Do the ends justify the means?

I think the answer is more complicated than either a mere “yes” or “no.” Hear me out. Let’s say you’re a person who is poor and desperate, you either have a job or you don’t, but assuming your economy is soul-crushingly laissez-faire capitalistic as today’s is, your wages are low and not nearly enough to provide for any meaningful living, you can barely afford your own rent, and you have kids, to make matters worse you’re a single parent, maybe even disabled, and the social safety net is either weak or nonexistent, does that make it okay to steal? The answer ultimately comes down to whether you consider people or property to be more important, unfortunately for the working class the law takes the side that property is more important than people, because the law ultimately does not exist to protect you, it exists to protect capital, to protect the ruling class.

This is why even supposedly “good” cops will still enforce evictions, tear down homeless camps, and whatnot, and you are powerless to stop them because they’re “the law” and you’re not, you’re not the person wearing the jackboot, you’re on the receiving end of the jackboot. So, with all that in mind, does that make crime okay? Do the ends justify the means?

Consider your answers carefully, it’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool, then speak and remove all doubt

On natural hierarchies and material conditions

I was disputing whether or not right wing “anarchism” is legitimately anarchism or not. The devil’s advocate in the discussion told me that right wing “anarchists” reject “constructed hierarchy,” while still believing in so-called “natural hierarchies,” I rejected that therefore right wing individualism is true anarchism, because anarchists reject all hierarchies.

The discussion eventually lead to one about solipsism, natural law, the great man theory of history, so on and so forth, and it lead me to write this little entry about that conversation and where it lead me. So, here we are.

Right wingers believe in natural hierarchy, it’s an essentialist viewpoint, but as we shall see there all natural hierarchies are spooks, there’s no such thing as a “natural order of things,” as per Hume’s guillotine, “an ought cannot be derived from an is.” The world isn’t static and immutable, it is constantly changing. My opponent brought up the right wing belief of the “cycle of history,” summed up like this: “Strong men create good times, good times create weak men, weak men create hard times, hard times create strong men ad nauseam.

This is way too much of an overgeneralizing statement, and ignores material conditions. I pointed out the exact conditions of the Cold War couldn’t have occurred without the invention of nukes, even if there are rough analogues to Cold War esque situations in the past (which there are, but that’s a discussion for another time). My point being that the invention of nukes is what lead to the Cold War, and the Cold War wouldn’t have occurred without them.

Material conditions are important, natural orders don’t exist, the world is not static, and tomorrow will be different from today, as the actors of history are always changing, as is the setting itself.

Newton’s Giants

“I stand on the shoulder of giants,” Newton said. Just imagine a series of giants, each one hoisted on the shoulders of equally great giants below them. Who bears the load? Who is the loadbearer, the original giant that hoists all of those giants up above them, like Atlas holds the sky? Who’s the Atlas of Newton’s Giants?

We may never know, but I suspect, that if the myths are true, they have reached apotheosis, think of them as the patron god of giants. Imhotep seems a plausible candidate, but I doubt it, as far back into the past as he was, he lived far too recently for him to qualify as the ORIGINAL giant. Could it have been he (or she) who first invented fire? That seems like a plausible candidate, after all the usage of fire has shaped our bodies down to the bone, reducing our musculature by half, making our jaws weak, but allowing room for our brains to grow, for the appendix to shrivel away, and to help free humanity from the shackles of creation, of our inner animal nature.

I’d say that they, the person who first invented fire, are the Atlas of Newton’s Giants.

On Anarchy

You can only get so much done writing a 900 page thesis on the nature of revolution inside your ivory towers. All talk and no action these ideologues are, such folly! Turn away your old dogmas and realize how they have failed, the revolutions of the 20th century have failed to bring about communism, as they have always fallen prey to capitalist subversion of the revolution, of the reintroduction of class struggle and capitalist hegemony.

Under the state, capitalism always wins. Attempting to overthrow the unjust system by co-opting the state, or replacing it with a so-called “worker’s state,” a term that is itself inherently oxymoronic, will only lead to the corruption of the revolutionary force trying to force change via the state.

If you want true change, genuine change, that changes the very fabric of society itself, abolish the state. Only when you abolish the state do you abolish capitalism, for they go hand in hand. Marxism has failed; it’s time to try a new tactic.

