Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Return of Anarchism Commentary

Thomas L. Knapp comments on Abe Greenwald’s recent essay “The Return of Anarchism,” which I mentioned here, in a piece titled The Return of the Return of Anarchism.

Like those rumors of Mark Twain’s death, recurring claims of anarchism’s demise and resurrection are greatly exaggerated. Greenwald misinterprets his own observations. It is not resurrection he sees, it’s resurgence: A cyclical phenomenon driven primarily by the reliably recurring failure of the modern state to deliver on its most basic promises of peace, prosperity and respect for human rights…

As the Hobbesian experiment we call “the state” polarizes along the lines of its own contradictions of “left” and “right” authoritarianism (Hobbes, meet Hegel!), anarchism emerges not as antithesis, but as synthesis. When the state runs short of convincing fictions (“constitutionalism,” “dictatorship of the proletariat,” “fuhrerprinzip”) to disguise those contradictions and stands weakened, near collapse over the pit of its own digging, it is anarchism we invariably see approaching, shovel in hand, ready to bury the failed experiment and turn, with humanity, to new ones.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/29 at 05:08 PM
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Einstein Dabbling in Socialism

Einstein.  Genius.  These two words are often utilized in conjunction when discussing Einstein, and there is not much doubt that Einstein was indeed a genius.  But Einstein also displays an abject ignorance, an abject ignorance which, to this day, infects members of academia and the political elite in the highest halls of political power throughout the world.  A fascination with socialism, centralized planning, which exhibits the so-called elites abject ignorance of human action and reality.

Kaiser Leib, writing at Zero Gov, discusses Einstein’s essay Why Socialism? in his own essay titled Why Not Socialism?, comparing similarities, and distinct reality differences, between socialism, as articulated in Einstein’s essay, and libertarianism.

Personally, I think Einstein should’ve stuck with displaying his intelligence prowess in science and physics, such as displayed in the essay The Cause of the Formation of Meanders in the Courses of Rivers and of the So-Called Baer’s Law, which I previously mentioned in a post titled Physics for Flyfishers.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/29 at 10:39 AM
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Got Guts?

Forget “Hope.” “Hope” rhymes with dope.

People who believe in “Hope” are like sheep, waiting to be sheared.

People with “Guts,” are raising hell and making positive changes. So, when your bank says, “We don’t do that it’s against our policy,” take your money out and put it in another bank. I guarantee that after this happens a few times, they’ll get the message.

Folks, stop playing paddy cake with these knuckleheads as if they make a shred of sense. If we can just do this, we won’t go down like those quitters in “Atlas Shrugged.”

Why? t’s called “Guts.”

William Broocke: Guts needed to get Americans out of ‘Atlas Shrugged’ syndrome

Via SondraK.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/29 at 10:06 AM
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52 Years To Go

As I note in the sidebar, here, I want to live to be 103, which means that as of today, I have 52 years to go, so I’m getting goin’.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/29 at 09:55 AM
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Mother and Father Know Best, Unless the State Decrees They Know Best

When it comes to raising children, the old adages “Mother knows best,” or “Father knows best,” have been trampled into the ground under the boot heels of the State.

A 56-year-old woman faces multiple felony charges and is being held on $500,000 bond after a 10-hour standoff with police, claiming she was protecting her 13-year-old daughter from unnecessary medication.

The story that quote was gleaned from was filed yesterday, 03.28.2011, in the Detroit News under the headline Detroit mother jailed after standoff, and while it does not mirror the following quote from a 2004 news story titled Dad Investigated for Taking Son Off Meds, the reflection, seven years hence, is still readily recognizable.

When Chad Taylor noticed his son was apparently experiencing serious side effects from Ritalin prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, he decided to take the boy off the medication. Now, he says he may be accused of child abuse…

School officials reported Daniel’s parents to New Mexico’s Department of Children, Youth and Families.  Then a detective and social worker made a home visit.

“The detective told me if I did not medicate my son, I would be arrested for child abuse and neglect,” Taylor said.

When I posted on the 2004 story, under the heading Your Children Are Not Your Own, Evidently, I noted that Mr. Taylor’s 2004 travails with the State, could have been mine.

This could have happened to me.  I taught my son to simulate taking meds when the school he was attending determined, for their benefit and not my son’s, that he needed to be medicated for ADD.

You’ll note in reading either the story regarding Mr. Taylor, or the one regarding Ms. Godboldo, that both parents, who do know their children best, had noted negative changes in their children when under the forced prescribed medications, and a lessening of these negative effects upon cessation of ingestion of the medications, yet still the State applies force against the parents in order to exert their erroneously alleged knowing best.

Karen De Coster further discusses the news regarding Ms. Godboldo in a post titled You Are a Prisoner of the State. Always..

Posted by John Venlet on 03/29 at 09:10 AM
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Monday, March 28, 2011

America’s Texas Origins, Not Clovis

Looks like Texas may unthrone the long favored Clovis culture theory of the early settlement of America.

The long-held theory of how humans first populated the Americas may have been well and truly broken.

Archaeologists have unearthed thousands of stone tools that predate the technology widely assumed to have been carried by the first settlers.

The discoveries in Texas are seen as compelling evidence that the so-called Clovis culture does not represent America’s original immigrants.

Details of the 15,500-year-old finds are reported in Science magazine.

Stone tools ‘demand new American story’

Now, if only we could get more strident demands for a new American story on America as a republic, rather than a democracy, or, even more accurately, a new American story on America as a confederation of states.

Link to America’s Texas origins story via Fred Lapides.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/28 at 10:35 AM
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Almost Discussing Anarchy Like Adults Again

In January, Glenn Reynolds linked to a Richard Fernandez piece commenting on the recent Rome bombings, allegedly the work of “anarchists,” which I noted in a post I titled Almost Discussing Anarchy Like Adults.

Last night, Glenn put up another post on the subject of anarchy, linking to an Abe Greenwald piece titled The Return of Anarchism, which he then updated a couple/few times with reader’s comments, including a comment/quotation from Billy Beck.  Billy Beck’s comment/quotation follows, but be sure to read Greenwald’s piece, and the other comments and links at Glenn’s place also.

He elaborated on the point you made about “*actual* anarchy” –

“To the average American or Englishman the very name of anarchy causes a shudder, because it invariably conjures up a picture of a land terrorized by low-browed assassins with matted beards, carrying bombs in one hand and mugs of beer in the other. But as a matter of fact, there is no reason whatever to believe that, if all laws were abolished tomorrow, such swine would survive the day. They are incompetents under our present paternalism and they would be incompetents under Dionysian anarchy. The only difference between the two states is that the former, by its laws, protects men of this sort, whereas the latter would work their speedy annihilation.”

(H.L. Mencken: “Friedrich Nietzsche”, 1913; Transaction Publishers edition, 1993, pp. 196-197)

Posted by John Venlet on 03/28 at 06:50 AM
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Sunday, March 27, 2011

About Those UK “Black bloc anarchists”

Mike Soja, in a post titled Jolly Adorable.

In the land of inbred disaffection…

Yeah, I know today’s “anarchists” are more exploiters-of-situations-that-allow-them-to-rampage-with-relative-impunity than they are committed actors-in-the-cause-of-deeply-held-principles, but there is something pathetic about their caterwauling over minor readjustments of the big government nipple in their mouths.

I suppose what it really boils down to is the ubiquitous reluctance of commies to want to be known as commies.  They’ll don any handy appellative except the one that really fits.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/27 at 11:46 AM
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On General Electric Paying $0 U.S. Taxes

I have issues with General Electric, but the alleged fact that GE paid zero taxes on billions in income is not one of them, and those individuals who are making a big noise about GE paying zero taxes would do well to check their premises.

i.e. - When you file your individual income tax return are you ensuring that you are taxed at the highest possible rate, or, are you shielding as much of your personal income from taxes as you possibly can?  Are you jealous you cannot get your taxes to zero?

Joan of Argghh! gets it.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/27 at 11:28 AM
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Melis’ Coconut Curry Thai Chicken

The other day, AM put up a post titled Refrigerator Curry, and mentioned “taking a crack at Thai style curries.”  I commented that my Lovely Melis had a bodacious recipe, and commenter Semper Fi, 0321 dropped me an email suggesting I post it for comparison to a recipe he is in possession of.  So here is the Lovely Melis’ recipe.

Cooking curry should always begin by pouring yourself a beer.  An IPA is good, I usually pour a Bell’s Two Hearted Ale.

The sauce:

1 can regular coconut milk
1 can lite coconut milk
1 tablespoon Thai curry paste (more if you desire each individual hair follicle on your head to pour sweat)
1 plus tablespoons curry powder
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
Dash of cayenne powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar (light or dark)
Kosher/sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to your preferred taste

Combine all these ingredients in a bowl, whisking thoroughly, and set aside.  Drink your beer, and then pour another.

The chicken (1 1/2 lbs of boneless skinless breast cut into small, but not too small, pieces):

Olive oil
1 medium to large Vidalia onion or appropriate sweet onion
Kosher/sea salt and freshly ground black paper
1 or 2 teaspoons of curry powder
3 tablespoons peanut butter (choosy mothers choose Jif, they say)
1 cup thin sliced roasted red peppers (can buy in a jar, but easy to prepare yourself)
1 cup thin sliced water chestnuts
1 cup scallions (use both the white and greens of the scallions)
cilantro for garnish
lime wedges for garnish (squeeze lime juice over just prior to chowing down)

Now let’s cook this all up, after enjoying a bit more of your beer of course.

Grab a big skillet, pour in a bit of olive oil, and cook down the onion until transluscent and beginning to brown.  Add your cut up chicken, season with the salt/pepper, and then add the curry powder.  Brown the chicken up, and then add in the peanut butter, which, as it warms and melts, will coat the chicken.  Stir that stuff around.  Next, add the roasted red peppers, water chestnuts, and scallions, a bit more salt/pepper if you think it’s needed, and let all these ingredients meld their flavors while you sip a bit of beer.

Now, add the earlier prepared sauce and mix all that yummy stuff together.  Sip beer while stirring and bringing all the ingredients to a nice warm temperature.  Shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes or so, and you’ll be ready to grub.

We serve this over basmati rice, and it’s a meal.  Don’t forget to garnish with a bit of cilantro, and squeeze that lime juice over it, or you’ll miss out on those added flavors.  Oh, and don’t forget to pour another beer, if you’ve already made it through the first two.  Enjoy.

UPDATE: Slight edit due to poor editing of initial writing of post.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/27 at 10:30 AM
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Massive, Passive Strategic Default—But Would It Be Massive, Passive, Principled Civil Disobedience?

Chris, at Counter-Revolutionary Act, has put up a post titled Strategic Default, which links to an earlier post of my own on the subject Strategic Default or Pre-meditated Criminal Action.

The impetous for Chris’ post was not my post, but this news.

A former official of one of the country’s most-powerful unions, SEIU, has a secret plan to “destabilize” the country.

The plan is designed to destroy JP Morgan, nuke the stock market, and weaken Wall Street’s grip on power, thus creating the conditions necessary for a redistribution of wealth and a change in government.

CAUGHT ON TAPE: Former SEIU Official Reveals Secret Plan To Destroy JP Morgan, Crash The Stock Market, And Redistribute Wealth In America

Chris links to a The Market Ticker (TMT) piece titled Why Is Glenn Beck After The SEIU?, as a sound rebuttal to my position on strategic default, while the TMT piece is written in support of the idea proposed by the former SEIU official, though I would hope that the TMT piece writer is not in support of redistribution of wealth via socialist methodology.

The suggestion of massive, passive, coordinated strategic default as a means of massive civil disobedience and State destabilization is interesting, and has some merit, but I think that the idea, if implemented, would not be done so in a principled manner, and not simply because the idea is being forwarded by a former member of a socialist leaning organization like the SEIU.  My reasoning as to why I think this would be so is further articulated in my earlier post on the subject, and in the comments to that post.

The idea of massive, passive civil disobedience is soundly put forth in a post of Billy Beck’s from 1996 titled “Too Late For a Political Solution?”, a post which I’ve linked to in the past, and most recently in August 2009, and I highly recommend reading them.

Before individuals begin beating the drums for massive, passive strategic default, I’d recommend they check their individual, principled reasons for participating in such an endeavor, beyond the stated end of destabilization of the State.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/27 at 09:39 AM
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Friday, March 25, 2011

They’re All Professor Wars, Now

Reynolds links to a Charles Krauthammer op-ed, approvingly, titled The professor’s war, with the following quote highlighted as a pointed Obama snark.

A man who dithers over parchment. Who starts a war from which he wants out right away. Good God. If you go to take Vienna, take Vienna. If you’re not prepared to do so, better then to stay home and do nothing.

The last time any president had the gumption to take any city/country was World War II.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/25 at 04:17 PM
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Pondering A Thought, But Not Naively

In a recent post I titled Anarchism Objections, I posted the following musing to be pondered.

As you go through your daily lives, is government truly the mechanism which provides you with stability and safety?  When you get up in the morning and brew a cup of coffee, is it the government which has made it possible for this to happen?  Did you sleep unmolested because of the government?  Do you have a place of work to go to because of the government?  Do you drive down the road, safely, because of the government?  What about lunch?  Are you able to buy a burger or burrito for lunch, tastily made and free of germs, because of the government?  How about when you walk your dog?  Are you able to do so unmolested by thugs because of the government?  Is it really the government, today, which is making it possible for you to engage in all the activities you engage in safely?  Is it really the government supplying you with stability in your lives, or is it you and I?

Lorenzo of Oz pondered on that musing, and has posted some thoughts at Critical Thinking Applied under the heading About human nature.  Here’s a couple of excerpts, both of which I will comment on.  Lorenzo’s complete post is worth reading.  First excerpt.

There are two mistakes one can make in thinking about human nature. One is to think there is no common human nature and the other is to think that there is.

Lorenzo is correct in that statement.  Because Lorenzo’s post was written in response to my musing, it implies, but not ignobly, a certain naivety in regards to my musing, which I will rectify in commenting on the second excerpt from Lorenzo’s post.

Second excerpt.

It is fallacious – indeed, deeply dangerously so – to think that people are all the same when it comes to moral behaviour. They simply are not. Natural selection keeps throwing those genetic dice, upbringing keeps varying, so you get varieties of people. Including psychopaths, who can reason at least as well as the rest of us but “do not get” implied social contracts the rest of us can readily perceive. The big problem with people with personality disorders more generally is precisely that they do not think as you do, hence their actions and words do not have the normal meanings and so expectations based upon them having such normal meanings go seriously awry.

So, the answer to John Venlet’s musing about what creates and maintains social order is: partly it is you and me and partly it is the rough policeperson willing to do violence. (There are various links embedded in that excerpt.  To access those links, click on the link to Lorenzo’s post “About human nature.”)

Lorenzo is also correct in this excerpt, but there is one vitally important aspect which needs be addressed, and that is the implication that “the rough policeperson willing to do violence” is the only recourse available to individuals in need of protection from violence.  This implies that individuals, no matter the society they live in, have no recourse to protection beyond “rough policeperson(s),” an implication all States, no matter their ism of choice, fervently desire individuals to feel.

Even I, as an individual of faith, know that this is unrealistic and a dangerous fantasy.  Though I would much prefer to not have to raise my hand in violence against another individual, and pray that I will not have the need to, do not be mistaken that my faith will not allow me to do so.  I will harden my heart if another individual lifts their hand in violence against me, because I am sharply aware that in most instances a “rough policeperson” will not be there to stand in my stead.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/25 at 02:56 PM
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Morning Errands and Interactions

My Mum, Edna, has been under the weather and she needed some prescriptions picked up, and such, so she gave me a call and asked if I’d do some running for her.  How could I say no?  I’m still her “boy,” as she likes to remind me.

Mum lives in one of those communities of older folk where the residents can initially live on their own, move into assisted living if required in the future, and then into full nursing care if the aging process is particularly unkind to them.

Anyway, I first head over to Mum’s to grab a few items she needs delivered, prior to running to the pharmacy to grab her prescriptions.  Before I can head back down to my truck, I need to ride the elevator.  When I arrive at elevator, an older couple arrives at the same time and cheerfully greets me.  I return their greeting with a smile and cheer as we board the elevator and they then ask me what the purpose of my visit is to their little community.  I casually give them the details for the purpose of my visit, and the gentleman asks me who my mother is.  I tell them Edna, and his face lights up.  He says, “Well, isn’t that something.  My name is Henry, this is my wife Edith, and I’ve known your Mother for years.  I was her neighbor when she lived on Dunham street.”

“Small world,” I say, “that’s the street we lived on when I was born.”  Henry and Edith nod and smile at me, broadly, and then, as the doors to the elevator begin to open for me to make my exit, Henry says to me, “In 40 years you’ll be here.”  I chuckle and say, “Well, Henry, I’m planning on, hopefully anyway, dying in the woods, but you never know.”  Henry and Edith both just smile at that retort, and as I head out of the elevator they wish me a good day and I return their wishes.

After taking care of Mum’s errands, I return to drop off her prescriptions.  Because the building she resides in is secure, I need to ring her up so she can buzz me in.  As I reach for the phone to do this, an older woman waiting in the lobby waves me off the phone and motions that she’ll open the door for me.  She toddles over with her wheeled walker, opens the door, and I warmly greet her.  She has that wonderful visage of a sweet grandma.  I thank her profusely and ask her what she’s up to today.  Her face takes on an even more pleasant aspect when I ask that question and she informs me that today is her birthday.  “I’m 89, today, and I’m waiting for my son to pick me up.”  She also informs me that after lunching with her son, she needs to have her hair done, she had just washed it this morning, and then tonight, her entire family, 6 six children, 25 grandchildren, and 40 great-grandchildren, will attend to her for her birthday.  How beautiful is that?

Her name is Tena (I had asked), and I wished her a very happy birthday and blessings of many more, upon which she replied, “My sister, who died just last week, lived to be 100 years old.”  The only thing I could say to Tena in reply to that bit of information was, “Well, based upon her long life, and your evident health, I’d say that God may very well bless you with those additional birthdays.”  She beamed at me, and I headed up to my Mum’s after we wished each other goodbye.

When I dropped off my Mum’s prescriptions, I informed her of my interactions in the elevator and the lobby, and she shared a recollection or three regarding Henry and Edith.  Mum didn’t really know who Tena was, but when I mentioned Tena’s 100 year old sister passing away, she quickly put two and two together and said, “Oh, that’s Tena _______, look, here’s her picture in the directory.”  Sure enough, there was Tena.

I spent a few more minutes talking with Mum, and one of the topics we covered was how she had been sleeping.  Mum said she had been sleeping “Okay,” but she still dreams alot about my Dad, who passed away just over three years ago.  What touched me deeply, though, regarding her dreams, was when she told me she often wakes up in the process of leaning over to tell Jerry (my Dad) something, and he’s not there.  Those two people loved each other completely.

My last errand was a personal one.  I needed to go and pick up a jacket I was having customized to accomodate my wingspan.  If I need clothes altered, I go and see my neighborhood seamtress, Na.  Na is Vietnamese, and let me tell you that lady can sew.  I’ll walk in with some old pair of pants, or some such item I am unwilling to part with, and Na will smile at me and say “What you need now?”  I dig that.

So I get to Na’s and walk in.  Na comes out from the back of her shop and says, “Hi, John, I have jacket,” and she grabs the jacket and proudly shows me her handiwork, and it is some fine handiwork.  I had asked Na to remove some jacket cuffs from an older rain jacket and install them on a newer fly fishing jacket, and though the work I had requested was an unusual customization, you would think that the jacket had come direct from the manufacturer as is.  I like that Na.

UPDATE:  Corrected minor typos.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/25 at 01:01 PM
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Early (Nice) Fishing Report

I really should head back North.

Fishing Report

Posted by John Venlet on 03/25 at 09:04 AM
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