Friday Lazy Linking

  • Winter Soldier: Just Another Tuesday. From Ryan Endicott, formerly a United States government Marine stationed in Iraq.

    Via Clay Claibourne, L.A. I.M.C. (2009-05-13): Winter Soldier Southwest on YouTube #1

  • The regulatory State versus freed markets and the human future: A quote from Anne Robert Jacques Turgot, via B.K. Marcus at Mises Economics Blog:

    To expect the government to prevent such fraud from ever occurring would be like wanting it to provide cushions for all the children who might fall. To assume it to be possible to prevent successfully, by regulation, all possible malpractices of this kind, is to sacrifice to a chimerical perfection the whole progress of industry; it is to restrict the imagination of artificers to the narrow limits of the familiar; it is to forbid them all new experiments; it is to renounce even the hope of competing with the foreigners in the making of the new products which they invent daily, since, as they do not conform to our regulations, our workmen cannot imitate these articles without first having obtained permission from the government, that is to say, often after the foreign factories, having profited by the first eagerness of the consumer for this novelty, have already replaced it with something else. … Thus, with obvious injustice, commerce, and consequently the nation, are charged with a heavy burden to save a few idle people the trouble of instructing themselves or of making enquiries to avoid being cheated. To suppose all consumers to be dupes, and all merchants and manufacturers to be cheats, has the effect of authorizing them to be so, and of degrading all the working members of the community.

    — Turgot, Éloge de Gournay (1759), translated by P.D. Groenewegen

Outrage

Think.

Left-Libertarianism

  • On dialectical jujitsu: Roderick Long, Austro-Athenian Empire (2009-05-19): How to annoy a conservative

  • Ownership failures, not market failures Chris Dillow, Stumbling and Mumbling (2009-05-01): Markets, the poor & the left. Dillow makes two really important distinctions: one of them the familiar left-libertarian distinction between freed markets, on the one hand, and actually-existing corporate capitalism, on the other; the other a less familiar, but very important, distinction between market processes and patterns of ownership. Quote: In many ways, what look like ways in which markets fail the poor are in fact merely ways in which a lack of assets fail the poor. Exactly; and the many cases where there are not really market failures, but rather ownership failures, have everything to do with feudal, mercantile, neoliberal, and other politically-driven seizures and reallocations of poor people’s land, livelihoods, and possessions — and nothing to do with genuine market exchange.

Counter-Economics

Movement

Communications

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  1. Nick "Natasha" Manley

    David Brooks annoys the hell out of me. Arthur has written numerous essays pointing out his nonsense.

    http://powerofnarrative.blogspot.com/2007/02/writing-from-scaffold-in-defense-of.html

  2. Marja Erwin

    Re: You say pissed-off, man-hating, dykes with an excess of body hair like it’s supposed to be a bad thing…

    There is also some discussion in the Fora of the Libertarian Left:

    http://libertarianleft.freeforums.org/is-extremism-in-the-defense-of-sodomy-no-vice-t342.html

    Hating men is a bit of a problem. However, it is a consequence of the birdcage, and can’t reasonably be used to justify the systems of privilege in this society.

  3. Rad Geek

    Marja,

    For what it’s worth, I’ve defended man-hating in the past, and I’m willing to stick up for it now. Of course, there’s a sense of the word hate in which you shouldn’t hate anybody (because you should wish that everyone live well, since, inter alia, that would involve their becoming good people along the way); but if hate is being used more or less interchangeably with anger, in the sense in which it’s appropriate to hate, say, batterers, or stormtroopers, well, then I’ll stand by the argument that it’s perfectly reasonable for feminists to hate men. In any case, I hate men, too:

    I, for one, hate men. Not all of them, but lots of them. And I hate them precisely because they act like men are supposed to act. I.E. because they are controlling, exploitative, rude, callous, and/or violent, just like they were brought up to be. I hate men who act like that and I hate myself when I realize that I’ve acted that way. I don’t think it’s because I’m a neurotic bundle of self-loathing or because I’m aiming to become one; it’s because I think that all of us men have a long way to go to break ourselves out of habits and beliefs that keep us from acting like decent human beings as often as we should. We grow up thinking that we have the right to do a lot of fucked up stuff and then we usually go on to do it at some point or another. Often at many points throughout our lives.

    There are many men that I love and mostly trust but I love them and mostly trust them for the demonstrable steps they’ve taken away from the way that men are normally expected to act. And I’m doing what I can to help the efforts to change those expectations and those actions—in myself, and in others when I can reach them—but I can’t say I blame a woman at all if she doesn’t like most men or doesn’t necessarily trust our motives straight off the bat.

    That doesn’t strike me as unreasoned bigotry; it strikes me as a rational response to the empirical evidence.

    Rad Geek (2005-01-30, 3:02pm)

    (There might be a temptation to reply to a position like this by saying, Well, isn’t that really hating masculinity, not men? But no, that’s not really it. I mean, yes, I do hate masculinity. But I don’t address abstract norms of masculinity in my social interactions; I have to deal with men, men who choose to live according to those abstract norms, and the problem is with them for choosing to do so, not just with some norm external to them.)

  4. JOR

    The video affirms my general position of being for the war, and against the troops. For the war, precisely because it makes the troops someone else’s problem for at least a while, and, god willing, they come home in body bags or with too much physical or emotional damage to do much more than piss in my dumpster or kill themselves.

  5. Aster

    JOR-

    I tried to read your post to my mom, and thrice failed because I couldn’t stop laughing long enough to get a sentence out.

    Serious:

    I don’t support the war and consider militarism extremely close to the dark hearts of oppression and illberalism. I loathe the common notion that our highest respect ought to go to those who are trained to obey without question, order other people around, and kill on command. In the sense which Republicans mean, I very much do not support the troops. Those who hire themselves out to shoot others to order and all that.

    But most of the individual troops are just men and women trying to get ahead in a world in a context of restricted opportunities. They’ve been fed lies about this war in particular and America’s role in the world from all sides for all of their lives. And then they’re placed in positions where they’re being shot at by very nasty people and don’t know how to tell the difference between them and the general populace. And their each given enough firepower to wipe out a village in a few minutes.

    I don’t think they should get a free pass for enforcing imperialist warfare, and today a very large subculture within the military (continuing seamlessly through the mercenaries, police forces, prison guards, etc.) is explicitly and violently theocratic and/or racist (patriarchal goes without saying). If the last of American democracy finally breaks, they will be the enforcers of martial law. These guys are the moral equivalent of the SS, and they’ve tortured people I know.

    But the typical American soldier is probably just doing the best he can in a world he didn’t create. Even the typical Nazi or Soviet soldier was a broken slave and a victim himself, and it’s unfortunate that to defend one’s life and liberty it is sometimes necessary to defend yourself with retaliatory force. Every war is about high-ups turning other people into murderers in order to kill other people turned into murderes by their high ups- usually for reasons which boil down to ‘you guys look funny’, ‘gimme your sheep’, and ‘look how big my board with a nail in it is!’

    ~~~~

    Of course, as a good Kiwi, I support our troop. Fear him!

  6. Soviet Onion

    Troop? You literally have an army of one?

    Incidentally, the soldier who used to star in those commercials eventually quit because the Army kept pressuring him to do more ads. I guess we’re screwed because he was all we had.

    Now’s the chance!! Send the Rohirrim immediately and link up with the 57th Overlanders at San Francisco.

  7. Nick "Natasha" Manley

    There are ordinary people involved in fighting U.S. troops who have genuine grievances. The movie Meeting Resistance talks about a group of guys who did an attack after U.S. soldiers came into a cafe and pinned them up against a wall for a search. They responded by buying an RPG and attacking a tank or patrol or something.

  8. Aster

    Soviet Onion-

    (To other readers: this is just lots of meandering gossip about Kiwi society and random stuff having to do with violence. Fluff alert. You have been warned.)

    More or less. Freedom Shop carried a pamphlet which had a map of New Zealand world troop deployments. There were around a dozen countries with the numbers for each one in the low single digits, primarily as attaches to other Western military interventions. Um, I know it’s all coercivly funded and all, but I couldn’t quite get outraged. The cats at my flat are more dangerous, and it took them months to catch one mouse.

    Here are the actual facts, if you’re interested:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NewZealandDefence_Force

    New Zealand occasionally engages in allegedly humanitarian military interventions against Pacific islands which you can’t see with the naked eye on the household globe. The anarchist view, shared by some Pacific Islander organisations, is that this is cover for resource-extractive imperialism. I’ve not read up enough on the subject to have an informed opinion. I wouldn’t be terribly surprised to find out that the anarchist and Pacific Islander organisations are right.

    It is very worth mentioning that Kiwi culture (or at least the urban Kiwi culture of Wellington and Auckland which I know; together these cities and their suburbs comprise about half the population) places pretty little emphasis on the miltary sphere of life. People get far, far, far more excited about the All Blacks than about the military, and despite the rare pathetic attempt at a recruitment poster the general view of a military career is the equivalent of ‘and show how dumb you are’. There’s a fair amount of noise over NZ participation in the World Wars, especially the battle of Gallipoli. There’s a war memorial called the Cenotaph the size of a small single family house next to Parliament. The National Front tried to hold a rally there last year, but their kung fu was less strong than our rude chanting and dumpstered bagels.

    There’s a bit more martialism in Maori nationalism, which gets mixed up in the general culture with the pakeha part-admiration-part-appropriation-part-tourist-bait promotion of haka ceremonial war confrontation rituals. This is probably the closest thing New Zealand culture has to a direct celebration of war. Oh, there are national holidays like American memorial days where conservative people get a little sniffy about the nobility of organised killing, but everyone else knows that the reason for the season is just yet another excuse to go picnic and/or get drunk.

    The history of the Maori Land Wars is kinda interesting- something like the Lost Cause War Between the States mythology. It was tribalists fighting imperialists, so there aren’t any good guys, but the Maori made the Brits look like total idiots for ten years. As in: quickly setting up wooden fortresses and pretending to man them and then ROTFL while the British wasted three days shelling it before getting a clue. And the Brits fell for it again. And again. And again. Take that, Bembridge ‘race realists’!

    There’s a fair amount of pretty low level street violence that the cops don’t seriously try to stop. It’s just taken for granted that blokes beat other blokes up occasionally. The existence of gangs is similarly taken as a fact of life, but the gangs, while nasty enough, aren’t anywhere near as nasty as their American, European, or Asian equivalents, and are partially just pathetic little racist pseudo-self-esteem games. My mom’s shiny red scooter got ripped off for a joyride and damaged because they could. The cops found it, returned the damaged goods, and… sat there.

    This ‘what can you do?’ attitude is good insofar as the cops don’t do any part of their jobs competently and are frankly underfunded and understaffed, but bad in that the government would rather come up with sexist advert campaigns to scare women away from public spaces at night than do its supposed job of protecting their individual rights.

    Did I mention the cops wear baby-blue and navy uniforms with hot orange highlights? I mean, pigs are pigs, and their agent-of-state-violence nature comes out a bit at a protest, but for the most part it is kinda hard not to laugh at them.

    On haka: I’m poised between ‘collectivist masculinist martialism is a always bad thing’ and ‘just about everyone who brings the issue up is an obvious racist wanker like Keith Preston’ and ‘who cares about the political principles; haka are WAY shiny’. That said, having had an Islander pull the real thing right in my face to push me off her street in Auckland takes a lot of the fun out of it for me. Oh, and anyone who thinks that violence is just a male thing should spend a few minutes in the room with an average Kiwi prostitute. Let’s just say that it’s a little difficult to feel much sisterhood with someone whose way of saying ‘hello’ is to hit you with her umbrella.

    New Zealand’s gun laws are weaponphobic, which really annoys me on aesthetic grounds. They don’t even allow pepper spray, which is very much not appreciated on very serious grounds. The customs nazis are fanatical about the weapon importation issue, and the average Kiwi instinctually believes that civilised people have no good reason to have access to guns, the only excusable exceptions being hunting rifles. Hell, I know someone with a few IRL levels in rogue whose chaotic alignment is on the shaky edge of neutral, and even he thinks that Americans are barking crazy to own all those guns, and has more than once told me in very expressive tones he’d be terrified to go to a country like that.(!)

    There’s a Medieval reenactment group in town I’ve been meaning to join, and they have swords, and a thrift shop I volunteer with got a nunchaku in one day. I rang the anarcha-feminist animal rights activist who runs the place and she didn’t freak or anything. If this doesn’t make logical sense to you given the general legal regime, you’re not the only one.

    Personally: I doubt I’d want a rapier if they were still primarily used to kill people. We were at a mall yesterday in Chonburi, and one stall had hunting knives, switchblades, shurikens, Western swords, swordlike objects, fake diasho sets, and handguns all available over the counter for very good prices (good, that is, if you happen to be on the lucky side of neocolonialist privilege). It’s irrational, but I loved all the stuff until it came to the modern pistols. Then I feel a bit uncomfortable touching the thing. Real death is horrible.

  9. Soviet Onion

    My God, just reading about this country makes me want to beat it up on the playground and take its GDP. My gun buddies and I could just walk in there and run the National Front outta town ourselves. I suppose that would make us big goddamn heroes to most people.

    blokes beat other blokes up occasionally

    racist wanker

    Aster: She used to be cool … until the day she got all British on me.

    America: We kill Fascists ‘cause Kings know better than to mess with us twice.

    the government would rather come up with sexist advert campaigns to scare women away from public spaces at night than do its supposed job of protecting their individual rights.

    They don’t even allow pepper spray, which is very much not appreciated on very serious grounds

    Illinois doesn’t allow pepper spray either, incidentally. Instead, the police recommend that women being sexually assaulted should stick their fingers down their throat to induce vomiting, which I guess is supposed to make the rapist lose his appetite and wander off (although they take pains to emphasize that it should only be done as a “last resort”).

    Seems to me that that kind of advice is really just taking the “don’t dress like a slut” enabler attitude of rape culture to it’s logical conclusion. There’s no conceptual difference between dressing and acting the right way so as not to be “asking for it” and being covered in your own vomit, just one of degree. It’s still about tailoring your life and appearance to accommodate someone else’s demands, so that safety comes at the cost of choosing to live within the grip of an invisible fist.

    Of course, most of the Chicago women I’ve mentioned this to still think it’s totally unreasonable that anyone should want to possess a gun. You have no idea how much of a pariah it makes me :(

    Hell, I know someone with a few IRL levels in rogue whose chaotic alignment is on the shaky edge of neutral, and even he thinks that Americans are barking crazy to own all those guns, and has more than once told me in very expressive tones he’d be terrified to go to a country like that.(!)

    Personally: I doubt I’d want a rapier if they were still primarily used to kill people. We were at a mall yesterday in Chonburi, and one stall had hunting knives, switchblades, shurikens, Western swords, swordlike objects, fake diasho sets, and handguns all available over the counter for very good prices (good, that is, if you happen to be on the lucky side of neocolonialist privilege). It’s irrational, but I loved all the stuff until it came to the modern pistols. Then I feel a bit uncomfortable touching the thing. Real death is horrible.

    Just out of curiosity regarding my own predilections, what’s your immediate visceral reaction to 19th century revolvers like these? That’s where I direct most of my martial romanticism. If I had the money and time to make it worthwhile, I wouldn’t mind having a Colt 1851 Navy at some point. It was signature pistol of the West before the Single Action Army came along, and Wild Bill Hickok’s weapon of choice (not that I’m a big of lawmen).

    I don’t have so much of a fearful reaction to modern guns. I used to, but now I just see them as neutral tools. What helped me overcome that more than anything else was to disassemble a pistol, clean it and reassemble it for the first time. It really helps clear away the scary mysticism surrounding the idea of guns to see one lying on the table, all totally harmless and with all its parts visible.

  10. Gabriel

    That might not be a good idea S.O. - in nature fear sometimes serves a useful function, e.g. to prevent an animal from engaging in dangerous (and potentially lethal) activity. A healthy fear of loaded pistols might be a good adaptation in the 21st century.

    Now for something completely different: here is the most ironic article I’ve read this week:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090523/aponreus/usiraqrapeslaying_victims

    Apparently since his family was killed by military men he wants to mak the world right by becoming a policeman! Impeccable logic, that.

  11. Marja Erwin

    How about the early-twentieth-century belt-mounted revolver that appears in A Very Long Engagement. Deliciously impractical…

  12. Soviet Onion

    How about the early-twentieth-century belt-mounted revolver that appears in A Very Long Engagement. Deliciously impractical…

    Ugh. The early twentieth century truly sucked all the charm out of revolvers, not to be regained until libertarian minarchist Clint Eastwood dropped onto the scene and over-killed a bunch of people as a racist cop.

    Oh American gun culture, you confound me so!

    Both that gun and this one are Smith & Wesson models, and I won’t buy from them for reasons of principle.

  13. Marja Erwin

    I don’t actually remember the pistol itself. I only remember the way it was used…

  14. Aster

    On rape culture: I entirely agree, and thank you deeply for the support, but I would prefer not to discuss this issue at present.

    anyway,

    !!!WARNING. WARNING. TOTAL FLUFF ALERT.!!!

    Soviet: Just out of curiosity regarding my own predilections, what’s your immediate visceral reaction to 19th century revolvers like these?

    Aster: Oh, that’s totally different. Makes me think of Calamity Jane or maybe Hedda Gabler, both of whom I consider positive role models. Clarisse the Vampire has a six-shot derringer which she holsters in an impractical location. She’s not very good with it, but teeth just don’t help as a ranged weapon. (Thank Marja for Clarisse: she did the hard topping work of GMing over Skype)

    I once played a Shadowrun wagemage who was an academic feminist who turned to a life of shadowrunning because the 2050s (2nd Ed.) university system was so neoliberally privateered she couldn’t afford the fragging nuyen to jack in to the Matrix to research her doctoral thesis. She had a streetline special but refused to use anything but rubber bullets (patriarchy! people could get killed!), and her decker boyfriend ended up taking the gun away from her before she hurt herself… or them. Still, she did nail one fleeing morlock (‘whitey’) in the hiney while hiding from the corpcops in the old 20th century NYC subway system.

    Soviet: (to Aster): She used to be cool … until the day she got all British on me.

    Aster: Not British, Kiwi. I was born in the South(+), and it wouldn’t kill me to actually learn something from my upbringing and concede the Southern politeness point that if you move to another country, life might go along more smoothly if you made a little effort to show that others were their first. Actually, this was the first time in my list that something Southern worked very, very much in my favour. The second time was a summer (platonic) friendship with a wonderful multiple transboi cartoonist from Texas. S/he straightened me out a bit.

    New Zealand (meaning the people, not the state) has shown me enormous kindness, so… sure, I’ll keep bugging my neo-stepdad to teach me cricket and (ugh) rugby. It’ll help me with clients anyway. I just wished I had the guts to follow Mike Gogulski’s crowning moment of awesome and burn my American passport. I just can’t afford to lose anything that might help my future travel options- who knows what the world really will look like in 2050 (HGH! cyberware!).

    Besides, I’ve been doing the wannabe veddy Briddish thing for years, long before I jumped the other pond. My birthfather (may God have mercy on his soul) was a Cavalier Anglo-Catholic who never saw a historical event where Anglos murdered brown people he didn’t like, and he forced me to sit there and listen to it because his wife wasn’t much good for conversation after what that he did to her. So, I can do it fairly well, well enough at least to get lots of condescending praise from my own personal Rupert Giles.

    And yeah, the veddy Briddish thing is an obvious class game. OMG I hated America, both for what it did to me in blatant contradiction to its individualist ideology, and for the way it dragged the ideals of Enlightenment through the mud before the world’s eyes so badly that it’s seriously possible we might lose pieces of the Enlightenment permanently as a result(++). Arthur Silber sees it. By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, and we wept.

    I know that considering what the United States of America has done, a lot of people don’t have much sympathy for ex-Americans crying over chimney smoke and are kinda rightly more focused on the former sla… I mean dead Iraqis. But it’s not just that it was our privileged white ship that went down. It’s also that America for quite awhile truly was the pride of the Enlightenment- as good as it got, at least on some issues, in this bloody Vale of ours. Even Marx and Chomsky admit as much.

