Someone doesn’t know many languages

http://www.reddit.com/r/languagelearning/comments/cldyd/the_man_who_learned_icelandic_one_of_the_hardest/

Erm… yeah.
I never knew that in a world with Basque and Pirah√£, another Germanic language is among the hardest for speakers of a Germanic language. Huh.

(I am well aware this has nothing to do with anarchism.)

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Ayn Rand, self-ownership, and hypocrisy

It always struck me as hypocritical of Ayn Rand’s followers and admirers to support self-ownership. Self-ownership requires something to both be and own itself, thus it is both A and not A. Ayn Rand tried her hardest to base an entire philosophy around A being A.

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A haiku

Beginnings, endings

Running through abandoned streets

Someday I’ll be free

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The moronic arguments of Andrew Flood.

A lot of stupid anti-anti-civ arguments are made, and I think Andrew Flood encapsulates them quite nicely in his (admittedly old, but these things are fun and useful to dissect) article, “Civilisation, Primitivism and Anarchism”.

While I am not a primitivist, I am a post-civ anarchist/eco-anarchist/Peak Oil doomer, so let’s take a crack at it.

Flood talks about the imprecision in primmie definitions of “civilization” and “technology”. I wonder if he’s changed his mind after Derrick Jensen’s Endgame… Primmie definitions of “technology” are often downright tautologous, however, if they are given at all. So, I agree there.
He cites Mikhail Bakunin pretty early on trying to prove that anarchism is compatible with mass society. However, what he cites is making a case about society, not mass society!

Many parts are about “going back” and as I do not advocate this, I can skip ’em.

He talks about overpopulation and how a return to hunter-gatherer society would kill most people. He also claims that hunting-gathering isn’t necessarily sustainable because large-scale extinctions happened in hunter-gatherer times.

The first point is true. More people would die if we had to switch straight to hunting & gathering. However, some anti-civ people, specifically the post-civ ones support permaculture, and even primitivists are warming up to it as a transitional thing.

The second confuses correlation with causation.

They cite Earth First! as an example of primitivist misanthropy. Earth First! aren’t an exclusively primitivist organization.

They talk about Peak Oil and how some countries are already transitioning away from oil. However, this transition will be harder and harder to make later on, since we use oil-based infrastructure.

They talk about capitalism surviving other crises. These crises were smaller.
They claim that the rich would be able to hoard resources in the collapse with helicopters and the like. However, these things run on oil.

The worst part is their description of if an anarchist civilization started from scratch. They talk about concrete and mining with dynamite in entirely uncritical terms, with absolutely no reference to sustainability or anything of the like.

They also point out a couple atrocious statements by people in the radical environmentalist scene and say it somehow disproves primitivism.

They also claim that only more technology can develop our standard of living. This falsely treats technology as monolithic (an error committed by primmies and techno-utopians alike), is unargued other then some references to things historical people were happy without and uses a quite vague concept (standard of living) that is never explained.

Fortunately he does make critical remarks about GMOs, nuclear power and cars.

He makes a concluding remark about the need for mass organization, ignoring the fact that larger societies raise more sustainability issues.

Ultimately, while there are some great criticisms to be made of primitivism*, Andrew Flood doesn’t make them. Instead he makes fragile and poorly thought-out arguments that unfortunately have served as the norm ever since in anarchist debate over civilization.

*See Ran Prieur, the post-civ movement and Jason McQuinn for examples. See William Gillis for a wide range of arguments ranging from thought-provoking critiques to baseless assertions.

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Summary of my beliefs

While you can probably get something of an idea of my beliefs from my posts, I feel like systematizing them.

Economically, I’m an anarchist without adjectives. Anything anti-authoritarian and sustainable works. Community planning through consensus methods, a spontaneous gift economy, non-capitalist exchange-it’s all good.

I am very interested in post-civilization and have adopted the critique of the city into my anarchism. My ideal is a bioregional network of localized villages. Trade outside the bioregion would be very rare. I don’t know what level of technology there will be, but I do know that technology will be radically different from its current form.

I am quite interested in Daoism and accept the concept of the Dao. I’m reading the Dao De Ching and I plan on reading the Chuang Tsu.

I am an egoist, and ground my ethics in the deepest, most fulfilling long-term happiness of the individual.

I see knowledge as emerging from experience. The process is something like experience -> reason -> knowledge.

I oppose kyriarchy in all its detestable manifestations.

I find the subjective labor theory of value to be the most elegant and useful explanation of basic economic function in the field of value.

I believe in a bioregionally-informed permaculture, squatting, a free and cooperative underground economy, worker’s solidarity and the general practice of counter-institution building.

I do not see cities, sustainability, and scarcity as compatible, and believe that peak oil spells the end of our current system. I try to be optimistic, though, because it’s the perfect time to build the new society. I am comforted by the fact that given my circumstances, I manage to find happiness.

Above all, I am a philosopher, a freethinker, a bioregionalist and an anarchist.

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Critiquing a critique of BDSM

As some of you might know, I have an interest in the emerging anarchist tendency known as “post-civilization” (related to, but distinct from, anarcho-primitivism). I was visiting one of the post-civilization websites, Yggdrasil Zine Distro, when I found a “critique of BDSM”, call Liberating Ourselves in the Boudoir. They state that they hope it will spark discussion in the radical community, so let me kick it off.

