sub tyrannis

an ongoing examination and analysis of the pervasion of control in modern life

The death penalty, Or an incredulous exposition on the hopeful death of said institution. 

I recently read an article in The Atlantic about the death penalty and the bringing back of the guillotine. The primary argument of the article is that the current method of executing a human is inhuman and that the guillotine, which is rather swift and effective, apparently, would be preferable in shortening the pain and suffering of said human.

Let me reiterate that sentence: our current method of execution is inhumane, therefore, we should utilize a method to execute humans, that is more humane.

If you have a hard time believing that there can be two sides of the argument for execution, then you would find yourself in company with me. Someone who writes for The Atlantic, which tends to the liberal end of the political spectrum, is arguing that the current method of execution is inhumane and that we need to bring back another form of execution that is apparently more humane.

Let’s not even start to discuss the blood sport that is beheading an individual — often conducted in front of crowds for both terror and sport (beheading once was the prize a victorious athlete or team could confer upon the loser’s … head) –, but let’s just consider that there is even an active discussion on the side of “for execution”.

As you can probably tell by my intense incredulity, I believe the argument is two-sided only in one way: you are either someone who thinks humaneness can be determined at all in murdering someone or you think that killing someone is inhumane no matter what.

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Free-market capitalism, an ideal and its flaws

I have often been of the belief — widely held — that free market capitalism is indeed the basic state of humanity. We libertarians often make the assertion that free market capitalism is the natural state because it is based on selfish individual-level instincts that have developed since our time as proto-hominid and prehistoric ape. A close friend who runs an online business and moves within several buy-sell-trade groups on Facebook and Instagram recently shared a story with me that reinforces the idea that free market capitalism is not the individual-level selfishness that economists, classical liberals, and libertarians think it is. Anecdotal evidence suggests otherwise, and I think this is supported by evolutionary biology’s theories that humans have evolved into social beings through a complex co-evolution of individual-level (that is, selfish desire and interest) and group-level (that is, altruistic action that benefits those around us and society as a whole) development.

The stories goes as follows: our friend enjoys dyeing slings and returning what I can only imagine is a fair profit for doing something she enjoys. As a member of a buy-sell-trade group, she has gained a fair amount of notoriety as someone who can “breath life” back into worn and old slings and make them beautiful again. Art, as it turns out, is a significantly marketable skill, and it can lead to good business. Other members of the buy-sell-trade group enjoy what our friend does so much that people speak far and wide about her skill and art and send her a lot of new business.

Our friend has experienced an interesting phenomenon that she thought would never happen. People are paying her to do something she loves — this is the essence of human economic enterprise, and the socio-cultural co-evolution of artistic design and sale. However, the administrators of the buy-sell-trade group have taken it upon themselves to personally attack our friend’s business and bad-mouth her to people who buy, sell and trade with our friend. They have determined that our friend should not receive the business of the members of the buy-sell-trade for no easily discernible reason. On further elaboration of the sling business on the web, our friend shared with us that she does not charge nearly as much for her dyed slings as others do; in fact, our friend doesn’t necessarily even compete in the same market as those that are attempting to bully her out the market. She merely dyes others already-purchased slings to breath new life into them and make them artistically beautiful. She is like a painter who comes to your house and paints your walls. The painter doesn’t erect the walls, or plaster the walls, or ensure they are wired and piped properly to code; the painter merely increases the value by painting them. You pay the painter for the increase in value that the paint provides to your home. Their is no competition between the painter and the home builder, the plasterer, the electrician, or the plumber. In much the same way, there is no competition between the individual who sews the slings and our friend who dyes the slings. She merely adds value and reaps the profit of doing so. She picks the price that makes sense to her based on her economic calculation: she calculates her costs of material, time, shipping and balances it with the market-offered prices of her activity and charges as much as she pleases. This is the great advantage of handicraft and art, you may charge what you feel. As it turns out, this is what a free market should, in fact, be; the seller should undercut competitors to the point that the seller no longer makes a profit. At this point, the seller needs to reduce costs somehow or find a new niche market. The apparent reason that our friend is receiving flak from the administrators and other group members is because of her lower price.