    Losing her- it’s still too close to call- is an unparalleled civilisational catastrophe, as would or will be the loss of the United Kingdom. Put that together with an economic depression that might be the first warning tremors of a global climate and resource crisis, and we will be very lucky indeed if the 21st century does not turn out to be the 4th. If that happens, and the fallout from the social infrastructure collapse eventually drifts this far down under, then I would rather read Derek Humphry in the sunshine. If civilisation fails all queer people in Christian countries who can’t go completely undercover will die, and all women of intelligence will envy the dead. Contra Preston’s sick queerphobia (and diZerega’s self-hating-Witch personal issues with egoism), just because I can’t bear a child doesn’t mean I don’t care.

    I can understand why people have thought it of me. For awhile, I almost didn’t. I thought there wasn’t a corner in the world where most people didn’t secretly think like Keith Preston, and didn’t really feel like I had much rational self-interest in common with the rest of humanity. For the record, Charles and Long are right on Aristotelian moralism. That’s still in my case Randian egoist morality with a side of Nietzsche, which places me in Ysgard/Gladsheim if fortune blesses me and I shape up, but yes: morality is good. Amoralism=Fail.

    But when you’re kicked out of your family and left to die and the world belongs to other people(+++), and the only thing you do have is a halfway-decent education, you tend to throw it in people’s face, especially if you have a taste for food and shelter (reading too many dead white books can do strange things to the brain chemistry). It’s a very ugly truth, but sometimes when you’re hit really badly by one kind of oppression, relying on another kind of privilege is the only choice you have short of Calvary. It would be a good reason, for instance, as to why libertarians could lighten up on Black people over African-Americans going into government jobs. Jesus, the government is often the one employer under constant political pressure not to look racist, and if you’re just busy surviving that can look like a pretty shiny deal.

    Soviet: I don’t have so much of a fearful reaction to modern guns. I used to, but now I just see them as neutral tools. What helped me overcome that more than anything else was to disassemble a pistol, clean it and reassemble it for the first time. It really helps clear away the scary mysticism surrounding the idea of guns to see one lying on the table, all totally harmless and with all its parts visible.”

    Aster: It would be a pleasure if the gun rights movement would to conduct such demonstrations, as appeals to our better nature.

    (+) Incidentally, if this Preston things works out, I owe Charles Johnson and Dennis St. George a fairly long essay, with the subject line being ‘The Difference Between Protesting Southern Patterns of Cultural Oppression and Talking Shit About the South and Being Offensive to Hit Back’

    (++) Libertarianism stands more to lose here than any other political tradition in the world, and thank goddess that Justin Raimando & Co. have made sure that libertarianism got put down as anti-war for the historical record. This does not change the fact that the guy’s writing style is so hydrologically-Egyptian-except-it-isn’t-WTF? that I can very rarely make it through one of his columns. The cigarette was over the top, but in hindsight that was the one part of his pose that rocked.

    (+++) If libertarians ever want to appeal to people rejected by their families, people who take the bullets for Randian individualism by facing the whole world on their own, they have got to solidly and repudiate Hoppe. Hoppe’s ideology (and Preston is only slightly better here) is, literally, a death sentence for people like me. And he consciously intends it to be. That’s the whole point of Hoppeanism. The only thing that makes it possible is a libertarianism overreaction to Objectivist plumbline dogmatism while translates into deliberately ignoring the individualist Enlightenment humanist values which libertarianism presupposes. Hoppe and Preston take advantage of their ability to quote the NAP to suit their purpose in order to damn libertarianism to neo-Nazi Hell.

    (+++++++++) Oh, and can we please find a functional replacement for the asterisk that doesn’t resemble one of Preston’s fanboys’ Klan symbols? (#) looks stupid, and asterisks do italics in this secessionist republic’s dialect.

  15. JOR

    Aster,

    Fair enough. I say things like this fairly often for the purpose of shocking Support the Troops! types (I realize that doesn’t include regular commenters here, but one can always hope for the odd passerby linked from god-knows-where), but it’s only half-serious. I feel the same way about the military (including cops) as I do about any other gang. 99% of the members give the other 1% a bad name. But in any case if any of them can come out of that shit and make something decent for themselves, fine.

  16. Nick "Natasha" Manley

    What’s sad about the continuing loss of liberty in America is that no one seems to understand it ~ apart from an Arthur Silber or Adam Reed.

    Obama has now proposed the legalization and codification of preventive detention. We all know this will only be used on dem “terrorists”.

  17. Soviet Onion

    It may not be possible to win without the Gadsden flag, but it too will have to be abolished.

    Not British, Kiwi.

    Ahem. As a proud American who’s far too patriotic to be nationalistic, and some of who’s ancestors fought in THE War(=), I reserve the right to look down my nose and sneer at the entire rest of the Anglo-sphere(==). No country that still accepts the British Crown as its Head of State in exchange for permission to govern its own affairs has any claim to having left the Empire; a self-governing colony is still a colony(===).

    America: We kill Kings, we don’t cut deals with ‘em.

    If New Zealand, Australia and Canada really want to earn my respect, they should all immediately renounce the Crown and withdraw from the British “Commonwealth” (ROTFLOL), followed by calls for Parliament to cut off the Royal Family’s gravy train and order them to go get real jobs (which will probably involve capitalizing off their fame, but that’s not the point). Hell, if I were New Zealand I would have dropped Britain from my buddy list back when Maggie stepped onto the scene.

    Then maybe, just maybe, I’d be willing to recognize these places as independent countries.

    Until then: Briddish!!

    (=) Ok, it was on the British side. Don’t look at me like that.

    Actually a lot of my distant and not-so-distant relatives fought for the Anglos in one capacity or another. I had a great uncle in the navy during WWI who eventually retired and became a fisherman, and my grandfather was an infantryman at that same time, and almost caught one in the head going over the top. Lucky for me he didn’t. We still have the helmet with the dent in it.

    I’m also a distant descendant of Francis Drake, who probably did more to kick start the Empire than anyone save Lizzy herself.

    (==) Except for you, Ireland. I really dig your style and your fine beverages. You get mad props.

    (===) This is not to discount the de facto economic colonialism that continues to this day in different guises. One more reason to oppose the “Commonwealth”.

    (==============) What’cha think of the “equal” sign? I don’t think the forces of village fascism will ever manage to appropriate that one.

  18. Nick "Natasha" Manley

    Does New Zealand send money to the royal family or is Wikipedia’s listing of it as a constitutional monarchy purely ceremonial? Alongside parliamentary democracy.

  19. Aster

    JOR-

    Kewl, altho’ I’m not as forgiving of cops as the bleeding-heart-liberal part of my brain somehow just became with the tr00pz- simply because the cops can quit, and they have greater ability to know more clearly what injustices they’ll be expected to commit in the line of duty. I have met good American cops (one drove me back to the stroll after a client dumped me… in the back of the police car. Kinda scary and eeriely silent ride), but most of them have been somewhere between ‘authoritarian personality’ and ‘tortured my friends’. Still, individuals are individuals, and people, one may hope, can change.

    Nick-

    Yeah. Having America show the world that the anti-racist cause is obviously doing something right was awesome. Having America show the world that it still had something good in it fighting to survive, even if coopted and misdirected, was also mighty shiny.

    Tis’ a shame that the Black dude who got himself elected is precisely what Jeremy Weiland says- ‘talks pretty, same old boss’. OK, the new boss is better is some important ways (abortion) and at least doesn’t openly preside over torture (lovely standards we have these days). But he’s a bastard, is keeping up with the march of empire and the police state, and I’m beginning to wish him a swift meeting with his patriamonoGod. He just lost his leather pants in my eyes.

    Advancing preventative detention in a time of domestic piece just crossed over the line from ‘oligarchical corruption of liberal democracy’ to ‘elected oligarchical dictator’. Congratulations, Mr. President, you’re now on the same level as Bush. Pink, please do another song. Somehow I doubt the Kiwi corporations would play that one every five minutes in the grocery stores over here.

    Barack Obama: the audacity to rape hope.

    On Arthur Silber-

    I deeply wish he could tone down the obsessive self-referentialism and throwaway despair of his writings, because he’s a very good thinker at his best, and he’s nearly impossible to link to or promote in his current form. He really should be welcomed into the left-libertarian community- was there first, and was the third writer after Chris Sciabarra and Roderick Long to show me ways of thinking towards a left-libertarian ideal. He’s gone through something awful for choosing to be himself and speak the truth, and I can’t get him out of it. I don’t in the least blame him. I think a lot of us have felt what has hurt him the most.

    I don’t agree with him on his non-prosecution appeal; I think it’s more important that some kind of civilised precedent be restored, even if it will further legitimise the Obama regime. But his attitude is totally right.

  20. Aster

    “Does New Zealand send money to the royal family or is Wikipedia’s listing of it as a constitutional monarchy purely ceremonial? Alongside parliamentary democracy.”

    I dunno on the sending money. Who cares. Monarchs are teh suck, as anyone with a (#tubercular cough# Hoppe) brain knows(=).

    The monarchy is mostly ceremonial… more than anything it’s the symbolic lynchpin of the Commonwealth, which might be a decent excuse for not axeing Lizzie the Twooth (trade and cultural exchange across wider areas=good).

    But it’s sure not entirely harmless. The ‘symbolic’ power of the monarchy was use to axe a leftish PM the Ozzies had in the 70s. See:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1975Australianconstitutional_crisis

    Oh, and while were on about kings…

    No… I’ll say that in a few weeks. 3-15 years in a Thia prison isn’t a detail. The King Never Smiles.

    I love Thailand, but some of the laws are… well, the reason you fight to the death to protect liberal civilisation.

    (=) Actually, I mean a mind interested in perceiving rather than dictating reality. But ‘brain’ is more insulting, and why do we owe the slightest rhetorical charity to people who have openly called for a politics intended to result in segregation and which has always historically led to mass murder? Citing Hoppe is as revolting as citing Ernst Junger or Ludwig Klages. That this bastard happens to twist libertarianism into a call for pogroms should horrify every libertarian. The fact that it doesn’t says that there is something gravely wrong with libertarianism; the fact that it does horrify the left-libertarian community means that we effectively are the remaining organised rump of the pre-Rockwell libertarian movement (someone said this first recently, but I don’t recall who. they’re right.).

    Her serenity Angela Keaton tells me that before Rothbard motioned to kick out the ‘modal libertarians’ the Party was a very different place, where tolerance of other people who weren’t hurting others was socially expected. Effectively, Rothbard tried to create an an alliance between libertarianism and the New Left in the 60s and, but he turned right around when the U.S. Empire passed its 1973 peak and eventually came to hate and exorcise precisely those people he had courted earlier in his career. Face-heel. We’re the reincarnation of the original libertarian movement, the one that Rand dismissed as ‘hippies of the right’ because it accepted people less classy and respectable than she had to act like she was and forgot to clean her toes for her.

    No. There’s nothing wrong with libertarianism. What’s wrong is that we’ve had utterly atrocious leadership- or, we might say, the problem is that we’ve had heirarchical leadership that sent pretty excellent individuals with great ideas into places where they turned atrocious. Rand never repudiated an order of rank- she de-statised the idea and set up pretty good (if senselessly cruel=”I got mine”) standards as to what greatness looked like, but there’s still the notion of superiors and inferiors of social authority all over her writings, which is the bit which allows supposedly individualistic Objectivists to be conservatives who don’t go to church(==) and turn a blind eye to the police state. And it’s why Objectivism never turns into anything but nasty little bourgeois dictatorship any time it gets past the level of single individuals.

    The answer is the left-anarchist organisational model. Yes, decentralism is good… but only if we mean decentralism as in the equal authoirty of individuals to learn and spek the truth, not decentralism of truth in the kind of relativism or postmodern sense which enables the village fascists.

    (==) Actually, first-generation Objectivists didn’t make the mistake badly because of course they didn’t go to church- because they were urban secular Jewish intellectuals (Angela, again, cred) who took getting a lot of basic how-to-read-and-think stuff right for granted (Adam, duh). But when Christian-educated suburbanites read Rand, they feed their order and rank into it, which leads to seriously different and much worse results. Something similar happened to the whole libertarian movement, and for that matter to America as a whole once the NE aristocracy lost its grip.

    (=========) Yes! Yes! Yes!!!!!…..~~~ This symbol=must use. Good things come from here. Liberte! Egalite! I don’t know what you’re talking about! ZOMG/ss.

  21. Nick "Natasha" Manley

    Hmmm

    I wish Adam would join us to talk about Objectivist stuff ~ if only because he’s the most effective defender of it out there.

    Well, the ex- Objectivist CEO of BB&T mentioned it being rational to help his son but not his acholol guzzling Uncle who bought a house in the housing bubble ~ a conservative approach

    And he joked about the government loosening credit standards to give laxer people access to housing loans being like giving a criminal a house when they commit a crime ~ work ethic? I dunno.

    On the other hand, it’s true that they avoided the subprime mess. He mentioned their consideration of the product that sunk other banking corporations and how they decided it wasn’t good for their customers ~ tied it up with the rational self-interest motif. He also acknowledged there were genuine victims and that the bank was trying to help people stay in their homes ~ said what does a bank need a house for?

    Apart from some of the economically conservative ethics lessons, the Objectivist/Austrian themed take on what went wrong was very detailed/intelligent. He correctly noted the ogliopolistic effect of the TARP program. The funny thing about it was that the businessmen in Atlas Shrugged drop out ~ not accept bailout funds due to state coercion/a need to stay competitive. Those of us faced with footing the bailout bill can try to go Galt but risk prison time.

  22. Nick "Natasha" Manley

    Oh: the idea of not helping his Uncle or family member was that a person needs a loss to realize their behavior is in error ~ drinking too much in this case and presumably not working two jobs to pay his loan.

    On left-anarchism: like I’ve said earlier. I agree with Adam’s statement on the former Salon that co-ops take a long time to run. I hate group projects in college ~ specially when they give you one single grade. Adam seemed happy being a scientist without having to manage the business he worked for ~ I agree with him that university meetings where you’re effectively one of the bosses must suck. I just want to teach ~ fuck the politics of it all. On the other hand, I was involved in collective meetings with Food Not Bombs and a few at the anarchist infoshop. It wasn’t bad or anything, but there were clearly people more interested/who took more time/did more work. I had a pretty loose casual boss at my last straight job. There is a real sliding scale here. I didn’t do the management stuff, but I was able to have back/forths with him without having my concerns thrown out the window or anything.

    I don’t mention this as an appeal to authority. I am just saying there has to be some room for disagreement here ~ normative principles and all still being important. The thing is that the best of Objectivists will acknowledge there is a rational way to organize a business ~ it can’t just be every CEO’s own rancid power trip vision. An instrinic defense of any business organization loses sight of this.

    But I don’t want to embrace a new form of communal political correctness either.

  23. Aster

    Nick-

    I’d love to have Adam be part of this debate, but I’m also nearly certain he won’t wish to. His intelligence and depth of knowledge is unapproachable. But he doesn’t hold a high opinion of left-libertarianism. Despite his brilliance, I consider myself competent to respectfully state that I diverge from him here. It the end, reality will decide.

    Most of organised Objectivism is a travesty of Rand’s philosophy and in too many cases the brand has been degraded to the level of corrupt apologies of the murderous Empire. But even in the honest cases (Diana Mertz Hsieh and her circle are sometimes interesting; Barbara Branden has a very kind heart, and Jennifer Ianollo just totally rocks.), I think that the Objecivist project contains inextricable errors of judgement which will manifest in any attempt at practical application. In political matters, I believe the primary issue in an acceptance of natural heirarchy which can be pretty much boiled down to ‘classism’. And it isn’t a little problem- Kevin’s “money quote” is an accurate description of characteristic Objectivist attitudes. Charles captured the ideal well when he presented two different pictures of archetypical bosses. Most people I see advancing in heirarchies and who aspire to manage large numbers of people have pointy hair.

    None of this, of course, means that we shouldn’t learn from insightful Randian minds, or respect Objectivist individuals. Randroids may be some of the most obnoxious people to share a room with on the planet, but they’re not in the same category of dishonest intellectual error as, per exemplia, racism. That said, there isn’t much of intellectual value or substance coming out of the movement; Adam will always remain a true exception.

    I think one can certainly remain true to the spirit and structure of the Randian project and consider what a Randianism with the taint of classism removed would look like. But this is a complex endeavour- because the class issues are inextricable from related and more essential errors in psychology, ethics, philosophical anthropology, and- very much not least in this case- aesthetics; the problem is structural. It sounds like work I might find personally find interesting, and I may give it a whirl, in which case you are certainly welcome to contribute to the discussion. It’s nice to see you calling things ‘rancid’ when they deserve it.

    On a personal level, I once asked Objectivists to stand up and apply their Promethean values honestly to my case. They massively refused. I’ve now asked the same question of left-libertarianism, and it massively answered in the affirmative. For me, that is finally decisive. Rand was one of the 20th century’s greatest minds and she taight me how to think, but my own break with the movement she created and inspired is now complete. Aeternum vale, Magistra.

    ~~~

    But Rand died, I believe, in 1986. Surveying the choices today, Carson vs. Reisman isn’t a hard call. The average left-libber’s worth ten Randroids in terms of intellectual daring, insight, and focus on reality. Here are a few realities the vast majority of objectivists fail perception checks on: TORTURE! PREVENTATIVE DETENTION! NO-FLY LISTS! ANTI-SOCIAL-BEHAVIOUR-ORDERS! NATIONAL DATABASES! MILLIONS OF DEAD IRAQIS IN A WAR STARTED ON LIES! MILLIONS OF AMERICANS IN HELLHOLE PRISONS! TORTURE! TORTURE! WHICH PART OF ‘TORTURE’ FAILED TO SNAP YOU OUT OF YOUR INPENETERABLE BOURGEOIS TRANCE? GET A CLUE.

    Of course, the Randroids probably have a thousand times as much cash as left-libertarians, since for them it goes without saying that no political philosophy can possibly be valid unless it accords with middle-class expectations and gets them stock-options. But even here, I believe we have an advantage. Our ranks, after all, contain counter-economists, IP pirates, Browncoats, and thieving mutualists. That money doesn’t have to stay theirs.

    ~~~

    What I find very interesting is that left-libertarianism seems to have acquired precisely the self-consciousness which Objectivists claim is lacking in libertarianism- an awareness that reason and individuality precede and are implied by liberty.

    The left-lib(=) movement now implicitly covers all the essential philosophical bases which Objectivism did, and does so without Objectivism’s fatal classist taint. Sciabarra failed to reform Objectivism, but he is one of the primary intellectuals responsible for the left-libertarian ‘verse, and I think it can do as much and better. What he wanted happened, but it was done by different people with different pieces and by a different name. Dialectics seems to be second nature to most people here, and the cultural change he wanted from Objectivism just got approced here. Speaking to Chris: if you ever feel like writing again, why not do so here where you’re a founding guest of honour?

    I would like to try myself to get buy-in on making the Enlightenment principles more explicit. By this I don’t mean Rand’s ridiculous and slightly pretentious expectations that a politically individualist movement has to take a party line on the epistemology of numbers or the value of nonrepresentational visual art. I merely mean a very broadly inclusive appreciation for the basics of reason, science, the open society, political secularism, humanism, and individualism- y’know, the stuff that thinking people think. All of this, I’ve becoming convinced, one could reverse-engineer by Charles’ approach of ‘thick’ libertarianism.

    Karl Popper, John Stuart Mill, Milton Friedman, the early Murray Rothbard, Noam Chomsky, Kevin Carson, Murray Bookchin, and Charles Johnson all qaulify as examples of what I mean. Anything feeling vaguely like Voltaire, Spinoza, Tom Paine. A golden mean between mean-spirited Objectivist perfectionism and a relativist-pluralist collapse of individualist standards. Basically trying for as open a mind as you can get without the brains falling out in some irrationalist authoritarian mess.

    Rand’s totalism led to a wertfrei overreaction among the Libertarians who she brought into the movement but then presented with impossible demands for intellectual conformity. The result was a libertarian movement without princples which ended up being taken over by establishment power-lusters and bigoted reactionaries.

    We’re starting over and can pick up the good peices of the old movement. Let’s be reasonable and try to do it right (well, better) this time.

