Tag Archive | fear

A Comedy of Censorship

The irony of opening my daily subscription email from Rational Review, a libertarian news digest, and seeing an item from Newsweek about how Russia is planning to ban Facebook from its country unless Facebook stores the data for Russian users inside Russia, which critics are deriding as an attempt to censor and control the Internet, was almost too much hilarity for my brain to take before I’d ingested any caffeine. On the surface, the law actually makes a fair bit of sense (though I’d obviously not support it). Requiring companies not to store user for Russians outside of Russia is a protective measure–surely we can all see why we Americans wouldn’t want the user data of Americans stored, as a matter of routine, in Russia (especially given the anti-Russian hysteria, which is what I’m getting into).

Of course, Newsweek couldn’t help but stoke the coals of aforementioned hysteria by adding at the end of their article:

Facebook representatives told U.S. lawmakers that 80,000 posts from 470 fake Russian accounts disseminated information on its network and that it shut down 5.8 million fake accounts in October 2016.

Alas, we almost made it through one entire article that mentioned “Facebook” and “Russia” without playing it into the anti-Russian propaganda being peddled by lunatics across the United States. To give you some perspective on this addled stupidity, because, only counting photo uploads, there are three hundred million Facebook posts a day. If we include text-only posts, there are two hundred, ninety-three thousand (293,000) every single second. Eighty thousand in one month versus the nearly three hundred thousand made every second is a ludicrously low ratio–enough that it’s not worth mentioning and, indeed, Facebook should be ashamed for mentioning it.

I don’t care for the word “disseminated,” either. The media is notoriously no longer neutral. As I observed in an unrelated article about the mythical “popular vote,” bias in the media takes a number of forms, and the most subtle and insidious is the deliberate choice of loaded words. “Disseminated” is one such word. Almost any word would have been more neutral–perhaps “shared?” Or “posted?” Clearly, the journalists themselves only constitute half the problem; no editor who is good at what they do should have allowed that statement through. Not only is it loaded heavily, but it’s also stated poorly. Briefly, I’d have edited it to:

Representatives of Facebook reported to Congress that 80,000 posts from 470 dummy Russian accounts posted to its network, and that Facebook shut down 5.8 million fake accounts in October 2016.

I’d rate their version as a 4 / 10 (-4 points for blatant bias, -1 point for reuse of “fake” in a single sentence, and -1 for violating parallelism, which is far more important than people think).

Anyway, Newsweek in their article also failed to note who these “critics” are, but one has to give the benefit of the doubt and assume the critics are Russian. After all, it would just be silly for Americans to be accusing the Russian government of censorship when our social media titans are being compelled to report to Congress on what measures they are taking to censor their networks.

Recently on The Call to Freedom, of which I am a co-host with former libertarian vice presidential candidate Will Coley and recovering Republican Thom Gray (live every Sunday night at 10pm EST, and the encore airs Tuesday at 3pm EST at https://www.lrn.fm), I asked Thom Gray what the problem is with Russians posting on Facebook for either presidential candidate, a sentiment with which Will agreed, because it works just like anything else. If Russians, English, the French, the Spanish, the Catalan, or anyone else wishes to post to Facebook, then they’re basically allowed to do that*.

Maybe Facebook should implement a tool where users will never, ever see posts from people who live in countries other than their own.

Sounds horrific, doesn’t it?

This is the Global Age. In half a second, I can chat or play chess with someone in Russia, China, or Pakistan right now. We should be using this technology to communicate with one another, to learn what the other cares about, to learn what motivates them, and to learn that they’re people, just like us. That enormous ocean that once prevented people in the United States from recognizing that the Japanese circa 1940CE were real people was bridged by the Internet and World Wide Web, and we should be rejoicing in this, not freaking out, panicking, and seeking the isolationist approach. And let’s not mince words about this: what people are proposing is effectively isolationism.

In hindsight, I suppose it was always inevitable for the kneejerk reaction. We’ve seen it in countless other ways. Diversity and peace champions celebrate when LGBT people are allowed to exist in peace, but become regretful and remorseful when LGBT people start moving into their neighborhoods and in the vicinity of their children. Of course, similar things happened when black people began moving into certain neighborhoods, too, and when Mexican began coming into the United States. Satirical comedy South Park has drawn attention to this on at least two occasions, in the episodes “Goobacks” and “Here Comes the Neighborhood.” So it’s something we should all be familiar with.

Being able to communicate and interact with people on the other side of the planet instantly sounds great… until they post things you don’t like that allegedly influenced voters, who in turn voted in a way that you don’t like. So, once again, it absolutely must be said: the entirety of this Russian fiasco is the allegation that Russians influenced American voters. The contention has not been that “Russians influenced the election” since the audits of a few states in December of last year showed no irregularities. American voters voted for Trump. The allegation is that they voted for Trump because they were duped by Russians. So even if all the allegations are true, it changes nothing, because an American voter can take information from any source that they like and use it to cast their vote for any person that they like for any reason that they like.

Let’s imagine that the raving paranoids get their wish. Not only does Russia ban Facebook from its country (doing significant damage to the Russian people’s ability to communicate in the process, which, granted, the hysterical lunatics don’t care about anyway), but Facebook implements some sort of stern measure to keep Russian posts, where they might still exist, from appearing to the delicate, confused, sensitive, and gullible American masses. But oh no! Trump doesn’t run in 2020, and instead Ted Cruz wins the Republican nomination, whereupon he finds himself running against Joe Biden (the only standing Democrat that would have a realistic shot of winning the presidency). Unfortunately, Cruz wins the White House.

There are no Russians to use as a tool of challenging the legitimacy of Cruz’s victory and as a method of undermining his presidency. Who else might have such capabilities? The Chinese. I have very little doubt that the Chinese would be the next scapegoat. A few audits would show the voting results are more or less accurate (one has to wonder why they aren’t 100% accurate, though, given that they’re almost all electronic now), which would leave people unable to say that the election was rigged. They’ll resort to the tactic of saying that voters were misled, and it was the Chinese who convinced all the stupid, gullible people to vote for Cruz. Or perhaps the Democrat would win, and Republicans would try that tactic–with the “Obama is a Kenyan Muslim!” thing, they’ve certainly got a history of doing so.

We might go through this entire charade again, and it might culminate in the widespread elimination of China from Facebook. At that point, we could say, “Congratulations, America. You’ve effectively isolated yourself from 25% of the world’s population.” What would happen in 2024, when someone else inevitably won the White House, and the other side picked, perhaps, Brazil as the scapegoat? Or the European Union–unlikely though that is, since we have an enormous blindspot for Europe–see how Spain has invaded Catalonia and denied its right to self-governance, the most anti-democratic thing to happen in the last few decades in Europe, and yet we’ve done nothing to defend the Catalans from the occupying forces of Spain, and many people don’t even consider this a violation of democracy. Let’s face it, if Georgia declared independence from Russia and Russia invaded Georgia, Americans would be yelling and screaming about the invasion and violation of Georgian rights, and… Wait a minute.

See? It doesn’t matter how tyrannical and undemocratic Spain’s actions are. We can’t see them in the proper light, because they’re “western society,” too. So even though they have done to Catalonia exactly what we condemned Russia for doing to Georgia (and going even further, in fact, since Spanish police actually attacked people who were trying to vote, destroyed ballots, and other atrocious things), we don’t call them out on it. We also know that people in the UK, Italy, Germany, and other nations were posting on Facebook about the 2016 presidential election, and that they, too, were “disseminating information,” but we’re not freaking out about that, are we?

Russia is only our enemy if we make them our enemy. There is absolutely no reason we can’t get along with Russia as well as we do with Germany. In fact, we should get along better with Russia, seeing as Russia has never caused a world war–in fact, we once allied with them to fight those world wars–and I don’t think we’ve ever actually been at war with Russia. What is really our problem with Russia? It’s the same problem we’ll have with China in ten more years. They’ve committed two grave sins for which we cannot forgive them:

They refuse to bow to American supremacy, and they aren’t western.

That is the heart of American foreign policy. That horrible, racist, arrogant, entitled, and condescending attitude is the heart of all that the United States does on a global scale. The United States’ position on any country can be deduced by answering three basic questions:

  1. Do they bow to American supremacy? This includes taking no public issue with the USD, of course. There is almost no recovering from this–anyone who doesn’t bow to American supremacy is almost immediately an enemy, unless…
  2. Are they western and mostly white? Although we won’t seriously entertain the possibility that Greece, Germany, or the UK are truly “equal” to us, we will, for the most part, allow the European Union as a whole to consider itself equal to the United States. Individually, however, each country is considered inferior to the U.S., and we wouldn’t tolerate any suggestion otherwise. If 1 and 2 are both false, then #3 doesn’t even matter.
  3. Do they give us oil? Sadly, this is still an important consideration, although it’s not the greatest any longer. It is, however, the reason we’re always kissing Saudi Arabia’s ass, even though they don’t really bow to American supremacy.

If they don’t have the audacity to not be any color other than white European and don’t have the audacity to refuse to bow to American supremacy, then we will tolerate them in much the same way that we handle cats and dogs. They’re quaint and cute little things that exist for our pleasure, and nothing else. If they do have the audacity to not be white European, to not bow to American supremacy, and to not sell us oil, then we don’t care much for them unless we can exploit them in some other way (like how we import cheap goods from China)–and even then we don’t like them, and merely tolerate them.

