Monday, June 29, 2015

Gay marriage: Why should you care?

Gay marriage: It’s not about liking it.  It’s not even about morality. It’s about realizing it’s none of your business.

If two people want to associate in a certain way, and define this association in a certain way, how is this anybody else’s problem?

The state divides a people by requiring all residents of a certain geographic location to submit to its definitions, among the least important of which is ‘marriage.’ This is monopoly, as opposed to people freely associating with churches or other organizations that officiate and sanction what to each of them constitutes marriage. Such freedom is what makes society dynamic, and keeps it responsive to real threats to the social fabric, e.g. violence, and all institutions that rely on it to retain their monopoly.

As it is, the rationale of marriage, that is, ensuring economic assistance to child-bearing and unemployable women, is just about obsolete in this day when a working mother is no longer a big deal.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Is being a ‘bandwagon fan’ so bad?

As opposed to what, the ‘true’ or ‘loyal’ fan? Is there any real conflict in the enjoyment each type of fan derives from their object of adoration/appreciation?

Part of the fun of sports is the arbitrariness of allegiances. It’s not about good versus bad. It’s not about vying for political advantage, at least not directly. It’s really just about an entity besting another at some skill that would otherwise have little if any application in everyday life.

In some ways, being fickle and nonchalant in one’s support of teams is preferable to a hardcore fan’s blindness to what is merely their bias.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Only 30% of people (well, maybe less) will agree with you

I learned from James Altucher in ‘Choose yourself’ that assuming a ‘law’ of only 30% of people liking you is a great comfort. 

I think it would also help to assume that only 30% of people will agree with me on specific issues, or will get the points I make. This way, I can let go of many an imagined debate.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Legislation against food wastage, step by step

On state regulation of food wastage:
- Retailers of food only ‘waste’ such food because it is the cheapest option available.
- To require additional storage or effectively impose a minimum on consumption is to add to costs, thus lowering demand from producers.
- The lower demand is a signal to produce less.
- Supply thus decreases, even as demand, and prices remain high.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Is the 'masa' vote a problem?

Popular ‘masa’ support for Vice President Jojo Binay is still strong, which is seen by those who think they know better as a reason against giving the poor, the non-taxpayers, the unemployed, etc. the ‘right’ to vote for supposed ‘leaders.’

Most debates never deal with the matter of whether anyone should have such legislative power to its current extent. The problem remains so innocently framed as: “Who should you vote for?” Which unbeknownst to both rich and poor, amounts to, “Who should have such coercive, monopolistic influence on society?” But to be so blunt about it is just too unpalatable, elections-wise.

We know that there ought to be limits to legislative power, but most of us think in terms of Marcos, Hitler, etc., that is, outright dictators. But what about the present recognized limits of legislation?

Is popular support for Binay really the problem? Or is it the system, with its legislative blank check that encourages and rewards the likes of Binay, that we should concern ourselves with?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

On the cult of Duterte

You can’t instill discipline by fear. You have to distinguish between the two. Threats of force don’t work in raising kids (only in domesticating them; a ‘good boy’ is hardly a good person), and it certainly doesn’t work in maintaining order in society.

Discipline is not arrived at top-down, but by letting people figure things out on their own and facing the consequences of their actions (in regard to this, barriers to trade are also barriers to discipline).

Discipline by fear, e.g. prohibition in the guise of ‘anti-smuggling,’ ‘drug-free youth,’ etc. merely changes the form of a ‘social evil,’ promoting black markets and concentrating power in the hands of the lawless (which includes supposed upholders of the law).

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Why the life sentence of Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht is wrong

Ross Ulbricht didn’t create demand for the prohibited industries that took advantage of Silk Road as an avenue for commerce. What he did though was make these industries a little safer, a little more peaceful, than they otherwise would have been. He saved lives.

Instead of going on default reactive mode talking about the need to go ‘tough on crime,’ which only perpetuates black markets to mob leaders’ delight, more of us should question the nature of prohibition itself, and consider other means of addressing substance abuse. Now that would be a threat to violent criminals who benefit from the status quo of near-zero competition.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Critique of 'On a plate,' and class differences

This caricature will no doubt be regarded as a sound basis of policy. But I hope not.

The question is really not what situation the world is in, but what conditions made it so.

Conventional bias is that the rich ‘capitalists’ want low taxes and less regulation to continue exploiting the poor working class, who thus need the state to wage a battle for them via legislation (on top of already existing ‘pro-poor’ legislation, that is).

In fact, ‘class differences’ are perpetuated by legislation, a good deal involving fee collection for monopolized services (taxes) as well as regulation of such monopolized industries. Both rich and poor seek the state as a solution, whether this is by the ‘capitalists’ control of sectors via barriers to entry, or the ‘proletariat’s’ availing of captured services.

Friday, May 8, 2015

The ultimate fate of racist statements

In more peaceful times to come, the remaining purpose of the concept of race will be for jokes. 

With the lack of anything substantial or relevant to criticize about another person, one resorts to ridicule of surface differences and general features, clearly illustrating the lack of conflict and the good will between the two parties. 

The ‘insulted’ group, unable to identify with such a caricature, and knowing the spirit in which such a jest was made, could only laugh.

This dynamic is, I believe, already present among close friends of differing races.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The right to be stupidly insulting (or insultingly stupid)

Imagine a guy who loves insulting people who believe in a round earth. He calls them ‘pigounds’ or ‘roundearthfuckers’ (My creativity is slowly ebbing in my 30s, pardon me). Any chance he gets, he says things like, “May I have a medical checkup with any doctors who don’t think the world is round?” And all the while, he lives on our round Earth. The nerve!

Do we deport him into space? Send over a mob to ‘defend our kind’?

Or do we allow him his ‘truths,’ and let him face the consequences of his small-mindedness among the people he tries to insult? I say ‘tries to,’ because, you can’t even begin to take him seriously, right?

Ultimately, violence does not equate to accountability, no matter what ‘the law’ says.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Is political debate pointless?

Maybe I’m gonna give up trying to convince other people of their mistaken politics. This would include not phrasing something in my head, hoping to pwn them in imagined conversation. This debating, much of it merely thought up, is a lot of work, with little results, and the underlying ill-equipped psychology of others (and myself, too, I suppose) remains to be addressed.

If I went back in time trying to convince people that their kings were not divinely appointed, they’d think me daft. Perhaps the only ones who’d listen to me are the ones who want to take the kingdom for themselves. Which is kind of against the point I’m making.

If I try arguing the case against slavery, or for free speech, free banking, free population growth, etc. in a time when people need to believe their state-engineered remedies, harboring them as some kind of security blanket in their naïveté, I would be wasting my time. Instead, I could look forward centuries from then, or from now for that matter, trusting that the arrangement of societal elements would be more complementary to my views.

So this might be a goodbye for now from this blog designed to refute ignorance. Not that I haven’t hinted at an end to such discussions before.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Disillusion and hope

A couple of months ago, I attended a reunion in my former university. I got to talking to one of my professors about my experience as a journalist. I mentioned about becoming “disillusioned” 10 years ago, and this was said with some humor, but thinking about it later, it occurred to me that hearing something like that from a former student may be sad for a teacher.

My professor reacted to my ‘disillusioned’ statement by saying that he’s stayed in the Philippines amid the troubles the country faces, because he still has hope. To this, I mentioned vaguely that if I’m to make a difference, it won’t be as a part of the establishment, which to me means the electoral process (‘politics’) and the disseminating of information (‘media’).


I think that the word ‘disillusion,’ although normally connoting despair, should be understood in its literal sense. What is ‘disillusion’ anyway? It’s a removal of illusion – a gaining of awareness by knowing what something is not. By such realization of how things actually are, one becomes more capable of thinking and acting accordingly.

Since my time in the media and politics, I could no longer claim ignorance as to their role in maintaining the status quo*. And this is not just a Philippine problem. Society and its systems remain a great deal centralized, and to expect this to change from established institutions, which benefit from the way things are, is the great naïveté.

Look elsewhere

Politics isn’t a matter of ‘voting for the right people,’ but rather a lack of choice in choosing representatives of what are basically monopoly service providers. And the quality of journalism is only as good as the quality of thought of their consumers, who shouldn’t be satisfied with the present choices of what constitutes ‘mainstream’ media.

Why hope?

Disillusion and hope do go together. Humanity, in learning how the way the world works, is constantly accumulating mental capital, and interactions become less and less top-down and more horizontal, all of which portend peace in the future. The slowness of social evolution may seem to belie this; we can only pray we live long enough to savor it together.
* My personal studies and not so much my ‘on the field’ experiences are responsible for my increased understanding.