    (=) For do we offer not a liberation for leftists as much as we do a left wing for libertarianism? Left-libertarianism has finally given post-leftists somewhere to go.

  24. Roderick T. Long

    Diana Mertz Hsieh and her circle are sometimes interesting

    You mean this jerk?

  25. Nick "Natasha" Manley

    Roderick,

    Reasonable people can disagree about mass murder

    Duh

    On a more serious note: I do find Diana’s steadfastness in pursuit of abortion rights and secularism to be honorable. I link to The Coalition for Secular Government on my website.

    Aster,

    I don’t have much respect for what passes for Randian circles either. I read Lindsey P cheering on a dude telling Chris Sciabarra fuck you for politely questioning the conventional view of colonialism ~ Chris made the “mistake” of challenging the idea that empire was a smashing success marred only by the natives. Alongside your mention of him wanting to deprive welfare recipents of the vote; I’ve pretty much concluded he’s a jerk ~ hopefully, he thinks corporate welfare recipents shouldn’t be able to vote either. At least, he’d be honest and consistent then.

    So sure, I am interested in a movement of people unlike that. If you want to start it then more power to you. It just looks like an uphill battle from where us Yanks are sitting ~ the Porcfest event notwithstanding.

  26. Soviet Onion

    What we need is a group of people with absolutely no interest in looking polite or respectable (like me) to start crashing LP, Ron Paul and Objectivist events and theatrically shaming them, using their own principles as weapons against them. Things like the old Circle Bastiat used to do to conservatives. Some well-placed stunts could help fracture the alliance between libertarians and conservative, and compel the more principled ones to take a stand against assholes like Peregrino and Boortz themselves.

  27. Nick "NataBsha" Manley

    Depending on the context, I wouldn’t mind leafleting or something. I am not a fan of physical intimidation though ~ a la some of the radical activist left’s tactics.

    Bash Back’s storming of a church comes to mind…

  28. Aster

    Soviet ;It may not be possible to win without the Gadsden flag, but it too will have to be abolished.

    Aster: I kept a Gadsden flag hanging next to the door for three years in my S F. Home Sweet Brothel. Nobody treads on me, except of course by Rothbardian contract. If a culturally American in-your-face individualism dies, something in me will die with it.

    I’m in the self-hating-ex-American Pride movement. No borders, no flags, no countries, no nations. I ought to be a metric supremacist and in a different time and place might vote pro-Esperanto.

    Sigh. People is complicated. Everyone has an olive tree and it’s crooked. Culture touches us all, and gets inside you. Jeremy admirably gets this, even if I can’t afford not to wish that he would also percieve other things.

  29. Aster

    Roderick-

    I could never speak to Diana Mertz Hsieh personally; she has given every evidence that she would be needlessly and undeservably cruel were I to do so.

    Diana’s break with Sciabarra was one of the most revolting personal betrayals of trust I have every witnessed. She backstabbed one of my oldest friends. Her betrayal of friends and benefactors objectively merits an icy reception in Caina. Her slime-writhing political flattery deserves a place in Malebolgia’s second ditch right next to Thais, you whore.

    Moreover, just showing her the mirror (take what you want and pay for it) and telling it like it is, she screams rich spoiled brat with Catholic schoolgirl issues.

    I still think she’s done some really good work with her Coalition for Secular Government, for which she has my gratitude. I have no interest in her other vulgar libertarian personal causes. She does have one of the most intelligent minds in the Randian ‘verse, let alone the Orthodox Objectivist community, which is not a natural abode for anyone who thinks for themselves and independently percieves reality. She is an also an impressibly formidable woman in their world, and that gets my synthesist-feminist respect. I just hope the Price she paid after doing her three days standing in the snow outside the gates of the ARI was worth it.

    Her treatment of you in that letter is unjustly condescending; she’s nearly as out of line talking of you this way as Stephan Kinsella is when he goes out of his way to treat Kevin Carson as a social inferior.

    On the contents of that debate, I’m somewhere in the middle. I very greatly agree with you that Rand was loose with cusuistry, or at least was often so outside of her fiction- she could be a true literary artist on the issue when she wanted to be. I will admit that my judgement calls on the Cold War, Israel/Palestine, and We the Living cases in question lean a little towards her positions and to the right of what most left-libertarians would likely find comfortable. I absolutely disagree with Ayn Rand’s endorsement of American exceptionalism. I can deeply forgive her on this one, as a matter of an immigrant’s love for her shore of refuge, but Rand’s contemporary followers have no such excuses and their apologies for the American empire and its atrocities, and for Israel’s atrocities, is indeed not a matter upon which reasonable people can disagree. And I’m not sure I wish to understand the Orthodox Objectivist love affair with nuclear weapons.

    I liked Diana Mertz Brickell much better; she said a couple of very good sentences on feminism which helped guide my thinking in direction which I’m very glad to have been find and keep. Diana Mertz Hsieh has unfortunately repudiated that good work, but it was good.

    ~=~

    On a different issue, I wish to entirely concede your position on the ethics debate, even if your and Johnson’s terminology is somewhat more respectable than I can personally feel comfortable with.

    There is a moral logos.

    If you wish to hear my excuse for not seeing it, it is simply because my life has previous shown scarce evidence of it. My biological father brought me up very strictly on the notion that there was a Right Way and a Wrong Way to do things. I rejected his Cavalier Anglo-Catholic Bourgeois version of it when I was 4. When I found Ayn Rand, I thought that this was the real thing (and like most Objectivists and Americans, didn’t recognise that there are different ways to say it in different languages; Chris Sciabarra helped my through that process in philosophy).

    I’ve felt for quite a long time that the world continually demands of me adherence to my part of a social contract which it has no intention of keeping for its part. The gross failure of American individualism and Objectivism to follow through on their deepest principles and promises broke my faith in metaphysics. The gross failure of New Zealand’s sex worker subculture (with the honourable exception of the serene Catherine Healy of NZPC) to keep its version of the same, as well as one unfortunate incident, broke what was left of my view of this world as a place where anything echoes back from ethical perception.

    It is only the actions of the left-libertarian community, the love of my uberkwel neo-mom (she’s 56 and rides a motor scooter!!) and the kindness of the Kiwi and Thai people which have shown me that, indeed, there is an objective reality which is open to all who will honestly perceive. I want it added to the record in marble that I’ve seen and recognise this, and am prepared to be judged for any future evasions of this awareness. I merely ask others to forgive me for being obvious troll about it while I’m learning; rehabituation is a process and takes time.

    I do think I’m within my rights to mention the fact that Aristotle won the 4th Century B.C.E. laurels for Worst Sexist Wanker, which doesn’t precisely encourage a pro-sex feminist to look to The philosopher for practical wisdom. Especially when Rand’s male-identified only-girl-in-the-room issues were probably encouraged by Aristotle as much as Nietzsche. There is a voice in my head continually telling me that the one Trojan with a brain (who kinda proved to be, um, right) has a point. I certainly oppose the kind of feminism which identifies patriarchy with reason, but no one has yet been able to offer a version of reason completely untainted by patriarchy, or a feminism completely untainted by distrust of rationality. That is a great shame.

    Q: (if you’ve the time): You and Charles have convinced me that there’s a moral logos. If I understand you correctly, you believe in a metaphysical logos, and I’ve never read any reason to doubt that you agree with Rand’s position that cosmology needed to be thrown out of philosophy (my own opinions here are complicated). I think there is a political logos, and that left-libertarianism is showing every sign of being a ZOMG advance in humanity’s historical apprehension of the real thing.

    Do you believe there is an aesthetic logos?

  30. Stephan Kinsella

    Aster, I happen to agree with you re Hsieh’s treatment of Sciabarra, and defended him and critizied her at the time (see my Objectivism Schism Form Letter, where I noted the funny “Official Solo Schism Form Letter”, which “lampoon[ed] Objectivist nobody Diana Mertz Hsieh, who felt compelled to Officially, Publicly Break with a former Objectivist friend, the brilliant Chris Sciabarra (who is a decent, sincere, honest person who did not deserve to be treated like this), and to justify it by printing his private correspondence to her and a set of charges to any normal person would appear very bizarre”); she banned me from her blog, for mocking an article critical of my views, when I wrote, “I hereby announce my “official” disagreement with this. Is this sufficient, or do I need to file this in some Registrar of Official Disagreements?”).

    As for Carson, I certainly do not regard him as a “social inferior” (I can’t recall ever having given this question much thought, but I suppose I only regard criminals as my “social inferior”) and do not believe I have ever implied this. If Kevin thinks I have, I would be happy to retract and apologize, or clarify. In fact I think his work is worth discussing and I intend to critique an aspect of it in an upcoming article.

  31. Stephan Kinsella

    Aster, also, note that I have politely and respectfully promoted Kevin’s work, e.g. in this post (and was privately savaged in email by people for doing this—I don’t care).

  32. Aster

    Stephan-

    You’re a better man than I thought, and I’m glad to know it. I appreciate you efforts to give Kevin his due.

    We may have to speak sometime on the issue of criminality, but at a latter time of your convenience. It’s a little ironic that my primary engagements at the moment are entirely in accordance with New Zealand law.

    And, like I said, I guess you’re on our irrelevant subculturalist team too. It takes all kinds.

  33. Gary Chartier

    What is by now an aside that connects with a much earlier moment in this conversation (I haven’t been back for a day or two).

    Nick writes: “Adam seemed happy being a scientist without having to manage the business he worked for ~ I agree with him that university meetings where you’re effectively one of the bosses must suck.”

    I confess I’m puzzled by this. A democratically organized workplace can surely have representative structures. Such structures leave Adam, and you, free to spend very little time—at the extreme end, none—on governance matters, while leaving others free to participate as much as they like.

    I think it is an unrelieved glory of university life (even more so at traditional Oxbridge, though that’s been subverted in recent years) that academics get to govern themselves. I can’t imagine wanting to work in any other kind of setting. I can certainly imagine someone not wanting to go to the excess of meetings to which Oscar Wilde objected (and, again, any serious representative structure will leave everyone free to skip the meetings). But why think being able to contribute on an ongoing basis to shaping the policies governing the institutional environment in which one works would suck?

  34. Stephan Kinsella

    Aster, “We may have to speak sometime on the issue of criminality, but at a latter time of your convenience. It’s a little ironic that my primary engagements at the moment are entirely in accordance with New Zealand law.”

    I was speaking of course of criminal in the libertarian sense of committing aggression against people, not in the positivist sense of violating state law. And I do regard (real) criminals, by and large, as social inferiors. That’s why it’s okay to shoot them.

  35. Jeremy

    On Arthur Silber- I deeply wish he could tone down the obsessive self-referentialism and throwaway despair of his writings, because he’s a very good thinker at his best, and he’s nearly impossible to link to or promote in his current form.

    Aster, I could never agree with you as much as I agree with you right there. Very well said. What a fucking human tragedy. There’s something subtly but profoundly alienating about what we do on these web pages that we submit HTTP POST requests to.

    Culture touches us all, and gets inside you. Jeremy admirably gets this, even if I can’t afford not to wish that he would also percieve other things.

    Maybe this is the wrong place for that conversation, but I would like to know what I’m not getting. What other things? I thought we differed less on values than priorities, less on positions than on constructions. Feel free to email me (first name + 6 + d at gmail).

    There is a moral logos.

    Alright; so my question is, how do you go about demonstrating this? This is the practical dilemma that moved me in a more subjectivist/relativist strategic direction (although not on morality; to me, this is a social construct without inherent meaning). I got tired of “my truth” serving more as a barrier that led me to anger and outrage than as a light guiding my actions and life.

    I believe fervently that there is a logos. My relativism comes about because of two states of the human condition that I cannot reconcile with a universalist politics. First, words are insufficient to communicate about the logos effectively. Communication about the logos is only approachable in my experience through an extensive personal relationship with another, where we can connect using a wider emotional and experiential vocabulary. Why even bother wrapping my words in appeals to the logos when I know that what the other is hearing is not the logos?

    Second, if there is a universal absolute, how in the hell do I understand it well enough to promote it to others? Aren’t I better served by keeping my eyes open, by trying through my experience to understand the nuance of this logos, of trying to learn from how others experience and realize it, than to merely preach it as if I had it figured out? If life is just about what I think, then I’ll be checking out now, thank you. But in practice, there is a rich tapestry we can experience and learn from if only we don’t take our own identity as a collection of beliefs too seriously, and open up to the undifferentiated logos.

    I think that attitude yields what is an operative relativism: my beliefs are my beliefs, and I either take responsibility for their contingent, uncertain nature or I reify them, identify with them, and block myself off even further from the logos. There’s no point worrying about whether something as arbitrary as a “belief” is right or wrong, because they aren’t composed on moral bases, but on the functional bases of trying to approach this ideal we cannot fully connect with. Beliefs are merely expedient, temporary nodes where competing doubts cancel each other out and yield actionable constructs for living my life and dealing with the other.

    Sometimes I say “people are more important than politics”. Maybe people are more important than truth. But I suspect our abstractions lead us to falsely separate people from truth, as if there’s some platonic world in which our politics matter more than this one. Once you’ve taken away the medium for experiencing truth - which is “the otherself”, the reflection of yourself available in 6 billion different versions - you’re articulating a vision that can’t exist on this planet. And it’s only on this planet, in this life, and with these people that freedom, liberty, and life will have any meaning. As much as they hurt and confound us, to escape them is to give up on any kind of accessible logos.

  36. Nick "Natasha" Manley

    Gary,

    I don’t want to be pushed around in an environment I have no say over. What I was meant was just that I am a pretty introverted person ~ am not one for excess meetings. I wasn’t really sure about what precise institutional structure I wanted. I was mostly fishing in concretes rather than normative principles ~ although, I suppose my concern for the kind of abuse that can flow from authority implies a normative principle.

    So yes; I essentially agree! Governing yourself is a good thing indeed. I was also thinking of things I’d heard about nasty university politics…

    Something you can no doubt speak with much more authority about. I do celebrate the independence of academics where such independence exists.

  37. Gary Chartier

    Nick,

    No claims to authority here. I agree completely that one shouldn’t have to confront structural or (perhaps more subtle) emotional pressure to participate enthusiastically in meetings.

    Yes, academic politics can be nasty. (Cp. the multiply attributed adage—a variant of Sayre’s Law, that academic politics are so nasty because the stakes are so low.) I speak from painful experience. But so can politics in hospitals. And for-profit corporations. So I don’t think this is a distinctively academic liability.

    Clearly, a desirable social world would leave lots of room for people who prefer to work independently, outside of institutional environments, and for those in organizations who’d rather leave the actual business of governing to others. I just hope even the introverts won’t be denied opportunities to participate when they want to.

  38. Nick "Natasha" Manley

    I have an emotional pull towards Arthur’s self-referencing and throwaway despair, but that’s because American politics makes me feel the same way.

    Few other subjects make me as neurotic. And as all of you know: I am only half “sane” ( :

  39. Nick "Natasha" Manley

    “So to many of those who voted for Obama, including all those liberals and progressives who now not only fail to oppose his policies of barbarism and death but cheer themselves hoarse with shouts of approval for ongoing murder and destruction (see the Laura Flanders article excerpted here), as well as to all those who attempt to minimize or find excuses for the many crimes of today and tomorrow, I say: Congratulations. Your assimilation has been successful. You are now part of the Hive Mind.

    Some of us saw all this, and we therefore declined to vote for Obama. For identical reasons, we refused to vote for McCain. “A Choice of War Criminals” is no choice at all, not if one values innocent life and the honor of being human. But many of those who insisted that all “decent” people must vote for Obama dismissed our concerns, or attempted to marginalize and minimize them. They said we weren’t “realistic.”

    To all such people, I say: you yourselves were certainly “realistic.” I would suggest that one other element of what now unfolds is also realistic: the blood that drips from your hands, and the nightmares that ought to sear your souls.

    There’s realism for you, you miserable sons of bitches.”

    http://powerofnarrative.blogspot.com/2009/05/borg-welcomes-its-new-members.html

    That’s “me” when I read apologetic naive stuff about Obama. I am a vindictive guy sometimes. What can I say? ( :

  40. Aster

    Stephan-

    We’re on precisely the same page of the rules. Kewl.

    Just please keep in mind that there are sex workers, psychotropic merchants, undocumented immigrants, customs evaders, copyright pirates, tax-free informal economy marketeers, and other people used to being called and often used to thinking themselves as ‘criminals’ among us. So the language of ‘criminals’ as opposed to, say, ‘coercers’, or ‘aggressors’ can with no ill intention accidentally offend people with solid libertarian credentials, and linguistically prop up statist conceptual divisions.

    We’re NOT better than you straight folks, but remember: we are the ones most likely to end up in the Empire’s prisons or have other unfortunate incidents happen to us. You don’t have to go out of your way to help us unless it’s in your self-interest to do so; all we’ve really a right to ask for is a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T. You’re showing that, and it’s awesome.

    And we’re on your side on important things. Most of the guys here know their Mises and Rockwell pretty well, and Kevin Carson… well, what can I say? He’s not Mises’ enemy. Anything but. He’s just doing what all intellectual innovators have to do- learning from the teachers who have taught them how to think and proving it by going one step beyond his master. We raise our children to leave us.

    (The “Official Solo Schism Form Letter” is OMG I can’t stop laughing. Everyone with any kind of humour in them owes it to themselves to read it all the way through:

    http://www.objectivistliving.com/forums/index.php?s=bc1eae004766a3f67baa3b6814dff73a&showtopic=494&view=findpost&p=3908 )

    ~=~

    Jeremy-

    I think I owe you that conversation some time over a cup of beverage. Is Skype good for you? I’m aster_francesca, and back in NZ I usually leave a window open.

    But, as you were kind enough to allow me to, I’d prefer to wait a few months on this. I’m just too tired at the moment. And I owe Marja a virtual AD&D2E campaign first (she’s escaping a totalitarian state in the middle of a WW2 Eastern front hellbath, and her tiefling 2nd level character has a rat’s tail). I hope we can find a time which suits you.

    I’ll just for now suggest Ayn Rand’s piece ‘Philosophy: Who Needs It’, given to a class of West Point graduates. Looking past her enabling sanction of the imperial military-industrial complex, her out-of-line dismissal of Emerson, and her Amero/Eurocenticism, it’s a great essay.

    http://gos.sbc.edu/r/rand.html

    On the logos:

    Jeremy, I believe I have good reasons for my emphasis humanity’s ability to know the truth. I believe that I have very, very good reasons for drawing the Jeffersonian lines I do in the public or political sphere.

    But I hear you, meaning It. Word. I mean it 200% with my social demand that the Enlightenment complete its unfinished project and apply to everyone, and everywhere. But I wrestle with the same questions as you every day- some of things which in your language are nouns are verbs in mine, ditto singular vs. plural, ditto feminine vs. masculine, etc. But I see the problem and don’t know how to deal with it. I certainly can’t deal with it with any direct words.

    And as a feminist, even the part of me that thinks that I ought to be a free-and-clear perfect Randian rationalist atheist (and she wasn’t quite perfect, if you read some of her posthumously published early letters) is slightly and prudently skeptical of unalloyed rationalism Roderick Long, for instance, is a perfect philosophe, a better feminist than most feminists who happen to be girls, and he incidentally makes very uncharacteristically obscure statements on logos issues. He’s stood up for me with a final whiz-bang spectacular firecracker last major battle of the Left-Libertarian Civil War, and he’s like an actual professor with a title and everything (Left-libertarianism could use a bit of establishment cred).

    But, as a feminist, I can never entirely forget the warning of that one Trojan with a brain. I don’t share Rand’s contempt for mysticism. I’ve seen some very, very strange things in my checkered life and had things work out when they shouldn’t have, in a manner suspiciously like a plot, despite the fact that it’s philosophically absurd to suggest a Script. And I did live in a temple in San Francisco for three years, I did keep an altar, and I’m sure the good people at the local Magic Box(=2) were ROTFL at the superstitious new-convert-syndrome Witch busily keeping the local idol economy going.

    There are more things in Earth and Heaven than are dreamt of in their philosophy.

