It’s been an interesting day already. In keeping with a plan outlined by Ian Freeman to coopt the GOP I just left the Cheshire County Republican Committee meeting, and there was much more to take away than those things literally discussed. I recorded audio of the event, and will upload it after I’ve cleaned it up a bit, normalized it, and all that, so it will be a few days. There’s not a lot there for one to really comb through; video would be much more fascinating.
It was immediately obvious upon my arrival that I wasn’t simply the only trans person there (totally expected), but was also the only person there who would qualify as young, other than Ian Freeman. In fact, you could double my age and I’d still be younger than a significant portion of the other attendees. While this created some humorous moments, such as when it was stated that “we have to get on the social media,” I couldn’t help but think of a movie I’ve never seen.
It was as close to a room full of blind people as I’ve ever seen.
To their credit, they’re aware of the elephant in the room, and they did point at it a few times, but ultimately all they did was acknowledge the elephant. They’re no closer to being rid of it than they were before the meeting; in fact, Ian did more to bring young people into the meeting than any of them, a fact that is certainly worth recognizing.
Other than the one guy who insisted that older people needed to be the recipients of outreach, at least, but such a shortsighted view was only humored by other attendees, and his dual mentions of it received little more than polite acknowledgement that he’d spoken. The CCRC may or may not have an issue with getting older people to go to meetings, and resident older people may or may not be motivated to vote, but even if every person over 50 voted Republican, it solves their problem only for a decade or so.
It’s macabre to note, perhaps, but the elephant must be addressed properly. Older people die, and they are taking the GOP with it.
This was on proud display today, as an upcoming event titled “The Way We Were” made clear, and a bit of quick reminiscing followed by a few others about how Cheshire County “used to be” Republican.
I used to be a guy.
Things change, and we adapt to the changes wrought by the chaotic interactions of time and people, or we fade into obscurity, going the way of the dodo and lawn darts. What I saw today was reluctant acknowledgement that the world has changed, and begrudging recognition that the GOP needed to change with it, but a shocking lack of… any idea whatsoever on how that might be accomplished. Nowhere was this clearer than the brief discussion about studying how the Democrats use “the social media” and compiling reports about its effectiveness and cost. Yet there was no shortage of people pointing out that print media is dead.
These two ideas, juxtaposed, should highlight their problem for them, but they evidently refuse to see it. That isn’t fair. They see it, but they’re out of their element–they didn’t adapt as things changed–and are now looking around at increasingly empty rooms that gradually progressed from vibrant, young faces to gray hairs and coughing.
So much coughing. Like an unreal amount.
It began, of course, like an ordinary church service–fitting, considering the purpose of the meeting was ultimately to heap adoration onto the state–with the Pledge of Allegiance (through which Ian and I sat, myself baffled by the display). Then, as though I’d stepped right out of a liberal bastion into a Mayberry church service, an honest-to-god hymn was sung: “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” or whatever its proper name is.
And then–and I must stress that I have audio recording of this–after the song finished, a single voice rang out “Amen.”
It went from mundane to weird to “OMFG I’M DYING” in the span of about three minutes. “Amen” is certainly a fitting way to end a prayer and hymn to the state, but to actually see and hear this was shocking.
Anyway, the GOP in general has a relatively simple branding issue. The problem is not complex, but the solution would be. I didn’t sign their attendance paper because I’m not comfortable having my name in any way associated with Republicans. The perception is that they’re stodgy old white people obsessed with a world that never was, and convinced they can somehow resist the tides of change through sheer obstinacy.
Their infrastructure remains strong, but we need only three things to absolutely conquer the Republican Party with libertarians: more libertarians, time, and patience. I wish no ill on anyone, but time does what it does, and there is no one at the CCRC to carry on the torch except Ian and me. All battles, ideological, political, and real, are won by those who remain standing. Realistically, in fifteen years Ian and I will likely be the only people still there, from those who attended today.
I can’t imagine this is irregular for the Republicans. Photographs of their meetings reveal the same phenomenon, and the only competing party is the Democratic one, which is decisively winning the ideological war among young people. Republicans can (and, indeed, they did) blame “brainwash” by the education system if they want, but it’s not going to change that young people are predominantly Democrats or Libertarians.
Canvassing colleges isn’t going to change that, for the same reason I don’t want an “R” next to my name. They have to change their image, and whether they want to change it is immaterial. We just need more people doing it. No, I don’t want “Republican” next to my name because of all the stereotypes and connotations it entails, but I’m aware the only way to change said implications… is to have “Republican” next to my name.
It isn’t for the sake of the Republican Party, though. It’s for the sake of libertarianism, and hijacking the Republicans’ political infrastructure to undermine and dismantle the state. I don’t give a damn about the Republicans or their current platform; I want to erase their entire platform and replace it with the NAP.
Political parties have faded and died, and evolved, through the history of the United States. Looking around today, it was obvious that we’re on the verge of that. Give us ten to twenty years, and we can simply change its name from “Republican Party” to “Libertarian Party.”
Let’s back this train allll the way up in honor of Being Libertarian’s dribble about how if you’re a libertarian and you don’t like Rand Paul, then you’re the problem, and take a moment to explain to “Being Libertarian” what it actually means to be libertarian. One would think they’d know this before grabbing such a domain name, but we all make bad decisions.
I think the most basic definition of “libertarian” that everyone would agree to is “one who believes liberty should be maximized.” This obviously has a problem, though, and is why I’m an anarchist and not a libertarian. The state’s very existence curtails liberty, so “libertarian” is actually a bit of a self-contradiction. Any libertarian who carries the ideas to their completion becomes an anarchist, but we’ll get more into this in a moment. First, we must ask: “What is liberty, then?”
Liberty is a more nuanced term. Strictly speaking, we could say that it is the condition when natural rights are respected by others. This, of course, leads to the next question: What are rights? As it happens, I’ve addressed this before: a right is anything that one could do on a deserted island. What does it mean when someone violates your rights? It means that they have prevented you from doing something that you have a right to do. How can they prevent you from doing something?
Why, the only way they can prevent you from doing something is by using force, violence, and/or coercion.
Libertarian –> liberty should be maximized
Liberty –> rights are respected
Rights –> anything one can do on a deserted island
Violation of rights –> Force, violence, and/or coercion
Libertarian –> someone who condemns the violation of another person’s ability to do anything they would be able to do on a deserted island by using force, violence, and coercion against them.
That really wasn’t so hard was it? We can simplify it more, of course. A Libertarian is someone who condemns the initiation of force, violence, and coercion. This is an obvious corollary, because one can’t initiate force, violence, and coercion against people on a deserted island, because there are no other people upon whom one can use violence. Ergo, one does not have the right to use violence. One does have the right to not have force, violence, and coercion used against them on a deserted island, because there is no one to use it against one. Ipso facto, anyone who uses force, violence, and coercion is violating another person’s rights, and the Libertarian obviously rejects this.
One could take the time to dispute my assertion that rights are anything one can do on a deserted island, but not easily. It’s true that the idea of respecting an animal’s natural rights is a human one, and doesn’t actually exist anywhere in nature. Nature, however, is bloody horrific. Did you know one specie of wasp paralyzes worms and drags them back to the nest, where the worm has an egg laid in it and is eaten alive from the inside out? That’s nature. Yeah. Let’s keep nature away from our civilized behavior, right?
I’m not going to take the time to go into an explanation of natural rights, or why it makes sense to support the notion, because I shouldn’t have to in the United States–a nation that was literally built on the classical liberal ideology that was literally built from Locke and Smith’s works on government, which themselves were literally built on the ideas of natural rights. The concept of natural rights should be ingrained enough in our society that it warrants no explanation and is taken as a given: free speech, free thought, free association… These are rights because they’re rights because they’re rights. It’s true that some of these rights have come under fire in recent years, but not from libertarians, classical liberals, or even liberty-leaning conservatives. In other words, no one who actually likes anything the Anarchist Shemale has to say would take umbrage with the idea of natural rights.
So what does all this have to do with Rand Paul and “Being Libertarian?”
Well, as I explained above, “libertarian” isn’t a matter of degree. It’s boolean. It’s either/or. It’s a dichotomy: one either is a libertarian, or one is not. One can have “some positions in common with libertarians,” and one can even lean toward libertarian solutions as the preferred answers to problems, but one can’t be more libertarian or less libertarian than anyone else, because one either is libertarian, or one isn’t. Why? Simply put, because one either condemns the use of force, violence, and coercion, or one does not condemn the use of force, violence, and coercion.
It is here that I have to reiterate: this would be understood if, instead of teaching twelve fucking years of language courses, American schools dedicated just a single semester to learning the Logical Absolutes. When people say that Rand Paul is the “most Libertarian person in the Senate,” that isn’t what they really mean; as demonstrated above, it can’t be what they really mean, because “most Libertarian” doesn’t make sense.
“I condemn the use of force, violence, and coercion more than anyone else!”
“I condemn the use of force, violence, and coercion, too! Just… not as much as that guy!”
Obviously, those statements don’t make any sense at all.
“Very well!” someone might be saying. “But it remains a fact that Rand Paul happens to share more positions with libertarianism than anyone else in the Senate!”
This is true.
It is also a Lesser of Evils argument.
The “Lesser of Evils” argument is absolute bullshit, and half of the Libertarians now trying to use it have rejected it in the past. I wonder if Being Libertarian is aware that Rand Paul just made sweeping statements about how leakers should be persecuted and prosecuted? Yeah, that’s a real friend of libertarianism right there! “Protect state secrets! Protect the spies! Protect the liars! Protect the military industrial complex! Liberty! Prosecute anyone who spills the truth to the public!”
Sure, Rand does a few good things every once in a while.
So did Hitler.
So did Charles Manson.
While Rand Paul is certainly no Hitler or Charles Manson, the point remains that it’s futile, stupid, and fallacious to attempt to stack a person’s bad actions against their good actions, but Being Libertarian and other Rand supporters don’t even go that far, do they? No, they just completely gloss over and ignore his bad actions. No freaking libertarian in their right mind can have any love for a senator who wants to aggressively chase down and prosecute leakers. We love leaks! The government should not have secrets from us; we’re the ones paying the freaking bills! And let’s not get started on his signing Tim Cotton’s letter. Woohoo, though. Rand is fighting Ryancare.
But we do know this: his guiding principle is not the condemnation of the initiation of force, violence, and coercion.
Ergo, he’s not a libertarian.
There’s no “most” or “least” to it.
I’m willing to not give libertarians, classical liberals, and minarchists a hard time about being self-contradictory. Some people don’t agree with the NAP and arrive at the same ideological positions via different principles–much as Rand Paul arrives at “Fuck Ryancare,” but doesn’t arrive at that idea through the libertarian principle that is the NAP. Still others just aren’t ready to take the next step–because it is a big one–from libertarian to anarchist. But I’ll be goddamned if I’m going to support a statist who openly professes to not being a libertarian leeway because he shares a few positions with libertarians.
If you want to know the problem with Libertarianism, that’s where it lies: people are allowed to call themselves libertarians, and people treat liberty-leaning conservatives as libertarians, in full disregard of what the word actually means and what the ideology is actually built from. This is called “corrupting the ideology,” in fact, and is precisely what is harming the party. It’s how we ended up with Gary Johnson and Bill Freaking Weld. The problem is that party heads and figures were clearly willing to allow a little corruption if they could trade principles for a little popularity, and it snowballed to the point where every principle has been traded off and it’s no longer about how one reaches a position; it’s just about the position one reaches. And that’s wrong. It’s mistaken.
Moreover, “He may not be perfect, but he’s the best out of this group of people” is precisely how we ended up with President Donald Trump. Settling for politicians because they’re “not quite as bad” as other politicians has done fuck all to slow the march of the leviathan state.
No compromise. No backing down.
“Excuse me, darling, could I get a dollop of liberty on the side to go with my fascism, please?” isn’t acceptable.
Liberty or death.
No, I’m not the problem because I refuse to compromise my goddamned freedom, my rights as a human being. And if you think I’m the problem because I refuse to just give up my liberty dinner because some statist is kind enough to let me have a small taste, then you are absolutely the problem.
“Who is that, papa?” asked the little Jewish boy as he pointed and his father lowered him from the train that had brought them to Auschwitz.
The father turned and beamed with pride. “That’s Ol’ Henrick, my boy! He’s the best SS soldier in all of Germany! Why, he’s only gassed fourteen Jews!”
“Oh, wonderful, papa! That’s… Wait. But that means he’s killed fourteen Jews,” the boy said.
