I never speak it out loud, but recently I’m constantly repeating a movie our daughter used to watch when she was little. Over the Hedge I believe it was called. I constantly hear the little squirrel straining to see the end of the newly constructed impediment, in his little voice, “it never ends! It never ends THAT way too.”
That’s my current state of mind regarding our virally motivated political theater. I have discovered a couple new stouts though that are truly fantastic. Always have to find the hidden positives I suppose.
I mentioned a few months ago the correlation between disease prevalence and totalitarian attitudes within society. Linked a fascinating study.
This line of thinking led me to “The Parasite Stress Theory of Values and Sociality: Infectious Disease, History and Human Values Worldwide” by Corey Fincher and Randy Thornhill
Fascinating book. Although it certainly wasn’t the intent of the book, it beneficially informed my understanding of World War II.
For many years I squarely placed the blame for WWII on the Treaty of Versailles, the unnecessary adoption of total blame for WWI on Germany and bankrupting the German economy. I have not downgraded my belief in those accelerants. All still true and all still relevant.
However, I now see this additional kindling. Perhaps just as flammable as the economic factors driven by Versailles.
Hitler and Mussolini both were well known germaphobes. I mentioned this fact in the same writing I referenced above. Most of Hitler’s policies that led to unforgivable acts of Democide began with endeavors that most anyone would applaud. Statewide efforts to clean up factory waste and working environments. Statewide coordinated efforts to stave off deadly bouts of Tuberculosis.
Hitler bathed 4 times per day. He was obsessed with hygiene. So was Mussolini, who even attempted to outlaw handshaking in Italy.
Thinking through all this I wondered how it was that these guys came to be this way?
Then something hit me I hadn’t considered before.
The Spanish Flu
Germany and Italy both were struck hard by the Flu in 1918. Everyone was. Living through this sort of epidemic obviously had severe implications on the culture and personalities of those who survived.
Hitler was 29. He had just survived WWI as a young officer. Watching many of his brothers and sisters fall to both disease and warfare. Mussolini was 35.
Now, watching our currency implode from the inside out, even while we’re assured the economy is somehow healthier than ever and seeing our culture being shaped through our perception of COVID19, I just can’t help but wonder how many Hitlers we’re grooming and how ready we might be to adopt the sort of control measures required for totalitarian policies?
Certainly, we’re far more evolved now than just a couple generations past, right? Certainly, we’ve learned from those events and would never tolerate or allow people to speak in such ways any longer.
Well, that’s not promising.
At least Americans can count on civilized rationality from their political class within the most ordered society in history, right?
Joe Biden: “Our patience is wearing thin with unvaccinated Americans”
Look. There’s a fundamental divide manifesting itself into kinetic conflict. This happens from time to time and it’s really nothing new. There are always varying surface level catalysts that make these events appear much different and even get taught much differently in school rooms for generations.
Bottom line though, core principles are being challenged. This conflict drives right at the very heart of what it is to exist and how people interpret the world around them and what it means to facilitate a life experience within this construct of reality.
I’m seeing battle lines drawn in the sand. Calls for secession (good). The issue driving our Covid hysteria is precisely the same issue that led to the first Civil War.
Crazy statement? You think so? Off my rocker?
I’ve argued for years that slavery itself was little more than an excuse to fight, not the driving reason the conflict erupted.
Read the Corwin Amendment. The North offered permanent, constitutionally protected slavery rights to the South if they would remain in the Union
Read collections of letters sent home from soldiers (North and South alike) and read their firsthand words about what they felt, experienced and what compelled them to be there risking their lives. None of them mentioned slavery
Every nation on Earth other than the USA (exemption for Haiti) ended slavery without violence. It ended because facilitating labor within a free society turns out to be much more profitable and productive.
So. What drove us to conflict? Core principles.
The North was predominantly settled by English. Crown loving loyalists. The revolution itself was deeply unpopular. These folks believed in the righteousness and need of a strong central authority. The Crown or otherwise. They had lived under such constructs for many, many generations.
The South was predominantly settled by the Celts. The source of these awesome accents. They largely fled central authority to escape the Crown, pursue religious freedom and individual liberty. Research the history between England and the Celtic countries in the many generations preceding North American settlement. It’s pretty ugly. They had pushed back against abusive authority for many, many generations. You can imagine the sorts of skepticism of authority being passed along across generations, dinner table to dinner table.
It’s no mistake then that the founding politicians from the South such as Jefferson and Washington were enormous advocates of individual liberty and the founding politicians from the North such as Madison and Hamilton, were enormous advocates of the creation of a strong central authority.
This was the driving factor that led to conflict in 1861. Northern politicians moving to control economic outcomes in the agricultural South.
Individual liberty vs Central planning and authority.
While today’s conflict might be dressed up in epidemiology and lab coats, it’s the same central core principle that comes to bear and drives people to resist.
Even to violence if pushed hard enough.
And our current federal government has, as yet, shown no signs of letting up on the efforts to control.
Newton’s Third Law observes that for every action (force) in nature there is an equal and opposite reaction. If object A exerts a force on object B, object B also exerts an equal and opposing force on object A.
Don’t mistake this rule as applicable only in material interactions.
I’m honestly surprised at the amount of folks critical of this withdrawal from AFG.
I’m sitting here this morning attempting to wrestle with the idea if they are truly critical of this foreign policy action, or is their reaction more aligned with ideology and they merely find themselves in the “opposed” camp because Biden currently rests within the Oval? I honestly don’t know.
I’m leaning toward politics for some, but certainly not all. I really am. Most of the voices I see on social media who stand opposed are generally “Right” leaning and Biden hating.
I hate Biden too. I have for a long, long time. Regardless of how right this move may be. I am stopping myself just shy of commending him for the withdrawal. Had Trump facilitated this withdrawal from AFG I absolutely would have praised him for such a move, but I’m stopping short of praising Biden.
Closeted Trump fan all along?
Perhaps my hesitation to congratulate Biden rests with this.
For a man who has been dealing with a lifelong stutter he miraculously managed to not stutter once as he brilliantly articulated his passionate stance to compel the Senate in ’02 to back Bush and his adventurism in the Middle East. Biden is equally to blame for the past 20 years as Bush, Obama, Trump or anyone else.
I’ve lost friends in AFG. I’ve lost friends to suicide DUE to AFG.
Many believe this withdrawal is wrong as it signifies a loss. It demonstrates that the loved ones we’ve lost have all been for nothing.
I’m not going to make an argument to help you believe that isn’t true. It IS true.
The problem? It will always be true. If we stay there another year, another 20 years, it will continue to be true. The only additional issue then would be us guaranteeing that future humans will also have to endure the loss of loved ones whose losses will also, be for nothing.
This is the sad reality, and, on some level, I truly believe every individual reading this today knows this to be true. Here is the saddest reality of all:
Every one of us, including Afghani’s, Iranians, Iraqi’s, has known from the very first day of this invasion that this was the inevitable outcome. Every human knew whether we want to admit it to ourselves or not, this would be the outcome. Even the politicians like Biden who put us here.
At least GW Senior had the decency to pull out. He knew too.
Evaluating Senior’s role with the CIA is dismal. Most of his job centered on managing the propaganda campaign around the Soviet Union. Finding ways to keep the American public just scared enough to recognize they couldn’t survive without a well-funded government. He even funded the very group we now propagandize as an eminent threat simply because they were fighting Soviets on Afghan soil.
Once the USSR fell in 1989 career officials panicked and scrambled to establish a foothold on their most foundational narrative. Who would the citizens fear with the Red Scare now behind us? Bush, with his experience was unfortunately just the man for the job. His adventurism in the Middle East was little more than and effort to create a new monster under the bed as Americans slept at night. That’s why Desert Storm was literally a 43-day operation. That’s all it took.
At least he was decent enough to pull out.
Some tell themselves that we can’t continue being the World’s policemen. True enough, but what’s even more important to understand is that we never were the world’s policemen. I enlisted in the Marine Corps thinking I would get to be a “world policeman” and truly help others who couldn’t help themselves.
I was wrong. All of us in service were. These issues today are not with boots, they’ve always been with suits.
As a nation we were shocked and appalled to find out the depths of the CIA’s drug trafficking activity in our own backyard. Fueling the crack epidemic of the 90’s in Southern California for no reason other than to generate black dollars to fund black projects. Off the books.
Even after all that coming to light, we’re somehow dumbfounded when the CIA obtains control of the world’s richest opium fields, has a mountain of black projects to fund while managing more proxy wars than ever before in our history, and the nation is bombarded with an opioid crisis.
What do we do? We blame doctors.
We were never in AFG to police. We were never there to protect Afghanis. We were never there to escort peace, freedom or democracy on to a willing populace. We never showed up to liberate women. No evidence exists anywhere to demonstrate, empirically, that we were ever there for any reason other than empire.
A close friend made the very real observation that the inevitability of this outcome is a poor salve to treat the wound the outcome creates.
I can’t make this statement or sentiment less true, however, perhaps it’s the existence of salves to begin with that allows these atrocities to perpetuate across successive generations.
Maybe it’s the salves that allow everyday Americans to remain complicit and quiet through invasion after invasion, decade after decade. Maybe it’s those salves that allow us to drool over the visceral attractiveness of an Obama while he confidently begins five new wars in eight short years?
Maybe the salves themselves need to end. Maybe every American, not just those of us who fought over there, pointlessly, and lost loved ones, pointlessly, need to experience this betrayal. Maybe it’s time we all finally lost trust.
They certainly never earned it.
We all knew this was coming. Like a long, sad, anticipated death, the knowledge and anticipation don’t make the reality any easier.
In October of 2018 I was diagnosed with an aggressive, Stage 3 Lymphoma. Chemotherapy started by December of that same year. It was a winding path toward that discovery. Luckily for me, a good friend had the identical diagnosis three years before me and had made a full recovery. He even received the exact same treatment I was scheduled to start. The treatment had been experimental when he underwent the program, funded by research through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
I’m an outgoing guy. Never short of words. LOL Knowing that, Mike came after me to run this Man of the Year campaign right from the start. Maybe even before my chemotherapy began.
I pushed him off for a long time. First, I really wanted to get a handle on my own health and see what life with Chemo was all about.
Second, talking about “my journey” or “my suffering” is way outside, not my comfort zone particularly, but I would say, my “interest” zone. The way I’ve always seen it, everyone on the planet is suffering. It’s part of the human experience. Not one single individual has ever gotten to avoid the crushing burden that is existence. That said, I would never want to focus on the suffering I’ve endured to be the recipient of anyone’s sympathy, nor would I want to distract attention away from the suffering of other’s to focus on mine individually. I just didn’t think that to be right or helpful.
I’m the silent suffering type. But again, not because I’m fearful of being seen as vulnerable. Of course I’m vulnerable. I’m the same creature you are. Until I accepted the nomination to run this year, most of the people I know personally and professionally had no idea I was even in this battle.
Now, over the past year, my wife and I have had two friend’s children diagnosed with Leukemia. One, 10 years old, didn’t make it. The other, 7 or 8 years old, is still fighting hard.
This development is really what pushed me to make this journey this year.
