Murphy's Bye-Laws

Law #4: Any Fool Can Make A Rule and Any Fool Will Mind It. –H.D. Thoreau

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Ink Blots and Blank Checks

Posted by PintofStout on June 29th, 2016

There has been much outrage in the last few weeks following – immediately following – the massacre in Orlando. Before grief or empathy or comforting survivors or figuring out what happened, there was anger and outrage and demands for action…any action. This particular tragedy had something for every advocate of anything  Like an ink blot, people see in it what they want to see. This abstractness and lack of definitive form was a blank check for rhetorical and political posturing. And posture they did. Everyone. Before the horrible nightmare was cleaned up and police were debriefed and witnesses interviewed, the posturing for the spotlight on their cause was in full swing.

First and foremost, Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Agorism, anarchism, Atheism, Discordianism, Left Libertarian, Media & State, Philosophy & Politics, Retarded Hyperbole | No Comments »

Welcome to the Dark Side; Your Training Is Complete

Posted by PintofStout on February 11th, 2016

I had the great joy recently of introducing my kids to the Star Wars universe. There were glimmers of the mythology lingering in my son’s t-shirt drawer, pajama drawer, and even toy box, but these glimmers were not grounded to the real story; they were simply toys or cartoons. There was some passing interest as my son turned five and started into kindergarten, while my daughter at three was going along to get along. So, just before Christmas, I held my breath and put in the DVD for Episode IV (the original theatrical release; we aren’t Philistines). I wasn’t sure if the film, not being animated or written particularly for such a young audience, would hold their attention, or if the vintage effects would register as something other than campy. I was afraid my kids would reject this world where their dad played and grew up for so much of my childhood.

This story does have a happy ending, but it took several sittings – mostly due to time constraints (this film is about an hour longer than most they are used to watching) – to get through each film. There were long stretches, too, that just held zero interest to the kids (most of “Empire”), but we did eventually complete the first trilogy. My son was hooked. He wanted to be a Jedi, he wanted a Wookie, and he definitely wanted to blow up some Death Stars, preferably with Darth Vader on board. He and I spoke the lingo in the car and at dinner, much to the enjoyment (and annoyance) of his mother. The part that made me most relieved, though, was that he was all in with the Rebels, which wasn’t a given in our current cultural climate.

The most iconic images and themes of the series always seemed to be the Empire. They had all the cool toys (compare an AT-AT with the lame-o egg-like Rebel transport ship), the shiny costumes, and seemingly the attention of our culture. Our culture was worshiping stormtroopers and empires and scorning rebellion of all sorts for decades now, so I guess it was a natural fit that Disney markets Star Wars in that way. I was (and still am) convinced our culture is mostly on the side of the Empire these days, and there was very little evidence to argue the other way. The Empire always mimicked the Nazis up close, but at a larger scale the Empire looks like empire, which looks like the dominant current global politics. So, imagine my relief when my son easily picks up on being the good guys (easy in the films, more difficult when it comes to roll play and toys).

Maybe the choice between the light side and the dark side is easier for kids (outside of the Jedi Mind Tricks of marketers) who see the world in black and white or good vs. bad. When adults start thinking and believing in the inevitability of rulers and the mucky grey of sort-of-good and not-so-bad, the calculations of pragmatism start piling up casualties. I have no doubt a supermajority of our country would continue voting for Palpatine and the Empire, gladly fellating the show of force and the sacrifice of the stormstroopers. The disconnect is strong in these lands, where we still believe in our own righteousness while enjoying our conformity with the comforting power of the Empire and its Dark Lords.

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Posted in anarchism, Left Libertarian, Media & State, Philosophy & Politics, Voting | No Comments »

“Unjust Systems” Is Redundant

Posted by PintofStout on January 15th, 2016

Unjust systems, a.k.a. systems, are the biggest reason I’m an anarchist. A system built to provide justice is soon turned into a tool for privilege for some at the cost of oppression of others. (I saw where privilege had Latin roots meaning private law. Cool.)

Dr. King, born on this day in 1929, on the four steps to true justice – timelier than ever https://t.co/YU26s7uMct 

  

Justice should not be trusted to systems and institutions. Justice should be a responsibility of every individual. This is where true anarchy is found. 

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Posted in Agorism, anarchism, Atheism, Introspection, Left Libertarian, Philosophy & Politics | No Comments »

Dormant

Posted by PintofStout on January 5th, 2016

Wow. Not a single new post in 2015. I was writing… a little; mostly poetry or editing the two short fiction pieces posted here on this blog. The blame for this probably lies with Lit Youngstown, who came along and made me take some writing seriously. In the Spring, I took the prose poetry workshop followed by short stories in the summer. I was writing in the workshops and even read a few times at an open mic they started. I haven’t posted any of the poems for fear of affecting the ability to submit anything for publishing, which I haven’t been emboldened enough for yet.

