Category Archives: Meta

Ding Dong! The evil creeper is dead!

So it seems that the notorious reddit troll/creeper/scum-of-the-earth Violentacrez has deleted their account in the last few days. This is a person who started lovely subreddits like /r/jailbait, /r/picsofdeadjailbait and /r/rape. All pretty much what you’d expect them to be, in the very worst scenario.

Even though widely hated by many, and loved by others, he was maintaining a big presence and influence on reddit culture, constantly promoting the kind of vile shit that would get him beaten up or locked up  in real life. None of the hate against him would  phase him, and he even made subreddits to post all the hate mail he was getting.

And a lot of redditors loved him for it ((“it” being his stalwart defense of “free speech”, by which we mean everything that is absolutely vile about humanity)) so much, that he has his own fanclub and a host of people willing to sing his praises and defend his character. Because apparently he’s a nice guy IRL. But, as someone else aptly put it:

I love how redditors defend VA. He says that stuff but he doesn’t mean it! He’s not like that off the internet! Of course he isn’t. Because he knows he’d be an instant pariah if he said any of that vile crap to someone’s face. VA isn’t nice in person because he’s a good guy. VA is nice in person because he’s a COWARD.

There are only two options here: either he constantly says offensive shit online because he thinks it’s funny which makes him a troll and an asshole OR he really means it but doesn’t have the guts to say it IRL which makes him a hypocrite and an asshole. Either way he comes out smelling like shit.

So what happened? Well, the manchild got annoyed that someone who wasn’t a waste of oxygen started having more influence to reddit culture than him. Namely SRS, or ShitRedditSays. A subreddit that started to catalogue all the vile things people in reddit actually believe in or support. And because recently SRS has started having more of an effect on reddit’s culture, via online campaigns to close down pedophilic content on reddit for example, VA has decided to take his ball and go home. Reddit is starting to become toxic to him.

A joyous occasion to be sure. What wasn’t even thought possible a mere year ago, has happened just because some people stood up and said “enough is enough”.

To give an idea on why exactly this is such a big deal, and why redditors like VA are so unbelievably upset about the presence of SRS, that they’re willing to delete accounts they’ve invested thousands of hours is, I’ll quote an SRS regular succintly explaining the situation:

Someone asked:

Would someone be so kind as to tell me whether or not I’m understanding the gist of what’s going on here? I’ve been on Reddit for over 6 months now and, up until just a few hours ago, I had no idea that the site contained the kinds of things mentioned here.

I’ve seen SRS brought up numerous times in comments but never bothered to look it up until today. It seems to me that this subreddit (in particular) exists to expose the hypocrisy, misogyny and general lack of moral fiber that some users exhibit.

I apologize if this is not the appropriate place to post something like this but I’m not sure where else to put it. I read about Project PANDA and I’d like to help if I can. I’m horribly bothered by the fact that those in charge of Reddit as a whole refuse to take a stance on this issue. I wasn’t aware the exploitation of children was something one could even be neutral about. Ugh.

Reddit needs to be cleaned up if they’re seriously letting perverts run amok like this. Where can I start?

To which an SRS regular replied:

You’ve got the right idea 🙂 I’ll give you a rundown:

Redditors believe the internet is theirs and that they can dictate what is good and bad. When majority of redditors are 20 something white males, the hivemind becomes this misogynistic, racist, ableist, everything-ist ball of rage, intent on attacking everyone who isn’t the same as them, and having pissing contests over who can be the most vile human being because it’s (apparently) funny.

To them, we’re the authority figures these privileged white boys most likely never had, the ones who slap them on the wrist and tell them “NO! That’s not OK!” and drag them kicking and screaming to the naughty step. Only difference is they don’t actually learn anything and keep crying and crying about their rights while literally abusing everyone elses. Since we’re dealing with adults, they’ve managed to build up a facade of this website being all about cute, relevant memes and cats so that they can get their creep on behind the scenes. They’re so good at this, the President himself has unfortunately associated himself with reddit, probably on the advice of some clueless PR. (Really, all they had to do was search Obama and see some of the horrific shit that’s been said about him and his wife on here since 2008)

The admins are the clueless, afraid parents who have to get Super Nanny in to control their adorable little demons and won’t tell them no even though their kids are literally biting them and locking them out of their own house. The admins only listen when the creeping gets so bad that the media starts picking up on it and they risk losing their sponsors. This has happened twice now.

