Saturday, December 20, 2008

As someone who will be directly affected by the "Conscience Protection Rule", I was tempted to write something about it, from an individualist anarchist perspective. But I see that Roderick Long has beaten me to it, writing what is basically the sane take on this so I don't have to:

The Conscience of the King

The core quote:
"So I can’t get excited about either the critique or the defense of this law. Indeed, it’s a great example of how the Rawlsian/Dworkinian [Ronald, not Andrea or poor Gerald] dream of a state apparatus that is neutral among its citizens’ competing conceptions of the good is ultimately incoherent."
Exactly so.

Monday, December 08, 2008

If I want 3 breasts and a tail, that's my goddamn business.

W. Gillis makes another essential (excuse the pun) post, while on sabbatical even.

The quote with the nitty gritty:
"Conversely the negation of gender does not mean the complete extinction of mini-skirts and aftershave. The destruction of identity has never meant the abolishment of it; what we oppose is rigidity in relations -- not the medium itself."
The medium is indestructible. You have to manifest via some sort of tropes.
The closest you could come to eliminating personal gender expression is to make all manifestation utterly uniform. I don't doubt that this is what some people would love to enact, to take a repression that designates 2 standard forms into one that makes 1 standard form for everyone, as if this makes people more free. (And that just leads to an argument about what the standard form should be. In many cultures, historically, everyone wore skirts.)
What I and many (but not all) transfolk would like to see is the opposite. Let six billion flowers bloom, so to speak.

Secondly, the phrase "unnecessary mutilation" applied to any elective body-modification horrifies me, as an anarchist. I'll fucking decide what's necessary and what's not, thanks.
We're all cyborgs already. We wear clothes over our natural fur or lack thereof, and shoes so we can walk on different kinds of terrain. Some of us even wear glass lenses over our eyes to help us see better!
And I heard some people even inject ink into their skin so they can wear art work on their bodies!!
Will the horrors never end?

There's a third thing, which is annoying to have to go over, but it's so embedded that I really should. If you want to abolish a forced gender identification relating to biological sex, that has to cut both ways (please excuse the pun again). That is to say, if you want to define "man" as simply "anyone who was born with a penis", then that's the definition. You can't sneak all kinds of other definitions of "man" and bundle them in with that. In fact, we transfolk are living proof of that. And perhaps that's a good portion of what makes certain elements within feminism a bit unnerved by us, to say the least.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Liberty's Children

As much as it's funny, this one is also somehow chilling:

It is your... destiny

J.P. Morgan sitting in his office, in 1914, saying "Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen it"... and we, liberty's children, so many years later, will not be truly complete until we have confronted Darth Merka.

I look forward to the day when, dying, he says to us... "you were right... you were right about me"
...and the beacon of light that was ignited in 1776 continues forward.

Like in PKD's orthogonal time, we have slipped out of that track, the revolution died as soon as it began, almost. It is not 2008 in Merka, it is 1789, always, until we put an end to this.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

It's a trap!

I believe that the idea that "the failure of the high finance corporations will harm the working class more than it does the ruling class" is a lie, a trick, a trap and a ruse. It is a carefully crafted myth designed to make you protect those corporations out of fear.

In general, the ruling class always wants to make people think that their own livelihood depends on them. But this is not true.
It never was, it never will be. The rulers are parasites. The wealth is produced by the working class, alone.*

We don't need a bailout, we don't want one, and it won't help us one bit to have one, nor will it harm us one bit not to have one.

If the "recession" or whatever they're calling it these days does harm the working class, it will be because of deliberate action on the part of the ruling class to see to it that the working class absorbs blows meant for themselves (ala the "Bailout"). It will be a form of hostage taking. "You have to support us or we'll squeeze the shit out of you, but you know, we're only doing it because we don't want to sell off our marginal assets. I mean, you can't expect ME to suffer can you?"

Yes. Yes I do. And I intend to do whatever I can (which basically amounts to memetic transmission) to see to it that no one else suffers on your behalf, Mr. Monopoly.