The free market economic theory of individual-level decision-making would suggest that our friend is in the right by undercutting the competition in price and outperforming in terms of market share and quality. It would appear, however, that the true and natural state of the market is not an individually organized free market but truly one that depends on that complex mingling of individual-level and group-level evolutionary social development. Individual-level social development drives us to seek the greatest profit and drive to gain that which we think is rightfully ours. Group-level social development drives us to seek the security of our family, friends, and those we consider members of our community. Defining our family, friends, and community — especially community — is a tricky business, one I don’t think occurs in a simple manner. Again, because of the complex mingling of individual-level and group-level social development, our definition of the group is often colored by the group’s relation and benefit to us as individuals. Our selfish drive to gain for ourselves balances — usually, strongly — our altruistic desire to advance others. If a complete selfish existence should lead to a free market of profit-seeking individuals and a complete altruistic existence should lead to communism (as we’ve been led to believe by politicians and philosophers), then the mixture of the two will lead to the reality we see in most economic arrangements: cartel-like oligarchical markets, wherein bullying prevails, quality matters less than clout, and being part of the in-group is the greatest capital you can obtain.

Thus, it would appear as if the anecdotal and evolutionary evidence suggest that the natural and most simple state of economic arrangement is not the true free market economists and libertarians alike have trumpeted for centuries but, indeed, the more complex cartel-like economic arrangements that lead to crony capitalistic arrangements, taxes, fixed prices, quotas (as in oil and other natural resources), and large economic and environmental waste quotients.

Many would probably agree with this at the large scale in the belief that states, multinational companies, and cartels like OPEC are cronies and seek to amass wealth among the already wealthy and those with cruel anti-societal intentions. They might suggest that this is only an issue at great scale and one that we can combat by dismantling the statecraft of modern society and reducing the power of corporations through small government and anti-trust laws. I think our above anecdotal evidence suggests that this is the natural state of human economic activity: not one to be striven for in terms of a liberalized and free market and not one where all goods are held in common, but one in which individuals use their in-group tactics to maintain profit, power, and market share. This leads to a great need for a new understanding of what we libertarians must dismantle in terms of power structures; the free market is seemingly an ideal, one which would take thousands of years of evolutionary development to work out the kinks of group-level predilections out of their close and only truly human intertwining with individual-level inclinations. Until, then, I think we must try to exist less in the ideal world where we can simply define economic and personal desire by individual-level or group-level social development, and try to navigate philosophically and theoretically in the more complex real-world.

Why conservatives and republicans are bad… conservatives and republicans

“@conserv_tribune: BREAKING: White House Literally Threatens to Shut Down Department of Homeland Security http://bit.ly/1EKdF5g #tcot #tlot”

http://conservativetribune.com/obama-threatens-shut-down-dhs-1/

The first is a tweet from the conservative tribune, which is, as the name suggests a conservative organization. The second is the link to the article in case you’d like to read it. Together they prove why republicans make no sense. As a libertarian I applaud the president threatening to defund a government agency. Someone once told me republican or conservative meant “fiscal conservative” apparently it means asshat backwards.

Happy new year!

Why grand juries really don’t indict cops

In this buzzfeed article, the author argues that the reason grand juries don’t indict cops who kill is because cops tend to kill more black people and grand juries and judges tend to be more white and whites don’t care about black and they they think, “yes, indeed, blacks are monsters therefore it is reasonable to kill them.”

How offensive to grand juries of individuals. Nice agent-group fallacy there. I’m sure there are plenty of white jurors who hate black people and think it’s reasonable to kill them.

But let’s consider an altogether more simple argument: juries don’t tend to indict cops because cops tend to have a bunch of coworkers and friends who are also cops. Cops have this funny way of legally being allowed to kill and terrorize citizens. Now when a grand jury indicts a mobster those jury members are kept very safe by the cops and the marshals. Sometimes the witnesses for the state will be put into witness protection (which is a steep price to pay for helping the government). These juries and witnesses are surely fearful of the mobster’s friends. So they heavily weigh their options but usually are persuaded that the good guys (the legal killers) will protect them.
Now when the indictee is a cop, the jury and any witnesses have no reassurance that the cop’s friends will not retaliate. Because who’s protecting juries and witness against legal killers’ retribution? Other killers? Good cops abound but in the case of public trust and justice, one cop (and there exists a large list of those who have terrorized witnesses and accusers (link to follow), who might terrorize a jury member because that member voted to indict and prosecute a killer is usually enough to stick in someone’s mind when democracy comes calling.

Racism is sure to abound in these types of cases but the problem is bigger: the unaccountability of the police and the state. Excuse me, I think I hear goose-stepping.

re: stories and institutions

Let’s make this simple: if you want institutional racism, institutional sexism, institutional injustice, institutional ageism, institutional classism, institutional murder, institutional incarceration, institutional theft, institutional espionage, institutional nationalization, institutional judgment, institutional anything to stop existing,

stop supporting the institution.

 

If you want racism, sexism, injustice, ageism, classism, murder, incarceration, theft, espionage, nationalization, judgment to stop existing,

be a human and confront your problems head on.

 

Oddly enough, the above argument seems pretty simple. Many don’t seem to get this. We must, then, deconstruct the two assumptions that distort the premises.

  1. institutions are necessary to police human behavior
  2. humans are, thus, incapable of policing their own behavior

Institutions, as noted in the above argument, are highly capable of, have a strong history of, and are inclined toward bias and eventual committal of all the above crimes against the mental, emotional, and physical sanctity of the individual. What’s more, institutions, as artificial constructs of the human mind, when put into reality, have no actual productive capacities (find me a government institution that actually makes something). Therefore, the institution must by definition make itself real. The only way an artificial entity can make itself real is through stories (think, the flying spaghetti monster — no offense to pastafarians –; would it be a real to the people who believe in him without stories). Stories of fiction, while informative of the human condition, are an elaborate system of half-truths, imaginative lies, and pictures of artificial entities of fascinating composition placed in real environments or situations (or vice versa). The people who work in institutions must, once “real” and by the logic that they are “real” because they are necessary to quell your humanity, must then figure out a way to make a living. They must invent taxation and the only way to make a story scary in real life is to commit all the crimes above listed.

Human, as noted in the above argument, are highly capable of, have a strong history of, and are inclined toward bias and eventual committal of all the above crimes. But humans, unlike institutions, are real. Reality doesn’t require lies, and it doesn’t require scary stories. Humans are capable of disbelief; and, in this case, disbelief is the most necessary thing humans must do. We must stop believing the stories we are told by those who seek to perpetuate institutions. Humans are capable of change and they are capable of production, and they are capable of love. And even if the entire human existence is marked by hate and murder and crime, there will always be 50%+1 of love and compassion, respect and hard work, sanctity and beauty, to outweigh the institutional hate that drives us down.

How to stop supporting institutions:

  • stop paying taxes when coerced
  • stop paying taxes when not coerced
  • stop voting for politicians
  • stop saying that the judicial system is the right system
  • stop saying that one side has the right or the power to do something over the other side
  • stop saying that institutions, by virtue of existence, are right or necessary

How to be a human:

  • start thinking for yourself
  • start making decisions for yourself
  • start working with your friends and family, neighbors and strangers, allies and enemies to solve your problems and theirs
  • start keeping your money
  • start believing in yourself
  • start saying that you and every other individual has the right or the power to do something
  • start saying that humans, by virtue of existence, are right and necessary

And remember this, scary stories are just that: stories. Keep them in their place: story books.

Ferguson and grasping for all our human traits

The Ferguson decision shocks the collective conscience of our body politic about as much as the shooting of Michael Brown initially did. It’s a major issue; a boy has been killed; a police officer’s life threatened; innocent bystanders’ business looted and torched; justice served or not-served — whatever your stance — but, like every other instance of state police action against citizens gone wrong and turned into a media nightmare for one side and a media rallying call for the other, more issues exist than racism and the murder of human life by another human.

Like any socialist would tell you, the state-capitalist system encourages the dehumanization of citizens so that they are afraid and willing to work for a slave wage in order to protect their livelihood. Like any socialist, a good libertarian should view the state-capitalist system (also variably called the crony-capitalist state, or just the state) as an artificial apparatus of which whose participants and inventors seek to perpetuate the system into the future (unseen sunset, obviously) by dehumanizing the “citizens” who implicitly accept the system because of use of the system’s sub-systems and continually pandering the lie that individuals need the state to provide some service to them (financial, security, spiritual, personal).

Dexter Thomas astutely opines that Michael Brown and all black people are not seen by white people as humans but as monsters and cartoon characters. To continue the argument, we need to come to a consensus in this country and across the world that our governments and police states — our artificial systems that we’ve set up to do the thinking and arguing and debating and decisionmaking for us — don’t see any of us as humans. And we’ve allowed ourselves to learn the greatest ill of this world at the same time that we’ve created the artifice that continues to drive this ill throughout the world: we’ve learned to view each other as non-humans.

Humans created institutions and states and artifices in order to codify and perpetuate our worst traits (hate and suspicion) and our most disgusting actions (war, policing, killing, murdering, incarcerating) and to commit the sin of Pilate: wash our hands of what we have set up.

The only way out of Ferguson is to admit that we are all responsible for the actions of all three parties: Brown, Wilson, and the community of individuals in which the murder occurred. Wilson doesn’t view Brown as a human, Brown doesn’t view Wilson as a human, and we, none of us, view anyone as human. If anyone thinks justice (a positive trait of humanity) is derived from the state — from artifice — then they are wrong. We must all start using our brains and our hearts and take back the difficult decisions from our invented institutions. Only then can we speak of justice, and right and wrong. Only then can we say to have learned anything from Ferguson.

The rights of property and the ills of coercion

It’s rare I read through an entire article in the NYT and actually agree with the author. But, in this great article from August, Josh Barro makes a fantastic argument in defense of property rights and against the gall of those who attempt to usurp those rights by force or by righteous indignation (the, seemingly, preferred mode of getting what you want.)

Oh, what’s better is it’s about something that we all gripe about and in turn all do. Reclining seats in front of us (and doing it ourselves) on airplanes.

Libertarian imagery: manliness and libertarianism

I was reading a post today and coming to a nascent realization. I think it has some weight and, thus, am inclined to muse about it herein. I’ll start with the simple logical rationale (n.b., when someone says “logical” or “rationale” that doesn’t mean their saying, “step back all your misgivings and believe with unfettered and bated breath”; it just means — at least I just mean — that they’re using a logical construct to deliver their rationale.)

Libertarianism is, by my definition, an antithesis to authority. We believe in uninhibited power emanating from the individual source not from authority or collection. As such, a lot of libertarians are angry about the status quo because the status quo recognizes the authority and power of those in power. We’re ultimately upset with those in power and (I’ll argue) that we want to do away with forms of political power that is protected by and of itself, not by the (perhaps ostentatiously) more egalitarian market. As individuals that are upset with the status quo we basically are, as a crowd, a collection of individuals who are upset that we don’t have as much influence as we think we should have. This is the plight of the outsider, obviously.

Does this make us bad libertarians? Does this make us just as bad as the authority we seek to overthrow? Perhaps. But it’s a logical rationality. Libertarianism teaches that you should draw authority from yourself. I believe that you do need to consider other perspectives before you make your individual decision upon the matter at hand (this doesn’t appear to be the approach of some outsiders, which really just means those individuals are akin to totalitarians.) I’ll end this line because it gets me off topic, but it is an interesting direction to investigate.

What came to my attention in the aforementioned post (which I’m keeping anonymous because I don’t want to throw any accusations around), is that it appears a lot of libertarians are nostalgic for an era where men were more respected for being manly. What is concerning is the seeming appearance of MRAs in the libertarian circles on the internet. I’m probably (and I hope) wrong. Perhaps it is just a coincidence.

Let me see if I can rationalize some more: as I noted, libertarians are upset about power structures. We’d like to see the power structure reduced and dismantled so that power, like goods, can flow uninhibited on the market and distribute to the most deserving. As such libertarians value a somewhat meritocratic society — the values merits being hard work and decision making. Traditional male roles evince a hard-working decision maker. The individual bread winner of the American nuclear family is traditionally male. Generations past, by virtue of being the bread winner, the male mate’s word was penultimate in family and worldly affairs alike. The rending of this unchallenged position during the 1970s has notably left a lot of men bitter at their loss of power. The problem with a reversion to traditional (I suppose the post used the word “manly”) male-female roles is that it is a reversion to a societal construct.

Nostalgia and tradition are systems and, as such, should be rallied against by libertarians. The only direction for a libertarian can be forward. Looking back at “golden ages” and “prosperous times” should only ever serve to show us which parts of the centuries old system of corralled (il)legitimate power vested in the state have been dismantled, which still exist to be dismantled, and which we must realize have returned due to lapses amongst those who have always rallied against the structures of power and coercion.

Being libertarian isn’t a manly thing to do. Self-sustainability has nothing to do with having some out-mounted tackle in the pants and a bushy beaver on your chin.

Being libertarian is about embracing a lack of forms and norms.

The idea and movement toward self-governance will never maintain any legitimacy amongst individuals if they think that the only libertarians are burly mountain men. Note the syllogism: burly men can be libertarians but not all libertarians are burly men.

In the end, I just hope it’s a coincidence. Overall, though, it’s a good thing to keep in mind when we talk about our beliefs. Libertarianism is an social movement that over-eclipses other movements and can and should utilize that fact to attain our goals.

What Creates A Dennis Marx – or – The Anatomy Of A Felony

Every time you vote for a Sheriff Clarke (Milw. Cty. Conservative law enforcement gem) who trades on the “keeping the streets safe” mantra of the police state, you vote away your freedoms and your security.

Defacing Currency

I saw this browsing on Reddit:

Forsyth County Courthouse Shooter

The guy who tried to shoot up the courthouse, mentioned above, was a man named Dennis Marx. I wrote briefly about him and explained his circumstances in an earlier article. Like the individual on Reddit, he was also arraigned on multiple marijuana charges. On the day Marx was set to enter a plea he arrived at the courthouse with rifles, tear gas, handcuffs and spike strips. Had it not been for the mere luck — an active SWAT unit was located just around the corner — Marx may have been able to occupy the courthouse.

Had Marx simply gone through the motions his case would look almost identical to that above. Because what you see above is very typical, the norm, for the American criminal justice system.

Most people do not have first-hand experience with the American legal system (especially if you are not American)…

View original post 949 more words

Van Hollen and the straight lobby

It’s articles like this one about Wisconsin State AG J.B. Van Hollen suggesting that gay and lesbian couples and county clerks around the state are “taking the law into their own hands and there can be legal repercussions for that” and that their marriages are basically null over the past 7 days, that really lead me to question the sanity of the Republican party.

Are there weird complex rules about injunctions and court rulings that must be taken into account here? Yes. Does the Republican party support small government or do they support a big government that issues to the letter of the law? I can’t tell for sure, but it looks like the latter may be true here. Does the Republican party pick and choose which laws they will support and not support at the State and municipal level? It would appear so. If the Republican party (and Republicans) are going to whine about the letter of the law on this issue in the State of Wisconsin, its time they start following the letter of the law elsewhere (paying taxes to the IRS, no longer illegally discriminating in businesses and law enforcement, following the stipulations put forth in the ACA concerning abortion and contraception, to name a few).

Don’t get me wrong. I think the gay marriage argument can be solved in one fell swoop: remove the State-sanctioned institute of marriage completely from the law books. The government has no business telling me how I should get married and what rights my spouse or partner should or should not have. That would be known as tyranny.

In other news: it would appear as if Wisconsin is still humming along nicely. My apartment on the bluff of Lake Michigan has not fallen into the sea. Hoards of gay and lesbian couples have not overrun anyone’s right to be heterosexual (unless you consider Pride Fest, but that doesn’t clear the abridge “anyone’s right to be heterosexual” hurdle). The Brewers have not taken a nose dive and are still firmly ensconced as number 1 in the NL Central.

Reporting from the political circus that is Wisconsin politics.