslaved civilians, compared to the greater good?”

As a person whose skin is definitely white, I hate to say this, but if we’re ever going to smooth over race relations in the United States, many white people are going to have to do something they haven’t yet been willing to do: stop being arrogant. You’re not God’s Gift to Earth. You value enlightenment ideology because you came up with it; enlightenment ideology is the set of values that you use to ascribe value to other value systems. There’s nothing inherently better about your ideology, and you merely think it is because your ideology forms the very basis of the value system you use to determine the relative value of other ideological systems. It is, in essence, the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

This conceit that our values are objectively the One True Value system (which anyone who understands Nietzsche, rather than asininely tossing his name around) is the problem. It simply manifests in two different ways: in Storey’s own alt-right, and in modern liberalism. This extends to my own anarcho-capitalist ideology, as well, and I’ve applied that same lens to it, beginning with the statement that there is no objective reason that non-violence is better than violence, and attempting to reconcile that discrepancy between Nietzscheanism and the NAP.

Storey should be more careful whose name he throws around, especially since his article drips with indications that he has no idea what Nietzsche had to say. If someone wants to rile me, that’s the best way to do it: put silly statements into Nietzsche’s mouth. My own arrogance leads me to want to write “There isn’t a person alive who understands Nietzsche better than I do,” but I don’t actually think that; I will say, though, that if you think there’s a conflict between Nietzsche and any evolutionary thought, then you clearly don’t understand Nietzsche as well as I do. For fuck’s sake, Nietzsche was literally the person who broke ground by writing that compassion is a vice of the strong, and that sympathy for the botched is nihilistic in evolutionary terms–for reasons that are obvious. A species that cultivates weak organisms in its own gene pool corrupts and poisons its own lineage. No, Nietzsche wasn’t proposing racial segregation or eugenics, but the point remains indisputable, and it was Nietzsche who made it. Dawkins came after and explained the science behind it. There’s no conflict between Nietzsche’s statement that ensuring the survival of weak genes in a species undermines that species’ own chances of survival, and Dawkins’ statement that we are all Gene Machines motivated and controlled by genes whose sole function is to procreate within the species rather than the individual. If you think there’s a conflict, then you have grossly misunderstood something.

Which wouldn’t be terribly surprising, honestly, since Storey somehow missed and misunderstood the arrogance that ties his own ideology directly to the “white genocide” that he hates. Notice that Storey and other alt-right people focus their biggest concerns on white self-hate, and they don’t seem to have the slightest bit of care when non-white people hate white people. So North Koreans hate Americans and white people? Meh. Big deal. Oh, no, Syrians hate white people? Whatever shall we do? Oh, Venezuelans call us “White Devil?” Yawn… But when other white people express the sentiment, that is when it gets dangerous. It’s the same idea that motivates liberals: Storey has no fear of all the non-white people in the world hating white people, because he believes, at a deep level, that white people can take them all on. And, to be clear, he’s probably right: an Oceanian war against the rest of the world would probably result in NATO victory (assuming that NATO is drawn on racial lines, which it largely is, but not exclusively so). Regardless, he perceives no real threat from black people who hate white people, or Asians who hate white people; the real threat comes only when white people stand against white people because, just as the liberal believes, he believes that white people are the only ones capable of standing against white people.

I think it’s all nonsense and that only a weak and insecure person would consciously choose to identify with a collective rather than themselves, their own self-worth, and their own accomplishments. I don’t need to identify with white people who came before me, because I’m secure in who I am and don’t need to try to usurp the victories of others (while, naturally, refusing to acknowledge their failures and sins) for myself.

Isn’t it curious how an innate sense of insecurity can lead a person to project such arrogance? It’s rather like the guy with a tiny dick who drives a huge truck and drives around beating up people half his size. Feeling threatened and inadequate, Storey and the alt-right find themselves cowering while also trying to project an image of fierce strength at the bear they imagine to have cornered them. And yet, they simultaneously truly believe in their own strength and grandiosity, such that the basis of what they are arguing is that only people who share their characteristics are even capable of standing toe-to-toe with them.

I think Jim Morrison said it best.

People are strange.

Western Nihilism 4: A Dose of Reality For an Insane Society

Just a little while ago, I saw the comment from someone on Facebook that Wal-Mart needs to pay its employees a “living wage” [Note: there were obviously multiple comments like this. I’m simply addressing the one that mentioned this dollar figure and rent] (How about you show some responsibility by not shopping at places that don’t pay their employees what you think is fair?), because one wage of $13.73 (or thereabouts) isn’t enough to afford a two-bedroom apartment in most major cities.

