Of all the stupid things to come from the modern left (as opposed to libertarians, the true left), this recent trend of opposing a vote by protesting it and not voting at all may be the most stupid. Congratulations to Catalonia for its declaration of independence (given the foundation of the United States, if you request international assistance, the U.S. should have your backs). We won’t, because we’re too busy fighting in countries like Niger without any declaration of war while simultaneously starting fights with Syria, Russia, North Korea, and Iran, and because, despite living in a country that was literally founded by a declaration of independence, many Americans seem to think that “declaring independence” is a right that no longer exists.
It’s worth reminding people that turnout doesn’t really matter in a democracy and that refusing to vote is like saying, “I know we’re going to drive somewhere one way or another, but I’m not going to express any desire about where we should go.” It’s stupid on its face. If one guy shows up to vote “Yes” and thirty million stay home to protest the vote, do you know who wins?
The one guy.
Because that’s how democracy works. Yes, it’s bad, and yes, it’s stupid, but it’s the system that’s in place, and until that system is dismantled, it’s counterproductive to protest it. Can you imagine in the United States if people protested Trump’s campaign by not voting? It’s pretty obvious what happens then, isn’t it? Only the people who support the Trump campaign vote, resulting in a landslide victory. Just like in Catalonia, where (primarily) only the people who wanted independence voted, which predictably resulted in a landslide victory.
So why do people do it, if it so obviously and directly causes them to lose the vote?
For one, because the modern left has this weird thing where they don’t believe that actions have consequences. I’m not even kidding–just look at their support for price controls (in relation to Hurricane Harvey), in full disregard of the long, failed history of price controls. And their support for socialism, despite its body count in the hundreds of millions and history of economic collapse. The modern left has a somewhat tenuous relationship with reality. And then, of course, there’s this absolutely bizarre inability to notice that “not voting because you’d vote ‘no'” is basically helping “Yes” win.
The actual heart of the matter is, unsurprisingly for the modern left, more insidious and deceitful. While it’s true that they’re generally confused about actions and consequences (and a total lack of awareness of Defensive Voting), there’s a deeper, almost masterful masquerade being played here: it becomes impossible to distinguish the “would-be No votes” from general voter apathy. And they use this to great effect.
Indeed, the primary contention people had against the Catalan referendum was that “the no voters protested it by not voting at all, so the support for it isn’t sure what it appears.” This is almost an open admittance of their attempt to obfuscate their numbers by hiding among the people who didn’t give a shit either way. Regarding Catalonia, 45% of the population voted, with a 90% vote for “Yes.”
Their idea is that a large portion of each country is genuinely apathetic about results, usually between 25% and 40%. If forced to vote, there’s absolutely no way of knowing how these people would vote. They can be claimed for neither side, because their disinterest makes it impossible to, you know, gauge their interest.
However, if a “No” camp refuses to vote, then they’re immediately mixed in with these apathetic voters, inflating and conflating their numbers. Instead of the actual vote results, the turnout itself becomes the measurement of success or failure. The number of “Yes” votes becomes irrelevant, because the number of “non-votes” exceeds the number of votes. The vote becomes illegitimate in their minds because less than 51% voted, so the “majority” doesn’t exist.
This overlooks the obvious fact that only people who actually voted have their votes counted and that people who don’t vote don’t have their votes counted.
The modern left has a desire to undermine democracy–or, to be more precise, the established and hitherto agreed upon rules by which we’re playing the game. Gary Johnson did this, too, by crying about the unfair debate restrictions, despite having no objection to following them until it became clear that he wouldn’t win the privilege of being on the debate stage. It was only then that accusations of unfairness came about.
Hillary Clinton, of course, basically wrote a book crying about the rules, not to mention the widespread attempts to decry the entire election as illegitimate because of magical 1337 Russian HaXorZ. When this failed due to an unfortunate and inconvenient lack of any evidence at all, they shifted to bizarre hopes that the electoral college would discard the actual will of voters and install Hillary anyway. When that failed, they decided to target the voters themselves by alleging that the portion of the population that elected Trump is too stupid to think for themselves and were manipulated by Russians into voting for someone the left didn’t want them to vote for.
The rules of universal suffrage as a method are pretty simple: every adult has one vote, and can use it as they wish. There are essentially three positions on any given Yes/No issue: Yes, No, and Indifferent. Indifferent voters are indifferent and therefore their “votes” aren’t counted–which is fair, because their votes aren’t cast. Not voting isn’t a vote for “No.” It’s a vote for “I don’t particularly care what the result is, and therefore I will do nothing to sway the decision toward one outcome or the other.”
A true Protest Vote can, in fact, be found among the electoral college. The Texan elector who voted for Ron Paul comes to mind. The two in Maine who refused to vote for Hillary also come to mind. A Protest Vote is actually cast. I cast my Protest Vote for John McAfee. Not voting isn’t a Protest Vote; it’s just not voting.
One would expect elected officials to be capable of making this gargantuan step of logic, but it evidently “takes in a field too vast for their narrowness of view and proceeds with mightiness of reason they cannot keep pace with.” In the Democratic method, votes are only counted when they actually exist. Votes are what matter. It doesn’t matter if that takes the form of direct democracy or an electoral college where each state has allotted votes proportional to their population and the direct democracy merely determines how the state uses its allotted votes. Despite this, a reported ten of eighty Catalan officials “protested the vote” by leaving during the session.
This is not a vote for “No.”
It’s an abstinence. It’s abstaining from the vote. Their reason for doing so may be important to them, but it’s not important to the actual vote results. The only way a democracy can find out what people want is by polling them (there’s a reason voting locations are called “polling places”). For all intents and purposes, refusing to vote because you don’t want “Yes” to win, in addition to being counterproductive and silly, is, from the point of view of the democratic system, no different from not voting simply because a person doesn’t care.
So what we really had in Catalonia was some 39.5% of the population voting “Yes” and 59.5% of the population abstaining from the vote. The reason that “No” advocates chose not to vote is that they saw the results of Brexit and the 2016 American election and knew that, if they voted, then their numbers would be clearly known, and if their numbers are clearly known then they can be easily compared to other known numbers. The solution they’ve found, instead of risking losing the election fairly and squarely, is to blend in with the 20-40% of any given population that doesn’t vote at all. If you assume even that 80% of the population wasn’t apathetic, and if you assume that everyone who didn’t vote but… would have?… would have voted “No,” then, at best, we get a tie of 39.5% to 39.5%. And keep in mind that this assumes a relatively low degree of apathy; the turnout of the Spanish general election in 2011 was only 68.9%, and 66.5% in 2016. The turnout for the UK in 2010 was about even with this, at 65.1%. Given that Brexit saw a turnout of 72.2%, which is an increase of 7.1%, we can assume the same turnout increase would have accord in Catalonia, given the importance and divisiveness of the issue.
Even if we assume a turnout increase of 10%, we’re only looking at 76.5% turnout, which is certainly below the threshold needed to overturn the 39.5% Yes vote. We’d need roughly 90% turnout with 90% of those people voting “No,” which certainly wouldn’t be the case.
And none of these assumptions hold water anyway–they’re full of holes. Turnout for the Catalan referendum was not 76.5%; it was 45%. It’s true that the Spanish central government told “No” advocates to not vote, and that should serve as a warning to all future people that “not voting” is not equivalent to “voting no.” In a Democracy, The Vote is supreme. I’m not a particular fan of that, but it’s the rules we’ve agreed to. Until we actually change those rules (by getting rid of the state, preferably), it doesn’t make any sense at all to ignore those rules and pretend like there won’t be any consequences.
I made a joke post earlier making fun of scam ICOs, encouraging people to send Ethereum and Litecoin to me, in return for which they will receive an equivalent number of meaningless, worthless, no-shits-given Anarchist Shemale Coin, in a humanitarian effort to facilitate the divorce of money from those who lack common sense. But to be totally honest, I’ve been watching Bitcoin and Ethereum for a while (perpetually rooting for the underdog, I am), and I actually would like to launch a cryptocurrency. I quite obviously lack the technical expertise to do this–I fix computers and networks and do light programming. I don’t write communication protocols. I could have delved that deeply into the mechanics if I wanted to, but I didn’t.
The question is worth asking, though. Given that there are countless (at least five hundred) altcoins (seemingly a label that means “not Bitcoin cryptocurrency”), of what value would another be? Actually… I have a pretty good answer for that. Bitcoin is currently in the process of showing us why communism and raw equality generally fail, why flat hierarchies fail. There are too many cooks in the kitchen, many of whom refuse to compromise, all of whom have their own way of doing things. By December, Bitcoin will have hard forked and created at least three new currencies–Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, and either Bitcoin Classic or B2X–or some other acronym, depending on how November plays out. Regardless, it is splitting quite a lot.
