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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Welcome to the Dark Side; Your Training Is Complete

Posted by PintofStout on 11th February 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 »

Best of Voting Posts

Posted by PintofStout on 6th November 2012

I was going to start posting select quotes and links to individual posts in the comments of a link to the category I put on Facebook, but I’ll just make a new post instead. So here are some of the greatest hits from the “Voting” category, listed chronologically form newest to oldest.

Political FootballIn our elections, our two-party system breaks down not into Democrats and Republicans – who the mindful observer can tell you are nearly the same party – but offense and defense.

Sacred Cow Tipping – From the last time Big Bird was the hunted:  Any cut in budget is going to get a rise out of whoever is losing that money, whether it be your local zoo’s librarian or the in-house commando employed by your local kindergarten. On the Queen Mary scale of things, these cuts are mere shouted farewells to the pier that aspire to be deck chairs. Yes, they are simply rhetoric, but effective rhetoric.

Ghosts in the MachineOur ideological armor, while making us feel nigh-invulnerable to inconvenient slings and arrows of paradox, mainly only gives us tunnel vision and greatly slows any progression toward our perceived destination.

 Chorus of Conformity If an actor is reading from a script they didn’t write, their voice wasn’t heard, even thought they were physically speaking.  So how does an election actually equate to voices being heard?  And whose voices?

We’ve Come So Far? – The institution of oppression is the same; changing the face, color, or gender of the institution won’t change its nature.

The Second Coming of Ron Paul – It would be a third coming now (the man is insatiable!): A more general answer is the focus of many mainstream libertarians recently on fiscal and entitlement policy; which, if the eyes are squinted just right, looks sort of, maybe, like the Republican Party – or their supposed platform, anyway.  Mr. Paul’s governing philosophy is refreshing (compared to other choices) in certain (not all) areas of policy-making to libertarians (like hanging out with ugly and dumb people to make one’s self look better or feel smarter by comparison), but does this deserve the reverence and fanaticism some of his followers are overcome with; fanaticism strong enough for previously avowed anarchists to attempt to confiscate the non-believing heretics’ libertarian credential cards?

No Votes for Non-Believers – From the first time Mitt ran. I had some fun with it: Opposition to non-belief drops off in the electorate with the Easter Bunny and further still for the Tooth Fairy (much to the disappointment of the P4PP).

Meanwhile, Down at the Crossroads…Strangely enough, the devil doing the dealing is always virtuous and honorable, if not deceitfully cunning, in that the contract is always enforced to the letter.In that regard, America would be better off dealing with the devil than voting in the coming year.

Stale as Office CoffeeOffice coffee smells like coffee in the little pre-measured pouch, aromatic and enticing, even hopeful.  It looks legitimately like coffee when it brews.  It even taste a little like coffee in the first few seconds of its existence.  But all hope is quickly dashed after having more than a taste, and all that remains is the weak bitterness of dashed hopes and the stale shame of being fooled again.  It reminds me of election years.

Of Other People, By Other People, For Other People – I must have been ticked off when I wrote this one:  Theoretically, a democracy would have the many owning the government and its actions, but in reality we own nothing.The only thing voters and citizens have control of is the curtain hiding the folks at the controls.

Liberal Descent or Open-Minded Liberals Have No Room for Dissent – A fun little parable or something: About the time I started paying attention, I hear A___ comment that she doesn’t really vote anyway and that I’m a conscientious non-voter.The Stranger stepped into the light at the corner of the bar and opened his Holy Book of Bad Arguments and prepared to quote prodigiously.

Tearing Down the Wall Between Church and State All these assumptions he makes regarding the nature of atheists are like Humpty Dumpty sitting on top of the imaginary wall built between church and state, dangling his feet over one side and completely ignoring what lies behind him.

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

The Right to Ignore Reality

Posted by PintofStout on 31st May 2011

If one is to make observations free from any influence of a moral position – objective observation – even though a moral position is held, does that make them a heretic?  Does a vegetarian who proclaims that meat provides nutrients, backed by millenia of evidence, suddenly become an advocate of consuming meat – and consuming only meat – and thus a heretic to other vegetarians?  If a libertarian proclaims that rights do not exist in nature but are rather a construct of an adopted morality, does this make the proclaimer lose their adopted morality?

The moral framework that people choose to view the world through is as unique as the person themselves.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in anarchism, Atheism, Discordianism, Left Libertarian, Philosophy, Philosophy & Politics | 2 Comments »

Political Football

Posted by PintofStout on 27th May 2011

In our political system opposition is easier than being in charge. Not very many people like what happens and blame is placed on those in charge. Being the opposition puts a movement or party in line with the majority of unhappy folks. In our recent political history as I can recall it, the opposition party loves the rhetoric of libertarianism and freedom, regardless of which party they are affiliated with. In our elections, our two party system breaks down not into Democrats and Republicans – who the mindful observer can tell you are nearly the same party – but offense and defense. Offense is the party in power because they control the agenda and get blame/credit for all that takes place, unless nothing happens, in which case the other party is blamed for obstruction. Defense, then, is left to the team opposing nearly everything the offense proposes. The productive citizens and their earned wealth are the football the teams are competing for, of course.

While all this jockeying is going on with much clamor and hullabaloo, wealth is distributed to all players, teams and team administrators, sponsors (indirectly, of course), and the league itself with all of it’s administrators. Yes, much like a Sunday football game, the whole thing is a show that provides entertainment and distraction but is of little practical use. Lookout, here come the Republicans with their effective libertarian blitz package! The next series of downs may see the  vaunted anti-war zone defense employed by the Democrats. Of course these teams are not defined by defense alone, although these are the identities that are used for the public. The offensive schemes used by both teams are the same and consist of lots of screens and end-arounds. Surprisingly, the media coverage of football and our metaphorical football are nearly exactly the same. To round out this whole metaphor, let’s all hope for a lockout and the breaking of the monopoly!

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Posted in anarchism, Left Libertarian, Media & State, Philosophy & Politics, Sports, Voting | 1 Comment »

Damn! Skynet Controls the Matrix

Posted by PintofStout on 5th March 2011

Our economic system is broken. Actually, it’s probably working as designed, but considering how it is marketed to the people, you wouldn’t know it. I’m not talking about a recession or unemployment or any of the other hogwash metrics the modern snake oil salesmen passing themselves off as economists speak of. I’m talking about the very ways in which we live and interact with each other: how we work, why we work, and what we do when waiting to work some more. This lifestyle we are born and educated into looks to be a giant institution in and of itself, an institution that demands loyalty and sacrifice for the continuation and growth of itself.  Loyalty and sacrifice are rewarded by scraps of leftovers, at best, and lighter beatings or mild praise if you’re lucky. The institution is vast and when gazing out, one can’t be sure if they are seeing beyond or just another part of the institution.

This vast institution is nearly holographic. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Agorism, anarchism, Discordianism, Left Libertarian, Media & State, Philosophy & Politics | 1 Comment »

The Circus Is In Town!

Posted by PintofStout on 24th September 2009

The G20 Summit, something I would normally ignore, has come to my proverbial backyard and has drawn my attention to the protesters and the ratcheted up police-state that spontaneously sprout up around such glaring symbols of exploitation, injustice, and power. When I first heard of the event coming to town I was inexplicably anxious to be there and find some way to protest. This reaction, springing from anger and frustration with nary an outlet, was inexplicable because I had decided some time ago that protesting is not my thing (after an April 15th protest at a US Post Office) and that I cannot stand to be in a very large crowd – especially when a good portion of the crowd are bend on violence (talking about the LEOs, of course). Returning to my senses, I instead started mental preparations to absorb all of the misinformation about anarchists that would flood the news. As some of this flood is now bearing down upon us, I thought I might try to levy some sense to keep my feet dry.

There are many lessons and talking points to be taken from such a highly visible event: governments’ totally saturated role in economies; industries’ totally saturated role in government; the “Us vs. Them” attitude of law enforcement officers; the complete trampling of rules, rights, and passionate dissenters with zero consequences – maybe a promotion; the nature of propaganda and getting a message out; the superficial complaints of various protest groups about the fruits of injustice represented by the G20 rather than the root of the tree producing it; the media coverage and language used to cover the protests and why this propaganda is more effective than that of the protesters; and finally why should anyone care about any of this. I’m tempted to just stop the post now after that long list of talking points but, grudgingly, I’ll continue to flail my arms recklessly in the dark in hopes of hitting on some sort of point.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

Political Darkness

Posted by PintofStout on 28th May 2009

The Dark Ages used to refer to the time in European history between the Fall of Rome and the Renaissance.  It received this pejorative moniker because of a perception of ceased intellectual and social progress.  (As those venerated authors of Wikipedia point out, the term “Dark Ages” is falling out of use due to increased understanding of the times, long delayed by a lack of a written history.) These middle ages are marked by a disintegration of civic institutions previously administered by the Roman Empire; referred to as an actual “societal collapse” by some.  Libraries, public baths, institutions of education, and arenas were no longer maintained with the absence of the wealth from the Empire.  Though the organization of the civic government declined, the organization of the Christian Church remained – along with its literate clergy – and they filled the void in many areas of civic administration.  Many people looked to the Church for leadership, which, like any organization in a position of power, looked to increase that power by striking out at ideas in discord with its own.  Economic times grew tough as trade was disrupted.  Perhaps this made the Church’s task easier.  Perhaps this is why the era was viewed as dark as scientific and philosophic ideas were stifled (and the most prominent history of such times came by the hands of the Church itself).

Economic times are getting tough now.  Perhaps another empire is collapsing, and the once philosophic and technical administration is being replaced, in language at least, by one more spiritual; one calling for hope and faith.  Similar to the Dark Ages, when the institution of the Church focused on different means to achieve organizational growth and power than the Empire, so the new administration will shift emphasis in order to garner the support (ironically for the same institution that the prior administration sought power for) of those who were about to stray from the institution (like two shepards reigning in their side of the flock back into the fold taking turns using the same staff).

When I started writing this post, way back in February or March, there was still much talk of Hope and Change.  Now that this administration has taken the wheel on this similar course, Hope may spring eternal, but Change is now a running joke.  Originally I was going to point out how logic and rights and political doctrine would be discarded for the more etherial hope and change and lead into a political dark age in our country.  In reality, we have been groping around in the dark for quite some time.  If one were to have lived through the entire Dark Ages it would have surely seemed like a long, long time, but it was followed by the Enightenment!

Related posts:

Tearing Down the Wall Between Church and State

No Votes for Non-Believers

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Posted in anarchism, Atheism, Introspection, Left Libertarian, Philosophy & Politics | 5 Comments »

Obama: Bizzaro-Emancipator

Posted by PintofStout on 30th March 2009

Bizzaro Superman

Bizzaro Superman

Bizzaro Change

Bizzaro Change

I know how redundant it can be to point out irony in politics.  There are entire cable television shows built around exploiting the irony and hypocrisy that flows from the cornicpia of the absurd, Washington D.C.  But every now and then a particularly absurd offering trickles from the swamp and I can’t help but point and laugh.

President Obama has been an effective catalyst for absurdity due to his image of freshness and hope in the media multiplied by his proclamations of what people wanted to hear.  Sure, he meant to end these pointless wars, and he meant to save the economy and make everybody’s financial worries disappear forever, and he meant to reduce corruption in government, etc., etc..  To the politically cognizant the failure to actually achieve – or even attempt to appear to achieve – these lofty goals is far from ironic.  The continued portrayal of change even as the wolf disrobes from his sheepskin robe isn’t even ironic.  Irony is not found in the media, but in the details (a telling statement as to the state of the media, IMO).

The glow from Obama’s media-bestowed halo has dimmed a little and his sandals are taking on water after a stint of walking atop the water.  To some, especially those who have been successfully disillusioned of the simplified-to-the-point-of-falsehood story of Lincoln found in indoctrination history texts, the endless comparisons of Obama to Lincoln could have foretold the eventual outcome.  The best correlation between the two, so far in my book, is the link to slavery.  No, I’m not talking of Obama’s blackness; I’m speaking about his push for “voluntary” national service, which would be required of all capable youths.  Lincoln was known for his Emancipation Proclamation, fabled to have freed all the nation’s slaves (though, in reality he only freed those in the North), whereas Obama, elected partially because of white guilt over centuries of injustice to the black population – the most obvious being slavery – wishes to enslave (reads as “involuntary servitude” in the framework of this farcical government) the youth of the country.  Obama is in no way the first to do this since the passing of the Thirteenth Amendment; every President who instituted the military draft has blazed the trail for him.

Jim Bovard has written an article highlighting the doublespeak of “service” as implemented by politicians.  Like most things, it is not indicative of the entirety of volunteers or the effectiveness of all programs inside of AmeriCorps; rather, it is indicative of the taint that comes with all things political, especially the unearned money of government and the useless non-productive leeches attracted to it.

On a related note, here is a video of more irony as it relates to color and slavery (video here):

Hat tip to Jeremy at Social Memory Complex for the video.

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

It’s Fake, You know

Posted by PintofStout on 11th April 2008

I remember a time when, in youthful innocence, I would watch, follow, and enjoy professional wrestling.  I would actually be upset when someone would tell me, “It’s all fake, you know?”  I thought for sure it was real, that the outcomes were completely decided by honest competition.  As a discerning adult I now know better, but such entertainment offerings just evolve and don’t go away completely.

Some people, with the realization that the wrestling is scripted, continue to enjoy it and are entertained by it.  Some people watch the harlequin equivalent to professional wrestling – soap operas (where the professional wrestlers are put out to stud and grow long, flowing hair?).  For some reason, this entertainment habit is looked down upon by certain people.  Yet, these same people hold it up as a sign of sophistication if someone follows politics?  At least in one case, the folks know they are being entertained!

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

Parody Becomes Reality

Posted by PintofStout on 18th October 2007

What are the parodists to do? The more they bend and exaggerate the subject the more absurd the subject becomes. Instead of the parody being on a different track altogether, now it appears parody and reality are racing to the (dreadful) finish. It even gets to the point that people can’t tell the difference between the two. So what are the parodists and satirists to do?

Recently, they’ve taken to having a news program in the Daily Show. When the parody becomes a primary source for news, which isn’t unwarranted as I’ll explain later, is the problem with the consumers of the news, the delivery of the news, or the news itself? The Daily Show is a swipe at the television news programs with its format of roving reporters on the scene and ridiculous exposes. This format is a straight shot at television news and the stories they create. Jon Stewart’s reporting of the current stories and complete ridiculing of the news itself only rakes in the news programs that feast on this tripe as collateral damage. The real target of his jokes are the PR-minded politicos who are used to playing to the willing, eager, and, homely “practice” girls of the mainstream media and appear absolutely ludicrous when looked at objectively*. This uncovering of the ugly face of politics does actually reveal, if not the real news then some closer approximation of it than is typical. Is it any wonder that a generation so blatantly lied to for so long seeks the refreshing near-truth of comedy for their news? I’ve heard it said that comedy is the first place one can hear challenging ideas because it can disarm the usual defenses enough to get the message across. It is in this light that Jon Stewart has the opportunity to ask questions – serious questions – to the likes of Alan Greenspan and Lynn Cheney.

Other sources of news come via pundits like Bill O’Reilly, so the parodists stepped up their sarcasm and took on the punditry in the persona of Stephen Colbert. In order to parody these shows, Colbert has to be so far over-the-top that he often falls out of character and just laughs at himself on the air, especially during interviews. Even with such hyperbole it appears some people can’t see it and regard him as the new edgy pundit in the game. So when a parodist’s most absurd isn’t absurd enough, what does he turn to? A Presidential campaign.

I see two flaws with Colbert’s approach. The first would be the already-atmospheric level of hyperbole present in this genre. It is a high bar he’s setting for himself; going up against the professionals. The second (minor) flaw I see in his run for office is the mixing of disciplines. Pundits don’t usually run for office; they just talk about everything. And most politicians don’t have talk shows because if allowed to talk that much, their ruse would be up and everyone would know them as a huckster. Perhaps Colbert is taking this cross-over approach to highlight the parody of both sides, which seems to get past some of the more dull observers. I can’t say, but finding out ought to be fun.

*By objective, I don’t mean to imply that The Daily Show is fair and balanced or impartial to certain ideologies. It seems they are a mix of true liberal ideology, attacking power and establishment, and modern “liberal” ideology clamoring for more government programs and market interference. These ideologies tend to shift and sway depending on the subject of the joke.

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Posted in Left Libertarian, Media & State, Philosophy & Politics, Retarded Hyperbole, Reviews, Voting | No Comments »

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