Tag Archive | force

Debate on the Nature & Scope of Self-Defense

Friday night, I debated with Matt Kuehnel of “Dankertarians,” who run the website https://dankertarians.com. I don’t really follow the site or the page, but I think they make memes or something. I’m not entirely sure. Matt is a hard-left leaning libertarian of the anarchist persuasion and calls himself a Libertarian Socialist. From my reading of Libertarian Socialism, it’s basically anarcho-communism by a different name. C’est la vie, it’s not important.

After we’d each been cross-examined, we featured Will Coley of Muslims 4 Liberty to talk about his MALIC center project, where he is opening a mosque and interfaith place of worship in Keene, New Hampshire to serve the community there. As a fun bonus, it is opening within five miles of where now felon Chris Cantwell lives. The project has been funded well, but it could use your support, and not just to make a Nazi cry by having a mosque open up in his backyard; even as an atheist, I’m fully on-board with the project. You can find it here, and I hope that you can throw $5 his direction.

I took basically the position that you’ve heard me describe before: there are limits to what is and isn’t self-defense–objective criteria by which we determine an act was self-defense. This is critically important, because saying “I was defending myself” is not just an excuse for one’s own actions; it’s an accusation of criminal behavior. In order for me to be “defending myself,” the person attacking me must be guilty of a crime–assault, battery, etc. Yet this person has the right to be presumed innocent until they are proven guilty (socially or legally–as I reminded Matt several times throughout the debate, we’re not talking about law as much as we are social custom and what is right). If my claim of self-defense is to hold up, I must prove beyond the shadow of a reasonable doubt that the person against whom I defended myself was guilty of a crime. This often gets lost in the self-defense debate, but there’s never just one person: both sides are prosecutor and defendant, and both must be presumed innocent.

Anyway, all that said, I was really rusty, and it showed. I haven’t formally debated anyone in years. And after all the bitching about formality, wouldn’t you know it? It was I who cross-examined someone when I shouldn’t have. Anyway, the debate weighs in at just over an hour, and we take questions at the end, so I hope you enjoy it, and thanks for watching.

Stop Virtue Signaling.

It’s been a weird few days.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s Have A [Trade] War

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s have a war.

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

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.

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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Libertarians & Term Limits: A Contradiction in Principle

I’m still shocked every time I see a libertarian preaching the value of arbitrary term limit. Someone just posted this to a Voluntaryist / Anarchist group I’m in, along with a Gary Johnson video–ugh:

Want to do one thing that will help end tyranny? Force incumbents to have term limits. Vote them OUT!

Okay, well… See? This is self-contradictory.

For one, if you’re forcing incumbents out, then you’re hardly moving away from tyranny. In fact, you’re moving toward tyranny, by purposely creating legislation that is specifically designed to limit voters’ choices and, in some cases, to override their expressed wishes. This is the libertarian position? I honestly don’t see how.

“Oh, sorry! I’d love a third term of Jesus / Gandhi. But term limits.”

It’s nonsense.

If American voters wish to give Barack Obama a third time, then by what right does anyone step up and say, “No, I’m sorry you all voted for him, but I’m not going to let him have a third term”? If the majority has elected the candidate for a third time, then, ipso facto, only a minority wishes the candidate to not get a third term. How presumptuous to say, “No, I don’t care that you’re the majority and we’re the minority. We’re making a law that overrules you.”

And this is the libertarian position?

Isn’t the whole idea of individual responsibility and autonomy kinda a critical part of libertarianism? The idea is that a person should be able to use their resources in whatever way they want, as long as they don’t use aggression against others. I can choose to “vote for Wal-Mart” by purchasing from them, and that’s fine. They may become corrupt and establish an effective monopoly in rural areas, whatever. For you to come along and say, “No, you’ve supported Wal-Mart long enough. You can’t support them any longer. You have to support Dollar General now,” is the height of absurdity, and is a clear example of tyranny.

You are, in every sense, attempting to make my decisions for me. If I want to vote for Barack Obama and 51% of Americans want to vote for Barack Obama and the dude wins a third term, then who in the hell are you to say “No” to that?

Either you’re on board with the idea of a populace educating themselves and making decisions for themselves, or you’re not.

I totally agree that we should make some sort of attempt to vote out the corruption. In fact, I do that. But look–if we vote out the corruption, then we don’t need you coming along and using force, violence, and coercion to force out incumbents. If we vote for the corrupt politicians, then that is our right. In the end, the Senators and Representatives we have… They’re there because we voted for them–a majority of the people who voted… did so for the standing Representatives and Senators.

I don’t like any of them. Justin Amash is pretty good, and there are a few others that are decent. However, I certainly didn’t vote for any of them. If I want to see them replaced, then I can campaign against them, spread knowledge about their corruption, and raise awareness about them. In the end, though, the decision must be in the hands of the people when they go to vote. If they vote for those corrupt Senators and Representatives, then that is their decision.

You cannot tell them, “No, you can’t vote for this Senator again.”

