Bricks in the wall

The U.S. Department of Defense consumes 360,000 barrels of oil each day. Yet corporate Amerika wants you to conserve, no doubt to save the last drops for the military (to be used to secure more oil). We’re being fleeced, folks, and the fleecing continues unabated at all levels. Here’s a minor example of the fox guarding the financial chicken coop, but it’s hardly extraordinary.

As a result of runaway fossil-fuel consumption, the amount of carbon released to the atmosphere is still going up, even as the industrial economy is buried in a depression. We haven’t observed below-average temperatures on this planet for 25 years. Even high oil prices can’t keep a bad country down.

The response of the government and its sponsors at the Federal Reserve Bank remains unchanged: print money. Quantitative Easing (QE, i.e., printing money) has been a complete failure. But because Ben Bernanke has adopted levitating the stock markets as the Federal Reserve Bank’s prime directive, I’ve no doubt we’ll see QE 3, QE 4, and so on, right through to QE infinity until the U.S. dollar joins every other fiat currency in the dustbin of history. Alan Greenspan warned about the worthless paper certain to result from the ongoing Ponzi scheme, back in 2005.

The debt problem is as bad as they say. And probably worse than anybody is saying. Reducing U.S. debt causes the stock markets to fall profoundly. Increasing U.S. debt makes a dire predicament worse, but a missed payment on U.S. debt leads directly to junk status for the dollar, so Benny and the Inkjets will continue to print until the dollar is dead.

What are the options, after all? We’re on a train going over a cliff, and the cabin smells of natural gas. We can ride out the train wreck or jump out, sans parachutes. The banksters in charge have posed a third option: light a match. As economist Mish says, “Expect chaos.”

Every additional brick in the wall of civilization, placed there by the fascists in charge, has two profound consequences. First, each brick enriches the financially wealthy at the expense of the rest of us, even as economic collapse looms. Second, every brick further destroys the remnants of the living planet. Let’s kick Barack Obama — the American Gorbachev — out of the way so we can tear down this wall.

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This essay is permalinked at Kick It Over and Plan B Economics.

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Update: Please note the new CLASSIFIED ad under the tab, above

Comments 143

  • Defining words that have emotional content or are used by political people is a tricky business. For instance conspiracy theory now means “stupid theory by nutcakes” rather than a theory about more than one people making a plan to do some deed.

    Princeton edu defines anarchist as an advocate of anarchism

    Per wiki Anarchism is a political philosophy which considers the state undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, and instead promotes a stateless society, or anarchy.
    Again per wiki
    Anarchy (from Greek: ἀναρχίᾱ anarchíā, “without ruler”) may refer to any of several political states, and has been variously defined by sources. Most often, the term “anarchy” describes the simple absence of publicly recognized government or enforced political authority

    Obviously the discussion is a cross purposes because of definitions. But I would suggest that it is TPTB that have foisted a negative definition on anarchist just as they have on conspiracy theory.

    Historically anarchists have tried to achieve their ends in various ways, some of which I don’t approve. Neither do I approve of the Catholic church torturing people into belief or into confessions or into naming names. Nor do I approve of the state fire bombing Tokyo or napalming Vietnam. The state has done far more evil than any person or group who has advocated a stateless society.

    So the idea of a stateless society vs a state can be argued.

    The methods of enforcing the state or the methods of bringing down the state can be argued.

    Conflating the two gets nowhere.

    My husband knows a number of pacifist anarchists who would not harm a soul. They have a belief system that a stateless society is desirable, but would never use force to bring that about because they are pacifists. In fact they are against the state because it is coercive and would not want to become what they abhor.

    I guess you could call me an anarchist because I favor the return to H-G society which is stateless. I have never considered a physically violent act in my life to promote that or any other thing as I feel that it will happen and cannot be forced.

  • PS Victor, our founding fathers were revolutionaries, were they therefore anarchists?

  • Victor Says:

    “Again, your argument is with a dictionary, not me.”

    I’m really glad you’ve set us all on the straight and narrow. Now we can eschew even the most rudimentary textbooks and pick among various dictionary definitions. Thank God for that. We’ve brought the need to learn by actually learning to the ever more useful and evermore easy “look it up in the the OED” methodology. No longer troubled by actually having to know of what we speak, we can now blather on ad nauseam, a bit like Victor, secure in the knowledge the OED is there to support our position with a sentence or two. Seems a bit like an “intellectual” “Pop Factor” whatever. Thanks Victor, you’ve made our world complete.

