An Evening With a Nazi

There’s so much to say in preface here that I’m not entirely sure where to start. I guess I’ll begin by saying that emotions are funny things, and all the rationality in the world doesn’t keep them from being felt. Self-control allows one to guard one’s behavior from the wild motivations of emotion, but this does nothing to change the emotion itself. A person feels how they feel, and no justification is necessary–or possible.

Tuesday night I was invited to the studio to sit and watch an episode of Freer Talk Live, an offshoot of Free Talk Live that is broadcast intermittently and only on Twitch. This was a very special episode where we were to be joined by none other than the Crying Nazi, Chris Cantwell. You can imagine my desire to be part of this, I’m sure, as a quick search of his site shows that the word “transgender” is mentioned an incredible fifty-nine (59) times on the first page alone. It’s entirely fair to say that transgenderism is his pet issue, and is what he perceives as the largest and most dangerous symptom of the shadows he’s imagined are conspiring to undo him and the society he craves. Moreso than Jews, moreso than immigrants, and moreso than Muslims, he focuses peculiarly on the topic.

Thought I was kidding?

To be clear, when I went on his show as part of my campaign for sheriff, I did not then know that he explicitly called for the execution of trans people. I still would have gone, because there is nothing from which I back down, but I want to note how I underestimated the raw hatred he would emit in our encounter. While he was cordial, there was an underlying hatred to everything he said. I knew of his vile indiscretions, but to be in the room with someone while they openly propagate such hatred is a different thing. Only a few minutes in did I realize, “Oh, god. This is an honest-to-god Nazi. A literal, dyed-in-the-wool Nazi.”

But I stayed, and we created what is still being praised as one of his best episodes, by his fans and by mine.

Despite then admitting that I did not fit into the mold he imagined for trans people, and despite his statement that “If trans people were all like you, I’d have no problem with it,” in the months since, he has doubled down on his anti-trans rhetoric. While I don’t follow him or the stuff he says, when he becomes a topic of conversation, for whatever reason, I give myself a quick refresher on what a dangerous person he is.

Oh, no, he himself is not dangerous. There has been much confusion in our libertarian circle whether people fear the man, and I have absolutely no fear of him. Nor do I fear his ideas. The worst he can do, and the worst that can come of his ideas, for me is death. Since I don’t fear death as a matter of course, I don’t fear individual things that could cause it. My fear of his ideas, should they gain widespread prominence, is for the innocent out there, the trans people who aren’t on the frontlines by choice in an ideological conflict and who are merely trying to live their lives, the ones who have thanked me for my efforts, because they see the greater vision I’m trying to portray: a world of peace and tolerance, not revenge and hatred.

However, I was not actually on the show, because another person, who hosted Free Talk Live that night, had the right to claim the chair. I’d be lying if I said I went for a reason other than the hope that a seat would open up. Seeing as we have no Jews at the station (though my boyfriend is Jewish), it was strange to me that we’d have on someone explicitly hostile to one of us while denying, rightfully or not, said person a seat at the discussion table.

I remarked to my boyfriend that I was concerned the optics of two straight cis, white dudes sitting down to talk to an actual Nazi were not good, and even then I didn’t anticipate how decidedly friendly they would be. I did not expect or want endless arguing, but anyone expecting or wanting to see a Nazi challenged by the FTL crew should avoid the episode in question.

As I said at the start, emotions are funny things. I’ve no right to be on Free Talk Live or Freer Talk Live, or even to be present when the discussion is happening, but emotions are what they are. I stayed for two hours of the event, and finally left, because it was stated to me that I was not on a mic, which is an in-studio, polite way of telling someone to shut up. Being uninterested in listening to his hate continue to go unchallenged, though certainly possessing the self-control to sit and be silent, I decided a moment later that my time would be better spent doing literally anything else, and I left.

This, while expected, has been the source of my ire through the last 24 hours. I’m emotionally drained, with zero desire to deal further with any of it, or to interact with the involved parties, but the event, much like the presence of a trans chick in the room with an actual Nazi, is an elephant, and I’m also not one to refuse my bite of the behemoth.

So two things happened that bothered me. The first was not having a seat offered to me to confront this person who loudly and unequivocally calls for me to be tossed into the ovens. The second was a firm but polite reminder of this.

Irritatingly, the person in the other chair was conspicuously quiet through the entire thing, and I’m pretty sure I spoke more than he did, simply by (wrongfully) grabbing the mic nearby and talking. Of course, and further grating my raw nerves on the subject, he stated today that he’d “probably” have given up his chair at some point.

Probably? At two hours in, it was pretty obvious he had no intention of doing so. He sat there on his laptop for two hours and never made any move to do anything, but if only I’d stayed for fifteen more minutes, no, everything would have been different…

This was a common thread today, with it repeatedly claimed that they ultimately challenged Cantwell, but that it’s “during the third hour”–after I’d left. They’ll have to forgive me for not believing this. I made an effort to watch the hour I missed, and not fifteen minutes after my departure did Cantwell go on an anti-trans, hate-filled rant that was met only by laughter. Laughter from this associate of mine, and not a word of rebuke.

Needless to say, under no circumstances will I watch the episode further.

Nor was there rebuke for his rejoicing in the death of the girl at Charlottesville, or for his open statement about using euphemisms to hide his blatant racism from Twitch censors. It compounded a feeling of already being wounded to see such hate go unchallenged, a gargantuan elephant in the room that was repeatedly and carefully sidestepped by the seated hosts.

There is nothing about Cantwell I find threatening, intimidating, or upsetting. I’ll gladly go toe-to-toe with him in any venue. Although suspected, I did not leave because I was angry, upset, or otherwise bothered by anything having to do with Cantwell directly. I left because there was no challenge to the hatred he expressed, other than myself, and it was made clear that my input wasn’t welcome. I’ve got better things to do with my time than watch a Nazi rant freely.

So I don’t know where I stand or even why I’m writing this, except that it’s a notable thing that happened, and I skipped out on The Call to Freedom yesterday because of it–and am likely doing so again today. This is the way I handle things; I retreat and lick the wounds. But, to be clear, there are no wounds in any way caused by Cantwell. I’d even say they’re self-inflicted, due to how I had no right to be there anyway, but, as I said, emotions are what they are and can’t be rationalized away.

But I’m now exploring the possibility of beginning a show called “She Talk Live” with Jackie, who has quit Free Talk Live. Many people seem interested in listening, and I think we’d be fools not to pursue it. So stay tuned for that.

Damn My Eyes

It’s been an interesting day already. In keeping with a plan outlined by Ian Freeman to coopt the GOP I just left the Cheshire County Republican Committee meeting, and there was much more to take away than those things literally discussed. I recorded audio of the event, and will upload it after I’ve cleaned it up a bit, normalized it, and all that, so it will be a few days. There’s not a lot there for one to really comb through; video would be much more fascinating.

It was immediately obvious upon my arrival that I wasn’t simply the only trans person there (totally expected), but was also the only person there who would qualify as young, other than Ian Freeman. In fact, you could double my age and I’d still be younger than a significant portion of the other attendees. While this created some humorous moments, such as when it was stated that “we have to get on the social media,” I couldn’t help but think of a movie I’ve never seen.

Blind rowing, America’s GOP

It was as close to a room full of blind people as I’ve ever seen.

To their credit, they’re aware of the elephant in the room, and they did point at it a few times, but ultimately all they did was acknowledge the elephant. They’re no closer to being rid of it than they were before the meeting; in fact, Ian did more to bring young people into the meeting than any of them, a fact that is certainly worth recognizing.

