The goal of the Libertarian Party is stated to be achieving “Liberty in our lifetime.” This is not a goal unique to the LP, though, and many have noted that it is also the stated goal of the alt-right, although they are under the impression that we must first “pass through the eye of fascism” to get there. So let’s address this concept in further detail.
Before we begin, I would point out that I don’t believe liberty can be achieved on planet Earth–period. Any successful anarchist society will draw the attention of the many states of the world, and would be invaded and annihilated before it truly developed the ability to defend itself. The state hates competition, and that isn’t going to change. The state won’t compete with a free and prosperous society if it can simply invade it, and that is what will happen; the state has no incentive to compete.
This is why I insist we won’t have a free society until we are colonizing other planets. The great distances involved, especially in those early days of interstellar travel, will make it nearly impossible for the state, which will by then likely be a world government over all Earth, to attack. The same benefit that the American colonists had will be ours then; it was not cost effective, or even feasible, for the British Empire to readily replace lost soldiers and equipment. That protection by distance no longer exists on Earth.
The argument otherwise appears to be that insidious state supporters will impose their worldview on others, and so the right must force its worldview onto them. The idea being that there is going to be widespread death and purging, and they, perhaps understandably, want to ensure their ideas survive the onslaught. I can understand the sentiment, but I still don’t agree.
This is because I believe the ideas of liberty, peace, and love are superior, and that these ideas will ultimately prevail. It is these ideas I advocate. Many on the right would agree that these ideas will prevail, but I’m not concerned with whether the left or right takes power between now and then.
Que sera sera.
The problem, from what I see, is not the left or the right, but statism as a whole, and blind allegiance to the state. There are simply too many statists out there, and if the destruction of the twentieth century was insufficient, then I dread to think what cataclysm may be needed to shake people loose from the bedrock on which they’ve planted themselves: that they are gods.
I discussed recently on Free Talk Live (or was it Freer Talk Live?) with Ian, and ultimately agreed with him, that the truest hallmark of the state was its religious garb, but, upon additional reflection, I am not sure this is truly the case. The religious undertones and overtones seem to be a relatively recent invention, beginning around the same time as aforementioned world wars, which is unlikely to be a coincidence.
It is an idea that I would say, based on my admittedly limited knowledge of ideological histories, began with Marx, and his statements that, in the socialist order, it was necessary to replace religion with the state–in other words, to turn the state itself into a religion. Prior to this, states were still states, but the pledge of allegiance did not come into existence until the twentieth century, and neither did government buildings look identical to religious ones until the same period.
Of course, we must note that Nietzsche called this from afar, with his often misunderstood statement that “gott ist nicht” (“God is dead”). Nietzsche observed that man had eliminated the primary roles filled by deities and, upon finding those roles newly vacant, placed themselves in them. Humanity lost sight of their inherent fallibility, their own innate subjectivity, and their own limited existence. However, I’m not convinced that religion has ever been anything but a proxy for worship of the self, with humanity’s ego placing us squarely at the center of god’s universe in nearly all religious traditions. Is it not self worship to create gods in our own image, and then imagine ourselves to be the center and focal point of this god’s existence, with an entire universe created solely for us?
Regardless, what we see now is an unmasking of the human ego, broadcast for all to see, with a multitude of humans refusing to see it because they imagine themselves to be a part of it. Enter Democracy, which achieves this directly, allowing each and every individual to feel that they are part of this wondrous thing that produces all good within a society, the ultimate arbiter of justice, and the benevolent protector of the meek and downtrodden.
How ubiquitous is the notion that “we are the government”!
It should be alarming, though not surprising, to connect this directly to the religious aspects of the state, and to conclude that the state is self-worship. I’ll remember until I die, hopefully many decades from now at peace in my bed (though more likely in a bullet from state enforcers, if we’re being honest), the eerie call of “amen” at the Republican meeting I recently attended. What else need be said, when religious trappings are so blatant that this can happen? The point need not be made further; the state is a religion.
Yet those on the left do not ascribe to its doctrines because of any particular religious zeal. They succumb instead to pure ego and vanity. Their allegiance is not to the denomination practiced by Republicans, but to a different denomination, though the goal is the same. The left praises a different set of ideas and motivations, one where their ideology supercedes even the state itself, and where the state simply becomes a servant for their utopian vision of tyranny. This is necessary for their worldview to remain intact, as the state itself is always the perpetrator of the very actions they condemn. The state cannot be supreme in their worldview because it is guilty of the crimes they criticize. In this sense, their worldview is at least more accurate to reality than the Republicans’, but it’s a sliding scale, and neither side is especially close to reality.
After sharing my previous article to an Anarchist, Voluntaryist, and Libertarian page on Facebook–not something I do often; in fact, this was only the second time in a year that I’ve done so–the very first comment was, predictably, that no one cares about my mental illness. Right, because that is a conversation transgender people aren’t sick of having. And it’s extremely common. With almost every video, every post, every article around the Internet that is from a transgender author about transgender things, there is very likely to be some asshat who thinks that he, and only he–because, sorry, I have yet to come across a female doing this–understands that gender is binary, transgender people are insane, and being transgender undermines everything else you have to say because you’re insane. Remembering now that I posted this to a closed group of like-minded people, I found myself having to point out that there is no such thing as a “legitimate reason” for kidnapping, sexual assault, theft, or ransom.
I was also called a “transgender fascist” because of my desire to force the state to accept my right to define myself and to identify myself. This, in the mind of the confused person who is so terrified that I’m going to force my beliefs onto them that they are eager to force theirs onto me, is nothing short of fascism. It’s a remarkable disconnect, and showcases just how warped a person’s brain can get when they hold reverence to dogmatic values and insist they aren’t arbitrary. I once stated that sex was a binary thing–I was mistaken. Sex has never been a binary thing; we simply treated it as one. Initially, we understood sex as XX and XY chromosomes, but more recent developments have revealed how horrifically inaccurate that was, and that the reality is that every cell in a person’s body has a sex, and they’re not all the same. This literally means that, far from being a binary matter, sex is an infinitely fluid matter, ranging from 0.0000001% male to 0.0000001% female.
If we look at these three shades of blue and just say they’re all “blue,” and then spend decades treating them all the same, does that really mean that there’s only one blue? No. It just means we were short-sighted, overly eager to simplify, and mistaken.
And, as we’ve learned more recently as our technology advances and we peer deeper into cells, genes, and chromosomes, what looked like a single shade of blue when we stood back seventy feet from the television and looked at little boxes actually turned out to be totally different shades when we got up close and examined them. So yes, I was again wrong; sex is not a binary thing and has never been a binary thing. So to be so beholden to the idea of sex as a binary concept when all scientific evidence disputes that idea is the very definition of dogma, especially since what we’re talking about is evidently an arbitrary human construct of generalities and oversimplifications. I would call dogmatic loyalty to an artificial construct so severe that it causes one to utterly lose the ability to empathize with another human being the “mental illness,” if we really want to talk mental illness.
Of course, it was brought up that “gender dysphoria” is classified as a mental illness. This is true. And I pointed out, though I can’t find the source, the AMA has gone on record stating that they did this in order to ensure that transgender people’s medicines, hormones, and surgeries were deemed “necessary” rather than “cosmetic.” It’s rather like how some dental plans won’t give you a full set of dentures because it’s deemed cosmetic, and will instead cover only partial sets. That rift between “cosmetic” and “necessary” is a big deal, and while I appreciate their reason for doing it, people who have chosen to treat it like the holy grail of definitive medicine–even as they dispute numerous other diagnoses in its pages (“Addiction isn’t a disease! They’re so wrong about that! Addiction is a choice! But gender dysphoria? No, they’re right! You’re insane, because they said so! Because ‘mental illness’ obviously means ‘full-blown insanity!'”)–end up causing transgender people in the real world no end of headaches.
When I pointed out to this person that gender dysphoria is the disease and “being transgender” is the cure, he replied, “They’re the same thing.”
It’s frustrating, because, as I said, this is a conversation that any transgender person has had countless times. Almost any time the subject is brought up, there’s at least one fuckwad who does this, and it’s always hard to ignore. It’s hard to ignore someone sitting there and calling you insane because they don’t have any understanding of things that are pretty easy to Google. But even if we don’t reply–and for the most part, I didn’t, because a wonderful other person took up the cause for me–it still stings. How could it not? It’s like a white kid being told he’s insane because he likes rap, or a guy being told he’s insane because he’s gay.
More to the point, the basic issue is his inability to understand that this interaction between transgender people and the state… doesn’t impact him in any way. If I fight the state, succeed, and force the state of Mississippi and its police officers to recognize people as the gender they identify as, this does absolutely nothing to force this random person to accept my definitions or gender identity–unless he is one of the police officers in question.
This gets into messy territory, doesn’t it? Do I have the right to force the state to recognize my gender identity?
See, that’s the wrong question, and it reveals how skewed this discussion even is. The actual question is: Does the state have the right to dictate my gender? Does any state employee have the right to say whether I am male or female, and to treat me accordingly? This is the real heart of the question, and the answer is obviously “No.” If state employees could do this, then an officer could tell any woman he arrested, “No, you’re a male. Now get naked. It’s time for a strip search, dude.” According to this guy who thinks I shouldn’t be able to prevent the state from forcing its definitions onto me, this would be totally acceptable. The state defines me, regardless of what I say, and to this Voluntaryist, Anarchist, or Libertarian, that’s totally okay–because the state’s definitions are the same as his definitions. But no, that’s not bias or hypocrisy. It’s just a happy coincidence that it happens to be his definitions that the state is forcing onto people.
By treating me as a male, the state is forcing their definition of genders and sexes onto me. My telling them, “No, you can’t do that. You have to treat me as the gender that I am, not the one you say that I am,” is defense, not offense. It would not be an issue if the state was not attempting to force their definition onto me. But they are, and they did. When I say that I’m a female, absolutely no one has the right to dictate over me as though I’m male. This random person can use whatever definitions he wants and believes me to be whatever he wants, but he has no authority to dictate over me, no ability to impact my life unless I allow him to. If he wants to insist that I’m a male, that’s his right, and it’s my right to call him a bigoted, ignorant idiot and stop having anything to do with him.
