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A science fiction writer of my acquaintance claimed that he was an anarcho-capitalist. I pointed out that he was ignoring the central problem of anarchy theory. And that central problem of anarchy theory is the problem of power.

“Pure” anarchism wants to remove anything in society that could be possibly a source of power. Unfortunately people have inherent power due to their physical abilities, and thus inherent differences in power, a large man skilled in fighting has much more power than a small woman not skilled at fighting. Add in weapons and weapons skills and character traits like sociopathy and ruthlessness (a ruthless sociopath will always win a gunfight, because he’ll just shoot you in the back without a thought before you even know you’re in a gunfight), and clearly there must be power structures to regulate all of this, otherwise you have the most ruthless and vicious sociopaths ruling everything at gunpoint. Anarchists do a lot of hand-waving about voluntary self defense associations yada yada, but that’s not what has ever happened. Instead you get warlordism, rule by the most ruthless and vicious sociopaths ruling everything at gunpoint, because the ruthless sociopaths are the ones willing to shoot their way through innocents to get to the top.

Now, add in capitalism, which is yet another source of power — power grows from the barrel of a gun, as Mao put it, and capital buys lots of guns — and the need for power structures to regulate everything becomes even more dire. Now, what is that power structure going to look like? The only way to do it without rule of gun (which leads to atrocity since only the most ruthless and vicious win that leadership contest) is to get buy-in from the majority of the people, i.e., democracy. At which point you no longer have anarchism, since people then vote for things that will make more comfortable for themselves and their neighbors and relatives — as they should, since that’s sort of the whole point of a society.

All of which is just a long way of saying that pure anarcho-capitalism cannot work as a system because it would end up with warlordism, like in Somalia or Afghanistan. And since warlords get their power by being vicious sociopaths, it’s generally not a happy fun time for the population involved. Capitalism is good because it is the best way we have of creating wealth, and wealth is good for people and for a society (both Dan and I know the former from personal experience), but it is also a source of power, and like all sources of power has to be regulated. At that point the anarcho is gone, and what you have is just capitalism.

– Badtux the Capitalist Penguin


Example from the Rolling Stone.

Stormy Daniels, in her new book, apparently has explicit details of the Presidential genitalia, and the press is having a collective nervous breakdown trying to figure out how to cover that news without explicit descriptions of the male sexual organ. I’m just over here giggling like a middle schooler at the whole circus.

I wish Ms. Daniels well. But I’m not going to read her book. I already have a good enough image of Donald Trump naked in my head, and it requires brain bleach.

– Badtux the “Blech!” Penguin

Yeah, I’m still alive, barely. Last weekend, for example, I moved about 4,000 pounds of books. Sure, I had a hand truck, but I had to take the 80 pound boxes off of shelves and put them onto the hand truck, then haul them up the ramp into the U-Haul, repeat, rinse for three hours straight. Then at the other end, put the boxes of books onto the hand truck and lower it down the ramp, then pick them *up* to put them onto the shelves. Oh my aching back! (Uhm, yes, I own *way* too many books. Maybe I should start a bookstore?).

So anyhow, Freddie Oversteegen died recently. She was 14 years old when the Germans invaded the Netherlands. She joined the resistance and served at first as a courier, tying her hair back into pigtails to make herself look like a little girl riding her bicycle around. Later she carried a pistol and seduced German soldiers and Dutch collaborators and led them into the woods, where she killed them.

She survived, but during her high school years when she should have been going to parties and learning stuff in school and being a teenager, she was doing something dangerous and unpleasant that she carried with her for the rest of her life. In interviews, Ms. Oversteegen often spoke of the physics of killing — not the feel of the trigger or kick of the gun, but the inevitable collapse that followed, her victims’ fall to the ground.

“Yes,” she told one interviewer, according to the Dutch newspaper IJmuider Courant , “I’ve shot a gun myself and I’ve seen them fall. And what is inside us at such a moment? You want to help them get up.”

Except they didn’t. They were dead. And Freddie was not a sociopath, so that hurt something inside her. She tried to soothe that pain with babies and marriage, and it seemed to work, mostly. And it helped her get her priorities straight — Scrabble and tea were more important to her than public attention. But she was never what she would have been if the Nazis hadn’t come. That’s what happens when Nazis take over a country. Getting rid of them takes sacrifices that will change lives forever.

Then there was Hannie Schaft.

Hannie was a red-headed ball of fire. When the Nazis invaded, she was ready to kill Nazis. The regular Resistance wouldn’t let her kill Nazis, they just wanted her to be a courier and intelligence asset. She basically said fuck that, and went with the Communists instead, who had no problem taking a 19 year old teenager and turning her into a killer. So while she was in law school learning to be a human rights lawyer, she was also secretly working as a courier and assassin, killing Nazis and Nazi collaborators. Until they caught her, a few weeks before the German surrender.

Her last words were to her Nazi executioners. After their first shot only wounded her, she said “I shoot better than you do.” The next shot didn’t miss.

She was a fireball. What she would have done if her country hadn’t been taken over by Nazis is unknown, but it probably would have been spectacular. Alas, Nazis put an end to any such speculation the way Nazis always do — with bullets. Which is why Nazis are bad and evil, in case there was any question (hello, Mr. Trump!).

Nazis are bad. People who wave Nazi flags and shout Nazi slogans are Nazis. And Nazis taking over a country is a bad, bad thing that must be resisted with all methods possible. Any questions?

– Badtux the History Penguin

Oh sure, NORAD blew him out of the sky at 30,000 feet before he even made it to the ground, but look. Death is just a temporary affliction for Jesus (three day thing, remember?). And he can just as easily materialize on the surface of the planet as in the sky, right?

And if he actually exists, maybe he’s done so already. I can just see it now. Some Arab-looking dude in robes and sandals starts hauranging people outside of a megachurch about how they’re worshipping mammon, and the cops get called.

Sgt. Joe Friday. “So what is your name, mister?”
JC: (In thick Arabic accent) “Jesus.”
SJF: “Is that your first name or your last name?”
JC: “It is my name, the one and only name, the truth, the life, the salvation of Earth.”
SJF: “Err, okay, Mr. Jesus. So, do you have any ID on you?”
JC: “ID?”
SJF: “Driver’s license? Student ID card? Anything government issued?”
JC: “I have rendered unto Caesar what is Caesar’s!”
SJF: “So, Jesus, where were you born?”
JC: “I was born in Israel, in the city of Jerusalem. Shepherds in the field flocked to celebrate my birth and three wise men from the east brought expensive gifts for my parents in celebration of my birth.”
SJF: “Do you have immigration papers showing you have the right to reside in the United States?”
JC: “I am omniscient and omnipresent. I reside everywhere and nowhere. I am the truth and the light. I bring salvation to the weary masses.”
SJF: “So, uhm, why were you making a scene outside of the Praise Moollah Holy Tabernacle?”
JC: “They have perverted my name and teachings!”
SJF: “Okay, Mr. Jesus. Back to your jail cell.”

Jesus is led back to the intake jail cell with a number of other people who were picked up for disorderly conduct, public drunkenness, and other such “status” crimes. SJF talks to his lieutenant.

SJF: “That Jesus dude is going to be a problem. But I think I have a solution. He says he was born in Israel. So let’s call ICE.”
LT: “Aren’t we officially a sanctuary city?”
SJF: “Hey, do *you* want to deal with this asshole every other day?!”
LT: “Oh fuck no.”
SJF: “Exactly.”

One phone call later:

ICE Goon #1: “Okay, Mr. Jesus, we’re here to take you home.” (Places handcuffs onto Jesus’s hands, puts a strap around Jesus’s waist and locks the cuffs to it).
JC: “My home has many mansions.”
ICE Goon #2: (Rolling eyes). “Fine. We’re here to take you there. Now are you coming quietly or do we gotta beat you up?”
JC: “If once a person should slap your cheek, you should turn your head so he may slap the other one.”
ICE Goon #1: “Be that way then.” Both goons pull out truncheons and beat Jesus down, then drag him out to an ICE detention center.

Two years later:

Guard #1: “Hey, where’s that Jesus guy?”
Guard #2: “Dunno. Israel wouldn’t take him, maybe they finally let him go?”
Guard #1: “I’ll check.” Pulls out cell phone, calls detention center office, discusses loudly the status of this Jesus guy.
Guard #1: “Nope, he’s supposed to be still here.”
JC: “Bye, guys! See you later?”
Guard #1: Looks up, sees Jesus floating in air about 40 feet above them. “What the fuck?”
JC: “Oh wait, sorry, I forgot, you’re going that *other* place! Bye bye!” Soars upwards into the sky.
Guard #2: “Jesus H. Christ, I think I just saw a dude floating in air fly away.”
Guard #1: “Yeah. Exactly.”
NORAD: “ZZZZZZAP!”
Cloud of smoke in sky quickly dissipates.

Three days later:

JC: “Okay, let’s try this *again*.”

Jesus died for our sins, but he didn’t stay dead.

So, uhm, Jesus had a three day weekend rest for our sins?

If you die but you come back, it’s not at all the same as dying *for real*, after all.

I guess it all reads better as metaphor anyhow. Who cares whether there was an actual historical dude named “Jesus”, in the end. Even if he was an inspired work of fiction, things would be a whole lot better if folks followed the teachings ascribed to him. Alas, most people who claim to be Christian only give lip service to the teachings.

— Badtux the Irreverent Penguin

John McCain, 1936-2018

John McCain dead at age 81, the day after his family announced they were ceasing medical treatment.

Senator John McCain was a bridge back to the Republican Party of Barry Goldwater, a bridge back to a Republican Party comprised of men of principle who differed from the Democrats insofar as methods went, not about the overall goal of a more prosperous nation and a more prosperous populace. In his later years he pandered to the extremists in his party far too much in an attempt to maintain his relevance, but he still had that core of decency missing from far too many Republicans today.

I can’t say I agreed with McCain about much of anything, but I respected him. That’s something that’s not true of most of today’s Republican clown posse.

– Badtux the Obituaries Penguin

This is an actual email that I received from U-Haul (clicken to embiggen):

Uhm, yeah. Burning Man has become so mainstream that even U-Haul knows about it… LOL.

Oh, I cancelled the reservation for the truck. It was to haul stuff from my old house to the new one, but I sold the stuff instead. I am now in the new place and in unpacking hell. How did all these boxes of stuff fit in the old place? And how do I make their contents fit in the new place?! And this isn’t even including the half a truckload of junk that got hauled off to the landfill!

– Badtux the Moved Penguin