“He’s the best of the whole lot! How dare you criticize him?” the father roared. “At least he’s trying! He’s making an effort! He actually succeeded in getting into the SS, even though he doesn’t really care for the extermination of the Jews! That’s more than any of those people protesting the Holocaust have accomplished, isn’t it? ALL HAIL OL’ HENRICK, SAVIOR OF THE JEWS.”
I’m sorry for that. It’s really hard not to go way out there when criticizing this absurdly fallacious reasoning that Being Libertarian is offering up. Again, Rand is no Nazi. And he’s gassed no Jews. But he has participated in a lot of state-sanctioned murder, and this is the reasoning that Being Libertarian is offering up.
“You’re the problem! Fucking purist! You won’t accept anyone except someone who is just totally against the extermination of the Jews, will you? Purist! You should take what you can get!”
Question: At what point does a person’s political ideology become a determinant factor in whether it’s okay to inflict violence on them?
Answer: It doesn’t.
A lot of people have talked about this idea, whether it’s okay to punch Nazis, whether the NAP allows it, and even whether it means the NAP should be abandoned. It’s often treated as a “Gotcha!” question for Libertarians, either because the answer is so nuanced that the asker attests the libertarian has no answer, or because it causes the libertarian to stumble out of the gate. After all, Nazis are Ultra Super Evil, so it must me okay to attack them! So if your guiding principle doesn’t allow you to attack these symbols of unchecked evil, then your guiding principle has problems.
In some ways, it can be a difficult question to answer, and I understand why much ink has been spilled over attempting to dissect it and come up with an answer. This usually deals with the core of Nazi beliefs and the idea that it is the Nazi’s intention to use force, violence, and coercion against others; therefore, inflicting violence against the Nazi is an act of prevention.
But that’s the wrong answer.
We can’t allow ourselves to be distracted by magician parlor tricks that cause us to chase down obfuscations. The question is stupid and unworthy of an answer in the first place. It relies on widespread hatred of the very word “Nazi,” often regardless of whether a person knows what Nazism professes, and attempts to bait people into expressing any sort of sympathy with these people widely considered the symbols of evil. Nazis are the safe bad guy in any form of entertainment for a reason.
In fact, the person’s political identification is irrelevant to the question. Is it okay to punch a socialist? A communist? A racist? A sexist? A Muslim? A Christian? An anarchist?
“No” on all counts.
“Well, you see, there are some complexities…”
“No” is still the answer.
Part of this idea that Nazis represent The Devil Incarnate is the notion that all Nazis are the same and believe exactly the same things to exactly the same extent. This is an assumption we don’t apply anywhere else, and for good reason. We all know that we’ll have a very difficult time finding two Democrats who agree on everything, two Republicans who agree on everything, two socialists who agree on everything, and you can forget finding two libertarians who agree on everything. I don’t think I’ve ever met two Christians who agree on everything, or two Muslims who agree on everything. But two Nazis who agree on everything?
It’s just assumed. “Oh, yeah, definitely… All Nazis are the same.”
I know that the propaganda during World War 2 was extremely effective, and that it has permanently colored our society, but it’s time we put aside the propaganda and evaluated things as rational adults. The fact is that, at the height of their power, lots of people were Nazis. And the reason that Hitler kept the Holocaust as quiet as he could was precisely that he knew the common people of Germany, many, many of whom were Nazis, would never have been okay with his proposed Final Solution. Many Nazis defected from the country and the party, not because they disputed National Socialism but because they rejected the Holocaust. That wartime propaganda still lingers, but all Nazis have never been the same.
The question has nothing to do with the NAP; it has everything to do with virtue signaling, as the asker attempts to test the waters to see if he can goad the libertarian into expressing virtues different from his own, at which point the libertarian can be called a Nazi Sympathizer, and, since everyone hates Nazis, it means whoever asks the question generally wins in public perception. A fair question is “At what point is it okay to use a person’s political beliefs as a factor in determining whether it’s acceptable to inflict violence upon them?”
The answer to this question is, “It’s never okay.”
Recently I read an article by a libertarian who wants to re-evaluate the NAP because it allows racists to be considered libertarians, and the author doesn’t like that. He seems to struggle with the idea of tolerance, that we must tolerate behavior and ideas we don’t approve of, as long as the person doesn’t use force, violence, and coercion. Since using force, violence, and coercion are the only ways to be intolerant of an idea, it basically means that “Everything is tolerable except force, violence, and coercion.”
While I can see why people would struggle with this, there is no identifiable link between a person’s religious or political beliefs and their willingness or unwillingness to use violence. Progressives have for decades condemned the use of violence, but now are the prime actors initiating it. If you ask some people, Hitler was a Catholic. If you ask others, he was an atheist. Whether Stalin’s atheism had anything to do with his atrocities is good troll-bait. Whether Islam has anything to do with the large amount of extremism coming out of the Middle East also makes good troll-bait.
But the reality is simpler: the reason we can’t find any direct correlation between a person’s beliefs and things like terrorism is that there really isn’t one. A few years ago, I came across someone who asserted that people who are homophobic are actually gay and just can’t accept it. That’s absurd, and the reasoning behind it is aggressively unworthy of our species. So a man who hates pedophiles is secretly a pedophile and can’t accept it? That’s the reasoning we’re going to go with on this?
As “evidence” of this claim, another person came forward and said, “I used to be homophobic, and I’m gay, so it’s actually true.”
No, it’s still not true. You’re connecting dots where there are no dots to be connected. You were homophobic and you are gay; you weren’t homophobic because you are gay. This person’s upbringing and social environment would have led him to be homophobic regardless of his orientation. Being gay is simply what allowed him to stop being homophobic. We find the same pattern everywhere, with people attempting to draw correlations between religious beliefs and violence, and between political ideologies and violence.
Is the man hateful because he is racist, or is the man racist because he is hateful? Is the man willing to use violence against black people because he’s racist, or is he racist because he’s willing to use violence against black people? Or is his racism unrelated to his willingness to use violence, and his racism merely determines who is the recipient of his willingness to use violence? In most cases, the latter. Being a white supremacist won’t turn a non-violent person into a violent one. I’m sorry, but it won’t. Neither will being a black supremacist, an atheist, a Christian, a Muslim, a Democrat, or a Republican.
In nearly all cases, extremist positions do not create a willingness to use violence. They are merely used as an excuse. The people who bombed abortion clinics didn’t do so because Christianity made them looney. They did so because they were already looney, and parts of Christianity gave them an excuse to do what they wanted to do anyway. Ditto for Muslim extremists, atheist extremists, socialist extremists, racist extremists, and other extremists. And in all of these cases, for every one who is batshit nuts and violent, there are 99 who are perfectly normal.
Question: Is it okay to punch a Nazi?
Answer: What the fuck kind of question is that?
Is it okay to punch someone who is engaged in act of aggression? Is it okay to punch someone who is a reasonable and credible threat planning an act of aggression? Is it okay to punch someone because you really, really don’t like what they believe? These questions don’t all have the same answer, and that’s why “Nazi” is used in the question. We’re just supposed to accept that all Nazis are supremely evil and willing, perhaps even eager, to kill everyone who isn’t a straight, white Christian. And even if that’s true about Nazis–which it isn’t, though it’s more likely to be true of neo-Nazis–it’s still the wrong question to ask, because the fact that they are Nazis isn’t a determining factor. The determining factor is whether the person is engaged in, or credibly planning to be engaged in, acts of violence and aggression. It doesn’t matter if they’re Nazis, socialists, anarchists, communists, capitalists, Christians, atheists, Muslims, or anything else.
Rik Storey is an idiot who has no idea what he’s talking about, cherry-picks to support his chosen ideology, ignores evidence that conflicts with his internal ideas, and spreads this madness for other people to absorb. The only reason I know about this alt-right goon is that he’s a member of a Voluntaryist/Anarchist/Libertarian group I’m in on Facebook, and no one has seen fit to kick him from the group yet for constantly talking about his alt-right positions and why they’re not only part of libertarianism–his latest post is about “the alt-right faction of the Libertarian Party”–but are critical to libertarianism–such as his post “Why Libertarians Need Protectionism.”
This is the idiot who said that multiculturalism is bad.
I’m not going to go into a line-by-line analysis of his writing and where his reasoning breaks down. I’m going to instead talk in broad strokes, because I don’t have the patience right now to read his trite dribble again. I have read his stuff, and I have countered his stuff; he has ignored the counters and continued peddling his inanities anyway.
Anyone who thinks that the United States is at risk of losing its culture needs to turn their sights inward. America runs the world, not just politically but also culturally. Our movies are cherished, our music is highly prized, and our video games are widely praised. Video games are the only cultural area where we don’t run the full sweep, but Bethesda, Bioware, and Blizzard–interestingly, all of whom begin with a “B,” although I think Bethesda is Canadian?–clearly show that the U.S. is a major player in the video game industry, even if it is dominated by Japan. Mass Effect: Andromeda released today, and has surely already sold millions of copies. World of Warcraft, anyone? Fucking Skyrim?
The wonderful thing about mainstream culture is that it’s always representative of the wider cultural values at home. This is obvious when you think about it. No movie in the 1950s would have depicted a gay marriage scene, because gay marriage was almost universally reviled, and the movie makers wanted to make money. Putting in a gay marriage scene would have resulted in widespread protest of the movie, and they wouldn’t have made any money. Culture, of course, is a multi-faceted thing, but the point still stands: America is projecting its culture out into the rest of the world, influencing the rest of the world.
Not the other way around.
We’re not sitting at home watching Bollywood movies and being increasingly influenced by Indian cultural values. We’re not watching Chinese sitcoms and slowly being pushed away from individualist thinking and toward collectivist/clan-based thinking that is more dominant in Asian cultures. American values are a teenage girl telling her middle aged father, “No, father! I will not marry that man, because I do not love him! I don’t care if he can save the family fortune!” An Indian or Chinese film would have the teenage girl saying, “Yes, father. I will do what is best for our family.” Remember, I said we’re speaking in broad strokes.
That kind of stuff influences people. We’re constantly being influenced by movies, television, music, video games, and literature. Take “The Purge,” for example, a movie that I boycotted on the basis of promoting facetious reasoning and the assumption that legality is what keeps people from killing one another. Show people movies like that long enough, and they will come away from it having concluded that the government is what keeps people from killing one another in the streets.
It’s far beyond my abilities to explain how art becomes a catalyst of cultural change while also attempting to be safe enough to make money, but it’s an observable phenomenon. It probably has something to do with the Marilyn Mansons and GG Allins of the world who take refuge in audacity, and whose outlandish behavior breaks down many barriers, opening the door for more mainstream musicians to safely mimic some of that behavior without going quite as far. Marilyn Manson, A Perfect Circle, and Nine Inch Nails all sang about dead gods and anti-religious sentiments, and now no one bats an eye if a rock band says something anti-religion. The dam is broken.
I’ve no doubt that a culture expert can explain this, but it’s not really important to the point at hand. The point is simply that American culture is, by an enormous margin, the most influential culture in the world today. The question we must ask is: What values is American culture promoting? The recent re-release of Beauty and the Beast features a gay kiss, and a lot of conservatives are up in arms about it. This is hardly ultra-liberal, but it doesn’t have to be ultra-liberal, because that dam is already broken. There have already been gay couples in all manner of entertainment, and openly gay musicians and actors. Having a gay kiss is now a safe spot to be in.
Protectionism won’t protect your values if the culture of your society doesn’t reflect your values. You can go as far into isolationism as you would like, and it will not save your social values now. It’s too late. Your values are dying, and nothing can be done to stop that. We will never have an American society again where being gay is criminalized or hidden. We will never have an American society again where being transgender is a capital offense. We will never have an American society where women are depicted as anything less than the equals of men. The tide has changed, and whether your values go as far as these straw values or not, the fact remains that progress is a one-way street. Once people realized that those other people are other people, you can’t convince them that they’re not. Once you convince people that black people are just like white people, you can never again convince them that black people are inferior, because they already identify with them.
The values you wish to protect with your cultural protectionism are already on the chopping block, and isolationism and protectionism can’t save them. Your values are being eroded from the inside, from within America itself. It’s not outside cultural elements convincing us that gay people are ordinary people, too, and that there’s nothing wrong with being gay. That’s something we came up with all by ourselves. We weren’t propagandized by German movies into believing that transgender people are deserving of dignity. We weren’t corrupted by Chinese music into believing that black people are equal to white people. We weren’t twisted by British propaganda into believing that women are equal to men. Again and again and again, these ideas originated–at the very least, in their modern movements–in the United States. We are Ground Zero for these social changes, and we emanate them outward into the rest of the world via our entertainment, which is a reflection of our culture and the very social changes that the alt-right has a problem with.