On the one hand, this is good. If you owned a Bitcoin in August, then you suddenly 1 Bitcoin and 1 Bitcoin Cash once it forked. In that sense, it mirrors stock splits in a lot of ways–it doubles the amount in existence and splits the value across that amount. Someone who owned 100 Exxon shares 70 years ago now owns probably twenty thousand. Companies do this to drive down investment costs, which brings in more investment money. Bitcoin faces similar problems, because so many people are reluctant to spend $40 on 0.01 BTC when they can spend $40 and get 0.76 LTC. Ostensibly the growths and values are the same, but, psychologically, they are not. 0.76 LTC feels psychologically like a more substantive purchase. I would bet that more than 75% of this year’s newcomers to the industry purchased LTC, ETH, DASH, or another alt-coin before they purchased any BTC. Anyway.
The hard-forking appears to be a permanent feature of Bitcoin, and there isn’t really any reason to suspect that it’s going to die down as time goes on. After S2x there will be something else, some other point of contention. Markets don’t like unpredictability and uncertainty, and this is going to hurt Bitcoin’s value, whereas the primary thing keeping it popular these days seems to be that it was the first and is simply the most well-known. I wouldn’t touch it, even with the possibility of having my coins duplicated into several alt-coins. In fact, I converted my BTC into freaking DOGE, which is forever going to be worthless.
“White papers” are well and good, but you know what is really missing from the ICOs and the altcoins?
That’s right. A constitution.
See, we anarchists are not anti-government. We’re anti-state. Many of us have pointed out numerous times that the state is merely one form that a government takes, just as a truck is one form an automobile takes. If I hate trucks, that doesn’t mean that I hate cars or vans. In fact, I do hate trucks, because 98% of the people driving them in Mississippi have absolutely no need for them, and are just driving them because of cultural reasons, wasting copious amounts of gasoline and doing unnecessary damage to the environment (yes, I said that).
The White Paper would serve basically as the Constitution itself. I’d love to enlist people like John McAfee and other brilliant minds for such a project. Security, anonymity, and individualism would be the core tenets of the currency. Most importantly, however, would be that it would have amendments similarly attached to it immediately upon being adopted. First among those would be the requirement that, at any time, 5% of currency holders could request a vote (the blockchain itself could be used to store these votes, too), whereupon each member on the Board would be recalled with a simple 51% majority.
It’s anarcho-capitalist in the sense that it wouldn’t be the individual’s vote that mattered, but how much of the currency they actually held–voting with their wallet, so to speak, which is a more accurate imitation of the market. Someone with 1,000 of this currency has a much higher vested interest than someone with 0.01 of the currency, and it simply stands to reason that the person with 100,000 times the stake should have a much more powerful voice. They have more to lose, which will cause them to be more conservative and considerate. People don’t risk millions of dollars regularly in a free market (and they only do so in the United States because of the socialized losses / privatized profits system that we have).
It is necessary, all evidence suggests, to have some authority that determines the direction that a ship should go. Having 3,000 passengers attempting to decide a heading is bedlam, and there is too much noise for the system to be efficient. It is necessary, for the sake of productivity and progress, for there to be a hierarchy, a group of informed, knowledgeable individuals who make the decisions on how the ship should be sailed. The problem with the state, of course, is that we have no choice but to get on the ship. This system I’m talking about would be voluntary–no one would have to take part in it (thereby consenting to “rulership” of the board and its Executive Committee). It would be entirely their choice to submit to the board’s decisions by purchasing the currency. The Second Amendment would be that measures shall always be taken to ensure that the system is voluntary. This means it must have competition, even if this means that the board must hard-fork the currency themselves. Not that it would come to that, of course. The odds of one cryptocurrency overtaking all others are so low that it can almost be discounted entirely–but not entirely, not really. The protection must be written in as one of the first few amendments.
Competition is what’s important. When people are forced to participate in a system, then that system has no competition. The result is inefficiency, fraud, corruption, and direct abuses of people’s rights. Decentralization is not the goal, nor is a flat hierarchy. These are merely ways of ensuring that no small group or single person has the power to abuse in the first place. Another, more effective, method is to ensure that people only submit to this group voluntarily, and that market forces like competition keep this small group behaving in a way that ordinary people approve. Having a centralized cryptocurrency, even one offered up by the United States Government, isn’t really a problem, because we have so many better alternatives. It would only become a problem in the event that the United States Government used its state power to eliminate its competition (which it probably would try, honestly). JP Morgan Coin isn’t necessarily a problem for the same reason. As long as their is competition, the market will sort it out, and market pressures will ensure that JP Morgan doesn’t do anything too screwed up.
The right of users to not have any personalized information stored would be a critical tenet. Nothing but a long string of hex characters could be stored. The coin would officially boycott (even though it couldn’t prevent) any exchanges that required identifying information in order to make purchases. Even the P2P exchange Airwave (which hasn’t launched yet) asked me for my freaking government ID, are you kidding? Considering that its white paper states that its goal is to make exchanges resistant to government interference, that is a bizarre move on their part, but, given that it was to be whitelisted rather than simply accepted, I’ve chosen to ignore it and pursue it anyway.
Besides, the purchasing of crypto-currencies is not nearly as important as the manner in which they are stored. HD Wallets are a necessity. By using rotating wallet addresses, a particular user can have their true wealth made completely invisible by anyone watching the network–a feature of Jaxx that caused 0.63 LTC to temporarily vanish from my wallet yesterday, in fact. Once the coins are purchased, it is easy to tell the IRS and government officials that one was hacked, and all the coins stolen, and it’s upon them to prove that this didn’t happen in the United States. Wish them the best of luck attempting to prove that you were not hacked. Golly gee, I certainly was. Yeah. Definitely. All of my crypto vanished, IRS. Some clever hacker just got my phone, and, yep… All of it went Poof. Just in case any government agencies are curious about why “constitution” and “crypto” are being discussed on an anarchists’ website, they should know that. That 0.63 LTC I mentioned? Hacked away, almost as soon as it reappeared in my wallet. Alas, alas, que sera, sera.
I’ve not given this the thought to actually put forward any serious white paper for any enterprising crypto-interested individual to consider, much less ten critically important amendments. That isn’t my point in this. I’m simply attempting to draw attention to a huge problem that crypto-currencies face, and the obvious solution to that problem. Bitcoin is proving that some sort of central leadership is necessary, and that having too many cooks in the kitchen just causes them to create too many freaking dishes, because Bob insists on using pepper, which would clash with the paprika that Janet is using, and Janet’s paprika would clash with the garlic in April’s dish.
Meanwhile, Ethereum continues on almost exactly as planned, with its hard-forks literally planned into the process for the beginning, and about to be implemented without devastating the network. But Ethereum, however well-intentioned and noble they may be, and however useful ether and the ethereum blockchain (separate from the currency) are, the fact remains that they are a standard company, and are far from incorruptible. This is the case with nearly every alt-coin. They are like people who seized government because they wanted government power, instead of seizing government because they wanted the people to be free. Obviously, because this last group requires such a high degree of principle that they are exceedingly rare, the Ron Pauls, John McAfees, and Daryl Perrys out there. They created crypto companies to make money, not to create a new currency and turn it over to the masses via democratic processes. No, the founders and creators want to keep themselves at the top.
We’ve seen the same thing with many of the new caucuses within the Libertarian Party, one of which I recently helped form before I became inactive in it because I observed exactly this phenomenon. The trick, it seemed, was that they wanted not to form a caucus that advocated and implemented a certain set of ideas independent of themselves while they were merely the ones who set it up, but wanted to form a caucus to be the heads of. It’s like the Libertarian Party county affiliates who wrote nothing into their bylaws about replacing the Chairperson. Imagine if Nolan and others had neglected to include any method of replacing them as the party leaders–it would have said quite a lot about their intentions, wouldn’t it? Props to the Audacious Caucus, however, for not doing this, and for having, from the start, bylaws that were about the principles, not the individuals who at that moment were advocating those principles.
And that’s fine that they created a crypto-currency and blockchain for the purposes of heading the company and being the ones with wealth and power. That’s fine, because Ethereum competes. But we badly need a structured crypto company to determine the direction of a currency that exists for the users, rather than for the company. What kind of person starts a new company and, before that company is even launched, writes into the very company’s constitution that the person who created it can be replaced and is not certain to lead it?