* Clarification: By working class, I mean all of you suckers out there with jobs, not just the vulgar Marxist idea of the 'proletariat'. People who get paid to think and/or create for a living are also workers.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Quiet, but not quietist

I've had only limited access to the internet until just recently, but I would like to pop up in order to say that I'm happy to see what's going on around the RNC. Not the evil actions of the cops of course, that is to be expected, but the heroic actions of the anarchists and other folks resisting them.
On that note, I'd like to point out that transgendered people being arrested in Minneapolis/St Paul are being placed in cells of the wrong gender (i.e. that which is socially corresponding to their birth sex). For MTF transgendered folk, this is tantamount to accessory to rape.
I'd also like to congratulate those of the A.L.L. who managed to make it out there and participate in the resistance (William Gillis, you r0x0r!). Don't let the violence you've encountered make you into a person who thinks that massive force is the solution. This happened to a lot of hippies back in the day, and it is the main point of the strategy employed by the cops.
They want to secretly recruit you by brutalizing you. Remember that physical force without moral force is worthless. (I suspect that anarchists are less prone to this corrupting influence of violence, since they know full well the difference between aggression and self-defence, and they've made all the arguments against aggression before.)
Remember, we will be selling contraband to the children of the RNC delegates, now or in the near future. :)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Communism is not the future, but the past.

1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes. (try not paying "property tax")

2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax. (check)

3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance. (partial)

4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels. (not yet, but "civil forfeiture" is getting there)

5. Centralization of credit in the banks of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly. (check)

6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the state. (check, if you consider, as any anarchist must, any regulated cartel to be a part of the state)

7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state; the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan. (check)

8. Equal obligation of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture. (this is what they mean by "national service")

9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country. (check)

10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc. (check)

So basically, once the next president institutes their "national service plan" and with a bit more of police running amok stealing shit, we'll be very very close to fulfilling all the planks of the communist manifesto here in the USSA. They'll never raise the inheritance tax because the kind of communism we have here is more Animal Farm-ish in which "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others". In other words, a group of elite proletarians (We could call them the "High Bureaucracy" or simply The Managerial Class) have split off into a new oppressive class(while merging with remnants of the old elite), something Ol' Onkel Karl didn't exactly foresee. (which he probably should have because that was a big part of the story of how the "Bourgeoisie" formed)

However this leads to a new revolutionary situation in which the "sub-proletariat" can break the back of State Property and State Power, establishing all property as fluid, personal, and possession based. Our major inroad of opportunity comes along plank 6, in that communication technology is rapidly escaping from the hands of the state, and along plank 5, through the degradation of state-based currencies due to the inevitable crisis that comes from central banking (read FSK on the Compound Interest Paradox). Planks 2 and 9 will collapse not long after.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Is Environmentalism a Scam?

What makes a scam work is that it contains elements of the truth mixed with hidden lies. Otherwise it would just be ridiculous. Almost no one would sign up for the "Self Immolation Society".

Environmentalists often point out real facts, but then make a lot of false assumptions in order to get from those facts to their conclusion, which seems to always be:
"We need massive government controls on all aspects of production and consumption".
This assumes that people left to their own devices wouldn't adapt to these facts on the ground on their own. This is no different from the economic argument for state socialisms of various forms, just with different apparent problems. Again, the "right wing" plays into the scam by claiming that the facts don't exist, or that these things aren't a problem, just like with the economic argument.

The anarchist argument is that these things may well be real, but that people would solve these problems if left to their own devices, just as they always do. We don't need the state to solve our problems, and in fact, the state is often the source of the problems, by disempowering people and leaving them no incentive or opportunity to fix things spontaneously and ad-hoc.

Economics can be seen as cultural ecology. If voluntary, spontaneous order works, it will work in all areas of life. (edited because of a very good point that Rad Geek brought up, and that I will address in my next post)

Friday, April 25, 2008

"It's not capitalism, but it's got bits of capitalism shot through it."

He said it as well as I could have.

Quote of the month:
"Look: resistance to eating one's own children could be plotted along an elasticity curve, too."

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

When you talk about the housing bubble, it's important to understand why housing prices got so high in the first place.
If you can just lend money out of thin air for buying houses (not that they're actually owned in a fully allodial sense, but for convenience sake...), given that land is a relatively fixed supply*, the price is just going to go up and up to the limit of what people can afford to pay back, and in this case, beyond. People made predictions about increasing income that they weren't able to back up.
The problem is that such over-extension is almost inevitable, because failing to participate in the upsurge of credit just makes it harder and harder to afford a house later on. It's like a pyramid scheme in that way, the "early adopters" get a pretty sweet deal, and the late adopters mostly get fucked. (which in a human, long term sense, means that it's a way for the old to fuck over the young...)

Since prices are relative in a fiat currency (that is, a currency not backed by any specific commodity), what these credit bubbles actually do economically, in the long run, is to make durable, resellable goods more expensive relative to consumable goods. Houses are expensive because you can foreclose on them. Cars are expensive because you can repossess them.
College education is expensive because it increases your income (in a sense making you more "resellable") - this is the most horrible one of all, because it's direct labor farming. They loan money so you can go to school, and you can make more money, that you will pay them back in interest. College becomes more expensive, so people need to get more loaned to them, at higher rates of interest. Those who don't take these loans are condemned to exist as second-class citizens for the rest of their life. And of course, given the ratio of population growth to marginal capital growth, eventually you get people who go to college just so they can get a job as a secretary.
Then the labor farming moves up a notch as everyone competes to go to grad school of one sort or another.

Eventually you end up with bankrupt, homeless PhDs who have cell phones and ipods.

The "limit" to the pyramid, and the reason why they can't just keep the boom going forever, is the capital infrastructure. In the long run, you need to have a certain amount of economic circulation for the idea of "wealth" to mean anything at all. So at some point before there's a total breakdown in production, they have to allow interest payments to outstrip money growth and "harvest" what they have sown, financially.

* in an economic sense things like skyscrapers increase the supply of residential land, but it's still fairly limited.

Monday, March 31, 2008

"Recession? If you say so. Things are exactly the same down here."
- William Gillis

I think he's spot on here, except that to call privileged workers "upper class" is a severe semiotic error, IMO. As far as I'm concerned the "upper class" are the people that are behind the croupier's stick, not the ones at the gaming table, no matter how well they have the odds stacked for them.

Your average "suit and tie" person is not upper class, though they may be a useful dupe of the upper class. What IS good is that these people will begin to wake up to the fact that there is a much larger game at work, and that they haven't necessarily "made it" at all.

For many of us, living on the periphery of "the economy", a financial collapse will only help us in terms of relative purchasing power. Productive Labor must receive a wage high enough to reproduce itself, no matter how it's denominated. This fact is actually a cause for much of the concern of the ruling class. They've squeezed and squeezed and there's not that much "maneuvering room" left for them. They can crush the "upper middle class" now, and wring some profit away, but then what? Not to mention the political instability that will cause, when the "silent majority" starts to identify with the rest of us. Their only hope will be to cause enough cultural division and conflict to keep us at each others' throats a little bit longer.

And so they shall try. Expect to see more "identity politics" and pseudo-christian "culture war" issues in the media soon.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

"Some people say that China is an experiment. Is it possible to have a USA-style booming economy when you:

* deny people freedom of speech
* deny people the right to communicate freely
* deny people the illusion that they have the right to choose their leaders by voting

I suspect the answer is "You can't have a booming economy lacking all the above." The bad guys are hoping that China will prove the answer is "You can have a booming economy lacking the above", and use China as the model for the future US economy. Currently, the booming Chinese economy is really US companies relocating their factories to China, using production techniques developed in the USA. China won't reach the level of innovation present in the US or Japan, unless they allow their citizens the ability to think independently. Currently, a lot of factories are being developed in China, but you don't hear of many new technologies being invented in China. Contrast that with Japan, which contributes many inventions in the area of electronics and software."

I tend to be sympathetic to this view. I suspect that the USSR was also a failed experiment. There is historical evidence in the gaps to suggest that it was. (for instance, the secret funnelling of money from Wall Street to Lenin in the 20s, or the findings of the congressional commission studying the Ford and Rockefeller foundations in the 50s... )

On a similar geopolitical note, I think the thing that messes up peoples heads when they compare Europe and the US is the belief that Europe has a less free market than the US. I think the opposite. It's just that the kind of interventions that are used more in Western Europe tend to be the kind of things that conservatives bitch about - i.e. the "crutches" provided to the people who have had their socio-economic legs broken by the kind of controls that conservatives never talk much about but are very prevalent in the US economy.
(licensing laws, zoning laws, construction permits, copyrights, property acquisition laws, laws protecting people from their own choices - all very subtle but devastating to the poor and lower middle class)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A couple of thoughts on taxation.

I had originally posted a more elaborate analysis, but it was hastily written at 3 AM. I've saved it somewhere, and I'll get back to it when I get a chance. (maybe tonight)

In the mean time, I'd like point out that under a fiat currency, all taxation is redistributive... that is, there's a centerline at which dollars and "things which can be purchased with dollars" float, and taxation merely shifts purchasing power around that line. That's really all it does (under a fiat currency). All taxation is theft, yes, but that's only half the picture. All taxation is redistribution. All government spending is taxation. This is a complicated idea, but if you think of the fact that the actual number of dollars in circulation means nothing, and pursue that line of reasoning to it's end point, eventually you'll see what I'm talking about.

