"If autonomy and authority are genuinely incompatible, only two courses are open to us. Either we must embrace philosophical anarchism and treat all governments as non-legitimate bodies whose commands must be judged and evaluated in each instance before they are obeyed; or else, we must give up as quixotic the pursuit of autonomy in the political realm and submit ourselves (by an implicit promise) to whatever form of government appears most just and beneficent at the moment. (I cannot resist repeating yet again that if we take this course, there is no universal or a priori reason for binding ourselves to a democratic government rather than to any other sort. In some situations, it may be wiser to swear allegiance to a benevolent and efficient dictatorship than to a democracy which imposes a tyrannical majority on a defenseless minority. And in those cases where we have sworn to obey the rule of the majority, no additional binding force will exist beyond what would be present had we promised our allegiance to a king!)" - Robert Paul Wolff, In Defense of Anarchism
Just a reminder...
Okay… this piece: I Fucking Dare You (part I) has touched some nerves and fostered some false assumptions. I thought it over the top enough that the truth of the matter clear. Not the case. The response has been surprising. Let me make this absolutely clear: I am not voting for Donald J. Trump. However, let me also be honest. I have expressed on two occasions, without hinting sarcasm that I will vote for him. Once as a kneejerk response to the DNC email scandal and again during a social media confrontation.
I want to categorize both of these instances as retaliations. That said, the piece is pure sarcasm. Extreme, cynical, sarcasm. There is not a single sentence in that piece in support of Trump, on the contrary, it is bloated with sentences in rebuke. I will not vote for him. I have never experienced any sincere intention to vote for Trump.
But while we’re here…
Let’s sit down, relax… take a look around…
Some will engage in actual philosophy and present conundrums like “If you don’t vote for Hillary, you are voting for Donald Trump” or “If you don’t vote, you are voting for Trump or HRC in absentia.” This is a work of masterful sophistry. And yet I’ve heard so many people I admire—Sam Harris one of them—present this phrasing. Many Ethicists and op-ed journalists are chiming in with well crafted arguments from the same angle.
People who have truly wanted to find a solution to the problem have already argued this dialectic in so many ways.
Sartre and Camus are the first to come to mind. Steven West did a great job recently of summarizing the debate on his podcast Philosophize This! Sartre plays the utilitarian ethics card we’re hearing today and Camus asserts his notion of philosophical suicide, to allow or condone the deaths of others for your own freedom is to ruin altruism.
Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump carry the potential for widespread death and destruction. We know this from their own words, “…kill their families.” - Donald J. Trump. “I will continue to expand on the foreign policy accomplishments of the Obama Administration.” - Hillary R. Clinton. Obama has dropped a lot of bombs, many of them at the behest of his secretary of state and they have killed many innocent human beings.
I stand with Camus. If you truly understand how precious life is, how important the pleasure of life with fellow human beings, how can you cast a vote for anyone who has guaranteed bloodshed on their watch? Sure, not even a Bernie Sanders’ or Jill Stein presidency could ever function without fatalities. This is America after all. At least they’ve made it clear that we have to stop fighting endless wars and killing innocent people, and generally suggesting that we should care for one another more than we fight one another.
I’m not voting for any of them.
“But… but… fascism and the Supreme Court?!?!”
This seems to imply that I have some heroic duty to vote against my conscience and take the reins on this pony (unicorn, if you prefer) and steer it out of this collision course with the Sun. YouTube broadcasts wastelands of spontaneous heroics. Anyone can be a hero. It is not uncommon but don’t command me to save the world. There is no duty to altruism otherwise you couldn’t call it altruism.
Beside all that, looks like yer in luck. 9 out of 10 Bernie voters will vote for Clinton anyway. http://www.vox.com/2016/7/26/12284960/bernie-sanders-voters-support-donald-trump-hillary-clinton
As for the ugly little argument, “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain,” I leave you with a few words from my good friend Mr. Carlin…
UPDATE: Steve Bannon is now leading Trump's charge... all satire and philosophy aside, I voted Clinton. We cannot allow bold-faced fascists in the White House.
Such a pregnant phrase.
The very printed letter B appears gravid with promise.
In a slice of irony, Plan B is the contraceptive pop culture loves to jab in sitcom gags and talk show interviews..
“You need a plan B” is the phrase uttered by skeptics like parents and honest friends in attempts to sway you from ill conceived notions such as taking your solo burlesque/kazoo act on the road.
Plan B is better than plan C. So when plan A has failed, you are at least looking at something better than plan C. The looser’s plan. Plan C sucks.
All that said, let me hit you with a fully turgid and superior (to any plan C) Plan B.
Freewill... is an illusion. However, because human beings experience gratitude and resentment, the argument comes to a definite albeit tricky close. Aside head injuries and certain afflictions, human beings are married to gratitude and resentment. And yet, in the face of the phantom, gratitude and resentment presuppose the literal existence of freewill. Within this goofy tracery, I find the very fact that we have ability to examine our circumstances from a high enough orbit to make these sorts of examinations is a testament to the possibilities of human understanding. Here is the IEP summary of Peter Strawson's contribution to the question.
