Tag Archive | violence

Debate on the Nature & Scope of Self-Defense

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

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

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

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

A Letter to Glenn Beck

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

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

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

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

You. We have to stop you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stop Virtue Signaling.

It’s been a weird few days.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That Summer in Arkansas

This is an excerpt from my book Dancing in Hellfire , which is a true story of my life, basically. I am posting it here because I was about to say something derivative on Facebook, but I stopped because I realized that no one would know what the hell I was talking about.

Undoubtedly, the worst four to five months of my life, bar none. There is so much ground to cover here, and it’s highly unlikely that I will get the events in the correct order, but the chronology isn’t terribly important, for the most part. In my mind, it’s all blurred together, encapsulated by the words “That Summer in Arkansas.” There’s only one such summer that I could be referring to—that one between the second and third grade. A nightmare that didn’t seem like it was ever going to end.

It began as an ordinary visit. Mom came and got Britt and me, and this was probably the first time since Easter that we had seen or talked to her, since two visits within a few months was very high frequency for her. At some point over the weekend, she announced that she was not going to take us back, and that she was just going to keep us. Legally, she was more or less within her rights to do that: the agreement that my grandmother would keep us was a largely informal one, because the courts hadn’t settled the custody issue and didn’t seem about to settle it. Even though it had been nearly three years since the separation, the court was no nearer to settling things. In fact, the courts never did rule one way or another. What happened? How come none of the people who are paid to handle such matters was handling it? The divorce finalized, but the question of custody was never settled.

Mom was in full-blown denial about her situation, as would become evident very soon, but I didn’t realize it then—of course, I didn’t know it then. I was eight years old. It was true, though: we never had any money or food, our electricity was cut off due to non-payment several times, and even our water was cut off at one point. And she seriously thought that she could raise two kids in that environment. Plus, she was being beaten pretty much every weekend by that drunk man-child.

Second grade had passed without much of significance happening. We didn’t see mom every other weekend, of course, because she never had gas or a reliable vehicle since she always bought $600 cars. She was always having flats, or some other car trouble. We would receive a letter from her telling us to be by the phone on a certain day at a certain time, and we would sit eagerly by the phone all night. She never called. A week or two later, we would receive another letter that offered up some kind of excuse why she hadn’t been able to call, and she would throw out another day that she would call, or she would announce a day that she was going to get us. Then Britt and I would sit at the front door, hanging out on the garbage can, all damned Friday night, waiting eagerly to see headlights pull into the driveway.

They almost never did.

But she finally managed to get together the whopping ten dollars needed to cover the gas to make the hour-long trip, and decided early that summer that she wasn’t going to take us back.

It was then that we met David, another one of Everett’s four kids, much older than I was but also much younger than my brother. He was a decent enough guy, I suppose, except that he never did anything about Everett’s violence, either. In some ways, I can understand—I know firsthand how hard it can be to confront your father, and Everett was prone to violence. But no one ever confronted Everett about his violence, not even my own brother, which is one of the reasons I’ve never fully been able to forgive Eric.

Mom still lived at that house in Trumann next to the elderly couple, and Everett lived there too. It was an older house, but respectable enough, and had a dilapidated shed in the back that I liked to play in. Everett had a fascination with pocketknives, he gave me a few, and then he taught me how to throw them. I spent hours playing in the battered shed, flipping my knives and throwing them into the distant wall. At the age of eight, between the second and third grades. There were many occasions when I nearly stabbed myself.

As though there was something worse than nearly stabbing myself in the eye with a rebounding throwing knife (because mom or Everett had given me a set of throwing knives they found at a pawnshop), the shed was in poor condition anyway and not stable. The rafters were low enough that I could jump and grab hold of them. So I would—I’d jump and grab the rafters, climb onto them, swing around on them, flip upside down and hang precariously while I practiced throwing knives. It was wild, dangerous stuff that no one should have been doing, but certainly not a second grader, and my mom was well aware that I was doing it. But, in a strange way, she also trusted that I knew my abilities and limits, and that I wasn’t going to hurt myself.

And you know what? I never did hurt myself.

If all that wasn’t dangerous enough, Eric built a tree house for us in an enormous walnut tree in the backyard. Being a cool brother, of course, he built the tree house very high above the ground. No matter how high he’d built the house, though, I climbed up well past it and higher, swinging freely from one branch to the next, and I was higher even than the house’s ceiling when I did this stuff—a fall that would almost certainly have killed me. A fall that did happen that summer, but not to me.

I still loved playing Nintendo, and I did so regularly, but it would be unfair to say that I never did anything else. We lived only a few minutes from two parks, I frequently walked to both, and Britt often accompanied me. One of them was pretty boring, but the other had swings and other cool things—it was further away, though. Mom let us go to these places without supervision, of course, but I only bothered going to the distant one a few times.

I’ve often wondered, when looking back, whether my mom was trying to get my sister or me killed, because she did some reckless things when it came to parenting. I say that mom trusted in me and trusted that I knew my limitations, but that’s purely speculation on my part. Because the fact is that I was in the backyard, throwing knives and swinging from the rafters of a crumbling shed, and shifting wildly among the branches of a tree well above the tree house. Mom did, at one point, tell me to stop swinging from the limbs, but she made it clear that she was only telling me so because Everett’s younger son (who I haven’t mentioned yet) looked up to me and would copy me, and he was likely to get hurt. She didn’t say, “You might slip up, and we can’t afford a hospital visit.” She said, “Charlie will imitate you, and he will slip up.”

Mom’s car stopped working, as her vehicles often did, so we walked everywhere that we needed to go. Eventually, Everett’s parents let us borrow their two-seater bikes, but we didn’t have those for a while, and so we walked.

We went to the store one day, and Britt and I opted to stay and play outside while mom went in and did her shopping. After ten or fifteen minutes, she came back out and said that she had one more store to go to, told us which one it was, and Britt and I again decided we would just stay where we were. Mom left to walk to the other store, and I got bored a few minutes later, and then I went down the street to find mom. It wasn’t hard, and I quickly found her. After she finished her shopping, we came back outside and started heading back toward the initial store, the place where Britt and I had been playing.

And Britt was nowhere in sight.

“Where is your sister?” mom demanded as we rushed toward the store.

“I don’t know!” I cried, feeding off the panic and hostility in mom’s voice. “She was right there!”

As we jogged back, I shook my head, crying, and I mumbled, “I shouldn’t have left her alone…”

“No, you shouldn’t have!” mom snapped at me.

As we neared the store, though, we had a better view of its front, and it turned out that Britt was standing back in a corner, and we simply hadn’t been able to see her from the angle we were at. Years later, I realized what a horrendously foul response that was from my mother. “No, you shouldn’t have!” she said to me.

I was eight years old.

Assuming the worst, what in the hell would it have accomplished if I had stayed with Britt and someone kidnapped her? It would have meant only that Britt and I both were kidnapped. I was freaking eight years old, and Britt was the older one, at nine. I could have no more fought off someone than Britt could have. Still, “No, you shouldn’t have!” she hissed at her eight-year-old son who was already blaming himself.

“No, I shouldn’t have!” is what she should have said. She was the adult who left her eight and nine year old kids playing outside a store.

Britt’s birthday was horrible that year, and was probably still the worst birthday of her life. I’m not sure what caused things to go so badly, but they did. Britt and mom got into a fight—they were actually fighting quite often—and the most vicious one came near the end of That Summer, when mom threw a burning cigarette butt and hit Britt in the leg. I don’t think Britt ever forgave mom for that.

That was the year that Britt got the Polly Pocket toy that she had wanted for Easter, so I’m not sure what spurred the fight. I just remember that Britt cried a lot, and that I wanted her to be happy. But she wasn’t. And though I don’t recall ever seeing anything odd, there’s no telling how deep Everett’s abuses ran, and I certainly wouldn’t put any particular abuse beyond a monster like him. I don’t believe that’s the reason that Britt and mom fought so much, but I honestly have no idea why they did, and it’s clearly too painful of a subject for my sister for me to bring it up now.

I believe it was just that Britt was as miserable there as I was. The electricity was cut off a few times, but we weren’t allowed to run the air conditioners anyway. Arkansas summers are hot, but all we could do was open the windows and use box fans. That doesn’t help very much when the temperature is in the high nineties and the humidity isn’t far behind.

