“Arrival,” Market Anarchy, and the Kardashev Scale

So, apparently the Oscars were held last night.

I don’t really pay attention to what happens in Hollywood, but I like films (who doesn’t). I particularly enjoyed the murky tone and feeling of Arrival, which won an Oscar in the category of “Best Sound Editing.”

–There are no spoilers in this article–

The film employs an overarching plot device in order to tell a very intimate story of loss, personal conflict, and discovery. In this respect, it is very similar in construction to other recent films like Interstellar [2014] and Moon [2009].

Of course the overarching plot in Arrival is first contact with extraterrestrials, who arrive on Earth in 12 separate, but identical spacecraft. Even though the film itself is about first contact with aliens, the  movie’s overall message has nothing to do with aliens, and instead grapples with questions of determinism and the Sapir-Worf Hypothesis.

However, I wanted to use Arrival to discuss my theory that mankind’s use of government is merely an evolutionary stage in our development as a species–one that we either will, or must outgrow in order to continue our existence.

While the alien species does seem to be organized in some general way, it is not apparent in the film whether if that organization is governmental. There is nothing in the film to suggest that it is. I would argue that interstellar travel would effectively be impossible unless human civilization can shed itself from the yoke of government.

As I touched on in an earlier piece, Star Wars–Rogue One: Why I Wouldn’t Join the Rebel Alliance, I do not think that a single government could encompass an entire planet, much less a planetary system, star cluster, or an entire galaxy.

I believe that the rise of populist nationalism signifies the unsustainable nature of global governance. Across history, humans time and time again have yearned for local governance. There is a reason that colonies almost always become independent nations.

Therefore, the future of human civilization is decentralization or radical secession down to the level of the individual. In fact, this is a necessity if we are to evolve to level I on the Kardashev scale of civilizational advancement and harvest all the Sun’s energy that falls upon Earth.

In fact, this idea was blindly stumbled upon by Stephen Hawking, who isn’t necessarily a champion of liberty. In 2015  he stated that “human aggression could destroy us all.” Did he stumble upon the non-aggression principle?

Stephen Hawking is considered by many to be the most intelligent human being alive, but is wrong from time to time. Politically speaking, he supports universal health care and political action against “climate change.”

He has also been wrong scientifically with his condemnation of the black hole information paradox which relates to the idea of the holographic universe and string theory.

Ron Paul and Daniel McAdams discuss Hawking’s 2015 comments below (apologies for the poor audio):

Hopefully the rise of national populist movements is a net-positive for liberty and leads to decentralization, which we know is a  necessary prerequisite for liberty and real human progress.

That concludes today’s content. Thanks for stopping by Liberty Weekly. Have a great Monday evening!

Identity Politics, Marxism, and the Individual

After writing Friday’s critique of a local community roundtable, I’ve had a few days to further develop my thoughts on the ideas presented by the panel.

For the purposes of this article, I’ve keyed into the Marxist rhetoric veiled behind the organizers’ assertions of white supremacy in law enforcement. “Cultural Marxism” is a severely loaded term that has been used to describe the sentiment that I discuss below. I will not use it describe the ideas presented here. I use “Marxism” to describe the panel’s tendency to define their issues with an “Us vs. Them” mentality.

An objective evaluation of the panel’s topic: “Police and Community Trust,” boils down to perspective. Advocates of liberty and decentralization would see society as consisting of billions of individuals interacting and adapting to their own personal circumstances.

In contrast, Marxists see society through the lens of class struggle and conflict. To a Marxist, an individual’s identity is formed based on which class they belong to. Classes are defined based on their relationship to the means of production.

The panel’s Marxist evaluation of police relations is just a proverbial brick in the looming wall of identity politics, which, in of itself, is a troubling development that has overtaken the American political landscape.

In a recent articleLiberty Weekly touched on the role that democracy has played in establishing political polarity in the United States.

While our country is officially a constitutional democratic republic, many of the republican safeguards built into the constitution have gradually been eroded over the years. (Think 17th Amendment, universal suffrage, etc.)

One of the biggest developments in the establishment of identity politics is the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, which, through Supreme Court jurisprudence, subsequently applied the majority of the Bill of Rights to the states. The Bill of Rights was only ever meant to apply to the “General”–or Federal Government.

Over the last 150 years, 14th Amendment jurisprudence has universally imposed policy over all 50 States. By mandating that every citizen in every state must conform to one policy, the Equal Protections Clause has effectively politicized every aspect of American life.

In order to justify this centralized policy, the Left crucifies decentralization and states’ rights as a tool of white supremacy. Far more frequently, however, the states have used their power to fight against racist policies enacted by the Federal Government (think fugitive slave acts). In fact, president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis denounced northern states’ use of nullification (the main tool of state action against the Federal Government) in his farewell address to congress.

Moreover, with more centralized power, the Federal Government has the ability to do more harm than the states ever could. Once that Legislation is in place, it is more difficult to change at the federal level than at the state.

Identity politics and Marxism are antithetical to personal liberty. Viewing people merely as members of their class, and not as individuals crushes preexisting natural rights and individual liberty and is often used as a tool to argue for asinine ideas such as reparations.

It is heartbreaking that 150 years after the end of the American Civil War, the United States is still recovering from the evils of slavery. While Friday’s panelists would attribute this struggle to institutional white supremacy, I would assert that the divisiveness of their tactics do not further the interests of love, peace, and understanding.

In contrast to Friday’s panel, I would assert that the evils in our society are not caused by institutional white supremacy as much as they are promulgated by the immoral, monopolized use of force.

That is not to say that Friday’s panelists do not have legitimate criticisms to make. Yet, we know that liberty and the free market bring people together more than separating them by class.

Folks of Color definitely deserve the same liberty as the rest of us, but we all need much, much, more of it!

Thank you very much for stopping by Liberty Weekly this Sunday. I look forward to a great (but busy) week ahead!

SJW Roundtable: My Experience with Community Organizers in the Twin Cities

This afternoon, I was obligated to attend a town hall event about police-community relations in the Twin Cities metro area.

You can imagine the type of crowd in attendance.

The first group of panelists was made up of local prosecutors who urged an adversarial audience that they were doing all they could to hold officers accountable for immoral and criminal conduct including but not limited to: officer brutality, untruthful police reports, and racial profiling.

Needless to say, this round of panelists was not very well received, but for all intents and purposes seemed like honest men who are combating an overburdened, corrupt system. That was my impression at least, reality may be different.

The keynote speaker, Michael W. Quinn, was a Minneapolis Police Sergeant and is currently CEO of The International Ethics and Leadership Training Bureau LLC.  Quinn’s book Walking with the Devil: The Police Code of Silence was featured on Cop Block in a 2014 feature. I’ve linked Cop Block’s review below.

Mr. Quinn had a lot to say about his unique approach to training officers, mainly by focusing on protecting people’s rights as opposed to making arrests. He also trains police officers to mutually assure ethical behavior by implementing an acountabilibuddy system making an officer’s partner acountabilibuddyable for unethical conduct.If you are interested in reading raw, real stories from the beat, grab a copy through my amazon affiliate link here:

The final panel was made up of local community leaders, a public defender, a civil rights attorney, and a criminal justice professor. The panel was titled: “Police and Community Trust.” The panel’s affinity for the ideas presented by Black Lives Matter and the NAACP quickly filled the room, which was very receptive to their rhetoric.

In Contra Krugman fashion, I will leave my critiques of what was said until I’ve summed up their arguments objectively.

First on the docket was the idea that trust between law enforcement and minority communities implies some kind of level footing. In the minds of the panelists, this level footing required law enforcement to wholly admit that police activity is an institutional instrument of white supremacy that must be eradicated and followed by reparations of some sort in order to bring about equality.

