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Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

Well, I managed to somehow avoid being exposed to premature Christmas decorations and music this year.  Oh, there were a few trees and decorations here and there, but nothing like the full-scale onslaught I’ve had to endure the past few years.  I’m not sure whether it’s because merchants actually restrained themselves for some reason or because I just spent less time in public than usual between Halloween and Thanksgiving this year…OK, that’s a lie; of course I know which one it is, and so do you.  Because crass commercialism without regard to sense or sensibility is a one-way ratchet, like government power; it’s not going to stop this side of the death of American culture.  The only way to avoid it is not to participate, because retail merchants at least don’t have armies of thugs claiming the “right” to smash down our doors, scream at us, beat us and murder our dogs in order to terrorize us into taking part in the staged merriment.

The first step in non-participation is avoiding those awful “Black Friday” events which have almost entirely succeeded in turning Thanksgiving from a day to give thanks for what we have, into the mere eve of a day to trample children and old people in a maniacal rush to save a few bucks on more things we don’t need.  How about indulging in the real spirit of the season, and giving to others instead of literally fighting to get more for yourselfChildren and whores are St. Nick’s two favorite groups of people; you can help the latter by donating to a sex worker charity such as SWOP Behind Bars, or you can help BOTH by booking a session with a sex worker you know has kids.  If you don’t know any, it just so happens that I’m running my annual Toys for Tots special which for a small expenditure will allow you extra time with me while bringing a little bit of joy to needy children.  From now until December 11th, book a session with me and bring up to six new, unwrapped toys with you, and I’ll add ten minutes per toy to your time!  If you prefer, bring an extra $100 and I’ll extend your time by half an hour (then use the hundred to buy toys).  Please let me know when booking you want to take advantage of the special, so I can allow for the time in my schedule.  If you don’t want a full date but would like to meet me, for $100 and three toys (or $150 cash) I will have an hour-long coffee meeting with you anywhere in the Seattle area.  And if you don’t live near me, please consider donating via PayPal or Google wallet anyway; use my regular email address (maggiemcneill@earthlink.net) and make sure you note what part of your donation is for toys and what part for me (it’s perfectly OK to tell me to spend it all on toys; I don’t mind).  And if you want to take advantage of the special but don’t have time to actually see me by the 11th, that’s OK too; you can prepay and schedule the appointment for later.  I want to make this as easy as possible for you, so together we can bring joy to needy children who might otherwise have nothing on Christmas morning.

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The best way I can think of to honor veterans is to stop making so goddamned many of them.  –  Maggie McNeill

99 years ago today, the armistice which ended the First World War – optimistically referred to by many at the time as “The War to End All Wars” – went into effect, and the occasion was thereafter celebrated as Armistice Day.  But because the idea of commemorating the end of a war doesn’t sit well with warmongering politicians in the world’s only remaining empire, it was eventually changed to “Veterans Day”.  However, as I wrote last year,

…designating the day as “Veterans Day” is, frankly, somewhat jingoistic and uncomfortably fascist.  As longtime readers know, I have nothing against military men; if anything, I have kind of a thing for them.  But respecting individuals isn’t at all the same as participating in the creepy mandatory obeisance we’ve seen growing over the past few decades, and dedicating a day to the end of a war is a far different thing from using it to glorify the machinery of war…Every year on this day, I’ve paid homage to the ancient and powerful relationship between warriors and whores, and I invite you to click on that link; the essay you’ll find contains more links to the earlier columns.  But given that after the end of the Cold War, the US government decided to instead devote itself to endless and mindless warfare against both its own people and those of foreign lands, I decided this year to make note of another bond between whores and military men:  our own government’s mad and evil campaign to destroy as many of our lives as possible for no reason whatsoever except the enrichment of the military/police-industrial complex and the self-aggrandizement of the evil sociopaths who declare themselves our rulers and believe they have the right to dispose of us as they will.

