Archives

My Words Are Mine

There was another Super Ma’am freak-out this week, and this time from a black trans woman mocking a “no neck bitch” after she was called “sir” in a place of business. As many who follow me know, I spend a fair bit of my time attempting to refute the common anti-trans stereotypes that are so often thrown around, and it’s frustrating to see “my own people” willfully playing into those stereotypes instead of challenging them.

We do a great disservice to children by not teaching them the proper place of emotions, as they can be used for good or destruction. The power of raw emotion, and the critical importance of tempering them, is something that I discuss frequently, and will always discuss when the opportunity rises. An emotion can be either a fire that burns or a piece of steel to be forged. Isolating that emotion to a concrete building and letting it burn itself out is certainly a valid choice, but it isn’t my preferred one–instead, use the anvil of reason and the hammer of creativity to turn the lump of steel into a sword. Don’t let it be a fire that engulfs you; use it to create, like the song above, “Your Fall From Grace,” which I wrote while in the throes of anger–and it shows, being the most angry song I’ve ever composed. 

But more to the point, we need to discuss perceptions, word choice, and human interactions, because the “Learn your pronouns!” stuff has to stop. 

Anyone with even a passing interest in psychology or economics (the study of human action) will realize very quickly that words like “he” and “she” are selected by the user automatically, with little or no cognition put into them at the time of usage. From very, very early ages, we are taught when to use “he” and when to use “she,” just as we are taught when to say “please” and when to say “thank you.” No one has to put any thought into it to determine whether to say “please” or “thanks” when the occasion comes up; it happens automatically and without deliberate selection. When making a request, one says “please.” When receiving something, one says “thanks.” 

The power of the human brain is that it’s capable of shifting much of our interactions into auto-pilot like this. We don’t have to think about whether to say “hello” or “goodbye” when we run into someone, which frees our brain to think about other things (while it also controls our breathing, movement, heartbeat, and other necessary functions). Just ponder for a moment how exhausting it would actually be, when faced with any person, to have to dedicate any amount of thought to whether you’re supposed to say “hello” or “goodbye.” This is a useful feature, and one would hope that everyone would be aware of it, but this doesn’t seem to be the case.

Whether to say “sir” or “ma’am,” or to refer to someone as “he” or “she” is similarly automatic. When we ask someone to call us a different pronoun, we are asking them to dedicate part of their conscious thought to casual conversation–we are asking them to do work. We are asking them to throw a wrench into an automatic process in the course of a conversation and to instead deliberately ponder whether to say “hello” or “goodbye.” This is not an easy task, even for the most “woke” person out there, and we should never be upset when someone slips back into auto-pilot in conversation. Neither should we be upset when someone does it intentionally, of course–at least, we shouldn’t simply allow that emotion to burn uncontrolled in the forest of our life. 

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it many more times: I get called “sir” every single night at work, most commonly over the phone. Sometimes, though, people do it in person. As accepting as my co-workers are, and as visible as they are putting aforementioned deliberate effort into calling me “she,” the truth is that if I got bent out of shape and went on a wild, emotional tirade every time this happened, I wouldn’t still have a job. No one wants to work with someone so unpredictable, unhinged, and uncontrolled, nevermind that it would also mean that I regularly lashed out, chastised, and drove away paying customers. I work as a female and live as a female, and my coworkers are among the most accepting people I’ve ever met (realistically, probably more accepting than I am), but a lot of this acceptance is due to the fact that I’m not an insufferable cunt. 

That’s what this is really about, of course. While “he” and “she” are programmed into us at very early ages and are selected automatically and unconsciously, this doesn’t change the fact that the other person’s perceptions of me are what their brain uses to determine which to use. Rather than forcing that person to put in the work to consciously choose which pronoun to use, if am the one who wants to change their speech, then the onus falls onto me to alter their perception of me. If their brain determines I am more masculine than feminine, they will say “he.” If their brain determines that I am more feminine than masculine, then they will say “she.” Why does this need to be pointed out to any adult?

I am not entitled to make them think about me a certain way, or to make them use certain words when referring to me. This is true in general, but it must be recognized in particular with those people who intentionally use the non-preferred pronoun. 

An ordinary occurrence, to be honest. Also of note: there is no chance I’m going to be kicked from LRN.

But, as mentioned previously, why would I give “Pussy ass leftist” the power to make me upset? This would require that I care about his opinion, and I don’t have the energy to care about the opinions of random dipshits. Who does? There are a few people who could genuinely hurt me by intentionally misgendering me, and they’re the people least likely to do so. They may still slip occasionally, but if they can make the effort to call me “she,” then I think it’s only fair that I make the effort to adjust their perception of me, and to overlook any accidents. It’s generally called “being an adult.” 

I firmly believe that the greatest threat facing western society today is that we have stopped teaching people how to temper their emotions, or the value of doing so. What else can I think when congressional officials talk of being “morally right, but factually incorrect?” What else can I think when a person sees a photograph of coal miners, acknowledges they are coal miners, and then writes a lengthy article about how upset they are about the “blackface,” despite acknowledging that it isn’t blackface? What else can I think when, following the election of Donald Trump in 2016 on largely jingoist slogans and emotional appeals, there was an onslaught of people recording videos of themselves crying and flipping out, and sharing them for all the world to see? This is the Era of Unbridled Emotion, and that’s dangerous, because emotion has not ever been a valid pathway to truth. Feeling something is true won’t make it true. Emotion doesn’t keep the jet in the sky, or the automobile moving. 

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions,” they say, and we similarly see this playing out in New York following its Minimum Wage increase, with restaurant owners forced to raise prices, and customers shocked at how much more expensive it has become to eat out. The result was both predicted and expected: fewer people eat out, so some of the wait staff is fired. After all, the Minimum Wage is a direct price floor on the cost of labor, and price floors always create surpluses; a surplus of labor is called “unemployment.” When you raise that price floor, you simply get… more unemployment. This is basic economics, but many adults today simply don’t want to hear it, and instead truly believe that their feelings on the matter, that “everyone deserves a ‘living wage,'” will somehow make all this work out. 

I digress.

An emotion is nothing more than an internal reaction to external stimuli. It is our own proclivity and inclination that determines our reaction to the external stimuli, and even if we can’t actually change how we feel, we can and absolutely should limit the scope of those feelings in our behavior and beliefs. It isn’t easy, but I don’t know why anyone thinks that it should be. It’s supposed to be more difficult to resist animalistic impulses and overcome them. But it isn’t just for “the good of society” that we need to relearn this art; it’s far more important than that, because…

Controlling one’s animalistic tendencies is what it means to be human. 

 

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.

Destroying Bigotry Through Relationships

One of the most interesting things that came about because of Porcfest 2017 is that I realized just how ignorant I am of “average” Muslim behavior. Given that I’m an atheist and have no more interest in Islam than I do Wicca or Zoroastrianism, I’m okay with that. I’m also an individualist, so I also make it a point to treat each person as an individual, not a homogenized blob because they happen to have this or that characteristic. I knew intellectually that all Muslims couldn’t fulfill “the stereotype,” but what stereotype is that? Certainly, there’s the “OMG TERRORIST” stereotype, but everyone except the most idiotic conservative knows that not all Muslims are terrorists. However, some idiotic conservatives do think that. I quote a local writer who recently gave me a copy of his book (yes, the book is trash) (and yes, the motherfucker signed it):

“There are no Peace-Loving Muslims, no Moderate Muslims, no Indifferent Muslims. No Radical Muslims. Just Muslims. A Muslim is a Muslim. Period.”

Yes, someone not only wrote that, but got it published in a book.

While most people wouldn’t go that far, it remains true that familiarity is the destroyer of stereotypes–which is the primary reason that I’m currently considering staying in Mississippi*. But before we get into that, let’s talk about paleo-libertarianism. The question of free markets and discrimination is one that a lot of people would like the answer to, because “let the free market deal with it” is not a satisfying answer when discussing people like me who could end up in situations where they can’t shop at critical stores because everyone in the area is transphobic/racist/homophobic/etc.

They have a point.

It doesn’t really make a difference that 50s era segregation was enforced by the state, because many of the business owners of that day would have carried on that policy regardless–and did so well into the 70s in some places. It’s a nice cop-out to be able to say, “There was nothing ‘free market’ about American segregation; it was legislated and enforced by the state, not the market.” Such a statement is true in a limited sense, but we can’t pretend like segregation and discrimination magically disappear if there’s a free market in place, because they don’t.

Last night I spent a while thinking about a friend of mine who immediately identified someone else as Jewish by their last name. Until this “someone else” told me so, I had no idea that he was Jewish, and even afterward it was worthy of nothing but a mental note. When I asked him how he identified the guy as Jewish, he said it was the last name, and that he knew most/all of common Jewish last names. Then I thought of the many borderline anti-semitic things this friend has said in the past. While he doesn’t deny the Holocaust happened, he does take a position closer to mine, that the truth is lost to history and that wartime propaganda twisted the story until it bears unknown  resemblance to the truth. It also occurred to me that, if asked, I would insist to people that this friend isn’t racist. Finally, I wondered whether that was true. Perhaps my own whiteness keeps me from being able to see his racism.