First time was because of the subreddit called jailbait which did as the description suggests. Redditors traded pictures of underage girls, some as young as 12. Anderson Cooper called reddit out on his show then the subreddit was shut down and redditors screamed and cried all night long.

In the last few months reddit’s new sick obsession had become Creepshots, where pictures of unaware women usually in shorts or cleavage bearing tops are posted, and well you can imagine. One creep was a teacher at a high school taking photos of his female students (one with her underwear showing). He/the school was recognised by some other redditors and he was subsequently fired and is being questioned/charged. I’m not entirely sure what went down yesterday but the Creepshots subreddit has officially been banned and the creep tears are flowing freely (and the media shitstorm builds every week). When we began to attack the subreddit, they legitimately asked why creepshots wasn’t OK but People of Walmart was. Most of the redditors who posted creepshots blame the women for, and I quote, “wandering around the planet in short skirts”. One woman’s boyfriend grabbed the arm of a redditor creep taking a creepshot and the redditor cried to Creepshots about it and was comforted and told his rights were being threatened.

Reddit routinely comforts and listens to pedophiles (I saw a thread congratulating a man for not molesting a 4 year old). They do not believe dating a 16 year old is illegal and also justify raping female children because “their bodies are ready for breeding”. A few months ago, they started a thread asking for rapists to tell about their attacks. The ones who almost raped were comforted for not raping and some who DID rape were told it was justified. A psychologist actually joined reddit just to tell them how dangerous the thread was. The general response was that he was threatening their free speech. The admins made no effort to delete the thread or moderate it. They offered no safe space for the TONS of victims triggered by the thread, some only just realising upon reading the accounts that they were, in fact raped, and many MANY people left or were made very distressed because of the thread. Redditors general consensus was that it was an important, insightful topic and what’s all the fuss about?

So that’s a short, depressing history of this not so wonderful website so far.

So there you have it. The driving away of VA was a success greater than what I ever expected from SRS. They managed to drive away a troll who was desperate for intrernet popularity and infamy, and seemingly impervious to criticism, by merely bringing to light exactly the culture it was promoting in reddit. By figuratively merely shining light upon its domain. VA probably panicked when people discovered who he was and started asking him to interviews, which is why I saw him leaving misleading comments about his account being a shared one (i.e. used by many people) shortly before it was deleted.

I don’t believe for a second that VA deleted his account because of some noble protest. He deleted his account because he is, as he always was, a coward.

Endless Space short pre-review (beta version)

From my reply to a reddit thread

So I’ve been playing Endless Space for something like a dozen hours by now. Still on my first game on a small universe. It seems to progress slower than I expected.

In general, I’m very pleasantly surprised at the quality of the game. I love how streamlined the empire building is and how you take decisions about your systems with very little micromanagement. It still ends up requiring quite a bit of system building in the end, since the AI governors are not very smart but it’s not that bad. I particularly enjoy how they managed to work with so low “population units” per planet in a way that is very simple and easy to grasp.

I also really like the ship design, how each ship type is better suited to different things, how resource abundance reduces costs (thus giving you a reason to trade) and thus making different empires focus on different technologies just out of what resources they end up having around. I like how the support modules are limited and give interesting effects.Needs more ship types/models though. I hope they’ll eventually allow people to make their own.

I like the Civ way of handling resources. That along with the bonuses for abundance or monopoly really promotes people playing more aggressively or diplomatically. The AI needs a lot of work though, as it’s ridiculously stupid in trades.