    ~=~

    To Objectivism:

    (This is Payback Time to a dozen bastards whose names I don’t remember and don’t want to remember. Perigo himself never wronged me, but he’s been enough of a monumentalist to so many people that he’s fit to try on the slipper and see if it fits. Anyone who wants to spam these words to any Objectivist individual or group who has acted the same way to them is free to fwd with my compliments, and with due credit to the author, miss ‘Jeanine Ring’.)

    I think it’s overdue that I showed the mirror to a group of people who expensively deserve it.

    Objectivists: You didn’t lose me because of your strictly rational philosophy, which really was better than mine, but because your culture takes after Rand (who had excuses) and makes an art out of breaking the ladder after you’ve climbed up. And when you close the doors of social mobility, you end up with an inbred crazy class of absolute monumentacephalids running the place. Which means that after a couple of generations nearly everyone in your family turns out philosophically sterile. The paleolibertarians put out more original work than you do. Hell, the national anarchists(!) are more competent as philosophers these days.

    Objectivists: You spent TEN YEARS snubbing a saintly man who dedicated his life to getting every essential of your philosophy a seat at the table in the Ivory Tower, at great potential cost to his own career, while asking nothing from you but that you listen to his clearly presented truth. You watched and for the most part did nothing while the worst among you attacked him with sick homophobic bigotry, even while he was saying nothing about it because he considered what he was doing for YOU more important than the nasty slights he received along the way.

    He lived up to all your standards AND knows music better than I could do if I got bitten by a vamp (=3) and unlived to be 200. And then you THREW HIM OUT by means of personal treachery and because of his very mild and respectful criticisms of your dripping bloodlust for democidal warfare (y’know, MASS MURDER, MILLIONS of lives lost) which you have consistently collaborated with so shamelessly someone really ought to drag you out on a dark night and shave your hair down to bleeding stubble.

    SHAME. Trader principle= EPIC FAIL.

    You are living in the past, and had best learn how to deal with today, and today’s political scene. Getting the clue that most real artistic innovation is done by headbanging caterwaul bands would help. If you don’t get with times, objective reality will see to it that you become reduced to embarassing ceremonial remnantsm, which it mostly already has. We, the left-libertarians, can and will do everything you were supposed to do and do it better, and we’re keeping our spaceship together with duck tape, while YOU have squandered all the advantages of having been born with a silver spoon lodged deeply up your tight ass. If you guys tried to walk your talk you’d end up accidentally hanging yourself with your own bootstraps. Suggestions of group-wank mental masturbation intended.

    Enjoy your corporate white-collar-slave jobs. Enjoy your McMansions in Orange County (can San Francisco please secede just so we don’t have to share a room with those terks?). Enjoy your CEO status while you have it, James Taggart; just remember how that turned out for him in Act III. Enjoy your Gail Wynand zillions, if you’ve the sense to get your money out of $US before the American economy goes totally Weimar while you’re not paying attention. The smart guys among you already took their trips to Switzerland.

    Enjoy the mistresses you take while denouncing prostitution as absence-of-integrity-incarnate. Enjoy the classist pseudo-self-esteem you prance around with, playing internet tough guy. Just remember that Howard Roark wasn’t too good to work in a quarry, and Dominique Francon knew quality when she saw it, even if the suffering proletarian she really cared about worked with his hands, didn’t speak as their deans, and had a hammer and a nail. I just hope that when you give thanks to the host and he says his after dinner lines to you that you think the Price was worth it. Personally, you twits, I think it’s about time you went off to shoot yourselves. You’re not the One they say you are.

    Enjoy the Empire you’ve idolised. Enjoy your Faux News gigs on Pravda with Bill O’Reilly. Enjoy the Land of the They Think They Are Free. You’re more American than the President. Your good American innocence is so very touching (and you wonder why we still don’t trust the farang!? Oi!/…meshuggah)(=4). Oh, and if any of you wake up a little too late to the objective fact that your country’s turning into a totalitarian dictatorship, don’t even try getting a ticket out from me. It’s been tried, thrice. I’ve already turned down what would have probably been a six figure offer, not to mention a couple of tragically impossible requests from people of quality who are actually worth turning the boat around for before the ship goes down.

    The Fountainhead= MISSING THE POINT. EPIC FAIL.

    You’ve learned Rand’s worst habits well, but you aren’t fit to wash the toenails of the Great Woman you worship in your Anglo-gilded white-picket-fence non-church churches. Which you should have built according to the architectural specifications she carefully suggested for New York City’s Temple of the Human Spirit. You’re a disgrace to reality, to reason, to egoism, to liberty, and let’s even not talk about what you did to romanticism. Speaking of which: Michael Newberry, you’re a real romantic artist, and I deeply respect you for it, but your bigoted attitude towards prostitution has no excuse whatsoever, not if you actually read the books you read, or look at the paintings you paint, or dig the poetry you skillfully deploy as a rape-culture weapon. Ever hire a model for a portrait?

    BIG EXCEPTIONS. ROLL CALL OF HONOUR:

    Lady Barbara ben Rand, Marsha Enright (deep and humble bow), Jennifer Ianollo (who rocks), Robert Malcolm, Adam Reed (Int 20, Wis 17, Cha 3d6=18), Joshua Zader (deep bow… great website!), and everyone else who isn’t the problem who I apologise for forgetting to mention excepted. There are Objectivists who are among the best human beings in the world, and some of them… well, you know. I respect and regret your errors in judgment, and many people have the truest of reasons for their commitments to the Objectivist movement. Please excuse me, however, if I must finally say goodbye to you all. Left-libertarianism has done what you could not.

    But there is a problem, and it’s as obvious as the purplish-black buboes growing on most of your necks. And if you don’t fix it, the person who will be hurt the most is the Great Woman, First-Rank-Philosopher, Hollywood Actress, immortal Ayn Rand, whose current status as Valkerie and demigoddess is beyond question. You’ve done more to discredit her than all the William F. Buckleys and Whittaker Chambers (I didn’t need that thought… ew) of the world ever could. She deserves a Heaven and Hell of a lot better, and I for one would like to see a movement which did a beautiful, magnificent, adequate, job of promoting and exploring the ideas of a dead white girl of world-historical significance. What in Midgard is wrong with you all? And this means YOU, Randroid 7-2521, du din förbannade bortskämda snorunge: you’ve managed to make one of the greatest poet-philosophers of the XX century a headache to even think about.

    EPIC FAIL doesn’t quite cover it. You guys burn violas for firewood.

    ~=~

    Thanks, Stephan, I’ve been wanting to say that for years.

    ~=~

    (=1) And thanx to whatever counter-economist took the trouble to transrcibe this piece online! That takes courage. We all know that ARI are (or used to be) as bad as the old They Sue Regularly with their obsessive enforcement of illibertarian copyright laws. Of course they hate left-libertarians. Even the highest and noblest of Objectivist Orthodoxy knows full well that their fortune rests on the state propping up the virtual land titles they inherited from the Adventurer who did her hard work of clearing the stones and building the house for their intellectual estate. But I’m more than prepared to overlook the issue for those Randians who really live up her vision of what man might be and ought to be for. No one who wants to live in the world bites(==3) the hand that feeds them. But no double standards, please.

    (=2) http://www.ancientways.com/ Please patronise. They’re very good people and the Bay Area won’t be the same if the current re…pression hurts them too much. And please give my best to the girl there who worships Freya, who I shall exceptionally admire for as long as I live, and who I miss more than everything and everyone else in North America.

    (=3, ==3)Consensual vampirism doesn’t count (provided a Rothbardian contract, explicit or engraved invitation implicit).

    Unfortunately, I’ve never previously been in a situation (sharing blood=NO) where I’ve trusted anyone enough to go above-and-beyond code for that kind of fantasy. Dru’… Darla… Spike… Lestat… =yes. I think I’m going to faint.

    (=4) Oh, and there are plenty of racists in Randistan. Usually of the scientific racist we’ll-let-you-Jews-at-the-top-of-our-racist-pyramid-if-you’ll-help-us-screw-the-brown-and-black-people variety (how dumb do they think their intended shaftees are?). I won’t mention names due to some personal good deeds. But, FYI, it’s revolting. And- ho yay!- racism is still alive out there in Whitopia… a lout of guys have said things to me when they show me who they really are which they wouldn’t say in public when any actual human was involved. And it’s not rare. It’s like about 1 in 3, which is coincidentally the rule of thumb ratio low-class prostitutes give for what percentage of the male populations can be expected to act like jerks. And yes, I just smile and nod.

  41. Araglin

    I don’t share Rand’s contempt for mysticism. I’ve seen some very, very strange things in my checkered life and had things work out when they shouldn’t have, in a manner suspiciously like a plot, despite the fact that it’s philosophically absurd to suggest a Script…

    There are more things in Earth and Heaven than are dreamt of in their philosophy.

    WORD.

    Incidentally, it’s for quite similar reasons that I think Plato ultimately pwns Aristotle (whose four-cause explanatory schema can only operate within the immanent field of intracosmic relatiy); J.G. Hamann beats Kant; and the Late Wittgenstein beats the Early.

    *Altough, even Aristotle’s metaphysics is rent by an aporia: is metaphysics the study of being in general or the study of first being? cf. Booth, Aristotle’s Aporetic Ontology)

  42. Aster

    Araglin-

    With all due respect, I must strongly voice my support for Aristotle in what Leonard Peikoff called the great duel of Western civilisation.

    But I’m physically exhausted, and must get to sleep now or my neo-mom will kill me in the morning. So I’ll discuss the real issues some other time. With your leave, I’ll merely relate the words of a favourite(=) philosopher:

    We like to talk big. Vampires do. ‘I’m going to destroy the world.’ That’s just tough guy talk. Strutting around with your friends over a pint of blood. The truth is, I like this world. You’ve got… dog racing, Manchester United. And you’ve got people. Billions of people walking around like Happy Meals with legs. It’s all right here. But then someone comes along with a vision. With a real… passion for destruction. Angel could pull it off. Goodbye, Picadilly. Farewell, Leicester Bloody Square. You know what I’m saying?

    Goodnight. I’m not going anywhere. And see you at the season finale.

    ~ Aster

    (=) Before his unfortunate Abelardian accident in season IV.

  43. Roderick T. Long

    I must strongly voice my support for Aristotle in what Leonard Peikoff called the great duel of Western civilisation.

    If there’s a great duel of Western civilisation, I suspect Plato and Aristotle are on the same side of it 64.3% of the time.

    Before his unfortunate Abelardian accident in season IV.

    He was tried for heresy?

  44. Araglin

    Aster:

    With all due respect, I must strongly voice my support for Aristotle in what Leonard Peikoff called the great duel of Western civilisation.

    Roderick:

    If there’s a great duel of Western civilisation, I suspect Plato and Aristotle are on the same side of it 64.3% of the time.

    Well, if my Neo-Platonic Masters (Proclus, Iamblichus, Pseudo-Dyonisius the Areopage, and Aquinas, Meister Eckhart, Vico, Pico de Mirandola, and Nicholas of Cusa)* are right, Plato and Aristotle were actually on the same side 99.99% of the time! But, since they’re probably not right — on that point at least — and because I didn’t write a dissertation on Aristotle’s theory of future contingents, I’ll retreat to my fallback position that, when Plato and Aristotle do differ, neither one is systematically more right than the other.

    Aster - So as to spare me the hazard of googling ‘pint of blood’ or ‘destroy the world’ (and thus raising any more red flags with the Authorities than I have to), would you mind telling me the source of your interesting vampire quotation? I imagine it’s from Angel, or is it from Buffy?

    • Aster - Please note the conspicuous absence of Augustine from my list of Masters, proving that I have learned my lesson about invoking him in your prescence! :) More substantively, I think Augustine may have got some of his metaphysics wrong because of the unfortunate fact that his Plato was mediated to him via the (in many ways evil) Plotinus and Porphyry — who (with their doctrine of the only-semi-descended-soul) really do occasionally fall into the sort of despising-materiality-and-bodily-existence/afterworldsmen-like errors condemned by Nietzsche and his heirs.
  45. Soviet Onion

    Araglin,

    Oh come on. What kind of educated person hasn’t read the works of the esteemed Blondie Bear?

    Note: the key to his identity is in the word “pint”.

    Rod,

    You expect me to believe that? Everyone knows 89.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

  46. Soviet Onion

    Aster, Nick and everybody else,

    Why I Fight, for real, or at least the spirit of why I do.

    Which is a Hell of a lot more palatable than the fallback attitude of “showing the schemers how pathetic their attempts to control things really are” that I feel on my uglier and more hopeless days.

  47. Soviet Onion

    I just recently noticed that I’m starting to have fewer of those days.

  48. Roderick T. Long

    Excessively otherworldly/dualist/idealist/intrinsicist/rationalist viewpoints and excessively reductionist/materialist/psychologistic/subjectivist/empiricist viewpoints are both relatively easy to fall into (especially if one backs into one of them in the course of combating the other), because finding a stable middle ground between and/or dialectical transcendence of these opposed standpoints is philosophically quite tricky, and often slips through a thinker’s fingers just when it seemed they’d almost gotten it nailed down.

    Case in point: I think one of Plato’s central insights was that logical principles can’t be grounded in anything more basic than themselves — but the form (pun intended) in which he chose to express this insight, the Realm of Forms, ended up trying to ground logical principles in something more basic after all, namely these metaphysical entities the Forms.

  49. Stephan Kinsella

    Aster, interesting rant. You may also enjoy The 25 Most Inappropriate Things An Objectivist Can Say During Sex. It’s quite funny.

    As for Carson, he does build on Mises and it is good that he has important insights on corporatism, IP, etc., but I disagree with many of his foundational views in particular his mutualist views on land and property rights. I think it is not progress but rather retrogression from standard Lockean views on property—but that is a substantive, respectful disagreement. I’ll have more to say on this later in other fora.

  50. Stephan Kinsella

    Aster, for your roll call of honor—aren’t some of the people you praise the Randroid pro-war types?

  51. Aster

    everyone-

    There are too many things on this thread which I would like to and ought to reply to, but regrettably can’t due to reasons of time, ZOMG Bangkok and mom (%#$@@#!! prayers being answered).

    360d a few temples (turnwise), lost my shoes like eight times, wild tuk-tuk rides with aforesaid neo-mom (I HEART TUK-TUKS), already been scammed once (very clever, almost worth it), body massage=upper planes. I likes.

    Araghlin, I owe you a conversation sometime not now when I’ve time. As for St, Augie (my ex’s name, not mine)…. I shouldn’t have gotten upset at you. Look, I’m just keeping sisterhood. He did someone vaguely related to me a bad turn over a zillion years ago, so like a good Southerner I have to get all upset about it. And he and Aquinas both said some with-firends-like-these lines that have not precisely been appreciated where I come from. But I appreciate the grace you show in not taking offense.

    Still daggers over abortion, tho’. But since were under different tsates ann everyone knows the left-libertarian consensus is pro-choice on… anything, I see no reason or profit in bringing it up.

    As a Christian, I have one very, very important question to ask of you:

    Do monks still play chess?

  52. Aster

    Araglin.

    The author of this quote was William the Bloody, nom de guerre ‘Spike’, played by James Marsters.

    There are a couple of videos I’d like to post but… I just recieved two emails that threw my mood, and I don’t have the energy to write and find things at present.

· June 2009 ·

  1. Araglin

    Aster, thanks for your kindly response to my ribbing vis-a-vis Augustine.

    When bucking the left-libertarian consensus (such as it is) I try+ to do so respectfully, because I learn a great deal in these quarters even (or perhaps especially) from those with whom I don’t entirely agree — and I, therefore, don’t want to gratuitously piss people off.

    To my lights, then, ‘daggers’ are fine with me — so long as the belligerants are honorable and so long as the proper dueling protocals are strictly observed by all.

    I’m not sure whether monks still play chess, but I should hope so (!). This reminds me of a joke I heard recently, which I thought pretty funny:

    Q: Why don’t Anglicans play chess well? A: They can’t tell a bishop from a queen.

    By the way, I managed to work out the source of your ‘Spike’ quotation once I had Soviet Onion’s clue to go on.

    Regards, Araglin

    • It would be ideal if even weighty, hotly-contested issues could be discussed in a spirit of ‘raillery,’ but my own zeal-for-ideological-purity (to riff on one of Jeremy’s formulations, I think) sometimes gets in the way of that.
  2. Aster

    Stephan-

    Yes, I have great respect for some Ranidans who support America’s imperial wars, but not because they support these wars.

    My own position on war is very complicated. I think that war is close to the heart of the state, patriarchy, heirarchy, and tribalism- th Big Bads- that it is the neccesities of war, made into virtues, which make what Riane Eisler called a ‘dominator society’ inevitable.

    On the other hand, I am a realist. I’ve physically fought for my life and have no illusions about what happens to pacifists when the Man or the mob picks up a torch and comes at you. I believe that there exist evils of such horror and magnitude that it is better to use means with inherently and severely destructive secondary consequences- including to oneself- in order to deter or put an end to them. On this I agree with Chris Hedges and Ellen Willis. I favour both the progressive rollback of the martial mentality and the (preferably coldly instrumental) use of force and violence if there is no other effective way to stop slavery or genocide.

    And yes, I am aware that my position does not differ greatly in principle from that of, say, Jeane Kilpatrick’s neoconservatism. That has something to do with the fact that the Cold War was initially directly prosecuted by relatively progressive and highly educated liberals who saw no way to defeat the monstrously bloody and absolutely dishonourable totalitarian Communist monster without losing moral scruples about getting bloody hands. These people won- the Soviet Union was deterred and destroyed- and they also became something like the monster they fought… and their successors, Bush II and Obama (and suspect ush I did worse than I’ve read) finished the transformation. Yes, we both wish that libertarians had been runnings things or that anarchist defense forces were already in place and that other better possibilities had existed at that historical moment. But they did not. or at least all claims I’ve read to the contrary have scented of ideological, wishful, ignorant, or naive thinking. And I’ve seen the math, talked to Eastern European migrants, and can only come to the conclusion that sometimes war is neccese est.

    I very much hope, however, that I’m wrong, and that my Operative-from-Serenity ethic is just another nasty facet of my upbringing which I ought to and will overcome.

    On judgment calls, I’m pretty far to the antiwar side. I think America’s involvement in the Native American wars, the Mexican-American war, the Spanish-American War, WW I, Vietnam, Nicarauga, Panama, and both Gulf Wars were all unjustifiable aggressions. I think what the U.S. is doing in Iraq today is a democide, a senseless and vicious Stalingrad the size of a nation. I think that while some kind of intervention in Afghanistan could have been justified, the current involvement is a sick, cynical, and simply stupid game played at the expense of innocent lives. I think that the American Empire has become a monster which needs to fail- but hopefully not in such a way which constricts the global exchange of goods and ideas, or creates a power vacuum which would be filled by America’s still more brutal competititors… altho’ at this point, there’s not much difference left between the various oligarchical collectivisms.

    None of this stops me from respecting- say- Tim Starr, an anarcho-Objectivist who is OK on feminism, great on childrens’ and sex workers’ rights, and so deeply committed to a pro-war position that he gave a speech in which he told an audience- and I absolutely believe him- that he would have personally volunteered for American military service in Afghanistan if his health had permitted him. I think he’s wrong on a deeply serious issue, but for deeply serious reasons, and he’s stood up bravely against a great deal of (in my view, correct) libertarian criticism. But he’s an extremely rational thinker who can toss 2 and 3 together and get 5 earlier than I could. Unfortunately, deeply rational people can make stoopid decisions about very important things. Socrates, for instance, was an idiot not to pull connexions and get the Hades out of Dodge.

