Tag Archive | john mcafee

A Crypto Constitution

I made a joke post earlier making fun of scam ICOs, encouraging people to send Ethereum and Litecoin to me, in return for which they will receive an equivalent number of meaningless, worthless, no-shits-given Anarchist Shemale Coin, in a humanitarian effort to facilitate the divorce of money from those who lack common sense. But to be totally honest, I’ve been watching Bitcoin and Ethereum for a while (perpetually rooting for the underdog, I am), and I actually would like to launch a cryptocurrency. I quite obviously lack the technical expertise to do this–I fix computers and networks and do light programming. I don’t write communication protocols. I could have delved that deeply into the mechanics if I wanted to, but I didn’t.

The question is worth asking, though. Given that there are countless (at least five hundred) altcoins (seemingly a label that means “not Bitcoin cryptocurrency”), of what value would another be? Actually… I have a pretty good answer for that. Bitcoin is currently in the process of showing us why communism and raw equality generally fail, why flat hierarchies fail. There are too many cooks in the kitchen, many of whom refuse to compromise, all of whom have their own way of doing things. By December, Bitcoin will have hard forked and created at least three new currencies–Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, and either Bitcoin Classic or B2X–or some other acronym, depending on how November plays out. Regardless, it is splitting quite a lot.

On the one hand, this is good. If you owned a Bitcoin in August, then you suddenly 1 Bitcoin and 1 Bitcoin Cash once it forked. In that sense, it mirrors stock splits in a lot of ways–it doubles the amount in existence and splits the value across that amount. Someone who owned 100 Exxon shares 70 years ago now owns probably twenty thousand. Companies do this to drive down investment costs, which brings in more investment money. Bitcoin faces similar problems, because so many people are reluctant to spend $40 on 0.01 BTC when they can spend $40 and get 0.76 LTC. Ostensibly the growths and values are the same, but, psychologically, they are not. 0.76 LTC feels psychologically like a more substantive purchase. I would bet that more than 75% of this year’s newcomers to the industry purchased LTC, ETH, DASH, or another alt-coin before they purchased any BTC. Anyway.

The hard-forking appears to be a permanent feature of Bitcoin, and there isn’t really any reason to suspect that it’s going to die down as time goes on. After S2x there will be something else, some other point of contention. Markets don’t like unpredictability and uncertainty, and this is going to hurt Bitcoin’s value, whereas the primary thing keeping it popular these days seems to be that it was the first and is simply the most well-known. I wouldn’t touch it, even with the possibility of having my coins duplicated into several alt-coins. In fact, I converted my BTC into freaking DOGE, which is forever going to be worthless.

“White papers” are well and good, but you know what is really missing from the ICOs and the altcoins?

A Constitution

That’s right. A constitution.

See, we anarchists are not anti-government. We’re anti-state. Many of us have pointed out numerous times that the state is merely one form that a government takes, just as a truck is one form an automobile takes. If I hate trucks, that doesn’t mean that I hate cars or vans. In fact, I do hate trucks, because 98% of the people driving them in Mississippi have absolutely no need for them, and are just driving them because of cultural reasons, wasting copious amounts of gasoline and doing unnecessary damage to the environment (yes, I said that).

The White Paper would serve basically as the Constitution itself. I’d love to enlist people like John McAfee and other brilliant minds for such a project. Security, anonymity, and individualism would be the core tenets of the currency. Most importantly, however, would be that it would have amendments similarly attached to it immediately upon being adopted. First among those would be the requirement that, at any time, 5% of currency holders could request a vote (the blockchain itself could be used to store these votes, too), whereupon each member on the Board would be recalled with a simple 51% majority.

It’s anarcho-capitalist in the sense that it wouldn’t be the individual’s vote that mattered, but how much of the currency they actually held–voting with their wallet, so to speak, which is a more accurate imitation of the market. Someone with 1,000 of this currency has a much higher vested interest than someone with 0.01 of the currency, and it simply stands to reason that the person with 100,000 times the stake should have a much more powerful voice. They have more to lose, which will cause them to be more conservative and considerate. People don’t risk millions of dollars regularly in a free market (and they only do so in the United States because of the socialized losses / privatized profits system that we have).

It is necessary, all evidence suggests, to have some authority that determines the direction that a ship should go. Having 3,000 passengers attempting to decide a heading is bedlam, and there is too much noise for the system to be efficient. It is necessary, for the sake of productivity and progress, for there to be a hierarchy, a group of informed, knowledgeable individuals who make the decisions on how the ship should be sailed. The problem with the state, of course, is that we have no choice but to get on the ship. This system I’m talking about would be voluntary–no one would have to take part in it (thereby consenting to “rulership” of the board and its Executive Committee). It would be entirely their choice to submit to the board’s decisions by purchasing the currency. The Second Amendment would be that measures shall always be taken to ensure that the system is voluntary. This means it must have competition, even if this means that the board must hard-fork the currency themselves. Not that it would come to that, of course. The odds of one cryptocurrency overtaking all others are so low that it can almost be discounted entirely–but not entirely, not really. The protection must be written in as one of the first few amendments.

Competition is what’s important. When people are forced to participate in a system, then that system has no competition. The result is inefficiency, fraud, corruption, and direct abuses of people’s rights. Decentralization is not the goal, nor is a flat hierarchy. These are merely ways of ensuring that no small group or single person has the power to abuse in the first place. Another, more effective, method is to ensure that people only submit to this group voluntarily, and that market forces like competition keep this small group behaving in a way that ordinary people approve. Having a centralized cryptocurrency, even one offered up by the United States Government, isn’t really a problem, because we have so many better alternatives. It would only become a problem in the event that the United States Government used its state power to eliminate its competition (which it probably would try, honestly). JP Morgan Coin isn’t necessarily a problem for the same reason. As long as their is competition, the market will sort it out, and market pressures will ensure that JP Morgan doesn’t do anything too screwed up.

The right of users to not have any personalized information stored would be a critical tenet. Nothing but a long string of hex characters could be stored. The coin would officially boycott (even though it couldn’t prevent) any exchanges that required identifying information in order to make purchases. Even the P2P exchange Airwave (which hasn’t launched yet) asked me for my freaking government ID, are you kidding? Considering that its white paper states that its goal is to make exchanges resistant to government interference, that is a bizarre move on their part, but, given that it was to be whitelisted rather than simply accepted, I’ve chosen to ignore it and pursue it anyway.

Besides, the purchasing of crypto-currencies is not nearly as important as the manner in which they are stored. HD Wallets are a necessity. By using rotating wallet addresses, a particular user can have their true wealth made completely invisible by anyone watching the network–a feature of Jaxx that caused 0.63 LTC to temporarily vanish from my wallet yesterday, in fact. Once the coins are purchased, it is easy to tell the IRS and government officials that one was hacked, and all the coins stolen, and it’s upon them to prove that this didn’t happen in the United States. Wish them the best of luck attempting to prove that you were not hacked. Golly gee, I certainly was. Yeah. Definitely. All of my crypto vanished, IRS. Some clever hacker just got my phone, and, yep… All of it went Poof. Just in case any government agencies are curious about why “constitution” and “crypto” are being discussed on an anarchists’ website, they should know that. That 0.63 LTC I mentioned? Hacked away, almost as soon as it reappeared in my wallet. Alas, alas, que sera, sera.

I’ve not given this the thought to actually put forward any serious white paper for any enterprising crypto-interested individual to consider, much less ten critically important amendments. That isn’t my point in this. I’m simply attempting to draw attention to a huge problem that crypto-currencies face, and the obvious solution to that problem. Bitcoin is proving that some sort of central leadership is necessary, and that having too many cooks in the kitchen just causes them to create too many freaking dishes, because Bob insists on using pepper, which would clash with the paprika that Janet is using, and Janet’s paprika would clash with the garlic in April’s dish.

Meanwhile, Ethereum continues on almost exactly as planned, with its hard-forks literally planned into the process for the beginning, and about to be implemented without devastating the network. But Ethereum, however well-intentioned and noble they may be, and however useful ether and the ethereum blockchain (separate from the currency) are, the fact remains that they are a standard company, and are far from incorruptible. This is the case with nearly every alt-coin. They are like people who seized government because they wanted government power, instead of seizing government because they wanted the people to be free. Obviously, because this last group requires such a high degree of principle that they are exceedingly rare, the Ron Pauls, John McAfees, and Daryl Perrys out there. They created crypto companies to make money, not to create a new currency and turn it over to the masses via democratic processes. No, the founders and creators want to keep themselves at the top.

We’ve seen the same thing with many of the new caucuses within the Libertarian Party, one of which I recently helped form before I became inactive in it because I observed exactly this phenomenon. The trick, it seemed, was that they wanted not to form a caucus that advocated and implemented a certain set of ideas independent of themselves while they were merely the ones who set it up, but wanted to form a caucus to be the heads of. It’s like the Libertarian Party county affiliates who wrote nothing into their bylaws about replacing the Chairperson. Imagine if Nolan and others had neglected to include any method of replacing them as the party leaders–it would have said quite a lot about their intentions, wouldn’t it? Props to the Audacious Caucus, however, for not doing this, and for having, from the start, bylaws that were about the principles, not the individuals who at that moment were advocating those principles.

And that’s fine that they created a crypto-currency and blockchain for the purposes of heading the company and being the ones with wealth and power. That’s fine, because Ethereum competes. But we badly need a structured crypto company to determine the direction of a currency that exists for the users, rather than for the company. What kind of person starts a new company and, before that company is even launched, writes into the very company’s constitution that the person who created it can be replaced and is not certain to lead it?