Other than the one guy who insisted that older people needed to be the recipients of outreach, at least, but such a shortsighted view was only humored by other attendees, and his dual mentions of it received little more than polite acknowledgement that he’d spoken. The CCRC may or may not have an issue with getting older people to go to meetings, and resident older people may or may not be motivated to vote, but even if every person over 50 voted Republican, it solves their problem only for a decade or so.

It’s macabre to note, perhaps, but the elephant must be addressed properly. Older people die, and they are taking the GOP with it.

This was on proud display today, as an upcoming event titled “The Way We Were” made clear, and a bit of quick reminiscing followed by a few others about how Cheshire County “used to be” Republican.

Yeah, well.

I used to be a guy.

Things change, and we adapt to the changes wrought by the chaotic interactions of time and people, or we fade into obscurity, going the way of the dodo and lawn darts. What I saw today was reluctant acknowledgement that the world has changed, and begrudging recognition that the GOP needed to change with it, but a shocking lack of… any idea whatsoever on how that might be accomplished. Nowhere was this clearer than the brief discussion about studying how the Democrats use “the social media” and compiling reports about its effectiveness and cost. Yet there was no shortage of people pointing out that print media is dead.

These two ideas, juxtaposed, should highlight their problem for them, but they evidently refuse to see it. That isn’t fair. They see it, but they’re out of their element–they didn’t adapt as things changed–and are now looking around at increasingly empty rooms that gradually progressed from vibrant, young faces to gray hairs and coughing.

So much coughing. Like an unreal amount.

It began, of course, like an ordinary church service–fitting, considering the purpose of the meeting was ultimately to heap adoration onto the state–with the Pledge of Allegiance (through which Ian and I sat, myself baffled by the display). Then, as though I’d stepped right out of a liberal bastion into a Mayberry church service, an honest-to-god hymn was sung: “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” or whatever its proper name is.

And then–and I must stress that I have audio recording of this–after the song finished, a single voice rang out “Amen.”

It went from mundane to weird to “OMFG I’M DYING” in the span of about three minutes. “Amen” is certainly a fitting way to end a prayer and hymn to the state, but to actually see and hear this was shocking.

Anyway, the GOP in general has a relatively simple branding issue. The problem is not complex, but the solution would be. I didn’t sign their attendance paper because I’m not comfortable having my name in any way associated with Republicans. The perception is that they’re stodgy old white people obsessed with a world that never was, and convinced they can somehow resist the tides of change through sheer obstinacy.

Their infrastructure remains strong, but we need only three things to absolutely conquer the Republican Party with libertarians: more libertarians, time, and patience. I wish no ill on anyone, but time does what it does, and there is no one at the CCRC to carry on the torch except Ian and me. All battles, ideological, political, and real, are won by those who remain standing. Realistically, in fifteen years Ian and I will likely be the only people still there, from those who attended today.

I can’t imagine this is irregular for the Republicans. Photographs of their meetings reveal the same phenomenon, and the only competing party is the Democratic one, which is decisively winning the ideological war among young people. Republicans can (and, indeed, they did) blame “brainwash” by the education system if they want, but it’s not going to change that young people are predominantly Democrats or Libertarians.

Canvassing colleges isn’t going to change that, for the same reason I don’t want an “R” next to my name. They have to change their image, and whether they want to change it is immaterial. We just need more people doing it. No, I don’t want “Republican” next to my name because of all the stereotypes and connotations it entails, but I’m aware the only way to change said implications… is to have “Republican” next to my name.

It isn’t for the sake of the Republican Party, though. It’s for the sake of libertarianism, and hijacking the Republicans’ political infrastructure to undermine and dismantle the state. I don’t give a damn about the Republicans or their current platform; I want to erase their entire platform and replace it with the NAP.

Political parties have faded and died, and evolved, through the history of the United States. Looking around today, it was obvious that we’re on the verge of that. Give us ten to twenty years, and we can simply change its name from “Republican Party” to “Libertarian Party.”

Because we’ll be the only ones left standing.

Predators & Prey

I’ve been pulled over a lot in the last month or so, and by “a lot,” I mean somewhere between five and eight times. We’ve officially reached a point, however, where it simply isn’t my fault; I’m trapped in the wheels of inefficient, moronic bureaucracy, and there’s no quick or easy way out.

During the month of August that I’ve alluded to, my driver’s license expired, and I couldn’t do anything to prevent it because I didn’t have the money. When I did have the money, I had all my paperwork–except my birth certificate, which has to be a certified copy because my license was expired. So I contacted my family in Mississippi and had them send it to me. Although mailed out in early October, and postmarked the same, it was early December before it actually arrived. When it did arrive, what I found were useless photocopies, so at the first available opportunity I called the number in Jackson and ordered one.

When I got pulled over again two days ago, it inspired me to look at the order number and see what the holdup is, and I learned that Mississippi requires additional identity verification and that I must send them a photocopy of a valid, non-expired governmental ID. There were no other identity verification options.

I need my birth certificate to get an ID, and I need my ID to get my birth certificate.

“Ain’t life grand?” remarked my grandmother when I called her, to give my debit card information and let my father order it for me, but it isn’t “life” that created this quagmire. It’s the state.

Of course, the reason I am continually targeted by the local thugs isn’t my expired driver’s license. It’s my expired licence plate, which I can fix much more easily–by sending someone in Mississippi the money, having them go to the courthouse and paying my “privilege to travel” extortion fee, and mailing me my magical “I’m a good tax slave” sticker. The problem with this is that there aren’t many people in Mississippi I can trust with this, and my grandmother is in her 80s. My sister is the only viable option, and she tends to be pretty busy, but that’s exactly what I’m doing.

A different and totally unrelated issue is that my driver’s side brake light is extremely uncooperative and just… stops working… at random times. If I didn’t catch it, then I’m effectively driving around with a brake light out. If I do catch it, then it’s easily fixed my tapping the fixture. I don’t know why it’s doing this, but it is what it is.

A week or so ago, I expected to be arrested. I’d been pulled over on Main Street here in Keene for the brake light being out, at which point they found my license expired and my registration expired. In Mississippi I’d have gone straight to jail, my car towed away. However, they didn’t even issue a citation, or technically a warning. Instead, the officer essentially asked me, rather politely, to take care of the brake light, and sent me on my way. Very curious.

Except it isn’t. I’ve been in Keene less than a year, but I’ve already made a few waves, primarily by running for sheriff, which earned me a fair bit of media coverage, most importantly in a feature article for New Hampshire’s largest newspaper. During the campaign I also went on the show of none other than Chris Cantwell to discuss the campaign and trans matters, so they were a fun few months (for those curious, I received 2.4% of the vote, which is phenomenal considering the absolute lack of actual campaigning).

I’m also associated with the Liberty Radio Network and less so associated with Free Keene, a group notorious in this small town for creating problems for the state. So if the local thugs don’t recognize me (which is, to be frank, impossible), the LRN bumper stickers on my car will give it away. I’m essentially a complicated set of headaches that they don’t want to deal with, nevermind being trans.

It’s also not like I’m intentionally flouting the authority of the state. Quite the opposite: I’m doing my best to accommodate its contradictory and asinine demands. It’s literally not my fault the original birth certificate took an incredible two months to arrive from my family, or that the state of Mississippi in its never-ending brilliance has decided one must have a valid ID to get the birth certificate needed to acquire a valid ID.

I don’t mean to insult the Keene PD here. In fact, I find them to be the most benevolent of all law enforcement agents with which I’ve ever dealt. During the month of August, I was given a ride on two occasions by a Keene police officer, and they’ve never been anything but polite and friendly toward me, even when, by all legality, they probably should have arrested me.

