Libertarians, Anarchists, and Cavemen

25 09 2011

Over a year ago, I posted something about the conflict between my anarcho-capitalist political stance and my newer understanding of human behavior. This came about because market anarchism and other “idealistic” political theory tends to presume and depend on rational behavior among humans. The problem is, that much of our behavior is irrational. I began to realize this when I discovered game, the art/science of being attractive to women.

Game, as it is understood today, came about as a mechanism to get men, especially men of high intelligence (who arguably think too much), to stop projecting rational thinking onto women. Instead, we should behave in a way that takes advantage of their instinctual drives if we should hope to get what we want from them. This doesn’t just work for men on women they want to bang, but it’s definitely the scenario where it’s most pronounced.

I’ve also learned, and this is similar, that if you want to convince people to agree with you, rational argument is not normally the most effective means of accomplishing this goal. It is generally more effective to appeal to one’s emotions. If you can appeal to the more powerful emotions like fear, even better. Understanding this helps explain why democracy doesn’t work so well, why the people who manage to get elected to political offices tend to be awful human beings with no discernible conscience.

Rational arguments work on critical thinkers, typically people of well above average intelligence. The problem is that most people are not critical thinkers. The structure of anarcho-capitalist society is a hard sell, largely because of it’s necessary complexity. It could be argued that people in an anarcho-capitalist society don’t need to “believe in” anarcho-capitalism for things to run smoothly, but I’m not convinced. I’m not saying anarcho-capitalism is the necessary endpoint of critical political thinking, but that any sufficiently complex and sufficiently different social arrangement is too far-out for the typical idiot to understand or accept.

More recently, I’ve been heavily into the ideas of the paleo diet community, and when you think about the natural environment of our ancestors and how it differs from what we have, it’s easy to wonder if we might be seriously ill-equipped to deal with the society we’ve accidentally created. A very recent post by Andrew at Evolvify addresses this. There’s a lot I could say about his post, but right now I’m mostly just referencing his claims about hunter-gatherers. He’s got a lot of footnotes, is what I’m saying.

When we think about humans in paleolithic times or even modern hunter-gatherers, we see small groups of 20-100 people where everyone knows each other. Such small societies are inherently orderly because each person needs the rest of the group for their own survival and reproductive success. Hunting, gathering, and child care are performed communally. Violence within groups exists almost exclusively among males vying for the mates.

What we don’t see are property rights outside of a man’s hut, his tools, and maybe his wife. We don’t see individuals lost among thousands of fellow humans who neither know nor care about each other. Outsiders may be welcome among hunter-gatherers, but they will certainly have to demonstrate that they are trustworthy before they are trusted. In such a world, a man is never expected to interact peacefully with people he’s never met and has no reason to trust, as we are expected to when we go about our business.

The problem here is that this world is very different from what we have today and very different from any future world we can imagine that doesn’t involve massive depopulation, something I’m not a supporter of, to put it mildly. What we can do here is question the practicality and necessity of private property in land, I suppose. I’m not one to argue against the private ownership of land, but I’ve always felt the the arguments of georgists or geoists have some merit. If you fell off a cruise ship, landed on an island, and met a guy who claimed to own the entire island because he got there first, you might really have a problem with his further claim that you must either do as he demands or leave.

In the Evolvify post I linked to above, Andrew notes how common it is for paleo people to also be libertarians and how these ideas are at conflict. Libertarianism and anarcho-capitalism support the institutions of private property, and individual responsibility and autonomy. Communist anarchists favor limited private property rights and shared responsibilities, and this sounds a lot more like the environment to which we are best suited, as long as we’re talking about the social arrangement inside the monkeysphere™. If you’ve never heard the term, please follow the link to Cracked.com and learn. Basically, it’s the size of a group of people we can be part of and care for everyone else in the group, estimated to be about 150 for humans. Of course (as if this is common knowledge), communist anarchists typically support collective societies on a much larger scale, all the way up to the entire population of Earth.

It may well be a good idea be part of a monkeysphere™ of some sort, where wealth and and responsibilities may be shared to some extent. I think fraternal orders might be good for this, and I think those who embrace paleo-living concepts would likely benefit from building interdependent groups based on this one common interest. I also think that it’s impractical and unwise to totally abandon private property and individual autonomy for several reasons, including the fact that the cost of being shunned from a group just isn’t what it used to be and that we quite literally don’t need to depend on each other the way we once did. Also, I can’t ignore the reality that even if we build wonderful monkeyspheres™ for ourselves we will still need to deal peacefully with outsiders on a regular basis.

