Tag Archive | tyranny

The Fall of Democracy

While I’m not particularly a fan of any state, as Winston Churchill rightly observed, “Democracy is the worst form of government–except for all the others.” While I’d nitpick a bit and point out that we don’t (and have never had) a democracy–we have a republic with universal suffrage–I’m going to use the terms interchangeably, incorrect though it is. This is because most people think we have a democracy, and I don’t want to confuse them unnecessarily. Because it doesn’t matter the nuances of what they consider “democracy” as much as it matters that, regardless of their definition, it’s being undermined across the world.

Take this recent passage from (I think) the Guardian:

The Madrid government sacked Catalonia’s president and dismissed its parliament on Friday, hours after the region declared itself an independent nation in Spain’s gravest political crisis since the return of democracy four decades ago.

A country where the government can dismiss elected officials on a whim is hardly a democracy, or even a democratic republic. The people of a given territorial area, if they have a government, are indisputably the ones in control of their government. It doesn’t matter whether a group of people whose lives are not vested in that area don’t much care for how the people in that area direct their government–the people of Barcelona don’t govern the Catalans; the Catalans govern the Catalans. The politicians in Madrid don’t govern Catalonia; the Catalan politicians govern Catalonia.

We should be as appalled and disgusted by the efforts of Madrid to govern Catalonia from a distance as we are when we look back on the imperialism of the British in India, because there is no difference except that the imperialized territory happens to be closer to the central government that denies them the exercise of their right to self-governance. Instead, we’ve found alarming condemnation of the Catalans right to independence from the same people who have generally been the loudest voices of anti-imperialist sentiments: the modern left.

That a people have the right to choose their government, to abolish existing political ties, and to eject foreign powers from their soil is washed away in a tide of addiction to political power. We see this addiction in the United States, as well, with the regular shift of power from Republicans and Democrats that precede a series of power abuses from one side of the aisle to the other. At any time after seizing power, either one could end the cycle of abuses, but they don’t. Democrats abuse Republicans, and are unable to see their actions as abuse, and are so vengeful upon seizing power, after suffering similar abuses by Republicans that Republicans also do not recognize as abuses, that they immediately do everything possible to use the power structure that had done them wrong mere months before, instead of dismantling it.

It’s difficult to explain this behavior. It’s very much like a marriage where the partners beat each order and periodically take turns on who is the abuser and who is the victim. When one has the upper hand as the abuser, it would be a simple matter for them to declare “No more hitting” (a rule that, for the sake of our analogy, would be obeyed). However, rather than taking that obvious measure, the abuser instead uses their momentum to pay back the other for their own abuses.

It would even be fair to say, “These lunatics deserve each other,” were it not for the spillover of their fighting, reminiscent of an Andy Capp-style scuffle that catches up innocent bystanders.

As indictments loom over the anti-Russian hysteria, it’s worth remembering that the charge, as I pointed out last night on The Call to Freedom, is not that Russians influenced the election. The accusation is that Russians influenced voters. The difference is supremely important: as I’ve pointed out before, what factors a particular voter uses when making their decision is no one’s concern but their own. Whether the person votes for Trump because Russians influenced him, because his dog told him to, because Trump had an R next to his name, because he thinks Hillary is “the devil in a pantsuit,” or because of some other reason, it’s nothing to us. That person has the unalienable right to vote based on whatever facts, emotions, and lies they want.

It’s not stated so bluntly, of course. The assertion is always that Russians “influenced the election.” This statement should be challenged any time it is said. It’s a lie and a euphemism. The contention is actually that Russians influenced voters, which caused the voters to vote in a way the speaker doesn’t like for reasons the speaker disapproves of. This should never be allowed to stand uncontested. Even if all allegations are true, the argument is that Russians influenced voters, and voters then influenced the election (by voting).

It’s an insidious way of challenging the legitimacy of the election by discarding whatever votes the person thinks were cast for reasons they don’t like. At the end of the day, the argument is that “If you are influenced by Russians, your vote shouldn’t count.” It shouldn’t be necessary to stop to point out this horrific violation of universal suffrage. It would also be amusing coming from the Democrat Party if it wasn’t so dangerous. I’d venture the statement that I haven’t seen such widespread attempts to undermine democracy, now that it has produced results that one side doesn’t like, in my life. We now effectively have a checklist of Legitimate Reasons You Can Vote For Non-Democrats, and anyone who has spent much time around Democrats knows there is no such thing as a legitimate reason to not vote for them. This is a blind spot Republicans also have, though they decry democrats’ reasons as illegitimate in different ways.

Let’s return to the bizarre continuation of events in Catalonia:

Violence has broken out on the streets of Barcelona as Nazi-saluting fascists draped in Spanish flags clashed with Catalan police wielding batons. Spanish officials organised a unionist march through central Barcelona today in which they claimed more than a million people took part to resoundingly reject Catalonia’s declaration of independence.

More thwarting of democracy, as more than a million people failed to grasp the basic idea that they don’t get to rule over Catalonia with all the subtlety of the British Empire in India. In fact, to demonstrate the horror of this position, let’s swap a few words.

Violence has broken out on the streets of London as Nazi-saluting fascists draped in British flags clashed with Catalan police wielding batons. British officials organised a unionist march through central London today in which they claimed more than a million people took part to resoundingly reject India’s declaration of independence.

There’s no way around that, though if the imagery of Nazis taking the side of the Spanish government to continue this imperialist governance from a distance isn’t clear enough, then it’s unlikely that parallels to the British Empire in India (especially after Catalan officials called for peaceful resistance–like Mohandas himself resisted British imperialism, in fact) will make it clear. The truth, however, is that even though the modern left in the United States has been successful in the public eye at presenting itself opposed to fascism, powerful central governments and state supremacy, even if that means dismissing elected officials (like another Nazi did…), are the key components of fascism. It is a shock to no libertarian that the modern left has found itself on the same side as Nazis, resisting self-governance, thwarting democracy, and attempting to impose colonial rule on who they consider to be subjects.

It’s conjectural on my part to say that the modern left is vehemently anti-independence, at least in regard to Catalonia, though they seemingly don’t mind invoking the sentiment when it’s their own independence and “right to not be ruled by a government with which they disagree,” such as with the Californian secession talk. They were opposed to Brexit, after all, and made the claim that Brexit advocates were motivated by xenophobia and, thus, their votes weren’t as valuable as Remain votes.

That seems to be an underlying thread–that a vote’s value is determined by the reasons for which it was cast. How valueless the vote becomes varies from one person to the next, but I’d venture the guess that most modern leftists would say that your vote should be thrown out if you voted for Trump simply because he’s white. We should never allow the mindset that a vote derives its value not from being cast but from the reasons for which it was cast to propagate, but it appears to be too late–there are already millions who say that Trump’s victory is illegitimate because racists voted for him, and that Catalonia’s independence vote is illegitimate because the other side stupidly opted not to vote, and therefore the votes cast shouldn’t count.

As I pointed out in the linked article, this is yet another method of thwarting democracy, by conscripting the uninterested and apathetic into the ranks of the “No” camp, shifting the focus away from the actual vote results and instead onto voter turnout. With the apathetic added to their numbers, those on the “No” side who refuse to vote (because they don’t want “Yes” to win, remarkably) outnumber the “Yes” votes. In this way, Yes Votes don’t merely have to outnumber the No Votes; they must also outnumber the apathetic, the No Votes, and  the No supporters who hid among the apathetic to mask their actual support level. It raises the bar so high (by automatically adding at least 20% of the population to their side) that it’s nearly impossible for Yes to have legitimacy by those standards. Considering that votes are not often landslides and are most often split around 45-45, it is obvious that adding 20 to one of those makes it almost insurmountable in any realistic terms.

The initially posted quote has the brazen audacity to describe Spain as a democracy in the very same paragraph where it talks of a central government dismissing elected officials. It is well known that Spain intends to send police and officials to replace the elected Catalan government. “Democracy.”

Not for Catalonia, clearly. The absurdity is highlighted by calling India a democracy because the parliament of the British Empire was elected democratically. Imagine the British Empire dismissing Mohandas (or whoever was in charge at the time they began calling for independence) and Indian officials, and then people having the ignorant nerve to refer to India as “a democracy” in those tyrannical conditions.

Independence and secession attempts are never recognized as valid by the ruling powers, or by its flunkies. Even as such people recognize that the American colonies, India, and South Korea had the right to independence, they fiercely rebuke Catalonia’s calls for independence. And as someone reminded me on my last article, the independence attempts of the southern states were also rejected. This led to the War For Southern Independence (then, as now, the reasons for independence were dismissed as racist, disregarding the many other grievances), which the secessionists lost. As a result, it was determined, in flagrant violation of the foundation of the very nation that crushed the independence attempt, that states do not have the right to independence. Despite the bulk of Americans saying today the the south didn’t have the right to independence, and that California doesn’t (and, naturally, there are those who say the south didn’t have the right, but California does), they recognize the legitimacy of India’s independence, and the United States’ independence from the UK.