Most importantly, I don’t feel it when the Keene police are about to pull me over, and this is what the enormous prelude above was getting to. I’m willing to bet we all know the feeling to which I’m referring: it’s a sensation that can only fairly be described as “being hunted.”

I’ve been harassed by thugs throughout my peaceful existence enough to bet that everyone knows that sense of being a prey. Is it that they drive so aggressively when they’re prowling for victims? I am not sure.

Most recently I was accosted by a state trooper, and I immediately knew, as he pulled out behind me, that he would pull me over. This did not change over the next mile, as he continued to follow me, and I was not in the least surprised when those blue lights began flashing just outside of where I live. On this occasion, I was being pulled over not for having an expired licence plate, but for having an out of state license plate. Through our brief conversation, I was rudely informed that I can’t be in New Hampshire while having Mississippi tags.

This, of course, is extremely stupid, and quite obviously false. There are three states within a fifteen minute drive of Keene, and there are people from all over New England in Keene. There are reasons beyond the cost of registration (in New Hampshire it’s about nine times more expensive than in Mississippi) to keep my registration where it is, but they’re not worth getting into here, and it’s even worth the additional cost to sign the car over to my business located in Mississippi.

But I think it says a lot about the current state of affairs that law enforcement agents generate the same primal sense of dread and fear that are triggered when one is being followed by a rapist through a back alley, or when our ancestors were stalked by predators thousands of years ago. Of course, they are predators, so it shouldn’t really be a surprise–just something we consider.

What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been

Well.

For the people out there who knew me as the Anarchist Shemale in the first place, I probably appeared to drop off the face of the world. I didn’t, of course, and have been around this entire time, primarily on the daily radio show that I co-host, The Call To Freedom, which can be listened to on the Liberty Radio Network, or watched live each day on Twitch, from 4p to 7p EST Monday through Friday. Of course, I’ve also been on Free Talk Live a fee times lately, and ran for sheriff as a libertarian, so I’ve been around.

I moved, you see, in July, and found myself in Keene, New Hampshire, the home of Free Keene and the LRN Studio, as well as the Liberty Family with whom I spent thanksgiving and Xmas. August was an especially bad month wherein one thing after the other went as catastrophically wrong as conceivable, but I survived, and things are leveling out nicely. So here I am, back to resume the writings that I allowed to lapse in 2018 to focus on the radio show.

Of course, I would be silly not to mention my own Twitch channel, at which I can be found with unpredictable irregularity playing games, often the original Legend of Zelda.

Those who have kept up with me through these last few months know that I’ve come out as bisexual (to the surprise of no one), and live permanently as a woman now, so that’s a thing that went down. 2018, despite hosting what I’ll remember as the worst month of my life (worse even than the Vegas Ordeal, though for very different reasons), was a good year, and I’m excited to be moving forward. 

There are still complications with which I’m contending from August, but I hope to have the last of those worked out within the next few weeks. No, I have no intention of telling anyone what happened in August, or why it was actually so bad. There was a lot that I’ve told no one about, and the only person who has any indication of the extent to which it sucked was my co-host Will Coley, in whom I confided one day that I thought there was no option but for me to return to Mississippi. 

But I fought through, and I’m still here, with the bulk of that behind me. I’m happy, and that’s been worth a bad month. Last week I sang karaoke with Ian Freeman of Free Talk Live at a bar, for example, so despite appearances I engage in more than simply work. It’s a fun life. 

I’ll be returning to my usual thing here, so stay tuned for my philosophical and political writings–they’re coming. 

Thoughts on Trump's Military Ban of Transgender/Transsexual People

To steal a line from Will Coley:

Oh no! Transgender and transsexual people are no longer allowed to murder brown people in foreign countries!

We should ban everyone from joining the military.

Meanwhile, transgender and transsexual people in prisons and jails continue to serve sentences in their birth sex’s cell block, where they are raped hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of times, and this grievous issue continues to go ignored, because the average trans person can’t pretend to be a victim of that. Instead, they’ll focus on the lesser issues of bathrooms and military service, because all they want is to cry about being a victim, and fighting for trans prisoners doesn’t allow them to pretend to be victims.

Socialism & Fascism

In a recent article, Robert Higgs made the argument that socialism is pretty much dead, and that fascism is instead the dominant economic policy on the globe. As far as I’m aware, this is my first exposure to Higgs, and I must confess: I’m not impressed.

First, it should be readily observable to all people that fascism and socialism are related, in the same sense that an orchestra maestro entails mastery of the musical pieces; fascism is the conductor’s mastery, and socialism is mastery of the song. It’s possible to be a master of the song without being a master conductor, but it’s not possible to be a master conductor without being a master of the song.

In classic logic terms, all bloops are bleeps, but not all bleeps are bloops.

This is because socialism is an economic policy, while fascism is what we would call governmental policy. It’s true that “fascism” is a notoriously difficult idea to pin down, and a lot of people mistakenly attribute “nationalism” as one of its primary tenets, but that’s a misattribution, a result of people focusing more on words than with the essence represented by those words. State supremacy is the hallmark of fascism. Through most of human history, this would have manifested as nationalism and the notion that the nation is the greatest; in more modern times, it manifests primarily as globalism, and the notion that a global government would be the greatest. However, regardless at what level the fascist pledges their allegiance (whether to the nation or to the globe), the primary hallmark is the same: the state that is in charge is supreme.

Everything within the state. Nothing outside the state, nothing beyond the state.

— Benito Mussolini

Socialism is an idea that prescribes state ownership of capital. To explain this, we must clarify the difference between capital and a consumption good. A consumption good is one that does not increase in value, one that, under normal conditions, only decreases in value (i.e., is “used up”). A consumption good is something that is used and ultimately discarded, and is not an investment. Televisions, cell phones, food, clothing, gasoline, and other similar items are consumption goods. Socialism absolutely allows for individuals within the socialist society to own consumption goods. Even the most diehard socialist isn’t going to advocate a system where Bob, having run out of toothpaste, can enter your apartment and help himself to yours. In the socialist apparatus, consumption goods regularly pass into ownership by consumers, where they are consumed, and the state merely creates, assigns, and hands out these consumption goods.

Capital, on the other hand, is held entirely by the state. Houses, land, vehicles, manufacturing plants, and similar items are the property of the state, and the state uses this capital to create the consumption goods and dole them out to the citizens. The state owns the toothpaste manufacturing plant and provides one tube a month to each citizen, in other words, and once that toothpaste is handed over, it’s generally considered that citizen’s toothpaste. The state doesn’t really care what happens to consumption goods, because they are consumption goods–even if Bob hoards all of his toothpaste and attempts to sell it on the black market, it’s just not going to give him enough capital to seriously challenge the state. Besides which, it has an expiration date–the day is coming that the toothpaste will be without any value at all.

When we discuss “private property” under the ideas of capitalism, we are not saying that individuals have the right to own consumption goods–this right is a given, and even the most adamant socialist isn’t likely to challenge it. Instead, we are saying that individuals have the right to own capital. Individuals have the right to purchase items that will generate a return on the investment, that will produce wealth. Under capitalism, an individual can purchase the glass, copper, gold, plastic, and whatever else is necessary in order to produce phones, which are then sold as consumption goods to other individuals for money, thereby creating a return on the investment. This model is obviously successful, and obviously creates a net benefit to society as a whole: some people get the phone, and one person is rewarded for their investment with more money.

But it’s not my intention here to point out that capitalism is better.