Such a currency would be successful, because it would be stable. It would remain successful because it would be competitive. It would offer people a place to store their wealth where they have a real voice to influence the direction, whether they were ignorant or wealthy, well-informed or poor, but where safeguards in the form of the “Bill of Rights” would ensure that, even if a vote did not go their way, there were constraints and limits on what could and could not be done with their wealth.
So someone do this. Be the next Satoshi. Do something not to be at the head of a powerful and wealthy company; do it to help the people of the world.
…because they allow ignorant people to directly voice their opinion, no matter how ignorant they are, and have exactly the same impact on the situation as people who aren’t ignorant. Now, based on what I’ve said so many times about the failures of direct democracy, I need to point this out: an informed and educated person would not vote on a ballot initiative about which they were ignorant. Look, if you put on the ballot an initiative that we would expand fracking, I would gladly abstain from voting, because I know nothing about the issue.
A lot of people wouldn’t abstain. A lot of people would vote “Yes” because “fracking means oil, and oil is good.” A lot of people would vote “no” because “fracking is bad for the environment, and that’s bad.” Well, I’m sorry, but if that’s the extent of my knowledge on the subject then I simply don’t feel qualified in voicing an opinion.
Many people would be surprised by this newfound humility, but it’s not newfound at all. Sure, it often seems like I think I know everything. This is because i tend to discuss subjects that I know about, and I tend to avoid subjects about which I know very little or nothing. I would say that I have studied a wide enough range of subjects to be able to say whether or not I’m ignorant of the subject, and that’s where the Dunning-Kruger Effect kicks in. See, most people have no idea how ignorant they are.
Earlier today, I saw Will Coley, former Libertarian Party Vice Presidential candidate, say that he doesn’t “believe” in the Big Bang Theory, and he went on to say that the idea was invented by the Catholic Church as a method of explaining Genesis.
Well, no… That’s not true. Science isn’t something to believe in or not believe in; it’s something to accept or to deny. It’s not a matter of belief but a matter of bowing to the facts. It’s far beyond me to get into all the nuances of the Big Bang Theory and the overwhelming amount of evidence that supports it, but a simple Google search will yield a person all the information they need to make an informed opinion. And I will be adamant about this: there is an enormous difference between an informed opinion and an ignorant one. For example, Coley’s remark about the Big Bang being invented by the Catholic Church is wholly incorrect. The person who first proposed the theory was a Jesuit priest, but he was also a physicist, and was most certainly not doing the work of the church. His work, like Galileo’s, was very much at odds with the church.
At any rate, it’s absurd to accept some parts of science while rejecting the rest, at least on issues that haven’t been politicized into oblivion such as global warming. There are politics involved in the Big Bang Theory, or in the Theory of Evolution, and both theories are as airtight as General Relativity. They are widely accepted for a reason, and the DNA evidence alone would be enough, even if there were no fossils whatsoever, to confirm the theory of natural selection and changes over time.
This won’t stop the influx of people who say that evolution suggests “a tornado would tear through a junkyard and create a Boeing 747,” though. It won’t change the mass of people who say that “Yeah, God said ‘Bang!’ and then it happened.” It won’t change the minds of the people who believe the universe is 6,000 to 10,000 years old. C’est la vie. I’m not trying to change minds. If they want to reject the theory of evolution in favor of their religious beliefs, that’s fine, but I would demand that they stop taking antibiotics, vaccines, and other treatments that are products of biology, since modern biology is inseparable from evolutionary theory. I would demand that they stop using their cell phones, the Internet, and their televisions, since all of these things work only because of satellites that orbit the Earth thanks to our understanding of Einstien’s Special and General theories of Relativity, both of which are tied very much to the Big Bang. If you want to argue that the scaffolding doesn’t work, that’s fine–but to be consistent, you must say that the building built from the scaffolding doesn’t work, either.
But most of these people–Coley among them, I would bet–have no idea what evidence supports the Big Bang Theory, but that won’t stop most people from having an opinion on it one way or another. I was stunned a few years ago, when I remarked to my sister that I found the evolution of snakes to be fascinating, and she replied, “You know I don’t believe in evolution, right?”
I was stunned. What do you mean, you don’t believe in evolution? Evolution doesn’t need you to believe in it. Evolution is a reality of life in our universe; accept it or not, but belief has nothing to do with it at this point. The knowledge is there; the information is there. And I will adamantly insist that her rejection of evolution is not in any sense on the same solid ground as my acceptance of evolution. Mine is built from facts, from having read The Selfish Gene and The Extended Phenotype by Richard Dawkins, and biology is still my weakest area. If there was a ballot initiative asking if we should do “some imaginary thing” to purposely “affect evolution in some specific way,” I would readily abstain from such a measure, because I know nothing about it.
I’m Going Somewhere With This
If there was a ballot initiative stating that we would install 8 GB of DDR5 memory into every computer owned by the government, I would gladly vote against the initiative. I can imagine the arguments of everyone in favor of the initiative. “DDR5 is so much faster!” the headlines would go from the pro-upgrade crowd. “It’s common sense, and 8 GB will be a huge upgrade. There’s no reason not to! We’ve run the cost, and we can make it happen for $85,000!”
“Yeah,” I would say, “but probably 97% of the motherboards in use by the state won’t support DDR5. You won’t be able to just pop it in there. If you do somehow make it fit, you’ll fry the RAM, and probably the motherboard. To make this work, you’d have to upgrade all the motherboards, too, which means upgrading CPUs, as well. Since Windows still uses the Hardware Abstraction Layer, you won’t be able to just throw a hard drive into a new motherboard, new CPU, and new RAM–even if the old hard drives are SATA, which I doubt they would be, since they’re probably old and use IDE, which the newer motherboards won’t support–it won’t boot, and you’ll have to do a full backup of all files, reformat onto a new compatible drive, then move the files back over. It’s nowhere near as simple as just slapping two sticks of RAM into a desktop and watching it take off in speed.”
This is because I know technology. I make a living working on technology and making it do the things that I want it to do. In the end, from this ballot initiative–which would almost certainly pass–we’d end up with a ton of RAM sitting wasted in a storage room somewhere while we waited for Motherboard+CPU Initiative to pass. Suddenly an $85,000 price tag became a $1,850,000 price tag.
We all begin ignorant about a subject–completely ignorant. Through the course of life in western society, we pick up bits of knowledge from all over the place, and we establish a kind of limited knowledge in all sorts of subjects, but that knowledge isn’t always reliable. Like my sister above, who would characterize evolution as “a monkey giving birth to a human.” Anyone who gets their knowledge from her gets bad information, and they may view her as a trusted figure, in which case they wouldn’t question her. Then, years later, when someone came along and contradicted that information, they would already be invested in her and what she told them, and so they’d be much more likely to stick to her explanation of things.
My church told me routinely that this is what evolution was. One year, around the third grade, they actually did one of those stupid skits, where there is a gorilla at the family dinner. “Grandpa,” they called him. It was a full attack on evolution, telling all of our young minds that evolution said that somewhere along the way some gorilla gave birth to a human. These trusted authorities–these people who we had been told to trust and who we did trust–lied right to our faces, perhaps knowingly; at the very least, they perpetuated bullshit that they had been told by an authority figure and never looked into themselves.
As another example, my nephew firmly believes that Jesus lives in the clouds, because that is what they told him at church. We know this one was a lie, because no adult in their right mind believes that Jesus lives in the clouds. For fuck’s sake, we’ve been beyond the clouds. People go beyond the clouds on a daily basis. We know beyond the shadow of any doubt that there is no one living in the clouds or on the clouds. Yet my nephew has been consistently told this by authority figures at his church. When I told him it wasn’t true, showed him pictures of the clouds and the Earth from space, and showed him that no one was living up there, it changed nothing. They’d already won. They planted the idea, and his trust in them kept his mind shackled to that lie. They knowingly lied to my nephew. It was this that caused me to challenge them–a challenge they ignored, by the way.
I told them that I would debate them. The topic? The existence of a god. I told them they could pick any twelve members of their congregation to act as the judges, and that they could enlist up to five people–church members or not–to argue on their side, and that I would debate alone. If I won, then they would refrain from teaching anything spiritual until the children reached 8 years old. If they won, I would attend their church every Sunday for a year. You lie to my nephew and we’re going to have problems. I don’t care if they want him to believe in a god. But I will not let them lie to him to accomplish that.
They ignored my challenge, and I understand why. The similarities to Elijah and the priests of Baal were too much for them to ignore, except… in this scenario, I was Elijah. I didn’t choose 12 as the number by accident, after all. It’s a debate that I couldn’t have won. Convince 12 devout church-goers that their pastor hadn’t made his case that there is a god? I could never have won. However, if they accepted such weighted terms, then they lost from the start, even if I didn’t convince the judges. To show their faith, they would have no choice but to turn the tables and let me pick the 12 judges.
Sorry to digress onto that.
Another area that I know pretty damned well is economics. I might not be able to calculate the market interest rate based on data you feed to me, but since I have no interest or desire to do such a thing it’s never a skill I’ve bothered to learn. I think the bank providing the loan should do that calculation, not the government.
Recently, Washington voted to increase its minimum wage from $9.47 to $13.50 an hour, the bloody fools.
These people, almost none of whom know anything about economics, voted on a measure to substantially interfere in their state’s economy. This is the reason that democracy is stupid. It gives control of the ship to people who have never navigated a ship, people who don’t know how to read a map, people who don’t know how to hoist a sail, people who have never used a sextant, and people who have no freaking idea what a rudder is or why the sail is triangular. If you came to me on a 17th century ship and asked me if we should turn the sail east or west, I wouldn’t have any freaking idea what to tell you other than “Dude, ask someone who actually knows about it.”
Somewhere along the way, we forgot how freaking ignorant we are. This is where the Dunning-Kruger Effect kicks in, because a person can’t be ignorant while understanding that they’re ignorant. With weak general knowledge on a subject, a person usually thinks they have a pretty good handle on it–enough to vote “Yes” on a measure to raise the minimum wage, a decision that will have enormous ramifications for the state’s economy. Hubris is what it is.
See, in order to know how little you know about a subject, you must know a little bit about that subject. That’s the conundrum. To understand how little you know about physics, you have to understand how deep and complex the subject is.
As exposure to a subject increases, confidence decreases, until one is exposed enough to begin grasping the subject.
This is why you should always be weary of people who are confident about what they’re saying, especially if they can’t back it up. I’ve backed up my economics statements. Check them out here and here. There’s a huge disparity, though, between the confidence of an expert and the confidence of a layperson. I will never say that I’m absolutely right–about anything. I constantly allow for the possibility that I’m wrong. In the past year, I’ve been wrong several times. My confidence got put to the test recently on Quora, and I was put in a very difficult position of arguing myself against two actual economists, and I’m proud to say that I held my ground–primarily because they weren’t reading the question correctly.
However, anyone who is absolutely convinced that we should raise the Minimum Wage… Ask them why. Their answer will always be the same. “Because… blah blah… cost of living… yada yada… living wage… blah blah…” Basically, it is an emotional appeal. The danger of emotional appeals, though, is that the emotion is used to propose and support one single solution and precludes the possibility that the emotion can be expressed with any other solution. Take for example government welfare.
I think it should all be ended. All of it. “Social safety net?” It’s called family. And, yes, this is from someone who has no family to fall back on. What do I have? Friends. Where my family has horrifically failed me, friends have always come through, particularly my colleague. When my sister kicked me out for being transgender, I had very few places to turn with such short notice. It was my colleague–who I would certainly call “pretty much family”–who found me a place to stay. That opened up an entirely different set of problems, of course, but things happen.
The common reply, of course, is, “So you want people to go homeless and starve to death.”
Um… No? I don’t think I said that. I think that people who care about you should bear the burden of helping you, not random strangers who don’t get a say-so about it. Your mom can kick your ass and make sure you’re getting a job, not sitting around on the couch and watching Ricki Lake. I can’t. The government can’t. Your mom isn’t going to let you sit there for 18 months while you do nothing and bring in no income. The government will let you, because the government can’t really stop you. Is that so bad? That instead of putting a gun to my head and forcing me to “help” you–while you do God only knows what with the “help”–you would have to turn to family and friends? I don’t want you to die, but… I don’t know you. I’ve got my own problems to deal with without adding yours to them.
But their emotion–that sympathy that people shouldn’t go homeless and starve–is tied to their favorite solution: government welfare. Because the emotion is tied to the solution, their minds become warped until they can no longer fathom any other solution appeasing that emotion.
And just like that, their emotion becomes public policy, especially when ballot initiatives are put forward. “People should have a living wage” becomes tied to “the minimum wage should be increased.” To them, that’s the only possible solution without denying people a living wage. So if you’re against an increase in the minimum wage, they have no choice but to conclude that you don’t think people should have a living wage. To them, it’s one and the same: increasing the minimum wage scratches their emotional itch, and they know of no other way to scratch it; they don’t think anything else can scratch it.
To make matters worse, we are dealing with matters where emotion has no role to play. I’m sorry; it simply doesn’t. Just like emotion has no role to play in calculating how much hydrogen we need to launch a rocket into space, so does emotion have nothing to do with economics. You can’t feel your way to the truth; emotions blind and lead astray. This is very much a Nietzschean thing to say, but I have no issue with emotions, and I think they have tremendous value. However, it is imperative that we define a scope for our emotions. We cannot allow our emotions to run unchecked, determining social policy, determining economic policy, and determining governmental policy. They will lead us into disaster, every single time.
Emotion is not a valid pathway to scientific truth.
And it is a scientific truth that you cannot just raise the Minimum Wage and have everything hunky-dory. It will be a disaster. First, only locally owned businesses will put in the effort to increase prices. The locally owned daycares, gas stations, etc. They will raise prices to mitigate the losses.
Disconnect: Greedy Fatcats Making Millions!
The people who advocate raising the Minimum Wage think that there are business owners all throughout the country who are just raking in obscene amounts of money while paying their employees peanuts. While it’s not really your or my business what private contract the employee and employer into it, there’s something to be said about refusing to shop at a place that doesn’t pay its employees fairly. However, it’s simply not the case that business owners are making tons of money and hoarding it while their employees feed on scraps. In most cases with local businesses, owners are still full-time employees working 70+ hours a week and doing everything from management to recruiting to human resources to supervising. Anything that needs to be done that an employee is not explicitly hired to do, the owner has to do. The buck stops with them, after all. It’s a tremendous responsibility and burden, and they deserve ever penny they get for it. If you don’t like it, then open up your own. It’s honestly not that hard or expensive.
So what I would say “most” of these people pictured is that the business owners would simply make less money. Instead of making a salary of $600/week for the 70+ hours of difficult, stressful, exhausting work they do, these people figured they would instead make $400/week and would pay the increased wage out of their own money. But “their own money” doesn’t usually exist, and if you increase their payroll by 33% across the board, you’re going to have a disaster on your hands. I know budgeting–personally and commercially–and an increase of 33% to an expense as major as employee wages will bankrupt you faster than anything else.
So those increased wages aren’t coming out of the profits that are already there, because, in most cases, the profits aren’t big enough to cover a hit like that. Ten employees working 40 hours a week at $9.46 is $3,784.00 in wages. Every week. At $13.50 an hour, it is $5,400 in wages every single week. If the owner is on a $600/week salary, then even if the owner worked for free they wouldn’t be able to make up that difference; they’d still be nearly a thousand dollars short.
So they have a number of choices.
A. Cut Hours
Suddenly they have 280 hours to apportion to their employees each week, instead of the 400 they had. If they can afford $3,784 each week in wages, then this covers 280 hours. The owner has decided here not to fire anyone, so instead everyone has their hours cut from 40 hours a week to 28. This makes them part-time employees and causes them to lose a fair number of benefits in a lot of cases. It certainly lowers the standards at the business, which is very bad if it’s a daycare. There are, on average, 2 employees fewer at work at any given time, so there are fewer employees overseeing the same number of kids.
Probably should have thought this MW increase through before voting on it, huh?
This is the other route, and the one people are most likely to take, especially since customers aren’t going to happily eat a 33% increase in their own prices to cover the increased Minimum Wage. We’ll come back to that, though. So with 280 hours allotted, it’s an easy call: three employees have to go. Bye, Felicia. Three people fired from their jobs because of the increase to the Minimum Wage. This will happen quite a lot, since it’s the easiest and quickest solution without pissing off clients and without dealing with complaints of other employees about hours being cut.
Probably should have given it just a little bit of thought before voting to increase the MW, eh?
C. Increase Prices
This is the final route, and the one that is second-most-likely to happen. Indeed, it’s already happening. Just think about it. If the daycare charged $100 per kid before, they have to charge $133 per kid now to cover the additional wages. In fact, they have to charge even more than that, because all of the suppliers that the daycare gets its necessary materials from will likely raise their prices. The bottom line on the business just got a lot higher, and there’s nowhere else for the business owner to get the money.
The Government Should Help With Childcare Costs!
Said one parent:
“I feel the state needs to be helping a little more,” said Larson. “It would be nice if parents didn’t have to spend a majority of their paychecks for childcare.”
You fucking moron.
I can’t be nice about this.
The government should rob everyone else to give me money to pay for the daycare costs that I increased by making the stupid decision to vote yes on increasing the Minimum Wage which caused daycare costs to increase to the point that I couldn’t afford them.
You made this bed. Now lie in it.
Hey, lady! If you don’t want to spend a majority of your paychecks on childcare, how about don’t vote for an increase to the Minimum Wage that will increase your childcare costs? Hm? How about that? Government is not the answer. How many messes do we have to make before we figure that out?
“Oh, we made a mess by using the government to interfere with the economy. Maybe the government can fix the mess by stealing from everyone and giving me their money. And then maybe the government can do something to fix the mess that is caused by stealing from everyone and giving me their money. And then maybe the government can fix the mess that it caused when it tried to fix the mess caused by stealing everyone and giving their money, which was supposed to fix the mess the government caused by interfering with the economy. And then maybe the government can fix the mess that it caused when it tried to fix the mess that it caused when it tried to fix the mess that it caused by stealing from everyone and giving their money, which was supposed to fix the mess the government caused by interfering with the economy. And then maybe…”
I mean, really? How about you just stop?
How about you just stop trying to fix messes with the government and instead take the time to research the messes and think about a solution rationally? You want to know the way out of this mess you’ve made in Washington? It’s not stealing from people without kids to pay for parents who didn’t think shit through. You have no right to steal from other people, and the fact that you’d even suggest that as a possibility is appalling. How dare you claim to be on the side of empathy and morality when you want to rob people as a way of cleaning up a mess that is entirely of your own design?
Abolish the minimum wage.
There’s no other way.
The more you increase it, the more “solutions” from the government you will need to fix the last mess you made, and the more government “solutions” you’ll need to fix the mess the government made when it tried to fix the last mess you made. It’s a neverending cycle of government intervention and screw-ups, with the government getting more power and more control every step of the way without ever making anything better. It only makes things worse. It has never made one solitary thing better.
Except our ability to kill people. I’ve got to give them credit on that. The government has absolutely improved our ability to kill people.
You’re like a madman who had the government burn your house down for you because, for some reason, you thought that having them fill it with gasoline and throw a match in it wouldn’t burn the house down–who the hell knows why, Dunning-Kruger presumably–and now you’re asking the government to come in and use its napalm to put out the fire. That’s the government in a nutshell: using napalm to put out fires.
Yes, I do think the average person is too stupid to determine what wage all employers should pay their employees. In fact, I’d go further and say that everyone is too stupid to determine what wage all employers should pay their employees. That is a matter that only the employer and the employee can answer, when the employer makes an offer and the employee makes a counter-offer. They’re the only people who know their situations well enough to be able to answer those questions. I certainly think the average person is far too stupid to know whether a minimum wage should be $3 an hour or $13 an hour.
This is why I’m an anarchist: I have a very low opinion of the average person. Not to brag or anything, but I am a card-carrying MENSA member. I’m a pretty smart chick, with an IQ estimated to be between 150 and 172. I think the average person is too dumb to make their own decisions, let alone make the decisions for everyone, and that’s what this entire system of the state allows. It allows some moron in California who doesn’t even know why he dislikes Donald Trump to attempt to impose a Hillary Clinton presidency onto me, out of sheer ignorance and stupidity. You’re goddamned right I have a problem with that.
The solution, though, is what Plato got wrong. Plato envisioned a world governed by the wise, by philosophers. Liberals, it seem, envision the same sort of world, given how they want to curtail democratic processes and impose their ways on everyone, believing themselves to be intellectually superior to everyone who disagrees. They’re all wrong, though. Yes, Plato, too. The solution isn’t a refined government led by people who are wise, because the unwise person has no idea that he is unwise, and will not have a terribly difficult time convincing the unwise that he is wise–see President Elect Donald Trump.
I’m sure we could come up with some sort of new system of government and new electoral process that, for a while, ensures that only the wise are elected. It would ultimately fail, though, and I don’t like the inherent arrogance of it. Moreover, for anyone who is truly wise, the idea of taking power and ruling over others is anathema.
The solution is to keep these people from making decisions that affect freaking everyone. Duh. If you want to open a company and promise your employees a minimum wage of $15/hour, guaranteed 40 hours a week, with a 401K company match and health insurance, then you go right ahead. You and the people who work for you will go out of business very, very quickly, and it will only affect you and the idiots who sign up with you without giving it enough thought. You have every right to do it, though. But if you want to take that horrendously stupid idea and force everyone to do it… Yeah, then there’s a problem.
Don’t force your economically ignorant decisions onto everyone. The ramifications will be enormous.
Abolish the Minimum Wage. Let employers and employees determine how much their labor is worth. It has nothing to do with you. And if you don’t think an employer is reimbursing an employee fairly, then you can do a few things. You can boycott that company, or you can chip in and donate to the employee. Those are your options. Anything beyond that is using the state to order people around like they’re your slave or something and have to do what you say.
So you have a stupid idea one day. It happens. Give the stupid idea a shot. Maybe it will work out. But don’t you dare force everyone to adopt your stupid, unconsidered, asinine idea that is demonstrably going to create more problems and never solve any.
You would obviously be correct to observe that this is most certainly not a selfie.
I went to the polling place with the knowledge that there was a fair-to-strong chance that I was going to be arrested. The last time I voted, it was just a single room with 5-7 electronic machines in it, all of them in plain sight of everyone else–though little flaps did ensure that no one could see your screen. There was no privacy. Everyone stood in full view of everyone else, and there was a county sheriff there. I knew if those circumstances were repeated, then I was going to be hassled about it, probably demanded to delete the pic, and promptly arrested when I refused to say that I’d even taken a picture.
In some ways, I was looking forward to that. I had a good defense that probably would have kept me out of handcuffs. If my rant about living in a free country where I can’t take a freaking picture of my ballot didn’t work, then I had one more bombshell to drop that probably would have kept me out of jail: I’m transgender, this is Mississippi, and I doubt very much that anyone in my county is prepared to deal with the headache that arresting me would involve.
All that said, I was trying to exercise my right to take a picture of my ballot. I was not trying to get arrested. If there was a good chance of getting the picture without causing problems, then that was always my intention; I just didn’t anticipate being able to ninja my way out of it.
The situation with the voting machines in Mississippi is completely unacceptable.
There is absolutely no record that I even voted–except that I signed a log. There is no evidence that my vote was recorded at all, much less recorded properly. For all I know, it was the equivalent of standing here and pressing a few buttons that do absolutely nothing. How do I know that the machine recorded my vote? I don’t. I have absolutely no way of knowing that. I want to see the source code of these machines.
Moreover, how do I know that the machine didn’t write my vote down as one for Hillary Clinton? Again, I don’t. There is so much darkness here that it’s ridiculous. Not only do I have no way of knowing if my vote was recorded properly, but I have no way of knowing if it was recorded at all. The situation is ripe for abuse. For all we freaking know, they’re programmed to record 67.971728% of votes for Trump, 29.718381% for Hillary, and 2.117284 for other candidates, regardless of what people actually choose. We don’t fucking know, man.
That’s why it’s not a selfie. There was nothing to take a selfie with. Try to take a selfie of you and your dinner cooking on a stovetop, and you’ll understand what I was faced with by taking a “selfie.” There’s just no way to do it with any dignity or elegance, and, even if there was, it’s flagrantly illegal and happening in full view of people who will stop you. I wanted to get a pic of my ballot–I couldn’t have done that if they stopped me.
So I’m sure everyone has some questions.
Q. Why John Mcafee?
Because he’s a libertarian. Next question.
Q. Why not Gary Johnson?
It’s true. I *don’t* want the Libertarian Party to be successful this election. I didn’t want Johnson to hit 15% before the debates, and I don’t want him to hit 5% nationally. I want the Libertarian Party to grow for the RIGHT reasons, and Johnson represents all of the wrong reasons.
Q. Why didn’t you put Darryl W. Perry as your VP?
Because I’m retarded. I was expecting to be asked about the VP separately, and it didn’t occur to me until after I was finished that I didn’t even enter one. Not that it matters. Mississippi will throw my presidential vote in the trash the moment they see it’s a write-in.I do hate that I neglected to put a VP, because I would like to formally show my support for Darryl W. Perry. Complete brain fart–clearly. I mean, I didn’t even put down a VP. Obviously, the whole thing was an oversight.
Q. This isn’t a Ballot Selfie.
And that isn’t a question.