Then, of course, was the fact that mom got the hell beaten out of her regularly by a drunk piece of shit. And this is why I say that Eric would not have stood idly by if he had been forced to witness the abuse as Britt and I were—there’s only so many times that you can watch and hear your mother getting the shit beaten out of her before you’re ready to take matters into your own hands, regardless of your size and regardless of your age.

It was horrible.

You’ll forgive me for not going into elaborate descriptions of what it’s like to see and hear your mother being viciously beaten by an abusive alcoholic, but it’s every bit as awful as your imagination suggests, and so much worse when you’re witnessing it at eight and nine years old.

And one night I could no longer take it.

“[My name], don’t!” Britt whispered as I got up from the couch.

I don’t blame her. We were terrified when this abuse happened. We were too scared to move, too scared to speak, and even too scared to breathe loudly. If we had to go to the bathroom, then we held it. Mom was a lot bigger than us, and she couldn’t protect herself—how could she have protected us? Everett had already thrown a pair of scissors at one of us, so we had no idea if he would hit us. All we could do, at two in the morning, as their shadows danced on the floor, spilling in from the bedroom where they fought, listening to such sickening words as—

“Everett, I can’t breathe…”

–being choked out by our mother, was cower in fear and silence.

But I could cower no more. I had been pushed to the brink. I had seen this too many times; I had heard this too many times. This had been going on for too long, had been happening too often, and my mind snapped. For too long, I’d listened to my mother choking and rasping that she couldn’t breathe. For too long, I’d heard her being slammed into a wall, pushed through a window, punched in the stomach and face, jerked around and slapped. I knew only that I had to act, that something had to be done, and that I was going to do it because no one else was going to.

Someone had to put a stop to this, and there was no one stepping up to do it. And that meant it fell to me. It didn’t register to me that I was eight years old and about to step up to a grown man with a long history of violence. I didn’t care, because I was going to do what no one else was stepping up to do. It didn’t occur to me that I was eight years old, or that it wasn’t fair that I was way too young to be faced with the situation that I was faced with. Besides, no one ever said that life was fair.

No police were coming. My dad wasn’t coming. My brother wasn’t coming. My mom couldn’t handle it. And that meant it was on me, and only me.

I pulled two sharp knives from the kitchen drawer.

“Mom, I’ve got a knife!” I screamed.

Silence fell for a moment, and I was ignored as the horrific abuse continued. I immediately fell into tears, sobbing uncontrollably and whispering, “I’m sorry, mom. I’m sorry.”

I was sorry because I didn’t have it in me. I was sorry because I didn’t have the courage, the strength, or the age to do anything about it. I was sorry because I could do nothing to help her. I went back to the couch that was adjacent to the loveseat that my sister was sleeping on, and I continued crying until long after the violence stopped, because there was nothing else that I could do.

No one was coming, and I couldn’t stop it.

 

Hell Continues

Everett’s other two kids came that July to stay with us, and they were about mine and Britt’s ages, though Anne was slightly older than Britt was, and Charlie was slightly younger than I was. The first Power Rangers movie also hit the theaters, and I badly wanted to go. Mom suggested that I go around picking up cans so that I could earn the money, and I didn’t object at all to that. So that’s what I spent a lot of that summer doing: walking around with Charlie, picking up empty cans so that I could pay my way into the movie, because mom didn’t have the $5 to spare for the admission.

Charlie had some weird issues, though. Mom forced me to put up my Nintendo while he was there, and I was told that it was because he had a history of destroying them. He also burned down a house when he was much younger, by putting a sheet of paper onto a gas stove, or something like that. I never knew the details, but none of the adults ever disputed his claim about it, so it seems that it was true. And Charlie was, of course, proud that he’d burned a house down.

It simply made the summer worse than it already was. I didn’t spend all my time playing video games, obviously, but I did play them a lot, and then I suddenly wasn’t allowed to at all, for an entire month. One morning before Charlie woke up, mom let me connect and play it. I played Mega Man 4, one of my favorite games, but I was only allowed a few minutes before Charlie woke up. He walked through, rubbed his eyes, and mumbled, “There’s a Nintendo?” He kept walking to the kitchen, though. I furiously unhooked it and put it away, and we never discussed it again.

One day I was left home alone, and a man from the water department came by and did something outside. Keeping in mind that I was eight years old, I merely ensured that the door was locked and then watched him from the window. When mom returned, she learned that we didn’t have any water, and I told her about the man who came by.

“Why didn’t you stop him?” she yelled at me, as though her eight-year-old child was really supposed to have been able to handle a responsibility of that magnitude—or even understand something of that magnitude. I’m sure the city would also have been quite interested to learn that she had left an eight year old at home alone, and I sincerely doubt that I’d have been able to accomplish anything if I had talked to the man.

But, as usual, something had gone wrong, and I was just the convenient target to blame it on. Did she really expect her eight-year-old child to go and meet a stranger who had come into the yard? “Are one of your parents home?” the man would have immediately asked, a question that I would obviously have answered honestly. And this was a stranger to me. I had no understanding that this was a city or government employee—it was just some stranger, some strange, grown man in the yard. When I saw him, I verified that the door was locked; I definitely wasn’t about to open it.

Thank goodness, I had more sense than my mom did.

So there in the middle of June—because this actually happened before Charlie and Ashely arrived—we had no water at all. Each morning, Britt and I walked up the street to a nearby gas station, and filled up a five-gallon bucket with water from their faucet behind the building. We were only able to do this a few times, though, because the clerks found out and came out yelling at us, chasing us off, and telling us that we weren’t allowed to do that.

It goes without saying that it was awful, to not have water or air conditioning in the Arkansas summer, but it was even worse than that, because we never had anything to eat, either. Anne remarked once that I ate the equivalent of two biscuits a week, and she wasn’t wrong—I rarely ate anything. Because on top of having nothing to eat, my nerves were absolutely fried. I was always nauseated and on the edge of vomiting, and mom’s “solution” to this was to take me to the doctor for my “anxiety”—something that never happened anyway. Of course, the real solution would have been to get us out of that nightmare where we had no food, no water, and no cooling, and where my early morning wasn’t interrupted by the sounds of horrific violence.

Biscuits are also an apt comparison because I ate a lot of biscuits—there was never much else to eat, and biscuits were the primary staple. We would cook biscuits, then everyone would get two, and we’d dip them in this horrible concoction of peanut butter and maple syrup.

Then there was Treet Meat. It’s essentially a generic version of Spam, and it was the only meat that I ate through that summer. And, sadly, that name was also appropriate—it was a treat to have, because it was actual food. We didn’t even get it that often, because we couldn’t; we were poor as dirt. We didn’t even have water. Our food situation was no better. Throw on top of that the alcoholism and abuse, and it was an absolute nightmare, a true living hell. That, it seems, was what mom considered best for her kids, since she undoubtedly “only wanted what was best” for her kids.

And, unbelievably, it actually got worse.

Because as though all that wasn’t bad enough, the property owners tasked us with tearing down the shed, which we did. We then lit a bonfire with the wood from it in the backyard, and all that was fine. A few days later, however, we also lit a bonfire in the front yard. And from then on, we were under attack by fleas—fully under attack. Mom said that the fire in the backyard chased them into the front, and then the fire in the front yard chased them into the house. That seems likely, because we had a total infestation. Fleas were everywhere. No matter where we went or what we did, fleas where all over us, biting away.

Mom’s solution to this was some flea powder and anti-itch lotion, but that was woefully inadequate to deal with an infestation of that scale. Bug bombs wouldn’t have been enough. Only an exterminator would really have been sufficient, and it would likely have taken multiple visits from an exterminator.

The situation was beyond terrible, and it’s hard to imagine it being any worse and still leaving the victims alive and sane. How much more could my sanity have taken? How much more could my sister have taken? Hunger, thirst, miserable heat, domestic violence, and constantly being bitten by fleas. These are the reasons why it will always be “That Summer in Arkansas” to me, and why it will (hopefully) always be regarded as the worst summer of my life.

During the day, Charlie, David, and I went through the neighborhoods and picked up cans from the side of the road. That was probably the only bit of good parenting that my mother ever did—if I wanted to go to the movie, then I needed to earn the money. I would say that she might have been pushing it a bit, since I was only eight years old, but it’s also true that it was the only way I could have gone anyway.