Our entire foreign policy is built on American supremacy. This is alarming, since the United States is almost certain to be removed from the #1 spot technologically, economically, and military within the next twenty years.

The Russia hysteria can be briefly summarized like this:

How dare Russians act like they have freedom of speech or something, by posting things on the Internet that gullible American voters might believe!

* Let’s not spend four thousand words clarifying that statement, k? You know what I mean.

A Letter to Glenn Beck

While doing my usual “scroll through Facebook to make sure the world still exists” thing this morning, I stumbled across two interesting things from the very same source: The Blaze. For those who don’t remember, The Blaze is a cable news network started by former Fox host Glenn Beck, a Mormon with a decently good head on his shoulders, but with a lot of socially conservative leanings that I can’t get on board with. Conservatism, as we understand it in the U.S. today, conflicts with itself–they want “small government,” except that they want the government to impose social conservatism.

First I saw this well-phrased, well-written emotional appeal to the American public to stop the divide, to reach across the aisle, and to heal the country:

Well, I’m sorry, Glenn, but you don’t get to be the Voice of Reason right now.

I’ve noticed many people on the left and right pulling this schtick, where, after years, if not decades, of peddling divisiveness and hysteria (remember The Blaze and Michelle Bachman’s attempts to link President Obama to the Muslim Brotherhood?) and then, when you see that the mess you’ve been creating is getting ready to implode or explode, pull a 180 and try to take the highroad, saying, “We have to stop this!”

You. We have to stop you.

You, Glenn Beck. You, Rachel Maddow. You, Milo Whateveranis. You, The Young Turks. You people now trying to act like this mess isn’t of your making–you are the ones who must be stopped, because this mess is of your making.

This random guy being attacked by his own allies because of his appearance? You created this. You paved the road here, you sat us down in the vehicle, and you drove along that road until we reached this point. You did it knowingly and deliberately, to boost your ratings, and now you’re saying “No, we shouldn’t be divided. We’re all humans”? Where was that spiel when you were trying to link Obama to the Muslim Brotherhood?

You monsters did this. You created the circumstances, you lied, you manipulated the facts, and you misled everyone, waiting to release critical information until the most opportune moment, and this hysteria that you’ve created is a direct result of all of that. I wrote about how the news purposely and deliberately withheld information about rotting farms across the country until the most opportune time, and they decided that time was when they could blame it on Trump’s immigration policies instead of droughts, wildfires, and government interventions paying farmers to grow crops regardless of whether the crops survive. All of this has been happening for years. But now that the media can blame it on Trump and ask if he’s going to claim responsibility for the famine–because, yes, people really are that hysterical–we hear about it.

And what about the fact that critically important news items seem to pop up and vanish just as quickly, keeping the masses in a paralytic state of paranoid fear? This was the entire point of your attempts to link Obama to the Muslim Brotherhood. You know it, I know it, and everyone knows it. You rode that “Obama is a Muslim Kenyan” line every bit as hard as Donald Trump. In fact, I lost a longtime friend with whom I used to play in a rockband, because of his constant peddling of Glenn Beck bullshit, telling me that I needed to be afraid of the Muslims who were infiltrating our government. You did that, Glenn. You took over his mind and replaced his rationality with fear by exploiting his vulnerabilities.

And now you want to say “We’re all humans”?

No, because you’re not. You’re not a human. You’re an immoral monster. You’re a disgusting, mutant salesman obsessed with your sales numbers, and you didn’t give a damn how much damage you cause to humans while you attempt to sate your ravenous hunger.

The alt-right for years, Glenn–for years has been calling Obama a Muslim and a Kenyan hellbent on destroying America from within. If that sounds familiar, it’s because you have a documentary that asserts that very thing. You can’t just distance yourself from it now that it’s grown beyond your control, because you planted the seeds that became that tree. And you’re still doing so, you slimy toad.

What is this shit, Glenn? That article was released yesterday. Yesterday, Glenn! On your website.

This diehard, rightist propagandist, wacky, inaccurate, nonsensical article propagating the notion that transsexualism is a new thing that should be condemned rather than allowed appeared yesterday, 24 hours ago, on your website. And now you want to say “We’re all humans”? What about transsexuals like me, Glenn? Are we “all humans” too? Because this article on your website from yesterday suggests otherwise. “Trans people should get back in the closet and shut up,” is what this article from yesterday on your website asserts.

You want to dance in Romulan territory while proclaiming your neutrality, and it doesn’t work that way. Libertarians are in the neutral zone. You, though? You cast your lot with the Romulans a long time ago, just as the leftists cast their lot with the Federation. And I’m over here like, “No… Why did we let people like Glenn Beck push this to the point of war?”

Because you did, Glenn. You and the leftwing media both. You did this.

Now we jump from war with Syria (which, it’s time to confess, we are fighting) to war with North Korea to trans military bans to Nazis to possible trade wars with China to raging anarcho-communists in the blink of an eye. You won’t let people sit down and take a deep breath and remind themselves that “We’re all humans,” because you’re too busy peddling fear trying to keep their eyeballs glued to their television screen and listening to you prattle on about Obama’s ties to the freaking Muslim Brotherhood.

You don’t have the right to stand there and appeal for calm now, Glenn. Neither you, the Nazis, or Antifa have the right to do that. You’ve all taken your sides. Maybe you didn’t have the foresight to see where it would go. Maybe you didn’t realize what you were doing. I could accept that. But you’re still responsible for his mess. You can’t just pretend like that isn’t true. If you want to call for calm and unity now, that’s great–you can join the call of libertarians and anarcho-capitalists who have been calling for calm, liberty, tolerance, and love for years. At this point, though, you’re tainted by the circumstances you’ve created, and you owe the world an apology if you want to change your tune now.

You directly contributed to this. In fact, wasn’t it because you wanted more leniency to say wild, speculative things that you formed The Blaze in the first place? And you continue to dance in the redzone of conservatism–the very same redzone that created the alt-right that morphed into Neo-Nazism, as that lunatic article from yesterday shows. Of course, trans people have always existed, Glenn. The only question was whether we had to pretend otherwise, or whether we could embrace it. Through most of human history, it was “pretend otherwise.” This led to many suicides and many problems–like with a guy you may have heard of named J. Edgar Hoover.

If you want to appeal for calm, that’s great, but you’ve got to extract yourself from either side. You have to get out of the left versus right paradigm entirely, or you’re not appealing for calm. You’re appealing for victory for your side. “Conservatives have the high-road because conservatives are calling for calm… It’s the leftists who are calling for violence still.”

You made this bed. Either set it ablaze or lie down in it.

Suicide is Not For the Coward

So the lead singer of alternative rock band Linkin Park is in the news, because he killed himself by hanging. While I haven’t liked Linkin Park since their first album, and since I was in the 9th grade, a lot of people are coming forward to call Chester a coward for committing suicide, primarily because it means he left six children behind.

Regardless of whether you approve of his choice, it is stupid, and a horrific misrepresentation of the situation, to call someone a coward because they killed themselves.

Suffering is Relative

First, it must be pointed out that suffering is relative, and none of us has any insight into the inner turmoil within anyone else, and so none of us have the authority or information to accurately assess whether the person chose the “easy” route of suicide and was wrong to do so. We simply don’t know–because we can’t know–how a person feels, unless they tell us, and Chester did come pretty close to that, through his lyrics. These lyrics, incidentally, were those that angst-filled teens adored and identified with, because their own internal suffering was reflected back to them. But that isn’t really important.

Courage & Cowardice

I know many people who have “attempted” suicide. I’m among them, and the scars on my wrist bear it out. I was hospitalized in a behavioral ward several years ago because of it. Even after extensive research, I still didn’t cut deeply enough to hit the veins–no, seriously, the veins in your wrist are much deeper than you’re thinking–and I didn’t have any guns at the time. Today, I know a scary amount of information about suicide. Because of this, I’m well aware that the recent old Republican who “killed himself” with helium actually did commit suicide, and that there couldn’t possibly have been any foulplay. I know that, because I once owned a helium tank for exactly that purpose.

But I never did it.

Why not?

Because, as a method of suicide, it’s almost instantaneous. There is no time for second thoughts. Once you exhale and lower that bag over your head, that’s it. You pass out, and about half an hour later, you die, unconscious. I’m simply not struggling with depression badly enough to pursue that en sincera. I don’t want to die.

With very few exceptions, that is the same thing that nearly everyone who “attempts suicide” decides. There’s a reason that successful suicide rates are low. It’s not an easy thing to do. Substantial biological programming and the desire to survive outweigh most forms of depression, and, even when the depression is heavier, the person must face head-on their fear of death.

Anyone who has ever sat there with the barrel of a gun in their mouth, the blade of a razor against their wrists, a noose around their neck, or any other such situation and who still lives faced their fear of death head-on.

And they buckled.

They can make all the excuses they want. They can say that they realized that they were loved. They can say that they realized their problems would pass. They can say any-damned-thing that they want. But I know it, and they know it: the reason they live is that they are cowards. They stood on the precipice of oblivion and feared to jump, and so they backed away from the cliff. Some of these people are now calling Chester a coward because he didn’t back down from the precipice of oblivion.