Every dollar raised is potentially another life saved.
If you have the ability, please donate at the link below. Even if you don’t have that ability today, please consider sharing this article, my story, and allow more people the opportunity to give.
LLS has invested nearly 1.3 Billion in cutting-edge research. Every 3 minutes someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer. Leukemia is the #1 most diagnosed form of childhood cancer.
LLS has funded 55 of the 65 FDA approved treatments since 2017. Blood cancer research leads to treatment advances for many other cancers and diseases.
Thank you so much for your support and please don’t hesitate to reach out to me!
For anyone that wants to hear it, or maybe can relate, or perhaps concerned about their own experiences or symptoms, here’s the rest of my story……..
There’s hardly a human left who hasn’t been touched by cancer.
My Mom fought breast cancer in the late 90s. It took my Dad when I was just 26, brain tumors. I still think of him every day. My wife almost lost her Mother to colon cancer when she was a teenager. We still talk about that quite a bit, it was obviously a traumatic experience for her at such a young age.
Here I am, 46 years old. Wrapping up with my third battle with cancer of my own. On paper anyway.
I say that because my first experience with cancer was a melanoma diagnosis in my early 30s. Doctor took out a chunk of meat and I moved on with my life. Years later I even laughed when going in to a new Dentist and she commented, “oh, I see you’re a cancer survivor”……
Not long after that, failing time after time again to get approved for life insurance due to that diagnosis, I was trying to recall the name of the dermatologist to put on my insurance application and low and behold, I find out the guy’s in jail for committing millions of dollars’ worth of insurance fraud.
It seemed obvious right away. My Dad had melanoma. (that’s what metastasized into brain tumors and killed him) This guy saw that on my paperwork and instantly knew the insurance company wouldn’t question the diagnosis since it’s “in the family history.” Carved out a chunk of me that I wouldn’t miss and billed away. The only real loss for me was the lack of access to life insurance. Which is not a trivial thing.
Not long after that I had a scab, just inside my ear that simply wouldn’t heal. For months. It would fall off. I would feel relieved, especially going out everyday to visit with potential clients. Just to come right back within a week or so.
Finally, at the urging of my wife (isn’t that always the case for us idiot men? LOL), I went to see a different dermatologist. Basil cell carcinoma. My Mom gets these she told me. I also read somewhere that people are generally prone to Basil or Melanoma, but not usually both. That’s not a professional medical opinion right there, just something I read somewhere and puts more credence in my mind that I was perfectly swindled by the chap up in Chicago.
I went through a procedure called Mohs surgery. Surely named after the person who invented it. This is where they essentially burn off layers of skin repeatedly. Test, burn, test burn until the testing shows no signs of cancer. It really wasn’t that bad, except that it was in such in inconvenient spot. Literally, just inside my left ear. Strange.
The wrapping fell off a couple days later and the sight was ghastly. The make up artists that work The Walking Dead would have been jealous. You could see right inside. It was frightening. LOL
In time, new skin grew and now, I thought, I won’t laugh anymore when someone states that I’m a cancer survivor.
That experience was somewhere around 2012. We had just relocated back to Cincinnati. Had just had our youngest child. Our little guy, he’s going on 9 now. Sara Lee had just gone out of business. (I was certain I would be working there until I retired) I was suddenly on my path toward entrepreneurship.
I figured my little cancer experience was well behind me.
Later that year I had built an elevated garden for my wife in the back yard out of large railroad ties. Most of my adult life has been centered on heavy weightlifting so I didn’t really think the project was overly strenuous. However, during that weekend, Summer of 2012, I noticed a decent sized lump in my right groin.
My immediate reaction was that I must have pulled something. Seemed to me to be a hernia. I had never had a hernia. This must be what they feel like. Off to the Doctor again. My regular Doctor, the only one I’ve ever had as an adult. I point that out now because he just retired earlier this year and it feels a little disorienting now being without a general practitioner who you have a relationship with and who you trust.
He felt my “hernia” and immediately said it was a swollen lymph node. He went on to explain the lymph system, it’s function and given the size of the swollen node, it probably wasn’t something to be overly concerned about. Keep an eye on it and if it doesn’t go away on its own, or if it gets bigger we’ll investigate further.
At the same time, I also informed him of some recent cognitive changes. Really had been preceding the previous few years. Going back probably to 2009. Initially started with headaches and trouble concentrating. I used to plow through 900 page economics books on weekends, but was suddenly having a hard time making my way through simple articles.
Idiotically at that time I actually had the thought, “maybe my brain has reached some level of capacity.” LOL
I told him that one of my unique “gifts” in life had always been mental math. I was that weirdo in the room that could calculate anything in his head instantly. No calculators could beat me, fingers couldn’t move fast enough. My Dad and I used to drive down the highway and throw 4- and 5-digit multiplication problems at one another to see who could get the answer quicker. Yes, apparently, I got this skill from him.
That gift, was gone. Just vanished. It was one of my defining qualities. I realize now that it’s not the computational skill that’s missing. It’s memory. When you would present me with two 4-digit numbers and ask me to multiply them in my head I would solve the problem left to right instead of the way you would tackle the problem on paper, right to left. I would be solving the problem as I’m stating the answer to you. To do this, you have to keep quite a few rotating and inter-related numbers moving around in your mind. I can’t do that now.
The swollen node did recede. Not completely, I could always find it in there, but it was small and that improvement was enough for me to push it to the back of my mind and focus on the more pressing issues that life presents. Fatherhood. Being a loving Spouse. Building a business.
Over time the node would come and go and then, one day, I felt nodes on the left side of my groin. I’m not certain, but maybe this was 2014 or 2015? They were small too. In addition, at this time, I really began having trouble sleeping. Very strange things were happening cognitively. I would have very bizarre sensations when attempting to fall asleep and often times, just simply wouldn’t sleep at all.
I’ve witnessed very bizarre things, completely awake, symbols, even moving animations along the walls and ceilings. Yes, while very much awake. No, I do absolutely no drugs. I experimented recently with ingestibles. Never doing that again. I’ll share that story some other day. I even woke one night to witness every inch of everything around me covered in code. I even got up, went to the restroom and got right up close to the code covering the white molding on the toilet room door. It wasn’t binary or like the Matrix or anything. It was more symbolic, almost like hieroglyph. More Aztec than Egyptian. Just for comparison, not saying it actually was Aztec. LOL
I remained awake well over 90 minutes before I eventually dozed back off. I absolutely was not dreaming. Remember it as clearly and vividly as any other waking memory.
Eventually, even though I tried to convince myself otherwise, I began feeling lumps in my neck. At this point I scheduled an appointment with a surgeon who my wife has used and she knew well. He dug in aggressively in my neck, groin, underarms. Low and behold, he found lumps in my underarms as well.
He didn’t panic. Neither did I. Once again, like my family doctor, he commented on how small the nodes were and there was probably no reason to panic. So I didn’t.
In December of 2017 we moved into our new home we had been building. Another very distracting ordeal that kept my mind squarely off meandering lumps.
Late in the Winter of 2018 or maybe early Spring I got out back to our property line and removed an old, rusty barbed wire fence left there by the builder. I knew our little dude would be playing in the woods behind our house and wanted that hazard gone.
As usual with me and woods, I contracted quite a bit of poison ivy. Off to the doctor I went, and he naturally gave me a steroid. Almost as if by magic, when I took that steroid, not only did my poison ivy clear up, but all my lumps just melted away. Groin. Arm pits. Neck. All gone. It was awesome.
I remember thinking, “well, that’s solved.” I was so relieved.
Sure enough, by the end of that Summer. Everything was back. Worse even, I think. I could track a large trail of lumps progressing down the left side of my groin. The big old faithful one on the right side. All through my neck. Naturally, I hadn’t said much of any of this to anyone.
Once the Fall arrived in 2018, still not sleeping at all for years now, I began to notice lumps in my cheeks. Not only could you feel these, but you could see them easily.
I finally had to confess to my Wife. There was clearly something being missed all these years. She took me to her ENT specialist. Really good guy. He checked me out and ran a needle point biopsy on an easy to access node in my neck. The results came back clear. That was cool.
He wasn’t convinced. Given that I’m a disabled Vet he pressed me to seek further testing at the VA, just in light of cost, etc.
I took him up on it and started to integrate myself into the VA system. Their ENT specialist performed a very similar biopsy. Also, negative.
She was also unconvinced given all the symptoms and she recommended that I allow her to surgically remove one of the nodes completely so they could test it more thoroughly.
Once complete that’s where the official diagnosis came in. Aggressive, Stage 3, B Cell Follicular Lymphoma. Hopefully I got all that right?
My wife still makes fun of me. She was sitting across the desk from me in our home office when the call came with the diagnosis. Apparently, I was completely expressionless and simply asked what was next and thanked her for her call. In many ways, I already knew, so I don’t think it really shocked me much.
Chemo started within a couple weeks. Six months of chemotherapy followed by two more years of bi-monthly Immunotherapy.
By month two all the lumps were gone. Plus, the chemo makes you so tired I was finally sleeping again. That was nice.
We’re now two quick Immuno sessions away from completing this saga. With any luck they can remove this stupid port from my chest. I don’t like it being there.
It’s hard to complain. I don’t think the chemo is nearly as taxing as it was just ten years ago. Many of the amazing advances in cancer treatment has come directly from organizations that I’m representing in this fundraiser. I tremendously appreciate all those who came before me to organize and raise capital toward these treatments and cures.
Not everyone has the happy ending my family and I had. It’s important that we continue our journey to better understand these diseases and develop the best treatments possible.
My journey is not over. My cancer was a result of toxic exposure while serving my 13 years in the military. There are other issues, neurologically, that resulted from that exposure that I’m still trying to navigate. However, at least the cancer itself has been beaten back and that’s one enormous weight lifted off so many shoulders.
Should my story or sharing my experience help any individual out there then it was worth sharing. I know so many are having a much more difficult time than I am.
I have the capacity to network and get this message out and if that helps to uncover the next iteration in advanced cancer treatment then this exercise in paying it forward was not only worth it but was necessary.
Thanks to all for reading and, if you were able, for donating and sharing!
Countless times over the past year I’ve been in conversation with friends or family and the point has been raised that it seemed, in casual observation, that the Left was acting like the Right and vice versa. Amid the myriad points laid before me I routinely had to agree.
In so many ways right now, culturally, the Left is now the Right and the Right is now the Left.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this and exploring potential causalities. There’s no shortage of them of course.
At its core, as far as I can tell, is the dogmatism with which humans are conditioned to approach their narrative driven experience of life. I routinely make the point in my writings that religion hasn’t left our species, it’s simply mutated into the most opportunistic form of desired consumption. Namely, in our time, national governments and more and more, the institution of Science itself are the new Religions of many.
Now that the Left, at large, has a religion to which it can adhere, it suddenly becomes vigilant in its interpretations and desire for conformity. They now find themselves in the historically Right position of conserving established institutions and lashing out at those who would be so brash as to question their beliefs or have independent thought.
To take this a step deeper it’s important to understand the conservative mind, psychologically.