See? That’s the difference. I can’t just “stop having anything to do with” the state or the police.
This is the state we’re talking about. I’m not talking about this random dipshit on Facebook. If he wants to treat me as a male, fine. I don’t care. If he says “Turn around and drop your pants,” I don’t have to obey him. And if he pulls a gun on me, I can pull one back out on him. If he attempts to rape me, I can fight back without risking getting beaten to death by fifteen freaking people. He has no authority to trap me in a windowless concrete box with the steel door shut and command me to drop my panties. So I don’t give a flying fuck what he thinks.
Whether we like it or not–and I don’t like it–the state does have authority. It’s stolen authority, it’s immoral authority, and it’s disgusting authority, but the reality is that they have it. In a moral world, it wouldn’t have been an issue because no one could have kidnapped me and held me for ransom at gunpoint yesterday. In a moral world, it wouldn’t be an issue, because someone wouldn’t have a badge giving them the authority to coerce me into doing a strip tease. Without a state, these wouldn’t be issues at all. Fighting against the state’s attempts to define me as a male in full disregard of my own wishes, physiology, preferences, and identity is reactionary–by definition–but it is also necessary, defensive, and justified. It is the equivalent of shooting an armed burglar who has broken into your home. By kidnapping me at gunpoint and coercing me with the power of the badge to do a striptease, the officers roundly violated my rights as a human being. I should not have to explain this to anyone who claims to be a Voluntaryist, Anarchist, or Libertarian.
“What perceived rights do you think were violated?” someone asked.
Well, that’s an interesting question. All the more interesting because it came in this same group of people who are supposed to understand these things. I guarantee you that when the Constitution was written, the American Founders didn’t intend “forcing a prisoner to do a strip tease” to be any sort of reasonable search.
I shouldn’t have to explain to anyone that a male officer forcing a woman prisoner to do a striptease while she’s being processed for a misdemeanor traffic violation and waiting on the paperwork to be completed so that she can leave is a full and total violation of her Fourth Amendment rights. I don’t give a SHIT what the Supreme Court has ruled about it. Besides all of that, this person has completely missed the point–a few other people have totally missed the point as well.
It’s not about whether the strip search can be justified. It probably can’t, and I’ve now spoken with nine other people who have been through this jail–in fact, I’ve been there twice and this is the first time I was strip searched–and none of them were strip-searched, including several people who actually were in custody for a few days. You can’t hide behind “Standard Operating Procedure” when I can present a list of a dozen people who passed through that very jail for the very same charge in the very same circumstances and were not forced to do a strip tease. You simply can’t, because the evidence is against you. If you attempt to play that card, you are being a statist apologist. I can point you to these people right now, my own sister among them. She’s been to that jail twice. She was only patted down on both occasions. You’d better believe I’m compiling a list of names of people who will swear before a grand jury that they weren’t strip searched.
What it’s actually about, though, is related to the above–the fact that I was strip-searched because I was transgender by a cop who abused the authority of his badge to sate his curiosity. That’s the allegation–one of them. Because that’s clearly what happened. I know females who weren’t strip-searched, I know males who weren’t strip-searched, and I’ve now been in that jail three times–once when I was 17, once for 3 days when I was 19, and yesterday. Only on one of these occasions was I strip-searched, and only on one of these occasions “was I transgender.” Holy crap, the evidence is overwhelmingly against Tate County and the officer in question.
Furthermore, there is the fact that I’m transgender. And while this will be the messiest part, and will inevitably land before a federal appeals court, I have full confidence that it is a legal battle that I will ultimately win. A long-time friend asked me today, “If you found a competent lawyer, and Tate County offered you $10,000 to settle, what would you do?” It was a question of such profound ignorance that I didn’t know where to begin.
Dude, you think this is about money? Me? The quasi-Buddhist? The chick who shuns materialism? You think I’m motivated by money?
Don’t get me wrong. I’ll be fighting for money, because that’s all they can offer. They can’t undo what they did, and they can’t fix what they did. Will ten grand be enough to satisfy me? Not by a fucking long shot. The real answer to that question is that I will do whatever my attorney suggests that I do. What the hell? How can he be that unfamiliar with litigation? The attorney would advise me whether or not to accept the settlement. I don’t even understand how someone can ask me such a question barely 12 hours after the incident even occurred.
Beyond that, I do have a goal. Not just for Tate County, but for the state of Mississippi to institute a policy regarding transgender people that is identical to the city of Seattle’s: that all transgender people will be recognized and treated as the gender they identify as. That is what I want. That is my goal. If they don’t give me that, then absolutely no amount of money will appease me. They could offer me ten trillion dollars and I would not take a penny of it if they will not adopt that policy.
If I hadn’t been bailed out last night, do you know what would have happened? I have to wonder if these people have given this sufficient thought. If I had been forced to spend the night–or a few days or weeks–in jail, I would have been tossed into a men’s cell block–panties, makeup, bra, boobs, curves, and all. This happens. In fact, looking into this issue makes me enraged that people are discussing bathrooms, because I read about a transgender woman who served a prison sentence in a men’s block, where she was reportedly raped more than two thousand times. And what are we discussing?
It’s true that there is much less rape in county jails, but this isn’t to say there is none, and my friend’s attempt to assuage me by saying there is “very little risk” of being raped in a county jail is nothing short of sociopathic. “It’s fine. There’s only a 0.2% chance that you would have been raped, so what’s the big deal?” It’s a mark of how fucking ridiculous this entire conversation is that someone would even say such a thing. I tried pointing out to him that he would never say that about his sister, his wife, one of his daughters, or even any female friend of his, and that the only reason he’s saying it to me is that I’m transgender. It stems from more of that “You’re not really a woman” stuff that pervades more of their thought processes than such people understand.
He infuriated me in his attempt to play the devil’s advocate, because there was just so much wrong with it. For one, the event, as of right now, happened barely more than 24 hours ago. This shit just happened. I was just sexually assaulted. Yesterday. I was just forced to do a strip-tease by a male cop against my will. 24 hours ago. No ordinary or reasonable human being would ever say, “But what harm was really done?” to someone in such a situation, much less when not even a full day had passed since it happened. He got pissed off when I replied that he was being borderline sociopathic, but I absolutely stand by that assessment. Actually, I’d say psychopathic to stand by the assessment.
No judge, jury, prosecutor, defendant, or attorney in their right fucking mind would ever dare ask a sexual assault victim what “demonstrable damages” were done. That is a question of such extraordinary offensiveness that I informed him bluntly that I would henceforth not discuss the litigation or my transgenderism with him again. Because of that line of questions, he has all but been thrown from my life. These are not questions that any jury would ask. They are questions that Charles Manson would ask. They are questions that the desperate pedophile on trial for child pornography would ask: “But, Your Honor, what harm was there really? I only downloaded the pictures. I didn’t perform any of the acts or take any of the pictures!”
It is unbridled madness to even ask such a thing. There’s being a devil’s advocate, and there’s being an absolute dick. No woman in any modern American court–transgender or otherwise–would have to explain to any sane juror the harm of being forced to do a strip-tease by a male cop. And I told him that if he was to ask anyone the same questions that he asked me, his wife would divorce him, his sister would never speak to him again, and he’d find that everyone thought he was a psychopath. It’s like asking a rape victim, “But you didn’t get pregnant and it was over quickly, so there weren’t really any damages, were there?”
It’s sexual assault. The very act itself causes damage. That’s why we outlawed it.
I didn’t mean to get into all this, but it’s been a full day as I’ve learned who my friends are and who my friends aren’t. It’s been a devastating day. Before I began writing this, I lied in my bed, cuddled with my cat, and cried. I did that for about an hour, and then I forced myself to get up, because I’m not a crier. I won’t lie down and cry–at least not for long. I will fight. I will fight against anyone and everyone who stands in my way. It’s more “You’re not really a woman, though” bullshit.
Because it would unequivocally be sexual assault if a male officer did this to a natural-born female, and even this “devil’s advocate” wouldn’t challenge that. Even asking such a thing is a tentative admission that he doesn’t consider me a female–just a guy wearing women’s clothes. Because I refuse to believe that any sane person could imagine their sister or wife or other female friend in a closed cell with a cop being forced to do a strip-tease and somehow dispute whether or not it counted as sexual assault and whether or not that entailed damages. And naturally when I got pissed off, he pulled the “You’re too emotional to talk about this” card.
You’re goddamned right, you fucking dick, and your bigotry and borderline psychopathy are the fucking reasons why. If your wife came out of this situation and was looking into attorneys and you asked her about “demonstrable damages,” she would divorce your ass. It’s understood, by the act itself.
The Senatobia cop who was both polite and professional, I didn’t care if he referred to me as a male, or called me “dude” or anything else. I didn’t tell him that I’m transgender because I insisted that he call me “ma’am,” although he did. I told him because I wanted him to know in case it became relevant. It’s just like I don’t care if my friends occasionally call me “him,” or if clients think I’m a guy. Their opinions don’t matter to me, and their misgendering me isn’t a concern, because it’s best for everyone involved if they do misgender me.
But it matters when people have authority over you. Holy fuck, does it matter when you’re being forced to do a strip-tease for a curious male cop and facing the prospect of being thrown into the men’s cell block. Despite this “I’m such a devil’s advocate I’m almost a psychopath”‘s assurances, it is not true that “everyone” is in there awaiting DUI trials. I’ve been in county jails before. There are some people waiting on murder trials, some waiting on rape trials, some waiting on drug trials. Some of these people face 25 years. Some face life.
And American prison and jail systems have a long fucking history of placing gay men in cell blocks where they know the men will be raped, only to then say, “You must have been asking for it.” This guy had the audacity to say to me, “They wouldn’t want to add on a rape charge to their jail sentence.”