*Record screech*

Two bedrooms?

Why does this person making such a low wage need two bedrooms?

Before we get into that, though, it’s worth pointing out that an additional $1.27 isn’t going to make a damned bit of difference for people making $13.73 an hour. Basic math tells us that this is $2,196.80 across four weeks. Assuming an average of 4 weeks in a year, it works out to $2,196.80 a month. The exorbitant rent that this person claimed the person making $13.73/hour couldn’t pay was a mere $875 per month.

I honestly don’t know what kind of math she’s using, but by my records this person making $13.73 has $1,321.80 left over after paying each month’s rents. Even if they run their air conditioning (perhaps they live in Vegas) 24/7, their electricity bill is highly unlikely to pass $400/month, which leaves them $921.80. A typical smartphone bill with Verizon or AT&T will cost $120/month, bringing this figure down to an even $800–$200 each week. If a person can’t survive, after their electricity, rent, and phone bill have been paid, on $200 each week while also managing to put back a considerable bit of that, then they are absolutely terrible with money and need to learn to budget.

There’s no nice way to say this. At present, I make $300 a week, on salary. Yet I pay my rent, my electricity, my phone bill, my Internet bill, and everything else just fine. And because I’m an anarchist, I refuse to use government assistance (though at a wage of $300/week, I certainly qualify), I pay for 100% of the food that I eat, and I don’t have health insurance. Meanwhile, I manage to put back money toward moving to Vegas, shelled out nearly $2400 to government extortion so far this year, and spend $67/month buying hormones from China. If I can do it on such a meager salary, so can anyone.

Of course, I don’t have kids, and that’s the main point: two bedrooms. Why does this person making such a relatively low (apparently) wage need two bedrooms? It can’t be a spouse, as that would require only one bedroom and the spouse would be able to get a job, thereby doubling their income from $2,196.80 to $4,393.60 a month. If you want to look me in the eye and say that two people can’t survive just fine on $4,393.60 a month and be putting back at least $500/month into savings, then you’re a moron who almost identically copies the character Jonathon of my fantasy novel.

See, Jonathon is from a noble family–the Guilder Estate. His parents died when he was young, but his sister took over the estate with the help of a family friend–a dwarf–named Therekas, who helped keep the filial parasites out of their family’s wealth. Once Jonathon was old enough, he joined the Knights of Raine (per family tradition), and Coreal (his sister) seized the opportunity to get the hell away from all of it by making Therekas steward of the property while she joined the Church of Biena and effectively became a nun. Stuff happened, and they had to flee the Kingdom of Raine, while their estate was seized by Lord Tyrenius. Not long after their journey, they obviously began talking about how they were going to make money, and Jonathon’s understanding of “how much money it took to survive” was so out of whack that the entire group spent a few minutes laughing at him for the idiocy. Whereas he expected it to take 50 or 60 gold coins per person to survive a single day, because he had no metric for understanding what things cost in the real world, the truth was that they could all live in relative wealth with only a thousandth of that.

I’ve lived on much less. It’s only been within the past few months that I was able to get back up to paying myself a salary of $300/week. Prior to that–at this time last year, in fact–I wasn’t on a salary at all, and averaged about $120 each week. And even then, I managed to keep everything paid, though I never had even a spare penny and was constantly digging deeper into the hole. Let’s face it–that wasn’t even enough to cover my rent, so the negative number got bigger every month.

While I was in college, I was married, and my wife didn’t work because we had only one vehicle, which I was using for school and work (my job provided us with medical insurance, whereas hers didn’t, so she quit hers when I started school). I made Minimum Wage. Yet I kept all of our bills paid, our rent paid, and our bellies full. Oh, there’s no doubt that it sucked. We didn’t have extra money often; when we did, we usually used it to buy season DVDs from Pawn Shops for $3 each, as that provided the most bang for the buck. We didn’t have a phone (and definitely not a smartphone) or an Internet connection, or satellite/cable TV. We had a TV, a DVD player, a PS2, a GameCube, and some classic consoles like an NES, all of which we’d purchased years before when we had two cars (before she totaled hers) and were both employed. And we had each other.

You seem to want me to believe that a person literally can’t survive on a wage of $7.50 an hour, when I happen to know for a fact that not only is that false, but a person can support two people on that wage. I’ve done it.

In reality, there are two possibilities when Expenses exceed Income. Sometimes, this is because Income is such a small number. I don’t deny that this is possible–I’ve experienced that, too, like when I made only about $120 a week. It simply wasn’t possible to afford rent, electricity, food, a phone (necessary for work, actually), and gasoline on that amount. Even if I lowered expenses to the bare minimum (which I did), I still didn’t have enough Income to cover them.

