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Did a liberal call me dumb? Does a neocon think I can make mercury switches?

6 October 2009 by Mike Gogulski
Posted in people | 41 Comments »

The whole G20-Pittsburgh-Twitter-police-scanner-anarchists-arrested thing is really spilling over into the land of great wackiness. I’m so confused!

Here, I’ll let y’all have a crack at ‘em:

Queens ‘Tin Can’ Anarchist Held One Pound of Liquid Mercury

Since mercury is liquid at room temperature, freezes around -40 °C and boils above 350 °C, one wonders what the point of stressing “liquid” here is… unless it was a rather unseasonable day in Queens.

And then:

Donald Douglas: All Dumb is Liberal

I could swear I’m being called dumb there. Unclear. I feel dumb for not updating my “about” page lately, but whatever.

Go get ‘em, tigers.

  1. 41 Responses to “Did a liberal call me dumb? Does a neocon think I can make mercury switches?”

  2. By Mike on 6 October 2009

    Wow. Neocons can’t read? Who’d a thunk it?

    Means you are getting to them.

  3. By Doctor Biobrain on 6 October 2009

    To be honest, I couldn’t think of a good title for that post and the best I could do was to indicate that Douglas thinks everyone he doesn’t like is part of the same team. So I wasn’t actually calling you dumb in that.

    But thus said, while I respect your consistency far more than I do someone like Douglas, I don’t have much respect for anarchists, as I find the idea of anarchy to be ludicrous. In my view, anarchy is only something that can happen for a limited time, before order is re-established. And if government wasn’t there to protect us from each other, the powerful (ie, the folks with the most guns, friends, and brains) would soon dominate and the rest of us would either work for them or be killed by them. That’s what’s always happened. Government is the solution to anarchy, as it was considered better for people to all play by the same set of rules.

    I have no idea how anyone could believe that people can be trusted to do the right thing without an enforcement tool to watch over them, but I assure you, there are a lot of bad people in this world and they’d be a whole lot worse if we didn’t have a government to keep them in line. I’m sure you disagree, but I’d much rather have the problem of dealing with an overly aggressive police force that bashes too many skulls than an overly aggressive private army that does the same; as there are still some protections against excessive police violence. And I can assure you, if anarchy occurred, I’d sell my multiple talents to the highest bidder as soon as I possibly could and would have no problem whatsoever in bashing in your head if it meant I got to keep mine. Sorry, but I’m a whore that way. That’s why I got a business degree.

    I can definitely see a world in which anarchy could work, but can’t see it happening within my lifetime.

  4. By Anthony on 6 October 2009


    … I’d much rather have the problem of dealing with an overly aggressive police force that bashes too many skulls than an overly aggressive private army that does the same; as there are still some protections against excessive police violence.

    Well you certainly get what you pay for, then.

  5. By Jim Davidson on 6 October 2009

    Doc Blobrain seems to believe in the classical liberalism fallacy. That fallacy says that governments are instituted to protect rights (to things like life, liberty, property).

    But, of course, as we’ve seen over and over since that thesis was advanced, that isn’t why governments are formed. They are formed to give power to those who run the government and steal from those who don’t.

    What we experience of government is anarchism, not order. In some cases the efforts to impose surplus order result in a lot of people getting their brains kicked in by pigs. Of course, law and order types like that idea.

    Government is a boot smashing a human face forever. That isn’t orderly.

  6. By Jim Davidson on 6 October 2009

    Also, elemental mercury has a density about 13.5 times water. That means that a pound of it is not very much liquid.

    A pound of water is a pint. (A pint’s a pound, the world around.) There are sixteen fluid ounces in a pint of water, so we divide 16 by 13.5 to get about 1.18 ounces. That’s about 33 millilitres for those of you who go metric.

    In other words, it isn’t a very large amount of liquid. Probably a standard size sold by apothecary supply stores or whatever you have these days.

  7. By Anthony on 6 October 2009

    33 milliliters is really close to one flask, which is the typical unit for the sale of mercury. 1 flask = 34.5 milliliters.

  8. By The New Anarchist on 6 October 2009

    I see where Brain is coming from. It’s something I’m giving more thought to lately. The government heel has been omnipresent for so long that, if you took it off, sure people would go nuts.

    It’s an immediacy issue. If it happened in America right now, you’d have to face the fact that there would suddenly be a lot of mean people with a lot of guns and Wild West fantasies who hate blacks and gays and think that Jesus is just fine. At that point, I would, as plainly as I can put it, get the fuck out of town.

    If anarchy could be cultivated away from the throbbing epicenter of corporate oligarchical bullshit and hatred and religious hoo-hooism, I see it as having a great chance.

  9. By Anthony on 6 October 2009

    @New It’s a good point. Imagine the Matrix, flushing every human at once like Neo was first flushed out when he was recruited.

    I don’t think anyone here is suggesting that. The solution is agorism.

    But if it did happen now all at once, remember there are nine firearms for every ten adults in the US. I think it would be an orderly transition.

  10. By Winterset on 6 October 2009

    @New & Anthony:

    Actually I’d like to argue that’s not necessarily the case. Please check my blog entry on this subject for my rant/argument.

    I don’t disagree that it would be nuts for a short while, but I doubt it would be nearly as bad nor as long-lasting as people fear.

    That doesn’t mean I expect it to happen. The agoristic pattern is much more likely and elegant and it’s certainly more the way I would prefer.

    (How the frak do I get ping-backs to work???)