Such a currency would be successful, because it would be stable. It would remain successful because it would be competitive. It would offer people a place to store their wealth where they have a real voice to influence the direction, whether they were ignorant or wealthy, well-informed or poor, but where safeguards in the form of the “Bill of Rights” would ensure that, even if a vote did not go their way, there were constraints and limits on what could and could not be done with their wealth.

So someone do this. Be the next Satoshi. Do something not to be at the head of a powerful and wealthy company; do it to help the people of the world.

 

Libertarian Drama

Man.

Libertarians really love drama, don’t they?

I was left speechless when sections of the libertarian party criticized Nicholas Sarwark for appearing with Glenn Beck; I was stunned that anyone would care about such a thing, and even more surprised that anyone would consider it a bad thing. From where I sit, promotion of the party is a good thing. I’ve softened my position on Sarwark considerably, and I no longer really care to see him removed in 2018–nor do I really care to see him stay. My position on him is ambivalent, and depends largely on what he does between now and then, because the Libertarian Party is having what anyone would call a “leadership crisis” if it happened anywhere else and in any other context.

The Libertarian Party is a union of classical liberals, minarchists, libertarians, and anarchists who have united together for a common goal. It’s worth reminding people here that anarchists have already compromised by even playing with the system that they want to see destroyed. Of course, this compromise gets waved away as though it’s nothing, because there is so much contention that anarchists refuse to compromise, but it is true that, by even participating in electoral politics, anarchists have compromised with classical liberals and minarchists.

Libertarianism was essentially the “meet in the middle” position. It was agreed in 1974 that these various groups with disagreements about how far liberty should go would compromise on libertarianism. And here is where the first clear example of the leadership crisis comes in. The Libertarian Party has an absolutely dire need for Sarwark and other prominent libertarians to remind the Big L Libertarians that this is just as much the anarchists’ party as it is theirs. They don’t seem to be aware of this, but it’s just as much the Anarcho-Capitalist party as it is the Classical Liberal party and as it is the Minarchist party.

I’ve seen so many calls for “compromise” and “agreement” that are little more than masked statements that “Anarchists need to just shut up and go along with whatever we say.” As one of the aforementioned anarchists, our own party has not only marginalized us, but has also called us “the enemy” on several occasions, has made us heretics in our own party, and has simultaneously called us inconsequential and the bane of their success. Just as the Libertarian Party is said by the mainstream media to be inconsequential while also being the reason Hillary lost, so does the Libertarian Party turn around and say exactly that about anarchists. We’re irrelevant, apparently, but not so irrelevant that we can’t be single-handedly responsible for Gary Johnson’s failure to gain traction.

That’s the heart of the problem: they’re looking for someone to blame, and they’ve already found their scapegoat. If this means the Libertarian Party has to condemn the vice-chair for saying on his own Facebook page what is really just “the libertarian position,” then that is what these mainstream elements of the party will do.

I was the guest on Liberty Radio Network with Will Coley and Thom Gray last night, and I said then that this larger centrist element of the party is like a high school student who is absolutely obsessed with what everyone else thinks of him. They so desperately want to be part of the in-crowd that, yes, if their friends jumped off a bridge, they’d close their eyes and leap. They desperately want to go to prom and be voted prom king, and this causes them to do anything and everything that they think will help that happen, without any regard whatsoever to other considerations.

As a transgender atheist anarchist and resident of Mississippi, I know very well the pressures in society to care what other people think, to do what other people want, and to be what other people want you to be. I know exactly what it’s like to be in the closet because you’re terrified of how everyone will react. Everyone wants to be loved, and everyone wants approval; it’s no different for political parties. And yet there isn’t a person among us who wouldn’t repeat the banality that we shouldn’t care what other people think, and that we should be worried only about being true to ourselves.

Compromise

In truth, when Libertarians say that they just want to see compromise, they’re implying, and sometimes state directly, that they’re referring to compromise between minarchists and anarchists. They do this to frame themselves as the reasonable ones who want to compromise, forever thwarted by those unreasonable anarchists who flatly refuse to. It’s, as Will Coley described last night, “Bait & Switch Libertarianism.” It’s a game in classical Transactional Analysis terms; they want to frame themselves as Adults who want compromise to convince themselves and each other (in a classic circle jerk) that they’re being totally reasonable, but the reality is more insidious: they’re taking a Parent position and demanding that anarchists take a Child position. Then, when anarchists refuse to shift from Adult to Child to accommodate this “Just shut up and go along with us” mandate, it allows the Libertarian to justify to themselves that they did everything a “reasonable” person would do, and that their only recourse is to wash themselves of us and continue demonizing us.

It’s a psychological trick that people often use to convince themselves that what they already believe is true. It’s a case of “Why Don’t You / Yes But,” where Person A says, “This is the problem,” and Person B proceeds to offer suggestions. Person A responds to each of them with, “Yes, but…” and gives a brief overview of why B’s solution won’t work. After a bit of back-and-forth, Person B will say, “Well, I don’t know, then.” This allows Person A to say to themselves, “See? It really is hopeless.” It’s just about Person A reinforcing to themselves what they already believe, and so the Libertarians end up playing TA games to reinforce to themselves that anarchists are being unreasonable.

The game is revealed to be a game by pointing out that anarchists are absolutely willing to compromise. First, many have already compromised by taking part in the Libertarian Party, though there are certainly many who refuse to do even that. That’s fine–no one is saying that we must compromise with them, because they don’t vote in the conventions anyway. On top of that, we’re willing to compromise on libertarian candidates, rather than even attempting to run anarchist candidates (even if such a thing wasn’t a contradiction in terms).

However, the centrists in the party don’t want to compromise with anarchists; they want to win elections, and that seems to be all they care about. It’s only a matter of degree, how many positions they’re willing to sell-out in order to win an election, which raises the question of why anyone who “wants to win elections” wouldn’t just go to the Republican or Democratic parties. Apparently, that would be too much selling out of their principles, but bringing in dyed-in-the-wool Republicans like Bill Weld somehow isn’t.

They state clearly their intentions, though. They want to win elections, and the reason they get so butthurt over things like Arvin’s statements as that they’re obsessed with mass appeal and “the marketing factor,” such that the last thing they want is to do or say anything that could possibly harm their ability to reach Republicans and Democrats. They criticize Arvin because his statements about the military will make it harder for them to reach alt-right people, nationalists, conservatives, and other right-wing people who worship the state.

Do you see what is happening?

They want to compromise with the alt-right people, nationalists, conservatives, and other right-wingers, not anarchists. This is problematic because libertarianism is the middle-ground between anarchism and statism. Now they want to compromise with Republican and Democrat statists. They rarely have the courage to say this directly, because they know that it’s impossible to find the middleground between libertarianism and statism while also finding middleground between libertarianism and anarchism, since libertarianism already sits between anarchism and statism.

In numeric terms, statism is 100, anarchism 0, and libertarianism 50. Libertarians say that they want to compromise with anarchists at 25. Yet their actions–their drive to secure mass appeal, to water down the message to appeal to Republicans and Democrats, nominations of Johnson and Weld–show that they’re trying to compromise with statists at 75. And they keep telling each other through all of this that we anarchists are the ones being unreasonable, that we’re heretics and enemies because we refuse to compromise, when, in fact, they’re refusing to even consider the possibility of compromising with us, because doing so would make it impossible for them to compromise with Republicans and Democrats.

Just recently I had someone block me on Facebook (again) for commenting his status wherein he’d described the Libertarian Party’s problem as playing host to people who were “anti-state, not pro-liberty” and whose refusal to compromise prevented the party from coming together. It was a clear attack on anarchists, and he’d basically straight up said “We need to compromise with Republicans and Democrats, not anarchists, but anarchists refuse to compromise with us.” Also worth mentioning is that he said in the post he believed that the state should exist to protect liberty. When I pointed out this glaring discrepancy, he replied that he is an anarchist.

To quote John McAfee–the libertarian candidate that anarchists were more than willing to compromise on, by the way (McAfee/Coley, McAfee/Perry, and McAfee/Weiss would have been excellent libertarian tickets)–“I shit thee not.”

When I pointed out next that he’d explicitly stated that he thinks the state should exist to protect liberty and therefore is most certainly not an anarchist, he told me to stop being rude. I didn’t say it then because the words escaped me, but… Fine. I’ll stop being rude as soon as you stop being disingenuous. Stop wearing this mask of reasonable compromise when what you’re actually saying is “Anarchists shouldn’t try to have a voice within the party that belongs to them just as much as it does me.”

And whatever he has to do to justify that statement, evidently he and others will do it–even if it means describing himself as an “anarchist” who believes the state should exist to protect liberty. Obviously, that is libertarianism/minarchism, not anarchism.

I shudder to think, you know? This guy–this libertarian or minarchist–described himself, and I swear I’m not making this up, as believing the state should exist to protect liberty and as being an anarchist. I have to ask, honestly: how do Libertarians think we can compromise with them if they misrepresent our positions so badly? An anarchist is literally someone who believes the state shouldn’t exist. That’s literally the difference between a minarchist and an anarchist. But instead of even listening to us to find out what we’re saying and what we believe, he found it easier to simply misrepresent himself as one of us, though he doesn’t share the ideology that literally defines the group known as “anarchists.”

It would be like if I said “I’m a Christian who believes Jesus wasn’t the Son of God, and Christians need to compromise with atheists and accept that Jesus wasn’t the Son of God.” It’s filled with so many examples of “Bruh, that word–it doesn’t mean what you think it means” that it’s hard to know what to say. A Christian is someone who believes that Jesus was the Son of God. Imagine how an actual Christian would feel if they saw me say that sincerely, and then imagine that, on top of that, I’m an atheist anyway and simply claiming to be a Christian while I attempt to convince other, actual Christians that they should do whatever it is that I’m advocating.