In conclusion, I don’t really know what to conclude. I still believe the state, especially the nation-state is an unnecessary evil, but maybe voluntary socialism on a small scale isn’t a terrible idea, and I should point out that we have that already in families. I’ve touched on a lot of stuff here, and I have a lot more to say in seven different directions. For inspiring me to think about this stuff, in addition to the game and paleo bloggers out there, I’d like to acknowledge Joe Rogan, for continually referencing our ape ancestry and our evolutionary limitations on his podcast, the Joe Rogan Experience, which is the most open-minded and informative podcast by a household name in all of the internet. I should also mention Richard Nikoley of freetheanimal.com, who twittered the Evolvify post to me and recently posted two related articles, If You Want Someone Dead Kill Them Yourself and Are You More Moral, More Benevolent and More Competent than Any Politician? Then Act Like It.





Who gives a shit about Mexicans?

5 09 2011

The Phoenix Newtimes is a weekly free newspaper distributed in the Phoenix area. The people behind it are the same folks responsible for the Villiage Voice. It’s generally left-leaning but not universally. I’ve been  reading the Newtimes for years, and over the years they’ve had some great in-depth articles about many different things. For years they’ve published article after article about Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a senile megalomaniac former DEA agent. The man’s a terrible person who’s done many terrible things, and I wonder if anyone would even know about them if it wasn’t for the Newtimes. For years, nobody else in local media would dare hint that there was anything wrong with him or question anything he’s said. Now, he’s been under federal investigation for almost three years and the tide’s changed slightly (but only slightly). I think feds are just waiting for him to die because there’s no way these  investigators don’t have enough evidence to indict the man on several charges, some of them for things that are actual crimes. Generally speaking, when the federal government indicts someone famous or infamous, there are always way too many charges and they’re mostly for things that aren’t actual crimes like ‘conspiracy’ or lying to cops. In the few years that Arpaio’s actually gotten some negative press, he came up with a great idea to boost his popularity.

The idea was the immigration sweep. He sends a bunch of deputies to some part of the county, where they hang out and stop people for bullshit traffic violations and other bullshit reasons that they can think of. Then, if they’re suspected of being in the country illegally, they’re presumably deported. Sending Mexicans back to Mexico is a pretty popular idea in this county, at least among people with pink skin, white hair, and big blue sedans. The fact this practice isn’t simply tolerated but actually welcomed is pretty hard evidence in support of my hypothesis that people are really stupid and democracy is an absurd institution. I’m not too terribly bothered by these sweeps, and maybe it’s because I don’t really care about Mexicans. Their culture annoys me. I like the food, but I don’t like their music, the colors they paint their houses, their low expectations, their high birth rates, the terrible things they do to perfectly good cars, they way the whole family has to come with, and I really hate painted on eyebrows. I’m probably not the only person who feels this way, so I can see the idea of sending Mexicans back to Mexico at least sounding good, as an idea. But it’s not something that can be accomplished without violating the rights of people who are legally in the country and aren’t really doing anything wrong. Hell, if they’re illegally in the country and not doing anything wrong, I don’t see why they should be hassled.

One thing that bothered me about the sweeps was that it was the one thing that finally got him some negative press outside the Newtimes. Never mind the arrests of journalists and political opponents. Never mind the mentally unstable inmates who died in his jails at the hands of his deputies. Never mind the evidence that his net worth is a lot higher than it should be. Never mind a bunch of shit I can’t even remember. He takes on illegal immigration, and now he’s finally a bad guy. Actually, the press never really cast judgement on him, but they did finally cover the fact some people oppose his practices for once. Up until then, the only source for news on Joe Arpaio was Joe Arpaio.