However, the alternative is what usually happens in the United States. Usually, the problem is that a person’s Expenses are so high that no Income can reach it, generally because they have “that mentality” that causes them to increase Expenses proportionally to their increases in Income. I’ve seen poor people go from making $7.50 an hour to making $15 an hour with no change in their overall situation (I’ve also been there). I’ve seen people scraping and clipping coupons to make ends meet receive checks of $10,000+ and be broke just a few weeks later. It’s not because Income is too low that this happens; it’s because Expenses are too high, and they lack the self-reflective capability to sit down, identify, and address the problem.

Maybe those two people making $4,390 a month are spending $15/day on cigarettes. And yes, I can tell you from experience that the cost of smoking adds up fast. Maybe they’re buying honey buns and crap from gas stations on their way to work each day. Who knows? But you can’t seriously expect me to believe that two people making $4,390 each month are broke because they’re just not earning enough. The reality is that they’re earning enough; they’re simply spending way too much.

And anyone who has two bedrooms and only one provider has made some mistakes somewhere along the way. I’m sorry, but that’s the truth. I was married for like 6 years and I don’t have kids–that’s not an accident. I’ve been having sex since I was 14 years old, and I don’t have kids–again, that’s not an accident. I was 28 years old before I ever got a girl pregnant, and then I was more than capable of bearing that responsibility, as a college graduate in a place where employment was easy to find for someone with my training and skillset.

The most common criticism I receive for this is the reply, “So you’re saying that children are only for college graduates? That’s so messed up!”

No, that’s not what I’m saying.

I am, however, saying that children are only for people who can actually provide for them. This is the “We don’t understand reality” thing that the title of this post is about.

I fully expect stray cats and stray dogs to have offspring that they can’t provide for. This is why stray animals have such a high mortality rate, too. Not only can the parent not show the offspring to enough food (once nursing is over) to survive all 6-8 of the puppies or kittens, but a good many of them will be picked off by predators because the parent can’t provide protection to them all, either. This is why wild animals have offspring in those numbers: most of them die before adulthood.

Therein lies the rub. Such a high percentage of western children make it to adulthood that I can’t find statistics on it (I could if I cared to look further, but I don’t, so…). I’d hazard that 98% of western children reach the age of 18. For stray cats and dogs, that number is probably closer to 5%, with one out of every two or three litters reaching adulthood. Thanks to the incredible developments of our society (for reference, as recently as the 19th century, most men died at the age of 22 and women at the age of 24 in Korea), we have an insane longevity and a very low mortality rate among offspring. I don’t mean to be harsh, but we’ve prevented nature from doing its job. I think this is a good thing, but it also means that we had to pick up the responsibility, and we failed to do that.

In fact, the idea that parents bear no responsibility or fault for having children that they can’t support is making the argument that huge portions of the population are no better than stray cats and dogs. We expect that behavior out of such low animals, after all. We expect better of humans–or we should. Liberals, evidently… don’t. Their paternalistic, condescending bullshit extends to the point that they are okay with treating humans as though they’re no better than stray dogs. After all, we don’t blame the stray dogs for being overrun by hormones and recklessly having children when the dog knows–on some deep, perhaps instinctual level–that most of its children are gonna die in terrible ways. “It’s just a dog being a dog,” we say. In fact, we’re willing to address that problem: “Spay and neuter your pets so that this doesn’t happen!”

But when it comes to humans? No. We don’t even hold humans to that high of a standard. “It’s not their fault for having offspring that they knew they couldn’t take care of. What do you mean ‘Spay and neuter such people?’ You can’t ‘spay and neuter humans!*’ What the hell is the matter with you, you uncompassionate pig? It’s their right to have children! Children aren’t just for the elite!”

That’s a straw man fallacy, of course. There’s nothing “elite” about taking one’s ass to a community college, which literally anyone can afford to do. And the difference that even a 2 year degree makes to prospective employers is the difference between $13.73/hour and $18.73/hour. People with Associate’s Degrees average $5/hour more than people with only high school diplomas, and that amounts to $200 a week. Not to mention that such jobs usually come with a 401k, health and dental insurance, perhaps stock options, and other benefits.

It’s not elitism, however, to demand that humans act like they’re more intelligent than stray dogs, and fuck you for suggesting that humans act better than stray cats is elitism. Fuck you for suggesting that humans should be treated with the same eye-rolling condescension with which we treat stray animals. We know that stray cats and dogs don’t know any better, and we don’t expect them to consider questions like “How am I going to afford to send my puppy to college?” before getting knocked up. If you don’t demand more than that of humans, then you might be the most arrogant, condescending person on the planet.

