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Posts from February 2010

Monday Lazy Linking

  • Remains of the Day: Why Piracy Works Edition [For What It’s Worth] Adam Pash, Lifehacker (2010-02-18). A fed up movie-watcher explains in pictures how buying is more hostile to consumers than pirating, a school spies on students at home through webcams, and Bill Gates gives a great presentation.(Click the image above for a closer look.) Why Piracy Works See image above. [via Kevin Marks] When are… (Linked Saturday 2010-02-20.)
  • Hulu May Come to iPad as Paid Subscription Service. Daring Fireball (2010-02-21). Intellectual Protectionism Vs. The Progress of the Arts and Sciences. (Cont’d.) “This sort of nonsense gets to the bottom of what's wrong with these entertainment executives' outlook on the world. They want to define everything by arbitrary device types — this is a ‘TV’, that is a ‘computer’, this other thing is a ‘mobile device’ — and then sell/distribute the same content to different device types separately and with no spillage. But it's all bullshit in the digital world.” (Linked Sunday 2010-02-21.)
  • Mount Vernon Mush. Jesse Walker, Jesse Walker: Reason Magazine articles and blog posts. (2010-02-17). A bunch of right-wing heavyweights (and middleweights, and lightweights) have put together the Mount Vernon Statement, purportedly a manifesto for "constitutional conservatism." Glenn Reynolds writes that it's "heavy on small-government stuff, and light on social-issue meddling," and he suggests that "this supports the notion of a libertarian shift on the… (Linked Monday 2010-02-22.)
  • Review: Neil Gershenfeld’s FAB. John Baichtal, MAKE Magazine (2010-02-19). When Neil Gershenfeld, director of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms, offered a class titled “How to Make (almost) Anything,” he was surprised to find himself inundated by students. In particular, Gershenfeld was taken aback by the fact that these students weren’t taking the class for some sort of abstract… (Linked Monday 2010-02-22.)

Shameless Self-promotion Sunday

Sunday. Shamelessness. You know the drill.

This is a late Sunday post because it’s been a busy weekend; L. and I rented a car to be able to do some of our spring errands (garden, groceries, minor electronic equipment, that sort of thing) and so have been running around getting stuff done while we still have the mobility to do so. Food Not Bombs was a big blast this weekend, with some new folks at the organizational meeting, a lot of fresh energy, and a big turn-out at the Sunday picnic. I took advantage of the car to scope out a couple county parks as possible locations for a second weekly picnic. And meanwhile I’ve been playing around with social networking outlets. In particular, for an alternate means of following posts as they come out, and as an easy means of getting in touch about the project if you want to, I have created new Twitter profiles for:

And I’ve also created Facebook Pages for four of my major projects (Anarchoblogs, Feminist Blogs, FeedWordPress, and the blog you see before you):

There’s some other things I’ve been busy with — on these projects and others — but that probably merits a post of its own. In the meantime, here’s to sociality. And to errands completed.

And yourself? What have you been up to this week? Write anything? Leave a link and a short description for your post in the comments. Or fire away about anything else you might want to talk about.

I know you are, but what am I?

Here’s Frank Rich, beating the same dead horse in the New York Times (2010-02-13) that he’s been beating for the past administration and a half:

Instead of praising bailed-out bankers, the president might have more profitably instructed his press secretary to drop the lame Palin jokes and dismantle the disinformation campaign her speech delivered to a national audience. Palin, unlike Obama, put herself on the side of the angels, railing against Wall Street's bonuses and bailout, even though she and John McCain had supported TARP during the campaign.

–Frank Rich, New York Times (2010-02-13): Palin’s Cunning Sleight of Hand

Indeed she did; but then, so did Senator Barack Obama; oops. In fact, he voted for the damned thing. Which would tend to make any attempts by the Obamarchy to condemn Sarah Palin for supporting it rather, well, awkward.

Which is hardly to say that nobody should come out and blast Sarah Palin for supporting TARP. The fact that both political parties were in absolute agreement on such an obviously horrible screwjob and  overt act of plunder as 2008’s Endangered Capitalists Act is no argument that supporting TARP was somehow O.K., or that the politicians who supported it deserve anything other than contempt and condemnation. If the Obamarchy were to come out blasting Sarah Palin for her support for TARP, their own history would be no argument against the point. But be that as it may, I certainly don’t know why Frank Rich expects Barack Obama or any other prominent Democrat to come out against their own damned program.