Capitalism requires the state to enforce its hegemony, its inherently unequal distribution of control over resources. Police and armies protect capital, not you. Reject the state, and reject the police, for they are not your friends.

For the Leninists in my audience realize this, why has almost every so-called “socialist state” failed to implement communism, and have always fallen prey to capitalist forces? Let’s examine the “mass line” tenet of Maoism for an example, even with the Cultural Revolution and popular struggle against corrupt bureaucrats to hold the party accountable, China still fell to revisionist capitalists.

They didn’t accomplish shit in the end, it was merely meaningless chaos that ultimately failed to accomplish its goals. Deng Xiaoping reintroduced capitalism into China, and today China is even more stratified socially than even the US is.

Let’s look at another example, the Soviet Union itself. The USSR ended up becoming another imperialist force, crushing genuine worker’s revolutions in Hungary, the Prague, and elsewhere, and functioned as just another colonialist power in Siberia, oppressing its indigenous peoples so Russian settlers could move in. The Soviet Union ultimately fell itself, and Tsarism has come back to haunt modern day Russia once again.

It should be noted that many Russians today are nostalgic for the “good old days” of the Soviet Union, and I will acknowledge that the economic policies of the USSR were far more worker-friendly than they are today, you weren’t liable to become poor for instance because the Soviet Union provided for everyone, being strapped for cash wasn’t a thing back then as it is now in modern Russia.

But even with that prosperity came the price of liberty, the USSR was hella authoritarian, and still was subject to market forces. It was state capitalist, not socialist. Socialism cannot be meaningfully achieved under a state, no matter the intentions of the state’s founders. States are inherently corrupting forces, in order for the revolution to enact meaningful, long lasting change, ditch the state as a vector for revolution, it doesn’t work.



Consciousness and Death

Death is a complicated, and disconcerting, thing that we must all eventually face in the end. After all, there is no escaping from the Grim Reaper, merely delaying his arrival. However, what if there is some way that death isn’t…… permanent? In today’s entry we’ll be discussing what death really entails for consciousness and the loss thereof.

When people often talk about “death” they often speak of an “eternal oblivion,” but such speak implies that there is an objective you to experience that eternal oblivion, when we all know that the very word “death” implies the cessation of existence, of nonbeing; nothing can experience the state of not existing because you don’t exist, it’s not a state you are in. This ties back into my earlier forays into discussing antinatalism wherein I explained how some of the arguments for antinatalism are flawed because they presuppose an objective you existing to experience nonexistence, see those other posts for more detail, linked above.

Death is more akin to a mere interruption in consciousness, a bit like sleep really, except that in the traditional naturalistic view of death you don’t wake up. However, with recent advancements in our understanding of nature, as well as technological advancements in the near future that could theoretically enable you to emulate entire human minds, that might not necessarily be the case.

Even if we don’t find a way to emulate entire human minds on computers there always exists the possibility of a Boltzmann brain, which is essentially a thought experiment revolving around how the universe we live in isn’t as chaotic as thermodynamics says it should be, and how the possibility of a single consciousness, or “brain,” arising from random quantum flunctuations is more plausible than the current phase of the universe we find ourselves in, which itself spends most of eternity in a state of thermal equilibrium. If true, this thought experiment holds enormous consequences, but that’s a topic for another time entirely.

It’s entirely plausible, indeed even probable, that over a long enough period of time something with the same memories and thoughts and feelings as you have will arise out of mere random quantum flunctuations, this being a Boltzmann brain, and without delving into the “swamp man” thought experiment of the late and great American philosopher Donald Davidson, is you for all intents and purposes, and henceforth you’d “wake up” from the incredibly long slumber that is death.

Hence, even if it takes a really long time to “wake up,” not even the grim reaper himself can hold on to you forever. So if the inevitable prospect of death frightens you, think of the bright side, for you will wake up eventually, even if it takes a long-ass time to do so.