  • Brutus Says:

    “Wha? Wolf packs and monkey troops are ruled by rigid pecking orders enforced by violent confrontation or the threat of it.”

    I think you need to revisit Wolf packs. I’ll help you just a bit by pointing you to Alpha Status, Dominance, and Division of Labor in Wolf Packs. Your perception of wolf packs may need updating.

    Also, you might also want to be more circumspect as regards “monkeys”. While it may be true we too are “monkeys”, the more important fact is we are more accurately defined as “great apes”. This may impose an important distinction in terms of our social behavior that is worth considering.

  • Kathy

    As you have well pointed out, anarchists and anarchy have a long history of applying different methods -both violent and non-violent – to achieve their end, a stateless society. As the founding fathers of the US did not appear to have a desire for a stateless society, they must therefore be considered not anarchists, but simply revolutionaries? A revolutionary can be either, I suppose.

  • goritsas

    I suppose it is wearisome to keep falling back on a dictionary for precise meanings, but isn’t that what a dictionary is at least for after all – to provide a neutral and relatively objective view of the language? And surely you must agree that language is important for effective communication?

    Certainly dictionaries are not always correct, nor do they always keep up with the evolution of language. For in the end it is the people who make a language, and it is the people who determine its use. It seems to me that the essential definition of anarchy and anarchism is still pretty consistent between the dictionary and popular usage – and non-violence does not normally seem to be the context in which the terms are used, rightly or wrongly.

    This is not to say that anarchists do not come in non-violent forms. There is a long history of just that. But there is also a long history of violent anarchism. So much so, in fact, that the word has become synonymous with violence and chaos. We may not like that, but that is the way people seem most often use it.

  • Victor “A revolutionary can be either, I suppose.”

    Yes and an anarchist can be a nihilist, insurgent, agitator, subversive, terrorist, revolutionary, revolutionist, insurrectionist (or a pacifist). A pacifist can be a Christian or an atheist, and can be quite subversive without being a terrorist. A terrorist can be a state or a person. An agitator can be a pacifist or a terrorist and a nihilist or a religious person. ETC ETC

    Whatever dictionary you found that in was pretty poor in my opinion as it didn’t define an anarchist but rather tied it to a bunch of people generally perceived negatively (we in the US keep forgetting that to the British we were revolutionary scum). It is really more a list of supposed synonyms rather than a definition.

    Again I would assert that it is the state that has promoted the image of an anarchist as violent. They might in their media identify someone who is violent as an anarchist even if they are communist and want a communist state. They will never run stories about pacifists who believe in statelessness. They in fact don’t even want anyone to think about humans being stateless as of course that would be the end of them, so anarchy must be made to be associated with bad things.

    While I agree that usage is important and changes words, in this case I suspect that the state had an agenda in demonizing ALL who wished for a stateless world by imaging them as evil violent people.

    Webster on line says
    : a person who rebels against any authority, established order, or ruling power
    : a person who believes in, advocates, or promotes anarchism or anarchy; especially : one who uses violent means to overthrow the established order

    My old 1968 Webster book says
    a person who believes in or advocates anarchism
    a person who promotes anarchy as by flouting or ignoring rules, duties, orderly behavior etc.

    Note the addition of violent means in the more recent definition

    BTW how about this from Wiki

    Christian anarchism is a movement in political theology that combines anarchism and Christianity.[1] It is the belief that there is only one source of authority to which Christians are ultimately answerable, the authority of God as embodied in the teachings of Jesus. More than any other Bible source, the Sermon on the Mount is used as the basis for
    Christian anarchism.[2] Christian anarchists feel that “earthly” authority, such as government, do not and should not have power over them. Christian anarchists are pacifists and oppose the use of violence, such as war and other “statist” aggression.[3]

    There are wiki entries on Green Anarchism, Buddhist Anarchism, Individual Anarchism, Social Anarchism, Islamic Anarchism.

    Surely we don’t have to force everyone on this site to only the common definition of every word. Surely we can raise the level of the discussion to talking about state vs. statelessness. Sure words change, sometimes just naturally and thus everyone is afraid to call a happy person gay (unless they are homosexual). But I believe the narrowing of the term anarchism so it stands for violence rather than a belief is in fact Orwellian thought control.