Are you kidding me?

An Animal’s Instincts of Self-Preservation

There is tremendous resistance to death. Anyone who has seen wild animals chew off their own limbs (or humans saw off their own limbs) to escape from deadly situations knows that there is a powerful Will to Live inside every organism. Humans and non-humans are capable of incredible things in the interest of self-preservation, something that modern “horror” movies love exploiting for shock value. Put two people in a room together and tell them that one of them must kill the other, and then the survivor will be free, and they will almost immediately attempt to kill each other (Fun note: this is what Nietzsche described as Middle Class Morality). Saw off their own leg? No problem, once they have pursued other options.

Here’s a cold, hard fact for you: almost everyone out there–at least 99.999% of people–would cry and beg profusely as someone else lowered a noose around their neck. They would do anything, say anything, and promise anything to be spared. Disgusting amounts of tears and snot would run down their faces as they panicked, prayed to every god they could think of, and begged everyone nearby to “Please, I’ll do anything…” These are the same people calling Chester a coward because he lowered the noose around his own neck.

It would be funny, if it wasn’t true that, evidently, that’s how they see it.

There is an enormous difference between “thinking very hard about suicide” and gathering the means to do it, and actually proceeding with it. Even if the attempt is a failure, there is such an enormous gap between “thinking about suicide” and “legitimately trying to kill oneself” that most people can’t even fathom the divide.

It’s the same divide that exists between people who imagine how brave they would be if they faced down a criminal with a gun, and the people who have been there, and who gladly handed over their wallets and were terrified. Fear, after all, is what keeps people alive. It’s what kept human beings out of the darkness where there were lions, wild dogs, and hippos. That same exact fear keeps people from putting the gun in their mouth and pulling the trigger. It’s easy to say “I could have. I would have. I just changed my mind.”

In fact, it reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Kramer says he’s going to build “levels” in his apartment, and Jerry bets him that it will never happen. In the end, Kramer renegs on the bet, and says that Jerry didn’t win, because, “I could have done it. I just didn’t want to.” Jerry vainly attempts to remind him, “That’s the bet! The bet is that you wouldn’t do it.” Kramer again reiterates, “But I could have.” Frustrated, Jerry says, “The bet wasn’t that you couldn’t. The bet was that you wouldn’t,” but it’s to no avail.

This is what people are saying when they say that they could have committed suicide, and they would have–if they hadn’t considered the loved ones they were leaving behind. The loved ones that they remembered were the panicked product of innate biological tendencies within an animal to preserve itself because it was afraid. It doesn’t matter what their reason for changing their mind is–why were they considering such things in the first place? By that point, they are already second-guessing whether they want to commit suicide. What propelled that? What caused them to stop and think about anything instead of just taking the gun, putting it in their mouths, and pulling the trigger? Why weren’t they just thinking about that?

Because their brain was desperately afraid and trying to stop to them using the last tool it had at its disposal. Compelling one to stop and think about all the loved ones being left behind is how it does that.

Anyone who ever attempted suicide–or “thought about” attempting suicide–and who still lives is a coward. They stood on the edge of the precipice, and they backed down. They can offer up any excuse they want, but, at the end of the day, what stopped them was fear. There’s no other reason why they’d have stopped to consider loved ones in the first place. That’s the brain’s last defense mechanism against self-destruction.

Consider this: the person who is about to commit suicide and stops because they think of the pain and suffering it will bring the loved ones left behind are aware, at least in some ways, that the fact that they even care about the pain and suffering they’ll leave behind will vanish the moment they’re dead. Sure, “If I commit suicide, I’ll leave behind so much pain and suffering.” Yet, also sure, “But I’ll be dead, so… there won’t be even a single solitary second of my existence where I feel the pain of having left people behind by killing myself, because I’ll have killed myself.” They didn’t think about that, though. I’d bet that thought didn’t occur to the overwhelming majority of people who attempted/thought about suicide. And why not? Because their brain was looking for ways to talk them out of it, not looking for ways to talk them into it.

Thoughts & Control

We tend to think of “our thoughts” as something we control, and our brains as something that is fully at our mercy, and that’s simply not true. Sentience is a curious thing, but your brain absolutely does things to try to convince “you” of things. The human brain is countless parts communicating with one another, not some collective unit that the “I” controls. You’re breathing right now–you are not in control of that. Your heart is beating right now. You can no more make your heart stop beating than (and this is important) you can make yourself stop thinking. You don’t control your thoughts. A thought comes when it wants to, not when “you” want it to. When some part of your brain decides to generate it, that’s when the thought occurs. You can no more create that thought than you can stop it. It’s coming. The only choice you have is how “you” deal with that thought. Whatever you are thinking about when the clock strikes noon after reading this, you won’t have any power to prevent.

The “I” takes these thoughts coming in from various parts of the brain, and assembles them into some form it can process, and then makes a decision. Maybe the “I” can control the decision that it makes, and maybe it can’t, because the decision itself is merely a product of the information sent to it by thoughts that it cannot dictate–it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that the “I” doesn’t control what thoughts come, or when those thoughts come. Even extensive training by Buddhist monks cannot allow one to indefinitely take control of what thoughts come, or when those thoughts come. However focused the Buddhist monk is, and however in control of their thoughts they are, the moment they have to get back to life, they surrender control back to other parts of their brain. What will they think about while they slice potatoes in the monastery? While they till the ground?

You can do it, too. Think about an elephant, and try to keep thinking about an elephant. How long does it take you to realize that you’re not longer thinking about an elephant? Your thoughts will stray–a conga line of random thoughts perhaps not even related, until finally you’re thinking about John McCain’s brain cancer and realize, after forty seconds, “Oh, shit, I was supposed to be thinking about an elephant!” and direct your thoughts back to a pachyderm. Try to keep that elephant in your mind all day, as you go about work, as you eat lunch. You can’t do it. No one can. It requires exhaustive energy and focus to control one’s thoughts, and it simply cannot be done for any substantial period of time. You may think about the elephant several times an hour throughout the day, but through those instances, you’ll think about colleagues, food, friends, family, driving, money, and countless other things that you can’t control.

Those thoughts of loved ones that the person contemplating suicide has… They can’t control those thoughts, either. The question we have to ask is why the brain generated those thoughts. Why did some part of one’s brain conjure up an image of a son or nephew, and say, “But look how sad he’ll be…” and create vivid imaginings of the future of that child, raised without his father or mother? We can find the answer easily, by asking “What did the conjuration of those thoughts achieve?”

Well, it achieved causing the “I” to back out of committing suicide.

Why would a part of the brain want that?

Because it’s afraid of losing existence.

Conclusion

Maybe you don’t approve of what Chester did. Maybe you think it’s screwed up he left his family behind, and maybe you just think that suicide is immoral (I’ll save that for another day). Maybe you’re more like me, and you don’t really care one way or another, but you’d like it if there wasn’t so much confusion and misunderstanding surrounding suicide. Making the statement, though, that Chester was “wrong” to make the choice that he did is saying “He valued release from his pain more highly than he valued the pain he was leaving with others. His values are wrong, and the pain he left others is much greater than whatever pain he felt.”

I hope we can all immediately see what an asinine statement that is.

We don’t know what pain he felt, or what his personal suffering entailed. We can never know what it was like to live within his head and to feel what he felt. We can never know how deeply in That Place he was. Neither can we know how his children and wife/ex-wife will feel about it. We can guess, and we’d be right to some degree when we’d guess “They’ll be really sad,” but we can’t quantify that. We can’t even quantify our own suffering. Ask any person how much hardship and suffering they face and I’d bet wholeheartedly that you’ll see a graph identical to what we’d expect based on the Dunning-Kruger Effect. Everyone will rate their personal suffering and past hardships at 7.5, or thereabouts. I’d love to see a scientific survey done on this. In fact, I’m going to do one.

But if we cannot properly assess the value of his suffering and how bad it was, or the suffering of his family and how bad it’s going to be, how can we justify making the arrogant claim that he was wrong to make the choice that he did?

Everyone Wants To Be Free

No one ever said, “I really enjoy having the government telling me what to do, and I don’t think I should be free.”

Or, if they do, it’s such an extremely rare occurrence that it’s not really important to the discussion.

When people challenge the ideas of liberty and freedom, it’s never the speaker who has the problem; it’s never the speaker who can’t be trusted with liberty–it’s all those other people. It’s everyone else. I’ve talked with countless people who want freedom for themselves yet immediately recoil at the idea of freedom for others, handing out responses that range in ridiculous from “What about murderers?” to “What about those who would dump poo in your water?”

It’s telling that we’ve become so conquered by fear that we’d meet the idea of freedom with intransigence and build from the assumption that not only could someone dump poo in your water, but that it’s inevitable that someone will do so. The existence of murderers, rapists, and thieves is hardly a matter of concern to the libertarian or anarchist, because such people exist today, and all available evidence (as well as logic) suggests that the state and its laws do nothing to prevent such behavior, and instead simply exist as frameworks for punishing the behavior. Since the state has not managed to eliminate crime, it isn’t necessary for anarchists and libertarians to propose an alternate social structure that would eliminate crime before anyone can take it seriously.