Why do you think China is relentlessly screening what movies, music, art, and literature enters their country? Even video games have to be screened, censored, and, often, changed before China will allow them in. Why? Because China is engaging in cultural protectionism. We are the influencers, you idiots. We are the ones influencing them. We’re not sitting around going, “Oh, I hope this famous Chinese movie has no subversive communist elements in it!” Dumbasses! We’re going, “Sweet! This movie is fucking awesome! U! S! A! U! S! A!”
This notion that outside elements are trying to influence us is so bizarre to me that I wonder if we’re even in the same reality. What cultural influences are impacting us? Paris has long stopped being the art capital of the world. We still have a lot of fondness for European culture–and, for some reason, we consider it more highly valued than our own, as though the Eiffel Tower is just inherently better than the Sears Tower–but it’s not influencing us. Europe is increasingly socialist, and that’s influencing some of our youngest who look to Europe as a utopia, but protectionism won’t change that, either, because it’s not Europe that people like Rik Storey have a problem with. In fact, they want to include Europe in their protectionism, and save it from all the “icky brown people” who are trying to change the culture that we’re literally influencing everyone else with.
These people are nuts. Fully detached from reality. Anyone with even a tenuous connection to reality can see plainly that it’s the United States that is influencing everyone else, not vice versa. It’s our movies that rock the world. It’s our musicians that rock the world. It’s our television shows that break new ground. It’s our Broadway. It’s our Fiddler on the Roof. It’s our Citizen Kane, our Gone With the Wind, our Titanic, our Avengers, our Avatar. What the hell are you worried about? You’re backward. We are influencing them.
The basic idea of Rik Storey’s idiocy is that we need protectionism to keep out “bad elements” because a libertarian society is a high trust one, and so we need to be able to trust other members. I call this “idiocy” because it is.
As always, let’s begin by dissecting assumptions. What is “trust?” Trust is nothing more than a conditioned expectation to stimuli. There’s no such thing as trust; there’s just an expectation that this action will have this result, or that this other person will do that in response to this. It’s not about trust; it’s about expectation. We don’t trust the mailman to come everyday; trust is unnecessary to the process, because we know from experience and real-world examples that the mailman will come everyday. We’re not pulling from some emotional idea and faith in the mailman; we’re pulling from real experiences and real data to establish an expectation that is in-line with our experience.
Similarly, I don’t “trust” that my girlfriend would be pissed off if I cheated on her. I know she would; trust has nothing to do with it. I’m extrapolating from past experiences–not personal experiences, to be clear–and establishing an expectation based on those past experiences. Neither do I “trust” that she won’t cheat on me; I expect that she won’t, based on my past experiences with her. Trust never, ever enters into the picture. It’s just a misnomer, a colloquial way of saying “I have this expectation based on previous experiences.” A betrayal of trust isn’t a betrayal of trust; it’s when someone does something counter to our expectations that impacts us in a negative way.
That said, I dispute the idea that a libertarian society is a high trust one in the first place. I don’t have to trust that Bob won’t rob my house if there is no law against it, because I can shoot Bob for trespassing and violating my property. The state society involves exactly this same trust, too, because we know that laws don’t create moral behavior; they merely provide a framework by which immoral behavior is punished. No one is out there going, “Damn. I would steal, rape, and kill, if only there were no laws against it!”
So a stateless society–or a libertarian one–doesn’t involve more trust than any other sort of society. It doesn’t matter whether there is a law against it or not; trust isn’t the factor distinguishing the two. We don’t operate under the good faith trust that Bob won’t break into my home and steal my stuff in a libertarian society, just like we don’t operate under the good faith trust that Bob won’t break the law in a state society. We expect moral behavior based on our experiences with most people and we have ways of dealing with immoral behavior when it occurs. That doesn’t change in a libertarian society.
For That Matter, WHO Are You Trusting?
Rik Storey makes it pretty clear that he trusts straight, white people. He constantly talks about the greatness of western society, claiming credit for the work of the ancient Greeks, the ancient Romans, and the American ancestors. This is common for such people, of course: by taking credit for the great things that other people did, they give themselves an ego boost by identifying with those other people. “I’m great, because people who were just like me did great things! I can take credit for the fact that the Greeks invented democracy, because I’m white and they were white!”
I can’t speak for everyone, but if I was motivated to be racist, sexist, and sexual orientationist, then straight white men would be the last people I would trust. This is where Rik’s “logic” really breaks down: he wants to claim credit for all the great things that–there’s no reason to be coy–white people did, while he says nothing about the abominable acts that white people have done. If we’re talking about “white people” as a single collective unit, then, yes, they invented democracy, libertarianism, self-governance, and other cool things.
They also started two World Wars, executed the Holocaust, enjoyed American slavery for centuries, annihilated the Native Americans, have invaded countless sovereign nations, have tried more than any other race of people to conquer the world, and have dropped not one but two atomic weapons on civilian population centers. They systemically oppressed women, black people, Asians, Native Americans, LGBTQ people, non-Christians, and anyone else who wasn’t exactly like them. So yeah, if you’re a straight white man with Christian leanings, I could see why you’d be okay trusting other straight white men with Christian leanings. They’ve never turned their viciousness onto you, after all.
But if you’re literally anyone else, then the notion that you should simply trust straight, white Christian men is absurd in the highest degree. There is no other demographic less worthy of trust. Rik Storey’s inability to see this and realize it is exactly because he is part of that demographic and, in the classical sense of that demographic, is incapable of seeing the world through anyone else’s eyes. Straight, white Christian men must be trustworthy, he concludes, because he’s a straight, white Christian man and straight, white Christian men have never done anything to him.
He claims credit for the great things his ancestors have done and uses those great things as reasons why his demographic is inherently more trustworthy, as far as a libertarian society goes. His thinking is that white people invented libertarianism, and thus only white people can be trusted in a libertarian society. He conveniently ignores the fact that white people also invented the nuclear weapon, the cluster bomb, the UAV, and a host of other things that add up to being pretty good reasons why not to trust those people.
I don’t buy any of that. There is no “straight, white Christian male” group that acts and thinks in unison, that is more or less worthy of “trust” than anyone else, because there are only individuals with various characteristics. The above rant is not an attack against men, white people, straight people, or Christians except as an extension of Rik Storey’s own thinking–which I reject in the first place. If Rik Storey truly believes his own spiel, then his conclusion must be that straight, white Christian men whose culture is under threat from the outside world aren’t worthy of trust in the first place, and that it must be a good thing that those outside cultural influences are impacting his values.
Everything about his thinking is backward, skewed, and confused. In a libertarian society, we don’t have to trust our neighbors won’t violate the NAP, because we will have ways of dealing with it if they do. The existence of laws against violence don’t mitigate our trust or increase our trust; they are unrelated to the entire affair, as they are nothing more than the framework we use to punish people when they violate our morality. The morality remains in a libertarian society, and so does the tendency to punish people for violating it*. Just as you’d use law and the state to punish people for stealing from you in a state society, so would you use the NAP and some mechanism to punish people for stealing from you in a stateless society. Trust has nothing to do with it.
And if you really want to ride that demographic identity train, I don’t think it will arrive at a destination that people like Rik Storey will be comfortable with. Because if you’re going to take pride in all the great things that white people, men, straight people, and Christians have done, then you must also take responsibility for all the absolutely horrible things those same people have done: the Inquisition, the Holocaust, the Salem Witch Trials, McCarthyism, the Oklahoma City Bombing, the bombed abortion clinics, both World Wars, Nagasaki, Hiroshima… I’d be moderately interested in seeing Rik Storey’s tally where he has added up all the positive things his demographic has done and stacked them against all the negative things his demographic has done, and whether the math shows he is correct in trusting his demographic.
But he isn’t correct, and it’s stupid anyway, because we are individuals, not amalgams of characteristics and not extensions of people who lived and died thousands of years ago. I think it’s interesting that Storey wants to take credit for the Greeks inventing democracy, but I’d bet my shiny new A Perfect Circle tickets [Yes, that phrase again] that Rik Storey vehemently opposes the notion of reparations for black Americans.
So do I, as it happens, but I oppose it because individuals who didn’t do something shouldn’t have to pay for something that other individuals did to individuals who didn’t have it done to them. That is what a position of consistency looks like. “White people are worthy of trust because they invented libertarianism! But that they invented and remain the only people to have used nuclear weapons? No, that isn’t a factor” is not what a position of consistency looks like.
The alt-right is replete with this sort of cherry-picking, denial of history, and doublethink. I don’t criticize white people for the Holocaust; I criticize Hitler. I don’t praise white people for democracy; I praise the unidentified individuals who conceived it. I’m not worried about outside influences impacting American culture because I’m not a blind moron, and I can easily look out into the world and notice that it’s the other way around; American culture is heavily impacting the rest of the world. And even if I shared Storey’s timid, insecure values, I still wouldn’t be able to get on board with his “conclusions,” because I’m capable of noticing that America’s values are changing from within.
And if he’s arguing that those individuals who are fighting to change America’s values from within need to be excised or killed, then he obviously isn’t a libertarian of any sort, but that’s okay, because the alt-right isn’t a faction of libertarianism anyway. Libertarians means liberty for ALL, and let the consequences of freedom be whatever they will be. If liberty means that Rik Storey’s values are eroded and ultimately wiped from history, then so be it. Libertarianism means liberty for all, even non-white, non-straight, non-Christian, non-men. Liberty for one demographic obviously isn’t liberty; it’s tyranny.
So no. Alt-right ideas are fundamentally incompatible with the precepts of liberty. Libertarianism means other people are free to come in and influence your culture, because they aren’t using force, violence, and coercion. If your culture is so weak that it can’t survive that, then there you go–your culture is weak.
I tend to think that Storey must know this. Protectionism is all about insecurity, after all. If Microsoft is so scared of competition that they have to engage in protectionism, then it means they know their products suck and can’t stand up against competing products. If Storey is so scared of competition that he has to engage in protectionism, then it means he knows his culture sucks and can’t stand up against competing cultures.
Letting the weak be defeated by the strong through competition absent force, violence, and coercion? That is libertarianism.
So it’s not other cultures that are incompatible with libertarianism, Storey.
There are three main threads through everything that I write:
A rejection of absolutist black & white thinking.
Strict adherence to the Non Aggression Principle, to the extent that punishment becomes off-limits in favor of forgiveness and prevention of future crimes.
What I now call Nietzscheanism*–that is: morality is a human construct that primarily exists to keep the strong from abusing the weak; it is a luxury of the middle class, one not allowed to the lower class and one that the upper class isn’t held to.
It’s immediately clear, from the second two bullets–the first is only mentioned because it simply is a common thread, but it’s not the point of today’s discussion–that there is a conflict.
Can there be a greater example of middle class morality than the NAP? In fact, I would say that the NAP is the shining bastion of middle class morality–fully swearing off and condemning all force, violence, and coercion and asking that everyone else do it. Obviously, this can only happen in a world where everyone compromises the middle class. This is the crux of anarcho-capitalism, and the reason I insist that Nietzsche would be an AnCap if he lived today, knowing what we know.
Goodness, there’s just so much ground to cover to bring my ideology full circle. It’s always difficult to explain to people exactly what I advocate, because it is very much circular, and that makes it hard to pinpoint a beginning. Here, we’ve started from Nietzscheanism and objectivism, and that works, but only if there isn’t a deity. After all, if there is a deity giving some sort of meaning to our existence, then life does matter. So before I could really get anyone on board with Nietzscheanism, I have to get people on board with atheism–Nietzscheanism, after all, is nothing but Applied Atheism. But before I can get anyone on board with atheism, there is a whole lot of groundwork to lay, and it’s groundwork that I’m not going to attempt to lay, because atheism and theism are irrelevant to the larger point. I can be right or wrong about individual pieces regardless of the existence of a deity.
However, I would say that before I could attempt to convince someone that there isn’t a deity, I would have to convince them the value of reason over emotion since, by any measurement, faith is an emotion-based position. We will keep going back and back and back until we arrive right back at subjective value determinations, which lands us right back in the territory of Nietzsche and the Austrian economists. I actually made a few years ago a document–a flow chart, for the most part–where one ideology led to the next, and it was clear by the end of it, after I was able to connect Nietzscheanism back to subjective value determinations–because the essence of Nietzscheanism is that morals are subjective–that I had just created a giant web. I know I still have it somewhere, but I can’t be bothered to find it, and it’s not that important anyway.