I spend about a fifth of my time reminding people that we’re animals and that we’re part of nature, and so the same rules that govern animal behavior govern us. I fully agree that an 18 year old who gets pregnant has been overcome by biological instincts in the same way that the stray dog is. However, I think the 18 year old should bear the responsibility for that, especially in a society that has made it so ridiculously easy to avoid getting pregnant and that spends at least 4 years informing people of what not to do in order to avoid pregnancy.

And that’s the harsh truth. What happened here is that the human was consumed by their biological programming in exactly the same way as the stray dog and the stray cat, and you don’t expect more of them than that. You don’t expect them to say, “Wait a minute… I’m a human being, by God! I can think about this before I do it. I know that I can’t financially support my offspring. I know that satisfying these biological urges by having unprotected sex will cause pregnancy. Woah, woah, fella. Put on this condom, or you’re leaving.”

Instead, the bleeding heart liberal expects something more like, “Wait a minute… I’m a human being, by God! I can think about this before I do it. I know that I can’t financially support my offspring. I know that satisfying these biological urges by having unprotected sex will cause pregnancy. *Shrug*. Oh, well. Yes, dude, let’s have unprotected sex anyway. It’s so hot that you’re unemployed!”

To return to something I said earlier–we lowered the infant mortality rate. That’s a great, wonderful thing. Picking on Korea for no reason in particular, in 19th century Korea any parent who had a child they couldn’t support would have ended up with a dead child. This was true in the United States in earlier centuries, too**. After all, Nature is constantly trying to kill us. So a parent who can’t support their child is literally a parent who can’t prevent nature from killing that child. In that way, Nature took care of the “problem” in the same way that it takes care of the overpopulation of stray animals: they die.

And yes, it’s a good thing that we’ve eliminated that particular problem in the west. I’m not saying that we should let children die. Don’t straw man the points here; instead, absorb them and take them in. The child isn’t to blame that his or her parents can’t provide for him or her. That’s the parents’ responsibility and the parents’ mistake. They are the ones who bear responsibility for that. Since we can’t sit by and watch parents starve their child to death, the onus falls to bystanders and the community adopt the child away from the parents until such time that the parents can actually keep that child the hell alive.

This is not what governmental welfare programs do, but that’s another matter for another day–perhaps the next in this series on Nihilism.

You know what the universe does if you have a child that you can’t feed? It kills the child. That’s reality. That’s the world we live in. You can’t change that with good feelings, and pretending like that isn’t true is the very definition of delusional. The universe doesn’t give a shit about your feelings. If you can’t feed the child, then the child dies. It’s that simple.

Luckily, we humans are more… enlightened… than stray cats and dogs. We have this thing called “empathy” that leaves us unable to stand by and watch (in most circumstances, though our lack of concern about the children killed by American bombs in the Middle East calls this point into question) while a child dies. If you want to provide for that child, so be it, but don’t pretend like it’s okay or normal for the mother to just shrug and say “Fuck it–someone will feed Little Billy for me. Someone will take care of my problem. I’m a helpless child and can’t do things for myself, and need the government to take care of me.”

Pretending like it’s totally okay for humans to have offspring they can’t support while curtailing Nature’s solution that problem is a recipe for disaster, because it creates a net drain on society and productivity. Someone has to put in the effort to acquire that food; manna doesn’t fall from the sky. And what do we know is the long-term effect of net drains? They build up. It’s not a big deal to be $100 in the hole for a few months. But do that for 10 years, and you’ll wind up $12,000 in the hole. What may seem like a trivial, inconsequential thing ultimately adds up to society. And what do we call it when society collectively has fewer resources to go around?

Why, we call that “an increase in poverty.”

And because no one is doing anything to actually address or fix the problem, it means that the reckless people who have more children than they can afford are passing along those genes and tendencies, such that even more people will have children that they can’t afford. This is called “evolution,” and it didn’t stop because humans invented electricity. Whether there are alleles that make a person more or less likely to behave irresponsibly has not been determined (to my knowledge), but given that poverty is primarily hereditary, circumstantial evidence suggests that it does play a role. After all, resisting the inclination to spend more money–$10 here, $15 there–is a daily battle for me. Is it a battle because of genetics, or because that’s how I watched adults behave my entire life? Nature or nurture? Really, it’s not very important, because if we aren’t even admitting that it’s a problem, then we certainly aren’t addressing it, and the problem perpetuates and, because of the nature of procreation leading to population growth, constantly exacerbates itself.