Though hipster progressives now like to refer to themselves as “The Resistance”, the truth is that they’re only upset because the orange-utang beat the animatronic harpy in the high-school popularity contest; they were perfectly content when “their” guy Obama was empire-building, setting new records for mass deportation, murdering children with flying war robots and using strips of the shredded Constitution to wipe his arse with.  And they’d have been ecstatic had Clinton been able to continue that, even had she done exactly what Trump is now doing (though in the “right” political way) because obviously murdered kids are happier when taking the last ferry ride if they were shipped down to the Styx by order of a woman; this is what extremely stupid people call “feminism”.  But in reality, it’s whores who are the real feminists and the real Resistance.  All authoritarians hate us, and all who hate us are authoritarians no matter what they want you to believe; there is no other valid term for someone who actually believes that government has both the power and the right to control women’s bodies, right down to criminalizing motives for sex that the Establishment disapproves of.  Well, I do not consent, and neither do other sex workers; we dare to continue to work and make our living in the face of disapproval from both religions and pearl-clutching housewives, and we defy the State which sends thugs to literally rape us in order to “teach us our place”.  Authoritarian regimes have always hated whores, and the US is no exception.  Hitler sent us to concentration camps; Mussolini confined us in psychiatric hospitals; Mao tried to brainwash us out of our harlotry; “Swedish model” regimes define women as moral imbeciles literally unable to resist the sight of money; and US politicians justify sending thug cops to “rescue” us (by raping, arresting and caging us) by public recitation of wild, disgusting wanking fantasies in which we’re all “children” or near-vegetables chained to beds by “pimps” with actual magic powers for repeated rape by every single adult male in the US every week.

And yet we resist, and carry on, and live and love and prosper.  And we and our trade will still be here long after both prohibitionism and authoritarianism exist only in history books, alongside wars fought for the aggrandizement and profit of “leaders” slavishly worshiped by people more concerned about their tribal affiliations than about the health, happiness and liberty of actual human beings.

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[Whenever] some ass tells you about how we “need” government to prevent anarchy, remember [that]…the truth is, we need anarchy to protect us from government.  –  “Tiger, Tiger

Every year on this day, I remind my readers that nations are as mortal as individuals, if a bit longer-lived, and that every country anyone can name was built on the ashes of an earlier empire now gone to dust.  But I’ve said that enough times now, and the older essays are there for you to read; just follow the links above.  This time, I want to address a bit of political ignorance I’ve seen popping up quite frequently lately:  namely, the pretense that anarchism is actually “socialism”.  This isn’t to say that there is no such thing as social anarchy, because of course there is.  But that’s a voluntary cooperation between individuals without any coercion; it’s not at all the same thing as socialism, which is just another form of coercive top-down tyranny in which an elite enforces its diktats on the masses at gunpoint.

I recently saw a tweet about dozens of farmers harvesting crops for the family of a neighbor who died in a motorcycle crash; the moron referred to it as “socialism”.  But there was no government forcing these farmers to help; there were no laws saying they had to, no bureaucrats administrating the help, no cut taken to pay for “supervision”, no army of thugs threatening the neighbors who didn’t chip in, and most importantly no standing structure sucking up resources like an immense tumor whether it was needed or not.  This act of neighborly kindness wasn’t “socialism”, any more than a barn-raising or a husking bee or any other form of rural co-operation which existed for millennia before Marx started vomiting out his industrial-age fantasies of ant-like “workers” seizing factories built by others.  No, it was anarchism; spontaneous grass-roots order with no “leaders” claiming credit and diverting resources to built monuments to themselves.  I described another example in “Tiger, Tiger“; jackasses were referring to grass-roots resistance to a tyrants’s proclamations as “democracy”, when in actuality “democracy” was the means by which the aforementioned tyrant came to power (and the institution protecting him from the lynching he deserves).  No, once again that was anarchism; nobody forced those lawyers to donate their time and energy, and nobody was standing over them with guns demanding they do it in some way decided on by pompous “leaders” who never did that kind of work in their lives.

Some of you may pooh-pooh the idea of people running their own lives, working together for mutual benefit without the help of “leaders” or “officials” or “organizers” or bosses or commissars or bureaucrats of any kind; some of you refuse to accept that government is at best a barely-necessary evil, and in most cases just a plain evil.  People who believe in this kind of rubbish are the same ones who, even if they understand that criminalization of sex work is harmful, oppose decriminalization and instead dream of a bureaucratic regime of licenses, women confined to brothels, mandatory “health checks” and other “regulation” presided over by the same cops who are caught raping women literally every single week.  But if you are one of those, would you like me to tell you how I know for a fact that you’re wrong?  It’s because I’m a member of a functioning anarchistic subculture, namely the demimonde.  No “official” designed the system of references and co-operation among sex workers; we did that ourselves.  We don’t need posters of scowling thugs threatening us into working together on pain of violence; in fact, those thugs are the chief threat our mutual anarchistic cooperation is designed to protect us from.  No “expert” appointed by elected “leaders” tells us what our prices should be, which services we should offer and which clients we should or shouldn’t see; each of us determines that for herself, and economic forces bring it all into a rough balance.  Is our system perfect?  Not by a long shot.  But if you believe in “democracy”, consider this:  in every legalized regime in the world, over 90% – in Nevada it’s greater than 99% – prefer to work illegally, in the systems whores design and maintain ourselves, rather than in the tyrannical, abusive “legal” regimes designed for us by those who imagine themselves our “betters”.  That’s a landslide vote for anarchism, and yet those who pretend to believe in “democracy” refuse to accept it.