It would be like if I proposed a new version of American football that has slightly different rules than the current set, and people rejected my idea on the grounds that I didn’t propose any way of preventing head injuries and brain damage caused by years of physical trauma. Even if my modified rules would reduce the number of fractures and other injuries, people would gleefully reject the proposed changes because, “What are you going to do about head injuries and brain damage?” in full disregard of the fact that their rules similarly fail to do anything to prevent head injuries and brain damage.

It’s simple mathematics to realize that something that affects two sides of an equation can be reduced. If we have an equation that reads “2x + 4y = 2x + 9,” we can immediately see that “2x” doesn’t factor into things at all–we are, instead, dealing with “4y = 9”. Crimes such as murder are never going to be eliminated from society, and we have a hundred thousand years of human history and societies that range from despotic tribes to fascist police states to serve as evidence, and not only have all of these societies failed to eliminate murder, but there is a noticeable correlation between the murder rate and the power of the state–the more powerful a state is, the higher its murder rate. It wasn’t a fluke that caused Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Lincoln, and Mussolini to murder millions of people; this is actually a feature of the state. It also remains true that no Charles Manson or Ted Bundy ever came close to approaching the murder rate of various states.

This is because society deals with murderers, rapists, and thieves before they can organize to the point that they can commit crimes against thousands and hundreds of thousands of people–unless those murderers, rapists, and thieves call themselves a government. Take, for example, the American Government, which murdered more than 1,000 Americans last year, as well as the year before (and are thus far on the path to surpassing last year’s record). Even the most barbaric and bloodthirsty mobster would look at those numbers and be impressed, because this works out to nearly three murders per day for the individual, if the person wanted to be more bloodthirsty than the government, and anyone who murdered three people each day would leave a trail of bodies and evidence that would take us directly to them for punishment. Without even including the 100,000 Iraqi civilians murdered by the American government since 2003, and the similar number of murdered civilians in Afghanistan, it’s readily apparent that if we want to reduce murder, there isn’t a better way of doing so than abolishing the government.

But these excuses for allowing the continued existence of the state persist.

The reality, however, is that the overwhelming majority of people aren’t murderers, rapists, and thieves. I cross paths with tens of thousands of people every single day, and none of them are murderers, rapists, and thieves. This notion that “It’s okay if I have freedom, but I can’t trust anyone else with it, because they might be a murderer!” is blatant fearmongering, and every bit as bad as suggesting that we should reject all refugees because one among two hundred thousand might be a terrorist, or that we should regulate immigration because one in millions may carry a deadly disease. In fact, the arguments are exactly the same:

  • “We need to have laws against open borders because some immigrants may be drug dealers, murderers, and rapists!”
  • “We need to have government, because some people may be drug dealers, murderers, and rapists!”
  • “We need to ban refugees from entering the country because some people out there are bad people and are terrorists!”
  • “We need to have government, because some people out there are bad people.”

It’s amazing how easily we recognize blatant fearmongering when we’re not the ones peddling it, and how blind we are to our fearmongering when we are.

Liberty is trust and faith in your fellow human beings, and an end to fearmongering. It’s time we stopped living in fear of everything and everyone.

Brothers and Sisters, We Don’t Have To Put Up With This Shit

Don’t get me wrong. I know the media doesn’t care about my trust. They’ve successfully polarized the nation into liberals and conservatives, and the result is that it doesn’t matter what a news outlet reports. Liberals will accuse conservative outlets of bias and untruthful reporting, and conservatives will accuse liberal outlets of bias and untruthful reporting. Each and every issue gets carved into two halves, and what the average American believes is far more dependent on their political views than anything that might resemble truth. Naturally, this leads to shocking amounts of hysteria and hypocrisy. One day, you have the left criticizing Wikileaks and leaks in general while the right praises them; the next, the right criticizes Wikileaks and leaks in general while the left praises them. One day, conservatives cheer for the committee investigating Hillary while liberals condemn it; the next, liberals cheer for the committee investigating Trump’s alleged Russian ties while conservatives condemn it.

While I do enjoy pointing out the glaring hypocrisy, I know that it does no good, because it requires self-awareness to identify one’s own hypocrisy, and if they had any self-awareness at all we wouldn’t be in this mess.

But we are in this mess, and the media has played the biggest role in making it this way.

I think it’s time for a public admission from liberal news elements like The Guardian, CNN, Huffington Post, and all the others that they knowingly terrorized the population to support their political agenda. Have we forgotten the post election headlines? The constant fear and doom mongering? The headlines telling us that we needed to be afraid, that Trump’s tweets made him the next Hitler. “The Republic repeals itself!” and articles from resident lunatic Jessica Valenti about how she’s going to tell her daughter that we elected a racist, misogynist bully. The non-stop spiel from people saying “I’m disabled–imagine what Trump is going to do to me!” The people stating publicly that it was just a matter of time before conversion centers were on every corner, and LGBTQ people were being rounded up and electrocuted?

This shit happened.

I mean, the stuff that those lunatics raved about most certainly did not happen. But the lunatics did scream about it. Bloody hell, you’d have thought that we just elected LITERALLY Hitler to the presidency from the news headlines making the rounds. “You’re not dead, and you’re not in hell. You’re awake. You’re alive. This is your life now,” stated Rachel Maddow, with all pretense of fairness long discarded. And hers is among the less egregious of the horrific things the media peddled about how we were all about to die. “How Donald Trump Will Wreck the World Economy” ran other headlines. It was disgusting.

And there has been no apology. No indication that they feel any remorse whatsoever for this blatant terrorism, this lying, this manipulation, and this deceit.

We’re not weeping in the streets while Trump and his rightwing death squads round up and kill all the LGBTQ people, while they put disabled people in the ovens and cook them alive, and while Muslims are sent to concentration camps. Nothing has changed. Your life is the same as it was a year ago; my life is the same as it was a year ago. Even Trump’s travel bans aren’t new; Obama did it several times. Nothing Trump has done is any different at all from anything Obama did or that Bush Jr. did. All in all, things are proceeding right along exactly as they have always been.

Just contrast it to the world we were warned about four months ago! Fuck, you’d come away from the headlines expecting the KKK Grand Dragon or whatever to be the next Supreme Court Justice. You’d think that slavery was about to return, that forced registration of LGBTQ people was just around the corner, and that we omg we’re all about to die. I heard from people who were literally cowering in their homes in fear.

And it was the media–it was 100% the media that created, stoked, exaggerated, and heightened that fear.

They terrorized huge chunks of the American population just months ago, and they did the same shit over Brexit. “The sky is going to fall!” they shouted. “The economy will collapse! Muslims will be rounded up and killed! Xenophobes will rule the nation! We’ll be sold into slavery! We’re all going to die!”

And, again, none of that fucking shit happened.

Here we are proceeding along normally, doing nothing about the months of terrorism that was just inflicted on us by institutions that are supposed to at least pretend to be unbiased and fair. No, man. Fuck that. Fuck this. We don’t have to put up with this shit. Hold these fuckers accountable for what they did. That’s not okay. That’s not acceptable. You can’t terrorize people into supporting your political agenda.

That’s not okay.

I don’t actually care whether the people who spread this terrorism actually believed the lunacy pouring out of their mouths. Maybe they did, and maybe they didn’t. Maybe they knew that there was no chance at all that LGBTQ people would be forced into conversion therapy centers. Maybe they knew that men weren’t going to be able to run through the streets grabbing random women by the pussy. Maybe they knew that disabled people weren’t going to be euthanized. Maybe they believed this insanity, and maybe they didn’t. It doesn’t matter.

Because it’s reckless, irresponsible, and downright dangerous. Anyone who has ever encountered any wild animal can tell you that the most dangerous animal is the one that has been backed into a corner. And that’s precisely what the media attempted to do: convince everyone that we had been backed into a corner and that death squads were on the way. Now that none of their psychotic prophecies have come to pass, and there is no indication that anything at all is going to change, it is well past time to hold them accountable for it, make them apologize, and make them rue the goddamned day they thought that they could get away with terrorizing us.

We don’t have to put up with this shit, and we shouldn’t put up with it.

Stand up and scream at them, “No! I am a human being, and you will not push me around!”

This is me.

In case you’d like a sound track while you listen:

Anyway, earlier today I discussed with someone the various kinds of programming that people are hit with from the day they’re born–religious, advertising, and so on–and it was a pretty good conversation. At one point in the discussion, I was asked “Why?” and I replied that the state–government–is one of the biggest programming/brainwashing elements out there. It is the most institutionalized, the least questioned and least challenged, the most dominant, and the most powerful. Anyone who spends any significant amount of time introspectively wondering whether their responses to various stimuli have been pre-programmed by external influences will eventually turn their attention to the state.

Honestly, I think I could hear her eyes roll when I mentioned the state.

In the modern west, there are three primary factors that go into our conditioning–and yes, we’ve all been conditioned. I’ve talked about this countless times. Here, I talked about how we’ve been conditioned like Pavlov’s dog to associate nudity with sex. Here I discussed how we’re conditioned to place value–particularly, the value of “important”–in arbitrary things and, more importantly, to identify so strongly with that value that we use it as the basis for other assessments. It’s not a subject that I shy away from.