However, I was also repeatedly interrupted during every conversation at Porcfest a few weeks ago, and, when I mentioned this to someone, I was told that “Women traditionally didn’t have a voice at the politics table,” and that was why I was being interrupted. However, this was demonstrably false. It would have been all too easy to play the victim card and cry about sexism (it would also have been nonsense, given my voice), but instead I observed, and what I saw was everyone interrupting everyone else all the time, without regard to age, gender, or race. Seeing sexism in the interruptions would have been confirmation bias; if I went into it expecting to find that, that’s what I would have found, even though the issue is something larger and much more serious.

In fact, the idea that it was sexist struck me as odd from the start. Although hormones have certainly begun to affect my face and body, my hair still isn’t that long, and from some angles I don’t look very feminine at all. On top of that, my voice is certainly on the deeper end–an issue I haven’t yet worked out. Even wearing a dress, some people instinctively called me “he,” something else that I didn’t and don’t get worked up about (although, as I said to someone Friday night, there will come a time when calling me “he” must be intentional, but that’s after more physiological changes and, ideally, vocal surgery), and people tuning into Call to Freedom would have no idea that the person they were listening to identified as a chick. The idea behind the “They’re sexist” argument is that they’re sexist instinctively and without their conscious awareness, but that falls apart when instinctively they consider me a dude.

All that said, the entire reason my rant at Porcfest was so successful is that I’m transgender. How much power would my rant have lost if that wasn’t the case? Many people told me afterward that I broke through their stereotype of transgender people. One of the judges even said that he’d pre-judged me, and was surprised to have that prejudice shattered. I’m no stranger to stereotypes, and they aren’t really a problem; the only problem is when we cling to them and refuse to allow individuals to break them.

I’ve experienced this more than simply at Porcfest. A friend of mine has a grandmother who strongly disliked transgender people, and this friend handled it by showing her grandmother my posts on Facebook from a year ago about just wanting to live in peace. Stereotypes are built of straw people, and they very rarely apply fully, and sometimes they don’t apply at all. The reason they persist is due more to unfamiliarity than anything else. They imagine in their heads some amalgam of all the terrible things they’ve heard about this or that group, and various factors lead them to believe that their imagined person is representative of everyone in that group. It’s just human nature, and it’s not something to condemn people over.

I wouldn’t be able to fully explain my Straw Muslim. The Straw Muslim wasn’t a terrorist, but they were extremely devout–uncomfortably devout. Your Straw Southern Baptist is pretty much what my Straw Muslim looks like, and I’d go even further and suggest that your Straw Muslim also looks a lot like mine. And while the faith of the people involved with Muslims 4 Liberty cannot be doubted, they don’t fit the stereotype at all. Prior to meeting and spending a week with Will Coley et al., I had no idea how pervasive that perception of Islam was, but why else would I have been surprised by the generosity they showed during Ramadan? I’ve been equally surprised by some of the Christians I’ve met within libertarian circles, such as Thomas Knapp, and I’ve been surrounded by Christians most of my life. Prior to meeting some of these people, I probably would have said there’s no such thing as a moderate Christian. In fact, I’m sure I’ve said that in the past. And there’s no doubt: people like Thomas Knapp are entirely the reason I’ve eliminated anti-Christian rhetoric from my repertoire.

However, even as vehemently anti-Christian as I used to be (and I’m still anti-fundamentalist), I was more than willing to allow people their right to free association, and have been arguing in favor of that for years. I look back on an article I published about a year ago and badly want to remove it, because it’s so close to being anti-Muslim in its tone. And that came from myself; it came from within. There was no talk of individualism in that article. It was a lot of bullshit about social customs, integration, and assimilation. I’m positively embarrassed that I wrote that spiel, although that sentiment was present before I met people of Muslims 4 Liberty and goes back at least 7 months, to the first time I re-read the article.

Under no circumstances have I or would I ever deny service to someone because of their characteristics, it must be stated unequivocally, but most people aren’t like that. The same people who condemn Trump for his ban of Muslims also praise Canada for refusing to allow entry to members of the Westboro Baptist Church; the Westboro Baptist Church, on the other hand, would adamantly refuse to allow me into their building, and people like Steven Anderson (not with the WBC, but every bit as hateful and vile) whine and bitch when companies don’t want to do business with them, even as they explicitly refuse to do business with others.

We saw the same thing when Obama became president, and everyone who wanted to see his birth certificate was dismissed as a racist. The reality for most people, however, was something different: through their entire lives, an old white man had been in charge. Suddenly, a black, relatively young man was in charge. They were uncomfortable and afraid, not hateful. And while it’s true that fear often motivates horrific behavior, it didn’t on this occasion, and manifested primarily in cries that Obama was a Muslim or wasn’t from Kenya. It was a knee-jerk reaction to an unfamiliar situation, and one by one these people adapted and realized their world wasn’t coming to an end. Anyone still going on about Obama being a Muslim or a Kenyan is probably just racist and attempting to mask their racism with those allegations, but the birther movement died out because people adjusted and moved on, leaving behind only the racists.

It’s ultimately a matter of cognitive dissonance.

When Bob is told his entire life by his fundamentalist church that gay people are evil abominations, he’s going to experience cognitive dissonance when his best friend of 17 years, Jim, confesses to Bob that he is gay. At this point, Bob is presented with several choices for resolving the dissonance:

  1. My church is wrong. All gay people cannot be evil abominations, because Jim is gay and isn’t an evil abomination.
  2. Jim is wrong and isn’t really gay. He isn’t an evil abomination, and my church is right; ergo, Jim isn’t really gay.
  3. My church is right. All gay people are evil abominations. Therefore, Jim has managed to hide his evil from me for the last 17 years.
  4. On rarer occasions, Bob might craft a special exemption for Jim. “Jim is different… He isn’t like all the other gay people.”

Which of these Bob lands on is ultimately going to come down to trust and relationship importance. If his friendship with Jim is more important to him, then he will decide on #1. If both are equally important to him, he will decide on #2. If his relationship with his church and his religious beliefs are more important, he will go with #3. We can immediately see, then, that Jim has his work cut out for him; there aren’t many things that will be more important to Bob than his religious beliefs, because religious beliefs are “core beliefs” that form the foundation of other beliefs. Asking Bob to accept that his church/religious beliefs are wrong is a much greater thing than simply accepting that Jim is wrong, because Bob’s entire worldview stems from his religious beliefs. If we pull the foundation out from under his worldview, the entire thing collapses.

“Muslim call to prayer while hula-hoppers [sic] groove nearby.”

…And?

That’s a pretty awesome event to be at, if you ask me. People hula-hooping, people stoned, people drunk, people tripping, people dancing, people praying… Everyone getting along, everyone celebrating, and no one hating anyone else over squabbling differences… That sounds to me like a fucking utopia, not something that should be mocked or looked upon with disdain. Indeed, that’s how our entire society should be. I fail to see how anyone has a problem with “Everyone is doing their own thing, and everyone is friendly with everyone else. If they can’t get along, then they just leave each other be.”

In fact, Porcfest is proof that you can put Muslims, Jews, atheists, Christians, transgender people, straight people, gay people, black people, white people, Asian people, and all other people with various characteristics into a society together and end up with something that is really awesome. Yet this douchenozzle from CNN said this with disdain and contempt, and people who replied to the tweet made even more contemptuous remarks: “They don’t pay you enough to attend that crap.”

There are only three ways that liberty can work: homogeneity, diversity, and individualism.

Homogeneity is obviously broken as an idea–it’s simply impossible. There will always be differences between people, and those differences will always be highlighted. Hitler wanted to basically produce an all-white society, and what happened? The differences among white people were immediately targeted as points of divide: those with blond hair and blue eyes were considered superior to someone who had brown hair and brown eyes. By definition, a society can never be truly homogeneous. Even if Hitler had succeeded in eliminating everyone but white people with blond hair and blue eyes, the divisiveness wouldn’t have ended; instead, it would have become “tall people are superior to short people” or something else. I’d venture the statement that the more homogeneous a society is, the more petty are its points of division.

Diversity is flawed for other reasons. A homogeneous society of 99% white people (in addition to still being divided, as the previous paragraph contends) discriminating against the 1% black population can’t be fixed by “the free market” alone. However, what if the society is 75% white and 25% black, and the white population is uniformly racist? With these numbers, it’s true that the black population could simply shop at black-owned stores and work for black-owned businesses, but at this point we aren’t dealing with one society; we’re talking about two societies that just happen to reside in geographic proximity. This is still true if we add in an 80% straight population that doesn’t want to associate with the 20% LGBT population; we aren’t “uniting” society. We’re segregating it into many different societies.