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Thanatopsis

Death and I are old friends; he was gracious enough not to interrupt my work before it was done, and it’s the least I can do to return that favor when the time comes.  –  “Die Young, Stay Pretty

You are going to die.  Soon.  And there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.  “Nutrition” will not save you, nor will “health care”, nor “science”, nor “repairing telomeres”, nor “transhumanism”, nor “The Singularity”, nor being “uploaded to the cloud”.  And you’re not going to be preserved by the “Rapture” or the “Second Coming” either.  You’re going to die sometime between today and your 120th birthday, and the most any of your science fiction or mystical mumbo-jumbo could possibly do to change that would be to extend it a little.  And I mean a very little, because any conceivable solution involving brain transplants or computers or electro-horcruxes or whatever which resulted in the illusion of your consciousness continuing (yeah, I said “illusion”; sorry to burst your bubble, but a simulation of your mind is NOT you) in this plane beyond death will require an advanced technical society and a stable economic system to maintain, and I guarantee the plug will be pulled on your pathetic, meaningless, narcissistic ego-trip as soon as the culture you live in collapses and is replaced by a younger, healthier one which realizes that catering to the primitive fears of long-dead plutocrats is a waste of valuable resources.  And yeah, that WILL happen, because cultures are every bit as mortal as humans (if longer-lived by a factor of maybe 3 to 10).  Beyond that, species also have a limited lifespan, as do planets, “stars and even the universe itself.  It is literally impossible to stop the process; entropy increases, and the only way to slow that in one area is to speed it up somewhere else.”

Depressing?  Not at all, unless you think cacophony is a good thing.  Imagine a piece of music in which every single note is sustained forever once it starts.  It’s just as complex as any piece you know, but instead of each note lasting for a certain time before giving way to the next, each continues to drone on at exactly the same pitch and volume, forever, no matter how many new notes are added.  By the end of a three- or four-minute pop song there would be nothing but an unbearable din without beauty or structure, and by the end of a typical symphony you’d be trying to get as far away from the resulting sonic abomination as possible.  But you couldn’t, because every radio, every iPod, every concert hall, every TV jingle, every kid singing off-key with the wrong words in the entire world would be doing exactly the same damned thing, FOREVER.  And any advanced aliens who picked up the broadcasts would certainly come here as quickly as possible in order to obliterate the obscenity with a gravity bomb, or to drop us into the nearest black hole, and good fucking riddance.

The beauty of a piece of music or a dance derives from a succession of notes or steps, each following the other in sequence and each giving way in its time to the next.  The meaning of an essay, story or book depends upon each finite word in its proper place. And the meaning of not merely an individual life, but the life of a culture, a species, a world and the entire multiverse depends upon that same finiteness.  Death is what gives life meaning, and fighting excessively against it is as childish and futile as the behavior of a toddler who refuses to let another child take his place on the carousel once his ride is done.

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A couple of years ago, I was busted in a high-profile client sting.  Now that my case is over and I’m a free citizen again, I am looking for ways to be part of the counter-narrative, to argue against criminalization and for civil rights and justice reform and so many of the surrounding issues.  How can I contribute?

It all depends on how brave you want to be, how “out” you want to be as a client, and how much you stand to lose.  I think joining COSWAC would be a good start; another good move is financially supporting outspoken sex workers like me (either by booking dates with us or by donations).  Doing either of those doesn’t require you to be “out”, and they’d allow you to help while considering how much you really want to expose yourself.  Because I’ll tell you this: choosing to come out as a sex worker or client is not a decision to be made lightly.  It’s a one-way street, and could potentially affect your life for years to come if not indefinitely.  Though it’s absurd to make such a big deal about one person’s private, consensual sexual choices, the fact is we live in an authoritarian society which presumes to claim the “right” to control everyone’s sexuality; to represent personal choices as some sort of grave issue affecting all of society (especially women and “children” who aren’t involved in the choice and don’t even know the parties who were actually involved); and to treat sexual issues as though they were worse than mayhem and murder (where’s the “murder offense registry”? How about the “abusive cop registry”?)  I’m definitely not trying to talk you out of speaking out as a client; in fact, I celebrate men who do so.  But I want you to make the decision carefully and with all due consideration, so that when the inevitable repercussions appear (and they will, trust me), you have the courage of your convictions and can stand firmly against the storm.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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“To Protect and Serve” has got to be one of the most effective propaganda campaigns of all time.  The police as an institution are not, and never have been, intended to “protect” the citizenry, and they certainly don’t “serve” it; the only things they “protect” are the status quo and entrenched interests, and the only people they “serve” besides themselves are politicians.  Note that the generalized term for police isn’t “citizen defense”, “crime prevention” or anything like that; it’s “law enforcement”.  The purpose of the police is to “enforce” laws, no matter how evil, unjust and destructive those laws might be; to “enforce” a law is to coerce people into obeying it via the threat of violence, and to make an example of some citizens by inflicting violence on them before they’ve been proven guilty of anything.  Expressed another way, the police are terrorists; their job is to inspire terror of violating the whims of politicians by inflicting violence on people who are legally innocent of any wrongdoing.  This is clear not only from their demonstrable behavior (including the fact that they are rarely held accountable to the laws themselves), but also (in the United States) from multiple court rulings that the police have no duty to protect citizens.  I’ve argued this many times, so I’m not going to repeat myself; instead, I’m going to quote this essay by Alex Vitale I read yesterday:

…TV shows exaggerate the amount of serious crime and the nature of what most police officers actually do all day.  Crime control is a small part of policing, and it always has been.  Arrests for serious crimes are a rarity for uniformed officers, with most making no more than one a year.  When a patrol officer actually apprehends a violent criminal in the act, it is a major moment in their career.  The bulk of police…take reports, engage in random patrol, address parking and driving violations and noise complaints, issue tickets, and make arrests for drinking in public, possession of small amounts of drugs, or the vague “disorderly conduct”…Even detectives (who make up only about 15 percent of police forces) spend most of their time taking reports of crimes that they will never solve—and in many cases will never even investigate…It is largely a liberal fantasy that the police exist to protect us from the bad guys.  As the veteran police scholar David Bayley argues:  “The police do not prevent crime…Experts know it, the police know it, but the public does not know it.  Yet the police pretend that they are society’s best defence against crime and continually argue that if they are given more resources, especially personnel, they will be able to protect communities against crime.  This is a myth“…Bayley goes on to point out that there is no correlation between the number of police and crime rates…The reality is that the police exist primarily as a system for managing and even producing inequality by suppressing social movements and tightly managing the behaviors of poor and non-white people: those on the losing end of economic and political arrangements…This can be seen in the earliest origins of policing, which were tied to three basic social arrangements of inequality in the eighteenth century: slavery, colonialism, and the control of a new industrial working class.  This created what Allan Silver calls a “policed society”, in which state power was significantly expanded in the face of social upheavals and demands for justice.  As Kristian Williams points out, “The police represent the point of contact between the coercive apparatus of the state and the lives of its citizens”…

As Vitale points out, none of this is obscure or even controversial among historians, criminologists and other scholars; the only reason it seems so is that the Great Unwashed, indoctrinated to obedience in state-run schools, lack both the desire to question authority in the first place and the critical thinking skills necessary to analyze the issue even if they did.  Authoritarian societies rely on the great majority being controlled by fear, pandered to by lies and kept docile with bread and circuses, while the egos of the brighter and better-educated minority are stroked by telling them they’re part of an elite who must have power over the masses for their own good.  

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So last week NBC News tweeted this vile, disgusting example of primitive leader-worship so obsequious it may make you vomit; everyone involved in this, or who thinks it’s wonderful, deserves to be ruled by fucking emperors again.  The childish need for all-powerful, superhuman heroes to tell you what to do is exactly what put Trump in power.  It’s exactly why the US is busily engaged in murdering people all over the world.  It’s why you’re groped before you can get on an airplane.  It’s why cops are murdering innocent people in the street without any repercussions whatsoever.  It’s why you no longer have the civil rights so many fought so hard for.  It’s why the US cages five times as many people as civilized countries do.  It’s why you have Gestapo asking for your fucking papers every time you turn around.  THIS; naked fascist authoritarianism.  And you know what?  I totally wouldn’t care if it didn’t affect me.  You are a free individual who has the absolute right to bow and scrape before an inhuman monster merely because she has a vagina if that’s what you like; go for it.  The problem is that you want to drag me along with you and I DO NOT CONSENT.  I don’t consent to authoritarians and fascists spying on me, robbing me, and threatening me with violence every time I try to do anything they don’t like.  I don’t consent to having my life, my sexuality, my substance use and even my fucking food intake monitored by “authorities” or “experts”.  And I don’t give a shit whether those control freaks have penises, vaginas, both or neither.  Evil is evil, tyranny is tyranny, and I DO NOT CONSENT, now or ever. 

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