In fact, the requirement that individuals be allowed to own capital is in the name: capitalism. We could easily call socialism consumptionism, in fact, because it restricts the individual’s ownership of property solely to consumption items–to the phones produced, to the toothpaste, to the gasoline, to the food, and never to the facilities, rigs, or farms where these things are produced. Instead, everything of real value that can have labor added to it in order to increase that value belongs to the state.

Five hundred acorns are of very little value to me, after all. However, by adding my labor to them (by planting them, nourishing them, and watering them), I can turn them into 500 trees of considerable value. This is the essence of capitalism: taking a resource, investing in it, and seeing a return on those resources. In the socialist order, one would still be allowed to own acorns, in most cases, but the state would claim the trees as soon as they were grown, and would fine and arrest the person who planted them.

Socialism is state ownership and control of capital property.

Fascism is state control of pretty much everything, including capital property. The state cannot be supreme if it does not control the means of production (i.e., capital). This is why every fascist government that has risen has also been socialist, from Mussolini’s Italy to Hitler’s Germany to Kim Jong Un’s North Korea. Strangely, in his article, Higgs stated that North Korea is one of the few socialist nations in the world today. I have to marvel that this popular thinker doesn’t understand what he’s talking about, because socialism absolutely dominates the globe. In fact, North Korea is one of the few fascist nations in the world today, where the state openly controls everything from education programs to capital.

Similarly, we in the United States are much more fascist than we’d like to realize, and we’re entirely socialist. No American is allowed to own capital; the ownership of all capital is ultimately the American Government. In a capitalist order, a person purchases a house and the land around it, and then it’s theirs–it belongs to them, and they can do whatever they want with it, because they are the owner. This is not the case in the United States. In the United States, the person has an enormous list of things they are not allowed to do with the property, must petition for the right to do countless things that they supposedly have the right to do, and then must pay rent each year to avoid having the property taken away from them. Paying property taxes to the government in order to avoid having the government take the property away is not in any sense different from paying a bank note to prevent the bank from taking the property away.

Why should the government get money from you each year, just because you own a house and the land around it? It’s not the government’s house or land, is it? By inserting themselves into this process, lining up outside of your property with guns and soldiers and demanding that you hand over money or they will forcibly remove you, the state has usurped your ownership of the home and made itself the owner. We can use all the doublethink and cognitive dissonance we like, but the fact remains that this affair is known as “renting,” and not “owning.”

This is similarly the case for whatever manufacturing facility you own. Not only are you required to pay duties on thins that you import, but you must pay the government a portion of your profits regularly, because, if you don’t, they will take the manufacturing facility away from you. And, of course, you can’t just build a manufacturing facility in your backyard; you must acquire permits, many of which are exorbitantly expensive, and rely on getting the government’s permission for you to use “your” property in the way that you want in the first place.

This, to Robert Higgs, is “private property.”

What nonsense.

It would be no different if I came by your manufacturing facility once a month with armed goons and demanded a cut of your profits for “protection,” and made it clear that, if you didn’t pay, you would have an “accident” that would end with one of my people being installed as the owner of the facility. This is what the state does now, today, in 2017 Common Era, in the United States. The idea that this arrangement constitutes “private property” is demonstrably false, and has been demonstrated as so.

If that was your house, you could burn it down. If that was your house, you could add a wing without getting permission from the government. If that was your house, you could install your own septic tank. If that was your house, you could dig an enormous hole and create a pond. If that was your house, you would not have to pay someone each year in order to prevent it from being taken away from you. Instead, it is the state who decides whether you can have permission to add a wing, it is the state who decides whether you may install a septic tank (“No, you cannot, but you can pay $1,200 to this guy who paid us $3,000 for his license to do it.”), and it is the state who ultimately owns the property, who must receive a payment from you regularly, on top of all these other considerations.

The thing about ownership is that it means I can do whatever I want with my property.

Compare the ownership of capital in the United States–as most obvious in regard to houses–to the ownership of consumption goods. I can do whatever I want with the Linksys WRT54GL that I’m looking at. I can write my name on it. I can install DDWRT firmware. I can put it on whatever subnet I want. I can take it outside and smash it to pieces. I can unload sixteen 12 gauge shotgun shells into it. I don’t have to ask anyone’s permission, and I don’t have to pay anyone each year for the “privilege” of owning it. It’s mine.

That difference is critical to understanding the current state of the world. No, Mr. Higgs, socialism is not on the decline. It’s more powerful than ever, and more dominant than ever. If we do not take back the right to own capital, free of government regulations, government mandates, and government threats of theft, then the problems we face can never be fixed.

And all of this is without even getting into Intellectual Property, eminent domain, civil asset forfeiture, and the millions of regulations that bear down on us every single day. Anyone who looks at this state of affairs and calls it “private property” is severely confused. After all, both socialism and capitalism feature the ownership of consumption goods. As such, the ownership of consumption goods cannot be a deciding factor in whether a society is capitalist or socialist–as it is contained on both sides of the equation, it is reduced:

Private ownership of capital + private ownership of consumption goods = Capitalism

State ownership of capital + private ownership of consumption goods = Socialism

Anyone can see that “private ownership of consumption goods” has nothing to do with it, and must be subtracted from both. What we’re left with is that “private ownership of capital = capitalism” and “state ownership of capital = socialism.” Seeing as Fascism is state dominance over everything, from medicine to education to capital to consumption goods (because, for obvious reasons, if the state manufactures the only toothpaste in existence, then the state controls who has toothpaste and who doesn’t, as opposed to capitalism, where a person who has pissed off Colgate can still purchase Crest).

Fascism is also alive and well, although the state that people want to be supreme over everything has moved up one level, for the most part, to globalism instead of nationalism. This is why I once made the point that national fascism is easier to defeat than global fascism, while I explained my support for Brexit and America leaving NATO and the United Nations. Although viewed as contentious, that statement is actually an obvious extrapolation of how local governments are easier to influence than federal ones. It is much easier to get my city council to do what I want than it is to get the federal government to do what I want, and much easier to get the federal government to do what I want than it is to get the world government to do what I want. There is also the reality that world government soldiers from Uganda and New Guinea will face no real hardship oppressing people in California, while soldiers from California will face some internal difficulty oppressing people in Arkansas, and soldiers from Tate County, Mississippi will face considerable internal strife oppressing the people of Tate County. Local > distant, in every conceivable way.

However, that fascists today are roughly evenly split between nationalism and globalism is of no concern. They want state supremacy either way. The global fascists simply want to create a higher level of government to be supreme and enforce their desires. In that way, the globalist fascists are more fascist than the nationalist ones. And, yes, there is a strong correlation between those who want a powerful world government that can dictate national policies and those who openly desire socialism; yet, even among the national fascists, there is a strong tendency for the state to control different aspects of people’s lives (marriage, sexual identity, drugs, whatever). The globalist fascists simply want to create a Big Joker, because they don’t like how the nationalist fascists have the Little Joker.

 

Suicide is Not For the Coward

So the lead singer of alternative rock band Linkin Park is in the news, because he killed himself by hanging. While I haven’t liked Linkin Park since their first album, and since I was in the 9th grade, a lot of people are coming forward to call Chester a coward for committing suicide, primarily because it means he left six children behind.

Regardless of whether you approve of his choice, it is stupid, and a horrific misrepresentation of the situation, to call someone a coward because they killed themselves.

Suffering is Relative

First, it must be pointed out that suffering is relative, and none of us has any insight into the inner turmoil within anyone else, and so none of us have the authority or information to accurately assess whether the person chose the “easy” route of suicide and was wrong to do so. We simply don’t know–because we can’t know–how a person feels, unless they tell us, and Chester did come pretty close to that, through his lyrics. These lyrics, incidentally, were those that angst-filled teens adored and identified with, because their own internal suffering was reflected back to them. But that isn’t really important.