It’s similarly true that diversity fails to take hold in homogeneous societies because of social pressures and economic concerns that often conspire to make it impossible for a person to “come out.” This is a problem that never magically vanishes, and there will always be one group or another who cannot openly admit to being in that group because of the adversity they will face upon doing so. Suppose our society was 99% Christian and 1% atheist, but no atheists were even allowed to speak out without being put to death (as was the case until about 300 years ago). Atheists would not be able to band together to create their atheist stores because coming out as an atheist resulted in death. Diversity requires openness, but there will always be disenfranchised people who simply aren’t allowed to be open about who they are.

Instead we could take the approach of individualism, that a person’s characteristics shouldn’t matter, and that a person should be judged by their actions and behavior rather than being judged over what characteristics they happen to have. This is precisely how Jim breaks through Bob’s anti-gay bigotry. Instead of being lumped into that foreign group that has been painted as a bogeyman by Bob’s church, Jim has an in-road directly to Bob’s heart by being his friend–someone he personally knows. When Bob accepts that Jim isn’t an evil abomination, it is because he isn’t lumping his friend into that group and therefore isn’t applying that group’s alleged qualities to his friend.

Often, we aren’t aware of what stereotypes we harbor, and we’re capable of harboring them regardless of how individualist we are. The destroyer of those stereotypes is the individualism that allows us to have a relationship with someone regardless of their characteristics. Only then can we see how wrong we were.

* As stated elsewhere, the state arresting me and extorting me for nearly $2,500 six months ago ravaged my bank account and basically put me back at square one, albeit with $250~ or so. If I pursue this avenue, all funds contributed to that campaign will be returned, either directly or via matching donations to donors’ campaigns.

Turn the Other Cheek? Fuck that!

I don’t know very much about Islam, but that’s okay, because I don’t claim to, and so I generally stay pretty quiet about Islam and what it teaches. I know enough about it to know that it’s very close in tone to the Old Testament of the Bible, and I know that, from the point of view of an atheist, it’s pretty much just a different flavor of Christianity. So I generally don’t have any conversations about sharia or what it is, because I don’t know (or particularly care) what it is, just as I don’t particularly care to know exactly what parameters food must meet in order to be considered kosher. All religious systems have codes, laws, and layers upon layers of teachings. It’s both ridiculous and unrealistic to expect someone who doesn’t believe in the religion to know every detail–or even many details–about the layered teachings. My knowledge of Christianity is a result of my upbringing in the south, and not out of any desire that I felt at any part of my life to explicitly find out what is in the Bible.

I want to quote the Bible for a moment, though, if you don’t mind; Mathew 5:38-40:

You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.  And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.

Now let’s get to the point.

Recently, an anti-Muslim bigot was hospitalized, and libertarian vice presidential candidate and Muslim Will Coley started a campaign to raise funds for the guy, quoting various teachings of the Quran and actions of Mohammad to show that this sort of behavior (turning the other cheek) is perfectly in accord with Islam and should be encouraged. At first, this went exactly as one would like: people saw the wisdom in the teaching. After all, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar, or so goes the saying. It’s similar to things I’ve talked about before, regarding being transgender in the south–it was not whining and screaming about victimization and bigotry that caused my landlord to change his mind about evicting me; it was my willingness to shrug and acknowledge that he was perfectly within his rights to do so. There are a few other people I know of who hated transgender people and the very idea of transgenderism until they came face-to-face with me, a real person who is simply trying to exist in peace and is very much against the idea of forcing anyone to do or be anything.

Then came the SJWs. And, oh man, did they come.

Suddenly Will was their enemy, despite having the approval of many prominent Islamic figures, and the reason that Will was their enemy?

Because he’s white.

I’m not even kidding. That’s what it all boils down to. It’s often said explicitly.

You cannot defeat racism with racism.

You cannot defeat sexism with sexism.

You cannot defeat sexual orientationism with sexual orientationism.

This is the mistake the alt-right makes. They’ve attempted to meet the left’s increasing racism, sexism, and orientationism with racism, sexism, and orientationism. I’ve directed this message at leftists and rightists. I don’t care who is being the racist–it’s never going to end racism.

That’s where I went after three prominent alt-right youtubers: Atheism is Unstoppable, The Non-Believer, and Autopsy87.

Here’s where I went after the left doing the same thing:

Now, this post is more than just a way for me to collect together various applicable things I’ve made on the subject.

The bottom line is that Will held up a mirror for Christians and Muslims alike to look into, and very few of them could stomach what they saw reflected back. When faced with this situation, they had no recourse but to either self-reflect (something most people are simply unwilling to do, because so few people are willing to acknowledge their flaws and mistakes) or to attack the messenger. Enter the cries of racism and the strange remarks that Will has no business teaching anyone about Islamic teachings… because he’s white.

This is a refrain typical of leftists, sadly. In fact, it just cost them the presidential election. Did they learn anything from losing to the most reviled presidential candidates in modern American history (after all, their preferred candidate lost to Hillary, who then lost to Trump)? Of course they didn’t. If anything, the worst losers in the 2016 election (indisputably, the “progressives”) have only doubled down their hate speech and violence, the very thing that landed them in this mess in the first place.

We have to be better than this.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Jesus, and Mohammad would all be shaking their heads in sadness at what is going on, and I can only commend Will for staying on track. When I released my video about the Liberal Redneck, I faced similar criticism, though Will is obviously facing it on a larger scale (though, it’s worth mentioning, the scale of criticism that I faced for that absolutely dwarfed the attention that anything else I’ve created has received anyway), and I remember how difficult it was, when one comment after the next rolled in calling me an idiot, a traitor, a racist, a Biblethumper, and other similar things, to stay on point and not stoop to their level. In the end, I caved and pulled down the video. I really wish I hadn’t, but… c’est la vie.

I don’t think I’d cave today.

Maybe this is just meant to be a collection of other things I’ve said on the matter. Otherwise, I’d just be repeating myself. But it’s sad that podcasts that I released a year ago are equally applicable to things today because, if anything has changed at all, then it’s only been for the worse.

I recently wrote an article attacking the notion of LGBT Pride and Outright Libertarians. I’m going to repost it in the future, but not until the shit with Cantwell has died down. It’s rather similar to how I defended Gary Johnson with the “What is Aleppo?” thing. I’ll criticize someone “on my team” when no one else is, but if someone outside that team starts to criticize, I’ll have their back–assuming they’re right.

When they’re wrong, I’ll gladly tell them so. If they’re wrong and are rightly being attacked for being wrong, then I will at the very least hold off my attack until the attack from the outside is over (after all, you won’t find me defending Outright Libertarians from Cantwell and his people).

I find that I just can’t say much on this matter with Will. I’ve already said it all–and that, I think, is the sad thing, because I’m far from being the only person saying it. Jesus said it. Mohammad said it. Gandhi said it. MLK, Jr. said it. If people won’t listen to these esteemed leaders, why in the world would they listen to me or Will Coley? Christians, Muslims, Jews, and atheists alike have all had these wonderful ideas thrown at us from every corner for centuries and thousands of years. Yet we only pay them lipservice. Whether it’s Bill Hicks or Mohammad isn’t important.

And, yes, libertarians are guilty of it, too. When Fidel Castro died, many libertarians actively celebrated his death and digitally danced on his grave. Weird behavior from a group of people whose ideology is literally built on forgiveness and love.

We need less hatred in the world.

That starts with you.

 

Bill Nye is Anti-Science

When I first noticed that people were using the descriptor “intelligent” not to denote people who seemed to have higher-than-average levels of intelligence, but to mark allies in political agreement, I posted that something was wrong and that it was going to get worse:

Intelligence has become the new deity.

“If you believe what I believe, then you are smart. If you are smart, then you will believe what I believe.”

An outward thing from which a person derives their own net worth–the problem is that the “outward thing” is actually an inward thing. In true Dunning-Kruger fashion, people judge their own intelligence by their own ideas, and since they always believe their own ideas to be correct, they always judge themselves to be intelligent.

I’m sure we’ve all run into this. At some point, someone has surely said something to you that was similar to, “You seem really smart… You should read this” or “… You should watch this video.” It carries with it the most dangerous of subtleties: “If you are actually smart, then you’d agree with me. Maybe you don’t have the information that I have. Here’s that information. If you still don’t agree, then I was wrong about you being smart.”

In fact, I’ve been called an “idiot” probably more than anyone I’ve ever met, and this insult has never been thrown at me in any context other than political disagreement. No one could ever possibly mistake me for an idiot. Whether I’m correct or incorrect is unrelated to that. In reality, if I say something and someone thinks I’m an idiot for it, then the much more likely answer is that they simply didn’t understand what I said in the first place.

Intelligence isn’t a prerequisite of being right, and neither is being right an indicator of intelligence. Some of the greatest minds in human history were wrong about any number of things. Being correct is a factor of knowledge and nothing else. Even someone with an IQ of 250 will be wrong about any number of things, simply because we lack a lot of information, and their unnaturally high IQ will do nothing to prevent them from being wrong.