Then the glorious day came that we called the person to come and buy the cans from me. It was a little over three dollars, and to my horror, he handed half of it to me, and the other half to Charlie. I threw a fit. And, looking back, I was right to throw a fit, because I was the one collecting the cans and had been from the beginning. I wasn’t being a brat when I said that Charlie didn’t help, because he really hadn’t—he simply came along because there was nothing else to do, and because that’s what I was going to do whether he came or not. I carried the garbage bags, I asked people for their cans, and I picked them up from the side of the road. Undoubtedly, Charlie picked up a few, but he wasn’t asked to, and he certainly hadn’t picked up half of them. I can understand, I guess, why the man presumed it was best to split the money between Charlie and me, but it still seems it would have been better for him to give it to my mother for her to handle. I worked all through that summer doing it, and three dollars was already not enough to go to the movie, but a dollar and fifty cents was nowhere near enough.

I was eventually given all the money—which, as I say, is good since I was the one doing it—but obviously still was not enough to pay for the movie. In another display of surprisingly good parenting, however, mom gave me the other two dollars that I needed, and I was able to buy the ticket and watch the movie. I didn’t get popcorn, a drink, or anything else; I just watched the movie, and it was great, because I’d spent the entire summer working to pay my way into it. I wasn’t entirely successful, but no one could say that I didn’t try.

One afternoon as we played in the tree… I don’t recall exactly what we were doing, but Charlie was swinging around in the branches as I did before my mom asked me to stop. And Charlie made a mistake. He fell almost in slow motion, and the three of us could only watch in shock as he fell, slamming into branches as he plummeted. We screamed as he screamed, and then there was a loud and sickening thud as he slammed against the ground.

Mom and Everett got him inside and called an ambulance. Charlie was able to move and able to stand, and the paramedics asked about taking him to the hospital to check if he had a concussion. To me, it seemed obvious. Dude fell out of a tree. His back was lacerated from the branches that had whipped against his flesh as he fell, and he had pounded against the ground. Why were people discussing whether to take him to the hospital? The ambulance was already there, after all—get the boy some medical attention.

But they didn’t. Because it would have been too expensive.

Charlie swooned at the door and nearly fainted, but caught himself on the jamb. Mom and Everett agreed to keep an eye on him for signs of a concussion, but he still didn’t go to the hospital, and none of us climbed the tree again.

Charlie proved more or less okay, though, and he and I stood in the front yard one day as I prepared to show the whole world once more what a jackass I was. A small, purple truck came through as I hoisted up a very tiny pebble—very tiny. Smaller than a piece of cat food, and very light—far too light to cause any damage. As the truck drove past, in full view of everyone and everything, I pulled back my arm and released, hitting the truck with that pebble.

Brakes screeched. Charlie and I bolted inside.

The man driving the truck, understandably pissed off, said that it was the short one who threw it, and that meant Charlie. Mom and Everett yelled for Charlie as the man left, evidently content to let them handle it, and I stayed hidden in the back, fully prepared to let Charlie take the fall for it. Because I was terrified, too. Charlie wouldn’t have that, though, which is good, and he told them that it was I. When asked directly, I did not deny it. There was a reason, after all, that I was hiding in the back.

That I was going to let Charlie take the blame just pissed Everett off more, but it’s not like there was ever much chance for that to happen. The dude mistakenly told them “the short one,” they called for Charlie, and Charlie told them it was me. But Everett was furious, and I suspect he had been waiting for such an opportunity all summer. He wanted to beat me.

Mom wouldn’t allow that, though, which is good. Because, honestly, if Everett had laid a hand on me, my dad would have killed him. As I said earlier, I never held the delusion that my dad was a superhero, as so many young kids do, but my dad wouldn’t have needed to be a superhero to take on Everett, or to kill him—and there is no doubt: my dad would have done both. Everett was the kind of man who hit women; the last thing he needed was to fight someone who was, at the very least, a real man. And my dad would have been so enraged that there probably wouldn’t have been a fight; he probably would have just shot the asshole.

Or stabbed him, as I had once been ready to do.

Mom took me into the bathroom, and I was crying hysterically, because I knew I’d done something wrong, and I didn’t typically do things like that. I really didn’t. I was just showing off in front of Charlie, and mom knew it, too. She also knew that there was no chance that I was going to do it again—it was all over my teary face. She had already promised Everett that she would whip me, though, and I’m sure that she intended to, until she got me in the bathroom with the doors shut.

Mom knew me better than that, though. She surely understood exactly why I had done it, and she and Everett were both aware that the thing I’d thrown was tiny—far too tiny to do any damage at all. And the guy checked his truck extensively, but there was no damage to it whatsoever. The tiny little pebble almost certainly hit one of his hubcaps, in fact, given the distance involved and the very low mass of the pebble. What I did was wrong, I knew that, and my mother knew that I knew that— and she knew that I had known it at the time that I threw it.

But there was also the fact that no damage was done, and that I undoubtedly would never have thrown something that would have broken a window or caused a dent. What I did simply caused a noise. There was no damage, and she knew that was not by accident. She made it clear to me that I wasn’t to do something like that again, but there was no chance that I was going to anyway, and she told me that Everett wanted to get at me.

In hindsight, I somewhat wish that he would have. Oh, sure, it would have hurt then, but when my dad found out, he would have beat the ever-loving hell out of Everett, and if there’s anyone who deserves to be beaten fifteen-sixteenths to death, it’s Everett Barber. And if Everett had ever laid a finger on me, my dad would have torn him to pieces. Everett did later say, “You’re lucky you ain’t my son, or that hide would be tanned and you would be able to talk for a week!”

Instead, mom spanked the toilet, and we both pretended that she’d spanked me. In fact, she lightly tapped me with the belt, but she grinned when she did it—that way we weren’t lying. That was the way that my mom and I handled things—she respected me, and I respected her. She didn’t have to roar and command me to stop swinging high in the tree; she asked me, explained her reasoning, and I respected her enough to obey. And she had been correct. Charlie had gotten hurt doing it, but it wasn’t because he wanted to do what I was doing.

Of course, Charlie didn’t believe that she’d spanked me, being a little snitch who was double-checking for Everett, and he asked me repeatedly. I consistently answered that she had, and she said the same. But she didn’t, because she was my mother, and she knew me better than that. I was no longer a rebellious kindergartener forced to adjust to a separation and trying to cling to the only normalcy that I had by eschewing school and staying with my mother. I was the kid who had just spent an entire summer collecting cans to pay his own way into a movie.

But no, Everett Barber. Violence is not the way that my mother communicated with me. Weak, ignorant people like you communicate with violence.

There is never a reason to spank a child. Talking to a child and reasoning with the child will earn the child’s respect, and will give the child a reason to respect and trust the adult as an authority figure. Resorting to violence will not earn the child’s respect; it will only earn the child’s fear. But I never again came close to throwing a rock or pebble at a vehicle, and violence wasn’t necessary to make that happen—simply talking to me was. But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that an asshole like Everett immediately jumped to violence as the solution to misbehavior.

Everett was a violent asshole, and it’s proof that the universe doesn’t care, that he lives on while my mother has been dead for nearly two decades. This man directly responsible for untold amounts of pain and suffering, and who inflicted violence upon numerous people. Obviously, he doesn’t deserve to die by any means, and my mother was no saint, but, between the two, one of them deserves to be alive a lot more than the other.

Eric forgave Everett. I imagine that was easy, since Eric never witnessed the horrors that Britt and I did.

I nearly saw Everett again, that first weekend we spent with Eric after reconnecting with him, and I told Eric that it would be a very, very bad idea for Everett to come anywhere near me. Eric offered a weak excuse about how Everett is the grandfather of his son, and that they have to be civil, but I did not and do not care about that. This man relentlessly beat my mother in fits of alcohol-induced rage because he couldn’t face his own failures and inadequacies, and he never apologized to my sister or me. Eric said that Everett is clean now, and that he went through Alcoholics Anonymous. That may be, but he missed a step. He missed a few people that he was supposed to apologize to for some of his wrongdoings. My sister and I should have been pretty close to the top of the list.

With dysfunction of that scale, it certainly wasn’t only during the day that they fought. They fought almost constantly, and one of the many lessons I learned from mom is always have my car keys attached to a belt loop on my jeans. She did so, and it was extremely handy one day when they got into a fight. We planned to leave—probably to go to Aunt Diane’s—but she forgot something inside. By the time she turned around to go back in, Everett had already locked the door.