Courage & Cowardice

I know many people who have “attempted” suicide. I’m among them, and the scars on my wrist bear it out. I was hospitalized in a behavioral ward several years ago because of it. Even after extensive research, I still didn’t cut deeply enough to hit the veins–no, seriously, the veins in your wrist are much deeper than you’re thinking–and I didn’t have any guns at the time. Today, I know a scary amount of information about suicide. Because of this, I’m well aware that the recent old Republican who “killed himself” with helium actually did commit suicide, and that there couldn’t possibly have been any foulplay. I know that, because I once owned a helium tank for exactly that purpose.

But I never did it.

Why not?

Because, as a method of suicide, it’s almost instantaneous. There is no time for second thoughts. Once you exhale and lower that bag over your head, that’s it. You pass out, and about half an hour later, you die, unconscious. I’m simply not struggling with depression badly enough to pursue that en sincera. I don’t want to die.

With very few exceptions, that is the same thing that nearly everyone who “attempts suicide” decides. There’s a reason that successful suicide rates are low. It’s not an easy thing to do. Substantial biological programming and the desire to survive outweigh most forms of depression, and, even when the depression is heavier, the person must face head-on their fear of death.

Anyone who has ever sat there with the barrel of a gun in their mouth, the blade of a razor against their wrists, a noose around their neck, or any other such situation and who still lives faced their fear of death head-on.

And they buckled.

They can make all the excuses they want. They can say that they realized that they were loved. They can say that they realized their problems would pass. They can say any-damned-thing that they want. But I know it, and they know it: the reason they live is that they are cowards. They stood on the precipice of oblivion and feared to jump, and so they backed away from the cliff. Some of these people are now calling Chester a coward because he didn’t back down from the precipice of oblivion.

Are you kidding me?

An Animal’s Instincts of Self-Preservation

There is tremendous resistance to death. Anyone who has seen wild animals chew off their own limbs (or humans saw off their own limbs) to escape from deadly situations knows that there is a powerful Will to Live inside every organism. Humans and non-humans are capable of incredible things in the interest of self-preservation, something that modern “horror” movies love exploiting for shock value. Put two people in a room together and tell them that one of them must kill the other, and then the survivor will be free, and they will almost immediately attempt to kill each other (Fun note: this is what Nietzsche described as Middle Class Morality). Saw off their own leg? No problem, once they have pursued other options.

Here’s a cold, hard fact for you: almost everyone out there–at least 99.999% of people–would cry and beg profusely as someone else lowered a noose around their neck. They would do anything, say anything, and promise anything to be spared. Disgusting amounts of tears and snot would run down their faces as they panicked, prayed to every god they could think of, and begged everyone nearby to “Please, I’ll do anything…” These are the same people calling Chester a coward because he lowered the noose around his own neck.

It would be funny, if it wasn’t true that, evidently, that’s how they see it.

There is an enormous difference between “thinking very hard about suicide” and gathering the means to do it, and actually proceeding with it. Even if the attempt is a failure, there is such an enormous gap between “thinking about suicide” and “legitimately trying to kill oneself” that most people can’t even fathom the divide.

It’s the same divide that exists between people who imagine how brave they would be if they faced down a criminal with a gun, and the people who have been there, and who gladly handed over their wallets and were terrified. Fear, after all, is what keeps people alive. It’s what kept human beings out of the darkness where there were lions, wild dogs, and hippos. That same exact fear keeps people from putting the gun in their mouth and pulling the trigger. It’s easy to say “I could have. I would have. I just changed my mind.”

In fact, it reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Kramer says he’s going to build “levels” in his apartment, and Jerry bets him that it will never happen. In the end, Kramer renegs on the bet, and says that Jerry didn’t win, because, “I could have done it. I just didn’t want to.” Jerry vainly attempts to remind him, “That’s the bet! The bet is that you wouldn’t do it.” Kramer again reiterates, “But I could have.” Frustrated, Jerry says, “The bet wasn’t that you couldn’t. The bet was that you wouldn’t,” but it’s to no avail.

This is what people are saying when they say that they could have committed suicide, and they would have–if they hadn’t considered the loved ones they were leaving behind. The loved ones that they remembered were the panicked product of innate biological tendencies within an animal to preserve itself because it was afraid. It doesn’t matter what their reason for changing their mind is–why were they considering such things in the first place? By that point, they are already second-guessing whether they want to commit suicide. What propelled that? What caused them to stop and think about anything instead of just taking the gun, putting it in their mouths, and pulling the trigger? Why weren’t they just thinking about that?

Because their brain was desperately afraid and trying to stop to them using the last tool it had at its disposal. Compelling one to stop and think about all the loved ones being left behind is how it does that.

Anyone who ever attempted suicide–or “thought about” attempting suicide–and who still lives is a coward. They stood on the edge of the precipice, and they backed down. They can offer up any excuse they want, but, at the end of the day, what stopped them was fear. There’s no other reason why they’d have stopped to consider loved ones in the first place. That’s the brain’s last defense mechanism against self-destruction.

Consider this: the person who is about to commit suicide and stops because they think of the pain and suffering it will bring the loved ones left behind are aware, at least in some ways, that the fact that they even care about the pain and suffering they’ll leave behind will vanish the moment they’re dead. Sure, “If I commit suicide, I’ll leave behind so much pain and suffering.” Yet, also sure, “But I’ll be dead, so… there won’t be even a single solitary second of my existence where I feel the pain of having left people behind by killing myself, because I’ll have killed myself.” They didn’t think about that, though. I’d bet that thought didn’t occur to the overwhelming majority of people who attempted/thought about suicide. And why not? Because their brain was looking for ways to talk them out of it, not looking for ways to talk them into it.

Thoughts & Control

We tend to think of “our thoughts” as something we control, and our brains as something that is fully at our mercy, and that’s simply not true. Sentience is a curious thing, but your brain absolutely does things to try to convince “you” of things. The human brain is countless parts communicating with one another, not some collective unit that the “I” controls. You’re breathing right now–you are not in control of that. Your heart is beating right now. You can no more make your heart stop beating than (and this is important) you can make yourself stop thinking. You don’t control your thoughts. A thought comes when it wants to, not when “you” want it to. When some part of your brain decides to generate it, that’s when the thought occurs. You can no more create that thought than you can stop it. It’s coming. The only choice you have is how “you” deal with that thought. Whatever you are thinking about when the clock strikes noon after reading this, you won’t have any power to prevent.

The “I” takes these thoughts coming in from various parts of the brain, and assembles them into some form it can process, and then makes a decision. Maybe the “I” can control the decision that it makes, and maybe it can’t, because the decision itself is merely a product of the information sent to it by thoughts that it cannot dictate–it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that the “I” doesn’t control what thoughts come, or when those thoughts come. Even extensive training by Buddhist monks cannot allow one to indefinitely take control of what thoughts come, or when those thoughts come. However focused the Buddhist monk is, and however in control of their thoughts they are, the moment they have to get back to life, they surrender control back to other parts of their brain. What will they think about while they slice potatoes in the monastery? While they till the ground?