Many often interpret that conservatism finds it roots in fear. Fear of openness. Fear of change. Fear of the unknown.
This is the wrong diagnosis. Fear does not drive conservatism. Disgust does.
The conservative mind has a high disgust sensitivity to disorderliness. Most of those who naturally lean toward Conservatism are also high in conscientiousness and are attracted to order. When they encounter disorder, uncleanliness, chaos, it’s not fear they experience, it’s disgust.
Those who lean naturally toward Liberalism, are generally high in openness and find themselves invigorated by chaos as it’s the appropriate canvas to which they can apply their inherent creativity.
Naturally, all people are not in one of these camps or the other. It’s an environment of irreducible complexity and nearly all people experience some traits across both spectrums throughout their lives. It’s a moving target. For this reason, you can find tremendous hypocrisy on both sides of the Right/Left paradigm and that same hypocrisy manifests amongst individuals as well.
So, what is aggravating this balance so greatly this year?
Please read if you have the time. If you don’t, it basically states that the higher the prevalence of infectious diseases within a given population the higher the probability of totalitarian political attitudes.
Amazing right? It makes sense though, doesn’t it?
When you perceive a threat to yourself and your loved ones your natural response is to put borders around everything. To protect them. You have evolved to behave in this precise way.
Now suddenly, legislator’s totalitarian strategies to mitigate pathogen risks are not only justified to them personally, but they are willfully consumed by those upon which they thrust them, even when there is no empirical evidence to suggest that those strategies are doing any good. Even when there IS empirical evidence to demonstrate that those strategies are causing harm.
We need to guard ourselves from these tendencies. Push against them before they devolve into barbarity, which historically has often been the outcome.
We have no lack of historical examples of what happens when we adopt totalitarian attitudes.
Nazi Germany is the classic example though there are so many others. There’s a brilliant lesson in the Nazi experience.
Germany, in the 1930s was at the height of civility. It wasn’t from the depths of a chaotic Hell from which that nightmare was conceived.
A high degree of conscientiousness leads to civilized societies. Most wouldn’t argue that.
However, follow that psychological path we explored above and see where it leads you.
High conscientiousness leads to civilized societies.
Civilized societies lead to high degrees of order.
Excess order leads to a high degree of disgust when things become disorderly.
Barbarity is just as likely to result of excess civility and order as it is to result from a lack there of.
Thankfully right? I see so many celebrating the end of a miserable year.
I don’t think the New Year matters much though, and I’m always the optimist in the room.
I remember reading somewhere last February, can’t remember who said it, but it was stated that the coming pandemic was going to be a “9/11” for America. I scoffed indignantly.
I was so wrong. That’s precisely what it came to be.
“It’s a virus” I thought. Humans are very aware of viruses and what they are, how they function and it’s a risk associated with being alive on this planet that we’ve all naturally grown to accept. Like tornadoes or mosquitos or driving on the freeway. Yes, I am aware this is a particularly vicious virus. No, I am not happy about its emergence. Yes, I am individually taking what I feel are necessary precautions for myself and those around me. This really should be where the virus story ends.
I published an article last April. Wrote it in March. You can read it here if you wish.
I reread it a couple days ago and believe it or not, even with all the developing and shifting narratives, I still stand behind every word. It holds up.
We now find ourselves lost within a delusional, masochistic game of political one-upmanship, from which we don’t understand how to control or escape.
I’m uncertain how anyone can’t recognize it by this point in time. This game has yet to end.
I’ve been pondering the collapse of this empire for some years now. I see this discussion raised constantly on various forums and social media. Every empire in human history has imploded under the pressure of its own accelerating mass. Casual observation shows America will be no exception.
The When and How and Why have always been impossible to predict.
Something about this course of events feels like it has potential for collapse to me. You might accuse me of sensationalism or pessimism. Believe me though, as I mentioned before, I’m always the optimist in every room.
What makes me say that?
I’m still debating internally whether politicians know this or not. I’ve never accused political leaders of being stupid people. They take horrifically counterproductive courses of action, but generally speaking they do this fully understanding the consequences of those actions and typically those actions are productively self-serving, regardless of how many humans those actions harm.
But in the 2020 Covid world, I’m unsure if they see the corner they’ve painted for themselves. Politicians are trapped. Imprisoned by their own actions, hubris and rhetoric. They can’t walk back from where they’ve taken the narrative.
Through action and rhetoric they have, intentionally, constructed a belief that politicians, partnering with wise agents of Science, can, in fact, proactively solve for and eradicate associated suffering from a virus. They can fix this with policy, action and mandate.
If that’s true (it isn’t, not even close), then what number of deaths, how many Grandmothers, Moms, Dads, children, siblings are acceptable for a population of constituents to lose?
Politicians have convinced the general public, through targeted narrative control, that wise leaders can protect you from a virus. Now that the general population is so convinced, and they now believe that those politicians do have the capacity to fix this issue, what is the specific death count, associated to viral infections each year, that constituents should tolerate?
Well? How many? If politicians do in fact have the capacity to solve for a viral outbreak, it is within their control, then why in the hell should a citizen ever accept any deaths? If they’re actually avoidable with the right policy response?
Honestly. Politicians, whether they realize it yet or not, have created a reality where at some point in the future they will need to get in front of a microphone and state for the world to hear that while yesterday’s 2000 deaths were unacceptable and we’re focusing the entire might of the US government and all of its collective resources to saving your loved one’s lives, but now, today’s 1000 deaths are within range of acceptable loss and we are no longer pushing forward with aggressive virus fighting agendas.
There, there son. Sorry for your loss. If your Mom had gotten sick yesterday, we would have done something for her. You understand right? Besides, we’re really behind on warfighting and it’s what we do best anyway.
How do we bridge that gap? We don’t. Politicians are never going to say that. How could they?
A vaccine you say? Best of luck. Sincerely. I think the best shot we have at a vaccine would be an associated shift in public attitude toward their perceived threat with the vaccine on the market. And if that happens, that’s awesome, I will be elated.
Honestly our culture was ripe for this response.
We are literally at one another’s throat. We’ve been patiently waiting for just such a set of circumstances to come along and so vindictively justify our anger and vitriol.
This kettle has been steadily heating from the very founding of this nation. That last log necessary to push this past the point of no return was honestly 1865. From that moment onward, there was no other destination for this country other than where we are right now.
From that moment on there was a forceful commitment to central authority and planning.
From that moment on there was no legal escape from a blossoming empire. Once the establishment is established then there are no actions, preferences or directives chosen for any reasons other than advancing and protecting the establishment. Period. It’s not avoidable or correctable.
I’ve argued for years that actions of empire are not outreaching as it’s always interpreted and taught. Actions of empire are internally fed and focused. Like a cancer.
If a governing body solves problems for its people, then that body of governing folks are needed less and less. Life is better and better for those within its jurisdiction. To solve for this dilemma, the empire must look for threats to its people that only the empire could possibly solve.
This is the true driver of war. And should the people grow weary of war, well that’s OK, there are so many things domestically that the empire can wage war upon.
Coupled with that we have psychologically gone adrift in this dawning age of Science. Nietzsche recognized this in the 19th century.
Don’t misunderstand me, I’m a staunch believer and student of evolutionary biology. It’s one of my favorite fields of study. I don’t see the bible or the quran as literal texts.
But you know what I do see in those writings? Us. These books are a genius collection of oral traditions and stories that have been passed along by our ancestors well into antiquity. Far predating writing. Far predating religion.
These stories are metaphors that have long guided people along their journeys of life. Looked to provide comfort. Hoped to provide direction.
You know what else I see? Societies were far better off with religion, than we have been navigating this world without them. We evolved with religion. Belief and adherence to these constructs of spiritual thought increased our likelihood to reproduce, and therefore, evolution rewarded religiosity.
Hence, why you are so religious.
Yes, you. All of you. Including me. This is why we treat government no different than religion. This is why we now, especially in 2020, treat Science as a religion as well. We’re evolved to do so. We even still use all the same terms, it’s amusing.
“Are you denying Science?”
“He’s a non-educated Climate Denier!”
Seriously, listen to your rhetoric. Are you denying Christ? LOL
Are you going to start burning people who are unlike you at the stake? From the debates I’ve seen on the internet I know some of you would like that very much.
Religions have created great evils in history? Really? Has secular nationalism performed any better in that regard? Was there ever a bloodier century than the 20th? There wasn’t.
So it turns out that the root of evil all along was the adherence to the mythological belief in the construct of authority itself. The idea that one equal human has the righteous ability to possess and wield violent authority over any other equal human. What difference does it make whether you wield that violence in the name of religion or government? Is the result not the same?
So why do I, an adherent to the philosophy of evolutionary biology, believe that society was better off centered on religion than it is today, centered on secular nationalism?
Well, this is an oversimplification, but I think it gets at the heart of the issue.
With religion, just about any of them, Christianity, Islam, Hindu, you name it, you have a core ideal that essentially teaches this:
Life sucks. Every individual on the planet is going to suffer. There’s no easy path for anyone. (turns out this is true, even for royalty or the white sons of billionaires, check out the suicide rate amongst that demographic). Here is a collection of stories (hence the word “bible” which is a derivative of the word biblioteca or bibliotheque which basically translates to the word library) which will aid and guide you along your painful journey and will be a collection of metaphors and teachings to help you find meaning that is enriching enough to make your suffering worthwhile.
In spite of the reality that you are going to suffer, be abandoned, abused, tricked, insulted, robbed and even, believe it or not, betrayed by those you love the most, here is an ideal representation of the ways in which you should respond to your betrayal and abuse. Humility. Love. Forgiveness.
The central theme to a religious narrative is forgiveness. The central ideals represent that idea.
With secular government and an associated abandonment of spirituality you are left not with ancient stories that have transcended and survived thousands of generations, but instead you are left with the proclamations of individuals. Well intentioned as they may be. The core values state well meaning and resounding themes such as “liberty and justice for all.”
These things sound fantastic, but there’s a flaw. Do you see it?
With government you are left with a core ideal that essentially teaches this:
Life sucks and doesn’t have to. Suffering is the result of intentional acts of oppression in a definable reality present with “oppressed” and “oppressor.” Where suffering exists in this world it should be eradicated, and justice delivered in the name of those oppressed. Here are a collection of well-constructed laws and mandates which, if followed correctly, will not only redeem the oppressed, but will hold to account the oppressors that exist within society.
Whenever you are abandoned, abused, tricked, robbed or even betrayed by those you love the most, you should construct the properly worded mandates so as to create a world absent of inequity and absolute justice.
The central theme to secular government is justice. The central ideals within our culture represent that idea.
This is why there is no higher pursuit in modern conversations, especially those conducted virtually, than to virtuously and intellectually identify ways in which you’ve uniquely diagnosed the oppression of others and denouncing those you perceive as oppressing them.
There’s no escaping the reality that justice itself, is subjective. There’s no destination down a path constructed like this other than mental illness. Both for a society as a whole as well as the individual.
In a culture centered on the idea of justice, everyone endeavors to be a judge.
In a culture centered on the idea of forgiveness, everyone endeavors to be a Jesus.
The reasons we find ourselves here in Western society are many and complex. This is not the singular answer to all things, but it’s an enormous piece of the puzzle.
I published an article a year ago that tried to explore the ways in which our foreign policy and empire building are directly impacting our culture back home, it’s another piece of the puzzle. You can see that here.
This phenomenon happens over and over. Growth – Collapse. Plato wrote about it nearly 2500 years ago.
Beyond that you can see this theme over and over again in the ancient stories that were passed down orally for many thousands of years.
Conflict – Chaos – Order – Conflict – Chaos -and so on…..
It’s embedded within nearly every culture’s mythologies. These mythos are reflections of humanity.
The most obvious one that immediately comes to mind is Egyptian. You can find a nearly identical theme with almost any culture.
Osiris (culture) grew powerful and wise. Old. An aging, conservative order inevitably results in willful blindness and ignorance, every single time. No exceptions.
That willful blindness eventually creates disorder and chaos. In comes Set. (from which we derive our current term, Satan) He destroys (culture), cuts it in to many pieces and scatters it across the land so as never to be reconstructed.
Osiris’ wife, Isis, furious and saddened, searches for her husband but, prophetically, can only find his magical golden phallus. She impregnates herself and miraculously gives birth to a new messiah, Horace. One of our species’ first Jesus’s.
Horace defeats Set and brings new order from chaos. New life can only be born from chaos. Another repeated theme from mythology. More than that, it’s true. This is why chaos is typically depicted in myth in the feminine form. It’s the female in reality who creates new life, and seemingly she does this from chaos. A chaotic set of cells swirling within her body and from that chaos miraculously manifests order, new life, miracles.
It all connects.
In the end I’m not sure we humans are clever enough to escape these rises and falls.
In some ways I’m not even sure that we should escape them. The sorts of tyranny required to sustain perpetual order would certainly be far more horrific than the peaks and valleys we go through as a species.
In some ways, all this chaos, all this noise, is more than likely a beautiful requirement for life to grow, advance and persist.
And trust me. Life will persist.
If we want to demonstrate our evolved state of intellect, state of morality, state of being, then we can go about this shift in a much less violent way. That would be rewarding, for all humans involved.
I’ve argued in the past that morality itself, is an evolving product of evolutionary biology. I believe that to be true. I believe the species is becoming not only smarter, but also more moral over time. I believe we’re doing this consciously and intentionally through the actions of reproductive selection bias.
We can demonstrate this newfound state of being by eschewing the old constructs of revolt. There’s really no need for revolution any longer is there? Why revolt when we can just as easily ignore?
Is there any other viable path forward, especially in this unique era of corona virus lockdowns?
There’s no need for violence. There’s no need for revolt. We don’t even need to protest. We can simply ignore those who believe themselves to possess authority over us. Stop playing their game and strip any perceived legitimacy they possess with respect to their legal mandate.
Ignore away the state. Embrace non-violent chaos. Watch order be re-born.
What will serve as the golden phallus? Who knows?
It certainly won’t be perfect. It likely won’t even be “right.” Whatever that means.
But it will be something and if history serves as any guide, it will be one iteratively improved step above the place from which we came, even if we aren’t able to immediately recognize or gauge the ways in which its improved.
Maybe all we need is the recognition that the State has consistently failed to deliver upon the actual reasons we’ve all convinced ourselves that they even need to exist?
Maybe all we need is to realize that we’ve all always been providing for ourselves absent any definable protections rewarded by having a ruling class exist.
Maybe all we need is a little courage. This time let’s build it braver.
Not as if my writing might change the world, but just purely from a therapeutic exercise. I have written 4 or 5 articles recently that I haven’t published. I can’t even entirely pinpoint the reason why.
The last few days though have hit personally. The Veteran community is being dragged through the media for no reason other than political propaganda and gamesmanship.
So disgusting is it that my simply pointing out the inherent hypocrisy in all of this to people online has resulted in my comments being deleted. As if, nope, not going to even have that discussion. Not willing to acknowledge reality. I’m simply going to pretend you don’t exist and carry on with my blind religiosity.
This is pathetic.
An acquaintance of mine, former Secretary of State for MO, a guy I served with 12 years ago has been all over MSM as he recently joined the Biden campaign. He’s pushing this latest narrative unapologetically. Who knows, maybe it’s real and hurtful to him. He laid out an analogy on CNN likening the Trump campaign to the villain in the movie, being pursued, rushing through the restaurant, then the kitchen and throwing pots and pans behind him in hopes of escaping. In his analogy the cooks and kitchen staff staring on in silent disbelief were the citizens of the US. What he fails to recognize about his own analogy is the very real observation that the cooks and staff in the movie, as well as the US citizens in 2020, endure a very painful distraction from life, while deriving absolutely no value whatsoever from the destructive pursuit itself.
In other words, it’s rather obvious to conclude, from so many points of empirical data, that our political process in the US, anywhere really, can do an extraordinary amount of harm to the country and its people while at the same time, stand very little chance of doing much, if any, actual good.
It’s almost as if the best a government can do for the people is simply to restrain from abusing them.
I’m not writing this article to be the “voice of Veterans.” That idea really angers me. My friend above from MO, he claims to speak for Veterans.
MSM claims to speak for Veterans.
None of you speak for me. And……I don’t speak for any of you.
No Veteran alive needs to agree with the things I write next. I’m fine with that.
But here’s from one, single Veteran. Perhaps a few others see it the same way. 13 years of total service between enlisted and commissioned, my views on foreign policy have been earned the hard way. Many of you might not see it, but our foreign policy informs most of what ails our current society domestically.
It all starts with war. It really does.
The United States has been at War, with someone, over something, for 226 out of our 243 years.
Let that sink in.
Any country actively maintaining a war footing, cannot function as a free society. This is not a free country and it’s time we stop pretending that it is. Perhaps that’s why some people get so furious over the idea of freedom. Maybe they’re projecting they’re own deep insecurity and recognition that they aren’t actually free. If you still believe you are, ask yourself, what specific things are you free to do?
That is not an anti-American statement. I love this country. More precisely. I love the people within this country. This is my home. I’m tied to this land and this community. Obviously, I’m willing to fight for it, but sadly, the fighting we’re forced to facilitate as members of the military have the opposite effect.
America is not “evil.”
Our government, on the other hand, absolutely is. It doesn’t matter who sits on Penn Ave for any given four-year period. How is this not evident to more of you?
“Trump thinks Veterans are suckers and losers.”
Great. To a lot of Vets, especially this one, an appeal to emotion is a losing line to pitch. To be fair, I don’t believe this smear campaign was really focused on influencing Veterans themselves. It’s really just to push swing voters in a particular direction at the expense of Vets.
Why doesn’t this latest headline piss me off?
I don’t need Trump, or any president for that matter, to love me, respect me or even like me. I don’t like him very well, why would I expect that he would like me?
What do I need? I’m going to go ahead and say, what every human on Earth needs (besides a handful of executives operating within the military industrial complex) is a president who will discontinue the practice of needlessly deploying our sons and daughters in to pointless theaters of violent combat.
You want a more peaceful society? You want to help decrease the 20+ daily Veteran suicides?
Then simply do that one thing. End these pointless wars and stop waging new ones.
Trump has failed to follow through on much of his campaign rhetoric. Trump has dropped an ungodly number of bombs on innocent human beings. For these things, I will never forgive him.
However, here is an interesting, and very real statistic:
New Wars initiated:
Bush = 2
Obama = 5
Trump = 0
As much as I hate all the other things Trump, this observation right here is not nothing. As a matter of fact, it’s a lot more than nothing. So much more than nothing that I think we should all take a moment and say collectively:
Thank you, Donald Trump.
What’s wrong with giving credit where it’s due? Especially with something so critically important to you and your children.
And now, yesterday I read that the MSM and the “Left” is beside themselves with disbelief because Trump had the audacity to smear his own generals in an “unprecedented” fashion. (anyone else tired of that word?)
He had the nerve to state that the cadre of generals that exist within Washington today (and the past 20 years) were interested in nothing other than perpetuating endless wars to keep the bomb makers, and the military industrial complex as a whole, happy.
It’s f**king true.
I’m sorry that most on the Left didn’t have the courage to stand up to Obama and call him out for the exact same behavior.
I’m sorry you chose acquiescence and religiously stood by your party as the Democrats sold you out to make war fashionable.
I’m sorry you have so excitedly invited all the war hawks to your team in your “war against Trump.”
I’m sorry you didn’t have strong enough core values to simply turn down their well-entrenched offer of support.
I’m sorry you are a member of the war party now.
I’m sorry that I fought, and it wasn’t in support of your freedom.
Just when I believe this year, this country, this society, our species can’t possibly get any crazier…….
We are pulling ourselves apart at the seams. And perhaps that’s OK in the end.
From both primary “sides” I hear the calls for unity. Calls for the “Good Old Days” when politicians set aside their differences and worked diligently for the common good.
Come on. Do you honestly believe that to be true? National Unity is a myth. Pure and simple. No different than the idea of Authority itself. It is a myth. An artificial construct that is not objectively real in any sense.
Even during the times that are projected by our public education as having been the most unifying. WWII. The Revolution. You name it, there was no national unity in any real sense. Even those movements were deeply unpopular and were met with tremendously loud dissenting voices.
What’s the difference today? Why does it feel so chaotic?
Individual. Independent voices. And damn is it weird and painful right now. Nobody can even tell what is real or what is truth, even about those topics that are primarily grounded in science.
That should tell you something. The truth is never black and white. Any scientist worth a damn can tell you that. As much as I am not a fan of post-modernist theory, they do get that part right. There are an infinite number of subjective interpretations of reality. True.
The often comical catch is, that almost all of those interpretations are not overly useful with respect to navigating your world in such a way that can actually be defined as productive.
In the age prior to internet and before the rise of social media we had no voices other than those carefully contained and defined by authoritarian structures, with the rare anomaly of an actual case of investigative journalism that might expose a slight crack in the narrative. Just enough to allow people to feel that what they were getting was truthful and oversight existed in the world.
We see now however, that was never the case. With the rise of independent, free thinking minds the world is not anymore chaotic than it’s ever been, it’s just that chaos is now plain for all to see and appreciate.
And just to make things even worse. The rise of these individual voices are consuming market share for traditional news outlets and venues. As their market share dwindles so too does their profit. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you the last time I personally consumed a traditional news show. Gross.
And how does anyone respond to dwindling market share? Aggressively of course. And that response is an effort to attract more consumers. The only way they know how to do that is to produce the most sensational content imaginable. This is the reason you see the traditional news agencies becoming more extreme to whichever political base they appeal. This is the reason nobody just reads “news” any longer. People need to get on air, project their charisma, and make alarming statements and headlines that literally turn heads.
This is where we are. It is painful.
Ultimately, I do believe it’s leading somewhere. Given the long-term trajectory of the human experience I’m still optimistic that it’s leading somewhere positive and constructive. Although this year has tested my personal resolve. I’ve even drank a few beers.
In the end I think this is all exposing a deeply rooted charade. I think our artificially manufactured and religiously adopted centers of violent authority will not survive this evolution in the long run. All Emperors are being shown as they truly are, starkly naked.
So what’s best for our species? What’s the right prescription for the overall collective?
My understanding of Collectivism is a focus on social cohesion, group goals over individual goals whether focused on a smaller group or a larger one, such as an entire nation. As a philosophy it’s easy to buy in to this, it sounds right. The problem is that this line of thinking often draws a very dangerous line where one does not need to exist. It often creates an “us vs. them” mentality that will, more often than not, lead to violent outcomes. These advents of ethnocentric mentalities have led to needless deaths since the dawn of civilization. My largest issue with Collectivism is that I don’t recognize the imaginary lines that have been drawn by so many, OUR country, OUR city, OUR religion.
Collectivist ideologies make a very dangerous assumption; that it understands what is best for any given group. The oversight by so many that fall victim to collectivist appeal is the failure to recognize that the GROUP is not making decisions. The GROUP is not prioritizing needs for itself. Individuals are doing that. Individuals that are perhaps elected or have nominated themselves in charge of any particular group and are making the decisions and aligning priorities upon which the collective should focus. Make no mistake that these individuals are setting these priorities and making decisions largely based upon their own individual values, subjective bias and ideals. They cannot think or act as the “GROUP.” The group does not exist in actuality, only a collection of individuals and the larger that collection of individuals become, the less capable individuals are of representing and making decisions that are truly reflective of the “will” of the people within the collective.
If the stated goal truly is to maximize happiness of everyone within the collective or maximize fulfillment, then the best course of action would be for each and every individual to focus on their own desires and accomplishing their own goals, then naturally the maximum number of people within any collective will achieve that fulfillment and happiness and thus, Individualism approaches more closely the stated goals of Collectivism. Not one person outside the consciousness of the individual truly understands the fulfilling needs of that individual. An individual may identify with particular groups, a Church, a Country, etc, however each individual will separate values upon which they prioritize what matters most to them. It’s your own, individual, intrinsic pricing mechanism.
My points here are not Randian in nature. Many confuse the point I’m trying to make. By stating that people should focus their approach and goals individually, I am not stating that this should or even will be driven in what anti-Rand groups perceive as “selfishness.” I think this is a very misunderstood misnomer. What many fail to recognize is that pursuing selfish ends often results in the most generous and empathetic actions. Many won’t believe that statement, but I know that individually when I provide value or assistance to those around me that cannot provide for themselves, it makes ME feel good. I feel good about myself and the act of helping others selfishly provides individual reward. So you have to ask, do I do these acts because it helps the individuals that I’m assisting? OR, do I do these acts because it is individually rewarding and makes me feel good personally? I don’t know the answer. Probably some combination of the two I would guess.
I believe that most people feel and act the way I do in this regard. I think people love helping others. This belief that people are mostly bad and the only way to provide support and assistance to those in need is through government or collective intervention and the forcing of goodwill is simply…….wrong. I don’t observe it personally in my understanding of the people around me.
Let’s take that line of logic one step further. Let’s pretend you are of the mindset that people, at their core, are inherently bad. I disagree, but let’s run with that. People are bad and can’t be trusted to do what’s right. If that’s so, why on EARTH would you allow people, who are bad, to have coercive power over other people? Such as in any collective?
And for those who feel that people in need wouldn’t receive assistance and support if not for the support of a collective or government, again I strongly disagree, but let’s say that’s the case; then you are left with a situation producing two possible outcomes: Either you are wrong and without collective actions through taxation to support the poor the people within the population have a desire to help those in need and do so in kind. OR, they do not, the poor do not receive support and you must then admit that the collective was not representing the true will of the people. Instead representing the sentiments of individuals within the collective who decided helping the poor was the right thing to do, but only with other people’s resources.
What I know is wrong is violence. And I personally interpret laws and forced compliance as violent. In other words there is the threat of violence against me if I do not comply. Confiscation of property, imprisonment, etc. Violence is always wrong and I will always default against violent intervention. I think if people are left to their own devices they will help those around them to the extent that they can. I truly believe that without government intervention there would ultimately be FAR greater philanthropy and compassion in our culture.
In the end I think we’re all starting to realize that there is no unity. There is a unique experience happening within each and every one of us. Not each of us exist within the same city, country or world. Or even within the same family when you get right down to it. I know for a fact that you can have siblings exit childhood from the exact same home and environment with one describing an otherwise blissful childhood experience while the other interpreted a neurotic hell.
I think that realization will facilitate a crumbling of the centers of authority that have caused so much harm and destruction across human history. From the Church to the Courtroom. In actuality one is no different from the other.
Every time in history that people have attempted to move forward collectively by force we have witnessed death and destruction.
Funny thing. We recognize as children and are instructed by our parents that we have no ability to control anyone other than ourselves. Why do we forget that when we get older and somehow don’t think that applies to politics, government, religion?
The path toward peace is through acceptance. I used to always say that to struggling couples as well. The path toward a successful, long lasting relationship is acceptance. Never through change. If you can’t accept them for who they are, then part ways now.
Same logic applies to society as well. With the rise of social media we’re now laying bare all that exists within our individual minds. To some it’s shocking. Neither these tiny details of one’s worldview nor the combative interactions between individuals simply never took place within the arena of polite conversation or family gatherings.
Frankly they still don’t when you actually get a chance to interact with people in person these days. People are still ordinarily polite.
Eventually we are all going to stop fighting so hard to be heard. Fighting so hard to be right. Fighting so hard to be perceived as virtuous.
Eventually we’re going to accept the fact that out of 7 Billion humans not one single other is quite like you.
Eventually we’re going to realize that that observation is not only OK. Not only acceptable. But, it’s beautiful.
We’re all beautifully divided and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s that very division that brings us all so close. We all know, deep inside, that we don’t understand the suffering that person next to us is experiencing. But we all would like to help if we could. Even something as simply as a smile or the investment of five minutes to listen to someone talk through a frustration even knowing that we aren’t going to have a solution for them.
It’s reassuring to know that so many, even strangers, are there for us as well when the time might arise.
Our individuality is the foundation of our existence. It’s also the foundation of our successes so far in this world.
Divided we Stand.
Together we fall…….
If you could, please take a moment to sign this petition to end the Afghan War. So many are suffering, at home and abroad. While all the wars need to end, let’s start here, with this one. I’ve even committed to one push-up for every signature. I like pain.
April 26, 1992. There was a riot on the street, tell me, where were you?
I get the feeling the majority of you rioting right now were either too young or not even born yet when that song made its rounds. Didn’t quite have the ability for those events to make their mark on your worldview.
Something tells me this event ends the same as that event.
I’m curious to see the ways in which this year gets neatly packaged and scripted into an overlooked little chapter to be taught to schoolchildren in 2050. I wonder, what will be the foundation of the narrative? What lessons will the government run public school systems be conveying when they discuss 2020 and the relationship a government holds with its constituency?
With any luck I’ll still be around to witness that. Why do I get the sense that it will be something that supports acquiescence to authority?
This is a bad time to write this piece. Perhaps the worst times to write something are the most effective? I don’t know.
I’ve been speaking out against and writing about police violence for many, many years. It’s on record. I supported Colin because he spoke out against the violence of the state, period. I supported BLM because they spoke out against the violence of the state. I may not agree with their interpretations of root cause, but regardless, a voice against the state is appreciated either way.
That is why I’m writing today.
The State’s violent enforcement of policies have claimed many, many lives. It always has. It hasn’t been until recently, 2013 I believe, that online resources began popping up to make an effort to officially track and tally these instances of violence. Before that, there was no reliable source of data whatsoever.
If you listen to the news. Most of those victims are black. They aren’t. Not even close. From Duncan Lemp sleeping peacefully in his bed to Kelly Thomas who apologized to officers 15 times while they literally beat him to death, there are heart breaking tales from all ethnicities, including 6 year old autistic boy Jeremy Mardis whose father was unarmed in the front seat of the car and even babies during SWAT raids. Derek Hale in 2007 sitting on his friend’s front porch getting up to help his friend’s girlfriend with her two kids. Stephan Cook forcibly raped by police in 2012. Nick Christie, whose wife mistakenly called police to inform them her husband had traveled to FL and forgotten his medicine, was accosted, hooded and pepper sprayed……to death. James Ahern who was unarmed and shot in the back in 2010. His assailant was promoted to Chief. David Eckert in New Mexico who was forcibly raped for having the nerve to ask if he was free to go.
I can keep going, there’s a never ending supply of these kinds of stories. The abuse is color blind, I promise you.
In the interest of time I decided to look back at the last 3 ½ years solely to see how many unarmed civilians were killed during an interaction with police. Only unarmed. That’s not to say that everyone who was armed deserved to be killed. Not at all. Some did, certainly. If you physically threaten another’s life, any individual has every right to defend themselves. Whether or not they are an officer is irrelevant.
In the interest of consistency, civilians have that exact same right and if a group of humans bust down someone’s door at 2 AM that person has every right to defend themselves as well and has every right to pick up their gun to do so. They don’t know those are police officers busting down their door.
In the last three and a half years I was curious in comparing deaths of unarmed civilians across White, Black and Hispanic lines. This count is not complete. There were quite a few victims who were never identified, and their race not confirmed. I left all those out of the count. I also left out Asians in my tally though there were a handful. Three or Four I believe.
The final count since 2017 of unarmed civilians: 24 Black : 25 Hispanic : 61 White
Now I know, the natural argument is to draw attention to the disparity in relation to population. That’s fair. Black Americans make up 14% of the US population and yet are 22% of unarmed victims. White Americans make up 60% of the US population and are only 55% of unarmed victims. You can make an almost identical observation if tallying all deaths due to police interaction and you can make a similar observation with respect to arrests as well I would bet. I’ve studied crime data extensively but haven’t seen a dataset that simply outlined arrest records by demographic.
That said, are we really stating that disparity is the cause of our pain? Really?
Do you mean to tell me that over the next 3 ½ years if the police have killed 110 unarmed civilians and 15 of them are black, 18 are Hispanic and 66 are White then there will be no riots in the street and you will interpret the world in which you live as just?
We don’t have a race problem in American policing. We have a prohibition problem in American policing.
You want to riot? You want justice? You want change?
We need coordinated action and goals. If this keeps up much longer here’s what’s going to happen.
You’re going to get tired of protesting. You’re going to get hurt. You’re going to get incarcerated. You’re going to lose your momentum. Your anger is going to subside. George Flynn’s murderer is going to be indicted and that’s going to tell you that some kind of justice was eventually served and you’re going to get back to living your life.
Then, we can do this all over again in another 28 years when nothing of substance changed.
How do we not let that happen?
We need to reorient our law enforcement from the profitable and predatory practice of fighting the war on drugs at the behest of federal policies and back toward the actual practice of ensuring the safety of our citizens.
We need to know that the officers in our communities’ employ are dependable and respectable. The types of human beings that we could trust to ensure a safe community.
How do we do all this?
Well, as far as accountability goes, I would say let’s make police officers accountable. Seems easy right? I’m not talking about being charged with a crime after they do something horrendous. Though should they do something horrendous then that is obviously a crime, so please, charge them with one.