Yeah. “Disingenuous” doesn’t even begin to describe how messed up and deceitful it is.

That’s how badly we’ve been sidelined and marginalized by our own political party. And if they’re not doing that (and, yes, this was likely an extreme case of deceitfulness), then they’re busy calling for our heads for daring to remind people what the libertarian position on something is. I have argued with so many people about what the Libertarian platform does or doesn’t say. One has to marvel that this happens, because the Libertarian Party platform is like three clicks away from anyone who has the capacity to argue with me on Facebook.

But the “facts” just don’t come into play. That “anarchist” means “someone who thinks the state should not exist” doesn’t come into play when someone instead can identify as a pro-state anarchist. The ends, evidently, justify the means, no matter how much deceit is present in the means.

And even now, after Johnson’s loss to the two most toxic presidential candidates in modern history, and even after we saw Bill “Gun-Grabbing” Weld secure the libertarian vice presidential nomination over just about anyone who would have made a better candidate, nothing has changed. I’ve seen calls for Johnson 2020, and, oh God help us, Rand 2020. Their intentions are clear: they want to continue compromising with Republicans and Democrats, because all they care about is winning elections, and they have this idea in their head that we can take an incrementalist approach (Right? Because we all know that if you can convince Bob that we should legalize pot, it is much easier to convince him to legalize heroin… Right? Don’t we all know that?).

But that’s mutually exclusive with compromising with anarchists. It can be one or the other. Libertarians can compromise with anarchists, or they can compromise with statists. The only way to do both is unabashed, undiluted libertarianism. Short of putting forward unafraid, unapologetic, and unbridled libertarianism, we need Sarwark and other prominent libertarians to remind the party that it belongs to anarchists, too, and that they’re supposed to be compromising with us when choosing the party’s candidate, not attempting to compromise with non-libertarians.

And if those Libertarians should happen to decide that, yes, they do want to compromise with Democrats and Republicans, and that they aren’t interested in compromising with anarchists, then they should have the balls to state that outright and not to pretend like they want to compromise with anarchists.

The Libertarian Party is a party of principle, not agenda. Its goal is to spread libertarian principles, not to win elections; winning elections is just one of many methods of spreading libertarian principles, but it is not the only one. Given how this disaster-ridden attempt to win elections has left the principles of the party frayed, it’s clearly not even the best method.

Gorsuch, Life, and Church/State Separation

A lot of people, even some Libertarians, seem perfectly happy with the selection of Gorsuch to join the Supreme Court, and most of the praise stems from a few basic things. I’m going to take them in reverse order (from what would be logical), though. First, then, is his probable pro-choice positions.

Though Gorsuch has never ruled one way or another on abortion, statements in his book that “Human life is intrinsically valuable,” which were made regarding assisted suicide and euthanasia (I can’t help but wonder if he applies the same statement to the death penalty, though), have been extrapolated and assumed to apply to abortion.

This means that in the last few days, I’ve seen “Libertarians” praising Gorsuch and hoping that this civil issue can find its way back to the Supreme Court so that the Federal Government can further regulate abortion. *sigh*

Anyway, whether he is pro-life or would send the matter back to individual states isn’t much of a concern to me right now. The bigger concern is this notion that “Human life is intrinsically valuable,” which forms a basis for his legal rulings, and as such constitutes a violation of the separation of church and state. It’s subtle, but it’s a violation all the same.

If I were to say “All life, plant and animal, is intrinsically and equally valuable as human life,” no one would have a hard time noticing the heavy religious (Hindu, specifically) overtones. It wouldn’t be a matter of debate. If I was a federal judge and went on to make rulings on that basis (such as outlawing the eating of meat by arguing it is murder), there would be widespread protests about how I’d be violating the separation of church and state by ruling based on my personal religious beliefs.

Though it’s generally shared by most Americans, even non-religious ones, penetration into the cultural zeitgeist and widespread acceptance doesn’t turn a religious idea into a non-religious one. We can argue the NAP, make a utilitarian argument, or use some other argument in favor of pro-life, but we can’t make a religious one in a federal court.

Human life is not intrinsically valuable. In fact, nothing is. A thing’s value does not exist independently of the person observing it and assigning the value. We can easily see the fallacy by applying it to anything else.

  • Steaks are intrinsically valuable.
  • Television is intrinsically valuable.
  • Planets are intrinsically valuable.

Now, if I know the types of people I’m thinking about, they’re reading this, shaking their heads, and mumbling, “You can’t compare LIFE to television and steaks! This is… This is existence! The gift of life! Human life! It can’t be compared to a steak!”

Right… Because they’ve decided that life is intrinsically valuable, for no reason other than that they think it is, and so it’s “obviously” different from these other things. It’s a circular position; they can’t see that life’s “intrinsic value” is fairly compared to the “intrinsic value” of television, because they’re starting from the assumption that life is intrinsically valuable.

“I have ten red jelly beans, and they’re automatically better than other jelly beans,” A said

“That’s silly. I have ten green jelly beans, and they’re just as ‘automatically better’ than other jelly beans,” said B.

“No, because red jelly beans are automatically better, so they can’t even be compared to those other ones,” replied B.

This is an issue, and I don’t think supreme court justices should start from the basis of a religious belief to decide an issue.

The Constitution

Much fuss has been made about Gorsuch’s position on the Constitution, that it must be interpreted in a way that common people of the day of its writing would have understood it, which is a common sense position. I’ve seen even more Libertarians excited about this than the prospect of his being pro-life.

I’d be excited, too, if I was delusional enough to think that the Constitution has any bearing at all in the modern United States, but it doesn’t. The Constitution hasn’t meant anything in decades–more than a century to be honest.

Having a branch of the government assigned the duty of determining whether or not the government has the legal authority to do something is “intrinsically” flawed. We might as well go ahead and accept that internal police investigations will be the sole deciders in whether an officer acted unlawfully.

At absolute minimum, here we need to take a lesson from the British, although instead of having a dual parliament (which we sort of have, but in a somewhat less effective way) we need to have a dual court system–the government’s and the people’s. It’s not enough that the Federal Supreme Court would say that something is Constitutional; the People’s Supreme Court must agree. If the two do not agree, the law is sent back to Congress for amendments, per instructions included.

The Federal Supreme Court sounds like a good idea… at first. And then it becomes apparent that we’ve given the government the exclusive power to determine whether the government has the authority to do something. As we’ve seen from blatant abuses, it becomes a rubber stamp of state power, with no way for us to appeal it. If the Supreme Court says something is Constitutional and produces a 3700 page document of legalese explaining how it’s totally fine, then we have no recourse for addressing it.

All branches of the government threw out the Constitution. I’m glad people are beginning to pay attention to how the President uses Executive Orders to legislate, but none of these reach the Supreme Court, nor can they. They exist outside of the confines of the Constitution entirely, as they are typically directives to other governmental bodies. The Supreme Court can’t rule on whether it’s constitutional for the President to sign an executive order placing a gag order on government agencies, because neither the government agencies nor directives have anything to do with the Constitution.

Congress, the only people who could do anything about it, don’t, and it’s easy to see why. Republicans want their Republican President to be able to impose conservative policy without going through all the hassle of a constitutional republic and trying to get bills through Congress, so it’s easier to grit their teeth through a Democratic President. Overturning the system, after all (which republicans could have done in the last few years), by easily passing a law that reaffirms Congress as the controllers of these agencies, would have meant that President Republican wouldn’t be able to unilaterally rule the country and Congress might actually have to do something.

Instead, Congress simply creates the agencies and turns the keys over to the oval office. Even if they don’t specifically turn over control, they always end up under the President’s control anyway, since he goes on to hire and appoint tens of thousands of people. Even if he didn’t, control is only one negligent Congress and one executive order away.

So you’ll forgive me for not being happy we’ve got a constructionist going to the Supreme Court. It’s irrelevant, because nothing that actually matters will ever find its way before the Supreme Court. Whether Congress has the authority to create the EPA, USPS, the Department of Education, and all the others will never, ever be brought to the Supreme Court.

At absolute best, we might end up with one of these unelected, unaccountable government agencies doing something unconstitutional, and that one act may end up at the Supreme Court, but even that isn’t likely, and instead the Supreme Court will continue on rubberstamping government power grabs and either pushing a liberal agenda onto the entire nation or, at freaking best, sending issues back to the states.

I’m disappointed in myself for how much I was truly hoping that Judge Andrew Napolitano would get the nomination. It isn’t like Napolitano could have done much, but I would tentatively trust him with that level of power–with one scrutinizing eye on him the whole time.

There aren’t many people who I trust with power, and even those don’t get a blank check. I’d trust John McAfee as President, but I’d keep my eyes on him. I will never trust someone enough to give them power and turn away, trusting that they wouldn’t abuse it. I simply can’t, because I know how power is. Neither could I simply rejoice at Supreme Court Justice Napolitano and trust for the next three decades that he was doing the right thing. No one should trust anyone to that degree. I wouldn’t trust myself with that level of power, and would rely on people close to me to keep me in line.

Power corrupts. It is not just a corrupting agent; it is intoxicating and addictive. I was once in a relationship with a very submissive chick, and I ended the relationship because it simply was intoxicating and addictive; I’ve felt it personally, that primal sense of control and authority. I loved it, as anyone would (most people would dispute that, but most people would say they wouldn’t abuse the presidency, too, when the truth is… Yeah, they would…), but I don’t like things beyond my control.