Attempting to use arbitrary term limits to fix the corruption problem is the equivalent of using legislation to force your will onto others. If we have these politicians in office, then that means that Americans put them there. I don’t like it, either, but I would not dare presume to suggest that I know better than everyone else, and that it doesn’t matter what they want, that it doesn’t matter if they want Barack Obama for a third term, and that it doesn’t matter if they want Congressman W. for a sixth term. That is what you are arguing when you argue for term limits:

I don’t care what other people have voted for, would vote for, or are voting for. They shouldn’t even have the option to vote for these people again. Since they can’t make the right decision to vote these people out, I will have to make that decision for them, using term limits.

It doesn’t matter to me if term limits would minimize corruption. Lots of things would minimize corruption. Hell, charging into Washington armed to the teeth with weapons and forcefully taking over the capital under the Libertarian flag would minimize corruption. But that doesn’t make it right to just piss all over the will of voters and tell them who they can and can’t vote for. We could turn this into a socialist prison society built on rations and carefully controlled human interactions, with everyone under CCTV 24 hours a day, being monitored by everyone else, and that would also minimize corruption. That doesn’t mean we should do it.

The position put forward by Johnson and his un-libertarian stooges is exactly that: “The end justifies the means.” Because it would minimize corruption, it is okay to limit the choices that voters have. Meanwhile, they criticize the Commission on Presidential Debates for effectively limiting the choices that voters have. Can you imagine if Republicans or Democrats tried to pass legislation that third parties couldn’t appear on ballots at all? We would probably revolt. Yet that’s almost precisely what Johnson and his cassette tapes are proposing; it’s all the same thing: limiting voter choices.

Gary Johnson likes talking about black holes.

Well, what about that black hole? Once you start limiting people’s choices, unilaterally making decisions on their behalf because they can’t be trusted to make the decision that you want them to make, you jump right on that slippery slope of tyranny. That’s what I hear from the people who propose term limits:

“But I can’t trust the masses to vote out the corrupt politicians! I don’t want these politicians, and the majority just keeps voting for them! It’s not fair! We need a law so that they have to vote these people out!!!!11!!one!!”

For fuck’s sake, this person even used the word “force” in their post.

A libertarian… advocating the use of force… to achieve a political end. Once more, for the record, the Libertarian Pledge–the pledge you must take in order to officially call yourself a Libertarian–the pledge that is the crux of Libertarianism:

I hereby certify that I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals.

Gary Johnson and his supporters need to revisit the Libertarian Pledge. It is as I just wrote. It is not:

I hereby certify that I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals… unless I really, REALLY want to achieve that goal.

The Non Aggression Principle. That is where it’s at. That is the heart of the matter and the heart of libertarianism. If you believe that there are occasions where it is justified to use force as a means of achieving a political or social goal, then you are NOT a libertarian. Calling yourself a libertarian when you believe it’s sometimes okay to use force to achieve a goal is like calling yourself a Christian even though you don’t believe there’s a god. Sure, you can call yourself whatever you want, but calling yourself something doesn’t make you that something.

You are, more than likely, a classical liberal. I would absolutely call Austin Petersen a classical liberal, and Gary Johnson, too. Actually, I would say that Johnson is stuck somewhere between “classical liberal” and “liberty-leaning conservative.” But there’s no reason to put that fine a point on it.

There is a reason that the Libertarian Pledge is a vow to reject the use of force to achieve goals. If you reject that pledge, then you are not a libertarian.

If you think the end justifies the means, then you’re a classical liberal at best.

But certainly not a libertarian.

 

Anarchists & Voluntaryists Continue Their Circle Jerk

I am more frustrated than I should be by how fucking common it is that anarchists and voluntayrists (it exists among libertarians, too, but not in numbers nearly as high, though it seems to represent a majority of A/Vs) basically speak in tongues trying to make their points. I am going to build off what I wrote before, and explaining why it’s such a problem.

anarchistsActually, the funny thing about that little thing I wrote above is that… those are pretty much exactly the right words to convey what I was trying to get across. By obsessing over grammatical structure, they are confusing obedience with knowledge, and they are hiding weakness behind linguistic parlor tricks. I am proud to make arguments for anarchism without resorting to such nonsense. I would suggest that if you cannot make the argument for voluntaryism or anarchism without saying something like:

Bezboznik’s argument for taking this route, in a manner of speaking, was multifaceted, in stating that it would lead to a reduction in congestion since there would be “no free riders”; that it would lead to less crime, citing private roads that are rarely utilized by comparing them to public roads utilized by nearly everyone; that it would hold road owners to more responsibility for maintaining both order on, and sustentation of the roads compared to that of government monopolies, a free market point I won’t refute; that it will encourage construction of infrastructure, which goes without saying; and that it will encourage small business, which brings me to the alternative that will later be discussed.

… then you, to be perfectly frank, have no business writing in the first place. That’s okay–writing is not your strong suit. Not everyone is good at everything. Writing, however, is about communicating via the written word. That is all it’s about. That is why it exists, and that is why people do it: to communicate via the written word. Throwing out such needlessly pretentious writing is the equivalent of being the world’s best guitar player while being totally unable to improvise a solo or to write music that comes from the heart. Music, of course, is the language of emotion, and the goal of music is to communicate emotion. All of the technique in the world will not let someone do this:

Not to brag, but did you hear that? Just saying–no death metal guitar player could have conveyed that.