  • Kathy

    Have you read anything I have said? I explicitly said that anarchism can be either violent or non-violent. I am not trying to “narrow the term” at all. In fact, I am trying to broaden it to include the reality of its history. It seems to be others here who are trying to narrow the meaning.

    My original response to Robin was basically that anarchism is not just non-violent in form, but indeed has a general violent connotation with the public today. That might be the result of TPTB. It might not. For me it really does not matter – all that matters is that the public and most journalists perceive it that way. And that is why the title to the article I posted expressed it that way. That wasn’t me. That was the journalist. Certainly all my adult life it has had that connotation when I have spoken to people. Often it was just as difficult to get them to believe that there were peaceful anarchists as it is to get folks to believe the opposite on this site.

    So what is not true about what I said?

    Try these Wiki references – they give a short history of anarchism, anarcho-pacifism, and Propaganda of the Deed.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarchism_and_violence

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarcho-pacifism

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaganda_of_the_deed

    As you will see, what I am saying is not just dictionary definitions.

    Why don’t we talk about state v stateless? I don’t know. Perhaps that wasn’t the subject that was brought up? The subject was anarchists from the title of the article. I had no control over that. If you wish to forever ban the word anarchy and any of its derivatives, fine if that is what everyone wants to do. I was simply responding to comments as they came in. I was not “directing” or attempting to direct any usage of words.

    Actually, I’m sorry I brought the damn article up to begin with…. :-(

  • Kathy

    Apologies, but I posted a response and because it contained multiple links, it is awaiting moderation. Just didn’t want you to think I was ignoring you.

  • Okey Dokey Victor. I am getting better at doing multiple posts to do multiple links or just leaving out the links. Frustrating isn’t it :)

  • Wittgenstein “The meaning is the use”

    Paul Ziff in his book Semantic Analysis said with considerable explanation “The meaning is the use, is not even a good slogan”

    My husband’s contribution to the discussion (he was Paul Ziff’s teaching assistant year ago)

  • Kathy

    You know, the whole point of my posting had nothing to do with “anarchists” in the first place. It had to do with what will become a spreading series of attacks on the rich, esp bankers and corporate elite. The article sees it happening already in Russia. We have seen a bit of it in the UK. I am most certain America will see her share before this plays out.

  • non-violence does not normally seem to be the context in which the terms are used, rightly or wrongly.

    Anyone who uses force to promote their form of government is at a minimum an oligarchist or a minarchist. Even if they claim to promote a stateless society, it is not quite stateless as long as a gun is a party to the discussion. The gun serves as a proxy for the state.

  • Robin, that is echoed here in the wiki entry for anarcho-pacifisim
    For An Anarchist FAQ “the attraction of pacifism to anarchists is clear. Violence is authoritarian and coercive, and so its use does contradict anarchist principles.” “(Errico) Malatesta is even more explicit when he wrote that the “main plank of anarchism is the removal of violence from human relations”

    Victor, conversations often move off of the original point. In fact I came in on this in the middle so totally missed the original point. This has been most interesting for me and my husband as he was strongly involved with the pacifist movement way back when… So it has prompted memories and sharing. I probably would have been too if I had been married to him then rather than to the #$%@ I was married to back then :)

    Yes there will be spreading attacks on the rich that have nothing to do with a philosophical belief in state vs no state. The people feel betrayed. It will be useful for the state to label them with a word that has been layered with negative connotations rather than to say “ah they just woke up and know they have been had”. Unfortunately in my neck of the woods TPTB are still able to keep the whites thinking they have been had by the blacks and hispanics. No measure of pointing that out seems to do any good.

    The pitchfork scene in the movie 1900 comes to mind. No inspiration there other than revenge….

  • The dominant culture very much influences the meanings of words. The word Luddite refers people involved in a specific movement opposed to mechanisation who smashed machinery, and is applied to people who currently oppose mechanisation or new technology. But it goes beyond that. In the dominant culture it is implied that a Luddite is someone who is backward thinking and is irrationally opposed to progress.

    The people who wrote the dictionaries, controlled the content matter of school textbooks etc. were very much of the opinion that industrial progress was a good thing.

    If dictionaries had been written by Luddites and industrialism had been overturned the word could well have come to mean someone who bravely stood up to exploitation, social disruption and conversion of nature into waste. But that scenario is a fantasy of course. As many commentators have noted, there was a kind of inevitabilty to all that has happened when coal and iron ore were there waiting to be exploited.