“Boys will be Boys”

This statement is used to refer to the notion that “men are trash” and that there is no changing how a man would behave. The term “boys will be boys” is rubbish for several reasons, first of which I’ll be discussing is that it’s an example of the naturalistic fallacy, “that’s just the way things are.” Sometimes people, especially of the MRA crowd, will even say this is how it should be, not just how it is. An easy refutation of this is Hume’s law, also known as “Hume’s guillotine,” which states that “an ought cannot be derived from an is.” In short this is saying that just because this is how things work now doesn’t mean this is the way things should be.

Another problem is that it serves as an excuse for people to continue to act like trash, if a man rapes someone all you have to do to excuse his behavior is say “boys will be boys” and everything will be “fine” for want of a better word. This is bullshit, and is excusing wrongdoing because, as explained above, “that’s just how things are.” It provides an excuse for people to continue problematic behavior without trying to improve themselves, because after all what’s the point in fighting something that’s “natural,” in one’s “nature” to do so.

Before someone comes here and quacks “Not all men” of course not all men are like that, but such a statement individualizes an issue that is ultimately systemic. I too have been guilty of perpetrating this bastard concern trolling before, and that’s ultimately what it is: concern trolling. The bastard phrase “boys will be boys” trivializes and excuses a systemic injustice, it provides cover for shitty people to continue being shitty and it should stop being used, it would be ideal if the sentiment behind it would vanish as well but one can only control actions, not thoughts, although if you get people to act a certain way after a while they’ll start thinking that way too.

So please, stop saying “boys will be boys” and giving these utter pieces of shit cover. Is it really that hard to do so?

A Critique of Antinatalism

Antinatalism is, at its simplest, an opposition to having more babies, or, well, “natalism.” Herein I first address several key concepts of the antinatalist movement and then move on to a short analysis of antinatalism itself. Let’s begin.

The first thing we are going to be addressing is the concept of existence and suffering, antinatalists claim that life is nothing but suffering, and nonexistence precludes suffering. That is, on its surface anyway, true, but the argument implies a subjective you to experience not experiencing suffering, while nonexistence means, well, nonexistence, “you” don’t exist, there is no “you,” not even proverbially. What this means is that nonexistence precludes suffering is irrelevant at best.

Also life is not all suffering, not existing also precludes experiencing things such as awe, joy, and wonder. Some antinatalists I have conversed with have viewed this state of nonexistence as akin to the Nirvana concept in Buddhism, but the concept of Nirvana implies that there is still a subjective you existing, so this is a false equivocation.

One other thing antinatalists like to claim is that antinatalism prevents overpopulation when in fact overpopulation is not a problem unlike what the pundits would have you believe. We have more food than people, and our rate of food production is more than enough to feed the entire population of earth many times over, it is increasing rather than decreasing, Malthus couldn’t foresee the Green Revolution and the British Agricultural Revolution, so overpopulation is a nonissue as well.

One thing I’ll give antinatalists is that antinatalism may be beneficial for the environment, but I doubt that means anything in practice, since people are still gonna have children irregardless of what other people say, it is the biological imperative of the species to do so, so other forms of environmental protections are more practical than simple antinatalism.

Introducing incentives to have fewer babies will lessen the rate of new births, but people are still gonna have children, it won’t reach zero, since people are still gonna have babies, just not as many, the species won’t die out.

Asceticism: Why It Sucks

Religious asceticism, which is the abandonment of most “worldly” things in favor of living a “humble and pious life,” is not for the faint of heart. Most people can’t handle being ascetics, and often end up relapsing back into their own habits. Humans aren’t designed with asceticism in mind, which is why you often see Catholic priests molesting their choirboys for instance, because they have taken vows of celibacy but are still sexually active, sexual frustration is a dangerous thing I`m afraid. It doesn’t help that some of the more extreme forms of asceticism are actually harmful for the ascetic in question, such as the form practiced in ancient India that lead the Buddha to quit in disgust and found his “middle way,” the eight-path-fold. (The form in question wherein ascetics would literally starve themselves to near death, the Buddha ended up being overtaken by hunger and begged for a village girl for some rice. Suffice it to say, he got ridiculed and exiled from the ascetic community as a result, and the rest is history.)

If you want to become an ascetic, all the power to you, but at least try reading up on the risks involved with becoming an ascetic before you do so. Asceticism isn’t for everyone, only certain people can handle the life of an ascetic, so tread wisely.