My problem with emotions is that I can’t communicate them otherwise. Emotions don’t translate well into words; that is what my old moniker “I/E” was about. Language is handled by an entirely different part of the brain than that which handles emotion, and there is literally a translation between the two. “Love” as a word doesn’t even start to convey the emotion. “Despair” as a word doesn’t even start to convey the emotion. It is a translation of the emotion, a very weak attempt at communication. Music, however, speaks directly to that same part of the brain that deals in emotion, bypassing the language translation altogether.

My journey with writing is actually a funny one. From 18 to about 23, I read a lot of 18th and 19th century writers. Of them, Benjamin Franklin was my favorite, and I desperately attempted to emulate his style. My first semester in college had me doing that, and I received perfect scores on my essays. In fact, the professor commented that I had a “very mature style!” She included the exclamation point. I wish that I still had the essay that I’m thinking of, but it has long been gone.

One day while reading one of Franklin’s works, I paused on a sentence and remarked aloud, “That is the worst sentence I have ever read.”

I read it again, and then again. I went to the preceding sentence, and found that it was just as terrible. Shocked, I went through what was then a large library and pulled the collections I had, searching them for Franklin’s writings, and going through them quickly. All I found was terrible writing, though. This person that I had spent years successfully emulating… was a terrible writer. He used one hundred words to say something that could have been said in ten. Brevity is still a huge problem for me; you can imagine how bad I was back then.

I turned to my other idol of the period. This idol had a wildly different writing style–one that I didn’t like nearly as much, though I loved what this other person had to say. This other person was Thomas Paine, who stands in my mind as one of the most talented writers who ever lived. In fact, compare his The Rights of Man to Mary Shelley’s A Vindication of the Rights of Men, and you’ll see basically the Thomas Paine / Benjamin Franklin divide clearly, though Shelley was much better than Franklin.

I am more frustrated than I should be by how fucking common…

… is what I say today. Back then, I probably would have said:

Only after considerable ponderance have I determined that the source of my ire is the ubiquity, and the mundanity which so often accompanies the familiar, of…

To me, it’s just about saying what I mean to say. It wasn’t always this way. Sometimes, this does produce some pretentious stuff, like when I said:

It’s clearly meant to screen out people who don’t confuse pretentiousness with intellectualism. People above a certain threshold of intellect will recognize this for the codswallop of trite inanities that it is, while people below a certain threshold will not even understand it. There is a narrow place between those two thresholds, where there exist people who can be dazzled by the spectacle, much in the same way that people are enraptured by the antics of stage magicians.

The above is more pretentious than I would like, but it says exactly what I meant to say.

Generally speaking, Rule 1 of writing anything is that the first word you think of to use is the right word to use. If you go to the second word, because it’s a synonym, a bit of it gets lost, and if you proceed to the third or fourth–or use a thesaurus, you piece of shit–then the original meaning is often lost entirely. Think about words like colors. If I wanted to describe a color to you, I could say that it’s blue.

blue“Ew!” I might think quietly. “‘Blue’ is such a short and boring word. It’s mundane. No one will be impressed if I describe the man’s shirt as ‘blue,’ so he needs a better color than that. People will read it and think, ‘Oh, he’s wearing a blue shirt… How fascinating… not!’ like it’s the nineties and they think Wayne’s World is still cool. And I do not want to be associated with Wayne’s World! Oh, my god, I just started a sentence with ‘and!’ Argh! What is happening to me? I can’t keep–this is terrible writing! Blue! I need a synonym for blue! <Opens Google> Aha! Azure! Perfect!”

So the shirt is azure now:

azureOh. But… those aren’t the same color, are they? They’re not even close. If you were filling out a police report and they asked you what color shirt he was wearing, and you said “azure” they may very well leave your perp alone because he’s wearing a blue shirt, and not an azure one. “Yeah, ‘azure’ is a step in the wrong direction. How about cerulean? That’s a four syllable word, for fuck’s sake! Oh, my god, I just wrote ‘fuck!’ Do I turn myself into the Grammar Nazis, or will they come find me? Cerulean, though… That’s four syllables! I can’t pass that up. It’s too perfect!”

ceruleanCerulean is certainly closer than “azure,” but we’re still pretty far from what we meant, if what we meant was “blue.” Now we’ve mixed in some grey and given it a sort of purple tint. Or violent tint? Maybe we added a slight dash of magenta to it.

Whatever we did, we didn’t simply say what we meant.

We looked around for a fancy synonym that was close to what we meant, willing to trade off accuracy to our meaning for a four-syllable word.

When we’re dealing with the color of someone’s shirt in a short story, it’s probably irrelevant whether the shirt was blue, cerulean, azure, sapphire, or some other shade. However, here in the real world of political ideologies and social constructs, we’re not dealing with things as trivial as the hue of a shirt; we’re discussing changing the very shape of the world and human society. This deserves clean and effective communication, not pretentious diatribe.