    When writing about enclosure, George Orwell noted that the rich and powerful took away the commons because they could: “Stop to consider how the so-called owners of the land got hold of it. They simply seized it by force, afterwards hiring lawyers to provide them with title-deeds. In the case of the enclosure of the common lands, which was going on from about 1600 to 1850, the land-grabbers did not even have the excuse of being foreign conquerors; they were quite frankly taking the heritage of their own countrymen, upon no sort of pretext except that they had the power to do so.”

    Global corporations have the power to exploit the last frontiers of the planet, the last of the untouched commons -deep water, Arctic etc.- in order to manitain their existence, so they will. And they will do their best to brainwash the general populace into believing they are doing it for the good of humanity.

  • Robin Datta,

    “It is working right here and right now”

    Your reference did not address my question. Try again.

    Michael Irving

  • Your reference did not address my question. Try again.

    The question referred to:

    anarchy working as a system for the civil conduct of large groups of people

    The question did not exclude any aspects of civil conduct from consideration, nor did it specify any particular aspects. 

    A very substantial aspect of that conduct has anarchy as its working system, here and now. A quote from the book in the reference:

    “If the government told you tomorrow that it was going to choose for you where to live, how to earn your keep, and who to marry – would you fall to your knees and thank the heavens that you have been saved from such terrible anarchy – the anarchy of making your own decisions in the absence of direct political coercion?”

    The parameters of civil conduct will need considerable trimming to satisfy skepticism.

  • Robin Datta Says:
    July 4th, 2011 at 5:03 pm
    You said: “A very substantial aspect of that conduct has anarchy as its working system, here and now” followed by the following quote:
    “If the government told you tomorrow that it was going to choose for you where to live, how to earn your keep, and who to marry – would you fall to your knees and thank the heavens that you have been saved from such terrible anarchy – the anarchy of making your own decisions in the absence of direct political coercion?”

    And you live in a country that allows you to make your own decisions as to “where to live, how to earn your keep, and who to marry” unless of course you want to live outside of a residential area, earn your living by robbing banks, or, in many jurisdictions, marry another person of the same sex. You don’t live where anarchy functions in the daily world. You live where government makes rules; rules you are forced to obey or suffer the consequences (enter Turboguy). The fact that most of the rules are agreeable to most of the people does not change the fact that there are rules.

    The author uses the same kind of argument to sell us the value of anarchy over other forms of human organization because anarchists have historically killed fewer people than, say, Stalin. The same argument could be used to applaud Jim Jones.

    Again, your reference did not answer my question. Try again.

  • I would maintain that a large complex, human society could not exist as a “stateless” society – assuming for the moment that a large complex, human society is sustainable anyway, which of course it is not. Indeed, the only human society that could practically exist as a stateless society would be the tribe. But even at the tribal level there is the tendency towards hierarchy, even if it is manifested in the respectful obedience to tribal elders. Someone, or some small group of individuals, always emerges as a leader. People naturally want leaders. I maintain that it is the way we are wired.

    A stateless society as conceived by the anarchist probably more aptly fits within a special kind of utopia, an intentional community brought about not by the environment, nor by human tendencies, but by individual coercion of those tendencies – a difficult balance to maintain in a large community, and one that becomes more difficult as the size of the community is increased.

    The human is a social creature and like all social creatures operates most naturally within the confines of dominance hierarchies, dominance disputes and dominance testing. These are quite natural traits shared by ourselves and other social creatures.

    We, by nature, seek hierarchy. Remove the possibility of hierarchy and the human is forced to live in a contrived manner. Living in such a manner can be done for a while, but at great expense of valuable energy, and is, I fear, doomed to disintegrate over time as natural tendencies eventually hold sway.

    Anarchy therefore must be considered in some way, unnatural, contrary to the normal tendencies of social creatures. Especially as we continue to hold to the concept of private property we will always have the need for agreements accepted by the community, dispute management, and test management (testing of the territorial boundaries by individual members, outsiders or groups). And by definition these characteristics of a social structure are “coercive” upon the individual as well as the community.

    Further, in a complex society the agreements, disputes and testing go to an altogether higher level as multiple communities on the whole must carry on these functions among themselves as groups of communities and further, groups of groups of communities. It gets quite complex as you know.

    This idea of managing hierarchical tendencies is not only concerned with the area of social behaviour and property management, but with the advancement of technology and the competition for resources. I personally believe that a non-hierarchical structure simply could not handle the complexities involved.