What scares me most is the possibility that the American left’s attempts to thwart democracy will be successful, that Trump and Pence will be removed, and that they’ll do some kind of tyrannical thing to install a Democrat as president. This isn’t as far-fetched as one might think. It’s happened many times in history, and there’s no reason to believe the United States is immune. Such a turn of events would give political parties the ability to use political power (instead of votes) to remove people in another political party from office, setting up an actual tyranny.

It’s not that I like democracy or Democratic republics. I don’t. However, I certainly prefer them to unilateral despotism by a powerful political party that decides to remove elected officials from office over reasons that are basically fabricated and that, even if true, ultimately boil down to nothing more than “We don’t recognize the validity of your votes because we don’t recognize the legitimacy of your reasons.”

That being the case, I really think the Democratic Party should change their name. Republicans, too, but at least they aren’t quite as extremely unrepublican as Democrats are undemocratic.

Regardless, the question of our era is no different from ages past: “Who do we want to be?”

While we can certainly answer that question by hungrily proclaiming “Tyrants!” and using a democratic majority to seize total and unrelenting control of the political process, to rule barbarically over others, it wouldn’t be advisable, and I would bet my Litecoin that no ordinary reader finds that idea palatable. So why do we see so much of it? Why are people who consider themselves morally superior and righteous so giddily asserting that India has no right to declare independence from the British Empire?

Confusion.

Just behold the very first passage I quoted from a “reputable” news source. There’s no self-awareness at all, and no critical thinking. It is obvious that dismissing elected officials and sending in authorities to reassert control is antithetical to democracy; it is a violation of democracy every bit as much as Hitler’s (who was elected democratically) dismissal of the German Parliament. It is similarly obvious that removing Trump for things that aren’t in any sense an actual problem is the same sort of violation (As I’ve grown fond of asking, even if Trump and Putin meet up once a month to have sex, why is that a problem?).

If the modern left wants to demolish democracy (and the modern right would, too, if it was convenient for them; it’s simply not convenient for them right now), they should be honest about it. Stop calling this tyranny “democracy.” It blatantly isn’t democracy. Discarding the will of the voters, challenging the legitimacy of voters’ reasons, imposing rule from a far, violating the tenet of self-governance, and a McCarthyist witch hunt over Dem Russians! are directly counter to democracy.

As a method of allowing the people of a territory to quantify their will and enact it collectively, the Democratic Republic is the least evil. That is why I defend it. I’d similarly prefer not to be murdered, but if it’s going to happen, I’d prefer it to be a gunshot to the head, not some slow and torturous death. I’d like to have no state at all (and work toward that), but if we’re going to have a state, then it should be the least destructive and least tyrannical. This is the Constitutional Democratic Republic.

And it’s under attack by tyranny and fascism.

Negative Consequences

We can’t prevent any and all negative consequences.

The idea that we somehow can lies at the heart of statism. We can’t have freedom of association, because then some racist assholes would choose not to associate with black people. We can’t have capitalism because then some people might not be able to afford food. We can’t have freedom of speech because then some people might hurt other people’s feelings.

The most common criticism of anarchism is that anarchy can’t guarantee that nothing will ever go wrong, a security that people seem to desperately crave, even though they don’t have it, and even though it’s impossible in a universe that doesn’t seem to care much whether we’re here. “What will you do to prevent murder?” people ask the anarchist, using the anarchist’s inability to definitively prevent murder as a reason for rejecting anarchy.

It’s fallacious, of course. The state doesn’t successfully prevent negative consequences either, no matter how much it tries and interferes in our lives. With all the laws and prisons, with all the destruction of liberty in the modern United States, there remains murder. It’s readily apparent that this isn’t an argument for the state; it’s an excuse for the status quo. “The state doesn’t successfully prevent murder, but anarchy can’t either. So why change?”

The obvious answer is that the state doesn’t simply fail to prevent murder; it is the Primary Murderer. As an institution, the state has racked up a body count that should cause any moral person to do a doubletake; in the 20th century alone, counting only war and advice combatants, states killed more than 120,000,000 people. If there were no states, those people killed by states would not have died. So if we want to reduce murder, the stateless society is clearly the way to go.

Prohibition doesn’t work, and we know this. Everyone knows it until we get to their Pet Issue, at which point they decide arbitrarily that prohibition can work. Abortion is a great example, because outlawing abortion doesn’t stop abortion; it merely chases it to the shadows of the back alley. Prohibition against alcohol didn’t eliminate alcohol; it was merely chased into the shadows of the black market. Prohibition against drugs hasn’t stopped people from doing drugs.

The argument may be that it’s fine, because we’ve substantially reduced the number of people doing these things, even if some people still do them, but this ignores the tremendous negative consequences. Our prisons are filled with non-violent offenders, largely minorities. Drugs are bought and sold in secret, unverified, possibly impure, possibly laced, and possibly lethal. People who can’t find heroin turn to krokodil. These are negative consequences. Our state intervention did not come without a price and arguments can certainly be made that the price was higher than the reward. Great, we kept five people off heroin, and the only side effect was that two people got on krokodil! Only a supremely jaded person can call this a victory.

Of course, this simply leads to more interventions, and more attempts to make up new rules to address the negative side effects of the old rules. Russia made codeine prescription-only to fix the krokodil epidemic caused by heroin being illegal, which simply made heroin easier to get and cheaper than krokodil. And then they’ll come up with some new rule to address the negative side effects of the last rule, and the end result is a clusterfuck of nonsensical laws limiting the behavior of adults.

Don’t think that we’re any different in the United States. There are positive and negative consequences to every action. Getting up early and starting my work day early comes with the positive consequence of earning more money, and with the negative consequence of getting less sleep. There’s always a trade-off, and this is the critical thing that statists attempt to deny.

Sure, outlawing heroin seems like a good idea with positive consequences–right up until someone’s skin rots off because they turned to krokodil. That negative consequence can’t be ignored. Furthermore, any attempt to fix it will come with its own set of consequences. And each time, liberty is restricted. The adults out there who use heroin in the same way that party drinkers use alcohol are caught in the cross fire, their lives destroyed in our Quixotic quest to eliminate drug addicts, and turned into hardened criminals by a prison system that rivals the Roman Gladiatorial Arenas in sheer barbarism.

Prohibition against alcohol probably lowered the number of people who drank. It also created Al Capone and turned Chicago into the gang-infested nightmare that it remains today. It drastically lowered the quality of alcohol, leading to widespread poisoning, and turned previously safe warehouses into guarded camps that regularly saw vicious battles erupting over control of the lucrative black market. It was hardly what anyone would call a victory.

Prohibiting abortion today wouldn’t end it, especially not in an age that has the Tor network (The Dark Web), which would make it easier than ever to find an abortionist. Even Craigslist can’t keep illicit activity off, and people would find abortionists through it. Rather than having the procedure done in a safe and sterile environment, though, we’d be back in the alley with coathangers. We know this, because that’s what happened before abortion was legalized.

It’s true. I can’t promise you that nothing will ever go wrong in an anarcho-capitalist society. In fact, the only thing I can promise you is that things will go wrong. The only thing that really matters is which set of consequences you want. Do you want freedom and the sometimes negative consequences? Do you want free speech even though it means people might say hateful things? Do you want free association even though it means racists might not associate with minorities?

Or do you want statism, for the government to attempt to minimize negative consequences by limiting freedom, and thereby creating a new set of consequences that have to be addressed by limiting freedom more?

We can’t have a utopia. In a universe largely hostile to our existence, imperfect beings can’t have a utopia. The state can’t give us one, and anarchy can’t give us one. Basic algebra tells us, then, that we can reduce the equation by erasing utopia from both sides. When we do this, what are we left with?

Freedom and negative consequences, or tyranny and negative consequences.

I, for one, will always choose freedom.

From Wage Slave to State Slave

Now, I’m using the term “Wage Slave” as a joke, for the most part, because if one voluntarily enters into an agreement to do something in return for payment, then one obviously isn’t a slave. If I agree to cut your grass for $30 a week, I’m not your slave. I’ve gone over this before, because it stems from the idea that we are required to earn a wage in order to pay for food and a roof over our heads, but this is the case whether we work in the field to grow food and build our own home, or whether we provide services to someone else. It is the universe and the nature of biological life that requires us to earn food–whether by toiling in a field or toiling at a desk–and one way is simply more roundabout than the other. It is not American Society that forces someone to get a job and buy food; it is the fact that they must have food to not starve to death. If there was no money, no employment, and no grocery store (in other words, if no one else was producing food), it would still be necessary for the person to hunt, forage, and plant. We are not, therefore, slaves for wages to employers; we are slaves for sustenance by the universe.