As I remarked previously, not very many people will be fooled by these linguistic magician tricks. For one, some people are too stupid or uneducated to know the meanings of the words being used. I only had to go to the second post of a Voluntaryist / Anarchist group I’m in to find this… “gem”:

I will posit that freedom is good, and free markets as part of that system are also good. Free markets (let’s call it laissez-faire capitalism, not the crony capitalism in which business and government work hand in hand to gain influence and wealth at the expense of taxpayers) are both moral and utilitarian as seen empirically and have been the engine behind which the serf, slave, and farm hand (just to name three subsets of common laborers) have managed to escape the grinding poverty that divided us into a very thin but extremely wealthy upper class, and a very fat, but extremely poor subsistence hunter, gather, farmer.

Now, every now and then, I posit things. Not very often, though.

“Laissez-faire capitalism” and free markets aren’t synonymous, because there’s fascist interventionism even in Reaganomics, but I’ll let it slide. Anyway, let’s take a look at it:

  • posit
  • “moral and utilitarian as seen empirically”
  • “have the engine behind which the serf, slave, and farmhand…”
  • “three subsets of common laborers”
  • “but extremely poor subsistence hunter, gather, farmer.”

Now, pretentiousness aside, what did the paragraph actually say? “I think freedom and free markets are good, because they helped us escape poverty.”

Look how many words this guy took to convey that simple idea. Is his gargantuan sentence of tangents and unnecessary explanations stronger or more effective than mine? No. In neither case did he explain how the free market helped us to escape poverty; he only speculated that it did. His statement and mine have precisely the same meanings; his simply is horrifically inaccurate in conveying that meaning from his head to yours. There’s a lot of bullshit you have to cut through first. You have to cut out the entire parenthetical phrase, but not just because it’s meaningless and irrelevant–it’s also wrong. “…influence and wealth” is also redundant, for obvious reasons. “…as seen empirically” is of no value to anyone when you’re offering an opinion, which you are clearly doing when you “posit” something. Did you just say that free markets lifted the slave out of poverty? I don’t even know where to start with that. They are not subsets of common laborers; common is a subset of laborer, and the examples you gave are instances of that subset. The last statement is also mostly meaningless, as the free market had very little to do with the rise of technology; abundance gave rise to technology, and this abundance also gave rise to the free market–again, for obvious reasons. If you have an abundance of grain, it’s in your best interests to trade it to someone who has an abundance of chickens. Boom, the free market is born.

Now, I’m nitpicking this guy’s paragraph. I confess to that. I don’t consider myself a Grammar Nazi, though, because there are only two types of people that I turn this ire onto: Grammar Nazis and pretentious writers. Yes, if you’re going to be a Grammar Nazi on someone, then you’d better make goddamned sure that your grammar is impeccable, because I will rip it apart. So, too, if you write pretentiously, you’d better be certain that it’s flawless. Here, for instance, “behind which” is incorrect, because it should be “through which.”

The important thing to take away, however, is that his entire paragraph can be reduced to a single sentence, and it’s pretty much the first sentence he wrote. This is a common mistake that people make; they lead with a brief summary of their idea, and then spend the paragraph repeating that idea, rather than expanding on it. We can see that his is repetition, not expansion, because it adds literally nothing to the conversation that isn’t conveyed in “I think freedom and free markets are good, because they helped us escape poverty.”

Moving on, though, let’s see how many more posts I have to go before I find something horrifically superfluous.

Ooh! Here’s someone’s Steemit post!

I hate this. People write on Steemit and share their stuff to the page often, and I don’t think that’s right, because they’re trying to make money directly from it. Buy a domain name or join WordPress. Join WordPress, build a following, and then buy a domain name. I’m not wildly popular, but I have enough readers to justify the whopping $10/month it costs me to maintain www.anarchistshemale.com. I’m not just some random person writing and making videos; I’m the Anarchist Shemale. Anyway. I haven’t even looked at the post yet; I’ve only opened it. It’s a Christian case for spanking. In an Anarchist / Voluntaryist Closed Group. While you let that sink in, I’ll be looking for a juicy bit of nonsense.

Christ, himself has referenced Proverbs and yet, his reaction to the boy possessed by demons, who more than likely engaged in baneful activity to acquire such spirits, was not a beating rod or a suggestion to his parents that he be spanked.

The article was really short, mostly about a few Bible verses, and didn’t really have anything to say. That was the only really pretentious bit I found.

I’m the last person to criticize someone for not editing, because I don’t edit 15% of the things I write, but I do know how to edit. I always re-read my articles… after I publish them… and fix glaring typos and sentence problems. Because I intentionally don’t write pretentiously, I don’t ordinarily have a problem with sentence structure. I’m convinced that I would catch a sentence like that before publishing, though… Good god.

Christ has personally referenced Proverbs, yet his reaction to the boy who is possessed by demons (and was more than likely engaged in baneful activity to acquire such spirits) was not a beating or a command that the parents spank the child.