Once more, it’s all about the Dunning-Kruger Effect, which is one of the most breathtaking psychological breakthroughs in human history. A person judges their own understanding of who is and isn’t intelligent relative to their own intelligence. I pointed out yesterday that we judge value systems relative to our own value systems–all of this is obvious, and the ties to Nietzsche’s philosophy and Austrian economics are equally obvious. We judge the value systems of other cultures by our own value system, and compare them relative to our own; ours are our own, so we like ours, and the more different the other systems are to ours, the more we dislike them. It’s impossible to escape from this, because my love for liberty-oriented value systems forms the basis that I use to assess the value of other systems. It’s also the case with intelligence: my only gauge for assessing other people’s intelligence is my own intelligence.

Several “celebrated scientists” have been exhibiting exactly the behavior that Murray Rothbard and others wrote about. They have become pimps of their scientific credibility in the employ of the state and the status quo. In fact, they have sacrificed their right to call themselves scientists and are about as anti-science as any group of people could be.

These guys.

Modern priests

What is this illustrious word “science?” What does it mean? What does it entail? If it is to be anything more than just a cheap and gaudy rubberstamp that we apply to whatever ideology we happen to believe, then it must have an actual meaning–which, ironically, is a statement that any scientist would agree with. Definitions are important, because they form the basis of the words that we use to understand and communicate the world. A simple Google search gives us:

the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

I can’t help but wonder if that definition makes Stephen Hawking, Bill Nye, and Neili deGrasse Tyson blush and feel ashamed. It should.

Of course, my argument against them is part of the problem, isn’t it? I have no problem recognizing that. In the vein of any actual scientist, I see my own bias and absolutely insane demands of these human beings, that they must apply the scientific method in all areas of their lives, and that they aren’t allowed to deviate from it. In fact, it is I who is accusing them of heresy, isn’t it? They have violated my religion of Science by disgracing its methods, much like a Christian violating Christianity by disgracing the teachings of Christ.

My problem with them is that they should apply the Scientific Method and don’t.

This combines with the masses’ misunderstanding that they do apply the Scientific Method.

In effect, I’m demanding of them what the masses of people think they are already doing. “Surely we can trust Neil Tyson’s statements about art and science funding! He’s a scientist!” Of course, it was not terribly long ago that Neil Tyson asked his many, many Twitter followers if they truly wanted to live in a world without art, framing all of reality as a false dichotomy built on the idea that if the government doesn’t do something, then it can’t be done. The obvious problems with this stupidity don’t need to be pointed out–didn’t I just buy tickets to see a musical concert? The government didn’t buy those tickets.

Bill Nye went on CNN and made the statement that the Constitution authorizes Congress to fund the sciences, and made mention of Article I, Section 8. It’s true that this is the section that enumerates Congressional power, but nothing else that Nye said is remotely true, as the passage that Nye quotes leaves off highly significant data. What do we call a “scientist” who discards a large part of the data because it isn’t convenient to his hypothesis?

“Formerly employed,” perhaps.

“Not a scientist.” Yes, that’s another option.

In fact, the section of the Constitution to which Bill Nye refers explicitly enumerates Congressional power without ambiguity, and the full passage asserts that Congress may promote the arts and sciences by securing patents for the respective authors and inventors. It is authorization to issue patents, not authorization to issue money. There’s no way that Nye could have accidentally read the first part of the sentence and not the second part. This was, we must conclude, an intentional ploy to convince the people who take him at his word as a reliable source that the Constitution authorizes Congress to fund scientific research. In the interest of scientific integrity, I will provide the evidence to support my contention:

Congress shall have the power…To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

So this is two “celebrated scientists” who have been thoroughly disloyal to the precepts of science–the Scientific Method, the Bible of Science. Since so few people are calling them out on their heresy, allow me to do so:

Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson, you have betrayed your church, and you should both repent and make restitution. This restitution should come in the form of public apologies on no less than six occasions throughout the next six weeks–two in written, two in aural, and two in video form. That shall be your penance.

I may sound like I’m joking, and I am, to a degree. I don’t expect Nye and Tyson to ever back down from their arrogant betrayal of the scientific method and wanton displays of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, much less to ever issue a single apology for the stupid shit they have said. However, I’m serious about my loyalty to the scientific method, to reason, and to evidence, and I’m serious that clearly these three men cannot say the same.

What of Hawking? Well, Hawking has repeatedly waxed at length about the evils of capitalism and how only world government can save us from its oppressive destruction. Never mind that anyone who has taken even a single introductory college-level economics course can attest to the scientific fact that we do not have capitalism anywhere on planet Earth. So I’m calling out Hawking on clearly never studying economics, yet routinely attempting to talk about economics as though he has any idea what in the hell he’s talking about. Clearly, he doesn’t, and any first-year college student could confirm that.

So to these three heretical priests, I say:

Repent! The end is Nye.

What we’re seeing is a more of an revival than a renaissance, as the precepts of science have been tossed in the trash with reckless abandon. What else can we conclude, when “celebrated scientists” make claims that they either know to be false, trusting that the masses will believe them, or are simply too ignorant on the subject to know whether their claim is false at all?

Yet this hasn’t stopped the masses–the precise characteristics which makes them “the masses,” after all, is that they aren’t interested in independently discovering truth and will blindly follow whatever ideology is handed down to them from “trusted authorities”–from swallowing all of it, with Tyson’s demonstrably false, fallacious, and erroneous spiel seeing tens of thousands of retweets by people who have no desire to think the matter through for themselves.

Trust has been placed in these three people, by the masses of people, who, again, are defined “as the masses” precisely by their lack of interest in pursuing these matters intellectually, and these three people have utterly betrayed that trust. Yet the masses don’t know it, do they? No, because the masses aren’t interested in scrutinizing the words of their favorite priests. For the masses, these poisoned, fallacious ideas enter the mind unchallenged, and there they embed themselves; the masses never stop to ponder the false dichotomy that Tyson has proposed, or what credentials Stephen Hawking might have to discuss economics rather than cosmology.

And I’m as qualified to call myself a scientist as Bill Nye.

I haven’t researched this recently, and seem to recall Nye having a Master’s, but maybe not.

In fact, if a “scientist” is someone who liberally applies the scientific method to questions, then I’m infinitely more qualified. Bill Nye has the advantage in that this actor and performer managed to get a kids’ show where he cheaply purchased credibility among the masses and became a trusted authority figure. Indeed, I find myself wondering whether Bill Nye was purposely planted there when we were kids precisely for this purpose–precisely for using him to peddle statism and the status quo once we became adults. It wouldn’t be the most extravagantly dangerous thing the state ever did. After all, they took control of the entire education apparatus and have been using it to manipulate the masses for 60 years. Now those people raised by the state education are adults and in charge, and the idea of dismantling that apparatus is met with knee-jerk angry reactions; the idea is rejected without consideration.

Give me their minds through their formative years, and by the time they’re adults I can have them convinced of anything. I can have them saying it’s okay to kill people who disagree with them, that people of one race deserve to be annihilated or enslaved, that it’s okay to steal things if they want those things… The mind of a child is not critical. By the time they are able to think critically, the ideas I plant will already be firmly in their minds, forming the very lens through which they view the world.

We have rarely been in more danger of a religious sentiment overtaking reason, and Nye, Tyson, Kaku, and Hawking are leading the charge. “Science” isn’t a set of beliefs that one must adhere to or be a heretic. I’ve seen “pro-science” people do the metaphorical equivalent of burning people at the stake for dare challenging one of the items in their set of beliefs, and I’m sure you’ve seen the same. “Science” is a methodology. Anyone who demands that you acquiesce to a set of beliefs and ideas that they have put forward is peddling religion, not science.

If they can’t present evidence, if they can’t present a reasonable argument, and if they can’t prove their position, based on all available evidence, is sound, then they are unworthy of trust. If they ignore huge amounts of information simply because it’s inconvenient to their hypothesis, then they are engaging in cherry-picking, another hallmark of religion, rather than science.

Addiction to Power

One of the more bizarre aspects of the United States’ attack against Syria is the fact that no one bombed us when we killed 230 civilians, a showcase of moral hypocrisy rooted firmly in the idea that might is right. We know that “coalition forces,” meaning the United States for all intents and purposes, killed 230 civilians in a single airstrike, and we know that the death toll doesn’t stop there: more than a thousand civilians were killed in Iraq and Syria by the United States through the month of March.

Here, a lot of significance is placed on the method of death, as though death by suffocation in toxic gas is inherently worse than death by conflagration. The reality is that I sincerely doubt that the dead people would agree–by almost all accounts, burns are worse than suffocation, being overwhelmingly more painful and causing deaths nightmarishly horrific. This isn’t to say that death by sarin gas is good–it certainly isn’t. However, it is the height of arbitrary moral hypocrisy that we proclaim civilian deaths in one type of attack as indisputably more evil than civilian deaths in another type of attack. This is all the more curious since a number of American bombs are explicitly designed to create vacuum pressure by consuming all nearby air–these were used to “great” effect in Operation Iraqi Freedom to suffocate Iraqi forces deeply entrenched in tunnels. Even with bombs not specifically designed to have this effect, death by smoke inhalation (surely a “death by chemical attack”) and heat suffocation (heat being a chemical product of fire, and all) are real threats.