All that aside, I want to talk about the Socialist Paradise, and I’m not going to strawman it here. I’m going to assume that it can be accomplished with no corruption, with no faux equality, and with no death squads. I can’t imagine what mechanism we could use to go from our world to this hypothetical world, but I do want to clarify that I don’t think there is any way to actually achieve this Socialist Paradise.

There is no unemployment in this Socialist Paradise. In fact, everyone works for the state, because the state is the owner of the means of production. Colloquially, in this democratic Socialist Paradise, it means “we the people” own the means of production, and the state is the embodiment of our control over it. The state has ceased being a distinctly separate thing from any individuals in society, and we have somehow managed to turn the state into an effective instrument of democratic will. There are no individuals within the government who do things for their own personal benefit, as has always happened in socialist countries.

There is no money in this Socialist Paradise. Everyone simply does their job, whatever it is, and then goes to the grocery store and gets the food they need. The idea obviously runs into a brick wall here, but it’s one we’re going to have go skate over: what of luxuries? No one needs alcohol, marijuana, tobacco, television, game systems, or anything else. Do luxuries simply cease to exist? How does the state know how many Democratic People’s Gaming Devices to create? Is there simply a requisition form that a person can fill out to request one? How long is the wait period on this? Let’s just assume that there is a requisition process whereby one can acquire luxuries–how many luxuries? Obviously, I can have a Democratic People’s Gaming Device, but what if my wife wants her own? Do we have to share one? What about a family of three, or four, or five? How much alcohol can I requisition each week? How frequently can I requisition for a new television? If my television gets broken by the cats–as has happened–is there a six month or two year waiting period before I can get another? Does some committee handle this decision? Are they elected?

I said I was going to gloss over this problem, but this is a problem that simply can’t be glossed over, can it? There are too many questions and too many variables. What if most people vote and decide that building video game systems is a waste of time, as many, many people do think? Even if 15% of the population still wants the Democratic People’s Gaming Device, construction of the devices has stopped; there is no way for those people to acquire one.

Perhaps someone has tired of their Democratic People’s Gaming Device (yes, I’m going to continue typing that out in full) after the society has decided to stop producing them. Obviously, the socialist paradise would require that the person return the Democratic People’s Gaming Device (which is obviously better than the Imperialist SwineStation and the CapitalistBox, even though it doesn’t do 4k–but 4k isn’t necessary anyway, because the Democratic People’s Television doesn’t have 4k resolution anyway… It’s also mono sound, but that’s okay because the Democratic People’s Television only has one speaker, and the Democratic People’s Enhanced Auditory Device ceased being produced six years ago) to the Democratic People’s Requisition & Distribution Center, at which point it would be recycled and used to make a device that was deemed necessary. Bob couldn’t simply trade his Democratic People’s Gaming Device to Tim in return for an extra three bottles of wine (Bob has a drinking problem).

Except that’s exactly what Bob would do. Bob is an alcoholic, and the state is allowing him only two six packs of beer, one bottle of liquor, and one bottle of wine each week, which isn’t enough to sate Bob’s thirst. He handles this by requisitioning for luxuries and swapping the luxuries in secret for other people’s beer, liquor, and wine. Bob doesn’t actually want a Democratic People’s Gaming Device; he wants a bottle of Democratic People’s Fermented Grape Beverage.

And here we come to the destroyer of Socialism: the black market.

During World War 2, the American government issued ration stamps in order to “assist” conservation and the war effort. What it ended up doing, however, was creating a black market where people bought and sold meat, bread, and sugar–often in broad daylight with the knowledge of local authorities–under the table, ignoring the ration stamp system. It was impossible for a government bureaucrat to know how much meat this family in Wyoming needed, but that didn’t stop the government from trying to dictate how much meat the family could have. The price of meat on the black market obviously increased, but it’s preferable that the family of Wyoming could buy meat at a higher price than to be unable to buy it at all.

People want stuff.

When the government outlawed alcohol, it did nothing to eliminate people’s desire to drink, and a black market was immediately created. Instead of manufacturing alcohol publicly and openly, people had to do it in secret. The quality of the alcohol plummeted, because it was being made in bath tubs and stuff, while its price increased due to the difficulties of getting it, the lower quantity in circulation, and the higher risks involved in manufacturing and selling it. This created gangs of thugs like Al Capone who made lots and lots of money and who, since they were operating in the shadows of society rather than in the open, took and exercised control with bullets and billy clubs instead of paperwork and civility. Once Prohibition against alcohol was lifted, Al Capone and the other gangs immediately went out of business, because fucking no one wanted to buy Bathtub Moonshine from Al Capone when they could instead buy Crown Royal from a store that wouldn’t break their thumbs if they were caught shopping elsewhere. The Untouchables and the feds were unable to put much of a dent in the illegal moonshine business, but the entire business was defeated overnight when prohibition was repealed.

We see the same happening today with prohibitions against drugs, and this is no more apparent than with the rise of Krokodil in Russia. People turn to Krokodil because it can be made cheaply from over-the-counter meds*, while heroin is much more expensive and much harder to manufacture. If there was a company producing heroin in Russia in the open–in factories–and selling it over the counter in pharmacies, then the Krokodil epidemic would never have happened. So much of the high price of heroin comes from its illegal status and the difficulty in manufacturing it; allowing open manufacture would drop the price significantly.

I was once addicted to pain killers. A ten milligram percocet on the street could reach $8–for one of the “school buses.” Lortabs rarely went past $7 each, but there’s a noticeable quality difference between percocet and lortab. During rough dry periods, a ten could reach ten dollars. The reason I became addicted was that a friend of mine who has sickle cell had time released 100mg morphine tabs that she sold me for $5 each. Half of one of those would have you lit up all day long. $2.50 for a high that lasted all day, and she got them regularly. The cost of taking them dropped substantially; whereas before I was spending $35 or so a day, suddenly I was spending only $2.50 a day, and I was able to do that for months and months… and months… and months…

The primarily reason people die from prescription pain killers is not the respiratory depression or any of the other hydro/oxycodone side effects. Tolerance to the narcotics is built up too much for that too happen; by the end of it, I could take 4 ten milligram lortabs and only barely feel it. The reason people die is the acetaminophen. Many of the people I ran around with had no idea how much acetaminophen they were taking on a daily basis, but 4 ten milligram tabs is a 2 gram dose of Tylenol. 4 grams in one day is extremely dangerous. I know a guy who is consuming about 12 grams of acetaminophen every single day, and it’s costing him hundreds of dollars a day to do it.

Now, the point I intended to get at was that it was possible to acquire the pain killers at a significantly lower price, by going through a doctor and buying them from a pharmacy. My sister and father went this route, though I never did–I didn’t want a paper trail showing any possibility of dependency. They both could sue the living hell out of a few doctors in the area, if they were unscrupulous, as well as the pharmacy that would fill a 60 count prescription of percocets and a 120 count prescription of lortabs within days of each other. Not to mention the early refills–“I accidentally washed them!” “I accidentally lost them!” “Someone stole them out of my car!”

By going through the doctor, my sister and father not only made their addictions far worse than mine could ever have been, but, relatedly, also paid substantially less per pill. Through the course of my run with them, I averaged probably $5.50 per pill, because I did go to the doctor some. Their average is probably $1 per pill, or even lower. $100 for the doctor visit, $25 for the prescription–that’s about $2 per pill, but they always came with refills, which further lowered the price. Legalization helped them substantially.

Illegalization didn’t keep me from buying pain pills at a much higher price. When someone is going to become addicted, they’re going to become addicted. On some of those rough days, if I’d only been able to find heroin, honestly, I probably would have bought it. All the hoops and hurdles accomplished was chasing me to the streets, where I burned through about $12,000 in the course of six months, all while feeding excuses to my wife about “how expensive gas is getting.” If I was addicted to heroin and unable to find any, but could get hydrocodeine, I would certainly have tried krokodil.

In the article I linked above, I talked about legalizing hate speech and why it’s so important to allow people to speak their minds openly and freely, without fear of violent reprisal or severe consequences for holding their opinions. The same underlying truth is the reason why: if people want to do something, outlawing it only pushes them into the shadows, where the rules of society no longer apply. Pushing the alcohol industry into the shadows produced the likes of Al Capone. Pushing hate speech into the shadows will turn it into hate crimes.

If Tim hates transsexual people, then let Tim say it without worrying about losing all of his business connections, employment, and everything else. Sure, those companies associating with him also have the right o sever ties, but we shouldn’t use social pressure as a roundabout way of forcing Tim to be silent, and that’s what we do in the modern world. It’s not much better to picket and protest Starbucks until they stop dealing with Tim’s company than it is to have the government arrest Tim for hate speech. Neither is a good solution, but at least social pressure doesn’t involve force and violence. But Tim saying that he hates transsexual people doesn’t do any harm. If he fires people for being transsexual, or refuses to do business with transsexual people, picket away, and demand Starbucks cease doing business with him. But just for stating his opinion?