  11. By b-psycho on 6 October 2009


    I have no idea how anyone could believe that people can be trusted to do the right thing without an enforcement tool to watch over them

    What enforcement tool watches over the enforcers then?

  12. By Doctor Biobrain on 6 October 2009

    BTW, I’m currently working on a weaponized form of liquid ice which remains perfectly stable at room temperature. I’ve found that dribbling small quantities of it over a test subject being held in an inverted position is quite effective at eliciting false confessions. In addition, it has great potential at testing the authenticity of witches, which could be very useful this time of year. I’ll let you know more as my testing progresses.

  13. By Doctor Biobrain on 6 October 2009

    The government heel has been omnipresent for so long that, if you took it off, sure people would go nuts.

    Yes, omnipresent since the beginning of written history. Seriously, when has there EVER had anarchy for an extended amount of time (ie, longer than one year)? I assure you, wherever there was anarchy, they soon had tribes/gangs/governments fill the vacuum. Our government was the solution to the problem of tyranny. Is it perfect? No. But it’s better than the outright tyranny we had before. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been beaten by police, and I seriously don’t think I ever will be.

    The reality is that you guys have this completely backwards. You’re so accustomed to security that you can’t conceive of how badly things would be in anarchy. But look at Africa, surely in such unstable places, anarchy should thrive. Yet it doesn’t. You ALWAYS get the strong who trample the weak. And the less structured the government is, the more likely you’ll see egregious violations of liberty.

    As for enforcement, we currently have more protections from the government than throughout history. Sure, if you get beaten by police when there are no cameras around, you’re still screwed. But if someone gets it on tape, the cops can be prosecuted and you can be compensated. That was simply unheard of a few hundred years ago. The kings men could arrest, torture, and kill you, and no one would be the wiser. And for as much as the Cheneys may approve of that sort of thing, I certainly don’t.

    And just for curosity sake, under anarchy, are there rules against forming private armies and instituting tyranny? If not, you’ll surely get tyranny. But if there are such rules, it ain’t anarchy. Of course, I’ll admit to being fairly ignorant as to the details of anarchy, so perhaps you’ve already thought of this one. But I can assure you, if people started forming private armies in my anarchy, I’d join one of the armies ASAP.

  14. By John Galt on 6 October 2009

    I am with Rothbard. If there were a button to push, today, to end the state immediately, with all the consequences that means, I would be pushing that button.

    I would push that button and I would push it good and firm. End the state. No more wars. No more taxes. No more drug war. No more regulatory agencies. Freedom. Free markets.

    Sure, the transition might be messy, but so what? The wars are messy. Go spend a week in a hospital in Afghanistan fixing up the messes your government makes and tell me about the messy transition to no state. Fuck the state. Fuck these wars.

  15. By John Galt on 6 October 2009

    A good case can be made for Boston from December 1773 to about June 1774 being effectively in anarchy. They kicked out the Brits, tarred and feathered the British magistrates, and got along with their neighbors just fine. Another example is Barcelona during parts of the Spanish “civil” war.

    Although the Somalis do not call their traditional clan system of government anarchy, they have been without a central government since 1991. No successor in interest to the dictator Siad Barre, no national debt, no national taxes. They have the most competitive telecomm industry on the continent and some of the lowest international dialing rates in the world.

  16. By Winterset on 6 October 2009

    There’s that phrase again. You assure me? No, in fact you don’t. Please stop making the ludicrous assumption that are capable of assuring anybody of anything by merely claiming to do so. Most people stopped believing in bootstrap levitation in their early teens and most anarchists stopped believing in the fairy tales told to them by people claiming to assure them of veracity before becoming anarchists.

    As to “the reality”, you might want to check a little history. The “tyranny” from which they rebelled was no where near as oppressive as what we have now. The primary problem was the taxation which was outrageously nominal compared to what we pay today and the lack of legal representation which was much less immediate to the vast majority of the population than what is the case today. The idea that their fighting that war then means we’re better off now is such utter insanity I’m having a hard time believing you’re not just trying to get a response (and if you are, then you win!)

    If you think we have any protections at all from government, you haven’t been seeing the same news articles I have. Try telling that to the woman who was beat down by a drunk off-duty cop in her place of business, or the innocent and unarmed ball-player shot in his dad’s drive way, or the 15 year old girl who was brutally beaten for kicking off a sneaker in the general direction of a cop… while completely defenseless and outnumbered. We have no protections. That’s a joke.

  17. By The New Anarchist on 6 October 2009

    It’s interesting to see how everyone differently interprets what anarchy would be like.

    And the “strong will take over the weak” argument is one we’ve all heard before and it has been addressed. A lot of factors come into play when you try to predict the future in any setting (your business degree has probably taught you this). We think –

    (1) Anarchy factor. This one’s easy. No more government.

    (2) Power vacuum or more accurately, “Who will step up to oppress the masses this time?”

    It’s easy to see that (1) and (2) are at odds. You’ve got guns, people, and limited resources. Not hard to see the writing on the wall there.

    But (3) has been clouded by the current state of affairs of our friend, the capitalist global enterprise. There might be more than enough workers and energy sources and materials to provide for the planet’s population ten times over, if only we can get those resources to the people who need them.

    (3) Post-scarcity economy. What’s funny is, we are probably already living in one. The problem is that the top 1% hoard so much wealth that it wouldn’t be readily apparent. And, as technology keeps advancing at light speed, we will have more and more ways for everyone to have and live healthily. The only excuse humanity has for not doing that is that we simply haven’t tried it yet.

    In short, why would you steal when you can have whatever you want and however much you want? Who would need a private army or want a war? Stop raising kids to think that he has to fight for global scraps and stop raising them to have cutthroat business mentality that says they have to step on every little guy to climb the ladder, mix in an economy where capitalists no longer have all the resources so there’s more than enough for all, and you’ve got a pretty good reason for people to put away their guns.

  18. By Royce Christian on 7 October 2009

    “I have no idea how anyone could believe that people can be trusted to do the right thing without an enforcement tool to watch over them…”

    Well, it’s pretty straight forward, actually. Crack open a history book and look over the history of the world and you can generally find that those people charged with ‘looking over you’ have also been the ‘very bad people that need to be locked up’ which you mention here;

    “…but I assure you, there are a lot of bad people in this world…”

    I’m sorry to tell you this, but the people who look over us are not saints and are prone to the same human failures as the rapist or serial killer. The problem is that you divide people into ‘sheep’ and the ‘wolves’ and suggest that we need to find some ‘shepherd’ to watch us from the walls.

    The problem is that all of us have the capacity to become a genocidal maniac. The wolves are the sheep and all the sheep are wolves. We then draw the shepherd from the lot and assume everything will be fine and dandy — the only problem being that our shepherd is a wolf too and he is interest in keeping us safe from other wolves is not as honourable as you seem to believe.

    And that’s the fundamental Anarchist problem with government; if we’re all so damn evil, why the hell are we concentrating power among a few of us sinners?

    I assure you that there is no boogie man in my wardrobe.

  19. By mb2p on 7 October 2009

    Doctor Biobrain,

    I present to you, a brief introduction to anarchism. It should make some points more clear.
    http://lifeafterauthority.wordpress.com/2009/07/19/an-introduction-to-anarchism/

  20. By Doctor Biobrain on 7 October 2009

    In short, why would you steal when you can have whatever you want and however much you want?

    My god, that is possibly the most naive thing I’ve ever read, and I hang out with progressives. Can any of you explain why anarchy has never existed ANYWHERE, beyond short-term power vacuums? And yes, tribes and gangs are a form of government. If there are people who can compel others to act in ways they don’t want to act, you ain’t got anarchy. And that’s a paraphrase of the Anarchist’s Declaration at this very site.

    And seriously, blaming this all on the capitalists? Really?? Why didn’t we have anarchy one thousand years ago? Or two thousand years ago? Was it the global capitalists clouding their minds, too? Were the pyramids built by anarchists? Sorry, but anarachy just isn’t the natural order of things. It’s just a power vacuum that will only exist until somebody fills it; and that rarely takes long.

    And to get back to the point: Why should I work if I can form a private army to collect everything I want? After all, that sort of thing keeps happening throughout history, while your anarchy remains a pipedream. Put three people together and before long, the first will hire the second to subjugate the third.

    BTW, I know many people who make decent livings and have far more than they need, yet none of them have a “cutthroat business mentality” or step on anyone to succeed. Nor do they seem particularly oppressed by the government, or fear that police will beat them up. As for myself, I’m self-employed, doing accounting for small businesses from the comfort of my home and quite enjoy my life. The world you’re describing as our reality is entirely foreign to me.

  21. By Royce Christian on 7 October 2009

    “Can any of you explain why anarchy has never existed ANYWHERE, beyond short-term power vacuums?”

    Actually, you question is in itself wrong. Anarchy exists in many places, though it does not parade itself under the label ‘Anarchism’. Think of P2P and Torrent filesharing — entire communities are organising without a central committing dictating who does what, general customs evolve to deal with people who contribute bad files and everyone is able to serve their self interest while simultaneously serving the collective whole. And it’s down without the equivalent of ‘police’ or ‘government’.

    Then you got communities like those in Spain which publicly announced themselves as Anarchist. They had problems, to be sure, but we never did say they didn’t. To make matters even more complicated for you, much of the Republican government at that time depended on the Anarchists for its survival for so long, that was until the Communists began undermining their efforts.

    There plenty evidence out that there that supports Anarchist theory.

    “And seriously, blaming this all on the capitalists? Really??”

    Nope, but I can’t help but ‘lol’ at your reaction. We simply point out that there is a most corporate entities actively seek out and procure the help of government to maintain their activities. Government itself provides that benefit through, what is essentially, theft from entrepreneurs and workers who productively contribute to society and re-channel that to political allies. The recent bail outs provided good evidence when money was paid out to the big banks and car companies while everyone with a sense of business management got to watch as their ‘good behaviour’ was rewarded with their business going bust.

    “Why should I work if I can form a private army to collect everything I want?”

    You’re asking the wrong question. Why should anyone join your private army when they could potentially get rich without having to risk their lives for some asshole. Not that I’m implying you’re an asshole of course, just putting everything in perspective. You yourself noted that people prefer peace and stability (which you characterise and associate with government, which is absurd in itself) and then you simultaneously suggest they’re all out to kill each other. So you’re basing your argument on a paradox?

    Not to mention that if you wish to conduct a sustained campaign against everyone else, that requires funding and there’s only so much your capital and plunder will provide before your army turns around and says, quite openly, ‘screw this, I could have had a better life by sitting at home and balancing my client’s books’. As a business graduate you must understand the risk vs gain associated with this. Even if you had the money to conduct a sustain campaign (unlikely) against the world, it would run out. Without a centralised institution to point to in order to justify your crusade and from which to force yourself upon others, you would have a tough time subjugating people who don’t want to kowtow to anyway. Also consider that they are all potentially armed and not to fond of invading forces. Which is, presumably what we are talking about here, an Anarchist society existing and you playing Napolean and taking it over. And there are some definitely good real-world examples of people’s out there who don’t want to be conquered resisting large, bulky, expensive forces looking to subjugate them.

