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Posts Tagged ‘left-right myth’

For the past two and a half years, Friday columns have generally been light and low-effort for me; many of them are just expanded versions of tweet threads that I felt deserved a more permanent treatment.  Well, last week someone retweeted some of my content from 18 months ago, and I realized it should have that treatment as part of my intermittent series of columns on language.  I’ve written about this in a number of places (two of which I’ve linked below), but never quite this clearly or succinctly.  And so without further ado:

There are 4 separate meanings of “libertarian”:

1) one who opposes authoritarianism
2) a member of a broad movement advocating reduced governmental power
3) a US political party (capitalized)
4) a pejorative used by some “progressives” to mean “anyone I disagree with”

So if you’re in that first category, which many people are, you may be correctly described under (1) while not fitting into (2) or (3).  And (4) is impossible to control, but also no more meaningful than “traitor”, “infidel” or “doodyhead”.  I’m certainly a member of (1); as an anarchist I’m tolerated by (2); I have generally friendly relations with (3); and (4) is meaningless because membership in it is controlled by the whims of the very silly.

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In all sexual matters, the line between legal and illegal…should turn on the willing participation of those involved, not the tastes of whoever shouts the loudest.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

License to Rape

Police states define the bodies of all citizens as “crime scenes” which can be violated by “authorities” at will:

A [cop] in Texas was arrested…[for molesting]…at least six women in 11 days [under the pretext of “performing strip-searches”].  Floyd Berry…was re[warded with a paid vacation]…after several [women complained about the sexual assaults]…between Nov. 24 and Dec. 4…

Whimsical Notions

Here’s an interesting article on the official prostitution system developed by the South Korean government to cater to occupying US troops; long-time readers may note its resemblance to the similar “comfort” system Japan organized to deal with the same occupying force a decade earlier.  Before you read the article, you really should click on the subtitle link to read the original column of this name, from six years ago.  And after you read it, consider that this is what the full development of “legalized” prostitution looks like; then perhaps you will understand why every sex worker with an opinion on the subject prefers decriminalization to this nightmare of confinement, control and abuse.

Pimps Ahoy 

Another rescue industry scam intended to exploit sex workers captured by cops:

…Cynthia Luvlee-Austin found herself [a new scam] in 2018: [profiting from hysteria over] human trafficking [with yet another exploitative “training program”] to [force sex workers into after cops destroy] their own businesses and…financial independence…“As long as I can speak, I will [speak over people by claiming they’re] voiceless,” she says…“I’m [practiced in] disrupting [people’s lives to make a profit while pompously promoting myself]…She started Shyne San Diego, an organization that provides [her with income from grants based in] trafficking [hysteria]…

Lack of Evidence (#800)

NSWP on state surveillance and harassment of sex workers who travel:

Sex workers face many barriers to migration and travel, and are often subjected to arbitrary questioning, biased visa refusals and surveillance and discriminatory immigration checks after entering a country.  Sex workers’ movement can also be restricted under measures purporting to be “anti-trafficking”…some…avoid travel altogether because they are afraid of being denied entry, deported or of being identified as a sex worker.  Barriers to sex workers’ mobility also make it harder for them to engage with civil society and political spaces, and impede their right to associate and organise.  This Policy Brief explores the travel restrictions faced by sex workers

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#889) 

This article in the Daily Dot is a perfect example of how the inane “wing” model, which teaches that all political thought can be neatly divided into two and only two completely different and opposite camps, leads those who embrace it down the road to Moronia.  It starts by talking about the recent surge of porn-censoring zealotry among Republican politicians and pundits, then declares this a disease of the “right wing”, ignoring that the current “porn as public health crisis” rhetoric is rooted in the anti-porn “feminism” of Gail Dines, and the very concept of “public health” as meaning something other than disease control is a staunchly progressive dogma.  But the idiocy doesn’t stop there; author Ana Valens then declares libertarians “right wing”, and attempts to rectify the obvious contradiction by declaring that their opposition to the censorship that both Republicans and Democrats want (though sometimes for somewhat different things) “tore the right-wing into two camps”.  Do yourself a favor; skip this exercise in Procrustean navel-gazing and read Liz Brown’s article on the topic instead; it’s based on facts and won’t make you stupider as Valens’ article seems intended to do.