Ideally, most of the panelists desired to abolish the police and seek alternative methods of keeping communities safe. Their ideas to this point were to create “safe spaces” to which individuals in need could go to be safe from both their attackers and the police. Other, less radical ideas from the panel were to require police officers to purchase their own liability insurance, or to require police officers to actually live in the neighborhoods that they serve.

Moreover, the panel was pervaded by this sense of frustration and a desire for revolution. They likened themselves to an occupied populace in wartime. They drew quite a few references to slavery (surprise), and asserted that slavery was still going on–mainly perpetrated by police.

One of the panelists expressed that he is “beyond ‘let’s figure it out'” and that “the economics aren’t equal.” Most strikingly, it was declared that “we’re at war” and that “President #45 is committing state terrorism against people of color.” (They refuse to say Trump’s name).

Now, while minorities have plenty to complain about (mostly problems caused by government), this astounding conglomeration of half-baked Marxist propaganda is laughably childish. Obviously, our society is beyond thoughtful dialogue. I couldn’t imagine trying to bring alternative ideas to their attention, especially after the above statements were made.

To begin with, how would reparations work? Who would get the money, and where would it come from? Would the reparations even be money? How could you justify the morality of stealing wealth from an innocent and vaguely defined group of people who personally had nothing to do with events of the distant, or more recent past? Would it even work? What do people do with unearned helicopter money? Most of the people who are morally culpable for this issues are dead now.

Secondly, they completely failed to mention the war on drugs, and the role it played in bringing about mass incarceration and the complete, cyclical destruction of inner-city communities.

At one point the minimum wage was mentioned, but predictably, they wanted it raised. As Milton Friedman said the minimum wage is the most racist law on the books. He describes this cycle of poverty below.

(While Mr. Friedman is flawed on some topics, he is astute on several matters including occupational licensure and the minimum wage)

At some point in their psychogenic Marxist fugue, the panelists actually touched on some compelling ideas. Chief among them: abolishing the police!

However, their alternatives were pathetic, unimaginative and would probably result in street justice akin to localized purge-style anarchy that normal people are afraid of. Of course, as Ancaps, we know that private security agencies are the solution that they are looking for.

For instance, private, for-profit security agencies like the Detroit Threat Management Center have had amazing results keeping neighborhoods safe in Detroit’s most dangerous areas where traditional police won’t go. In 20 years of operation, the agency has had ZERO court dates, ZERO officers killed, and ZERO clients injured or killed.

HOW have these panelists never heard of these guys!? More importantly, how have YOU never heard of these guys?

Tom Woods did a great episode on these charitable, profit-based heroes. You’d better check them out.

Well, that concludes my review of this afternoon’s panel. Believe it or not, this kind of rhetoric is fostered and pervaded by law schools across the country.

God help us all.

Thanks for reading Liberty Weekly! I hope you all have a great weekend. Don’t be afraid to tell me what you think in the comments below.

Thoughtcrime Thursdays: “I am Colossus”–Meshuggah and Leviathan Government

Welcome to the first installment of Thoughtcrime Thursdays on Liberty Weekly! Intended as a reflection on the miasma of current political affairs, the focus of this weekly column is to plunge headlong into the depths of fictional dystopia.

The column’s title, Thoughtcrime Thursdays is a direct reference to George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-four, a seminal novel in the literary sub genre of dystopian fiction.  Together, we shall celebrate thoughtcrime (or crimethink) by exploring works of the imagination that are meant as a critique of real-world affairs.

Today, we will be exploring the cavernous depths of Meshuggah’s “I am Colossus,” the first track off of their 2012 masterpiece Koloss. 

Aided by the sheer brutality of their sound, Meshuggah are able to immerse the listener into the cold depths of the shadow government in a way that no other genre could allow. With this track, the band subjects its victims to a terrifying aural barrage that is doubly effective against those unfamiliar with its genre’s abrasive nature.

The song’s title “I am Colossus” seeks to personify government as an ancient horror, akin to an Elder God of Lovecraftian ilk. With this theme in mind, the opening stanza evokes a shudder:

I’m the great Leviathan, insatiable colossus
Titanic engulfer of lives, I reward you, absorb you
I’m the monstrous mouth that hungers for your awe
Immense construction of lies. I own you, disown you

Right away we see the Leviathan government as an insatiable, titanic maw, built upon lies told to the people.  These analogies draw remarkable similarities with Rothbard’s Anatomy of the State, where the State is revealed as a very old, predatory system of violence and coercion.

From Anatomy of the State, we know that the State “hungers for the awe” of its citizens. Rothbard writes: “. . . the chief task of the rulers is always to secure the active or resigned acceptance of the majority of the citizens.”

I am life. I’m death. You empower me
I’m a mammoth king evoked, conjured by your dreams
Summoned by your fears. You need me, you feed me
I’m the imposing giant. Infallible dictator
My rules apply to all. You’ll heed me, bleed for me
I am life. I’m death. I decide your fate
You empower me. You’d even kill for me

The second section of the song hammers home the inescapably of government. Government is a “mammoth king” created from the dreams of men to ward off his fears–an “imposing giant” whose “rules apply to all.” It is a constant that is always there from beginning to end. Over the history of civilization, billions of people have killed or been killed by their governments–a term coined by R. J. Rummel as “democide.”

Guzzling down your dreams – the tears of unheard pleas I drink,
Imbibe with such delight the fear that floods your temporal shell
Raging red rivers and streams – the kingdom of my shadow
Where dread of man in endless night revives my every cell
To those who doubt – your wounds will never heal
To those who question my creation – I’m not real

Randolph Bourne famously wrote: “War is the Health of the State.” For those who live under the yoke of oppressive regimes, the misery is palpable–for tyrannical government, its a lifeblood which greases the cogs of the machine. This stanza suggests the State’s role in that process.

As to the last two lines of this stanza, the State punishes dissidents, but to those who don’t believe the State should exist, we know it is imaginary.

I am pain. I am grief. I’m the things you fear
I’m the lie whispered into your ear
I’m the great Leviathan. I’m dominance and greed
You imagined me, so I was conceived
I am life. I’m death. You belong to me
Call me what I am. I am colossus

The final stanza of the song contains its most chilling imagery, specifically, that of the narrator whispering lies into the ear of the listener. As we all know, the government lies all the time. The “great Leviathan,” is of course built on lies, power, and greed.

An important point can be made through the song’s conclusion. It is that, if government is created by us, we can have power over it by realizing it for what it is. Although the lyrics may not expressly hint at this interpretation, I would assert that the first step in becoming free is to see the walls of your cage.

With that, the song concludes.

I would stand by my interpretation of the song, however “I am Colossus” may very well just be about some Lovecraftian monster, as my wife tells me. Who knows?!

If you are brave enough, I’ve linked the official music video below. For best viewing pleasure, crank up the volume and watch in the dark!

 

Thank you for joining Liberty Weekly for the maiden voyage of Thoughtcrime Thursdays, which will return next week with a book review of Russian dystopian novel We by Yevgeny Zamyatin.

*The lyrics for this article were gathered from www.darklyrics.com*

“A New Hope” for the Political Left?

In continuing with this week’s earlier Star Wars theme, there may be a little “new hope” for those on the Left. (See what I did there?)

Although the Left’s general consensus remains the same (“we lost the election, we’d better not lose again“), their talk of #Calexit, Vermont secession,  and “sanctuary cities,”  embraces some of the ideas expressed by Lew Rockwell in a Feb. 21, 2017 article:

“How about we call it quits? No more federal fiefdoms, no more forcing 320 million people into a single mold, no more dictating to everyone from the central state.”

In the last week, I’ve had several conversations with friends on the Left who have been very receptive to federalist arguments. Specifically, they are attracted to the thought that, if given the power, several states would be free to institute the big-government reforms that they want.

Although this isn’t the ideal Rothbardian/Ron Paul conversion that we are looking for, it is a little silver lining in the looming dark cloud of national (global) democratized politics.

Some of my friends have even realized that, with more power, it would be easier for liberties to be destroyed at the federal level rather than the states. This is huge (and may or may not be attributable to just how much the Left distrusts Trump).

Many minds in Liberty Weekly’s corner of the movement have been less than optimistic about our chances of getting through to the Left. In the above linked article, Lew Rockwell is clearly exasperated with the Left (aren’t we all?). Tom Woods has also recently lamented the Left in several episodes. Surely, if the Left was still in power, they would continue to embrace it.

In general, the feeling of watching the Left grapple with decentralization is akin to watching a lame younger sibling discover your favorite bands.

From a libertarian outlook, secession and federalism have an immediate role to play going forward, but we must recognize how democracy (mob rule) has brought us to this point in history.

Our Founding Fathers had a deep-set distrust of democratic rule and the “tyranny of the majority.” This lack of faith was baked (imperfectly), into the foundation of the Constitution. Examples of these republican safeguards are/were: the electoral college and the indirect election of senators (pre-17th Amendment).

Hans Herman Hoppe takes this mistrust of democracy further with his fundamental work, Democracy, the God that Failed. The thrust of his argument being: democracy equates to public ownership of the government. As libertarians, we know that public ownership doesn’t work because of the socialist calculation problem asserted by Mises.

Democracy has had a powerful hand in shaping the intense political polarity that exists in this country. As a result of centralized politics and democratization, almost every single aspect of American life has been politicized. Americans cannot work, travel, eat, die(!), or even go to the bathroom without being confronted by political issues.

Jeff Deist has articulated this point here, here, and here, much better than  I can. For your reading pleasure, here are some of his quotes on the subject:

“The case against democracy is being made right in front of our eyes.”

“Democracy was always a bad idea, one that encourages mindless majoritarianism, political pandering , theft, redistribution, war, and an entitlement mentality among supposedly noble voters.”

I’ll cap today’s article by further quoting Jeff Deist:

“The future of liberty is decentralized, and will be led by smaller breakaway nations and regions where real self-determination and real consensus is not an illusion. Jefferson and Hoppe were right about democracy, but it took Trump and Brexit to show the world how quickly elites abandon it when they don’t prevail.”

Lefties probably won’t ever agree with us, but with decentralization, they won’t have to.

Thank you for reading Liberty Weekly for today! Don’t be afraid to let yourself be heard in the comments.

 

Tinfoil Hats, Doomsday Prepping, and The Financial Collapse

Over the summer, I attended Freedom Fest in Las Vegas with Students for Liberty. The event itself was soaked in mainstream-LP rhetoric, but not necessarily well attended by those sympathetic to anarcho-capitalism.

Before one of the events, we were talking about Peter Schiff and the Austrian school (my buddies were from the neoclassical and Chicago schools). Their main critique of the Austrians was that “the Austrian school has predicted 7 of the last 3 financial crises.”

Obviously, those in the liberty movement have spoken of the “great collapse” that is supposed to bring an end to the era of central banking and fiat currency. This is something that Ron Paul has said repeatedly, along with names like Peter Schiff, James Rickards, David Stockman, and pretty much everyone associated with the Mises Institute.

All of this rhetoric can scare a person, and might be completely unbelievable if the predictions of collapse weren’t in fact the logical  conclusion of Austrian theory.

While I recognize that, according to Austrian theory, the collapse is inevitable, it is a hard thing to believe. Do I believe the collapse will happen? Yes. Do I warn people in my personal life? Depends. Would I bet my life on the collapse? I don’t know.  Who can predict the future?

Just short of selling all my assets and investing in cypto-currencies, commodities, and emerging markets, what steps am I willing to take to prepare (or even profit from) the collapse?

If the Austrian alarmists are correct about the collapse, James Rickards explains in his book The Road to Ruin, how the United States and global governments will lock down the financial system and replace the world’s reserve currencies with the SDR (Special Drawing Rights). This is to be followed by an Orwellian nightmare of global governance.

So, what do we do in the meantime? If you aren’t willing to hedge fund your entire investment portfolio (it is always smart to keep at least some wealth in commodities), maybe prepping is a legitimate hobby to take up? It certainly is less risky.

*Queue the tinfoil hat memes*

Yes, yes, we all know that some people on National Geographic’s Doomsday Preppers are some real nutjobs. But reality TV shows tend to cast some rather unique individuals. The truth is that a lot of normal people prep.

For instance, most members of the LDS Church prep as a part of their faith. In fact, a few years ago the LDS Church began advising members to pay off their debts and to create contingency preps for themselves and those in their communities.

And yes, Mormons are mostly normal people.

If India’s recent attempt to eradicate paper money is any hint of what we may see in the future, ATMs will be locked down, and Rickards predicts that the government will seize people’s assets. Hopefully demonetization will  be a boon to crypto-currencies or, better yet, the re-establishment of the gold standard.

Every prep should begin with some firearms and ammunition, but beyond the usual food, water, survival and tactical gear, it might be wise to keep some physical gold or fiat government monopoly money–which might only be worth anything in the initial shock. But hey, if worse  comes to worst, you could always use it as kindling or toilet paper.

So, with that all being said, what do you think of prepping? Is it only for tinfoil hat people, or is there some legitimacy in it? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by to read Liberty Weekly for today, and I hope to see you back tomorrow.

 

Star Wars–Rogue One: Why I Wouldn’t Join the Rebel Alliance

While  I would not consider myself a hardcore fan of the Star Wars franchise (I do not have the benefit of nostalgia), I really enjoyed Rogue One. Why? Because it contains the franchise’s most visceral, realistic depiction of war and grappled with some of my feelings on the role of revolution in libertarian rhetoric.

According to the Star Wars Fandom Wiki, the Rebel Alliance’s main goals are to fight the Galactic Empire and restore the Old Republic. This shakes out to be a constitutional democratic republic, mirroring the system that we currently see in the United States, with a federal government in control of the federal leviathan and state, or local governments in control of planets or planetary systems.

I would not bind myself to the Rebel Alliance for several reasons.

First is that war, even in the interest of propagating liberty, is not to be celebrated. As we have previously discussed in Liberty Weekly, mankind has a natural, deep set tendency for peace.

Second: Even without the emergence of the First Order, the Rebel Alliance would quickly turn into the Empire. As highlighted in the events of Rogue One, the rebellion is not an ideologically pure movement. I won’t go into spoilers (who hasn’t seen the film at this point), but the rebel alliance does some pretty evil things.

Third: Why would the local planetary bodies in Star Wars even need to band together for any reason other than mutual security? A federal government with the power to encompass several star systems would, by nature, be a terrifying force against liberty and would never work.

In the real world, tremendous cracks are emerging in the foundations of the movement for global, or universal governance.  While not necessarily in favor of liberty, emerging national populist movements should make clear to all that one-size-fits-all solutions and large government undermine popular sovereignty by depriving individuals of self-rule (or the illusion thereof).

In order to maintain the New Republic and enforce its rule,  the Rebel Alliance would–by necessity–become the Empire. With its unprincipled behavior on display in Rogue One, the precedent is already there. Once the federal level of the New Republic is given power, it would be ripe for corruption.

Likewise, I would never support an armed rebellion against the government, even if it was principled in strict voluntarist ethics (defending my own life, liberty, and property from IMMINENT attack is another story).

The very process of rebellion would corrupt the rebellion. War is the game (and the health) of the state, not of peaceful people. Besides, while the state itself is evil, the state’s actors are just individual people acting in their own self-interest. Local policemen do not deserve to be killed for carrying out failed state policies.

The good news is that we don’t have to rebel against the government (and I would suspect that the Rebel Alliance wouldn’t have to either), because these governments defeat themselves from within. Could you imagine what central banking magic would emerge from the New Republic? The very thought of it makes me laugh.