Another thing that bothered me was the Newtimes itself. They started putting a lot of energy into covering the sweeps and protests and shit that doesn’t really matter. They’ve spent energy trying to paint him as a racist, as if that somehow makes him even worse than we already know he is. For a year or two now, the feature article in at least every other issue is something about the plight of the illegals, whether it’s a story about dying in the desert or some kid who does some really cool thing and didn’t even know he was an illegal immigrant until he tried to get a job. I just don’t care. I get it – Mexicans are people too. I don’t understand why they’re so interested in making me care about Mexicans in America when nobody gives a shit about Mexicans in Mexico. If they did, they might be a little more concerned with federal drug policy than Arizona’s SB1070 or Joe Arpaio’s lastest canine and equestrian extravaganza.

Since 2006, 25,000 to 40,000 people in Mexico have been killed as a result of the expansion of the US War On Drugs into Mexico. It’s been suggested that it’s a case of “caged animals attacking one another”, but among the dead are hundreds of police officers and soldiers, many politicians and journalists, and a great deal of innocent people. Never mind that the caged animals would probably be normal people with normal jobs if heavy enforcement tactics weren’t greatly boosting the profit potential of the recreational drug trade. The violence just gets worse every year. The obvious sensible solution is to pull the plug on enforcement. The Mexican government needs to stop taking our money and needs to tell us to fuck off. Our government should cease paying local law enforcement agencies to fight the drug war, fire the DEA, and legalize everything. It won’t happen, but some Mexican politicians are cautiously leaning in that direction.

Former President Vincente Fox has suggested a cease-fire, possibly offering amnesty to gang members. That idea didn’t go over well, apparently. Current Mexican President Felipe Calderon, speaking in his state of the Union Address just one week after 52 people were killed in a drug gang attack on a casino, blamed US drug consumers while carefully suggesting decriminalizationg. He said, “If [the US-ians] are determined and resigned to consuming drugs, they should look for market alternatives that annul the stratospheric profits of the criminals, or establish clear points of access that are not the border with Mexico.” That sounds a lot like he’s suggesting the US allow drug imports, presumably directly from South America.

Of course, the people who know what’s best for us are having none of that. From this blog at Reason:

 …a high level State Department functionary insisted last month that the anti-cartel Merida Initiative would continue regardless of who Mexicans elected president in 2012. Hopefully Calderón grows a conscience and a spine between now and then.

It doesn’t seem very likely, and even if the legalization movement gathers steam in Mexico, they’re still doomed as long as the drugs remain very illegal in the US.

So, that’s my thought. Anyone who gives a shit about Mexicans should really be throwing their shoes at Obama and his fellow clowns, insisting they reverse this insanity, that they legalize drugs for the sake of our neighbors. It’s the only human thing to do. I’m sure the only thing most people will take from this is that I’m a racist because I don’t like Sharpie™ eyebrows.





Happy Birthday!

3 09 2011

Today is Maria Lucimar Pereira’s birthday.  She was born in 1890 and that makes her 121 years old today.  She’s presumably lived in the Amazon jungle in Brazil her entire life eating a very traditional diet the whole time.  According to a Huffington Post article, she’s been eating “a diet of fresh fish, banana porridge, root vegetables, and grilled meat, but she also avoids salt, sugar and processed foods.”  A BBC article says, “with regular dishes including grilled meat, monkey, fish, the root vegetable manioc and banana porridge, and no salt, sugar or processed foods.”  Some other article I read mentioned some other root vegetable.  The articles tend to mention the lack of sugar and “processed foods”, without acknowledging that making a porridge out of bananas is a process and that bananas have sugar in them.  They say nothing about grains or legumes which have been a part some humans’ diets for thousands of years.  Presumably, she hasn’t been eating them, and there’s no doubt she’s been living without the oils produced from these plants in factories that are a major part of the Standard American Diet (SAD).

This all fits in well with the paleo diet idea that humans have adapted to eating certain foods (wild animal meat, fish, root vegetables, and fruit) and are ill-equipped to deal with foods that have only been around for 10,000 or less years (added sugar, grains, seed oils, and dairy).  For some, this is the prescription for what we should eat.  For others, it’s just the starting assumption.  I like that approach, and if that sounds good to you, check out the Archevore Diet by Dr. Kurt Harris.

The major media news articles don’t really get much into the specifics of Ms. Pereira’s diet.  They spend at least as much energy focusing on Guinness World Records needing more proof to declare her the oldest living person in the world.  I’d like someone to go spend a few days with her, documenting her eating habits before she kicks off.  I also wonder what her great-great-great-grandchildren are eating.