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Archive for the ‘anarchists’ Category

“I’m an aspirational anarchist. Society’s not ready for it, not close, but it’s the direction I’d like to see us head toward.” — a SF writer

The central problem of power is the central problem that anarchy theory correctly defines but the solution proposed — eliminate all power structures that could allow one person to impose power upon others — is nonsense if we are talking about humans. There are always humans who are more physically powerful than others, there are always humans who end up in control of scarce resources needed by others and thus are in a position of power over others, and the sociopath problem has no solution in anarchy theory, the sociopath problem being where those with the least compunction for harming human beings always rise to the top unless there is some other power structure to prevent them from doing so. I basically have not come up with any solution to this problem of power that in any way resembles traditional anarchy solutions that require consensus because they fall prey to the Liberum Veto problem where sly people use the need for consensus as a tool for obtaining power.

The only way I can see to make anarchy work is the unlimited resources and the (literal) deus ex machina of the AI “Minds” of Iain Banks’ “Culture” novels. And even there, we have seen Minds go insane and space their entire human contingent before heading off into the wilds of the galaxy to do whatever. Making anarchy dependent upon a deus ex machina in order to work properly in short isn’t a perfect solution, though I’d far prefer life in Banks’ “Culture” to life here.

So what can we do? Well. Democracy is the best solution we have thus far to the central problem of power. Unfortunately what we have seen is that democracy requires an educated, involved, and informed populace or else it is susceptible to being hijacked by rich jerks using propaganda and lies. Still, what is your alternative? Anarchy? Anarchy doesn’t work. Everywhere that it has been tried, it has turned into rule of gun as the most venal and ruthless gain followers and use concentrated force to impose their will and concentrate wealth in their own hands. In a sense the current state of Russia is a result of the anarchy that occurred after the fall of the Soviet Union. If there had been a smooth transition to a functional democracy after the fall of the Soviet Union, it is unlikely that Russia would currently be ruled by a strongman who maintains power by jailing and/or killing opponents.

Fuck anarchy, in other words. Everywhere it’s been tried, it’s ended up with strong man rule where armed thugs impose their will upon those who are less ruthless. Either it has been ineffective at fighting the armed thugs due to the liberum veto problem, or the people end up rejecting it in favor of the armed thugs because the armed thugs at least keep the common criminals in check. If you have a counter example, let me know about it. But thus far the only “anarchy” I’ve seen that actually works, works only because it’s embedded in a system that’s *not* anarchy. Which is sort of not a solution to the general problem of power, yo.

– Badtux the Anarchy Penguin

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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

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Antifa supersoldiers storming the White House

I mean, we successfully finished our revolution today where we kill all the white people and take control of the government, so… pizza? I mean, c’mon, dudes. Being an anti-fascist super-soldier is hunger-inducing work!

Say… how many of the right wing “news” outlets that successfully predicted the outcome of today’s events will go back and issue corrections noting that nothing they predicted happen?

Oh. Right.

— Badtux the Snarky Penguin

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“This little kid didn’t wake up in the morning and say ‘Hey guys instead of going to have a picnic or watching the Canadiens, I will go kill some people in the mosque.’ It doesn’t happen that way.

Day after day, week after week, month after month, certain politicians unfortunately, and certain reporters unfortunately, and certain media were poisoning our atmosphere.”

And one of those people is the President of the United States.

Earlier this week, Milo Yiannopoulos, who most people in the anti-fascist movement consider to be a fascist because of his anti-Muslim rhetoric, was driven out of Berkeley by protesters who engaged in violence that made it too dangerous for him to appear. This was three days after the Quebec mosque massacre. And you know what? I don’t feel bad about it at all. Yes, property damage is bad. But people damage is worse. People like this asshole Milo, they find impressionable young people like Alexandre Bissonnette. They pour hate into those impressionable young brains, and that hate comes out, and that hate kills. Six people, in the case of Bissonnette.

Do I like the black bloc idiots in Berkeley? Nope. They went beyond what was necessary to scare the crap out of the fascists, and engaged in some wanton destruction just for the sake of wanton destruction. But am I upset that they prevented at least one fascist from pouring his daily ration of hate into the minds of impressionable young people? No. Fuck no. Letting fascists speak without opposition normalizes fascism, makes fascist speech and fascist thought seem like any other speech and thought. And we already know what the end result of that is. It’s dead bodies. Whether six dead bodies in a Quebec mosque, or over 6 million dead bodies in Nazi ovens. Fascists should never be allowed to speak unopposed, should always be denigrated and condemned at every opportunity, and should always be treated with the same contempt as the mass murderers that they were inspired by and that they inspire. Nobody who’s got any sense admires Adolf Hitler, after all. You know why? Because nobody can get up and extol the virtues of Adolf Hitler in a public place unopposed. If all the news shows and all the politicians’ speeches were about how great Hitler was, do you think he would be treated with such contempt? No? Well. You get the point then. Talking about atrocity as if it were normal normalizes atrocity. Which we should never do. Period.

– Badtux the un-normalized Penguin

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I am not talking about pure anarchy, of course. I am talking about the techno-geek anarchy that is much of the Internet.

Back in 2012, Philip Roth wrote an angry open letter to Wikipedia about misinformation on their web site about him. He had gone to their web site and removed the incorrect information. Someone immediately put it back, and when Roth objected that he was the one who had written that novel and certainly knew who he had written it about, the Wikipedia editor snottily replied “we don’t accept information from original sources. Find us a secondary source that says that.”

Back in the good old days when for-pay encyclopedias were our primary source of information, before Wikipedia drove them all out of business, Philip Roth would have never gotten a brush-off like that. They likely would have removed the misinformation because they had no ideological point of view, they were a business, and offending people is bad for business. Encyclopedias that put forth a point of view would have offended potential customers and lost business to those encyclopedias that adopted a neutral point of view, and eventually be driven from the marketplace. But that is not how anarchist communities like Craigslist and Wikipedia work. They have become the domain of people with bizarre theories about markets, bizarre theories about what it means to “know”, because only a fanatic is going to bother going to those sites every day and become involved in editing and governing them on a daily basis. The rest of us have lives.

In short, one of the problems we have with Craigslist driving traditional paid classified ads out of business and Wikipedia driving traditional paid encyclopedias out of business is that we’ve placed the keys of buying, selling, and knowing into the hands of unpaid geeks who have bizarre notions of what it means to buy, sell, or know. What we have inadvertently discovered is a core flaw of anarchy — that is, in anarchy, it is not those who are most knowledgeable or capable who rule, it is those who are most passionate about The Cause, whatever The Cause is, regardless of whether their passion leads to disseminating accurate information.

Now, scale that up to those who say that anarchy could be an organizing principle for entire societies, and you’ll see just exactly how badly that would go…

– Badtux the Non-anarchist Penguin

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Hardtack day 2: It continues to cure and get harder. Even soaking it in soup now is barely adequate to make it edible. It is no wonder that our pioneer ancestors could haul barrels of hardtack for months all the way from Kansas to California without it going bad. I’m not sure there’s a bug on the planet that is capable of eating hardtack, even rats would have a devil of a time with the stuff. It appears somewhat related to dwarven war bread in that respect. I can very well believe the reports that Civil War soldiers often had to chop it into pieces with a hatchet before soaking it in their soup or coffee, I can barely break it into four pieces by hand, and tomorrow it will be harder so …

Meanwhile, Y’all Qaeda — the Bundy clan and their supporters — have occupied a bird sanctuary in Oregon and stated they’re there to be martyred and via their spokesman, “Fluffy Unicorn”, have issued a dramatic plea for supporters to send Cheetos and cold weather coats to them via U.S. Mail. So the Bundies, who want to overthrow the US government, are relying on a Federal service to get their supplies? And what’s their reward going to be if they get martyred? 72 cousins?

They’ve even pissed off the locals. See, e.g., this message sent to them by the local Sheriff:

harney-sheriff

So who is Sheriff David Ward? First of all, he is a supporter of the Hammond family and views what happened to them as a ridiculous miscarriage of justice. There was a fundamental land management dispute between the Hammonds and Federal land managers over how to deal with the invasive juniper. The Hammonds wanted to burn it and thus let the land go back to meadow, which is what it had historically been, even the Native Americans used fire to burn the juniper off to improve the land for wildlife. The land managers preferred to let the juniper take over. The Hammonds took the law into their own hands and burned the land in 2001, and on another occasion in 2006 illegally set a backfire to protect their land from a fire on Federal land without a permit and without notifying a fire crew that was camped nearby, causing the fire crew to have to exit the area in a hurry to escape being burned alive. At least, that is what a jury of their peers found — two counts of arson on federal lands. That’s all. There have been other allegations but none of those were upheld by the jury. The judge in that case then sentenced them to 1 year and 3 months respectively for the son and the elderly father who set the fires, which they then served and were released. Then a disgruntled Federal Prosecutor, upset that his press release said the Hammonds were going to serve five years and the judge made him a liar, appealed, saying that the sentencing guidelines called for a 5 year minimum sentence.

The sentencing guidelines used here were those set by the United States Sentencing Commission, part of the judicial branch of government (this is used to get around the whole separation of powers thing where Congress can’t order a Federal judge directly what sentence to give for a crime). The “reasonableness” test in United States v. Booker ( 543 U.S. 220 (2005) ) does give judges the ability to violate those sentencing guidelines if in the judge’s opinion the mandated sentence under the guidelines is not reasonable, but unfortunately the Booker decision did not define “reasonableness”, and also gives appeals courts the right to review sentences that violate the guidelines for “reasonableness”.

In this case the trial judge had ruled that 5 years failed the “reasonableness” test for the crime at hand of burning a few dozen acres of worthless juniper and handed down a lesser sentence. The appeals court overruled the trial judge and ruled that 5 years was “reasonable” for the crime of which the Hammonds had been convicted and ordering to re-sentencing. At that point the Hammonds had a choice of appealing to the full appeals court, or working a deal with the prosecution and the (newly assigned) district judge at re-sentencing. The Hammonds chose option (b), which is why they’re pissed at the Bundy morons from Nevada coming in and raising a fuss and maybe messing up their deal.

As is everybody else in the area. As one of them put it, the Bundies aren’t the ones who are going to be keeping the Hammonds’ ranch operating while the Hammonds are in Club Fed. That’s going to be the people who actually live there, the Hammonds’ friends and neighbors. Even the Sheriff says he’s going to help out with keeping the Hammonds’ ranch going while the Hammonds are in jail.

Meanwhile, back to Sheriff Ward. He is a veteran with 21 years combined service between the US Army, Army Reserves, and National Guard and served combat tours in Somalia and Afghanistan. He’s a small town Oregon boy, and he’s been in law enforcement since 2002 as a corrections guard, and since 2007 with the Harney County Sheriff’s Department as a deputy. He was appointed sheriff by the County Commission on January 2, 2015 after his predecessor in office, former Harney County Sheriff Dave Glerup, the man who hired him, retired and recommended him for Sheriff. He’s up for election in November 2016, if he decides to stand for election that is. With this mess, who could blame him if he decided to let someone else run for Sheriff and take this headache off his plate? After all, that’s why Glerup retired in mid-term. He was just tired of dealing with this mess.

Anywho, back to Y’all Qaeda. Funny how a 12 year old black boy with a toy gun in a park is just askin’ to be shot, yet grown white men with real guns in a park are patriots to be coddled and asked to go home peacefully, eh? And they say white privilege isn’t a thing. SNERK!

Oh yeah, that bird sanctuary? It was established in 1908 by Republican president Theodore Roosevelt. Funny, how these fine outstanding Republicans decided to occupy a building built by a Republican administration, eh?

— Badtux the “Shall we call them Vanilla Isis?” Penguin

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Rival motorcycle gangs turned a Waco, Texas restaurant into a shooting gallery Sunday afternoon and when the gunfire was over, nine people were dead and 17 were injured.

“An armed society is a polite society.” Said in a work of fiction by an unreliable narrator. So, by all accounts, that restaurant in Waco full of heavily armed people should have also been a very polite place to be, right?

Except it doesn’t work like that. It doesn’t work like that because of the most fundamental problem with anarchy theory, Communism, and capitalism for that matter: The problem that mankind is a bunch of jumped up baboons with delusions of grandeur and with all of the tribal-based territorial behaviors of baboons. Baboons live in tribes led by an alpha male and when they encounter other tribes of baboons that want to use the same territory, much screeching, howling, and fighting occurs as each tribe attempts to assert dominance. The only reason baboons haven’t wiped each other out is that they have never invented guns.

Well, at least the *hairy* baboons have never invented guns. As for the hairless ones, they breed like rats, so that sort of explains why *they* haven’t wiped each other out.

so anyhow, that’s your “human nature” in a nutshell, on display in Waco, Texas, for all to see. If anybody cared to see. But of course there are none so blind as those who refuse to see…

– Badtux the Hairless Penguin

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