Well done for eventually destroying western society.

Bravo, liberals.

Bravo.

* I agree entirely, and am just making the point.

** Actually, because of Puritan origins, I’d venture the guess that the mother would end up homeless and destitute, but someone would have taken in the child, but I’m not an expert on colonial America. My point isn’t that big of a deal anyway.

How Intellectual Property Poisons Video Games

I’ve just watched the Jimquisiition video “Circle of Strife,” which I’ll provide a link to here—just… just click that to go and watch it and subscribe to Jim Sterling, if you haven’t already. He does great work for the average gamer and is well worth watching. In his video he discussed the adversarial, mutually parasitic, mutually antagonistic relationship between Gamestop and game publishers, and I have nothing to critique there, of course. I do, however, want to discuss how we got into this situation in the first place, because the root of the problem doesn’t lie with Gamestop; it lies with publishers.

Going all the way back to square one, this mess began because it is simply assumed that publishers are entitled to be paid twice for a single copy of a product. Because they make this assumption, they hate Gamestop, who doesn’t provide game publishers any revenue from the sell of used games. This is a matter on which the gaming public appears to be roughly evenly divided, with some people simply asserting that of course EA deserves a cut from Gamestop selling a used copy of Dragon Age: Inquisition on Xbox 360, and with others… who actually agree with that premise, but who assert that launch-day DLC and later DLC allow the publishers to effectively be paid twice for the product, because DLC isn’t transferable.

Jim Sterling, of course, addresses all of these issues regularly. Launch Day DLC is a particular pet peeve of mine, and I’m in wholesale agreement with Jim about how the abuse of DLC, existence of pre-orders, and incestuous, adversarial relationship between publishers and Gamestop are hurting gamers. Unlike Jim, however, it’s my contention that there is a single root cause to all of these problems.

Intellectual property.

Now, rather than railing against Intellectual property generally—I’ve done this in podcasts that are no longer available, but even so I’m not going to retread the same old ground—I’m going to draw a direct line between intellectual property and the publishers’ sense of entitlement that they are due for two payments for a single instance of a product, and how this mentality, this entitlement, has led directly to the issues that Jim Sterling fantastically addresses.

It’s immediately apparent that no one is entitled to being paid twice for something that they’ve sold. If, for example, I sell you a vehicle for $3,000, and you go on to sell that vehicle to someone else for $4,000, absolutely no one in their right mind would contend that I was due any additional money from you, or from the person who bought the car from you. Having sold that property to you, and been duly reimbursed with an amount that we agreed was fair, our business is concluded and my property claims on the car are null. It is, in effect, no longer my car.

Intellectual Property, as a duplicitous way of allowing people who have created a thing to maintain ownership after the point of selling it, would dictate that, if I had been the one who invented this car—thereby making it my intellectual property—then I would, in fact, be due compensation. It is every bit as asinine as thinking that, if I sold my Chevrolet Impala to you for $3,000, then I needed to give a cut of that to Chevrolet. It’s utter nonsense; Chevrolet has already been paid for that Impala. Whether I bought the car from someone who bought it from someone who bought it from someone who bought if from Chevrolet, or whether I bought it directly from Chevrolet, Chevrolet produced one car, and they were paid for one car. What happens after that isn’t their concern—unless a warranty is transferred, but that’s an unrelated matter—because they made one car, they were paid for one car, and they relinquished all ownership claims over that car.

In what lunacy-filled doublethink could they possibly be entitled to being paid again?

Yet when we take this analogy and transfer it directly to video games, suddenly this simple logic is thrown out the window. But it shouldn’t be, because EA has still produced one copy of the game. There is one disc, one box. The retail world isn’t my area of expertise, but whether you buy the game from Wal-Mart, Gamestop, or some EA storefront directly, the fact remains that they produced one copy of the game, and you purchased it. You became the owner of that game, and EA relinquished all property claims regarding it.

Whether you go on to sell the game to me for $15 isn’t EA’s business, because they have already been paid for that copy of the game. Selling it to me does not create a second copy of the game, because there is still only one copy—ownership of it is transferred from you to me, and in return you have received a payment that we both agreed was fair.

“But you now get to enjoy the game! Hur hur hur! And EA didn’t get paid for two people to enjoy it!”