Morality, Very Briefly
There is no such thing as “morally good” or “morally bad.” These are values that we prescribe to various acts based on the consequences of those acts, the motive behind those acts, and the circumstances around which that act was committed. This is virtually a tautology at this point, but I will take the time to explain it anyway.
Let’s say that I push you down, causing you to break your arm. I have assaulted you. Everyone would agree that I was morally wrong to do so.
However, let’s say that I push you out of the way of an oncoming train that, for whatever reason, you aren’t aware is coming, and I cause you to break your arm. Suddenly most people would call me a hero and say that I’d saved your life.
In both scenarios, I did exactly the same thing: I pushed you, you fell, and you broke your arm. However, in the first scenario I was just being an aggressive bitch. In the second, I was saving you from being hit by a train. Yet the act itself and the consequence of that act are the same in both scenarios: the act was that I pushed you; the consequence was that you broke your arm.
What changed? In reality, what changed were the imagined consequences of me not pushing you. See, morality, as Henry Hazlitt observed in The Foundations of Morality, arises as a result of imagination, that wonderful characteristic that homo sapien has but so few animals share. It is our ability to imagine that gives rise to morality. Without even realizing it, so gifted are we at doing this, we imagine hypothetical alternative scenarios where I did not push you, and we compare the likeliest result of those scenarios with the reality that transpired. Marvelous creatures, we humans! And, in this way, imagination is literally the cause of morality, as it is precisely what allows us to envision these alternative realities.
In the first example, the most likely hypothetical alternative is that you continue standing unassaulted, and your arm is not broken. You go on about your day without a broken arm. By most criteria, that is certainly a better outcome for you, and since I am the reason you do not get to enjoy that superior outcome, it is determined in a fraction of a second that what I did was morally wrong. We do this innately; I’d almost say that we conceive these hypotheticals instantaneously, and the speed and proficiency are the reasons why we forget that morality is the result of imagination.
In the second example, the most likely hypothetical alternative is that you continue standing unassaulted right up until a train plows into you and utterly destroys you. By most criteria, that is certainly an inferior outcome for you, and since I am the reason that you were spared that inferior outcome, it is determined, perhaps instantaneously, that what I did was morally good.
These value statements themselves, though, are built on a few assumptions:
Empathy: This person is generally like me, and I should do unto this person what I would like this person to do for me. In most cases, what I want is much the same as what this person wants.
My own preferences: I prefer to not be in pain. I prefer pleasure. I prefer happiness. I prefer to not be sad. I prefer to remain alive.
By combining our own personal preferences with an extension of them onto other people–the very essence of what “empathy” is–we arrive at a criteria by which we assess whether something was good or bad. It’s by no means a perfect system–how could it be, when we are imperfect creatures?
Whenever I think of empathy and the application of my preferences onto others, I recall the time in college that I was behind the desk unplugging my laptop because class was over. While back there, without even asking, I took it upon myself to unplug my neighbor’s laptop, because he was in the process of packing his backpack. It seemed perfectly reasonable to assume that he’d like me to go ahead and unplug his while I was back there. Because I have all the social graces of Dexter, it didn’t occur to me at all to ask if he’d like me to do it; I simply did it. And I immediately learned that his laptop’s battery didn’t work, and that I did a cold shutdown on his laptop. Not a big deal, but something that has always stuck with me about assuming that our preferences automatically apply to others. They don’t. However, generally, they do. I mean, what are the odds that his laptop battery wouldn’t work at all? Under 95% of circumstances, the person would have said, “Oh, cool, thank you!” instead of “Oh, hold… What the hell? Did you unplug me?”
Nietzsche described good as “the will to power” and happiness as “having power.” From a strictly Darwinian perspective, he’s not wrong. He’s clearly not wrong; he can’t be wrong. However uncomfortable it makes us, he’s right. If our criteria is “survival of the species,” then the only thing that makes sense is to let the powerful do what they can. Do the powerful want to wipe out the weak? Turn them into sex slaves? Install governments throughout the world and use those governments to control the weak? Then they must be allowed to, under this perspective, because we do live in a universe that is trying to kill us, where only the strong survive. It’s a straight line from there to Eugenics, to forced breeding programs to breed the “most capable human.” It’s a sickening path.
Now, to be clear, Nietzsche most certainly did not go that far, and he did not advocate any of that. He was merely arguing that morality is a tool used by the weak to neuter the strong, creating three classes of people in the process: the middle class who were strong and obeyed the morality, the lower class who were weak and therefore didn’t have the luxury, and the upper class who were strong and rejected the morality.
With all the above being true, we can see that the moral statement “force, violence, and coercion are unacceptable” is the epitome of Middle Class Morality. For one, this maxim is as close as we can get to a universally applicable morality. Is it true that absolutely no one wants force, violence, and coercion done to them? Certainly not. It’s no longer acceptable to say for some reason, but there are people out there who would genuinely like to be raped, for example. I’ve met a few, and their problem is always the same: they want to be raped without consenting to it, but giving someone permission to rape them is consenting to it, and the odds that a random stranger is going to rape them are not good. Beyond that, if they ran around clearly looking to be raped–wearing excessively revealing clothes and being unnecessarily sensual–it is passively consenting to it. I raise all this to make the point that they don’t want to consent to have it forced on them; they want it genuinely forced on them.
Rumor has it that Angelina Jolie once paid a hitman to kill her. She genuinely wanted someone to do violence to her, assuming it is true–and I don’t care whether or not it is, because there have been enough suicides by cop that it’s provable that some people genuinely want violence done to them. My own mother apparently sought out violent and coercive men. So obviously these things are not going to be universally applicable, because nothing is universally applicable to a species filled with individuals as varied and wild as we are.
In essence, all rights can be distilled to the following: we have the right to not have force, violence, and coercion used against us unless we consent to it priorily. This statement is all-inclusive. Just as you have that right, as does everyone have that right. This means, then, that you do not have the right to use force, violence, and coercion against someone without their consent. The right to free speech, free religion, free trade, free employment, and free everything else–they all stem from this basic right to not have force, violence, and coercion used against us. They are applications of this maxim to specific issues.
Are these inherent rights? Perhaps and perhaps not. It could be argued you have the right to attempt to stop someone from using force, violence, and coercion against you; in essence, it could be argued that you have the right to try to be strong, and, by being strong, subjugate the weak. It depends upon our subjective values–our criteria for determining morality. If we go with the Darwinian approach, then we arrive at this latter system of rights, where one has the right to do anything they can–this is an underground system of rights, the one that lives in the underbelly’s shadows in society, when certain behaviors are outlawed and black markets thrive.
Because that is, after all, the essence of the black market: a place where the forced middle class morality doesn’t apply because it happens in the shadows. The black market is generally created when the state outlaws something it has no business outlawing**, creating a new dichotomy of the strong and the weak, instead of the trifecta of those who can’t, those who do, and those who don’t. Since middle class morality ceases to apply to anyone, you’re left with only the strong and the weak–the victims and the aggressors.
It follows, then, that if outlawing things leads to the creation of a black market–which we know it does, from indisputable proof and countless examples from the drug war to abortions to ration stamps–that is differentiated from society by the fact that middle class morality doesn’t apply at all and we’re left only with the strong and the weak, then if we outlawed nothing, we would utterly eliminate this black market characterized specifically by the rule of the strong and Darwinian morality.
Application of the NAP Against Nietzscheanism
There are two things that must be done for the NAP to be realized, for middle class morality to be universally applicable–as much as it can be, at least. First, the lower class has to abolished and lifted up into the middle class. So let’s state this loudly and clearly:
No nation other than the United States has come close to eliminating its lower class.
This isn’t a bad thing. We look around the United States and, yes, we have a lower class still, but they aren’t really “lower class,” not in the grand scheme of things. They aren’t poor like the man in Ethiopia who throws out middle class morality to steal food for his family. By an overwhelming degree, the American poor abide middle class morality, though they have no qualms about stealing from the state. Seeing as the state is stealing from everyone, I don’t think it’s fair to condemn them for that one. Besides which, without the state and taxation, they wouldn’t be able to game the system to get “back” finger-quotes-wink-wink ten thousand dollars anyway.
Our “lower class” has electricity, clean water, running water, indoor plumbing, heating, air conditioning, vehicles, iPhones, laptops, steroes, flatscreen TVs, cable/satellite, Internet connections… Our lower class is so high on the totem pole that they’d be considered upper middle class in most parts of the world. This is actually part of the problem, since our lower class, our “poor” have totally lost all perspective on how luxurious their lives are.
To clarify the phrasing, the goal is not to kill off the lower class, not by any means. That’s horrible. No, the goal is to lift up the lower class and bring them into the middle class. Yes, this creates a new middle class, because humans naturally form hierarchies, but none of that matters. The point is that the applicability of middle class morality must be extended to the lower class and, if it is, then it is also true that they are not generally facing the threat of starvation, which is the escape clause that gives them an out from middle class morality in the first place.
Secondly, the upper class must be made to abide middle class morality. Currently, they don’t. I couldn’t even begin to guess how much shit the upper class gets away with in the United States. I’m positive that a solid portion of them engage in child sex tourism and pedophile rings. I’m not referring to the Podesta leaks, but a lifetime of hearing whispers and accusations directed at the upper class. It all may be false, but, in most cases, where there is that much smoke there is usually a fire.
But beyond that, does the upper class get away with theft? Holy crap, absolutely. Not only do they take part in the state and steal from us directly while calling it taxation, but they also use the mechanism of the state to create things like intellectual property and eminent domain, utterly gutting our property rights in the process.
Does the upper class get away with murder? Again, holy crap, yes. The death toll of the 20th century was 160,000,000 from war alone as upper classes in various parts of the world put the lower class to use killing lower class members who were fighting for other upper class groups. They call it “war,” but it is murder.
It’s indisputable that the upper class doesn’t just reject middle class morality; they do so brazenly and openly, in full view of everyone else, and they get away with it by using carefully constructed euphemisms, deceit, and manipulation. There are countless people who will insist that taxes aren’t theft. Except… they are, by any definition of theft. And sending a group of armed people to go kill another group of armed people is unequivocally murder. We cannot allow euphemisms and a refusal to face the truth obscure these basic facts.
So yes, it is true that we are animals who need to be strong in order to survive, and that our species as a whole must embrace strength and shun weakness. This does not mean a lack of compassion, though, as I’ve explained elsewhere. See, we have mistaken “compassion” as being hardly anything more than getting down in the floor with someone and crying with them. That is fake sympathy; it is empty sympathy.
If you are a herd of gazelle [humans] and are trying to get away from lions [the universe that kills the weak], and you have a loved one who is injured [weak, for whatever reason], then you are doing no one but the lions a favor by laying down with your weak gazelle friend and crying with them. This is empty sympathy. This is virtue signaling. This is nihilistic.
True sympathy leads one to help the other gazelle get up, heal their injuries, become strong themselves, and flee the lion.
We absolutely must have compassion and must be guided to help the weak–it is why we have our middle class morality. It is as close as we can get to “objective morality,” after all. However, if our gazelle friend refuses to get up, if they instead embrace their injury and their victimization, refuse to try to heal, and refuse to try to escape the lion, then we must cut our losses and flee before the lion gets us, too. There is a line between sympathy and nihilism.
Based on observable cause and effect–since it is impossible to speculate too much into our hypothetical alternate realities, and since we lack omniscience and can never know exactly how anything would really have played out if we had acted differently–we know that leaving the gazelle to be eaten by the lion would be bad, and our application of empathy derived from our own personal preferences compels us to help the gazelle. We know with reasonable certainty that the lion would eat the gazelle, and that, if we did not help, we would bear a portion of the blame in that.
We should all be strong; we should all be middle class, with no one enshrined above [through the state] or below [through poverty] anyone else. Now, what is the mechanism that allows that to happen? What mechanism eliminates the state that allows the upper class to escape culpability for their moral violations? Anarchism. What mechanism has provably lifted up virtually the entire population into middle class territory, where the fear of starvation is exceedingly remote? Capitalism.
So how do we create this world of people abiding the NAP, of all people being strong and none being weak?
* Thanks to the overwhelming number of angst-ridden ultra-emo millennials who think nihilism means “life sucks and death is cool,” I’ve been left with no choice but to change the label, but that’s fine; Nietzsche wouldn’t have approved of “nihilism” as the label anyway. Of course, these people have never read a word of Nietzsche and don’t fully understand the philosophy, because:
and they get lost on that second part: nothing matters. They don’t fully apply it, though, or they would realize that it doesn’t matter that nothing matters. That is completely and utterly meaningless.
** Anything they outlaw is something they have no business outlawing.
You would obviously be correct to observe that this is most certainly not a selfie.
