In another adventure in social networking, I joined a debate I saw in my Twitter feed to offer support for someone that was complaining about his student loans and not being able to pay them. Now, the support I was offering was for him to be innovative and find new ways to make money. As conversations sometimes can do, it deteriorated into an economic and political debate. There was a lot of droning on about how schools are so important but then when I and the other two would point out how they are woefully insufficient he would sort of agree. We all go back and forth for way too long. He disses my suggestion that a free market would fair better in education than government run… blah, blah, yada, yada… same stuff we all have to hear in a debate… “free markets haven’t been working” – “please don’t think we have a free market now”… blah… blah… blah… He says patents, etc keep markets back, I agree pointing out those are government run programs, not free market programs, etc, etc, etc…
Here is where it gets interesting:
I should note here that he also was stating that society owes it to educate each other and that research is valuable and needed (I pointed out that university research as far as educating people means squat and that people can research and invent, etc w/out gov run universities). I had also suggested that if he is having problems paying back his loans now that he needs to slow down (he has an AS and wants a BS and then a PhD). I reminded him that going to college was *his* choice, not mine. He eludes that doing things other than his way is immoral, I call him out on it.
Finally, I pull a “Stefan” on him:
Me: i owe nothing to no one but myself and my family. why should i be forced under threat of violence to care for those that will not take care of me? i am independent. i don’t want anyone else to take care of my needs, besides anyone able to give you everything can also take it away.
Him: you DO owe others. You did not grow up in a vacuum. Society helped provide an environment. You must be part of that now. Hate to break it to you, but the Gov’t has the ability to take by force from you anything you have, no matter how you got it.
Me: so you don’t believe in liberty then… I’m a Rothbardian. you won’t change me. Check him out: http://mises.org/media.aspx?action=category&ID=87 BTW they have the ‘ability’ to steal from me b/c you give them that ability.
Him: sure I believe in liberties. Positive liberties count as liberties. No, they have that ability because society saw fit to give them guns.
Me: Society is not an individual. liberty is liberty. you cannot change its definition to suit your own desires. which is why *some* of us still have our own (guns).
Him: Right, society is a collection of people. We all help each other out. Some are just less charitable about it. I’m not, go forth and discover the preexisting definition of positive liberty.
Me: putting another word with “liberty” doesn’t change it’s definition. you cannot decide what is positive for other people.
Now, from this point. I should have stopped. The print out of our total conversation is 16 pages long! He made it clear that he has no problems accepting the proverbial gun in the room and using force to pay him for an education that he thinks he deserves because, to him, it means he can contribute his research later, as if that is some guarantee of making society better. It gets worse. He brings up utopia and I bring up free will. He says free will is an illusion. I propose that he is using his own free will to type this ongoing debate on Twitter and, I kid you not, he says it’s society and science that is making him do it. I suggest he embrace his identity and his power and own it, to stop handing them both over to other people and entities such as ‘society’ and ‘government’. He tells me to not force my idea of identity on him… you see where this madness is going right? Yup! You guessed it! “But who will build the roads?” I had quit replying before he posted that last bit but it always comes down to that doesn’t it?
Okay, so this morning I did a very BRIEF blog on #OccupyWallStreet and the issue of roots of the problem vs the symptoms of the problem and how it seems most of the occupy people are focusing on the symptoms. I posted a few videos that help to illuminate the real cause, the roots, of the problems that the protesters seems to want to tackle and suggest some ideas for making this a truly changing experience – one that will actually benefit people, not make their chains heavier. Well, the more involved and the deeper I get in this idea of trying to talk with occupiers, the more frustrated I get. I knew I would, which is why I tried initially to not be involved. I just don’t have time for this drama! I have a family to raise, agorist business ideas to work on and try out… why? Because I’m responsible for myself and my family. I do NOT WANT the government to give me $20 an hour for doing nothing in exchange. I do NOT WANT the government to wipe my ass every time I dump a load (and no, I’d never do that on a car – police or otherwise – but hey, that’s just me). They hypocrisy and ignorance that I am running into in my conversations with occupiers via the webs is… well… I can’t help but think this is some joke – that tomorrow I’ll hear on the news that it was all a bunch of actors. But no, that is, sadly, NOT the case. Here is the conversation I have been having tonight on Twitter…
@b********** b****** is right on this @s******* more gov will not help anything. watch the vids posted here shinyletsbebadguys.wordpress.com/2011/10/09/if-… @R******* There is no such thing as more government, just different kinds of government. Don’t be a bigot. @s******* OMG LMAO how is me saying “more government” automatically mean “bigot”??? @b************ @R******* Because you hate the poor. You dismiss and invalidate their opinions. @s*******Hate the poor? I AM poor! LOL love how you think you know me after only one statement…(not sure about this, did he delete a Tweet or did I answer twice? I don’t remember) @s******* No b/c I believe in non aggression I do not support more government esp when government is the cause of the problems @R******* No way are you poor. @s******* really? how so? u been in my singlewide that is falling apart, or my van that constantly breaks down? i’m a sahm mom. we’re poor @R******* Being an American means agreeing to help the needy through our governmental institution. The law is not aggression. @s******* I signed nothing. I am extremely charitable & would be more so if the gov wasn’t busy stealing nearly half our income for war.