You can do it, too. Think about an elephant, and try to keep thinking about an elephant. How long does it take you to realize that you’re not longer thinking about an elephant? Your thoughts will stray–a conga line of random thoughts perhaps not even related, until finally you’re thinking about John McCain’s brain cancer and realize, after forty seconds, “Oh, shit, I was supposed to be thinking about an elephant!” and direct your thoughts back to a pachyderm. Try to keep that elephant in your mind all day, as you go about work, as you eat lunch. You can’t do it. No one can. It requires exhaustive energy and focus to control one’s thoughts, and it simply cannot be done for any substantial period of time. You may think about the elephant several times an hour throughout the day, but through those instances, you’ll think about colleagues, food, friends, family, driving, money, and countless other things that you can’t control.

Those thoughts of loved ones that the person contemplating suicide has… They can’t control those thoughts, either. The question we have to ask is why the brain generated those thoughts. Why did some part of one’s brain conjure up an image of a son or nephew, and say, “But look how sad he’ll be…” and create vivid imaginings of the future of that child, raised without his father or mother? We can find the answer easily, by asking “What did the conjuration of those thoughts achieve?”

Well, it achieved causing the “I” to back out of committing suicide.

Why would a part of the brain want that?

Because it’s afraid of losing existence.

Conclusion

Maybe you don’t approve of what Chester did. Maybe you think it’s screwed up he left his family behind, and maybe you just think that suicide is immoral (I’ll save that for another day). Maybe you’re more like me, and you don’t really care one way or another, but you’d like it if there wasn’t so much confusion and misunderstanding surrounding suicide. Making the statement, though, that Chester was “wrong” to make the choice that he did is saying “He valued release from his pain more highly than he valued the pain he was leaving with others. His values are wrong, and the pain he left others is much greater than whatever pain he felt.”

I hope we can all immediately see what an asinine statement that is.

We don’t know what pain he felt, or what his personal suffering entailed. We can never know what it was like to live within his head and to feel what he felt. We can never know how deeply in That Place he was. Neither can we know how his children and wife/ex-wife will feel about it. We can guess, and we’d be right to some degree when we’d guess “They’ll be really sad,” but we can’t quantify that. We can’t even quantify our own suffering. Ask any person how much hardship and suffering they face and I’d bet wholeheartedly that you’ll see a graph identical to what we’d expect based on the Dunning-Kruger Effect. Everyone will rate their personal suffering and past hardships at 7.5, or thereabouts. I’d love to see a scientific survey done on this. In fact, I’m going to do one.

But if we cannot properly assess the value of his suffering and how bad it was, or the suffering of his family and how bad it’s going to be, how can we justify making the arrogant claim that he was wrong to make the choice that he did?

Being Audacious & Courting Disaster

You ever do something that you know, beyond almost any doubt, is going to have severely negative consequences? Because I’m about to do that. And I’m really not sure what the fallout will be, but it’s going to be an interesting ride.

First, I was successfully voted into the Audacious Caucus of the Libertarian Party. In fact, I was voted in unanimously with 18-0, and am the second prison to have been voted in with no dissent (The other was Starchild). Even Arvin Vohra isn’t likely to be voted in unanimously.

Second, speaking of Arvin, he was chosen as the first inductee into The Call to Freedom’s “Libertarian Drama Hall of Fame.” It was decided that Arvin is basically the LeBron James of Libertarian Drama, and that’s true, although the drama around him has been pretty mild lately. It’s sort of like South Park–once upon a time, people were outraged, but not it’s just like, “Well, that’s just South Park being South Park…”

That’s the trick of being audacious. If you’re audacious all the time, it becomes almost passé. It’s like the left protesting constantly and marching all the time; eventually, people stop paying attention, because it’s just expected. It’s not exciting or interesting. Arvin seems aware of this (hence his place in the Hall of Fame), because he’s generated no controversy lately, but I’m positive that he will. He’s Arvin. It’s what he does.

In other interesting news, perpetual dickbag Augustus Invictus followed in Austin Petersen’s footsteps and left the Libertarian Party to join the Republican Party. As with Petersen, actual libertarians celebrated the development.

This seems to be the beginning of the exodus of the paleo-libertarians and alt-right fascitarians from the party, including the likes of terminal idiot Jared Howe, Molyneaux, Cantwell, and others who thought the Libertarian Party meant “liberty for me, not for thee.”

And, on that note, the stupid thing I’m about to do: I’m forming an affiliate for the county I live in. The first meeting is July 29th, but I don’t expect it to generate much buzz. The second meeting is when things will begin to get interesting, because by then word will have spread.

I’ve no intention of peddling being transsexual to any sort of advantage or as any tool for getting publicity, but I’ve been a resident of Mississippi long enough to know how this is going to play out. Once that ball gets rolling, it’s going to snowball to unknown degrees, but I expect that at least half the county will be buzzing about the transsexual atheist chair of the county party. This, of course, will motivate many of those people to learn about libertarian philosophy and, especially, how a transsexual person isn’t a Democrat and actually advocates for the right of free association (and has years of history doing it).

It will surely warrant a statement at some point, to which I’m looking forward, which will allow me to change a lot of people’s minds about trans people and liberty. I’d rather the transsexual matter never be brought up, but it will be–persistently. I will be the #1 thing people bring up when they discuss the Libertarian Party of the county, because the chair of the county party is a transsexual atheist.

This will create many problems. Many of my clients are old school, and needing to earn money to not die has left me in the awkward situation of having to continue working as a male, but it’s the elephant in the room. Everyone has noticed. Dudes don’t typically dye their hair vibrant red. Some employees at various clients have even discussed it with me or my colleague; it’s not exactly hard to notice for people who only see me once every few weeks.

I think that’s going to go better than other people expect, though, because the effect of rapport cannot be denied. I discussed this recently–relationships are the destroyers of bigotry, and I’ve got existing relationships with the clients and their employees. They like me. They already know that I’m strange (everyone knows I’m weird), and they don’t mind. The revelation for some of them will just be that I’m more weird than they knew.

Yet there is at least one client for whom it will present an irreconcilable problem, because the client is managed by a couple with a gay son, whose sexuality they are in denial about, and who pulled him out of school to shelter him from the corruptive agents of mainstream society. I could be reading that entire situation wrong, but that assessment is based on my conversations with the guy and with my own experiences with oppressive guardians. So I don’t think that I am.

The remaining two members of my family whose opinions somewhat matter to me will learn the truth, but that’s just as well. I sheltered them from it, but the bell is going to ring, and it really doesn’t matter to me any longer.

There is a real risk of danger and attack. I’ve been attacked before, both for being trans and for being an atheist. A year ago, someone was trying to find out where I lived so that they could pay me a visit. Oh, well. My shotgun stays loaded.

I fully expect the message of liberty to form a bridge between me and most people, because that’s what liberty is: a truce. From there, personal relationships will pick up the slack and allow people to at least rely on cognitive dissonance to not fire me as their I.T. contractor. Or I could be wrong, and they all fire me. I could very well be digging my own grave almost literally.

But I don’t think so. As I said, most of them already know. They can only make so many comments about how I remind them of their step-daughter before it gets to the point of, “Yeah, just go ahead and say it.” Like I said, in most cases it’s the elephant in the room that no one is talking about.

Let’s have some conversations about liberty, and let’s disabuse people of some incorrect ideas.

Net Neutrality

I’ve got a wacky idea. Let’s ask tech experts and economists about net neutrality.

— Me

And I happen to be a tech expert, with a college degree and years of network management. I am no economist, but I’m fairly well-versed in the subject, and, in the interest of laying it all out there, you should know that I advocate the Austrian School of free markets and liberty. My self-education in the field was sufficient for me to pass economics classes in college with As, too. So, with all that out of the way…

What is Net Neutrality?

