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Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Readers who follow me on Twitter may have noticed that I had very little to say about the news that Notre Dame de Paris was heavily damaged by fire this week.  I equally ignored those lamenting the loss of an architectural masterpiece, those using the tragedy as an excuse to pontificate about the many sins of the Catholic Church, those failing to comprehend why there was no anguish when recent and unsophisticated buildings used as churches burned down, and those complaining that the destruction of other medieval architectural gems not located in the exact center of one of the greatest cities of the West was not publicized by Western media.  In fact, the only comment I made on it was to tweet that this article in The Onion was the only one I had seen that approximated my feelings on the matter.  Though I agree that the building is gorgeous and understand the sense of loss, and I find rejoicing in the destruction of an artwork to be an act of incredibly bad taste, I also understand what many others are choosing to ignore: that no matter what is done to restore the cathedral, it will eventually burn down again or succumb to some other disaster.  And the same is true of the Eiffel Tower, the Tower of London, the Empire State Building, the Sydney Opera House, the Taj Mahal, St. Basil’s and every other building in the world.  Of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, only one is still standing and it, too, will eventually crumble, as will every building in every city on Earth.  In Oklahoma, my ranch was situated on the top of what was a mountain a hundred million years ago, and the very shape of the continents has changed dramatically in that time.  Similarly, people wring their hands and moan lugubriously about the extinction of animal species, despite the fact that a species is nothing more than a temporary configuration of genes; it is as permanent as a sand dune, albeit on a much longer time scale, and we can no more “save” a species than we could freeze the column of smoke from a burning cathedral into some interesting or beautiful shape.  As I remind my readers every November 1st, all things must pass, and although we may lament those which happen to pass in the flickering moment we exist upon the Earth, they are no more or less mortal than those which have already passed before we were here to see them, or those which will pass in the uncountable eons after we ourselves are gone.

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The careers of…politicians ultimately benefited from the war on…female sexuality.  –  Sascha Cohen

It Looks Good On Paper

What these “safe harbor” laws actually do is empower the cops to indefinitely detain underage sex workers in “protective custody”, i.e. jail:  “A minor engaged in prostitution should be considered a victim and not face criminal charges, a [Mississippi] bill says…House Bill 571 also allows the [young woman] to be taken into protective custody…

Policing for Profit

But they’re rescuing “sex slaves”!

Five [Florida cop gangs profited handsomely from what they claim were]…investigations into prostitution and possible sex-trafficking operations inside massage parlors and day spas in their jurisdictions.  Martin County Sheriff’s Office and Jupiter Police Dept. worked together, and collectively [stole] a property in Stuart, two properties in Hobe Sound, six vehicles, including luxury cars like a Lexus and Mercedes-Benz, and more than $500,000 in cash.  Indian River County Sheriff’s Office [stole] $22,000 in cash, a 2018 Toyota Corolla and…more than $110,000 in bank accounts.  Vero Beach Police…[stole more than] $30,000 in bank accounts and an undisclosed amount of cash.  Sebastian Police…[stole] almost $5,500 in cash, laptops, cellphones, a credit card machine, and a plastic bag of finger condoms…

Paint By Numbers

We haven’t seen any dumb “anti-trafficking” stunts for a while, but Captain Save-a-ho here is going to “fight” our work by walking around:

A U.S. Army veteran plans to walk [from Chicago] to Springfield next week to raise awareness and funds to help [himself using the hysteria over]…human trafficking.  Jordan Mitchell…plans to make the 189-mile march with a ruck sack weighing up to 100 pounds.  “Walking with weight on your back is…symbolic of the problem of human trafficking.  These girls carry the weight of a million different problems every day.”  Mitchell [infantilizes Korean sex workers by fantasizing them as] preteen girls engaged in sex trafficking…When he returned to the United States, he said he talked to other…[racists] about [exploiting those women for his own profit]…

To Molest and Rape

Rapist cops are typical and representative of all cops:

Robert M. Collins…retired [from his cop job]…shortly after he was arrested…[for raping] four women…from August 2013 to December 2014…Collins is the second area [cop]…facing [rape] charges…Mark Icker…was arrested Dec. 20…after [orally raping] a woman…[in] a secluded park…within two weeks of his arrest, detectives charged Icker with additional allegations by two other women

This is your regular reminder that Pennsylvania is one of several states (the others being Florida & Indiana) which actively defends cops who rape sex workers prior to arresting them; these two rapists apparently forgot they needed to join the sacred Vice Gang to get that protection, and went about raping women without the pretense of “investigation”.

Broken Record (#691) 

Politicians demand magical posters to “fight” a repeatedly-debunked “problem”:

South Carolina law requires posting of human trafficking [propaganda] posters in hotels, bars and airports.  But with Columbia hosting first- and second-round games of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament this weekend, the posters are on display for the first time ever in Colonial Life Arena.  “There’s always an increase in online solicitation around large sports events, which lands a lot of people in trafficking,” [fantasized prohibitionist] Alexis Williams Scurry [despite mountains of proof that this is a lie]…

I Saw My Brain (#773)

Your regular reminder that Grady Judd is an utterly loathsome excuse for a human:

The Polk County Sheriff’s Department in Florida is touting…a three-day sting in which cops arrested 26 registered sex offenders for…failing to register their vehicles with the government….sex offenders in Florida are required to provide the government with up-to-date information regarding their name, age, sex, height, weight, tattoos, hair color, address, email address, telephone number, social media accounts, employment information, and vehicle information.  It’s…easy for [someone]…to forget to constantly re-supply [demanded] information…it’s absurd to suggest that these un-registered cars posed some kind of danger to the community.  And yet The Miami Herald happily entertained this fantasy…and…printed the mugshots of all the offenders, listed their names, and provided not only the reason for their re-arrests but information on their initial arrests…most of these people were in their 20s, or teens themselves, when they were first convicted…J.S….was convicted…in 2005, and…is currently 25—meaning that at the time of the alleged crime, J.S. would have been about 12 himself…C.C., who is currently 39, was convicted in 1998 of lewd conduct toward a person under the age of 16.  This man would have been about 18 in 1998…

In the original article, Judd uses the moralist shibboleth “hold accountable”, which means something like “persecute using a moralistic excuse”.  Pay close attention to who uses the phrase and how.

Stalkers in Blue

With modern surveillance and data processing, no woman is safe from sexually-aggressive cops:

A [cop] in Cleveland was charged…with using…a police database to find information about [and photos of] two women, and to send social media messages to about 2,300 women over the course of eight months.  The charges against…Michael Rybarczyk…stemmed from an earlier investigation in which he was charged…with soliciting prostitution…

Turn of Tide

Want more proof that we’re past the watershed?  Consider this article, which even though it’s mostly the usual “sex trafficking” propaganda, also contains this passage:

One expert says that…sex trafficking studies feature “some of the worst research you will ever find in science literature…It is really hard to determine what is hyperbole and wild estimates and what is more reasonable and accurate,” says Rachael Lovell, a senior research associate at Case Western University’s Begun Center for Violence Prevention…

Also look for Melissa Farley basically admitting that she and cops just arbitrarily declare women “victims” as it suits them: “…some women might switch back and forth between being trafficked and being a prostitute.

The Last Shall Be First (#904)

Anti-trans bigots keep sexually assaulting trans people in public toilets:

An assistant principal at a West Virginia high school will not have his employment contract renewed after [he]…follow[ed] a transgender student into the bathroom and [told] him “you freak me out”…Lee Livengood…attempted to [force] 15-year-old student Michael Critchfield…to…[piss in front of him while he watched]…Livengood repeatedly yelled at [Critchfield]…saying, “Why are you in here? You shouldn’t be in here”…The decision not to renew his contract by the education board was reportedly unanimous…

Business As Usual (#905)

Prohibitionist group laments the shutdown of a gang of rapists:

The Columbus Vice Unit shutdown [due to rape, harassment and other gross abuses of power] has impacted local [fascist groups]…Local Outreach Volunteers…worked closely with the vice unit to [harass sex workers]…during prostitution busts.  Now that [the rapists can no longer romam about raping and robbing women]…they will have to search the “working girls” out on their own [if they want to continue interfering with their lives]…

Lack of Evidence (#907)

Persecution of sex workers invariably affects other women as well:

…when young, single women began to venture into America’s new urban establishments in large numbers, their presence in public was challenged…coalitions of police departments, city councils, business groups, and evangelical reformers were responsible for criminalizing women who socialized without a chaperone.  They warned of a “life of vice” in disease-ridden brothels, where “fallen girls” were “beaten by their so-called lovers or keepers, and often drunk or sick.”  This anti-prostitution rhetoric, couched in language of protection…was used to justify police surveillance of women…establishments posted signs that read…“no unescorted ladies will be served”…In the 1950s, politicians and the press orchestrated a campaign against “b-girls”…[who] in earlier decades…had been [portrayed] as potential victims of “white slavery,” but by the 1940s they were cast as the villains, out to fleece and extract money from innocent men…such women—whose sexuality was dangerous because it was too adjacent to prostitution—faced police harassment, arrest without bail, mandatory venereal disease testing, and even quarantine…

Signs (#912) 

The imposition of creepy fascist surveillance on hotel guests is growing worse:

Hampton Inn’s General Manager Jennifer Decker organized [a propaganda session in Manassas, Virginia]…“If one case comes to light on a property, it could have serious risks to the business…You could be held liable [under FOSTA & similar laws]”…[sow] Robyn Hyatt [vomited all kinds of widely-debunked propagnda at]…the group.  “One trafficker with three victims [and a] customer every 15 minutes can make $2.19 million in one year…Trafficking is…everywhere…Virginia…[is] a hotbed…we have…lots of hotels, FedEx Field, National Harbor, the 95-corridor…during the January Super Bowl in Atlanta, there were over 150 arrests for suspected human trafficking”…[another sow vomited out racist propaganda about]…gangs…The [sows] shared a typical [masturbatory fantasy, not dissimilar to those from old marijuana scare films]…a young woman…might be approached by a trafficker in a mall.  He flatters her, buys her presents…then one day she wakes up from a drug-induced state; she’s been raped.  He has taken photographs. He forces her to do things under the threat of distributing the photographs.  [excited, the cops masturbate and encourage others to do the same while denying the agency of non-sows]…

Worse Than I Thought (#914)

Voters voted to restore people’s voting rights after prison; politicians want to exclude sex workers:

Sex workers who’ve been convicted of prostitution three times…wouldn’t be eligible to have their voting rights automatically restored, under a [Florida] proposal aimed at ca[strat]ing…a constitutional amendment approved in November.  The…amendment…granted “automatic” restoration of voting rights to felons “who have completed all terms of their sentence, including parole or probation.”  The amendment excluded people “convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense.”  But state and local…officials…want to [undermine that to the greatest extent possible, so they want to exclude whores and businesspeople who made the error of]…locating an adult entertainment store within 2,500 feet of a school…

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Every president should be remembered as an infamous and immoral rogue who unjustly claimed to rule many millions by arguments no better than magic.  –  Anthony Comegna

Last week we lost Peter Tork of the Monkees (Davy Jones died in 2012), so I thought it appropriate to feature this song, which was not only written by and named for him, but was the closing theme of the second season of the TV show.  The links above it were provided by Jesse Walker, Eddie J Cunningham, Mirriam Seddiq, Lucy Steigerwald, Franklin Harris, and Scott Greenfield, in that order.

From the Archives

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Dedicating a day to the end of a war is a far different thing from using it to glorify the machinery of war.  –  “Armistice Day

One hundred years ago today, at eleven o’clock in the morning, the armistice which ended what was at the time called The Great War went into effect, bringing to an end a conflict like no other that had ever been seen before.  For over four years most of the advanced nations in the world (and their allies and colonies), spread across every inhabited continent, slaughtered each others’ citizens on an unprecedented scale, using all the weapons the Industrial Age had devised and a few new ones:  roughly 18 million people were killed and 23 million wounded, and whole countries were redrawn or wiped from the map entirely.  The monumental carnage was so traumatic it produced an entire “lost generation” and shaped art and literature for decades afterward; some idealists even believed that the horror was so great people would be shocked out of supporting warfare at all any longer, or else they absurdly chose to demonize the Germans as the font of all European conflict.  These beliefs converged in the popular term “The War To End All Wars”, which more sensible heads were already mocking before the war was over; even its originator, novelist H.G. Wells, was using it ironically by the early ’30s.  The ideas that humans could ever become sated with bloodshed, or that all violence springs from some evil “other” which need only be defeated to bring lasting peace to the world, are still popular among soft-headed naifs to this very day; they are close kin to the childish belief that the “right” people can be trusted with power over others.  The truth, of course, is far darker; it is that no human can be trusted with power over others, and that humans with the power to inflict violence on their neighbors will always do so upon the flimsiest pretext.  If there is anything that the past century has taught us, it is that the only war which will truly end all wars among humanity is the one in which the human species is finally obliterated.

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The goal of sexual suppression is that of producing an individual who is adjusted to the authoritarian order and who will submit to it in spite of all misery and degradation.  –  Wilhelm Reich

The Red Umbrella 

As long as sex work is marginalized, sex workers will be targeted for violence:

…four masked men…knocked on the hotel door of a dominatrix in Queens, pushed their way in and tied her up at gunpoint before running off with an iPhone, cash and a debit card…The woman got a call from an unknown number she figured was a client; when she opened the hotel door, she expected her client to be on the other side…The four men, all wearing black hooded sweatshirts or jackets, forced their way in…when she opened the door around 5:45 p.m. They menaced her at gunpoint and bound her with duct tape before stealing the phone, cash, card and her state driver’s license…

Watershed

For those who think I’m wrong about sex worker rights having passed the watershed:

The Federation des Femmes du Quebec (FFQ)…a well-recognised women’s rights organisation…took [the obvious]…stance…that women can make a free-will choice on their own to enter into the sex trade…The executive-director of Stella, a Montreal sex workers advocacy group praises the decision…[saying] said it recognises sex workers choices and their human rights…

Red Lamp

Sometimes, studying commercial sex of the past opens people’s eyes to the present:

They worked in brothels frequented by troops serving on the front line in northern France, but their role has been virtually erased from the history books.  Thanks to a new Roundhouse art project, Cause and Effect, to mark the centenary of the end of the conflict, the wartime sex workers have been immortalised in a film with poet Hollie McNish …[who] worked with historian Clare Makepeace…to create War’s Whores, which details the “significant minority” of men paying for sex on the front line…McNish [said]…that one of the things that she found most poignant was the fact that so many men wanted to visit a sex worker if they thought they would die the next day…“It’s a much deeper thing than we give it credit for.  The men thought they were likely to die the next day, the thought you’re never going to have someone touch you nicely again before you die, it must be horrendous”…she hopes that reigniting the memory of wartime sex workers will provoke conversations about the industry today…“It’s ridiculous…that we’re allowed to talk about violence and not about sex…That job has been shamed out of history, rather than just forgotten”…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#726)

Politicians the world over promise the same evil, impossible things, and stupid people just keep believing them:

Sex work has been illegal in Thailand since 1960 but government officials and law enforcement officers have long turned a blind eye…a series of high profile police raids has put considerable strain on that relationship and some sex workers fear the whole industry is in jeopardy…the country’s Tourism Minister, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul [has] said “We want Thailand to be [Disnified]…we want the sex industry gone.”  Her [statements parrot] those of the military junta that seized power in 2014…said Somai Jantawong, a…sex worker living in Chiang Mai…“If we are arrested or lose our jobs then it affects the whole family and the whole community.  We are the drivers of development in this country, if you lock us up then you will have more people in poverty and more people without homes”…Havocscope, who chart black market crime statistics and data, estimate that the sex industry pumps $6.4 billion into the Thai economy.  In fact, Friedrich Schneider, an economist at Johannes Kepler University in Austria, found that Thailand has one of the largest shadow economies in the world, accounting for 40.9% of real GDP in 2014…

O, Canada! (#785)

I thought “Operation Northern Spotlight” had been rebranded, but apparently that was a different Canadian cop campaign to harass and intimidate sex workers:

From October 15 to 21, police arrested 20 [sex workers and associates] through the seventh edition of Operation Northern Spotlight…a Canadian law enforcement [sting] operation…to [harass] and [intimidate]…sex [workers]…This year’s operation [included]…the RCMP…and…62 [other cop shops] from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nunavut, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island…

The Notorious Badge (#795)

There is nothing remotely “intimate” about sucking a dildo in front of dozens of people and a chaperone, for broadcast to millions of viewers:

Last spring, Emily Meade was getting ready to give a [fake] blow job [to a dildo] in front of a crew of people on the…set of HBO’s The Deuce…As Meade knelt down, a woman named Alicia Rodis, the network’s first-ever “intimacy coordinator,” was within eyeshot, watching the monitor.  She had given Meade a pad for her knees, knowing that the hard floor would bruise them otherwise.  Between takes, she offered mouth spray and flavored lubricant.  And she had spoken with Meade before the scene about her concerns and relayed them to the director…Network executives found Rodis through Intimacy Directors International, a nonprofit she cofounded in 2016 that aims to normalize a set of standards and practices surrounding the execution of sex scenes on stage and on film…HBO has now adopted a policy whereby all of its shows and movies with intimate scenes will be staffed with an intimacy coordinator — either Rodis or someone like her…

Because hiring actual sex workers as consultants for this sort of thing would be crazy, and fucking amateurs can’t think of things like knee pads.

The Puritan Recrudescence (#820)

Dr. David Ley on the weird, dangerous and increasingly-popular belief that masturbation is harmful to men:

In recent years, we’ve seen the return of a strange, antiquated belief system that claims that masturbation results in weakness, loss of manhood, and psychological damage…Your Brain on Porn and Reboot Nation are…online groups who argue that masturbation to porn…results in neurological changes which desensitize a person’s brain to real sex, cause erectile dysfunction, and instill an addiction to…pornography…Brigham Young University…spent what appears to be a great deal of money to produce a public service advertisement against the dangers and “darkness” of masturbation…The Proud Boys…a group of young, nationalist males…claim…that masturbating makes men less likely to get dates…all of these concerns, both historical and modern, about masturbation are primarily focused on male masturbation…Wilhelm Reich…who wrote The Mass Psychology of Fascism…suggested that sexual suppression was a tool of fascism, a way to train young people to submit to authority, even in something relating to their own body…and…conservative religions…have a long history of condemnation of masturbation…

To Protect and Serve (#830)

A rare victory for sex workers over pigs:

The San Diego City Council today gave the green light for $1.5 million in payouts to 17 dancers who…were violated [by cops] during raids at two strip clubs…The first settlement awarded $110,000 to one dancer.  The second settlement awarded about $1.4 million to 16 dancers…[who] were held against their will and [molested]…by 10 [pervert cops]…Attorney Dan Gilleon, who represented 16 of the dancers, [said]…”The…settlement is a drop in the bucket compared to what the City of San Diego spent conducting the raids in the first place and then misleading the public for four years with painfully dumb legal denials and defenses…the City Attorney’s Office…arrogantly bullied the dancers and filed bogus defense after bogus defense until they realized they would not sell their legal charade to a set of jurors with common sense”…

Disaster (#841)

We did warn you dilettantes that this wouldn’t stop with actual sex workers:

HotMilitaryGirls.com, a site that for years offered nude photos and videos of female servicemembers, has been shut down by its operators as the site’s legal counsel reviews its content…after [pearl-clutching prohibitionist politician] Claire McCaskill, [one of] the [chief sponsors of the censorship law FOSTA/SESTA]…called for the Defense Department’s inspector general to investigate the site…McCaskill’s office said in a statement that she lauded the news the site had [self-censored] but still sought [revenge on peaceful people for daring to be sexual]…

Dutch Threat (#852) 

Dutch authorities are now pretending their attempts to Disnify De Wallen are really intended to help sex workers:

The three parties which run Amsterdam city council have drawn up a string of proposals for dealing with the city’s red light district and moving prostitution to a new location is one of the options…The area has been home to prostitution for centuries, because of its proximity to the docks, but the surge in tourism is causing both locals and prostitutes considerable problems, [politicians claim]…Many clients are now visiting prostitutes they find via internet or at a hotel rather than in the Wallen district.  This means that many red light windows are now empty during the day and [prohibitionists have schemed for years to]…clos[e] them altogether…[politicians] now suggest giving licences for prostitution outside the red light district, so the women who work in window brothels can move to a new area, without the problems caused by tourists…Prostitution is a major tourist draw, but is this really the reason you want to attract people to visit?, said [prudish busybody] Socialist councillor Nicole Temmink…

Droit du Seigneur (#872)