The workshops made me very hungry for critique on the things I did write or rewrite, which led me to Reddit and few poetry subreddits there. That started out pretty well but has since fizzled in activity or thoughtful critique. Maybe this year I’ll be so bold as to keep writing (I’ve been dreadfully dormant lately) and maybe try some submissions. The key will be to write rather than look at my phone. This thought, which was a New Year’s resolution last year or perhaps the year before, always reminds me of the quote from the @AdvicetoWriters twitter feed (read primarily on my phone): “Work on a computer disconnected from the internet.” – Zadie Smith.

Since I renewed the hosting on this site this afternoon, I guess I should attempt to write more on here. The question is what to write about. I don’t get fired up over political things nearly as often as I used to, though there is always plenty to rail on. I just feel repetitive when bloviating about current events that seem as cyclical as ever. Perhaps I’ll figure it out if I start writing. Happy New Year.

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Posted in Announcements, Blogfood, Introspection | No Comments »

Digging is Hard, Dirty Work

Posted by PintofStout on November 26th, 2014

There is nothing like some sort of politically charged event to make you aware of how ignorant/ill-informed/racist/jingoistic/xenophobic your friends and family are when you dare to look at your Facebook timeline. Whether it is a trumped-up war (invented by the war companies to sell more war (thanks Blaine Capatch)), or immigration, or a shooting by a lowly civilian with the audacity to have a gun, or protests in Ferguson you can be sure that someone will be echoing the absurd views some television hack came up with to be exciting or controversial in order to get ratings and keep a job. It’s like reading the lowest common denominator write policy for the major political parties. It can also be exhausting if you make the mistake of engaging.

The thing with the Facebook Philosophers is that they can’t change their the mind or consider different views because they didn’t think of or consider the views they now hold as gospel. Far from being logically consistent, the standard rule of such philosophies are their inconsistencies and hypocrisies. While scolding the blacks rioting and looting in Ferguson to get jobs – as if that were easy or even a possible solution – they will then turn around and scold immigrants for working tirelessly and thanklessly and against the obstacles stacked against them by a hostile government. An angry, gun-toting person opens fire in public *checks for a badge or uniform* scream about why anyone is allowed to have guns. Cops shoot kids and the unarmed or roll their tanks and commandos out into a neighborhood and they cheer the guns and show of force. We’ve been bombing, manipulating governments, pillaging resources, and generally destroying an entire region for fifty years: GO TEAM! Somebody has the audacity to try and fight back: THEY’RE EVIL AND MUST BE CLEANSED FROM THE EARTH!  Grand Jury

Part of the problem is there is no logic in fear; it is just lashing out desperately. But what would a middle-class suburban mom have to fear? Missing out on the big sale down at Megamart? Not being invited to the gossip circle? Having to wait another year to get a new SUV? Worrisome, all, but the fear is of the unknown and the messy and the loss of unacknowledged privilege. This privilege is manifest in the illusion that we live in a functioning, fair, and just society, and the privilege is that we are allowed and encouraged to believe it. Some…many don’t have that privilege; there is no illusion of justice or fairness and life gets messy quickly when living in such a society. Ask the people fighting for a voice in suburban St. Louis tonight how easy it is to get a job with a sub-par education or arrests for the same drugs that run rampant in affluent, suburban, mostly-white schools. Ask them how easy it is to have hope and optimism when walking down the street can get you harassed by the police, and there is no channel for recourse or justice. Ask them why they can’t speak out more reasonably when the weight of the whole system is there pushing them down, suffocating them. How can there be a conversation about classes of citizenship when all you can tell these protestors is “Do what you’re told and you won’t be killed?”

These recent protests and the responses and pretty much every political conversation in the mainstream for the last 200 years has been thrashing around in the leaves and branches, pruning and shaping the problem while the poisonous root thrives and grows. “There are thousands hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.” (H.D. Thoreau).  Even the police forces in the thick of these situations are a branch of this tree being fed by the poisoned root. Privilege and the branches themselves keep most people from seeing the root, if they even choose to look. The police and the oppressed and even we casual observers are all locked into this system that creates explosive situations. This system of governance and control is the root of so many of our ills, even to the point of poisoning our brains and perspectives, where we consider control normal and desirable. We’ve been educated to accept the Stockholm Syndrome as normal and status quo. Pruning a few branches isn’t going to solve any of our problems, but extricating roots is hard work. Maybe it is time to start getting our hands dirty.

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Posted in anarchism, Discordianism, Introspection, Left Libertarian, Media & State, Philosophy & Politics | No Comments »

Collage – A New Poem About Identity

Posted by PintofStout on October 21st, 2014

I found this when browsing the few docs saved in my Write2 app on my phone, where I found a few good nuggets recorded in haste. Color me surprised. The page is here: Collage page

And a small tease (for a short poem):

Collage

Tape stops the flapping of my soles as I walk
And holds together my glasses to keep vision correct

All poems have separate pages listed on the sidebar to the left.

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Posted in Atheism, Beer, Introspection, Left Libertarian, Philosophy, Poetry | No Comments »

Welcome to the Future

Posted by PintofStout on May 30th, 2014

I’ve decreed that today is actually THE FUTURE. Well, maybe it started last night, but, oh nevermind. TODAY is the FUTURE. [dramatic music].

First thing this morning, I see that Space X had unveiled a new spacecraft for carrying up to 7 astronauts into space – specifically the International Space Station (ISS). Since the Space Shuttle program was ended, all flights carrying crew to the ISS were on the Russian Soyuz. This development moves space even further into the private sector and out of the public sector. Exciting!

Space!


Also on the private space flight front, Virgin Galactic got FAA approval for commercial launches. Soon, there will be the first small steps toward private, non-governmental business spaceflight. While this may entail a flight to altitudes considered “space” and returning, who knows what will stem from this. Super fast/expensive freight or travel from point A to point B? I don’t know, but it is progress. Screw the flying cars; I’m going to space!

More Space!


Of course, next to these two stories in my timeline is a story about teleportation. WHAT?!

Beam Me Up!


If that wasn’t trippy enough, the House of Representatives have started to demonstrate a modicum of sense in regards to the drug war and the 10th Amendment. Today may be the first blow struck to start rolling back the prohibition on marijuana. It may not seem like much of a concession that they just aren’t going to fund federal raids, but it is a complete reversal of all prior policy.

Call Off the Dogs


There is much happening that is decentralizing our society and freeing everybody from the hub of government and central control, not just those reported above, but everyday. Technology is making information ubiquitous. If controlling the information is a very powerful tool for governments to maintain control – witness the lap dog press or outright state-run press in any country – then consider how difficult it is to control information in this technological climate and draw your own conclusions. Not only is information becoming decentralized, but the need for any leviathan institution for production, management, financing, or really any endeavor is fast, if not already, becoming obsolete. Technology and information are chiseling away at the last pillars of legitimacy of government. Welcome to your government-less future.

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Posted in Agorism, anarchism, Blogfood, Left Libertarian, Media & State, Science | No Comments »

Crazy Ivan – Clearing Out the Baffles of the Drafts Folder

Posted by PintofStout on May 2nd, 2014

Every so often I’ll peruse my drafts folder to unearth some bits of hastily written wisdom or quagmire of a piece of writing longing to be abandoned completely. To close the book on them and to actually post something in this space that nobody sees, I’ll publish them incomplete or tie an ugly, inadequate bow on them and send them out into the world to finally be forgotten. This is one of those posts.

Slow Ride

[This is something I started probably 3-3 1/2 years ago, before I changed jobs. Common to most changes that are essentially lateral moves, the change is refreshing…until it becomes stale, too, which is about now, I suppose.]

When I got my current job about 8 years ago it was like getting on the freeway. Things were progressing fast and the scenery was often new. Now it seems I’m stuck behind a bus with a powder blue Buick, cloth top, left blinker on pacing beside me at 45 mph. Nobody is going anywhere. The far left lanes speed along as I watch.

[The rest of my notes said to discuss the soul-suffocating culture of the cubical, but that probably isn’t going to happen. My will to finish this was, in fact, crushed by the job culture in which I exist. Cubicles, themselves, aren’t the problem, but just a symptom of the larger disease. They are a symptom that says we are resources to be exploited and filed away, easily replaced if lost or broken, and contained in a bureaucracy that doesn’t encourage or allow growth or advancement. Stay in your compartment, Cog!]

Anarchy: Head, Heart, or Hands?

[A little unfinished examination of the different flavors of anarchist I encountered through all my reading, which is admittedly narrow. Started this in 2009.]

Anarchy is a term that comes with an extreme amount of connotational baggage. Without any sort of etymology or thought, the word anarchist or anarchy is a word used for the sake of shock value or fear mongering. Like invoking the name Hitler, using the term anarchy is supposed to summon the worst thoughts of evil, pandemonium, violence, and essentially the unknown (booga, booga!). The confusion isn’t terribly surprising, though, since even anarchists don’t always hold similar definitions of the term. Anarchy (an·archy) simply means without (an) rulers (archy), and considering the tremendous number of ways people try to rule one another, there can be equally as many ways to oppose that rule. The definition, though almost totally misunderstood in the mainstream, isn’t nearly as important as the substance of such a belief or how one goes about believing it.

The belief in an anarchist means of existence manifests itself in a few different ways, including intellectually, emotionally, and physically. Depending on the individual personality traits of the anarchist, one or more of these manifestations will come to the forefront. In cases such as myself, I followed a progression emphasizing the various manifestations at different times, one building on the other.

————————————————————————————————————————————————-

One can come to anarchy in many ways.  There is no one true path or doctrine; it is anarchy after all.  Individuals look upon the concepts and the goals through different lenses and combinations of lenses; the intellectual lens, the emotional lens, and the hands-on lens.  The justifications and arguments for anarchy share a similarly wide array as the approaches toward achievement.

The intellectual lens involves much philosophical argument, prognostication, and strategizing.  When the strategizing becomes overly focused on the pragmatic (not to be confused with the hands-on lens) politics can come into play, which opens a major (maybe the largest) schism in this particular lens.  This lens focuses much on what the world of anarchy will look like and trying to answer all the questions of non-anarchists definitively, regardless of how contrary to the whole idea of anarchy this systematic planning can be (though, to be honest, this prognostication isn’t so much for the benefit of anarchists themselves).

The emotional lens differs from the intellectual lens in that the future and arguments for the foreseen organization of society, including the justifications thereof, aren’t focused on.  Instead issues of social justice and the crying out against the wrongs of the current organizations and memes takes precedent.  The emotional lens lends itself to passionate arguments and grandiose speech, while avoiding specific prescriptions.

The hands-on lens tends to by-pass the arguments of the other two lenses and moves promptly to direct personal action.  Where the other two lenses have a much larger, society-wide focus, the hands-on lens focuses on the individual alone and freeing the individual from the constraining social organizations antithetical to anarchism, for instance by gulching or agorism.

 

 Untitled

[This is a hint of a rant that never got any further and is not significant…for now.]

So far the overwhelming response of the righteous Enlightened Liberal Progressive Opinion Complex to Newtown is predictably that some laws, regulations, or government regulatory miracle will fix this kind of unpredictable tragedy, thus adding their brick to this wall of violence we call our American culture.

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Learning to Play, Playing to Learn

Posted by PintofStout on March 11th, 2014

When my friend told me “The best part of having kids are the toys,” I couldn’t believe it. My life had drifted far away from such frivilous things as toys and playing and silliness. I was concerned with more serious matters like the economy, politics, and how some systemic injustice was causing all of my unhappiness. For a while, A__ and I were the couple from the beginning of Idiocracy (and while that film didn’t push us to have children, I won’t say it never crossed our minds – as narcissistic as that is). It didn’t take long after having our first child to figure out that a sizeable majority of interaction with kids is through play. (Was I hoping for conversation?) Along with reading, it’s this interaction that helps development, learning, and bonding with your kids.Play Club

My child’s requests of me are typically to play cars or trains or puzzles or games. It could involve building a track for the trains to run, or stacking as many Legos as possible to make a giant tower…er, doghouse for a tiny Lego dog to reside in, or building any number of word or cartoon puzzles, or even just chasing one another around the center of the house from room to room. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Agorism, anarchism, Discordianism, Introspection, Philosophy | No Comments »

Reverence

Posted by PintofStout on February 20th, 2014

(Not sure what happened here. Posted from my phone and it looks normal in draft.)

(Found it! Missing quotation mark in the link tag.)

When trying to sort through the new feelings and fears of having children as a mature[ish] adult, it never occurred to me that much of that fear and pressure came from an unlikely event. First, your status has changed from someone’s kid to someone’s parent. This status change comes with a sudden sense of empathy and camaraderie with your parents that was impossible before. Second, and this comes later on as the infant grows up some, you are now revered by someone. Based on my experience with reverence, this isn’t going to end well.

Whether it’s fate, destiny, a foregone conclusion, or whatever, reverence for real things can’t end well. Reverence usually comes from an unrealistic view or opinion with little basis in the whole reality. As the whole reality is revealed, the reverence fades and sometimes swings into disgust based on the prior high opinion. My fear of my children’s future fallen high opinion of me I covered in Reflections Upon a Coffee Mug II. My other experiences with reverence were pretty much institutions. Maybe, maybe, there was reverence for government or at least parts of it. This whole site may indicate how that ended. Religion fell to the next institution (sort of) I once revered. The institution of higher education was once a beacon of purity and truth in my mind. Today I heard the marketing for a university that spoke the rhetoric of a revered institution and not the fulcrum of a giant, planet-moving lever of social engineering and money laundering juggernaut and I shook my head and started writing.

All of these once-revered things, as all non-ethereal objects of reverence must, at the very least crashed back to reality and in the case of institutions crashed and burned. Institutions never end up even in the neutral on the revere/disgust scale. As a parent who has unearned reverence thrust upon them by fate, the pressure comes in holding onto it as long as possible, and earning it eventually is the grand prize. This is both inspiring and scary as hell.

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Posted in anarchism, Atheism, Introspection, Philosophy | 2 Comments »

 
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