If you want an alternative, you need to look outside of the political parties and the interlocking Beltway consensus that they have constructed. It’s not going to come from Sarah Palin, to be sure, but if you’re expecting it to come from a Democrat, you’re going to stay disappointed. The most you’re ever going to get out of such a constrained debate is a massive game of “I know you are, but what am I?”

As for those of us who both Republicans and Democrats consider small enough to fail, the disgust and anger with Obama and the Democratic Congress hardly means that we have been seduced by the devious pseudopopulist wiles of Sarah Palin; all it means is that

I am not altogether on anybody’s side, because nobody is altogether on my side, if you undertand me …
Or, to come around to it, if we are ever going to get anywhere, we — you and me and the rest of us, the vast majority who have nothing to do with the Beltway and its idiotic shouting matches — must be on each other’s sides, and learn to do for ourselves, without these grandstanding jackasses. There’s no winner to pick in that horse race. And as long as Frank Rich believes there is, he’s going to continue putting out silly apologetics for a party that has trashed everything he supposedly cares about over and over again.

Friday Lazy Linking

Dr. Anarchy answers your mail #6: keeping away unwanted attention from statists

… the occasional advice column that’s taking the world by storm, one sovereign individual at a time.

This week’s question comes from a correspondent at the Libertarian subreddit. Our correspondent has been reading some discussion of the increasingly belligerent statism of conservatives within the Tea Party movement and the efforts of conservative politicos like Sarah Palin to harness the movement to their own ends — typically purging libertarians in the process. And he or she agrees, but doesn’t really know what to do about the co-optation and takeover attempts that conservatives always mount when a libertarian organization or a libertarian activist effort starts getting some buzz. What can you do when any time you try to go out in public, you face this kind of unwanted attention?

Dear Dr. Anarchy:

How do we keep neocons or someone else from co-opting a libertarian organization, without some kind of top-down approach? It seems like real libertarians just get drowned out in the din of statists, and the libertarian agenda gets changed in any desirable organization libertarians contribute towards.

Co-opted in Connecticut

Dear Co-opted,

What you should do is stop wasting your political time on limited-government organizations, and become an Anarchist. instead.

Why is it that neoconservatives and other statist politicos keep trying to co-opt and take over organizations that libertarians started? The answer is the same for any politico — because they see the organization and the people in it as a means to political power. They’re able to treat limited-government reform groups like that because limited-government reform groups, while protesting big government, still want a little bit of government — to hold onto some part of the State and executive power (e.g. government cops, courts, borders, and soldiers). A Sarah Palin sees this as the platform she can stand on: as long as you’re willing to accept a little bit of government, she can ride your movement to victory, or if not victory at least a speaking gig and a comfortable sinecure, with a very selective set of promises about the kinds of government she’ll roll back.

But an Anarchist organization, or an Anarchist direct-action campaign against state power (like CopWatch or No Borders Camp, say), aims to change political conditions by frustrating or bypassing electoral and parliamentary politics, and the goal that you are trying to reach is to abolish the political means itself. When your means and your ends are to destroy the very thing that conservative politicos want to control, you no longer have anything to take that they could want to have.

I know it’s tempting to believe that you can go on doing just what you’ve been doing, and that this time — with the right sort of vigilance, maybe; with the right sort of understanding from the get-go — you’ll be able to do it right, or if things threaten threaten to go wrong, you’ll be able to see the warning signs before it’s too late, and do something about it. But when you keep seeing the same pattern over and over again in your political relationships and your casual interactions, it’s time for you to wake up and start facing facts. Political organizing is always going to attract politicos, and people with more political pull are always going to have the advantage in political organization. It’s not just time to dump this control freak; it’s time to think about whether you should be doing things differently, so that control freaks like this won’t find anything to attract them in the future. Stop putting your hopes into support for limited-government political parties and governmental reform; it’s time to stand up for yourself, without the crutch of legal politics, and put your time, energy and hopes into efforts that bypass governmental politics entirely, and treat the state as an enemy to be smashed, rather than a tool to be seized and wielded.

Dr. Anarchy.

That’s all for today. Just remember, folks: people are more important than power. And everything is easier when you reject the State as such.

Next week: Dr. Anarchy answers your tax questions!

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