    “The world you’re describing as our reality is entirely foreign to me.”

    Which is precisely the point of many people here. Just because and the few hundred people you know and associate with haven’t experienced hardship, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Again, which is why your arguments seem absurd, they’re based on a narrow experience of the world, formed in the comfort of your home.

    Your government is the holy, do-gooder you seem to think it is. Once again, if people are so evil, why do we entrust a few of them with the reigns of power? You have still not answer this question.

  22. By Doctor Biobrain on 7 October 2009

    The problem is that you divide people into ’sheep’ and the ‘wolves’ and suggest that we need to find some ’shepherd’ to watch us from the walls.

    I’ve done no such thing. I fully understand that people can’t be trusted to do the right thing. That’s why I’m a liberal who wants the government to ensure that we’re all working by the same sets of rules. After all, the people running the government are subject to the same laws as the rest of us, and even the president can be sent to jail. You might consider that naive, but you guys think you can run a modern society without taxation. I’m a stone-cold realist by comparison.

    And where do you people get the idea that the government doesn’t have anyone watching them? Do I REALLY have to point out every politician and political aide who has gone to jail? Or corrupt police officers, judges, and DA’s who have been punished? Sure, the list I could give should be much much larger, as this sort of thing will always be a problem, but to suggest that nobody is watching the government is entirely absurd.

    As I said, our laws apply to our government officials just as much as they do to us. And this is in contrast to the situations in centuries past, where kings and warlords were granted almost unlimited powers. And it wasn’t global corporations or buraucrats who installed those rulers. And I still fail to understand how anarchy could POSSIBLY stop evil people from taking over, as they always have. Democracy is far from perfect, but it’s a heckeva lot better than the alternatives have been.

    Overall, I feel that a big problem you guys have is that you’re borrowing the pro-anarchy rhetoric of an age that no longer exists. Our society is far more free and open, and with more accountability than in the days of the dead anarchists you’re getting your ideas from. Our government isn’t some malevolent force of tyranny stomping on my dreams; it’s a bunch of bored bureaucrats who just want to play Solitaire in their cubicles all day, pining for early retirement.

    I’ve worked for various levels of government in my life, including the federal government, and have found that they’re just like any other large organization I’ve worked for; but a little more lethargic. I can’t imagine why anyone would fear these people. A cop with an attitude, I fear. I can deal with bureaucrats.

  23. By Doctor Biobrain on 7 October 2009

    Royce Christian – I appreciate your answer, but let me tell you, I am most assuredly an asshole. I’m a benevolent asshole, but I’m an asshole all the same. I’m all about working the system to my advantage and do very little to help others. I’m a nice guy because I’ve found that being nice works in our society. And if being a dick worked in the long run, I’d probably be a dick.

    But overall, I don’t see the “few” who you people say run our country. We’ve got federal, state, county, city, school, and neighborhood governments across this country and I’ve never heard good things about any of them. In fact, I’ve generally found that the lower level the government, the more they’re going to fuck with you.

    For example, Neighborhood Associations will foreclose on your house to pay just a few hundred dollars in dues. They’ll also force you to paint your house, mow your lawn, take down your Christmas decorations, and move your car. I’ve never heard of the federal government doing any of this crap. So I don’t see why it’s imagined we can entrust our neighbors with our freedom more than the Feds. I’ll take the faceless bureuacrat over the neighbor who gets in my face.

    Overall, it doesn’t sound like you guys oppose government at all. You oppose GOVERNMENT, an evil, faceless group of people ruining your lives. And since you don’t like the powers that GOVERNMENT has, you think you can create your own little governments of citizen rulers who will make government decisions without being overly aggressive about it. And that sounds great, until you go to a school board meeting and realize that people are fucking insane and will fight over the stupidest fucking things. Or visit Wikipedia, the once anarchic encyclopedia, which has slowly had to enforce more and more rules on editing; with certain editors now having power over other editors. And that’s over a subject as benign as words on a webpage.

    Yet, you guys think you can settle important issues like property disputes and rape accusations with a civilian government of neighbors? Look, this is exactly what has happened throughout history. Governments don’t just rise up out of nowhwere. They start as small groups of people banding together to end lawlessness. And year after year, decade upon decade, they create a larger and larger organization with certain people taking duties and privileges for themselves, and the next thing you know, your civilian-run government is the dreaded GOVERNMENT that you were trying to avoid in the first place.

    And while you say “Hey, it’s better to limit that power,” I say “But it all leads to the same place.” And even worse, you’re wanting to re-invent the wheel. Our legal system was developed by trial-and-error, based upon over a thousand years of case history. And you want to throw that all out and start over, so you can make the same mistakes they made the first time. I mean, does your “anarchic” government wait until someone pulls a Ponzi scheme before you outlaw them, or will your rules be that fine-tuned at the beginning?

    That’s what happens again and again. Hell, it happens in the businessworld. I’ve seen cool, funky “We’re all in this together” companies where the president of the company is just as likely to take out the trash as anyone else; and ten years later, it’s the same dead corporate culture you see everywhere else, where the president gets “working” vacations while the rest of the shlubs get nothing. That’s just human nature. The pigs will always make themselves more equal.