I went to the polling place with the knowledge that there was a fair-to-strong chance that I was going to be arrested. The last time I voted, it was just a single room with 5-7 electronic machines in it, all of them in plain sight of everyone else–though little flaps did ensure that no one could see your screen. There was no privacy. Everyone stood in full view of everyone else, and there was a county sheriff there. I knew if those circumstances were repeated, then I was going to be hassled about it, probably demanded to delete the pic, and promptly arrested when I refused to say that I’d even taken a picture.
In some ways, I was looking forward to that. I had a good defense that probably would have kept me out of handcuffs. If my rant about living in a free country where I can’t take a freaking picture of my ballot didn’t work, then I had one more bombshell to drop that probably would have kept me out of jail: I’m transgender, this is Mississippi, and I doubt very much that anyone in my county is prepared to deal with the headache that arresting me would involve.
All that said, I was trying to exercise my right to take a picture of my ballot. I was not trying to get arrested. If there was a good chance of getting the picture without causing problems, then that was always my intention; I just didn’t anticipate being able to ninja my way out of it.
The situation with the voting machines in Mississippi is completely unacceptable.
There is absolutely no record that I even voted–except that I signed a log. There is no evidence that my vote was recorded at all, much less recorded properly. For all I know, it was the equivalent of standing here and pressing a few buttons that do absolutely nothing. How do I know that the machine recorded my vote? I don’t. I have absolutely no way of knowing that. I want to see the source code of these machines.
Moreover, how do I know that the machine didn’t write my vote down as one for Hillary Clinton? Again, I don’t. There is so much darkness here that it’s ridiculous. Not only do I have no way of knowing if my vote was recorded properly, but I have no way of knowing if it was recorded at all. The situation is ripe for abuse. For all we freaking know, they’re programmed to record 67.971728% of votes for Trump, 29.718381% for Hillary, and 2.117284 for other candidates, regardless of what people actually choose. We don’t fucking know, man.
That’s why it’s not a selfie. There was nothing to take a selfie with. Try to take a selfie of you and your dinner cooking on a stovetop, and you’ll understand what I was faced with by taking a “selfie.” There’s just no way to do it with any dignity or elegance, and, even if there was, it’s flagrantly illegal and happening in full view of people who will stop you. I wanted to get a pic of my ballot–I couldn’t have done that if they stopped me.
So I’m sure everyone has some questions.
Q. Why John Mcafee?
Because he’s a libertarian. Next question.
Q. Why not Gary Johnson?
It’s true. I *don’t* want the Libertarian Party to be successful this election. I didn’t want Johnson to hit 15% before the debates, and I don’t want him to hit 5% nationally. I want the Libertarian Party to grow for the RIGHT reasons, and Johnson represents all of the wrong reasons.
Q. Why didn’t you put Darryl W. Perry as your VP?
Because I’m retarded. I was expecting to be asked about the VP separately, and it didn’t occur to me until after I was finished that I didn’t even enter one. Not that it matters. Mississippi will throw my presidential vote in the trash the moment they see it’s a write-in.I do hate that I neglected to put a VP, because I would like to formally show my support for Darryl W. Perry. Complete brain fart–clearly. I mean, I didn’t even put down a VP. Obviously, the whole thing was an oversight.
Q. This isn’t a Ballot Selfie.
And that isn’t a question.
Q. Why isn’t it a ballot selfie?
Mississippi uses voting machines, placing 5-7 of them out against a wall, with no curtain or any other divide separating them. When voting, you are in full sight of about fifty other people, ten of whom work there and are watching you, specifically to ensure you don’t do anything illegal–like taking pics of your ballot. I had to do some ninja shit to get these. Additionally, crouching down and doing a back-bend in order to get my face in the pic would have been both ungraceful and stupid. I welcome you to attempt to do it without looking retarded.
Q. Isn’t this illegal, though?
Yes. And fuck them.
Q. Yeah, but–
I said “fuck the system” twice today. Once with the vote for McAfee, and once with the ballot pictures. Not to mention the “Anyone Else” I wrote in for most elections.
Q. Who the hell is Chase Wilson?
I don’t know, but he had “Libertarian” by his name, so I voted for him. I don’t want a liberty-leaning conservative as President, but liberty-leaning conservatives–whether he is or isn’t a true libertarian–will be fine as one member of 500+ in Congress.
Q. Didn’t John McAfee kill someone?
The government of Belize attempted to extort him, and he–being John McAfee–said “You guys can fucking go to hell.”
Because what else would he say?
John McAfee “killed someone” in pretty much the same way that Julian Assange “is a rapist.” He didn’t, and he’s not.
However… The story is that a neighbor poisoned some of John’s dogs, and that John killed him/ordered him killed (like he’s some kind of Hollywood drug lord)/hired a hitman in retaliation. So let me be 100% upfront and honest about this.
I don’t care if he did.
Look, if a neighbor poisoned my cats, then there isn’t a force in the universe that could protect them from my wrath. Punishing them would be a single-minded devotion, and I would not rest until they had paid the ultimate price for doing it. I don’t see this as a violation of the NAP, because I don’t hold to the bigoted idea that non-human life is inherently worth less than human-life. If someone breaks into your house and kills your wife, in the absence of a state police force, there are very few ways to deal with it than direct retaliation. It’s not as much “punishment” as it is prevention against future attacks, and this person has already attacked you. The idea that it’s not a violation of the NAP if you kill the guy while he’s still in your home and killing your wife, but it is a violation if you kill him two hours later–is nonsense.
If I return home to find someone raping and murdering my wife, grab my 38 and kill them, then it’s not a violation of the NAP. Yet if I return home to find my wife raped and murdered, and I know for a fact who did it, it suddenly is a violation of the NAP to shoot them? So what is the statute of limitations on it? If he hides in the bushes and I see him fleeing across the field, is it a violation of the NAP to shoot him, since he’s already killed my wife? What if I chase him for thirty minutes and finally catch him?
I don’t often touch on the subject, either, but it is bigotry to suggest that non-human lives are not as valuable as human lives, and that it’s wrong to kill a human because they murdered a non-human. So because this living being isn’t the same species as you, its life isn’t worth as much? To really get a handle on how bigoted that statement is, replace the word “species” with the word “race.” So because this living being isn’t the same race as you, its life isn’t worth as much? That’s right–you’re basically a 1944 German arguing that Jewish lives aren’t worth anything, or a 19th century slave owner arguing that a black man’s life isn’t worth nearly as much as a white man’s. It’s the exact same bigotry, only here we direct at at roughly 99% of the rest of the planet. Because they happen to be a few chromosomes away, their lives are not as valuable as ours. It isn’t “okay” to kill a dog or cat, but if someone does kill a dog or cat, that doesn’t make it okay to kill them.
It’s just another flavor of the same ego and arrogance. I don’t advocate killing people who kill your pets, and I’m not a vegan. I’m not even a vegetarian. I do, however, recognize that it is immoral and without justification to eat meat and consume animal products. It simply can’t be justified. I still do it, but I accept that it’s morally wrong. Am I saying that you shouldn’t kill a wasp? Not really. But I know that when a wasp gets into my house, I’ve spent quite a lot of time coaxing them out of the door rather than killing them. I’ve never hesitate to kill a spider, though. Fuck a spider.
Hell, a few weeks ago I spent 45 minutes helping a bumble bee get untangled, and then I took him and carried him to a flower. He was going to die, and nothing could be done to prevent that. His struggling while tangled caused him to break a wing, so there was no way he could fly. I felt like he at least deserved to eat.
It’s nuanced and difficult. As I said, I eat meat, and I have no idea if my makeup was tested on animals or not. I’m pretty sure that the estradiol I take has something to do with horse vaginas, too.
I don’t demand that everyone agree. I’m well aware that most people don’t. Happily enough, I side with Richard Dawkins on the subject–long before I’d heard Dawkins say anything about it. I know it’s morally unjustifiable. And the only reason I continue to do it is that it’s the dominant attitude of the day. It’s too much work and effort to avoid all animal products, especially in Mississippi and especially when you don’t really have the money to waste.
Vegans get really pissed off about this, naturally. Of course, to everyone who supports a cause, their cause is the single most important issue in the universe. I support the cause of liberty, based on the NAP, and yes–there is a contradiction between that and not being a vegan. There are, to piss vegans off further, bigger fish to fry. Most vegans aren’t anarchists or libertarians anyway, so it’s not like they have any ground to stand on, either. The only people who can rightly criticize me for my position is all two vegan anarcho-capitalists out there. If that’s not you, then move along.
If you’re a vegan, then you basically apply the NAP to all non-humans. If you’re an anarchist, then you basically apply the NAP to all humans. If you aren’t both, then you have no ground to criticize anyone for not being both. And here I’m as much a hypocrite as anyone: I’d eat a cow, but I wouldn’t eat a human. It would quite obviously be a violation of the NAP to kill and eat a human; it would also be one to kill and eat a cow. Gotta pick your battles, though. If someone wants to take up every single cause, then they’ll find that they don’t get anything accomplished. You fight your battles; I’ll fight mine.
Call it a failure to stay on top of things if you’d like, but one way or another I had no idea that McAfee was still remotely interested in the 2016 presidential race; I wasn’t aware that he was willing to “fracture the party” as so many people accuse Darryl Perry of doing. The truth, though, is that McAfee isn’t fracturing anything, and neither is Perry; there was never any chance that I was going to vote for Gary Johnson, and I’ve been clear from the start that I’ve intended to write in John McAfee even though Gary Johnson won the nomination. My loyalty is to liberty, not to the nominee of the Libertarian Party.
These two should be aligned. My loyalty to liberty should mean that I am loyal to the Libertarian Party and its presidential candidate. However, that is not the case this year, as Gary Johnson and Bill Weld are running a campaign that is contrary to the principles of liberty and, in many cases, to the actual party platform.
I’m an anarcho-capitalist, so why don’t I support Darryl Perry? That’s just it: Darryl Perry is an anarcho-capitalist. We are talking about the Libertarian Party, not the Anarcho-Capitalist Party. Obviously, there is no AnCap Party–there can never be one–and the party to which we AnCaps most closely align is the Libertarian Party. I’ve often had people accuse me of wanting the LP to become the AnCap Party, but that isn’t the case; I want the Libertarian Party to nominate libertarians, not anarcho-capitalists.
In the long-run, of course, it is my position that libertarianism would lead to anarcho-capitalism, just as classical liberalism led to libertarianism. If we don’t include the rise of Fascism in the 20th century, that would be the case, anyway, but that’s really just a stern warning that we must always stay on guard against regressing back toward authoritarianism and losing the right to self-governance. We did used to be a society of classical liberals. Now we’re a society of fascists. I’ll substantiate that claim some other time, but if you’re reading this about why you should vote for John McAfee, then chances are you already know what I mean.
There’s some confusion about what distinguishes a minarchist from a libertarian. Quite a bit, actually, as minarchists and libertarians address totally different things. A lot of people think they’re synonyms; they’re not. A minarchist believes in a minimal state–one that provides for hospitals, schools, roads, or other similar things. There’s some debate among minarchists about what the state should provide, but it’s not important for our conversation. One way or another, the minarchist position is that some degree of state is necessary in order to provide for some services.
The Libertarian position, however, is that the role of the state should be to protect liberty. That’s it. That’s where the role of the state begins and ends to the libertarian. “Taxation is theft,” says the libertarian, while taxation is the only viable way of paying for the roads, hospitals, and schools that the minarchists want. So right there, we find a critical distinction between them.
An anarchist is someone who holds that the state is fundamentally and constitutionally incapable of protecting liberty and that it’s very existence is, in fact, an assault on liberty. This is the position that I hold. However, I know enough about human nature and power vacuums to know that abolishing the state today would do absolutely no good; before the end of the year, we would have simply produced a new state that rose in the vacuum. The goal of classical liberalism was to put 51% of the power back into the hands of the people. The goal of minarchism is to put 75% of the power back into the hands of the people. The goal of libertarianism is to put 99% of the power back into the hands of the people. The goal of anarchism is to put 100% of the power back into the hands of the people. To go from the 49% we have today under an unaccountable fascist government where we are tyrannized by a thousand bureuacratic despots to 100% would be an unmitigated disaster; the vacuum of power would be filled by the power-hungry, violent, and bloodthirsty, and it would immediately produce another state.
That’s my favorite thing to point out to people. What is the worst thing that could happen if we gave anarchy a chance? The absolute worst that could happen… is that we’d simply create another state. :/
Anyway, all that said, Darryl Perry is an Anarcho-Capitalist. I don’t know enough about his official platform, but I imagine that ideologically he is almost identical to John McAfee and to myself; the difference is that he’s an AnCap who is willing to become President and institute libertarian policy. Obviously, you can’t “institute” ancap policy. I don’t have a problem with this. I’m an anarcho-capitalist and I intend to vote, after all. It’s all about seeing the big picture and doing something in the short-term today that will pave the way for the future.
But that’s an excuse, really. Going from his positions, John McAfee could very well be an anarcho-capitalist himself.
The truth is that John McAfee has my support because he’s the first candidate who I’ve ever heard speak with whom I agreed 100%.
Voting for John McAfee is like voting for myself.
Perry wasn’t in the Stossel Debate. Maybe if he had been, I would have been torn between him and John McAfee, but, honestly, it seems that it would have been redundant for Perry to have been in the debate too. When you have two actual libertarians talking, both of whom actually understand the NAP and abide it, you’re not going to get much argument between them. You’ll hear me squee in those podcasts as the awesomeness that is John McAfee washed over and converted me.
Let’s not forget–I went into the debate as a Gary Johnson supporter. Just moments before the debate, I tweeted that it was pointless; they’re libertarians, so what could they possibly disagree about? Minutes into the debate, Johnson had revealed how horribly un-libertarian he is, and Petersen was rejected from the outset for actively speaking out against the NAP. Meanwhile, there was John McAfee, saying exactly what you’d expect a libertarian to say, sticking to the principles of liberty, and advocating the NAP.
People like saying that “no libertarian is libertarian enough for an AnCap.”
Bullshit. John McAfee is.
I don’t demand that libertarians be anarcho-capitalists. I demand that they be libertarians.
I don’t demand that the Libertarian Party nominate anarcho-capitalists. I demand that they nominate libertarians.
I don’t demand that the Libertarian Party become the anarcho-capitalist party. I demand that they be the Libertarian Party.
The Libertarian Party has failed us horrifically by giving us a candidate who doesn’t seem to have ever read anything about libertarian philosophy, a candidate who “Thinks everyone should have liberty, as long as they don’t want to do something that I really, really dislike,” and a candidate who breaks from the NAP in a number of places. To add insult to injury, they also gave us Bill Weld, after Gary Johnson called him “the original Libertarian.”
Lots of people have fallen for the trap. Yes, it’s a trap.
They say that we hare hurting the “liberty movement” by standing by the principles of liberty. No, seriously–they actually say that. I’ve had countless people tell me that I’m hurting the movement because I dare to stand by the principles that founded the movement, that are the movement. One person accused us of “sabotaging” the liberty movement.
I think these people could use a dictionary. Sabotage:
deliberately destroy, damage, or obstruct (something), especially for political or military advantage.
These people took the liberty movement, destroyed its principles–by their own admission–and twisted it into some liberty-leaning conservative “fiscally conservative, socially liberal” stuff that only resembles libertarianism in the way that, if you squint and turn your head and gouge out one of your eyes, I look kinda like Victoria Justice.
You’ve gotta squint really hard.
The principle of liberty is the NAP. Live and let live. A truce, as John McAfee and Judd Weiss rightly say. Liberty is tolerance; it is maximized tolerance. It is “I do not agree or support what you say and do, but as it does no harm to me or anyone else, I certainly will not stop you.”
Quote of the Day: “Gary Johnson looks like a libertarian in the same way that I look like Victoria Justice.”
This watering down of the principles, twisting them and distorting them, and sometimes outright discarding them is, by definition, sabotaging the movement.
Imagine if the Communist Party had an influx of Socialists, and the Socialists nominated a Socialist to be the presidential candidate of the Communist Party. Now imagine that the Communists in the party were ridiculed, mocked, and told that they were hurting the communist movement. Now imagine that the Communist Presidential candidate goes on television and tells people that his socialism is what “Communism is all about,” so masses upon masses upon masses of people come to believe that communism is socialism. Now imagine the sheer audacity, the arrogance, the stupidity, the deceit, the self-deceit… of having one of those socialists tell the communist, “No, you’re hurting the communist movement. This [Socialist] candidate is what the communist party is really about! We’re helping the movement! We’re growing the movement!”
No. You’re not.
You’re tainting the communist movement by twisting it into the socialist movement.
Worse yet, you’re actively destroying the communist movement by taking the name of their movement and using it as your own for your socialist movement, all the while refusing to admit that there’s an enormous, fundamental difference between the socialism you’re peddling and actual communism. Now the rest of the world is looking at those few communists who are actually communists and who actually advocate the communist movement and calling them “wackos,” “extremists” and “fringe lunatics,” because they are taking their cues from you. You have redefined “communism.” Whereas it once was a reflection of the communist movement, it has become a reflection of the socialist movement, and you’ve muddied the waters so much that no one even knows the difference, and those few who do know the difference are busy being attacked by you for daring to stand by the principles of the movement and for daring to try to stop you from destroying it.
You are not helping the liberty movement by turning it into some twisted “liberty-lite conservativist small government” movement that calls itself the “liberty movement.” You are, in fact, actively destroying the actual liberty movement. And you’re so convinced that you’re absolutely right, so convinced of your own self-righteous glory, and so convinced of your ultimate rightness that you are incapable of seeing that you are the reason it has become impossible to nominate an actual libertarian.
A: “We’re the x movement, and we’re built on y principle.”
B: “Yep, it’s great.”
A: “So let’s nominate someone who stands by y principle.”
B: “No. Let’s nominate someone who stands against y principle half the time, and who argues z principle the other half.”
A: “No, let’s not.”
C: “I agree with B.”
A: “But y is literally the principle of our movement.”
B: “We’re still the x movement, even if we don’t support y. Our nominee’s z positions are vaguely similar to y. Support our nominee. Stop trying to hurt the movement.”
A: “No. We’re x movement, and we stand with y principle.”
B: “You’re sabotaging the x movement.”
A: “The nominee doesn’t stand by the x movement’s principles!”
B: “Stop trying to sabotage the x movement.”
This is what has happened with the Libertarian Party. And we are the heretics.
I’d never even heard the word “purist” thrown at a libertarian until this election. Previously, I heard “not a libertarian” and “is a libertarian.” The idea that someone could be a libertarian without being… a libertarian… was nonsense. Maybe people were throwing it out in 2008, I don’t know; I was a bit young then. 2012 I wrote in Ron Paul anyway. I might have voted for Johnson, I don’t recall. It was a decision I struggled with. Loyalty is important to me. Once I pick a candidate, I pick a candidate.
Come to think of it, having an LNC nominate a candidate is somewhat counter to the party’s principles anyway. It’s not fully counter to it, but it doesn’t make sense. The Libertarian Party should handle its candidates exactly how it’s doing, except that an “official” nomination shouldn’t have been given to Johnson. We don’t do it that way with other offices–in fact, that’s been a problem in the past, with that Invictus clown who declared himself a libertarian. No LNC nominated him to be the party’s candidate. He simply said he was, and thus he was a libertarian candidate for that office.
Why do we change the rules when we’re discussing the Presidency?
The Libertarian Party just generally does strange stuff when it comes to the White House. Nominating a candidate at all is a great symbol of that. John McAfee is a Libertarian presidential candidate because he says he is. End of story, just like Invictus was a Libertarian representative candidate because he said he was.
That is something that needs to be addressed and fixed: the Libertarian Party’s insanity regarding the Oval Office. The party totally loses its mind when it starts looking at the White House, and I think that we even have an “official” candidate is the best example of that–if not that, then how about the fact that this “official” candidate stands counter to the party’s platform?
I had no idea that McAfee was still interested in the 2016 race. This is probably my fault for not following him closely, but half of the stuff he shares–if not 90%–is regarding his I.T. firm, not politics, and many of his official candidate accounts have been quiet since the LNC stupidly gave the nomination to a guy who couldn’t possibly stand up to Trump and Hillary. Even after my endorsement, I made it clear that it was still a toss-up, and that I might still vote for McAfee. There’s no “might” to it now.
I’m still shocked every time I see a libertarian preaching the value of arbitrary term limit. Someone just posted this to a Voluntaryist / Anarchist group I’m in, along with a Gary Johnson video–ugh:
Want to do one thing that will help end tyranny? Force incumbents to have term limits. Vote them OUT!
Okay, well… See? This is self-contradictory.
For one, if you’re forcing incumbents out, then you’re hardly moving away from tyranny. In fact, you’re moving toward tyranny, by purposely creating legislation that is specifically designed to limit voters’ choices and, in some cases, to override their expressed wishes. This is the libertarian position? I honestly don’t see how.
“Oh, sorry! I’d love a third term of Jesus / Gandhi. But term limits.”
If American voters wish to give Barack Obama a third time, then by what right does anyone step up and say, “No, I’m sorry you all voted for him, but I’m not going to let him have a third term”? If the majority has elected the candidate for a third time, then, ipso facto, only a minority wishes the candidate to not get a third term. How presumptuous to say, “No, I don’t care that you’re the majority and we’re the minority. We’re making a law that overrules you.”
And this is the libertarian position?
Isn’t the whole idea of individual responsibility and autonomy kinda a critical part of libertarianism? The idea is that a person should be able to use their resources in whatever way they want, as long as they don’t use aggression against others. I can choose to “vote for Wal-Mart” by purchasing from them, and that’s fine. They may become corrupt and establish an effective monopoly in rural areas, whatever. For you to come along and say, “No, you’ve supported Wal-Mart long enough. You can’t support them any longer. You have to support Dollar General now,” is the height of absurdity, and is a clear example of tyranny.
You are, in every sense, attempting to make my decisions for me. If I want to vote for Barack Obama and 51% of Americans want to vote for Barack Obama and the dude wins a third term, then who in the hell are you to say “No” to that?
Either you’re on board with the idea of a populace educating themselves and making decisions for themselves, or you’re not.
I totally agree that we should make some sort of attempt to vote out the corruption. In fact, I do that. But look–if we vote out the corruption, then we don’t need you coming along and using force, violence, and coercion to force out incumbents. If we vote for the corrupt politicians, then that is our right. In the end, the Senators and Representatives we have… They’re there because we voted for them–a majority of the people who voted… did so for the standing Representatives and Senators.
I don’t like any of them. Justin Amash is pretty good, and there are a few others that are decent. However, I certainly didn’t vote for any of them. If I want to see them replaced, then I can campaign against them, spread knowledge about their corruption, and raise awareness about them. In the end, though, the decision must be in the hands of the people when they go to vote. If they vote for those corrupt Senators and Representatives, then that is their decision.
You cannot tell them, “No, you can’t vote for this Senator again.”
Attempting to use arbitrary term limits to fix the corruption problem is the equivalent of using legislation to force your will onto others. If we have these politicians in office, then that means that Americans put them there. I don’t like it, either, but I would not dare presume to suggest that I know better than everyone else, and that it doesn’t matter what they want, that it doesn’t matter if they want Barack Obama for a third term, and that it doesn’t matter if they want Congressman W. for a sixth term. That is what you are arguing when you argue for term limits:
I don’t care what other people have voted for, would vote for, or are voting for. They shouldn’t even have the option to vote for these people again. Since they can’t make the right decision to vote these people out, I will have to make that decision for them, using term limits.
It doesn’t matter to me if term limits would minimize corruption. Lots of things would minimize corruption. Hell, charging into Washington armed to the teeth with weapons and forcefully taking over the capital under the Libertarian flag would minimize corruption. But that doesn’t make it right to just piss all over the will of voters and tell them who they can and can’t vote for. We could turn this into a socialist prison society built on rations and carefully controlled human interactions, with everyone under CCTV 24 hours a day, being monitored by everyone else, and that would also minimize corruption. That doesn’t mean we should do it.
The position put forward by Johnson and his un-libertarian stooges is exactly that: “The end justifies the means.” Because it would minimize corruption, it is okay to limit the choices that voters have. Meanwhile, they criticize the Commission on Presidential Debates for effectively limiting the choices that voters have. Can you imagine if Republicans or Democrats tried to pass legislation that third parties couldn’t appear on ballots at all? We would probably revolt. Yet that’s almost precisely what Johnson and his cassette tapes are proposing; it’s all the same thing: limiting voter choices.
Gary Johnson likes talking about black holes.
Well, what about that black hole? Once you start limiting people’s choices, unilaterally making decisions on their behalf because they can’t be trusted to make the decision that you want them to make, you jump right on that slippery slope of tyranny. That’s what I hear from the people who propose term limits:
“But I can’t trust the masses to vote out the corrupt politicians! I don’t want these politicians, and the majority just keeps voting for them! It’s not fair! We need a law so that they have to vote these people out!!!!11!!one!!”