I will never forget that asshole’s stupid, childish grin as he parted the blinds and gave my mom the finger.

Britt and I stayed in the car for the next few hours as they fought inside, because there was no chance that we were going in there while that was happening. One walks on eggshells when there’s a lot of domestic violence, regardless of whom it is targeted at, because one is constantly afraid that something is going to set that violent son of a bitch off, and no one wants to be the person who causes it.

Charlie and Anne soon left with their mom to go back to Oklahoma, and that sucked, because I did enjoy hanging out with Charlie. I was happy to have my video games back, of course, but it wasn’t fun that a friend was leaving. I would never see him again, either—or Anne, for that matter.

It was soon time to register for school, and that was totally weird. I’d already changed schools several times. I started in South Pontotoc Elementary, but spent a few days in the city school—that was an awkward and unpleasant experience. I wasn’t there long enough to make friends, and the vibe in that school was strangely different from the county school. There was a lot of snobbery, and the playground sucked. Then I went to East Tate, and suddenly I was transferring to a school in Arkansas.

Dad and grandma came, to try to get us, before school started, and they weren’t trying to work within the legal system, mostly because we all knew by that point that the case was a total joke to the state. But mom was served with some kind of papers—it wasn’t a summon, and it seemed to be something that grandma paid a lawyer to write up and make it look official and scary. It was also filled with lies. For one, it asserted that we lived in a mobile home, that mom and Everett were doing crack and other things like that, none of which was true, but I understand in hindsight where they were coming from. But I refused to lose my mom again.

Dad promised us that he had gifts for us in the backseat of the car, and all that we had to do was climb in and get them. He held the door open, and it was all too easy for us to see that there was nothing in the backseat. The elderly couple next door knew enough of what was happening that they wanted to ensure things didn’t get out of control, so they came out and sat on their porch whenever dad was there and pulling his stunts. Britt and I weren’t stupid, though, and we told them that they could hand us the gifts, because we weren’t climbing in to get them.

They were trying to kidnap us, in effect, and I have to wonder what legal grounds they had to do so. What would have happened, if they had shoved us into the backseat and drove off? Someone would have called the police, and there would likely have been a roadblock—then what? Clearly, mom wasn’t in violation of any legal order, or they wouldn’t have had such a difficult time trying to go the legal route.

On one of these several “visits,” I stood near mom and Britt on the porch, as dad and grandma stood by their car at the road, shouting back and forth with mom because they had been firmly told to get off her property. “Does this look like a mobile home to you?” I shouted, because I was furious that they were again trying to take us away from our mom, and Britt evidently preferred to stay, too.

Life was borderline unbearable there in Arkansas, but it’s curious to think about what implications that would have had for me being transgender. I wouldn’t have had to struggle with it nearly as much, because my mom would have gladly accepted me. Everett would have gotten out of the picture at some point (he was removed from the picture later), and he would have certainly made it impossible for me to be transgender—more so than grandma and dad did, really. But Everett’s days with our mom were numbered, even if I didn’t know it then.

Mom is the only family member who I know wouldn’t have taken issue with it, because she was bisexual herself, and out of all the things I can question about my mother, I have never doubted that she loved me. Being transgender would have meant nothing to her, and she would have accepted and supported me. That she is not a part of my life is all the more tragic because of that: she is the only family member who would have accepted and supported me. Maybe back then, my sister would have as well, but with the way it went down, even my sister, with whom I went through all this bullshit, refused to accept my transgenderism.

In the grand scheme of things, though, it was certainly for the best that I did end up back with my grandmother, because I would have ended up dropping out as a teenager. I would never have been exposed to fantasy and would never have started writing; I probably would never have picked up a guitar and become an accomplished musician. My life has certainly not been great, but it would have been worse if mom had won that war.

“Dad, I hate you!” I shouted.

For just a brief moment, silence fell. Then my dad narrowed his eyes and pointed at my mother, and then he said in a low voice filled with icy anger, “Pat, if you ever tell him to say that again, I will kill you.”

So there, at the age of eight, I watched my dad threaten to kill my mother.

Obviously, they left quickly after that, because the elderly couple next door had certainly heard that little line, and it’s illegal to stand just on the edge of someone’s property, point at them, and threaten to kill them. For a while, I was in shock over that; it’s unusual to hear your dad threaten to kill your mom, and to mean it, and mom hadn’t told me to say anything. I spoke of my own accord, because I did hate him at that moment. He was once more a force of disruption, but also the only person who could save us—I just didn’t realize then how badly we needed to be saved.

And I was willing, I think, to endure all of those nightmarish things because they were the price of being there with my mother.

I didn’t understand mom’s laughter later that evening, when she bragged to Everett about what I had said. I was unable to understand that she liked how it hurt my dad to hear, and that she was happy that I stood against him—that I stood firmly with her. She didn’t tell me not to hate him, or even not to say it, as any good mother would have. She encouraged it, because she thought it was great.

For the first time, Britt and I suddenly went to different schools. We were two grades apart anyway, so it’s not like it made much of a difference, but… it did make a difference, and I didn’t like it. I don’t remember much about that school, except that people concluded that I was a talented artist, because I was able to draw something that was on the cover of a book. I did get into Gifted Art during the fourth grade, qualifying by drawing a boot. I have no idea why I made it in, because I saw the boots I drew years later, and they were awful.

They had GT at that school, which stood for Gifted and Talented, but only one person in our class was in it. Again, at East Tate I was allowed into TAGS halfway through the third grade (Talented and Gifted Students), but I was too depressed to have qualified for it there in Arkansas. I didn’t make any friends there. I didn’t want to make any friends there. The teachers would also frequently ask me what was wrong, too…

How was I supposed to answer that? Fucking everything was wrong. Between being hungry through the entire summer, sweating and burning up through the entire summer, not even having water through a substantial chunk of it, being blamed for my mom’s mistakes, watching and listening to my mom being beaten once every other week (on average), what in the hell wasn’t wrong? Oh, and I was having to lie to cover up for my mom, because she was shooting up—of course she was shooting up. Since everyone trusted me for some reason, she had me insist that it was for her headaches, when obviously it wasn’t.

“You know the shots I take for my headaches, right?” she asked me one morning.

“I don’t know,” I answered honestly. She didn’t make it a habit of shooting up in front of me, and I didn’t recall then her ever doing so—not since Pontotoc, at least.

“Sure you do,” she cajoled. “The shots that I take for my headaches.”

“Oh,” I convinced myself. “Yeah.”

“You know they’re for my headaches, right?” she pressed, and I nodded. “Good. Everett might ask you, and just be sure to tell him that you know they’re for my headaches…”

“You’re going to have to participate,” the teachers told me. “You can’t just sit there and mope all the time,” they said.

Then there was walking to and from school every day, at a time when I constantly felt nauseated and was always on the verge of throwing up, because we didn’t have a car and because Everett’s parents were weird about their bikes. We were there for about four months, possibly five, and they were by leaps and bounds the worst four months of my life, and I’ve actually been homeless before. But nothing else I’ve experienced comes close to That Summer in Arkansas.

It was worse than ever one night—so bad that the elderly couple told mom that they would call the police if they heard it again. And, as usual, mom told them that it wouldn’t happen again, the same thing that she told Britt and me. Of course, this left my nerves more frazzled than ever, to the point that I wouldn’t even eat, and mom knew that she had to do something, and her solution was to take me to the doctor. Britt also needed to go to a dentist, so mom scheduled both things for the upcoming Thursday.

On that day, since we would be in the city, mom also planned to stop by and see an attorney who wanted a two thousand dollar retainer “to even look at the case.” Mom seemed to think that implied he was a terrific lawyer, and that may have been true, but she was never going to come up with that kind of money, and she must have known that, deep down inside. Just a few weeks prior, she’d received and unexpected check from the government, which she used to buy a $600 car that broke down almost immediately.

Britt and I were playing at the closest park when I looked across the street and saw, to my horror and dismay, dad standing and talking on the payphone while grandma stood beside him. Dad happened to see me, as well, and I told Britt that we had to go home, and that dad was there. We immediately ran home, since we weren’t far in the first place. We told mom what we’d seen, but she wasn’t overly worried about it.

A few minutes later, dad and grandma pulled in front of the house, but they were not alone. They had the police with them, and they had some legal document signed by a judge that gave grandma legal guardianship of us. They accomplished this through some creative distribution of money (bribes, one might say). Dad never denied this, and it’s certainly strange that they managed to get a judge to sign something so major without a hearing actually taking place. So someone’s pockets surely got a little heavier.

It was heartbreaking, and we were conflicted about it. This was our mother, and we loved her and didn’t want to leave her. But, at the same time, the situation was terrible, and no child should have been anywhere near that mess. Britt and mom fought nearly as often as did mom and Everett—I loved my sister and didn’t want her to be unhappy, and she wasn’t any happier than I was. And while I know now that it was for the best, that didn’t make it any easier then.

It all ended as suddenly and inexplicably as it began. Just as we didn’t expect mom to randomly declare that she was going to keep us, neither were we expecting dad and grandma to show up that day with the law on their side. The police oversaw everything as we packed our stuff, coldly standing by and grilling mom, as Britt, mom, and I cried and said our goodbyes, because there was no telling when we were going to see each other again. Mom’s visitation rights had been revoked, which meant that… legally, we weren’t allowed to see her anymore.

There was no turning around that time, though, even as we answered their questions honestly about what had been going on. Dad repeatedly said that we were going to simply forget what I said to him—as though we could do anything else, or as though punishing me for it had been a consideration. I’d just gone through hell for months with my sister. What could he possibly have done to punish me?

Neo-Cons Didn’t Corrupt Trump

I must confess that I’m pleased to see the general condemnation from Trump supporters of the attack against Syria, motivated primarily by incredulity over the absurd claim that Assad, to better fight a war that he’d nearly won, saw fit to do something that would certainly drag the West into the war and thereby assure his defeat. The whole thing stinks, for several reasons. I suppose first among those is that Assad surrendered all of his chemical weapons to Russia, as overseen by the United States and United Nations. This would mean that any chemical weapons since constructed couldn’t have been made by Assad’s forces, who were being monitored by the UN as part of the agreement that John Kerry accidentally forged with Assad.

It’s also alarming that we, the United States, killed 230 civilians, and no one retaliated against us for the atrocity. We escaped unpunished, and that we murdered 230 civilians is an undisputed fact. Meanwhile, Assad allegedly kills about a hundred civilians, and we hypocritically take it upon ourselves to punish him, thereby handing an endangered city directly over to Isis.

It should be a cause for concern that McCain, Hillary, CNN, NBC, and others who have long demonized Trump are applauding his actions. If McCain gives you the thumbs up, then you’re doing it wrong.

Now Rex Tillerson has openly stated that our goal for Syria is regime change.

I never expected better of Trump, but, for unknown reasons, a lot of people did. We knew that Hillary would put us on this path, and I’ll admit that Trump was a bit of a wild card–based on what he said, I don’t blame the people who fell for his seeming policy of non-interventionism at least in Syria, but he backpedaled, lied, and contradicted himself so much during his campaign that anyone who took anything he said seriously might be a little touched in the head.

Yet here we are, preparing to go down exactly the same road that Hillary would have led us down, although we might have gotten here a few weeks sooner under President Hillary Clinton. It’s hard to say, honestly. Trump hasn’t even been President for three months, and he’s already getting us into a war to topple a Middle Eastern regime. One would expect the tragedy that is the current situation in Iraq and Afghanistan would have taught us better, but we seem to have a remarkable inability to admit when we’re wrong. As long as we can’t admit that we screwed up, we can’t learn from the screw-up.

The similarities between Syria and Iraq are too much to ignore, especially given that ISIS stands for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. This is an organization that first appeared in 1999 in Iraq, but was unable to generate any momentum, especially with the world’s most famous terrorist bin Laden being part of Al Queda. A competing terrorist group just wasn’t going to get much coverage, as Boko Haram learned a few years ago, around the time that Al Queda fell. Remember them? They were going to replace Al Queda in the west’s zeitgeist of organized terror perpetrated by the government against its own citizens, but they failed to inspire us to give a shit.

It’s no coincidence that the vacuum of power we created when we deposed Saddam Hussein and then vacated the region allowed Isis to come forward and fight against the western-friendly government we had installed. When rebels began fighting against Assad in Syria, we “humanitarians” that we are took it upon ourselves to arm the rebels and help them, while Russia and Putin attempted to crush the rebellion. It’s probable that if we hadn’t gotten involved–much as we had during the Iran-Contra affair–then Russia wouldn’t have gotten involved.

Anyway, this new vacuum of power allowed ISIL–Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant–to spill over into Syria, at which point its name was changed, although “Levant” was always a reference to eastern portions of Syria, if my memory serves me correctly. I do have a good memory, but it’s honestly hard to keep track of all this shit that we’ve done and caused.

Suddenly that civil war between Assad and governmental forces with Russia’s backing against rebel forces with our backing had a new combatant, which had grown powerful in the chaotic Iraq and seized the confusion in Syria to establish footholds there.

It’s comforting, for what little it is worth, to see Trump supporters criticizing Trump for his actions, and Infowars has finally taken Trump’s dick out of their mouths long enough to criticize the attack against Syria for playing right into Isis’s hands by further destabilizing the region, weakening Assad, and allowing them to take more territory. They rightly point out that it’s absolutely absurd to think that Assad–who publicly surrendered his chemical weapons while the entire world was watching–would have used chemical weapons in a war that he had all but won, considering that he knew the reaction it would have and considering that even Putin, gremlin though he is made out to be, condemns the use of chemical weapons against civilians.

However, these people contend that Trump has been “corrupted” by the Neo-Cons in his cabinet.

The cabinet that Trump himself appointed.

It’s an argument that is truly facepalm worthy. Trump appointed the very Neo-Cons who are now supposedly corrupting him. This means he wanted them to be where they are, and he wanted them to influence him. People he personally selected are advising him. It’s not like he inherited his advisors and cabinet from Obama and George W. Bush. It’s not like the cabinet came with the job, and he was totally unable to remove the CFR members and Goldman-Sachs executives. Quite the opposite–those people left with Obama, and the entire idea of “draining the swamp” was that Trump would refrain from bringing a bunch of CFR globalists, Goldman-Sachs executives, and neo-cons back into power. Yet instead of draining the swamp, Trump brought those people right back in and gave them jobs.

He didn’t get corrupted by them. He brought them in to advise him, and they gave him the advice that he clearly wanted and expected from them when he appointed them. It’s not like he appointed Ron Paul as his Defense Secretary, and Ron was assassinated with Trump receiving a letter that read in letters cut out from newspapers and magazines, “The next will die, too, unless it’s one of Cheney’s friends.”

It’s like if I went out with a bunch of friends to get ecstasy and have a good time, and someone said that those friends “corrupted me” when I was caught buying MDMA. It’s a blatant denial of responsibility. Trump chose those people, knowing who they were and what they represented. They didn’t corrupt him. They did exactly what he knew they would do when he chose them.

Trump wasn’t corrupted by the Neo-Cons in his staff. He wasn’t corrupted by the Deep State. He wasn’t unduly influenced by the CFR globalists in his cabinet. He hand-selected those people. Trump is to blame for this. He picked those advisors and cabinet members. He appointed these people.

So now Trump supporters have this idea of their savior being corrupted against his will and cajoled into taking actions that he doesn’t want to take by evil, corrupting Neo-Cons. It would be funny if this wasn’t what they evidently think. The swamp didn’t corrupt Trump while he was desperately trying to drain it. Trump dived headlong into the swamp the first chance he got, and that was his choice. He’s not the non-interventionist that people think he is, and he’s not the anti-establishment president that people think he is. He fooled such people, and it’s time they admitted that.

Stop making excuses for him. He marketed himself as a quasi-sorta-but-not-really-non-interventionist, although he did say some things that did lean a little bit in that direction, and he marketed himself as an outsider, someone who would fight the system and drain the swamp. Continuing to deny the fact that he lied to you and played you is not going to avoid war with Syria. He’s not being manipulated and [neo]conned by his cabinet. He’s doing exactly what he wants to do, and following the advice of people he appointed to give him exactly the advice they gave him.

Punching Nazis?

Question: At what point does a person’s political ideology become a determinant factor in whether it’s okay to inflict violence on them?

Answer: It doesn’t.

A lot of people have talked about this idea, whether it’s okay to punch Nazis, whether the NAP allows it, and even whether it means the NAP should be abandoned. It’s often treated as a “Gotcha!” question for Libertarians, either because the answer is so nuanced that the asker attests the libertarian has no answer, or because it causes the libertarian to stumble out of the gate. After all, Nazis are Ultra Super Evil, so it must me okay to attack them! So if your guiding principle doesn’t allow you to attack these symbols of unchecked evil, then your guiding principle has problems.

Right?

In some ways, it can be a difficult question to answer, and I understand why much ink has been spilled over attempting to dissect it and come up with an answer. This usually deals with the core of Nazi beliefs and the idea that it is the Nazi’s intention to use force, violence, and coercion against others; therefore, inflicting violence against the Nazi is an act of prevention.

But that’s the wrong answer.

We can’t allow ourselves to be distracted by magician parlor tricks that cause us to chase down obfuscations. The question is stupid and unworthy of an answer in the first place. It relies on widespread hatred of the very word “Nazi,” often regardless of whether a person knows what Nazism professes, and attempts to bait people into expressing any sort of sympathy with these people widely considered the symbols of evil. Nazis are the safe bad guy in any form of entertainment for a reason.

In fact, the person’s political identification is irrelevant to the question. Is it okay to punch a socialist? A communist? A racist? A sexist? A Muslim? A Christian? An anarchist?

“No” on all counts.

A Nazi?

“Well, you see, there are some complexities…”

“No” is still the answer.

Part of this idea that Nazis represent The Devil Incarnate is the notion that all Nazis are the same and believe exactly the same things to exactly the same extent. This is an assumption we don’t apply anywhere else, and for good reason. We all know that we’ll have a very difficult time finding two Democrats who agree on everything, two Republicans who agree on everything, two socialists who agree on everything, and you can forget finding two libertarians who agree on everything. I don’t think I’ve ever met two Christians who agree on everything, or two Muslims who agree on everything. But two Nazis who agree on everything?

It’s just assumed. “Oh, yeah, definitely… All Nazis are the same.”

I know that the propaganda during World War 2 was extremely effective, and that it has permanently colored our society, but it’s time we put aside the propaganda and evaluated things as rational adults. The fact is that, at the height of their power, lots of people were Nazis. And the reason that Hitler kept the Holocaust as quiet as he could was precisely that he knew the common people of Germany, many, many of whom were Nazis, would never have been okay with his proposed Final Solution. Many Nazis defected from the country and the party, not because they disputed National Socialism but because they rejected the Holocaust. That wartime propaganda still lingers, but all Nazis have never been the same.

The question has nothing to do with the NAP; it has everything to do with virtue signaling, as the asker attempts to test the waters to see if he can goad the libertarian into expressing virtues different from his own, at which point the libertarian can be called a Nazi Sympathizer, and, since everyone hates Nazis, it means whoever asks the question generally wins in public perception. A fair question is “At what point is it okay to use a person’s political beliefs as a factor in determining whether it’s acceptable to inflict violence upon them?”

The answer to this question is, “It’s never okay.”

Recently I read an article by a libertarian who wants to re-evaluate the NAP because it allows racists to be considered libertarians, and the author doesn’t like that. He seems to struggle with the idea of tolerance, that we must tolerate behavior and ideas we don’t approve of, as long as the person doesn’t use force, violence, and coercion. Since using force, violence, and coercion are the only ways to be intolerant of an idea, it basically means that “Everything is tolerable except force, violence, and coercion.”

While I can see why people would struggle with this, there is no identifiable link between a person’s religious or political beliefs and their willingness or unwillingness to use violence. Progressives have for decades condemned the use of violence, but now are the prime actors initiating it. If you ask some people, Hitler was a Catholic. If you ask others, he was an atheist. Whether Stalin’s atheism had anything to do with his atrocities is good troll-bait. Whether Islam has anything to do with the large amount of extremism coming out of the Middle East also makes good troll-bait.

But the reality is simpler: the reason we can’t find any direct correlation between a person’s beliefs and things like terrorism is that there really isn’t one. A few years ago, I came across someone who asserted that people who are homophobic are actually gay and just can’t accept it. That’s absurd, and the reasoning behind it is aggressively unworthy of our species. So a man who hates pedophiles is secretly a pedophile and can’t accept it? That’s the reasoning we’re going to go with on this?

As “evidence” of this claim, another person came forward and said, “I used to be homophobic, and I’m gay, so it’s actually true.”

No, it’s still not true. You’re connecting dots where there are no dots to be connected. You were homophobic and you are gay; you weren’t homophobic because you are gay. This person’s upbringing and social environment would have led him to be homophobic regardless of his orientation. Being gay is simply what allowed him to stop being homophobic. We find the same pattern everywhere, with people attempting to draw correlations between religious beliefs and violence, and between political ideologies and violence.

Is the man hateful because he is racist, or is the man racist because he is hateful? Is the man willing to use violence against black people because he’s racist, or is he racist because he’s willing to use violence against black people? Or is his racism unrelated to his willingness to use violence, and his racism merely determines who is the recipient of his willingness to use violence? In most cases, the latter. Being a white supremacist won’t turn a non-violent person into a violent one. I’m sorry, but it won’t. Neither will being a black supremacist, an atheist, a Christian, a Muslim, a Democrat, or a Republican.

In nearly all cases, extremist positions do not create a willingness to use violence. They are merely used as an excuse. The people who bombed abortion clinics didn’t do so because Christianity made them looney. They did so because they were already looney, and parts of Christianity gave them an excuse to do what they wanted to do anyway. Ditto for Muslim extremists, atheist extremists, socialist extremists, racist extremists, and other extremists. And in all of these cases, for every one who is batshit nuts and violent, there are 99 who are perfectly normal.

Question: Is it okay to punch a Nazi?

Answer: What the fuck kind of question is that?

Is it okay to punch someone who is engaged in act of aggression? Is it okay to punch someone who is a reasonable and credible threat planning an act of aggression? Is it okay to punch someone because you really, really don’t like what they believe? These questions don’t all have the same answer, and that’s why “Nazi” is used in the question. We’re just supposed to accept that all Nazis are supremely evil and willing, perhaps even eager, to kill everyone who isn’t a straight, white Christian. And even if that’s true about Nazis–which it isn’t, though it’s more likely to be true of neo-Nazis–it’s still the wrong question to ask, because the fact that they are Nazis isn’t a determining factor. The determining factor is whether the person is engaged in, or credibly planning to be engaged in, acts of violence and aggression. It doesn’t matter if they’re Nazis, socialists, anarchists, communists, capitalists, Christians, atheists, Muslims, or anything else.

 

Let’s Have A [Trade] War

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s have a war.

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

This is me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But it didn’t.

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

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

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

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

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

#NotMyPresident

I think we have major problems, dudes. That is–I think the problems are more severe than I’ve been estimating, because I was just looking at pictures from the *sigh* protests and marches at Trump’s inauguration, the women’s march, and all the other things that liberals did over the weekend to make sure that we all knew that they are not happy, and it occurred to me. It’s been said before, but it really hit me as I was looking at the images.

These people… genuinely believe that “democracy” means they always get to be in charge. One of the signs I saw said “He doesn’t represent me!”

Welcome to my world, chick.

None of these people represent me. Trump doesn’t represent me, Hillary didn’t represent me, Johnson didn’t represent me, and even John McAfee didn’t represent me. But, and this is crucial, you don’t represent me, either. But it’s a sort of sense of… entitlement… isn’t it, to think that the president is even supposed to always represent you? Let’s return for a moment to the foundational ideas of our republic, and the folly that is having Representatives versus Direct Democracy.

Keeping things very simple, there are nine of us in our Republic. We have a Bill of Rights that means the Leader can and can’t do certain things, to protect any minorities from being oppressed by a majority. Cool, right? So even if five people vote for Bob, Bob can’t tell the other four to empty out their pockets and turn over all their possessions. There are limits, basically, to what Bob can do, even if he has the support of 8/9 of the voters.

In an ever-changing world, sometimes your group would win voting for Tim, and sometimes the other group would win voting for Bob. You don’t like Bob. You have serious issues with Bob’s positions. I understand. Believe me–I understand better than you think I do, because I have extreme concerns with the positions of every single politician who has ever been elected, and, regardless of who is elected, I never win. Liberals, of course, do get to win–they just spent eight years winning the presidency, basically.

But we can easily see that if there are two sides of an issue, then it’s ipso facto impossible for Bob to represent both sides. It’s sad that I have to point this out to people. Let’s take the abortion issue. If Bob is Pro-Life and wins the election with 5 votes, how asinine would it be for the four pro-choice people to declare, “Bob doesn’t represent us”? Well, no, of course he doesn’t. He doesn’t represent you because we have a representative government and your representative lost. The greater question is why in the freaking world you expect the candidate who represents the side that is opposed to you to represent you.

At some point in their city-centric and “higher education” indoctrination, some wires got mixed and their love for Socialism and the sharing that necessarily entails somehow didn’t get applied to sharing with… Well, people who disagree.

I had a fascinating exchange earlier with a full-blown SJW. This is the guy who made me aware that they have taken Empty sympathy and confused it with genuine empathy, when he stated pointlessly on Facebook that he felt bad for all the old women who won’t live to see the first female president, and I replied that I’d rather live in a world where the gender of the President is a non-issue.

Me: “Joke is on them. Barron is a billionaire kid who will grow up wiping his ass with toilet paper worth the bashers’ annual salaries.”

SJW: “He will grow up to be another billionaire corporatist who steps on the backs of labor for his selfish gains. But I agree while he’s a child he’s off limits. But as soon as he turns 18 I am gonna go nuts.”

Me: “That’s pretty judgmental.”

SJW: “You already judged all of the left just now [a fair point]. Hypocrite lol”

SJW: “and you already said it yourself. He will be a billionaire. And when someone like his father raising him who is a selfish narc, id say I’m spot on as to how he will turn out.”

Me: “I’ve written at length about the left’s hypocrisy, divisiveness, and judgmentalism. It’s a matter of record that these people were leftists. What has Trump done in the last year that was selfish?”

Me: “Point to any single act that Trump publicly undertook [that] brought no benefit to anyone but himself. After all, a selfish act must be one that benefits no one but the person taking it. If other people benefit, it cannot, by definition, be selfish. It can be mutualist, but not selfish.”

SJW: “not divesting himself of his business, constantly tweeting about on unfair it is that people protest, making every story about him. Are you kidding me? You hated Trump but now that he’s your Right wing president you are gonna sympathize? Typical partisan.”

^ Pay careful attention to that allegation that I’m being partisan.

SJW: “that’s where we differ in philosophy. Yes, a billionaire using cheap labor is selfish. So fuck off you libertarian property is a right BS.”

SJW: “this is why we probably can never be friends. We fundamentally disagree on what is ‘selfish.’ Your world views disgust me.”

Let’s take a brief moment, before continuing, because I didn’t do it earlier, to bask in how vitriolic and hateful this “tolerant” and “sympathy-driven” SJW’s words are. Never mind that he’s commented my status, right? Studies routinely show that liberals are more likely to unfriend people than conservatives, but the idea of allowing politics to get in the way of a friendship is ridiculous, but there’s an entire group on Facebook–the Pantsuit Nation–where people brag about doing just that, with friendship and filial relationships.

Me: “I’ve done nothing but criticize Trump. That you see neutrality as me siding with a President that I’m ideologically opposed to does, indeed, reveal your partisanism, and how you see the world in terms of Either/or, where anyone who challenges you on anything must be a Trump supporter. Tweeting is selfish?”

SJW: “and now you are defending him.”

SJW: “look at his fucking tweets!!!! It’s all about him are you blind?”

Side note here because I didn’t go into it in the thread, but… Who else would Trump be tweeting about? I probably have a worse ratio of “tweets about me” to “tweets about other people” than Donald Trump. I began to write the comment that I think he misunderstands the point of Twitter, because he seems to expect that people would not use social media to talk about themselves, which is especially funny since one of his most recent posts is that he’s leaving Facebook [again], but he hasn’t yet done so. Posting that you’re leaving, dude? Really? That’s at least as narcissistic as anything Trump has done.

Me: “[That] lengthy conversation we had–what happened to that?”

We had a very lengthy, hours-long conversation once about libertarianism and anarcho-capitalism, and I felt that I’d made a lot of progress with the guy, including giving him further reading. He appeared to be interested, and he was swayed by the arguments.

Me: “I am not defending him. I am asking you to show one selfish act that he’s done in the last year.”

SJW: “I decided that libertarianism is an excuse for greedy people. And he didn’t divest from his business. That’s selfish. Fuck off.

It’s really hard, at this point in a conversation, to remain calm and on target. I’ve been told to fuck off twice, I’ve been accused of partisanism because I asked him to substantiate his claims, and he waved off an entire ideology because he “decided” that it was an excuse for greedy people–which means, of course, that he is calling me greedy. It’s emotional drivel, through and through, and that’s all the more reason for me to overlook it and stay on point. So I did.

Me: “You decided that on what grounds?”

SJW: “bye.”

Me: “So I’m greedy?”

SJW: “yes u Are”

SJW: “You condone corporatism by supporting Trump”

Me: “I do not and have never supported Trump. I’ve asked you a simple question, and you still haven’t answered it. The fact that you confuse that as ‘supporting Trump’ is the exact partisanism you accuse me of.”

Me: “On what grounds do you accuse me of being greedy?”

Me: “https://anarchistshemale.com/2016/10/23/pro-corporation-or-pro-market/ You can accuse me of anything, but I can demonstrate otherwise. I advocate the market, not corporatism. I’d wager that I fight corporatism harder than you do. You just want to enslave the population and take stuff from people that you didn’t earn. That is what is selfish.”

Me: “Okay, so now that we’ve firmly established that I’m not and have never been a Trump supporter, and that I’ve been fighting corporatism probably longer than you, what is your justification for calling me greedy? That I believe stealing is wrong?”

There was no further reply from the SJW. I expected him to unfriend me and/or block me, but then he posted that he’s deleting his Facebook–and still hasn’t.

So congratulations, dude. You are part of the problem. Anyone who can read the replies of SJW above and think “yeah, that’s right! Tell her!” is a maniac. Blinded by socialist dogma wrapped up in SJW bullshit that has moved the goalpost from egalitarianism to special interest protections, a move that caused pushback from the right and gave us Brexit, Donald Trump, a bill to leave the UN, and the possibility of Italy leaving the EU. This trifecta that you have made of socialism, social justice, and centralized authority–people don’t want it.

People will accept egalitarianism when you show them the error of their ways. It is why I don’t want or need anyone’s help existing here in Bible Belt Mississippi. I am leaving, of course, but in the meantime, there is nothing that anyone can do that I can’t. These people don’t need to be forced to deal with me. They need to be shown that I’m just a normal person trying to go about my life, that I’m not getting in their way, that I’m not inhibiting what they want to do, and all I ask is that they not inhibit what I want to do.

Democrats and liberals–especially these younger ones who have just spent 8 years under a Democratic president–seem to be learning the painful lesson that, in a representative democracy, their representative doesn’t always win the election. And now they seem confused, perplexed, and angry that the person who represented other people isn’t representing them anyway. How important do they think they are? How entitled, how narcissistic, how self-engrandized must they be, to think that, “I know my representative didn’t win, and that the representative of these people opposed to me won, but goddamnit, the representative of the people opposed to me should represent me anyway, because I’m just that important! I matter more than they do!”

The people who were arrested for rioting in D.C. apparently face felony charges, which means that they’ll never be able to vote again, but a brief look at the numbers suggests that only one in three of the protesters actually voted anyway.

I’m worried that Trump will crack down heavily on that sort of thing–the violent protesting. Modern liberal hero Abraham Lincoln cracked down on peaceful dissent. Hell, Trump would be following in Lincoln’s footsteps precisely if he used the military to squash these little rebellions as they pop up. And then if California actually tried to secede, and he invaded? He’d be Lincoln Part 2. Lincoln was no fan of journalists, either, and had his fair share of editors arrested. He even had a senator deported. Lincoln was a bloody, vicious tyrant. But Democrats love them some Lincoln.

If they prick too hard at the state, it will strike back. It has always struck back. The United States Government has shown more restraint than many governments in the past, but it has also proven itself willing to do anything it takes to maintain its power–its law and order. If you go out disrupting that law and order, you better have a goddamned good reason, and you’d better be ready to fight the war that it will start.

That’s my issue with these protests, demonstrations, and marches. They’re pointless. They’re whines. We can thank Black Lives Matter for it in a lot of ways, because they enjoyed the media spotlight for years and never accomplished a single damned thing, because there was never an objective, no goal, no stated aims. The protests we’ve seen recently are exactly the same; they’re just wanton acts of destruction and loud, anguished cries of “We aren’t happy!” And they’re accomplishing exactly what one would expect incessant whining to accomplish: nothing.

Liberals, if you succeed in igniting a civil war–as you clearly want–you cannot possibly win. You do not have the popular support that you think you have, and your demonstrations have become passe, cliche, and tedious. We’re sick of it. When I say “we,” I mean average Americans. We’re fucking tired of it. It’s always this special interest group marching or demonstrating for some unstated reason, with no goal and no objective. It’s simply noise. Loud, annoying noise.

So no. I’m not the one who needs to fuck off.

Liberals do.

Return to the drawing board, stop running on pure emotion, think, and figure out what the hell it is that you want to accomplish. And then take steps to achieve that goal.

Hell, you guys can’t even do a women’s march properly! That’s how screwed up you’ve become! I’ve seen countless posts criticizing the fact that there were a lot of white women there. Are you kidding me? You racist assholes. I’m more impressed that all these people whose lives are so bad had the freaking money to go to D.C. and spend a day protesting… something…? Hell, I can’t afford to go to the A Perfect Circle concert and they’re my favorite band–that breaks my heart more than you know–and they’re coming within a hundred miles of me for the first time in 14 years.

Yep, but I’m greedy.

I really, really want to get started in on Donald Trump, who has already started killing people in Yemen, carrying on Obama’s drone policy. I’d really like to talk about how fucked up that is, how we shouldn’t be killing people, and how we should be absolutely horrified that our new president didn’t even make it a week before he had blood on his hands. But for fuck’s sake, liberals, between you and Donald Trump, you are the bigger problem. Your detachment from reality is so severe, and your reliance on your emotions so extreme, that I don’t think there’s anything that can be done to reach you.

So the State is After Me

In a shocking turn of events that I honestly didn’t see coming, a few weeks ago I received a letter from the Internal Revenue Service telling me that I had about ten days to pay them an absolutely ridiculous sum of around $2,000. Why? I honestly couldn’t tell you. Based on what the letter says, I’m assuming it’s a mistake on their end, but it’s not like it makes very much of a difference, does it? Right and wrong are meaningless in this matter; if right and wrong mattered, then under no circumstances would someone put a gun to my head and tell me to give them two thousand dollars. With right and wrong discarded long ago, it’s irrelevant who is actually right.

Ohhhh… goody!

If the IRS checks and insists that I owe them this money, then I have two options:

  1. Pay them this ridiculous sum.
  2. Go to prison.

O’er the land of the free… and the home of the brave…

I received this letter shortly before the Thanksgiving holiday, and I attempted to call the IRS, only to be told that they were too busy and that I needed to call back. That’s well and good, except I work the same time the IRS is open, so there aren’t a ton of opportunities for me to call them and find out what the hell is going on. 2014 was a simple year, as far as my taxes are concerned–I worked for Harrah’s as a slot tech, filled out a 1040EZ, and that was it. You can’t screw up a 1040EZ–it’s like Paint By Numbers. Yet somehow “changes to my W-2” mean I owe them a figure that is about 1/4 of what I even made last year.

This is a shitload of money we’re talking about. It may not be for everyone, but that’s half of my Move to Vegas money. With my car currently in the shop–again, this time with a busted fuel injector, busted intake manifold gasket, and busted head gasket–it’s not like I’ve been adding much to the savings account through the last two months, but it will be a cold day in hell before the IRS gets that money.

Honestly, it will be a cold day in hell before the IRS gets this money from me period, regardless of what they say.

What’s really amazing about this is that the IRS has my income records. They know as well as I do that $1,979.60 simply isn’t going to happen. If it was that or jail, I could probably pay $400~ without it absolutely bankrupting me and leaving all my bills unpaid, but they should know better than that. I’m not just bitching, though. I am going somewhere with this, and I am making a few different points. This one being that the IRS, better than anyone else–other than myself–knows exactly how frankly impossible it is for me to pay that amount of money. So what the hell do they want from me?

Meanwhile, President Elect Donald Trump isn’t paying that much, right? I don’t know, because I never pay any attention to the candidates’ taxes or income.

I knew this was going to happen. Not because I did anything wrong, but because rumors began circulating of threatening letters from the IRS sent to everyone who hadn’t purchased insurance, and that certainly included me. I have an exemption that means I don’t have to purchase health insurance, which is good because I’m young and in great shape, have no health issues, and no need of health insurance; since no companies are offering rates that a young, healthy person like myself can find agreeable, I am not purchasing health insurance.

Through the last few months, I’ve been expecting to get one of those letters. Instead, I got one of these. And I am almost positive this has something to do with the Affordable Care Act.

Our government is in debt for twenty trillion dollars, a figure so large that not even the most insane mathematician can wrap their mind around it. Our government is absurdly broke whether it harasses me and imprisons me over this paltry figure or not. Moreover, I don’t owe the government this money. I don’t. The government proclaimed that I owe it this money, and because it controls the courts it can have a judge rule that I owe it this money. So let me paint this little picture for you.

I’m going on about my life, working and trying to move to Las Vegas where I can put my degree to use, be transgender in peace, and live out my life happily. I’m a relatively normal, law-abiding citizen. One day I get a letter from the IRS telling me that I owe them two thousand dollars, which is to me a very large amount of money. I contest it, but the IRS insists that I do owe it and that I have to pay it; if I don’t, I’ll be arrested for contempt of court or tax evasion or some other charge. Even under the best of circumstances, I can’t come up with that kind of money. I’m arrested and thrown in jail.

How is that not among the most fucked up things ever?

While you’re going on about your life, I’ve got paperwork that says you owe me $2,000. You insist that you don’t owe me that money, but I take you to court. At court, the judge agrees with me and tells you that you have to pay it; if you don’t, you’ll be arrested. Unable to pay, you are then arrested.

This is the true nature of the state, and I’d be becoming an anarchist right now if I wasn’t one already. This… is… ridiculous.

It’s like, “Damn. I knew the state was a group of predators robbing, killing, and kidnapping people, and I’ve long been speaking out against that–and now this group of robbing, killing, kidnapping predators have turned their attention onto me. Shit.”

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Let’s not be unclear or ambiguous about this. It is the government’s Mission Statement to protect the lives, liberties, and happiness of American citizens. And rather than doing that–rather than protecting us from all manner of wicked humans we are told are lurking in the shadows, eager for the destabilization of the government so that they can rob, kill, and kidnap us, my very own government is declaring that I owe it a debt, and will use the existence of that “debt” to rob, kill, and/or kidnap me.

Any pretense of government goodwill falls utterly apart in this scenario. Just who in the hell do they think they are? They passed a law that said I had to pay them, invented some magical figure that I can’t possibly pay, stated that I owe them that large figure, and will rob, imprison, or kill me to get it. This is our government. This is the American government.

This vicious group of thieves, kidnappers, and murderers who have sworn to protect me, who managed to work up a twenty trillion dollar debt ostensibly in my name, have now turned their hungry eyes onto me. They don’t exist to protect us; they exist to predate us. Here are all the possible relationships to the government you can have:

  • Victim.
  • “No one.”

What I mean by “no one” is that the government is mostly leaving you alone. It’s not sending you threatening letters and telling you that you owe them a giant chunk of cash. You will never be under the government’s protection because the government doesn’t exist to protect you. It will leave you alone–probably if you bow to every arbitrary demand that it makes–but it will never protect you. It will either victimize you or leave you alone.

A lot of people like arguing against anarcho-capitalism by saying, “What’s going to keep me from robbing you, kidnapping you, whatever, since I’m rich and have better weapons than you?”

Do you see what an asinine question that is? There are good people out there who would protect me from you if you attempted to kidnap me. It happens every single day; we’ve got entire groups of people who dedicate their lives to stopping that kind of behavior. Yet who is there that can protect me from the IRS? What’s going to keep the government from robbing me or kidnapping me? Who even can come to my defense when the government sends its soldiers to take me hostage and kidnap me for not being able to pay its extortion fees? There is no one stronger than the government, and definitely not stronger than the American Government.

The ultimate warlords, the ultimate thieves, the ultimate kidnappers. That’s our government.

And if they decide that I owe them this money, there isn’t a goddamned thing that anyone can do about it.

I’d take my chances against you any day, if the alternative is to take my chances with the “benevolence” of the government.