    And while you guys seem to realize that, you fail to understand that it happens EVERY DAMN TIME. Without fail. There is no country, state, city, company, or nonprofit that continues with the same loose standards that they began with. And the only option then is to demand a government that can work for us to protect us from the people you think are being protected by the government. I want the SEC, EPA, and FDA to protect me as I know that I can’t possibly protect myself, and if they’re corporate tools, then I want them to have MORE enforcement power, not less. And I want a government that’s more accountable, and that really IS “of the people.” And I think the way to get that is to be a liberal and push for that sort of government.

    Is our system perfect? No. But that doesn’t mean we should scrap the whole thing and pray it doesn’t start up again. It definitely will. Except we might not end up with democracy next time. Even a lemonade stand won’t stay egalitarian forever. But again, I can’t believe that you people call this “anarchy.” You want government as much as anyone. You just don’t want it to be GOVERNMENT. Yet it’s all the same thing.

  24. By Royce Christian on 7 October 2009

    “After all, the people running the government are subject to the same laws as the rest of us, and even the president can be sent to jail.”

    Once again, you make a fundamental error you make is in assuming that the law itself is a cohesive mass of formal codes that need only be applied in the necessary circumstance. This is fallacy. The law is a mass of internal contradictions and can be shaped and changed according to the policy or subjective determination of the Judge at the time of its creation, or is incorporated into an arbitrary statute to enforce the morality of a few parliamentarians. The law is not an objective beast.

    So then, how is it possible that those tasked with making, applying and enforcing this mass of contradictions (not to mention that police are awarded a huge amount of discretion when making arrests ie. “I don’t like the pants you’re wearing. It seems a bit suspicious…”) can apply, effectively, to them? It can’t. Only occasionally when someone makes a mistake do we find out. Otherwise you and I know it’s going on. Drugs disappearing from evidence lockers while the dealer goes to prison. Politicians helping their CEO friends to get government issued subsidies.

    That’s the fundamental problem we have; anything can be made legal. Theft is legal in the form of taxation. Benefits to political allies are given in the form of subsidies. Or you could always check out the history of Apartheid. The law is never applied equally.

    “You might consider that naive, but you guys think you can run a modern society without taxation.”

    Actually, correction, we don’t think we can run anything. In fact we don’t think anyone can run society.

    “And where do you people get the idea that the government doesn’t have anyone watching them? Do I REALLY have to point out every politician and political aide who has gone to jail?”

    Do I need to point out the thousands of others who haven’t? How many politicians have merely allowed their employee to act as scapegoat. How many haven’t been discovered? How many cops have covered their badge number? How many have intimidated witnesses? How many have been safe behind the blue wall of silence? If those that have been tried and made examples off are a few of all those who have note. How many bribes must have been taken, witnesses silenced, documents stolen and people injured or killed at the hands of some official in the past?

    Then you also neglect the fact that it is not necessarily what goes on behind the scenes that Anarchists object to, it’s the evil done which is legal.

    You kill someone, that is murder.
    Apply an official seal, it becomes justified aggression in an armed conflict and hence legitimate. It has ‘lawful’ justification.

    Is it still murder? Yes. Does an official seal make it justified? No. Where is the difference between the two? How can anyone possibly make murder, possibly one of the worst crimes known to man, not a crime?

    “…suggest that nobody is watching the government is entirely absurd.”

    I don’t suggest that nobody is watching the government. I suggest that if people can deal drugs everyday, to the tune of billions upon billions of dollars (thanks, once again, to government) in spite of the law, that any official operating within a government are probably doing the same. If people are murdering and getting away with it (And let’s face it. People do. All the time.) then so are our officials. I further suggest that the fact these people have access to the halls of power makes these issues of a greater magnitude that not just fact one or two people, as it would on an individual level, but millions of people across an entire nation.

    “And this is in contrast to the situations in centuries past, where kings and warlords were granted almost unlimited powers.”

    Actually, our society is no different. Anything can be legislated. Constitutions only limit so much, and even they are a fiction. To think that a piece of paper is going to prevent an organisation of people who control all the guns, all the nukes and steal from everyone under them to pay for it all, is absurd. The only difference now is that we have moved from having power concentrated among a head, to concentrated among the aristocracy.

    “And it wasn’t global corporations or buraucrats who installed those rulers.”

    But in the past it has been. People coming to power happens in different ways, depending on the time, period and context. In the past it was the guy with the larger club or longer spear. Now, internally, it’s the politician that can raise the most money by providing the most political favours. Externally, larger nations still create leaders through outright violence, often imposing dictators and despots to server their interests. Once again, crack open a history book.

    “Our government isn’t some malevolent force of tyranny stomping on my dreams; it’s a bunch of bored bureaucrats who just want to play Solitaire in their cubicles all day, pining for early retirement. I can’t imagine why anyone would fear these people. A cop with an attitude, I fear. I can deal with bureaucrats.”

    And yet in the past ten years, America (not my country, by the way) has seen the erosion of those ‘liberties’ you seem to believe exist, has started two wars (which have cost countless lives), had a proxy war in Somalia going for a while, attempt to push Iran into war, has taxed its population (which is theft) to pay for the mistakes of its associates in big business and has seen the overall militarisation of its police force while the military industrial complex has ballooned? I could go on, but I’ll leave it there.

    And I agree. Government isn’t the malevolent force, generally speaking. Well members of the government aren’t out plotting the demolition of entire countries, especially the rank and file bureaucrats, this is true. But, fundamentally, that bored bureaucrat playing solitaire is paid with money that was taken from me by performing productive work. Not to mention that, while acting with good intentions, many continue to perpetuate the overall injustices. It’s just ‘doing their job’. I’m not suggesting anything against these people. The garbageman who cleans away my trash isn’t evil, nor is the teacher who teaches in the school down the road from me. What I strongly oppose is the system they are a part of and those which enter it with the express intention to wield power; whether is the justification to pull the trigger and kill without committing a crime, whether it’s for the justification to assault, intimidate and harass and not be arrested or whether it’s for the justification to force people to obey your decisions.

    Individually, all’s good. But collectively, well… once again. Consult a history book for stories of murder, rape and just general destruction.

    “And if being a dick worked in the long run, I’d probably be a dick.”

    But the thing is, you will always be in society. No man is an island, it will never do you good to be a dick because you depend on other people to survive. That is fact. Even without a government to enforce the code, you still need food, you still need water, your kids still need shoes. You need other people. If you kill them, you will not get them. Can you not see how self-interest and atruism overlap? Even in this society, you don’t get out the Consolidated Law Book of Australia and consult it before you begin your day to see what you can and can’t do. You’d be dead before you get 1/3 of the way through, in fact.

    “But overall, I don’t see the “few” who you people say run our country.”

    Ever notice that all those senators, lawyers, legislators, cabinet ministers are often all drawn from the same, entrenched dynasty’s? I mean, over the last 20 years of America, alone, your presidents have predominately come from a small number of families which are all, incidentally, stock holders in large companies.

    “I’ve generally found that the lower level the government, the more they’re going to fuck with you.”

    Which is why we oppose all of those institutions that derive their authority from a doctrine that relies upon violence.

    “…you think you can create your own little governments of citizen rulers who will make government decisions without being overly aggressive about it.”

    Eh. No. I don’t want to create anything. In fact, you don’t know what *I think* because clearly you haven’t listened. And nor do you know me really, unless you can mind read. As a business graduate, you should understand. When you need shoelaces, you go out and buy them. Not government makes the decision for you. No Government instructs the transaction (you hand over x and you get y). Decision made between you and the store, without any Government board overseeing whether or not you two want to kill each other. After all, if you kill him, you don’t get your shoe laces. And you won’t get shoe laces in the future. Or food. Or clothes. Or a house. Or a wife…

    “Or visit Wikipedia, the once anarchic encyclopedia, which has slowly had to enforce more and more rules on editing; with certain editors now having power over other editors. And that’s over a subject as benign as words on a webpage.”

    You mean to tell me that Wikipedia, one website that offers a service to people, changing its internal method of organisation is a proof against Anarchism? How? Wikipedia is one website amongst the entirety of the internet, which contains trillions of bytes of information — and is another example Anarchist principles. The fact that Wikipedia has changed its internal method of organisation does not render the Internet itself any less an Anarchy.

    “Yet, you guys think you can settle important issues like property disputes and rape accusations with a civilian government of neighbors? Look, this is exactly what has happened throughout history.”

    Actually, you’re incorrect here. People were creating systems to resovle disputes before government co-opted it. In fact, the precise reason why government co-opted it was because it worked so well that they wanted control. Check out Merchant Law, or the origins of the English Common Law. Even the Somali Xeer is a good example. FYI, the English Common Law was incorporated into the law of the Kingdom by the British Monarch when he realised its potential. Yet when the Monarchy failed to provide an efficient service, the courts of Equity arose in the churches and gained popularity. Once again the King was forced to incorporate it.

    This is long enough. I am finishing my reply here. I have more or less made my point.

  25. By P.M.Lawrence on 7 October 2009

    Jim Davidson wrote “A pound of water is a pint. (A pint’s a pound, the world around.)”

    Codswallop. “A pint of water/weighs a pound and a quarter”.

    Now, Americans using devalued measures is one thing, but to back up US-centrism with claims of universality is beyond absurd.

  26. By Ryan on 7 October 2009

    @Bio

    It sounds like you have a good life and I’m happy for you. Whether you’ve gotten it through a democracy or a killer evilstate, it works for you and that makes you happy.

    It would almost work for me, too (I don’t really pretend to care about starving people in remote parts of the world), except that so much of it is still built on bullshit and lies that directly effect me. This country was built on the backs of the slaves and the poor and it continues to operate on the backs of the poor and those with darker skin. There’s nothing inherently better about the rich, just that they know, as you know, that if they’re dicks, they can have good lives. I don’t blame them for that, but I don’t like the system. I don’t like seeing BBC or CNN go apeshit when Bill Gates drops from $57 billion to $50 billion when I know that doesn’t effect him at all; whereas, companies like Microsoft will be sure to scrape that loss out of its workers pockets and coverage.

    It’s a world where you’re continually bombarded with the latest in lies, flash, and pizazz, not so someone can make a little money, but so they can make a whole hell of a lot of it at the expense of everyone. And the people are told to be humble, hold tight, and wait it out. Maybe the next recession won’t be so bad. Maybe we’ll only lose the car and not the house or the health care and not the schooling.

    And to think that it’s all built on this idea of material wealth and interest, this invisible money that is just an electronic digit on someone’s computer, the fact that someone might lose their child or house or life because everyone agrees on this one idea instead of another, that’s what makes me angry, makes me want to change things.

    And I don’t think Democrats are at all interested in getting rid of that lie.

  27. By Michael on 7 October 2009

    Wow. This seriously made me scoff out loud.