Q. Why isn’t it a ballot selfie?
Mississippi uses voting machines, placing 5-7 of them out against a wall, with no curtain or any other divide separating them. When voting, you are in full sight of about fifty other people, ten of whom work there and are watching you, specifically to ensure you don’t do anything illegal–like taking pics of your ballot. I had to do some ninja shit to get these. Additionally, crouching down and doing a back-bend in order to get my face in the pic would have been both ungraceful and stupid. I welcome you to attempt to do it without looking retarded.
Q. Isn’t this illegal, though?
Yes. And fuck them.
Q. Yeah, but–
I said “fuck the system” twice today. Once with the vote for McAfee, and once with the ballot pictures. Not to mention the “Anyone Else” I wrote in for most elections.
Q. Who the hell is Chase Wilson?
I don’t know, but he had “Libertarian” by his name, so I voted for him. I don’t want a liberty-leaning conservative as President, but liberty-leaning conservatives–whether he is or isn’t a true libertarian–will be fine as one member of 500+ in Congress.
Q. Didn’t John McAfee kill someone?
The government of Belize attempted to extort him, and he–being John McAfee–said “You guys can fucking go to hell.”
Because what else would he say?
John McAfee “killed someone” in pretty much the same way that Julian Assange “is a rapist.” He didn’t, and he’s not.
However… The story is that a neighbor poisoned some of John’s dogs, and that John killed him/ordered him killed (like he’s some kind of Hollywood drug lord)/hired a hitman in retaliation. So let me be 100% upfront and honest about this.
I don’t care if he did.
Look, if a neighbor poisoned my cats, then there isn’t a force in the universe that could protect them from my wrath. Punishing them would be a single-minded devotion, and I would not rest until they had paid the ultimate price for doing it. I don’t see this as a violation of the NAP, because I don’t hold to the bigoted idea that non-human life is inherently worth less than human-life. If someone breaks into your house and kills your wife, in the absence of a state police force, there are very few ways to deal with it than direct retaliation. It’s not as much “punishment” as it is prevention against future attacks, and this person has already attacked you. The idea that it’s not a violation of the NAP if you kill the guy while he’s still in your home and killing your wife, but it is a violation if you kill him two hours later–is nonsense.
If I return home to find someone raping and murdering my wife, grab my 38 and kill them, then it’s not a violation of the NAP. Yet if I return home to find my wife raped and murdered, and I know for a fact who did it, it suddenly is a violation of the NAP to shoot them? So what is the statute of limitations on it? If he hides in the bushes and I see him fleeing across the field, is it a violation of the NAP to shoot him, since he’s already killed my wife? What if I chase him for thirty minutes and finally catch him?
I don’t often touch on the subject, either, but it is bigotry to suggest that non-human lives are not as valuable as human lives, and that it’s wrong to kill a human because they murdered a non-human. So because this living being isn’t the same species as you, its life isn’t worth as much? To really get a handle on how bigoted that statement is, replace the word “species” with the word “race.” So because this living being isn’t the same race as you, its life isn’t worth as much? That’s right–you’re basically a 1944 German arguing that Jewish lives aren’t worth anything, or a 19th century slave owner arguing that a black man’s life isn’t worth nearly as much as a white man’s. It’s the exact same bigotry, only here we direct at at roughly 99% of the rest of the planet. Because they happen to be a few chromosomes away, their lives are not as valuable as ours. It isn’t “okay” to kill a dog or cat, but if someone does kill a dog or cat, that doesn’t make it okay to kill them.
It’s just another flavor of the same ego and arrogance. I don’t advocate killing people who kill your pets, and I’m not a vegan. I’m not even a vegetarian. I do, however, recognize that it is immoral and without justification to eat meat and consume animal products. It simply can’t be justified. I still do it, but I accept that it’s morally wrong. Am I saying that you shouldn’t kill a wasp? Not really. But I know that when a wasp gets into my house, I’ve spent quite a lot of time coaxing them out of the door rather than killing them. I’ve never hesitate to kill a spider, though. Fuck a spider.
Hell, a few weeks ago I spent 45 minutes helping a bumble bee get untangled, and then I took him and carried him to a flower. He was going to die, and nothing could be done to prevent that. His struggling while tangled caused him to break a wing, so there was no way he could fly. I felt like he at least deserved to eat.
It’s nuanced and difficult. As I said, I eat meat, and I have no idea if my makeup was tested on animals or not. I’m pretty sure that the estradiol I take has something to do with horse vaginas, too.
I don’t demand that everyone agree. I’m well aware that most people don’t. Happily enough, I side with Richard Dawkins on the subject–long before I’d heard Dawkins say anything about it. I know it’s morally unjustifiable. And the only reason I continue to do it is that it’s the dominant attitude of the day. It’s too much work and effort to avoid all animal products, especially in Mississippi and especially when you don’t really have the money to waste.
Vegans get really pissed off about this, naturally. Of course, to everyone who supports a cause, their cause is the single most important issue in the universe. I support the cause of liberty, based on the NAP, and yes–there is a contradiction between that and not being a vegan. There are, to piss vegans off further, bigger fish to fry. Most vegans aren’t anarchists or libertarians anyway, so it’s not like they have any ground to stand on, either. The only people who can rightly criticize me for my position is all two vegan anarcho-capitalists out there. If that’s not you, then move along.
If you’re a vegan, then you basically apply the NAP to all non-humans. If you’re an anarchist, then you basically apply the NAP to all humans. If you aren’t both, then you have no ground to criticize anyone for not being both. And here I’m as much a hypocrite as anyone: I’d eat a cow, but I wouldn’t eat a human. It would quite obviously be a violation of the NAP to kill and eat a human; it would also be one to kill and eat a cow. Gotta pick your battles, though. If someone wants to take up every single cause, then they’ll find that they don’t get anything accomplished. You fight your battles; I’ll fight mine.
A lot of voluntaryists and anarchists have enjoyed putting out the argument that voting is immoral and that one can’t call oneself an anarchist if one sucks on the pacifier of statism participates in the voting process. In fact, I’ve seen some surprisingly hostile statements from voluntaryists and anarchists about those of us who do not automatically agree. While hostility and aggression are certainly not the same thing, they are certainly cousins, and I think we should be skeptical of any anarchist or voluntaryist who so happily becomes hostile toward people who don’t agree with him/her.
If you vote, or support ANY politician, state, scribbles on paper or any other RELIGION, please get the FUCK OFF of my friends list. NOW.
That INCLUDES anyone with a fucking Gary Johnson endorsing avatar. GO FUCK YOURSELF, damn hypocrite aggressors.
You are NOT libertarians, not in the SLIGHTEST.
This also includes ANY welfare-whore, including ANYONE who works for stolen loot in the “public” sector.
Now, no one is saying this person doesn’t have the right to remove people from their friends list, or any of that other nonsense that people like to jump to. “But he has the right to remove anyone he wants!” Yeah, that’s irrelevant. I’m also not saying that this person has done anything wrong, much less done anyone an injury. I am only saying, “Look at the hostility in that.”
It contains a shitload of hostility: all caps eleven times. I understand that all caps often serves the role of bold on Facebook–though I tend to prefer two asterisks–but there is a bit too much of that here. “FUCK OFF… NOW” is also among the things said in all caps. “GO FUCK YOURSELF,” too. And then, in typical script, “…damn hypocrite aggressors.”
It’s fair to say that this person is angry. Why, though? Why is this person so angry? More specifically, what is this person so angry about?
Voting. He says it at the very beginning.
Now, to get to the real heart of the matter, it amazes me that a group of people who so readily accept the tenants of subjective morality and who typically reject the notion of objective morality would be so confused that they would point at any act and call it definitively immoral. If you support any politician, this guy considers you a “damn hypocrite aggressor.” If you engage in this act, you are immoral–that is the essence of the statement.
Except… that’s nonsense. We know that no act is moral or immoral by itself, and that it is always the circumstances surrounding an act and the motive behind it that determine whether an act was moral or immoral. To showcase this, I’ll share with you part of my book The Anvil, a brief flashback of a conversation between two druids:
Being a Primal, she put all races and species on the same level and didn’t classify them as they did in Crinesti society. The Primals held everything in existence as equal with everything else in existence, and the only action that was truly a crime in the eyes of Primals was destroying something’s existence for no reason. Primal Law was entirely circumstantial, and each trial was done on a case-by-case basis; the druids held that the circumstances surrounding an action, and the motivations which led to the action, were infinitely more important than the action itself.
When she’d first joined the Coven of Wolves, Aradiant had disputed that notion and had openly questioned the druidic system of justice. But a druidess named Drusilia had clarified the position in a way that left it largely indisputable.