That requires more elaboration than I really care to get into, but it’s just like any other addictive intoxicant. You’re addicted and intoxicated; you’re the opposite of “in control.”

Sure, we could have gotten worse than Gorsuch. But I’m tired of settling. I’m tired of “Well, it could have been worse” being stated after the government does anything. It could always have been worse. Nazi Germany could have been worse. “Sure, you have syphilis, but it could have been worse! You could have gotten HIV!”

It’s not much consolation, is it?

And we’ll be dealing with it again soon as we move toward war with China. “It could have been worse,” people will say. “We could be at war with Russia right now.”

In my focus on Hillary’s transparent attempts to ignite a war with Russia (attempts that live on in John McCain and other congressional vulture hawks), I missed most of Trump’s intentions of starting one with China. 2016, evidently, was the year we chose between war with Russia and war with China.

All because people settled for someone who wasn’t as bad as Hillary.

Not me, of course. I voted for McAfee.

We Can Heal the Divide. Here’s How.

Right now, there is a lot of strife and agony among liberal Americans, ranging from a bit of sadness to full-blown hysteria, with some convinced that death camps are inevitable. There are riots in the streets of Oakland, as people react emotionally and violently to not getting their way. There are widespread protests of the election result, with it being a literal case of the losers losing but wanting to win anyway. Imagine if America played a baseball game and the National League Liberal team lost the World Series to the American League Conservative team, and then the Liberal team started rioting because they wanted to win.

Yeah. That’s what is happening right now.

I’m not happy about it.

“But you’re an anarchist! This is anarchy!”

No, it’s not. This is violence, and violence is mutually exclusive with anarchy. Scroll up and look at the tagline for the site. Peace, love, and liberty. Those word choices are not accidental; they are all tied together. I would even say that it’s as redundant as White Anglo-Saxon Protestant. Peace is love is liberty is peace. There is no room within the mantra of liberty for violence and destruction of property except, as I said earlier, as retaliation to clear and provable injury.

Conservatives are happy and are gloating, ringing their hands and thinking about all the wonderful things they are going to do to liberals now that they are back in power. This is the realization that motivated me to write myself the letter this morning–it’s foolish to expect that conservatives genuinely want to meet liberals in the middle. Some do, yes, and some liberals want to meet in the middle. But more fall closer to the straw man than fall away from it. However, it is also true–Trump has shown nothing but willingness to meet in the middle and, in social areas, that’s a good thing. He has explicitly extended the hand of peace to liberals, notably the LGBTQ community.

I’ve talked about this before. Things changed in Orlando. I’ve since removed my video on the subject, because it was too heartbreaking to leave up. Following Orlando, conservatives across the country–including some of the most homophobic people I’ve ever known, like my father–extended the olive branch to the LGBTQ community, saying, “You’re one of us. This was an attack against us all, and we’re going to stand beside you.”

Petulantly, the LGBTQ community retorted, “No, this was an attack on only us, because we’re LGBTQ! It was homophobia! You’re just as bad!”

The chance for healing was right there, and I wept as we drove past it without even acknowledging it.

Conservatives, however, led by Trump, are, continuing to extend the hand of friendship. All liberals have to do is take it.

handshake1_3219777kWhat I’m finding most remarkable right now is that it genuinely does seem like Trump is going to try to unite the country. When Trump said that he will ensure the safety and protection of LGBTQ citizens, the crowd–conservatives, of course–cheered for him. My eyes water just thinking about it. It’s here, the moment is here. It’s right freaking in front of us. All we have to do is accept the hand of peace.

Liberals

How you feel right now? That is exactly how conservatives felt in 2008 and 2012, when you mocked them. Of course, there was no Universal Liberal Petition on the conservative secession petitions. Some liberals said what conservatives are saying now: “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!” Others said, “lol, you can’t survive without us.” Others said, “The union is perpetual. You can’t secede.” Regardless of what you personally thought of the secession petitions that Republicans put forward across the country, if you are a liberal you are undoubtedly in a position, right now, at this very moment, to understand how people on your side feel when they sign these petitions. You understand precisely how they feel, even if you don’t share their feelings or even if you don’t feel sorrow to that extent.

Take that emotion! Take that empathy!

Now apply it to the conservatives from 2012 who felt exactly the same way. Sympathize with how they felt. They felt in 2012 exactly what you are feeling now, for exactly the same reasons you are feeling it. I implore you: do not write off their feelings by saying, “No, theirs was just bigotry about having a black president.” Do not do that, because then conservatives will just write off your feelings by saying, “You’re just being a baby because you don’t want to have to get a job.”

And nothing will change. No bridges will be built. We’ll remain divided on our different sides, hating the other and thinking terrible things about them–things so terrible that we are unable to empathize with their emotions because we reject the validity of those emotions.

So please. I beg you: don’t write off their emotions as invalid. Accept their emotions as equally valid to your own.

Conservatives

How you felt in 2012 and 2008? That is exactly how liberals feel right now. I know it feels good that the shoe is on the other foot, and now you have the opportunity to mock them. You’re going to have to resist that. You’re going to have to be the bigger person here, not call them hypocrites, not gloat about it, not mock them, and not deny the validity of their emotions. I know they did it to you. It doesn’t matter now. We have to put the divisiveness behind us, and that now starts with you, because now you’re the winners. You have to be graceful. It’s never been more important.

Empathize with what liberals are feeling right now. Remember how much you feared Obama? Don’t give me that bullshit that you didn’t fear him. That’s not going to work on me. You did. It wasn’t because he was black, and I’m not saying it was; it was because he was unfamiliar, and we fear the unfamiliar. Sure, eventually you realized that it wasn’t that serious, the world wasn’t going to end, and the sky wasn’t going to fall, but you did think that it was going to. Remember that today, and know that it’s how liberals feel now.

Put aside your innate human nature. Don’t say, “Good! They should feel it now, like we had to feel it in 2008!” Please. You have to put that aside.

A Future of Secession Petitions

This recent round of them made me realize that it’s the new norm. Henceforth, every single time we change Presidents, we’re going to see a batch of secession petitions. I have zero doubt that we’d be seeing them right now if Hillary had won, and we’ll see them again in 2020 regardless of who wins. The idea of having the Federal Government fully controlled by people with whom you adamantly disagree is scary, and the natural response to that is “Fuck that.”

And that’s what people are faced with today. All of those liberal states and liberal cities–they are faced with the prospect that they are about to be ruled by a person with whom they fiercely disagree on almost everything, just as conservatives in 2008 and 2012 were faced with the prospect of being ruled by a person with whom they fiercely disagreed on almost everything. This cannot continue. Obviously it can’t. We can’t just keep going back and forth making half the nation miserable, unhappy, and afraid.

There must be a better way.

handshake1_3219777k

A Better Way

There is a better way.

That we saw secession petitions under a Democrat and now see secession petitions under a Republican is the most incontrovertible evidence that we’ve ever seen that we must severely reduce the power of the federal government. California doesn’t want to be ruled by a Republican they disagree with so completely. We can all understand that, as I spent several paragraphs above explaining. We have this common ground. Neither does Arkansas want to be ruled by a Democrat they disagree with so completely.

So what are we going to do? Throw up a new round of secession petitions every time we have a new president, because we’re so eager for revenge and the opportunity to make the other side miserable that we won’t do anything to prevent ourselves from being miserable next time we lose? Because Republicans won’t control the Federal Government forever, and neither will Democrats. Maybe in 2020 the House, Senate, and White House will change hands again, and we’ll have another round of petitions from Texas, Mississippi, and Florida, with Democrats laughing and saying, “Haha, not so funny now, is it? Have some gay marriage, bitch!”

Come on, people. This is madness.

As long as we have a Federal Government with the power to rule so completely over all fifty states, the secession petitions are here to stay. If the Federal Government abode the Constitution, the secession petitions would not be necessary. I’m no Constitutionalist, but we suddenly have Democrats who are in favor of small government, the Second Amendment to fight against the state, and other libertarian-ish positions. Great! Now accept that you don’t want to be tyrannized, so forego the opportunity to tyrannize others.

Start seeking peace. Stop seeking revenge.

Conservatives, don’t seek revenge now that you control the Federal Government. Liberals, don’t seek revenge when you take it back. Let’s attack the heart of the problem: the Federal Government shouldn’t be telling California what it can and can’t do in the first place. If the Federal Government couldn’t tell California what it could and couldn’t do, then there would be no need to secede just because we got a president that the Californians wouldn’t like; it just wouldn’t be that big of a deal.

We have the opportunity now to empathize with one another and to agree. This “tyrannizing each other” thing is not working out.

Let’s change it so that politics is no longer a Hate Sale.

It’s time to live and let live.

Libertarians, What Next?

Last night’s election was not just a repudiation of liberal arrogance and media condescension, although it was certainly that. Other things happened. For example, the Libertarian Party failed to reach its most recent goal of 5%. This is big news and, in an election that featured the two most reviled candidates in modern elections, a reality that must be addressed.

Johnson failed.

Centrism failed.

The “moderate libertarian” failed.

“Fiscally conservative, socially tolerant” failed.

Johnson was unable to reach 15% to enter the debates, and then unable to reach 5%. At each interval, Johnson supporters lowered the bar of what they considered success. First, they were going to win. When that failed, they were going to be in the debates. When that failed, they were going to reach 5%. Now, they are surely saying, “Next election is ours! Rand2020!”

No.

Stop and learn the lessons of this election. Your centrism failed. Johnson failed. That whole avenue of moderation was widely rejected last night.

All we’ve heard from Johnson supporters is that only a moderate like Johnson can win elections.