This is, in essence, the argument of intellectual property, that EA didn’t sell an actual, physical copy of the game, and that they instead sold “an experience.” It’s immediately apparent that this is—how shall we say?—absolute bullshit. So if my wife and I purchased a video game, EA would be entitled to two payments if we both attempted to play it? By this argument, sharing is stealing, under any and all circumstances. It’s as asinine as it is fallacious. If EA sold an experience to me—the experience of playing the game—then what am I selling when I take the game to Gamestop? I’ve had the experience. By this logic, even replaying a game that you own constitutes theft of EA’s digital property, because they sold an experience—one. If you cannot transfer ownership of that experience to Gamestop, or to someone else, without somehow violating EA’s Intellectual Property, then playing through the second game constitutes exactly the same violation.

This is the mindset that EA and other publishers have, even if they wouldn’t be willing to call attention to this gigantic logic pit. They want you, the gamer, to be on-board with the idea that they deserve payment twice for a single copy of a product, because then they can shove all kinds of shit like pre-orders, launch day dlc, obtrusive DRM, and DLC cut directly from the game into your face and you won’t immediately reject it, because, like they want, you’ll begin from the assumption that these are justified practices undertaken to help them curb losses from when the “experience” they sold is unrightly transferred from one person to another. It’s not a conspiracy; it’s not like the big AAA publishers are sitting in board rooms together devising plans to rip you off. They don’t have to, because their interests are all aligned, and because so much of the gaming press is willing to do their work for them.

You see this everywhere, and it takes on forms obvious and subtle. Take, for example, how even discussing emulation can result in a ban from a game’s Steam forum. This has reached a point where otherwise ordinary community members will proudly initiate posts warning everyone that discussion of emulation is against the forum’s rules. Why? It is a perfectly legal solution to a long-time problem. But it doesn’t matter why; it’s just taken for granted, and from there it’s propagated: emulation is bad because it steals money from developers. That’s right, downloading an emulator and ripping your own copy of Final Fantasy from an NES cart steals money from the publishers who are trying to sell you a second copy of a game you already own. And you’re not allowed to discuss it openly, nor are you allowed to call attention to the fact that, with very few exceptions, emulation is vastly superior.

Just look at the Mega Man Legacy Collection. Of course, you’ll find there such a thread warning people that it’s against the rules to discuss emulation. Even though the Legacy Collection is buggy, borderline broken, with terrible controls and graphic filtering options, and even though FCEU and JNES both emulate the six NES Mega Man games faithfully, accurately, and without crashing, you’re not even allowed to talk about how you can rip the NES games directly from your NES cartridges and play them bug free and error free, for free. And obviously a publisher has the right to police their forums—when the people hosting that forum, Valve, have given them that right—but it’s hardly a unique circumstance on the Steam forums.

Watch any YouTuber who does video games, and if they ever mention that forbidden E-word, they will immediately follow it or precede it by saying, “I don’t encourage emulation.” Why the hell not? It’s a perfectly adequate solution to an obvious problem. The reason, of course, is that they don’t want to be crucified by publishers and their attorneys who have convinced themselves and the rest of the world that Intellectual Property is somehow a thing, and that it means that they get to maintain ownership over things that they have sold and ostensibly transferred ownership of.

From that one, seemingly innocuous assumption that is alleged to exist to ensure that developers, artists, and musicians are financially motivated to produce content, nearly everything that has gone wrong in the past twenty years in these industries has directly stemmed. It’s beyond the scope of this article or video or podcast or however I publish this to get into every single result of the intellectual property sickness that has infected entertainment, but people were producing art, music, and plays for centuries before Intellectual Property was a thing. And going all the way back, there were people selling what we would call bootleg copies, but the artists continued their crafts, because that’s what artists do and because there have always been ways for artists, musicians, playwrights, and authors to ensure that they are fairly paid for their work.

Intellectual property is preventing the evolution of the video game industry. For example, musicians throughout the world have repeatedly lost their freaking minds in history. First, it was over blank cassette tapes and the ability of people to record songs aired over the radio. They couldn’t sue there because television studios had already attempted to sue in the 80s against VHS and the ability of consumers to record programs and watch them later; since the Supreme Court ruled that consumers could record television, it was obvious that the legal precedent would result in a lost case for the music industry against blank cassette tapes. Moving forward, it happened again when people began ripping CDs and burning CDs. Then again when Napster arrived and widespread sharing took off. Rather than adjusting to these changes and shifting their focuses to live performances and rather than providing incentives for people to purchase the CDs over bootlegs, the music and movie industries instead went after piracy.