Yet no one took it upon themselves to fire 59 Tomahawk missiles at the United States for its wanton and careless murders of civilians throughout the Middle East. In Iraq alone, we have killed more than one hundred thousand civilians. Ignoring all of that, though, as recently as last month we killed more than a thousand in reckless drone strikes–more than ten times the number for which we’ve so gleefully punished Assad for allegedly having killed.

In a certain sense, we have to cling to the ridiculous idea that death by chemical agent is somehow worse than death by combustion agent, because, while we’re frivolously dropping combustion agents all across the world, and unleashed billions of tons of napalm in Korea and Vietnam, we’ve refrained, for the most part, from using what most people would call “chemical weapon strikes.” It’s rather inconsequential, though. Whatever doublethinking mental gymnastics we have to use in order to convince ourselves that what we are doing is okay, but what others are doing is not okay, we will successfully perform. If it wasn’t “Chemical attacks are a special kind of evil” it would be some other excuse.

The idea that someone probably should have fired 590 Tomahawk missiles at the United States (if 100 civilian deaths = 59 Tomahawk missiles, then 1,000 civilian deaths = 590 Tomahawk missiles) is met by two problems. Only the first of these is the moral problem, and the inability of Americans to grasp the idea that if it’s not okay for Assad to kill a hundred civilians, then it’s not okay for the United States to do it. This is rooted more in “Us and Them” than it is the addiction to power–whatever factors are involved, they cannot possibly be completely congruent between Our actions and Their actions, and any one of those factors will be seized as an excuse for why our actions were, like totes 4 real, not that bad. I think by the time we have people honestly arguing with a straight face that it’s better to be exploded into ludicrous gibs than it is to be suffocated by poisonous gas, we can say definitively that any differentiating variable between two actions will be latched onto and given moral significance aimed at justifying one while condemning the other.

The second problem the idea confronts is that it’s positively laughable: there isn’t anyone who could fire 590 Tomahawk missiles at the United States, at least not with impunity. It’s arguable, because of the Strategic Missile Defense System*, whether anyone could strike the United States, but only a few nations in the world even have the technological capabilities of doing it, and most of those are some sort of ally.

I’ve always found Christianity curious, particularly the Old Testament, because it contains some truly horrific acts attributed to its deity. Yet the very idea that, based on literal interpretations of the Old Testament, the Old Testament god is as guilty of mass murder as anyone, and should be punished accordingly, is met with sneering dismissal. “He who has the gold makes the rules,” quipped the genie at the beginning of Disney’s Aladdin. Today, of course, it’s “Whoever can’t be defeated makes the rules,” and that’s the same idea on display with the top-down Biblical morality and deity exemptions here. Typically, Yahweh can’t be punished for doing something wrong, because the fact that Yahweh did it in the first place means that Yahweh wasn’t wrong. Whatever Yahweh does is right, because he’s the one with the power, and therefore the one who determines what is wrong and what is right.

The United States has now sent carrier groups to the Korean Peninsula in a show of force against North Korea and in an attempt to dissuade Kim Jong Un from testing any nuclear weapons. How very curious. We have nuclear weapons. Of course, it’s true that we no longer test our nuclear weapons, but that’s only because we no longer need to–we’ve left the testing phase and remain the only nation in the world to have used them against people. It’s rather like how we condemn developing nations for high, Industrial Era level Carbon emissions–now that we’ve progressed beyond that and no longer really need to burn a bunch of coal, we sneer down our noses and condemn those who haven’t left that phase.

It’s really just a way of forcefully preventing their technological ascension, isn’t it? It’s a way of putting so many roadblocks in their way that they can never catch up to us. Meanwhile, we couldn’t have been condemned for the insane degrees of pollution of developing America because we were at the forefront of development, and no one knew when Ford invented the automobile that we were inadvertently pumping massive amounts of carcinogens into the atmosphere. And there’s nothing they can do tell us to fuck off and mind our own business, because we’re Yahweh. We have the gold; we have the power. We make the rules.

And the idea that anyone can challenge our rules is almost as laughable as the idea of shouting to an omnipotent deity that it did something morally wrong.

“The world’s only superpower,” people like saying, an idea that I’m delving into considerably in this week’s upcoming podcast. It’s absurd. We’re not the world’s only superpower, and we haven’t been since the 90s–we’re simply the only one of the world’s superpowers that uses that power without restraint in an attempt to dictate over the entire globe. It is still true that we’re the reigning champ and that we stand a good distance above everyone else along the world’s totem pole, but the notion that we’re on a special totem pole all by ourselves… It’s not only wrong, but I have to question the mentality of the people who think that and yet still advocate military action against other countries like Syria and Iraq. Isn’t that like arguing that Mike Tyson should beat an amateur high school boxer to death?

No one, not even China, questions the United States’ right to put a bunch of warships in the Korean Peninsula while making threats against a nation that hasn’t attacked anyone in at least 60 years. What if, right now, warships from nations throughout the world, orchestrated by the United Nations, were rallying off the coast of California and Virginia, threatening to “cut off the head” of the United States if we didn’t cease launching missiles at other nations? Such a strange world we live in. Merely from the threat that he might do it, and even though he hasn’t done it, we’re doing exactly that to Kim Jong Un and North Korea. Yet we, the same people doing this, bristle and become furious at the idea that the United Nations would dare coordinate an effort among the world’s nations to do the same to us.

But I suspect we’re on the brink of collapse. Donald Trump’s attack against Syria–failed though it was, by all accounts, since that airstrip was sending Assad’s forces into the air less than 24 hours later, and reportedly only about 35 of them hit the target (maybe we do need to do some further testing…)–has bolstered his confidence. It’s like the first time I smoked marijuana. Well, the second time, actually–the first time, I got so sick from friends shoving sweet food down my throat (an expectation that I played along with, “having the munches” even when I didn’t, because I was a stupid kid), that there was no enjoyment from it. There was about a 4 year gap between the first and second time anyway, and I’d spent most of my life hearing about how horrible marijuana was, how devastating it could be, how dangerous it was, and why no one should ever, ever do it. I successfully resisted peer pressure for years, and then gave in, for no reason in particular.

“Hey, that’s pretty good!” I thought.

Undoubtedly, Trump feels the same, now that he’s nodded and pressed a button, which immediately led to a missile strike against another nation. I have no doubt that the power rush, the adrenaline, of it was orgasmic. He probably had the best sex of his life just a few hours after giving the command, and I’m not trying to be grotesque or anything–I’m being sincere. Murderers notoriously get off by murdering people. And what we’re talking about here goes well beyond murder, and is simultaneously socially acceptable. No one will condemn Trump at a dinner party for being a mass murdering lunatic who fucks his wife after killing people.

I think that Trump is probably not reckless enough to really do anything rash, because the possible consequences are so high. I’m not suggesting that Trump will, chasing after that dragon, fire missiles at China if the Chinese President even squints at him funny. But not only is it in Trump’s blood now (and has been for a few months), but his use of force against Assad instantly earned him the respect of people who have been criticizing him for a year. You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

I’ve seen people suggest that if we attack North Korea, China won’t move to stop us. While the Chinese people are sick of Kim Jong Un’s antics and exerting pressure on the Chinese government to get Kim under control, that will change the moment we attack North Korea, because such an act will be taken as a direct challenge to China’s sovereignty and regional authority. Imagine how we would respond if Russia invaded Puerto Rico. If we attack North Korea, we will find ourselves at war with China. We might be able to get away with assassinating Kim Jong Un, but that isn’t the way the United States does things. Presumably.

I’m more concerned with the possibility of finding ourselves bogged down in a war against Syria, Russia, China, North Korea, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and other countries that we’ve either directly attacked, are presently at war with, or are likely to end up at war with them the moment one of the other two world superpowers has had enough of our bullshit. I honestly don’t think that Putin is going to let us have Syria and Assad, and that situation has the terrifying capacity to develop into a direct war between the United States and Russia. We’re already at war with them, for fuck’s sake–that’s what it’s called when one nation allies with another and supplies them with jets, bombs, AA guns, and other shit against another nation. It’s why claims of U.S. neutrality during World War 2 are such bullshit–everyone knows we weren’t neutral. We simply weren’t active combatants.

Anyway, that’s a rather long list of countries to be at war with, and the only one that doesn’t unequivocally belong on that list is China. We are still at war with North Korea, though we do have an armistice with them. We’re at war with Pakistan. That’s what it’s called when you drop bombs on them, and we dropped bombs on them last year.

Courtesy of http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-president-barack-obama-bomb-map-drone-wars-strikes-20000-pakistan-middle-east-afghanistan-a7534851.html

What an astounding coincidence that those happen to be the exact countries from which we don’t want to accept refugees! Amazing! What are the odds of that? What are the odds that these countries with refugees we don’t want to accept because they run a relatively high risk of wanting to kill us happen to correspond perfectly to the countries we’ve been dropping bombs in? If it was actually a coincidence, the odds would be extremely low. No one in Vegas would take that bet. But it’s not a coincidence, of course. We might as well have Americans saying, “You see these countries we dropped bombs in last year? Yeah, those are the ones we don’t want to accept refugees from.”

I don’t think China will allow us to attack North Korea.

If that statement caused you to bristle, please understand that your belief in American dominance and rightness in global hegemony is the problem.

I intended to call attention to the remarkable similarity between this and the idea that we must have a government that is ultimately in charge, because the same thread runs through both. We need police, we need judges, and we need laws–we need someone at the top who cannot be challenged, goes the argument. So yes, the global chaos we see today is again a direct result of statism. People say that we need some domestic authority figure, and they say that we need some international authority figure. This is why it’s okay for the police to tackle and beat the hell out of someone for jaywalking, and this is why it’s okay for the United States to launch missiles into a sovereign nation.

Because “authority.”

 

* I know that this was leaked as a failure, but seeing as we’ve since blown up a satellite in orbit from Earth (which operates on exactly the same principle) and apply the same principles in unarmored assault vehicles that utilize moving guns and camera coverage to shoot incoming bullets out of the way, no one should still believe the idea that we failed to do this. Why else would we have surrounded Russia with missile batteries? Hell, the official reason given is that we intend to shoot Russian missiles out of the sky!

This is me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But it didn’t.

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

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

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

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

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

Cum Trumpsters–i.e., Libertarians For Trump

It’s a subject I’ve avoided for the most part, but one that I can’t take any longer. I know a fair number of self-described libertarians, and even a few self-described anarchists, who boarded the Trump Train, and so I felt it best to just look the other way. Many of these people are friends, after all.

But these same people still support Trump, and I’ve got to call them out on it.

First, let’s talk about the VALs (Voluntaryists, Anarchists, and Libertarians, self-professed and actual) who routinely criticized Hillary as a passive attempt to help Trump, instead of just doing it because the bitch clearly wanted to start World War 3. They didn’t want Hillary to lose; they wanted Trump to win. I wanted both to lose. I wanted everyone to lose, in fact. No one on the ballot should have been on it.

If you attacked Hillary hoping to hurt her so that Trump would win, then you’re not just “not a libertarian.” You’re also underhanded and untrustworthy. We can’t just distrust the things you say; we must also distrust your motives for saying it.

I’m not gonna sit here and lie to you. I’m biased as hell. Everything I wrote during the election was aimed at making Hillary lose and McAfee win. I avoided Trump most of the time, because so many other people were attacking him, and instead focused my Trump articles on primarily addressing hysteria–hysteria that remains more of a problem than ever. In the grand scheme of things, Hillary was probably worse, seeing as she repeatedly threatened military action against Russia, but that doesn’t make Trump any better. He’s still a buffoon.

As to the people who fell for Trump’s speeches about draining the swamp, and who have now realized that it was all bullshit, welcome back. I hope you learn from the experience what I learned from Obama in 2008: no one in the main two parties can be trusted to do anything they say. I don’t know why anyone who was an adult in 2008 didn’t know this, but it happens, I guess.

Now the biggest group: the ones who are still with Trump.

Fuck all of you.

You’re not librarians or minarchists, and you’re damn sure not anarchists. Trump is clearly just another politician. If you supported Trump because you wanted to throw a bomb at Washington, I get it. I don’t approve of your choice in bomb, but I understand your sentiment.

But Trump wasn’t a bomb, was he? No, he was just wearing a Bomb Mask.

Pictured: Trump campaigning.

Now that he’s removed the mask, nothing but doublethink and cognitive dissonance can keep those people supporting him. He’s not a bomb. He’s not challenging the status quo. He’s just another politician, and one with a scary understanding of the military’s purpose and an America-centric way of viewing the world.

I was willing to give you guys the benefit of the doubt and let you say that you fell for his con. But you’re still falling for it, even though it’s apparent that he’s nothing but a modern Lincoln. You know. Lincoln. That President that libertarians despise because he cemented the federal government’s hold on the states, suspended the Bill of Rights, and killed more than half a million Americans. Policy-wise, he and Trump are identical. “The Union first” morphed into “America first.” The only thing that remains to be seen is how far Trump is willing to go.

But if by some chance [note: it would require more explanation than I’m willing to get into right now, but my position on California’s secession has changed–I now support it] California secedes, then we’ll see first-hand how similar they are.

And I’ve no doubt that you Cum Trumpsters would continue cheerleading for him as he invaded California. Why not? You guys don’t have the credibility to simply claim you’d be against such an invasion; your credibility lies burned by the bombs that killed the 8 year old girl.

You are every bit as bad as hypocritical conservatives. You know, the people who claim to want small government, unless it’s something they want to do, in which case big government is okay. That’s exactly what you’re doing. Your biggest issue is immigration. Even though the federal government has no authority over immigration (something that you knew until Trump announced his campaign), and certainly no rational or moral justification to affect it, you’re now totally okay with the federal government dictating over all fifty states and even cities in the name of your pet issue.

Just like a conservative.

Just like a liberal.

And, just like the conservatives, you completely lack the self-awareness to realize how hypocritical you are. If the federal government wanted to allow abortion in all fifty states, you’re all “RAWR! STATES’ RIGHTS!”

But if the federal government wants to force California to use Texas’s immigration policy, you don’t see the problem, the tyranny, or the hypocrisy. Because it’s YOUR pet issue.

Conservatives blew it, as I knew they would. It’s true that I hoped they wouldn’t, but I knew they would.

They had the chance to put their money where their mouths have been, to not force conservative positions onto liberal states. And instead of beginning to build bridges by allowing liberals to continue being liberal in liberal states, they jumped right to forcing conservativism onto everyone, particularly in regard to immigration, though there are other areas.

And you’re doing the same shit. “Oh, I’m a libertarian! I don’t think the government should be telling anyone what they can do! … Unless the government is going to tell them to do what I want them to do, in which case, yeah, I’m okay with that.”

“Libertarians.”

No.

You only want liberty when you get your way. If people who disagree with you want to get their way, then you suddenly stop being libertarians.

That’s conservatives’ shtick. Get that shit out of here.

Oh, and transgenderism? There is no fucking better indicator of a Cum Trumpster than vehemence toward transgender people. It’s not ubiquitous or exclusive, but it is certainly one of the best indicators. If someone professes to be a VAL but insults transgender people, particularly by calling us mentally ill, then I’ll gladly take the bet that they’re a Cum Trumpster.

You want to talk about mentally ill? Let’s talk about the Cum Trumpsters who think that the number of brown people in the country affects their lives in any way, and who think that how brown people enter the country makes even the smallest difference.

For fuck’s sake, these “Libertarians” are for the wall. The wall! The motherfucking, goddamn wall. I’m not sure that anything can get more statist than “We need the government to put a fence around our country!”

As Ron Paul pointed out repeatedly, walls don’t just keep people out. They also keep people in. Under no fucking circumstances should the government be building walls that could one day trap us in a la East Berlin. But no, these “Libertarians” are for it! They’re for what is probably the crowning symbol of statism: border walls.

Many of these same “Libertarians” want states or the federal government to legislate that a person can only use the restroom associated with their birth certificate. Even though, you know, they clearly don’t trust birth certificates, which is why their champion Trump carried the “Obama is a Kenyan” shit for so long. Though they don’t trust Obama’s to honestly report his place of birth, they’ll trust yours to report your birth sex.

Seems legit.

They’re particularly fond of saying that liberalism is a mental illness. So is conservatism, and I just don’t see a difference any longer between them and conservatives.

And they are conservatives, clearly–they want to conserve the 1950s Leave it to Beaver way of life that never actually existed anyway. They think their way of life is somehow under threat. It wasn’t long ago that I read an article by one Cum Trumpster saying that multi-culturalism was bad. What? Coexisting alongside other cultures is bad?

No, idiots. It’s only bad if incoming cultures refuse to allow and accommodate other cultures. It’s not even about assimilation; it doesn’t matter if people assimilate. It only matters if they conquer other cultures.

And while I know they don’t understand the difference and truly believe that Muslims are trying to conquer their culture, that’s because they are lunatics who think that a transgender person demanding the state not force its gender definitions onto her is the same as her forcing her definitions onto everyone.

And I do hate to say it, but that’s certainly a side effect of privilege: thinking that not being allowed to force your way onto people is the same as them forcing their way onto you. I mean, for centuries those people had the power and ran all over everyone. Then the democrats formed their equality coalition and pushed back. Of course, then that coalition became addicted to the power and went way too far, moving the goalposts from equality to elevation of minorities. I even agree that democrats have done that.