I don’t like that there is tech trading. I don’t know if there’s an option to turn that off, but I find that tech trading really cheapens science and research. Your hard choices don’t matter because you can just trade yourself to what you need and in multiplayer the absolutely best strategy is always to try to trade techs with other players as much as possible.

Combat is “meh”. I hope they improve it so that you can take a bit more significant choices rather than the “pick & pray” luck-based method they have now, that barely involves any strategy at all. I’m also not a great fan of the speed at which I need to choose my cards which requires that I learn them by heart before I go into battle. The cinematic gets kind of boring after a while as well. Nothing is happening except the same old “sit at opposite ends and pew-pew”.

Also combat is fairly straightforward. There’s no funky tactics to use. No weird weapons. I can’t make a boarding ship with tractor beams and boarding pods and the like. No big-ass Laser beams (ala Freespace), no Huge Mass Drivers, none of that (or perhaps it’s unlocked later on? I don’t know)

All in all, it’s very nice and if they improve combat and diplomacy it will be amazing!

Where Moviebob basks in his elitist ignorance

So The Game Overthinker decided to address the controversy about the ending of Mass Effect 3 and in it, Moviebob manages to cram so many stawmen, that I thought my PC would overheat. As someone who has played the Mass Effect games (extensively), unlike Moviebob who feels capable of expressing an opinion on hearsay and assumptions, I felt compelled to point out that many many ways that he has completely failed to address the issue at hand, in favour or basking in his own elitism.

“You can’t have a different ending for each minor choice”

First of all, he is amazed that people are upset that there aren’t many different endings for “every little variable”, which just shows not only the fact that he hasn’t even heard someone explain the ending to him, but he hasn’t even bothered to do cursory research on the extent of the lack of choice in the endings and why fans are upset about it. Seriously, this is not hard to find, and for someone who has already claimed he will probably never play the games, the use of spoilers should not be an issue in their drive to do justice to the critics and other point of view.

But this is not done in the slightest, because it wouldn’t then be as easy to paint critics “entitled” brats much as he is expecting due to how he has seen comic nerds act.

So let me make this clear, Bob, this is not part of the criticism in the slightest. Almost nobody is asking to have a different ending depending on each minor choice we made in the game. You would have known this had you done your homework. It would have been nice to have, but most people wouldn’t have minded had the minor stuff been ignored ((Althought I fail to see how they couldn’t even address these within a text-only epilogue)).

“Nobody won a Pulitzer for Choose-Your-Own story books”

This argument is given to show that audience-driven choice is counter-productive to good story telling. This is based on absolutely nothing but some previous bad books and live theatre. This is only used as a beach-head to once again point out gamer entitlement when he claims that “people think they should be part of the story team, and the story should thus be changed to cater to their preferred whims”. This is so stunningly inaccurate on where the criticism actually is, that it can only be seen as a deliberate insult.

Bob completely misses the fact that almost everyone admits that Mass Effect 3 was brilliant, except for the 10 last fucking minutes. For a story driven by something that can only be as good as a “fucking choose-your-own story book”, this seems to be a resounding success. The only reason ME3 is not being hailed as an immense success of the audience-guided model of storytelling is because the ending so thoroughly sucked that it was bad enough to retroactively go back in time and make Mass Effect 1 and 2 feel less good as well. If they hadn’t managed to fuck the closure so absolutely, you wouldn’t be here making this argument, Bob.

It is not a “whim” to point out that the ending was downright atrocious. You are acting like an insufferable elitist jerk to imply that we’re trying to modify the story in a hundred different ways. We’re trying to modify the story in a way that makes sense, acknowledges some of our major choices, even a bit and hopefully provides some closure. This is not a lot to ask for, Bob, in a game built around choice. The failure to provide these is not a failure of the choice-driven storytelling. This is a failure of the developer who can’t even provide the absolute minimum of their fans expectations. The absolute minimum, Bob.