Now, do you see the tactics being used here? Clearly he is closer to fitting that name he called me early on as he is sticking to his guns to the point of avoiding points I make, making assumptions about who I am and what my life is like. Have I done any of that? No, of course not. I’ve offered evidence to support my ideas and theories while he has not done the same. And he’s not alone. This seems to be the norm for the conversations that I and other REAL liberty-loving people are encountering. Ignorance, censorship, hypocrisy – it’s maddening! So from this point on, I’m no longer interested in engaging in this. Clearly what could have been a great act of civil disobedience for true liberty is now (or maybe always was) just a way for more government to be championed, for real change to continue to evade us.
Some time ago I decided that my path to helping see liberty was to live it. Some people are protesters (and they are great at it and have my support when the cause is correctly addressed). But, I’m not a protester. I don’t have the means or ability to engage in protest. I’m an agorist and, for the most part, that is my role in the liberty “movement” (I hate that word). Yes, I will gladly engage in intelligent and respectful debate online but the past couple of days is not representative of that, therefore, I digress.
To all of my activist friends that are out there on the streets, relentlessly trying to get these people in the various occupy movements to see the facts and truth – my thoughts and prayers are with you. I have no patience or time for this but know that I do continue to support you in your efforts. My hat’s off to you. You have my respect and my gratitude for doing what I don’t have the patience to do.
First, my apologies for allowing this to fall behind. There is so much going on right now that I should be talking about. I have been delving into graphic design and tshirt design trying to further my agorism. It’s been intense and I have a massive handicap in that this is new territory for me. I have lots of thanks out to those already in this field for their help and advice! Check the link on the side if you are interested in checking out what I’ve been up to with that.
Now, back to the subject of this post. Occupy Wall Street. Occupy *insert name of city here*. There is even one in my town though I’ve paid absolutely no notice. With trying to run my home as a SAHM and further my agorist efforts, it went unnoticed. I never really heard anything about it in the news and I’m downtown almost every day taking my husband to and from work. I’m sure if it were something significant, I would have seen or heard something. On the surface, it sounds like a decent idea. I have no problem with protesting in general. It is a healthy exercise in free speech. And I don’t care what it is you are protesting – whether or not I agree with your cause doesn’t affect whether or not you have the right to flex your free speech muscles. Do it.
However, it would help to know what you are protesting. It appears the majority of the people involved in these nationwide protests are only protesting the symptoms and are completely missing the causes. In fact, based on their “demands”, it would seem if they had their demands met, we’d be in an even worse hell than we already are in! There are a handful of people out there that seem to get what is going on and I know quite a few activists that are out there on the streets, trying to point out the root of the problems that the protesters seem to be missing out on. However, a lot of these people are not listening. In fact, one of my friends was blocked from Occupy Charlotte’s Facebook page and all her posts removed, not that that is stopping her from hitting the streets… Just kind of proves to me that these protests are more about increased government and not less.
So, for any Occupier out there reading this, please, please understand economics before you protest it! Below are some links and videos that I hope will help you learn basic economics and the root of the problems that we are facing as a society now.
1) Learn Hayek vs Keynes: Basically, as simply as I can state this it’s an economic method vs another. Hayek believed in little to no government intervention and Keynes believed in absolute government intervention. Obviously there is a lot more to that than what I’ve said but it’s a primer. Most Occupiers seem to favor more government intervention so it would help if they knew what that would entail – not just regulations – but economics. Here is an objective debate held recently at London School of Economics:
2) Take a good look at your demands and know the real meaning of what it would be like in reality if they were met:
3) Start listening to those on the streets with you and see their point of view as well. Don’t turn your back on those that have a different point of view. You want your point of view heard, offer that same respect to others around you.