But the solution is egalitarianism and no one forcing things onto anyone. The solution is not reverting back to the way things were and forcing conservatism onto liberals. Just like Democrats, you “Libertarians” have moved the goalposts from liberty and egalitarianism.

So kindly fuck off and stop calling yourselves libertarians, voluntaryists, minarchists, and anarchists. You’re not. You’re conservatives who want small government when Democrats want to force their way onto you, and want large government when you can force your way onto them.

Some of you criticized Johnson for not being a libertarian, too. Are you kidding me? If you’re going to criticize Johnson for not being libertarian enough while supporting Trump, then you’re an idiot and you’ve dug the principled high ground right out from under your own feet.

I criticized Gary Johnson repeatedly as the libertarian candidate. The difference is that I did so because of principles. The Cum Trumpsters appear to have simply used that as an excuse to back a terrible candidate. And yes, Trump was a terrible candidate, and he’s proving a terrible President. I don’t know why anyone expected anything else. My sister recently said, “I like that Trump is doing what he promised to do.”

Like what? Bombing little kids? It’s true, he did promise to go after families. I have a hard time accepting that anyone, regardless of what they call themselves, is okay with that, but fair enough–he did promise to do that, and he is doing it.

That doesn’t make him a good President. It makes him a murderer. A monster. A depraved, disgusting wretch of a human being with calloused disrespect for life.

Tariffs are bullshit, too. They do have some place in world trade, but their only conceivable non-destructive use would be implementing them on a plan to phase them out from the start, easing a nation into an economic change instead of taking it all at once. That’s not good by any means, and consumers ultimately pay the cost, but it’s the only non-destructive role they could play. They’d still be damaging, but not destructive.

Economics is a pretty big part of libertarianism. I know very few VALs who are economically ignorant. So the Cum Trumpsters should *know* that tariffs on China should be put in place only if the plan is to abolish the Minimum Wage, and even then should start on a system to phase them out over several years. Ditto for Mexican tariffs. And this is because we KNOW that taxes are paid by consumers.

That sales tax you pay at Wal-Mart? That’s not a tax on you buying the item. It’s a tax on Wal-Mart for selling the item. But because Wal-Mart doesn’t want to eat the cost, they pass it onto you. That’s how taxes work. Consumers are always screwed by them and by tariffs. I’ll grant that it’s conceivable tariffs could be used to soften economic blows. I wouldn’t like it, and I think it would extend the damage, but I’m not going to argue the point. But just imposing tariffs and taxes?

A libertarian should know better.

I arrived on-site at a client’s and had to get started working. I intend to add more to this.

The Politicization and Exaggeration of Reality

I’ve seen President Trump talk about the terrible things that happened in Sweden on Friday night. I’ve seen a video from… Sweden…? Some Swedish government agency…? that reiterated that nothing of much import happened in Sweden. I’ve seen people sharing articles about riots that took place in Rinkeby. And I’ve got to be honest.

I don’t who to believe.

In fact, I believe none of them. I refuse to form any sort of understanding on what may or may not be happening in Sweden, because everyone involved has a vested interest in lying to me. I don’t remember all the details, but I do remember reading from a reputable source that police agencies in <some European country> were told to downplay crimes committed by refugees. I also know that Trump and his ilk have a really, really bad habit of blowing everything out of proportion, inflating numbers, and telling outright lies. Everyone is telling a bit of truth, and everyone is burying the truth. So it’s impossible to figure out what is actually true.

It’s not a subject I talk about much because there’s no need to get involved in the controversy, but the Holocaust suffers from the same problem: what actually happened is now forever lost to history. We do know that much of what we were told during the 30s and 40s about Nazi Germany was exaggerated by, yes, Jewish-owned media outlets who were using propaganda to incite the American People into entering the war. See? I can hardly even make that statement without risking being called anti-Semitic. But that Jews controlled most of the media then is a matter of record. While he was certainly no bastion of reliability himself, the problem was notable enough that Charles Lindbergh stood in Congress and spoke about how the media was using propaganda to stir us into entering the war.

Whatever did happen was indisputably terrible and unforgivable, but we do know that much of what we were told was greatly exaggerated, and much of it was blatantly false. For example, claims of the Nazi soldiers incinerating bodies by the dozen in mere minutes are obviously false, yet these provably false statements were admitted as evidence and have entered the official zeitgeist of what happened during the Holocaust. Even though it takes modern crematoria more than two hours to incinerate a single body, and even though this involves crushing the bones–which was never mentioned in any of the testimony–the overwhelming majority of people today simply accept it as fact that the Nazis incinerated bodies by the hundreds.

I’m not making any case for or against anything. I’m just pointing out that the tendency of people to exaggerate to further their political ends has resulted in a situation where all sides are filled with liars and con artists, and the long-run result of that is that whatever “truth” might once have existed is now simply a matter of which side of the argument you fall on. I’ve no doubt that anyone who would instantly reject any talk of Holocaust Denial–which I’m not doing–will probably have stopped reading during the preceding paragraph, called me anti-Semitic, and completely ignored the point. This is because they have fallen on that side of the issue, and it has no tolerance for the arguments of the other side.

It refuses to hear, and so it can’t listen.

Does Sweden have some kind of issue with immigration? I have no idea. It would seem that they do have some sort of problem–everything isn’t great, at least. Is Trump pulling more “alternative facts” out of his ass? I have no idea. Based on his history, I would say “Probably.” Is there an element of truth in both statements? Yes, without doubt. Will one side acknowledge the element of truth in the other side’s statements?

Not before Hell freezes over.

Global Warming faces the same politicization. We know for a fact–thanks to hacked and leaked emails that appeared around 2007*–that the leading scientists who were arguing that man-made global warming was real doctored evidence, concealed evidence, and cherry-picked their data so that their report was colored by their political message. We also know that no amount of 114 degree temperatures in August will cause Climate Change Deniers to say there might be something to it, not as long as one random day throughout the year is unusually cool.

If a person begins from a neutral position and simply follows the evidence to determine what is up with the Holocaust, the Trump/Sweden thing, and global warming, they will end up running in circles and ultimately declaring, “I don’t know. It’s impossible to know. Everyone is lying, and everyone is manipulating the truth to say what they want it to say.”

Over the weekend, some altercation happened at the Students For Liberty Conference when an alt-right dude Something Spencer showed up and set up a booth pretending to be part of the conference. What happened next? Well, Spencer says that he was threatened and forced to leave. Libertarians say that Spencer requested that security escort him out, and that he left of his own accord. Jeffrey Tucker may or may not have been drunk and may or may not have shouted at Spencer. I wasn’t there, and only about 300 people were, so I can’t say what happened.

People who I generally find reliable, like Will Coley, insist that Spencer left of his own accord. However, his posts about it contain comments from people who dispute that account, and who say that Spencer was forced to leave because the crowd was turning violent. Others have said that everyone ultimately had to leave, including Students For Liberty.

Recently, some Conservative group uninvited Milo Yuanwhateverus from speaking at their event. They say that it’s because Milo made comments that condoned pedophilia**. Not being a Milo fan, I only know his reply secondhand, but it was basically something like “No, that’s not at all what I said. They edited the videos to make it appear that way.” Then someone posted the full video unedited. Did Milo condone teen-adult relationships? I don’t know or really care; this is just another example of how truth gets shoved through the meat grinder because everyone is just trying to push an agenda, and will pick and choose parts of the truth that further it while denying or burying the parts that don’t.

Trump said while talking to a reporter that women “let” him do whatever he wants because he’s rich and famous. People took this and ran with it, coming up with the certifiably insane idea that Trump was bragging about sexual assault. I’ve tried, and I can attest: absolutely nothing that you can say to these people will convince them otherwise. Pointing out what the meaning of the word “let” is? It’s a No Sale. They have that in their heads, and that’s just what they’re going to believe. Use an example about how “letting” your nephew play with your pet cat isn’t forcing your nephew to play with your pet cat? They genuinely don’t understand what relevance that has.

But it’s not just the left, obviously–I’ve criticized the right just as much here.

It’s fucking maddening.

Everything gets exaggerated to reductio ad absurdum degrees, but the people exaggerating absolutely refuse to admit that they’re blowing things way out of proportion and are engaging in hyperbole. “Scientific fact” has become both meaningless and a holy grail, thanks to one segment of the population that unwisely believes anything a scientist says is absolutely reliable, and the other segment of the population that simply cherry-picks. The first segment, of course, hides from the science they don’t like–like the measurable differences in athleticism and education between races and genders–and refuse to admit that such scientific facts even exist. The second segment will print out and piss on a paper about climate change but will decide scientists are great if a report comes out that they like.

I just… I really wish people would stop exaggerating and stop lying.

I can already hear the mainstream responses to that.

Conservatives: “Damn straight! Tell them damned liberals to stop exaggerating and lying!”

Liberals: “Yes, please! All conservatives do is exaggerate and lie!”