    This is precisely why true democracies are not scalable, but are forced into republican forms of government at best, another level of hierarchy. Anarchies would be even more more unscalable to a much higher degree.

  • I don’t know if everyone here can view this video, but the text probably suffices to get the essential message question across – Can a booming Brazilian economy continue to resist the temptation to relax laws protecting the Amazon?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-14020853

    Perhaps I am unduly pessimistic, but I think not – the economy is everything.

  • Bring on the end of civilisation! Brazil, Australia, any other country that has the audacity to still have resources. Rape and pillage of our environments wherever we look. “For want of a nail a battle was lost.” What is the nail that will bring the mining companies to their knees?

  • Nicole

    You really have to stop reading that book!…. ;-)

  • Again, your reference did not answer my question. Try again

    The question did not specify paramerers of civil conduct. These parameters were imposed, as expected, after the question was answered. The question can always be reframed with parameters to counter any answer. There is no need to try again: new parameters can be defined in the absence of any such attempt.

  • Victor,

    You’re right. I might get some very stupid ideas. However, with the mines now only 1 kilometer from our boundary (were 70 km away when we moved here 8 years ago – they’re eaten up all the country in between), I’m not feeling very happy about what they are doing to our country. ):

  • Authoritarianism,  like other major personality traits, is forged in the early formative years and lasts a lifetime. It can be temporarily driven beneath the surface by sustained attack, but soon resurfaces, and can rarely be uprooted or excised. 

    It dreads and assiduously avoids arguments from first principle since these are seldom vulnerable to effective counterattack. Instead, it seeks it’s sustenance in skeptical rationalizations founded on arguments from effect, able to stymie any foray by retreating deeper into the thicket of effects, from which it can smugly dare any repetition with the refrain “Try again”. 

  • Nicole

    Good God! No wonder you are displeased! They don’t have mineral rights to your land, do they?

  • Robin,

    You’re an absolute hoot to read. You never seem to become annoyed. You appear willing to repeat yourself ad infinitum. You gracefully absorb ignorance and criticism. How, maybe even why, you do so is beyond me. Having said that, please keep it up. It never fails to bring a smile to my face.

  • Robin,

    As regards anarchism and violence, this seems to be a recurring problem facing anarchists and their desire to see the end of the state. How is the the power of the state, by virtue of the monopoly of violence it holds, to be confronted without an opposing force being employed. As you say, all violence is coercive and therefore using violence to end the violence of the state seems to be a contradiction of basic anarchist principles. But, as many anarchists have pointed out, it doesn’t seem the state can respond in any other way than through the employ of violence and meeting violence with Nerf balls doesn’t seem to make much difference. What’s an anarchist to do?

  • Victor,

    If the mining company wants your land, they can take it. They’ll pay you for it, but you can’t stop them. We farmers only own the topsoil. Everything else belongs to the Crown until they decide to sell it off to the highest bidder.

  • Nicole,

    When you say the crown, are you referring the the British Crown?

  • Victor, my apologies. I dropped into the conversation in the middle and mistook a piece of the argument for being the whole. Mea Culpa. As your links prove those who promote anarchism sometime propose violence to achieve their ends, and sometimes as in the case of such people as Henry David Thoreau propose peaceful action to achieve their ends.

    The end is not achievable IMO while agriculture as the main source of human food is the order of the day. For it would seem that agriculture always leads to civilization which always has a state.

    Right now TPTB are doing a great job at destroying civilization with out any help from anarchists of any stripe.

    In the anarcho-pacifism article it mentions a book on The Power of Non-Violence by Richard Gregg. My husband used that in a course he taught years back. The discussion has been invigorating here as I learn more of the past that I didn’t get to share with him. :)

    Sorry I let my frustration with how TPTB have warped the meaning of the word and then use it as a negative label on anyone they want to smear. OTOH even if the common usage is negative there is a historical usage that relates to some very exceptional people. I am guilty of misdirecting my anger.

  • goritas, the power of non-violent action is actually quite strong and it is not necessary to use violence to effect change. It takes however much more courage to effect change by non-violence than by violence and it needs a large base of support. I wish I could say that change effected by non-violence had a lasting effect on humans. All to many do not want a new order, just a change in their condition. If a charismatic leader such as Ghandi or MLK can enlist them to a campaign to effect change then change may well happen. But those who are not committed to a vision quickly abandon the greater cause when they get what they want.

  • …Flooding on the Missouri River 2011…

    During the last half of May, the upper Missouri River basin received nearly a year`s worth of rainfall. In addition, the estimated snow melt runoff was 212 percent of normal across the upper portion of the river system. These conditions resulted in Missouri basin reservoirs across eastern Montana and the Dakotas nearing their maximum levels. Record releases have continued at Gavin’s Point dam located to the west of Yankton, South Dakota. Water releases were increased to around 150,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) from Tuesday, June 14th through Tuesday, June 21st (a release rate of 150,000 cfs would fill the dimensions of a football field 156 ft deep in one minute!). The previous high release at Gavin’s Point was 70,000 cfs in 1997.

    http://www.crh.noaa.gov/eax/?n=moriverflood_2011

  • A definition by Ammon Hennacy
    “An anarchist is anyone who doesn’t need a cop to tell him what to do.”
    http://recollectionbooks.com/bleed/Encyclopedia/HennacyAmmon.htm

  • Here’s another definition:

    “A cop is anyone that needs the state to tell him what to do”.

  • Kathy,

    All the members of the lowest castes in India today are the descendents of the members of the lowest castes in India when the “charismatic” Gandhi led them to “freedom”. I’m not sure how well that worked out for them, overall. Gandhi didn’t really change the structure of society, he pretty much just changed the elite from British to Indian. Same form of government. Same judicial system, and so on. It wasn’t so much a revolution as a rebellion. I’ve read an interesting way of viewing rebellion and revolution. Rebellion is a change of the elite. Revolution is a change of system. Hence, the American colonials were actually revolutionaries. Gandhi was simply engaged in rebellion. I’m not sure I see any “enduring change”.

    With regards to your “agriculture leads to civilization leads to the state”, I’m not really prepared to accept that assumption. The modern nation-state is the direct consequence of the treaties of Westphalia in the mid 17th century. These established the ideas sovereignty as we think of them today, and the conduct between sovereigns. Such as the principle of no domestic interference, as well as the terms by which they were to wage war against one another. These have nothing to do with agriculture whatsoever. The treaties led directly to the enclosures as sovereign nations were now under no obligation to observe the commons and were free to create new definitions of property and property rights that allowed the commons to be usurped by the elite with something as simple as a title deed. A piece of paper. They also had the effect of mitigating the influence of the Vatican. Something the European elite were pretty keen on.

    Finally, as to violence vs. pacifism, maybe pacifism as a tactic has legitimate value. But to claim that pacifism can defeat the structural violence that in large measure defines the state seems more fiction than reality. OTOH, sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.

  • Goritas, Ghandi “Gram swaraj, or village self-rule, was a pivotal concept in Gandhi’s thinking…It was because of this philosophical gulf between Gandhi and virtually all of India’s top political leadership at the time of independence that Gram swaraj was not incorporated into India’s constitution.” http://www.gandhiserve.org/information/questions_and_answers/faq7/faq7.html
    Likely he would not have been able to stop India’s top political leadership if he lived, but since he was assassinated we can’t know. As I noted when people get what they want, the moral cause that served as inspiration is lost.

    As for civilization, what is your defintion? The Incan society is considered a civilization, as was the Mesopotamian, Mayan, Roman, Greek, Egyptian, etc. Hunter-Gatherers didn’t have civilizations – civilizations are all supported by agriculture, which has the feature of freeing some people from food production. Without that how would you have all the non food related functions that characterize a civilization. It is no surprise that early civilizations occurred around fertile river areas such as Mesopotamia, the Nile, the Indus Valley etc. You might be interested to read Jared Diamond’s essay on “The Agriculture, the Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race”
    http://www.mnforsustain.org/food_ag_worst_mistake_diamond_j.htm

    You might also read about the collapse of various civilizations, that Joseph Tainter discusses in his book “The Collapse of Complex Societies”.

  • I didn’t read the entire study to which goritsas linked (July 4th, 2011 at 9:50 am), but I read enough to recognize that my understanding about wolf pack hierarchy and dominance was probably more in keeping with popular misconceptions based on studies of wolves in captivity rather than this study of wolves in nature. Still, some of the conclusions were weirdly suspect and suffered from the same confusion of categories and definitions everyone continually runs up against, but suffice it to say that I keep learning and appreciate the thoughtful link and the subtle exhortation to … update my thinking.

    I’m still troubled but Utopian dreams of nonviolent, noncoersive social organization. I don’t think they hold up to scrutiny, and I find myself in substantial agreement with the thoughtful comment by Victor (July 4th, 2011 at 10:19 pm). Derek Jensen makes good points about forgoing force and violence, which cedes those behaviors to those without compunction about using them. It’s obvious that securing moral high ground (nonviolence) is not especially effective in straightforward competition. We all learn this in childhood with playground bullies and unlearn it with sophisticated adult idealism.

  • Goritas,

    As you surmised, the Crown refers to the British monarch, who is also by the way Queen of Australia. In reality, it means the Australian Government, either Federal or State, as the Queen is only a figurehead.

  • Privileged, Why did I decide to go, as Terry would howl, to the Dark Side?

    Like you say, I was young, foolish, just off active duty, and had a stark distaste for Law Enforcement officers, just as many do, and thought I could be the right kind of police officer to make change. I gave up on that change thing a long while ago and instead try to keep my own little corner of life clean.

    I tend to spend very little time in my car and far more on my feet. It’s nice that I live in the area I work in because I already know most of the residents that live here and it makes it far easier to get to know most of the rest.

    I knew that I was doing good when little kids know me by first name and happily wave and talk, and the people will thank me for doing what I do.

    There are officers that are from outside the community, and this is a large reason I think you see a different mindset. They come into the job with the Us vs. Them mentality and see those they’re entrusted to protect instead as those they must control. This is where problems start. It’s a HUGE reason that I’m a big proponent of Law Enforcement officers being required to live where they work. It creates a “Vested Interest” in A. Not being a douchebag, and B. Keeping the area nice.

    It is interesting that when we’re young and have the stars in our eyes at how we’re going to shake things up and make it better, then get hammered back into line. Like I said above, all we can do is clean our own little corner of existence and hope everyone else plays suit.

    Terry said: “on what planet? here on earth, how many sheople are locked up for victimless crimes by ‘far libertarian’ cops?”

    This one. You’re confusing “The Police” with “The Legislature” and “The Courts.” You’re probably more than happy to blame low level military enlisted people for the Iraq war too, right?

    let’s talk about a “Victimless Crime” then shall we? Marijuana.

    Personally I don’t care one bit if you want to imbibe of the stuff in the privacy of your own home. Don’t care at all. The problem is that most enjoyers of the product think that it’s okay to be in your face with it, and think that anyone that doesn’t do it, or doesn’t approve of their lifestyle should be confronted and attacked.

    Have I arrested people for Marijuana? You bet I have. Have I kicked people loose when they had herb? Again, you bet I have. If I pull you over, or stop you on the street because you smell like you’re toking the skunkiest weed ever smoked, and ask you what you’re doing smoking that crap, and you lie to me and tell me that it’s not MJ, and it is, chances are you’re going to jail. I get lied to every day for a living. I don’t need you doing it too.

    If you’re straight up with me, and don’t try to BS me, hey I’m, chances are, going to kick you loose, sans your herb. Disclaimer: If you’re in possession of a massive amount, you’re going to jail anyway as that shows wanton disregard for societal mores. Also this is just me and my personal way of doing things. That’s not all police. Some are probably significantly harder than I am.

    Terry said, “u will have to excuse me at times for being annoyingly lazy and stupid. at least i hope u will, especially with the likes of turboguy! to consider! don’t want to get on his bad side any more than foolish necessity demands. it pays to keep at least in the far back of one’s mind that ‘free’ speech often comes with a price!”

    Annoyingly lazy and stupid? No. Misguided a bit, paranoid and seemingly hooked on phonics didn’t work for you, but I don’t think you’re unintelligent. You don’t seriously believe that anything you post here is going to get under my skin, do you?

    I’ll illustrate our relationship through a metaphor for you Terry: If I poured a glass of water into the Pacific Ocean, the argument could be made that there is now more water in that ocean than before; however, it is so insignificant that it doesn’t even matter.