4) LEARN ECONOMICS! This is a must. No one will take you seriously if you are ignorant of the very topic you are protesting.
More vids with GREAT information:
Yes, the list of activities now making people “bad guys” in the eyes of the “law” grows more and more asinine each week, doesn’t it? The Department of Justice raid on guitar maker, Gibson Guitars, has raised more than a few eyebrows and, while there is a lot of speculation about it, the point remains that it seems to center around a foreign law and not even a law here in America. I cannot seem to completely pinpoint the problem that Gibson is supposedly guilty of doing; however, here is some of the information I’ve been able to gather:
- DOJ raided Gibson in 2009, seizing products alleging they were made of illegally obtained wood; however, they were never formally charged and none of the products were returned. Gibson is currently suing to try and get the products back in their possession.
- A few sources list the reason for this past week’s raid and seizure as being wood from India not being the correct size allowed for export.
- A few other sources list the reason for this past week’s raid and seizure as being wood with “not enough Indian content”, meaning it was supposed to be finished by Indian workers before being shipped for export.
- There are others that also make the statement that this is a partisan bully tactic because Gibson is a supporter of the GOP and their competitor, using the same material and not being targeted by DOJ, is a DNC supporter.
I’ve tried searching DOJ’s website to find more information as, at this point, the cause for the raid is purely speculative. However, I couldn’t find anything. Perhaps my research skills are not up to par today after a late night of writing and staying in contact with Twitter friends in Delaware and New Jersey as Hurricane Irene slammed into them. Or perhaps there isn’t anything for DOJ to announce? At this point, I don’t know which is more accurate. I do have my own thoughts and opinions and since this is a blog I’m free to write whatever I want, so here it is.
One of the things that bothers me the most is the appearance that the US government is trying to enforce laws from another country. Gibson denies the allegations that the wood was obtained illegally and that they get the wood from a certified company to ensure that no environmental or international laws are broken in obtaining the wood. If this is the case, then it sounds to me as if the Indian government should be looking at this certified company and/or the Indian exporter instead of US taxpayer money being used to go after Gibson. I also take issue with the idea of some international law that forbids American workers refining a raw wood product in favor of keeping more jobs abroad, but hey, that’s just me! *rolls eyes*
Something else that bothers me is that this has raised another big issue – the Lacey Act. This is an idea that someone came up with and a bunch of other someones thought it was a great idea and made it law. Basically, nowadays, if you cannot prove that your piano’s ivory keys, or your guitar’s ebony, ivory, and/or rosewood parts predate their export/import restrictions – you are screwed! Your instrument will be confiscated and you will be fined! So that antique piano? Don’t take it with you if you move out of the country until you have replaced those ivory keys with plastic ones! Musicians far and wide are now even choosing to LEAVE THEIR ACOUSTIC GUITARS BEHIND when touring internationally! Why? Because even if they do not know there is some regulated material on it somewhere, anywhere, they will still be held accountable and lose the guitar (or whatever instrument) and be fined. I wonder what happens with the replaced and confiscated parts? It’s not like you can toss those parts back into nature and a new forest and group of elephants and rhinos suddenly spring up from the ground.
Now, the last thing that irks me, and it’s minor – very petty really – but I’m voicing it anyway. It is this conflict about how musicians *must* not want to really conserve nature by still using these restricted plants in their instruments. I do see a bit of hypocrisy but to make such a big claim over *all* musicians and artists for wanting to 1) hang on to older instruments with now-banned materials and/or 2) for still using some of those materials when they are controlled, but still allowed to be used. The minor hypocrisy, of course, is that there are quite a few celebs that preach what they claim is conservation but don’t practice it themselves. So to those, yes, bug off… but to those that cherish their beloved instruments and do not preach the green gospel to the world, hang on to them dearly! It is quite clear that they will, at some point, disappear. I hope to continue to hear music from these amazing instruments for years to come…
By the way, there was mention by Lee Stranahan on his Twitter account about some sort of guitar contest in support of Gibson. I don’t know any details if this is going to happen but I will certainly post an update when I can find out! Sounds so freaking groovy and I hope that I can participate! Follow Lee on Twitter @Stranahan.