There are several issues with the first iteration. No comma is needed after Christ, obviously, and should come after “and,” rather than “yet.” There are way too many commas for a sentence of this length, so the phrase about “baneful activity” needs to be separated by parentheses or a dash. There is nothing wrong with using a dash. I’ve been through college level writing. It is accepted in formal writing. I wouldn’t recommend using them in every single sentence, but the dash is a great way to avoid using a semi-colon, or to separate out a part of the sentence that would otherwise go in parentheses. Here, I chose parentheses because of the “and.”

“…was not a beating rod or a suggestion to his parents that he be spanked.”

I’ll be honest: I can’t identify exactly what it is about this section that is sloppy. “…that he be spanked” is obviously not good, because “be spanked” is much weaker than “spank.” It’s passive, at least. I arbitrarily changed “suggestion” to “command” to make the statement more powerful, but “suggestion” could have been left. “Rod” was removed entirely because it confused the flow of the sentence for modern readers. Honestly, when was the last time you heard anyone talk of a “beating rod?” Probably only just now? It’s antiquated as fuck. We could change it to “…was not a belt or command that the parents spank the child.” and it would be a tad stronger.

The final section breaks the parallel structure, too.

Negative > Predicate Noun

Negative (Implied) > Possessed Predicate Noun > Possessor > Verb recipient > Passive Predicate Verb

I’m not enough of a grammar expert to know what a “possessed predicate noun” would actually be called “technically,” but it doesn’t matter. We can see that there is no parallel structure. There isn’t a parallel structure to mine, either, so maybe it’s just the passive verb that makes it so bad.

Parallelism is actually broken quite a lot by people who aren’t writers. I don’t mean anything arrogant by saying that I’m a writer. In fact, I’ve never made any judgment about the quality of my writing. I am, however, a writer, because I trained to be a writer. From the time I was about 13 years old, when we got our Compaq 386, until today, I have trained to be a writer. I have read tons about writing. As I once remarked to someone, “I’ve written more words than you’ve read, and I’ve read more words than you’ve said.”

What I mean by parallelism is this:

We are going to the store, to the cafe, and then watch the football game.

Putting aside that this example actually begs to be made parallel and is a shitty example, the parallel way would be:

We are going to the store, to the cafe, and then to watch the football game.

I’m going to one more example–another Steemit article. Because of course it is.

SCORE!

Omg.

Brace yourself.

[The United States Armed Forces has] been used against the anti-socialist neocons since the end of the Bush era, but never seemed to serve as a caveat for antiwar and noninterventionist libertarians—in fact, it’s a talking point that is foolproof in attracting converts—but there have yet to be proposed any free market solutions to a program that is arguably essential to the security of a society that is unanimously envied and insusceptible to any imminent threat, whether it be foreign or domestic, because such a program exists.

One single sentence.

What a way to start an article. Jesus fucking Christ. Did anyone out here writing on the Internet bother to learn how to write? Actually, I didn’t include the first sentence. I did so just so that I could point out that it was one long fucking sentence. Here’s the entire two sentence paragraph:

As is commonly known, the United States Armed Forces is a product of state socialism. It’s been used against the anti-socialist neocons since the end of the Bush era, but never seemed to serve as a caveat for antiwar and noninterventionist libertarians—in fact, it’s a talking point that is foolproof in attracting converts—but there have yet to be proposed any free market solutions to a program that is arguably essential to the security of a society that is unanimously envied and insusceptible to any imminent threat, whether it be foreign or domestic, because such a program exists.

Without getting into whether the military is a product of state socialism (it isn’t–it’s a product of fascism, I would argue, but not socialism), things almost immediately go awry with this trainwreck, stream-of-consciousness paragraph. Honestly, I haven’t even read the entire thing. I get to “foolproof” when my eyes glaze over. How far do you get? That’s alarming, because my life is words. If I can’t get through your opening paragraph without glazing over, then you catastrophically failed your duty as a writer. <Sigh> Where to begin? Should I begin? Let’s just dissect the word salad:

  • “product of state socialism” [Is there any other kind?]
  • anti-socialist neocons
  • “never seemed to serve as a caveat”
  • “for antiwar and noninterventionist libertarians”
  • “foolproof in attracting converts”
  • “there have yet to be” [Not pretentious for “long” reasons, but still pretentious-sounding]
  • arguably essential to the security of a society
  • unanimously envied [by who?]
  • and susceptible to imminent threat

Oi vey. I don’t even know where to start.

Actually, yes, I do: with a simple question.

Just what in the fuck is “[The United States Armed Forces has] never seemed to serve as a caveat for antiwar and noninterventionist libertarians…” supposed to mean? Do you mean to say that the question of how we can defend “the nation” without the armed forces has never been a point of contention between libertarians and non-libertarians? Because it has–it most certainly has. In fact, it’s the main caveat. It is not only ineffective at “attracting converts,” but is the primary reason that people do not become libertarians.