You would know that had you played the game, or read about the criticism, or, you know, engaged in any way with the community you broadly paint as entitled brats…

“If your choices are different in some way, depending on the choices you made, then Bioware didn’t lie”

Then, after Bob allows us to be upset (jeez, thanks?) he then start with a ridiculous amount of strawmen. First is the above quote where he claims that critics say that Bioware lied to them.

Well, you see Bob, the choices were not different in some way depending on the choices you made. In fact, I will go right ahead to point out that it doesn’t actually matter what choices you took. The endings are not different. One can be the nicest fuzziest paragon, or the nastiest puppy-kicking renegades, and it wouldn’t change the 3 choice of endings in the slightest. And no, just slapping 3 choices in the end, completely disconnected from everything else you did in the rest of the game, except from an arbitrary number that you have to grind via a minigame or multiplayer, does not count!

So while I wouldn’t call it lying (as that implies a specific intent), I will call it a catastrophic failure on Bioware’s part.

“Bioware owes me”

Another strawman that Bob uses in different ways, and the last version, in which he claims that a common point is that “Bioware owes the fans a different ending because they were very invested in the story”, is just…I dunno, cringe-worthy? I mean, sure, there are idiots out there who might actually make this argument, but to present this as a major point in your criticism Bob, are you serious? This “you owe me” is a marginal opinion at best, Bob, and you’re presenting it with a multiple of different versions as if it’s one of the most common complaints. You disingenuousness is amazing.

Fans, by the large, do not want a better ending because Bioware owes it to them. They want a better ending because they love the franchise so much, they do not want it to see go down in flames due to how bad it ended. And yes, Bob, it is that bad comparatively. It is not at all weird that it’s the most passionate fans that are feeling most burnt by the “conclusion” (hah!), while the impassionate critics who haven’t even bothered to play the game to completion, like you, Bob, sit on the sidelines taking potshots at the fringe opinions and painting everyone with the same brush.

The reason why fans want Bioware to change the ending is because it ruined the universe, and it ruined the story they were telling about Shepard. The former is ruined, both literally (which I cannot expound upon without spoilers) and in the meta sense as it was so counter to everything they had on the lore until now, that it retroactively went back and wiped whole parts of canon. The latter is ruined because Shepard’s story didn’t matter. At all. But alas, We can’t expect a self-professed critic to know what they’re criticising first…

The outrage is here because most people are angry that 1. Their personal Shepard story didn’t matter and was completely out-of-character. 2. They are so disgusted by it, that they will never be able to enjoy either any new ME content in this canon, or even the previous content they were enjoying until now.

“The medium will never be taken seriously as long as you’re all so entitled”

And here Bob, you spew the largest load of garbage I’ve ever seen.

You claim that the medium will never be taken seriously when the audience is so passionate about the story, that they cannot accept the canon that has been given to them?Hey Bob, remember Arthur Conan Doyle? I guess Books are not taken seriously by “the broader culture” now?

And this proves that we do not take games seriously, how exactly? What kind of argument is this, Bob? Where does it stand? You claim that if ME wants to get the same “serious analysis” as Movies and Books, we need to accept the same limitation? This is absolute nonsense of the worst degree. First of all, no, Bob, fans have not been claiming that Video Games are similar to Movies and Books, they have simply been claiming that video games are a form of art. To claim from there that they are similar and should have the same limitation, is equivocating, Bob. It would be akin that Movies should be judged by the “broader culture” in the same way that painting are!

In what world is this a compelling argument? Video Games are art, but they are a different form of art in which case interactivity can very well take part. There’s no reason why it shouldn’t and “it cannot be done” or “you won’t be taken seriously” is not an argument. In fact, Mass Effect is the perfect sample that what you say is absolute nonsense. Had the ending not been so atrociously bad it would have been one of the first samples of games as interactive art that would have been both immensely successful and taken seriously by “the broader culture”.

This is another reason why many people are criticising the ending on the basis of being bad art, because it destroys this perfect opportunity. I am not so much dismayed  by the lack of choice in the ending. I am dismayed because the lack of choice destroys such possibility for the video game medium as a whole (which cheapens the medium). I am dismayed that professional critics like you Bob, feel the need to throw in your two cents on an issue you have not bothered to understand, therefore proving that video game critics actually suck (which cheapens the medium). I am dismayed that all the professional reviewers of the game praised it without even finishing it and then turned around and snubbed their noses at those who actually know what they are talking about (which cheapens the medium). I am dismayed that it takes an outsider with no conflict of interest in the game’s success to point out hypocrisy in the detractors of the critics (which cheapens the medium).

This is what is not making the “broader culture not take the medium seriously”. It is cultural dinosaurs like you, Bob, who need to shape everything into their own preconception of “serious art” before you accept it. Where in the age of unprecedented capacity for criticism and constructive feedback, you have to ask everyone to “sit down,shut up, and let the professionals handle it.”

“Entitled fans” has become the keyword of the moment, and is being thrown around by every established entity in the reviewing industry and their peripheral “serious critics”. It feels like we’re being likened to the “unwashed masses” flinging shit at the ivory towers of the enlightened few who feel their precious art is being dragged down by our lowly opinions. It stinks of elitism and snobbery and I am glad that slowly more and more people are picking up that there’s no reason to rely on the self-proclaimed “professionals” with established conflicts of interest or critics with outdated cultural assumptions, rather than our own opinions.

I find a future in which the audience of a game/book/movie can reach the ear of the creator directly, to be a far brighter one, than one in which we passively consume and hope some critic is lucky enough to have an effect.

Why do people hate the USA? – Part 3

Oh Gawds, when Chomsky puts his mind to remind us of US history, the result is very depressing, even if one is aware of it beforehand.

The most important victory of the Indochina wars was in 1965, when a US-backed military coup in Indonesia led by General Suharto carried out massive crimes that were compared by the CIA to those of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. The “staggering mass slaughter”, as the New York Times described it, was reported accurately across the mainstream, and with unrestrained euphoria.

It was “a gleam of light in Asia”, as the noted liberal commentator James Reston wrote in the Times. The coup ended the threat of democracy by demolishing the mass-based political party of the poor, established a dictatorship that went on to compile one of the worst human rights records in the world, and threw the riches of the country open to western investors. Small wonder that, after many other horrors, including the near-genocidal invasion of East Timor, Suharto was welcomed by the Clinton administration in 1995 as “our kind of guy”.

It is telling in how everyone knows and remembers Pol Pot, Mao and Kim Jong-il when they have to talk about how much worse “Communism” is than everything else, but people like Suharto, Pinochet and Franco are conveniently forgotten.

A game of Doomtown in action

I just managed to finish my first Doomtown on OCTGN on the latest version ((I’d managed to play a few full games back on 0.2.7 or something and a few games where my opponent’s PC crashed in the middle of the game with recent versions)) with Eloi who is also a maintainer of games for OCTGN. In fact, the reason we started playing is because I found a way to create larger capital cards for Warhammer:Invasion ((OCTGN is limited at the moment in the sense that you can only have one size of cards.)) and I contacted him about it in case he wants to use it. I mentioned Doomtown and he was interested to try it, so we did.

Fortunately he had skype because otherwise my fingers would be raw from all the typing. As it is, I’m just really really thirsty from all that talking 🙂

So yeah, we did a learning session and it worked fabulously! So I wanted to share with all of you a screenshot I took as the game was nearing its end. I think it looks great.

 

I was playing Texas Rangers. He was playing my bicycle Sweetrock deck. MacNeil became an unstoppable beast!

So if any you out there manage to play a game and get into a nice situation, do take a screenshot and send it over for me. Maybe I can make a “best moments” gallery 😉

 

Look what I found…

A friend of mine recently posted something in Facebook that I didn’t even remember existed.

Yep.

This is from my time in the Greek National Service, in the Military Navy, or as the Greeks like to call it “PeeNee” (You have to stretch the “ee” of both words and curve it to a short “eh” at the end to say it right). To my defence, I had no big choice and it was either that or the infantry which would have been worse. On the other hand, I wouldn’t have to dress like PopEye. Then again, our casual clothes were jeans so I can’t complain too much.

So, the end result is the picture above, where the aforementioned friend took when he came to pick me up from basic training (Good Lad). This serves as a proof that I have always been this silly.

Of  course, I didn’t have to wear these clothes all the time. Most of the time I looked like this:

Rambo Style

Which is another interesting photo of myself during some military exercise where I abused two machine guns for a photo opportunity 🙂

I also have a photo somewhere with the difficulties of the navy life (i.e. me sitting in an office with my feet on the table) but I haven’t digitized it yet for your enjoyment.

So yeah. Laugh it up.

Are you looking for janson.erik@hotmail.com?

Erik Janson's Fake IDWas he supposed to send you some money for helping his stranded son from Greenland? If so, I’m sad to say that you’ve been the target of a con praying on people who are nice enough to try and help a stranger in distress. Disgusting I know. This is why I need you to help me track These scum.

At the moment of writing, I’ve been contacted by 2 different people that fell for the same scam. Both of them students who couldn’t afford it. Obviously this bastard doesn’t care who’s life he fucks-up as long as he gathers enough money to move to another country and do the same thing all over again to some other poor guy or gal trying to help.

He’s all over Europe at the moment. He scammed me in Frankfurt on February, then a Belgian 5 days later and now I heard from a Spaniard that was scammed 5  days ago. If this fucker manages to do this once per week, it means there must be at least 4-6 more people, and that is assuming he started this February which is not likely.

These guys are also prepared with fake IDs and everything. The picture on the top, is the ID they sent to the Spanish student who asked for far more evidence than I did, and still fell for it. It’s an obvious fake but while being distracted by a professional conman, it’s easy to take it for real.

Please help us discover the identity of the scammers

These guys prey on some of the most vulnerable members of society. They target explicitly young looking people, students more likely, and Dennis then pretends he is a fellow student down on his luck. By abusing the feelings of camaraderie, they make life difficult for those who are not in the best situation anyway.

What can you do? Post, retweet, email and discuss the info we have. The more widely we spread those photos, the more likely someone who knows him IRL recognises him.

I’ll be posting updates on any new information that comes up. If you want me to provide you with details so you can do some more in-depth investigation, fire me an email.

Is Anarchism a form of social Darwinism?

Chaos
Image by nickwheeleroz via Flickr

I can foresee that a common criticism against my explanation of how an anarchist society would look like, will be to compare it to social Darwinism. That I’m suggesting that we let society run along and let natural selection choose who gets to live and prosper. One might bring forth the counter example of the “Free Markets” and how letting them run unmanaged and unhindered (as their proponents suggest) has ended up with disastrous results.

But I’m not suggesting anything like that. I have made it very clear that I put far more weight to the utilitarian result of the simple rules we choose for the basis of our society. In short, the end result needs to be the maximization of all human happiness and the society we try to create is simply the means to this. This is very far from the idea that we should choose a set of rules and stick to them, come what may.

In fact this is why the free markets fail so miserably. The central idea of the “free market” is similar to mine in the sense that they suggest that we should stick to some simple rules and let the rest fall in place around them. Those rules are a combination of respect for private property, respect for contractual agreements, and non-aggression. Proponents of such combinations claim follow two kind of argumentative paths. Either that the principles of a free market are a natural law or that they bring a utilitarian result in regards to more freedom (which we assume would make people happier).

But none of these can be sufficiently proven. It’s impossible to display the existence of this “Natural Law” as it’s usually based either on religious underpinnings or personal delusions and it’s impossible to display the utilitarian results of free market principles because of the chaos theory. The best one can predict about a future free market society is that it will have those principles. It will respect PP, contracts and non-aggression.