Except he didn’t.

He hasn’t.

And he won’t.

Stop and process that before we proceed.

We don’t need to try a moderate by a different name. We don’t need a different Republican who is okay with pot and gay people. We don’t need to swap out the moderate policies of Johnson with the moderate policies of Rand. That. Didn’t. Work.

It didn’t work under the best of circumstances.

Einstein suggested that insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results.

Well, last night you got your results.

You failed.

So drop it and let libertarians have the Libertarian Party back.

McAfee2020

My Ballot “Selfie:” Voting For McAfee in Missisippi

Well, I just voted.

mcafee1

You would obviously be correct to observe that this is most certainly not a selfie.

I went to the polling place with the knowledge that there was a fair-to-strong chance that I was going to be arrested. The last time I voted, it was just a single room with 5-7 electronic machines in it, all of them in plain sight of everyone else–though little flaps did ensure that no one could see your screen. There was no privacy. Everyone stood in full view of everyone else, and there was a county sheriff there. I knew if those circumstances were repeated, then I was going to be hassled about it, probably demanded to delete the pic, and promptly arrested when I refused to say that I’d even taken a picture.

In some ways, I was looking forward to that. I had a good defense that probably would have kept me out of handcuffs. If my rant about living in a free country where I can’t take a freaking picture of my ballot didn’t work, then I had one more bombshell to drop that probably would have kept me out of jail: I’m transgender, this is Mississippi, and I doubt very much that anyone in my county is prepared to deal with the headache that arresting me would involve.

mcafee2All that said, I was trying to exercise my right to take a picture of my ballot. I was not trying to get arrested. If there was a good chance of getting the picture without causing problems, then that was always my intention; I just didn’t anticipate being able to ninja my way out of it.

The situation with the voting machines in Mississippi is completely unacceptable.

There is absolutely no record that I even voted–except that I signed a log. There is no evidence that my vote was recorded at all, much less recorded properly. For all I know, it was the equivalent of standing here and pressing a few buttons that do absolutely nothing. How do I know that the machine recorded my vote? I don’t. I have absolutely no way of knowing that. I want to see the source code of these machines.

Moreover, how do I know that the machine didn’t write my vote down as one for Hillary Clinton? Again, I don’t. There is so much darkness here that it’s ridiculous. Not only do I have no way of knowing if my vote was recorded properly, but I have no way of knowing if it was recorded at all. The situation is ripe for abuse. For all we freaking know, they’re programmed to record 67.971728% of votes for Trump, 29.718381% for Hillary, and 2.117284 for other candidates, regardless of what people actually choose. We don’t fucking know, man.

That’s why it’s not a selfie. There was nothing to take a selfie with. Try to take a selfie of you and your dinner cooking on a stovetop, and you’ll understand what I was faced with by taking a “selfie.” There’s just no way to do it with any dignity or elegance, and, even if there was, it’s flagrantly illegal and happening in full view of people who will stop you. I wanted to get a pic of my ballot–I couldn’t have done that if they stopped me.

So I’m sure everyone has some questions.

Q. Why John Mcafee?

Because he’s a libertarian. Next question.

Q. Why not Gary Johnson?

It’s true. I *don’t* want the Libertarian Party to be successful this election. I didn’t want Johnson to hit 15% before the debates, and I don’t want him to hit 5% nationally. I want the Libertarian Party to grow for the RIGHT reasons, and Johnson represents all of the wrong reasons.

Q. Why didn’t you put Darryl W. Perry as your VP?

Because I’m retarded. I was expecting to be asked about the VP separately, and it didn’t occur to me until after I was finished that I didn’t even enter one. Not that it matters. Mississippi will throw my presidential vote in the trash the moment they see it’s a write-in.I do hate that I neglected to put a VP, because I would like to formally show my support for Darryl W. Perry. Complete brain fart–clearly. I mean, I didn’t even put down a VP. Obviously, the whole thing was an oversight.

Q. This isn’t a Ballot Selfie.

And that isn’t a question.

Q. Why isn’t it a ballot selfie?

Mississippi uses voting machines, placing 5-7 of them out against a wall, with no curtain or any other divide separating them. When voting, you are in full sight of about fifty other people, ten of whom work there and are watching you, specifically to ensure you don’t do anything illegal–like taking pics of your ballot. I had to do some ninja shit to get these. Additionally, crouching down and doing a back-bend in order to get my face in the pic would have been both ungraceful and stupid. I welcome you to attempt to do it without looking retarded.

Q. Isn’t this illegal, though?

Yes. And fuck them.

Q. Yeah, but–

I said “fuck the system” twice today. Once with the vote for McAfee, and once with the ballot pictures. Not to mention the “Anyone Else” I wrote in for most elections.

Q. Who the hell is Chase Wilson?

I don’t know, but he had “Libertarian” by his name, so I voted for him. I don’t want a liberty-leaning conservative as President, but liberty-leaning conservatives–whether he is or isn’t a true libertarian–will be fine as one member of 500+ in Congress.

Q. Didn’t John McAfee kill someone?

No.

The government of Belize attempted to extort him, and he–being John McAfee–said “You guys can fucking go to hell.”

Because what else would he say?

Because what else would he say?

John McAfee “killed someone” in pretty much the same way that Julian Assange “is a rapist.” He didn’t, and he’s not.

However… The story is that a neighbor poisoned some of John’s dogs, and that John killed him/ordered him killed (like he’s some kind of Hollywood drug lord)/hired a hitman in retaliation. So let me be 100% upfront and honest about this.

I don’t care if he did.

Look, if a neighbor poisoned my cats, then there isn’t a force in the universe that could protect them from my wrath. Punishing them would be a single-minded devotion, and I would not rest until they had paid the ultimate price for doing it. I don’t see this as a violation of the NAP, because I don’t hold to the bigoted idea that non-human life is inherently worth less than human-life. If someone breaks into your house and kills your wife, in the absence of a state police force, there are very few ways to deal with it than direct retaliation. It’s not as much “punishment” as it is prevention against future attacks, and this person has already attacked you. The idea that it’s not a violation of the NAP if you kill the guy while he’s still in your home and killing your wife, but it is a violation if you kill him two hours later–is nonsense.

If I return home to find someone raping and murdering my wife, grab my 38 and kill them, then it’s not a violation of the NAP. Yet if I return home to find my wife raped and murdered, and I know for a fact who did it, it suddenly is a violation of the NAP to shoot them? So what is the statute of limitations on it? If he hides in the bushes and I see him fleeing across the field, is it a violation of the NAP to shoot him, since he’s already killed my wife? What if I chase him for thirty minutes and finally catch him?

I don’t often touch on the subject, either, but it is bigotry to suggest that non-human lives are not as valuable as human lives, and that it’s wrong to kill a human because they murdered a non-human. So because this living being isn’t the same species as you, its life isn’t worth as much? To really get a handle on how bigoted that statement is, replace the word “species” with the word “race.” So because this living being isn’t the same race as you, its life isn’t worth as much? That’s right–you’re basically a 1944 German arguing that Jewish lives aren’t worth anything, or a 19th century slave owner arguing that a black man’s life isn’t worth nearly as much as a white man’s. It’s the exact same bigotry, only here we direct at at roughly 99% of the rest of the planet. Because they happen to be a few chromosomes away, their lives are not as valuable as ours. It isn’t “okay” to kill a dog or cat, but if someone does kill a dog or cat, that doesn’t make it okay to kill them.

It’s just another flavor of the same ego and arrogance. I don’t advocate killing people who kill your pets, and I’m not a vegan. I’m not even a vegetarian. I do, however, recognize that it is immoral and without justification to eat meat and consume animal products. It simply can’t be justified. I still do it, but I accept that it’s morally wrong. Am I saying that you shouldn’t kill a wasp? Not really. But I know that when a wasp gets into my house, I’ve spent quite a lot of time coaxing them out of the door rather than killing them. I’ve never hesitate to kill a spider, though. Fuck a spider.

Hell, a few weeks ago I spent 45 minutes helping a bumble bee get untangled, and then I took him and carried him to a flower. He was going to die, and nothing could be done to prevent that. His struggling while tangled caused him to break a wing, so there was no way he could fly. I felt like he at least deserved to eat.

It’s nuanced and difficult. As I said, I eat meat, and I have no idea if my makeup was tested on animals or not. I’m pretty sure that the estradiol I take has something to do with horse vaginas, too.

I don’t demand that everyone agree. I’m well aware that most people don’t. Happily enough, I side with Richard Dawkins on the subject–long before I’d heard Dawkins say anything about it. I know it’s morally unjustifiable. And the only reason I continue to do it is that it’s the dominant attitude of the day. It’s too much work and effort to avoid all animal products, especially in Mississippi and especially when you don’t really have the money to waste.

Vegans get really pissed off about this, naturally. Of course, to everyone who supports a cause, their cause is the single most important issue in the universe. I support the cause of liberty, based on the NAP, and yes–there is a contradiction between that and not being a vegan. There are, to piss vegans off further, bigger fish to fry. Most vegans aren’t anarchists or libertarians anyway, so it’s not like they have any ground to stand on, either. The only people who can rightly criticize me for my position is all two vegan anarcho-capitalists out there. If that’s not you, then move along.

If you’re a vegan, then you basically apply the NAP to all non-humans. If you’re an anarchist, then you basically apply the NAP to all humans. If you aren’t both, then you have no ground to criticize anyone for not being both. And here I’m as much a hypocrite as anyone: I’d eat a cow, but I wouldn’t eat a human. It would quite obviously be a violation of the NAP to kill and eat a human; it would also be one to kill and eat a cow. Gotta pick your battles, though. If someone wants to take up every single cause, then they’ll find that they don’t get anything accomplished. You fight your battles; I’ll fight mine.

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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Why I’m (Still) Voting McAfee/Perry

The McAfee/Weiss campaign released a new video today, one I’ve been eagerly waiting for since John McAfee said yesterday that they’d be doing so:

When Ludwig Von Mises was asked at a dinner party what he would do if he was completely in charge of the United States and could pass any legislation he wanted, what would he do, without hesitation Mises answered, “I would abdicate.”

It’s the most curious of things that, for the most part, the very last people who would abuse power are never the ones who seek it, a point made well in M16’s latest “campaign” video. It’s much as I’ve mentioned in the past about police officers–not every police officer is a power-hungry psychopath, but if you have a power-hungry psychopath, they will become a cop. Neither is every politician/world leader a power-hungry lunatic who wants control, but if you have a power-hungry lunatic who wants control, they’re likely to become a politician.

This is why it’s always so difficult to elect a President McAfee, a President Perry, or a President Mises. They don’t really want to be the President of the United States. They want to leave you the hell alone so that you can do your thing–whatever “your thing” is.

I spent a lot of time in 2012 wondering what, exactly, Ron Paul would do if he had won the presidency. What would a “true libertarian” do with the Oval Office?

Nothing, for the most part.

They’d veto almost everything that Congress attempted to do–rightfully so. They wouldn’t get anything done, because they’re not supposed to get anything done. I wondered, though–would Ron Paul abuse Executive Orders to promote libertarian policy? Ron Paul is a Federalist through and through–a lot of libertarianish people are–and they firmly believe in the Constitution. I, however, don’t. I would be totally okay with President Paul using Executive Orders to abolish the Fed, the IRS, the NSA, the CIA, Homeland Security, FEMA, the TSA, and a few hundred others.

I would, however, want the last Executive Order  by President Libertarian to be a full and absolute revocation of executive authority.

It’s tricky, you know? Isn’t this essentially allowing the presidency to become a dictatorship in the name of libertarianism?

Yes. It is. I can’t hide from that. It is a wish that the President would bypass the Constitution, checks & balances, and all of that other stuff to “illegally” enact libertarian policy, and then, once that was done, dial back the powers of the presidency to their Constitutional levels. Bypassing Congress, though… That’s pretty close to tyranny, and I wouldn’t be okay with the Libertarian Party storming Washington, D.C. with a military, setting up a dictatorship, and using it to impose a new libertarian government.

The difference, of course, is that the channels are already there for the abuse of Executive Orders; it has been a practice for several decades.

Realistically, though, what I want is for Mises to become President and enact the legislation that he does think is best. However, what he thinks is best is not enacting legislation, so it’s a contradiction in terms. Tyrannizing for the sake of liberty, to put it bluntly. There can be no delusions about it; that’s what it is.

Whether we like it or not, the POTUS has extraordinary power. A lot of people like to say that the Executive Branch can’t really do all of the things that candidates promise on the campaign trail, but that has long been false. Those people who still talk of checks and balances are clinging to lessons from high school civics classes that no longer have any bearing on reality. The President legislates, for all intents and purposes.

What is Gary Johnson’s plan? To go in there and veto everything? That’s great and all, but it just wouldn’t achieve anything except piss off the masses of people who are already irritated at Congress because Congress isn’t getting anything done. Suddenly we’d have an antagonistic Libertarian President who purposely vetoes everything and keeps Congress from getting anything done? The approval rating of such a president, realistically, would be lower than Congress’s record low of 23%.

The American People don’t seem to care what is getting done; they just want Congress to be getting it done. We Libertarians view gridlock as a beautiful thing, as something the American Founders intentionally built into the system, precisely to keep the government from fucking us over. The American People don’t think that way, though–many, many people have called for Congress to be abolished. If you send a Libertarian President in who does nothing but stands in Congress’s way, you will achieve nothing but pissing off the entire country, and you’ll never get a Libertarian elected again.

As far as plans go, that’s a terrible one.

The reality of the situation is that the only way to keep Approval Ratings out of the toilet is for the President to do stuff. If the President purposely prevents stuff from getting done, approval ratings plummet and the chances of ever electing another libertarian go to zero. So we need a Libertarian to go in, willing to use the power of the office to promote a libertarian agenda. There’s no way around it. I don’t like it, and I would so much rather nominate a Libertarian Congress to do it, and that will ultimately be the route we take, I think. However, if we do get a Libertarian President, the absolute last thing that President needs to do… is nothing.

Instead, we need a candidate who would be willing to use the power of the office as it is to enact libertarian ideology and then, only once the leviathan state was pulled back to reasonable levels, would the president need to enter “libertarian mode” and veto everything to prevent the leviathan state from going. Let’s not be confused about this. Unless we do take majorities in the House and Senate, there is no other way to dial back the power of the state. While taking Congress is ideal, and the way we will end up going, we’re speaking hypothetically right now–what would a Libertarian President need to do with a Congress that was Republicrat?

There are only two people in the world–that I know of–who I would trust with this level of power: John McAfee and Darryl Perry. Judd Weiss, by extension, since McAfee vouches for him, but I wouldn’t elect Weiss of my own accord.

Of course, neither of them has made any indication that they would go into the Presidential office and decimate the state by using Executive Orders to disband hundreds of three-letter agencies. It’s largely implied, but it has never been explicitly stated. That’s the question we have to ask ourselves: these people want to abolish the Fed, IRS, NSA, etc…

How?

They’re presidents, not legislators.

Only through Executive Orders can the President achieve such things. Libertarian Presidential nominee Gary Johnson, how would he downsize the IRS? Without an Executive Order, he couldn’t. He could repeatedly veto Congress’s budget, but they could just override the veto–as they would, once the purse strings are threatened.

No one seems to be talking about it, but this is a reality that has to be addressed. For the libertarian, the Oval Office is mostly inconsequential: it’s the last roadblock to keep legislation from fucking over the American People. So… Other than to stop legislation, what is the point of having a libertarian president? Stopping legislation is great, but it does nothing to undo past legislation, like the Federal Reserve Act and the Income Tax. By this reasoning, nothing improves, but nothing gets worse, either. Meanwhile, the American People, sick of nothing getting done, reject libertarianism and vow to never again elect a Libertarian.

It would be an unmitigated disaster.

The only hope we have is to get a President who is willing to use the power that is there to undo past damage. Unconstitutional though it is, Executive Orders must be used by the Libertarian President to forcefully repeal the Income Tax, the IRS, the Fed, the CIA, FEMA, and all these others. “Preventing things from getting worse” isn’t enough, not when the state already breathes down our necks virtually every moment of every day, and not when footsoldiers of the state are out in American states with tanks and armored vehicles arresting protestors who didn’t want to let corporations use land that the state stole on their behalf. No, “preventing things from getting worse by vetoing everything” isn’t enough by a long shot. Worse yet, doing this would do nothing more than piss off the population. You think Congress’s approval rating is bad? Why do you think it’s so low? People are clear about why they disapprove of the job Congress is doing: because nothing is getting done.

I trust McAfee with the job, and I trust Darryl Perry with the job.

I trust that they would use the power of the office to destroy the nanny state, to at minimum pull it back to its Constitutional levels, and then to destroy the power structure that they used to unwind the state. Because that’s what is necessary. “Doing nothing” isn’t enough, not when we already have a nanny government. That would have been fine before FDR and the rise of fascism. Now, though? Now there is much to be undone. A Libertarian President has to both keep shit from getting worse and undo past shit that was bad. Vetoes accomplish the former; only Executive Orders can do the latter.

I would trust Ron Paul with the job, as well, come to think of it. Ron Paul, however, would decline to use Executive Orders to that end, even if it was to abolish the hundreds of state agencies that have destroyed liberty.

That’s what it comes down to, though. The President has tremendous amounts of power. Who do you trust to wield that power? I don’t trust Gary Johnson, and I damned sure don’t trust Bill Weld. Somehow, I manage to trust Trump and Hillary even less than I trust Weld–and that’s saying something, because I wouldn’t piss on a fire to put out Bill Weld.

The latest M16 video is absolutely right. I don’t trust many people with that kind of power.

I’d rather that power not even be collected to a single individual, or to a single body of people. So the question, really, is who do we trust to diffuse that power? Because that’s necessary to the process. That power is there. It’s collected already. Someone has to diffuse it.

For that, I trust no one but McAfee or Perry.

Dyn’s Fire

In case you didn't get the title.

In case you didn’t get the title.

Already, the Dyn attack has fallen from the memory of most Americans–a phenomenon for which they can’t really be blamed. Realistically, we’re simply bombarded with too many things happening of too much significance at too high a frequency to possibly keep track of all of it. Just a few weeks ago, I read about China’s expansion into the South China Sea and how it made the American Government butthurt, and that’s a pretty major issue, since we’re sending more of our Navy to the region to “make sure China doesn’t expand too far” (let’s forget that we’re talking about the South China Sea), and I’ll be honest with you: I’ve given that issue almost no thought. In fact, through the last week I’ve not really given any thought to the harsh reality that Hillary and the Democrats seem to want war with Russia, or that the Russians are preparing for nuclear war, or that we’ve got more troops on Russia’s borders now than we ever did during the Cold War…

So on the surface, even if we did have memories synthetic enough to perfectly recall every bit of important news, something like Netflix and Reddit being knocked off the Internet for a while is of no consequence to most people. “Oh, no, you couldn’t watch The Walking Dead or whatever for a few hours? Excuse me while I try to avert World War 3.”