Signs (#912) 

Most of this article is just the typical rescue industry garbage, with busybody white ladies claiming to have seen “sex trafficking” everywhere they looked; this particular brand of snake oil comes courtesy of Mar Brettman, one of the smelliest turds produced by the collective Seattle anti-whore arsehole.  The only noteworthy aspect is Brettman’s iteration of the dusty old “pimp classification” silliness.  Normally the second type is “gorilla”, because he uses brute force and violence to control a woman.  But in Brettman’s scheme it’s “guerilla”, presumably the kind of “pimp” who stalks women in Ikea or Target and then jumps out of his white van to “sex traffick” them out of the parking lot.

Full of Themselves (#931)

Puritanical language is an intrinsic part of any story about cops raiding massage parlors:

[Pigs collected] dirty tissues…[from the garbage of] a South Carolina massage parlor…[then described their goodies as] “evidence of sexual nature…containing biological samples namely semen, and used female yeast infection medication capsules”…in August, a…[cop was sent to rape one of the masseuses and described the rape as]…illicit sexual services…[at] a house of ill fame…

Normal people do not use words like “illicit” or “house of ill fame”, or go digging through people’s trash for used tissues and medicine.  Cops are deeply twisted and in dire need of professional help, not given power to destroy normal people’s lives.

Blunt Instrument (#942)

The government’s latest sleazy trick: attacking with civil suits rather than criminal charges, because the burden of proof is reversed:

[New York] city is suing to shut down an…Asian mass[age parlor]…after…two [lying] cops made separate visits on July 5 and 13, during which each [sexually assaulted]…a woman…and…[claimed otherwise in reports]…One of the cops returned on July 23 and [raped the masseuse, then called for]…a…raid…The [cop’s victim] was also arrested and charged with prostitution…the city…is also [trying to rob the owners by a court order] seeking [loot] of $1,000 for every day the [spa] was in business…a lawyer for landlord Elias Kalimian said [because of disguise cop threats to prosecute them for “pimping”] eviction proceedings were underway against the tenant who’s been renting the…space for more than eight years…

Torture Chamber (#950)

Your government is trying to increase efficiency by letting screws deport people after beating and raping them:

Florida is poised to deputize [screws] as federal [pigs] at a state…prison as part of a [crusade]…to “[frame and deport migrants by pretending they] pose a risk to public safety in Florida”…the program…is the latest effort by the DeSantis administration to [weaponize racism]…in the state…including a ban on so-called sanctuary cities…Florida would become the fourth state to have its [human-caging] department enter into a…[fascist] agreement with the federal agency.  Arizona, Massachusetts and Georgia are the…other [three]…

Triple Threat

Once in a while the pigs make an example of an unusually-awful rapist cop:

[Rapist cop] Daniel Wilkey has been indicted on 44 criminal charges, including 25 felonies…he [is also the subject of] at least four separate lawsuits involving traffic stops…and…[was rewarded with] paid [vacation] since July.  Charges include six counts of sexual battery, two counts of rape, nine counts of official oppression, extortion, stalking, assault and others…

To Molest and Rape (#992)

Officials love bloviating about a nonexistent “oath” to make rapist cops seem like outliers when they’re actually typical:

A [cop] who [was about to be turned loose in a school to brutalize kids]…rap[ed] a 12-year-old girl [in] Texas [and] has been sentenced to 10 years in prison…Jorge Luis Bastida…met [the girl] online…raped [her] multiple times and filmed it on his cellphone.  “He swore an oath to protect children,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg [lied]. “He promised to protect and serve one of our most vulnerable populations”…Bastida…took [the girl]…to a motel…[and] despite her telling him that she is only 12 years old and did not want to have sex…Bastida pushed her down on the bed and held her by the neck [while he raped her].  The following morning, Bastida…th[rew]…money [at her “for candy”] before leaving the motel [to go to] work [with his fellow rapists].  After Bastida left, the girl called her mom from the motel and was [taken] to a hospital…

Crying for Nanny (#997)

The hotel industry is really going to regret having collaborated with fanatics rather than fighting “sex trafficking” hysteria:

A woman who [pretends] she was the victim of sex trafficking in 2012 and 2013 at multiple hotels in Oregon and Washington is suing six major hotel chains in federal court, saying they neglected trafficking happening “openly on hotel properties” and failed to [stick their noses into the guests’ business]…The suit…names Hilton…Wyndham…Marriott…Choice Hotels…Extended Stay America and Red Lion…all…of [whom bloviated, postured and vomited out “sex trafficking” propaganda in response]…

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Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.  –  George Santayana

Americans suffer from a peculiar and almost characteristic ignorance of history.  Part of the reason is certainly “American exceptionalism”, the ridiculous dogma that the US is intrinsically different from all other nation and empires which have preceded it since the nation-state was first invented; after all, if one truly believes that none of the lessons of history can possibly apply to one’s own current reality, then studying it is as academic as a physician choosing to study the anatomy of echinoderms.  Another part is this country’s bizarre celebration of ignorance; as Isaac Asimov once expressed it,

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

Soi-disant conservatives mock the currently-fashionable elevation of feelings above facts by the “woke”, yet they themselves are guilty of the same sin; they eschew facts which conflict with their irrational attachment to ancient religions, their emotional discomfort with new ideas, and their visceral fear of unfamiliar cultural or sexual practices.  Americans belonging to both “wings” of the US Fascist Party are only too happy to discard whatever economic, scientific, or historical facts get in the way of their preferred policies, especially when those facts indicate that the policies will accomplish exactly the opposite of their pretended goals.  And then there’s intentional disinformation; since tribalism is the highest virtue in modern American thought, nobody wants to be called a “traitor” for refuting the lies vomited out by their “leaders”, even when those lies are easily contradicted by consulting a legitimate source.  So the ignorant believe whatever they are told, while those who know better remain silent.

Worst of all, history has always been written by the victors, and in the US the victors have always been authoritarians; US history is thus warped by authoritarians to glorify other authoritarians, and Americans can’t be bothered to consult histories written by non-Americans because what do those foreign eggheads know?  They’re probably atheist or libertarian or Muslim or dead white males who aren’t Marx anyway.  USA! USA! USA!   Both Team MAGA and Team {unpronounceable string of umpteen capital letters} are much too busy dreaming of inflicting their own flavor of totalitarian dystopia on everyone else to bother even attempting to learn from those who went before, and besides, it’s 2019, duh.  And so they keep fighting over the wheel while the ship which carries all of us spins slowly in the rapid current toward the whirlpool ahead, ignoring the writing on the map, the clearly-posted warning buoys, and the shipwrecked sailors on nearby islands shouting at them to turn back before it’s too late. 

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One Bit

A “bit” is the very smallest unit of information, representing the result of a choice between two and only two possibilities.  One bit can tell you whether a switch is on or off, a number 1 or 0, a charge positive or negative, etc.  It takes at least five bits to designate a letter of the Roman alphabet, and because designating a character from the traditional ASCII character set required eight bits, that was designated a “byte”, the smallest unit of computer memory.  The information contained in this column to the end of this sentence is roughly 600 bytes (4800 bits); not much really.  So what would you say if I made the facially-absurd claim that the entirety of human political thought, from its earliest beginnings to the present day and spanning every single person in every country on the globe, could be accurately and concisely summarized by 1/4800 as much information?  You would correctly surmise that anyone who actually believed such a thing would have to be some kind of imbecile, and yet tens of millions of people believe exactly that; they think everything important about any person’s entire range of political cognition can be summed up precisely and acurately by exactly one bit of infomation.  Left or right, blue or red, good or evil, Little-endian or Big-endian.  Is it any wonder that modern US politics bears almost no resemblance to the real world?