We’ve been conditioned to think of humans as boys and girls, black and white, and countless other divisive categories that serve no purpose than to separate us from one another and to slice the world up into groups of Us and Them. In this article, I explicitly discussed the fact that labels are useful only for communication–instead of saying to you “I have breasts and curves, long hair, I wear makeup, and I wear women’s clothes, but I have a penis” I simply say “I’m a shemale.” It’s about conveyance and communication, these labels. I even did a video on the subject–one I’m not particularly proud of, honestly–titled “Be an Individual.”

Groupthink is a serious problem, and it has its roots in conformity, which is another subject that I discuss fairly often–often enough that it has its own Category. The desire to conform and fit in binds so many people to be things they don’t want to be, and to do things they don’t want to do, because the act of standing up against the group and saying, “No! I’m going to just do me!” takes a tremendous amount of courage, because the path is riddled with fear. Fear of loneliness that comes with not being part of the group. Fear of rejection that comes when the group brands you as a heretic. Fear of stepping off the conventional path and into the darkness, to let go of the person you were following and begin feeling your own way out of Thesseus’s labyrinth.

Those three things are religion, advertising, and the state.

On the first, religion is certainly doing the least programming these days, and the days of its control of the population are waning. In the past, a person’s worldview and outlook were informed almost entirely from their religious beliefs; today, a person’s religious beliefs are informed almost entirely from their worldview and outlook. There are still plenty–like the people in my family, for example–who take their cues largely from the religious programming pushed onto them by their parents, who themselves had it pushed onto them by their own parents, who themselves had it pushed onto them by their own parents, ad infinitum.

That’s generally how things work. Each generation simply follows in the footsteps of the preceding generation, carrying on its trends, its ideas, and its practices. We look to the past as a guide and an anchor, using it to assure ourselves that we are on the right path, even as one thing after the other goes wrong. Even though that path has led to not one but two World Wars, the slaughter of Native Americans, the Holocaust, neverending wars, the destruction of the planet, widespread hatred, and so many other things, we remain on that path, never questioning whether we should get off it.

Painfully, someone has forgotten who I am. I don’t know how, but that is why I’m writing this–to state it once more, firmly and clearly. Here on Quora, someone asked if the next generation was going to be a Cupcake Generation, and I pointed out the same thing there: the next generation will be pretty much exactly like the preceding ones.

The most common thing is that a generation merely continues along whatever path the preceding generation placed it on, and that looks to be exactly what our generation is going to do—not just for tradition’s sake, but because we appear to actively fear change. We are terrified of everything and everyone, and the only thing that gives us solace is the knowledge that the state is there, protecting us from the bogeymen.

I am an anarchist, and of the mind that we do need to tear down everything. Every single existent human institution, and rebuild from scratch. We will not, however. We will continue traipsing merrily this path of destruction and self-destruction once our parents die and can no longer carry us down it.

The state isn’t merely one cog in the wheel of programming that we’re hit with our entire lives. It’s not some distant thing that can be safely and easily ignored as a factor in human behavior; it is the biggest source of programming that we have in the world today. And if the state isn’t directly controlling our minds through the education system, lies, manipulation, and coercion, then it’s relying on popular entertainment to do it–like with the film The Purge, where very few people questioned the premise. “Of course, there would be a lot of murder if murder wasn’t illegal for one day!” people thought, taking the premise and running with it.

But the premise is wrong, because it isn’t legality that stays people’s hands; it’s morality. We don’t kill each other for the reason that we think it’s morally wrong, not because we don’t want to be punished. Yet that idea is there. No one ever had to explicitly state it. The government didn’t have to write into a textbook that there would be widespread murder and rape if the government didn’t make them illegal, but that idea is in people’s heads, isn’t it? In fact, though, a lot of history and civics textbooks in high school do make the allegation that the government is what keeps these things from existing. In actuality, though, the government is a murderous, thieving rape gang. It is nothing else, and it is nothing more than that. It has simply used its power and the comfort of centuries of tradition to program us to accept it as inevitable and, in more modern times, actually a positive thing.

So, too, are we swimming in a sea of advertisements. I have no idea how an ordinary person manages to use the Internet–I’ve rarely seen anything in such a state of disrepair. My Verizon Galaxy S7 isn’t as flexible as my Sprint S5, so I’ve not been able to tailor the experience as much as I’d like, and the result is that I’m pretty much running stock Chrome as one of my primary web browsers. The experience is horrendous! Even a common news page has five or six ads, sometimes breaking up the text, and sometimes covering up the text. Hell, rare is the website that lets me visit it without prompting me for my email address to sign up for its newsletter. And if it doesn’t fill the screen with an ad that is going to count down for 5 seconds before I can close out of it, then it’s certainly going to shove them into my face while I’m trying to read. This isn’t just a problem on the Internet, though.

The television show M*A*S*H, which incidentally is one of my favorite shows, has episodes that are 25 to 27 minutes long. To accommodate this, channels that run the series today chop out entire scenes to make it fit in the 23 minutes of programming expected of modern shows. Even though you’ve paid money to enter and watch a movie, you will still be served ads. They’ll come over whatever music app you’re using, they’ll come over the radio, and you’ll drive by them on your way to work. They’re everywhere, constantly programming us. Billions and billions of dollars go into researching how best to make you think what they want you to think. It’s not an accident that Starbucks has the reputation it has, or that Apple has the reputation it has. They know how to program us.

Years ago, a bass player in one of my bands told me about a new vehicle he purchased that beeped incessantly any time the car was cranked but the driver’s seatbelt wasn’t fastened. After a few weeks of this, he was in the habit of fastening his seatbelt before even cranking the car. It’s a habit that he continues to this day. He was programmed by his car to fasten his seatbelt. And this sort of thing happens all around us all the time. Even being able to recognize it only minimizes its impact on us; there is a constant battle for our minds, with everyone and everything trying to define things for us, trying to tell us what to assume, and trying to tell us how to act, how to think, how to feel, and how to respond.

The state has convinced us that nations are real, that borders are real, that our enemies are real, that war is necessary, that it is necessary, that it must take money from us, that it must rule us, that it must spy on us, that it must keep secrets, that it must tell us how to leave, and that it must protect us from ourselves. I recently described it as an Imaginary World, like how my father is looking forward to all the good things that are going to result from a Trump presidency. As I said then: “What is he talking about?”

Trump’s presidency is likely to have no effect whatsoever on his life one way or another. Your life is proceeding exactly as it was two years ago, and so is everyone else’s. Nothing has changed, and nothing is going to change. But people like my father–indeed, most Americans–live in this fantasy world, where Trump is either about to make everything better or about to destroy everything. They are fixated firmly on imaginary things. There are some places where this imaginary world created by politicians and rulers overlaps with our real world–like when I was arrested–but those are still rare occurrences. They are less rare as the leviathan state grows, which is why the United States currently has the highest percentage of the population in prison throughout the entire world.

The state, its role, and its power structures remain the same, though. The wars continue. The death continues. The slavery continues. The rape, the kidnapping, the brutality… it all continues, unchecked, because people are fixated on those imaginary worlds where things are either about to improve or about to totally collapse. And it is here that denial and cognitive dissonance take over. No matter how much things don’t change, and no matter how nothing ever changes one way or another, it never gets noticed and pointed out by the average person. The average person isn’t saying “Well, shit, nothing changed when we went form Bush to Obama, did it?”

But it didn’t.

Everything went on exactly as it had been going on, exactly as our parents had done, as our grandparents had done, and as our great grandparents had done. Because we’ve been programmed not to look. We’ve been programmed to not acknowledge the emperor’s nudity, and we’ve been programmed to convince ourselves that the emperor isn’t naked, so whenever anyone dares point out that the Emperor’s schlong is hanging out, we are conditioned to adamantly deny it, saying patently absurd and demonstrably false things like, “No, we withdrew from Iraq in 2011!”

I’ve met far more good Christians than I have bad ones. While I don’t believe in anything supernatural, I also don’t care to challenge anyone who does, because most people aren’t out there using their belief in the supernatural as an excuse to do terrible things. Some people are, like Steven Anderson, but most aren’t. Neither is advertising causing a great deal of suffering in the world, although materialism is–and I’ve spoken frequently against materialism.

By an enormous margin, the one thing doing the most harm in the world is the state, the programmed belief that we need a state, and the conditioned response to anarchism that the state protects us from evil in the world. The state has racked up a body count that the Christian Devil would envy–war-related deaths only, something like 120,000,000,000 people were killed by the state last century, and so far we’re on schedule to surpass that. Bombs are maiming and murdering innocent people because of the state. People are being robbed of their livelihoods by the state. People are being kidnapped and held against their will by the state.

The state is the most evil thing in existence. These groups of psychopathic, barbaric, murderous amoral, thieving rapists have conquered the entire planet and used their control of the world to convince virtually every ling person that we need those psychopathic, barbaric, murderous, amoral, thieving rapists to be in charge, because if they weren’t in charge, then we might end up with psychopathic, barbaric, murderous, amoral, thieving rapists in charge.