Think of government spending. When the government steals that money, who benefits, really? The government itself? They get their salaries, yeah. But other than that, most of the money goes to contractors of one sort or another. The people who get paid by the government are the Power Elite. They are the people the government is really working for.

The government also pays people by not taxing them as much. This one is the most difficult to grok, and will cause the most objection, but if you've understood the last two paragraphs, it should make sense.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

I found this interesting:
Why the global financial system is about to collapse.

It's well-written and clear, and though he's not any sort of anarchist, he's also kind of tricky about not being an anarchist. :)
It's almost as if he's some sort of public choice agorist in a way.

On the other hand, Tyler Cowan is kind of an idiot, at least publicly. It's not even that he's shilling for the state or "actually existing capitalism", it's that he doesn't seem to actually understand what he's shilling for. Statements like "One five or ten percent deflation is enough to crush the economy and indeed the whole gold standard idea" (umm... apples to oranges?) or "But we don't live in the broad sweep of world history, we live in 2008 and our ability to monitor and control central banks is unparalleled" (huh? how can that possibly work?) don't seem to recommend him much. If this is the kind of logic that Economics PhD programs produce nowadays, then we agorists don't have long to wait for the collapse.

As a counter-example, though Paul Krugman is an awful statist, the things he says at least make sense within his own insane world-view.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"There's no time to think, just do it."

This here is something pretty fundamental:
Labels, Enemies and Rambling.

Most people tend to fall back on associative thinking instead of actually listening to what other people are saying and considering it. In a way I don't blame them, the pressures of modern life do everything they can to push people into it. Not only directly, through propaganda engines (media, advertising, etc...) but also indirectly, by stressing people out and sapping them of their free time and energy.

On a related note is this:
Unbundle The Zaxlebax!

Friday, February 01, 2008

5 minutes to midnight?

First, a link I stumbled across:
The End Of Money?

The writer starts out explaining what FSK calls "The Compound Interest Paradox". But he goes on to make the further explanation that money growth is exponential(but not continuously/smoothly so).
I think this quote is extremely illustrative:
Bacteria grow by doubling. One bacterium divides to become two, the two divide to become 4, become 8, 16 and so on. Suppose we had bacteria that doubled in number this way every minute. Suppose we put one of these bacterium into an empty bottle at eleven in the morning, and then observe that the bottle is full at twelve noon. There's our case of just ordinary steady growth, it has a doubling time of one minuet, and it's in the finite environment of one bottle. I want to ask you two questions.

Number one; at which time was the bottle half full? Well, would you believe 11:59, one minute before 12, because they double in number every minute?

Second Question; if you were an average bacterium in that bottle at what time would you first realize that you were running out of space? Well let's just look at the last minute in the bottle. At 12 noon its full, one minute before its half full, 2 minutes before its ¼ full, then 1/8th, then a 1/16th. Let me ask you, at 5 minutes before 12 when the bottle is only 3% full and is 97% open space just yearning for development, how many of you would realize there's a problem?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Just Do It, in a different sense.

Blowing up walls and streaming across en masse so you can buy food is exactly how things need to happen.
Fuck letting people put you in a cage, even (especially) if they claim some metaphysical bullshit reason for having the authority to do so.

What's funny is how different media sources describe the situation.
Freedom in Gaza (but for one day only)
Gazans pour into Egypt after gunmen blast down barrier

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A good post I read recently, but not a recent post.

The Danger Of Assumptions
What's super interesting about this post to me is that the pattern he identifies at the bottom of this post applies to other ideologues as well, especially religious fundamentalists. For instance: the Islamic brouhaha over the Danish comics. Or if you've ever tried arguing with a Dominionist pseudo-christian (as I have begun calling most evangelicals).
There is this assumption that somehow the rest of us also believe what they do, only somehow we've obscured it in our minds or we're being willfully ignorant of it. (Some "Objectivists" try to play that card too).
This goes back to the Corporatist Statists because Statism is a religion too. It is a Poison Mythos that has been inserted into all of our cultural tropes for so long that we don't even see it any more. Even trying to point out the more obvious aspects of this Mythos is like trying to explain water to a fish. For instance, the Old Mythic World ended in 1929. The New Rational World was born as of WWII. That's why everything around us glorifies WWII so much.