Avast ye scurvy migrant dogs…

Or… (since she’s German)… it would probably be ‘Halt, ihr Migranten Hunde’. I have no idea what scurvy is in German. Not really part of my daily lexicon used to ask my old man to pass the marmalade. The fact that our family eats marmalade is also very un-Teutonic. And likely cause for the deduction of several German points.

Pia Klemp, a German Marine Biologist,  faces 20 years in prison. She is currently on trial in Italy for ‘aiding illegal immigration’, for, over the course of several years now, using her vessel the ‘Seawatch’ (which I originally read as the Seawitch, which would, imo, would have been a MUCH cooler name), to rescue over 5000 migrants from the Mediterranean.

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I made the mistake of reading the comments section of this article (when does that ever work out well?)… ‘Lock her up and throw away the key’ etc… actually, I’m not going to list them all, because really, I can’t be bothered.

Personally, Pia seems pretty cool to me. Mostly because she looks salty AF and has got a little bit of Anne Bonny/Mary Read thing going on. Also because rescuing people from potentially drowning is likely the right thing to do. Personal responsibility arguments aside about migrants choosing to get onto tiny rafts and endanger themselves and their progeny with dangerous sea voyages. When faced with indifference and action, I am more inclined towards action and not residing peeps to a briny end. Even the poor, dirty uneducated ones.

Let me also say that (at the moment) I am against illegal migration from one realm or principality to another. Mostly because I wouldn’t like a boat load of migrants dumped onto my doorstep and have to be suddenly forced to deal with the consequences thereof… I imagine this would likely impact my comfortable existence in a manner I would find vexing. Experience has shown that the vast majority of people are suddenly a lot less liberal when experiencing something (like migrants) up close and viscerally.

But! On the flip-side I like freedom of movement. As a concept. And I think that supply and demand would likely (eventually) even things like this out ‘naturally’ as opposed to regulation and policing. Probably. Since this is basically impossible to prove, since no country in the world would risk seeing how this would play out, I am, in a Realpolitik sense forced to be more intractable about illegal migration. Totally happy with the concept of legal migration (because I might at some point be one of those people). Also… I think I need to differentiate between migrants that are fleeing because of economic circumstances and those that are fleeing because of… well, I suppose living in a warzone is also kinda an economic circumstance… Then I suppose there is the desirable migrant… versus the one that is less desirable and suffers from bad cultural PR. We are inclined to typecast and profile people from certain parts of the world as having certain traits. Ergh. Which forces us to confront our own darkness…

So really, my two views are in opposition to each other. Like everything else in my life. Some days I am more pro. Other days more con. Are you loyal to your community or to humanity?

Also, it suddenly occurred to me that maybe she rescuing migrants and dumping them in Italy because she thinks its funny. This actually makes me like her more. Ha ha (har har)

In closing I am probably pro-migration as long as it doesn’t affect me personally. And I don’t have to pay for it. This is actually my operating logic for nearly everything. Probably means I’m a libertarian.

A real libertarian I mean. Not like those other ‘libertarians’.

Genius

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I went to the window,
I peeped through the blind,
And asked him to tell me what’s on his mind
He said,
Money, honey, uh uh
Money, honey
Money, honey, if you want to get along with me…

 

 

Nightwatchmen

In the arena where Libertarian philosophy is debated in bloody bouts to the death, a night-watchman state (some people prefer the term Minachist state) is a theoretical model for a state whose ONLY function is to provide its citizenry with police, courts and prisons. And maybe a defense force (to protect it from other states that have a less ‘live and let live’ approach). The state would therefore be responsible for protecting citizens from assault, breach of contract and enforcing property rights.

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The term Nachtwächterstaat was coined by German socialist Ferdinand Lassalle in an 1862 speech in Berlin. He criticized the bourgeois liberal limited government state, comparing it to a night-watchman whose sole duty was preventing theft. The phrase quickly caught on as a description of capitalist government, even as liberalism began to mean a more progressive state. Ludwig von Mises later opined that Lassalle tried to make limited government look ridiculous, but that it was no more ridiculous than governments that concerned themselves with “the preparation of sauerkraut, with the manufacture of trouser buttons, or with the publication of newspapers”. Proponents of the Night-watchman state are minarchists, a contraction of “minimum” and -archy. Arche ) is a Greek word which came to mean “first place, power”, “method of government”, “empire, realm”, “authorities” (in plural: ἀρχαί), “command” The word “minarchist” was coined by Samuel Edward Konkin III in 1980. – Wikipedia

I REALLY like this concept of government. Everything else from health care to infrastructure would be left to local communities to decide for themselves. This is likely as far as I can bend my mind towards Anarcho-capitalism. (even if I am sympathetic to their ideals) Of course communities should be able to ‘opt-out’ of the Nightwatchmen state if they so desire (and they feel they can make something else work with the resources they have available) and either go more anarcho-capitalist or more controlled/socialist, as long as freedom of movement is a thing and they still adhere to and respect property rights and contracts, and obviously don’t try to inflict their ideology on their neighbors.

I also use the term ‘police’ in the opening paragraph quite loosely since I feel the concept of a community ‘sheriff’ type system to be superior form of law enforcement than a state run organization. Courts and Prisons are the only two that I think need to work a little differently. I don’t really like the idea of privately owned prisons (I don’t think anyone thinks this is a good idea, unless there is a massive public oversight component, and lets be honest, for the most part our interest in people we deem antithetical to the norms of our society starts to wane fairly rapidly). That and I think courts and our ability to resolve disputes between parties should always work independently from the ‘state’ or leadership and be sufficiently transparent and easy understand.

Massive countries and states are hard to manage and hugely inefficient. I’m inclined to believe a smaller community based societies would work much better because it harnesses our natural human instincts, ie our competitiveness (to improve and be better than our peers over yonder) and selfishness (we are more inclined to spend money if we see the benefits in our own community).

People are inclined to think this level community involvement and how we manage ourselves is unrealistic, because, well, people are lazy and so we farm out our responsibility to a bureaucratic class. This… may actually be a fair criticism and is also the reason that fans of libertarianism are largely dominated by entrepreneurs, freelancers and self starters who are inclined to believe everyone thinks the way they do. They struggle to understand people who wouldn’t want some level of self determination and responsibility for their fate.

There is also the criticism that successful communities would be over burdened by migration while poorer communities with less resources would just continue to decline. I’m inclined to see how things work out and that the ebb and flow of supply and demand would likely balance things out in the long term. But… people are loathed to trust in the economics and contentiously try and tweak and game the system, when they should just trust in the awesomeness.

 

Why nations fail…

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I wish I knew more about this picture. My spidey sense tingles ‘staged’ because of the bristling irony contained within… but you never know. It would make me happy to know it was all real. I adore genuine irony over the contrived iteration. A south Sudanese flag, Muslim garb, (what looks like) an Israeli made Galil, crate of empty booze bottles, a considered look while reading ‘Why nations fail’. Ha ha ha. Kudos to you sir.

Resisting Capitalism

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I don’t want to sound mean… but I think you’re going about this be-the-change-you-want-to-see-in-the-world thing all wrong. (Look at me getting my Gandhi on) But this has likely been pointed out many, many times before. Don’t worry, I was also young, dumb and full of… actually, I hope the last part of that axiom doesn’t necessarily apply to you. If I have any life advice (having now sired girl-children) be discerning about the boys that you allow access to your lady bits. We are extra-ordinarily single minded and some of us are very, very cunning.

I’m inclined to believe that people confuse consumerism, greed and excess with capitalism. Off the top of my head isn’t that a lot like blaming modern medicine for the opioid crisis? Which I suppose, some people might do. Oh, modern medicine and the fact that we don’t keel over and die (from pustulant, weeping lesions all over our body)… eh, direct result of capitalism, because while we want to believe that people do altruistic things for the good of humanity with no expectation of remuneration (and some of them do), capitalism blows these achievements out of the water in terms of sheer scale when we compare actual good done for humanity. Seriously its like comparing the sun to the moon and imagining them to be more or less equal… which for those of you who are not cosmologically minded… the difference is mind bendingly massive.

When you resist capitalism what you’re actually doing is denying humanism and obfuscating the only real (and proven) system available for people to pull themselves out of extreme poverty. You are the economic equivalent of an anti-vaxxer. Sure you can donate mosquito nets to poor people living in Africa (one of the effective altruisms goto projects for apparently getting the most ‘goodness’ bang for your buck). But really, in my opinion, poor people need free markets, liberalism, property rights and rule of law so they can pull themselves out of the pit of poverty and help themselves (and then buy their own mosquito nets). But all they (for the most part) get is fucked by their own authoritarian leadership, populist agendas and the vicious bureaucracy of their trade ‘partners’. But… I suppose with mosquito nets they will live long enough to die young from something else.

If you’re going #Resist something. Resist corruption. Or gerrymandering. Or fucken lobbyists. Or a jingoist foreign policy. Or tariffs. Or farming subsidies…  you know, all the things that are actual problems and lead to this perception that capitalism is the villain in the human success story.

Beggars can’t be choosers

I tend to oscillate wildly between waving my wooden pirate sword around and shouting ‘all content should be free’ from the yardarm. A yardarm is a nautical thing right? The rest of the time (when I’m not channeling Edward Teach) I’m thinking some content should be free, with the rest available, should you so desire it, through patronage (where if you enjoy someones content you can donate what you feel the content is worth). My position tends to fluctuate wildly between these two extremes throughout the day before resetting itself at nightfall, ready for tomorrows internal moot and aggressive discourse. Har har har.