If these pimps weren’t cops, they’d be facing “sex trafficking” charges right now:

Six of the NYPD cops accused of running a prostitution and gambling ring are in plea talks with prosecutors…the men were offered plea deals ranging from probation to 2-to 6-year prison sentences, but their lawyers didn’t want to accept so early in the case…

Pyrrhic Victory (#882) 

More on police abuse of Amazon’s face recognition software:

…[in downtown] Orlando…lightbulb-sized camera[s] affixed to…traffic signal poles…instantly send a live video feed over to Amazon’s facial “Rekognition” system, cross-referencing…face[s] against [a surveillance database]…In the US, there are no laws governing the use of facial recognition, and there is no regulatory framework limiting its law enforcement applications.  There is no case law or constitutional precedent upholding police use of the tech without a warrant; courts haven’t even decided whether facial recognition constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment…[so of course cops are eager to] pilot…these systems [before their power is limited by laws or precedents…Amazon marketed its facial recognition tools to Orlando’s police department, providing tens of thousands of dollars of technology to the city at no cost, and shielding the Rekognition pilot with a mutual nondisclosure agreement that kept its details [secret from]…the public…In May, Orlando police reportedly finalized a deal to crowdsource neighborhood footage from residents of the city using [another Amazon] service called Ring, which uses…a doorbell camera…to[feed images] to Orlando Police…There is no automatic sharing of data between Ring and Rekognition right now.  But Amazon would not…commit…to keep the data generated by each of these companies…separate…

To Molest and Rape (#883) 

“Feminists” who talk about rapist cops without mentioning sex workers are aiding and abetting the rapists:

[A cop] is caught in an act of sexual misconduct every five days, and that the majority of cases involve “motorists, crime victims, informants, students and young people in job-shadowing programs”…black women, girls, trans and gender nonconforming people, along with Indigenous, immigrant, and other people of color, make up the majority of people targeted for sexual violence by law enforcement agents…police sexual violence is consistently ignored by mainstream media and movements focused on police violence and sexual assault…[because cops] intentionally target people they don’t think will be believed…people who use drugs, trade sex, people who are precariously housed, disabled, LGBTQ—people who aren’t seen as ideal poster children for mainstream movements.  Secondly, acknowledging sexual violence by [cops] as a systemic problem profoundly destabilizes the notion of police as protectors, an uncomfortable reality for movements deeply invested in law enforcement as the answer to sexual violence…

You see that blink-and-you’ll-miss-it reference to “people who trade sex”?  That’s the only reference in a 1200+ word article about the one group which is targeted for sexual violence by cops more than any other, by a wide margin.  In an article about how activists ignore rape victims who aren’t ideal poster children. The reek of hypocrisy is overwhelming.

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The most important lesson of the “Me Too” phenomenon has, of course, gone completely ignored:  it is the same as the most important lesson that ubiquitous cell phone video and Donald Trump’s presidency have taught us, which is that absolutely no one, no matter how respected by peers or loved by the masses or showered with professional accolades by superiors, can be trusted with power over other people.  Any power which can be misused, will be misused, and even if a given holder of power manages to do too little evil with it to be noticed, you can safely bet the farm that other individuals with the same power, either contemporary power-holders or inheritors of that power, will misuse it in some more spectacular fashion.  People with control over others’ livelihood will use it to extort sex; people with “authority” to inflict violence without personal consequence will do so, arbitrarily and capriciously, even upon women and children; people who believe themselves immune to the caprice of authoritarian thugs will not hesitate to summon those thugs in hope of inflicting violence upon others who somehow annoy or upset them; people with “authority” to impose ridiculous laws on others will do so even if they are fully aware of the damage those laws will do; and mad emperors supported by a chorus of sycophants will give orders so bizarre and logically incoherent they make the promotion of an actual horse to high political office look mild and benign in comparison.  And yet people refuse to learn what is right in front of their faces; they instead fetishize the magical power of “democracy” (a fancy name for mob rule) to somehow locate and elevate to rulership individuals who actually can be trusted with power, despite the obvious fact that no such human exists, or ever has, or ever will.