A buzzword with decreasing value with every passing day. It stands alongside “fascist” and “patriotism” in the category of “words carefully selected and abused to advocate random things and make them sound like something else.” It’s a common tactic used to make a bad thing seem positive, like we saw with “The Patriot Act.”

This isn’t to say that everyone who supports Net Neutrality is trying to pull a fast one. However, it does mean that the term is almost impossible to peg down. To some, it means the government shouldn’t legislate anything about the internet. To others, it means the government should force ISPs to not do certain things. To yet others, it means the government should regulate the crap out of the internet until “everything is fair.”

The largest section of this group, however, wants the government to prevent Internet Service Providers from charging high-bandwidth websites money for “fastlanes,” and that’s what much of this article is going to be centered around. I have to agree that I don’t think it would be a good idea, but I’m not the one who owns the network infrastructure, so I’ve no place to determine what happens to it.

Net Neutrality is Already Dead

At least one mobile carrier is already not counting data usage from certain music apps against their costumers’ data caps, and this means that Net Neutrality, in the sense that these well-meaning but misguided people use it, is already dead. How can SoundCloud compete for your attention with Rhapsody if using SoundCloud consumes your limited data and Rhapsody doesn’t?

By offering better service that outweighs that advantage, and, let’s face it, music is small data-wise anyway. An average 4 minute song as an mp3 will require 4 MB to download; this is 60 MB an hour, and more than one gigabyte in 24 hours. That certainly sounds like a lot, and it is, but it’s also a problem with streaming, not the music or apps.

I don’t stream music or video, because doing so creates an instantaneous copy that cannot be viewed again without being downloaded again. That’s stupid. Even if you just listened to “Master of Puppets,” you’ll have to download the entire 8.6 MB song if you want to hear it again. Due to increased memory sizes and caches, you can probably get around this by rewinding the song to the beginning before it ends, but it still does you no good if you want to hear it again an hour later.

Again: this is stupid.

It’s convenient, sure, but it should never be anyone’s primary means of entertainment delivery. Figure out some way to download the music, shows, and movies you want permanently, and then they need be downloaded only once, after which you can watch and listen as many times as you want at no additional bandwidth cost.

We’re beginning to zero in on the actual problem, aren’t we? Yes, because the problem is that consumers act like bandwidth is an unlimited resource. Rather than buying an episode of a show on iTunes, or getting it free elsewhere, consumers instead stream content repeatedly. This works for shows, movies, and songs that will only be heard once, but anything streamed twice constitutes a net loss of bandwidth.

To be sure, the hard drive space on your computer is substantially less valuable than your bandwidth. Contrary to popular belief, having a bunch of stuff on your hard drive isn’t going to slow your computer down, and most out-of-the-box desktops come with terabyte hard drives (1,000 days’ worth of continuously streamed music). Additionally, most modern televisions have RGB inputs (The blue thing that you connect from your monitor to your desktop), and most modern computers have an HDMI output. There are also Season DVDs, which can’t be discounted.

The problem here is that consumers have treated bandwidth like an infinite resource, and it’s scarce.

Let Me Tell You a Story

I used to fall asleep watching AVGN’s season collections. I’ve fallen asleep with a television on for decades, and that habit isn’t about to change. When I had Sprint and unlimited data, I simply streamed the show from YouTube every night. When I had to switch to Verizon, I realized that I couldn’t keep doing that, because–gasp!–I no longer had unlimited data. I immediately reinstalled a YouTube Downloader and downloaded the seasons I watched regularly (2, 3, and 4). This is precisely the mindset that infects the average American consumer: “I’ll just stream forever, why not, it doesn’t cost me more.”

How To Work Toward a Real Solution

Remember when cell phone carriers offered plans that had 250 Anytime Minutes, free nights and weekends, and free mobile to mobile? No one was screaming for Phone Neutrality then. In fact, no one disputed that T-Mobile had the right to not deduct from customers’ minutes if the customer called another T-Mobile line and, during part of this growth, “Free mobile to mobile” was often limited by carrier. Sprint did it, too, where you could call any Sprint costumer without using up your precious and limited minutes.

“But that isn’t fair to rural customers!” people might say. “They don’t have access to different carriers in the first place!”

Yes and no. Everyone has access to dial-up. I’m sorry, but it’s true, and we can’t pretend like that’s not the case. Anyone unhappy with Comcast or Verizon or any other ISP can use dial-up; it’s simply false to say they have no other options. Prior to the availability of 3G coverage in rural areas, I used dial-up primarily–as recently as 2011 I had dial-up internet. I played World of Warcraft on dial-up. Similarly, those people who had coverage by only one carrier still always had their landline they could fall back on. We don’t have the right to cell phone service, and neither do we have the right to DSL. You have the right to not have a government-forced monopoly thrown on you, but that’s where your rights end.

The same things that saw mobile phones through their difficult periods of growth will see ISPs through: We already have data caps on many services. It would be easy for ISPs to waive the data usage after 9:00 pm, or from 6:00 am to 3:00 pm, to encourage people to use heavier traffic during those hours. This would also motivate them to download rather than stream, since they can download something at 7:00 am and then watch it at 7:00 pm. Even if they’re only watching it once, the bandwidth cost will be the same.

Netflix could get in on it, as well, which they already are doing, by allowing users to pre-download shows to watch later. This further frees consumers to use bandwidth outside of peak hours.

And there are still more solutions that companies could come up with, but one thing is sure: this isn’t anyone’s fault but consumers. Consumers are the ones treating bandwidth as though it is infinite while they chase after offered services. That is what has to be fixed, and it’s going to cost consumers one way or another. If it doesn’t, we only harm the internet by making it less profitable to the people who provide the stuff we like.

Cultural Buffets: I'll Debate You, Michael W. Miller

I’ll spare you all the details and give a brief summary. Arvin Vohra criticized Liberty Hangouts publicly, and members of Liberty Hangouts defended themselves. This led Arvin to apologize and correct himself, and on this thread of comments there appeared a discussion between Jason Weinman (with whom I’ve had disagreements with the past because, if I recall correctly, he went hard for Gary Johnson) and Michael William Miller of Liberty Hangouts about various things I don’t really care about. During the name-calling and pedantry, Michael said:

If you mean we support traditional values, yes, but we have never called once for legislation forcing anyone to do anything.

And, moments later:

[D]o you want to debate this on a livestream? [W]e’d be more than happy to host it on Liberty Hangout. 🙂

While, from what I can gather, the debate invitation was to discuss whether or not Liberty Hangout had called for legislation of traditional values, Jason Weinman declined the invitation. However, I would gladly debate anyone at Liberty Hangout on “traditional” values, and whether it’s a concern that they’re being eroded.

My Values Are My Values, and Therefore Correct

Everyone believes this to be true. It’s an application of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, in fact. Just as we use our ability to play the guitar to understand how skilled another guitar player is, so do we use our own values to judge the values of other people. When we look at uncontacted tribes that segregate girls from their tribe when they hit puberty, we reject the idea as backward and immoral, because our values tell us that it’s wrong to treat people that way, it will have severe permanent damage on the girl’s self-esteem, and there’s nothing magical or mystical about periods. Yet this assessment itself is built on our values that it’s bad to cause severe permanent damage to people’s self-esteem, and our values that positive self-esteem is a good thing. I’ve discussed this countless times before and won’t go into it in full detail. Instead, just check out this article on the subject. Or check out this one.

Cultural Competition

More importantly, the reality of the situation isn’t just that “traditional values” are being eroded from within, although many right-wing figures would deny this and focus their efforts on controlling immigration, in full disregard of the fact that America influences the rest of the world, not the other way around, but also that we are seeing cultural competition, and it functions exactly the same way as economic competition. Worldviews compete in the market in exactly the same way that businesses do, and the one that proves to be most efficient wins out in the long-run. In terms of culture, efficiency appears to be measured primarily in inclusiveness. This also makes sense in economic terms, as exclusiveness reduces a business’s customer base.