There has been a lot of speculation about who was responsible for the Dyn attack. John McAfee–who has my deepest support–spent some time on the Tor network and heard that actors in North Korea were responsible. I attempted to do this myself, a few days before the attack (there were whispers here and there before the attack took place, but details were sparse), but found everything of any interest to anyone has been moved behind a BTC paywall, and I didn’t care enough to pay to enter a forum that might be full of people blustering and not really knowing what they’re talking about, so I’m glad he was able to succeed where I failed.

However, the fact that we don’t know who is responsible points to a bigger problem.

For example, have you heard of the Equation Group? “Equation Group” is the name that Kaspersky Labs has for a hacker/malware group whose sophistication is so advanced that they are wholly unlike any other threat generator in the world. Most people agree that the Equation Group is, in fact, the NSA. It is either the NSA or an equivalent Israeli agency, but given that their actions largely take place within the United States, it is most likely that it is the NSA, and their level of sophistication is terrifying. For example, they have intercepted hardware shipments in the United States and rewritten firmware that contains malware that is both invisible and practically impossible to remove.

This was actually a matter of some curiosity, as a colleague orders from Newegg constantly. Via email, we agreed that he would order some components that I needed for my personal PC: a new motherboard, new CPU, and more, better memory. Having used Newegg for years, the colleague was certain the shipment would arrive expediently. In fact, the shipment disappeared for ten days–the first and only time this has ever happened to the colleague. Now that we know the reach of the NSA and how they absolutely can identify someone in my position–especially since I had just been learning Arabic, though I dropped that quickly when I realized the implications–it remains entirely possible that my hardware was intercepted. There was, after all, a trail via email that made it clear the hardware was for me, and we know the NSA snoops email. Disregarding the fact that I was certainly visited by goons of some agency several years ago who wanted me to help them hack a mayor’s email address and break into a government PC.

Large cloud vendors, social networking sites, and other media platforms are being hacked with an almost weekly regularity now, and it doesn’t seem that Americans are really taking note of the world we live in. This is one of the reasons I’m working on a series of short stories involving a sort of modern Sherlock Holmes who does I.T. work in a world some 10-15 years in the future. The first such story deals with a woman who is driving down the Interstate when a hacker infects her vehicle with ransomware.

“Your vehicle has been protected with AGI Encrypt 3.0. This has been done for your protection. We cannot guarantee the service works for you unless you pay 2 BTC to Bitcoin Address… In the event that you do not, then your vehicle will be susceptible to hackers, who would hijack your system and pilot your vehicle into a tree at high speeds.”

Sound bad?

That’s the world we’re heading toward. Blithely.

No one takes security seriously. I own an I.T. firm, and this firm does 99% of its work through contracting for another firm, and I can tell you from experience that most I.T. people don’t take security seriously. What’s wrong with leaving RDP enabled on its default port? lol. What’s wrong with turning off the firewall on the server? No, we’re not talking “Oh my god, you’re not running an anti-virus?!” kind of crap. Anti-viruses are useless, and I haven’t used one in nearly a decade. Anti-viruses are pacifiers for the gullible, and nothing more. Back in the day–in the mid- and late-90s–they were more important. In modern times, though, they’re useless–the only anti-virus you need is a reasonably knowledgeable user. Don’t click to install that fucking plugin from ultraporn.xxx. Don’t download Ultra Pro Super Registry Fixer and Driver Updater Plus.

One of the key features of my stories is that the I.T. world has become increasingly analogous to a free market police solution. This shouldn’t be a surprise–I’m an anarchist, after all. So if I’m envisioning the future, I’m going to come up with solutions that don’t rely on the state. In actuality, though, I.T. firms are already very similar to police departments–instead of arresting people, we sinkhole servers.

For some background, I was interviewed as an expert by Fox News to discuss ransomware:

That… was obviously a few years ago.

I was berated heavily for that video, wherein I said that it’s pointless to contact the FBI. So the next time a client was hit with ransomware, I contacted the FBI. It went down like this:

  • Client contacted me with problems using PeachTree Accounting Software.
  • Connected remotely to the server–the server is in South Carolina, and I’m in Mississippi.
  • Found immediate signs of ransomware.
  • Removed malware and restored backed-up documents to undo the damage.
  • Discovered it was the result of a targeted attack. It was an intense experience, as I was literally working on the server at the exact moment someone else was. It wasn’t as intense as Hollywood would make it out to be, but it was fun.
  • Contacted the FBI.
  • All of the above happened over the course of 2 days.
  • Six months later, the FBI replied to my report.

As far as comparisons between the free market and the state go, they don’t get more obvious than that. Within minutes of learning of the problem, I was on the server, running it down and handling it. It took the state six months to respond. So let’s be clear about this. We’re heading toward a future where private I.T. firms will cease to exist–much as private police forces have ceased to exist–with the role being turned over to the state, where it becomes inefficient, wasteful, and ineffective; or where…

American Tech Suppliers–or something like that, because I don’t remember what I called them–instituted a national database of I.T. firms. If you owned an I.T. firm, you could apply to be Listed for your city. Only one firm per 30 mile radius could be listed, though, which encouraged competition, efficiency, and excellence. If BITS and MNS both in Memphis wanted to be listed, then whichever one of them was better would get that coveted spot. Why was it coveted? Because, no matter where you were in the country, you could call 510, and it would automatically direct your call to the nearest Listed tech firm.

This became necessary because malware infections started becoming matters of emergencies, though, at the time the story takes place, vehicles are only just now beginning to be infected with ransomware. And it’s going to happen. Have no illusions or delusions about it. We’re heading toward the Internet of Things in a society where technological security is an afterthought at best. Despite reports abounding about ransomware, how many Americans are regularly backing up their data? I’d bet less than 3%. So when they get hit with ransomware, they’ll be caught with their pants down, faced with paying $500 or losing 12 years of pictures and videos.

Now look forward, to the days of self-driving cars with always-on Internet connections. There’s a quandary there, isn’t there? Should the human driver’s input always override the computer navigation? “Yes!” laypeople would say without giving it any thought, because already this isn’t the case. If you’re attempting to back up, and your van detects that there is a little kid on a bicycle behind you, it will not let you back up. While people would say this is a good thing, the implications are obvious: human input does not automatically trump the computer. We want the computer there to keep us from making mistakes and having accidents, after all, so we’re okay with our vehicle automatically stopping even if we’re telling it to go.

But how difficult would it be for someone to plant a virus that spoofs the sensors and tells your computer that there is a child behind your vehicle? You’ll get in your car, crank it to leave, and find you can’t reverse out of your driveway because it thinks there is a child behind you. No matter how hard you floor it, your vehicle isn’t going anywhere. Then the message plays over your radio, “Your vehicle’s system has been upgraded with Cyber Protect for your protection. To unlock your vehicle for use with its upgraded system, you must pay $500 in BTC to this address…”

That’s the best that we could face–and we will face it, because it will happen, and auto manufacturers are treating security like it’s not very important. But even if they did consider it as important as Microsoft considers Windows security to be [let’s not get into that], they can’t be very effective. Decades of dealing with malware have taught us that no amount of top-down security can protect you from malware. There are always people looking for code to exploit. When they find it, it is patched, and then they go on to find new exploits. It’s a constant battle, and even staying updated will not protect you from zero day exploits. So if a hacking group finds a zero day exploit that will allow them to take control over every Chevrolet on the road, then you’re simply fucked if you drive a Chevy.

Far more alarming will be the people who put your life at ransom. Why shouldn’t they? Can you imagine driving the road, only to have your vehicle tell you that it’s going to continue driving around for the next hour, you have that time to pay a certain amount of BTC to a specific address, and, if you don’t, you will be driven into a wall at high speed? Oh, of course your doors would lock and not let you out. You could try breaking a window and jumping out of the window while cruising down the Interstate at 70 miles per hour, but your odds there aren’t much better than they are with the wall. In short, you’ll pay.

It only took 6,000 cell phones that were infected to bring down an entire state’s 911 service. It’s hard to even imagine how vulnerable our technological systems really are, but just process that. 6,000 infected cell phones brought down an entire state’s emergency services. Imagine what state-sponsored hackers in another country could do with 300,000 infected devices.

Meanwhile, someone is probing and testing the waters for taking down major websites by crippling DNS providers. How many devices would it take to tear down Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Ymail, etc.? How difficult would it be to time that so that it coincides with a major military assault? Suddenly the Internet would just… go down… for everyone… and when it came back up we’d learn Washington, D.C. has been nuked by the Chinese and Russians, and that a coalition of these forces has already landed in California. Now, I don’t think either of these countries have any interest attacking us. My point is how vulnerable we are, not how threatened we are.

I’ve been unable to find the actual news item–Google makes it impossible to find older news items, which is scary in its own right–but we’ve long been aware that the Chinese are actually capable of crippling 17 key defense systems. How technological are our military systems? Could NORAD even be effective without the Internet? Who knows? And though I don’t think there is any reason to believe that someone wants to be aggressive toward us–except North Korea, who is incapable of doing much harm anyway–the unfortunate truth remains that we are exceedingly vulnerable, and we have no idea how vulnerable we really are.

Some years ago while I was at work, suddenly everything in the city was down. No one had Internet, and no one’s phones worked. For about 45 minutes, the entire city was completely disconnected from the rest of the world. The problem was never identified, but it was terrifying. Suddenly, there was absolutely no contact with the outside world. For all I knew, I could get on the Interstate and would find myself blocked by military vehicles telling us that the entire area was under quarantine and no one was allowed to leave–I had just watched The Andromeda Strain, it’s worth mentioning.