Strawson’s Reactive Attitudes
The IEP page: http://www.iep.utm.edu/freewill/#SH5c
Wendy came into the living room that next morning. She hadn’t slept. None of us had. Her parents, my brother and his wife, were lying awake at that sad hour, searching more tears, trying to crawl into one another. The sunrise was just a suggestion in the dark windows. She shook me and I pretended to wake. She asked me if I still carried a gun and I told her yes and showed her my ankle. She stared at it long enough I felt compelled to connect the two. I asked her if she wanted to hold it. I removed the magazine and cleared the chamber and placed it in her hands. I’ll never forget how it puzzled her as she searched it for the source of its power. She thought it was ugly. She asked me if I had ever killed anyone and I told her I never even removed my service weapon from the holster, had to unsnap it a few times but never drew. I had friends who did but I had a lot more friends who didn’t. I also knew cops who quit being cops because they could never find a reason to draw their weapons. She asked if I had talked to the cops who killed her sister’s murderer. I told her yes, I had. I told her they looked like hell. They had to shoot a kid that night, a child no older than Wendy. She asked me, if I had been there, would I have killed him? I told her I would have if he forced me. She told me she wished they hadn’t killed him. She wasn’t looking at me. She was looking at that kid. She was staring straight into his eyes again through the pleated smoke seeping from the barrel of the rifle. We sat for a long time at the edge of the cot as morning crept into the room and changed the color of the walls. She finally handed back the gun and asked me to show her how to use it.
It's like a hemorrhage. It's an artery bursting and the chemistry takes over. Just think about the chemistry and physics involved. All that smoke is carbon molecules bled from the fuel. Fuel like wood, petroleum. Oxidization is basically the loss of electrons. The very atoms of the burning material bleed essential parts and cease to exist. And then there's the more philosophical aspect of people's lives bleeding out. All those possessions gone. All those heirlooms, all those investments, those particles of what people call their lives bleeding from a wound.
I'm twelve and my father stops the car to watch a high-rise fire. I see the teamwork of the crew. I see men carrying axes walk through flames. I see rescues. Small children. Elderly folk wrapped in blankets by soot-faced titans. And they are huge when I'm twelve. They tower over everyone around them. There's no real consideration of the possibility that I might become one of them. I have no clue one could ever become a firefighter. These people are superhuman, born this way. But from this point on, unlike other boys who know about guns or cars or science fiction, I know firefighting.
FINDING ROMULUS’ ROME
by Skitz O’Fuel
This begins in a warm leather chair of a neurologist’s office in Odessa, Texas. Alex Randal is recalling the day he saw One-Armed Billy get his ass kicked behind the grocery store down the alley from his school. He never talked to One-Armed Billy before or after and he has often regretted it. His bloody eye and his fucked up nose and his bloody broken smile and how he laughed at Shawn Baker. Laughed at him. Alex was awestruck. Don’t feel defeated Alex, the neurologist tells him. He tells him there are smart people working on treatments and procedures, making progress. He reminds him of his youth. He lists medications designed to relieve any symptoms he might experience. He tells him to call his office the moment he feels any strange pressure or nausea or experiences any prolonged headaches. Randal begins explaining—again—that he hasn’t experienced any symptoms but he stops himself and instead conveys his respect for the doctor’s profession, his respect for science, interrupting the neurologist several times to clarify his point. So all that being said, doc, you understand what kind of shock this is to a person—to me—so I’m going to ask you one question: how long? I don’t have an answer for you. I could fall out of this chair right now, is that what yer saying? The doctor stares into Randal’s eyes past his threshold of confidence until he finally relents. I suppose that’s what I’m saying. I appreciate yer honesty, doc. Randal rises from the leather chair, noting the sound of it, like slingshot tubing gathering energy. The receptionist is a tall unobtainable beauty who projects an aloof air which dissolves the moment he approaches her. He is abrupt and far too direct for her taste but she indulges what she will later describe to a friend as his cold cordiality. She follows him from the office onto the stone floor of the main hallway and within minutes they are sweating and naked in a men’s restroom stall. He’s arrested within the hour. Randal won’t remember what initiated his encounter with the cop, only that he relished every second of it.
Alpha, part one of my serial novel River of Blood is completed and posted. This first section of the novel describes the year leading to a tragic event that changes young Sean Tower's life forever. Along the way, details of the Tower family and their traditions in religion and law enforcement is laid out along with their murky beginnings in the twisted tale of Sean's great grandfather Fox Tower. Atheism, anarchism and the complicated web of family loyalties bait young Sean to a conclusion which catapults him into the wilderness.
Episodes of Beta, part two, begin tomorrow.
I'm accelerating the episodes for two reasons: Tis the season for giving and I miscounted at some point and posted that there are fewer episodes left than I thought. This week I will post a new episode every two days plus next Sunday when I will post the first episode of to part two "Beta."
Here's Episode 30 and here's the full episode list
As the first face of American fascism in the 21st, I mention Donald Trump only in passing. If we peer back down the arrow of time, we find the invention of fascism as a political movement in Italy, 1921. Benito Mussolini drew from ancient Greek philosophers and others to justify the economics and discrimination of his “new” political party. His three principles: order, discipline, hierarchy. Anarchism rejects all three of these as the essence of authoritarianism and as we relax our gaze, death and waste blossom as the fruits of fascism’s promise of protection and prosperity.
Normally I stay away from quotes unless the quote itself is the subject of the piece but this bit from Emma Goldman carries us in many ways to the ultimate point.
“Anarchism stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion and liberation of the human body from the coercion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraint of government. It stands for a social order based on the free grouping of individuals…” ― Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays
Buy Skitz O'Fuel's novel That Night Filled Mountain
available on Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle.
River of Blood, a novel about anarchism, atheism, racism, violence, family, and corruption.
Short stories like Finding Romulus' Rome, The Blood, & The Weapon are FREE in the Books section.
Unless noted, all pics credited to Skitz O'Fuel.