For fuck’s sake, this person even used the word “force” in their post.
A libertarian… advocating the use of force… to achieve a political end. Once more, for the record, the Libertarian Pledge–the pledge you must take in order to officially call yourself a Libertarian–the pledge that is the crux of Libertarianism:
I hereby certify that I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals.
Gary Johnson and his supporters need to revisit the Libertarian Pledge. It is as I just wrote. It is not:
I hereby certify that I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals… unless I really, REALLY want to achieve that goal.
The Non Aggression Principle. That is where it’s at. That is the heart of the matter and the heart of libertarianism. If you believe that there are occasions where it is justified to use force as a means of achieving a political or social goal, then you are NOT a libertarian. Calling yourself a libertarian when you believe it’s sometimes okay to use force to achieve a goal is like calling yourself a Christian even though you don’t believe there’s a god. Sure, you can call yourself whatever you want, but calling yourself something doesn’t make you that something.
You are, more than likely, a classical liberal. I would absolutely call Austin Petersen a classical liberal, and Gary Johnson, too. Actually, I would say that Johnson is stuck somewhere between “classical liberal” and “liberty-leaning conservative.” But there’s no reason to put that fine a point on it.
There is a reason that the Libertarian Pledge is a vow to reject the use of force to achieve goals. If you reject that pledge, then you are not a libertarian.
If you think the end justifies the means, then you’re a classical liberal at best.
I don’t talk about it much, but I have more than a passing interest in Tool-Assisted Speedruns and, though I’m not particularly active in the community, I’m a member at tasvideos.org and once was working on a TAS for Gun-Nac. I ultimately abandoned it, because it’s an auto-scroller where I could only aim for Highest Points, a goal that was not much higher than just “Get weapon upgrades, Hold A, don’t die.”
Recently, I wrote that we have examples of anarchy all around us–that is, we have examples of people solving complex problems without relying on force, violence, and coercion all around us. I gave then the example of IEEE, a completely independent, non-governmental body that prescribes guidelines for communication technology. IEEE is the reason that you can connect your any-brand phone to any-brand Wi-Fi that itself is connected to any-brand gateway and access the Internet–a phenomenal achievement by anyone’s standards.
Now, put aside your reaction of laughter, that people are discussing something of such insignificance with such gravitas, because people are interested in things that you’re not interested in. If you spend any time at TASVideos, you’ll learn that people take it very, very seriously–and that’s okay. That’s great, in fact. It’s no more silly that they take it seriously than that Bubba has a New York Giants football jersey and won’t miss a single game. Other people laugh that I take politics and anarchism so seriously.
But even taking it seriously, the people at TASVideos aren’t frothing at the mouth and launching into irate tirades. This does happen, but it’s almost always new members doing it. It’s why one of my favorite places on the site is the Gruefood Forum section. It’s surprisingly common. Someone will discover a TAS on Youtube–presumably–and think “I can do that!” and proceed to make one. Without any further anything, they submit it to the site. This never goes over well, because by the eighty-ninth time you see someone publish a Super Mario Bros. run that is seven hours slower than the published run, you begin to lose patience with these people who can’t bother to find out what the site even is. TASVideos, of course, is a repository of the best TAS Videos, not a place for someone to showcase how good they are at TASing, or whether or not they can TAS. Youtube is the home of the latter.
Anyway, it’s a remarkable thing. The site has rules–lots and lots of them–and plenty of structure. There are categories upon categories, and some of the best reading material are the 14 page discussions where they decide whether or not they are going to allow the creation of a new category. It’s truly fascinating stuff. Often, they extensively discuss whether something meets the guidelines for Moon Tier, the Vault, or wherever else.
I know what you’re thinking, though. “That system of administrators who ultimately act out the forum’s wishes–that’s the state and its representatives.” You’d be right that those people are, strictly speaking, representatives. However, they don’t function as representatives do, because what we have at TASVideos is more analogous to direct democracy than representative democracy. As far as I’ve seen, the site administrators and moderators, while their opinions do go a long way, don’t make unilateral decisions on behalf of the people they “represent” and instead basically are figureheads that enact the results of various votes.
How has TASVideos kept off a slew of bullshit, unentertaining videos? By policing itself to remarkable effect, just as IEEE and the tech world does. There is no one going through the forums with a billy club threatening to kidnap people and throw them in prison if they don’t comply. If you don’t want to abide their guidelines and standards, they will shun you from the community. Seeing as the Amish typically shun people, no one can expect to be taken seriously that shunning someone is an act of aggression. So we have an example in the Digital World and we have an example in the real world, of small communities rising and developing their own codes and guidelines, and using those rules in the absence of a state, to maintain order, productivity, and cooperation.
We laugh–I’m sure you’re laughing–that anything that happens at TASVideos could possibly serve as an example of why we can abolish the United States Government–and all world states. I encountered that recently when I pointed out to Tyler Preston that Maghribi traders of the 11th century organized international trade without the benefit of the postal service, telephones, telegraphs, and the Internet; they needed a way to ensure that their employees at a distant port were truly working in their best interest, and they came up with one. It worked beautifully. Tyler said, “Meh. 11th century Maghribi traders? Big whoop. But the diamond traders you mentioned… That’s serious business.”
Indeed, it’s serious business either way. I thought we’d established that earlier. The NFL doesn’t go around with billy clubs and guns to kidnap its players and force them to comply–it censures them and shuns them when necessary. Tyler seemed to interpret “Maghribi” to refer to some type of good that was valuable in the 11th century. However, “Maghribi” refers to a type of merchant–the Maghreb–and not the good that was being traded. It was, basically, a nationality. They may have been trading anything from life-saving salt to gold to the diamonds that are, as Tyler admits, “serious business.”
At TASVideos, we see a community extensively discussing precedents. They’ve even brought up different precedents. One person pointed out how the Japanese rom of Dragon’s Lair obsoleted the American version of Dragon’s Lair because it was 20% faster. Another person countered that Super Metroid set the example otherwise. I stopped reading at that point, to write this, but I guarantee you that the conversation continued as they determined which precedent was more appropriate and finally came to a decision.
Anarchists sometimes disagree about what anarchy is. I don’t really care. Atheists disagree about what atheism is. There’s only one definition that is true of every single atheist out there, though: an atheist is someone who does not believe that there are gods or a god. Some will tell you that an atheist believes that there is no god, and others will tell you that an atheist merely rejects the theist gods and doesn’t address the deist one. It’s irrelevant. Our task is to find a definition that applies to all of these different people, and only then can we know what “an atheist” really is. The only universally applicable definition is the one that I gave: an atheist is someone who lacks the belief that there are gods or a god.
Similarly, anarchists have this problem. Some say that it means there is no hierarchy. Some say it means there is no government. Some say that it means there are no rulers. Once more, our task here is to find the definition that applies to all anarchists, not just one subset of anarchists. When we do this, we find that anarchy must be defined as the condition where there is no state. If there is no state, then there is no one using force, violence, and coercion to achieve their goals. It’s readily apparent, then, that any time people solve problems without the use of aggression, they are showcasing an example of anarchy.
And TASVideos gives us yet another look into how, exactly, this functions.
It is interesting to me that, unlike in the real world, we don’t see at any of these online communities people crying things like, “This is what I think, and anyone who disagrees is stupid and should have to go alone with what I want!” In fact, they would reject such an awful idea. They may or may not acquiesce to a vote through direct democracy, but there are usually good reasons for this, and they’re more than likely to err on the side of caution–this is true in any online community. And even then, the price is never anything that rings with the finality of force, violence, and coercion.
One day, some enterprising individual bought the domain name for TASVideos, and they soon put together a community. Through totally voluntary cooperation, they came together and they worked together. No one ever beat the hell out of anyone else, no one ever killed anyone else, and no one ever threw anyone else into prison. There were undoubtedly disagreements, especially in those early days, as powerful personalities each wanted to take the site different directions. But still, no one was ever beaten, robbed, or kidnapped.
Today we have a community that comprises untold members, and it functions well–very well. See the above linked image I took from a screenshot, where they are discussing honest-to-fuck legal precedents, for all intents and purposes. It’s a beautiful thing–just people… doing stuff. And working together, because they know–as we’ve so often observed–that their own best interests are served in the long-term by working with others, by not being asshats.
I didn’t join the community and start calling everyone fags, after all. That would have harmed my own best interests. Maybe–stretching things a bit–I could have called everyone a fag and gotten my Gun-Nac video published by doing so. I never finished that stupid game and never came close to optimizing it, but that’s not the point. Would it have helped me any? No. The day would have come that I needed someone’s help, and no one would have offered it. I would have shot myself in the foot.
I don’t know how many members there are TASVideos, though I’m sure that info is readily available. I’m also sure that it’s much smaller today than it was six years ago, because so many of the most popular games are nailed to what we might as well call perfection. This is basically the reason I stopped being active on the site–there just aren’t really any games left. There are games left, of course–supremely technical ones that would require a year of research before a rom is even booted. TASVideos, in fact, is so good at doing what it set out to do that it succeeded. The best are there, exactly as they intended, and the odds that anyone is going to top the best…
Don’t even bother.
HappyLee’s run of Super Mario Bros. will tell you everything you need to know. I would not dare to imagine how many TASes of SMB he has made, but he has obsoleted his own video several times, each time moving closer to frame perfect precision. The video up now is one of such astounding technical perfection that it may very well be impossible to beat it. This is true of every single game that you would want to do–the Mega Man games, the Zelda games… They’re all nailed to what might as well be called perfection.
Not only did their system work, it set out to do exactly what it did, and it achieved it to a degree that can just about be called perfection. Is it perfection? Probably not. Maybe one day someone will beat HappyLee’s run. They nailed perfection, though, as closely as IEEE nailed perfection with its 802.11 standards for Wi-Fi.
Compare to the bumbling service offered up by the United States Postal Service.
It occurred to me earlier today that if we’d never (stupidly) allowed Congress to begin taxing us without apportioning the funds (debatable anyway), then we wouldn’t have to deal with the silly “But muh roads!” arguments that we see so very, very often. I mean, it’s the Go To response for statists (a word that means “non-libertarian, non-anarchist”). I’ve seen a few statists recently be offended by being called that, but… it’s simply true. If you’re not a libertarian or anarchist, then you ipso facto favor the state, in which case… you’re a statist.
It’s just what the word means.
Granted, some anarchists may call you a statist as an insult, but to equate it to “infidel” isn’t accurate. It’s more like “fag,” honestly, but even then it’s not always used with negative connotations. When I call Gary Johnson a statist, I mean it condescendingly. But I only mean it condescendingly for people who claim to be libertarians or anarchists and… aren’t. It’s definitely a word that I do try to avoid, though, because I tend to reject dichotomies and, to my recollection, the only person I’ve ever called a statist is that pig Gary Johnson.
There’s no religion or belief going on here. Anarcho-capitalism is built on science, human nature, and an abhorrence of violence. The scientific case can and has been made for anarcho-capitalism; the rest of the world simply has not caught up. Sorry, but that’s simply true. Anarcho-capitalism is only a belief in the same sense that “People should be free” is a belief.
Anyway, my recent video goes into direct apportionment and how it helps us to avoid ridiculous situations like this. Most damningly, if a billionaire has to pay $5m on his $100m yearly income, then we can readily assume that a person’s “tax liability to society” (terms that statists adore throwing around) must be $5m. If a person’s tax liability to society is not $5m, then we have forced the billionaire to overpay and have robbed him.
So we must proceed under the assumption that the highest dollar figure anyone in the United States pays is the tax liability that a citizen owes. If the dollar figure is lower, then we are stealing money from the people who overpay, right? Since no one is going to admit to doing that, it follows that I’m correct: the highest dollar figure that anyone pays is the citizen’s tax liability…
And this means that we all have underpaid and owe the government a ton of money.
Another addition to the series was Part 5, where I explained why the previous three videos were of lower quality than my usual work, and how that whole thing came about. It was primarily a response to one person in particular, to whom I said, “Fine. My shoes may suck, but the emperor is still naked.”
I’m also pretty sure that Part 4 hadn’t been uploaded when I posted the last update about the series, and in it I addressed a question that Tyler had actually asked before. This was tremendously bothersome, and he never explained why he did it, except that he might have been reading someone else’s question the second time (unclarified presently). Simply put, on 8/7/16 or around then, Tyler and I had a brief back-and-forth through videos where he ended up asking if there could be such a thing as voluntary taxes. In my reply, I specifically answered the question and its more general cousin: “What if it doesn’t rely on force, violence, and coercion?”
The answer, of course, is that then it’s a free market solution and not a state at all. It wasn’t until after I uploaded Part 4 that I realized Tyler had asked that question before, driving home for me the idea that he and the others might have been just playing games. In such a scenario, people intend only to keep asking the same questions repeatedly until we start giving short answers and start telling them to go educate themselves. At this point, they intend to declare victory with asinine statements like, “I guess you can’t put forth arguments then! lol!”
It’s a common tactic, covered excellently in TheraminTrees’ videos on Transactional Analysis:
It’s possible to see that in Tyler’s actions.
By asking questions, he is appearing to be a genuinely curious Adult (per TA terms). “I want to know the answer to these questions, and I am being skeptical. So here are my questions.” Naturally, people like me (who cannot resist) then answer the questions. Then something weird happens–often, time passes. Then subtle variations on those initial questions are asked again. Instead of “What if taxes were voluntary?” it is “Does everything the state does end in force, violence, or coercion?” which, yes, is the same question–just phrased differently.
Don’t get me wrong–I’m not accusing Tyler or anyone else of playing games. I’m saying that this is how it appears/feels in this case. It is not an allegation or statement of anyone’s intent or motives, because miscommunication and need for clarification are common the Internet, and especially Twitter’s 160-character limit. Any number of miscommunications, oversights, or poor phrasings could jam communication without anyone being playing games. Even with this clarification the language is still harsher than I intended it to be. I am sorry. I write a lot of fiction, and it trains you to use strong language.
Then, upon answering the question, the players repeat back “criticisms” of the answers that we have already addressed, a vicious cycle, in fact.
“Follow-up question” / “Criticism”
“Answer” / “Clarification”
Then, the next thing you know, the entire process repeats anew. Once we become too frustrated and block them, victory is declared:
He didn’t block you over anarcho-capitalism.
He blocked you because he doesn’t think you are listening, and probably because of statements like:
I’d love for you to demonstrate how that has anything to do with me. Maybe be more careful with your use of “all.” I’d love for someone to try to justify calling me selfish.
Anyway, I’m referring more specifically to this:
C’mon, man. You’re being downright insulting here.
The claim that statists have “blind faith” is stupid, yes. It’s not blind at all. You can see the state and its actions. You may close your eyes to its horrors, but you’re still not blind to them. However, you’re blatantly wrong to say there are no examples of anarchy, and you know that I gave you two of them. You know that, because I told you that, and you acknowledged that. I specifically told him I provided two examples dealing with the modern New York Diamond Traders and the Maghribi traders of the 11th century. He said he hadn’t watched the video, but that he would. Fair enough, I said, because the video did suck.
To say “there are no examples of anarchy” after choosing to ignore my video (on whatever grounds, considering at this time he knew that it had information that proved his statement incorrect) that presented them is horrific intellectual dishonesty, and yes, I’m surprised to see that from Tyler, because I’ve seen him correct himself in the past. It also shows, as I pointed out on Twitter, that anarcho-capitalism has been routinely demonstrated, through all of human history, and that he is revealing that he is not aware of what anarcho-capitalism is.
Anarcho-capitalism is simply allowing people to solve problems without a state. That’s all it is. Seriously, that’s it. That’s 100% of it, the entire ideology in a single sentence. The only rules are no violence, no force, no coercion, and no stealing. Do you see, then, how we have billions of examples? Any example of people solving problems without a state–without force, violence, coercion, or stealing–is, ipso facto, an example of anarchism, and if they do it in search of benefit, then it is an example of anarcho-capitalism. Such a sweeping statement, but also entirely true.
I needed to go to the store earlier. So I went to the store. It didn’t involve the state. That is an example of anarcho-capitalism.
Apple invented the iPhone. Android came into existence, with BlackBerry and Microsoft expanding as well. The state was never involved. That is an example of anarcho-capitalism.
The Maghribi traders working out trust relationships across thousands of miles in the 11th century just by talking and working together. That is an example of anarcho-capitalism.
Because that’s all anarcho-capitalism is. It’s the idea that people can solve problems without violence. That’s not me putting some weird spin on it–that’s literally what it is. The only question to be asked regarding anarcho-capitalism is this:
“Can we solve x problem without the state?”
Just think about it for a moment. What does the state do? It exists to protect life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (ostensibly).
Can we protect life without the state? Absolutely.
Any and all examples of people solving problems without the state are examples of anarcho-capitalism.
Can we protect liberty without the state? For fuck’s sake, the state is constitutionally incapable of protecting liberty.
Can we protect the right to pursue happiness without the state? Absolutely, as only force, violence, and coercion can eliminate a person’s right to pursue happiness.
The question is, and has always been, “How do we solve this problem?”
Because let’s face it–there will always be problems. We’re humans, and we fuck up. In addition to our fuck ups, the universe isn’t exactly kind to us, and neither is the planet. There is always shit to be done, and on top of that we’re an ambitious species. We don’t just want what we have. We want to turn what we have into something better. We didn’t land on the moon and go, “Cool. That’s probably far enough. Seen one lifeless rock, seen ’em all, right?”
There’s never just one way to solve a problem. A few decades ago, humanity gave itself the problem of needing handheld computers capable of mobile internet and phone usage. The smartphone was the answer we came up with, but it was not the only answer, was it? No, we also came up with the pager, didn’t we? And the tablet. We conceived multiple solutions, some of them better than others, and the winners lasted. Tablets are deprecated and fading out, and pagers are… Well, who do you know who has a pager?
We once were presented with the problem of needing to figure out how to make electronic devices talk to one another. Ethernet is common today, but did you know that it wasn’t the only option? There was also Token Ring, and a few others that I don’t remember because they had basically vanished even before I reached college. Then we had the problem of how to do it wirelessly, and the 802.11 IEEE–a completely voluntary body of experts who set standards of protocols for technologies. Linksys’s routers are 802.11b/g/n compatible because this ensures they will be compatible with all other devices that are 802.11b/g/n compatible, and no state was ever needed to enforce a standard for everyone to use. Just give people the chance to solve their own problems.
This is all anarchy in action. It’s just… people doing stuff.
In fact, there’s probably no better example of anarchy in action than IEEE. Virtually every electronic device manufactured in the past 30 years is compatible according to standards set by IEEE, but there is no law on the books forcing Linksys to make routers that are 802.11b/g/n compatible, and no law on the books forcing Apple to ensure that your iPhone can connect to 802.11b/g/n technologies.
Just think about that for a moment!
Think about the logistics! Think about what a monumental task that is!
“We want any phone made by any manufacturer running any operating system on any carrier to be able to connect to any wireless device made by any manufacturer.”
Can you even imagine a more monumental task?
Rest assured, we had at least two ways of handling this.
And IEEE handled it flawlessly, beautifully, and masterfully, without one single fucking law ever being passed. The system is completely voluntary. Apple uses it because no one would buy an iPhone if it couldn’t talk to everyone else’s devices. Linksys uses it because no one would buy a WRT54GL if no one could connect 90% of phones to it. Samsung uses it because no one would buy an S7 if you couldn’t connect it to most wireless networks. It’s in everyone’s best interests to use the standard, but there’s no law, no requirement, no prison, no fines for not complying.
Possibly the most monumental task humanity has ever been faced with! And we succeeded brilliantly.
Anarchy succeeded brilliantly.
Rest assured, the state would have fucked it up.
You’re looking at the state as the creator and maintainer of society, and that simply isn’t true. The state is just some thing that exists over there to the side. All we have are people doing stuff. That’s all that exists in the entire world–humans doing stuff. Countries don’t exist, businesses don’t exist, nations don’t exist, and even states don’t really exist. There are only people doing stuff. I think you’re still viewing “anarchy” at least partially as the chaotic bullshit that occurs when a state fractures into smaller states. But as I pointed out here, what people commonly call “anarchy” is actually just several smaller states at war with one another.
Because we are social animals and recognize that our interests are best served through cooperation rather than antagonism, we sometimes come together and form groups, deciding to pool our resources and work together toward a common aim. When two people do this with romantic intent, we call it “marriage” (we are discussing formal agreements here). When two people do this with business intent, we call it “partnership.” When several people do this with business intent, we call it “corporation.” These people set the terms of their agreement, the goals of their agreement, and how they will work together to achieve those goals.
No new entity is created when two people enter into a marriage. There’s not really any such thing as a “family.” That’s just a collective idea we came up with to describe their agreement, to describe their relationship, to make it easier to communicate. Instead of saying “This woman and I pool our finances, live together, go out on dates, sleep together, have sex with each other, and do not do these things with other people,” then I simply say, “This is my wife” / “We are married.”
Businesses and corporations function under exactly the same principles, but their relationship goals and parameters are different. Just as I need other members of my marriage’s permission before dropping $8,000 on a vehicle, so does someone in a corporation need other member’s permission before dropping $8,000 on something. I realistically need my wife’s permission before I quit my job and take up a different career path, and a member of a corporation needs other members’ permission before they start working on a new invention. But the marriage isn’t a thing, the business isn’t a thing, and the corporation isn’t a thing.
It’s just people doing stuff, and finding that they can pool their resources to do better stuff. I may be great, but having a loving, awesome wife makes me greater, yes? Two heads are better than one, and all that? The same holds true for businesses and corporations.
The state is just another one of those businesses. In fact, you’ll find that the state is nothing more than a corporation that has the “authority” to use force, violence, and coercion to achieve its ends, relying on parasitism rather than productivity to acquire resources, and utilizing forced monopolies instead of competition to ensure it has consumers. This is why we aren’t on the same page here–you’re not seeing the state for what it is. It’s just a group of people who do stuff, but who are allowed to use force, violence, and coercion, while no one else is allowed to.
The only relevant questions for anarcho-capitalists involve things that the state is supposed to do:
Can anarchy provide a way to protect life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?
All other questions are irrelevant, because we do know that “people doing stuff” can solve limitless problems, and that force, violence, and coercion are never necessary for solving those problems. Roads, schools, technology protocols, whatever–force, violence, and coercion are not necessary. These all come back to that simple question: if we can solve the problem without using violence, then isn’t it worth every possible effort to solve it without violence? So we can erase all the questions about roads, schools, NASA, etc.
Whether anarchy can protect life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness can certainly be discussed, and we can also find real world examples of anarchy doing it. However, it isn’t necessary, because there has never been a greater threat to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness than the state, for reasons that I mentioned here: https://anarchistshemale.com/2016/04/22/a-crash-course-on-rights/
Any act that threatens life or liberty is, by definition, a state act, at the very least an attempt by one individual to become an authoritarian tyrant over another. It is irrelevant whether this tyrant rules over only one person or one hundred million; a state is a state. It becomes impossible, and is obviously so, to use force, violence, and coercion to prevent force, violence, and coercion. The only thing that can protect life is not killing people. The only thing that can protect liberty is not restricting people’s rights. If violence is universally rejected (as it would be, though, as I’ve pointed out, it’s ridiculous to demand 100% compliance, and neither anarchy nor the state can deliver that) and punished accordingly, and there is no mechanism in place to achieve goals with force, violence, and coercion… then there can’t be force, violence, and coercion.
Society is another example of people just doing stuff, but it’s one that happens organically and without conscious agreement; it’s just the product of people naturally having their own self-interests served by working together. It is of critical importance to remember that society is older than the state. Society created the state; the state did not create society. It is impossible that the state could have produced society, just as it’s impossible that religion could have produced morality. Just as religion is a product of humans doing stuff, so is the state, so is agriculture, so is the Internet*.
Society isn’t real, either, and can’t produce anything. Only people can. And people did. Without ever agreeing that we would work together, the overwhelming majority of humans get along relatively fine with one another and can have a functional society. The state isn’t really forcing me to work with my clients, or the people at the gas station, or the people at Subway, or the people at Facebook. I’m doing it because being an asshole isn’t in my best interests, and it’s obvious that, as a social animal, my best interest lie in working with other people.
The state did not produce morality, either. We do not think murder is wrong because the state told us so. We do not think stealing is wrong because the state told us so. We do not think rape is wrong because the state told us so. No, we individuals came up with this, and the state took the majority’s moral code and turned it into law. This is also how we ended up with anti-transgender, anti-homosexual, and drug laws. Once again, we find parallels to religion: religious people say that we get our morality from their holy book, but we know that isn’t true. The holy book is merely a reflection of their morality, just as the state’s laws are merely a reflection of our morality. And just as it’s hard to get religious people to change the morality they get from their holy book, so is it difficult to get the state to change its laws.
People do stuff all the time cooperatively without the state enforcing it. This is anarchism in action.
* I throw these last two in just to make it clear I’m not drawing another parallel between statism and religion, or asserting that all social products are bad.