One has to look only to the recent Tool albums to see exactly how this sort of thing can be addressed without overstepping one’s bounds and claiming ridiculous ownership of things that have been sold. Tool’s latest album, Ten Thousand Days, included a weird bifocal thing and a collection of images that produced 3D effects and couldn’t simply be photocopied. It was encouragement to buy the actual album, in the same way that 1980s video games often included “feelers” that couldn’t be so easily bootlegged.

But instead of doing any of this—instead of doing anything to improve the gaming industry and actually entice consumers to buy their products by using feelers and other bonuses not cut from the core game, the video game industry has taken the same path that the music, television, and movie industries took before it. Rather than attempting to evolve and better themselves to present consumers justifiable reasons to purchase games new, rather than used, they find it easier to throw a bunch of bullshit at us.

The video game industry should look again at Hollywood and the music industry to see how well that worked out for them. And then they should come down from their drug-induced highs and accept that they aren’t entitled to be paid twice for one copy of a product and that, if they want people to buy their products new, then they have to offer a valid incentive that makes it worth it to the consumer to buy it new, instead of simply threatening and attacking people who buy used.

 

Never Again.

I told someone recently via email “The spirit leads you astray.” It would take me longer to explain what I meant by that than would really be worth it, but suffice it to say that I have very good reasons to believe that this person is being lead astray by spiritualist bullshit that establishes some esoteric, mystical bullshit reasoning over reality, and the reply I got to this merely proved that I was correct.

You and I will have to incarnate here, on this Earth, *at least once more*.

It’s inevitable.

IMG_0924This is some of that nonsense you may have heard called Spirit Science, which is a bunch of bullshit thought of by people who felt like they were special yet didn’t actually do anything with their lives [This is not a claim about the people who come to believe the Spirit Science shit–it’s about the people who invented it]. Because they have nothing in the real world to show that they are special, they conceived this bullshit of Indigo Children and other off-the-wall shit with absolutely no basis in reality. It’s literally shit that someone simply… made up… because they felt like they were special, but they didn’t do or say anything that displayed they were special. Seeing this disparity, they concluded, “I’m special spiritually,” and thus Spirit Science was born.

It is typically called pseudoscience, but there’s nothing scientific about any of it. They go from things like Phi and Pi [I have Pi tattoo’d on the back of my right hand, and I have the Golden Shape (which is, of course, built off Phi and the Golden Ratio) tattoo’d on my left arm, while I have the Greek letter Phi tattoo’d below my right shoulder… But for reasons dealing with science, not bullshit], build into the Tree of Life, and they somehow manage to work in pretty much every spiritualist belief out there. Chakras, Yin/Yang, Karma, Chi, Feng Shui, you name it. If you ever get bored and want to see just how far people can go with making up random bullshit, check out some of their videos on YouTube some time, and stand in awe that anyone anywhere believes some of this shit to be true.

To be fair, the claim of Spirit Science that we are naturally feminine creatures who once thrived on Atlantis until we built a portal to another dimension that allowed the masculine Martians to come to Earth and corrupt our souls… [Afterthought: Yes, it’s actually crazier than scientology–a load of bullshit that also tries to hijack the legitimacy of the word “science” while corrupting it to ridiculous degress.]

I’m sorry. I gave myself a migraine.

That’s not a negative assault on their beliefs, though. It’s not like when I say that Christians believe in an all-powerful deity who gave birth to himself and came to earth in mortal flesh to forgive us for something that he made us do, died, and came back to life as a zombie. No, I’ve put no spin on the Spirit Science delusion; that’s really what they believe. Throw in some reincarnation, add some extreme corruptions of String Theory (which is already pseudoscience), and mix in some extreme corruptions of the word “dimensions.” Pull some extraordinary linguistic sleight-of-hand because of how scientists discuss dimensions as fact (in terms of length, width, depth, and time) and the possibility of further dimensions, and, when no one is looking, start talking about “dimensions” in the other, wackier since of “parallel universes,” and voila! You have psuedoscience, and you get to tell people “Scientists believe there are other dimensions!”

Yes, some scientists (the ones who, I would argue, already approach pseudoscience with the religion that is String Theory, but that’s another topic) postulate that there are more than the observable dimension of spacetime. But when a scientist says “dimension,” the scientist isn’t referring to an alternate reality where everyone wears a cowboy hat or exists in ethereal form. And the Spirit Science people know that, just like Christians know that when scientists use the word “theory,” they don’t mean it in the sense of “guess” as the layman does. This habit of taking scientific words and twisting them into the layperson’s meaning is indicative of bullshit, and anything that does it should be rejected. The truth doesn’t need deceit.