If we create a society where Tim can’t say that he hates transsexual people because the consequences of that statement will destroy his life, then we’ve not erased his hatred; we’ve only pushed it into the shadows and added resentment to it. Tim begins muttering in anger in his home, “Oh, those queers can say they hate Christians… RAWR… but I can’t say I hate those queers…! ‘Equality’ they say! Yeah, for everyone except white Christians! RAWR!”

Without a way to express his hatred, it builds and festers. Will it boil over and become a news headline of “Tim & Co CEO Arrested For Murdering Twelve Transgender People”? Maybe, and maybe not. But every single person who said “You mustn’t say that!” and who forced him to hold his tongue through threats of world-shattering consequences contributed to the hatred and resentment soup that became violence. This is why I tell people to leave Mississippi alone. They won’t be the ones killed by angry hillbillies who can no longer express their opinions without fear. I will be.

Socialism’s problems rise primarily from this distinction between want and need, between luxury and necessity. It is the economic calculation problem, in a nutshell. There is no efficient or effective way for the government to know how many Democratic People’s Gaming Devices to build, because it simply can’t poll everyone. And even if it could, what if someone changed their mind? The entire argument for Socialism hinges on the precept that Capitalism is wasteful. After all, under Capitalism we’ve ended up with empty houses that co-exist alongside homeless people. That sucks, and is a problem, but their proposed solution is that the socialist government would build exactly as many houses as are necessary. This obviously a question that can’t be answered–in a capitalist society or a socialist one.

How many iPhones should Apple make? If they make too many, then they lose money because devices go unsold. If they make too few, then people will buy a competitor’s. How many Xbox Ones should Microsoft make? They face the same problem. If they make too many, then they lose money because devices go unsold. If they make too few, then people will buy a PlayStation 4 instead. The people best suited to estimate how many iPhones they need to make are the people at Apple, of course, but no one can say that there are no unsold iPhones or Xbox Ones hanging around. There are plenty.

Or you can make the Nintendo mistake, and repeatedly produce too few, even after promising customers that you’d fix the supply issue. Nintendo is so bad about this that people have accused them of intentionally undermanufacturing Amiibos to create artificial scarcity. That’s a silly argument, because Nintendo makes no money from the Amiibos being sold on eBay for four and five times the MSRP, but that’s just how severe their problem is. It pisses consumers off, and, as a result, I know of several prominent game reviewers (Jim Sterling among them) who refuse to touch Amiibo ever again.

Would the socialist society even make luxuries at all? Why should they? Luxuries are, by their very nature, wasteful. That is, after all, what makes them luxuries–they aren’t required, and they don’t produce anything. If the idea is to minimize waste and inefficiency, then it’s hard to imagine that luxuries of any type would be manufactured. Not only is it a waste of resources and time to build the Democratic People’s Gaming Device, but every minute that Terry sits at home playing it is a minute that Terry is contributing nothing to society.

So what would that look like? It would look like Al Capone–black markets of people creating things that people want, because the desire doesn’t disappear. Does the Socialist Paradise produce luxuries? If it does, then it has no idea how many to make, and creates waste. If it doesn’t, then free market principles take over, but in the darkness and away from “official” society, so it’s a black market. Either way, the Socialist Paradise isn’t a paradise at all. How does it handle people like Al Capone, who dare engage in such horrible, evil, capitalist activity as making a good that people want? In decades, the state hasn’t managed to eliminate drugs, and it actually went as far as declaring war on drugs, so we already know that efforts to combat the black market are futile. Do we instead go with the ration and requisition system?

I suppose the latter, and thank goodness, right?

Living in a feudal society where we are all slaves to the lord who fulfills our necessity requests and produces luxuries per requisitions is so much better than being able to get up and go buy an Xbox One or a PlayStation 4–whichever you prefer. And because we all know that a monopoly doesn’t decrease quality or anything, we can rest assured that the Democratic People’s Gaming System is definitely better than either the PlayStation or Xbox would ever be.

So thank goodness for that.

* Russia now requires a prescription, which has made Krokodil much harder to manufacture, ensuring not that people will stop doing dangerous, homemade drugs but that people will instead invent some other homemade drug.

I Don’t Care About Trump’s Appointments

I seem to be a bit anomalous, in that I don’t care even slightly about the people that President Elect Donald Trump chooses to head various federal agencies. The only appointment of his that I have any interest in would be the Supreme Court Justice slot, and my prediction on that is that Trump is going to wait until after his inauguration to let us know who he favors. At the very least, we won’t know until after the Electors have voted.

Thanks to friends who are interested, I see the appointments. I see how Trump picked an Exxon CEO to be… Secretary of State, I think? And someone named DeVos is going to head the Department of Education, if I recall correctly. I don’t care, though, because the whole thing just smacks of tyranny. More than anything, the post-election focus on Trump’s staff and department heads highlights just how broken the American government is, that these positions of extreme power are not elected but appointed.

I am reminded of Thomas Paine’s remarks in The Rights of Man about how France did not find itself under the one despot of King Louis and how there were, in fact, many competing despotisms, some inherited and some newly created, and that Louis himself was little more than the symbol of the myriad tyrannies that stifled the French people:

When despotism has established itself for ages in a country, as in France, it is not in the person of the king only that it resides. It has the appearance of being so in show, and in nominal authority; but it is not so in practice and in fact. It has its standard everywhere. Every office and department has its despotism, founded upon custom and usage. Every place has its Bastille, and every Bastille its despot. The original hereditary despotism resident in the person of the king, divides and sub-divides itself into a thousand shapes and forms, till at last the whole of it is acted by deputation. This was the case in France; and against this species of despotism, proceeding on through an endless labyrinth of office till the source of it is scarcely perceptible, there is no mode of redress. It strengthens itself by assuming the appearance of duty, and tyrannies under the pretence of obeying.

How sad and tragic that this 18th century literature holds so strikingly true today, when we have had the benefit of the United States Constitution and two centuries of education, rationalism, enlightenment, and productivity with which we might have forever cast off the yoke of despotism.

“Drain the swamp!” Trump said during his campaign–a fact that I have only just now bothered to even remark on, because my hyper-cynical libertarianism recognized it immediately as the meaningless slogan that it was–a useless platitude and empty promise to further ignite the “populist” base that propelled him to victory. Hardly a week had gone by, though, that President Elect Donald Trump made it clear that he intended to bathe in the swamp. This is not the pining of someone who expected better, though, but a withdrawn recognition that it was inevitable, just as King Louis would have been utterly unable to effect the changes in government that the French people wanted to see, king or not.

No matter how benevolent King Louis XVI might have been–and it does seem that he was as moderate a monarch as the French people could have hoped for at that period in history–he was as bound by the tyranny of the French government as were the French people who eventually dethroned and executed him. So, too, is it irrelevant how benevolent Trump might be*, how well-intentioned, how moderate, or how compelled he is to complete his countless conflicting campaign contracts.

The tyranny under which the American people suffer–they are extraneous to the office of the President, and the President has little to no power to change them, and I would venture the statement that even Congress has become powerless to change them. Obviously, the CIA is foremost among such agencies: here is a governmental agencies of spies, run by people who were not elected, who play partisan politics, who now operate within the United States, who lied directly to Congress, who involved us in Iraq under false pretenses where at least 150,000 civilians have been killed, who planned Operation Northwoods, who executed Project MK-ULTRA, and who executed Project Paperclip. This agency is responsible, at the very least, for these crimes against the American People–and it can be called nothing else, when the agency kidnaps and tortures American citizens in the name of torture and psychotropic drug “research,” no doubt ideas they got from the people they imported during Project Paperclip–continues on unabated, unchecked, uncontrolled, and uncontested. What difference does it make whether this horrific agency is headed by someone appointed by President Obama or someone appointed by President Trump?

None.

The same holds true of all the government agencies to some degree, though many have crimes against the American people that are less brazen and more oppressive. The Food and Drug Administration, for example, with its absurd shenanigans–it’s hard to even identify a place to start. Aspartame** is probably a good starting point, considering the FDA classified it as a poison for a very long time. Suddenly, though, the FDA decided that it wasn’t a poison after all, and then-head of the FDA resigned and went on to join the board of directors for the company that–shocker of shockers–held the patent on aspartame. There were other things in the news more recently, and libertarians blew the horn on the FDA’s ridiculous bullshit over something that started with a “k.” I don’t recall what, but it’s not of much significance, not really.