Because of this, truth just gets eviscerated and swept under the rug, forever lost and with no way to ever recover it. It is impossible now to determine what actually happened during the Holocaust, whether Hitler actually intended to exterminate or move the Jews, whether the Jewish murders were planned or incidental, or anything else. We are doing a great disservice to posterity, who will one day look back on our mess and shrug before saying, “I don’t know. They’re all liars and exaggerators.”

* “The gist” of all this stuff gets logged in my memory, though the details rarely do.

** Widespread acceptance of hyperbole is another serious issue. What Milo is accused of condoning are relationships between teens and adults, not kids and adults. As far as I’m aware, there isn’t a -philia label for this, but there actually is a pretty major difference between being attracted to a pre-puberty kid and a post-puberty teenager. I’m condoning neither, but don’t pretend like they’re the same thing.

See You On Sugarcandy Mountain

I wasn’t quite of voting age when Al Gore lost the 2000 election to George W. Bush. Actually, I was barely even a teenager, but that also made it my first “real” election. In 1996, I would have been too young to have any concern or interest in paying attention to what the adults were talking about, but around 2000 I was at least watching the news. What an introduction to American politics–an election that seemed to just drag on and on, with everything down to a single state and a relatively thin vote margin.

That’s nothing like what we have today.

I don’t recall any attempts to force recounts in 2004, 2008, or 2012, though I do remember the secession petitions that came online almost as soon as they were made possible by the Obama Administration. I also recall the Obama Administration’s sickening response to the petitions–that the founders intended the union to be perpetual, as though what dead people wanted when they decided things two hundred years ago must dictate our lives today. This was actually the moment when I realized how stalled our “liberty education” was.

Of course, prior to that, all I’d heard was that we lived in a democracy, and my high school civics class didn’t even come close to approaching anything important. We went over all of U.S. history–laboriously and methodically, as we had a teacher who calculated five pages of reading per day, no excuses, so that the entire book was covered through the year–and we glazed over the system of governance: it was something about federalism, something about checks and balances, something about a republic, and something about democracy.

What did it all mean?

Nothing.

They were just empty words, far removed from anything relating to our daily lives and personal experiences. We were, of course, not brought up in anything that resembled a democracy or a republic; in our actual lives there was no Constitution, and certainly no checks and balances. We were carted from one tyrant who was judge, jury, and executioner, to another, and told all the while that all of this was taking place in some glorious system where our rights were respected. Well, not yet, but one day–once we turned 18! Then our rights would be respected!

Except it wasn’t really that simple. It wasn’t just “turning 18.” You had to both turn 18 and leave high school, one way or another, and move out. For me, “turning 18” was the last of those three gates through which I stepped, thanks almost entirely to the tyrannical behavior of both my parent/legal guardian and the school. We don’t like to think about it, but we have terribly warped ideas about children and rights here in the United States, almost to the extent that children are considered the property of their parents.

In fact, it’s not really that unusual that a parent tries to do some wicked, evil thing to their child as they shriek, “It’s my daughter, I can do what I want!” This link is certainly an extreme example, but it’s still just taken as a given that a parent hitting their child is “totally different.” How about this man who boxed his son to teach him a lesson? How about this woman who caused her child probably a fair bit of actual trauma by threatening to kick him out for voting for Trump in a mock election at school? Now she claims it was a joke, of course, but if you’ve seen the video you know that’s bullshit.

One of the central themes of Dancing in Hellfire is that most people aren’t very well equipped to be parents. I’ve seen this far too often, and not just from my own parents. I’ve never met a parent who didn’t say “I put my child’s needs first–that’s all I care about.” Yet in my personal experiences, I’ve never found that to be true. Invariably, what the parent puts first is the emotional itch that the child is scratching for them. I think more consideration should go into people’s thoughts before they choose whether or not to have children, and I think that conscious acceptance that this is the end of your life would do people a lot of good. Because that’s true–once you have a child, your life is over; your dedication must be wholly to your child’s life.

Anyway, that’s not the way we treat children here in the west. We treat children like property. Parents can take away their child’s possessions, invade their privacy, restrict their communication and rights. Parents can assign whatever arbitrary rules they like and inflict virtually any punishments they want. The parent is judge, jury, and executioner, a tyrant who dictates what can and can’t be done, and this is the child’s first lesson in “rights” and “freedom.”

See? I can’t even make a statement like that without people thinking I must be joking. I most certainly am not.

We know that those first ten years are critical in forming a person’s ultimate worldview. Without getting into the Nature versus Nurture argument, American parenting is basically the finest example of a victim going on to become a bully that we would ever need. It should come as no surprise that most people who support spanking were themselves spanked. It’s rather similar to how my grandmother had no choice but to force fundamentalist insanity onto me–she was herself a victim, and she was victimized to the extent that she didn’t know what else to do but pay it forward. ‘Round and ’round we go; the cycle never ends.

Then we’re plucked out of our homes and told that we have to go to this thing called school. This is something I remember very well, and I also wrote about it in Dancing in Hellfire, because I hated school. It made absolutely no sense that I was brought into this world and then–“Oh, hey, by the way, I hope you liked those first five years of fun. Now you have to go to this horrible, boring place seven hours a day almost every single day for the next thirteen years.”

I was given no choice in the matter, but damn did I try to force one, especially after the separation. No one was able to give me a single good reason why I had to go to school, but my mother insisted that I had to. Of course, it didn’t take too long to learn that she had no choice in the matter, either. She wasn’t the one who was forcing me to go to school. Something called “the government” was.

Soon as you’re born, they make you feel small
Giving you no time, instead of it all
Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all
Working class hero is something to be

They hurt you at home and they hit you at school
They hate you if you’re clever, and they despise the fool
They’re so fucking crazy you can’t follow their rules
Working class hero is something to be

When they tortured and scared you for twenty odd years
Then they expect you to pick a career
But you can’t really function you’re so full of fear
Working class hero is something to be

They keep you doped with religion, your sex, and TV
You think you’re so clever and classless and free
But you’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see
Working class hero is something to be

There’s room at the top, they are telling you still
First you must learn how to smile while you kill
If you wanna be like the folks on top of the hill
Working class hero is something to be

Of course, Lennon was a communist, but… he’s not wrong. That is the way we do things.

And what do we find at school? More arbitrary rules that must be obeyed. And if you are accused of breaking a rule, there is no trial–there is only the teacher, for a small enough infraction, and the principal. Regardless of which you face, they are judge, jury, and executioner. Break the rules during Civics Class for Maximum Irony.

There were plenty of rules that I broke, especially during high school. I had a really bad habit of smoking on campus and speaking out loudly against the new uniform policy. Generally, I was a troublemaker, but there were a handful of teachers who would have defended me as far as they were able, because I was a straight A student. I didn’t do half the crap they accused me of, but it never mattered–a lesson I learned as I sat in In-School Suspension, accused of smoking because some teacher “saw smoke” where we were standing, though the reality was just that it was freaking cold outside. They didn’t find as much as a lighter on me, but it didn’t matter.

“Guilty By Accusation,” proclaimed the kangaroo.

Such a minor and trivial thing, but it doesn’t stop there, does it? No, because a woman was just arrested while waiting on a ride because the cop thought that “she looked like she was soliciting prostitution” and the woman had prior arrests for prostitution. Just as they accused and found me guilty–Double Jeopardy if ever there was such a thing–so did they accuse her and find her guilty. She knew just as I did that it didn’t matter what we said–what I said about smoking or what she said about waiting on a ride.

“Guilty By Accusation,” proclaimed the kangaroo.

So from the time we’re born, we have cognitive dissonance imposed on us. The adults tell us about some magical world far removed from our everyday experience. It is a wondrous place, where the state can’t just do whatever it wants, where trials are fair and seek only justice, and where our rights are respected. It is Sugarcandy Mountain, for all intents and purposes, and our parents and teachers have taken over the role of Moses the Raven. Of course, they offer another Sugarcandy Mountain on top of that, in most cases–no matter how bad this life is and no matter how badly we humans screw up everything by lying to one another about what reality actually is like, it’s okay, because when we die there is another Sugarcandy Mountain waiting on us.

And that’s what it is–we’re constantly waiting for Sugarcandy Mountain. When we’re kids and teenagers, it’s that magical age when we’re out of school and out of our parents’ home, out on Sugarcandy Mountain at last where our rights are finally respected and we’re finally given fair trials by a jury of peers, where “guilty” means more than “stands accused.” And this delusion works–for a while.

It works until you’re arrested in your neighborhood while waiting on a ride.

It works until you’re standing thirty feet away from your car at two in the morning while five police cars swirl around you, searching your vehicle, shining lights in your face, and demanding to know whether you’ve been drinking–even when you haven’t had a drink since like 2014. It works until you’re a homeless schizophrenic man being beaten to death by cops while you beg and cry out for your father to help you. It works until police unload bullets into your back while you flee their psychotic violence and then plant their taser on you. It works until police from 19 states bear down on you and strike you with water cannons in freezing temperatures.

Because we’re not on Sugarcandy Mountain. And as long as we delude ourselves into thinking we are, we will never remove the boots from our necks.