benignity

i heard the pres of the phillippines, benigno aquino 3, on npr just now. among the problems caused by climate change, he listed 'drugs'. so should all decent people nod along to absolutely anything that would, if true, help make the case even more urgent? say that climate change is an extremely imminent total-destruction emergency. would that make it obligatory to just emit any sort of jive that might get people going? or would it make it morally obligatory to try to believe that jive, or actually to believe it, or to pretend to believe it so we can all work together in virtue of the fact that we are all wackily credulous together for a good end? because that is the actual policy.  all they actually ought to accomplish by this means, and pretty much what they are accomplishing, is to have people switch off. sadly, the response to that is that they will redouble their efforts. it might seem obvious that if people aren't listening to you, you must yell louder, gesticulate more wildly, make even more dramatic/baldlyridiculous claims. but really, it's already been backfiring for many years.

Tagged with: ,

apocalypse klein

naomi klein says change or die. here's one reason i don't regard folks like that as sources of information, even though she - in the habitual fashion of climate eschatologists - congratulates herself continually for being in touch with reality, while excoriating her opponents for living in a fantasy. naomi klein urges that the turning point is a week from friday, by which time we must institute all the economic changes that she has believed in since she was 12. the sky is whispering to naomi klein: socialism, socialism, as the wind whispered 'mary' to jimi hendrix. but then again, everything has been whispering 'socialism' to klein for decades.

so she, like a lot or people (al gore, e.g.) think, or say, that the only chance for human survival is for us all to commit ourselves immediately and with total passionate fanaticism to the political vision that they themselves came in with. it's supposed to be a sort of coincidence. climate change is the cattle prod that's going to get us to where naomi klein always wanted us to be. she has every motivation in the world to describe climate change in the most extreme and dire terms imaginable, and she does, every day. 

now, the fact that climate change is a useful state-leftist propaganda tool does not mean that it's not a problem, or even that it's not the case that only a world government can save us. it just means that there are good reasons to be skeptical of people like klein. they want to believe that this is the terminal do-or-die human crisis, and it would be very useful to them in realizing their idealistic vision if you believed it too. i just hope that in 2030 we'll remember what she's saying now, because by 2030 there will be no effective world carbon regime and there will be no socialist worldstate of the sort klein fantasizes about. so we'll be running a test on this 'change or die' thing.

[don't take it that i'm conceding that if her description of the situation were true, her political conclusions or prescriptions would actually follow.]

Tagged with:

How to Live a Libertarian Life – More Liberty Now Podcast 0003

MP3 | YouTube | Subscribe at iTunes | Subscribe on YouTube | Time: 61:06

We libertarians want to live in a fully libertarian society, where non-aggression is the rule, we can trade freely and get the most out of our lives. That sometimes seems far away so how can we get that feeling of liberty now, in our own lives? How can we make it reality, too? And, can we advance the evolution to a libertarian society by living a more libertarian life today?

Absolutely.

What’s required in order to have a libertarian life?

  • that you identify yourself, that you know who you are, that you know what you want, what kind of a life you want, what kind of pursuits interest you, where your self-interrest lies and that you pursue that self-interest relentlessly.
  • that you identify what risks you are willing to take and which ones are out of bounds for you.
  • that you live by the non-aggression principle, which means peaceful, constructive behavior, honesty, integrity and only using violence or deception in defense of yourself and any others whom you have a specific obligation to protect.
  • that you prioritize your principles and your life goals over short-term expediency.
  • that you constantly seek out new forms of liberty and test the limits of practical liberty in your life in those areas that matter to you, to maximise your space for living free.
  • that you never give up your belief in the primacy of liberty in social relations with other people, that you never submit to intimidation when you can reasonably avoid it.
  • that you labor honestly to serve others through the marketplace when you require resources, or that you procure them directly from the environment in a responsible fashion.
  • that you are accountable for your actions, responsive to requests to resolve disputes and prompt to make whole anyone whom you cause damage.
  • that you are peaceful but firm in your dealings with others. You know the limits of what you will tolerate from others. You know when you will cede and when you will defend.
  • that you live by not just the non-aggression principle also other basic human values that support human life, because without human life the non-aggression principle is meaningless.
  • that you cultivate maximum economic, emotional, intellectual and spiritual independence.

What are the benefits of a libertarian life?