How about the IRS? Is Trump’s new appointment to the IRS going to forgive the tax debt of everyone who earns less than fifty thousand dollars a year? Not bloody likely. And I can tell you from first-hand experience that the IRS embodies the spirit of tyranny: unchecked and uncontested, they declare anything they want and they have the power to turn their arbitrary rulings into requirements. The only thing saving me from the IRS is that they are too big, I am too small, and the debt is too small–respectively, for them, at least. If it was $20,000 or $200,000 I have very little doubt that they would throw their might at me. And their might? It is inescapable and indestructible.

So what reason could I possibly have to care that King Louis XV died and has been replaced by King Louis XVI? However well-intentioned he might be, the nature of the state itself is that King Louis does not–indeed, cannot–know that such a person as myself even exists, much less that the state oppresses me. Does the state oppress me? Of course, but I don’t mean to say that it oppresses me more than it oppresses anyone else.

The insidious nature of the state and government regulations is precisely that freedoms are so hard to notice when they’re absent. We humans are creatures of comparison. In order for a man to know he is not free to do something, he must be able to compare his life to some scenario–even a hypothetical one–where he is free to do it. But when it has not been made simply illegal but has been erased entirely from existence, it becomes a matter of extreme imagination to envision scenarios where we might be free but aren’t, where we might have something but don’t.

Our war against the state is beautiful in that it shows how remarkably industrious and creative we are as free, independent people. When the government granted itself the exclusive right to deliver mail and then drove itself into the ground–as fascism is prone to doing–the productivity and ingenuity of liberty stepped forward and delivered: email, facsimile machines, and text messaging were born. “Paperless” is increasingly the trend, further putting the USPS out of business, a relic of the past because government regulations obsoleted the government agency. It was inevitable–by stifling competition, the USPS established a monopoly, promptly became inefficient, and we clever, creative people worked around the letter of the law. I don’t even have a mail box or a Post Office box. That’s how obsolete the USPS is.

What solutions might we have come up with fifty years ago, if the USPS hadn’t outlawed competition? It took a very long time for us to come up with a cost effective, expedient, and efficient solution to undermine the USPS’s tyranny over the delivering of mail–for a long time the literal lifeblood of communication in the country–is it any wonder they wanted to control it? Technology had to advance considerably just for us to be able to do something as simple as deliver a message from one part of the country to another without going through the slow bureaucracy of the USPS.

I mentioned to a friend earlier today that I am tired of shaving… pretty much my entire body, every single day, and so I’m considering trying out Nair. I’m not sure that would be cost effective, though–shaving is pretty cheap, especially when you soak your razors overnight in alcohol*^. I don’t have the patience to let my hair grow long enough to wax it, and I hate being prickly anyway. Then it occurred to me.

Why aren’t there^* At Home Laser Hair Removal kits already?

I can buy a laser pointer powerful enough to crash a 747. Why can’t I buy a Laser Hair Removal kit?

I can buy tattoo guns. In fact, I have tattoo guns. I did most of my tattoos myself. Of course, that’s rife with regulations, but the government can’t keep people in prison from building tattoo guns and giving one another tattoos, so how could they possibly accomplish it out here in wider society? For that matter, they can’t keep guns, drugs, and HIV out of prison, either. So even if they could turn the entire country into a prison in their quest for Max Gun Control and Max Drug Control–which would be necessary, as I enjoy reminding liberals–they still wouldn’t be able to catch that red herring.

I am absolutely positive that, if the government wasn’t in the way, DIY Laser Hair Removal kits would be available. You can buy far more dangerous stuff than that, after all.

Like aspartame, for example.

There was a strange divergence among self-proclaimed libertarians during the 2016 election, and while I know the “type,” I haven’t been able to fully articulate it. They have a nationalist streak and an anti-Islam streak, and while they do qualify as libertarians, they were more than willing to sell out and look the other way on freaking everything that was wrong with Donald Trump in the name of their nationalism and anti-Islamism. I know a few of them, and it’s those people that I think of when I hear the phrase “Drain the swamp!” because they did take Trump at face value; they believed he would do so.

So what is the Federal Government to me? What difference do Trump’s appointments make?

None.

There is Congress, the Executive Branch, and the Supreme Court. That’s the Constitutional way, right? How very unsurprising that the President who led the charge on the creation of these independent regulatory bodies was none other than Abraham Lincoln–commonly called one of the greatest Presidents in American History, despite the fact that he killed more than a million Americans, started a civil war, suspended habeus corpus, deported a senator, and oversaw the creation of the first independent regulatory agencies. What happened was simple: the government pointed to a group of people and said, “Hey, group of people. Now you can tell the American people what they can and can’t do.”

And… well. We can readily see that this snowballed out of control. How many agencies are listed there? One thousand? I’m not going to count, and I doubt the list is exhaustive anyway.

Constitutionally, there are two people in the Federal Government who have authority to tell you what you can and cannot do: your U.S. Senator and your district’s Representative. Two. That’s it–that is the full and exhaustive list of everyone with the “rightful” power to exercise authority over you, and the “power” they have over you is extremely limited and specifically enumerated. There are like 8 things they’re allowed to do, and only then according to fairly strict standards and criteria.

Yet here we see a list of what I’m guessing is a thousand government agencies–none of them elected and none of them accountable–all with power over you, and all competing with one another for the power to tell you what you can and can’t do. It’s rather easy to compare that gargantuan list to the Constitutional two that there should be. Even if each of those agencies has only a single employee, that is roughly one thousand people with authority over you, with the authority to dictate your life, with the power to tell you what you can and can’t do, with the power to tell you what you can and can’t have, with the power to take options away from you and establish monopolies that have you at their mercy.

This isn’t even a problem that can be fixed by “draining the swamp.”

Draining the swamp isn’t going to help you the next time you’re at the DMV and a smart ass government employee denies your new commercial license for whatever reason, because someone pissed in her Cheerios. Draining the swamp isn’t going to help the fact that you have to purchase the government’s permission to commute from one place to another. Draining the swamp isn’t going to help the thousand government agencies who are dictating your life every moment of every day, a condition that we’re just so accustomed to that we don’t even notice it anymore. That requirement to have an inspection sticker, to have liability insurance, to stop at stop signs, to drive a certain speed. And it’s true many of these examples are handled at the state level, but Sonny learns from Daddy; state governments take their cues on how to behave from the federal government, clearly, since the entire point of southern secession was for state governments to maintain their autonomy. Now they’re just enforcers of federal statutes.

Trump can’t abolish these agencies any more than King Louis could have shut down the Bastille. He could appoint people to them who were going to cut and undo all of their agency’s regulations–like appointing Ron Paul to head the IRS. That would be something, wouldn’t it? The Executive Branch might not have the legislative authority to abolish these institutions***, but the agencies themselves certainly have the power now to undo all their regulations. But Trump isn’t a libertarian, and I don’t know why so many people forgot that. He’s not going to name Judge Andrew Napolitano to the Supreme Court, and he’s not going to name Ron Paul Secretary of the Treasury.

Trump isn’t a fucking libertarian, not even of the Big L variety.

He’s better than Hillary solely because Hillary routinely indicated that she wanted to go to war with Russia; she even said point-blank in one of the debates that she felt it was prudent to respond militarily to finger-quotes-wink-wink “Russian hacking.” As far as everything else goes, he is and has always been just another statist. He has always been willing to play ball.

My only hope for a Trump presidency is that he will hopefully attempt to bridge the enormous divide between liberals and conservatives and that he will, in so doing, inadvertently restore the Tenth Amendment to its proper place and remind us all that we are supposed to be more concerned with our state congresses than with our national congress, with our state supreme court than the national supreme court, and with our governor than the President.

But do I have any faith or hope that King Louis XVI is going to give the French people the liberty they seek?

I’ll see you in the Bastille before that happens.

Or should I say “Gitmo?”

* Assuming, for the argument, that he is. I don’t have many feelings about Trump one way or another.

** I can’t vouch for these sources. I’m going off memory and only looked for a link to provide people with a starting point to research it; it’s not a conspiracy theory, though. It actually happened this way.

*^ Pro tip: razors very slowly get dull. They get gunked up by dead skin cells. This is why barbers use barbicide. Soak your blades in alcohol–but be sure to rinse them–and they will last for months. I’ve seen people go through five-blade razors in a week. A 5-blade razor should last three months, easily.

^* For the second time today, I used “their” instead of “there” initially. That’s starting to concern me. I make a lot of slips on occasion, but never that type of mistake.

*** It’s worth mentioning that the legislative branch didn’t have the authority to create them, either. Think about it in any other terms. Just because your wife gives you permission to sleep with her doesn’t mean you can confer that permission to a friend of yours. Just because we consented to let Congress do something doesn’t mean that they can confer that privilege to someone else.

How Virtue Signaling Usurped Genuine Empathy

The title is incorrect. This is not an article about how virtue signaling has usurped genuine empathy; it is, instead, a statement that it did, and, as always, I am going to provide examples of what I’m talking about. Stay with me for a bit, because some groundwork has to be laid first.