Anyway, so part of the Spirit Science host of bullshit is that Earth is a hard dimension (in the Bullshit Sense, not the Scientific Sense) to exist in, and that we have all chosen to come here–presumably because we want the challenge, who knows. But we have to “ascend” and bullshit like that, which means, yes, like the Buddhist ideology they shamelessly copied, we’ll have to reincarnate here several times until we succeed.

Honestly, if I believed I had to go through another life, I’d off myself right now.

This is who you think it is that I’m talking about. Presumably, she holds that we’re cosmically linked or something (I’d remove the “s” if it were up to me), and I don’t feel arrogant or conceited to make that guess. Notice, however, that she asterisk’d “at least once more.” This is certainly because I have a duology of songs called “At Least Once More” and “Never Again.” It’s part of the collection I’m working on inspired by William Blake’s Songs of Innocence / Songs of Experience, obviously, and I’m doing the same thing. Each song exists as a pair, and here the two are “At Least Once More” and “Never Again.”

It’s disheartening that immediately after I advised her that the spirit is leading her astray, she would respond with this spiritualist stuff, because… that’s precisely what I meant. So her idea, presumably, is that she and I will live again, and that things will be different, or that things will go differently? That’s ridiculous.

This life is real. The power for us to be together was 100% in her hands, and still is to a large extent though it’s certainly no longer that simple. The idea of going “Fuck it. I’ll do it next go ’round.” when there is no “next go ’round” is exactly what I meant. It’s no better than the Hindu guy who has been standing for more than three decades because he is convinced that his suffering in this life will be rewarded in the next.

There is no next.

There is only this.

Every… indication… in the universe… is that we are mortal beings, and that we will die, and that our deaths mark the end of our existences. In hundreds of thousands of years, we have never found one solitary shred of evidence to support the notion that we continue to exist after our deaths–and believe me: we have been looking. We’ve hardly done anything else. For thousands of years, our species has peered into every corner of existence, searching desperately to find some sign that we will live beyond our deaths, and there is no such evidence.

Despite people offering millions of dollars to any psychic who can prove his/her powers in controlled circumstances, no psychic has been able to display any powers. Despite millions of people recording videos every single day, no one has ever furnished any video that proves the existence of the supernatural. Despite countless MRIs and EKGs, and despite that we know pretty much exactly how the brain works and produces sentience and consciousness, no one has ever found a soul. We now know exactly how the brain makes us aware of ourselves, and we know exactly how the brain produces “ourselves,” our personality, our interests, our likes, and our dislikes, and we know beyond any doubt that none of it has anything at all to do with a soul–it is all electromagnetic and chemical processes happening in the brain, and we know exactly what regions these things happen in. There is nothing left of us for a soul to provide.

wmapWe know almost exactly how the Big Bang happened, how hyperinflation caused the homogeny that we see in the WMAP satellite images, how the superforce fractured in the first fraction of a second of the Big Bang to become the strong nuclear force, the weak nuclear force, electromagnetism, and gravity. We know exactly how gravity caused Hydrogen atoms to coalesce, ultimately forming stars that exploded and died, creating heavier elements as they lived and creating the heaviest elements as they died, spraying iron and gold and oxygen into the universe in small quantities. And we know how cosmic dust clouds like the Eaglehead Nebula continue to create stars, and we know how around one random star a random chunk of rock happened to coalesce at an acceptable distance from a star to host liquid water. And we know how molecules formed in the salty, turbulent oceans rife with the chemicals necessary; we know how a little spark of lightning could have spurned the evolution of those molecules into RNA, and growing into the first self-replicating molecule. We know how this little piece of organic life thrived and grew, dominating the entire rock and its oceans, ultimately producing cyanobacteria that feasted on the abundance of Carbon in the atmosphere and turning it into Oxygen, eventually evolving into plants and allowing mammals to flourish. We know how this led to the evolution of homo sapien. There is nothing left for a god to have done.

We can explain our existences, our minds, and our lives without invoking gods and souls, and we have, in effect, left nothing conceivable for gods and souls to do. What is the point of a soul? It does not make me who I am. The chemistry of my brain does that, and that’s a scientific fact. What is the point of a god? Humans do not need a god to have come about, and that’s a scientific fact. In fact, something as redundant as a soul would have been among the first things to go in the evolutionary process, since redundancy is waste. The soul cannot provide my personality–my brain does that, and we know exactly how my brain provides my personality. And we know that brain damage would very much change my personality–a fact that spiritualists tend to ignore, though it certainly wouldn’t be the case if souls (presumably undamageable) provided our personalities.

This is it. You ride the universe once, and then…

Never again.