There is still a lot of liberty out there for the taking, despite the paper laws, regulations, bureaucrats and cops. You can help yourself have an awesome life by placing a high value on the principle of individual liberty and self-determination.

You can get rich, explore the world, feel happier inside, be proud knowing that you are living a principled, examined and ethical life.

You can reach the heights of success and happiness and network with other people like you, so that together we can lead the evolution of human society in a direction that honors human dignity, respects liberty and catalyzes good things for everyone.

You can achieve your goals and know that, in doing so, you harmed no one.

What are the disadvantages of a libertarian life?

In this world, a lot of people want to take the easy way out. They don’t want to think a lot about things. You will inevitably be out of sync with the people you grew up with, your family, your co-workers and most of your peers.

Other people will look at you funny, question you, ridicule you, call you names and cut you out of their lives.

This can lead to chronic doubt and feelings of insecurity. There is a constant tension because you are outnumbered. People want to tell you how to live your life and they endorse de facto slavery.

It is very challenging to live like this. You are under assault at all times not just through personal relationships but also via the culture in the form of news, TV shows, movies, music, books and other media.

How to lead a libertarian life?

  • Always Be Liberating: Constantly be on the lookout for ways that you want to be freer. Identify and take note of them. Think every day about how to achieve these goals. Disregard your preconceptions. Network with like-minded invididuals.
  • Be as free as you can: Identify the ways in which you currently feel comfortable expressing your liberty and make a habit of expressing it as much as possible.
  • Consciously calculate the risk of any given action you want to take and weight it against the potential reward.
  • Some things in life you have to protect above everything else. Know your proirities and orient your life around them. If you have a mortgage and two kids at home, then you can’t be a street activist that confronts cops. Those two things are simply incompatible. Likewise, if you are a YouTube personality, you can’t go out and start an illegal drug business on the side. There’s too much of a spotlight on you and the PR points cops can score by caging you for a long time are too tempting to them.
  • Start a business. Serve others through free exchange. Take care of your customers. Build assets over time. Be a mentor to other libertarians so they can do the same. With wealth comes the ability to actualize your liberty; i.e., freedom.
  • Work on you, your confidence, your passion, your values, the alignment between what you say and what you do, your inner strength
  • Remember that you are the center of your universe. You have to take care of you first.

Discussion Questions

  • What are 10 things you can do this year to live a more libertarian life?
  • What is the first step towards a more libertarian life?
  • What does it mean to you, personally, to live a libertarian life?
  • What obstacles to a more libertarian life can you clear out of your own path, without any action on the part of others?
  • What apparent contradictions are there when living a libertarian life in a statist society and how can they be resolved?

Questions

Got a question about the More Liberty Now podcast? Tweet @MoreLibertyNow or with hashtag #MoreLibertyNow. You can also send an email to Questions@MoreLibertyNow.com. We love the hard questions so don’t hold back!

Downloadable Resource

Coming soon.

Subscribe

If you like the show, subscribe on iTunes or via email (see the end of the post for the email option).

Subscribe with iTunes to the More Liberty Now Podcast

Support

If you enjoy the More Liberty Now Podcast, you can support us at MoreLibertyNow.com/support. Your support enables us to pay the bills, provide a higher quality podcast and reach more people with our practical and inspiring messages of liberty.

The post How to Live a Libertarian Life – More Liberty Now Podcast 0003 appeared first on More Liberty Now.

alert level infinity

in the course of this npr piece on the climate march, people give the rote characterizations: "the biggest crisis civilization has ever faced"; "the most pressing moral issue of our time". the non-stop flow of hyperbole - intended to manipulate people, then echoed and echoed - has continued for decades. they got to rhetorical defcon infinity in 2001 or whatever it was. since then it has simply been hyper-repetitive shrieking. i can't even hear it anymore.

let me do a bit of comparative work about the greatest crisis the universe has faced since dr. strange saved it from the dread dormammu. in the last three years, 200,000 people have been killed in syria. half the country has been displaced.i will remind you that since about 1950 we have faced the realistic prospect of total nuclear annihilation. the plague killed a third of europe and asia, etc. by comparison, climate change is extremely amorphous. no particular event - for example, no particular actual death - can be definitively chalked up to it. on the other hand it could be 'connected to' any particular death anywhere. it might be causing all our difficulties. then again it might not. it might be or it might not be the greatest threat we have ever faced, but it is by quite a ways the vaguest, vaguer even than the dread dormammu. it might be having all effects or none. 