Sources, in no particular order:
I’d list DOJ’s site as a source but since they have exactly SQUAT on the topic, they get no link…
Good Monday morning to you all, my shiny bad guys! Again, nothing like a little last minute inspiration to know what to write about. I’m starting to see that if I don’t try to plan the activity that I will talk about, it will present itself to me beautifully. So what dastardly deed will we be up to this week? “Stealing from the rich to sell to the poor”? No way! How about feeding homeless people? Yes, I know what you are thinking but feeding the homeless, is now a bad guy activity that some have even been arrested for. First thing’s first, though – an announcement:
Fellow Anon and Citizens of the world,
Anonymous is here to help the people in yet another operation designed to help those that are in need of HELP, to assist those who have no VOICE. We are proud to announce #opFeedTheHomeless
`Worldwide, (I believe this is an error and that it is August as on the image above) September 27, 2011: Join us all to help those in need. Here are some ways to support this Operation.
- Buy a bag of groceries and hand them out to standing in the unemployment or public assistance lines.
- Volunteer at a local soup kitchen or shelter.
- Donate food to your local food bank.
- Set up a table to hand out food and drinks.
These are just some ideas and suggestions. Remember we are anonymous.
Not all Anonymous are hactivists! Many Anonymous are activists with a purpose and a voice.
America is portrayed as the land of the brave and the home of the free……..
Anonymous likes to differ. Many soldiers who “fought” for our country come back with little or nothing to their name. Citizens with great paying jobs are being laid off due to the world’s economic crisis. Where does this leave them, striving for more money to pay for rent, mortgage, loans, and bills.
Join us in this operation, support those in need and spread the word of the misuse of the American and worldwide citizens.
We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.
“We Are the Voice of the Voiceless”
Contact info: @an0nyc and @Knowledge_US
Please consider doing something to help the homeless in your area. Risk what needs to be risked, even, if you have to. Truly this should not be something done only once, so consider making a habit of it. It truly saddens me to know that there are so many out there that need help, especially when it comes to our military. Just read those statistics in the image above – very heartbreaking.
There are several steady resources in my area for helping the homeless, some specializing in veterans. Veterans can have a very unique set of problems that frequently include mental illness and drug abuse, stemming from their service abroad. I hope I’m not the only one that gets pissed off to see the life of a retired politician that sent soldiers into battle and then to see the life of homeless veteran because those idiot politicians forgot about them after handing them a medal for their “service”. It’s a disgusting outrage and every time I see a politician talking more war, “honoring” our service men and women but then not living their talk themselves I don’t know which compulsion will be more prevalent – the desire to vomit, or the desire to punch said politician right in the face. I hope there is a special place in Hell for men and women that send people to war on their behalf and then abandon them to their fate when they return home.
Okay, all very well and good, redd4a3, but how is this exactly a bad guy activity? Oh yes! Back to it now that the announcement of this Saturday’s operation has been posted. Yes, people have been arrested for feeding the homeless. It would appear that a certain municipality that shall remain nameless doens’t like the fact that feeding the homeless in a park will make the homeless visible. Oh okay, so nameless they shall not remain – Orlando, Florida. Back in June and many times since, people in Orlando where being arrested for feeding more than 25 people in a certain park without a permit. Most of those arrested are with a group called Food Not Bombs, dedicated to providing vegetarian meals to homeless people. The ordinace says:
The ordinance requires groups to obtain a city permit to distribute food to 25 or more people in downtown parks. Groups may only receive two permits per park, per year. -Mayor Dyer drops charges in homeless-feeding arrests, Sun Sentinal
The supposed issue is that drawing such a crowd will increase crime in that area. I don’t really agree with that assessment and even if there is some loose connection then why would hiding the homeless be the answer? Why not a little more outreach? I believe in my heart of hearts that private charity and compassion can go much more further than public shoddy, mismanaged ‘charity’. I know the rate at which we as a people and our property and businesses are being taxed is… well…. taxing, but we can’t just bury our heads in the sand when entire families are living on the streets. This really isn’t about “too lazy to work”, in a lot of these cases it’s about a severe illness, physical and/or mental, that has gone untreated, it’s about private sector layoffs and the dependence and shortage of public sector jobs, it’s about the housing bubble, it’s about so much more…
I can speak with some knowledge on the topic because, for a very short time, when I was 19 years old, I was homeless. I was with an extremely abusive man (I use the term “man” loosely) and we were living out of my car. For the most part, we’d go from friend’s house to friend’s house, with some family helping for a short while but there were times when we were left sleeping in my car – no food, no water. I remember for an entire week, we had less than a loaf of bread and one small can of oranges to share between the two of us. Eventually, he was arrested for nonpayment of child support to his ex-wife, and a friend allowed me to stay with her, and her and her husband fed me and for that I will be eternally grateful! Once out of this guy’s control, I managed to leave his sorry ass in jail and move on with my life, my family there to help me every step of the way. But those couple of months with no home and no promise of food and water were excruciating, leaving scars that still sometimes bleed, even now fifteen years later (crying as I type this out).