The United States Armed Forces is a product of state socialism. It has been used against the anti-socialist neocons since the end of the Bush era, but was never a caveat for libertarians–in fact, it’s foolproof as a method of attracting converts–but there has been no proposed free market alternative to this program that is allegedly essential to the security of an envied society, because such a program already exists [important corrections in bold].

It’s still a nonsensical word salad that is blatantly false and self-contradictory.

The military is socialist and has been used against the anti-socialist neocons? This writing needs some major clarification. If the neocons can support this “state socialist” organization, then they are, ipso facto, not anti-socialist. Here is where the fascism/socialism difference would have been important. If the military is fascist, then the neocons can still be anti-socialist, because the fascism we have today is quasi-socialist, but only insofar as fascism obviously contains a bit of socialism.

Secondly, “But who will protect us from the Russians?” is at least the second most common argument I hear against libertarianism and anarchism, beaten out only by “But who will build the roads?”

The USAF is quite possibly the strongest defense agency in the world, if not, that the world has ever known, despite its shortcomings—the collateral damage caused by drone strikes, the needless deployment of troops to Germany and Japan, where there is no conflict, etc.—but despite the libertarian solution to state policy being privatization, such is not the case with military. Unlike roads and infrastructure, national security is not provided through private contractors, which means that it will disappear along with the state. In a manner of speaking, the military is not socialist because it’s funded through taxes. It’s socialist because it is one giant government union.

Okay, I want to say something–this really irks me. There is nothing socialistic about unions. In fact, unions are an essential counterbalance against corporate employers in a free market society. If a corporation isn’t treating its employees well, they have two options: unionize and demand better benefits, or leave. Leaving is usually the most difficult of the two options. There is not a tiny bit of force, violence, or coercion in this, and no one ever demands that anyone else relinquish their property against their will, or communally share it. Many modern unions do take this avenue, but it is not a feature of unions themselves. Many automobiles have trunks, but that does not mean that a trunk is an essential characteristic of an automobile.

This “RAWR, UNIONS ARE BAD” attitude is precisely why many people say that libertarians only give a shit about corporations and rich people. You would apparently argue that unions are inherently socialist–that’s nonsense. There is nothing socialist about a people coming together and asking for better wages, benefits, or whatever. Just as the company has every right to simply fire the employees if they want too much money, so do the employees have every right to ask for more money, and to drop an ultimatum on the employer. Unions are not tertiary to the process of checking corporate power; they are critical. Unions do on the inside what consumers do on the outside. To say that unions are inherently socialist is to say that consumers banding together to boycott a store is socialistic; the only difference is that one is an employee and one is not. It’s still just a union.

Moving on.

It’s hard to move on, because the sentences are long, weaving pieces of nonsense strung together by haphazard dashes and commas. Remember what I said earlier, about not overusing them?

Despite its shortcomings (the collateral damage by drone strikes, and pointless deployment in places like Germany and Japan, where there is no conflict), the USAF is the strongest defense agency that the world has ever known, but, despite the libertarian solution to state policy being “privatization,” such is not the case with the military [What? Or anything else, for that matter…]. Unlike roads [See? I knew we’d get there eventually] and other infrastructure, national security is not provided through private contractors [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_defense_contractors would like to have a word with you], which means that it will disappear along with the state [a fallacy]. In a manner of speaking, the military is not socialist because it’s funded through taxes [Um… Yes, it is. If it’s socialist at all, then that is precisely why]. It’s socialist because it is one giant government union.

Alright, well. This is blatantly wrong, for one, so I guess we’ll start there. “National security is not provided through private contractors…” Are you kidding me? AirScan, Academi, Titan Corporation…

I can’t finish this now. Sigh.

Anyway. Please remember that your primary goal, when you write something, is to communicate. Your goal is not to impress people with your command of technical grammatical syntax, and if that is the reason you are writing, please stop. Don’t say “cerulean” because it sounds fancier if what you mean is “blue.”

TASVideos: Law & Order Without a State

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t even bother.

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

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

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

 

Anarchy: Absence of a State, So What is a State? (Yes, AGAIN)

quote-if-socialists-understood-economics-they-wouldn-t-be-socialist-friedrich-august-von-hayek-93-90-98Yesterday I became aware that “Libertarian Socialists” are a thing, proving that nothing is sacred, and that people will twist and contort any word they want to mean whatever they want it to mean, despite glaring contradictions. I would point out that libertarian ideology is inseparable from Austrian economics, but I don’t think there would be much point discussing it, considering it is almost a tautology.

I recently unfollowed Youtuber Tyler Preseton on Twitter, because he simply wasn’t listening. I’ve written extensively about it, and I’ve got a 4,000 word article dissecting his behavior (complete with tweets from him that demonstrate my exact accusation–he was never interested in learning; he was interested in reinforcing his own positions while calling it “skepticism”).

When it became clear to me what the problem is, I attempted to rectify it. The problem is that Tyler doesn’t know what the state is. He’s still clinging to the idea that the state is a great and marvelous thing that protects us from rape, murder, and theft. What is anarchy? Anarchy is the condition where there is no state. See the problem? If someone believes that the state is the thing that protects us from rape, murder, and theft, then, to them, anarchy is the condition where there is nothing protecting us from rape, murder, and theft. The question we have to ask, then, is (yet a-fucking-gain): What is the state?

Google and Wikipedia give us this definition:

a nation or territory considered as an organized political community under one government.

But it’s not really helpful, is it? It basically defines it as itself; it also misidentifies the “nation” with “the territory” and with “the state,” all of which are clearly not equivalent. “An organized political community under one government” gets a little closer, but it raises its own problems. We know that “organized” isn’t really part of the definition, don’t we? Two people working together are organized (and a political community under one government, it’s worth noting) but are quite obviously not a state.

This is the problem we run into with definitions of the state: they are broken fundamentally. Here the best dictionaries on the planet have essentially defined the state as itself, or as a thing that applies to literally any two people who do anything together. Such a definition is clearly broken and inadequate, so we must go further. “Under one government”? Fine. What is a government?

the governing body of a nation, state, or community.

Oh. Okay. Well. That’s perfectly useless, then.

A state is a government, and a government is a state.

By this point in the journey of trying to define the state, you should be positively alarmed. What is this thing that rules us, if it cannot even define itself?

This is critical. We cannot define “anarchy” until we know what the state is, because “anarchy” is the absence of a state. So let’s look at our definition of government a bit more. “The governing body of a … community”? What? Are you kidding me? So IEEE, which effectively governs the tech communications industry, is a state? MPAA is a state, because it governs the community of cinematography? “Nation” and “state” can both be discarded from the definition for being obviously circular, for saying that a state is a government, and a government is a state, and for misidentifying the nation overseen by the state as the state itself, which is equally inapplicable.

What is a community, then? Perhaps we’re being too liberal in our understanding of community, to include the tech industry, film industries, and the like.

a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.

Oh.

No, we were exactly right, then.

So by the definitions that we are officially given for the state, government, and community, it is inarguable that IEEE is a state of the tech industry, and the MPAA is a state of the movie industry.

Since we know that IEEE and the MPAA are not states, we also know that we have “some other criteria” that we use to determine what is and isn’t a state. Everyone who reads the statement about these bodies being states will reject it, because we know that they are not states. This indicates that we know what a state is, because otherwise we would have no criteria by which to reject the notion that IEEE and MPAA are states. If I told you that 2 + 2 = 5, then you could only dispute that statement if you had some sort of understanding that 2 + 2 could not equal 5.

These definitions are clearly insufficient, as they leave labeled as states things that are clearly not states.

This is it, by the way. This is where the rubber hits the road. This is where decades of brainwash by the state that it is kind, benevolent, omniscient, and omnipotent kicks in, wholly resisting and trying to prevent you from looking at what you know you’re looking at. Every fiber of your being is telling you that it cannot be so, that these definitions must be functional and accurate, yet you know that they are not–we have amply demonstrated that.

The reality is that the state has lied to you about what it is. The entire system we have set up has lied to you about what it is. This is not a conspiracy theory; look at the definitions that have been provided to us. They are clearly inapplicable. How can it be that so many great thinkers, intellectuals, politicians, and leaders could give you a definition of “the state” that isn’t applicable? Am I suggesting to you that it’s some great conspiracy, of people sitting in dark rooms smoking cigars and wondering how they’re going to suppress information? No.

They don’t have to do that.

Mutual self-interest propels them, just as it propels us. They do not need to conspire, because none of them are aware of what the state is. The state just kinda happened as we were bamboozled by its promises of solutions and answers, going all the way back to the earliest human tribes and their installation of states, when the need to mislead people was imminent. From then, the lie simply got repeated over and over, relying upon cognitive dissonance and willful ignorance to perpetuate itself. Does this sound like a conspiracy theory? It shouldn’t. Do you honestly believe that Hitler ever told the German people, “Oh, lol, btw, we’re gonna have sum sekret police, and their gonna kill yous. Kthxbai”? Of course not.

Yet look what Hitler accomplished with deceit.

How pervasive is the utter brainwash that is the notion that the state protects us from rape gangs and murders? Why, just go here and read most of the answers. Without a single solitary thought, people parroted the answer that they had been brainwashed to believe, without a single way of substantiating their answers. They simply assert it.

I shouldn't have to point this out, but this guy demonstrated that sufficiently large societies produced the state, not that the state produced large societies.

I shouldn’t have to point this out, but this guy demonstrated that large societies produced the state, not that the state produced large societies.

Between society and the state, people put the cart before the horse regularly, like this guy did. It is obvious and indisputable that society produced the state; the state did not produce society. This is like asking whether a painter produced the painting, or whether the painting produced the painter. It’s stupid in every sense. We know that the painter produced the painting. The painter is society; the painting is the state. This is not a “chicken and the egg” argument; it’s common sense, as Rothbard observed in Anatomy of the State. And now you’re going to just badly assert that the painter cannot exist without the painting? It’s utter nonsense.