Imagine the effect that a few hours of zero Internet access would have on the United States, and imagine what could happen in those hours.

This is why I sneer at people who insist that, even if Hillary does want war with Russia, it doesn’t matter because Russia can’t possibly do us any harm. It’s like someone sneering that it doesn’t matter if they lick a petri dish that allegedly contains salmonella, because they can look and see the dish is clear and empty. “I can’t see it, so there must be nothing there! It’s totally safe!”

No… Take the biochemist’s word for it–there’s salmonella on that dish.

And take my word for it: our technological infrastructure is far more vulnerable than you think.

That a group of people was able to take down tremendously popular sites like Netflix and Reddit should make that obvious. That there are multiple groups who could be the ones responsible for it should make it abundantly clear. Was the Dyn attack a very big deal? Not really. But it should have been a warning of what’s to come. If they can take down Netflix, then they can take down Facebook and Twitter. I don’t know how the American people would react if they had to go without social media for more than a few minutes–the insane reactions of people when Facebook goes down for a few minutes of maintenance should be an indicator–but it wouldn’t be good.

Worse yet, the Dyn attack was carried out by devices in the United States, by unwilling and unknowing ordinary people whose phones were weaponized. Maybe your phone. You know? There is every possibility that your phone–the one you’re probably using to read this–was part of the DDoS. How would you know? You wouldn’t. And you probably didn’t even think to look into it.

“The Internet of Things!” people proclaim, excited and eager.

But I can only shake my head. No people have ever been less ready to take on such an enormous vulnerability.

Free College is a REALLY Stupid Idea

No, it’s not really stupid because it’s socialist in nature. It is socialist in nature, and that is, itself, pretty stupid. However, even if we accepted the idea of socialism, the notion of free higher education is nothing short of stupid. It is also backward and is a great example of how the state and its many institutions and institutionalized practices keep society from properly evolving. If the state hadn’t morphed into a nanny government, the solution I’m about to propose would already have manifested, because it’s both obvious and logical; it’s literally the next step in social evolution, but instead everyone is looking to the government to solve a problem that the government honestly can’t solve.

To ask for free college is to basically be someone shortly after the automobile was invented, demanding that the government provide everyone with a horse-drawn cart. You’re asking for something that is mostly obsolete now and is going to become increasingly obsolete as we move into the future.

The Internet has changed everything. In fact, the World Wide Web will go down as the greatest invention in our species’ history, so overwhelming is its scope. We have not even begun to realize the full impact of the Internet, and this is one such example. It allows a person in the middle of nowhere in Mississippi to communicate through video chat instantly with someone in Siberia. The impact of something like that has not yet been felt, but future generations will take it for granted, and I firmly believe that it heralds the eventual end of war. “The Russians” are no longer some strange, foreign people–they are people we play video games with, that we are friends with on Twitter and Facebook. They are not boogeymen any longer; they are real people. It becomes a lot harder to let your government drop a bomb on someone’s city when you were talking to that someone last week during a chess match, you know?

This has only now started to become apparent, but it’s no surprise that millennials are among the loudest peace advocates everywhere in the world, from the United States to the Middle East to China. Succeeding generations will be even louder in their criticisms of war, because for the first time in human history, we don’t have to take our government’s word for it that “China is like totes 4 real raping and eating babies!!11one!!” because we actually know people in China. Earlier today, I played chess against someone from a country whose flag I didn’t even freaking recognize–but I’d recognize it if President Obama declared, “Yeah, we’re gonna drop some bombs on this place.”

“No!” I would say. “You can’t do that… A real person lives there…”

It’s a beautiful thing, the Internet, and we must protect it from all encroachments of government. There has never been a tool more powerful at our disposal. Under no circumstances should we allow any government to touch it. But none of this is my point–it’s just generally background because it’s true. In the year 2500, people will look back and identify the Internet as mankind’s most profound achievement, because an end to war will be just one of its many remarkable benefits.

Another is that it has placed the sum of human knowledge literally at our fingertips. I remarked recently:

I’m supposed to believe that the same people who can’t be bothered to take four seconds to click New Tab and look something up on Google before sharing it on Facebook when the sum of human knowledge is available for free at their fingertips will spend four years in college if it’s free? Yeah, okay.

There’s an important thing here that has to be addressed; we can’t just pretend like it’s not true. Anything you want to know is available on the Internet. No matter how obscure the knowledge is, and no matter how advanced it is, the information is out there, somewhere, on the Internet. And it’s free. If you have an Internet connection, anything that you want to learn about… can be learned… for free. Right now. “Free education” people want? You can’t get better free education than the Internet; you literally cannot.

College is a tremendous investment of time and energy. It is an investment of such magnitude that it makes a simple Google search insignificant. Let’s not be mistaken about this: there is strong overlap between people who want free higher education and people who can’t be bothered to look things up before sharing them on Facebook. I have no data to back this up, but considering how extraordinarily common it is that people share things without looking them up, it is virtually guaranteed that there is high overlap. People will gladly share posts about how three prominent Wikileaks administrators totally died under mysterious circumstances and it’s Hillary’s fault rather than looking it up and finding that the three people referenced all died of explicitly explained causes, two of which were cancer, for fuck’s sake. Yet they would… like totes 4 real… invest four years of their life into going to college.

If only it was free!

Now, all that said, the solution.

Colleges and universities are obsolete. Unless you’re seeking a Master’s degree or a Doctorate, there is nothing you can learn in a college or university that you cannot learn for free on the Internet. If you’re seeking a 6 or 8-year degree, then, yes, a good chunk of your work will involve original research, a dissertation, a thesis, and ultra-advanced learning that either isn’t readily available on the Internet or can’t be verified. Once we start getting the mathematics of quantum neutrino fields*, yeah, there’s a place for a university to fit in.

What we need is to adjust to the Internet and the new education paradigm that it has created. I would gladly go toe-to-toe with any political theorist or economist in the world. I would stake my self-education against their university-education any day of the week, and I say this for two reasons.

First, I’m probably smarter than they are. I don’t mean this as a statement of arrogance, but one of fact; as a MENSA member, the odds are in my favor. These are also fields that I have explored extensively, going through the whole process of the Dunning-Kruger Effect and coming out on the other side, educated. Plus, much of what modern “official” economists say is nothing more than scientific woo.

Second, while I was in college I took Macroeconomics I and Macroeconomics II as electives, and passed both with As and never even purchased my book for the classes. So I actually had the chance to stack my self-education against the system’s education, and I came out on top. I’ve written about changes in Supply curves having effects on equilibrium prices, after all. So I know from first-hand experience that motivated self-education is not only adequate; it’s probably preferable. Because it’s free, it’s definitely preferable.

It would be the height of stupidity to throw a bunch of money at the current education institution in order to prop up a system that is already obsolete. Intelligent people go where the knowledge is. Through the last several centuries, universities were “where the knowledge was.” So intelligent people who wanted to learn naturally went to universities. This is no longer the case. The universities surely still have knowledge, but they are not the exclusive holders of that knowledge anymore. Why on Earth would we even consider paying gigantic, extortionate, exorbitant fees and tuitions for knowledge that we can literally have for free already?

That’s… stupid.

It is. It’s supremely stupid. It’s short-sighted, simplistic, and stagnant. Short-sighted, simplistic, stagnant, and supremely stupid.

Are you familiar with CompTIA and its certifications? It has several: A+ certification, Security+ certification, Network+ certification… The list goes on. I’m not A+ or Network+ certified, because I don’t need to be. I was stupid and did waste the time going to college to get a degree that A+ and Network+ certifications are considered equivalent to. In fact, people really like the A+ certification; I’ve often been encouraged to get it anyway.

What is that, if not exactly what I’m proposing for other fields of study?

Rather than spending 4 years attending the University of Missisippi, study what you want to study, and then pop in there 5 or 6 Saturdays in a row, take the tests they deem appropriate. If you pass, they give you an Economics Certification equivalent to a BA. Already on college campuses, you can “comp” your way through several classes–I comped through Trig to take Calculus, after all. All we need is a system that allows you to comp the entire education program. What does it matter? If you have the knowledge, then you have the knowledge, regardless of whether you spent 4 years studying at home in your spare time, or 4 years studying at the university.

But that’s exactly it, isn’t it? The University of Mississippi would hate this. They could never charge $48,000 for you to take the tests and get your Economics 4 Certification. They’d probably not get away with charging $1,000 for that. CompTIA’s A+ exam is generally considered expensive, and it’s only $199 and you can typically get vouchers that knock off a huge portion of that.

Now we’re getting to the root of it.

Colleges and universities have a vested interest in keeping this certification thing down. How much money did ITT Tech lose to people who checked around for tech jobs and discovered that an A+ certification is generally considered equivalent to a 2 year degree, and sometimes a 4 year degree? Now start applying this to all fields. How many pharmacist assistants would skip college to simply get a certification, if they could get a Pharmacy 2 Certification for $600 by taking a test three weekends in a row? How much money would universities and colleges lose?

Millions. Billions, even.

Their tuition numbers would dwindle, with only people seeking Master’s and Doctorate’s degrees actually attending universities, and even they would comp through the first 4 years and get certifications instead. How would universities and colleges react? Why, they would lower their tuition fees, of course!

Because that’s what people do when Demand drops.

Stop asking the government to give you a horse-drawn carriage for free, and instead look into how you might acquire an automobile. These systems are not in place. We desperately need them, though. And they will rise, as free market solutions to the problem, just as CompTIA and its tech certifications rose as free market solutions. However, we’re all looking in the wrong place. Don’t demand that the government give you money so that you can prop up an obsolete system.

* Wanton burrito meals?