“Imagine that you are standing in a field,” Drusilia had said, “and that I am standing beside you. Suddenly, I push you over. You fall onto the wet ground and slip further, crash into a stone, and break your arm. Would you say that I had done you wrongly, that I had committed a crime? Would you say that I had assaulted you?”
“Yes,” Aradiant had answered.
“Now imagine that we are in that field again. A stampede of cows and bulls is barreling toward us and you, for whatever reason, are not aware of it. Or perhaps you are aware of it and you cannot move, paralyzed with fear. So I push you, you fall and break your arm, but you are out of the way of the stampede. Would you say that I had done you wrongly? Would you say that I had assaulted you?”
“No,” Aradiant had replied, “I would say that you had saved me.”
Drusilia had nodded. “Why? The action was exactly the same in both examples. In both cases, I pushed you, you fell, and you broke your arm. I acted in exactly the same way both times, and you faced the same consequences both times. Why is it assault in one instance but not assault in the other?”
“Because in the first you were doing it just to do it, and in the second you did it to help me.”
“Exactly,” Drusilia had nodded sagely. “In the first, my intention was just to commit the action itself: to push you. In the second, my intention was to help you. In the first, my motive was to bring you harm. In the second, my motive was to push you out of the way of harm. The exact same action took place in both examples, but in one I was wrong and in the other I was not. The only thing that changed between the examples were the circumstances—my reasoning, my intention, and my motive. That is why druidic law focuses on intention and motive and generally ignores the action itself.”
It’s worth mentioning that this copy/paste came from the first draft, as this entire passage was removed from the final draft, so…
Anyway, stuff like that is the reason I called the first draft of the novel a “Handbook on Nihilism.” It was a veiled attempt to pull an Ayn Rand–to spread the message of nihilism (one could say objectivism, since nihilism is nothing more than a definition on the scope of emotions) in fiction form. I’m still okay with that, but it wouldn’t have made a good debut novel–and didn’t–so I scrapped the whole thing and rewrote it. Anyway.
No act is, in and of itself, moral or immoral. These are valuations made after the fact, based on the result of the act. We can’t say whether something was morally good or morally bad until we are looking at it in the rearview mirror and until all of its consequences–short-term and long-term–have come to fruition. Because we cannot even identify all of the consequences, it becomes impossible for us to say whether anything is good or bad. The classic example is Hitler and going back in time to kill him.
Almost all of us would agree that it is morally good to go back in time and kill Hitler before he could start the Holocaust–at the very least, we would agree that it isn’t morally wrong. Yet imagine that we returned to 2016 after killing Hitler and found that someone else, someone even more brilliant, had taken hold of Germany after Hitler’s death, and the result is that, by 2016, Nazism had conquered the globe and the Jews were utterly exterminated. Suddenly we would all agree that it was morally wrong to go back and kill Hitler, and that the only morally good thing to do would be to go back and make sure that Hitler lived.
It’s not just a thought experiment; it shows us the folly of our moral values. The best we can do is identify the consequences of an act and determine whether we think those consequences are good or bad. However, by what metric do we determine whether those consequences are good or bad? Perhaps we can fast forward to the year 2600 and find that humanity survives to populate the Milky Way Galaxy, only after we have killed Hitler and allowed the extermination of the Jews. Perhaps we find that, if we kill Hitler and allow the Holocaust, the Jews still exist in 2016, but because of complex causalities that no one can adequately explain, by the year 2600 the entire human species has gone extinct.
This all may sound a bit too theoretical. Good. That’s the point.
This is precisely what we do when we say that something is “morally good” or “morally bad.” We’re just so damned good and quick at imagining these hypotheticals that we don’t even realize that we’re doing it. If someone says “I pushed a man out of the way of a moving car,” we immediately conjure up an alternate state of reality, where someone was hit by a car, and compare it to our own, where that consequence was prevented. Again, we don’t often realize when we’re doing this, because… we really are that good at it. This imagination is precisely why homo sapiens have a concept of morality, but other animals do not.
We see an action and its consequence, and we wonder what might have been. A cat is unlikely to even be able to connect the action and its consequence, much less to ponder the infinity of possible variations. I’ve watched my cats sit on the countertop and smack shit into the floor for no other reason than because it was sitting there, and then look at me in surprise when it fell into the floor. Their eyes almost scream, “Hey, I didn’t know that was going to happen.”
All of this is to say that, for the most part, voluntaryists and anarchists agree that no act is inherently moral or immoral, and that the consequences and circumstances of the act are what determines the valuation we ascribe to it–until we discuss voting, at which point, many people suggest that suddenly this one act is inherently immoral.
No, that’s nonsense.
It is not voting that is immoral. It is voting for someone who wants to do immoral things that is immoral. It is a false equivalence to say that “voting” is equivalent to “voting for someone who wants to do immoral things.” I’ll agree that there’s not much point in voting for someone who doesn’t wish to do immoral things, but that’s irrelevant. I’ll probably one day write about the reason that I do vote, and the reason that I’m going to vote for Darryl Perry and John McAfee, but it’s mostly a way of rebuking that oft-heard remark, “You can’t complain if you didn’t vote.”
We live in a society where you are granted one dollar to spend wherever you want. Most people choose to spend that dollar supporting someone who wants to do immoral things. Some of us–a very tiny percentage of us–choose to spend that dollar supporting someone who rebukes using that money to do immoral things. Criticize the people who support the notion of people doing immoral things, for sure. Have at it. But that’s not even remotely equivalent to spending that dollar at all.
And before the voluntaryists and anarchists get started–yes, they are precisely the same thing. Capitalism is simply voting with one’s wallet, thereby allowing an individual who has more wealth to cast more votes. We’ve discussed this before. The fact that society provides you with only one dollar to spend doesn’t change the nature of what we’re looking at–we’re looking at people who choose an action and who choose to spend their money voting for someone. That is what you are calling immoral, simply because the biggest percentage of people choose to spend that money voting for someone who will do immoral things. This is an obvious fallacy–a false equivalency–and no more should be said on the matter.
The act is not synonymous with the consequences simply because 99% of people commit the act with the intention of causing immoral consequences.
It’s like you’re arguing “Shooting a gun is wrong because 99.99% of people only shoot their guns to kill other people.” Assuming for a moment that these statistics are true, would it make “shooting a gun” morally wrong? Even if 99.99% of people only shot their guns with the intention of killing people, would the simple act of shooting a gun suddenly become morally wrong?
Of course not.
It would obviously be a false equivalency to say that “shooting a gun” is morally wrong because 99.99% of people only shoot their guns with the intention of hurting people. Even if we pump that number up to 99.9999999%–No, even if we pumped that number up to one hundred percent, shooting a gun would still not become, in and of itself, immoral.
You might also be interested in checking out last night’s episode of Rantings & Ravings, where I discuss the absurdity that sexual orientation is defined just as much by the gender of the person “who is attracted” as the gender that is the recipient of the attraction.
Anyway. Yesterday’s results for the Republican Primary made two things exceptionally clear. First, the Democratic nomination process is over. Second, the Republican nomination process is over. As I predicted back in November (though that link is from December), the general election is going to come down to Trump versus Hillary, and Trump will win. I’m not saying that’s a good thing or bad thing, but it is what’s going to happen. The only way to prevent that is for wider America to turn away from the established parties to a third party. And, realistically, the only third party with any chance whatsoever of upsetting the balance of power is the Libertarian Party. By the way, have you seen John McAfee’s new ad?
But enough of all that.
The current Republican Primary results are:
1,237 delegates are needed to secure the party nomination before the national convention. If that number is reached, then the person who reaches that number is automatically made the nominee. If that number is not reached, then some debating and argument ensues, the delegates cast their votes again, and the process repeats until someone hits the magic number.
187 delegates will immediately be up for grabs after the first wave of delegate voting (think of delegates as elected representatives) because the people they were elected to support have dropped out of the race. This includes Marco Rubio, who holds more delegates than John Kasich, who is still in the running.
There are 502 delegates remaining that are up for grabs, meaning that both Cruz and Kasich have been mathematically eliminated from earning the Republican nomination. Even if things radically change and Cruz wins 100% of the remaining delegates, he will only reach 1069, which is only barely more than Donald Trump’s current 954. Giving Cruz the nomination when Donald Trump has been the clear frontrunner for months and consistently earned a larger share of the votes from all across the country through a large time period would result in absolute chaos in the GOP. Whether people like it or not, it is time to accept that the nomination must go to Donald Trump.
Because Cruz won’t secure the remaining 502 delegates. Already, the tendency of people to vote for the person they think likeliest to win is taking effect, and Trump will continue to gain 50% or more of the vote in the remaining states. If Trump doesn’t hit the magic number, it’s an irrelevant point, because he’ll be so close to it–within a few dozen, according to most scenarios–that doing anything else would be viewed as outright robbery and political shenanigans.