People should be free to explore themselves and reality, but that’s not just an esoteric idea, a meaningless platitude for dropping labels and blurring lines between genders or whatever social convention a person might want to break. People should be free not just in thought but in deed, because we are the culmination of our experiences, and we are the actors who create our next experiences. Control of our actions is control of us. Being free to explore the dark labyrinth of the human psyche, as Joseph Campbell observed people have been doing and relaying to us in the form of mythology for thousands of years, is only half the battle. After slaying the minotaur, Thesseus then undertakes the most difficult challenge yet: returning and sharing the revelation.

How Would Americans Handle President Fuhrer?

I recently talked about how libertarians and anarchists need to draw a line in the sand with our government, and make it clear that, if that line is crossed, it will be tantamount to a declaration of war by the government against the people, and will be treated as such. Don’t get me wrong–I think that needs to happen, and I think it’s ultimately necessary for the government to be firmly reminded that we are armed and will not tolerate much more bullshit, but I also know that it won’t happen.

Calling upon the Libertarian Party to draw this line is a waste of bandwidth and the time it takes to type the sentence. This is not Sarwark’s fault, of course, or Austin Petersen’s or Gary Johnson’s; it is the party’s fault generally because, as I alluded to in the previous discussion, concerns about electability and what is a “good” political move will forever prevent the Libertarian Party from probably ever being anything like its older, principled self.

But it isn’t just the Libertarian Party that wouldn’t dare make such a statement publicly. In fact, very few people would be willing to. The reason has to do with psychology, the innate desire for acceptance, the horror that we may be seen as overreacting, and peer pressure to conform and behave as others behave. Can I back up this claim? Goodness, yes.

We recoil when we see in the news that a bunch of neighbors watched as a woman was gang raped and murdered in broad daylight, with none of them intervening and none of them even calling the police, and we tell ourselves, “Goodness, no! I would have intervened! I would have at least called the police!” And this is true–if there is no one else around. Strangely, as the number of people around the scene increases, the chances of someone intervening or even calling the police drop. It’s very peculiar, but it’s a known fact.

This experiment consisted of people being placed in a room to wait for an interview while they filled out paperwork. Smoke began to roll from the bottom of the interviewer’s office door. The results showed that, when people were alone, they were far more likely to treat the situation like it was a potential emergency. On the other hand, when the person was not alone, they were far more likely to ignore the smoke and pretend like they didn’t notice it–even as they began coughing from it. It’s called the Bystander Effect, and it’s a serious problem.

It will be the reason that almost no one does anything about President Fuhrer, whoever that president happens to be.

Even in my article, I stated at least twice that I was not making the allegation that this was about to happen or that there was any reason to panic; the same psychological tendencies exist in me, too, of course. I don’t want to sound like I’m in foaming-at-the-mouth hysterics over President Trump when there really isn’t that much to be worried about. It’s a shame that modern liberals lack this restraint, but with all their friends pushed into overreaction by the media, we all became outcasts for not overreacting to President Trump.

Just as I was insulted–heavily insulted–simply because I did not overreact to the clown sightings of 2016. It became acceptable to be hysterical, to make Facebook posts about how one would “totally shoot a clown on sight” and how a clown “better hope I don’t see one, I’ll break a bat on a motherfucker’s face!” Hysteria became the norm, and thus it wasn’t considered hysterical. Closing down schools, posts from people about how they would gladly shoot someone just for dressing up like a clown… These became acceptable, while trying to convince people they were exhibiting the same behavior that led to the Salem Witch Trials went against the grain and became unacceptable. Instead of everyone fearing to be seen in hysterics, people feared to be seen reacting calmly and proportionally.

Overreaction became the acceptable level of reaction.

In effect, measured, proportional reaction became under-reaction.

This happened again when Trump won the November election. Holy hell, people went crazy, and I can think of at least a dozen people who should be too damned embarrassed to even show their faces in public, yet instead of having any shame they’re still carrying the hysterical insanity torch proudly. That’s a hell of a thing to say, considering that my previous article said that we needed to be ready to fight an American dictator with guns and not words, but the difference is context; the difference is reaction, overreaction, or anticipation.

Shortly after the election, I had an extensive discussion with a woman who claimed to be Hispanic–though she had the whitest goddamned name I’ve ever heard, short of Wendy McFinnigan–and who claimed to be huddling in her house in fear with her children, crying and terrified. One of my clients, a doctor, closed her practice and returned to India, though she claimed it had nothing to do with the election, she sold off her equipment days after Trump’s victory, and was in such a hurry that she refused to wait and let me wipe the drives. Yes, that’s correct. She sold computers with tons of patients’ medical data on them; clearly, she has no intention of ever returning to the United States, because that’s illegal in more ways than I can count, and I can count to at least seven.

There are three large, politically active groups in the United States: conservatives, liberals, and libertarians. All of these are subdivided into various groups that range in loudness, pettiness, stupidity, petulance, childishness, horror of policy, and activism. Conservatives consist of the Tea Party, the alt-right, liberty-leaning conservatives. Liberals consist of Greens, communists, socialists, mainstream democrats. Libertarians consist of libertarians, classical liberals, minarchists, anarchists. There are other groups, of course, and more divisions within the three large groups, but none of that is really that important.

The important part is that the left overreacts to everything, which makes them pretty much The Party That Cries Wolf. They scream about racism, sexism, homophobia, misogyny, and every manner of -phobia so often that when one of these descriptive labels actually applies to an action, it’s met with the eye rolling and groaning that accompany the mundane and familiar. “Oh, Democrats are screaming about some sexist thing… again…”

Plus, their manner of doing things is to simply make a lot of noise. They’re good at getting the media’s attention, but they’ve routinely shown that they don’t have a clue what to do once they have that attention. Black Lives Matter is my “go to” example, but it’s hardly unique to that movement; virtually everything that liberals protest and demonstrate for or against gets a lot of attention but does nothing, changes nothing, and accomplishes nothing. It’s ultimately just noise. This doesn’t mean that I agree or disagree with the sentiments they’re expressing; I do not approve, however, of how they [don’t] achieve their goals. Like the Republicans now that they totally control the government, liberals in general are like the dog that finally caught the car–now that they have it, they don’t know what to do with it. “Alright! We shut down a major interstate that stretches from California to North Carolina! The country’s eyes are on us! … … … So what do we do?”

Meanwhile, Trump and the alt-right have made huge strides in getting conservatives to accept and go along with some truly horrible policies. People cheered when Trump said he would bring back torture, when he said that he’d go after terrorists’ families, and when he said that he wanted to ban Muslims from entering the country. Four years ago, a Republican saying that would have quickly found his political career in shambles.

This means that the two biggest chunks of the politically active American population won’t do anything to fight against President Fuhrer. The liberals won’t, either because President Fuhrer is a liberal–President Obama showed us just how much liberals will turn a blind eye to, and their zeal to inflict violence upon people who disagree with them knows almost no bounds–or because they simply don’t know how. They’ll be the group out protesting while the U.S. military rounds up Muslims. And, surprisingly, they’ll be ignored, I think, because clamping down on protest would only exacerbate the problem and possibly motivate people to further action. As long as they’re simply protesting, they’re only making noise and accomplishing nothing, so I believe President Fuhrer would largely ignore them. People who aren’t already liberals will certainly ignore them, because liberals are always protesting and demonstrating–generating noise–and we’ve already started to filter it out.

There are two paths I see us going down in the future, and it really depends on the timing. There is a strong chance that President Fuhrer will be a conservative, in which case conservatives won’t resist. However, there is also a strong chance that liberals will vote in a terrible choice in 2020, who proceeds to gut the Tenth Amendment and force liberal legislation onto conservative states, particularly regarding abortion and LGBTQ issues, which is more likely than anything to send the conservative states into secession again. People who advocate #CalExit today would, of course, be opposed to this, because “If Mississippi leaves, then we can’t force Mississippi to put LGBTQ people on a pedestal! No, they can’t leave, because they only reason they want to leave is to oppress people!”

I’m sure we all know how the rest will play out.

This really only leaves the Libertarians, but they’re generally so concerned about how the public perceives the Libertarian Party that the absolute last thing they would ever, ever do is appear to be overreacting. The Libertarian Party is lately motivated by only one single concern: mainstream acceptance. The psychological tendencies that create the Bystander Effect virtually control the Libertarian Party, such that it would probably be the last group to actually take up arms against a tyrannical government. Only once most people were doing it and it was socially acceptable would the Libertarian Party do it, because they’re terrified of doing anything that will make them appear kooky or extreme.

It’s simply sad, but true, that the Democratic Party is more likely to tell Trump, “If you begin construction of this wall or impose a national registry of Muslims–or any other group–then we will take it as a declaration of war against the American People!” than the Libertarian Party is. If the Democratic Party did do that, then I’m sure the Libertarian Party would immediately leap to its feet and cry, “Us, too! Us, too! Yeah! A declaration of war!”

But regardless of political affiliations, it won’t much matter how President Fuhrer and his/her actions sit with people. They won’t do anything, because they don’t want bystanders to think they’re overreacting. And by the time it reached the point where it obviously wouldn’t be overreacting, because President Fuhrer had already declared martial law and started rounding people up, it would be too damned late to do anything about it.

So I guess we need to hope that President Fuhrer never rises, because the American People won’t do anything about it until it’s way too late.

 

What Happened To LGBT Pride?

As I’ve discussed through the last few days, a lot of people are telling me that I should be afraid because I’m transgender, and Trump and his supporters want to do horrible things to transgender people. Rather than talk about how insane this is, I want to talk about something else, because, apparently, there are a lot of LGBT people who are currently huddling in fear, horrified and terrified, frozen like a deer in the headlights of the Trump Train.

What in the hell happened to LGBT Pride?!

Someone who is proud is not scared. Someone who is proud refuses to be scared, because when they are faced with a threat, they prepare to fight. I continue to insist that there is absolutely no threat toward LGBT people and that, realistically, the only people who need to be worried about a Trump presidency are Muslims, with whom I will stand, armed, ready to fight with them if any of the liberal fears come to pass. However, there is not and has never been any reason for LGBT people to be afraid of a Trump presidency.

And even if there was, is that what a proud person does? Cower in fear? Riot because they didn’t get their way? Pitch a fit?

Does a proud person sit in the corner and weep?

Stand up.

You are a human being.

Does a proud person surrender their voice to the delusional masses who are jumping at shadows, huddling in fear because they have been told there is a boogeyman that wants to hurt them, sheepishly going along because their very own “allies” will turn against them if they don’t?

Do you have any idea how utterly vicious your Allies have been to me in the past few days, simply because I refuse to be afraid, because I am proud, because I will not surrender my voice and let them speak for me, because I will not sheepishly bow and cry in the corner as they want me to?

Here is just one such example.

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No one who tells you that you must surrender your voice to them, because, if you don’t, they will turn against you and wish terrible things upon you is your ally. Such a person is not your friend, your ally, your comrade, or your compatriot. They are an enemy. They are a manipulator seeking to beat you into submission and then hold you up as a resource on their tally page. No one who treats you like you are “all women” or “all LGBT people” is your friend. No one who would deny you your individualism is your ally. No one who would tell you to shut the fuck up and go along with what they say because they’ll viciously turn against you if you don’t is your friend. They are using you.

The Democratic Party has been using you for years.

Have some damned pride.

Stand up and shout, “No! I will not be used! I will not be afraid! I will not let you abuse me!”

Have some pride and self-respect. You do not have to be afraid. You do not have to surrender your voice. You do not have to sheepishly go along with what “everyone else” says out of fear that they will turn and crucify you if you don’t. And if you find yourself a member of a group that would turn its hatred on you so quickly just because you dared speak as an individual, then you know that those people are not your friend. They are not your ally.

It’s time we put the pride back in LGBT Pride. It must mean more than this.

Stand up and say it. Right now, sitting there reading this. Don’t just read this and shrug. Stand up and say it. Post it to Twitter, Facebook, Buzzfeed, wherever you feel like shouting loudest, and tell the world:

No. I have had ENOUGH. I will NOT be afraid. I will NOT be abused. I will NOT cower. I will NOT cry. I will stand tall, and FUCK YOU if you tell me I shouldn’t. FUCK YOU if you would turn against me because I will not blindly accede to everything you say. FUCK YOU if you would turn and hang the jury with the guilty because I demand the right to speak with my own voice. FUCK YOU if you tell me I must sacrifice my individuality and autonomy to you.

Sometimes it’s difficult to recognize an abusive relationship, and it’s always difficult to break out of one. But I swear to you on my life, fellow LGBT people, the Democratic Party is abusing you. They are using you, they are abusing you, they are lying to you, they are manipulating you, and they are telling you to be afraid so that they can justify their power grab. They are not your friends, and they are not your allies. Break free of conformity, break free of the abusive relationship and stand tall as an individual, and be proud.

If they cannot accept you for that, then they are not your ally.

 

Brace Yourselves. A Trump or Clinton is Coming.

brace-yourselves-2I actually had a dream last night that Donald Trump won the election. One could even call it a nightmare with some justification, because the resultant riots were disastrous. To deal with the widespread violence, Obama declared a National State of Emergency, and those were the circumstances when Trump assumed office: ones that would make Hitler laugh giddily and do the Dr. Evil pinky thing.

Don’t get me wrong. Hillary would be just as bad, if for different reasons. We’d wake up in January to see news reports of how Hillary drone-bombed the Ecuadorian Embassy in London–“Why not? We bomb places in all sorts of countries without a declaration of war. London shouldn’t have been harboring him if they didn’t want to get bombed.”–and completed a decades-long plan to attack Russia. Race relations in the country continue to worsen, LGBT communities continue grabbing power while screaming about how oppressed they are, and flagrant misandry goes ignored while even the most subtle forms of misogyny are ripped to pieces.

Most of this isn’t going to change no matter who is elected President. We could elect McAfee/Weiss* and it wouldn’t change any of these underlying issues. Black Lives Matter isn’t going anywhere. Just half an hour ago, I read an article about how Social Justice Warriors on Twitter flipped out when they saw “a KKK sign” at the World Series. It went down like this.

SJW: “Why is there a KKK sign at the World Series? RACISM!”

Reasonable person: “There isn’t. In baseball, a ‘k’ means ‘strike-out,’ and they hang one each time the pitcher strikes out someone.”

SJW: “Wow, okay, thanks for mansplaining.”

But I don’t really mean to get into all that. We have a lot of problems here in the United States, and they’re not going to disappear overnight. The best outcome would be that we elect someone like McAfee/Weiss, who get the state out of our way and let us work things out. Because things are going to have to be worked out; there’s zero dispute about that. The only question is whether we will solve our problems, or whether we will decide that we are absolutely, totally, objectively right, and thereby use the state to solve our problems in the way that we want.

One thing is certain, though. Tuesday night, either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will be elected the next President of the United States. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t vote third party. In fact, it means that you should.

At best, these two horrible human beings each have about 40% support. That means that, no matter what happens, sixty percent of Americans are going to be upset. So I would humbly ask everyone…

Can we stop being selfish assholes for a minute? For three days. Please?

Consider that significant majority of Americans who are going to be extremely and negatively impacted by your presidential choice. Consider doing something bizarre–something you may never have truly done before–and allow, just for a moment, for the possibility that you might be wrong, and that other people matter, too. Ask yourself what kind of person would do something if they knew as a certainty that 60% of all the other people in the nation were going to be deeply bothered and upset–rightfully so. Ask yourself why you think it’s okay to do that to 60% of all the people you share a country with, and then look elsewhere–ask yourself if there might be some other way for everyone to be moderately happy.

No one will get what they want, but everyone will get what they need.

trump-or-hillaryTake a moment to consider the vast majority of Americans who would say that a Trump presidency is the absolute last thing they want; take a moment to consider the vast majority of Americans who would say that a Clinton presidency is the absolute last thing they want. Consider all those other people.

There are 150% as many people against your presidential choice as there are for your presidential choice. You are outnumbered. Democratic-style governments only work when people act with a modicum of selflessness, consider the interests of other people, and accept that they don’t really have the right to make a decision and drag the majority along with it.

I understand that you’re terrified of a Hillary presidency. So is at least 20% of the population that does not support Trump, and they are just as scared of a Trump presidency as you are of a Hillary one. They have managed to conquer their fear, saying, “No! We will not be extorted and coerced into supporting this terrible candidate because you somehow managed to find someone who is even worse! We will vote for peace, for love, and for compassion, not from fear, terror, and rage.”  Put aside the fear. Put down the bullet that is your vote and shake the other people’s hands. It’s the only way that we can even start to work out the real, underlying issues in the United States.

I understand that you’re terrified of a Trump presidency. So is at least 20% of the population that does not support Hillary, and they are just as scared of a Hillary presidency as you are of a Trump one. They have managed to conquer their fear, saying, “No! We will not be extorted and coerced into supporting this terrible candidate because you somehow managed to find someone who is even worse! We will vote for peace, for love, and for compassion, not from fear, terror, and rage.”  Put aside the fear. Put down the bullet that is your vote and shake the other people’s hands. It’s the only way that we can even start to work out the real, underlying issues in the United States.

So I implore you. Allow for the possibility that you may not be right. Allow for the possibility that those 60% of Americans telling you that you are wrong are, in fact, correct–but so are you. Everyone is a bit right. Consider their wants, needs, and desires, and then ask yourself: “Mightn’t there be a better way?”

Indeed, there is. Vote third party.

* I realized the other day that I hadn’t given Weiss fair treatment in my articles, hardly ever even mentioning him, but the McAfee ticket was never “the McAfee ticket.” It was the McAfee/Weiss ticket. Of course, the LNC nominates its President and Vice President separately, but I don’t think the Libertarian Party should have “official candidates.” I think that, from the point of view of the Libertarian Party and the LNC, anyone who says they are a Libertarian candidate is a Libertarian candidate; we need to stop having one “official” one. Let the best libertarian win–not at the LNC with a small delegation but with libertarians across the country who will vote for the one they think is best. There is no reason that the LP should have one single, official candidate, especially not after several instances of the official candidate not really qualifying as a libertarian.

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The Age of Hysteria: Clowns, Russians, Assange, and Americans

What do clowns and Russians have in common?

That Americans are swept up in hysterical fear of them without a damned bit of evidence to support the paranoia and without any good reason why anyone should be afraid.

be-afraid

One could say I’ve spent the last month studying and considering hysteria, how it develops, how it spreads, and how it rules the mind of those who are swept up in it. I’ve postulated an explanation for the ubiquity of this hysteria, although I’m not entirely convinced that the hysteria needs an explanation–perhaps we have always been on the edge of insanity. The Salem Witch Trials would certainly suggest so. Speculating that our increasing inability to see the world in anything but the terms of Either/Or has given us the notion that the side who agrees with us is, at the least tolerable, while the side who disagrees with us is “literally Hitler” and “literally the Devil,” it’s been my hope that I might figure out why we are going to wake up in January saying either “President Trump” or “President Hillary,” two people who, by all rights, should be grinding their teeth angrily because they are trapped in a position where their job is fetching coffee for the president and his aides.

Yet all of that became meaningless as I read through an article at The Guardian about Julian Assange, and then made the mistake of reading the comments. Now, you may remember that I am no fan of Julian Assange these days, primarily because I think “whatever he once was” has become lost in his personality and his placement of himself as the gatekeeper of seemingly-critical information. Assange made this horrible bed for himself–not by releasing classified information, though… By doing the opposite, in fact–and I have very little sympathy that he must now lie in it.

Anyway, all of that is neither here nor there; I just wanted to give an understanding of my position on Assange before we proceed. I don’t want to talk about Wikileaks. In fact, I want to talk about hysteria.

wikileaks1As myself and so many others pointed out, this whole mess with blaming the Russians was started by the Democrats, clearly as a way of distracting from the contents of the leaks. I wrote that article on September 27, saying:

Hackers have pulled back the curtain and have shown us the man standing there, maneuvering levers and talking into a microphone, and the great, green glowing head is shouting at us, “Ignore that man behind the curtain! The dog is out to get you! That damned dog! That dog hates you and wants to see you destroyed!”

And now, only three weeks later, the allegation has memetically made its way throughout the United States, and we now have a liberal army of people convinced that the Russians are out to get them, because Hillary told them so, and then Obama told them so. It is irrelevant that the Democrats merely pointed at the Russians and shouted, “They did it!” and have never presented a shred of evidence that Russians are responsible–in fact, I lean toward the hypothesis that Sanders supporters are responsible, and that the leaks actually come from within the Democrat Party. But that’s speculation, too. However, my speculation is at least as likely to be true as Hillary’s. Moreover, since I have no skin in the game, I am a much more trustworthy source.

Dawkins would be proud.

Soren_Arkwright accurately summarizes the bullshit being fed:

wikileaks2Many months ago, I wrote an article about how the 2016 election is a case-study on the devolution of democracy, and I think that’s something worth revisiting now, so here it is.

It’s a matter of some interest to me that Hillary supporters accuse me of supporting Trump, while Trump supporters accuse me of supporting Hillary. I assure you, I despise them both, probably equal, though I hate them for entirely different reasons. That makes it hard to compare the two. Hillary is much worse for the rest of the world, while Trump is much worse for us here at home. Do you want to take the beating so that children in Syria don’t have to? It’s not an easy question to answer, but that’s ultimately what the Hillary/Trump choice boils down to, and I want nothing to do with either of them.

I’m not pro-Trump or pro-Hillary.

I’m anti-sensationalism and anti-hysteria. Naturally, this means that I spend more time defending Trump and attacking liberals than I do attacking Trump and defending liberals. I mean, Republicans aren’t out there starting riots and then demanding to know who was the last presidential candidate since Hillary to incite riots. However, Democrats have done that. Republicans aren’t out there behaving like Nazis burning down the Reichstag Building* by attacking Democrat offices, yet democrats–and you know before I proceed that it’s fucking millennial Sanders supporters** doing it–absolutely are out there “firebombing” Republican offices. And, as I said on Quora, if someone says something or advocates a policy that you don’t like, and you respond with honest-to-fuck violence, then your opponent is not the Nazi.

You are.

And now anti-Russian hysteria is not just coming from the top, as it has been for a while. In fact, Hillary has been beating the Drums of War while staring at Russia since she secured the nomination, and the situation in Syria is shaping up like a classic catalyst to lead to a larger war. We are now fighting a proxy war against Russia in Syria. We all understand this, right? Syria is a three-way conflict between Assad and the Russians, the U.S. and rebels, and Isis.

Of course, Isis only has a foothold there because we backed the rebels and gave them weapons, which destabilized the country and loosened Assad’s grip on power. This created a vacuum that Isis happily swept in from Iraq–where a similar power vacuum had given then prominence–to fill in the gap. I mean, we pretty much created this mess when we started arming the rebels. There’s a reason Putin accuses us of supporting Isis.

Oh, I know. Americans aren’t interested in having Putin tell us about the tremendously fucked up things that our government is getting up to. We were beating the drums of war with Syria long before Isis was there, though. Do you remember that? A lot of things happen here in the United States, and we’re constantly fed bullshit; it can be really hard to remember that this or that happened. But think back to the rise of the rebels in Syria, and the allegation that Assad had used chemical weapons.

Seems like it was forever ago, doesn’t it? That is by design.

It was one of the few places Orwell got it totally wrong. The government doesn’t necessarily have to straight up lie to us and rely on our doublethink for us to say “We’ve always been at war with Eurasia.” They don’t have to, because we are fed so much shit on a daily basis that even someone with a powerful memory for these types of details is left going, “Wait… I don’t remember the details, but… Didn’t… That’s not right…?”

Remember when the United States clearly wanted to attack Russia? Obama drew his “line in the sand” or whatever, and Hillary was loud in her vocalization in support of attacking Assad. Then Kerry gaffed and gave Assad an out, completely by accident. Do you remember the sentiment? The United States was angry with Kerry for paving the way to avoid war. There was a lot of talk that Kerry’s offer wasn’t enforceable, and that it didn’t matter what he said; we didn’t have to keep his promise. It was insane to watch, but it was entirely clear: the United States wanted war with Assad.

And now Isis is there.

This happened somewhere else, too. It happened in Iraq. DAESH has existed since 1999 in Iraq. However, they were a nothing group without any significance. Until 2003. “Some time in 2003”–I’ll leave it to your imagination to guess when that “some time” was–Isis began recruiting and militarizing. We invaded, toppled Saddam Hussein, left a weak, broken government behind, and then left. While I’m for the leaving, I’m against the vacuum we created there in the first place.

And now Isis is there.

Indeed, if you look on a map of military invasions throughout the Middle East, you’ll find there is a perfect correlation between a country being invaded and later becoming a hotspot for “terrorism.”

We also now have Russia in Syria, presumably having drawn their own line in the sand. Far be it from me to guess what anyone is thinking, but I don’t think Russia is going to let us topple Assad the way we did the Taliban and Saddam Hussein. And Gadhafi. And about three dozen others, possibly through covert operations.

I’ve no love for Russia and Putin, but a realistic look at the situation shows that Russia is a force of stabilization in Syria, while the United States is a force of destabilization. Why in the hell are we even viewing Russia as an enemy?

The Democrats’ anti-Russia propaganda has perpetuated itself among the stupid and gullible, though.

wikileaks3So in the past month, we watched an unknown but small number of clowns appear throughout the country innocuously, making no threats and violating no laws. Now, Target has pulled clown masks from its shelves. Municipalities have launched actual police investigations. Teens have been arrested for going on social media and “pretending to be clowns” making threats against people. People have wildly asserted that the clowns have been seen trying to lure children into the wounds–an allegation that has been widely debunked. Schools have gone into lockdowns.

I am proud to say that I was among the first to identify the hysteria. No, really. I was. In fact, I may have been the very first American to call the clown reaction “hysteria.” Now, it’s increasingly accepted that we are dealing with hysteria. My speculation that it was viral marketing for the upcoming remake of It remains on 100% solid ground, with not one piece of evidence refuting it, and the hysteria has mostly died down now. In short, I was right, and I am very much proud that I was able to see through the hysteria and call it the bullshit that it was.

It’s a curious thing, and now we see it happening with Russians. Simply replace “clowns” with “Russians,” and you have exactly the same phenomenon. “The clowns are dangerous and hostile!” becomes “The Russians are dangerous and hostile!” There is no evidence to support either claim, of course. “The clowns are out to hurt us!” becomes “The Russians are out to hurt us!” There is no evidence to support either claim, of course.

We, as a people, are terrifyingly prone to bouts of hysteria. Did we learn nothing from the clown shit that just happened?

wiiileaks4This isn’t at all plausible, Tijger. Hillary explicitly joked about using a drone to kill Assange. While it was a joke–presumably–you’re engaging in some wicked doublethink to believe she doesn’t give a rats ass about him.

Anyway.

I’m not advocating anything, really, and I’m not speaking out against anyone. I’m just calling for everyone to calm the fuck down. Look, if we could just calm down and get our emotions under control for three weeks, we might be able to get something productive done. But as long as everyone is just at the edge of hysteria–some of them leaping gleefully over it–then we’re never going to be reasonable. That’s what we need right now: to be reasonable, to calm down, and to stop being hysterical.

* A conspiracy theory, but one with better than “likely” odds of being true.

** Strictly speaking, no more certain than the speculation that Russians are behind the Democrats’ hacks, to be fair. However, Sanders supporters have been pulling shit like this in the open for six months.