Dude, how many occurrences of prison and jail rape do you think result in charges? It’s been a long time since I looked at the numbers, but the last I checked it was like 5.7% or something along those lines. It would have been my word against the rapist’s. The rapist would have insisted that I consented to it, and I would have obviously disputed that. It’s a profound ignorance about not just male-on-male rape and prison rape but rape in general. The rape culture hysteria is certainly overblown, but we do have a problem with police officers putting forward and accepting the rationale that “she was asking for it” and “she actually wanted it.” This problem is particularly prevalent with male-on-male rape and prison rape.
One of the main reasons that most men don’t report it when they are raped is the psychological damage of it. Through no desire or enjoyment on the rape victim’s part, his penis will become erect–at least semi-erect–from stimulation of the prostate. It is well-known that rapists use this to their advantage, saying things like, “Yeah, you know you like it–that’s why you’re getting hard.” And you don’t think this ignorant ass officer who forced me to do a strip tease for him would say, “Well, her penis got hard, so clearly she enjoyed it, and she wouldn’t have enjoyed it if it had been rape”? How insulated in a bubble can a person be?
Last night, the state forced its binary, unscientific, and inapplicable definition of “male” onto me, despite my protests and explicit statements otherwise. Realistically, at the very moment I told the officer that I’m a transgender female, it could damned well have meant that I have a vagina. This has to be considered–the officer had no idea what type of transsexual I am, and didn’t ask. Rather than ask, he forced me to do a strip-tease to find out.
For the most part, it’s just so not important what people call me. I call myself the Anarchist Shemale. Almost all of my clients call me “he,” and a few of my friends still call me by my old name. It’s so meaningless to me. These transsexual and transgender people who get up in arms–“Did you just assume my gender?! Did you just misgender me?!”–they are undermining the actual problems out there. Those things are irrelevant. They are issues created by people who have never truly suffered. One of the greatest revelations for me in the last few months was that the Dunning-Kruger Effect applies very much to a person’s understanding of what suffering is. I don’t blame them for that. I applaud them. Congratulations–they have lived lives of such ease and comfort that some random person at a store calling them by the wrong pronoun is an offense and losing an election is traumatic. I don’t care what this asshole on Facebook wants to call me, or if he wants to label me as a male. It makes no difference to me. It’s tedious and exhausting, but I don’t care.
I’m not and will never fight to force Random Joe to call me a female. In fact, I have a long record of fighting for the right of Random Joe to exercise all of his rights, including the right to hate me and disassociate from me.
So anyone who accuses me of trying to force other people to accept my gender identity is either not listening, not paying attention, or purposefully misunderstanding me. In his overzealousness to prevent me from forcing him to accept my gender identity, he becomes okay with the state forcing me to accept his and their gender definitions. I’m not trying to force him to accept my gender identity. I’m trying to stop him from forcing his definitions onto me. And I hate myself for even saying this, but his inability to understand that difference is the very essence of the whole “privilege” thing.
When you’re that accustomed to forcing your way onto everyone else, it does seem like someone forcing their way onto you when they stop you from forcing your way onto them. This doesn’t mean there aren’t people out there trying to force their way onto them–there are. Lots of them. There are lots of transsexual and transgender people who think it should be totally illegal to call a transgender person by the “wrong” pronoun. I’m not among them, and any idiot who reads anything I write would quickly realize that. It was outright stated in the fucking initial article about this.
I refused to vote for Gary Johnson, and my primary reason for that was precisely that he wouldn’t allow religious people the right to conduct business in accordance with their religious beliefs. This is a message to all those fucking idiots who don’t understand simple concepts. I have been fighting this fucking battle for the right of people to discriminate against me for years, and I have the record to prove it. To all those people, I have stood by their rights for years, even when it actively harmed me and went against my own direct interests, and I will continue doing so. Now it’s time for those people to shut the fuck up and stand beside me like I stood beside them. I’m not asking them to accept me. I’m asking them to help protect me from the goddamned state, just like I fought to protect them from the state.
I apologize for how this next paragraph is written, but there was no other way to convey it in written words.
I also learned from this experience how seriously damaging it is to be transgender–to be struggling to be transgender because more than 5/6 of your life was stolen from you and you’re fighting against every single day you’ve lived past puberty without the correct hormones coursing through your body… To already be struggling everyday with doubts about “Am I feminine enough?” To look in the mirror at every opportunity, hoping and praying to see yourself more feminine, more how you should be, more how you want to be… To already struggle so much with day-to-day life as a transgender person, not to mention all the other stuff, the family stuff, the parasitism, the economic and financial struggles, the struggles to get a book published… To be depressed deep down inside and constantly in a state of mild cognitive dissonance–because I know I’m not as feminine as I want to be, that I’m not as passable as I must be… And then to have an authority figure slap you back down viciously, rebuke you firmly, and state that no, you are not female, so turn around and drop your pants.
It’s always painful to look in the mirror and not see what I want to see, to have the fear constantly nagging in the back of my mind that maybe I’ll never see what I want to see, that maybe it’s too late, maybe there’s no hope. To then have long-time friends reveal that they consider me a guy in women’s clothes–even if they don’t have the balls to outright say it… That’s painful. And to have an authority–not just any authority, but the ultimate authority, the state itself–rebuke you, spit on your efforts, spit on your life, your hopes and your dreams, and insist that you are a male whether you like it or not. Most people won’t understand. Most people can’t understand.
Please forgive me if I’m not quite up to date with the latest in the Christian world.
When I was in junior high and high school, we received a notebook every year around January that contained on its cover the Ten Commandments. There were even occasions (at least once when I was in the tenth grade) that we were given those little New Testament Bibles. So naturally our school had no sex education program–abstinence or otherwise, which is fine since it’s a parent’s duty to explain procreation to their children, not the state’s–and only barely had a drug education program.
I’m speaking for… basically all… Mississippians when I say that the Bibles and notebooks were unnecessary. In a pragmatic sense, the notebooks were fantastic, because they always came around the time I needed a fresh notebook to continue my writing and not doing schoolwork. Teachers often loathed me for that, because they knew I was not paying attention, that I was writing some story, but when I passed the tests it didn’t leave them many ways to chastise me.
I’d wager that maybe one in two hundred kids didn’t have their own copy of the Bible, though, and I had at least two.
There was controversy surrounding the Ten Commandments, though (because of course there was), specifically whether it was stated that Thou shalt not kill or Thou shalt not murder.
This is an important distinction for a few reasons. First, God kills a number of people in the Bible by any translation, and, if you really want to split hairs, is inadvertently responsible for every death by creating life (unless you subscribe to the literal interpretation of Genesis, in which case he’s still responsible for putting the tree in the garden, but it’s not my intention to attack theology). Second, large portions of the Bible prescribe killing people as the punishment for everything from witchcraft to adultery. In order to avoid a conflict between “Thou shalt not kill [period]” and “Thou shalt kill these people,” it was necessary to draw a distinction between killing (The taking of life) and murder (presumably the unjust taking of human life).
It’s worth mentioning, though, that if our universe has a creator, then its moral mandates to us are not commandments to itself. Such a being has a perspective on human existence that we simply cannot attain, and is sure to abide what would seem to us as Blue & Orange morality. We silly mortals are unlikely to understand the value system of this creator, its criteria for assessing value, or its reason for doing so. Mandate from such a being would be perfectly acceptable, because we couldn’t even grasp its reasoning.
But the “Do as I say, not as I do” thing isn’t really a point of contention for Christians anyway–whether they’ve given it sufficient thought or not, they understand this. It’s mostly just a masturbation exercise for atheists (The Atheist Experience comes to mind, as they do it a lot) who refuse to accept that the existence of a god would instantly invalidate all moral values that weren’t its own. But he who makes the rules determines who is just; he who defines morality determines who is moral.
So the true importance of this distinction isn’t whether the creator of the universe must abide the moral proclamations it passes down to us; the true importance is whether the state has to.
Whew! What a leap, right? Here we were discussing theology, with no mention of the state, then BAM!
It’s not a leap at all, though, because what is the institution that would be responsible for outlawing and punishing heretics and adulterers? It would be the state.
Obviously, the church and state were not always separate things; if they had been, we wouldn’t today have the phrase “separation of church and state.” However, we’d be delusional to suggest that the separation of church and state has been total, throughout the world or throughout the United States. In fact, many sects within Christianity attempt to legislate based on the moral values that they (correctly or incorrectly) say stem from their religion. North Carolina’s transgender restroom law comes to mind, and anti-sodomy laws have only recently been repealed.
In order to carry out and enforce this fundamentalist morality, it is often necessary to break that morality, as we mentioned above. In order to carry out the moral proclamation “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live,” it is necessary to break the moral proclamation “Thou shalt not kill.” This is why the state, much as the deity we mentioned earlier, gets a pass on its own moral statements.
We do this with euphemisms. “Thou shalt not steal” doesn’t apply to taxation for some inexplicable reason. “Thou shalt not murder” doesn’t apply to war, the abomination of capital punishment, or a police officer killing someone. “Thou shalt not keep slaves”* doesn’t apply to forced military conscription or prison labor. “Thou shalt not rape” doesn’t apply when you send someone to a place where you know they will be raped.
The knee-jerk reaction is to say that taxation isn’t theft, that conscription isn’t slavery, and that being an accomplice sending someone to a rape factory doesn’t count as rape. But no arguments can be put forward to back these positions. One can only say, “Nuh-uh!” and leave it at that, because the position is indefensible.
It is called “theft” when a large group of people gather together and decide to take money and resources from other people who don’t consent to having their money taken. It doesn’t really matter whether three hundred million people agree and only one objects; it’s still theft to take money and resources from the one who objects. We cannot consent to taxation on his behalf any more than one can consent to sex on his behalf.