But such a society could range from a human paradise of countless small farmers/artisans in an egalitarian formation, to a dystopia of mega-corporations controlling all the resource and 99% of humans being subsistence wage-slaves with no rights except the right to serve a boss. This is more problematic when seen through an utilitarian perspective (for freedom) because some of the principles can easily lead to the antithesis of freedom, such as the loss of freedom one has while working for a boss or the capacity to engage in slave-contracts. The fact that whenever a laissez-faire conception was attempted it ended up in huge human misery only serves to question their capacity to achieve their ideal goal.

However, what I am proposing is not simply to choose some rules that I claim will lead to a better result but rather to choose rules that tautologically will lead to that result. A society based on democratic values will be democratic. A society based on possessive ownership will be possessive and so on. What this means is that if there is a value that we believe should exist in a future society, we should be making that value a core rule to be espoused, promoted and defended by itself. Not as a possible result of some other value. For example: to suggest we all follow “sticky” ownership rules because it will lead to freedom of speech is misguided. It will serve us far better to follow freedom of speech itself because only then will we be sure that it will lead to a society which values freedom of speech.

Furthermore, I’m not even suggesting we select some concepts monolithically. I do not say we should choose those values and also a value to never change them. As I explained in my previous post, it might well be the case that at some indefinite point in the future, Anarchism will be sub-optimal itself. I cannot even imagine such a scenario but I can accept the possibility. Therefore, we should always be open to changing our core ruleset when the situation requires it and this should be done in the same way as before: Directly embrace the value that we would like to have in the future.

This is another way by which anarchism differs from social Darwinism and free markets, which say that the values themselves should never be changed and we should simply let societal evolution and natural selection to take their toll. But this is simply giving up one of the most basic and useful features of humans: Our ability to change our environment (which includes societal rules) as a means of adaptation. Therefore it’s not surprising that social Darwinism is such an utter failure in regards to human happiness.

In short, Anarchism or at least the Chaotic conception of Anarchism (Chaos Anarchism? Chanarchism?) that I promote, is not a form of social Darwinism because we control our environment instead of us being controlled by it.

I can foresee that a common criticism against my explanation of how an anarchist society would look like, will be to compare it to social Darwinism. That I’m suggesting that we let society run along and let natural selection choose who gets to live and prosper. One might bring forth the counter example of the “Free Markets” and how letting them run unmanaged and unhindered (as their proponents suggest) has ended up with disastrous results.

But I’m not suggesting anything like that. I have made it very clear that I put far more weight to the utilitarian result of the simple rules we choose for the basis of our society. In short, the end result needs to be the maximization of all human happiness and the society we try to create is simply the means to this. This is very far from the idea that we should choose a set of rules and stick to them, come what may.

In fact this is why the free markets fail so miserably. The central idea of the “free market” is similar to mine in the sense that they suggest that we should stick to some simple rules and let the rest fall in place around them. Those rules are a combination of respect for private property, respect for contractual agreements, and non-aggression. Proponents of such combinations claim follow two kind of argumentative paths. Either that the principles of a free market are a natural law or that they bring a utilitarian result in regards to more freedom (which we assume would make people happier).

But none of these can be sufficiently proven. It’s impossible to display the existence of this “Natural Law” as it’s usually based either on religious underpinnings or personal delusions and it’s impossible to display the utilitarian results of free market principles because of the chaos theory. The best one can predict about a future free market society is that it will have those principles. It will respect PP, contracts and non-aggression.

But such a society could range from a human paradise of countless small farmers/artisans in an egalitarian formation, to a dystopia of mega-corporations controlling all the resource and 99% of humans being subsistence wage-slaves with no rights except the right to serve as boss. This is more problematic when seen through an utilitarian perspective (for freedom) because some of the principles can easily lead to the antithesis of freedom, such as the loss of freedom one has while working for a boss or the capacity to engage in slave-contracts. The fact that whenever a laissez-faire conception was attempted it ended up in huge human misery only serves to question their capacity to achieve their ideal goal.