So please, starting with this Saturday and hopefully with some regularity to it, please dedicate a small portion of your time to reaching out to those that really do need our help and compassion, and not to be shoved into the shadows to be forgotten. There are many ways to help, as mentioned above. Just find the resources available in your area and sign up to volunteer, or just walk around town passing out food. This is not something that people need a permit to do. You do NOT need the government’s permission to show compassion and caring. Do something, anything! There is a niche that EVERY ONE can fill, don’t wait to be asked, just do it. And if the long, overreaching arm of the law tries to stop you, stick to your guns. Don’t let them stop you from helping your fellow man. You never know, that person could have been someone that paid for your lifestyle with the sacrifice of a life of their own…
I keep finding inspiration for my feature “Bad Guy Activity of the Week” within a few hours of posting it. I love it because it’s fresh in my head and I can write from my heart. At this point in time, debating isn’t something that would normally fit the category of “Bad Guy” activity for the usual purposes of me writing my blog (which is to point out government overreach). However, it’s not just government regulations where a person will be considered to be bad by others, so I’m wandering a bit from my usual purpose and I hope that some of my experiences will help you understand debating. I love something I wrote yesterday on the topic – that debating is a complicated, yet very simple dance and it’s a beautiful dance when done properly.
The past few days have been an interesting few days. I lost contact with someone I admire because I made a smart ass remark after I initiated a debate. Someone came at me aggressively, assuming I would see their point of view because of that lost contact, but they were shouting their own buzz words with no evidence and screaming and cussing at me when I didn’t respond the way she wanted me to. I’ve spent a lot of time on introspection and viewing these and other debate conversations I’ve been in over the weekend. I will be the first to brag that my ability to talk and debate has come a very long way since I first took an interest in engaging people and with the exception of the first situation I mentioned, I believe I handled myself very well, not letting myself get emotional and just sticking with facts. I won’t say I changed minds, though I hope I was able at least to get some folks thinking about my point of view.
I used to stick to random “points” that I heard others say, not really backing it up with facts or how I came to such conclusions, and when I got stuck, I would strike back and resort to the middle school tactic of name calling and stomping off, looking for others parroting the same “points” as I to feel better about myself. Before long, I realized I was getting no where. I realized that I wasn’t coming to my own conclusions at all and that is why I wasn’t able to convince anyone. I was being a punk about things, really, and who wants to be that way? I don’t. So I started investigating these phrases I would spout and, in the end, it changed my view of politics and philosophy forever.
When engaging in a debate, remember that we are all humans and have free will. For the most part, people base their belief system (religious, political, etc) on experiences they have had in their own life. Those experiences are no greater or less than your own. Approaching a debate with an automatic show of respect for the others involved will put you in the best spot to join a discussion.
We will not all agree, and we need to accept that differing philosophies are not necessarily wrong philosophies. This is a hard point to be able to remember and accept. We hold our beliefs as sacred and take offense to when others do not see it our way or refuse to validate our views. Don’t take it personally. If there is someone that you cannot engage in an honest debate, then walk away. A debate is a voluntary action and if it is reduced to a screaming match or name calling or cussing each other out, then the debate ended long before the parties agreed to go separate ways.
Here’s a point I want to make – someone whose view is different than yours is NOT ignorant, stupid, uneducated, racist or whatever. If you become an aggressor and start making these charges, then perhaps it’s time you engage in a little introspection yourself. Aggression is not going to win people over to your side. My ancestors have been in the American South for hundreds of years. If you start calling me racist because of this fact, implying that being a white southern woman somehow equates that I support slavery, you just lost all credibility with me, and anyone else in the same debate. If this is the view you take and you find yourself constantly making accusations of this nature, I would advise that you try a different tactic.
So at this point, I will list a few links that will hopefully offer ideas on improving debate and talking skills in general. A couple are recent blogs of mine, two of them are outside links. I hope that you find this blog and the links below helpful. Don’t be afraid to allow room for improvement, we all need to constantly evaluate ourselves and make adjustments.
Young Adults for Liberty: Five Reasons You’re Not Winning Debates
Young Adults for Liberty: Don’t Argue — Dialogue and Recruit!
My blog: The Non Aggression Principle (and how it applies in a debate)
My blog: The sun can burn, but it also opens flowers (a critique on my own actions when I let a debate turn the wrong way and got blocked)