    First, @John Galt: You seriously propose to hand Somalia over as a success story? Come the fuck on! If that’s how you define anarchy, then no. Just no. To replace what we have now with what the Somali’s go through every day of their lives is not going to happen here, nor should it, because that’s just fucking insanity, and I question the very morality of someone who would propose that as a viable alternative to our admittedly flawed system. Not to mention their grasp of reality. Seriously.

    Second, @Royce Christian: Over the last twenty years, not counting the current administration, you’re talking about three presidents. Three. Yes, two were from the same family, but that’s hardly damning evidence. Hell, it’s not even evidence at all of this system of political dynasties that you seem to be claiming is a reality in our society today. Take a long perspective look at our history, and tell me that this is, in fact, reality. The Kennedy’s, one of the right-wing’s favorite examples of a political dynasty, has had one president, one powerful senator, and a bunch of other minor political figures. Hardly a dynasty controlling government in any sense of any definition of the word, and most politicians are the only member of their immediate or near extended family in the business of government. In fact, in the history of the American government, what you are stating as the implicit reality has in fact only happened three times: Bush Sr. and Jr, noted above; John Adams and John Quincy Adams, father and son, with presidential terms 25 years apart; and Theodore and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, whose direct relation was a little complicated (FDR married a cousin; Teddy was her uncle). Of course, you could go all paranoid conspiracy theory on it and make something out of the fact that FDR’s paternal grandmother was a first cousin of the wife of James Monroe, our fifth president, but that’d be stretching quite a lot. Be sure to be careful not to fall off your high horse; that’s a long drop.

    The last thing I’ll say is this: You are all welcome. I serve to protect your right to say these things, even when I don’t agree with them, even when I question your grip on reality for saying them, and I don’t do it for your gratitude.

  28. By DixieFlatline on 7 October 2009

    So Michael, you violate property rights (taxes, your wage) to defend the right to free speech?

    You’re such a selfless individual. Thank you!

  29. By Royce Christian on 8 October 2009

    Michael,

    Well, I made those points as observations about the American political system. Family groups dominate all levels of Federal politics. I’m not simply looking at the presidency or going all ‘conspiracy theory’ on you. It’s an observation that points out that, hey, yes, those with money and influence usually stay at the top. I agree that this is no sweeping statement against the American political system — there are plenty of other arguments out there that can do this, but it is an observation worth taking note of.

    And, FYI. You don’t serve to protect any of my rights. You don’t serve my country at all, not to mention that my country doesn’t recognise free speech but the right to political communication.

  30. By AlaskanAnarchist on 8 October 2009

    “I don’t do it for your gratitude.”

    That’s good Michael, because you don’t have mine. I don’t want your protection, I don’t want your nanny-state. Just leave me the fuck alone.

  31. By MerryMonk on 8 October 2009

    Doctor Biobrain, you rationalized the necessity of the bullies of the State thusly:

    the powerful (ie, the folks with the most guns, friends, and brains) would soon dominate and the rest of us would either work for them or be killed by them. That’s what’s always happened.

    You have perfectly described the absolute power of the folks with the most guns, friends, and brains that run all Democracies. And for that matter, they run all Dictatorships, Communist States and all Governments in 2009.

    You are justifying the widespread use of force, theft, and killing by the organizations that have done MORE of this evil than all others combined. Any why do you justify this? Your answer is to save us from force, theft and killing…….by using more force, theft, and killing. I totally agree with you that this bullying must be stopped, but Doctor I believe your prescription is the cause of the sickness.

    A smart guy once said “the definition of insanity is doing the same things and expecting different results”. Let’s try something simple, fun and effective…like choosing not to pay the bullies anymore.

  32. By Rich on 9 October 2009

    [i]Yes, omnipresent since the beginning of written history. Seriously, when has there EVER had anarchy for an extended amount of time (ie, longer than one year)?[/i]

    Ireland, from the mid-7th to mid-17th centuries, and half of that time was spent successfully repelling military invasions from England; the only state which was as long-lived was the Byzantine Empire. While mainland Europeans were busy burning any women with minds of their own at the stake, the Irish had full gender equality (something even modern “democracies” have thus far failed to achieve).

    Iceland, from the early-10th to mid-13th centuries; it was longer-lived than most nation states, including the US. It was technically a quasi-anarchy though, following the conversion to Christianity in the 11th century. After the religious conversion, the “chieftains”, private competitive security providers and arbitrators of disputes, became fixed in number and were the only ones who could collect tithes for the Church; from that point on, no one could become a “chieftain” except by buying out an existing “chieftain”, and after a couple of centuries this led to very few chieftains, which resulted in civil war between the few who remained. They ended the civil war by ending their independence from Norway (essentially, they would’ve seen it as making the Norwegian king their sole “chieftain”). Even in their civil war though, their per capita level of violence was still much lower than it is in modern “developed” nations. Note also that it wasn’t that their society was too anarchic, but not anarchic enough, that led ultimately to its downfall; had they not accepted the reintroduction of privilege into their society, Iceland might still be an anarchy today.

    Pennsylvania, in the late 16th century, for about a decade; they were always pretty close to anarchism, but for the decade-long absence of William Penn, what little formal government they had disappeared with him.

    Utopia, Ohio and Modern Times, New York, in the mid-19th century, for a few decades; both were mutualist communities founded by Josiah Warren.