Dreaddormammu

now, i understand that people think - or at any rate say - that climate change is driving the syrian conflict. people think every war and famine and disease is due to climate change. or they say that. but they can't show it at all, and it's just another element of strategic hysteria-inducement. that is the main rhetorical shift from the early 2000s to now: the strategy is basically to indicate that every adverse event, from immigration difficulties to inequality to terrorism, is caused by climate change. often a strory in the press will simply connect them in the same sentence, deploying a sheer assumption of causal connection. it's quite like satan, something that underlies all evil, more or less. and just as clearly as climate change caused war x, it caused your last divorce, or made you drop your phone into the toilet.

they're still squawking 'science', no doubt. but they are very very far from empirically connecting climate change to any particular refugee crisis or epidemic or genocide. and they are people who wish it were so, in order to mobilize you; they've been coming at you from every angle, deploying every strategy they could think of to manipulate you, hammering at you from every direction, for decades. i am way too numb to pay any more attention and i suspect i am not alone, so if i were them i'd try something else.

i think that climate activists have fully absorbed the style of american politicians: many might actually be confused as between what is true and what would make people join. it will turn out that the ebola outbreak is connected to climate change: you draw the conclusion before examining the evidence, and then why bother with evidence? [or really, the move is this: 'is the ebola outbreak due to climate change? many experts think that it might well could kind of be. clearly, it's not clearly not. if you don't want your kids to die of ebola, we must immediately institute a worldwide environmental regulatory regime. we are at the pipping toint.'] it might not be evident to themselves whether they are trying to speak the truth or trying to make you do what they want you to do; they might even have a sort of slapdash theory of truth on which these are not clearly different activities. no point, really, in paying attention to people like that.

the rhetoric is jacked up to 11 precisely because the problem is so amorphous: they're always trying to make it definite, or to bring it in from vague atmospheric conditions to localize it or detect it in particular events, but this inference is never nailed, and in fact is incompatible with the basic way the science is approached. where it is localized or where it suddenly explodes out of the ether into the causal chain directly affecting events, depends on what makes for the most compelling rhetorical flourish: it's our greatest national security issue, or our biggest social justice issue, our biggest economic threat, or whatever it may be next week or for a different audience.

on the other hand, its formlessness or dispersion through the atmosphere is a sign of its sheer size and power, the infinity of its unprecedented threat. but for me, right now, i am telling you that the fact that i forgot to get coffee at the grocery store is a bigger problem than climate change, so it's going to be hard to convince me that i am living in the middle of the greatest crisis humanity has ever faced. saying it over and over again in an apparently unending crescendo is just not going to get me moving, and if i set myself to tackle the world's problems - which i have not - i'd start somewhere else.

do you know how extremely you are not supposed to say things like this in academia? what i just wrote makes me again a pariah, actually an evil person. whether it's true or not doesn't matter at all. but extreme social pressure isn't quite the same as actual solidarity, is it? and unanimity isn't exactly truth, either.

anyway, if y'all could please calm down and try to talk like reasonable people about reality, i will re-focus and try to listen. if it's just ever-more repetitions of the greatest crisis in the history of your ass ...

Tagged with:

no i do not accept your frigging u2 album,

and let me instruct bono & co. as to the nature of the miracle of joey ramone: it had to do with economy, directness, hilarity. joey ramone never took himself too seriously; bono never for a moment has not. joey warbled of lobotomies; bono delivers one, every time out. he is the very voice of my headache, a voice thatmight be described as migrainous, which, thankfully, turns out to be a word. great sunglasses, though.

Tagged with:

cheese it!, where the honkies are atonkin

 

Agorism Explained – More Liberty Now Podcast 0002

MP3 | YouTube | Subscribe at iTunes | Subscribe on YouTube | Time: 51:41

Agorism is a libertarian strategy for achieving freed societies where we can each live our lives as we see fit. Agorism leverages the libertarian emphasis on free trade to encourage us to build businesses where we trade outside the bounds of the government-controlled marketplace.

As we trade, we inevitably become more prosperous. Exchange is not a zero-sum game after all. As more people join our marketplace, the counter-economy, we grow collectively more powerful. We can increasingly defend ourselves better against government aggression.