However, what I am proposing is not

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Top Anarchodog

Well, look at that. It seems that I’ve been found to be the 3rd top blog on the topic of Anarchism by the automatic calculations of Postrank for 2009.

Interesting. I don’t think that’s very accurate because as far as the topic goes, I consider myself quite a small fish in the Anarchosphere. I think it has far more to do with me being present in the Postrank analytics for a while now, specifically since I discovered it back when it was still called AideRSS and suggested it as a helping tool for the Atheosphere. Speaking of which, I’m nowhere close to the top for the Atheism category and as expected, it was Pharyngula who achieved superiority, although there were just 20 blogs in the topic.

Still, I’m glad I got even this small achievement. It makes me putting the effort to populate the category for anarchism worth it even more than the fact that it’s by itself a very useful quality-filtering tool. If you haven’t yet, take a look at the topic and subscribe to it to get all the goodness.

As for all of you who didn’t make it (either in Anarchism or Atheism), then make sure you visit the topic in question and add your own site to it so that it can start being calculated. Who knows, maybe in the next year you’ll be close to the top. And even if now, you’ll at least get a nifty badge for 2010 😉

Quote of the Day:"Anarcho"-Capitalist Monolith

I just discovered this quote on yet another Ning network about liberty which was unsurprisingly filled with right-“libertarians” and assorted propertarians. I felt it was too good to let it dirft into obscurity in a random thread.

Quoth Zhwazi

Mase R. Molina said:

What do you mean when you say [Anarcho-Capitalism] became monolithic?

If I had better words for it I’d use those! Anarchocapitalism isn’t a free chamber for discussion of ideas. It has an orthodoxy, a hivemind.

Their sense of identity is strong. They stick together and talk largely amongst themselves about the same tired subjects over and over, occasionally venturing out to troll enemies. They are not comfortable discussing other subjects. Trying to discuss other subjects usually leads to misunderstanding or mockery on the part of the ancap. It becomes a catch-22 where they don’t talk because they don’t know, and they don’t know because they don’t talk.

If that was scattered with different people having different randomly-overlapping comfort zones I wouldn’t call it monolithic. The thing is they all have roughly the same range of topics and range of tolerable positions on those topics as each other. This restricted range of acceptable topics leads to the above-mentioned loss of free inquiry spirit, and development of a hive mind. They repeat each others mistakes and think that they aren’t mistakes because others who agree with them can rationalize them better.

I don’t think I’ve ever had a gainful discussion with an ancap. Some have been fun, but never gainful. That’s why I’m not an ancap. It’s basically a big debate club of people who already agree with each other. The mistaken ideas they hold are side-effects of this monolithy, so I really consider avoiding the monolith to be a whole layer above avoiding their specific mistakes. To stay amongst them is to allow their limits to be yours. I can’t stand that.

Also Brainpolice has a nice addendum to it.

I agree with you, Zhwazi, but perhaps I could try to clarify and elaborate. What you’re saying is potentially true about any political ideology, and ancap would just be one example of it. The same thing is true of hardcore libcoms in my experience. But, by the very least, in terms of the orthodoxy of ancap, there is an inflexibility in which (1) word-association dogmatism destroys the prospect of understanding with other libertarian and anarchist ideologies, and other ideologies in general (2) an a priori conceptual apparatus is clung to in which rigid dichotomies are established, such as assuming that the only alternative to absolutist propertarianism is non-ownership and (3) a willful ignorance of other libertarian/anarchist positions and their history, only viewing things through the lense of a specific “capitalist” paradihm, and effectively denouncing that which deviates from the orthodoxy as statism. This can be seen most clearly at the Mises Institute. Try even suggesting that there is such thing as left-libertarianism to many of these people, and observe their reactions.

I agree of course. I’ve noticed rigidity from many other camps as well, from State Communists to Social Democrats but only among AnCaps (and Objectivists) have I experienced this amount of ideological rigidity. Of course, fundamentalist christians might be even worse but those at least don’t try to pass themselves as freethinkers.