Near the start, they say they feel “beaten down by being constantly bombarded by people’s stories of ‘kinky’ sexual conquest”. Now, if there’s anything that should stick out at you, it’s the violent terminology used in reference to mere discussion of BDSM: “beaten down”, “bombarded”, “sexual conquest”. This has rather propagandistic undertones, and casts the author as a victim.

They later say “like-minded¬† adults can do whatever they want in private” and say that BDSM is “to borrow a term from Derrick Jensen-a toxic mimic of healthy adult human sexuality”. This is blatantly ageist and marginalizing language. They also claim that BDSM is a symptom of civilization, without any source.

They also claim that the leather subculture is intensely patriarchal and exclusively queer male. I have two words in response: Pat Califia. Pat has written extensively about queer female leather culture, and is hardly obscure. I recommend they do the research next time they attempt to critique something.
They use the faulty phrase “consenting adults”, as well. They then ask if BDSM is truly consensual and give Armin Meiwes as an example of something allegedly consensual that isn’t liberating or good. Let me define consent (something they never did): an act is consensual when all involved parties are not coerced through force or deception, understand the nature of an act and wish to participate in it. Thus, BDSM can be consensual. Armin Meiwes’ case is special, since it involved a grisly sort of assisted suicide: it cannot be held up as some standard for all BDSM practices, or even a comparison.

They quote a feminist claiming that BDSM encapsulates patriarchy. This implies that patriarchy can be consensual, and thus backfires as an argument.

They claim as evidence that BDSM is a product of civilization the lack of anthropological evidence for BDSM in modern day hunter gatherer societies. This fails for a couple of reasons: one is because modern-day and Stone Age people are different, civilization or not civilization; the other is because as Isaac Asimov said, “absence of proof is not proof of absence”.
They also claim that just like Christianity, BDSM glorifies submission, authority, and punishment. This is not true, since BDSM is merely a simulation of these things, in a consensual setting.

They give the example of someone who likes to be punched in the face during sex as evidence that BDSM is wrong. This is a clear example of begging the question, it becomes invalid if consensual face-punching isn’t first accepted as wrong.

They also give the example of someone who likes to be silenced, and who likes cutting, strangling and child rape fantasies. While this is dangerous, and shocking to most people, it’s not necessarily “wrong”, and no argument is given that it is. They also claim that “all of her romantic relationships are with older, overbearing, dominant men who keep her in mental slavery and emotional dependency to their abuse”-the use of the term “abuse” is another example of begging the question.

They also talk about wealthy, white men on Craigslist wanting to be “punished”. While this is pyschologically interesting, it presents no argument against BDSM qua BDSM.

They also claim that BDSM is money-driven, because of all the BDSM-related things for sale. This can be applied to anything: sex in general, Warhammer 40k, fishing, you name it. Furthermore, just because a lot of things related to something are for sale doesn’t mean it’s about money. They also equate money and capitalism.

They mention the fact that many BDSM devices (whips, chains, etc.) are related to, or have functioned as devices of actual oppression and slavery. However, that’s not much of a point. “Queer” is used as an insult, that doesn’t mean that “queer” as a self-descriptor is insulting.

They claim that radicals and queers are into BDSM as some kind of internalization of the abuse they’ve suffered… without any justification. They also conflate BDSM with actual hierarchy and violence.

They mention the use of terms like “safe, sane and consensual” and “risk aware consensual kink” and point out that euphemisms and justifications using nice words such as freedom, democracy etc are used by states and the like- a guilt by association fallacy. They also use the ageist phrase “healthy adult decision making” (emphasis mine).

They claim that the term “vanilla” is insulting, when it often isn’t intended that way at all. They also seem to think that it’s a matter purely of BDSM, when, for instance, a foot fetish wouldn’t be seen as “vanilla” even if no BDSM is involved. They also say that some pro-BDSM people shout them down or censor them for criticizing them. Neither of these things says anything about BDSM itself. They also claim that they received “linguistic violence and hostility” in response to their zine, i.e. “violent language, sarcasm, threats, polemics”, and use this as evidence that BDSM is innately authoritarian. Non sequitur: non-authoritarian people can still be angry. They also point out that non-consensual BDSM has been inflicted upon people, including themselves, because the other partner wasn’t aware of boundaries. This is horrible, but doesn’t prove anything about BDSM itself-it happens with non-BDSM activities as well, and that doesn’t make those activities authoritarian.
They also admit that the original version of their zine contained sarcasm and hatred… which kind of causes the backfire of their argument about such things being authoritarian.

While well-meaning, “Liberating Ourselves in the Boudoir” is both fallacious and could easily lead to the marginalization of kinky people, in spite of the authors’ best intentions.

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“America”

(Note: This is going to be shorter then some of my more recent posts, because it’s almost 2 in the morning, and I don’t want to be up much longer.)
I don’t accept the legitimacy of the “United States of America”. In this sense, I’m “anti-American”, as I’ve explained on my Youtube channel. I also reject the notion of “citizenship” and thus, I wouldn’t identify as an “American” the way most do. Instead, I am a subject in a territory (the bioregion of Cascadia) which is occupied by the US. Sure, I’ll still call myself an “American” from time to time, out of convenience, but that doesn’t mean I really self-identify as an “American”.

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