Of course content creators need to eat. And buy MacBooks and Teslas. And fulfil all manner of other consumerist and probably Maslow-vian (I have no idea how to turn that into an adverb) needs. Why then do I begrudge giving them my money so much? I mean, they give me stuff in return. Rage… anxiety… hives. Although some of them also make me smile or give me something cognitive that I appreciate or even end up mulling over and considering for days…

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The above made me laugh. I was in Cape Town the other day and a beggar came up to me as I was getting my laptop out of my car and asked me for money. I almost never have cash on me, but I was driving a rental car and someone had left all their coinage in the center console cup-holder (which leads me to believe their cleaning service was somewhat cursory) In any event I explained that I didn’t have any money… but then I remembered the coins… and said ‘Wait a second’ and scooped the contents of the console into my hand and gave them to him. He looked at me disgusted and tossed the coins down onto the sidewalk and shuffled off, muttering to himself. ‘God, even the beggars are uppity fucks here’, I thought to myself before skipping across the street to order a skinny red chai latte and a vegan croissant.

In any event, apparently beggars can be choosers.

I have been thinking about this lately. Not the beggar so much (that was mostly an aside that suddenly occurred to me), but rather how one gets past this psychological imps arse (Terry Pratchett) of paying for content. I guess the options are free, fan-funded, advertising, product endorsement, data mining or selling your own consumerist claptrap. On the last item, seriously, there is nothing so lame as buying a podcasters coffee mug or ironic t-shirt. I don’t care how much you like them. In fact seeing you parading yourself in public with your virtue signalling attire makes me involuntarily scrunch my face up (which may incline those around me into thinking I’m having a stroke… it’s actually the acute pain of  embarrassment). You are actually hurting me, physically, with your sadness. Is this worse than having to listen to your favorite podcaster prostitute himself by reading advertising for mattresses, underwear or haemorrhoid cream?

z45rc0o0aer21.jpgWeirdly my reticence to part with my currency does not (broadly speaking) occur when someone has written a book or is hosting some sort of live event (like a debate or a comedy evening or… even I guess some sort of Ted-esque type talk). Then I’m totally happy to hand over my credit card details. But ask me to donate as a form of patronage so that instead of having a crappy office job you are free to create content that entertains me and chances are pretty good that I will be mortally offended. ‘You goddamn freeloader’.

I used to think maybe it was the anxiety of managing my inner turmoil that holds me back. If I support this one person I really like with $5 a month… what about this other person that I also kinda like, maybe he’s worth $2 a month. Doesn’t this start to add up? I mean none of us follow just five people anymore. Are we expected to patronage all of them? Some of them? One of them? Maybe ad-hoc donations as we go? Do they accept other forms of payment? Left over festive season fruit cake, Nguni cattle or blowjobs? Having actually never performed a blowjob I wouldn’t necessarily pick the latter as your go-to reward, since you are likely to be left feeling unfulfilled and/or horrified. And maybe even injured now that I think about it.

Why is this so complicated? Why do you even have to go pro? Can’t you just be an amateur? Have a day job and create content (for my pleasure) at night when you should be sleeping or spending time with your kids. Sacrifice yourself on the altar of having to express yourself. Just don’t have any expectation of being rewarded for it, that would make everyone happy… except you of course. But life is hard, and getting to tick those self esteem ticky-boxes is not necessarily a given, despite what you’ve been lead to believe by the self-help/entrepreneurship industrial complex.

I have (at the moment) largely automated my patronage. I budget $50 a month which gets chopped up into ten donations, more or less the equivalent of a grande Cinnamon Dolce Latte, that then get distributed to various creators that I like. I have no idea if thats a good number… it actually brings me incredible consternation when I start thinking about it and breaking down my mental models around this. This also means that once I’ve hit my limit I’m done. These days I often find myself having to step over the prostrated form of a creator asking for support (while I peruse his wares), sorry guy, I don’t have anything on me right now I lie. Maybe next time?

I’m a lonely croc… sitting all day on my sunny rock.

This 100 year old crocodile died from over eating. Worshipers at the Hazrat Khan Jahan Ali Shrine in in south-western Bangladesh believed that feeding this particular hallowed croc would bring them good luck and economic fortune.

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Apparently the occasional chicken became a slew of never ending poultry and the odd desultory goat when the word got out that this reptile had the power to change your reality.

I suppose its better than starving to death in your sacred pool because no one thought you had any special powers. And so when faced with a choice of two potential end games, I think this is likely the better one. (from a narrow philosophical viewpoint)

But then again I’m (generally) against keeping animals in captivity (especially for religious purposes). This crocodile should have been free to swim the streams and rivers of Bangladesh, occasionally snacking on some errant fisherman or laundry woman on the shoreline. God intended these to be hazardous occupations (which theoretically should have been remunerated with danger pay). Alas, we have stuffed up the carefully calculated economic cycle as set down by our creator.

Having now killed the… eh… croc that lays the golden egg, so to speak, everyone is now robbed of the opportunity to alter their destiny. Although maybe lucky crocs have an inherent Dalai Lama like ability to be reincarnated (hopefully in the general geographic area where the previous entity passed). I imagine the trick is find the new and correct crocodile (to nurture into obesity and eventual heart failure). They all look the same to me. Would be a terrible waste to feed all those chickens to a crocodile with no magical powers.