The reality is that, according to the rules, having 1,236 delegates going into the convention won’t guarantee that person will become the nominee. This is because, in a two person race, there would be two candidates with 1,236 delegates, so neither of them can be assured victory. That isn’t the case here, though–this is a 3 person race, the totals are nowhere near even, and there is a huge gap between the other two candidates and the number of delegates needed to secure the nomination. In a two person race, it absolutely would be unfair to guarantee one of the people with 1,236 the nomination. In a three person race that used to be a 12 person race, however, it’s much less unfair. In a very real way, these goons that dropped out early in the race have screwed up the entire system, and I think that should be one of the GOP’s rules going forward: you can’t drop out of the nomination process.
Just think of all the people who voted for Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Carly Fiorina. All of those people have been disenfranchised by the people they supported. When Rubio, Paul, Fiorina, Christie, and all the others announced their campaigns and then proceeded to campaign, they made a promise to the people that they would try to secure the nomination. And then they dropped out, breaking their promises to the people who supported them. How would Rand Paul be performing in this narrowed field? How would Fiorina be doing?
Yet, at the same time, I think it’s time for Cruz and Kasich to admit defeat. I’m not saying that they should drop out of the race by any means–for the same reason the others shouldn’t have been allowed to drop out; it’s weak, disingenuous, and a betrayal to their supporters who now effectively wasted their votes on people who are no longer candidates. How many people would have supported Trump as their second choice, if Rand had not basically caused the votes he received to disappear into a blackhole of political shenanigans? How many people would have supported Cruz or Kasich if Rubio had never run at all? All of these people–their votes have been reduced to nothing, and might as well never have been cast at all.
Many Americans think their vote is wasted if their candidate doesn’t win, and this is what drives people to vote for the candidate they think is likeliest to win. If people had known that Paul, Fiorina, Christie, and all the others weren’t going to see it through, and therefore would never win, they would never have voted for those people at all. And now these people who voted in their primaries for these candidates who dropped out have their voices completely and totally nullified in the delegate process. The people who voted for the delegates going to the convention in the name of Rubio, Paul, Christie, et al. no longer have a voice. Behind-the-scenes “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” political brokering has taken over, allowing candidates to influence delegates. That delegate going to the convention in Rubio’s name–he’s a Cruz supporter. That person who voted for Rubio who may absolutely hate Cruz has effectively become the reason that Cruz will win one more delegate in the second round*. Maybe that person would have selected Kasich if they’d known that Rubio wasn’t going to have the courage and spine to hang around; it doesn’t matter, their voice is nullified. That person who voted for Jeb Bush may hate Kasich and may have preferred Cruz as their second choice. But in the second round, that delegate who is a Trump supporter will vote for Trump.
It is inescapable that this process has marginalized tons of voters. One might ask, “So? If Trump hits 1,237, then all the people who supported Cruz similarly have their voices erased.” But no, that’s not the case. Losing an election (and primaries are elections) does not erase the votes for the loser–that’s the widespread belief I referred to earlier that a vote is wasted if the candidate doesn’t win. However, “Trying to the very end and losing” is not at all the same thing as basically telling people you’re going to try to the very end, and then absconding with a ton of votes.
If I told investors I need $10b to do some complicated thing that would make us all trillionaires, and then I took that money, gave up on the project, and left them standing there wondering what happened, that would be an enormously different thing from doing what I said I would do and simply failing at it. The consequences appear to be about the same, but the circumstances and details couldn’t be more unlike.
So what am I arguing, then, if not that Cruz, Kasich, and Sanders should give up and drop out of their races? I’m saying they should stop campaigning. They should remain candidates so that the voters can continue to speak, but the reality is that, contested convention or no, neither of them have a viable path to the nomination. Trump isn’t speaking in bravado when he says he thinks people will riot if he doesn’t get the nomination. People may or may not riot, but one thing is certain: they will never switch their support to the candidate who took the nomination more or less from Trump. And it doesn’t matter that “the rules say this” and “the rules say that.” The rules don’t matter, not really.
What matters is what the voters think and feel, not the rules that the Establishment has in place to go against what the voters think and feel.
They can hide behind the rules all day long and say, “No, see? We were totally allowed to ignore the fact that Trump needed only 9 more delegates and instead let Kasich have the nomination.” But their delusion has reached new levels if they think that “Well, the rules allow it” is going to appease anyone; if anything, such an explanation will only rile them further. The primary is done; it’s over. There is no way for Cruz or Kasich (or anyone else for that matter) to get the nomination without shattering the Republican Party. And no–the Trump supporters will never switch their support to a candidate who they believe unfairly took the nomination from Trump, and they do think that would be unfair.
As do I, for that matter, but I’m not a Trump supporter. I understand the rule, and I understand the process, but “Because it’s the rule” and “Because it’s fair” aren’t even related, much less the same thing.
Cruz and Kasich, however, should stop campaigning and should start attempting to bridge the animosity between themselves and Donald Trump. Yes, it’s their responsibility now to bridge those gaps–they are the losers, and they are the ones who must now accommodate Trump and his positions. Trump is the clear winner, and that will continue going forward. It is time for them to put aside their differences, accept that Trump is going to get the nomination, and begin making inroads so that their supporters, when Trump secures the nomination, will support the selected GOP candidate. Continuing to drive wedges into the Republican Party will not help matters. It’s time for them to start tweeting, “You know, guys and girls, Trump isn’t really THAT bad…”
Actually, to be totally clear, it’s time for them to start focusing on Hillary and going after her. That is how they continue to be candidates while ceasing to drive wedges into the party. When Trump (who is childish) insults them, they must ignore it and counter with an insult of Hillary. There is no excuse for continuing to fracture the Republican Party all the way up to the convention, especially not since it is inescapably clear that Trump must be the nominee–because, as I’ve said, the rules are irrelevant.
Briefly, the RNC is likely to repeal their changes to Rule 40B, which requires any prospective candidate to win the majority of delegates in at least 8 states. By widespread admission of the Establishment, this rule was changed in 2012 specifically to keep Ron Paul from getting the nomination. It prompted the majority of Ron Paul supporters to walk out in disgust, and it represents the most brazen official interference of the Establishment that we’ve ever seen. Ron Paul had the 2012 nomination stolen from him in a number of ways–the media refusing to report his victories was yet another, and it was so common and blatant that even Jon Stewart called out the media on it.
I’m not a Trump supporter. Obviously–I support John McAfee, through and through. But I did support Ron Paul in 2012 when the GOP retired him and didn’t even invite him to the retirement party (seriously–that actually happened), when the Establishment passed 40B specifically to shut down Ron Paul’s chances. They should not even be allowed to repeal that rule now. Oh, by the way, there is also evidence that Rule 40B was rejected by the delegates, and there is proof that the Establishment was going to pass 40B whether people liked it or not–there were some teleprompter issues that revealed a lot more than the establishment intended.
They made this bed when they passed 40B illegally (Illegally according to their own rules, not illegally according to the state’s laws), and they should now be forced to lie in that bed. This eliminates Cruz and Kasich, and good riddance. All three of the GOP options are just bloody awful, and it’s a terrible fact that Trump sucks the least out of them. But Cruz is a constitutionalist and, despite what most people think, the Constitutionalist Party is not built solely from the Constitution; it is a Christian political party, through and through, and its own platform rejects the notion of separation of church and state.
We also need separation of state and economy. There has never been anything more critical to our freedom than to forever separate these two things. But that’s another matter. The point is that Cruz and Kasich don’t have a valid pathway to the nomination, even if it can be done without violating rules, and it’s time for them to accept that and start trying to heal the damage that their campaigns caused in their attempts to win.
On a side note, one of the reviews of V2: The Voluntary Voice read my essay “The Power Gap” and reached the conclusion that, because I talked about the Second Amendment, I must be a Constitutionalist. What an idiot. This is something I’ve always wanted to address, but have never bothered to. He also blatantly asserted that he disagrees because “he felt otherwise,” which is just more of that crap where people think their feelings are good enough to outweigh facts and reason. But anyway–the notion that I, an anarchistic atheist, am a Constitutionalist is absurd, and nothing about the essay indicates that I’m a Constitutionalist. I would urge people who think that my reverence to the U.S. Constitution and insistence that, at the very least, the state should abide its own Constitution, makes me a Constitutionalist to actually look into what a Constitutionalist is.
* This is speaking hypothetically, of course, and assumes that Trump won’t hit 1,237. If he doesn’t, then this absolutely will be more or less how it plays out.