Worse, it’s unthinking nonsense. It’s Mr. Widdison parroting back brainwash bullshit that he’s been taught to believe without giving a moment of thought to any of it.

logic-failHere the answer is so ridiculous that it shouldn’t have to be pointed out how absurd it is. In order to protect ourselves from having to protect ourselves from being at the mercy of people who are bigger, stronger, or better armed than we are, we have to submit ourselves to a group of people who are supremely bigger, stronger, and better armed than we are?

What kind of logic is that called?

Illogic.

But this glaringly obvious point goes unaddressed; it doesn’t even occur to him that his argument, if anything, is an argument against the state. To keep us from being at the mercy of people who are bigger, stronger, and better armed, we must be at the mercy of people who are bigger, stronger, and better armed than anyone else could even possibly be? What?!

He has answered the question by asserting that there will always be a state, but has not provided any evidence for believing that. “Anarchy” is the removal of the state; ergo, in an anarchy there would be no state. Why is he answering the question if he doesn’t understand this basic idea?

I want to add that it’s beautiful and encouraging to see so many other anarchists step forward to actually answer the question–you’ll find my answer there as well, of course. But others answered it, too, correctly pointing out that the state is simply a possible solution; it is not the only one. They even used an analogy that I used elsewhere (coincidentally).

Carry this all the way back to the birth of the state, independently throughout the world, as selfish and immoral humans all saw the same opportunity ripe for exploitation. The lie perpetuated through the entire planet, from one generation to the next, with everyone just taking it for granted that the state spoke the truth when it said it protected them. It’s not that there’s a conspiracy trying to keep us from looking. It’s that the lie has been carried for so long that we have forgotten that we aren’t looking. So do one thing to begin your journey in figuring out everything that is wrong.

Define the state.

Take as much time as you need. Do all the research you can. Think as much as you can. And then sit back, because I’ll give you the actual definition.

A state is a type of government that exists as a cabal of rulers who use force, violence, and coercion to achieve their ends.

Does that really sound like something we can’t live without?

 

A Brave New World & a Cowardly Old Species

Today I listened to the auroras at Jupiter’s north pole, and then I stood on the surface of Mars and peered upward, through its thinner atmosphere, at the sun.

Wow. Even though I’ve listened to that at least a dozen times today, I am still awed by the magnitude of what I am listening to. Here, on planet Earth, I am listening to the aurora on Jupiter. I am listening to the Northern Lights on a planet that is 588,000,000 kilometers away, the gas giant of our solar system (excluding the sun, of course!). The enormous, beautiful Jupiter. The one that everyone recolors blue and slaps it in other solar systems when they need to show us a visual of what an exoplanet that is a gas giant may look like. That Jupiter.

Today, I heard its aurora.

It’s hard not to be humbled by such enormous things, to be firmly reminded of my own insignificance, but to also be totally okay with that. Because I am Jupiter. The same star that died and gave birth to Jupiter died and gave birth to me. Just as Jupiter stepped out of a supernova, so did I. And just as Jupiter will always exist in one form or another, even if scattered across the universe into unfathomable numbers of particles, so will I–dead and decayed, diffused through the rest of existence, the illusion of sentience created by these molecules that form me broken. I am nothing, and, because of that, I am everything.

And let us not forget that I stood on the surface of Mars and stared up at the distant sun, immediately noticing how much smaller that glowing orb was, and taking careful note that the sky was not blue.

https://www.360cities.net/image/mars-panorama-curiosity-solar-day-1367

Sorry to send you to another place. I wouldn’t begin to know how to put that panoramic 360^360 image on here.

It is worth the trip, though, to make the trip to Mars, to stand on the surface of a distant planet and look outward.

It’s a shame you can’t see Earth in any of the pics, of course, because that would be a mindfuck, to sit on one planet while using technology to stand on another planet and look back at the planet you’re sitting on, and that’s possible using software like Celestia. Celestia, however, has nothing on this. Don’t get me wrong: Celestia is great, as it allows you to view parts of the solar system and other solar systems, distant stars–it allows you to stand on Neptune and look back at the sun, a distant glowing star not a great deal bigger than other stars.

My fellow humans, all we have to do is put aside force, violence, and coercion, and we can explore all of this stuff.

We are offering you an easy solution. It requires almost no effort from you. You don’t really have to change your behavior. And the reward… The reward is cooperation and the exploration of space. Look what awaits us out there! And we can’t put aside our stupid squabbles here on Earth? What do you mean, we don’t have the resources to send a manned mission to Mars? Shouldn’t pretty much every resource be dedicated to that? Shouldn’t we be working together to explore Proxima Centauri?

Yes, yes we should.

Why aren’t we?

Because of states. Because we have so much violence, force, and coercion getting in the way. We won’t work with one another, because we’re too obsessed with forcing our way onto everyone else. And the state is the mechanism that allows us to do that. The state is how we attempt to force compliance from China, Russia, India, and everywhere else, and how they attempt to force compliance with us. The state is how you attempt to force compliance with your morality of other Americans, and it’s all just completely unnecessary.

All it takes is one decision. No effort, no work. Just one simple decision to stop using force, violence, and coercion to solve problems.