    Somalia, mid-1990s to present. When they had government, Somalia was the worst shithole in Africa, and still getting worse every day; without government, the standard of living has steadily improved, as has average life expectancy, and not only have both improved, they’ve improved more than most other African countries in the same time period. It’s still far from perfect, but they’re already far better off than the people in neighboring countries. The violence level there normally trends downward, and only spikes whenever some foreign jackasses try to force another government on them; Somalis aren’t stupid enough to think a new government will be any less oppressive than their previous governments, so they all fight for control of it, because the only alternative is to end up a victim of it.

    There are plenty of other examples, far too many for me to remember, and almost certainly several I’ve yet to hear about, so I’ll leave it at those six.

  33. By Rich on 9 October 2009

    A smart guy once said “the definition of insanity is doing the same things and expecting different results”.

    He couldn’t have been all that smart, considering that’s the definition of stupidity, not insanity. Insanity is the inability to distinguish right from wrong; it is the inability to engage in moral reasoning. Stupidity is the inability to learn, such as from one’s own mistakes; someone who makes the same mistake over and over again, each time expecting the results to be different, is stupid by definition.

  34. By Robin on 9 October 2009

    Rich, that guy who “couldn’t have been all that smart” was Albert Einstein so I’m thinking you might want to revise that statement.

    Further, the inability to distinguish right from wrong is sociopathy which is only one particular form of insanity and therefore can not be referred to as a definition for insanity in general. Actual insanity is the inability to distinguish reality for fantasy in some form. In the case of sociopaths it’s the inability to distinguish their version of right and wrong from that of society in general.

    Stupidity is merely a colloquial term for those who’s mental acuity is not quite up to snuff, so to speak. Generally it’s used to indicate someone who makes silly or ignorant errors when associating commonly known facts, such as Harry Carry (was that his name?) who was well known for malapropisms and horribly slaughtered metaphors.

    The inability to learn from one’s mistakes is certainly a form of stupidity, but if that is due to an inability to distinguish reality from fantasy, then it’s insanity. Repeating the same actions and expecting different results is a lot different from failing to learn from one’s mistakes; it’s a specific form of delusion called “magical thinking”. Commonly considered a form of mental disorder/disease.

    If I’m wrong about any of these things, or my innuendo, perhaps someone might link to expert definitions.

    Good luck

  35. By Rich on 10 October 2009

    Sociopathy is a psychological term applied to antisocial psychotics. Insanity is a legal term applied to those lacking the capacity for moral reasoning, and who are thus, so the legal argument goes, not responsible for their immoral actions. The former was invented by psychologists, the latter by lawyers.

    Stupidity is the opposite of intelligence; intelligence is the capacity to learn, and thus to be stupid is to be unable to, or only poorly able to, learn. Intelligence and stupidity are distinct from being knowledgeable and being ignorant; if someone makes the same mistake repeatedly because they lack the ability to distinguish reality from fantasy, then they’re ignorant (of reality), not stupid.

    As for the insanity quote, it’s most likely been misattributed to Einstein, but in any case, though he was a clever physicist, and the man who convinced FDR to develop the means to incinerate hundreds of thousands of innocent people in an instant, he was no linguist.

  36. By Jim Davidson on 11 October 2009

    PM Lawrence is apparently some sort of moron who doesn’t know where the alleged anarchist was arrested for having a pound of liquid (room temperature, e.g.) mercury. It doesn’t matter what moronic “imperial” units the statist British imperialist scum mass murdering thieves and their fucking Hanoverian usurpation think or do in filthy fucking London. A pint is a pound where the mercury was found, and if you don’t like it, Brit, I suggest you go fuck yourself in the arse with a whiffle ball bat.

  37. By Jim Davidson on 11 October 2009

    Having lived for several years in and around greater Somalia, I would not call it anything like anarchy. Somalis do not like that term, either. Their traditional form of government is called kritarchy, or rule of judges. My late friend and mentor, Michael van Notten wrote extensively about the topic in his book “The Law of the Somalis.”

    Naturally, I would not like to go through every day what Somalis go through. Having the UN attempt to impose one government after another on Somalia, having USA military troops slaughter civilians with impunity, having the USA send proxy fighters from Ethiopia to slaughter civilians, these are difficult to tolerate even when they happen only occasionally, rather than every few days, or every day. Calling one of the places the powers that be makes a hell on Earth so that filth like Michael can lord it over them “anarchy” isn’t a good use of the term. But they do have very good cell service.

  38. By P.M.Lawrence on 11 October 2009

    JD, far from being a moron I am well aware that US liquid measures are smaller than Imperial ones. I was pointing out the sheer arrogance of the US mnemonic, which, bluntly, is wrong – it claims that pints are like that everywhere in the whole world, not that they are like that in the USA.

    By the way, did you ever hear the advice to debaters to “resort to abuse when argument fails”?

  39. By Cactus Murphy on 11 October 2009

    “resort to abuse when argument fails”?

    Sounds like Francois Tremblay.

  40. By Jim Davidson on 13 October 2009

    The British empire has always been evil, and every fucking British redcoat should have been killed everywhere in the world, had the American revolution been done right. The mad king George III should have been eviscerated, drawn, quartered, and his parts distributed to the far reaches of the globe.

    As a mnemonic, the “pint’s a pound” rhyme is memorable. It is also applicable in this case. I didn’t author it, I simply quoted it to show my work.

    I want you to resent it. I want you to hate me for hating everything British. And I want you filthy fuckers to return the Elgin marbles. M’kay?

  41. By outlaw76 on 15 October 2009

    read about martial law preparations, HR3200 and class 2 implantable devices as well as forced vaccination at my site… i am gonna plug your site .. maybe you’ll get some more traffic…
    http://warriorsocietyradio.com

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