No, I’m talking about something much more basic. Personal liability.
If a plumber comes over and floods your entire house due to negligence or incompetence you have the just right to pursue compensation and damages. The plumber is required to carry insurance to cover their work.
If a surgeon paralyzes you due to negligence or malpractice you have the just right to sue for damages. Doctors carry enormous malpractice policies for just this reason.
Why not make police officers carry malpractice insurance? Personally. Fine, go to the academy, get all your training, accept your new role, oh, but before you are able to start on day one, you have to apply for and get approved for malpractice insurance. The monthly rate gets automatically drafted out of your paycheck.
Hell, police departments would even end up subsidizing the cost I’m sure.
But do you know what would happen? Insurance companies would police themselves. Just as they do with doctors and service providers. If an officer does something wretched and gets sued, then just like with your car insurance, their rate goes up. If it goes up high enough, eventually that officer prices themselves out of employment. Bad cops, gone.
This seems pretty obvious and I’m not the only one making the argument. I saw a fantastic article on this site two days ago promoting the same premise.
I’m willing to bet there are quite a few attorneys that are part of this movement no? Did you know the Supreme Court has historically overturned 236 of it’s rulings?
Create class action lawsuits against the United States. Sue against Qualified Immunity. A 1983 Supreme Court ruling that arbitrarily creates impunity for all government employees acting within the official capacity of their role. It’s the same doctrine that allows the people who poisoned me and so many other Vets to walk free.
Stand outside the Supreme Court the day of the ruling on that lawsuit ready to riot.
Create class action suits against the Civil Asset Forfeiture program that began in 1970. Wait outside the Supreme Court.
Create class action suits against the 1033 Program that funnels retired military equipment to local police departments.
Create class actions suits that challenge the legal capacity for police departments to continue with their practice of conducting over 50,000 SWAT raids per year. You read that correctly.
Create class action against Federal drug policies.
As far as the drug war goes, which was initiated around a foundation of systemic and institutional racism, make no mistake, is a little more complex and tricky.
There exists no one size fits all solution for this issue. Other than one aspect; Nullification.
States need to nullify federal mandates and create their own policies surrounding drugs and enforcement that are individually aligned with the communities they police. Beyond that, local cities need to nullify state mandates should they want to try something different as well. This is already happening with marijuana.
I don’t have all the answers, but I do know if 100 people try 100 different things then we’ll learn something as a society. And maybe even make progress.
This issue has always been vastly more socio-economic than it has been about race. I know for a fact that in the poor white neighborhoods where drug use is prevalent those communities are badgered by police to the same degree as poor black neighborhoods.
It’s time to change our relationship with the State and to the degree that law enforcement continues to exist, change our relationship with officers as well.
It is, after all, a decision that is ours to make. You’re the boss. Remind them of that.
Let’s create a new song this year. One that ends in change.
I have many, MANY thoughts on COVID-19. Obviously. Who doesn’t? Mostly non-conspiratorial. Not that I don’t believe conspiracies exist, obviously people come together and conspire toward shared desired outcomes, some malevolent, all the time. But mostly because right now, there’s just not enough data. No overwhelming information. Nothing about any of the theorized conspiracies make enough sense.
Bottom line. The species is combatting a novel virus. Where and how and why it originated? Well…..time will never tell. We’ll never know and honestly, in the end, it’s not the most important element to trudging through this experience. Let’s sum it up with this statement here.
Instead of shaming your neighbors who may or may not be attempting to press on with their lives, we should instead shame virologists who find themselves in the employ of any state government. If that describes you, look yourself in the mirror at night. Self-evaluate. Resign your position and get out there in the market and design products and services that align with your education and expertise that a consuming public would find so valuable they voluntarily elect to consume. If you believe your work would never be used toward malevolent ends, you are wrong. Period.
In the short term. I fall on the side of the fence that our current manic response will have second and third order consequences in the long term that FAR outweigh the virus itself. That said, we need to get back to living our lives. The virus exists. It’s going to run its course. It’s going to mutate in order to expand its own capacity to survive. (shocking right?) That said, we don’t even comprehend the rate of mortality of the virus right now. Not even close.
Few are getting tested. Experts themselves suggest the spread of this disease is a factor far greater than that recorded. That alone, would drive down the rate of mortality right now, even before mutations.
This virus is not something to fear. We have always shared this planet with constantly mutating organisms. We’re one of them ourselves! And this will never not be the case. The more exposure you have to the world the better suited your body and immune system will be at surviving within it. I’m not suggesting forgoing sanitation or hygiene by any stretch. Clean yourself and your environments! If you’re showing signs of any illness, quarantine yourself. Haven’t you always been doing this anyway? I certainly have.
I remember riding an elevator to my office, probably 2009, with our head of Regulatory Labeling. She’s a PhD Food Scientist. We started chatting about the fact that every floor had a hand sanitizing station as soon as you stepped off the elevator. I can’t remember the conversation verbatim, but it went something along the lines of the fact that people are taking their fear of germs to an extreme, even unhealthy, level.
Everyone is terrified of the projections and data modeling without even taking a moment to consider that our current data on this new virus is sparse and has been shown to be inaccurate. No matter your level of talent as a data scientist, no matter the genius of your algorithms, if the source data you enter into those models is incomplete and inaccurate what do you believe the outcome will be? Something other than a realistic expectation of future states, correct? This is largely the problem with the climate change argument these days isn’t it? Not saying climate change isn’t real, not saying the virus isn’t real, not saying both aren’t dangerous. But these models do nothing but induce panicked response over estimations that are tremendously outside the statistical bounds of reason.
A virus is a living thing. It has a goal. Same as ours. Survival. If it kills its host, it dies too. The virus doesn’t want to kill you. Corona viruses have been around for a long, long time. We can track their historic morbidity. There’s absolutely no reason to suspect this Corona virus won’t have the same level of morbidity as its past cousins. A level that has never bothered humans or created a panic or emergency response.
The virus will run its course through our species, we’ll develop anti-bodies to contend with it and it will be added to the lineup of sicknesses we see circulate year after year. You are no safer at home today than you were a month ago. You are also in no more danger either. The world is a dangerous place.
It’s almost like we’re living in a reality where we discovered germ theory in 1864, and then 156 years later our species grasped its reality as a collective.
I wonder if there exists a principle to describe conditions where technology has blossomed to such a degree that it provides a false sense of confidence in the reality we believe we’re experiencing. In broader terms, when for the first time in history, tools we’ve created begin to knock at the door of capability, but we confuse that door knocking with being present and useful. Or we mistake the fact that since it’s knocking at the door, we take for granted that it’s here, but forget that not only do we need to open the door, we need to invite the technology in. Show it around the house. Introduce it to the family. Train it in how the house functions and most importantly, ensure that its house trained and knows where the bathrooms are.
If this principle has not yet been identified and described, then we’ll deem it officially so now.
The reason I describe this principle is because this is exactly what we’re experiencing today with regard to this virus specifically. Our capabilities to aggregate data have been rising exponentially over the past three decades. Our savviness with that data has been rising along with its collection. That said, this is the first time in human history that we have made an effort to track a virus’s diagnosis, case count and death count in real time and publish that data for the entire world to consume and interpret.
Even the flu isn’t calculated in this way. No effort is made to track cases and deaths day by day and publish those statistics for human consumption. If they did then I can assure you, humans would panic and shelter EVERY year. For instance, last year’s Flu deaths in the US was estimated to be over 34,000. The year before that, over 60,000! This season’s Corona virus current count is under 15,000. That’s tragic, but my point is that if we tracked and published in this way ANY year, it would result in panic.
I’m not immune to the narrative either. I find myself tuning in and checking the numbers and trends across the globe several times per day. It’s captivating. It speaks to our conscious and human experience. It’s compelling.
Sadly, I think we’re a bit premature in our ability to track and understand these metrics in a real way. I think our arrogance has fueled this approach and this response. I find myself utilizing worldometers.com most frequently. Their interface is the most agreeable to my preferred consumption. Right on their site, in plain language, it clearly states that cases published are a tally of both confirmed and presumptive cases. That should cause any human on Earth to stop and ask a few questions. This is the very reason the CDC doesn’t make an effort to track any virus in real time. There’s no way to do this objectively. Those “confirmed” cases are not an objective representation of Corona cases. You are relying on the subjective interpretation of millions of individual human beings across the planet to arrive at that number. The exact same problem especially occurs on the death count.
I’ll share one anecdote that is close to me. It involved my brother in law. I’ve read all the gut wrenching stories of nurses in ICUs, DRs having rough days as well as first person accounts of those who have suffered through horrific experiences with this virus. They’re gut wrenching. I feel those stories.
Also, though, they’re anecdotal and an appeal to emotion. You can’t let those stories blind you from the objective.
My personal exposure to this circus, vicariously through my brother in law, happened a couple weeks ago. He woke up feeling off. By mid-day he had rapidly developed a fever and chills, a sore throat and felt terrible. Overly concerned about the global narrative he called his doctor immediately and scheduled a visit.
Given his symptoms his Dr could have ordered a flu and strep test. Both of these have rapid pathologies and he could have had answers on those tests within an hour. Instead, his Dr subjectively diagnosed him as having COVID-19 and sent him off with instructions to get tested at a nearby drive thru facility. Now, given rapidly changing reporting protocols by the CDC, he was no doubt tallied as one of our states COVID cases. Even though he likely had strep or the flu or even just a cold and could have been administered a known and trusted treatment that very day.
Instead he went home, quarantined himself, and was feeling fine within a few days.
This is irresponsible on part of the Dr in my opinion. And you know this type of circumstance is not an isolated case.
The questions we should all be asking right now.
What percentage of published cases, day by day, are confirmed vs. presumptive?
What percentage of deaths, day by day, are pathologically confirmed to have COVID present?
Of those confirmed with COVID, what percentage can be shown to have died DUE to COVID and what percentage passed away WITH COVID? Even that question brings to bear tremendous subjectivity on part of individual Drs.
In the world’s hotspots how are average annual deaths comparing to any other year? This is a valid question. Especially considering the subjective nature of death reporting and designation.
We’ll leave it at that for now. I really started writing this article to discuss the fact that we can’t sustain a shuttered economy. The consequences will be far greater and far more complex than even the best economists in the world could likely grasp, let alone articulate in a way that would be consumed by the general public. I can’t grasp it; I don’t pretend to.
I really decided to start typing today in response to several repeated lines I keep seeing over the past week or so. Through many comment threads. It’s really stuck with me, so I wanted to provide a rejoinder.
Comments like this:
“If our system can’t handle being shut down for a couple weeks and survive then it wasn’t a system worth saving to begin with”
“The market isn’t everything”
“Putting profits over people is appalling”
Our “market” is not a system. There is no system that either can or cannot be shut down. This interpretation is maddening to me. The market you’re referring to, the system in your mind, in actuality, is anarchy in practice. Obviously surrounded by violent, coercive institutions that attempt to live and breathe within and on top of that anarchy while attempting in vain to steer its course.
The anarchy I’m referring to is your life. Yes, yours. Mine as well. We get up every day and make choices. We choose to live, work and play. We choose to eat. We choose to feed our families and communities. We choose to shelter ourselves from our climate, we choose to shelter our families and protect them from harm. We choose to produce value to someone, somewhere and in return earn a competitive level of compensation that will allow us to manifest our preferences in to a reality. We choose to educate ourselves and our children. We choose to entertain ourselves and our families to pass the time and bond with loved ones. We choose to improve our lives by improving our homes, traveling the world to gain new memories and experiences.
I can keep going but you get the point. This is the market you refer to. This is people living. The market is life.
So, to interpret this as “the market isn’t everything” is to say that “life isn’t everything.”
YES. Actually, it IS everything. That’s all there is with respect to the human specific experience.
There is no system. Whether you see it or not, people can’t shut down and stop living for a couple weeks. Hell, people can’t simply shut down and stop living for even a day. If we stop living, well…….then we’re not living. We’re dead.
I am not arguing “profits over people.” People who interpret free markets in that way have ZERO conceptual understanding of what a “profit” even is or how it’s obtained. (Caveat here for profits obtained via force such as govt contractors earning revenue via taxation) Personally, I find any human who is attempting to coercively force any other human to live in such a way beyond the bounds of their individual preference appalling. What gives you the right? And if you believe you know better how one should live their lives than the actual individual living it, well, then your hubris is showing.
If we have all collectively agreed that we need to shut down the economy in order to protect those most vulnerable among us, then sooner rather than later, we will all have to come to the realization that “those most vulnerable among us” encompass different sets of people depending on how you’re defining vulnerabilities.
We’re already, just within the last two weeks, seeing a rise in overdose deaths, suicides, alcohol consumption, domestic violence and many others I’ve failed to research. When 80% of your population is living paycheck to paycheck, they then become the most vulnerable among us if you shut the economy down.
So now, we all need to collectively understand and agree to reopen the economy, while still taking precautions for pathogens, with or without permission from the government, in an effort to protect those most vulnerable among us.
The world is dangerous. It always has been. We’ve been accelerating average lifespan for a long time and there’s no reason to believe that trend will slow. We’re doing a great job.
Now, we just need to get out there and keep pushing forward!
Barack Obama: “If you’ve got a business — you
didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
Bernie Sanders: “I don’t think that billionaires
AOC: “No one ever makes a billion dollars. You take a billion dollars. People become billionaires only by exploiting workers and preying on vulnerable and less privileged people.”
This mindset has become pandemic. It has entered the mind space of virtually anyone left of center and hasn’t let go. So appealing is this argument, so supportive is it of their subjective interpretation of reality that it festers and metastasizes. It won’t let loose. The more they repeat it, the more real it becomes. The more real it becomes the more savage a potential response is validated.
Look, I’m not here in support of billionaires. I’m really, really not. I don’t worship them. I don’t hold them in any higher regard than myself or any of my neighbors. None of us are billionaires BTW.
For all I know every billionaire on the planet is a world class A-hole. It really doesn’t matter. Actually, for argument’s sake, let’s go ahead and assume for this thought experiment that, in fact, every billionaire on the planet and in history is, in fact, a world class A-hole. Just a greedy, malevolent pig who cares nothing about any human on the planet other than themselves.
Let’s just say that’s true. And who knows…..maybe it is?
Let’s also assume that today’s Leftists’ interpretation is objectively correct, economically. Billionaires only amount that level of wealth through unhinged greed and the willful, calculated exploitation of humans less privileged than they.
If that’s true, and we’re assuming that it is, am I the only person in the room who is noticing an immense, once in a lifetime circumstance of opportunity?
If these corporations, led by greedy old white men, are operated in such a manner that those nasty humans have the ability to siphon ludicrous amounts of capital off the top solely for themselves, then wouldn’t a competitive organization, providing the same service(s), in the same market(s) NOT led by a greedy old white man find itself at an historic advantage? Not having to fund the billion-dollar appetite of the 1%er at the top?
Couldn’t you, you being literally anyone, found a company, operate it exactly the same as Evil Inc. and just simply NOT endow the owner (yourself) with billions in capital and the team of apparently white male executives exorbitant salaries, bonuses and stock options and absolutely demolish the competition? Couldn’t you, in a market free from hindrance, absolutely dominate with the competitive advantage you could enjoy by saving literally billions of dollars?
Why is this not happening? Serious question. If your economic interpretation is accurate and true, why is this not happening all over the world?
Even if taken to a lesser extreme. If billionaires have exploited everyone, is there not one single adventurous and daring person out there willing to do the same thing for, I don’t know? Half a billion? Or even just three quarters of a billion? Some amount less than the current manipulative world class A-hole?
Can anyone help me understand this reality? If, in fact, the stated exploitative economic observation is true?
Or, is it really more likely that the people pushing this narrative are economically literate enough to know their statements are over simplified to the point of being untrue, or even, that they are flatly stating realities they know to be false simply for the purpose of playing politics to their base?
In reality. Wealth is created through the most efficient construction of value to any given market and any given consumer with free choice. Profit is a reward for coordinating resources in such a manner as to most efficiently supply the value any market prefers.
Naturally I take offense, like any other free market advocate, to those who have captured wealth by force and fiat (government contractors). But removing those realities from our current argument, wealth in any free marketplace can only be achieved in accordance with the value a service or product provider has created.
Labor itself, is an entirely separate and unique marketplace which is a derivative, but somewhat abstracted from the service or product the company produces.
It is related, no doubt. For instance, no company, anywhere, could afford to compensate an employee to a degree greater than the objective value their role creates for the organization. No company would remain in business. Outside of that however, skill sets and positions are bartered and bid up through voluntary actions of workers and employers within the economy and are just as closely tied to principles of supply and demand as any other product, period.
This really is an open question. For AOC, Bernie, Obama, whomever to answer. If their observations are consistent with objective reality, then where is the competition? Why doesn’t Obama himself (he has free time now, as well as a mountain of seized treasure) create a fulfillment service to compete with Amazon and simply NOT exploit his workers? Because he is, after all, a decent human being who wouldn’t do that, right?
His inherent competitive advantage coupled with his superior drive and intellect should allow him the perfect recipe to literally wipe the floor with Amazon as well as freeing all those poor workers from their existence mired in exploitation.
Why does he not do this? Does he not care? Do any of them?
So really, if you think about it, if these justice seekers really believe in their assertions (I can’t bring myself to believe that they do), then the greatest villains in their own narrative, are themselves.
If you glare zealously at justice long enough, eventually, justice glares back at you.
People today, worldwide, are a wealthier lot than any previous collection of humans that have ever existed upon the planet.
People today are living longer than any previous generation to come before us. A LOT longer.
People today are insanely more literate and connected than any previous set of humans on planet Earth.
People today can be statistically demonstrated to be far more welcoming of humans of alternate ethnicities and far more open to cultures other than their own. Additionally, violent crime rates have been plummeting for decades with no end in sight.
People today survive childbirth and subsequently childhood to a vastly greater degree than children of the past.
Even in the United States, the largest scale experiment worldwide at mixing cultures and ethnicities, is showing a flattening in the gap of child poverty between races and ethnicities.
The Earth is greener today than it was 100 years ago and getting greener every day!
These blanket statements literally have no end. I can keep making them and probably get 200-300 pages of objective and provable claims similar to the ones above. One can find many studies proving these claims. They’re not even hard to find.
Given that reality you would think humanity might be celebrating. We’re not. I would like to say that we’re unhappier now than ever. I suspect that isn’t true though. Having dove deep in the study of history I’m fully aware of the graven conditions heaved upon the many that came before us.
We are damn unsettled though. Restless. Unfulfilled. Scared. Anxious. Polarized.
Well I don’t know. Some of it may be biological, as indicated here and here.
I heard an observation in a podcast some time ago. Pretty certain it was Jordan Peterson. The observation went something along the lines of outlining the rise of the independent journalists and the avalanche of highly consumed podcasts and programs that followed. Leaving aside subjective judgements of value, it seems obvious that this content creation and consumption has a natural declining impact on the consumption of traditional media sources. Something for which Peterson holds in little regard.
I agree with him.
When a business, any business, begins to lose market share and profits suffer, how do they respond? Do they roll over and die? Or do they make an effort of adjustment to recapture lost share and profit?
Obviously, they react and adjust. It’s not always successful or in time nor does it always resonate with an ever-changing consuming public, but they do react.
How does traditional media respond? How else could they? They make any effort at all to gain attention. Views. Consumers. Market Share as a source of advertising revenue. How can they gain extra attention? Well, how does any two-year-old? They resort to their most basic human nature. They get as loud as possible to direct eyes toward their content. How does media get loud, throw a tantrum, scream? They get as inflammatory, abrasive and polarized as they can. No headline is too extreme if it generates clicks and views, right?
I heard Peterson lay out this argument and it resonated with me. It struck me as truth. Something you could intuitively tune in to, witness and even, to some degree, objectively monitor and track over time.
I think this observation correctly informs what is happening in Western politics in 2020 as well. I think the emperor is starkly naked and always has been. I think with the development of worldwide connectivity and the ability for humans to establish trusting relationships with anyone, anywhere, is laying waste to the protective wall that we call government brick by brick.
I think more and more humans are waking up to realize that all of this success and advancement has happened as a result of sovereign individuals developing preferences and other sovereign individuals making a motivated effort to satisfy those preferences. Markets.
I think more people are beginning to see that with an increasingly educated global populace we are now educating more engineers and scientists than exist current professional engineers and scientists in the West. These innovators will work hard to appease natural market preferences. There’s no way to stop progress. There’s no evidence to suggest that progress will ever halt.
The definition of progress, over time, certainly changes and creeps, but it still progresses, nonetheless.
I think the State in the West is not blind to this. I think they see diminishing returns relative to their market share. They’ve creeped in scope so greatly that not even a passive tax base can fund their endeavors. Hence an ever-inflating supply of money. (We’ll pay for that soon, rest assured)
How does the State respond? How else could they? They make any effort at all to gain the perception of relevancy. Laws. Regulations. Brute enforcement. Taxes. How do they react? Well, how does any two-year-old? They resort to their most basic human nature. The State throws a tantrum. They get as loud as possible to direct eyes toward anything they can claim as positive outcomes of their actions, regardless of how weak the argument. They get as inflammatory, abrasive and polarized as they can in an effort to attract the attention of those they feel most likely to pay attention. Their “base.” No claim is too extreme if it generates obedience, right?
I think they’re screaming for attention. Anxiously searching for relevancy. Desperately attempting to convince a population waning in confidence of their importance. The danger they want us to believe we all face absent their divine protection.
This isn’t some grand conspiracy of old, white, malevolent men sitting around a dark room with cigars and plotting the destruction of the Earth. These are well-intentioned, albeit sociopathic, humans of all ages and colors who are personally wedded to the success of an archaic and violent system of authority.
In some ways it’s akin to a self-fulfilling prophecy. Candidates on campaign trails get increasingly dramatic and rhetorically divisive for no reason other than to accumulate attention to oneself as a candidate. You can see, track and to some degree measure this reality over time. Mostly all the tales of suffering screamed from the campaign trail are not actually reflective of the experience realized by the actual citizens of any given country. Now that doom and gloom has been professed and “winning candidate” made promises to address, it’s perceived by systems of authority that action needs to be taken. It’s no wonder none of these agencies ever make progress or solve problems. It’s no wonder they tend to create more problems unintentionally than ever existed to begin with.
It’s rather easy to demonstrate that all of the good news shared above has occurred mostly in spite of the existence of nationalistic, violent governments. Nationalism itself was an innovation, progress defined, progress realized. It was a movement away from archaic systems based solely upon the proclaimed divinity of birthright and wedded violent authority to monarchies.
The time had passed for monarchies as humans continued to grow, advance, learn and progress.
Just as the time had passed for that ancient system of statehood, so too is the time passing for nationalism. So too is the time passing for citizens to go to war in the interest of the State as directly opposed to the interest of each citizen and each community.
I’d love to say that humans will learn to live and love without the existence of coercive authority, though that’s likely not the next step in our journey. However, I am confident, that this next iteration will be at least one degree abstracted and improved upon what we have come to know as national governments.
And that’s progress to celebrate. Little as it may be. We might even be able to realize this evolution without violence. Human progress suggests as much.
Apparently one of the latest things the cool kids are talking about is debating whether or not they would kill baby Hitler. Supposedly this is a bit of a “Pro Life” argument. Parenthesis used since both sides of this debate are so hideously titled.
I don’t know Jim Wright. This Facebook post was the first I’ve ever heard of the guy. Don’t know his political leanings nor do I care. I used his post as an example. Everything written from here forward is not a condemnation of Jim personally. As far as I know, Jim and I might see most of the world quite similarly. Although on this topic, we do not.
This is not a judgmental ruling. I don’t see Jim as a “baby killer” or “monster” or whatever else he refers to being called by the masses.
I understand where he’s coming from. I get it. Given the misdeeds of Hitler and a handful of others he mentions in his post, it’s not as if those individuals didn’t earn such a fate. (though I don’t believe in the death penalty, nothing like teaching people not to kill by killing people…..)
I understand where Shapiro is coming from as well. I really do. Personally, I think abortion is a horrible thing. I do NOT, however, advocate the government intervening in the whole mess. There’s no good to be done here by political will.
Here’s the thing. The “I’d definitely kill Hitler” camp demonstrates the hubris of the Left. Jim himself may not even be on the Left, it’s irrelevant.
The Left is terrified of the “individual.” Purely discounting the demonstrable fact that without State systems of monopolized violence and centers of accepted authority, individuals are laughably powerless.
Without the State, Hitler is a silly little man with a wretched mustache.
Then you get in to the obvious time travel arguments, blah, blah. For sake of argument let’s simply assume all the associated paradoxes work out in our favor. But seriously, once you’ve done this experiment 10, 12, 25 times and you’ve murdered 25 different babies, many that you’re digging in your original timeline to even come up with a reference and yet, the Holocaust STILL keeps happening, you eventually realize that perhaps there’s something more to this thing than the “individual.”
Now you’ve expanded your mind a bit and accepted the associated circumstances that created Hitler.
New plan! Because, you know, it would be really bad ass, if not only you could travel through time, but also come back and be able to say: “Look, I did something. I made a difference! I saved lives.”
Admittedly, that would be pretty sweet.
Let’s make this happen since we have the machine working and we’re tired of killing German babies to no avail.
Germany was ripe for a fascist populous movement because they had been railroaded by most of Europe with the treaty of Versailles.
Okay. How can we prevent that? The treaty was passed as it was because, in the end, Germany had been soundly beaten and forced to legally accept full blame for WWI. Even though, every grown, responsible adult understands that it takes two to fight……or 32, whatever.
It’s well known that fighting was moving to a standstill and all of Europe was rather war weary. Especially for a conflict that most of the populations had expected would only last 6-8 months. Germany was only beaten so soundly because the United States joined the fight at the last minute, tipped the scale and crushed the Germans.
Okay. Why were the Americans in such a strong position as to be able to join the War and make an enormous impact? Well, because they had forcibly unified in 1865 and had worked to build a formidable force for defense for 40 solid years.
Now, you suddenly come to the unfortunate realization that without Lincoln, there quite likely would never be a 3rd Reich or a Holocaust.
So, the tragic question. Would you kill baby Lincoln? If you could prevent the Holocaust?
Of course not, that’s silly too. (though I’m no fan of Lincoln, killing him wouldn’t solve much)
The whole point of this is the maligned view of the Left. Their hubris is what kills them, every time. And sometimes not just them, sometimes a couple hundred million others along the way.
The Left believes in the State (the Right does too sadly, but for different reasons).
The Left believes that individuals need managing and they can be successfully managed with a strong central authority.
Completely side stepping the reality that it’s the State itself, that grants authority and capacity for individuals to carry out the most heinous of crimes.
The Holocaust. Pol Pot. Stalin. 60+ years now of US foreign policy.
In the end, kill all the Hitlers you want I suppose. But until we divorce ourselves from these philosophies of force and control, there will be no shortage of Hitlers to kill. No end to State violence.
You see the symptoms. You’ve simply misdiagnosed the root cause and thus, prescribed the wrong vaccine.
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On Monday, October 4th, Scott took part in a debate organized by Gene Epstein. Scott’s opponent was neoconservative Bill Kristol, one of the most prominent war hawks of recent American history. The resolution they debated was: A willingness to intervene, and seek...
52 Minutes PG-13 Jay Dyer is an author, podcaster, comedian and a philosopher. Jay joins Pete to discuss what he believes this COVID tyranny is and what it will lead to. They also discuss what is the best way to get through it and what caused it in a historical sense....
82 Minutes Not Safe For Work Aaron is one of the hosts of the Timeline Earth podcast. Aaron and Pete begin a series where they read the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski's, Manifesto and comment on it. Today's sponsor: Open an IRA w/ iTrustCapital to Invest in Physical Gold...
63 Minutes Some Strong Language Marc Clair is the host of the flagship show on the Lions of Liberty podcast network and the co-host of the Second Print Comics podcast Marc joins Pete to comment on recent employment experiences as well as talking about questions he has...
80 Minutes PG-13 Charles, aka Charlemagne, is the proprietor of the NeoReactor Substack, and hosts of the YouTube channels "Charlemagne" and "Academic Agent" Charles joins Pete to talk about an article he recently wrote entitled "Libertarian Diagnostic Failure," in...
Pete and Scott returned Thursday to record episode 4 of their new show End of the Empire. They discuss China, vaccine mandates, anti-mandate mandates and libertarian strategy. A recording of the live stream can be found on the Libertarian Institute’s Youtube Channel. ...
Pete and Scott are back for Episode 3 of their new show End of the Empire. In this episode, the two discuss Scott’s debate at the Soho Forum against neoconservative Bill Kristol. They get into Scott’s experience before, during and after the debate. And they discuss...
Pete Quinones and Scott Horton are back for the second episode of their new podcast End of the Empire. The two begin by discussing a new documentary about Waco that reanalyzes the FLIR footage, showing that federal agents were in fact firing on Branch Davidians on the...
On Thursday, Pete Quinones and Scott Horton live-streamed the first episode of their new podcast End of the Empire on the Libertarian Institute’s Youtube Channel. In the episode, the two discuss Pete’s recent appearance on Tim Pool’s show Timcast. Scott commends...
On Conflicts of Interest #177, the great Scott Horton returns to the show to discuss the true legacy of Colin Powell, who served in many high-level roles during his long career in government. Scott breaks down Powell’s infamous UN speech that swayed millions of...
On COI #176, Kyle Anzalone discusses the so-called “Havana Syndrome.” Since 2017, the supposed ailment – which has so far not been proven to exist as its own discrete illness – has been invoked repeatedly by deep state and corporate media pundits to demonize US...
On COI #175, Kyle Anzalone breaks down Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s meetings with the Israeli and Emirati foreign ministers. In the meeting, Blinken and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid threatened Iran. Tehran has signaled that it is willing to return to...
On COI #174, Kyle Anzalone breaks down the recent news in the US Cold War against China. Reuters reports that the US has been sending special operations soldiers to Taiwan for training. The US has sent Coast Guard and arms trainers to Taiwan previously, but the...
https://youtu.be/D01d0j9rLkg It has often been said that war is the health of the State – but the argument could also be made that the reverse is more true: that the State is the health of war. In other words, that war – the greatest of all human evils – is impossible...
https://youtu.be/f7q_dNJoaw4 The egalitarian revolt against biological reality, as significant as it is, is only a subset of a deeper revolt: against the ontological structure of reality itself, against the “very organization of nature”; against the universe as such....
https://youtu.be/vrzreDsVgMI Excerpt from Knowledge, Reality, and Value: A Mostly Common Sense Guide to Philosophy by Michael Huemer, Ph.D. Credulity Humans are born credulous – we instinctively believe what people tell us, even with no corroboration. We are...
https://youtu.be/shCHqEaE6J4 What all these moral crusades have in common is their moral exaltation of the anointed above others, who are to have their very different views nullified and superseded by the views of the anointed, imposed via the power of government....
https://youtu.be/-sUtbMumsNg Consent is a concept that is deeply rooted in the principle of self ownership. It is also a concept that progressives, especially those who support COVID totalitariansim, purport to care about. Author Sean Leal joins me to discuss issues...
https://youtu.be/H_QZ7uOugfc Scott Spaulding joins me for the second installment of our series covering his deployments with the US Marine Corps. We cover Scott's return home after his first deployment to Fallujah in Iraq. We also cover his second and final deployment...
https://youtu.be/JFEKH3fVsD8 In this week's episode, I am proud to be joined by Ace_Archist. Ace gained his liberty street cred by tirelessly bashing Twitter NPCs over the head with libertarian philosophy and logic. I just had to recruit his help in dismantling the...
https://youtu.be/lpy8mGKJ3qs In this episode, I share with the listeners how I started a local resistance movement to COVID-19 mandates in my county. I hope you'll try the same in yours. Episode 184 of the Liberty Weekly Podcast is Brought to you by: Join Liberty...
Jack The Perfume Nationalist joined me to discuss culture and masculinity. Jack Twitter Jack Patreon Libertarian Institute 19 Skills Pdf Autonomy Course Critical Thinking Course Donate Patreon RyanBunting.com
After the RU Weekend in Lockhart I sat down with Matt Erickson and Buck Johnson to discuss the goings on of the weekend and I talk some shit… Buck Twitter Counterflow Podcast Matt Twitter Kingpilled Podcast Libertarian Institute 19 Skills Pdf Autonomy Course Critical...
Shane Hazel joined me once again to discuss fatherhood. We share some stories, some hard times, lessons learned, and how wonderful fatherhood has been for us. Shane Twitter Radical Podcast Libertarian Institute 19 Skills Pdf Autonomy Course Critical Thinking Course...
Adam Patrick of Yer Talkin Over Me once again joined me. I really find conversations with Adam to be cathartic, and given it has been a couple weeks since I recorded a podcast I really needed to chat with someone about the ideas that are bouncing around in my head...
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