Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

As I’ve written before many times, nations and empires are as mortal as the humans who build them, if somewhat longer-lived; and despite the childish beliefs of many Americans, the US is not an exception.  It will die as all political entities must, and it has already passed the point at which future historians will draw an imaginary line dividing the “classical” US from the imperialistic police state which succeeded it.  Over the past few years, we’ve seen a succession of events which has dramatically undermined whatever prestige the US enjoyed:  the ascension of a mad emperor who has made himself an international laughingstock, burned nearly every bridge, and weakened the economy with a ridiculous trade war; the exposure before the eyes of the world of the violent, racist, authoritarian rot that permeates the entire fascist sytem; the childish bickering and deranged tyrannies of nearly every member of the US political class, trying to one-up each other instead of fulfilling one of the few legitimate functions of government, disaster management; and said government’s shameless funneling of money into the hands of the well-connected on a scale unseen since the collapse of the Ancien Régime.  But these were just the visible ulcerations of a cancer which existed for decades before (itself developing from the nation’s ugly birth defect, the morally repulsive notion that people do not own themselves, but can be owned by other people, groups or rulers).  As I wrote in 2013,

…the rulers, rather than admitting the systemic problems, prefer to treat government as a colossal game of hot potato, eternally passing the ball forward in the hopes that it will be in someone else’s hands when the music at last stops as it inevitably must.  But as the events of the last few years have amply demonstrated, the piper is growing steadily more exhausted, and will soon demand his due.  Soon we will be forced to change the way we’ve done things for the past century, whether we like it or not, and the actions of the ruling class (especially that of the US and UK) over the past few decades bode ill for that change being a peaceful one.  I think it’s safe to predict that there will be fireworks, and not of the pleasant kind…

The era of US hegemony is over; it looks, may the gods help us, as though the dominant world political power of the twenties is going to be an empire even more outrageously evil and single-mindedly authoritarian than the US ever was.  I suspect it won’t be long before the process of Balkanization which is already underway becomes obvious even to those who are deeply invested in ignoring it, and Washington joins Rome as a relic of crumbling monuments which was once the most powerful city on Earth.

Read Full Post »

Last Saturday, Chekhov and I were spreading gravel over the bathhouse area, and just as we had come to the conclusion that we had pulled everything we could out of a pile left over from the French drain project, one of our neighbors showed up with a dump truck full (we had called him the day before but weren’t sure he had received the message) and gave it to me for free because I let him store his extra hay in my barn.  He’s a white man in his sixties of the type common in rural areas across the US:  a big, jovial, clever-but-uneducated, good-natured farmer.  So we chatted for a while, and naturally the protests came up; since very few older, rural white men have ever had a bad interaction with cops, I assumed there was no point in doing anything other than listen politely because arguing with him about it would be useless (possibly even counterproductive).  As I expected, he could not comprehend why people are talking about abolishing cops entirely; he has not had the life-experience and/or made a study of the topic, and therefore believes that cops exist to “protect and serve”.  But then he said something I didn’t expect: “They oughta lock them killer cops up!”  Despite believing the propaganda we’ve all been fed about the goodness of cops, he made no excuses for wanton murder and clearly stated his support for criminal penalties for criminal cops.  The cries and protests are being heard by the general public at last, and people are unhappy about the way cops can literally get away with murder.  And when you’ve lost ordinary older white rural men like my neighbor, you might as well give up.

Read Full Post »

It will be neither an easy fight nor a quick one, but neither was the struggle for LGBT rights and look how far that’s come.  –  “Galvanized

Today is International Whores’ Day, a celebration of the power and resilience of sex workers in the face of state violence and social stigma alike.  This year, when our community is suffering from pandemic-caused privation in addition to the evil crusade which many governments subject to US hegemony have increasingly inflicted upon us since the beginning of the century, it may seem as though there is little to celebrate; some even worry (and others hope) that current conditions will accomplish what no other menace in history has been able to, the end of sex work as a viable profession.  The yellow journalists at CNN even published a story whose headline shrieks, “Can the world’s oldest profession survive the age of social distancing?” and I’m here to answer it:  Of course we fucking can.  As I wrote over three years ago in “For My Sisters“,

We have survived the fall of empires and the disappearance of whole peoples.  We have survived fire, flood, famine, pestilence, war and every other disaster.  We have survived persecution, pogroms, confinement in brothels, literal slavery, mutilation & even burnings.  We will survive this too…and our tribe will exist when The USA is nothing but a thing kids learn about in history, then forget.  We are as eternal as the sea; our enemies are mere insects, who annoy for a season and are then gone.  In order for them to win, they would have to completely destroy human sexuality; in order for us to win, all we need do is practice the patience and courage which we have in abundance.  And though it’s difficult to remember that in trying times, it doesn’t even matter if we do or not because even if we as individuals forget, we as a group will survive and triumph nonetheless.