For example, acceptance of black people as equals won out the culture war when the two sides pitted against one another: one side advocated continued open racism and segregation, and the other side advocated an end to these things. Motivated by self-interest, the majority of people would have put their personal feelings aside, in the event that they were racist, to advocate for equality, because this, in Mississippi for example, increased their customer reach by 37%. An openly racist business in Mississippi immediately loses 37% of all customers, and more, when it’s considered that many people who aren’t black would refuse to do business with such a company. Many others are motivated simply by empathy, which is also self-interest, since no one wants to be filled with negative emotions like guilt and sorrow.

I have no desire to argue whether one side is right or wrong, even when it comes to “traditional values” (one assumes this to mean heterosexuality, anti-transgenderism, etc.) versus contemporary values, because both sides are subjective. Each can be demonstrated as desirable by its own parameters, and each can demonstrate the other as undesirable by those same parameters. Someone who thinks that transsexualism is a mental illness will obviously think that the normalization of transsexualism is a bad idea, because it openly accepts what they consider to be a mental illness, and they find treating mental illnesses as normal to be a bad idea.

Cultural values change over time, and they clearly move in some direction that I won’t try to name. The arc of human history is pretty evident, though, in that we’ve moved toward secularization and acceptance, rather than toward heightened religiosity and bigotry. We’ve also moved from despotism toward liberty and individualism, at least until the rise of fascism in the 20th century that has set us back so drastically. I’d hazard the guess that there is a common thread that connects these things–the move away from bigotry, the move toward secularization, the move toward liberty–but it’s something to think about some other day. The fact remains: cultural values change over time. Whether they are improving or getting worse is up for argument.

It would seem obvious that a stagnant culture would self-destruct in very short order, but it’s equally obvious that there has never been such a thing as a stagnant culture. Today, our culture changes at a shocking speed and is incredibly robust–so robust that many people don’t consider the United States as having a culture. Compare that to the relatively defined culture of Venice, France, and Saudi Arabia. Here in the United States, we have a culture that includes hateful assholes like Steven Anderson (a pastor who openly says that he wishes more trans teens would kill themselves), wonderful nameless Christians who don’t give a shit if someone is trans, atheists like myself who take no part in religion, people who openly believe themselves to be witches, people who openly worship the devil, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, and even scientologists. The only description that will fit these many disparate beliefs and worldviews is that the United States’ culture as a whole values religious freedom.

In another sense, we have goth culture, emo culture, jock culture, snob culture, cheerleader culture, Christian culture, white culture, black culture, Japanese culture, Mexican culture, and so many others that it’s immaterial whether every single individual actively enjoys and embraces all of these different sub-cultures, because, again, on the whole the result is that the Unites States’ culture values cultural differences. This literally allows us to pick and choose what we like from each culture and incorporate it into our lives for personal fulfillment.

I think Michael and I both will agree that “cultural appropriation” is a positive thing, and that SJWs can fuck off.

This allows even the most ardent transphobic Christian to watch and enjoy Japanese anime, to eat burritos, and to have a goth son who listens to Megadeth (though the parent, because of the cultural conflict, won’t be happy about it, hopefully the parent realizes the futility and counterproductive nature of denying the teenager the ability to embrace their own preferences). The United States is basically a gigantic buffet of different cultural elements, and we are actively encouraged (nevermind the lunatic progressives) to take only the dishes that we like, while ignoring the dishes that we don’t like.

My wording in my willingness to accept a debate with Michael isn’t accidental. I have no desire to argue with him about the utility and value of “traditional values.” He has gone to the buffet and taken different dishes–that’s fine. I have absolutely no standing to tell him that the dishes he took are inferior, bigoted, hateful, or narrow-minded. They’re the dishes he likes, and that’s okay. My argument is that it’s not a problem that the Accepting Trans People Dish has been placed on the buffet. I’m not arguing that the “traditional” dishes should be removed from the buffet, and, evidently, Michael isn’t arguing that contemporary dishes should be removed from the buffet (so, really, there’s not much of a debate there).

However, it remains true that anyone who subscribes to traditional values will consider those traditional dishes to be superior to the contemporary ones–and that, in my estimation, is wrong. Not only is it a subjective assessment of different values that is based on the values that go into the assessment (it gets really hard to explain), but the closest we have to “objective” criteria (economic growth, prosperity, and peace) suggests that it’s a positive thing when culture shifts from “whatever it is” along the unnamed thread toward liberty, secularization, and acceptance. This becomes subjective because I value economic growth, prosperity, and peace, and I have absolutely no objective reason that I can point to in order to suggest that economic growth, prosperity, and peace are good things (see Darkside Philosophy for an idea of how deep that rabbit hole gets).

So the questions are ultimately:

  • Does the presence of contemporary values on the Cultural Buffet in any way decrease the value of traditional values?

The answer is “No,” but, to be fair, I don’t think Michael would make that argument in the first place. This is sort of counterintuitive. If we laid out a buffet of ten different currencies, all of them equal to 100 of whatever currency they are (one hundred dollars, one hundred pounds, one hundred euros, etc.), it would seem to cheapen the value of the 100USD if the USD customarily were the only option. However, given that monopolies are inherently wasteful and inefficient (whether cultural, currency, or business monopolies), the presence of competition would more likely increase the value of the USD.

  • Is the presence of contemporary values on the Cultural Buffet a negative detriment to the traditional values?

This is very similar to the first question. If a child of one of the traditional diners is intrigued by the look of some contemporary values dish, it could be argued that the mere presence of the dish piqued the child’s imagination, which wouldn’t have happened otherwise. But here we have to point out: if the traditional dish is superior, then there is no harm in allowing the child to taste the contemporary dish. If we place a bowl of chocolate ice cream, and a bowl of sprinkle-covered shit on the buffet, it wouldn’t really be a problem, no matter how much one didn’t want one’s child to eat sprinkle-covered shit. If the chocolate ice cream is better, then even if the child does get the chance to taste the shit, the child will surely go running back to the ice cream at the first opportunity. This is the cowardice and weakness that underlies cultural protectionism: if their values were truly superior–as they profess to believe–it would be unnecessary to prevent others from being exposed to other values. I have no issue with my clients trying out other I.T. companies, because I know they’ll come running back to me in very short order.

  • Are traditional dishes likely to survive the diversity of the buffet in any noteworthy sense?

The answer here is “no,” just as the traditional dish of “divine right of kings” hasn’t survived the buffet. Sure, a few people every once in a while can be found eating that dish, but the total impact that dish has on the overall culture is negligible. Greek Mythology is another traditional dish that hasn’t been treated well by the buffet. Even though we can find people today who worship Zeus, Greek Mythology is widely considered mythology rather than a religion, and the total impact that Zeus worshipers have on wider society is negligible. As long as no one comes along and removes the dish from the buffet, it’s up to the people who like and prefer that dish to convince other people that it’s a dish worth having.

If one can’t do that, then I guess the dish isn’t that good after all. I don’t have to convince people to try my chicken enchiladas, because they’re freaking delicious, and smelling them while hearing everyone raving about them (no joke, my chicken enchiladas are amazing, but it’s not my recipe) will entice them to try them. I don’t have to convince people to not eat the beef burrito; I just have to convince them to give my own dish a shot. And if my dish is really as good as I say it is, after that it will speak for itself.