Wednesday, August 28, 2013

In Matters of Faith

In some respects arguing with the chem trail/Agenda 21/AGW is a hoax crowd is similar to arguing to those of faith. The standards of evidence that they require to support their views are low to non-existent whereas the countervailing side must have unreasonable amounts of evidence and even then it may be rejected due to additional reasons of bias or downright conspiracy.


Nothing in society happens in a vacuum. Sure there are those among the rich that would like nothing more than a majority of us to disappear in some disaster while they wait it out in a very comfortable bunker waiting for the day to emerge and take control of society in some post apocalyptic Ayn Rand fantasy. But these people, as the Conspiracy theorist/patriots/freedom lovers like to point out, are the few.


Allow me to illustrate. A few years ago I had the opportunity to engage an in-law in a discussion on labour unions. Unions are mostly despised by those that are not in unions, I suspect out of jealousy, but those who are anti-union owe what rights and privileges they have to unions. "Oh yeah? But what about the laws in place protecting employees?" intones my in-law nodding sagely as she lays down what she thinks is her "ace" argument. "Do you think laws are static? Once they are on the books they are there in perpetuity?" I replied. "If unions disappeared after they got the laws passed that they wanted to pass, how long until those, whose best interest is to suppress the value of labour, get those laws undermined and repealed?" I asked.


That is how society works,small groups work to game the system in their favour but if it tilts too much then there is a spontaneous countervailing rise in social movements, social justice if you will. Although the status quo will smear these groups with op eds and labels, even going as far as prosecuting them for made up crimes, these movements are a natural immune response to the cancer at the root of our society.


The remaining question is why is the process taking so long. The answer is the status quo like any good cancer has long studied the natural immune response and has become quite adept at short circuiting it, dispersing it, marginalizing it and channeling it away from themselves. First is the media which they can misinform and misdirect the masses, next is the legal infrastructure in which they can change the rules as they see fit, next is the conspiracy groups to allow real issues get bogged down by heaps of nonsense, lastly the legitimate groups like the libertarians, democrats and republicans, groups that you can throw your support into but never control.


I, in my travels, have had but a few hard questions for which I have sought answers. I have in return been given solutions that do not address the problem, have been told that my questions are illegitimate, have been labelled whatever out group label was fashionable to the group in question.


I do not really have faith that people will unravel the knots in their reasoning on their own and they certainly do not willingly accept outside help. My hands are tied.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Change

My blog has been somewhat boring as I've been using it to collate my notes on books that libertarians, objectivists, Tea Partiers and others have insisted I read before I could possibly have an opinion on a given subject.

However, in doing the reading, I don't believe one of the people to whom I've made suggestions of books they could read have taken me up on it. Not a single one.

My behaviour comes from the perspective of being perceived as tolerant and open-minded. Yes, I have read your manifesto and yes, I find that the following things are wrong with it...(list detail of flaws here).

I'm done with that. If someone wants to convince me that it is worth my time to read an article or book, then they should have read something from my list and critique it accordingly. I'm not going to waste my time anymore.

This blog goes back to being what I love to do. Ranting and debating.

Economics Unmasked Excerpt

Sometimes I read things that make such good sense, I have to post them.

Excerpt from Economics Unmasked by Manfred Max-Neef:

1. The use of local currencies, so that money flows and circulates as much as possible in its place of origin. It can be shown by economic models that if money circulates at least five times in its place of origin, it may generate a small economic boom.
2. The production of goods and services as locally and regionally as possible, in order to bring consumption closer to the market.
3. The protection of local economies through tariffs and quotas.
4. Local cooperation in order to avoid monopolies.
5. Ecological taxes on energy, pollution and other negatives. At present we are taxed on goods and not on "bads".
6. A greater democratic commitment to insure effectiveness and equity in transition towards local economies.

Postulate 1. The economy is to serve the people, not the people to serve the economy.

Postulate 2. Development is about people, not about objects.

Postulate 3. Growth is not the same as development, and development does not necessarily require growth.

Postulate 4. No economy is possible in the absence of ecosystem services.

Postulate 5. The economy is a sub-system of a larger and finite system, the biosphere; hence permanent growth is impossible.

Value principle: No economic interest, under any circumstances, can be above the reverence for life.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Radicals: The same everywhere

Looking back on my adventures through cyberspace, all the long running arguments and back and forth poo-flinging, trials of one-upmanship, I have come to realize one simple fact:

Radicals are the same everywhere.

It doesn’t matter if you are debating radfems, racists, anti-communists, die hard libertarians, religious fanatics(of all stripes), Pro-Choice, Anti-Abortion, Men’s Rights Activists, eco-guerillas, anarcho-capitalist, anarcho-primitivists, or counter-revolutionaries. The polemic is all the same, it follows the same patterns, and it all leads to the same place; back where you started. You have a better chance persuading a stone wall than you do a radical of any ilk.

1. Radicals label you.

It is imperative that radicals label you at the the earliest possible instance in an interaction. By labelling you they can determine if you are “in-group” or “out-group”, once they determine that you are one or the other (you HAVE to be one or the other, no fence sitting), they can go on to treat you appropriately, either by ridiculing you/ignoring you or if your “in group” getting all buddy-buddy with you and rope you into planning their next jihad.

2. Radicals attribute behaviours to you.

Once radicals got you pigeonholed, they begin to attribute an entire groups characteristics onto you. For example, if you happen to be a biologist, then a rabid anti-GMO advocate begins to blame you for Monsanto. Not logical, but it happens far too frequently. How do you argue with that?

Biologist whose politics you do not like:

“But, er, I don’t even like GMO’s”

Radical Anti-GMO activist:

“SHUT YOUR LYING BIOLOGIST, GMO-LOVING, MONSANTO-WHORING MOUTH!”

Radicals are also sure to use the word “you” and “your” as in “you lefties are all alike”, and “your scientist mafia”.

3. Radicals are incapable of absorbing new information.

You craft an argument that clearly shows your radical opponent is wrong. What do they do? Do they read it and weep. Does their ideology crumble like a house of cards? Do they admit that perhaps they were mistaken? NO. They ignore what you’ve said, they ignore any evidence you may have provided that they cannot refute and plough on with thought-stopping memes. Do you seriously think a radical is going to listen to anything you, as an identified “out-group” has said? You have no rapport with this person, to him/her you are the antithesis of everything they stand for, to admit any falliability to you would be an unforgiveable weakness. If they cannot post up a link weakly refuting what you’ve said, then they just don’t bother. Ever notice how long it takes a radical to respond versus someone who is trying to understand the other persons position? A radical can respond with a thought-stopping meme or with a crushing wall of text/links (a la copy/pasta of course) in seconds whereas people who are legitimately trying to understand a persons position takes hours, even days to go through their oppositions position. This is why you will never win a debate with a radical. They have spent countless hours painstaking putting together their dismissive one-liners and padding their wall of text with new links. And if you are foolish enough to go through every link or read every book they suggest and furnish a critique, they will say your critique is wrong and either ignore you or hit you with another wall of text/links or further suggestions for reading.

As you can tell from my blog I have taken people up on their offers to read books that support their point of view. And I have made extensive notes. I would note, however, I don’t think any of my opposition have ever read a single one of the counter suggestions I made. I think that some of the people I’ve crossed swords with don’t read at all. Which shows to me they are not willing to absorb new information. As one such opponent stated that we cannot “underestimate the conspiracy against liberty in higher learning institutions.” Right. Next.

4. Radicals are interested in recruiting more people like themselves.

This is why they are so keen in identifying you right away. If you are strong in person and opinion, you are the enemy. If you are unsure then you can be brainwashed (bombarded by links and text and e-mails). By converting you they have added to the echo chamber. This is important and this is why radicalism can survive, because even if you hold a fundamentally flawed idea (like say, all people must die to save the environment) it becomes less extreme if you surround yourself with people that think like you do and espouse the same views. It normalizes your viewpoint. Radicals, like the mainstream, want the same things, they want to be accepted by others. For radicals, however, it is much harder to be accepted by others if your viewpoint is that all women who get abortions are baby killers and should be killed, or that all infidels from the West must convert or die. So radicals do what they can, they create specialized enclaves that exist in isolation from the mainstream.

5. Radicals are interested in having their message become the dominant message.

All radicals entertain a fantasy. One in which after surmounting the insurmountable, they win. Their utopia is realized. The bad guys (the out group) have either died off or have converted to in-group. They write and talk endlessly about this “light at the end of the tunnel.”

6. Radicals talk in terms of absolutes.

They like to use the terms “all”, "no", “every”, “always”, “Not one”, “never”.

Examples:

All men rape, even the good ones.”
Every muslim is a terrorist-in-waiting.”
“Gays always have an agenda.”
“There is no such thing as a competent woman.”
Not one women marries for love. None! They marry for a walking-talking wallet.”
“Men will never stop oppressing women, they are incapable of stopping.”

There are no exceptions for a radical. If something appears like an exception then torturous logical contortions must be enacted to explain how the exception is not an exception. Or the easier route, ignore the existence of the exception.

What I have learned is that neither answers nor questions are black and white, there exists an interdependence of variables that influence outcomes and defy simple solutions. Most peoples brains are not cut out for that complexity, we like to keep things simple. For example, for radfems, the root of the problem is men, it is a seductive answer that if a solution is found for men then everything else, the economy, the environment, the culture, would sort itself out. For radical muslims, the root of their problem is the infidel. For radical communists, it is capitalism. For radical capitalists, it is socialism in the form of totalitarian governments. But for each radical and their perceived root, it is only one facet of the story, all of these are interdependent on other factors, which because we are human and not robots, we lose sight of because it is too damn difficult to hold it all in our heads. Think about it, how hard would it be to attract members into your radical group if your welcoming dialogue resembled the following:

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have a problem with the institution of religion...no wait, back up start again, we have a problem with our political parties...no wait that doesn’t sound right...Government! We have a problem with our government....yes we do but that is not all...Big business they are behind it...no wait this is bigger than big business it’s the transnational corporations and their plutocratic elite masters! Yes! Hold on I forgot the banks...no, the Central Banks! Wait I forgot the International Bankers! Ok ok maybe there is more...political ideology! That is the driving force! But that is not all, there is economic ideology behind that! And behind that is the philosophy of money! Driving that is the ideology of POWER, driven, of course, by the currents of culture...is that all? I forgot about the philosophical memes infecting culture which are in turn enhance by religious symbology infecting culture...”

You see what I mean? How do we unpack all that? How to unravel this mess exactly?

Normally I would encounter a radical and laugh it off. How would they possibly ever be in a position to influence or control society? I thought about it for awhile and a couple things came to mind:

1. Hitler - definitely had some radical ideas that even as a minority opinion he managed, through a perfect storm of events, get imposed on an entire nation. So there is that.

2. To quote from Zbigniew Brzezinski "...in early times, it was easier to control a million people, literally it was easier to control a million people than physically to kill a million people. Today, it is infinitely easier to kill a million people than to control a million people. It is easier to kill than to control....".

Technology being the double-edged sword that it is, eventually, inevitably, gives the power of mass destruction to individuals, including radicalized individuals. So the same small group of fringe radicals with their wacky views of how the world should run (and who should be "removed" to make this happen) suddenly can be seen in a whole new light.

It is not to say radicalism never had a place in society. These groups glom onto to nuggets of truth but then proceed to distort the consequences of that truth until it, and the proposed solutions to it, are as unrecognizable as they are unpalatable. The purpose these radical groups serve is to project these nuggets out into the mainstream where more rational and level-headed citizens can recognize they have a point, strip out this truth from all the dogmatic garbage that surrounds it, then champion realistic changes to the rest of society. Pressures that led to the formation of these radicals are hence relieved and the figureheads, having served their purpose, fade into the background (whether willingly or unwillingly).

Increasing access to technology short circuits this process by giving the radicals a direct means to act on society without going through the "laundering" process where their diamonds in the rough can be polished, instead it is the twisted version of consequences and solutions that can be enacted, which usually involves some offending group of people dying in large numbers so the rest can live in paradise (i.e. genocide).

The question then becomes how can we reach these radicals before they reach critical mass and "pull the trigger?" I can only surmise we do that by making the process of change more responsive and easier to partake in than wholesale destruction and matyrdom.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Radical Feminism: Should we be OK with this?

I came across this copy of a blog post from a radfem site. Now to be clear, I am not an MRA. I do possess a Y chromosome and have never been oppressed (so how could I possibly EVER understand?), but this kind of talk just bugs me, in a non-patriarchal way of course.

Freedom and privilege for women I say yea, conspiring to off the male half of the human species and looking on us like we are subhumans, I say nay.

I get it, they've been oppressed since the dawn of time. And yes their anger is a righteous one. But for all their claims of superiority and puppies and kittens, women must realize that taking the same road that men previously took doesn't give them the moral high ground, in fact last I checked, talking wholesale gendercide doesn't make you a good human being.

So to reiterate, not MRA (not insecure about my loss of privilege), although I tended to get alittle punchy with the commentary the longer this went on. I can only tolerate so much stupidity.

The entire thread is here:

http://pastebin.com/nwxBe2Ek

My response to the snippets in italics. Aaaand Gooo!

I think it’s important to begin a post like this by providing some context. You can’t just ask, “Are men aware of their condition?” and then simply proceed to discuss said condition, especially when men are reading. You need to offer some background so that people know where you’re coming from; so the post can’t be distorted; so nobody can play ignorant.

How about a list of atrocities then? Goes on to list rhetorical atrocities


So I’m going to go ahead here and concede, yes, those were men. I’m not going to make the argument that women get involved in these activities as well because statistical evidence says for the most part this is a male issue. We do live in a patriarchy after all. But here is where I take some issue, how did the patriarchy get established? As natives said to the white man after gazing upon his cities “Where are your women?” And to be clear they didn’t mean “your” as ownership or dominance but as in equals in the decision making process of how a society should operate. We are now all, ALL, trapped in this cultural meme. As a man I am just as helpless as a woman to change the direction. By myself anyway. I can’t do it alone, so who among the rad feminists are going to stand with me as I would stand with them? Sorry if my having a penis gets in the way of that.

For those readers who may not know, men systematically massacred over nine million women over the course of many centuries, and then pretended it didn’t happen. So clearly, we’re not talking about institutionalized misogyny here. This is not “sexism“, or “woman-hating”. What men have done, and continue to do to women is, I believe, the inevitable result of some pathology in their genetic make-up. The violence they commit is inevitable. They were born that way, and were born to do it. This we must accept.

I’ve never killed a woman. Nor have I abused a woman. Nor to the best of my knowledge has any of my male friends (for if they did they would be my friend no longer). I don’t see the inevitability of this. What I see is that environment coupled with circumstance leads some down what you see is an inevitable path, but obviously does not apply to all persons of a specific gender.

The Y chromosome is inferior to the X. It contains 78 working genes, compared to approximately 1,500 working genes on the X chromosome. As the Y passes from father to son, mutations accumulate slowly over the generations. Scientists are researching the decline of the Y with great frenzy at the moment.

What this means is that with each generation, males are becoming genetically more inferior to females.

That is quite the claim, that females are genetically superior on the basis of having more genes. I guess that would make the tomato superior to females? And rice, and worms...I could go on.


“Once upon a time, the Y sex chromosome looked much the same as the X sex chromosome. Both were X shaped, and matched up neatly. Like our other pairs of chromosomes, the two sex chromosomes exchanged genes as necessary to repair DNA and avoid harmful mutations.

Then something went badly wrong. Around 166 million years ago, a huge chunk of the Y chromosome in one of our mammalian ancestors was turned upside down and reinserted. The change was so extreme that the Y chromosome no longer matched the X, and it became impossible for the two to swap genes. The Y chromosome began collecting mutations and losing genes, ultimately taking on its characteristic Y shape as a result.

“In humans, it now carries a mere 19 of the 800 genes it originally shared with the X. Given that rate of loss, some geneticists have predicted that the chromosome will lose its final gene in 4.6 million years.” (New Scientist)

Men are loathe to admit it. Despite the evidence staring them in the face, they are apparently in denial.

Not really, if it happens it happens, it doesn’t make me any less of a person that in 4.6 million years “men”, as I understand them, will not exist. Who is to say another event like the one that happened 166 million years ago won’t happen again? I think making an argument based on genetics opens a can of (genetically superior) worms, i.e. if the Y chromosome is a mutation that should be eliminated what about other types of known and commonly understood genetic damage, like trisomy 21? Are you willing to go down that road? That is not a path I wish to travel.

So here is a question: if the sex-determinate gene on the Y chromosome jumps to an X and human males are left with a full complement of XX chromosomes, what would then be your excuse?

Female longevity is not an accident. The Y chromosome is faulty, whereas the X is full of life-preserving properties. Take color blindness . This genetic fault manifests only in males, because females have their second X as a back up (kind of like having a second kidney in case one fails). Almost all intersex babies are male but doctors pretend they’re female. The only intersex people who are female are those with Turner syndrome. Wiki says “Turner syndrome only affects females” but this is not exactly true. Turner syndrome babies are born without an X. Males who would have been born with Turner syndrome are probably miscarried early on. They die because there are no genes in the Y to preserve life. Whereas if a foetus is female, they have their second X as a back up, and are therefore born alive. So it is not a “female” condition per se. What actually happens is that only females survive.

I would concede that males by nature are the more disposable gender, but let’s be realistic about the longevity, men take more risks, we are harder on our bodies then women. We can’t bear children, our biological investment in the act of procreation is minimal. We are built to be active and more aggressive. A good society would design ways to channel these biological imperatives, but what a patriarchy does is hands the keys of the kingdom to the more impulsive of the genders.


Before you read it, let’s put the idea of “thoughtcrime” into context. Men are right now torturing women, and are proud of it...By contrast, what you are about to read is words. Nothing but words. Do not allow patriarchal propaganda convince you that words on a page, and torture, are one and the same.

Surely let us not equate words to actions, but since when is the disapproval of the act of contemplating genocide “patriarchal propaganda”?

I would like to express how the knowledge of men being innately violent + a mutation has affected me in my everyday life. I knew that male violence was related to male biology for a year 1/2 maybe? (in that only men could be violent in that way and create a patriarchy) but when I read Sonia Johnson’s book where she explained how men were a mutation, this changed my sentiment to men. At first I was really happy to find this out because it made complete sense, in many ways (too long to explain though). It comforted me in ignoring men and acting as if only women existed, and focusing on creating safe women-only spaces. But something I never felt before, I started to feel sorrow for their state. It annoys me because I have never felt sorry for men before, only contempt, or ignorance at best. I look at them and I imagine what it would be like, knowing somewhere, deep down, that you are flawed, a mistake, and that your are dead, or not fully human, or inherently destructive, and if I knew that, I would probably kill myself. To imagine feeling this made me feel sorry. Do they know it? Or do they not fully understand it? All these efforts in making women believe we are aliens, non-human, naturally and internally flawed, walking defects => this is them projecting on us. They must know on some level they are flawed, but do they experience emotional pain from it? Do they feel emotions at all, or do they just pretend to? To which extent? Are they aware of their condition somehow?

The thing is, if I treat them as mutants, what’s stopping us from killing them? Empathy? Fear? Fear of hurting ourselves, or that it will destroy our soul to do so, because being violent to someone means cutting yourself from emotions, therefore being more dead inside? Would it be bad to kill them all? To what degree does violence affect them or not? Can they only be affected by violence, and nothing else? Do they only understand violence? How does this affect our actions and decisions to take power away from them?

Why don’t you just ask a man? I suppose I don’t need to point out the parallels of what this poster is saying and what white culture said of the indigenous people’s they encountered. We all know where this reasoning leads...to genocide. I get the sense that some of the female posters on here have had bad experiences with the men in their lives. I sympathize. However to deal with your issues with certain individuals by projecting your solutions to encompass an entire gender, how does this make you any different than the men who used to (or still do) dominate you? By saying that the problem is men, and the defect is rooted in their genetic make-up essentially relieves not only the woman of how to work effectively with men to change society (by offering up a can’t-fix-em-then-kill-them-all scenario) but it also relieves the men, specifically your oppressors, of any need to change themselves, after all what can they do, it’s genetic. This is self-defeating. Even if you banded together and seized the moment to wipe out all men, at what cost to yourselves? Where goes your moral highground? How do you, after making that decision, differentiate yourselves from the flawed men you loathe?

Also, I just realised yesterday that no man is part of me, and that litterally, I don’t have a dad, no woman has! I just understood the meaning of having the genes from my mother and my paternal grandmother. Only women are my people. Men do not exist within me and I have no father. My father is not my father but he is no-one. This may sound odd but it just struck me. And at the same time, it made me feel sorry for him. And the story Sonia tells in her book sisterwitch really resonated in me, when she explains that women felt sorry for those feeble beings and tried to feed them. Obviously I would never do that but it’s just strange to feel this. This is not a political statement, just to share the effect the knowledge has on me and I’m still processing the conclusions to be made from it in everyday life interactions with men. Perhaps it’s trauma bonding. Or over developed empathy towards dominants. How has this knowledge changed your sentiments towards men, or way of interacting with them, if at all? Other than female separatism, are there some conclusions you have made in your lives based on this knowledge?

This is just dumb. Biologically speaking we are the same species. I don’t have to point out that in the act of procreation that you inherited an X from your father who inherited it from his mother. That X is instrumental in forming who he is and in turn forming who you are. So in essence you acknowledge a everyman is part woman, but all badness and icky, so either the X is not as mighty as you think it is or there is more to the story.

What you were saying about no woman having a dad, I’ve been going there with my own thoughts recently as well, stemming from my experiences with my own father, and the way that my husband is with my children. They’re not his kids. They don’t have a father. He might regard them as a appendages: get a wife, get a house, get some kids, and in that sense they’re his and belong to him, but other than that, he’s just an alien in the home. He helps out a lot with the kids, which I used to appreciate, but now I realise it’s another form of dominance, of trying to take over in the home and piss all over the place, leaving his mark. I’ve also realised that my 6 year old daughter humours him. How much mental energy is this taking out of her?? She certainly does not humour me, LOL! It’s no holds barred when it comes to telling me exactly what she thinks of me at any particular given moment.

This strikes me as certainly ungrateful and a certain measure of damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t. He helps out, you call it dominance and resent him for it. If he didn’t help out you would accuse him of neglecting his duties and accuse him of another form of dominance. Can’t win. Perhaps maybe if he ceased to breathe that would work for you? Too bad you didn’t figure this out before you got married, you could have saved both yourself and your soon to be ex-husband much grief. LOL, indeed.

To answer your question about whether men experience emotional pain. I have a lot of brothers, have had various relationships with men and I’ve concluded that when they’re children they feel pain and are as close to female (i.e human) they’re ever going to be. But once they hit puberty they no longer feel emotions. They know that women do and “other” us for it. My husband was putting on one big fat act while we were “courting” before marriage. This has blown me away. If I wasn’t in such a vulnerable situation (in a foreign country with kids) he would have had to carry on with the act throughout our relationship, as almost all men do. But because he didn’t have to bother he practically dropped the act as soon as the ring was on my finger.

Has it ever occurred to you this is a reflection of culture? That boys are not allowed to cry or show emotion. From an early age we are told to “man up”, “grow a pair”, “quite being a wimp” and that “crying is for sissies”. There is no real place in our culture for the sensitive man. Even women will go out of their way to poke fun at the stereotype.

Yes it’s interesting that you talk about your brothers because the other day I made the same comment to myself, as I was at my grandmother’s house looking at my family photos and when they were 3, 4 years old they actually looked human, had human expressions, you can see it in their eyes. But now, They’re lost, they lost capacity to emphathise. Puberty *is* the turning point.

The mystical turning point where boys turn into monsters (men)? Again I point to culture. We are not given the tools to deal with our emotions, it makes us fragile emotionally. Nor are we indulged to express our emotions unless it conforms with the ideal male stereotype, brooding, anger, rage, hate, stoicism.

If we are not taught and encouraged how to appropriately express ourselves are we to be suprised when we express ourselves in wholey inappropriate ways? Whose fault is that? Certainly not something you can blame on a chromosome. In that kind of cultural milieu, how would you expect men to behave?

However, I do very much believe that men experience one particular emotion very strongly— self-pity. I concur with the author of the following (taken from no pomo tumblr, author uknown)

“Oh, they have toes, but the only feeling men have I’ve witnessed is self-pity. They have a lot of instincts like territoriality, protect your turf or woman, whatever they think they own– but I don’t call ball ingredients like testosterone, feelings or emotions. So isn’t it curious that you can’t even get most lesbians to say they’re man-haters? Instead they say, “Oh I don’t really hate men, now that I’m a lesbian, I never have to be around any. They just don’t affect my life anymore.’ This is what I call the lesbian false consciousness. When don’t we have to be around men? Don’t we ever walk the streets, buy groceries, deal with some patriarchal bureaurcracy, ride subways, trains or drive cars, see police, repairmen, don’t men live in our buildings in the cities or live around you in the country? If you work, aren’t there men around supervising you? If you’re in school, don’t you have any men teachers or have to sit with men in class? If you go to a hospital, aren’t there any men doctors or patients around? The lesbian answer is, “Oh, those; well I never pay any attention to them.” Take a good look next time you’re in what they call public which means man’s world; look at those men you don’t know and dig on how much attention your body and mind pay to trying avoid paying any attention to pigs, who are paying a lot of attention to you making sounds to scare you, stepping in your way or not moving so you have to walk around them or yield to their right of way…. Even the most down and out bum in New York has a whole repertoire of intimidation numbers to pull on women. No matter how far down you go in the prick hierarchy, every prick knows how to corner a woman, make her feel unsafe. And they all do it every day, even your good daddies and your shy brothers who never told you what they do to the women they don’t know.”

Ah yes the expert testimony of the unknown author. Let’s design society around those musings.

Again I would point out the parallels of this dehumanization to several other famous dehumanizations in history. So when this poster says “prick hierarchy” this is an all encompassing label that all men, everyday go out of their way to make women feel unsafe. Anyone can see that this is a absolute statement that has no bearing on reality. Reminds me of an issue my daughter has with dogs. She is terrified of them (from a intimidating encounter with a dog she encountered when she was a toddler), she opens the door when she sees her neighbour come home, unbeknownst to her the neighbour has a big dog with her. The dog gets startled when the door opens and barks, my daughter gets scared and runs back inside. The neighbour feels bad and knocks on the door and tries to tell my daughter that the dog is a nice dog and was just startled is all and would she like to try again. My daughter explains the origin of her fear and the neighbour replies that there are indeed some bad dogs out there, but most dogs are good and can be good given the chance. I thought that was a fitting metaphor to this discussion. There are some bad men out there, but most men are good or can be good if given the right environment and upbringing. The logic that is being put forward in these posts are men=bad, even if they act good they are probably hiding badness, thus because of the few encounters you’ve had with men that are bad, it is best to proceed with caution and treat all men the same way you’d treat bad men. The terminating clause of this logic being just that, terminating an entire gender.

And while we’re on the subject of men’s primary emotion being self-pity, and not much else, I’d like to quote a woman from a forum called SAAFE, which is where prostituted women gather to support each other and share techniques on how best to survive. I find it interesting to read their comments because these women know men better than any other group of women on earth.

This is interesting the poster drawing from the experience of a prostitute who has experienced nothing of men but those that view her as an object or a commodity comes to the conclusion that all men, by and large, experience no other emotion that self-pity. I would point out that the men who generally frequent the services of prostitutes are not men who could sustain a relationship of any substance, hint: these men are not good people. I would suggest expanding your sample size to include men that didn’t frequent prostitutes? Just a suggestion.

And if anyone knows about how men tick, it’s prostituted women. They need to, or they wouldn’t survive.

Yes prostituted women understand ALL men, even those multitudes that would never entertain the thought of engaging in paid-for intercourse /sarc. I would say that prostitutes are experts in narcissists, sociopaths, and the dregs of society. Which makes them experts on bad men, not all men.

And BAM, there you have it. A prostituted woman reaches exactly the same conclusion as a lesbian separatist. That tells us something.

That people that are low on the rungs of society can be not so savoury?

To conclude, I believe men do have an inkling of their condition. The world they have created is a living manifestation of this knowledge.Nature is on the side of females. We’re nature’s best, which is probably another reason why men hate us so much, and patriarchy promulgates lies about it, and constantly reverses the truth. The most absurd concept of all is the idea that there is a male God in the sky, who is the source of all life, who created Adam in his own image as the original prototype, with Eve as an add-on. Nature knows this is a reversal. It is males who are the add-ons to the species. They protest too much. They know, they know, they know.

Wow. Arrogance in line with anthropocentrism. Femopocentrism? It is repugnant to hear a man say “Men are superior to women”, it is equally repugnant to hear the other side of that statement.

WordWoman says:

Fascinating perspective, CBL! Really fascinating! I just got the Sonia Johnson books and am eager to read them. Thanks for your discussion of them.

Along with the destructon of the environment there has been a decrease in sperm count in males.The sperm is likely to die off in response to environmental degradation long before the Y goes. Either way, men appear to be in decline.

How likely is that to happen before irreversible destruction to the planet?

How do women expect to continue to procreate with a sudden degradation of sperm or men? Could it be that you propose to do the same thing that you are accusing geneticist of in that they are trying to find a way to preserve the Y, you will use science to try to find a way to clone yourselves?

cherryblossomlife says:

Yes, I think I read somewhere that pesticides or plastics or something are hurrying the mutation process along. It’s come a full circle. They’ve destroyed the planet and now nature is getting its own back.

Hello, you were along for the ride as I recall. Great way to abdicate your responsibility for the planet by putting all the blame squarely on male shoulders. What are you doing to put a stop to this? Are you protesting corporations? Do you speak about the invisibility of top-down hierarchical violence that is not couched in terms of the male gender perpetuated on the female gender? I guarantee that if women gathered together in great numbers pushing their babies along in prams to protest corporation like goldman sachs and Monsanto, the world would take notice. And if the state was stupid enough to pepper spray babies and mothers then they would overnight have to deal with a legion of very pissed-off fathers, husbands, and brothers. But would you rather play the passive victim, hiding out in your forums, conspiring as to how to bring down the male menance. You want the patriarchy gone, then learn to work with those that would help you accomplish that.


witchwind says:

Excellent! You’re right, if they didn’t know, they wouldn’t be so violently trying hard to “be on top” and to brainwash us into believing the contrary.

thinking of what I said, the problem of taking violence in our own hands is that again, it focuses our energy on men in negative ways, it generates negativity in us – I suspect it would, but I can’t be certain. How do women who killed their batterers feel about it? Was it completely liberating or did it reinforce patterns of violence in themselves, creating addictive cycles of violence?

At least it seems to go against positive building and focusing on ourselves and on creating our own reality, rather than being outward centred and doing according to men’s presence. Would it locate, yet again, power outside of ourselves? Valerie Solanas said that all men should do us and themselves a favour, to kill themselves now. That it would be the best service they could give to the world, free the world from their presence. Obviously this seems the easiest option, but I don’t think it’s likely to happen. They are very intent on continuing to pollute us and the world with their presence.

If we applied the logic of Sonia Johnson, where there is no past nor future, all we would need to do is feel and act as if men already *were* dead, inexistant and extinct, something of a distant memory. I wonder what effect this would have!

Why don’t you read some history and consider how dimly the notion of genocide is looked upon. It is, by all definitions, the worst crime that can be perpetuated by our species. Think that won’t leave a black mark? Think again.

FCM says:

i first considered the defective Y chromosome when i read it in dalys work, and then again in sonia johnsons sisterwitch conspiracy. it was almost incomprehensible to me, and in fact if i hadnt seen daly address it, i never wouldve accepted it from the less-credentialled johnson and this is intentional isnt it? how many ph.ds does a woman have to have, so that citing known facts is accepted and acceptable? ffs, men can look you right in the eye and tell you up is down and it takes a very confident woman to recognize within the privacy of her own mind that hes wrong, let alone say it out loud. we just shut down from the oppressiveness of the constant mindfucking reversals. thats what we have coming FROM THEM, and yet *we* are not allowed to SPEAK about the truth, or ask legitimate questions about mens worth at all. and thats what it comes down to isnt it? MENS WORTH. and how they dont really have any — they really are so much genetic garbage. they feel sorry for themselves and we feel sorry for them — this is the sum and substance of our relationship. it is unilateral pity towards the pathetic, defective male.

saying it out loud feels good and right. :)

So says Hitler. I am coming to understand why the term “feminazi” exists. I wonder how you expect to have a rational conversation about this, how you expect to be “free” and respected if you think that the other side of this equation (who incidentally still holds most of the privilege you wish to have or at least have denied to men) is not even human, worthy of basic decency. I’ve met some pretty awful people in my time, a good chunk of them men, but this is up there.

cherryblossomlife says:

Ha! Yes, even prostitutes feel sorry for their clients. Everybody feels sorry for men, including men themselves.. And when you look at the science, you can see this pity is not misplaced. I’d feel sorry for myself if I was born male.

I don’t feel sorry for myself. I am quite comfortable in my own skin. I worry about my kids. I want to encourage a strong confident daughter who is not afraid to stand up for herself and a son who will respect women and stand by them when needed.

FCM says:

even the sheer physical redundancy of males is never addressed in the mainstream, even though that is obvious. we have only ever needed a few of them for reproductive purposes. their redundancy in terms of numbers, as well as the fact that they embody genetic garbage, and are at a critical mass of pure evil, is an unholy trifecta. these issues are generally not discussed even individually, and certainly not together (as in, 1+1+1=3 or 0+0+0=0 for that matter — haha) and we DEFINTELY arent allowed to even THINK about a possible solution for what is a very obvious and urgent problem.

And what is your FINAL solution? Sheesh!

FCM says:

god i wish fathers didnt exist at all. i cannot wait til some of you read sisterwitch. :)

I wish thoughts like this didn’t exist, but we don’t always get what we wish for.

DavinaSquirrel says:

I did a ‘default human is female’ post over a year ago, with pictures, so you can see the really pathetic Y. It’s another of patriarchy’s great reversals – that males insist they are the default human, when the reality is that females are the default human.

I’m not sure where you’d come up with that “males insist they are the default human”. Biology is pretty clear, we all start out looking like females, sexual differentiation not occurring till later in the pregnancy. However, for any one gender to insist that they are the default gender seems pretty silly on the face of it. What if we all defaulted to one gender or the other? We’d end pretty quickly as a species. Evolutionary biology has one gender bearing the children and the other contributing his genetic material. Don’t blame men for that arrangement, blame evolution.

cherryblossomlife says:

Thank you for that Weirdward! Especially the explanation of how post-modernism was feminism distorted. God, can’t they think of a SINGLE idea themselves?? Jesus Christ!

Do I even have to go there? No man ever had an idea that didn’t come from a woman? This is a peculiar brand of plagarism. Congrats, you just plagarised at least 50% of recorded human history.

karmarad says:

Thanks Cherry for your courage and insights!It is so difficult to try to think straight from within this masculinist global society.

When I consider the state of the land, sea, women, animals, and plants, and the constant and increasingly potent attacks on them, what I see is that a deformed masculine spirit has seized control of the earth and it has, freed of any controls, run rampant. By suppressing the female side of themselves and humanity as successfully as they have, the masculine spirit has – how to say this – become extreme, exaggerated, monstrous, lost any ability to abate the more destructive aspects of masculinity. I often speculate about what women would be like if we were raised in freedom.

I’d add to that the question of what the world would be like if men were raised in balance and with destructive instincts controlled by a non-masculinist society. In a way I’m talking about both an essentialist view of human males as having all this destructive potential readily available within them, coupled with a social-constructionist view that the global society they have built increasingly encourages them to go mad with it. The madness is, in this way of thinking, getting progressively more destructive in its manifestations because it is unchecked.

I’m currently reading Lierre Keith’s analysis, locating this loss of balance and suppression of the feminine and pathological exaggeration of the masculine in the rise of agriculture. Of course many other feminists have discussed this theory. The geneticist Adam Sykes ( in “Adam’s Curse”) starts from the notion that the Y chromosome at that point had the opportunity to obtain complete power over humanity’s course: “Driven on and on by the crazed ambition of the Y-chromosome to multiply without limit, wars began to enable men to annex adjacent lands and enslave their women. Nothing must stand in the way of the Y-chromosome. Wars, slavery, empires – all ultimately coalesce on that one mad pursuit…The mad scramble, fuelled by the most basic of unseen genetic impulses, seriously endangers the survival of the species – and the planet. In ten thousand years we have changed from an intelligent and resourceful animal…into a teeming species very rapidly destroying our beautiful planet.” I don’t agree with Sykes on many basic points, because he still writes with blinders, but I’ll take his moments of clarity gladly.

Anyway, destruction caused by male domination has obviously become runaway. Women have enough to do with the process of getting free of their enslavement. But we aren’t going to have time to do this in any kind of orderly fashion – men aren’t going to stop the runaway and we have to address this concurrently with recovering our power. I even ask myself if the women’s liberation movement is directed by our own XX genes, sensing the impending destruction and impelling us to take action at this precise time of escalating threats to the earth. In any case, if male domination causes massive destruction, I don’t really think our planet will be destroyed. She can weather men pocking her with holes, poisoning her atmosphere, ruining her ecologies, killing her water – and come back in a few million years. She’ll be okay, but it’s a damn shame that this is the most optimistic thing I can say about the future, that a complete wipeout won’t destroy her. Too bad only trilobytes will be left to start over, or whatever non-human species make it through.

This was probably the most coherent comment on the blog, suggesting that there is a balance issue between the feminine and masculine.

cherryblossomlife says:

Thanks Karmarad, fascinating comment, as always.

Probably didn’t understand the full ramifications of the comment which essentially says that feminine and masculine should be in balance, which doesn’t support treating men like animals and/or eliminating them. It calls for changing the environment in which men grow up to channel and temper those genetic predispositions.

FCM says:

women have been taking birth control pills for decades for example, when its perfectly “natural” for semen exposure to cause pregnancy. seems like altering biology (or “nature” if you will) is perfectly acceptable when its WOMENS biology thats being fucked with, and where the intent and effect is to support male power at womens expense.

If you can come up with something better than a condom for men, then fill your boots. No one is stopping you.

cherryblossomlife says:

Yes, I think so citizenaqueau. Nature is on women’s side, at least. Maybe that’s why men love cutting down rainforests and shit.

I would say that men and women love money, they love the nice things it buys them and they have been inculcated by an economic system that says that the nature of the goods of nature is “free”. So while I’ll concede that most of this economic garbage was thought up by men, as was the ideology of capitalism, and most of religion...where are the feminist thinkers on any of these subjects? Feminist economists? Feminist theologians? I recognize the fallacy of our our cultural institutions, but I don’t see much radical feminist analysis of these institutions. What would it amount to? Man=bad, woman=good. End of story.

cherryblossomlife says:

Honestly, go and google “BDSM porn” then come back here and say, “Well, some men are nice”. It doesn’t fly. And to be honest, it doesn’t MATTER, because those few nice men aren’t WORTH the millions and billions of women and children who have been hurt, tortured and killed by men since patriarchy began.

So I gotta ask, do all men look at BDSM porn? Poster seems to suggest that we do? Again we are ascribing the attributes of a subset of the male population to the entire male population.

cherryblossomlife says:

Remember the political system was INVENTED by men. WOmen had nothing to do with it. Yes, it’s a complex system, but patriarchy is a political system indeed, which employs all the same oppressive tactics as any other authoritarian regime (terrorizing and torturing the oppressed, using propaganda in the form of pornography, the stifling of women’s speech, discriminating in the job market etc etc). The question you have to ask is:

“WHY do men create authoritarian regimes?” “WHY do they violently oppress women (and in some cases men of other ethnic or racial groups)?” “Why do they kill and hurt women and children so frequently?”

Women haven’t a jot of political or economic power.

You forgot the economic system, religious system, cultural system. And you also forgot in the heat of your blaming that although it was invented by men it was(and is) SUPPORTED by women. You promptly erect the defence that “women haven’t a jot of political or economic power”. You forget that in an age when women are elected and appointed to the highest offices in state and corporate power that you are running potentially the most subversive and successful espionage strategy in the history of the universe; you are raising our children. You have the ability, under our noses and enmasse, to turn society on its ear. You are our children’s first consistent conctact with an adult, what you teach establishes our children’s intellectual and emotional foundation. So please, spare me the “poor me” routine.

cherryblossomlife says:

And exactly WHO is conditioning men to be violent? Don’t you think maybe pornography, computer games and the mass media (ALL invented by men) are a form of political control, a form of political propaganda, encouraging violence against women?

Poor parenting? You have no control over what goes on in your home? What media your children consume? Yeah, sounds like poor parenting. I live in this world, the world of the patriarchy, that I can’t control. I can, however, make sure my children know the difference between the world they are growing up in and the world that is possible.

FCM says:

NO men are against violence against women. none of them. it physically hurts me to read such wishful thinking about boys and men, and such lies about what men are capable of, and what they allegedly believe, AGAINST ALL EVIDENCE. stop hurting me! thanks!

Wow. Another absolute statement that does not reflect reality. Let me check, did I engage in any violence against women today...well I guess unless you count disagreeing with radfems as “violence” I would say no. But please educate me in the arcane ways that I am unwittingly promoting violence against women.

karmarad says:

Just want to stress something brought up by fcm…from the evidence to date, men, with fourteen times as much testosterone as women, tend strongly toward aggression, hierarchy, and dominance. Yes, making use of these instincts/predispositions, they have wrested control of human society. The result is urgent danger to our planet.

BUT there is no such thing as biological determinism.

A mature society can contain these instincts (I mean a society that does not valorize, hierarchy, domination, and aggression). They can be controlled and neutralized. There are many methods for containing male violence. Men themselves are inventing new methods for doing so as we speak. Many men are ashamed of their instincts and would like to have methods to control the destructiveness.
Hormonal adjustments are important to look into. I look at trans people taking hormones, women coerced into taking hormones, birth control pills, Lance Armstrong, Alex Rodriguez and all the other sports figures trying to hypermasculinize by using hormones. I look at the ongoing efforts to control sex predators using chemical or surgical castration, especially men who have castrated themselves because they know they are dangerous. I see how modern medicine is using hormones to treat breast and prostate cancer. Treating women for “menopausal” symptoms of course is just filling them up with hormones to keep them looking younger and more available.

One case haunts me. It was an Army doctor during and after the Civil War in the US. He became a rapist and was put into a mental institution. A very intelligent individual, he analyzed his situation and one day castrated himself. The relief he felt was enormous.

There are many twists and turns in history. There are many intelligent men as well as the huge number of women pointing out the obvious here. I look at Derrick Jensen (Deep Green Resistance), for instance, who wants to save the earth and is right on the edge of understanding that it is men who must be contained first and foremost.
I do think there is hope. Brute force is irrelevant to power today. Women are superb at the verbal swordplay of law and medicine and now have their entrees. I figure that all we have to do is continue to encourage birth control, literacy, access to the Net, and abortion if needed. Other feminists can help me here, explaining what exactly we need.

And one other thing. It is crucial to insist that we are agents. We are subjects, not objects, and won’t be treated as objects in the media, in philosophy, in politics, or in any other way, any more. To be human is to be a subject. Let’s call it out each time men try to pretend we aren’t subjects, agents, just like them. It’s a good place to start.

And good god, they’re still trying to prostitute us. They are still jacking off to pictures they have stolen from us. They think paying poor women (made poor by their system) a pittance somehow makes it right to perform virtual rape. They think their sex drives are the most important things going on. They feel entitled to degrade us. Let’s be honest, and I have talked to several men candidly about this: the necessity is to pretend we are not human. We’re like nice dogs to them in pornography and prostitution. Good doggie! (growl/attack/eat) Dogs like us are close to our wolf origins, remember! or even more close to human, let me say these words: shame, shame on you, you are disgusting to do this to other humans, and the women are human, and you are sickening.

We have always borne the responsibility, and never received the credit for it. Let’s face it. We are the stable, grounded, child-raising, feeding, life-affirming sex, and men with their loud voices, their boundary violating, their pecking orders, have fucked our society up royally. Even in my lifetime I have seen a revolution. Cultural change won’t take long considering that there are three and half billion of us who are tired of not being quite human. That we are not killers, exploders, destroyers, has held us back since these methods are common in male arsenals but not in ours. These days these methods are irrelevant. Men are irrelevant. actually. If they want to become relevant again, they will have to learn self-fucking-discipline.

Other than the second last paragraph karmarad once again hit the nail on the head. Patriarchy needs boundaries. I think radfems miss the point that the patriarchy makes demands on both genders, the feminine to be invisible and submissive and the masculine to be competitive and domineering. Any individual (regardless of gender) that does not play the role gets singled out and squashed. I do not want to say that there is a direct comparision between the roles we play, there is not, but I would point out that men would do better not being under a patriarchy. It is dog eat dog out here, and although you are not predisposed to bear any sympathy for the male gender, you could consider the collapse of the patriarchy a selling point. Men establish worth by who/what we conquer, over the thousands of years this has morphed into how much money do we make and how much influence do we have in social circles. Could it be that it would be a burden we’d readily give up if we could establish our worth simply by being who we are and not what we can offer?

cherryblossomlife says:

I was interested to notice that a man has liked this post, and his gravatar is interesting. It reads “SUpport Radical Feminism”. Now, any woman who supports radical feminism IS a radfem, whereas any man who understands radical feminism knows that, by default, he cannot be a radfem. Compare it to the Hugo Schwyzers of this world, self-proclaimed feminist men who believe they’re leading women to freedom… What an imbecile. So feminist men, egalitarian men, non-capitalist men, animal rights men, male ecologists and the like can fuck off… But if a man wants to “Support Radical Feminism”, then I feel very heartened by that… UNLESS he, and his ilk goes and does what men have always done, which is take over the movement and distort it.

I am emphatically not radfem, in fact most of you who identify themselves as radfem on this thread are repugnant in your understanding of the ideology. I think that giving women more power and education can alleviate problems like overpopulation, violence, environmental destruction, but the women in power have to reject the patriarchy and not supplant themselves just so they can hold on to a paycheque/position. They have to blaze their way to power on the platform on which they stand.

cherryblossomlife says:

Peaceful Antithesist, I think yours was the lengthiest comment I’ve ever had here on cherryblossomlife. Well DONE.

This was after a series of censored male comments edited by the admin to say “Hai, I’m an MRA!” and this comment should read:

Peaceful Antithesist, I think yours was the lengthiest comment I’ve ever had censored here on cherryblossomlife. Well DONE.

Women have been silenced, their opinions ignored for a long time. I get that. Women only spaces, that too I understand. You can have private forums in which the public cannot read unless they are logged in that way you can weed out the MRA’s. But to have a public post and willfully discriminate and purposefully demonstrate you are discriminating, why bother? It is like you give the oppressed a little power (in this case admin power) of the oppressor and watch them go wild with the new round of oppressing. Take that you dirty worthless men, I SILENCE YOU! HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM APPLES! Sheesh!

For the record, if any rad fems post a comment to this article I’m not going to act like a child and post “Hai, I’m a RadFem.” I will allow it, because as a privileged male, I can share my space without fear.

cherryblossomlife says:

Why do MRAs come here? We’re talking about how much men hate women. What are they trying to prove? Are they trying to convince us they DON’T hate women..? Coz if that’s the case their tactics are crap, and they’re not very convincing. In fact, all they’re doing is proving us right. And if we’re right, and they DO, in fact, hate women… then why are they complaining about this post at all?
Fucking oppressors.

Well to be fair, it is hard to convince anyone of anything if:

You don’t value their opinion.
You don’t regard them as human.
You don’t let them speak.
You are not open to listening.

But yeah MRA’s pretty much hate women. Empowerment of women, to them, represents a diminishment of their power/status/privilege. You see this pattern time and time again in other oppressor/oppressed type of relationships (i.e. poor whites looking down on negroes although they were both oppressed by rich whites). To be MRA is to have an insecurity problem, they’ve been handed a rotten bit of luck in life, and since it is not permissible to own slaves anymore the last bastion of discrimination left is gender. To feel better about themselves they demonize the perceived weaker group, in this case women. If they are not the absolute last on the totem pole then they can accept their lot in life.

In Conlusion:

If this post was some sort of satire where the women posting were treating men exactly the way men where treating women for thousands of years (i.e. that they are not people and their opinion is irrelevant) then it is brilliant, brilliant I tell you! Because it isn’t an experience for most men to have their opinion not only not matter, but be entirely negated solely for the fact that they are men. It is unsettling and disturbing and bravo for doing that for the sake of illuminating our behaviour.

Unfortunately this isn’t satire (unless it is? Tell me radfems, my male mind is uncomprehending) and the lines of reasoning expressed in this thread lead to dark places. We should know, men already went there. Which leads me to state, have you women learned nothing from our mistakes? You want to repeat them because why? It’ll be different this time? Now that is insanity, doing the same action over again and expecting different results.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Unity of Law by Henry Charles Carey

Hi all, this post consists of notes I made when I was reading through The Unity of Law. Not terribly interesting but to maybe one or two people who suggested that I read this book.

Pg viii- man starts with the poorest axes and poorest soils and improves upon both so the land yields ever larger returns. This is not so different than the green position of "leave the land in better shape than you found it."

Pg ix- Soils, if not properly nurtured, do indeed suffer from diminishing returns, entire civilizations have been brought down by this fact. Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations

Pg x – Mr. Carey recognizes the true wealth, the increase of the bounty of nature. Population growth and productivity do not grow in tandem, returns on land increase, then population increases, when the limit is near the pressure drives further innovation. Carey presupposes this can continue ad infinitum.

Pg xii- Mr. Carey makes the argument since force can neither be created or destroyed the multiplication of human force must result in man usurping the force of nature and repurposing it for his needs. If that is so then we need to consider carefully for which we use this force and not to use it frivolously (i.e. fashion shows, advertisements, financial industry, etc).

Pg xiv- I get the feeling that when this book was written numbers of men were a necessary precondition to subverting and claiming more force. Mr. Carey assumes a static process for progress. He also ties progress as a function of population (ie the greater the population the greater the progress). If population was the key then why have nations like Britain and the US established empires while nations like China and India are only now reaching their ascendancy?

pg XX-Putting humanity on a pedestal.

Pg. 2- He nicely illustrates the flaws of neoclassical economics: exclusions.

Xxi- Mr. Carey states the mind is the only source of power.

P4- focussed on using power to become the master of nature rather than the steward of nature.

6- Mr. Carey makes the error is assuming the forces of nature are "gratuitous". Same mistake Henry Hazlitt makes, indeed all neoclassical economists make.

Pg9- preciseness of language.

P20- Mr. Carey spends pages stating that the lowest quality of soil is cultivated first and the productivity of the soil increased with technology. He says history demonstrates this and it most emphatically does not, the easier to cultivate soil was exploited first and as technology leapt ahead made it possible to cultivate lesser soils at an acceptable return.

Pg 46- Mr. Carey follows reductionist thinking that by understanding the parts of the machine it is possible to replicate the entire machine.

Pg 47 - no doubt referring to Newton's laws which do not apply at the quantum level.

Pg 61- Mr. Carey refutes Adam Smiths motivations of man as being solely defined by material benefit. This is to be applauded.

Pg 62-irony in the Goethe quote that is explicitly non-reductionist.

Pg 78-96 attempting to draw a parallel between the gravitation of physics and the aspect of association. Heavy doses of social Darwinism, the more intellectual the man, the greater the diversity, the more perfect man becomes.

Pg 98 - states that the power of association exists everywhere and is necessary to recycle materials and energy but places a premium of mans association above all others?

Pg 101-individuality vs. centralization seems to be the ancestor of the individualism vs. collectivism argument.

Pg 102 – “the more society tends to conform to the laws that govern our system of worlds.” I assume he means the natural laws of physics, if so where does unrestrained exploitation of the natural environment fit in to that? Assumes the position of controller does not mean exploiter. With control comes responsibility, without which, becomes nothing more than exploitation of master and slave, no harmony can be had.

Pg 103 - his argument does not carry weight for soil. This assumes that farmers cannot recognize what constitutes good soil vs. poor soil. Of course the good soil would be exploited first. Eventually that agricultural land would be built over and lesser soils would be utilized because farming techniques made it possible to exploit which otherwise would be to arduous to work.

Pg 122: Nature being a sum of never varying energy. Nothing that man does can alter that total. This is false. Even if it was true, by its own logic man could shift the total from usable to non-usable energy.

Pg 132 I wonder if the exactness of subordination applies to Nature or if it must be imposed.

Pg 145 - if self-direction tends towards perfection and perfection results in a more equitable distribution then why the concentration of wealth?

Pg 148- with the increase in population why has the capacity for self-direction (which grows in tandem with association) not resulted in peace? Why have the magnitude and frequency of war increased as population increased?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hsDn2kNriI

Pg 159 if power of self-direction allows us to increase association and thus wealth, where does competition play a role in this? If two men train their power of self-direction on a goal in which the end result is only one may own it, does not this power get blunted by interfering with the other and lessening the effect of association?

Pg 174 - HC puts great emphasis on the diversification of employment and also states that those that do not give back to the earth inevitably starve. Some of this employment may be had with the maintenance and improvement of the Earth's ecosystems.

Pg 175. Production increases and consumption rises to meet that increase. This is Jevon's Paradox. This is not a desirable thing inasmuch that most of the consumption increase occurs with those that are already rich.

Pg 197- monopolies destroy association thus is undesired.

Pg 206 - the societary positives and negatives do not exist in a vacuum. People are the catalyst, but they require the raw material provided by the environment.

Pg 207 - speaking in ill terms about the tariff of 1824 makes me wonder if the power of association cannot be equally applied as an argument for globalization.

Pg 215 - that capital over labour, matter over mind leads inevitably to rebellion is a damning statement against capitalism.

Pg 234- he is describing exponential growth "wealth greater than in all the time since the Mayflower landed in Massachusetts."

“If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.” Herbert Stein, Economist

Pg-258 economies consist of both consumers and producers, an ecosystem consists of the same, except that in nature there is no waste. Thus the economy, as robust as it is, is a pale comparison to an ecosystem. For an economy to be as vital and sustainable as the environment must be as waste free. All waste product must be recycled into new product.

Pg 280 - when Carey talks about how much better Britain would be if they paid India a fair price for their materials so they in turn could serve as a market for Britains more highly refined trades seems to imply that this relationship can be amplified continually for even greater heights of wealth for both countries. It could be but for physical limits of resources.

Pg 283 - Mr. Carey's argument is entirely contextual. He is right in so much as Malthus was wrong, temporally speaking. At the time the population about a billion, the carbon footprint/ecological footprint of each person was a fraction of what the average North American has. In Carey's time poverty was a distribution problem brought on by British short-sighted mercantilism. Today a similar argument could be made but for the physical limits we are hitting in terms of energy and resources.

310 - it is as if Carey was saying that if the wealth was spread around more equally that self-respect and mutual respect increased. The question of what to do about the poor only becomes a question in a society that encourages inequality.

314 - Carey seems to imply that Malthus's theory, given in its context, was a justification of the riches misdeeds and an absolution of whatever obligation the rich may have to the poor. Just like any economic ideology, a justification to be unapologetically rich. I would tend to agree, in this context, Carey was correct. Malthus had no idea what the ultimate carrying capacity was.

376 - the always gratuitous services of nature implies that their is no cost to man. That value stands as a substitute for resistance, that value increases as the cost to man increases in no way accounts for the cost to nature and the cost to its ability to renew.

384 - in the context, to avoid fever, dryer lands were selected while more fertile lands where left uncultivated. Certainly this is a fluke in the history of mankind as generally more fertile soils are cultivated first (Egyptian delta). A fluke brought about as one of the few native diseases that affected the settlers disproportionately (see Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond). This one instance does not a trend make. Also Carey has a peculiar definition of rich lands. He refers to "undrained" rich lands which by definition without the investment of substantial intervention are unusable. Lands that are easiest to cultivate are lands that are cultivated first.

391 - again on the definition of soil richness. Rich soil is defined as its ability to bear crop in proportion to the preparation it requires in either labour or technology. If it isn't usable until much labour is expended or certain technologies are invented to exploit the soil profitably, then it isn't rich. It is similar to saying we'll never run out of land or energy because we have a whole universe to exploit. We might have a whole universe, but without the proper tools it is unavailable to us. We will never want for food as long as we have rocks that we can transform into food through magical alchemy.

392- increased consumption goes hand in hand with increased production. We could theoretically support a much increased population if we consumed as did our ancestors did, but we consume at a much greater rate. Something has to give. Also what if we hit cognitive limits as well as physical limits? The point where more people doesn't result in an increase in the power of association nor an increase in the power of self-direction? Case in point, the modern laptop. Put one average person in the room and ask him to explain how it works, reverse engineer it, and build a new one. Increase the numbers, put 10 people in the room, 100, 1000, 10,000...at what point do you acknowledge that knowledge has become so specialized and intricate that the complexity cannot be replicated by any number of average people without access to highly rigorous and specialized education?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Free to Choose Round 3: Final Round

This is the third and final round (for me anyway, Keith if you'd like the last word, have at it). Keith response to my second rebuttal is here.

The founding fathers would be considered libertarians given today’s lingo. They spent a lot of time making the US federal government as small ...

Many of the founding fathers were classical liberals, calling them libertarians today is practicing revisionists history. The founding fathers wanted a government that was strong but not tyrannical and that is what they got with the Constitution. They never contested powers arrogated to the state level, it was never even a question, they were only concerned with federal level powers, which is why they enumerated them, except of course that pesky General Welfare clause.

I don’t take complete ownership of her philosophy. She’s a writer...

Fair enough. Good to see you're not a purist.

Collectivist is evil. Liberty is not. Liberty is incorrectly called evil, and collectivist is rightly so...

I don't know of any writings that call liberty evil. Plenty of writings that demonize collectivism though. I also wonder about framing the conversation in such binary terms, good vs. evil. But it is promising to see you say that a mix of freedom and communal action can work at least for primitive societies.

People do fight wars for freedom and democracy. I realize that doesn’t happen that ...You seem to be totally missing the evil of Germany and I find that scary.

Germany was an imperial power, Britain was an imperial power, France, Russia, US, all imperial powers. None of the leadership cared about what was happening to the Jews, or the Chinese, or the Communists. Eugenics and antisemitism was just as popular in the US as it was in Germany. Britain and the rest of the European allies would have done just about anything to avoid a war with Germany. They stood by as he re-armed, then took back the Rhineland, then took Austria, Sudetenland, part of Czechoslovakia, Memel. It wasn't until he attack Poland that Europeans realized his interests wouldn't be sated with a piece of land here and there. FDR campaigned on a platform of staying out of the war but once elected started a PR campaign to convince the citizens that it was the right thing to do. After Pearl Harbor it was an easy thing to do. So while the people believed they were fighting evil (and they were), the leadership only cared about protecting their interests abroad and domestic.

Friedman explained that you can supplement social security with a negative income tax.

I think Friedman argued that a negative tax combined with a flat tax would replace social security, minimum wage laws, food stamps and welfare. Which, if it performs as advertised, would be a pretty good deal and eliminate a lot of social spending.

I use greed because it is a shorthand. I also don’t like using the same words over and over. Acting in your own self interest is definitely not always greedy. It would only be greedy if you always acted in your own self-interest. And the points is that a government can’t know if you are being greedy, so it shouldn’t worry about this issue. Greedy doesn’t mean stealing. Knowing whether someone is stealing doesn’t require knowing teir motivations. It is scary to have government studying your motivations.

I'm just going to comment on the last line as there seems to be some sort of moral firewall I cannot breach. It is scary to have your govt examine your motivations, but you must realize that TNC's are gathering an equally, if not more, intrusive portfolio about you and your habits, all the better to market to you. TNC's also have a nasty habit of sharing this information with the very govt you fear.

Greed is brought up by the left as a way to create a more collectivist society. They pit one class against another and call anyone who isn’t poor as greedy...

Machiavelli once said in his work The Prince "In fact the aim of the common people is more honest than the nobles, since the nobles want to oppress others, while the people simply want not to be oppressed." Please pardon me for using such a statist but in his machiavellian way he speaks the truth. It is never wrong for someone to give voice to the voiceless. The poor have no voice.

Some poor become rich in a free system. It is possible here. My father was poor...

The operative word is "some". Because there is only so much room at the top. I've heard that argument before about the poor with their flat screens and air conditioners. When I was a poor student I bought a computer piece by piece over a period of months and built it myself to save money, I had a small tv, a second hand VCR as well as a playstation that I had bought on credit. I was destitute, but not on welfare and I lived with other students in the same household who had similar things. So from the perspective of a survey our household would be living pretty well for being poor.

Not that Obama is a saint (indeed he just carries on the last administrations agenda) but Romney's job at Bain Capital was to put people out of work by chopping up companies and selling off their assets. Tell me how globalization creates jobs for Americans.

Class is a leftist political construct? Class is what most extant cultures are built upon. Both Adam Smith and Friedrich Hayek wrote about the working class but never identified with them. Even Ayn Rand divided the world up into producers and socialist parasites.

If you have a book to recommend that debunks the concept of class I'd like to read it.

Corporations are people...You have a contradiction in your support for cooperation, but being against corporations.

I've laid out my position quite clearly against corporations. There is no contradiction in being against corporate person-hood and for cooperation. Why do you think sole proprietorships or partnerships are insufficient? Why can investors not assume liability for their investment vehicle?

I see nothing wrong with corporations wanting profit just like I see nothing wrong in my wanting a salary. It takes profits to invest in new products. It is profits that lead to progress. You would like to kill progress!

If asking corporations (and their investors) to take responsibility for their actions kills progress then so be it. It is not the kind of progress I want or need. Corporations are without a doubt destroying the future carrying capacity of our planet. They need to pay or they need to stop. This is not leftist or rightist. This is common sense. To do otherwise is slow suicide.

The problem in Greece aren’t the bondholders. You always have the leftist perspective on history. I can also recommend you read Amity Shlaes The Forgotten Man. The problem is the government spent a bunch of money it didn’t have.

I will, as always, be happy to add another book to the reading list. Let us be clear, you were saying that the Greek people are rioting in the street implying it was the governments fault. I was pointing out that the Greek people are rioting because of austerity measures that the bond holders are insisting on. I won't excuse the Greek Govt's role in this crisis, but I will say that Goldman Sachs acted as the Greek Govt's enablers through an act of fraud to allow Greece entrance into the EU where they could continue to borrow. If that didn't happen, Greece could have devalued their currency and gotten their finances in order (after the Greek people cleaned house politically). Now the Greek people get no relief as the austerity measures are enforced upon them by the EU and IMF. How is that for freedom?

You can decrease the power of government, and therefore the influence of corporations on government. You just pass laws. Once a system is privatized, the “evil” corporations have less power. With smaller government, there isn’t anything for them to exploit. And furthermore, the problem now is generally bad government, not bad corporations. Why is energy expensive? Because Obama is against drilling, nuclear energy, coal, etc. The prices go up not because the corporations are evil, but because the government is restricting the supply.

So with a smaller govt, who passes the laws? Govt? Who enforces the laws? Govt? I assume Govt still has monopoly on force, but how exactly will it keep it if TNC's operating on US soil, hire private security (read: private army). The power is still concentrated with TNC's (i.e. money) and although a small govt with it's now toothless ability to enforce the laws it passes will be equally useless to TNC's, they can act directly in their own self-interest. What government would want to fight a civil war against business? Today business gets govt to wage war on their behalf, in the future, they'll wage it themselves.

You do realize what nuclear, coal, drilling (oil, gas) does to the environment right? You are essentially trading our future for access to energy right now. Again this isn't me being a lefty, this is just the facts.

Libertarians don’t have a backwards view of environmental policy. We believe that if get rid of the government educating and providing healthcare for everyone, it can focus on the few big issues like the environment. This is something that crosses states so it is a federal issue. We want an EPA, just a smaller one.

I think you misread what I wrote. I said that you(libertarians in general) have economics backwards. But reading what you had to say about coal, nuclear and drilling I would say you have a backwards environmental policy too. But I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. Other than privatizing every piece of land, body of water and expanse of air, what is the libertarian environmental plan? Why I am putting privatization off limits is because there is nothing to stop those with money from buying up what they need for exploitative purposes. So your back to law, how are you going to enforce those laws against illegal use by corporations (remember private army).

Your understanding of history is incorrect, and is exactly the anti-capitalist perspective. I don’t know what else you’ve read, but I can say you are mis-educated.

Capitalism has one purpose, to grow by exploiting all resources available. Historically this was necessary to generate enough wealth to allow for specialization of labour and knowledge. I'm not anti-capitalist from historical perspective, I recognize the necessity, I am anti-capitalist from a future perspective. Capitalism is not the last ideology we will have simply for the fact, and again let me underline this is not a left or right perspective, capitalism must grow or it will die, and we are running into hard physical limits, i.e. peak minerals, peak oil, peak population, peak fresh water, etc. Julian Simon's predictions of infinite growth and substitutability notwithstanding (because it is plain silly).

The financial crisis was caused by bad regulation, not deregulation. Your words about globalization I disagree with. We want private insurance. You seem to think there is only government or paying out of pocket, and you forget private insurance.

I agree there was definitely some bad regulation, but as you can see from the timeline here, there was significant deregulation that laid the groundwork for the financial crisis of 2008.

You can disagree with my words on globalization, but that doesn't change what I've demonstrated, that capital chases the lowest cost of labour. How is the manufacturing sector doing in the US since the introduction of NAFTA and the WTO? Gutted I think describes it.

We have private insurance in Canada. I do not ignore private insurance, but in the context of discussing poverty (which we have been doing) private insurance does not figure into the discussion as the poor cannot afford it.

We don’t have to slash benefits to privatize social security. A private system will have a greater rate of return over time. You have the facts backwards, as usual.

Actually that is what would have to happen. Unless you are going to flat out cut the benefits for those already retired, you will be running the systems in parallel with current retirees grandfathered in. Even so, you are going to underfund the SS even further by diverting some of the FICA money to private retirement accounts, accelerating the depletion of the SS Trust, in addition to 600 billion dollars in transition fees (conservative estimate), this means the SS benefits get exhausted sooner unless they are slashed. Lastly a private system that has a greater rate of return over time, assumes a steadily growing economy, which requires an energy source that can steadily grow as well (which seems to be in short supply). So my facts seem to be facing the right way.

Sustainable forestry is in action by private corporations. I live in Washington, and we have it here. Talk might not have been the best word as it could imply no action which I didn’t mean. I just meant that sustainable forestry is the big topic of modern forestry. The government can insist on making something sustainable, but let the private sector figure out how. Etc. Corporations can get smarter and more environmentally friendly over time. Note it takes profits to be able to spend the money to make something environmentally friendly. So when you suggest you want to kill profits, you are also killing environmental progress.

But that is precisely the conflict of interest I am talking about and have been talking about repeatedly. It takes money to be environmentally friendly. Thus it cuts into profits, thus is in direct violation of a CEO's fiduciary duty to act in the shareholders best interests. Such CEO's can be dismissed and replaced.

In public corporations, where directors are elected by the shareholders, directors have a fiduciary responsibility to shareholders to work in the best interests of shareholders and for the benefit of shareholders - and not in the best interests of individual directors or managers. How is that interest and benefit measured? ROI and EPS. It is argued that there is no strict interpretation of US law that says a director must maximize shareholder value (because of the business judgement rule under the duty of care) but directors can be removed by shareholders, CEO's by directors. So it is pretty clear that what the shareholder wants, the shareholder will get.

Planting monocultures to replace old growth diversity isn't environmentally friendly. Mimicking natural stands that takes more effort but is worth more in terms of carbon sequestration and biodiversity preservation. Of course, restoration costs more in time and money than reforestation and may include species that the timber companies deems "valueless".

There weren’t really private pensions before Social Security. At least not as sophisticated as now. It was in 1935 that it was created. It has definitely crowded out private programs and given a lower rate of return. It has hurt the poor more than it has helped them! They pay into this system and it sucks compared to the private pensions, which the rich have as well. It also serves as a means for politicians to keep themselves in power. Vote for me, I’ll protect Social Security. I can suggest you re-read Free To Choose at some point in the future. There is a lot to absorb. He spent a lot of time on SS.

I remember reading that there were not many private pensions before SS. And SS wasn't supposed to be a pension but rather a supplement. Basically what that says is there was no private market for pensions (or private will to fund them), so at the time there was nothing to crowd out. SS grew over time to become more of a pension, but again the corporations were more than happy to outsource that cost as it is mostly paid by the employee. And it doesn't change the fact that for private pensions to work it must make a profit for the managers, else why do it?

The lower rate of return for being invested in special interest bearing federal securities represents the lower level of risk and increases the predictability for future planning. It is certainly true you can get a greater return investing in the market, but you also have to assume a greater downside if the market goes south.

One would have to speculate how much the private industry would love to get their hands on trillions of dollars of investments (think of the fees!). One would also have to wonder more about the most savvy investors raided such a market to milk it for everything that it is worth. If you can assault a countries currency, a pension fund would be easy pickings.

I’m for peace through generosity and strength.

Well that is a start.

There are case studies of cities with failing schools. Check out the DC system as one of the best examples which I think spends $27K per ...

I checked out the DC system and indeed it seems the cost per student is quite indefensible considering the results. So there is a problem, and my first question was to ask where all the money was going to, but none of the articles provided that break down. So while that needs to be fixed, vouchers have the following shortcomings: public money will end up going to religious schools in violation of the separation of church and state and private schools can establish their own admittance criteria (purposely excluding low performers to inflate graduation stats). The first one doesn't bother me much, but the second one does, because face it, you are going to end up with the same tiers in education that you have now, the rich desirable schools and the poor undesirable schools.

So let's dispense with middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities altogether. Who needs credentialism? Teach kids the basics, then let then self-direct their own education. It'll save much money, the government will have little to do with it , it gives a wide range of choices and everyone learns to their own level at their own pace. Doesn't that sound like liberty?

I find a reference to Howard Zinn. A-ha, that explains my theory that you have a leftist perspective of history. His work is filled with half-truths. I’m sure if Friedman were to read it, he’d find tons of things wrong. I did. I can recommend you consider everything you “learned” as suspect.

Howard Zinn wrote the history from the perspective of the oppressed, women, natives, white servants, black slaves and the poor. Which to my knowledge hasn't been done before for the obvious reason that (orthodox) history is written by the winner. So is it because he champions those that do not have a voice in rich white male society that he is a "leftist" or is it because of his politics? Kind of like what came first, the chicken or the egg? You can't champion the cause of the oppressed without being "leftist"? To consider "everything" I have learned as suspect is a tall order. I would be interested to know some of what you found in error in Zinn's book.

In Cuba, there are the poor people, and there is the government class.

I thought you said class structure analysis was leftist?

Public housing causes crime because when no one owns something, there is no incentive to take care of it. It has nothing to do with the class, it has to do with this fact of human behavior.

So you are saying that rich people and middle class people would run riot in a public housing complex? That is a non sequitur. Do you acknowledge that the users of public housing are poor? Poor people by definition are unlikely to own anything, because they cannot afford it. So if you take away public housing, they will go be poor somewhere else, but the conditions of poverty and inequality will still cause crime wherever they land. But I can agree on one thing with you, they don't need to be concentrated in public housing (just makes them easier to police), they need jobs that pay a living wage.

Removing the profit motive would be a disaster. I can say that you need to keep thinking until you realize that.

If you could explain to me how an ideology can safely violate the second law of thermodynamics by insisting on infinite, exponential growth, then profits (an integral part of capitalism) can stay. If not, you are going to have to find another way. Or nature will find it for you.

You have a long way to go, and that is because you’ve read a bunch of stuff that has told you lies and corrupted your mind.

Not to say I am without my biases, but I weigh everything I read critically. You may be aghast that I do not reach the same conclusion as you do about all of MF's ideas, but I am not a purist, I take what I like and I leave behind that which I think is not workable. Now and from the outset I have acknowledged that it is perfectly possible that I could be wrong and in fact I have discovered some limits to my knowledge in regards to the education system so that being said if you are going to tell me that what I've read is lies and corrupt, you are going to have to be more specific, and employ less hand-waving.

I think we have come to an natural end in our discussion as you've expressed some reservations as to what authors I have used to anchor my intellectual foundations, so it is fair to say that you are no longer open to being convinced or learning and this conversation has just become one way.

I would like to go on to thank for your time as throughout this debate it has deepened my understanding of libertarianism and where it fits in the liberalism framework.