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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.  –  “To End All Wars

In the first few decades of the last century, a popular conspiracy theory held that the Great War which ended 101 years ago today had been engineered by munitions manufacturers and bankers for their own profit.  But while that may have certainly been one factor, the majority of the blame rests on the power-madness of European governments and their unquenchable thirsts to expand their empires across the entire globe, no matter what the cost in blood and wealth to their subjects, both native and conquered.  A century later, however, the world’s one remaining empire is engaged in not one but many endless, pointless wars whose costs would have staggered the Rothschilds, whose lack of clear imperial goals would have confused a Caesar or a Napoleon, and whose sheer, mindless carnage would have nauseated the Spartans.  America’s war-madness has destabilized the entire Middle East; made military contractors wealthy beyond the dreams of avarice; contributed to the centralization of US federal power in the executive branch; fueled terrorism on four continents; indebted the US Empire to the only serious challenger to its pre-eminence; created the modern surveillance state; and handed so much political and military power to a domestic Praetorian class that its members can not only rob, rape, pillage and even murder citizens with impunity, but also write its own laws and openly defy legislation intended to bring it back under political control.  Certainly, the politicians who support these wars do so at least in part out of a desire to increase their own power, because far too many of the hoi-polloi still practice primitive leader-worship and adhere to notions of nationalism that were already outdated when the Great War began.  But given the popularity of astonishingly-wasteful military adventurism across the monolithic ruling party naive Americans absurdly refer to as “the political spectrum”, including among those who profess to have better and far more productive ideas for the trillions being flushed down Ares’ toilet, it seems obvious that the theorists of a century past would be absolutely correct if they were saying now what they said then:  a great deal of the impetus for modern warfare, like the impetus for the domestic wars (on drugs, whores, “crime”, etc), comes directly from those reaping profits and gathering political power from the bloodshed.  And because that is so, and nobody in power anywhere has the courage or morality to say so, the wars of the 21st century, unlike their 19th and 20th century counterparts of finite length, will continue on interminably until the Empire waging them is consumed in the flames of its own collective insanity.

 

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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.  –  “Illegitimate

One of the major themes of The Grand Illusion (1937) is that class differences are more powerful and enduring than national boundaries, so the ruling classes on the two sides of any given war have more in common with one another than they do with the people they rule.  This has been true at least since the Middle Ages, and possibly much longer; in the present day it is more true than it ever has been, both within any given country and across national boundaries.  Posturing politicians pretend to be the sworn enemies of other politicians, only to play kissy-face with one another when they don’t realize there’s a camera around.  They claim to be the champions of “the people”, but in actuality those “people” are no more than a source of power to them, as interchangeable, expendable and disposable as lumps of coal thrown into a furnace.  And while the conflict between politicians of different parties may be real, it is not the conflct of a life-or-death struggle as they pretend (and their followers believe), but the conflict of two friends playing a game or arguing over which fast-food restaurant makes the best cheeseburger.  Two of the contenders in the next US presidential election changed political parties after middle-age (ie, well after their actual beliefs, rather than their publicly-claimed ones, were set in stone) in order to further their ambitions, but you’d barely know it by the fanatical chanting of their fans and their attempts to out-Herod Herod.  And if you’d like to destroy your belief that US parties actually have any kind of solid basis in ideology, just take a look at the avowed positions of the two contenders from the last presidential election and compare them with both their actual actions in political office and the supposed political “wing” of the parties they represented.  And yet I’ve seen friends argue heatedly and even become estranged over their loyalties to these opportunistic sociopaths; a message board I used to frequent completely imploded over name-calling (“libtards”, “RepubliKKKans”, etc) and other ugly, childish behavior during the 2008 election.  No matter what natural affiliations one might expect a politician to have due to race, sex, religion, economic background, or any other characteristic, those all become casualties of the quest for power.  You know which countries are the largest exporters of surveillance and other military and police technologies used by brutal governments to suppress their people?  China, Israel and the United States.  And none of them is especially concerned whether their customers claim to be communist, anti-Semitic, democratic or anything else, because in actuality, they’re all on the same side:  the side of the power elite.  And until the masses discard both their cherished belief in god-king “leaders” who will save them, protect them and care for them, and their ugly, primitive lust for power over other humans, that power elite will continue regarding them as livestock to herd, shear and slaughter as they see fit.

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Though lily-livered fools have been demanding they be “protected” from ideas they don’t like for several years now, it’s terrifying how quickly this terrible idea has moved from the lunatic fringe to the mainstream.  –  “Suppression

For one educated in the Seventies and Eighties, and trained as a librarian in the early Nineties, the landscape of intellectual freedom has become almost unrecognizeable.  For the majority of my life, and the majority of time for which “Banned Books Week” has existed, top-down censorship attempts in the Western world were rare; attempts to ban books, censor websites and suppress speech generally came from non-government authoritarian groups and the majority of educated people could be counted on to oppose and ridicule them.  But in this century, the sick need to control others’ thoughts grew as the internet made it easier for those thoughts to be shared, and early last year top-down government censorship returned with a vengeance thanks to the Great Unwashed eagerly swallowing racist claims about “human trafficking” and magically baneful effects of anything to do with sex.  The US enacted FOSTA, leading to a wave of internet censorship; the UK is trying to build a massive firewall comparable to China’s; the EU has enacted law after law allowing greedy corporations and finger-pointing Prunellas alike power over others’ web-browsing; and every two-bit dictatorship has recognized that all it needs to do to justify thought control is parrot Western “hate speech” idiocy.  Free speech (derided by “progressive”-flavored authoritarians as “freeze peach”) has noticeably declined all over the world:

…First, ruling parties in many countries have found new tools for suppressing awkward facts and ideas.  Second, they feel emboldened to use such tools, partly because global support for free speech has faltered.  Neither of the world’s superpowers is likely to stand up for it. China ruthlessly censors dissent at home and exports the technology to censor it abroad.  The United States, once a champion of free expression, is now led by a man who says things like…“free speech is not when you see something good and then you purposely write bad”…Censorious authoritarians elsewhere often cite Mr Trump’s catchphrases, calling critical reporting “fake news” and critical journalists “enemies of the people”.  The notion that certain views should be silenced is popular on the left, too.  In Britain and America students shout down speakers they [disagree with]…and Twitter mobs demand the sacking of anyone who violates an expanding list of taboos.  Many western radicals contend that if they think something is offensive, no one should be allowed to say it.  Authoritarians elsewhere agree.  What counts as offensive is subjective, so “hate speech” laws can be elastic tools for criminalising dissent…

That article has a lot of good examples of the rise of (often violent) censorship, but beware; even the authors of this ostensibly pro-free-thought piece have been infected by the need to choose a “side” and skew information accordingly.  As I wrote four years ago, Ray Bradbury’s view of future censorship practices was prescient; where else but in “a culture which values feelings above thought” could a video display service ban an historically-important anti-Nazi diocumentary from 1938 for violating its policy against “hate speech”?  Or perhaps Google is just feeling a bit self-conscious, given that it’s currently in a fascist collaboration to develop a censorship-enabled search engine for China.  Meanwhile, the US is trying to silence Edward Snowden by seizing the profits from his new book; I suggest you buy a paper copy to preclude Amazon’s stealing electronic copies from your Kindle at the behest of its pals in Washington.  The censor-morons are loose, and they’re attacking the small targets so their totalitarian masters can expend their energy on big ones like the internet, the publishing industry and what little is left of the independent press.

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