We recoil at that analogy, and rightly so. The mere thought of consenting to sex on a woman’s behalf, even though she is expressly against it, strikes us as vehemently immoral, but it’s really only a stroke of luck that we don’t live in a world where “sex” is alongside slavery and murder as things we consent to for other people while they object. There appears to be no limit to what we may mandate for other people. We kidnap them against their will, steal from them against their will, enslave them against their will, and kill them against their will. It’s only a matter of fortune that “have sex with them against their will” isn’t on that list.
We can give an omniscient creator of the universe a pass on our morality, because its perspective is too wide for our tiny minds to grasp, but we cannot give the state a pass. The state, after all, is filled with people of no particular greatness. They are not wiser, smarter, or more considered than anyone else, and that rulers are not special was the great revelation that set forward the rise of governance “by the people.”
We can’t have it both ways, of course. We can’t say in one breath that “we are the government” and then say that our government can violate moral values because it is special and exempt. It must be that trying to do such a thing is merely an attempt to give ourselves a pass on morality, to make ourselves into official hypocrites, because “we are the government” and “The government is exempt from our morality” means literally that “we are exempt from our morality.”
So are we? Are we exempt from our morality?
Of course, the truth is that “we” aren’t the government. Even if we buy into the conceit that our representatives actually represent us, “we” still wouldn’t be the government; our representatives would be.
What use is a morality system if we establish loopholes and exemptions that allow systemic violations more horrible than anything an individual might do? Despite our philosophy that killing is wrong, governments last century managed a body count above 160,000,000–a staggering number of dead people. Despite our maxim that theft is wrong, the American Government steals huge chunks of everyone’s money.
We established this moral system. If we judge ourselves by our own rules and standards, I don’t think we’d like the result.
What role do I play in the atrocities committed by the state? Very little, but I could certainly do more to fight it beyond writing articles and arguing with people. Shouldn’t I be out marching in the streets, demanding an end to war, theft, kidnapping, and slavery? By this measure I’m as guilty as anyone.
What role does the average voter play? Well, the average voter is more of an accomplice than a weakly active resistor. The average voter doesn’t just allow it by not resisting strongly enough; the average voter encourages and legitimizes it. The average voter is the rubber stamp that legitimizes the euphemisms and allows the theft, murder, kidnapping, and slavery to continue.
It’s one thing to perhaps-be-not-as-adamant-as-one-could-be about seeing a moral tragedy ended. At least we Pen and Paper Anarchists do something, even if we don’t do enough. Then again, what more can we do without violating the very moral tenants we are trying to spread? We cannot zerg rush DC with guns–the entire point of anarchism is that violence cannot be used to prevent violence. If we use violence, we cease being anarchists immediately and become statists, because its exemption to violate morality is what defines the state. That’s how authorities always function. “For the greater good, we must do evil.”
Fear is what I think compels us to embrace the state and its lies. “Government is a necessary evil,” went the advocates of classical liberalism. “Government is a necessary evil, except ours. Ours is a good one,” states the modern liberal and modern conservative. They arrive at this conclusion by different roads, but they reach it all the same. For the liberal, the government is mostly good because it protects us from ourselves; for the conservative, the government is mostly good because it protects us from others. And the miraculous thing is that these statements can be flipped without problem.
Any skilled chess player will tell you that there are huge differences between defence and offense, and between protecting and attacking. This isn’t to say that the two are always exclusive, because in chess they aren’t–the best attacking moves are those that defend, too.
But we’re not chess pieces to be moved about on a board and sacrificed to gain the upper hand. The pawn would never advocate a pawn sacrifice.
Unless the king had convinced him it was the only way to win.
* Although, to be clear, the Bible never states this.
I must have fallen asleep, because, just moments before, I was exhausted and falling into the oblivion. The weariness, as extreme as it was mere second ago, was nothing compared to the pain. It’s difficult, in this dreamy state, attempting to piece together the events that led me to fall asleep. It’s not like I rested on the bed and closed my eyes—nothing of the sort. I was driving—
Did I fall asleep while driving?
Willing myself to wake has no effect, though. If I’m asleep at the wheel, then I’m in trouble. That doesn’t seem right, however. I’ve never fallen asleep while driving—and it was broad daylight. I was returning to work after my lunch break—some excellent sushi, a glass of iced tea, then the customary after-meal cigarette. I remember that. I remember also getting into my car, cranking it, and beginning the drive back to the office.
But when did I fall asleep?
I turned right and out onto the highway. Then my phone rang, and I saw the time. I was late. Only by a few minutes, but that wouldn’t matter to the boss; late was late. That really wasn’t good, because I’d been late to work twice this week already—things are chaotic for me at home. My oldest daughter is in a rebellious phase and has been staying out well past her curfew with her friends, then refuses to wake for school the next day; making sure she goes to school is becoming an enormous pain in the ass.
I approached an intersection, didn’t I? The timing couldn’t have been worse. A lot of times when lights turn yellow, the driver has plenty of time to slow down and stop. Sometimes, though, the light turns yellow at that worst possible moment, when the only options are to either slam on the brakes like a maniac or floor it and hope to make it through before it turns to red. I hate those moments—and they always happen when I don’t need them to. And sure enough, this was one of those. I made a split-second decision and went for it. The traffic behind me was too close for mashing the brakes; doing so would probably have caused a wreck—isn’t that just terrific?
There was a wreck anyway, though. But I didn’t see it or what caused it. I was passing through the intersection trying to catch the light when it happened. There was a lot of noise—very, very close noise—which sounded an awful lot like a bomb exploding within just a few feet of me. Horns blared like obnoxious seagulls—Yes, people, that’s really helpful, thank you—and tires screeched like eagles diving in for a kill.
And then there was a lot of pain. One of these idiots hadn’t been paying attention to what they were doing and hitme. I wish I’d seen what idiot started the chain of reactions. I wish I’d seen what idiot swerved or slammed on his brakes or was texting and didn’t see it was red or didn’t subject his vehicle to regular maintenance so his brakes had gone out or who was just in too much of a hurry to wait for the red light and decided to just try to barrel on through the intersection and hope for the best.
I must be unconscious, then.
I know what you’re thinking: How do you know you’re not dead?
I’m absolutely certain that I’m not dead. No, it’s not denial. No, I’m not going to become a ghost because of my inability to realize that I’ve died. I know I’m not dead, because, unlike many of the people with whom I share the planet, I have no delusion that I am immortal. That is” I don’t believe in souls or gods or afterlifes or any of those other mad things that human beings have invented so that they could convince themselves that they will live forever.
I mean, after more than 7,000 years of civilization, I’d expect that there would be at least one indication that any of those things existed if they existed. The idea that there is a soul, an afterlife, and a god has struck me as remarkably delusional ever since I first entered junior high and started giving the matter serious thought. It has, since that time, been obvious to me that the soul is something that we humans invented and dreamed up so that we could convince ourselves that death wasn’t the end of the road and, to justify our belief in that soul, we had to invent gods and heavens and hells and reincarnations and all the other mad things.
For many, many years have I been an atheist. Please feel free to draw about me from that statement whatever generalizations you like—I promise you that nothing you assume about me will be something I’ve never heard before. Sure: I eat babies. Sure: I worship the Devil. Sure: I still believe in Hell. Sure: I’m mat at Yahweh. Sure: I’m mad at Allah. Sure: I worship Zeus. Sure: I hate Jesus. Sure: I’m evil. Sure: I hate goodness. Sure: I hate Christians. Sure: I’m bitter. Sure: I hate everyone. Sure: I’m amoral. Sure: I have orgies with both men and women—especially men dressed as women and hermaphrodites!!! Yes, sir!—while covered with the blood of virgins I have sacrificed on stone altars at noon on the Equinox to appease the almighty Ra. I mean, don’t all atheists?
At any rate, the fact remains that I am unequivocally not dead,because I still think, and the ability to think—to dream, as I do now—is indisputable proof that I am still alive. If I was dead, then my brain would be dead and unable to dream. Why don’t I open my eyes, then, and prove to you that I am dreaming—
I open my eyes. I do not see my steering wheel, of course, or the interior of my car. I see clouds; I am on a cloud.
This… might be bad.
A brilliant flash of light forces me to close my eyes again. Jesus Christ, that’s bright.
The most well-known and easily recognized Pokemon of the past few decades is known as Pikachu, and Pikachu’s name comes from the detonation of atomic bombs. Right as an atomic bomb is detonated, just before the explosion en sincera begins, there is an extraordinary flash of light. This flash of light is called a “pika.” The brilliant light that just forced me to close my eyes makes both Pikachu and his namesake event—the pikadon of nuclear bombs—look like 30 watt lightbulbs.
When I open my eyes, they sting and water. The light remains and still shines, ahead of me by about ten feet. I don’t look at it—I’d probably go blind if I tried. My eyes may even catch fire, who knows? It’s fucking bright. Instead, I look far to the left—and there stands what you would unmistakably and instantly recognize as—
A goddamned angel. And it isn’t just one angel, no. There are dozens of the winged things, some of them flapping their wings—I briefly wonder whether that means they have four shoulder joints (Since every animal on Earth has wingsattached at shoulder joints, any creature with wings will either not have arms or will have four shoulder joints)—against the endless azure backdrop over the sea of ivory. Some are far in the distance, but some are very close. Three of them stand within feet of me, and their gazes fall onto me. They’re squinting because of the light, too. Apparently sunglasses are not standard attire for angels. I think it’s time to call for a new President of the Angel’s Union.
“What the—is that the sun? What, have you got a giant magnifying glass on me or something?” I ask them irritably as I hold up my left hand in the direction of the glowing light in a vain attempt to shield my eyes from it.
The angel furthest to the right chuckles. Angels with a sense of humor—great. Makes perfect sense. Now I know I’m dreaming. Someone roofied me. That’s it—that’s why the pain went away suddenly. It wasn’t because I fell asleep; it was because some wonderful paramedic injected me with a healthy dose of morphine, and this is just an opiate dream—like Samuel Coleridge’s inspiration for”Kubla Khan.”
That also nicely explains why the angel is smiling. Everyone smiles in an opiate dream.
“You got a dimmer switch or something around here?” I ask.”That—” I jerk my thumb in the direction of the light as I say this—”is obnoxious. You need to pull the plug on that or someone’s going to be blinded and have a nice lawsuit against Heaven.”
I guess the angels are mute. Or maybe they’re just stupid. Hell, who knows—they’re fucking angels, right? Anyway, he—I assume it’s a “he,”thanks to the programming of Christian mythology, but the angels are all androgynous—just chuckles at me again, like a fucking re-re—like Barney Fife, really, just smiling and nodding—or like Elmer Fudd if he’d ever managed to catch the “Wascally Wabbit.” Can you imagine the stupid grin on his face?
“I am sorry that you find the Light of God to be… ‘obnoxious,’ my child,” says a… I don’t know how to describe it. God help me; it’s “booming,” of course—just as one would expect the “voice of God” to be in the opiate dream of someone raised as a Catholic until he came to good sense in junior high—and it was… just read the Book of Daniel or something if you want an idea of what the voice sounded like.
“The “Light of God,'” I repeat, with obvious incredulity. “I suppose ‘Light of God’ is a hallucinatory euphemism for ‘high on morphine, lying on my back, and staring up at a fluorescent bulb above my head in a hospital with one half-opened, cockeye eye?’ I’m probably drooling on myself, too. Ugh—I hope that’s the worst bodily fluid I’ve leaked onto myself.”
“You are not high; you are not sleeping. Your body is no longer leaking anything. Your body is in a hospital, and you… You are dead,” the voice booms majestically.
“Well, don’t beat around the bush.”
It’s really difficult to have a conversation with “someone” without even looking in their direction, but I can’t turn to stare at the light. I know I’m in a hospital bed, staring up at a light, on lots of pain killers, and in my dreamy stupor, I don’t have the sense to blink whatever eye is half-open and staring at the light. If I turn to face the light in this dream, the eye that is open in my actual body will probably focus on the light and burn out my retinas. No, thank you—I’ll pass on that. However, I’m learning how difficult it really is to fight the impulse to look in the direction of someone I’m talking to.
“As much as I believe you, I’m going to ignore you… and focus my imagination on a beautiful, naked woman, okay? So… don’t be upset when you disappear and she appears to take your place. It’s nothing personal, but as long as I’m having a lucid dream, I’m going to do it right, you know what I mean?”
“This is not a dream,”the light boomed majestically. How else would a light claiming to be “God” speak?
I shrugged. “One way or another, it is a dream. I’m either on heavy drugs and dreaming or I’m dying and these are my last thoughts.”
“Your last thoughts?”
“Yes, my last thoughts.” What, am I talking to a child? “If I’m dying, then my subconscious doesn’t know I’m dying. Dying is probably identical to falling asleep for the brain. If I’m dying, then my brain triggered this dream, thinking itself to be asleep—it may even be aware that it’s dying; I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter, because it triggered this dream either way.”
“Do go on.”
“Well, we completely lose track of time in our dreams, don’t we? Sometimes we dream and we wake up and say, ‘Wow! That dream lasted an hour!’ In reality, though, the dream was a flash, probably no longer than a minute or two. It’s not a far stretch of the imagination to fathom that as the brain dies, its final dream seems to last an eternity to the dreamer. No doubt when Christians die, their final dream is of what they imagine Heaven to be like, reuniting with their loved ones, their dog that died in the fifth grade who their parents said had ‘run away.’ To them, though, the passage of time, just like in all dreams, is distorted. Just a few seconds passes on Earth during this final dream, but the dreamer isn’t aware of that. To the dreamer, it lasts forever. Then the dreamer slowly stops dreaming, having finally died, and is dead and thus isn’t aware that they stopped dreaming.”
“Interesting theory, my child, but you are incorrect. You are dead, and you stand before me now to be judged.”
“I suppose you intend to recount all the works and deeds of my life? Other than visions of the afterlife—which, as I just explained, are dreams in every sense—those who have near-death experiences consistently report their ‘lives flashing before their eyes.’That only tells me I’m right, that I am dreaming. You say I’m dead; I am not dead, because I still think. I am dying, and this is my final dream. And now—my life shall flash before my eyes.”
“Then why are you here, my child? Where is the beautiful, naked woman? Why am I here? Have you not proclaimed for years and years, with foolish pride, ‘I am an atheist! I am an Atheist!'”
I’m stumped. That’s a damned fine point. I am an atheist. Why am I having a religious dream? I know why.
I remember once, decades ago, when I was in the… fourth grade, I believe. I was still a firm believer in the Christian mythology in those days. A true believer, I was. I had doubts, though, and—as I was beginning to hit puberty—I had unclean thoughts. I constantly had “unclean” thoughts. In later life, I reflected on what a horrible concept it truly is to tell children they are sinful and unclean, essentially, because they hit puberty. I was ashamed, and I asked a dear friend of mine, my best friend who was also a firm believer, to try to “cast out” the demons in me. I was firmly convinced that I had demons inside me and that I needed an exorcism. I would never have taken this to the priest or my parents, but I practically begged my friend to stand before me and loudly state with all his belief backing him, “Get behind me, Satan!”
He wouldn’t do it. I don’t blame him, in retrospect. What can be said of any belief system that can so brainwash a person that they truly believe that their body is inhabited by demons, simply because they hit puberty and were starting to feel a little randy? Hearing about spiritual warfare and the devil walking the Earth, corrupting mankind, and hearing about demons whispering into our ears constantly… What a wretched thing.
That indoctrination stayed in the back of my mind for years. I became an atheist at the age of 14, but I was 39 years old before I was completely rid of the fear that nagged in the back of my mind: …what if I’m wrong? It wasn’t the “Voice of God” trying to keep me in his flock; it was the result of being brainwashed from the age of 2 to fear a vengeful, unforgiving, omnipotent, and omniscient father figure who loved unconditionally—but had a few conditions.
Damn any belief system that does that to a human being. Damn the parents who instill that fear into their children before the children have even learned to think. Damn the priests and rabbis and preachers who have little kids all over the world convinced that an omniscient and omnipresent anti-god known as Satan is out there trying to win them over. Damn the scourges that are Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Damn any belief system that requires fear.
“Indoctrination,” I answer. It’s simple, and it’s true. I’m here because of that nagging fear that I thought I was rid of. My brain does know I’m dying, then, and that nagging fear won. That nagging fear that I might be wrong defeated all the evidence, all the logic, all the knowledge, all the wisdom, and all the common sense. That one fear, as my body started to die, defeated 7,000 years of civilization and methodical proofs that the fear is unfounded. Only brainwash can do that; only evil indoctrination can do that.
“You’re not as concerned as you should be.”
“I’m dying, quite obviously. It won’t matter to me very soon.”
“My child, my child… I fearthat is where you are wrong. As you said,… ‘To the dreamer, it lasts forever…'”
Whirlwinds of thoughts and realizations spin through my mind. I know exactly what that means. If the fear won, then… If my brain was convinced on its most basic level that I was wrong and that Christianity is right, then… If I dream that Christianity is right, then atheists… If I’m dreaming, and “to the dreamer, it lasts forever,” then…
“I’m going to Hell,” I whisper. There’s no fear in my voice; there’s no resignation to my fate in my tone. There’s only the cold, logical realization. No emotions seeped in, just like no emotions seeped into my decision regarding atheism. I didn’t let that fear—that stupid emotion that has now defeated me—into my decision. I couldn’t let go of that fear, though. I thought I did, though… It apparently remained on some level. And now that fear will win.
My brain’s doubt has convinced itself that I am wrong, and because of that, my brain is going to dream that I’m going to Hell. And the dream will seem to last forever, even though it will only last seconds on Earth. My brain is going to send me to Hell and torture me because of that goddamned religious indoctrination.
“Not because of religious indoctrination,” said what I might as well go ahead and call Yahweh. It doesn’t matter at this point. It doesn’t matter whether—
It doesn’t matter whether I was right or wrong. It doesn’t matter where there is or is not a god. It only matters what I believe on a very basic, fundamental, and subconscious level. On that level, I was afraid that I was wrong. It doesn’t matter whether I am standing before Yahweh and being sentenced to an eternity in hell or whether I’m simply dying and dreaming that I am standing before Yahweh and being sentenced to an eternity in hell. The result is the same.
What if that fear had been gone? What if I’d let go of that fear completely? Would I be dreaming of something else—perhaps the beautiful woman? Would I dream of being reincarnated if I was a Hindu? Would I dream of being greeted by Allah if I was a Muslim? Our beliefs determine our afterlife because our afterlife is a dream created by our brains based upon our beliefs.
Since I, deep down inside, believed I was wrong,but on shallower levels was an atheist who had cast off Christianity, I stand before Yahweh being sentenced to hell… If I did not have that fear but was an atheist, I would dream something non-religious. If I had that fear but had cast off Islam, I would stand before Allah being sentenced to hell or whatever the Muslims call it.
How can I know? Is Yahweh real?! Is this a dream? Am I going to hell or am I dreaming that I am going to hell? Is this the afterlife or is this a dream of what the religious indoctrination I experienced as a child led me to once believe the afterlife would be like?
Or am I lying in a hospital bed on my back, high on morphine, and staring up at a bright fluorescent light with one half-open, cock-eyed eye?
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.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I took the one less traveled by…
I hate Robert Frost.
That’s not true. I like Robert Frost quite a lot, and he’s a fantastic poet. I hate the effects that Robert Frost had on poetry, as I think a generation of people who grew up knowing nothing more about poetry than “Robert Frost and Edgar Allan Poe” did a great deal of damage to poetry as a whole, and that’s obviously not Frost’s fault. I would love for American students to have to spend a decade studying the Romantics, because that was some of the best poetry in human history. But that’s actually not what I want to talk about. Just a completely unrelated prologue, in fact.
I began to drop the hints to my colleague today that I am taking steps to move, but it was only something I weakly alluded to. When I left last year, he was the last person to find out. He won’t be the last person to learn of it this time, but I’m still not going to tell him until I’m much closer to the funding goal. That’s a link to the GoFundMe campaign, which you are free to share or donate to, to help me change my life for the better forever.
At any rate, I simply made it a point to bring up Mississippi’s latest piece of bullshit legislation, and my observation that the state is taking babysteps toward theocracy. But just a little while ago a friend shared something on Facebook that I found really interesting.
Diabetes rates across the U.S.
But we’re just getting started. Of course, I’ve already shared this one that drags in religion–particularly southern baptists–as well.
Of course, poverty is worse here:
We’re the blue one. The ONLY blue one.
It’s really hard to put into perspective how much Mississippi truly freaking sucks. Teen pregnancy? Yep, we’re full up on that, too. Might have something to do with the fact that our schools only teach abstinence for sex ed.
Of course, we also have some of the lowest high school graduation rates in the country–and I’m a statistic on one of those, because I didn’t graduate high school. I instead earned my GED and later went to college. Still. Interesting, Nevada is just as bad as Mississippi in this respect.
Oh, good. We also have gonorrhea.
The short version is that this place sucks.
It sucks even more than I thought it sucked, and I’ve always known that it sucks really bad. It’s not hard to look outside my window and see the boards on buildings, the empty, crack and grass-filled parking lots. Hell, even our banks close up and get out of dodge.
That building in the foreground used to be a bank.
On a given day, I don’t notice on this. And I’ve never had an encounter with gonorrhea, so I’d never notice that anyway. But on any given day, I just see the overabundance of churches. That’s the only real evidence that, just below the surface, this state is sick as hell–horrendously sick, on the verge of catastrophic illness. Beneath the dazzling veneer of the holy churches is a society of petty, petulant, and bitter people, convinced that their problems are caused by:
Icky brown people.
Them dang Spics done took ‘er jobs!
It’s them dang ‘um queers o’er thar that’s the problem.
Them boys wanna dress lock girls, what’d’ey ‘xpect was gun happen?
Obama’s gonna take our gerns!
And I know I’m sounding like the Liberal Redneck here, and I can appreciate the irony of that, but there’s a few important points to consider:
He made his statements about specific people, specific individuals.
I’ve frequently said this isn’t true of all of them.
Yet… with Mississippi’s Anti-Gay legislation on top of their latest “put God back in school!” legislation, with the fact that…
these people went HEAVY Trump (as I predicted, btw)…
It’s certainly true of a majority of them.
They’re looking for someone to blame, and Trump didn’t tell them to blame Mexicans and gays. I know Trump likes to credit himself for bringing immigration up to the surface, but who is he kidding? Immigration never really stopped being a large issue anywhere in the world. That we in the U.S. went a few months without talking about doesn’t mean that Trump created the issue. These people–not all the people here, but the majority to which I’m referring–have always said that Mexicans, gays, black people, etc. were the problem.
My mistake was in thinking that the moderates had more sway than they actually do. Clearly, the moderates are powerless here. Our state legislature has proven itself firmly in the grips of religious zealots, and our Governor has proven himself firmly on their side. Rather than veto this horrific legislation, Phil Bryant proudly signs it into law. I spoke in the podcast last night about how this state has lost its mind. But it’s not like Mississippi ever had very far to go to lose its mind. The only thing that has really changed is that the moderates and reasonable people have been swept aside, and the religious extremists have taken over.
There are dark days ahead for Mississippi, and I’m not referring to my suspicion that secession and civil war are inevitable. I mean only that Mississippi has made it clear: Mississippi is committed to pursuing this path of Christian theocracy, where the moral proclamations of a single religion dictate the law. If I hadn’t decided Saturday that it was truly time to leave, then I would be making that decision now. Mississippi already has among the lowest Average Incomes in the country:
I was unable to find one that didn’t specifically apply to millennials.
When you add in the gonorrhea, the high school dropouts, the teen pregnancy, the high religious rates, the diabetes, and all the other shit, you have a place that is held together only by its religion. So it should be no surprise that Mississippi–which, I think we can all agree, is objectively the worst state in the United States–also has the highest rates of religiosity. What else do these people have, except their hope that they will have a better life in the next world?
Mississippi sucks, and I’m trying to leave it. Unfortunately, most of the problems affecting the statistics above also affect me (except, again, the gonorrhea one :D), and it’s largely irrelevant here that I’m a college graduate with a good work ethic. This is a place where you either work at a gas station, or at an assembly line in a factory (and there are only two factories nearby, both of which only hire through temp agencies and won’t hire someone with a college degree in an unrelated field). This isn’t a place where you get a college degree in I.T. and then stay here, working in your new field. No, as I’ve come to realize, the only option is leaving. And I need help to make that happen. So I ask humbly that you consider helping me with that, in whatever way you can, from donating to liking and sharing–it all helps.
Thank you for reading, and thank you for your time.
One of the core tenets of everything that I am is that there is a fundamental difference between a belief and a conclusion. I’m not going to dedicate 3000 words to attacking beliefs right now (I’ll do that some other time), but one of the things that irks me most about religious people is that they act as though their beliefs are on equal footing to my conclusions. Meanwhile, they would assert that my conclusions are merely beliefs.
There is that fundamental difference, though, and that distinction is that conclusions are logical extrapolations of real phenomena and observable facts. This isn’t to say that a conclusion is 100% unquestionable truth–clearly, that is not the case. However, it does mean that, based on the available evidence, there is no reason to doubt the validity of the conclusion. If there is substantial evidence in support of the claim, then it is a conclusion; if there is insufficient evidence, then it is a belief.
This should be obvious, because religious people, of course, admit that faith is a critical part of their beliefs. This goes without saying. Faith can rightly be defined as “belief in a claim without evidence.” Why can we define it that way? Simply put: Because if there is evidence to support the claim, then faith isn’t necessary and beliefs aren’t necessary.
I don’t believe that the Earth orbits the sun. I have concluded that the Earth orbits the sun, through rational examination of the evidence and with information that was provided to me by the scientific community. Meanwhile, the scientific community has earned my trust by repeatedly providing rational explanations to phenomena that can be observed, demonstrated, and verified–jets stay in the air, after all, which is certainly something that lends credibility to the claims of science. The jet stays in the air; the priest does not.
But I don’t mean to get off onto religion again.
What I mean to discuss is that, not even two weeks ago, I was a supporter of Libertarian Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson. My Twitter feed had a pinned tweet saying, in essence, “Gary Johnson 2016,” and my site here had a note pinned to the right that said the same. Then something changed, though. What “something” changed?
Actually, the facts themselves did not change; it’s not like Johnson really changed his position or anything like that. My awareness of the facts changed. It could certainly be said that I supported Gary Johnson out of ignorance, and that I simply was not aware how far from the principles of Liberty that Johnson was willing to stray. Once I became newly aware of these facts, I could not hold to the same conclusion.
Trump asked in a debate a few months ago, “If you’re driving and find out you’re going the wrong direction, what are you going to do? Just keep going the wrong way your whole life?”
Ed Wuncler of the animated series The Boondocks once said, “This is America! If we’re doing something wrong, we don’t just stop doing it! No! We keep doing it wrong until it turns out right!”
While I abhor Trump as a presidential candidate, he’s absolutely right about that. If you find out you’re wrong, stop being wrong. Change your position. Don’t just continue being wrong. There is nothing wrong with that, and these three words need to be said far more often in the United States than they currently are:
I was wrong.
I was wrong to support Gary Johnson, because he is vocally anti-religious liberty, going as far as saying that a Jewish bakery under the boots of Nazi Germany should be forced to bake a cake for Nazis. The slippery slope, invalid though it is, should have informed Johnson that there was something off about his position. The idea he holds also means that a Jewish person should have to bake a cake for Nazis. How can a Libertarian candidate cling to this idea in the face of such an immoral prospect? Surely, one would think it’s time to re-evaluate the position that could, in the worst of circumstances, lead to such a travesty?
Instead, Johnson doubled down on his position and asserted that: Yes, the Jewish bakery should be forced to bake a cake for Nazis. This is a bit of a critical issue for me, because I’m a resident of the state of Mississippi, which just passed a religious freedom law that allows business owners to discriminate against LGBT people on religious grounds, and I, as a Libertarian, am 100% in support of the legislation, as I’ve stated here:
Johnson should have changed his position, now that the abominable acts that could result from such a disastrous policy had been brought to his attention, but he did not. Instead, it was:
“I cling to my beliefs.”
He threw back his own slippery slope of how religious discrimination opens a blackhole, where Jews and Muslims will be discriminated against, forgetting, evidently, that Christians make up only 74% of the population. A majority, sure, but not enough to make up for the 26% of non-Christians who would obviously boycott the discrimination. But on what grounds would he ban Christians from discriminating against all non-Christians? Why can’t they do that?
The Christians in question would not be using force, violence, or coercion. They would simply be isolating themselves from all non-Christians, which would cause the on-the-fence Christians to stop identifying as Christians. Although the numbers say that 74% of Americans identify as Christians, that is before a huge mass of Christians mark themselves as allies of the Westboro Baptist Church. If Christian businesses all over the country were discriminating against non-Christians, you would very quickly learn that the number “74%” means more “we believe in a deity and were raised as Christians, but we don’t really do the church thing” for more than half of those people. The number of people who would identify as Christians in the face of such wretched behavior would be substantially lower–in the order of 15% of Americans, and those 15% are nowhere near enough to stay in business against a boycott that consists of 85% of the population.
It’s true in Mississippi that Christianity is more dominant, and that the majority of people who identify as Christians here would continue to do so in the face of Christian discrimination against non-Christians. While throughout the nation, the people identifying as Christians would drop substantially, in the south it would lower to only about 50%, which is more than enough to continue thriving.
C’est la vie.
C’est la liberté.
When I learned that Johnson would violate the religious liberty of a huge portion of the American population, and would do so knowingly and in the name of the same ol’ conceit we’ve been seeing for centuries (“We have to violate the rights of some people for the greater good!“), I simply could not continue to support him.
Austin Petersen had already lost my support by identifying as Pro-Life. There’s not much to say about that. How he reconciles calling himself a Libertarian while believing that more than 50% of the population shouldn’t be in control of their own bodies and what happens to them is anyone’s guess, but the Libertarian position is obvious, and McAfee said it best: “We are in control of our minds and our bodies.” Not according to Petersen! According to Petersen, it’s totally okay for a group that is predominantly men to legislate what women can and can’t do to their bodies, even though, ipso facto, the legislation could not possibly affect the men themselves.
Austin Petersen, people are saying, is the future of the Libertarian Party. Fucking Christ, I hope not. He’s not a Libertarian. He’s a Classical Liberal, like Ron Paul. Ron Paul, of course, I supported loudly and vocally, because he was part of the Republican Party yet clearly on the Libertarian side. He wasn’t like Rand Paul, who is just kinda a little bit Libertarian-ish. Ron Paul spent three decades walking the walk, and I was willing to look past his Pro-Life ideas in order to put such a strong Classical Liberal into the White House*.
Petersen wants to be the next Ron Paul, and he is also a Classical Liberal, but not a true Libertarian. Gary Johnson is also a Classical Liberal. The difference is subtle but important: Classical Liberals are no better than Republicans. They are against the state unless they can use the state to promote their own agenda. Petersen even looks like a Republican, and mark my words: in a decade or two, Petersen will be a member of the Republican Party. That’s the future of the Libertarian Party according to Petersen: republicanism.
John McAfee, on the other hand, goes to the three principles of Liberty and simply applies them.
Don’t hurt one another.
Don’t steal from one another.
Keep your word.
Those are, really, the three principles of Liberty. Regarding any possible action, just ask those three questions: Does it harm someone? Does it violate someone’s right to private property? Does it involve deceit? If the answer is “no,” then it’s fine, it’s totally fine. And we can immediately see that religious discrimination, then, is fine. It doesn’t harm anyone, it doesn’t steal, and it doesn’t violate any promises.
There is some ground for Petersen to say that abortion is hurting someone because the fetus is a someone, but that is Petersen’s personal belief, and many, many people disagree (myself among them). Even if Petersen does believe that the fetus is a “someone,” he must see that this is his belief, and that the majority of Americans clearly disagree? By what anti-liberty facetious reasoning does he attempt to legislate his belief onto the majority of the American population?
Again, he is no Libertarian.
This is not a No True Scotsman fallacy, because one cannot be a Libertarian while violating the fundamental pillars of liberty; that’s simply what Libertarianism is: the reverence and application of these principles. By not adhering to and applying these principles, he is not a Libertarian, because a Libertarian is someone who adheres to and applies these principles. I’m saying “No color that is blue is truly red,” which is not a No True Scotsman fallacy, because “blue” and “red” aren’t the same thing. There is a clear, demonstrable way wherein Petersen violates Libertarian principles, and therefore is not a true Libertarian.
So who is? Among the people in the debates recently, there was John McAfee. A remarkable guy with a truly remarkable story (though, I must confess, I’m not a fan of the antivirus). What can I say? McAfee is clearly bad ass. He’s clearly real. And I can’t explain to you what I mean when I say he is clearly real, but he is. He’s real. He’s authentic.
And he does the same thing that I do: he simply applies those three principles to come to a sound, non-contradictory policy. That’s what’s so beautiful about libertarianism (actually, it’s what’s beautiful about anarchism, but Libertarianism is the first step onto that path): it’s not inherently contradictory. The Conservative platform is, and so is the Liberal platform. The Classical Liberal platform is, as I demonstrated with Austin Petersen and Gary Johnson. No one should hold an idea that contradicts another idea, and that’s a high goal to which to aspire. It’s necessary, though, because it’s the only pathway to truth and sound policy.
John McAfee is like Ron Paul, but better. Much better. He’s a true Libertarian, and this is without getting into his personal life that makes him an obvious choice for someone like me, with my own tattoos and love of rock music. Hell, I have a snubnose 38 Special too, and have spent my fair share of time with that barrel against my temple. I recognize a real person who wouldn’t tolerate any bullshit immediately, and that real person is John McAfee.
* I wasn’t very clear here. Ron Paul had a serious chance of winning the Republican nomination (and would have if there hadn’t been so many shenanigans by the GOP establishment to prevent it–from the media ignoring his victories to the Republican National Committee actually changing the rules specifically to prevent Ron Paul from getting the nomination, an act which caused Paul’s supporters to walk out, to holding a retirement ceremony in Paul’s honor without actually inviting Ron Paul…), and could certainly have secured the oval office easily. Ron Paul would have been a Classical Liberal running as a Republican, and thus would have had the support of the Republican Party, which, let’s face it, has put presidents in the oval office before. Petersen does not have that; he’s a Classical Liberal running as a Libertarian.
Last night, I reached a point in “Dancing in Hellfire” where it was time to discuss coming out, and, of my experiences, one in particular is notable. The rest don’t matter and are all being lumped together as “Fantastic Friends,” but one is unique: my sister. By an incredible margin, this was the most difficult one to address, and by all rights should have brought me the most relief once it was over, since most people would look back in hindsight and think “Well, of course my sister wasn’t going to have a problem with it! What the fuck was I thinking?”
But I can’t look back and say that, because my initial fears–shared by a friend who knew my sister pretty well–proved correct. In the cognitive dissonance that rose because I’m transgender and she’s a fundamentalist Christian, she actively chose unacceptance and ignorance. Strangely, this is something that she more or less openly admits. And, to make matters worse, I happened to see her a few hours ago when I was at the bank, and she reported that she’d just taken her son back to the doctor. That’s three doctor visits in 5 days, and during none of those did she do what she’d told me she would.
I knew it would have to happen eventually, and, sure enough, the content I wrote last night on the matter was aimed more at dissecting and rebuking my sister’s long and fucked up text message. I had to get it out of my system, though, because I haven’t actually sat down to examine it and point out every little thing that’s wrong with it. So here’s another excerpt from “Dancing in Hellfire.”
Accepting that I’m transgender was only the first of many difficult battles—in fact, there are still battles that I fight, and I don’t expect that I’ll have the war behind me for many years. I would even go further than that and say: accepting that I’m transgender was not the first of many battles; it was the declaration of war.
The first step in this, of course, is coming out to people, and that has been extremely easy and extremely difficult. I still haven’t told my grandfather, grandmother, and father, but, in honesty, I don’t intend to tell my grandfather at all. I love him to death, and he’s very old—I don’t want him to spend the last few years of his life supremely disapointed and under the impression that I’m going to hell. There’s no need to burden him with that, since I don’t see him that often in the first place—not as much as I’d like, for sure. My grandmother and dad will have to know, but, as the time of writing this section, I still hadn’t told them because, again, I don’t see them often enough for it to be a problem.
The most difficult person so far to discuss it with has been my sister. I knew that it could go one of two ways: either she wouldn’t care, or she would care immensely. It’s that damned internal conflict, that cognitive dissonance, and her reply, I knew, would depend on which of the two things were more important to her on a fundamental level: her religious beliefs or our relationship.
When I discussed this with a friend of mine, he told me that I was crazy for telling her and that she would never have anything to do with me again. As I thought more and more about it, though, I decided that wasn’t true, and that all of the bullshit we had gone through together ensured a more powerful bond than that. Because we really did go through a lot together, and we always have had each other’s back.
So I just told her one day, after wrestling with it for months, by bringing it up randomly while we were in the kitchen. I showed her a picture of myself as a female, and said, “That’s me,” or something to that effect. She replied that she already knew and that she didn’t care. We discussed it for a few moments, but nothing substantial was said, and I broke it to her in the same way that I’ve broken it to others: “For now, just think of it like cross dressing. It’s not cross dressing, but that’s a good way to think of it for the time being.” And, most critically, I explained that the reason I was finally bringing it up was because I wasn’t content to continue dressing as a male when I was at home. She said that she’d have to discuss that with her husband.
I knew that she knew I occasionally wore women’s clothes, and she knew that I knew that she knew, so her response to the whole thing was pretty much unnecessary. It was an open secret, an elephant in the room that we never talked about. Something like “So you’re finally getting it out in the open? That’s great. I’m happy for you” would have been nice, but, as I would soon guess, that was not her feeling about it at all.
I waited about a week to hear back from her on discussing it with her husband, and then I asked her if she’d talked to him. She said that she had not, because he had been pretty busy at work. This was the first indication that something was amiss. I had stressed to her the entire reason for bringing it out into the open, after all, and made it a point to mention that it was all very important to me, though I didn’t then go into specifics. I did explain then that I’m not into guys, and that my love for women hasn’t changed at all, and I explained that I have no interest in SRS, so it’s not like nothing was said that day.
After several more days, I began to suspect that something was amiss, and nearly a month passed before I asked her about it again, though by this point I was already starting to sense that my initial impression—and my friend’s impression—was correct, and that she was going to hide behind her husband (who she probably hadn’t even talked to) as an excuse to stop it. And, sure enough, when I asked her again, she said that he wasn’t comfortable with the idea.
That… struck me as strange, because he had lived with a drag queen before, when he was younger. They weren’t romantically involved or anything like that, but I still have a hard time believing that he had a problem with it. He had never said or done anything that indicated an unwillingness to accept homosexuals or transgenders, and he had once been roommates with a drag queen; that’s a pretty big change of heart, and in a strange direction for someone who describes himself as an atheist.