The prohibitionists’ best attempts to crush us have all backfired; public support for decriminalization is higher than it has ever been, and a week doesn’t pass that some prominent magazine, newspaper, website or even politician calls for it.  Every prominent human rights organization, medical organization, and academic who has studied the subject agrees.  Sex work is even increasingly viewed as “cool” by young people, and the same pandemic which is causing us so much pain right now has also turned “sex trafficking” hysteria into yesterday’s news (a fact even prohibitionists are starting to grasp).  Yes, things are very damned bad right now…and it will pass, as everything does.  And when it does we will still be here, just as we always have been.

Read Full Post »

The most popular current excuse for expanding the police state and destroying civil liberties is “the pandemic”.

Before that it was “sex trafficking”.

Before that it was “terrorism”.

Before that it was “crime”.

Before that it was “drugs”.

Before that it was “communism”.

Before that it was…

How many times will you let them fool you?

Read Full Post »

Phrases like “essential worker” and “nonessential business” are now being bandied about by the collectivists without any apparent recognition of what such phrases say about their ugly view of humanity.  People are complex individuals who often find comfort in belonging to something larger than themselves; they are not ants or mechanical parts to be reduced to “workers” and declared “essential” or “nonessential” (for the latter read “disposable”) by their owners.  The idea that bureaucrats have the right to make such pronouncements over the lives of individuals, and to dictate that some people are unworthy of being allowed to make a living and feed their families, is a totalitarian abomination.  Even if you accept the extremely shaky premise that it was “necessary” to forcibly cut off some people’s income in order to manage a pandemic, no society which pretends to be “free” has any business sorting human beings into categories as though they were produce.  Rather than subjectively (and such decisions were extremely subjective, varying wildly from state to state and country to country) declaring some people’s businesses, jobs, and needs expendable, governments could instead have established clear, objective criteria to which businesses had to adhere in order to go unharassed.  For example, the plexiglass shields which have now appeared in grocery stores and other “essential” outlets would be equally effective in many other businesses, regardless of whether politicians declared them “essential” or not, and cops have repeatedly demonstrated in the past few weeks that they imagine their busybody interference in the lives of people who are doing mundane things that aren’t remotely unsafe (such as walking with a spouse in a park) to be “essential” despite its potential to expose people to infection (especially when they actually manhandle such people and lock them in the filthy cages which have become breeding grounds for pestilence).  In short, the only people who have demonstrated themselves to be “nonessential” during this crisis are the sociopathic control freaks who imagine that everything they do and say is important, while other people are simply interchangeable objects to be sorted through and either used or discarded.

Read Full Post »

On December 2nd, 1996, I got my nails done professionally for the first time; since then I’ve had them done every three weeks, four at the outside during disasters like Hurricane Katrina.  It has always been something I’ve done religiously, as the visible sign of a covenant with myself.  I’ve always had a tendency to deny myself things my inner nun pronounced “frivolous”, and having my nails done regularly served as a clear refutation of that kind of puritanism, a reminder that self-care is important even when authoritarians declare such hygiene “non-essential”.  So those of you who aren’t blinded by puritanism can probably guess how frustrating April was for me; not only had my nails grown ugly and too long to be practical, they were also starting to lift and break.  And when one is used to nails of a certain length, a broken nail can make that finger so clumsy it’s almost unusable.  But last week I mentioned my irritation to my friend Winnie, and she told me that she knew how to do them and would be happy to do mine.  So yesterday I went to her place and, in the course of a lovely visit, got my fingers back looking like something to be found on a civilized woman’s hands.  Maybe in three weeks I’ll be able to get them done professionally again, and maybe I’ll need to ask Winnie again.  But in either case, it’s good to wrest a little more control over my life back from people I wouldn’t trust to manage my henhouse, much less the affairs of an entire state.

Read Full Post »

Today is the day that the ill-conceived shutdown of public society was supposed to have been lifted in Washington state.  Of course, it wasn’t, because these shutdowns are based less in science than in politics, with the entire West following China’s authoritarian notions of how to deal with an epidemic.  Governors are afraid that if some worst-case scenario were to occur after they lifted their bans on conducting business, they would be blamed and their political careers would be destroyed.  So naturally, they’ve made the same kind of sheep-and-goats division they did when declaring that many people’s means of survival were “non-essential” and could be replaced by a single handout of $1200 for two months or more of destroyed income:  they deemed their political careers “essential” and most small businesses (especially those disproportionately owned by minorities) “non-essential”.  But some people have started to see through it, and a few are starting to rely on their own judgment rather than blindly obeying diktats from self-appointed commissars.  About half of my friends have started getting business again; some restaurants and bars in various cities are starting to operate secretly, speakeasy-style; and a number of physicians who disagree with the political response have started publishing op-eds and otherwise challenging the orthodoxy.  And the longer polticians drag their feet in establishing practical measures businesses can take to be deemed “safe” to re-open, the more people will simply move on and do what they need to do to survive without political permission.  Silly protests by MAGA-hat-wearers and other crackpots will not end the “lockdowns”; in the absence of some omen that will sway skittish state governors, only what Vaclav Havel called “living in truth” can do that.  And if the few small signs I’m aware of are any indication, it has already started. 