I wrote yesterday that libertarians are frequently told that we lack empathy. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever met a liberal who didn’t tell me at some point that I lack empathy. That’s a hell of a thing to say to someone who spends so much of their time and energy trying to do whatever they can to make society a better place, with more love and liberty for everyone. Telling a libertarian they lack empathy is like telling a Christian they lack Jesus.

Let’s be real for a moment. None of the stuff that happens “out there” affects me. My life is unchanged by the election, and it will remain unchanged as Trump takes office. The bitter war being fought between Republicans and Democrats because they refuse to come to an agreement and leave the other side alone has nothing to do with me. It doesn’t involve me, and I stand to gain nothing by wasting my time and energy writing articles trying to defuse the social bombs. It really doesn’t have anything to do with me, and my personal interests would probably be served better if I stoked the fires of hatred and let them rip each other apart, since my personal interests are what I like to call “being left the hell alone,” and I’m most likely to be “left the hell alone” if 95% of the population kills each other.

left-alone

It sounds horrible to say, of course, but that’s because it is a horrible thing to say. Well, not really. It’s a statement of fact, and we can’t let ourselves get into the habit of assigning values to statements of fact. “Two plus two is four” should never be considered a good or bad thing to say, because it’s simply a true thing to say, just as it’s true that if what I want is to be “left the hell alone,” then that’s best served by letting conservatives and liberals get back to their bloodbath. Even if they don’t kill each other, they’ll be so busy gouging out each other’s eyes that they won’t even be able to see me, so it’s win/win no matter what.

Though it’s not really a horrible thing to say, it would certainly be questionable if I allowed that narcissistic desire to govern my actions. That could lead to utterly unforgivable behavior, of course. If I was worried about being left alone, and that was my only worry, then it would make sense for me to kill everyone else. It would be a brazen lack of empathy for me to kill everyone else just because I wanted to be left alone.

How much more empathy is really involved, though, if, rather than killing everyone myself, I munched on popcorn while I watched everyone kill each other?

I was recently told that I lack empathy for this hispanic woman’s plight. She was huddling in fear, terrified of President Trump, and feared for her life. She is right, of course, to say that I feel no empathy for her plight, but that’s because her “plight” is a figment of her imagination, and it’s ridiculous. Not only is it ridiculous, I think most of America also thinks it’s ridiculous, and I think that’s why they elected Trump. I have enough empathy for these people to realize that they’re not to blame because they have been convinced that the monsters under their bed are real, just as I’m aware that my father and grandmother aren’t to blame for the religiously-motivated damage they did to me. Like me, they are victims of their own religiously-motivated damage, and they simply paid it forward because they didn’t know any better.

I’m not special. If anything, I was probably lucky to be at the right place at the right time with the right mindset at that particular moment to have my worldview challenged. I refuse to let myself think something like, “No, it’s still their fault, because they should have asked questions and challenged the worldview that they were taught to believe!” I refuse that, because that is a statement of arrogance itself. It places me into a tier of people who are particularly strong/intelligent/reasonable/whatever, and it leaves them behind, those dumb, ridiculous people who never challenge what they are told.

I refuse to believe that, just as I refuse to believe that I’m smarter than anyone else. I refuse to be governed by my ego, and, believe me, my ego doesn’t like that. Earlier today I emailed someone:

I forgot that I’m so awesome I set up K. to be able to access the program from anywhere even though [the people who made the program] said they didn’t think it would work.

I was, of course, joking but not really. It was awesome, and it was far from the first time I did something really awesome like that. But it wasn’t awesome because I’m special, and that’s why I’m okay with making jokes like that–it was awesome because I was in the right place at the right time with the right perspective and the right knowledge to do it. Anyone could have done it. I was simply the one who did.

Liberals have been in their echo chambers for so long that they’ve simply lost all perspective on everything. Look, I read an article earlier about how–and I am not kidding about this–college professors allowed their students who were so traumatized by Trump’s victory to skip mid-terms and instead spend the day laying in the floor, coloring, and playing with Play-Doh. It’s such an astounding thing that I thought it had to be from a satire news site. Then I decided that the professor had to have been trolling when he offered his class full of grown adults the opportunity to play like five year old children. However, I followed the trail until I came to the original post, and it may still not be true, given that it’s from a blog at the Wall Street Journal, but I’m betting it’s true, because I know some colleges have established “safe spaces” where they have coloring books and liquid for blowing bubbles.

Kinda lends an entirely new dimension to my statement that they’re little babies pitching a fit and trying to cry and get their mom to buy them the candy bar that she said they couldn’t have, doesn’t it?

It’s nothing short of astounding. All of the mockery we get for saying that universities have become pandering, expensive daycare centers, and this is what happens–at a university today, students laid in the floor, colored, and played with Play-Doh. But no, these aren’t grown man-children and woman-children.

I was told earlier to have empathy for the old women who wanted to live to see a female president. I was told this because I said to someone that I’d rather see gender not matter. Then this happened.

the-fuckThat is the post that made me realize that virtue signaling had replaced genuine empathy. See? It took me a while to lay the groundwork to get to the point, but I was getting here.

I was mistaken initially when I said that it’s not a matter of empathy. It is a matter of empathy, as I ultimately realized and stated at the end. There was something off about his reasoning. I initially was going to say that I felt bad for all the Magic: The Gathering fans who didn’t live to see the day that we elected a president who played MTG, but I deleted it a few times throughout the thread without ever sending it. That’s what it’s all about, though. If someone is caring about something that shouldn’t matter so much that they become dejected and depressed about it, then the position of empathy is not to express sympathy but to help them get past that so that they are no longer sad and upset.

Empathy drives you to help someone, without exception and without fail. If one is not driven to help, then it is Virtue Signaling and empty sympathy. Oh, that’s it. See, they don’t mean empathy. They mean:

empty-sympathySee, when we say “empathy” we mean it in its actual, literal sense: feeling compassion and having the ability to identify with other people. When they say it, they mean empty sympathy, and they say “empathy” as short-hand, the same way people say “lol” as short-hand for “that’s funny.”

That’s what this person meant. He said “empathy” by mistake, but at best he meant “sympathy.” I’m coming to the conclusion that “empathy” is the least understood word in the United States–literally. I say “literally,” of course, because “literally” is at least tied for that position. I use the word “literally” a lot, but I always mean it literally, and that’s where things get weird, because when people say “Trump is LITERALLY Hitler”–it is mandated in at least 17 states and the Dominican Republic that if you use the phrase “literally Hitler,” then the word “literally” must appear in all caps, of course–they don’t mean the word “literally” literally.

And when you find yourself writing that someone doesn’t use the word “literally” literally, it might occur to you that you have gone way past the point of return into the liberal’s head, and there’s no turning back now.

I present to you this hypothetical scenario. There is an old woman crying on the bench as she waits for the bus, mumbling to herself that she was really looking forward to seeing the first female president. You can:

A. Express sympathy and essentially cry with her.

B. Try to help her get past her sorrow by accepting that gender shouldn’t be a characteristic of significance when we assign values to things.

Which of these is genuine empathy? Which is virtue signaling?

It gets even worse if you remove this “empathy” from any real person and instead make a post on Facebook about it. That’s right. One now shows “empathy” by posting useless platitudes on social media. You know.

To help people who may or may not exist deal with being maybe or maybe not upset about something that may or may not be a problem but shouldn’t be anyway.

^ Empathy.

Empty sympathy.

What could possibly be a better expression of empathy than posting on Facebook to help people who may or may not exist?

They have been so confused for such a very long time that they don’t see how a group of adults laying in the floor and playing with Play-Doh is pathetic in at least seventeen thousand different directions all at once. If you asked me if I needed to take the day off to color in a coloring book and process the trauma of Trump winning the election, I would ask you to repeat that because I couldn’t hear you over the sound of your ovaries drying up. Then I would ask you at what age you were when you decided that being a pussy wasn’t enough, and that you wanted to be a fucking fag. Then, if you hadn’t been reduced to a crying mess in the floor trying to crawl to your safe space to blow bubbles, I would tell you to get your ass up and at least pretend to be an adult who is equipped to deal with the world.

Yet when we say that these people are children, we’re criticized. And there they are… playing with Play-Doh.

Their entire world is Orwellian. Black is white; white is black. Strength is weakness; weakness is strength. Obviously, this leads directly into the glorification of victimization. How could it not? If a person believes that strength is bad and weakness is good, they will immediately fall in love with the Martyr Complex. A victim is, to speak in the most general terms, a weak person who was harmed by a strong person. To them, the victim is the realization of the Uberman, a living embodiment of all the traits they admire; of course they would glorify victimization. To them, there is nothing more beautiful, precious, noble, and virtuous than a victim.

I have no idea how we can reach people who have spent so long in their own echo chambers that they’ve become that confused, but their ideal society is clearly one where the average person has to be protected from reality itself. That’s what happened with these people coloring and playing with Play-Doh as they cried. Brittle, special little snowflakes that have to be coddled and protected from absolutely anything and everything.

“Pet,” by A Perfect Circle, of course, was written regarding George W. Bush and his War on Terror. I wonder if Maynard–who by all accounts is a smart guy–has noticed that it’s far more appropriate if taken as a message from liberals than conservatives.

Pay no mind to what other voices say. They don’t care about you like I do.

That could straight-up be Hillary Clinton referring to Wikileaks and its alleged “Russia” ties.

I don’t know what to do, guys. All of my personal interactions with liberals, as well as what I see in the media, suggest that they are hopelessly lost. The reality check that will come when Trump becomes President despite their hissy fit will not be anywhere near enough to begin pulling them back from the cliff they’ve marched up to. They dream of a world where the government does everything and solves all problems, where they are totally relieved of individual responsibility, where they are all victims and the precious government protects them from everything, where everything they want is provided to them free of charge and the entire working class becomes their slaves–to stop those wicked slaves from oppressing them. They want that. They need that.

They believe this shit so fervently that they want middle America to die.

death-to-dissenters

I’m starting to think I was far too generous in my message to liberals.

Their worldview is dependent upon the idea that middle America is racist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, and all that other crap, and that middle America is a bloodthirsty tyrant-in-waiting who must be held on a tight leash at all times, because otherwise they will LITERALLY set up death camps. This is the lie that justifies all of their other crap.

Maybe it’s not too late. Maybe having the person they consider LITERALLY Hitler in charge and having none of that shit happening can get through to them and make them realize that they’re jumping at shadows that aren’t even there because, despite what they imagine to be happening in their heads, they’re actually sitting in darkness and playing with Play-Doh like children while the world goes on outside their self-imposed isolation chamber, leaving them totally oblivious to everything that’s happening because they want to be protected from it.

Gary Johnson Sounds Like a Pot-Smoking Republican

So I watched Gary Johnson’s livestream from Sacramento on Facebook, and I went into it hoping that I could be persuaded to support Gary Johnson. I hope on an almost constant basis that I can have it shown to me that my issues with Johnson have been blown way out of proportion and that he isn’t really as bad as I think he is. Three days until the election seemed the perfect time to give him one last chance. I just want you to understand the context, because I did want to be convinced. Of course I want to be convinced. The Libertarian Party is practically in love with Gary Johnson–still–and I sincerely doubt that he’ll be going anywhere, and suspect we’ll be dealing with him again in 2020. It would certainly be great if I could at least tolerate this guy.

Of the speakers, Brando Eaton nailed it. He spoke of libertarianism, and it was wonderful. He spoke of the positivity, about how we should all be free to be ourselves, and how we should never hide who we are. I wholeheartedly agree. Brando stated that he is new to libertarianism, and I suspect that, as he explores it further, he will look back on this day and regret that he favored Johnson.

Listening to Gary Johnson speak makes it clear that he is not a great orator. This isn’t inherently a problem; not every politician is going to be a Martin Luther King, Jr. or a Barack Obama. Johnson trips over himself a lot, fumbles around a lot, and hearing him prepare to launch into why our country isn’t a democracy was absolutely painful. He fuddled around for a few seconds, trying to collect his thoughts, and something became very, very clear–inescapably clear.

Gary Johnson sounds like a pot-head. Worse, he sounds like someone who has smoked way too much weed in his life.

I know this is going to make marijuana advocates angry. Look, I’m against the drug war. I think it’s cute that you want to legalize marijuana, but I think you’re fundamentally missing the problem. That marijuana is outlawed is a symptom of the illness, not the illness itself. If you legalize marijuana, you are basically giving someone cough syrup to treat the coughing that is caused by their lung cancer, while ignoring the lung cancer. You could make the argument that before we treat the lung cancer we have to get the coughing under control, but I would point out that if we treat the lung cancer we will, by extension, get the coughing under control.

The drug war is the problem. Given how ubiquitous marijuana is–yes, it will help a lot of people to legalize it and to release non-violent offenders. But cocaine remains illegal. MDMA–one of the best things ever synthesized–remains illegal. We’re still picking and choosing our substances, forcing our morality and standards onto others, and telling people what they can and can’t do. And, again, you could say that repealing prohibition against marijuana is the first step on the road to legalizing all drugs, but I would reply that…

You’re full of shit to make that argument.

No one has made any moves whatsoever to even discuss the eventual legalization of all drugs. Even if we totally and completely legalize marijuana, it will do nothing to end the drug war. Why do I say that? Well, look around. Alcohol has been legalized, and the drug war persists. Taking one drug or another out of the drug war will not end the drug war. Allowing people to drink alcohol has done nothing to help the legalization of marijuana, to further the legalization of heroin and foxy, to pave the way to the eventual legalization of methamphetamine. Taking one drug off the list will do nothing to eliminate the list.

It was dismaying to hear Johnson speak about the legalization of marijuana and to hear the crowd’s loudest roar of the evening. I don’t mean to be harsh here, but… Who cares? If you’re over 25 and you’re still smoking weed regularly, then you need to re-evaluate your life. Look, man, I’ve been there. As I said, I consider MDMA to be the greatest of mankind’s achievements. I’m not exaggerating when I say that. From 18 to 21 or 22, I did a lot of drugs and smoked a lot of weed, though I always avoided blow, crack, meth, and heroin.

But there comes a point when it’s time to put the bong down.

So let’s make this clear–inescapably clear. Being for the legalization of marijuana is not the same thing as being against the drug war. Ron Paul was against the drug war. He stood on a Republican stage and advocated the legalization of heroin in New Hampshire, and he explained that we don’t need the government telling us not to do drugs. This is not in any sense what Gary is doing, or what Gary intends to do. Gary wants to legalize marijuana, not end the drug war.

And this is why people accuse us of being pro-gay, pot-smoking Republicans. It’s what Gary Johnson sounds like.

Then he said that he wanted to end Washington gridlock. What? He may be the first Libertarian I’ve ever heard who wanted Congress to be effective. He wants the government to get stuff done. Again–what? This is directly at odds with the whole of libertarianism. Dude, we want the government to be gridlocked, because that means they aren’t screwing everything up.

He described the election as a 6-lane highway, with Clinton on one side and Trump on the other, and then added that the Johnson/Weld ticket is a middle path. And he’s not wrong. The Johnson/Weld ticket is a middle path. It is fiscally conservative and socially liberal. It does take the small government ideas of the Republicans and put them with the socially liberal ideas of the Democrats. However, if the Republicans actually kept to their small government ideas, then they would also be socially liberal, because “small government ideas” mean they wouldn’t be using big government to force their morality onto others.

See why it’s pot-smoking Republicanism?

I have said in the past that Libertarianism is what would happen if Republicans actually practiced what they preach, and that is more true than ever. If you’re for a small government, then you’re automatically against using big government to force your morality onto people. Republicans, of course, are viewed in the eyes of the masses as for small government. We know this isn’t the case, and that they only want small government when it protects their morality, but most people don’t see it that way. Most people think “Small Government = Republicans.” And it’s true… If Republicans actually believed in small government, then they would be against using the government to force Christian morality onto everyone.

So… How is Gary different from a pot-smoking Republican?

There have been plenty of Republicans who have spread the message of small government, and even many who wanted smaller government than Johnson. I would suggest that Cruz’s government would probably be smaller than Gary Johnson’s, and I know that Castle’s would be–though Castle is a Constitutionalist.

I lost interest when Johnson’s daughter began talking about how hard her father worked. It was depressing. Why weren’t we talking about the stuff that Brando talked about? That is the message of liberty! That is the message that resonates with people. Ron Paul proved that. Instead, we got to hear what was almost certainly a lie about how they wake up at three in the morning and don’t stop until midnight.

Why isn’t the Libertarian Presidential candidate talking about how he dreams of a world where I am free to be me, where you are free to be you, and where no matter what you think of me, no matter what I think of you, we leave each other the hell alone if we don’t want to be friends. I dream of a world where we stop shouting at each other, where we agree to live and let live, where we accept that “I’m not hurting anyone. You’re not hurting anyone.” is all that matters.

That is the essence of libertarianism. You be you and do your thing. I’ll be me and do my thing. If our things overlap, great–let’s work together and build something positive. If they don’t, hey, no biggie, we can agree to disagree, which in itself is a positive thing. I don’t care if you’re a hard worker. I don’t care if you’re lazy. I don’t care if you smoke weed. I don’t care if you are gay. I don’t care if you are trans. I don’t care if you’re straight. I don’t care if you’re white, black, Asian, Hispanic, or anything else.

That’s what freedom is. It’s not about how hard of a worker our nominee is, or how hard he campaigns. It’s about whether or not he wants to stand up and tell everyone, “Hey! Start minding your own business, and leave everyone else alone.” If that is not the Libertarian candidate’s primary message, then something has gone very, very wrong.

Why isn’t that our message? Why is “Trump and Hillary are really bad, aren’t they?” our message?

We have such a powerful, positive, and beautiful message to share–one of freedom, of people laughing and smiling and getting alone, of people leaving each other alone, of liberty, of friendship and cooperation–and our presidential candidate is not saying a word about it. And even when our Vice Presidential candidate isn’t bending over backward to lick Hillary’s butt, he isn’t saying anything about this spectacular message.

Can’t we all just get along?

Yes. Yes, we can. The reason that we can’t is that we have this gigantic state that pits us against one another and gives other people a way to force their standards, views, and opinions onto us. This pisses us off, so we attempt to take the initiative and force our standard, views, and opinions onto them before they can do it to us. We don’t have to do it. The other people are not bad guys. They are not evil tyrants-in-waiting. They are not itching to destroy your freedom or to tyrannize over you. Just leave them be, and they’ll leave you be.

Then we can all relax, be ourselves, and freaking live.

Why isn’t this our candidate’s message?

Don’t Feel the Bern

I’m going to build a bit from what I said in that video, so if you haven’t seen it, you should watch it before reading further.

In that video, I outlined exactly how socialists could create the socialist utopia that they want. In fact, the free market gives almost no restrictions on what a person can and can’t do with their private property. If I want, I can set my property on fire, I can use it, I can sell it, I can let it sit and waste… It’s my property, after all, and therefore I can do pretty much whatever I want to it.

This includes, of course, entering into a sort of commune to which I surrender all the property. Establishing a socialist society within the United States is absolutely possible, and we have seen them in the past. Hippies, in fact, were notorious for doing exactly this, and this is the main point of my article. These hippie communes… almost universally failed and collapsed. They proved inefficient, ineffective, and incapable.

“They were too small!” you might argue. “They weren’t able to attract doctors, engineers, and scientists to their socialist communities! So of course they wouldn’t be able to thrive in the long-term!”

You’d be exactly right to argue that, and therein lies the exact problem with Socialism. To be clear, these hippie communes, and these non-hippie socialist communities, provided free market capitalism with competition–with beautiful, wonderful, unbiased competition. If the way of socialism was superior, then it would have overcome these challenges. Since there was competition, however, people chose the option that they liked the best, and that option was capitalism. They chose the community that would provide them with rewards for their effort, that would recognize their achievements, expertise, struggles, and capabilities with adequate rewards.

If you give a person the choice between a Socialist society and a Capitalist society, which society they choose will depend almost entirely on which has the most to offer them. For those who are poor, who are barely getting by, and who struggle to make ends meet (such as myself), socialism looks fantastic. “You mean to tell me that I can stop stressing over bills? That I can stop wondering how the hell I’m going to buy food for the week? Sign me the hell up!”

The engineer, however, will look and say, “You mean to tell me that I’d basically be taking a $125,000 a year pay cut? No thanks.”

Socialism is an ideology for those who do not have, and for those who have been fooled by pseudo-intellectual arguments. There is no economic case to be made for socialism, because competition is the driving force of all that is good economically, and socialism cannot exist if competition exists. If the engineer has the choice between capitalism and socialism, after all, the engineer will choose capitalism almost all the time.

So it’s no surprise that these socialist communities are forever unable to attract the best researchers, scientists, engineers, electricians, programmers, and other technologists.

This is what I was referring to in the video when I said that socialists won’t simply form their own communities and allow them to compete against capitalism. They know that it can’t. They know that humans innately desire to have their effort rewarded, and they know that socialism fails to do that, as a matter of policy. If socialism rewarded effort, then it wouldn’t be socialism. So as long as people’s needs are met and they have the option, they will almost always choose to have their effort rewarded.

In effect, socialism mostly tempts those who do not put in the effort. When I think of many of the Bernie Sanders supporters I know, I am vividly reminded that most are barely out of high school, very few have jobs, none are in college, and most spend their time playing video games. Of course they love the idea of socialism. This obviously isn’t true of all Sanders supporters, but it’s without hyperbole that I say… I don’t personally know any Sanders supporters who have a college degree or an above Minimum Wage job. Their needs aren’t being met (typically because of their own lack of effort, but that’s mostly irrelevant right now), and so Socialism sounds appealing.

It does make me angry to see these people screaming that college is too expensive when none of them have shown any interest whatsoever in going to college. And, while I don’t wish to belabor the point, I must remind the reader that I’m a college graduate. I came from a miserably poor family in Mississippi–to the extent that we didn’t have running water some of the time, we frequently were without electricity, and we never had much food. Seriously–my family is about as Dirt Poor as a Mississippi family could get.

And then I dropped out of high school.

Nope. I’m not a high school graduate.

I dropped out my senior year, in fact.

But I desired a better life. So I got my GED, and I put myself through college. I worked a fulltime job at minimum wage as a janitor while supporting myself and my then-wife, paying all of our bills and our car note while she didn’t work (we only had the one car), and while being a full-time college student. I incurred zero debt by doing this. I didn’t have to take out a bunch of student loans. I relied on the Pell Grant and scholarships.

The Pell Grant, while socialist in nature itself, is something that I can get behind, as it is little more than an investment in someone’s future. By investing money in me through the Pell Grant, I was able to go to college and thus, in the long run, earn a higher income and pay more in taxes, ultimately paying back the Pell Grant and then some. The Pell Grant, more than most other forms of welfare, is an investment more than anything.

The point is: I paid my dues.

For years, I worked a full-time job, was a full-time student, and supported myself and my wife on a minimum wage, dead-end job where I was subjected to pretty frequent racism as the only white person in the entire department. I more than paid my dues.

So when these lazy sacks of shit come along demanding a better life for themselves while being unwilling to put in the effort to secure that better life, it hits a raw point for me. I broke my back for years to earn what I earned, and that college degree is among my proudest possessions. I fought tooth and nail for it, and I don’t care that you don’t think it’s fair that someone has to fight that hard.

Hey, most people don’t have to fight that hard. Most people don’t come from a family that’s so poor that running water is a luxury. So you had it easier than I did, and you still can’t be bothered to put in the effort?

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*Takes deep breath*

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It does me no good to sink into an angry emotional argument against socialism. I don’t have to. Just watch the video–there is plenty of logical, rational, evidenced argument to be made against socialism–Democratic or National.

That’s the issue with socialists, though. They aren’t content to work their land and share among themselves. They look over at us and the land we have, and cry, “That’s not fair! Look at all that stuff that one person owns! We don’t have any of that! That’s not fair! Let’s go and take it!”

And… they do say that. That’s the socialist argument. They dress it up a bit, but that’s what it all boils down to. “CEOs make $303 million a year while I make $7.25 an hour…” Yeah, well… That CEO didn’t get where she is by standing around bitching about how much money other people made. I’m just saying–she didn’t. She worked hard, and she secured that position.

If Socialism was better than Capitalism, then the hippie communes would have already won; we’d already be socialists. But the socialist society can’t entice doctors, engineers, technologists, and scientists. Now apply that reality, and fast forward a century. Where did all the doctors go? Where did the engineers go?

They vanished. People stopped becoming those things, because no one became those things simply for the hell of it.

But the UK is doing fine.

Are they, though?

The United States and its evil capitalist economy produces five times as many medical research papers as the UK, and produces more medical research papers yearly than the next top 5 countries combined. Going just off some simplistic numbers, if it, then, would take the U.S. twenty years to cure cancer, it would take the UK nearly a century.

And therein lies the issue, though–do you see it? The United States isn’t keeping its technological progress to itself. No, we’re sharing it with the rest of the world. I don’t mean to be overly nationalistic, because I don’t give a shit about the United States–what I care about is the free market and competition. It wasn’t the United States that produced the smartphone, the computer, the Internet, the satellite, electricity, the lightbulb, and so many other things. It was the free market that produced these things. And, yes, these free market activities took place in the U.S., and, yes, they didn’t stay within the U.S.

The U.S. didn’t miserly cling to its technological advances and say to Europe, “You like these smartphones? lol, figure it out. You can still dial our iPhones with your old ass rotary phones.” And while so much of our manufacturing takes places overseas, that doesn’t really change things–it’s just free market principles in action.

At the risk of getting off track, the U.S. skews the record drastically by sharing its products with the rest of the world. We don’t know how far behind their current standards UK medicine would be without U.S. medical technological breakthroughs. But we can safely say that they wouldn’t be as advanced as they currently are. Their socialised medicine doesn’t exist within a vacuum.

And, obviously, taking my property from me is clearly a violation of my rights. So there’s also that little caveat to the socialist ideology. I don’t want to participate. Whether you are one person named Hitler forcing me to abide National Socialism or whether you are Bernie Sanders attempting to impose Democratic Socialism, you are still tyrannizing me.