Meanwhile, my sister’s biggest “thing” is a deep and pervasive fear of death and oblivion. She willingly admits that the reason she is a Christian is because she is scared of oblivion and wants to believe in an afterlife. During that month that I waited patiently for her to do something she should have had the decency as my sister to do immediately, I thought a lot about her motivations, and I realized that accepting me would come in direct conflict with her religious beliefs, and her religious beliefs gave her the pacifier of immortality; asking her to accept me was to ask her to accept oblivion.
She lies, because she’s a coward and won’t say to my face the things she says in text message. She has done this repeatedly, and it’s infuriating. Still, she was noticeably uncomfortable discussing this sort of thing in person, even though she had just a week or so before given me a ton of clothes, jewelry, and makeup that she didn’t want or need. I languished for about another month, wondering how she would react if I simply dropped it on her as an ultimatum. I realized my mistake—I was asking her permission to by myself, and that was the wrong way to handle it. I didn’t need her permission. Instead, I should have said, “This is what I’m doing. You can accept it or not.”
One thing that motivated me further was my knowledge that they simply don’t have the money to survive without me paying them that $500 monthly that I was giving them. Shortly after they had their second child, they fought constantly about whether [my sister] was going back to work. Surprisingly, [my sister] wanted to go back, because she accepted the reality that they simply didn’t make enough money, the way they burned through it, to make ends meet on only one income. Keeping in mind that they had a six year old child and a two month old baby, as [my sister] drove to work, [her husband] informed her that if she went to work, then he was leaving her.
Let that sink in.
So she quit her job, and they’ve been white-knuckling it since, even with the money that I gave them monthly and the random cigarettes and stuff I purchased here and there because they were out. And there was constant tension for me, because if they were broke it was always my fault. It didn’t matter that I paid them exactly what they asked—if they were broke, it was because I hadn’t paid them yet. There was so much tension that there were several nights when I simply sat in my room, needing to use the bathroom but holding it, simply because I didn’t want to deal with that horrible tension. Meanwhile, I paid them regularly, and they had a steady influx of money—as they were creating this oppressive vibe in the air.
I accommodated her still and wrote her a letter. For one, she had consistently written it off as “wanting to wear girl clothes,” and I had already corrected that. That first time I asked her if she’d talked to [her husband] yet, I clarified that and explained that I’m transgender. So she only believed that I cross-dressed for a few days, a week at the most; after that, she knew the full details that I’m transgender and that it’s a pretty big deal. But she continued to characterize it as “wanting to wear girl clothes,” and writing it down would leave her totally unable to misconstrue it. It couldn’t be interrupted—something else she is bad about doing—and it couldn’t be misunderstood.
My letter basically said that being forced to live the lie constantly, even when I was at home, where I was paying a substantial amount of money to rent a bedroom with drafts all through it in a house that was in poor condition, was destroying me. And it was. The only other time in my life that I had been that suicidal was shortly after my separation, and on that occasion I was admitted to the hospital for slashing my wrists open. I told her that she could accept it, or I could move, but I wasn’t asking her permission to do it, and I wasn’t going to continue hiding it. I explained that her 6 year old is the least likely person in the world to care and that at most he will think it’s funny at first, and then will ask if he can play one of the games on my computer, and then he will never think about it again.
She responded just a few minutes later with a text message that I can’t let myself read right now, because it will infuriate me, and probably make me cry since I’m on hormone. I was going to post the screenshot, but it’s kind of difficult to read, and it wouldn’t be legible in black and white anyway. So here’s the message:
“I love u and for 29 yrs u have been my brother so I just block it out bc I can’t even come to terms with it so my 6 year old isn’t going to have to either. I would rather leave it to deal with when he’s older so no I won’t b telling him now. We, as a family, are not comfortable with you dressing up as a woman in our home. I’m sorry. But it’s my family. These kids mean more than anything to me. I do want u to be happy and not depressed but I guess that does involve u moving. [My son] is still full of innocence and I am not going to destroy that. I know that this world will do that all by itself but [my husband] and I have decided to raise our sons the way we think. This is a topic obviously that I try to avoid bc I’m not comfortable with it. I can’t look at u in any other way. I will tell [my son] anything but the truth right now. He will miss u but he will get over it. I just can’t explain it to him and we don’t want to so I’m sorry.”
I’m going to now do something that I’ve resisted the urge to do since I saw that text message. I’m going to explain everything that’s wrong with it.
First, as I said, her son won’t have a hard time coming to terms with it. The only reason she has a hard time is because of all that religious crap in her head that says it’s a sin and that it’s wrong. The bluntness and self-awareness of her message is staggering: she knows she wants to escape back into ignorance. She wanted to keep Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell in our family, and I was unwilling to do that. There’s a reason we abolished that in the military. It’s extremely destructive.
By the third sentence, she has forgotten that I’m her family, too, but whatever. That’s not even the important bit. The important part is “…you dressing up as a woman in our home.” This infuriates me so much to see, because it’s not only willful ignorance—since I’ve already explained to her that it’s not “dressing up”—it’s downright offensive and insulting. You don’t characterize a transgender person as fucking playing dress up. That’s messed up. Drag Queens dress up, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but that isn’t what a transgender person does. These are critical distinctions, and I’d already made them to her. That she would say this after at least two in-depth explanations is nothing short of insulting and a blatant display of her absolute failure to listen.
Take note of the line “These kids mean more than anything to me,” because we’ll come back to that in a moment. Let’s focus for now on the allegation that my very existence is a threat to her son’s innocence. Is that not just the most fundamentalist Christian thing you’ve ever heard? I don’t have any problem with Christians—a great deal of them are wonderful, kind, and loving people. I have a problem with Christians like my sister, who think that my being openly transgender will destroy her son’s innocence. By that statement, we can extrapolate that she would think her son seeing two men or two women kiss on television would also destroy her son’s innocence. But it doesn’t. It simply expands his mind.
Because she doesn’t have a problem with non-transgender people dressing however they want to dress. Nor does she have a problem with straight couples kissing in front of her son—she even encourages it regularly. “Is that your little girlfriend?” she asks him, never stopping to consider that he might be gay, and never even allowing the possibility. “He’s a little ladies’ man!” she proclaims proudly. If we’re going to talk about the destruction of innocence, let’s talk about the destruction of innocence and how she has overwritten his default worldview of bisexualism with heterosexuality, and now she brands everything that isn’t strict homosexuality as the destruction of innocence. It is not. It is simply a threat on the definitions and constraints she has attempted to impose upon his mind, rather than letting it grow and develop naturally.
And she even knows that: “We have decided to raise our sons how we think.” Well, first of all, her husband calls himself an atheist, so I still doubt that he has a problem with it. I don’t know that, but I do doubt it, because being unaccepting of homosexuals and transgender people is almost always a religious thing. Why hide behind this bullshit about innocence, though, when we all know what it’s really about—controlling how her kids think. My being transgender isn’t an assault on her son’s ignorance. It’s an assault on her attempts to make her kids into the kind of people who would turn their backs on a family member of 29 years. If you ask me, that’s the kind of thing that should be assaulted.
“Oh? My being transgender is an attack on that mentality that would lead someone to turn their backs on their sibling after 29 years beside each other through hardship, struggle, abuse, and violence? I’m a threat to that worldview that openly chooses lies and willful ignorance over the truth and acceptance? Good.”
Then she gets into how she’s not comfortable with it and can’t look at me in any other way. Well, of course you can’t! You won’t open your eyes! This was infuriating, made all the worse that I forced myself to be the bigger person and just not reply to it. I still haven’t replied to it. We’ve had a few small discussions here and there, but nothing really substantial, and, after what happened in the past few days, we won’t really have any discussions again. We’re done.
How ridiculous is it, though, to say that she can’t see me any other way, when she openly refuses to look at me? Remember what all of this was about: my telling her that I was going to begin being me more and more frequently until I no longer presented myself as a male at all. Apart from the picture I showed her, which concealed most of my face, she had only ever seen her brother. One thing I stressed in my letter was that I knew it was jarring for everyone and would require transition—I was not going to just pop out in a little pink dress and high heels. I was willing to move slowly toward that, at a rate that was slow but moving forward. I think I said a good first step would have been to simply wear female jeans at home. But even that was too much for her.
She wasn’t willing to look, and she insisted that she couldn’t look. I am a threat to the Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell shit that we’ve lived for two decades. I’m a threat to the secret, to the elephant in the room. I’m a threat to her desire not to think about it. I’m a threat to her ignorance. She didn’t choose her religion; she chose her ignorance.
And then she drops the hammer. She will tell her son anything but the truth. What a remarkable thing to say. If your worldview requries lies in order to protect it, then you should re-examine that worldview. And drop it, replacing it with one that doesn’t require lies and deceit to be protected. But let’s just bask in the glory of that statement—she would tell her son anything but the truth.
She would lie to her son.
She will kick me from her son’s life.
She will bring her son sorrow.
And I’m a threat to his innocence.
Her son and I spent a lot of time together, because we are both avid video gamers. I write for a gaming site and am a professional game critics—they’re more than a hobby to me, and I’ve got a ton of games on my computer that her son loved playing. Every single evening, he’d come into my room and ask if he could play with my cats, ask if he could play games on my computer, and ask if he could watch me play. I didn’t always say “Yes,” because, frankly, I don’t have kids for a reason, and one of those reasons is that I like to spend time to myself. But he did spend a lot of time with me.
And one day he’s going to wonder why his mom took his friend away and wouldn’t let him see his friend anymore. He is only six, so he may not remember how much time we spent together. He may not remember all the nights he sat in there and played with my cats, and he might not remember how many times I told him to come into the bedroom with me because his parents were fighting again and I knew he didn’t need to hear that shit. I love that kid. And my existence is a threat to his innocence.
As a bonus happy thought, here is my kitty Rainbow:
She’s so precious. 🙂
My pillowcases were actually in the dryer because I needed to get cat hair off them, in case anyone is curious. Neither of the cats shed very badly, and it’s winter here anyway, but I still wash them pretty often because they do stuff like this.
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