As our power grows, because we are operating outside the government system as much as possible, so does government power correspondingly wither. We deny them the percentage of our growing prosperity that they so violently demand.

Over time, our counter-economy will grow to such a level that we can challenge the state for our autonomy. This may come down to an armed struggle or we may be able to negotiate or use nonviolence to finally establish our collective and individual autonomy.

Unlike some other strategies for achieving libertarian goals, agorism involves actually practicing our values.

Agorism has other benefits, as well:

  1. Agorism is about exchange, so it requires connection which implies network building. Large, international networks of agorists can serve to spread libertarian ideas farther than ever before.
  2. It aligns personal interest with political philosophy because the agorist strategy requires free, independent and strong people, not just financially but also physically and mentally.
  3. It can help enrich libertarians. More money is more free time and more power. This is the basic progression of civilization, from drudgery to more free resources that we can use to pursue artistic, political and personal goals.
  4. You can start with easy and low-risk steps right now and build up to your limits on your schedule.

It’s important to take note of the following:

  1. Agorism implies trading risk for profit. Risk isn’t for everyone and you have to be careful to design the right risk profile for you.
  2. Figure out your risk profile up front and don’t venture beyond it until you are absolutely prepared. Agorism is illegal and government can mete out harsh punishments.
  3. Avoid orthodoxy. Don’t stress out about the official definition of agorism. Focus on building yourself up, first and foremost.
  4. If your risk profile only allows for the creation of a white market (i.e., government-approved) business, that’s fine. Continue on that path. Some progress is better than no progress. Perhaps somewhere down the line you can support higher-risk agorists or shift your business into the agorist grey market.
  5. Agorism is about exchange. It’s about trading our way to a position of greater power so that we can challenge the state more effectively. So any tactics that isolate you, such as self-sufficiency, investing a lot of time in growing your own food for political reasons or moving to remote areas, are not recommended.
  6. Don’t move too fast. You can start slow. Keep your day job for now.

Questions

Got a question about the More Liberty Now podcast? Tweet @MoreLibertyNow or with hashtag #MoreLibertyNow. You can also send an email to Questions@MoreLibertyNow.com. We love the hard questions so don’t hold back!

Downloadable Resource

Coming soon.

Subscribe

If you like the show, subscribe on iTunes or via email (see the end of the post for the email option).

Subscribe with iTunes to the More Liberty Now Podcast

Support

If you enjoy the More Liberty Now Podcast, you can support us at MoreLibertyNow.com/support. Your support enables us to pay the bills, provide a higher quality podcast and reach more people with our practical and inspiring messages of liberty.

Show Notes

The post Agorism Explained – More Liberty Now Podcast 0002 appeared first on More Liberty Now.

bluejazz

i'm teaching a first-year seminar on american popular musics. we're going blues, jazz, country, rock, punk, hip hop. (there are several whole genres i would have liked to add, believe me.) i am pretty deep in the standard histories. the first day, one of the students asked a pretty basic question: which came first, blues or jazz? i have been contemplating, but actually it would take a pretty long spelling out.

the short answer is that the history of these forms before publishing and, in particular, recording, is swathed in myth and will never be fully recovered. and in particular, i say the origin of the blues is up for grabs. early sources seem to hear something like it here, something else like it there: in the mississippi delta, around new orleans, in east texas, in georgia, in missouri, in arkansas. so the first thing you should do is divest yourself of the idea that any of these coud be in any way insular cultures; musicians and styles are traveling throughout the black south.

the idea that the blues originates in the mississippi delta makes it a 'folk' or peasant form, migrating to cities. this origin is far less agreed-on in the scholarship than it once was. and here is my theory, ok? it radiates from new orleans, the hub of the semi-circular blues region. in the 1890s or 1900s in nola, there may have been a sprawling group of musics known indifferently or at different moments or in different neighborhoods as 'blues' and 'jazz': i do not think these are distinct forms early on. one things the books say is that ma rainey, for example, 'hired top jazz musicians' like armstrong or oliver, but i wonder whether she or they heard themselves as playing two different genres. not, i should think.

if you were listening to the legendary originator of jazz buddy bolden, i bet it'd rest on the twelve-bar. most every jelly roll morton or king oliver recording is either a straight blues or rests on blues elements. most of them are called blues. they would be, in the early 20s, because the blues was something of a commercial fad (later superseded by 'jazz'/'swing').

 

no one knows what blues sounded like in the delta before performers from new orleans could have passed through, or even before people could have heard recordings of the new orleans 'jazz' bands playing the blues. obviously, we are flowing up and down america's first super-highway, and instantly it's in memphis and helena and st. louis and chicago.

really where i, like a lot of people, hear jazz exploding in my head is in the louis solos on "chimes blues" and "west end blues". one thing that makes them jazz is the virtuosity of the soloist, which is shown specifically by his ability to improvise on, play with, and potentially rip apart, the blues form. it is obvious he has known this form from the womb. this is true of that jelly roll thing too: it takes a 32-bar ragtime break in the middle of a series of blues verses. and yet the improvisation or break-out is precisely an improvisation on or from the blues: i am telling you they are not primordially distinct. but jelly roll always adds the syncretic element: the latin thing or the rag, and that eclecticism is characteristic of the unfolding history of jazz as it is not in the later history of the blues.

 

there is no less reason the blues should be a commercial form that went folk than that it should be a folk form that went commercial. and by 'commercial' i mean everything from storyville and parade crews to medicine and tent and riverboat shows to publishing and recording to people picking up gigs at parties or jukes, or even busking from town to town.

 

Tagged with:

shut up with the shutting up, already

every newsworthy event these days seems to be a reason to hang people for saying the wrong thing.

"How does she marry him after that? How does she go in front of (NFL Commissioner Roger) Goodell? That's pathetic to me," Robinson said during the radio segment, according to CBS Sports.

he was suspended. or how about the atlanta hawks owner talking about the economic implications of the racial makeup of the crowds at hawks games, in a way almost anyone might in that position? he had to sell out the day it was reported. just make up your mind to this: speech is not assault. and for god's sake, stop becoming outraged at people for saying even things that you are yourself, or that very many people, are thinking. there's no percentage in that. people do not want there to be any public actual discussion of anything, in particular race and gender. they want everyone chanting the same pc cliches in unison.

the baseline is that anyone gets to say whatever they like, and what you are doing is forcing dishonesty on everyone, even yourself. after that, you're going to wonder why no one appears to be a racist or sexist in a society that is structurally racist and sexist. my basic explanation of this always-apparently-mysterious fact is that it's one of the effects of of the overwhelming social sanctions against using certain words or expressing certain thoughts in public space. i think people really are or were confused between racism and the vocabulary of racism, sexism and the vocabulary of sexism: people seriously held the view that it would be a substantive improvement in the condition of women if no one ever used 'chick' or even 'girl', ever again. 

pretty soon, not only is everyone policing every word out of their own mouths, they are editing their own thoughts, or trying to, because they themselves believe that the basic thing that makes you a racist is that the word 'nigger' crosses your mind. that is, the general theory that drives the policing of speech - the idea that reality is the result of our simultaneous incantations - itself becomes widely accepted and applied. then if you do kind of edit that stuff out of your own internal monologue, you believe of yourself that you cannot be a racist. that would actually be true if the 'words-have-power' magick theory of reality were true. the ever-more thorough and effective censorship regimes around racism and sexism combined with the mysterious persistence of the hierarchies themselves actually show that words are shit. or proverbially: talk is cheap. surely anyone who has lived among humans has learned this lesson, and no one can have better data on that than members of oppressed groups.

the worst

in my opinion the very worst philosophers of the twentieth century that anyone ever took seriously were the frankfurt school guys. they were both miserable marxists and miserable snobs, extreme egalitarians and extreme elitists: a particularly charming combination. look, being a marxist is pathetic enough, particularly for anyone calling himself a philosopher. but being a radical leftist revolutionary and also a sneering, pretentious fuckhead is justification for a sound thrashing. for whatever reason, people like that were very typical productions of the twentieth century, and they're still all over academia.

i want you to imagine what the arts of the 20th century would have looked like if they were doing what adorno thought they should do. you'd do better to have no art. also, i would say that if anti-capitalism leads you to sneer at, say, duke ellington or hank williams, on the grounds that people bought their records, then anti-capitalism should be blown to smithereens. rarely has anyone had worse taste that theodor adorno, or been so celebrated for it. but i'm too sophisto to get all 'dorkheimer' and 'adornob': i'll leave that to today's grad students.

Tagged with: