Thursday, October 24, 2013

Elite Theory

Where does power lie and who controls policy? This is a key question within political science, and one with much disagreement over. One group is the pluralists. Pluralists argue that power is distributed among competing interest groups striving to control policy, either mediated by the state or with the state as its own autonomous entity in this fight. Pluralists argue that, through this competition of interest groups, the will of the people can be expressed. In contrast, class theorists argue that it there are stratified classes within society and that those in the upper classes control policy, but have to contend with the lower classes through class conflict. This is the analysis of Marx and many class theorists are marxian theorists, though not always marxists.

Then there is elite theory. According to elite theory, there are a small number of "elites" who control policy and the state. These elites can be government officials, people of prestigious families, leaders within corporations, or people with powerful social influence, such as preachers. Usually, they are more than one of those. For example, Ted Kennedy was a US Senator for nearly 50 years (making him a governmental official) and was a member of the Kennedy family (making him a member of a prestigious family). While people can rise to join the elite, such as, to continue the running example of the Kennedy family, P J Kennedy, grandfather of JFK, Robert Kennedy, and Ted Kennedy, managed to rise from obscurity to become a US Representative then later US Senator and became adept at playing the internal politics of Boston, those who are already the elite or have family within the elite can more easily gain and use power thanks to greater education, more money, family and personal connections, and education of the inner workings of the state and other bodies of power, often since an early age. While the elite do not necessarily agree, they are the only ones with power and they are the ones who control the system. In fact, the masses are often excluded entirely from the decision making.

Now, this does not mean there is some conspiracy of elites who are necessarily in cahoots with each other and control things in secret. Indeed, oftentimes the elites exert their influence openly. In addition, the elites are not necessarily unified.

This also does not mean that the excluded group can never exert any influence. Indeed, elite theory recognizes the existence of "counter-elites" through whom the disenfranchised can negotiate with the elites. However, the excluded group do not have any power nor do they participate in the making of policy.

Elite theorists see the US, and other western nations claiming to be democracies, as not truly democratic because the people don't have true influence on who is in power or policy making. While this may seem to deny the existence of voting for public officials or more direct democratic initiatives where the people themselves vote for policy. However, elite theorists argue that the choices that the voters have are limited. When we choose between two senators, both of them are "pre-screened" by the elite and the choices are limited to those who the elites want or are at least ok with. This often means that the voter is choosing between two elites themselves or just between two people who can be controlled by elites. On occasion, one of the choices will be rising elites, like P J Kennedy in 1884 when he successfully ran for the House of Representatives. With direct democratic initiatives, they are written by or at least approved by the elite. The choices become remaining in the status quo, which, while not necessarily in the interests of the elite, definitely preserving the power of the elite, or choosing something the elite want or don't mind. This is not the same as having power or choices.

Now, one might wonder why sometimes policies which don't benefit the elites or actively hurt the elites can happen if the elites truly control policy. This is a complicated issue and one without a single answer. There are many reasons why this might happen.

One obvious reason is that the policy might actually benefit the elite, and it's only perceived as not benefitting the elite. One example I can think of is a progressive income tax. While the progressive income tax appears to hurt the elite, since the vast majority of the elite are rich and a progressive taxation system taxes the rich more than the poor, it actually comes with benefits to the elite. If we were to switch to a flat tax or a sales tax, both of which disproportionately hurt the poor, the rich benefit from a functioning state, and flat or sales taxes makes it more difficult to continue having a functioning state, so the progressive income tax helps them by keeping the state functioning.

Another reason is that the elite aren't perfectly rational and don't necessarily want what is in their best interests. In addition, sometimes the elites don't know what is in their best interests, so they fight for a solution that hurts them.

Still another reason is that the elite aren't homogeneous and don't have one voice and one interest. What might hurt one elite helps another. A high progressive income tax clearly helps a senator who's salary depends on a functioning state more than the CEO of a corporation.

Finally, there is the existence of counter-elites and threats from the masses. One of the key examples of this is the New Deal. The Great Depression hurt the masses greatly, and negative feelings arose among them. Many were radicalised and a radical sentiment grew within the masses. There was a growing danger that the elite would be taken out of power through a revolution similar to what happened in Russia. Because of this danger, FDR, who was a member of the elites as a member of the Roosevelt family, growing up in a monied atmosphere, married to a member of the Roosevelt family (far enough removed that there was no danger of anything bad related to incest) who was the niece of former president Teddy Roosevelt, and a former senator and governor. However, he recognized the danger of a communist revolution, and, in his desire to save capitalism, he instituted the New Deal. The New Deal helped the masses immensely. While the Great Depression wasn't completely ended by it (that would be the almost corporatist economics instituted during World War II), it did alleviate many of the ill affects to the poor and helped lessen it at the expense of the elites. Not all elites recognized the importance of this to their power, and many called him a class traitor. However, the power of the elites was maintained.

Now, there are surely other ways for such policies to happen, but all of them must eventually go through the elite and happen because the elite want them to happen.

Now, the power of the elites can crumble. This often happens in revolutions. In the French Revolution, the aristocracy lost its power thanks to the masses rising up and killing them or kicking them out of the country. This didn't lead to an end to elites, though, and new elites soon cropped up. These destruction of the power of the elites almost always comes from below, and sometimes through the counter-elites, though they often benefit from the current structure since it gives them power, too, even if they don't have any actual control over policy.

But what does this all mean for anarchism?

The most important thing about this is that the power of elites and hierarchy in general cannot be destroyed from within. The elites are the ones benefiting from their power and from hierarchy, and they are the ones who control the system. They are not, or will very rarely, willingly give up that power. This is why revolution is necessary.

The other lesson from this is that we need to be cautious of the rise of elites and design whatever society we create from the shell of the old in such a way that elites cannot form.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Political Dada

So much time and effort is put into acting politically. We engage in political protests, vote in political elections, and fight in political revolutions. That's all well and good, but what does that actually change? Well, a lot, but not some of the most fundamental political assumptions. The French Revolution made leaders elected, but it didn't remove leaders. The Russian Revolution made production nationalized, but it didn't free us from production. Voting is worse. It doesn't even cause major changes, let alone systemic ones.

What's the problem here? Everyone still takes political institutions so seriously that we could never take them away. As long as people think that these institutions are Serious, Important Things™, they will always exist. No amount of protests, voting, and revolution can change that.

But what can change that? Political Dada. Just as the Dadaist mocked art and tried to create stupid, horrible pieces of art to show how art can be stupid and horrible, we should create mockeries of institutions and belittle and make fun of them. It's not merely enough, for example, to not vote for any candidate. We need to call for the election of the Power of Love, or stand in line all day on voting day, but never vote, rather going to the back of the line when you finish. We can't just tear down advertisements and condemn corporations. We need to create horrible advertisements or modify existing ones to make them bad. We should add a Hitler stache to models on billboards, or change Wallmart's logo to just say Wall.

Mockeries make are fun and fundamentally undermine the seriousness and significance of political institutions allowing for them to be abolished altogether.

The General Eh

Anarcho-syndicalism, for all its flaws, does contain within it a radical idea. Specifically within the idea of the General Strike. The idea is this: What if everyone stopped working all at once? Isn't that a wonderful idea? Everyone just refusing to work. However, past that, things veer off course when they introduce the demand that the industries be handed over to them so that they can return to work. However, I wish to rescue this brilliant nugget with my own proposal: The General Eh.

So how does the General Eh differ from the General Strike? Whereas, in the General Strike, the workers make demands of their employers to get back to work, in the General Eh, no demands are made. No longer working is the goal of the General Eh. Whereas, in the General Strike,  the workers get up and fight for their workplace, in the General Eh, everyone just stays at home. People stop being workers and do their own thing. They renounce the authority of the state and the necessity of their jobs. They sleep in. They plant gardens or have dinner in a field with their loved ones. They fight back, if the capitalists try and force them back to work, or if the police try to force them to obey the law, but they aren't fighting to get something because they already have everything they want. Everyone becomes free in an instant merely by deciding to walk away. That is the General Eh. It's the General Strike for those who think that's too much work, and, indeed, too much like the job they stop working at.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Beginnings of a Comprehensive Economic Theory: Economic Crisis, Especially in Capitalism

What causes an economic crisis? I'm not certain, but, given what I've investigated so far, I'm inclined to think it is an imbalance in the three struggles. Indeed, imbalance in one of the struggles leads to imbalance in at least one other, if not both. If the buyer start winning the struggle between buyer and seller, profits fall, which companies turn into laying off workers allowing them to lower wages. One company dominating a market leads to high prices and low wages, since they need hire less people to produce the same amount thanks to economics of scale, though profits soar. Bosses starting to crush workers leads to lower wages, which means that the companies can't sell as much. Sellers winning out on prices more, but causes buyers to stop buying, so the sellers begin losing, and the buyers start winning. Workers winning out over bosses causes bosses to rise prices to compensate for high wages and fire a lot of workers, which causes them to dominate the seller-buyer struggle.

Notice how in all of those, the workers and buyers are hurt far more than the companies which employ them and sell to them.

A good example of a worker crisis is the stagflation in the 70s. Unions gained a lot of power. In response, bosses raised prices and culled workers. This was termed stagflation, and is exactly what should happen when unions gain power.

Our current recession is a boss crisis caused by a buyer crisis, which expanded with the boss crisis, caused by a seller crisis, otherwise known as a clusterfuck. The housing bubble was caused by sellers lying to buyers to convince them to buy. As that kept going and going, they made a ton of money. However, the lie got exposed, and buyers stopped wanting to buy. This caused the companies to quickly lose a lot of money. This meant they started firing workers to lower wages. As they did so, people stopped buying elsewhere, so other markets were forced to fire workers to lower wages and earn less.

Beginnings of a Comprehensive Economic Theory: Worker-Boss Struggle

I'd like to focus on each of the three struggles individually. While each is broadly the same, the devil is in the details, so the details it is.

Now, before we begin, there needs to be some way to measure this struggle for us to even hope to study it. Luckily, there are a couple, depending on certain factors. If a currency is backed by something, like, say, gold, then wages are the best measure. When wages are high, the workers have a lot of power. When wages are low, the bosses have a lot of power. If a currency is fiat, then inflation is a better measure. When wages rise, bosses need to raise prices, if they want to continue to make money. In reality, inflation under a fiat currency is measuring wages, but it is aggregate so it's a better method. (This is the part I'm most unsure about and the part that will go through many revisions in the future. Any way to improve this part any of you can think of can go in the comments. Thank you.)

In addition, there are many ways for one side to have power over the other. One basic thing is unemployment. When unemployment is high, the bosses have power since they can always find new workers, so they can fire workers with impunity. The opposite is true of low unemployment.

Of course, not everything can work like unemployment, and will only grant one side power. For example, unions can only really grant power to workers.

On the side of the bosses, they have similar organizing. The difference is theirs is institutionalized. The organizational structure of the company itself is the organization that empowers the bosses.

In addition, regardless of how they feel about each other outside of this struggle, all bosses are allies in this struggle and all workers are allies in this struggle. Workers who gain power encourage those who don't to unionize and fight for more power, just because they can see the other workers winning, which is inspiring.

That's why companies don't encourage workers of the companies they compete with to unionize. This is also why unions often strike when other unions strike in a show of solidarity and bosses share troublemakers with each other creating blacklists.

This creates inefficiency in a number of ways. First and foremost is strikes. That's time, energy, and resources being put into the struggle rather than elsewhere. Second is systemic unemployment. That's labor that could go somewhere productive, but isn't going anywhere. Third is the resources bosses use to regulate and control the workers.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


There is much contention on the topic of civilization. Some support it. Some militantly oppose it. Some see it as inescapable. But what is civilization?

Indeed, much of the debate between pro and anti-civ comes down to definitions. On the anti-civ side, some define it as "mass society" which has always expressed itself in the form of some sort of empire with internal hierarchies. Some see urban planning and division of labor as key to it. On the pro-civ side, some see it as the combination of all human activity. Some see it as everything beyond the advent of agriculture. Some see it as society with at least one ceremonial center, a system of writing, and at least one city.

But are any of them right? Civilization was, originally, used by Europeans to set themselves apart from the "barbaric" rest of the world. In a sense, it is still used that way. When we talk of civilization, we talk of something above "barbarism" and "primitive" cultures. We talk of land that haven't been invaded by the Western Civilization™, such as deep in the Amazon.

But what sets us apart from the "barbaric" or "primitive" cultures? Many anti-civ proponents would say states, but were there not miniature states in some, though not all, so called primitive cultures? Many pro-civ proponents would say technology, but this is laughable. Spears are technology. As is fire. As is clothes. Are those not things that the cultures outside of civilization have?

So what does set us apart? That's simple: Nothing. "Civilization" is just a term used by a culture to declare itself above all the rest. But they aren't. Civilization is not fundamentally different from "barbaric" or "primitive" cultures. That is to say, there is no such thing as civilization.

So I'm not pro-civ. I'm not anti-civ. I'm a civilization denier.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Fuck the Closet

I am not in the closet about my sexuality. I never have been. I never told anyone I'm straight. I never pretended I wasn't attracted to men and women. Anyone who has ever thought I was straight either jumped to conclusions or wasn't paying attention to my actions. This is how it should be.

So often people encourage members of gender or sexual minorities to come out of the closet. We act like every gay person has to come out at some point. Fuck that shit. We shouldn't encourage coming out of the closet. We should burn the closet to the ground. We should never sit in the closet to begin with, excepting cases in which ones identity could lead to them being killed. Live outside the closet, even if you never tell anyone your gender or sexuality. If they think you're straight or cisgender, then fuck them. You're not the one living in a closet. They are hiding. Not from you. Not from the world. Not from themselves. Not like those of us who are a part of gender or sexual minorities. No. They are hiding from truth. They think that they can just sit in their closet and pretend like your sexuality or gender doesn't exist. They think they can sit in their closet and pretend that everyone, unless otherwise noted, is straight. Fuck them. They are the ones living a life cut off from reality. They are the ones hiding.

So don't come out of the closet. Light a molotov and burn the closet to the fucking ground.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Empathetic Pangs

I was driving to class, today, and, in the middle of the road, I saw the corpse of an animal that was hit by a car. I felt horrible, like someone had wrenched my heart out of my chest. This wasn't a new feeling. It's a feeling I feel when I see someone sitting alone and crying. It's a feeling I feel when I hear about people being killed in warzones. It's a feeling I feel when I see the picture of the screaming child sitting in the ruined city of Hiroshima after it was nuked. It's not always as strong or weak, but the basic feeling is the same.

There's a similar feeling I feel, too. This one I feel when I see someone smiling or friends having a good time. This makes me feel energized and happy.

But is it a similar feeling? I don't think so. I think it's the same feeling, just in the opposite direction. This is caused by empathy.

Empathy is the ability to feel what others are feeling. You see someone in pain, and you feel the pain. Empathy is one of the strongest mental forces we have, perhaps dwarfed by the instinct to survive.

When one gets overwhelmed by a bad feeling very suddenly because of empathy, I call this feeling an empathetic pang. The opposite feeling is a negative empathetic pang.

These pangs and negative pangs are often mislabeled as morality. They are "just" empathy, and that's all morality is, empathetic pangs mistaken as something else. I put just in quotes because I see nothing trivial about empathy. Empathy isn't something to brush off or ignore.

This is why I get baffled by people who say "If morality is 'just' emotional feelings, why should I care?" This makes me wonder if they have ever felt emotion. Emotion drives us. Emotion gives us the reasons to do shit. Emotion can feel great or horrible. You should care because it is your emotions.

So next time you feel an empathetic pang, remember that this is what people are talking about when they call something morally wrong. That feeling is the very essence of morality.

Friday, October 4, 2013

More Bullshit of the Tea Party and Anarchists

Elizabeth warren just did a piece calling tea partiers, or "extremist republicans," anarchists.

"If you watch the anarchist tirades coming from extremist Republicans in the House, you'd think they believe that the government that governs best is a government that doesn't exist at all." Yes. The government that governs best is the government that doesn't exist at all. Governments exist to protect the rich and capitalism. Without the state, the proletariat could be free from the shackles of oppression.

" When was the last time the anarchy gang called for regulators to go easier on companies that put lead in children's toys? Or for inspectors to stop checking whether the meat in our grocery stores is crawling with deadly bacteria? Or for the FDA to ignore whether morning sickness drugs will cause horrible deformities in our babies?" And no actual anarchist would advocate that. Do we want lead in children's toys? Or meat to have bacteria? Or a morning sickness drug to lead to deformed babies? No, fuck that, but the state isn't the solution. The state is supporting the problem. All of those are problems in the capitalist mode of production that leads to myopic and irrational egoism leading to the capitalists forcing the workers to slave on things that could kill those workers themselves, and will remain a problem only as long as capitalism still functions. And capitalism needs a state.

"After the sequester kicked in, Republicans immediately turned around and called on us to protect funding for our national defense and to keep our air traffic controllers on the job." Of course! It's cause they aren't anarchists.

"Government is real, and it has three basic functions:

"1. Provide for the national defense.
"2. Put rules in place rules, like traffic lights and bank regulations, that are fair and transparent.
"3. Build the things together that none of us can build alone – roads, schools, power grids – the things that give everyone a chance to succeed."

This appears to be the heart of the essay. We need government for national defense, regulating capitalism, and making things together. I'll deal with the second claim first.

"2. Put rules in place rules, like traffic lights and bank regulations, that are fair and transparent." Of course, capitalist banks, if unregulated, can do horrible things and destroy the economy, but capitalist banks only exist on the back of help from the state. If the state didn't uphold the monopoly on banks and the state supported media hold the proletariat back with their propaganda, worker banks, owned and run by the workers, would quickly spring up and out compete the capitalist banks. When the revolution succeeds, for it has always been here, the abolition of money will destroy the foundation upon which the banks stand. Capitalism needs the state. If we abolished the state, we wouldn't need the state to regulate the capitalist banks.

"1. Provide for the national defense." This, surprisingly to most, doesn't need the state. In times of need, militias spring up, and non-hierarchical armies can form. People don't need to be told to defend themselves.

"3. Build the things together that none of us can build alone – roads, schools, power grids – the things that give everyone a chance to succeed." This is just insulting to people. It's saying we can't cooperate and work together without a boss telling us what to do. We can discuss and work toward consensus and create and maintain roads, schools, and power grids on our own, thank you very much. Children can run their schools. Communities can fix their roads. Societies can maintain electricity. We don't need bosses to tell us any of that.

" These things did not appear by magic. In each instance, we made a choice as a people to come together. We made that choice because we wanted to be a country with a foundation that would allow anyone to have a chance to succeed." Actually, no. People like you made the choices for us.

" The Food and Drug Administration makes sure that the white pills we take are antibiotics and not baking soda. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration oversees crash tests to make sure our new cars have functioning brakes. The Consumer Product Safety Commission makes sure that babies' car seats don't collapse in a crash and that toasters don't explode." And why would companies do that? Oh, yeah. Capitalistic greed and its warped egoism puts making money above all else, leading people to make shit and market it as good. Without the capitalist mode of production and without money, that won't fucking happen.

"We are alive, we are healthier, we are stronger because of government. Alive, healthier, stronger because of what we did together." Fuck that. We have more empty homes than homeless people because the government protects the claims by banks to those homes. We have people starving on the street because the government backs companies forcing those in need to pay money for their necessities. We have huge income inequalities because the government protects corporations. We have workers being oppressed in factories because the government protects the capitalists' claims to the factories. We aren't healthier or stronger. We're crippled and oppressed.

"We are not a country of anarchists. We are not a country of pessimists and ideologues whose motto is, 'I've got mine, the rest of you are on your own.' We are not a country that tolerates dangerous drugs, unsafe meat, dirty air, or toxic mortgages." Wow. How anarchist. Such critique. You know what some actual anarchist slogans are? "All power to the soviets." "From each according to ability, to each according to need." "An injury to one of us is an injury to all of us." "No gods. No masters." "It is the liberty that is the mother, not the daughter, of order.” “To be governed is to be kept in sight, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right, nor the wisdom, nor the virtue to do so . . .”

"We are not a country of anarchists. [...] We are not that nation. We have never been that nation. And we never will be that nation." Tell that to the members of the IWW, which, for a time, was the biggest union in the US. Tell that to Josiah Warren, who predates even Proudhon. Tell that to the Haymarket 8, who were persecuted for their anarchism. Tell that to Benjamin Tucker and his periodical "Liberty." Tell that to the protestors at the G20 conference in Seattle in the late 1990s. We are lovers of liberty, and anarchism is the truest expression of liberty.

Do not be so quick to label reactionary populists anarchists. We despise them as much as you do, if not more.

Homesteading and Seizing the Means of Production

Murray Rothbard, revolutionary anarchist and socialist, put it best: All Power to the Soviets. No. Really.

The argument goes that only justly acquired, through homesteading or trade from those who justly acquired it, property can be held to the standards of property. Thus, if someone steals unjustly acquired property, that person has done nothing wrong. As a result, property that has been unjustly acquired is not property at all.

Now, what does it mean if it isn't property at all? Well, it means the property is ripe for homesteading, and the only ones who are mixing their labor with the "property" in the workplace are the workers. Thus, the workers, not the capitalists, are the just owners.

All Power to the Soviets, indeed.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Interacting with Children

A lot of people don't know how to interact with children, specifically I'm talking kids younger than, say, 10, though this applies more broadly to whoever the person considers to "not be an adult". It isn't all that hard, though, just not obvious to many.

What you do is you treat them like everyone else. End of story. You don't talk down to them. You don't exercise authority over them. They are people, not things. Treat them like people.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Deconstruction of the Left: Post-Left Anarchism and Post-Post-Left Anarchism

Deconstruction is a technique developed by Jacque Derrida in which someone investigates a literary work or an idea to take it apart, find its contradictions, challenge the universally accepted meaning of things, and finding new meaning within it. To put it simply, it deconstructs preconceived notions and meanings to find new meanings and show how no meaning is fundamentally the right one.

Post-left anarchism is a form of anarchist thought that critiques or "moves beyond" the left. Specifically, it holds critiques of organization, ideology, moralism, work, and revolution, as leftists see it. They instead advocate self-theory, moral nihilism, affinity groups, and immediatism.

Fundamentally, whether intentional or not, and I'm hedging my bets on not for reasons that should become obvious later, post-left anarchism is a deconstruction of leftism. They take apart the leftist theory of revolution, find the contradiction between the liberatory rhetoric of it and putting the revolution in the future rather than now when we need it, and challenging how revolutionary it is. They take apart leftist organization, find the contradiction of freedom and equality of leftist goals and the reality of unequal and unfree goals, and challenging the necessity of organization. They take apart ideology, find the contradiction between the freedom it espouses and how it constrains by forcing people to accept it and act under it, and challenges the need for overarching metatheories rather than individual theories. They take apart moralism, find the contradiction between the leftist goals of freedom and individualism and how morality, especially enforced or universal morality, causes people and attitudes to conform. They take apart work, find a contradiction between the freedom espoused by the left and the confinement and entrapment of work, and challenge how necessary it is to society.

All of these critiques are useful and true. Indeed, deconstruction is a powerful tool for analysis. However, post-left anarchism tends to use esoteric meanings for what they critique. For example, no leftist would define leftism as more than the goals of freedom and equality. Under that definition, despite the post-leftists moving beyond leftism and leaving it, they are leftists. In that sense, they are post-leftist leftists. However, such a critique misses the broader issue: They deconstruct the left, but don't go far enough. If you'll notice, with every example of their deconstruction of the left, I mentioned them taking it apart, finding contradictions, and challenging universally accepted meanings. It is at this point that their deconstruction ends, leaving out arguably the most important part: Finding new meaning within it. Oh, they propose their own type of group, their own theory of revolution, and their own theory on morality, but, fundamentally, those are just the rejection of leftist organization, revolution, and morality, not new meaning found within, or even outside of, those three. Their deconstruction of the left is incomplete. This contradiction, between the deconstruction and lack thereof, is where the esoteric definitions come from. They aren't defining organization by its reductionism, professionalism, substitutionism, and ideology for shits and giggles. They are doing so because that's what they see it as. This stems from, and arguably causes, them not finishing their deconstruction.

But how does one finish the deconstruction they started? We cannot exactly pick up where they left off, after all we aren't them. Rather, we must, in an ultimate meta-act, deconstruct them, thus allowing us to move beyond them, without leaving them. In that way, we become post-post-leftists. You see, their rejection of the left is inconsistent with them having goals that define leftism, stemming from a critique of more marginal aspects of leftism, thus they aren't moving out of the left. Rather, and this is the important part which they missed, they are arguably moving before the left. Anarchism isn't exactly a new ideology. It didn't spring into being when William Godwin or Josiah Warren or Pierre-Joseph Proudhon put it down on paper. Indeed, the anti-authoritarian spirit that defines anarchism has existed in all times and every revolution. This ground level anarchism far proceeds any form of leftism. Indeed, it could be said that leftism grew out of the anti-authoritarian radicalism of the French Revolution, thus making leftism the product of anarchism. In that sense, pre-left would be more accurate. In addition, while that contradiction exists, they do show an accurate understanding of certain strands of leftism, possibly even every strand of leftism but them, but does that mean that's what leftism is? In a way, yes, but, in many ways, not so much, so, in a way, partial-leftist is more accurate.

So they are post-left leftists, pre-leftists, and partial-leftists, while we are all that and post-post-leftists? Well, no. We are all of those, but none of those. Being post-left means having moved outside the left, so they aren't leftists. It's a new theory and mostly based on writers who came about after leftism, so pre-leftist is inaccurate. They may accept part of orthodox leftism, but that makes them no more partially a leftist than accepting anti-statism makes me partially a Tea Partier, so partial-leftist is inaccurate as well. Finally, post-post-leftism doesn't move beyond post-leftism entirely and still is within it, though within the left as well, forming a contradiction, so it isn't very "post" of post-leftism.

But how can we be all those but none of them? Because fuck you, that's why. More seriously, it's because we acknowledge our self-contradictions and don't fight them. All theories and ideologies are self-contradictory. By accepting the self-contradiction, we aren't contradicting ourselves, thus making us more consistent than others. (This contradicts the accepted self-contradiction creating an endless loop of consistency and contradiction.) We are ideologues against ideology, fighting it with our own ideology. We are organized against organizations, content within our organization of ourself, and only ourself. We fight and we wait. The revolution began yesterday and will begin when enough people join us. We are leftists outside the left who reside within the heart of leftism. We are post, post-post, pre, partial, anti, pro, wrong, revolutionary, reformist, and true leftists. We are all these and none of these.

Because fuck you.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Against Apoliticalism

Some people don't care about politics. They want to live their lives without thinking about politics or discussing different systems or even politicians. They may vote, but probably don't. If they vote, they don't put much thought into it or come into it with much knowledge of the politicians. To them, politics don't matter to them, so they shouldn't matter to politics. They want to be a non-agent and not contribute at all. The problem is they couldn't be further from the truth.

The problem is, by not considering politics or participating in politics, they are just as much supporting a system as I am by protesting state power or the introduction of a Walmart, or even rioting, like the anarchists at the WTO in Seattle in the 90s. They are supporting the status quo. They are supporting politicians acting completely without check, unlike the mostly without check they normally act under. They are supporting any ongoing wars continuing. They are supporting sweatshops. They are supporting cops beating up minorities just for the hell of it. They are supporting the suppression of unions. They are supporting unchecked corporate profits.

Doing nothing is one of the worst things you can do. It sends a simple and clear message to those with power: We don't matter. Do what you like, and we won't do anything to stop you. If the politicians and CEOs hear that message from enough people, that's just what they'll do. They won't care what the people want. They'll abuse their power and squabble among themselves using us as their pawns. This is not a world I wish to see. A world where people don't care and those with power take that to heart.

So fight. Fight for something. If you need to, protest, then protest. If you need to riot, then riot. If you need to rebel against your state, then rebel against your state. If all you need to do is write a letter to your representative or make an informed vote, then that is enough, but I fight a greater battle. I fight for freedom. I fight for an end of all oppression and exploitation. I fight for everyone to be able to choose their future. My fight cannot be won in the ballot box. My fight cannot be won with letters. My fight cannot be won even with just peaceful protest. Those in power will never stand for it. As the power slips from their grasp, they will fight, and I will fight back. As we demand our emancipation, they will fight, and I will fight back. If we do nothing, they will still fight, and we will be naught but their slaves. That is why I cannot stand those who are apolitical. Those who sit by and do nothing. Those who do not care.

Property Destruction and Defacement

Is it justified to destroy or deface property? This is an ongoing debate among anarchists. It's important to realize that the side opposed doesn't seek to force the other side to not destroy property. They merely wish to convince them. In general, there are two general arguments over the destruction of property: Tactical arguments and arguments of unintended consequences.

When it comes to tactics, the side against views it as negative propaganda. Their argument is that people who observe anarchists smashing windows and vandalizing walls will be turned off of anarchism causing them to feel that anarchism is a violent and destructive ideology that causes people to do bad things. In addition, it gives fuel to the media's demonization of anarchism. But those who argue that forget, the typical American who would react that way are not the target audience. Of course some people will react that way, but we aren't talking to them when we smash windows and vandalize courthouses. We are speaking to those who already know the police aren't on their side. The people who recognize that corporate power must be destroyed. They are the dispossessed. They are poor people, especially poor minorities. They already know the enemy because they've experienced it. The police have cracked down on them. The corporations have discriminated against them. They see us and they see someone on their side and they want to join us. That is why we do it. That is the propaganda of it.

Now, when it comes to unintended consequences, opponents argue that the broken windows don't hurt the capitalists. Rather, it hurts the workers who have to clean up or the workers who have to pay taxes to clean up, for state buildings. However, the workers who clean up would have to clean something up or they'd get laid off. Plus, most taxes are income taxes which are far higher for the rich who can afford it. Regardless, these criticisms forget something important: This is only that way because of the state and because of capitalism. The best way to help them is to tear those down. We cannot lose sight of the long term because of the short term. We are helping those workers in the long term, even if they are hurt in the short term. In addition, just as the general public aren't the target audience, the workers who clean it up are. They can see how we are fighting against the system with great harm to ourselves for no apparent immediate benefit. That can inspire.

This discussion wouldn't be complete without mentioning the arguments which aren't being discussed. No one, save ancaps, but I'm speaking of anarchists, are arguing there's something inherently wrong with vandalism. If we smash the windows of a Walmart, we haven't done something wrong, unless there's some consequences of that which are wrong. Property isn't people. It isn't violent to smash a window or spray painting a wall. In addition, we (generally) aren't talking about indiscriminate smashing and destruction. We're talking about destroying corporate property. We're talking about lighting trash on fire to reduce the effects of tear gas. We're talking about defacing public buildings. We're not, generally, talking about destroying mom and pop shops. We're not, generally, talking about destroying people's homes. To say otherwise is disengenuous.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Beginnings of a Comprehensive Economic Theory: Struggle as Fundamental

In my last post on building an economic theory, I came to the conclusion that the interactions of people are fundamental to the economy, not individuals themselves. However, are all interactions economic? Of course not. Economics, as a whole, tends to deal with a specific set of actions by people: First, production of goods and services. Second, hiring of workers. Third, the selling of these goods and services. Fourth, the purchase of goods and services. Fifth, the competition between different businesses.

These five actions boil down to three interactions. First, the interaction between the worker and the boss. Second, the interaction between the producer and the consumer. Third, the interaction between competing businesses. These all share one common characteristic: They are a struggle. In the first, the worker struggles for higher pay and less work while the boss struggles for lower pay and more production. In the second, the producer struggles to get more consumers to by more of their product for a higher price while the consumer struggles to buy what he/she will actually want for a lower price. In the third, both businesses struggle for more customers buying more of their stuff. Thus, it wouldn't be inaccurate to say that economics is the study of the struggles in production and distribution.

These three struggles are what are fundamental to the economy and, thus, must be fundamental to any analysis of the economy. All three of them have resources funnelled into them, be it through strikes, union dues, hiring pinkertons, creating anti-union propaganda, marketing to customers, shopping around, or negative ad campaigns. All of them take up time, labor, and resources that could be put into other things, thus all three of the struggles are inefficiencies.

The expression of the struggles can be found in three places: wages, prices, and relative prices among competitors. They show who is "winning" each of the struggles and by how much.


All Cops Are Bastards, so many anarchists say, usually abbreviated as ACAB. It's true, police are a form of oppression and authority, but does it follow from that principle that all cops are bastards? I don't think so. Cops, as with most members of vertical collectivist organizations tend to be indoctrinated into the organizations and truly believe they are doing right. In addition, most people have been socialized from a young age to believe that cops are necessary to preserve peace and order, so many cops have good intentions, even if they are corrupted by the state. So, no, not all cops are bastards.

But is this literal reading of the phrase and acronym what is intended? Not really. It is used to describe our feelings about cops as well as the institution of police. What is meant by all cops are bastards is really all cops are our enemy. This, as far as I can tell, is true. All cops are our enemy. They may be indoctrinated into being our enemy or forced to be, but we must fight them nonetheless.

Platformism, Revisited

Since the last time I wrote on this subject, I have come to reject platformism. Having been more exposed to the intricacies of the post-leftist critique of organization, I have come to understand what they mean and how they define organization differently. They define organization as having three key qualities: An ideology that it follows. An image through which it seeks to expand and grow. Commitment to follow the intricacies of the rules and regulations of the organization and to subjugate themselves to some segment of the organization or the organization itself. Having understood this definition of organization, and rejecting organizations that fit this, I was forced to reevaluate the post-leftist critique of platformism and, as a result, accept the critique and reject platformism.

Thursday, September 26, 2013


I added labels to all of my posts and plan on doing so more in the future.

Beginnings of a Comprehensive Economic Theory: The Building Blocks of the Economy

What is the fundamental unit of the economy? Orthodox economic theory, in addition to many heterodox economic theories, accept the premise of classical and neo-classical economics in this aspect: the rational individual is the fundamental unit of the economy. But is it?

If it is, then there is no fundamental units of the economy. Why is that? Because people aren't rational, as a whole, especially not in any economic sense, which often includes pursuing their personal self-interest. People are influenced too much by morals, lack of information, friendship, hate, identity, and social prestige. People will cater to the whims of others rather than their self-interest, and often do so in irrational ways, such as praying for a hurt child instead of taking that child to the hospital or assassinating a famous musician to keep him "pure".

However, there are more problems with this concept of the rational individual being the fundamental building block of the economy. I mean, an individual who goes out into the wild and hunts for food in unclaimed territory is not a part of the economy. What is different about that person from a participant in the economy? Interactions with others.

Does that mean we should refine the fundamental of the economy to irrational individuals who interacts with others? No. No one interacts with others all the time, and it's only when they are interacting with others that they are participating in the economy. The fundamental unit of the economy should be the interactions with others themselves.

In my next post on building a comprehensive economic theory, I'll discuss what are the most important interactions with others and how to classify these interactions, especially the important ones.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Choosing to Suspend Your Disbelief

Suspension of disbelief is where someone accepts obviously untrue things in a story because he/she knows it's a story. An example would be Clark Kent. Everyone mocks how Superman just puts on glasses and no one recognizes him, but everyone accepts it anyway.

But is it a choice? Am I choosing to accept the untruths or am I accepting them subconsciously or on instinct without a choice in the matter? In my experience, it isn't a choice. If something has a compelling story and doesn't infringe on my areas of expertise, suspension of disbelief is natural, happens subconsciously, and happens whether I want it to or not. On the flip side, when something has a bad story, especially egregious breaks from reality, like someone breathing in space with no explanation, or treads upon areas I focus on, such as computers, politics, or philosophy, I can't accept it, no matter how hard I try.

Fundamentally, suspension of disbelief is a form of belief. When it is happening, we are truly believing it, despite what we know. Belief is not a choice. I am not an atheist in regards to the christian god because I choose not to believe, but because I don't find the arguments for it convincing. I don't believe the sky is blue because that's what I choose, but because that's what I see everyday. I don't suspend my disbelief, or fail to, because that's what I choose, but because the show succeeds, or fails, to convince me it's real. For this reason, when writing fiction, you must convince the audience what they're watching, or reading, is true, even if there is magic and elves and talking snakes, because, if you don't, the magic and elves and talking snakes will distract them. However, remember that you can't catch them all. I deal with computers a lot, so someone majorly messing up how computers work immediately loses my suspension of disbelief, while others' suspension of disbelief might be fine. Try and convince the most you can, and be happy with that.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Crime in Anarchy

Combating crime in anarchy might seem oxymoronic, and, in a sense, it is. If we define crime strictly as things that break the law, then it certainly is an oxymoron. However, if we look at the phenomenon of crime more broadly as actions that harm others, then it becomes something that is relevant to anarchism and combating it is an essential part of anarchy.

Broadly speaking, there are two general categories of crime fighting. The first is preventative and the second is reactionary. Anarchists generally focus on the first, though don't forget about the second. States, by contrast, tend to focus on the second, though don't forget about the first.

To prevent crime, anarchists focus on the societal ills that cause it. Generally speaking, crimes are done for four reasons. First, for need. Second, for passion. Third, for maintaining power. Fourth, because of a mental disorder. The first is primarily an economic problem. Anarchists generally see their economic policies as eliminating need, but to go into this further would require its own blog post, so I'll leave it at this, for now. I'll continue having accepted this claim as true, despite not having demonstrated it, since I will in the future and there is not enough space to do so here. However, there are some which aren't economic problems. For example, rape can be, in the loosest sense, a crime of need. This is when someone has a high libido at the moment but no healthy way to express it. That form of a crime of need can be dealt with socially through sexual liberation making sex more commonplace and allowing more healthy avenues of sexual expression. Generally speaking, when it comes to crimes of passion, some can be dealt with and others will exist regardless of what is done about it, be it by state or commune. The ones that can be dealt with generally stem from broad societal problems stemming from oppressive societal institutions. These are stuff like people hanging black men in reconstruction era south. These are things the state is powerless to solve. Solving these require mass social movements from below. Indeed, that is how these are being combated. Mass movements like feminism, gay rights, anti-racism, and other such movements are fighting these oppressive institutions quite successfully, though they have a long way to go. The ones that generally aren't solvable are ones stemming from in the moment rage. This is stuff like a man killing his wife because he just caught her sleeping with another man. For the most part, these cannot be dealt with. However, they can be reduced through preemptive therapy. This is, once more, a social issue. If it is socially acceptable to visit a therapist, or, indeed, not socially acceptable to not visit a therapist, then most will visit a therapist and will have a better handle on their anger. This would reduce the amount of the second form of crimes of passion, though not as impressively as any of the other reduction techniques I have proposed, though that's no justification for the state dealing with that sort of crime since the state doesn't have any tool for preventing that sort of crime of passion unavailable to an anarchist society. Crimes for maintaining power would not be an issue in an anarchist society as in a statist society as no systems of power exist that need maintain themselves. However, as clarification, I should note I'm strictly using the second, not first, definition of crime for this, as with others. This one, in particular, is referring mainly to state or capital action to preserve its power, such as through police brutality or Pinkertons. This is a form of crime that states themselves participate in, so asking a state to fight it would be absurd. Moving on, I've already hinted at the solution to the fourth in the solution to the second. Comprehensive mental healthcare available to all and societally acceptable, with not accessing it not being societally acceptable. This isn't a complete solution, though it is certainly more effective than therapy dealing with crimes of passion. However, those who have a mental disorder which is prone to making those with it a danger to themselves and others would be far less prone to hurting others if such a system were in place.

Now, while the above would drastically reduce crime rates, crime would still happen. After the fact solutions must be put in place. Or do they? Putting someone in prison doesn't make the crime go away. Indeed, it doesn't even discourage people from committing crime. At best, it keeps those who would harm others separate from society, but it also teaches those who commit smaller crimes how to commit worse crimes, and causes people who commit crimes to become disassociated from society preventing an easy return to society which causes a return to crime. Better solutions exist in the Scandinavian countries. They engage in comprehensive rehabilitation where they send criminals that tends to be comfortable and employ many therapists and psychologists as well as teaching the criminals how to return to society. They are far more successful, and far fewer people who go to them commit crimes again. However, I still have reservations with this. For one, I think that forcing them to go is unnecessary. By discontinuing the benefits members of the commune enjoy, such as getting things for free, while giving them materials that would allow them to create what they need to survive, if they do not accept the rehabilitation, thus basically saying that, if they don't want to play nice, they can play by themselves, as well as making rehabilitation a pleasant process, we would encourage people to choose to be rehabilitated, and no coercion or force would be necessary. Then therapists and psychologists could help them through their problems and prepare them for rejoining society. In that way, they would become far less likely to return to the same patterns of crime they fell into before.

Through this two pronged effort. crime would be less of an issue than it is in modern statist societies. The state is not necessary for preventing crime and, indeed, commits crimes regularly to preserve its power.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Platformism is a school of thought within anarchism developed by Nestor Makhno in response to his experiences with the Free Territory in the Russian Civil War and its eventual defeat at the hands of the Bolsheviks. Platformism is a theory that it's built around anarchist organizations that focus on unity. This means that everyone in the organization has the same general theoretical beliefs (so everyone is an anarcho-communist or everyone is a mutualist, though with more specifics than that, rather than combining a bunch of anarcho-communists with a bunch of mutualists), the same general tactics (so everyone is committed to, say, non-violent protests or to syndicalism and a general strike, and not a combination of people committed to the first and people committed to the second), everyone shares a collective responsibility in the struggle (this is the part I least understand the details of), and the groups are organized together through federation as we wish to see after the revolution rather than separate from each other. In addition, they tend to focus on outreach to non-anarchists and spreading the anti-authoritarian ideas as far as possible so that the revolution will have sufficient participants to be able to defeat the state.

Now, there are two general criticisms I can think of surrounding platformism. First, all the talk about "theoretical unity" or "tactical unity" sounds pretty authoritarian, like forcing everyone to believe the same things. However, this criticism ascribes to platformism  methods it just doesn't advocate. It doesn't say we should force people to all believe what we believe. Rather, it says that the anarcho-communists should gather in a group and make it a basic requirement for joining the group that one has to be an anarcho-communist. This is not all that different from, say, not letting leninists join an anarchist group.

Second, this group sounds suspiciously similar to the leninist vanguard. Are you sure that Makhno wasn't just convinced of the effectiveness of the vanguard by being beaten in by the Bolsheviks and became a crypto-leninist? Well, no. Rather, he became convinced that anarchist organizations previously, including ones he was a part of, were ineffective at combatting powerful enough states, including ones lead by leninist vanguards. Thus, anarchists needed to rethink things if they wanted to ever defeat the state. However, rather than borrowing leninist ideals, he decided that two things were necessary: unity and numbers. If we all fought together with the same goals and the same tactics, we'd work together far better allowing us to counter state power more effectively and, if we had lots of people, we'd have more people to fight the state with. You can see this in the two aspects of platformism. The talk about organization is all about unity and togetherness, while the talk about tactics is all about getting as many people as possible to become anarchists.

Those were general critiques from anarchism. There are three additional ones from specific branches of anarchism. First, the synthesist/AWA/panarchist critique, why can't we all just get along and work together? I mean, we all want to abolish the state and capitalism, can't we focus on destroying those and focus on what comes next when it comes to that? I mean, if there are more of us, surely we'll be more effective. This is the argument I find most convincing. However, I still see the platformist's point. If we're all different types of anarchism, we will be less effective because we'll constantly bicker among ourselves. In addition, how motivated would a mutualist be if everyone else was an anarcho-communist? Certainly not as motivated as if everyone else was a mutualist. In addition, if we all agree, in general, on what we want after, we can better convince people now because we'll all be arguing for the same things, so no one will be arguing against what others in the organization are arguing for, so it would hurt our ability to get a lot of people. Thus, unity of theory and tactics, not diversity of them, is better, to the platformist.

Second, a post-left/insurrectionist critique, why do we need to be so organized? It comes back to unity. This time, unity of action. If we organize ourselves, rather than acting individually or without much organization, we can all act together as a united front. This creates a strength in numbers sort of effect. One person facing a police officer will be less effective than ten people facing a police officer. In addition, ten people who don't know what each other are doing and don't have some sort of plan facing a police officer will do worse than five people with a plan (or at least general plans for how to deal with such situations) who move together against the police officer.

Third, another post-left/insurrectionist critique, why do we have to wait until we get a lot of people? Why can't we revolt *now*? Because the state has a lot of manpower and a lot to make that more effective, eg tear gas and advanced weaponry. In addition, oftentimes someone rebelling small scale can turn the ignorant away from anarchism before they learn anything about it, causing them to see it as a violent and brutish ideology because they don't know of the violence, brutality, and oppression of the state that necessitate fighting back. Not only is fighting with more people more effective, fighting before we're ready can keep more people from joining us. That's why we need to educate and promote anarchism, expanding our base, before we do a revolution.

Now, all that being said, I'm not a platformist. Why am I not one, given I've rejected every criticism of it I've presented? Well, while I don't think it is bad, I also don't think it is *necessary*. Quite frankly, I'm not convinced by the arguments that previous anarchic organization is necessarily ineffective at combatting the state. I'm not convinced that the Free Territories were crushed because of how they were organized. Rather, they were crushed because Russia is big and Ukraine is small. The people of Ukraine could've effectively won against the Ukrainian state, but the Russian state had far more people to call upon, so they stood no chance, regardless of how many Ukrainians had joined them. While I do find an appeal in platformism, and I find their arguments for unity persuasive, I also find the synthesist arguments for unifying many forms of anarchism persuasive as well. I would, personally, be more than willing to join up with platformists or sythesists.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Morality and Atheism

What is morality without any god? This is a question that perplexes theists, but atheists (used in this post to cover atheists, agnostics, ignostics, and other non-theists) seem to have it all figured out, but do we? I don't think we do, really. Rather, when it comes to morality, we can be just as sectarian as religious people. Broadly speaking, there are two camps: the moral naturalists, such as Dan Fincke or Matt Dillahunty of the Atheist Experience or Sam Harris exemplified in the Moral Landscape, and the moral skeptics, such as Simon Blackburn or Russell Blackford or J.L. Mackie. Broadly speaking, moral naturalists posit some sort of really existing morality that can be discovered through some sort of naturalistic exploration, such as science while moral skeptics question the fundamental assumptions of morality, including if it is real, if it can be true or false, and/or if it can be discovered. The first two necessitate the third, though the third doesn't necessitate either of the others, and all oppose moral naturalism. The big name proponents of the two thus are from different sorts. The moral naturalists have a tendency toward being scientists, Dan Fincke being the one philosopher of my examples, while the moral skeptics have a tendency toward being philosophers. This is not a hard and fast rule, but a tendency I've noticed. Indeed, among atheists, those who are of a scientific bent and came to atheism from science seem to be largely moral naturalists while those who are of a philosophical bent and came to atheism from philosophy seem to be largely moral skeptics. There are certainly other views within atheism, but those are the two major camps. A good place to see this conflict is this recent reddit post. In it, a theist asks atheists where they get their ethics, and there is a roughly equal divide between people giving moral naturalist responses, such as "There are facts about what is and is not good for the health, happiness, and satisfaction of people. Being aware of these facts allows you to act morally." and people giving moral skeptical responses, such as "There is no absolute morality." Though, I should note, most seemed mostly ignorant of metaethics, while giving metaethical answers that fall within preexisting metaethical camps.

In addition, there is plenty of disagreement from within the camps. For example, Sam Harris derived his ethics from neuroscience while Dan Fincke derived his from categorical norms, such as, say, "truth" or science. However, by far, I find the divisions within the moral skeptical camp to be more interesting. Indeed, while there are differences within moral naturalism, they mostly amount to methodology, aka *how* do we naturalistically derive morals? However, the differences within moral skepticism gets down into deep metaethics. For example, Simon Blackburn is a quasi-realist, aka he believes that moral statements project emotional feelings as if they were real properties, thus, though they can't be true or false, they can be treated as true or false. In contrast, Russell Blackford is an error theorist, aka he believes moral statements *can* be true or false, but all are false. These are far more interesting to consider than whether we should discover true morals through neuroscience or through norms accepted a priori.

As for myself, I fall deep within the moral skeptics camp, aligning myself with the moral nihilistic emotivists within the camp, aka I believe morality doesn't truly exist because all moral statements are an expression of emotion, thus making "good" equivalent to "stuff I like" and, thus, meaningless as a separate concept.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Flash Flood

There have been mass flash flooding in my area. My apartment got flooded, and I've evacuating. I'm safe, for now, but the apartment might be lost for awhile.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


This is a term and concept that most people aren't very aware of. So what is it? It's oppression towards people who are "less able" to do something. This means blind people (less able to see), people without a leg (less able to walk), or people with mental disorders (less able to think normally). The most common form of ableism is the derogatory use of the word "retarded", thus reinforces the negative view of people with mental disorders. Other forms is not accommodating to people in wheelchairs or expecting everyone to be able to read things, not including any braille alternatives. Ableism is a term and concept that needs to see the light of day far more. If possible, please spread the concept as wide as you can.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Why You Shouldn't Use "You're beautiful on the inside": A look at subtle oppression and involuntary support for oppressive entities.

What is meant when one tells someone that they are beautiful on the inside? Generally, it is intended to say "You're a good person on the inside, so your outwards ugliness isn't important." That is, in of itself, a far better than "You're beautiful on the inside", so what is wrong with "You're beautiful on the inside" that isn't about its meaning? Quite simply, it equates "good" with "beautiful." Imagine, for a second, that the scenario is different. Rather than speaking to a ugly person, one is speaking to a black person. Would it be ok for one to say "You're white on the inside," and mean it as "You're a good person on the inside"? No, it wouldn't be. This is, fundamentally, a myth. Beauty does not indicate goodness and goodness doesn't necessitate beauty. When one who believes this myth, be it consciously or subconsciously, ans one encounters a good ugly person, this can be resolved three ways. First by rejecting the goodness of the ugly person. Second, by rejecting the myth itself. Third, by creating an inner beauty. This is fundamentally no different from the attitude of many Southerners in pre-Civil War America that, while black people, in general, are bad, specific black people they care about, like their Nana or favoured servant are exceptions, oftentimes using the same sort of language, calling them white "on the inside".

However, the problems with the phase run deeper. Consider a moment the meaning, "You're a good person on the inside, so you're outward ugliness isn't important." Within this meaning lies the same problem. It sees ugliness as something that's bad, and is overcome only because of the inward goodness. We must not merely remove our language from the myth, but our meaning.

In the language and meaning of the phrase, it supports oppressive myths, though often involuntarily. Oppression isn't always intended, and usually unwanted, yet many still support oppressive institutions in their speech and actions. They don't intend it, but that doesn't reduce the harm. Consider, for a moment, right-libertarian support for wage slavery and capitalism. They aren't intending to support oppression. They don't see the oppression in their actions at all. To them, it isn't oppressive because it is voluntary and contractual. However, this misses the oppression in the inequality. The boss can order around the worker just as the slave owner could order around the slave or the boss could order around the indentured servant. This oppression is not eliminated by making it voluntary.

So, having established the problems with the phrase, what are some alternatives? I mean, I don't deny that some people are helped by the phrase in individual cases, even if the phrase is a part of the societal problems that caused the problems, so we need an alternative to help them. One method would be to tell them that a lack of beauty doesn't make them a bad person and doesn't prevent everyone from seeing the goodness inside of them. Going off of that, one can show how you care for them, but not in spite of their ugliness. Rather, you care about them because of what sort of person they are and their outward looks aren't important to that.

I'm sure there are other methods, and, if you have suggestions, feel free to say so in the comments and describe your alternative.

Friday, July 12, 2013

A Lesson In Revolution

Today as I drove home from work I cried. Work was especially hard and busy, today, and my manager especially controlling and demanding. At work, I've been increasingly disassociate myself from my thoughts and my actions in order to keep myself from screaming in rage or flat out refusing to work. More troubling, I've been increasingly having trouble stopping that disassociation after work finishes. This has led to me going on little adventures after work to calm myself and reassociate myself. Today was an exception, though. I reassociated just fine, but the anger and despair I feel didn't go away. The first half of my drive home I spent angry. Angry that I was being forced to work at this job. Angry that I couldn't just leave or I would go homeless and starve. Angry that my boss could order me around like the slave I essentially am. Angry that customers don't even notice me, seeing me more a scenery than people. Angry at how powerless I felt. Angry at how hopeless my future seems sometimes. Angry just to be angry so that the despair doesn't take over.

But, despite my best efforts, the anger faded halfway through my drive home, and all that was left was horrible and soul crushing despair. So I cried as I drove home. Not because of this day of work, in particular. The anger, at least, is starting to be a regular guest in my drives home. It holds the despair at bay where my disassociation fails. At least when I'm angry, I have some hope that I'll get revenge or justice or something. When the despair sets in, it's all I have.

These are the gifts of my work. These are the gifts of wage slavery. These are the gifts of  capitalism. These are the gifts my boss gives me every time she yells at me to do something I know I shouldn't do, but I do anyway so I don't get fired, slowing myself down and hurting my sanity and the store's productivity. These are the gifts I get when I feel hungry almost every night as I fall asleep because I was only able to afford one meal that day, again, and I still have trouble finding the money to pay rent, each month. These are the gifts from guilt from the occasional splurges I make going to the movies or eating out with friends in order to keep my sanity. These are the gifts of when I know I'm powerless against all this. These are the only gift this system gives me. The gift of anger. The gift of disassociation. The gift of despair.

This is why I'm an anarchist. This is why I reject our current system. This is why I fight where I can. This is why revolution isn't merely a choice, it is a necessity.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Through Newborn Eyes

Today on my way to work, I experienced a phenomena called jamais vu. I was on the bus to work, and it felt off, as if I was on a new route that wouldn't take me to work. I couldn't recognize things I normally go past on my way to work. After a short bit of confusion, and a confirmation that I was indeed on the right bus, things started to feel better. Everything still felt new, but it wasn't confusing, anymore. Instead, it was beautiful. It was like I was looking at things through newborn eyes and like I was on an adventure. I was taken out of the repetition of daily life by a neurological trick. It let me see the beauty all around me and brightened my day. The world is beautiful. We just need to look around and see that.

Isn't It Cute When Right-Wingers Talk About Anarchism?

Red State thinks they're talking about anarchists, unfortunately for them, they don't seem to know what that means. Anarchists don't seek power over others, almost by definition, as an anarchist is someone who opposes all authority and hierarchy, and someone who seeks or voluntarily has power over others isn't opposing his/her authority, which isn't opposing all authority. One of the people Red State called an anarchist is a self-proclaimed leader of lulzsec. The other took sexual power over a woman through rape and, again, was a leader of a group. (To be fair to Red State on the second one, the Daily Mail, a right-wing paper, made the mistake, first. To be fair to the Daily Mail, the rapist may have been a self-described anarchist.)

This may seem like a No True Scotsman fallacy, but it isn't really. This is a definitional thing. This is akin to saying that someone who acts and thinks misogynistically isn't a feminist, even if the person calls him/herself a feminist. This is because not acting and/or thinking misogynistically is a part of the definition of feminist. Similarly, not being a leader and not taking power over others is a part of the definition of anarchist, and neither of the people Red State has referred to as an anarchist are actually anarchists.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Problem with Terminology: Daylight Atheism's Mistake Regarding Nihilism

One thing that never fails to bother me is people mischaracterizing nihilism. Usually, though not always, out of ignorance. Simply put, nihilism is the lack of belief in inherent meaning, purpose, or value to life, the universe, and everything. (More specifically, that is existential nihilism.) Many people misunderstand that to mean there is no meaning, purpose, or value to life, the universe, and everything. Instead, there is meaning, purpose, and value, but only that meaning, purpose, and value that we ourselves ascribe to it which does not exist independent of us. That is not inherent meaning, purpose, or value, so it is not something which nihilism rejects. I bring this up since I was reading through Daylight Atheism's essays, and I came across this essay, entitled "Life of Wonder." In it, he makes an argument for meaning, purpose, and value being compatible with atheism. In doing so he says,
"I do not believe that atheism implies nihilism. I do not believe it leads inevitably to the conclusion that life has no purpose. I do not believe our existence is meaningless, or that our emotions are illusions, or that we have no hope."
Each of those sentences, taken on their own, is fair enough. However, the three of them put together like they are seems to imply that nihilism is the conclusion that life has no purpose or the belief that our existence is meaningless or that our emotions are illusions or that we can have no hope. In fact, he makes several statements about meaning, purpose, and value about atheism which are nihilistic ideas, such as:
"Where do our purpose and meaning come from? They come from nowhere but ourselves."
"Similar conclusions hold for the source of value and worth. Human beings, as intelligent, free-willed beings, bring value and worth into the world through their choices, by deciding to consider some things valuable and worthwhile."
Both of those statements are statements of nihilism. Purpose, meaning, and value comes from us and nowhere else. In arguing against atheism implying nihilism, he makes arguments for nihilism. This comes from a fundamental lack of understanding of what nihilism is. Not only has he failed to argue against nihilism in this essay, but he has demonstrated that he is a nihilist himself.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Report Says the US Practiced Torture after 9/11...

...and, in other news, the grass is green, the sky is blue, and Iraq doesn't have weapons of mass destruction. Seriously, was anyone surprised by this? I wasn't. We've known that we've been torturing for years, now. It's wrong. It's ineffective. It's a pr disaster. It's stupid. There's really not much more I can say on this other than that we shouldn't do it. In other news, the sun rises in the east, bronze is made out of copper and tin, and we shouldn't murder people.

On Tragedies, Death, and What Is Normal

Today, two bombs went off in Boston killing three people and injuring over a hundred more. The perpetrator has yet to be caught or identified, but this is a horrible tragedy. My heart goes out to all those who have suffered from this.

...And, yet, I can't help but think of elsewhere. Yes, this is a horrible tragedy, but, elsewhere, this is, well, normal. Things like this happen every day. In Iraq, there were several bombings today all across the country killing far more people than the one in Boston. In Somalia, there was an attack on its capital today. We all heard of the bombing in Boston, but who heard about the one that went off in Thailand? We all are shocked by the deaths in Boston, but what about the one in Mali? People call for justice for the person who set this off, yet why don't we do that for the one that went off in Afghanistan? All of these happened in the same day. All of these had at least the death toll of the one in Boston, and many had a much higher death toll, but only the one in Boston got coverage all day, with speculations from conspiracy nuts of it being a false flag operation and calls for retribution. Why is it that this one is so special?

Some might say it's because it hit close to home, and, while there's certainly some truth to that, but there was a ton of news coverage of the Madrid train bombings in 12004 HE, and that's certainly not close to home. However, they are more close than Afghanistan or Mali culturally and their seen as allies. That's certainly an element, but there's more to it.

Others might say that it was because of the civilians involved, but the victims in the bombing in Afghanistan were all civilians, as were many of the victims in the one in Iraq and Somalia. So, no, it's not because of civilians, unless people don't count them as civilians.

So what do I suspect? Well, in places like Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, or even Mali or Thailand, such attacks are more, well, normal.  In Boston, bombs blowing up in the streets is likely a once in a lifetime ordeal while, in Baghdad, it's a daily occurrence. People don't think it's special when a bomb goes off in someplace like Iraq because there are always bombs going off in Iraq. What's a tragedy here is normal there, and that is the true tragedy.

Monday, April 15, 2013

On Atheism and Converting Me

I've been reading a lot of blogs I've never read before, and, after several hours of hopping from one blog to another (starting on Brietbart, I think, before moving to Salon, then Greta Christina) I came across this linked in a post by Greta Christina. It presents a question for theists, and another one implicitly for atheists that the writer answers himself. The question for theists is: "What would convince you that you were mistaken and persuade you to leave your religion and become an atheist?" The implicit question for atheists is: "What would convince you that you were mistaken and persuade you to convert to a religion?" I intend to answer the question for atheists.

So, what would convince me to convert to a religion? The short answer is simple: Nothing. The short answer is also highly misleading, so, before anyone calls me close minded or unable to consider the other view, let me explain.

I don't consider this to be a one part process. To convince me to convert to a religion, two things would be required: First, I would have to be convinced that the religion is correct in its metaphysics, that is a christian would have to convince me that the abrahamic god is real and that Jesus really existed and died for are sins (as well as some other stuff, but that's the basics of it). Second, having convinced me of the metaphysics, the theist would have to convince me that a) it is beneficial for me to worship like the theist and b) whatever the theist worships is worthy of said worship. The reason it is not possible to convert me to a religion is not the first part (that is convincing me of the metaphysics), but, rather, the second part (that is convincing me to join the religion). To me, the two things that the theist would be required to convince me of that would convince me to worship the same thing, whatever that thing is, are incompatible. Any thing or things that would benefit those that worship it or them are, in my opinion, not worthy of any worship, and same to any thing or things that would harm those that do not worship it or them. Requiring worship or punishing the lack thereof  is a narcissistic act and worthy of nothing but disgust. This applies equally well to people as it does to gods or spirits. Similarly, any thing or things that would be worthy of worship would never provide a benefit to those that worship it or them nor harm to those that don't. As a result, I would have no reason to want to worship the thing or things as worshipping it or them would be putting the thing or things above me and accepting it or their authority, which I would never do.

Now, I'd like to answer the question that is required for the question for atheists: What would convince me to believe a particular religion's metaphysics? I have a similar answer to the writer of the blog I linked, but I'm decidedly more strict about the evidence I would accept.

First, things that would cause me to update my beliefs on the spot to be consistent with the metaphysics of the specific religion:

  1. Aliens with the same metaphysics: Not necessarily aliens that have the same religion, but has the same metaphysical beliefs. Belief in the same god. Belief in the same mythical figures. Belief in a way the world works that is exactly the same as the human religion. This would have to match up perfectly with the metaphysics, or close enough to be accounted for (so saying that Jihadists would get one less or more virgin in the afterlife is acceptable or variations based on biology are acceptable, such as creatures with multiple minds in the same body believing in a number of souls greater than the metaphysics of the human religion believes in is acceptable) and confirmation that those metaphysics were developed independently.
  2. Any direct manifestation of the divine: The divine would have to be consistent with the divine of the religion's metaphysics and confirm the religion's metaphysics when asked or on his/her/its own. This would have to be confirmed to not be a hoax within a reasonable standard of evidence.
Now, things that would cause me to accept parts of the metaphysics as true on the spot:
  1. A lack of a particularly high failure rate when it comes to prophecies: Rather than looking at prophecies that come true for acceptance of a certain set of metaphysics to be true, I would look at the failures. If a religion has 1000 prophecies and 980 of them are false while 20 are true, and the successes meet the criteria set by the author of the blog I linked, I would not convert, but, if, instead, the religion has 20 prophecies meeting the criteria set by the author of the blog and all 20 are true, then I would accept the prophesying abilities on the spot. (I should note that I would consider scientific knowledge far ahead of its time to fit under the category of prophecy.)
  2. Consistent miracles in a way consistent with the metaphysics of the religion: This is similar to the author's miracles requirement that the miracles be consistent with the metaphysics of the group. Thus, if the group believes that prayer causes miracles, then prayer should cause miracles. If the group believes disbelief causes divine wrath (a subset of miracles), then disbelief should cause divine wrath. This would cause me to accept the miracles claim on the spot.
Things that would cause me to give the metaphysical beliefs more thought:
  1. Consistency: If a holy book and all beliefs were completely consistent, or consistent within an acceptable margin of error, I would give the metaphysical beliefs more thought.
  2. Historical accuracy: It must be independently confirmed by contemporary, secular sources
Things I would not accept:
  1. Lack of immoral behavior: If the followers of the metaphysical beliefs have never done immoral stuff, good for them. However, that's not evidence for the validity of their claims.
  2. Speaking in tongues and other "scare quote miracles": "Scare quote miracles" are things that are "miracles" or "miraculous." This includes faith healing that does not pass a double blind test, speaking in tongues, things that would be explainable by the placebo effect, "bible codes," or other such "miracles."
  3. Subjective experiences: This includes conversion stories. Subjective experiences aren't and never will be evidence, to me. Not even my own subjective experiences. Such experiences would cause me to question myself before questioning any metaphysics.
If someone does manage to convince me of his/her metaphysical beliefs, the first thing I would do in most cases would be to rise up in active rebellion. The problems of the state and capitalism and other such stuff is small potatoes compared to the problem of something placing itself above humanity. Of course, with stuff such as buddhism which has no such figure, I'd just update my beliefs, then continue as is.

That is why you shouldn't even attempt to convert me. Convince me of the validity of your claims, and you will have made an enemy for your god or change nothing about how I act. You will not help yourself, your religion, or any god or other such being you may worship by attempting to convert me. You might, however, help me by telling me of a tyrant I must fight, so, by all means, attempt to convert me. I welcome your attempts. I want to know if I must rebel against your god. God isn't dead, but that's just because I haven't had a go at him, yet.

I challenge you, my dear reader, to answer the questions provided or to attempt to convert me in the comments. Enjoy. I know I will. :)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Rosie DiManno, Rape Culture, and Misandry

For those of you who haven't been keeping up with the news, recently four women sexually assaulted a 19 year old man in Toronto. This is a horrible crime and should be taken seriously. Unfortunately, some are treating this frivolously. Rosie DiManno's article doesn't treat it seriously at all. To her, this is all a joke, apparently. Her article says stuff like,
"They could be sex molls or sex maulers." 
"Last seen teetering around in high heels and short black dresses — typical clubbing attire — their estimated age 30 to 36, so not cougars on the prowl." 
"Of course, one man’s sexual assault is another man’s sexual fantasy come true." 
"Sexual assault, you say? Lucky guy others say, nudge-nudge, a fivesome and didn’t even have to pay for it." 
"Wanted: Bad girls in black minidresses and stilettos, approach with caution."
In addition, she used "allegedly" or "alleged" five times, as well as describing the crime as "purported" and "a bizarre anomaly." She also put assault in quotes when describing it. In addition, she says,
"We do instinctively think of sexual assault as something done to women by men because the stats bear that out: 90 per cent of victims are female and 99 per cent of the offenders are male."
Which is a false statistic. In addition, she has a history of reporting on sexual assault in bad ways.

Of course, she's not alone in this. There were some gems,
"every mans dream"
"haha Ya ok!!! #callingbullshit"
"He was probably wearing skinny pants and showing off his ass."
"It never entered my mind that it may not have been a real man. As in a man that adores female flesh."
The assault was horrible, but the response made it worse. This is misandry and a result of the rape culture. Men can get raped. There's nothing funny about it. It is not his fault. He was not lucky. These responses were disgusting. I am disappointed in everyone who has responded in this way.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

On Dates

If you noticed in my last post, I dated things based on HE, then gave the AD date in parentheses. In the future, I won't be adding the AD date in parentheses because I'm going to explain the dating system I do use and why I use it.

AD and BC are arbitrary systems with several problems. Now, there's no real problem with arbitrary systems, as all measurement systems are somewhat arbitrary, but I feel it's better to use one that has significance to more people. About 33% of the world's population is christian, so AD and BC have significance to them, but it has very little to the remaining 67% as we do not hold Jesus as the son of the abrahamic god. In addition, it has two major problems. First, it has no 0 date. Things go from 1 BC to AD 1. Second, when dealing with history, it makes things difficult by having both positive and negative dates within human history making things more difficult to determine the difference between dates. CE and BCE has similar problems, but fail in being undescriptive of what they actually are. They are based on the birth of Jesus, they just don't say it.

As a result, it would be better to have one that has more significance to everyone, has a 0 date, and contains all of human history in positive dates. A system that fulfils all of those requirements is the Holocene Calendar. It starts 10,000 years before the start of AD. To convert from AD to HE, one only adds 10,000 and to convert from BC to HE, one subtracts the BC date from 10,001. As such, 1 BC is 10000 HE and 1 AD is 10001 HE.

Worshipping the State or Projection by Conservatives

So I came across this fascinating interview on Red State with the author of Worshipping the State: How Liberalism Became Our State Religion, and there is so much to respond to in that interview.

First, let us deal with some hypocrisy by the author, Benjamin Wiker. Wiker complains about liberalism becoming "the default worldview imposed upon us," but isn't that exactly the sort of thing that conservative christians want to see happen with conservatism and, to a much greater extent, christianity? I mean, whenever people do stuff that break away from their worldview, they complain. That's the whole concept behind the War on Christmas. People are breaking away from the conservative christian worldview, and they see it as an attack on them. As a war they are fighting. You'll notice this is a common theme in the interview. Wiker is a hypocrite.

Next, one of the interviewers asks a very good question: How does Wiker define religion to both encompass christianity and liberalism? Wiker never answers the question. He never defines his term. Instead he goes on a tangent of talking about political philosophies which define themselves religiously or include worship of the state or philosophy. He says it happened with facism and communism (almost certainly talking about soviet style marxist-leninist communism), then makes an unsubstantiated claim that the same has happened with liberalism. To be fair to him, though, this is his thesis so he intends to substantiate it with the interview and the book. (Spoilers: This never happens.)

After that, he goes on to talk about the start of the separation of church and state. He talks about how it was the church that created the separation and how that set christianity apart from the pagan religions that came before it which would deify the emperor or king. Of course, this ignores that separation of church and state was an enlightenment concept most often credited to John Locke who wasn't born until 11632 HE (AD 1632) and the term wasn't used until a letter by Thomas Jefferson in 11802 HE (AD 1802). Of course, to be fair, proto-separation of church and state came in the form of Martin Luther's Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms which talks about the earthly kingdom of government and church through whom the abrahamic god rules by means of law and the heavenly kingdom of gospel and grace through which god rules through people obeying the laws he created in the bible. This doctrine comes from Mark 12:17, Matthew 22:21, and Luke 20:26 "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's." However, this doctrine is far from a separation of church and state, but a separation of earthly authority, which includes the church and state, and heavenly authority. Christianity had not been separate from the state since emperor Constantine made it the state religion of the roman empire and it was only separate before because no state accepted christianity but, rather, persecuted it. All through the middle ages, kings derived their power from the papacy through the concept of Divine Right and the papacy actually controlled territory that was ruled over by various popes and eastern orthodox did so through the byzantine emperor. During the Reformation, various sects of christianity were supported by various states. In Geneva, the state fully embraced calvinism and the church and state merged. In England, the king split from the catholic church and created the church of England which is still fused with the british state. Separation of church and state is something that came from enlightenment thinkers. Indeed, it was Denis Diderot who once said "the distance between the throne and the altar can never be too great."

Now, for a slight quibble, he then takes Machiavelli's The Prince seriously, despite it being a subtle satire he wrote to appease the leaders who had locked him up.

Next he goes off on another tangent talking about how the states began to focus more on the world and less on the afterlife or spiritual stuff around the time of the writing of The Prince, ignoring that the church had beaten Machiavelli to that by 500 years when pope Benedict IX became the only pope to ever sell the papacy in 11045 HE (AD 1045). He complains that people focus on the world when they are in the world, which he claims creates a fusion of church and state by putting the state above the church, even though that would be dominance of state over church rather than a fusion.

Following that Wiker repeats his unsubstantiated claim that liberalism is a religion. The interviewers quickly change the subject.

They then focus on Obama, claiming that the press made him out to be sort of like a deity, citing a picture early in his presidency which made it look like he had a halo because of the glass behind him and how the press pushed him as a savior. This falls into the liberal bias in the media trap which, of course, completely ignore fox news. However, more to the point, they give absolutely no evidence that the media did this.

Following that he makes an absolutely absurd claim that I'd like to pick apart. Fascism and nazism are forms of liberalism. I'm going to let that sink in for a moment. Liberalism is founded on the concepts of liberty, equality, and justice. Fascism is an ultranationalist totalitarian philosophy that asserts that some races are inherently superior to others and those that are inferior should be crushed underfoot. Those two philosophies are completely incompatible. Claiming that fascism is a form of liberalism is absurd.

That absurd claim is a part of a bigger claim that liberalism shifts devotion from the abrahamic god to the state by focusing more on this world than the next. This completely ignores the possibility that one could have devotion to nothing as he implies that taking away devotion to the abrahamic god would lead to devotion to something else.

He then continues with his absurdity by talking about how people in nazi Germany had an insane devotion to Hitler and people in fascist Italy had an insane devotion to Mussolini as well as referencing how communists seem to have the same sort of devotion to their leader embalming them like saints. Wiker is talking about soviet-style marxist communism as if it were the only form of communism there was. None of these states were liberal (the soviet-style states weren't liberal for similar reasons as fascism wasn't), thus making them irrelevant to his point.

He then goes to his main point, Obama is being treated as a messiah or god. He also brings up FDR as another example of a deified president. This is more hypocrisy from him as he completely ignores Reagan who is treated far more deifically by conservatives than Obama and FDR combined. While Obama and FDR are considered by many (though not all) to be good presidents, many republicans feel its necessary to stamp a lot of what they do as things that Reagan would support or claim that people are betraying Reagan's ideals. While, of course, it would be absurd to call this deification, it's far more reverence than either Obama or FDR get.

Following that, Wiker makes a good point. Liberalism attempts to put its effort into giving us in this world what christianity only promises in the next. Of course, he didn't mean for that to be a good point, but it reminds me of the song the Preacher and the Slave. Christianity promises pie in the sky when people die while people have no food. Is it any wonder that liberalism is a growing trend?

Next, he makes another unsubstantiated claim that there is a shift toward centralization in  the US as a part of a belief that we need a new leader to bring the world into a better place.

They start talking about secular morality, next. Again, they bring up some good points which they don't think are good points. First, that religious freedom must include the freedom not to believe, second, asking what harm it causes if a secular person or an atheist is a moral person, and, third, it doesn't matter what people believe, just how people act. He argues, then, that secular and religious morality will inevitably come in conflict. He gives two examples, abortion and gay marriage, with the implication that people who are pro-choice or pro-gay marriage base their beliefs on secular morality and people who are pro-life or anti-gay marriage base their beliefs on religious or christian morality. This is false. For example, the prime minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, is an atheist who is against gay marriage. In addition, the episcopalian church is for gay marriage. Not all secular morality is the same just as not all religious or christian morality is the same. There are atheists or people who have secular morality and people who are christian or have religious morality on both sides of those debates.

Then they go on to talk about how, because secularists don't worship a god, they must worship something different, so they worship the state. This ignores the possibility that people could worship nothing. Wiker talks about what people look to as the ultimate source of humanity's salvation and redemption, applying a christian mode of thinking (that humanity needs salvation and/or redemption) to the lack in belief in a god. Unfortunately for his point, many people don't think that humanity needs either salvation or redemption, and, thus, don't need to look elsewhere for it.

He then goes on to claim that, since people don't believe in a god, they look to the state to improve their lives. This ignores people who go out to improve their lives for themselves, both atheistic and non-atheistic. For example Martin Luther King, who fought for rights the state never gave him.

Finally, they wrap up on considering the future, and Wiker makes the point that it depends on what people do now, which is really correct. What we do now can determine what the future will be like.

Wiker's thesis that liberalism is a religion imposed by liberal states is unsubstantiated and there is evidence against it, so there is absolutely no reason to believe it.