Read Full Post »

I’ve grown very, very tired of the whole “billionaires are intrinsically evil” idiocy over the past couple of years.  As I’ve said many times over the past several decades, wealth and power do not create evil; they merely enable the evil that is already inherent in the human brain.  Oppression is enabled by wealth and/or power, but not created by them; poor and powerless people are not morally superior to the rich and powerful.  In general, they are just as shitty; they merely lack the means to inflict their evil on others by any means other than direct interpersonal violence.  That’s why it’s impossible to “fix” authoritarian systems by giving more power to historically disenfranchised groups; given money and/or power they soon become indistinguishable from the other pigs.  The only way to “fix” systems in which people abuse power over others is to elimate abusable power.  In short, St. Augustine’s observation about children is also true (if you substitute socioeconomic weakness for physical) of the poor: “The weakness of little children’s limbs is innocent, not their souls.”

Read Full Post »

Government is not reason.  Government is not eloquence.  It is force.  And, like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.
–  George Washington

Even though I am well aware of Americans’ obsessive, single-minded and moronic devotion to black hat/white hat (excuse me, “blue hat/red hat”) fantasies of how the world works, it is especially frustrating and infuriating during the pandemic.  On the one hand, we have a demented would-be emperor and his crazed followers denying that anything is wrong and claiming that the best way to deal with the possibility of a disease raging through the population is to pretend it doesn’t exist.  On the other hand, we have several dozen deranged would-be kings and queens granting themselves the power to reduce people to serfdom and destroy everything they have worked toward for years or decades by declaring their jobs, businesses and even Constitutional rights “non-essential” and sending out violent thugs to enforce their “orders”, however arbitrary or nonsensical.  And despite their claims to the contrary, none of these positions are based in science, logic or careful consideration; they are purely based in politics.  The collectivist idiots who identify with the color “blue” (in defiance of its historical associations) like to pretend that their arbitary diktats are based in “science”, despite the fact that there’s nothing “scientific” about criminalizing the purchase of seeds while allowing the purchase of produce, or violently confining a woman in a filthy cage packed with strangers for the “crime” of being found in the company of her romantic partner.  Meanwhile, collectivist idiots who identify with the color “red” (in defiance of its historical associations) like to pretend that their arbitary diktats are based in…something that isn’t arbitrary? (I’m not sure; I’ve never been good at understanding stupid people).  Examples include banning abortion as “non-essential” (same reason some states gave for trying to ban gun sales; it’s a versatile excuse for authoritarianism), suspending the writ of habeas corpus, or closing the borders.  In reality, both groups of violent, power-mad imbeciles are defining their positions completely in relation to one another (as they usually do), and searching for logic or consistency in any proclamation made by any US politician is a complete waste of time.  My advice?  You’ve got a brain; use it.  Read as much as you can, decide for yourself which precautions make sense, respect the rights of others to make those decisions for themselves, and accept whatever consequences result from your choices without pointing the finger at anyone else other than the politicians and other state actors who are never content with only running their own lives, but instead demand to make decisions for everyone, and dispatch thugs and lawyers to destroy the lives of anyone who refuses to kowtow to their whims.

Read Full Post »

When Lucy Steigerwald tweeted this item about ICE still trying to deport people in the middle of a pandemic, she commented that she didn’t understand how they could sleep at night; I said that “Just doing my job” is even more insidiously evil than “I was only following orders”.  Mike Siegel then replied by calling attention to what Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski said about the interrogator character in the episode “Intersections in Real Time”, a man so harmless-looking he would’ve gone unnoticed in any ordinary office:

…You look at most of the guys who ran Treblinka, or Bergen-Belsen, and they’re largely ordinary looking guys, who could be accountants or repair men or car salesmen…most SF tends to…deal with the big bad guys, the…Darth Vaders and all the other major forces…but all too often the real damage is done not by the single Evil Leader, but by the ten million people who follow him, the bookkeepers who track the bodies and…make the trains run on time, who run the gulags, who build the new state empires that will be built with slave labor, any or all of whom could say, as many have, “I was just doing my job”…To the interrogator, he was simply doing his job, and…then he goes home to his wife and kids, and has dinner, and sits out on the porch trying to forget what he does because he thinks he has to do it…assuming he thinks about it at all…

Look around you, especially in an election season, and see the pure evil a lot of people spout, usually while imagining that the things they’re advocating – up to and including mob violence – are righteous.  And they’re all ordinary folks.  Some of the people I’ve crossed paths with as an activist don’t actually care about anyone’s rights; they’re just amoral Marxists who happened to fall into sex work at some point and have chosen to adopt it as an identity despite Marxist regimes’ long persecution of us.  The majority of cops, bureaucrats and other petty evildoers don’t see themselves as evil; they see themselves as just people doing a job.  And every one of them looks (and in public, acts) just like anyone else.  They shop in the same stores, watch TV, love their dogs, eat next to us in restaurants.

All the cops.

All the screws.

All the functionaries.

All the other quiet sociopaths.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »