Sunday, December 30, 2012

Hopeful yet discontent, yet happy

Though his mind is not for rent to any god or government, always hopeful yet discontent, he knows changes aren’t permanent, but change is. Neil Peart, Tom Sawyer, from Moving Pictures (1981) by Rush

A libertarian, the definition of which I best fall under among various political orientations, is no more discontent about society than others who have got things all wrong by embracing the state in any shape or degree.

Sure, he may not experience whatever victories are experienced by people who identify themselves with political parties, but there is a peace in being so consistent in principle and theory against the state.

Not only is a libertarian no more discontent than morons of other political persuasions, but happiness need not be beyond his grasp. One’s wishes for humanity, no matter how distant in the future or in reality they may be —  and even in a society without institutionalized states, there will be some level of coercion, the conflict of which is necessary for evolution — can go hand in hand with everyday happinesses that require no upheaval but that of one’s mind.


The more I am aware of the libertarian movement, both abroad and among people I personally know, the more I see its inadequacies, its flaws, its outright lamenesses. Yet for every tasteless, arrogant, stuck-up, hard-headed, phony, narcissistic, spineless dork who considers themselves of like mind, there are three or four genuinely nice people worth knowing and sharing ideas with.

And the more I see, the less like a ‘movement’ it seems. Worthwhile change happens not with a bang. There is no revamp of people in charge; heck, the very concept of people having to be in charge is discarded. Political revolution quietly creeps in like inception. 

Any noise that is heard, is in glory of specific entities, think tanks, foundations, politicians, etc. These are marketing successes, nothing more. They do not concern me, nor anyone who insists on being scientific in their views.

They’re morons. So what?

The gap between sound political thinking, and of today’s intellectual morass, is huge. There’s this diagram I saw sometime back, showing a hierarchy of entities, wherein God supersedes Country supersedes Family supersedes Barkada supersedes the Individual. As though there just had to be conflict between levels, or as if the individual could benefit himself in any long-term, holistic sense by hurting others or by defying science and nature (i.e. God, for those wanting to be figurative about it).

Instead of looking at the individual and society as complementing one another — wherein the interests of both are promoted sans coercive acts — conflict is thought to be inherent. No wonder people turn to the state, i.e. initiated, institutionalized violence, to sort their problems. If you look at society as a class war instead of, well, a society composed of individuals, life will always be one versus the other, of which government is the epitome.

Luckily, not many actually embrace the implications of statism to its end. Unluckily, because they do not take the time to study its implications at all, most still unwittingly embrace statism and the theft and murder it entails, even though if questioned, they would say that theft and murder are harmful and despicable.

What is to be done?
1. Keep your head down. Stay away from politics (not to say, don’t discuss it altogether).
2. Keep your head up. Take time to appreciate the liberty you do have, which is considerable. Even Andy Dufresne, stuck in a dark, stinky hole in ‘The Shawshank redemption’ (1994), had the music in his heart that no warden could take away. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

What do Santa, religion and the state have in common?

If I were to answer, Yes or No, to the question “Should kids be told Santa exists?” I would probably say no. It’s not so much because it inculcates illogic in a child’s worldview, what with the claim that some jolly old man sends presents to children around the world in one night. What is most disagreeable to me is the morals of it all.

Obedience, and other immaturities

The ‘Santa mentality,’ of submitting to some outside authority over what is considered “bad or good,” pervades religion primarily. It is indicative of the primitive, if not savage, institutions at the time of the founding of such religions some centuries ago. One’s value system is thus based on maintaining quotas so as to please this outside authority. Obedience equals goodness.


Healthy living, in fact, involves action apart or beyond what is tolerated by religious or political law. For example, while one can perform a job solely for the sake of money, this does not mean one’s life is maximized. There ought to be the so-called ‘spiritual,’ from which one’s actions are rooted.

Not to say that the task of spiritualizing should be handed over to some entity such as government, whose very means of getting things done — violence or the threat thereof — is at odds with most moral standards. The lack of voluntariness as found in the state can only make for alteration of specific actions, as opposed to the alteration of mentalities required to sustain any social upheaval.

Holistic change

Doing “good for goodness’ sake” in fact involves more than categorizing between “naughty and nice.” It requires reconnecting the very idea of morals with health, and aesthetic taste. In this regard, Santa, religion and the state are obsolete to a philosophy of the future.

A natural progression

Perhaps the case for Santa may be that, as a person approaches adolescence, he casts off his old frameworks, such as of belief for belief’s sake, or of doing good for obedience’s sake. The discarding of the Santa myth in a young adult would thus be just one manifestation of an overall coming of age, of becoming independent in terms of systems of thinking and acting. “Mommy says…” becomes “It seems to me that…”

In such a natural process, all superstitions could be sufficiently reevaluated, with no long-term harm being done from preceding ‘truths’ fed to the back-then immature being at a time when they were incapable of acting wisely.

Or maybe adolescence signifies a transformation in understanding of the world, where historical-biographical particulars turn to general concepts, and the literal becomes the figurative. For example, Santa the rewarder-punisher gives way to an understanding of the baser (reptilian) regions of the psyche, where one’s urges have no corresponding inhibitions other than the degree to which one’s organism is in need of a certain behavior or attitude, e.g. anger in order to channel sufficient energy as required in a life-or-death situation.

Final thoughts

Of course, the intellectual state of today’s humanity is too lamentably bad for the above considerations to have any relevance. Dismissing Santa at a later age is a mere matter of no longer being a gullible sucker, and not about raised individual awareness. If the latter were so, we would see the same corresponding discarding of religious and political superstition.

And as I end this entry by bidding you a Merry Christmas, dear reader, you would know that I mean the true spirit of Christmas, which is not about gifts, nor about Jesus even, but about family and friends. Although, Kierkegaard would argue that such a notion has nothing to do with Christ, who is pure individuality as to exclude the social... but that’s a different story.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Three ‘brilliant’ objections to the anarchy of free markets

On the notion that free market advocates assume that free-market anarchy “magically” improves lives:

Could one say that technological progress is likewise ‘magical’? Probably not. But is it nonetheless safe to assume an improvement in technologies over time, all other things being equal?

The point really is to determine what system maximizes utility: limitation, or restriction, of choice, including in choosing how to provide for the less fortunate.

Even if we grant distributional inefficiencies of a free market, how could coercive collection and redistribution, i.e. government, be better, that is, without opportunity cost? It could not, because it is against the principle by which mutual benefit occurs at all (freedom).

On anarchy being merely utopian, what with people being imperfect:

If everyone denied the existence of gravity, would agreement with these deniers be ‘realistic’?

The point, again, is determining the principles by which prosperity and peace thrive, of which the principle of government intervention can never serve the long-term interests of all groups. 

Claims of ‘This government program worked!’ hold no water. Worked for whom? Such positivists ignore the ill effect on overall employment and overall living standards of programs that ‘successfully’ provide direct assistance to certain sectors.

On the need of leaders to guide the ignorant masses, a la philosopher kings:

Why isn’t such ‘guidance,’ that is, inhibition of freedom, imposed on these political saviors as well? 

It is presumed that by such selective freedom as granted to these leaders, that they can act supposedly on behalf of their unfree beneficiary brethren. Why then limit such freedom to these leaders, when it appears to be a good thing after all, or at least, not as bad a thing as coercion? 

All else is institutionalized theft, and perpetuates class conflict where no genuine, lasting system of order can be realized. 

Besides, ignorant, bad people would be just as likely, or more likely, to be elected or to appoint themselves in any coercive/political system.