  3. Friend of Liberty KC

    (Inspired by Aster’s comments but addressed to all)

    Prefatory note: I am very interested in revisionist history about the actual threat posed by the Soviet Union. The fact that a command economy can’t function for human beings in reality meant it was doomed to defeat. I quote the honorable Chris Sciabarra here:

    “Rand had long believed that the Soviet Union was a primitive country, doomed to economic stagnation and systemic collapse. She had once excoriated Ronald Reagan for invoking “fear” of the Soviets, for “exaggerat[ing] the power of the most incompetent nation in the world,” which was “not a patriotic service to the United States” (“The Moral Factor”). Her Objectivist Newsletter had featured a series of review essays by various writers who had argued that the parasitic Soviets had stolen military and other technology from the West, and that it was U.S. foreign policy that had stabilized the regime. Drawing from John T. Flynn’s book, The Roosevelt Myth, Barbara Branden stressed that FDR was inspired by Bismarck, Mussolini, and Hitler in establishing a liberal corporatist “New Deal” that further devastated a depressed economy (The Objectivist Newsletter, December 1962). Provoking war in the Pacific, Roosevelt used “national defense” as a pretext for resolving the unemployment problem by drafting American boys to fight and die in foreign wars, while sending $11 billion in Lend-Lease assistance to the Soviets, and developing secret post-war agreements with Stalin to surrender nearly three-quarters of a billion people into communist slavery. (Rand herself believed that this strategy made Russia “the only winner” of World War II [“The Shanghai Gesture, Part I”]. She also questioned the wisdom of entering that war’s European theater on the side of the Soviets-suggesting that a Nazi-Soviet conflict might have severely weakened the victor [e.g., see “Communism and HUAC” in Journals of Ayn Rand].)”

    I am trying to remember the early Cold War figures. Truman would be one. He did integrate the armed forces and pushed for medicare/medicaid or something. The Truman doctrine stated that the U.S. would assist any government under threat from a communist force. Unfortunately, the government supported in Greece was a fascist military junta populated by rightists who were in bed with the Nazis ~ the Communists fought the Nazi occupation and then the right during the following Greek civil war. My mom actually wrote her master’s journalism thesis on the New York Times coverage of the conflict. She knew a Stalinist/leftist guy who fought both the Nazis and rightists. He had a Communist accountant and spited Nixon’s daughter when she came into his shop.

    The sad and ironic truth is that the regimes supported during the Cold War were nowhere near liberal democracy or social democracy of any kind. The early coups were against people engaged in social democratic actions like nationalizing foreign owned industry or taking control of unused land to redistribute it to poor peasants ~ United Fruit in Guatemala. I’ve heard facts that do suggest they were generally more authoritarian than leftists will let on ~ Noam Chomsky is horrible to read on say the autocratic tendencies of Allende but great on Pinochet.

    Woo! I knew reading about U.S. foreign policy in 8th grade would pay off ( :

    LOVE FACTS

  4. Friend of Liberty KC

    I’d characterize myself as a military isolationist in the old liberal sense of free trade and free exchange of ideas before statist warfare ~ with all the attendant problems. That said, I admit I supported action in Afghanistan after September 11th. It was of a very limited nature ~ overthrow the Taliban and do some Al Q takedowns using unconventional warfare followed by cessation of stupid policies like backing Arab tyrannies/having pointless military bases on “holy” land.

    Ellen Willis is the only intelligent commentator I know of who made the case for a more extended liberally motivated nation-building exercise. She did correctly note that many Afghans were receptive to the idea of the Taliban being smashed and international forces taking the place of the warlords. Unfortunately, the Bush admin chose to use the Northern Alliance as allies. This meant they entered Kabul after the Taliban left. RAWA was opposed to this: http://www.rawa.org/na-gun.htm

    That story should make clear why.

    RAWA statement:

    Now it is confirmed that the Taliban have left Kabul and the Northern Alliance has entered the city.

    The world should understand that the Northern Alliance is composed of some bands who did show their real criminal and inhuman nature when they were ruling Afghanistan from 1992 to 1996.

    The retreat of the terrorist Taliban from Kabul is a positive development, but entering of the rapist and looter NA in the city is nothing but a dreadful and shocking news for about 2 million residents of Kabul whose wounds of the years 1992-96 have not healed yet.

    Thousands of people who fled Kabul during the past two months were saying that they feared coming to power of the NA in Kabul much more than being scared by the US bombing.

    The Taliban and Al-Qaeda will be eliminated, but the existence of the NA as a military force would shatter the joyful dream of the majority for an Afghanistan free from the odious chains of barbaric Taliban. The NA will horribly intensify the ethnic and religious conflicts and will never refrain to fan the fire of another brutal and endless civil war in order to retain in power. The terrible news of looting and inhuman massacre of the captured Taliban or their foreign accomplices in Mazar-e-Sharif in past few days speaks for itself.

    Though the NA has learned how to pose sometimes before the West as “democratic” and even supporter of women’s rights, but in fact they have not at all changed, as a leopard cannot change its spots.

    RAWA has already documented heinous crimes of the NA. Time is running out. RAWA on its own part appeals to the UN and world community as a whole to pay urgent and considerable heed to the recent developments in our ill-fated Afghanistan before it is too late.

    We would like to emphatically ask the UN to send its effective peace-keeping force into the country before the NA can repeat the unforgettable crimes they committed in the said years.

    The UN should withdraw its recognition to the so-called Islamic government headed by Rabbani and help the establishment of a broad-based government based on the democratic values.

    RAWA’s call stems from the aspirations of the vast majority of the people of Afghanistan.

    http://www.rawa.org/na-appeal.htm

    On the Cold War: I’d say the U.S. didn’t need to appease Soviet Russia through subsidy and diplomacy. I am more mixed on the kind of interventions discussed above.

  5. Aster

    FLiKC-

    I don’t disagree with anything you say or cite here (yes, facts=good). But the one thing which a totalitarian regime CAN do is mobilise mass numbers of bodies to murder, pray, and die for the ‘common good’ and the ‘national purpose’. It is the same reason patriarchies can outcompete and historically have outcompeted sexually open societies if given the chance- they will force women to breed massive numbers of religiously indoctrinates slaves and win by miserable numbers of human wretched forced to be living dead tools: breeders, workers, and warriors.

    We rightly honour Athens. But Sparta won the war. Any dictatorship is by its very nature a standing threat to any free society in the vicinity, and the question of whether one should confront a dictatorship by arms cannot be a matter of political ideology but is inescapably a question of prudence. The same principle, of course, applies to revolutions. ‘When in the course of human events….”

    I’ve met two gentlemen from Eastern Europe, one a somewhat kooky Russian libertarian ally living in Chicago, the other a very well-read Pole who attended an event I was at in Snowmass, Colorado. Both told me that the Soviets nearly invaded Western Europe (I think in the early 1980s) and only called it off at the last minute do to succession struggles within the inner party heirarchy. I’d suggest asking Tim Starr about this for more detail. Ask him for an hour or two of his time and he’ll gladly offer you a very rational and factual case for his take on the Cold War. I didn’t say that I, or Rand for that matter, would agree with him. But I was pretty instinctively antiwar on feminist grounds when I last talked to him on this subject, and it freaked me out even then.

    The Nazis really did try to conquer the world. Read up on the Mongol conquests. Evil winning is a terrifyingly real possibility. Today, ‘Evil’ may turn out to be a police state called Imperial America. But who’s the bad guy at the current historical moment isn’t the point. You have to stop total civilisational disaster at any possible cost whose means will create a less evil resulting situation, even if the means available and accepted by the majority or by the powers that be at the place and time are repulsive to an intellectual’s superior reason and passion. I’m not defending any of the vast number of crimes committed in the name or by the excuse of this ugly insight. But the insight remains. The horror of human history is that war has always been it’s primary motor- Starship Troopers.

    Pretending the power of evil away out of commitment to a better philosophy, as for instance both the hippies and Rothbard did, is an irresponsible luxury if you feel you have a stake in human history. I now do, thanks to Fortune and all of you. And if you want to cite Gandhi, let’s remember that Gandhi was a Tolstoyan altruist who called on people to selflessly die in mass numbers to throw themselves in front of the machine of oppression. And that’s the same principle as that of the patriarchs and totaliarians themselves, and not available to egoists, individualists, or humanists.

    Soviet’s defence of weapon rights applies to associations of individuals, whether or not we’d like to see these associations take better forms than the state. You have to shoot rapists. You have to shoot Reavers. You have to shoot Nazis.

    And in ways far deeper than physical violence, it unfortunately remains true that the world can easily make a slave of anyone unwilling to walk the world stage armed and trained. The secret of freedom is courage, which is a virtue for men and women alike. This world is dangerous. Done properly, living dangerously is neither evil, unsightly, nor fatal to kindness and sensitivity. Actually, it can be totally hot.

    Think libertarian:

    http://girlinshortshorts.blogspot.com/2007/09/why-i-am-libertarian.html

    This world is totally unsafe. You will die. Tomorrow, for all you know. Safety first is a game for people who evade reality and pretend that they are immortal. Or maybe their gods tell them things mine don’t. I don’t know. I do know that there is no way to live as best one can without integrating one’s awareness of evil and violence into one’s wordl-picture.

    Dead white books time:

    An axe-age, a sword-age, shields will be cloven, a wind-age, a wolf-age, before the world’s ruin.

    Seizing me, he led me down to the House of Darkness, the dwelling of Irkalla, to the house where those who enter do not come out, along the road of no return, to the house where those who dwell, do without light, where dirt is their drink, their food is of clay, where, like a bird, they wear garments of feathers, and light cannot be seen, they dwell in the dark, and upon the door and bolt, there lies dust.

    Say not a word… in death’s favour; I would rather be a paid servant in a poor man’s house and be above ground than king of kings among the dead.

    PLAY HARD.

  6. Aster

    “If there’s a great duel of Western civilisation, I suspect Plato and Aristotle are on the same side of it 64.3% of the time.”

    O.K., Roderick, I’ll bite. What does this statistic allude to?

    Professor-

    I have NO intention of trying to play word games with you. I have no wish whatsoever to royally embarass myself in front of everyone. I paid too high a price for this face to lose all of it at once. Truth is, I’m still smarting from that discussion with Cornet Joyce over ‘republican virtue’, where I not only took the wrong side (for the right reasons) but epic failed when I tried to quote Xenophon after reading 1/3 of the book and that when I was too sick to think straight. Note to self: don’t ever do that again.

    If you desire someone to chat with, you might try writing to Veronica Monet. She’s retired, but might take the time to write back to a Harvard-educated professor, especially given her interest in promoting pro-sex feminism. To say she’s good is like saying the sun is a little hard on the eyes to stare at. Her prices were obscene- as in Lexi obscene. That’s ‘cause she’s white and blonde and found help early and now has a house in Lake Tahoe. Every sex worker in America who can read and write is jealous of her. She’s Pagan too, if grown up about it, and now works as a ‘public speaker’, charging for lectures. Her politics are Popperian or Hayekian small-welfare-state classical liberal. Interestingly enough, she came out of the Red State parts of Oregon and wears a beaten-up leather jacket on her own time. Her memoirs can be found here.

    Give us one generation to set up our own schools and set our house in order, and we’ll double the pace of social progress in this tortured world. And, contra Dworkin and Raymond, another socially acceptable path for girls with brains to get a hearing is good for the feminist cause.

  7. Roderick T. Long

    We rightly honour Athens. But Sparta won the war.

    True — but Athens and Sparta both had aggressive foreign policies, and Athens lost in large part because it undertook a distant expedition (the invasion of Sicily) of high risk and low military necessity, and replaced a good general with a bad one to boot.

  8. Friend of Liberty KC

    Indeed

    Sounds similar to the U.S. situation.

  9. Soviet Onion

    Oh man, I feel another Left-Libertarian Civil War coming on. The Revolutionary Internationalists vs. the Old-Right Isolationists. This is fun. I so picked the right political identity at the right time.

    I’ll throw down a little later when I have time (I owe someone an email anyway), and see if any have the ingredients in ‘em fer a fair fight. If my opponents are not outta town by noon tomorrow, then they bess meet me on the main thoroughfare between the telegraph and the No. 10 Saloon to account fer theyselves.

  10. Roderick T. Long

    I feel another Left-Libertarian Civil War coming on

    Those who feel another Left-Libertarian Civil War coming on must be purged by those who don’t feel another Left-Libertarian Civil War coming on!

  11. Roderick T. Long

    Well, I guess Leonard Cohen sort of got there before me.

  12. Rad Geek

    Soviet Onion,

    I’m no expert, but I don’t think that supporting humanitarian government wars is what revolutionary internationalism means.

    And I don’t think that categorical opposition to the warfare State is a “Right-wing” view. (Certainly, the men who were retroactively labeled the “Old Right” — Albert Jay Nock, who called himself a radical; Oswald Garrison Villard, who edited The Nation; et al. — did not think of themselves that way.)

    Aster,

    Evil winning is a terrifyingly real possibility.

    Winning at what? More-lethal governments have sometimes defeated or conquered less-lethal governments. When governments fight with each other, all kinds of things might happen, depending on the breaks. But the record of government occupiers against non-state guerrilla defense, in the 20th and 21st century, is a pretty poor one.

    Both told me that the Soviets nearly invaded Western Europe (I think in the early 1980s) and only called it off at the last minute do to succession struggles within the inner party heirarchy.

    The Soviets tried all kinds of stupid shit, but the question is what they actually had the capacity to sustain. In the early 1980s the Soviets couldn’t hold Afghanistan. What makes you think that they could have succeeded in invading and occupying Western Europe, or even West Germany, at the time, given their poor record on the ground, their prior commitments elsewhere in the world, and the basket-case state of the entire Soviet economy and infrastructure?

    And if you want to cite Gandhi, let’s remember that Gandhi was a Tolstoyan altruist who called on people to selflessly die in mass numbers to throw themselves in front of the machine of oppression.

    What, and militarists (ideologically) and military strategies of resistance (as a practical necessity) don’t call on people to die in mass numbers?

    The main difference between the two is that Gandhi called on his followers to be willing to voluntarily lay down their own lives for the sake of their own highest values. Rather than proposing not only to commit suicide on command, but also to murder a bunch of third-party bystanders on command, all putatively in order to halt crimes that those third-party bystanders aren’t committing.

    That has something to do with the fact that the Cold War was initially directly prosecuted by relatively progressive and highly educated liberals who saw no way to defeat the monstrously bloody and absolutely dishonourable totalitarian Communist monster without losing moral scruples about getting bloody hands.

    I don’t think the men you’re talking about had any moral scruples left to lose by the time the Cold War came along. Keep in mind that we’re talking about the men who, just three years before, had incinerated Hiroshima and Nagasaki in history’s only known use of nuclear terrorism against human targets, as the capstone of a campaign of murdering somewhere in the neighborhood of two million civilians in Europe and Japan through the use of terror-bombing and starvation-blockades.

    These people won- the Soviet Union was deterred and destroyed-

    What makes you think that the collapse of the Soviet Union, four decades later, was the result of liberal imperialism on the part of the NATO governments, rather than, say, the technological limits of empire, repeated internal schisms, and the internal contradictions and inherent inefficiency of command economies?

    In the event, the Soviet Union and its bloc was not destroyed from outside. It was dismembered from within by popular dissident movements, economic collapse, and collapsing capacites for internal repression and international force-projection.

    I’ll be damned if I give a war criminal like Harry S. Truman credit for the collapse of the Soviet bloc before I give credit to Solidarność.

  13. Friend of Liberty KC

    Well Charles,

    You made my point to Aster already. The question is indeed whether or not the Soviets could have held on to such a large swath of Europe.

    Aster’s predicted response: the relatively more liberal polities in Western Europe never suffered such an invasion and no protracted war of liberation was therefore necessary.

  14. Friend of Liberty KC

    Soviet,

    I for one don’t consider myself an Old Right isolationist. The Ron Paulish GOP of the 40s-50’s had a socially conservative Christianist perspective to go along with its opposition to the New Deal/warfare statism. I am a revolutionary internationalist in a classical liberal sense ~ free trade, free migration, and free exchange of ideas. That includes gun running to competent liberal military forces. The term isolationist implies cultural, economic, and political provincialism. Pat B is a true isolationist. He dislikes non-Western immigration, free trade, and non-nationalist wars.

  15. Aster

    Rad Geek-

    I realise, and respect, that I’m in the minority on international relations issues in the left-lihertarian universe. What I wrote is less firmly an expression of my view of particular political-military situations (which are, after all, merely particular), than it is a firm expression of my personal world-picture, confirmed by reason and experience, which I was trying to express to FLiKc and Soviet, among others. I meant what I said, but I get that this is an antiwar movement, yours is an antiwar website, and I’m glad of this, insofar as libertarianism’s firm and sometimes harsh decision (Tim really was hurt by the rejection he’s recieved from libertarians for his Heinleinian views) to take an antiwar and anti-imperial stance which probably saved libertarianism’s chance to have a good influence on history in the future. I’m not terribly interesting in converting anyone to my position. If I speak with passion, it’s because, well, why on Earth would we not wish to live and speak passionately?

    I will happily defer to your worldview in your house (note to 3 people here… I’m home… work on the new website commences within the week). If you or others can show that war and violence are always and inherently a less effective ways to defend reason and freedom, then I will of course abandon a position which has been proven false.

    “I’ll be damned if I give a war criminal like Harry S. Truman credit for the collapse of the Soviet bloc before I give credit to Solidarność.”

    LOL. You’ll never be damned, Rad Geek. You could qualify for paladin status if you wanted, altho’ I translate you more as a cavalier (he just levelled up!- Salud!). And I even hope you are right- I think war is as deeply horrible an evil as do Eisler and Hedges.

    Incidentally, I see no evidence that the American use of nuclear weapons in WW II was truly justified by anything better than racism and murderous intimidation of Stalin (and why not just nuke an uninhabited island if you insist on making a point that way?). That said, the American occupation of Japan did do a great deal to liberalise Japanese society. It was also an imperialist looting spree- my natal mother and grandmother sure owned way too much Asian art.

    Soviet-

    PLEASE, no more Left-Libertarian Civil Wars! It’s over and I want to leave the past over. The good guys won after all this time, and considering how few of us remain, I do not wish to sow division here. You and Gillis (whose political realism excedes mine) have reawoken my wargamer’s enthusiasm for tactics, but what the left-libertarian movement needs right now is peace, trade, and development. And besides, I read somewhere that there are ways to conduct diplomacy which don’t involve coercively dominating anyone and which create goodwill rather than strife. That sounds like way more fun.

    Still, keep that Glock around. We’re living in a dangerous world.

    “Our only motive in writing this story is the instruction of mankind and the betterment of their way of life. May all readers become fully aware of the great peril that always dogs those who do as they wish in order to satisfy their desires. May they be convinced that good upbringing, riches, talents and the gifts bestowed by nature are only likely to lead people astray when restraint, good conduct, wisdom and modesty are not there to support them or turn them to good accoubt: these are the truths that we are going to put into action. May we be forgiven the unnatural details of the horrible crime of which we are forced to speak; is it possible to make such developments detestable if one has not the courage to present them openly?”

    ~ My dead white book. Note to censorial goons: you do know that you can remove the dust jacket of books, right? If you’re going to try to engage in the barbarism of censorship and interfere with the free market of ideas, you ought to learn to do it competently. And I declared my goods by the book and by your r00lz, so don’t blame me. And believe me, the fact that I’m the one here carefully following the law and keeping to the Centre makes me feel riddikulus too.

  16. Soviet Onion

    Rad and FoLCK,

    Yeah, that nomenclature was tongue-in-cheek. I think FoLCK (btw, can I please just use your real name? These pseudonyms conceal nothing) nailed the issue before I could get to it.

    You can’t deny, though, that most libertarians, embrace exactly the same attitude as the paleos when it comes to foreign policy. I’m not just talking about the short term practical assessment that while there’s a state military, it can only be a tool of evil and should be kept on as short a leash as possible. No, there’s just some magical boundary between our state and someone else’s, and we shouldn’t be getting involved with those people “over there”. Not just (or even primarily) that we shouldn’t send the tax-funded Army and to kill people for stupid reasons on false pretenses that have never been for any reason at all but the naked pursuit of power, just that we shouldn’t get involved. You can fight the power along with the Alaskans and Hawaiians, but your resistance must run according to the terms of the nation state system, and remain inside the boundaries that your opponents have set for you. Otherwise you’re just a liberal/neocon imperialist looking to nation build. Not exactly the same sentiment as “an injury to one is an injury to all”, is it?

    Does this limitation truly reflect what libertarianism stands for? It shouldn’t. In some ways it looks like an attempt to shoehorn a universalist ethical statement into the logic of state policy, losing the distinction between a voluntary process and its intended outcome along the way. Isolationism is to opposing military imposition and the police state as the gold standard is to free-banking.

    Anybody who’s been paying attention for last couple of weeks should be able to see why this irritates me so much, and what the limited and relativistic vision of “I got mine” backyard liberation reminds me of. I’m an anarchist. I want to destroy power dynamics and throw open the doors to life and self-improvement wherever they are closed, everywhere in the universe(=). As far as I’m concerned the only problem with the anti-Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, or against the Taliban now, is that we gave guns and training to the wrong people for the wrong reasons, the result being only to further entrench existing factional dynamics and identities. If RAWA wants some backup from the future anarchist inhabitants of the region formerly known as the United States, I say let’s get some International Brigades together post haste.

    (=) Yes, even if it’s just in a broom closet somewhere, Keith.

    Aster’s predicted response: the relatively more liberal polities in Western Europe never suffered such an invasion and no protracted war of liberation was therefore necessary.

    Um, didn’t the societies of Western (and not-yet-Communist Eastern) Europe spend like three to four years in open insurgence against fascist Germany and Italy? Didn’t even the residents of those countries eventually do the same?

  17. Friend of Liberty KC

    Aster,

    I was talking about post WW2 during the early Cold War and beyond. The U.S. maintained troops in Western Europe with the ostensible purpose of deterring a Soviet invasion.

    West Berlin and East Berlin…

    Kennedy’s airlift

  18. Friend of Liberty KC

    Soviet,

    I didn’t expect anyone to think I was a different person.

  19. Roderick T. Long

    Friend of Liberty KC,

    The Ron Paulish GOP of the 40s-50’s had a socially conservative Christianist perspective to go along with its opposition to the New Deal/warfare statism.

    Well, that’s true of some of them. But it hardly seems true of, say, H. L. Mencken, Albert Jay Nock, Rose Wilder Lane, Isabel Paterson, Zora Neale Hurston, Ayn Rand, or Leonard Read.

  20. Aster

    ‘Yes, even if it’s just in a broom closet somewhere, Keith.”

    ROTFL. Oh, but let’s be fair to the man- who has mostly most shown honour of late. He’s open and honest about his Paganism, even if he doesn’t specify specific church and sect. And with the exception of a few Anglo-Celtic Gardnerians and tribalist/henotheist Druids and the like, most Pagans are polytheists and don’t care about such things.

    I told him that, occasional snarks aside, and as long as he never again tries to entry into left-libertarianism (=), I’d let him rest in peace. Besides, we’ve dragged this corpse behind our chariot long enough, and the mess left behind is beginning to reek.

    I do have interest in keeping an anti-fascist watch on the border against national anarchism proper, as a personal project. And I do note that Preston is now attempting to entry, if you can call it that, into paleolibertarianism. But there is little I can say against that proposal, as the only reasons the two of them should not share eternity together are irrational reasons of superficial convention. Paleolibertarianism and national anarchism share the same premises and richly deserve each other.

    But I can see a future time in which a stronger left-libertarianism might encounter Preston again, in a larger intralibertarian confrontation with paleolibertarian bigtory and insularity. And if that tomorrow dawns, I will be there.

    Antifascist action for the day:

    Rad Geek’s right. Let’s be precise and stop calling the national anarchists ‘Nazis’. Like I warned BANA, ‘national socialism’ and ‘national anarchism’ legally share one parent- we must recognise their right to name themselves as they wish and honour their descent on the other side of the sheets. Let’s just make sure the unnatural anarcho-fascist thing which results is sterile. By surgical intervention, if necessary.

    Therefore, it’s only fair that if we for reasons of linguistic convenience we all understandably shorten ‘Nationalsozialismus’ to ‘Nazi’, that we similarly and with due regard to linguistic objectivity diminutivise ‘National anarchism’. We simply have no honourable choice but to refer to the national anarchists, with due respect, as ‘Naanis’.

    NAANI. (wicked grin) This conceptual self-replicator fits. Have fun, and multiply widely.

    ~~

    (=) I’m going to ring Wendy McElroy and ask if she wishes to be linked to by the author of ‘Is Extremism in Defense of Sodomy no Vice?’.

  21. Roderick T. Long

    The term isolationist implies cultural, economic, and political provincialism.

    Well, it’s often used that way. But traditionally, as far as I can tell, it was applied to people who opposed military entanglements even when they favoured free trade, immigration, cultural exchange, etc.

  22. Roderick T. Long

    Aster,

    I’m not sure the Z in “Nazi” comes from the Z in “Sozialismus”; I always thought it came from the fact that the T in “National” is pronounced like Z — i.e., that “Nazi” is just an abbreviation of the “National” part.

  23. Roderick T. Long

    Soviet Onion,

    You can’t deny, though, that most libertarians, embrace exactly the same attitude as the paleos when it comes to foreign policy.

    Well, that doesn’t match my experience. The main difference I’ve noticed (on average — exceptions on both sides, of course) is that libertarians are more likely to get upset about what the u.s. govt. is doing to people in other countries, while the paleos tend to be focused solely on the domestic effects here. Also, I don’t know any libertarians who oppose private gun-running to rebels in other countries.

  24. Soviet Onion

    FoLCK,

    Ok, my mistake. Some people have done that around here before and I didn’t want to forgo polite discretion.

    OK, I hereby take it down a notch and call off the Civil War. Aster is right: wartime conditions bring out the worst in humans and lead to the internalization of a perverse value system, and insurrections tend to encourage all our inner demagogues to come out.

    So just to clarify:

    Of course I’m in favor of humanitarian intervention, as a simple extension of the same reasoning that leads us to “intervene” in our own backyards. If your liberation is bound up with mine etc etc.

    That doesn’t have to mean sending in the militia every time the PRC kicks a kitten. Even if people are facing violent oppression, they themselves may not want to escalate things, in which case going in like the US Marshals is kind of like grabbing some old lady’s arm and dragging her across the intersection against her will. There are many other ways of offering support against conquerers and the illiberal elements of their own societies that aren’t so invasive, blunt and destabilizing in the short term. I mentioned sending in the Brigades only because military means were the topic of this discussion.

    Part of what makes statist “humanitarian intervention” so fucking ineffective (aside from being a bullshit cover for other stuff that has nothing to do with it, that is) is that it focuses on nothing but the gun, and neglects the real social infrastructure that kills the real bad guys and leaves you with something worth defending.

    I mean please, how can you claim to be defending democracy while selling arms to dictators and paramilitary death squads, but not to the people that live under them?

    How can you claim to support economic development while poisoning farmers’ crops because they might be growing ones that fetch a higher price? If anything we should aiding and enabling their counter-economic doings, fuck whatever their home governments think.

    How can you support women’s independence while criminalizing abortion at home, when you should be actively aiding and abetting the creation of underground clinics and drug distribution networks in every country or society that won’t have them?

    How can you claim to support free speech while censoring the internet? Your entire country should a data haven for the world, and you should be selling cheap laptops to the gay community in Iran so that they can document their own stories and make them available to everyone, their countrymen and ours.

    How can you run refugee camps in war zones while denying their displaced victims the right to come here, participate in an open economy and rebuild what they’ve lost, then send those benefits back home to people still living in the fallout? How can you call it a serious effort when the UN bugs out at the first sign of trouble instead of fucking shooting back with their own guns, and teaching the helpless how to do the same.

    North Korea is still standing because their government cuts them off from the rest of the world, and its dealings with the outside are only ever between government officials and never directly between their people. The governments of the world have been more than pleased to accommodate that strategy. One day of universal internet access and I guarantee that Kim Jong Il will regret having taught a third of the population how to fire guns.

    That’s what humanitarian intervention looks like.

  25. Rad Geek

    No, there’s just some magical boundary between our state and someone else’s, and we shouldn’t be getting involved with those people “over there”. Not just (or even primarily) that we shouldn’t send the tax-funded Army and to kill people for stupid reasons on false pretenses that have never been for any reason at all but the naked pursuit of power, just that we shouldn’t get involved.

    I agree with you that there are some libertarians who fetishize national boundaries in this way. (It has tended to go along with a couple of other stupid things, e.g. argumentative appeals to international law, har har, and bullshit notions of state sovereignty.) And I agree with you that they shouldn’t do that. National boundaries are themselves, of course, basically military realities, not natural features of the landscape, and anarchist should take no notice of them except to trample them underfoot. (And I’m happy to support, for example, Wobblies going from northwest Aztlan down to Baja California in order to support the Magonistas.)

    On the other hand, I think that the people who make that kind of argument, with a few exceptions, rarely stick to it; they tend to have better and worse moments, and in their better moments they will mention things like getting rid of government “neutrality” laws, running guns to rebel groups, etc.

    In some ways it looks like an attempt to shoehorn a universalist ethical statement into the logic of state policy, losing the distinction between a voluntary process and its intended outcome along the way.

    Yes, I think that’s correct, and a very important point. As elsewhere, trying to address the State policy apparatus necessarily imposes certain structural limitations (among them, the legitimacy of government borders, and the political nationalization of culture) and requires you to accept or at least to dignify certain myths, which necessarily brutalizes your analysis.

    As far as I’m concerned the only problem with the anti-Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, or against the Taliban now, is that we gave guns and training to the wrong people for the wrong reasons, the result being only to further entrench existing factional dynamics and identities.

    Well. I think those are downstream problems. The first problem is that we didn’t give guns or training to anybody; the government did. And given how government works and what it’s concerns are, I do not think there was ever any hope that it could possibly have armed the right people; indeed, even if they selected the right people, the political requirements involved in the process of arming and training them would have thereby converted them into the wrong people (via the usual processes of co-optation, military discipline, shadow statecraft, etc.), post haste.

  26. Marja Erwin

    I can’t say that there’s an ironclad historical case for nonviolence. Ultimately, I based my decision on personal religious experience and reflection thereon. However, I think there are strong historical arguments against violence:

    • The open warfare between the Soviet Forces of the Katerynoslav Region and the Selbschutz, followed by the intermittent cooperation between the German colonists and the Armed Forces of South Russia, and, largely in response, occasional reprisals by units of the Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine. Frankly, if the Mannonites had been better pacifists and the Makhnovists had been better anarchists, none of this might have happened.

    • The fact that violent methods are better-suited to plunder and exploitation than purely non-violent methods.

    • The fact that certain forms of authoritarianism can strengthen military forces. Unity of command.

    Simply put, warfare is a battlefield which favors the enemy. We need to find battlefields which favor our own side. And that’s just as true if we define the enemy as the state and ourselves as anarchists, or if we define the enemy as war itself and our side as all humanity.

  27. Marja Erwin

    Anyway, my arguments against military intervention have nothing to do with borders or international law.

    I remember during the run-up to the Iraq War, I saw an especially egregious banner stating Regime Change is Genocide. In post-protest clean-up, I made off with the banner and made sure it was never used again.

    Except, of course, as this good bad example.

    The war is genocide, but regime change is not.

  28. Marja Erwin

    No one else had claimed the banner. I believe it had been made on misguided behalf of the network I was involved in.

  29. Soviet Onion

    But I can see a future time in which a stronger left-libertarianism might encounter Preston again, in a larger intralibertarian confrontation with paleolibertarian bigtory and insularity. And if that tomorrow dawns, I will be there.

    So which one do you want to take, Preston or Hoppe? I imagine Hoppe’s the easier target. He’ll be too afraid to touch either of us for fear of catching teh queer cooties. Plus, given his aristocratic leanings, I think you could get him to agree to rapier duel and dispatch him with style.

    Preston, in his combat as well as his political alliances, probably uses whatever’s on hand to get to the job done. That’s a bit more my style. Plus, being a descendant of Holocaust survivors, it’s only right that I slaughter a few national anarchist hordes. Ya know, for my tribe’s sake.

  30. Rad Geek

    You could qualify for paladin status if you wanted, altho’ I translate you more as a cavalier …

    Cavalier? Please, no. I’m a left Leveler.

    If we’re picking militaristic character classes, can I have Prerogative archer to the arbitrary House of Lords, their prisoner in Newgate, for the just and legal properties, rights and freedoms of the commons of England instead?

  31. Aster

    I agree with every essential premise and sentiment expressed here by both Rad Geek and Soviet. The problem remains how to make particular judgment calls in any inherently messy field of concern.

    Soviet-

    The Free Republic of Aster issues an official censure of your last post. It’s far too well spoken and far too rhetorically efficacious. No fair. (pouts)

  32. Friend of Liberty KC

    The Republic of Life, Love, and Liberty fires a few cruise missiles into The Republic of Aster’s backyard. The LLL Republic has a defensive alliance with The Republic of Soviet Union.

    The LLL Republic apologizes for damaging The Republic of Aster’s puter.

  33. Ariadne (is not an Amazonian *nationalist*)

    The Amazon Womyns’ Federation appeals for peace and friendship among the signatories of the LLVAFAT, and requests that the opposing parties find an honest brokeress to resolve their differences.

    To defend peace and freedom among womyn, it offers its backing to the Republic of Aster if the Republic needs to take any further actions in this incident.

  34. Friend of Liberty KC

    “Those already in counter-economics whom you meet can be “let in on” the libertarian philosophy that you hold, that mysterious belief you hold which keeps you so happy and free of guilt. Drop it nonchalantly if they feign lack of interest: wax enthusiastic as they grow more curious and eager to learn.

    Self agorism by example and argument. Control and program your emotional reactions to exhibit hostility at statism and deviationism, and to exhibit enthusiasm and joy at agorist acts and the State’s setbacks. Most of these tactics will come with routine but you can check yourself to polish a few things.”

    http://www.blackcrayon.com/library/nlm/nlm6.html

    I do have to admit that Sam Konkin was quite a riveting writer.

    More Konkin:

    “In the 20th Century alone, war has murdered more than all previous deaths; taxes and inflation have stolen more than all wealth previously produced; and the political lies, propaganda, and above all, “Education” have twisted more minds than all the superstition prior; yet through all the deliberate confusion and obfuscation, the thread of reason has developed fibers of resistance to be woven into the rope of execution for the State: Libertarianism.

    Where the State divides and conquers its opposition, Libertarianism unites and liberates. Where the State beclouds, Libertarianism clarifies; where the State conceals, Libertarianism uncovers; where the State pardons, Libertarianism accuses.

    Libertarianism elaborates an entire philosophy from one simple premise: initiatory violence or its threat (coercion) is wrong (immoral, evil, bad, supremely impractical, etc) and is forbidden; nothing else is. [3]

    Libertarianism, as developed to this point, discovered the problem and defined the solution: the State vs the Market. The Market is the sum of all voluntary human action. [4] If one acts non-coercively, one is part of the Market. Thus did Economics become part of Libertarianism.

    Libertarianism investigated the nature of man to explain his rights deriving from non-coercion. It immediately followed that man (woman, child, Martian, etc.) had an absolute right to this life and other property - and no other. Thus did Objective philosophy become part of Libertarianism.

    Libertarianism asked why society was not libertarian now and found the State, its ruling class, its camouflage, and the heroic historians striving to reveal the truth. Thus did Revisionist History become part of Libertarianism.

    Psychology, especially as developed by Thomas Szasz as counter-psychology, was embraced by libertarians seeking to free themselves from both state restraint and self-imprisonment.

    Seeking an art form to express the horror potential of the State and extrapolate the many possibilities of liberty, Libertarianism found Science Fiction already in the field.”

    The Republic of Aster has really been nagging me about revolution lately and living dangerously. I am starting to enjoy the sound of saying whatever the fuck I want.

  35. Soviet Onion

    I based my decision on personal religious experience and reflection thereon.

    “If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.” —- infamous paranoid gun nut, The Dalai Lama (May 15, 2001, The Seattle Times)

    Besides, isn’t kicking over a money changer’s table an act of violence?

  36. Soviet Onion

    Speaking of religion, I’m still waiting on Satan to down Bob Barr in a comical fashion like I requested(=). Anybody want to hook me up with another dark god/demi-god/daimon in the meantime, just in case that arrangement doesn’t pan out? Aster, I believe Ishtar is also a goddess of war. Victoria? Marja? :)

    What are the Ancient Ones up to these days, anyway?

    (=) Yes, I’m an atheist, but I still did it for the lulz.

    And yes, I realize that LaVeyan Satanists are also atheists.

  37. Aster

    (yawn)

    My city has SDI. I burn your cruising missiles down to the waterline. It’s all done with mirrors.

    You’re allied with the Soviet Union?- a totalitarian state!? I’m shocked. There goes most favoured nation status.

    Oh, if you meant the Onion of Soviet Socialist Republics, I will gladly page you through to our foreign office in answer to your inquiries. Please hold.

  38. Soviet Onion

    The Onion of Soviet Socialist Republics has chosen to withdraw from the conflict and remain neutral in order to more easily sell weapons to both sides.

    : We’re such a bunch of little kids. I don’t know how Charles puts up with us.

  39. Aster

    “We’re such a bunch of little kids. I don’t know how Charles puts up with us.”

    Soviet-

    As a brilliant man once taught me, childishness with self-awareness and responsibility is power. The culture of genius, wherever it has been able to exist and organise itself, has known this time and the world over, and still does. Camel. Lion. Child. Read the Romantics… or the haunting Roald Dahl’s Matilda. Would you like a jelly baby?

    I am very aware and grateful for Charles’ hospitality. But now that the Left-Libertarian ‘verse has been made safe for the open society, it really is time to be taking leave. Soviet, Marja- let’s move this conversation offline until we can get BfC running. I’m speaking to… uh, Kaylee (giggle), tomorrow evening.

    On the big Mom: yeah, war-goddess. I was in denial of that for like four years, partially because I thought that feminism required suppressing martial enthusiasms, partially because I wasn’t secure enough as a woman yet.

    Of course, an interest in RTS doesn’t mean a fetish for victory. I like to turtle up and would love to see a tower defense map done with realism and artistry. Winning isn’t the point- as in life, defeat is inevitable and it is best not to fear it. A ring of fire which deters all betrays its purpose.

    Oh, and I wouldn’t take the idea of a war against Hoppe so seriously. I’m tired and have other stuff to do. And I promised peace with Preston if he keeps his part. As for the N-A’s, they are simply out-and-out total bastards who are fair game for Glock practise any day of the week.

    And please take out a few for my tribe as well. Sex workers and lesbians went under ‘antisocial’. The Vichy regime’s slogan was ‘travail, famille, patrie’ and they were backed by the Parisian cosmetics industry. My sense from the literature (most of it unfortunately fictional in form) is that the Nazis did irreparable damage to the beau monde. Mengele performed forced sexual reassignment on cissexual victims. And the national anarchists decided to make Folsom their first target (incidentally, it’s a pansexual BDSM event, not exclusively a gay male event… not that the MSM can tell the difference, and not that BANA wouldn’t lie about the time of day). Alemanno calls for the expulsion of not only Roma ‘nomads’ but a war on the influence of ‘cinema’.

    Roderick-

    So should we call ‘national anarchists’ Nazis after all then? After all, they both start with ‘national’. Or, since the N-As started in the UK, should we Anglicise and call them ‘Naties’?

    Naanies. Naties. Take your pick. Open national anarchists are barbarians whose ideology performatively declares war on the open society. NAP observed, any means necessary. Ridicule is a good way to drive supremacists batty.

  40. Roderick T. Long

    Aster,

    Pronunciationwise, it would anglicise as “Nashies.” Which is fine as long as it’s not interpreted as meaning that they have beautiful minds.

    <Everyone,

    The Austro-Athenian Empire regards all your petty principalities and anarchopolises as its rightful vassals. Please submit your vows of allegiance, and your tribute (especially the tribute), immediately. If you do not comply, I shall be forced to be very disappointed.

  41. Ariadne (is not an Amazonian *nationalist*)

    Woamazhan Wowith Lol (=) pays tribute to no man!

    (=) The Amazon Womyn’s Federation, So Gamainþs Qene Amazoniskono, or Societas Feminarum Amazonarum.

  42. Victoria

    “….I believe Ishtar is also a goddess of war. Victoria…” Yes, like it or not, war is an interest of Hers. I’ve been focused on the erotic and feminist aspects of this goddess with whom I have in fact had a strong affinity for some time now. I looked Her up in Wikipedia and found Her whole story there, with war being a minor interest, and a listing of war goddesses that does include Astarte-Innana-Ishtar, three names given the same goddess by three different ancient cultures. Her holy city was named Uruk, which I speculate was the derivation of the contemporary name of Iraq. That’s the history; thealogy I’ll save for Circle here in my Temple. The political lesson that I see here is the necessity of being prepared to defend sex-positive and feminist, and Pagan, and individualist, cultural liberty by whatever means necessary, that are compatible with the desired liberty.

  43. Marja Erwin

    I believe Iraq comes from the Arabic for plateau. But I’m not familiar with the language, to say the least.

  44. Aster

    Victoria-

    May I politely suggest that neo-Pagan culture does not maintain adequate standards when it comes to history?- or matters of fact and reality generally, for that matter. I think that the majority of neo-Pagans have wonderful but half-educated spirits. The minority of intellectually serious ones are by contrast stunningly awful. Some are simply charlatans; a few are hypocrites who want to get in on the high church game in a way which includes girls and queers and maybe sex and drugs; those most willing to face reality are as frighteningly brutal as the Nature they worship. Look at Preston.

    What is spiritually good in serious neo-Paganism descends from literary high culture (primarily the Romantic poets) and it was often very dubious there. Blavatsky and Besant were fascist monsters. Jung was almost as too close to the Nazis as Heidegger. Crowley was a radical libertarian individualist… with pointy teeth issues. And the Romantics proper are… very complicated. I feel most comfortable with the atheist Shelley. The others had a bad tendency to bellyflop into conservative religion as they grew up. A lot of those who didn’t hurt people- particularly women.

    I think it is extremely dangerous to treat the gods seriously, and I wish I could in good intellectual conscience simply lose the mysticism entirely. But I can’t- I’ve seen and felt too much. The sum of what I really believe amounts to little more than ‘poetry qua poetry gets at something and does something, and I’ve found a traditional style which entirely expresses what I see and feel in life’. Even that I consider offensive to reason, and do not ask that others treat my spirituality as anything more than romanticist eccentricity.

    Or if you want a Pagan-affiliated writer who does confront what the gods were like in genuine historical light, may I suggest Neil Gaiman’s American Gods? The San Francisco scene rocks.

    http://browseinside.harpercollins.com/index.aspx?isbn13=9780060558123 http://www.neilgaiman.com/works/

    Bunnies scare me.

  45. Roderick T. Long

    Woamazhan Wowith Lol (=) pays tribute to no man!

    But the Austro-Athenian Empire isn’t a man! It’s a soulless corporation that just happens to have a man as its sole CEO, chair, and shareholder.

  46. Ariadne (is not an Amazonian *nationalist*)

    … no withid or lolh, okay?

  47. Soviet Onion

    In which I slam paganism like a pagan going after Christianity …

    I looked Her up in Wikipedia and found Her whole story there, with war being a minor interest

    That doesn’t quite square with the fact that “Lady/Lioness of Battle” (the Babylonians’ words, not mine) was her most popular title after “Queen of Heaven”.

    Furthermore, why is she so often depicted armed and riding a lion? Why was she seen as bestowing Near Eastern kings with the divine mandate to rule over their people? Having a connection to rulership makes her worship complicit in what those contemporary rulers were doing, which certainly consisted of a lot more killing than fucking.

    I also don’t see why an acknowledgment of female sexuality necessarily implies gender egalitarianism. Fertility goddesses are a dime a dozen. You find them in practically every early civilization because they all relied on fickle systems of agriculture, and consequently placed a huge emphasis on fertility as embodied by women. Mesopotamia, Sumeria, Assyria, Egypt, … as far as we know, almost all of these societies were highly stratified and patriarchal, and the religious institutions played a huge role in legitimizing and maintaining those systems. Kinda like Christianity in the Middle Ages. That Ishtar and the fertility goddess archetype had prominence within those pantheons only illustrates the importance people placed on farming.

    These facts also gives lie to Margaret Murray’s hypothesis that goddess worship among neolithic farmers necessarily implies that they were egalitarian and matrifocal, since none of the societies we know about that had goddess cults looked anything like that. It has about as much archaeological backing as the Nation of Islam’s claim that the prehistoric African Super-Civilization was getting along just fine until Yakoub invented white people. At least that one’s not Eurocentric.

    The political lesson that I see here is the necessity of being prepared to defend sex-positive and feminist, and Pagan, and individualist, cultural liberty by whatever means necessary, that are compatible with the desired liberty.

    How could a state-sanctioned religion that legitimized brutal, expansionist, dictatorial monarchies run exclusively by men have anything to do with liberty and feminism? How could her intellectually honest worshipers, seeing these connections, have cared about those things at all?

    For this analysis to actually make sense, all of Ishtar’s mythical violence would have to have been directed toward these ends alone, right? I’m no expert, but I have read the Epic of Gilgamesh and she killed a person for simply insulting her. I guess the moral was that if someone bruises your ego, you shouldn’t be afraid to use your superior position to lash out violently like you have something to prove, because your stature means more than someone else’s life. Totally not a patriarchal attitude.

    I also don’t see why paganism has some necessary connection to individual liberty that makes it worth defending as part of the same package of values. Lest we forget, pagans persecuted Christians first. There’s not a whole lot of difference between burning someone alive and feeding them to lions in the arena. Roman, Greek, Celtic, Germanic, Sumerian, Egyptian and Babylonian societies were not individualistic, only look sex-positive because their mores were so different from what we’re used to, were highly stratified, practiced slavery, torture, genocide, human sacrifice, institutionalized racism, patriotism (in Rome and Greece) and championed the warrior ethic. In fact, the early Christian communities were a much closer approximation of an equitable society based on universal humanity than any of the ones surrounding them.

    I know very little about the prostitution cults among her worshipers, so feel free to correct me if I’m out of line. While it certainly appears that there were many woman who dedicated themselves to the practice as a profession, it was also socially expected that unmarried women to do same at least once in their lifetimes. To me this obligatory sex doesn’t seem any more liberatory than the obligatory chastity before marriage of the Abrahamic traditions. They’re just two sides of the same coin; “put out” instead of “cover up”.

    All that said, I do appreciate her pirating Enki’s wisdom. Down with IP!

  48. Roderick T. Long

    In which I slam paganism

    Islam paganism? I guess that would look something like the Arabian Nights ….

  49. Soviet Onion

    Islam paganism? I guess that would look something like the Arabian Nights ….

    Radgeek’s comment section: where our inner 12 year olds come to play.

    Incidentally, there is one female Mesopotamian figure for whom I do have some admiration: Lilith.

  50. Aster

    Soviet-

    Your writing shows both an anarchistic passion for a socially just and benevolent society, and the fierceness of a warrior’s mind which is never far from the scent of blood. I feel it as a conflict.

    I know that conflict. I spent years torn agonisingly between eco-feminist Riane Eisler and darkly conservative romantic Camille Paglia, feeling one as internal ideal and facing inreasingly conclusive data that the way of the world was inescapably stained in blood. Eventually, I realised that I could either lose what I love and be left with ashes or submit to the reality of the injustice of Fortune. I submitted.

    Strangely, having accepted the violence inside me, I find myself far more effectively able to work for the perpetual peace that seems clearly the best environment for the development of human reason and passion. I feel far more confident in my idealistic convictions, far more in love with life, far more sanguine about our human potential to create a better world. One cannot be a Promethean and not embrace doing violence to Nature; one cannot have the will to do such violence without partaking of our human carnivorousness. Human action is torn and shattered. Humanism, Renaissance virtue, leads not only to oil paintings but to walking though the crowd with a weapon ready at hand. I believe that there is no escape from this except an attempt to escape life. I desire to live.

    I can make no sense of human existence without giving due regards to the part of us which is mad. Saints respond to this dilemma with a quest for escape from the human condition. Barbarians and national anarchists take the madness raw and go to cut the world red. I would rather embrace the madness and weave it into a self-created mind which accords with the counsel of philosophy. I believe this essential to an effective self-education and is the only grounded road which can prepare our human material for carrying the responsibility of citizenship in our emerging liberal civilisation. I curl up in the warm like an animal or a child, and sleep well at night.

  51. Soviet Onion

    Your writing shows both an anarchistic passion for a socially just and benevolent society, and the fierceness of a warrior’s mind which is never far from the scent of blood. I feel it as a conflict.

    That’s the most perceptive thing anyone has said to me in a long time. You are right; it is a conflict, and it very much define my mood and attitude fluctuations. I do find myself being pulled between a desire to express compassion and work toward better ways of relating to each other, and to take that hill over there with ferocity in service to purity of intent.

    I was halfway-joking when mentioned another Left-Libertarian Civil War. I just wanted to make a small point about the implicit state-based divisions of “hither and thither” in isolationist language, and see if any anarchists agreed with me. Apparently at least you, Rad and Rod do, so I was satisfied.

    But when Victoria expressed her thoughts on your goddess, and you extended that into a point about neo-paganism in general, I felt a swelling tension between my desire to respect something that is deeply personal to both of you, and which you are clearly somewhat conflicted about already, and a Richard Dawkins style indignation that asks why the hell “alternative religions” should be given a pass or treated with kid gloves when it seems perfectly fair to call out the Abrahamic religions for similar problems at every turn.

    I don’t see well when there’s a glaring inconsistency in my field of view, and as it stands I think there are less productive pet peeves a person could have. But as soon as I posted my response I regretted, if not the substance, but the tone of what I said. I spent much of yesterday going back and forth, mulling it over.

    I used to wish I could find a way to balance or integrate these alternating meta-attitudes, but I’m beginning to think the latter is more of a coping mechanism for frustration with myself and my world. My fallback attitude of “making the bastards pay” that I use to keep moving on less hopeful days has some adverse long-term side effects that ripple out into the other areas of my life, and actually deaden my senses and reduce my ability to reason. Even the idea of fighting, which seems to my signature around these parts, seems much harder to bear under the influence of elevated cortisol levels. I wish I could feel a certain serene observance in the face of enemies instead of a predictable, allergic overreaction.

    This rambles, like usual, and I’m not quite sure where it goes, but at least it feels like I’m going somewhere with it. So, thanks for giving me the cue to spill my guts. I’ll try to be less raw and more refined in the future. B for C has given me an incentive to sort through some of these things. For now I’ll just say: “see you at the barricades”.

  52. Aster

    “But the Austro-Athenian Empire isn’t a man! It’s a soulless corporation that just happens to have a man as its sole CEO, chair, and shareholder.”

    Rothbard’s concept of self-ownership is both alienated and alienable.

    So, what are the legal benefits of soulless incorporation?

  53. Roderick T. Long

    Rothbard’s concept of self-ownership is both alienated and alienable.

    Since Rothbard denies the legitimacy of slavery contracts, and even of enforcing service contracts via specific performance as opposed to money damages, I can’t see that he’s open to the charge of alienability. I can think of only two major libertarian thinkers who regard self-ownership as alienable — Nozick and Block.

    So, what are the legal benefits of soulless incorporation?

    SOUL-SUCKING VAMPIRE DEMON: Hahahahahah, I shall now suck out your soul!

    SOULLESS CORPORATION: Joke’s on you, vampy — I’m a soulless corporation.

    SOUL-SUCKING VAMPIRE DEMON: Shit.

  54. Friend of Liberty KC

    Self-ownership is a perhaps technical way of saying we should be able to control our lives.

  55. Roderick T. Long

    Yeah, I think of ownership of X as more or less equivalent to the right to be the one to make decisions about what happens to X.

  56. Soviet Onion

    Self-ownership is a perhaps technical way of saying we should be able to control our lives.

    Yeah, but phrasing individual autonomy as just another property right places it on par with the more mundane type of property. It can seem to jujitsu the subject-object relationship between the individual and the world.

    It’s alienated, but I wouldn’t say that it’s alienable. Charles and Rod have argued competently against the latter implication. Regarding the former, to the extent that you accept rights or see the importance of people having spheres of sovereignty/autonomy, it makes more sense to see property rights as one subset of human rights than the other way around. One that is, yes, of a lower order than an actual human life itself, and range of movement and action themselves, and for instrumental rather than constitutive reasons.

    This sort of makes sense even on Rothbardian terms if you consider the sphere of all your projects involving mundane property to be, in neoplatonic form, a weaker emanation from the original self-ownership, or one that is further along the line toward abandonment. Charles seems to acknowledge this a little in his responses to some of the fringe examples people give against abortion, when he says that having to ferry someone who stowed away on your boat/spaceship to the nearest safe harbor is less onerous than having to bear someone in your body.

    I do think that treating self-hood and reason as intrinsically bound to the human body can be just as alienating. Not because I reject or degrade physicality but just because I recognize that our existing physicality is malleable, even though it’s not unimportant. You can still have sex in Second Life.

    I wouldn’t be having this conversation at all if it weren’t for the piece of glass and titanium hanging off the front of my face. Why is that less essential to my personhood than my appendix? Am I still human if I matrix-jack my mind into a body of pure titanium, into a nanofabricated computer that can calculate fifty times faster than my organic brain? Is it a human you’re interacting with at the other end of this conversation, even mediated by wires and electricity (just like normal speech)?

  57. Friend of Liberty KC

    Libertarians use self-ownership interchangeably with what you’re roughly describing i.e. being able to live your life the way you want to.

    Funnily enough, the Anarchist FAQ tries to argue self-ownership theories logically lead to slavery. Given the heavy anarcho-communist bias of it, I am a bit skeptical. The writer of it won’t even grant The Alliance of the Libertarian Left entry to the anarchist charmed circle. He described it as ancaps with a better marketing campaign ~ gross distortion, IMO. No matter how much you argue the firms will be flatter, it seems that they get you on something.

  58. Soviet Onion

    Yeah, I think of ownership of X as more or less equivalent to the right to be the one to make decisions about what happens to X.

    Don’t you at least think that it’s alienating to equate ownership of your body to ownership of of external and inanimate property, like a sandwich?

  59. Soviet Onion

    Iaian McKay is a liar and a fraud. That’s my explanation, and my Francois Tremblay impression, all in one.

  60. Victoria

    Soviet to Aster: “But when Victoria expressed her thoughts on your goddess, and you extended that into a point about neo-paganism in general, I felt a swelling tension between my desire to respect something that is deeply personal to both of you, and which you are clearly somewhat conflicted about already, and a Richard Dawkins style indignation that asks why the hell “alternative religions” should be given a pass or treated with kid gloves when it seems perfectly fair to call out the Abrahamic religions for similar problems at every turn.”

    I would point out a strong distinction between personal, individual, and subjective experiences, feelings, and truths, on the one hand and objective, historical, scientifically verifiable indisputable facts on the other.

    I don’t see my Goddess as a supernatural being who comes down from Heaven when I call Her, but rather as a component of my own mind which I can evoke from within myself when I so desire. I might discuss with another person her mythos and attributes, and/or join in ritual but I own my projection as my own and do not assume too much objective consensus reality even with co-participants. Thus, I have to comment on my goddess as explicitly mine in a subjective sense, and make sure I don’t presume to comment upon your goddess experience as if I knew it in the same way as my own.

    I would answer Richard Dawkins that my neo-paganism deserves a pass because its personal subjectivity is honestly acknowlwdged, while the Abrahamic religions deserve my open skepticism and ridicule to the extent that they try to force themselves upon uninterested people who already have perfectly good spiritualities of their own. It is my opinion that Abraham had a dysfunctional family; there’s something about patriarchal monotheism that seems to have condemned its followers to fight among themselves over their diverse interpretations of claimed absolute truth.

    Victoria

  61. Roderick T. Long

    Don’t you at least think that it’s alienating to equate ownership of your body to ownership of of external and inanimate property, like a sandwich?

    I can see my hand. I can see my sandwich. Is it alienating to use the same word “see” to apply to both of them?

  62. Rad Geek

    FoLKC:

    Funnily enough, the Anarchist FAQ tries to argue self-ownership theories logically lead to slavery.

    Well, yes; this is one of the worst parts of the FAQ, because there has clearly been no serious attempt at all to deal with, or even charitably understand, the Rothbardian view on inalienability, and they have wildly distorted his view on children (he’s actually more radical on Kid Lib than most social anarchists) in order to try and pull a quick gotcha! Hell, it took until version 11.9 in March 2007 before the text even mentioned Block’s article on slavery contracts; until then, the only historical examples the text discussed to try to justify the claim that only embarrassment prevents anarcho-capitalists from coming out openly for slavery contracts were Nozick and Locke, who are of course not even anarcho-capitalists.

    Nick:

    The writer of it won’t even grant The Alliance of the Libertarian Left entry to the anarchist charmed circle.

    For reference, Iaian McKay isn’t the sole author of the FAQ, if that’s who you’re thinking of, even though he has clearly had an outsized role in shaping it. In fact, ALLies Kevin Carson and Shawn Wilbur are both listed contributors. And Iaian’s own position is that some people involved in ALL are genuine anarchists (e.g. the mutualists, and Kevin and Shawn in particular as prominent examples) and others are not (e.g. the left-Rothbardians). Although he seems to think that he can parse out mainly not by their ideas about anarchy but rather by their attitudes towards An Anarchist FAQ. (So that, for example, I am categorized as a right-wing libertarian even though I’m actually a Tuckerite socialist, as far as I can tell mainly on the basis of my having said some unkind words about the treatments of Rothbard and the individualists in An Anarchist FAQ.)

    Soviet Onion:

    Iaian McKay is a liar and a fraud. That’s my explanation, and my Francois Tremblay impression, all in one.

    Iaian’s wrong about a lot of things, and I think (and have said in the past) that some of the stuff in An Anarchist FAQ is pretty wretched as scholarship, but, purveyor of propertarian stupidity though I may be, I think that this is hardly necessary, and hardly justified by the evidence. (Rothbard certainly wrote some really wretched stuff about social anarchists, particularly early in his career when his understanding of them was mainly based on secondary or tertiary sources; Tucker wrote some really unfair polemics against, say, Goldman; I don’t think that that’s reason to write them off as liars or frauds.) Most of An Anarchist FAQ is much, much better than Sections F and G; Iaian has shown a lot of willingness to listen to Kevin and Shawn’s feedback and criticisms on the material on the individualists (even if, as I think, he hasn’t actually digested or integrated that feedback nearly as much as he should have), and in any case Iaian has plenty of good projects under his belt besides the FAQ. Given that one of the primary complaints about the FAQ is its intemperate, uncharitable, and overbroad polemical manhandling of its presumed ideological opponents, I think that maybe its critics ought to avoid replicating exactly what we’re complaining about.

    As for Francois, well, dude’s got his own problems.

  63. Soviet Onion

    Roderick,

    I can see my hand. I can see my sandwich. Is it alienating to use the same word “see” to apply to both of them?

    “See” doesn’t connote the same problematic attitude toward the relationship with the object in the way “property” does. I suppose that’s just a subjective preference from your perspective, but if you’re less staunchly propertarian like I am then a distinction between the “ownership” in self-hood and the “ownership” of a sandwich makes somewhat more sense.

    Victoria,

    I would answer Richard Dawkins that my neo-paganism deserves a pass because its personal subjectivity is honestly acknowlwdged

    So how does this differ from Unitarian Universalism, the Quakers or any of the esoteric and mystically-inclined versions of the Abrahamic faiths (Kaballah, Sufism, Rosicrucianism … anything involving the Western mysteries before they were sanitized by the Golden Dawn and incorporated into neopaganism)?

    while the Abrahamic religions deserve my open skepticism and ridicule to the extent that they try to force themselves upon uninterested people who already have perfectly good spiritualities of their own.

    1. Not all of them do that, and indeed the earliest victims of such behavior by Christians, aside from pagans, were other Christian sects. Thus this shouldn’t be a reason for rejecting Abrahamic beliefs and attitudes as such.

    2. Pagans have done this as well. That you don’t is great, but it doesn’t say anything about the religion itself, and if we’re to judge it based on common historical practices, why shouldn’t feeding people to lions in the arena be as significant as pogroms or witch burnings?

    It is my opinion that Abraham had a dysfunctional family

    Mine too. About as dysfunctional as the family relations within any of Near Eastern and Mediterranean pantheons. Abraham almost killed his son on command. Ishtar was poisoned by her sister and sent to the Underworld. Zeus cheated on his wife and abused women. Same difference.

    there’s something about patriarchal monotheism that seems to have condemned its followers to fight among themselves over their diverse interpretations of claimed absolute truth.

    I agree. Ideas have consequences, and we shouldn’t ignore the implications of Abrahamic morality if it has consistent results (not all of which were bad, moral universalism being a high point). At the same time, why ignore the fact that so many 20th century pagans have been fascists, traditionalists and misanthropic environmentalists? Regardless of what you, or the average liberal Christian does, if we’re going to judge Christianity by its demonstrated macro-level effects then paganism should be held to a similar standard.

    In that sense I think Richard Dawkins’ condemnation is perfectly applicable here. An idea that has no proof of validity but consistently elicits dangerous results, with no countervailing benefit, should simply be treated as a dangerous idea. No one who cares for rationality and liberal civilization could walk past it without saying something, and I wouldn’t be saying anything if neopaganism was all Starhawks and no Evolas.

    (Incidentally, I have met Starhawk and thought she was a cool lady)

  64. Roderick T. Long

    Soviet Onion,

    “See” doesn’t connote the same problematic attitude toward the relationship with the object in the way “property” does.

    But what is the objectionable connotation of “property”? Proprium means “one’s own,” dominium means a sphere within which one can make decisions, etc.

    Is the objection that “property” connotes alienability or commodity even if it doesn’t strictly entail it? Well, if so, then I think the reason it connotes it is simply that most property is alienable. Likewise “bird” connotes the ability to fly, but that’s no objection to calling penguins and ostriches birds.

    Sometimes I hear the objection that self-ownership and/or ownership of one’s body implies some sort of metaphysical dualism. a) I can see why someone might think that ownership of one’s body is dualistic if one first thinks that the owner and the owned have to be distinct or separable; but why should one think that? b) I’m much more puzzled as to why anyone thinks self-ownership is dualistic, since by definition the concept of self-ownership evidently involves rejection of the idea that owner and owned must be distinct.

    if you’re less staunchly propertarian like I am then a distinction between the “ownership” in self-hood and the “ownership” of a sandwich makes somewhat more sense.

    But what’s the difference? If ownership is the right of use/control etc., what is the distinction you have in mind?

  65. Soviet Onion

    But what is the objectionable connotation of “property”? Proprium means “one’s own,” dominium means a sphere within which one can make decisions, etc.

    Absolutism with regard to things I don’t think warrant it.

    Is the objection that “property” connotes alienability or commodity even if it doesn’t strictly entail it? Well, if so, then I think the reason it connotes it is simply that most property is alienable. Likewise “bird” connotes the ability to fly, but that’s no objection to calling penguins and ostriches birds.

    Right, I acknowledged that from your perspective the difference is purely an expression of aesthetic distaste.

    Sometimes I hear the objection that self-ownership and/or ownership of one’s body implies some sort of metaphysical dualism. a) I can see why someone might think that ownership of one’s body is dualistic if one first thinks that the owner and the owned have to be distinct or separable; but why should one think that?

    Is it an alienation of self-ownership to donate blood or tissue?

    I suppose one could argue that to alienate something that the self needs in order to reason and exercise meaningful choice in the future (the brain and enough organic body to sustain it, if not every piece of that body) would as an abrogation, but what if I download my current brain configuration, memory and all, into an android? Can I then sell the old organic body to Cthulhu to munch on? Or would the download simply be making a copy of myself, in which case the newer synthetic SO is enslaving and murdering the organic SO who, because he still has the same brain, is still a person?

    But what’s the difference? If ownership is the right of use/control etc., what is the distinction you have in mind?

    The criteria by which I think one is legitimized is different than the other. One’s closer to being absolute than the other, although I don’t think either is ever perfectly absolute. The reason why this isn’t quite the same as neo-Lockean recognition of abandonment is that the reasons for it being legitimate or not have to do with surrounding conditions and not necessarily with the maintenance of the property title itself, or how it was acquired.

    If I’m bleeding to death in the woods and there’s a locked cabin with bandages and a phone inside, I am going to break the window and crawl in. You might say that I should at least restore the owner after the fact, but by acknowledging my choice to break the window you’d be implicitly recognizing that there’s a higher good in that situation than just the preservation of property in the face of my (non-aggressive) death.

    If I wash up on Crusoe’s island where he’s already homesteaded the entire place and refuses me a place to stand, I am going to fight him for the ability to live rather than surrender myself to the ocean. Ditto for the last morsel of food if we’re on a raft in the middle of the ocean.

    Property is an extension of a person’s ability to live, act and grow in the world where the means to doing so are rivalrous. It’s based on the knowledge that we each need a material base on which to do that. So when title becomes a vehicle to block that, it actually undercuts its own philosophical backing and becomes ungrounded, existing as its own justification. It’s also quite proper to refer to that situation as a “private tyranny”, and it seems nonsensical for anything takes as it’s base the value of the human individual.

    Scaling this up, you’ve got the issue of factories, banks, land and other existing “capitalist” institutions. I’m no Proudhonian or social anarchist who thinks absentee ownership is always and everywhere unjustified (insert obligatory rant about how commies suck at economics), but whether or not I’m willing to defend those titles depends very much on the context in which they’re situated, if it’s a fully competitive context in which market share truly is tied to better service and reciprocity, whether other people in a position to take and use those resources are able to acquire a reasonable living wage on a short enough time scale without doing so, where these utilitarian justifications intersect and trade off against each other etc.

    The further up you go, the more contextualized it has to be, blah blah blah I’m a raving socialist.

  66. Roderick T. Long

    Soviet Onion,

    Absolutism with regard to things I don’t think warrant it.

    What does absolutism have to do with it? Whether one is an absolutist or not about property rights seems like an unrelated issue to what we’re talking about.

    Is it an alienation of self-ownership to donate blood or tissue?

    No, one it’s out of your body you can transfer title. You can’t transfer title while it’s in your body (thus the contract in Merchant of Venice should have been enforced solely by money damages and not specific performance).

    Can I then sell the old organic body to Cthulhu to munch on?

    Not if the old body is still alive and conscious and doesn’t want to be eaten. (Which one is you, if either, doesn’t seem to be the issue.)

    One’s closer to being absolute than the other

    So some property rights are more stringent than others. Sure, that seems right — and nearly everyone grants it. It doesn’t seem to be an objection to calling the more stringent ones property, though, as far as I can see. Anyway, it’s not as though the difference in stringency only occurs at the border between body and external property; it occurs also within the body (worse to cut off my finger than to cut off a lock of my hair) and within external property (worse to steal my beloved heirloom than steal my candy bar).

  67. Soviet Onion

    What does absolutism have to do with it? Whether one is an absolutist or not about property rights seems like an unrelated issue to what we’re talking about.

    I see a qualitative distinction here between that and what I have in mind. I don’t see one as having the same clear, unimpeded dominion as the other, which is what you and Rothbard are talking about in reference to all property. You’re talking about property in the sense of something that’s basically unimpeachable and not subject to review even while owned, unless the object changes (abandonment). I’m talking about something that’s never solid in itself under any conditions.

    No, one it’s out of your body you can transfer title. You can’t transfer title while it’s in your body (thus the contract in Merchant of Venice should have been enforced solely by money damages and not specific performance).

    In body/out body seems like a very arbitrary line. So the standards for taking my glasses can be less stringent than taking my eyes where contract enforcement is involved? Either way I’m blind as a result. What about early pacemakers that hung outside the body vs modern implants? Cochlear implants vs cochlea themselves?

    That’s all kind of beside the point, though.

    Can I consistently do something to my body that de facto terminates the ability to exercise self-ownership, like donating my heart? I shouldn’t be able to if theirs no metaphysical duality between the self that owns the body and the body itself; giving it away is the same as any choice that relinquishes self-ownership but keeps my body alive.

    Point being: what is it that makes such contracts illegitimate, the specific performance or the result, both of which deny self-ownership? The example you gave above seems to suggest some sanctity surrounding the body that isn’t explicitly tied to its function as a vehicle for self-hood, at least not in any way that external objects aren’t as well.

    So some property rights are more stringent than others. Sure, that seems right — and nearly everyone grants it. It doesn’t seem to be an objection to calling the more stringent ones property, though, as far as I can see. Anyway, it’s not as though the difference in stringency only occurs at the border between body and external property; it occurs also within the body (worse to cut off my finger than to cut off a lock of my hair) and within external property (worse to steal my beloved heirloom than steal my candy bar).

    These examples seem to be trying to quantify stringency in relation to it’s importance to the owner, but not any considerations beyond that. That’s where I would differ.

  68. Aster

    “see you at the barricades”.

    Spike: Are we feeling better, then?

    Drusilla: I’m naming all the stars.

    Spike: You can’t see the stars, love. That’s the ceiling. Also, it’s day.

    Drusilla: I can see them. But I’ve named them all the same name. And there’s terrible confusion.

    See you at the barricades.

  69. Roderick T. Long

    Soviet Onion,

    In body/out body seems like a very arbitrary line.

    Um, I agree. I thought you were the one emphasizing the all-importance of that distinction, not me — since you want to assign control over our bodies and control over our property to radically different categories. From my point of view it’s a matter of degree.

    So the standards for taking my glasses can be less stringent than taking my eyes where contract enforcement is involved? Either way I’m blind as a result.

    And I’m puzzled as a result; it seems to me that you keep switching sides. Either that or (more likely) I’m completely misunderstanding your position. It seems to me that sometimes you want to emphasise a radical difference between the body and external property, and sometimes (as here) you take exactly the opposite stand.

    As for the specific example you give: a) surely it’s worse to take your eyes than to take your glasses, because taking your eyes is more intrusive, more painful, and harder to undo. But b) that said, I never claimed that in the first place rights to bodily parts are always more stringent ATC than rights to externals. (Sometimes it’s you who seems to be claiming that; at other times that seems to be the view you’re attacking. I am lost.)

    Can I consistently do something to my body that de facto terminates the ability to exercise self-ownership, like donating my heart?

    Sure.

    I shouldn’t be able to if theirs no metaphysical duality between the self that owns the body and the body itself

    I don’t see how that follow.

    giving it away is the same as any choice that relinquishes self-ownership but keeps my body alive.

    But it doesn’t keep you alive. So you haven’t alienated anything.

    The example you gave above seems to suggest some sanctity surrounding the body that isn’t explicitly tied to its function as a vehicle for self-hood, at least not in any way that external objects aren’t as well.

    I’ve lost track of which example you mean; and I’m not sure what you mean about sanctity vs. vehicle for selfhood.

    These examples seem to be trying to quantify stringency in relation to it’s importance to the owner, but not any considerations beyond that.

    Importance to the owner is one relevant dimension, but not the only one. My glasses are more important to me than my hair, and so my right to my glasses is more stringent, along one dimension, than my right to my hair. My hair is more centrally a part of me than my glasses, and so my right to my hair is more stringent, along another dimension, than my right to my glasses. Weighing all these factors against each other gets you what’s most stringent ATC.

  70. Victoria

    Soviet, you asked, “So how does this differ from Unitarian Universalism, the Quakers or any of the esoteric and mystically-inclined versions of the Abrahamic faiths (Kaballah, Sufism, Rosicrucianism … anything involving the Western mysteries before they were sanitized by the Golden Dawn and incorporated into neopaganism)?

    I’d answer ‘doesn’t differ at all’ re: recognition of the validity of personal, subjective, internal insight or feeling. Respecting the identities of individuals is one major litmus test for my interest or participation in any spiritual group. My Rad Fae friends support me in living a strong, confident, proud and authentic life, as all of you left-libertarians do; my heartfelt thanks!

    Victoria

  71. Aster

    I’m considering the idea of joining a UU Church.

    OK, that’s it, now I really am going to Hell.

    Soviet-

    Neo-paganism is noncreedal, so there’s no reason you can’t be a Neo-Pagan and X. There are Christo-Pagans who worship Sophia or Mary of Magdala. There are fluffy bunny Pagans. There are bloody Nazi death metal Pagans. There are literary Pagans who are essentially atheists just like the LaVeyan Satanists. And then there are confused Pagan agnostic theists like me. And not all of us take our Paganism sanitised. I couldn’t understand my own tradition until I lost that illusion ||[shudder]||.

    Victoria-

    May I suggest that you do some research into the world’s several dozen (at least) erotic goddesses and see if any have a kind and gentle nature which appeals to you? I’ll merely say that my experience with trying to perceive the object of my own spiritual practice, or we might say my own attempt to comprehend the erotic aspect of the human condition, has shown me something which is more than incidentally violent.

    Perhaps I am merely seeing a reflexion of myself, and ultimately names don’t matter in Paganism except as narrative reference points, but my sense is that Ishtar’s a bitch. More like The Bitch. Which doesn’t change that the mythology surrounding that name and its equivalents touch something as deeply essential within myself that as I can justify by philosophy. I can’t stop worshipping, and I don’t want to. Poetry does that, and I refuse to tell it to let go of me.

    Yes, yes, that’s intellectually fluid, vague, touchy-feely, diaphanous, and squishy. It doesn’t compile. For which I apologise, but I’m just like that. I blame the hormones(=).

    And I should in truth mention that I reject the any essential epistemological dichotomy of objective and subjective experience (I’m a phenomenologist) and absolutely reject the notion that subjectivity immunises one from rational criticism. I think the philosophy that pop distinction is based upon is all junk, and one thing I don’t miss after the decline of the 60s and 70s is all that woozy relativism. I think, at most, that spirituality is poetry born of objective introspection. There may be experiences of inner sense which can sense other things as we commonly internally sense images and ideas. When something like that turns your consciousness up to 11 (except that number isn’t remotely high enough), you can’t help but sit up and take notice.

    But that’s an ‘at most’. When it comes down to it I don’t think the human mind can say anything useful about God or the gods and priority always goes to the human mind. Religion carries zero weight in interpersonal discussions and no one has the means to rationally convince anything of their religion, or any religion (entheogens and extreme situations can help).

    Religion does touch very deep feelings in nearly everyone, including atheists, and most especially touches childhood places which are often the easiest and surest way to reach authentic emotion. So good literature and good rhetoric are inevitably going to make strong use of religious themes (Nietzsche and Rand did); the best way to counter undesirable cultural consequences is to use several different religions as sources and to clearly put high literature and popular culture on the same footing as the kind of big thick books that get pushed in hotel rooms (these can also be used to substitute for a few inches of heels when being fitted for corpware).

    Humour helps too. Soviet- wanna make fun of my Big Mom? Let’s start here.

    Yo’ Momma’s so phat….

    Don’t worry. Just because the semi-Randroid listens to the voice in her head doesn’t mean she’s out to destroy humanity. And besides, didn’t Socrates make like life-or-death decisions according to what his daimon told him? Ok, that’s a fallacy, and I never thought it was his best moment anyway, but perfectly intelligent people didn’t mind hanging around him.

    ~~

    (=)I’m on the hormones of a 16-year-old girl 24/7/52. It totally rocks. It doesn’t show, does it?

  72. Roderick T. Long

    There are early Viking amulets that bear the inscription “Protect me, Christ and Thor.”

  73. Victoria

    “Victoria-

    “May I suggest that you do some research into the world’s several dozen (at least) erotic goddesses and see if any have a kind and gentle nature which appeals to you? I’ll merely say that my experience with trying to perceive the object of my own spiritual practice, or we might say my own attempt to comprehend the erotic aspect of the human condition, has shown me something which is more than incidentally violent.

    “Perhaps I am merely seeing a reflexion of myself, and ultimately names don’t matter in Paganism except as narrative reference points, but my sense is that Ishtar’s a bitch. More like The Bitch. Which doesn’t change that the mythology surrounding that name and its equivalents touch something as deeply essential within myself that as I can justify by philosophy. I can’t stop worshipping, and I don’t want to. Poetry does that, and I refuse to tell it to let go of me.”

    Aster, these words beautifully express where I’m at with her. “…reflexion of myself…” If I’m looking for self-knowledge, I’ll recognise the reflection of until-now-unconscious aspects of my own true self in the qualities I feel attracted to in a goddess or a friend. This is an example of spiritual practice consciously utilised to cultivate authentic self-knowledge.

    Did I tell you about the time when I performed one of seven gatekeepers in a ritual re-enactment of Innana’s descent to the Underworld, at the San Francisco UU Church?

    If I were asked my current daily spiritual practices, I might answer, reading RadGeek and listening to Democracy Now.

    Victoria

  74. Soviet Onion

    Aster,

    Humour helps too. Soviet- wanna make fun of my Big Mom? Let’s start here.

    … and end here.

    Did I mention how I am SO much better at the internet than you are?

    I’ve decided at this juncture to make a point of pissing off as many gods as I possibly can to make sure I’m totally screwed out of any chance at salvation. That, and maybe some will take notice and come after me, which will give me a chance to kick their asses.

    I’m already well outside the Hebrew god’s graces. Satan has no reliability and can’t even take out a two-bit posertarian like Bob Barr, who no longer has the benefit of the government’s Masonic counter-sorcerers to protect him.

    Ishtar, stop taking your self-esteem issues out on the men you fuck.

    And what’s that you say, “Dread Lord” Cthulhu? Eat me, will you? I’m sorry, I can’t hear you over the sound of how much you suck. Just try it, dipshit squid motherfucker. I’ll send your ass packing back to that sunken city where you can go back to sulking like the emo kid you are.

    Oh, and as for Thor, why is he always depicted holding a fucking hammer? He’s a god, for fuck’s sake. What does the god of lightning need a weapon for anyway? Can’t he just shoot electricity from his fingertips like Emperor Palpatine? And if not, why doesn’t he ditch that obsolete piece of shit and get his hands on an AK-47 like any sensible warrior would?

    Whatever. Asatruar are all Nazis anyway.

  75. Discussed at aaeblog.com

    How to Convert a Big Tent Into a Small One | Austro-Athenian Empire:

    […] la vistas from the left-libertarian blogosphere (see Kevin Carson, Royce Christian, Mike Gogulski, Charles Johnson, Brad Spangler, Darian Worden, the ALL Forums, and now me with a belated ditto – go read […]

  76. Aster

    “Did I mention how I am SO much better at the internet than you are?”

    </sniff>

    Marja introduced me to Eben Brooks months ago.

    Don’t make me go

    </hmmph!>

    I know you are but what am I?

  77. Marja Erwin

    Actually, my brother introduced me to the work in question.

    I’m already well outside the Hebrew god’s graces.

    You’d be surprised…

  78. Roderick T. Long

    Poor Cthulhu! He never threatened to eat anyone; all he promises is to liberate people. See what Lovecraft actually says:

    That cult would never die till the stars came right again, and the secret priests would take great Cthulhu from His tomb to revive His subjects and resume His rule of earth. The time would be easy to know, for then mankind would have become as the Great Old Ones; free and wild and beyond good and evil, with laws and morals thrown aside and all men shouting and killing and revelling in joy. Then the liberated Old Ones would teach them new ways to shout and kill and revel and enjoy themselves, and all the earth would flame with a holocaust of ecstasy and freedom.

    Okay, it’s a somewhat Sadean liberation, but still — for Lovecraft the horror that Cthullhu represents is clearly not the fear of being eaten by a big ol’ flying squid but the fear of people being liberated from their inhibitions. Cthulhu is other people.

  79. Roderick T. Long

    Plus the part about the time being “easy to know” is evidently Lovecraft’s way of saying that society has already become too uninhibited and licentious. Cthulhu represents the intensification of existing trends in society that HPL disapproves of.

    Cthulhu’s “flapping membraneous wings” … are the flappers?

  80. Victoria

    Soviet, the Chthulhu Photomontage that you linked rocks!

    I think we agree about Starhawk, she’s more real to me than Chthulhu or Lovecraft. I’ve read The Spiral Dance , Dreaming the Dark, The Fifth Sacred Thing and other of her works, have attended the Spiral Dance Samhain ritual event which she and the Reclaiming collective put on in SF and now other cities, and subscribe to her announcement list. She’s a good strong spiritual activist from way back, speaking out, speaking truth to power from the intersection of spirituality and activism.

· July 2009 ·

  1. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2009-07-31 – The Police Beat:

    […] couple days later, that the accident was, after all, clearly the fault of the cop’s speeding. Where have I seen that before…? I guess his victim is lucky that he wasn’t doing 100; if he had gotten himself hurt or killed […]

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