    Now you know. :)

  • ‘Personally I don’t care one bit if you want to imbibe of the stuff in the privacy of your own home. Don’t care at all. The problem is that most enjoyers of the product think that it’s okay to be in your face with it’ -tg!

    i think a little comparison between legal alcohol and illegal mj is called for here. there was a book published i think last year titled MARIJUANA IS SAFER (SO WHY ARE WE DRIVING PEOPLE TO DRINK?). as one might expect, it’s loaded with footnotes and very solid eividence supporting the title claim that mj is a better choice than alcohol as a ‘recreational’ drug, surreally for more reasons than u can shake a stick at. of course, if we lived in a world where reason and evidence ruled supreme, rather than dogmatic ignorance, there’d be no need for such a book, which at any rate will receive little notice among the dogma addicted masses.

    anyhoo, i take it u’re personally offended by ‘potheads’ who fail to live up to your personal standards of discretion, which i think is fairly typical operating for procedure for those of your ilk. wearing that uniform and badge, backed by the ‘authority’ of the state, makes u think u have a right to tell others what is proper/moral, as if u were fucking god, which is why i absolutely despise your kind. one of the recent comments above pithily and satirically defined a cop as someone who needs the state to tell them what to do. since the state condones alcohol, this explains why u don’t go around arresting drinkers for the ‘crime’ of indiscretion like u do with pot smokers.

    this reminds me of a cousin of mine who was fond of always trying to get me to drink alcohol with him (i’m not particularly fond of the stuff) while almost simultaneously talking about what low lifes the pot smokers he’s known are. eventually i clued him in on the ‘secret’ that i was one of those ‘low lifes’, which shut his stupid mouth, at least when i was around.

    occasionally i like to proselytize cannabis use to counteract all the bullshit hysterical negative propaganda put out by the establishment and it’s many fans, and because it could help so many more sheople than it now does if it were legal and it’s myriad medical and therapeutic uses were better known. at any rate, your comment did little to change my mind about the ludicrous nature of your claim about cops being ‘far libertarian’. libertarians don’t go around busting sheople or confiscating their stash/medicine. nor do they go around thinking they’re god’s gift to humanity, worthy of the utmost respect, and willing to bust someone just for disrespect or dishonesty. do u surreally think it makes sense to trust cops and be honest with them? i’ve got another book for u: INNOCENT UNTIL INTERROGATED. sheople who trust cops are routinely abused for having such trust, as this book amply shows.

  • See Terry, you and I totally agree on Herb. I wholeheartedly agree that alcohol is 1000% more dangerous and destructive than Marijuana.

    It’s not that I honestly care about their, or your lifestyle. The deal is that you know it is illegal and far more people are very offended by it than not, as opposed to alcohol, which society here in America says is okay strangely enough considering it’s inarguable destructiveness. If you want to enjoy it in the privacy of your own home, I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with that.

    The issue arises when you want to be in people’s faces with it, and that’s why you get in all kinds of trouble. Remember the societal mores I was talking about? You want to blame other people for your own stupidity, or in your case, the police. What’s so wrong with getting burnt in your own home? It’s not everyone else’s fault you’ve smoked yourself retarded.

    If I had my way, we’d legalize MJ tonight. The problem is that it’ll never happen, and that’s not the police’s fault, look at the legislature for the reason for that. If Hemp and MJ are legalized, the lumber for paper industry and the Corn Ethanol industry are instantly out of business tomorrow morning. MJ doesn’t have nearly the congressional lobby that Corn and Lumber do, and both the Corn and Lumber guys can read the writing on the wall.

    Terry said: “at any rate, your comment did little to change my mind about the ludicrous nature of your claim about cops being ‘far libertarian’. libertarians don’t go around busting sheople or confiscating their stash/medicine.”

    And I would argue that intelligent people don’t go around ADVERTIZING that they’re doing something illegal, now do they? If you’re going to be stupid about using something that societal mores have dictated is wrong, though thankfully that *IS* changing, you simply have nobody to blame but yourself when you get hooked up.

    Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

    Terry said: “nor do they go around thinking they’re god’s gift to humanity, worthy of the utmost respect, and willing to bust someone just for disrespect or dishonesty.”

    I’m sorry you don’t like the way I operate, but if they’re going to lie to my face like I’m stupid, thinking, quite incorrectly, that I’ve never smoked a bowl in my life, they DESERVE to get busted. Do you appreciate it when someone lies to your face? Or tells you that you’re an idiot? Neither do I. If you’re caught doing something that you know to be specifically against the law, exactly what does stupidly disrespecting the police gain you aside from exposure to the legal system?

    Here’s an idea, and I know this might sound revolutionary *AND* repetitive all in one, but how about enjoying your weed in the privacy of your own home?