Humans are not yet ready for pure anarchy, and may never be; however, there are functional anarchist societies (I happen to be a member of one), and a small government of strictly-enumerated powers with ironclad guarantees of individual rights is probably the closest we will ever come to a just and incorruptible one.  As I wrote in “A Necessary Evil“, a large part of the problem is that people’s moral perspectives are blighted by a sick infatuation with government, a belief that there are some circumstances in which it’s not only tolerable but desirable to inflict violence on people who have done none to others, in furtherance of some pipe-dream of Utopia.  But this is the vile and barbaric belief-system of savages; as I point out every year on this day, nations and empires are as mortal as living creatures, and none enjoy the mandate of Heaven.  As I wrote in “Tiger, Tiger“:

…no person is morally bound to obey “authorities” merely because he or she happens to be physically located within imaginary lines on a map…the moral authority of ANY politician…is exactly as legitimate as the moral authority of a tiger pissing on trees to mark its territory.  In other words, one should be mindful that there’s a dangerous and irrational animal in the area…but that animal’s behavior doesn’t represent “justice” or a “social contract” or “divine right” or anything else but the predictable behavior of a violent animal with no understanding of what right & wrong actually mean.  “Authorities”, like tigers, are best avoided unless they’re locked up in cages where they can’t maim others…they are NOT to be given…any kind of obedience or deference except what’s minimally necessary to get away safely if one happens to run into one…

There is not and in fact cannot be any such thing as “legitimate” authority, whether that authority is chosen by elections, lots, birth, examining goat entrails, or pulling swords out of lakes.  And until humans collectively get that through their thick simian skulls, we are doomed to suffer an endless succession of evil rulers stomping on human freedom and dignity until they at last succeed in wiping us all out.

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The first thing that [repressive regimes] try to do is control the communications network.  –  Margaret Atwood

As veteran journalist A.J. Liebling once observed, “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.”  So when media conglomerates started buying up all the presses in the 1980s, censorious politicians were probably very happy: when 90% of the media in a country is owned by only five mega-corporations who are all part of the fascist establishment, it’s very easy to control the message.  No wonder they were so disappointed when the internet derailed that concentration process by making literally anybody with time and a high-school level of technical savvy into a publisher.  By 1996 perceptive control freaks were already trying to strangle the infant internet in its cradle via the Communications Decency Act, only to be thwarted when a few politicians with a particle of actual decency managed to smuggle Section 230 into what was intended to be a massive censorship law, and courts struck down all of its censorship provisions within a year.  Naturally, the Puritans never abandoned their sick dream of censoring the internet, and in just a few years they had created “sex trafficking” hysteria, a resurrection of the moribund Satanic Panic using parts recycled from the “white slavery” hysteria of a century before; the synthetic moral panic caught on, and less than 20 years later the busybodies and thought-controllers had what they wanted:  a means of bringing the most powerful tool for the dissemination of information ever created completely under government control.  Where bogeyman tales of devil worshipers and “terrorists” had failed, kinky fantasies of millions of 13-year-old “sex slaves” chained to radiators and raped by literally every single adult male in the US finally succeeded:  the useful idiots gave politicians the power to “protect” them from nonexistent bogeymen by destroying the laws which restrained government censorship, and handing control of the internet to cops, politicians and a few powerful corporate members of the fascist oligarchy.

Every totalitarian movement needs a bogeyman, and since the few escort service owners and small-time pimps the inquisitors were able to lock in cages were insufficient to sustain the required level of mindless hysteria, Backpage was chosen for that role after Craigslist took a dive.  Unfortunately for legions of busybodies, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin were veteran newsmen of the old-time free speech variety, who insisted on defeating every single attempt to destroy them.  So naturally, the government simply changed the rules (egregiously violating the Constitution in the process) to make it impossible for them to win again, and hedged its bets by literally stealing everything they owned, setting a trial so far in the future anything that was missed in the raid would be used up, and even trying to deprive their victims of legal counsel.  But they’re not going down silently; Frontpage Confidential, the inheritor of Lacey & Larkin’s journalistic legacy, has been covering their fight, and last week Tom Finkel (formerly one of the duo’s top editors) delivered this broadside; he tells me they will soon publish an essay from Lacey himself, which I’ve been privileged to see a preliminary draft of.  Stay tuned, because no matter how this goes we need to remember that some things are worth fighting for, even against implacable and obscenely-powerful enemies who will do anything to win.

 

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