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joshcryer's Journal
joshcryer's Journal
April 6, 2012

Yeah, except Marx invented the proletariat, lumpenproletariat and petit bourgeoisie.

The key is that he used those subgroups to explicitly pit them against one another, whereas practical progressivism tries to solve issues within subgroups because society as a whole is not going to magically change. White people aren't suddenly going to refuse the privileges that they have based upon their cultural place in society. I'm not going to, for example, tell the cashier to check my $20 bill after having just checked the $20 bill of the colored person in front of me. I'm going to sigh as they put the $20 bill in the register without even giving it a second thought and maybe hate myself a little for noticing that and not using it as an opportunity to teach a lesson, because the cashier probably wouldn't even know what they did, and I'm timid in real life.

February 28, 2012

Obama just won Colorado again. Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act Qualifies for 2012 Ballot:

Residents of Colorado will have the opportunity to vote in favor of ending marijuana prohibition this November. Today, the “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act” was approved for the ballot by Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler. With this confirmation, Colorado now joins Washington as one of two states where measures specific to legalizing cannabis will appear on the electoral ballot.

Backers of the initiative had previously turned in over 160,000 signatures. However, the Secretary of State’s office on February 3 responded that petitioners still needed an additional 2,500 valid signatures from registered voters to place the initiative on the ballot. On February 17th, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted an additional 14,000 signatures, well in excess of what was required to meet that threshold. Today’s approval from the state cements their placement on this fall’s ballot.

The Colorado initiative seeks to allow for the limited possession and cultivation of cannabis by adults age 21 and over. The measure would further amend state law to establish regulations governing the commercial production and distribution of marijuana by licensed retailers.

The measure is supported by a broad coalition of reform organizations, including NORML, the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, SAFER, Sensible Colorado, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), the Drug Policy Alliance, and the Marijuana Policy Project.


All he has to do is make meager overtures and it will be pretty epic.
February 7, 2012

I'm not trying to undermine Chomsky or anything he has to say.

I disagree that Debord is not "speaking to the same thing," as Chomsky is here. Chomsky is applying it to what you call "neo-imperialism" but in the end the concept is the same.

I used that link of an iPhone cover that says NOAM and is a homage to Chomsky as an example, because to me it exemplifies what Chomsky says is, &quot offering) people something to pay attention to that's of no importance, that keeps them from worrying about things that matter to their lives that they might have some idea to do something about." (Quote from the video in the OP.) I was trying to build a narrative there, which I clearly failed to do. The famous list so often displayed to deflect criticism of said technology just shows the disconnect, and shows mass diversion in all its glory.

Debord sums up the spectacle as, "the concrete inversion of life the autonomous movement of the non-living." That iPhone cover completely renders the iPhone itself something else, it is, as Noam says in the video, "a way to build up irrational attitudes to the submission of authority." Yes, I do consider it irrational to place a Noam Chomsky cover on a piece of equipment built by slave labor. It indeed, keeps people from worrying about things that matter to their lives that they might have some idea to do something about.

As Debord writes in the Society of the Spectacle, "Under the shimmering diversions of the spectacle, banalization dominates modern society the world over and at every point where the developed consumption of commodities has seemingly multiplied the roles and objects to choose from." (Thesis 59.)

This criticism, both from Debord, and Chomsky, is 100% correct. It's indisputable. Consent is certainly manufactured in every way of our life, sports is but one way that is done.

My objection to this is that, ultimately, consent is manufactured because, again as Chomsky says in the video of the OP, "If you look closely at these things I think that they typically do have functions, that's why energy is devoted to supporting them." Sports has a function for the reasons I elucidated, an iPhone cover, likewise, has a function, and being able to print an iPhone cover with NOAM on it has a function.

Where I diverge from Debord goes deep. My main objection isn't about the spectacle (again, he and Chomsky are correct on that count), and that's where the whole "technologist" view comes in. Debord argues that industry requires specialization, a rather uncontroversial opinion at the time he wrote his stuff, but in modern times it is too abstract to really matter. Rather than go off on a tangent, I will simply pose two situations.

Why would I buy an iPhone built by slave labor? Why would I then go and buy an iPhone cover that has NOAM on it? I might buy the iPhone because it's the "trendy thing to do," and indeed, it, for me, creates a "social relationship between people that is mediated by images." I watched ads on TV, with trendy, cool people. I saw my friends with awesome setups, neat ear buds, pretty colorful gadgetry. They showed 'em off, I bought 'em. Our social relationship is mediated by the mass imagery that creates the narrative. And oh buddy does it sell so well. When I was a kid I loved new gadgets, but we were poor, and I never was able to get them. Thankfully. I probably would've drank the cool aid a long time ago and defended mass capitalist consumerism as so many do.

That process is undoubtedly authoritarian propaganda. I, who I consider a decent guy, would be going off and buying a nice slave produced labor object, and then, because of the propaganda, because of the diversion, I would lack any sort of "idea to do something about it." But I don't, which brings us to the other situation.

If, instead of an iPhone, we had an open hardware phone, that we either 1) built ourselves or 2) had a collective which built and sold them? Well, we wouldn't have the slave labor. But how or why would anyone want that phone? I posit, that if we are to be successful as the horrific and deplorable iPhone, we must embrace, and utilize the spectacle. We can channel it so that we can share ideas to do something about it.

As Chomsky says (again, OP video), mass media gets people "away from things that matter, and for that it's important to reduce their capacity to think."

As Eben Moglen says:

The most important unchangeable reality about human societies heretofore is the every human society since the beginning, whenever that was, has wasted almost all the brains it possessed.

It is, of course, something so natural to us that it strikes us as an odd aperçu when we meet it, but of course we know that it is true. We know that it is true, and that there wasn’t any way to prevent it from being true, even as we know that it’s an injustice. A deep injustice.

So let’s begin by recognizing, as Laura Nader was urging us to do, that one of the great problems about injustice is that, like power, it is most effective when it can succeed in remaining invisible. And one of the best ways of being invisible is to be something that everybody knows, but you can’t do anything about it, so you might as well forget. And so we forget – as we tend to forget every day when the newspaper isn’t headlined with the 50.000 children who starved to death yesterday – we forget that one of the fundamental characteristics of human societies heretofore has been their wastage of human brains. And I go around, and I say to people “How many of the Einsteins who ever existed were permitted to learn physics?”. And people think “Well, maybe one, maybe two – maybe Isaac Newton was another Einstein…” but of course the answer is “Almost none”; so few, in fact, that we know the names of them.

Which, had we educated all the Einsteins in the world, in physics, since the beginning, we couldn’t do, because there would be so many of them. And what we think of as the extraordinary characteristics of genius are primarily merely the selection function applied to human diversity, through radical injustice in access to the ability to learn. Which means, of course, that we know that – smart guys as we all are – we are really only the fraction of the smart guys in the world who’ve been allowed to learn anything, in a world where there are six billion people, most of whom will never be able to go to school. And their brains will starve to death.

By using the spectacle, by sharing technology, and by embracing mass publicly created media, I posit that, while Chomsky and Debord are and were correct, we have within us the capacity to make it so that people do think when they buy, acquire, build, or create a product for mass consumption. So, we enjoy TV shows, we enjoy listening to music, we enjoy playing with gadgets. Who cares, right? The institutional media (Manufacturing Consent) needn't be the root of that media, in fact, we should be able to kill it. If some kid pops on YouTube, I think that's wonderful, if that kid has a following, and it creates more media, that, to me, is brilliant. There's no institution behind it, it's, in effect, reversing the spectacle as Debord defines it. We would then have more social interaction, and less "thing worship."

You go down to a local community maker center, and you want a cell phone, a new, super cool cell phone that we have designed using open and public methods. Others in the center greet you, shake your hand, give you a little bit of information about the center, and how the technology works. You spend the entire day there, talking about technology, using your brain, eating everything up. Pow, you're not there to "have" the cell phone, you're there to be another human being who just so happens knows how to make and design one with the tools that are available. You'd still have "mass media," because people would still be placing sign-age out to get people to come to their maker center, there would be networks where people share their multimedia, be it music or their own self-created shows or whatever. There would still be independent media, news, and such. There's a more recent term to describe this, though it's been somewhat muddled, it's called the Prosumer. Basically we wouldn't have mere consumers anymore, but producer-consumers, where people share in open spaces the things that are important to them.

How does that play into sports? Well hell, we'd probably still have sports, as Chomsky said, it serves a useful function (if only entertainment). But would we have institutionalized media selling us professional sports? I doubt it very much. I couldn't see it going further than a college level, and I think that with the destruction of institutional media it will be impossible for mass institutionalized media to take hold in that arena (no pun intended).
February 3, 2012

OWS is the Single Most Relevant Movement to Change Politics in America for the Better

It's simple. They've already done so, they have already opened up dialog about the 1% and how the 1% manipulates the entire country. Already, the Republicans are talking about Wall Street. Already, Obama plans to turn the anti-Wall Street sentiment against the Republicans. Already both parties are flying the anti-Wall Street banner.

What more is there to say? That a few kids acting autonomously after having their comerades razed by police, with tear gas, rubber bullets, and hundreds detained via illegal and unconstutional means are, themselves, going to marginalize the movement? Because, frankly, emotions were very high and people were not behaving rationally? I highly doubt it.

There have been numerous flag burning incidents in Occupy. One at Occupy Chicago, small scale, paper flag. One at Occupy Denver. Three at Occupy Oakland port closure. One Occupy Oakland City Hall. Two at Occupy Charlotte. This most recent incident is merely being hyped as a way to marginalize Occupy by the media. Why? Because if the Occupy narrative is allowed to continue, the Republicans have no leg to stand on. The media needs the narrative to be "close." If it's not "close" then there's nothing to talk about. There's no "down to the wire" coverage. As soon as FL polls close in Nov. the media will have to call it for Obama, and that'll be the end of it. How can someone like Romney (not to even mention the idiot Newt) pretend to even have anything in common with anti-Wall Street views? How can anyone even take that with a grain of salt? Even the most ardent Republicans know that is total bullshit. Hell, the consistent 30% of conservatives who vote for the fascist time and time again aren't even that stupid.

Finally, I leave you with a book entitled "Flag burning: moral panic and the criminalization of protest." You can get a link here: http://books.google.com/books?id=s5btT1HO60kC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

You can read the introduction on Google Books for free. I emplore you to read the entire overview of the movement, and this extra overview of the book: http://www.professormichaelwelch.com/flagburn.html

Truly, moral panic is the pure definition of what is happening here. And it's almost entirely fabricated, because, as I said, this not the first time it's happened, it will not be the last time it happens, and all in all we're just eating our own over trivialities. OWS has already changed the narrative, and as the summer comes around (and as they become introspective and start to oust those who make bad PR decisions; but there will always be someone who does something stupid), it will only get stronger.

You should not chastise a movement, a group, or a society on the actions of a few in said movements, groups or societies. To do so shows a complete lack of perspective or proportion.

January 20, 2012

LOL! 111th United States Congress vs 112th United States Congress

111th United States Congress
January 29, 2009: Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, Pub.L. 111-2
February 4, 2009: Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (SCHIP), Pub.L. 111-3
February 17, 2009: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), Pub.L. 111-5
March 11, 2009: Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009, Pub.L. 111-8
March 30, 2009: Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, Pub.L. 111-11
April 21, 2009: Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, Pub.L. 111-13
May 20, 2009: Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009, Pub.L. 111-21
May 20, 2009: Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009, Pub.L. 111-22
May 22, 2009: Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act of 2009, Pub.L. 111-23
May 22, 2009: Credit CARD Act of 2009, Pub.L. 111-24
June 22, 2009: Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, as Division A of Pub.L. 111-31
June 24, 2009: Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2009 including the Car Allowance Rebate System (Cash for Clunkers), Pub.L. 111-32
October 28, 2009: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, including the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, Pub.L. 111-84
November 6, 2009: Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009, Pub.L. 111-92
December 16, 2009: Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010, Pub.L. 111-117
February 12, 2010: Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act, as Title I of Pub.L. 111-139
March 4, 2010: Travel Promotion Act of 2009, as Section 9 of Pub.L. 111-145
March 18, 2010: Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act, Pub.L. 111-147
March 23, 2010: Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Pub.L. 111-148
March 30, 2010: Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, including the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, Pub.L. 111-152
May 5, 2010: Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010, Pub.L. 111-163
July 1, 2010: Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010, Pub.L. 111-195
July 21, 2010: Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Pub.L. 111-203
August 3, 2010: Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, Pub.L. 111-220
August 10, 2010: SPEECH Act of 2010, Pub.L. 111-223
September 27, 2010: Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010, Pub.L. 111-240
December 8, 2010: Claims Resolution Act of 2010, Pub.L. 111-291
December 13, 2010: Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, Pub.L. 111-296
December 17, 2010: Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010, Pub.L. 111-312, H.R. 4853
December 22, 2010: Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010, Pub.L. 111-321, H.R. 2965
January 2, 2011: James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, Pub.L. 111-347, H.R. 847
January 4, 2011: Shark Conservation Act, Pub.L. 111-348, H.R. 81
January 4, 2011: Food Safety and Modernization Act, Pub.L. 111-353, H.R. 2751


112th United States Congress
April 15, 2011: 2011 United States federal budget (as Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011), Pub.L. 112-10
August 2, 2011: Budget Control Act of 2011, Pub.L. 112-25
September 16, 2011: Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, Pub.L. 112-119, H.R. 1249



I link the main Wiki page for both Congresses, you can scroll down to see the actual stuff that was enacted. Generally these are the more "important" acts from both Congresses, if you click the 112th acts page you will find a lot of pointless drivel, and no substance.

It speaks volumes.

Yes, the 112th Congress is only halfway through, but let's be honest, they'll continue diddling and there's no way in hell that they do nearly half as much in the next year.

(Note: not agreeing with all the stuff passed by the 111th Congress, I just find this very fascinating how the Republicans basically are do nothing twirps.)
January 16, 2012

Your iPhone Was Built, In Part, By 13 Year-Olds Working 16 Hours A Day For 70 Cents An Hour

One Foxconn worker Mike Daisey interviewed, outside factory gates manned by guards with guns, was a 13-year old girl. She polished the glass of thousands of new iPhones a day.

The 13-year old said Foxconn doesn't really check ages. There are on-site inspections, from time to time, but Foxconn always knows when they're happening. And before the inspectors arrive, Foxconn just replaces the young-looking workers with older ones.

In the first two hours outside the factory gates, Daisey meets workers who say they are 14, 13, and 12 years old (along with plenty of older ones). Daisey estimates that about 5% of the workers he talked to were underage.

Daisey assumes that Apple, obsessed as it is with details, must know this. Or, if they don't, it's because they don't want to know.

The Business Insider link covers all the details, but if you want the emotional impact, I encourage you to listen. If you don't want to listen you can read a transcript here. I just finished with it and I am completely taken aback.

I know that this show was posted here before (in the other Apple-centric threads), but this Business Insider overview is the best one I could find that covers the whole thing.
January 6, 2012

Look at this insanity: Libertarianism, from A to Z (Bribery)

Libertarianism from A to Z
Bribes, kickbacks, and other payments made to evade a law or regulation are present in every society and widespread in many. Politicians and the media bemoan this corruption and often pass laws designed to curtail it. This response does nothing to reduce corruption and often makes it worse.

Corruption arises mainly because of laws that impede private profit opportunities or interfere with mutually beneficial exchange.


Some acts of corruption are good for economic efficiency because they undo the effects of bad laws; there may be, in some situations, an optimum level of bribery. Fees and permits to enter most businesses and occupations are simply barriers to entry that shield existing firms from competition. Bribes allow more firms or individuals to enter and are therefore good for competition and consumers.

This kind of thing is rampant in Libertarianism (ie, Orwellian psycho-capitalism). Wall Street is so powerful because it has bribed our politicians, candidates like Ron Paul and other ideologues are not against bribery, in principle. They only say that they are against corruption because they truly believe that bribes and corruption would be less common if regulations were nonexistent. I would've posted more from that excerpt, but I didn't want to make you all read a swath of Libertarian nonsense, but if you click the link (and scroll down to the bottom of the page) you can read the full excerpt.

It is deeply rooted in Libertarian ideology, and we must resist it.
January 3, 2012

Oh, I do think it was very calculating. I think it was brilliant. It was the greatest...

...consumer ad campaign of all time. And I warned people about it. Hell, the funniest part was that I was at Mile High Stadium, waited 5 hours, the entire event was like the Superbowl, the World Series, it was epic. Then I fully realized to the extent he'd taken the consumerization of the politics (I hadn't been active politically since the Dean scream, no I didn't vote in 2004, too disheartened, in a red state, didn't matter). And he'll do it again. And he'll win. No worries on that count. No other candidate could ever begin to take advantage of this campaigning style, hell, some might even be ideologically opposed to it since it involves data mining and branding and copy testing.

That does not mean that you were unable to actually see the contents of the message. The contents of the message were wide open, for everyone to see. It's kinda like, in a way, those ads for various medicines. Show an ad for some heart medicine and then a whole bunch of side effects are listed at the end. The problem is that people were too fixated on getting rid of Bush to care much about the side effects. It's as if all of Obama's supports pressed the mute button just as the "side effects" were announced. Just as Obama said he'd escalate in Afghanistan, just as Obama said he'd go after the Taliban, just as Obama criticized bureaucracy, just as Obama said he'd cut the deficit, just as Obama said he'd drill for oil, and so on and so forth.

To call me an Obama supporter is somewhat of a misnomer (though not entirely untrue), I don't support any politicians to any significant degree. Here in Colorado I fought to keep the state blue because the Republicans were promising to expand the military bases, which had a very strong grassroots movement opposed to it. If I and other Coloradian liberals sat home that likely would've happened. Yeah, we stopped it, and we stopped the US from tripling its military training grounds. Who knows what state they're going to try it in next. We must stop it, we have to.

For me, it is a lesser of two evils, because as a privileged straight white male it doesn't affect me. I don't get WIC, need heating assistance, need Pell Grants, I don't need any of that. I can, if I wanted to, sit home on election day and the outcome, regardless, is going to be beneficial to me. If a Republican gets elected my taxes go down, the police forces go up, and welfare cases go to jail if not murdered in the streets. If a Democrat gets elected my taxes go up, but only marginally, and I get health care and such.

But for others? I've come to fully recognize that it isn't a lesser of two evils for them. I believe you're an expat, which is fine, and I do appreciate expats (particularly voting expats). Surely, you, of all people, know that the outcome won't affect you as much as it will affect a poor black single mother who is getting WIC, heating assistance, food stamps, and whose child is getting educated in public education, right? The Republicans will take it all away from her and send her to despotism.

I'll support Obama, but I won't be ashamed for it, because I never cheered him, and I saw through the campaign rhetoric, and I tried to tell others about how he really was (that he wasn't much better than Hillary, and given that Hillary was his SoC, it is clear that absolutely nothing would have been different had she been chosen, except she would've been a more hard line partisan than he).

Best of luck.

January 2, 2012

Steve Kangas: Liberal FAQ (and Libertarianism Fallicies FAQs)

Steve Kangas (born Steven Robert Esh on 11 May 1961, died 8 February 1999) was a journalist, political activist and chess teacher known for his website Liberalism Resurgent and highly political usenet postings. Until 1986 he worked for military intelligence. His stay in Berlin turned him from a conservative into an outspoken liberal militant and anti-capitalist. His writings were sharply critical of business propaganda of the overclass and CIA.

His Wikipedia page

The Liberal FAQ

I learned about Steve a few weeks after he died, when USENET was exploding with the knowledge of his death, and there was a long discussion over whether it was a "suicide." I still believe, and it's one of the few actual conspiracies I believe, that it was a setup job.

While I since went left of that position, Steve's FAQ has helped guide me as far as actual, real, politics are concerned. Ideologically I can be really weird and people mock me for it (if not downright insult me, because my positions are all over the place). But Steve's work has helped ground me over the years as I refer back to it and consider various positions on certain things, particularly when it comes to conservative talking points. Later I came across Mike Huban's page on Libertarianism, specifically against Libertarianism. It's also been a useful guide.

Ideologically I'm sure we're all quite different (and I don't use "ideology" negatively here), I saw a recent post on here about our respective Political Compass and it's shown me that we are indeed quite a diverse crowd (though all pretty much left of center!). I hope these sources help you out as this coming election years pushes us to have to combat these ideologically corrupt miscreants who either try to take over progressive ideas, or who outright combat progressive ideas. I was going to make this post closer to the anniversary of his death, but the Libertarian stuff that's been floating around here lately has really pushed me to make it early. Please bookmark, and it'll be in my journal if you need these links in the future!

RIP Steve. Thanks for helping be 'normal.'
December 28, 2011

Some philosophy: Ron Paul is "anti-war," but pro-contractor-mercenary.

Ron Paul is "anti-surveillance-state," but pro-datamining and anti-consumer-protections.

Ron Paul is "anti-crony-capitalism," but pro-deregulation and fully Laissez-faire.

Ron Paul is "anti-drug-war," but pro-business and anti-state-welfare.

Let's look at what this actually means from a Libertarian perspective, shall we?

His "anti-war" stance is very admirable to quite a few progressives, those progressives can champion it as a good thing, even while vehemently disavowing the other stances he's taken (I'm pretty sure I've said it was good at least once or twice). However, when you look at what he really means by "anti-war" it becomes clear that he is against government militaries going to war. A purely Laissez-faire perspective privatizes all policing forces, including 'militaries.'

You can imagine, for instance, that if we had several oil conglomerates (we do) and that if they wanted an oil contract in the Middle East (they do), all they need do is get their foot in the door (they have). At the first sight of anti-western economics or anti-capitalist pressure, these oil companies would be, from a purely Laissez-faire perspective, legitimized in "striking back" against those "economic terrorists." "The people" signed a contract, and with enough bribes (bribes themselves being economic contributions to further ones business agenda), you can take over any country, anywhere, militarily, with an impressive imperialist force.

This is perfectly in line with Ron Paul's view on "war." So the absolute end result of his perspective is to back, albeit non-diplomatically, the use of mercenary contractors where ever conglomerates want resources. If one state official in said country wanted to arrest some contractors for killing a bunch of children playing with sticks, Paul would 'allow' it and there would be no diplomatic immunity, but that is only until the bribing mechanisms weren't fully set up. At which point the very states one could expect to protect their own people would be corrupted by the imperialist regime that is capitalism, in all its glory. We've seen this time and time again in the Banana Republics.

Ron Paul is not anti-war.

His "anti-surveillance-state" view sounds quite good. Who wants a surveillance state? However, his view on other parts of economy completely render it meaningless. What does it matter if the state is surveilling through the payment of contractors, or corporations doing the surveilling through the payment of contractors? Because Ron Paul is against consumer protections, and because companies utilize datamining at every level, the end result of his views are that instead of a state surveilling everything you do, companies will do it. And because he believes that liability lawsuits would solve every consumer protection issue, his stance on surveillance is quite possibly the worst one you can possibly imagine, as how can you prove damages to corporate secrets where your data was mined and where your life was completely spied upon? How would you even begin to prove such a case? It's madness.

Ron Paul is not anti-surveillance-state, he arguably is the stronger supporter of such a state, of all.

Paul's definition of "crony-capitalism," likewise, needs some work. For Ron Paul, "crony-capitalism" means "capitalism that benefits from a state apparatus that is only beneficial if the state exists." Like most Libertarians (or "anarcho"-capitalists), they delude themselves that Laissez-faire "cannot" be corrupt. It's trivial, of course, to show how all forms of Laissez-faire are inherently corrupt and cannot be otherwise. Indeed, Ron Paul himself appears to understand this with his position on monopolies (he belives some forms of monopoly are fine), but he still delusionally thinks that his view is "anti-crony-capitalism."

Ron Paul might provide an example where the state sets up a regulation that makes it harder for smaller businesses to enter a certain field. He might even invoke lobbying efforts for one of the larger players in that sector, as evidence that they are manipulating the state into crushing competition. That's all well and good, and it's reasonable, on the surface. If the state does help certain companies succeed by passing laws that suppress smaller companies, then, why not be against that?

Except in the magical world of mind bogglingly asinine "Laissez-faire," the all mighty "contract" is the very mechanism that you would use, if you were a company and wanted to oust competitors. Indeed, in our current system we have the concept of anti-trust, which is as yet to some extent arbitrarily enforced, but it says "you can't make an anti-competitive contract, because that's not fair to the competitors." Laissez-faire rejects this idea, outright. Anti-competitive contracts, therefore, are the very heart of Laissez-faire, and the very reason Ron Paul's variant of capitalism is the single most crony, or corrupt that can exist.

For example, say you had a few stores in town and they needed some goods from some manufacturer. If you get a competitor who also works with that manufacturer, you merely tell the manufacturer that you will continue doing business with them if, and only if, they don't do business with the other competitor. This is perfectly in line with Laissez-faire. It is perfectly "free market." Or, if you want to be really sneaky about it, you tell them that they can do business with said competitor, but you'll pay them a 5% convenience fee if they don't do business with that competitor, even better! A bribe, of course, but it's what's done every day in business. I've signed "no-competes." I know what that shit is like.

Ron Paul is not anti-crony-capitalism. In fact, I would argue that if you come across a progressive or liberal who believes he is, you should take caution with regards to anything that they say, as they may not be well versed in the true evils of the system that Ron Paul aspires to.

Paul is "anti-drug-war," and that is probably the only position that he holds that one can take more seriously. The President, at least in theory, should be able to back off federal crackdowns on the drug trade, do mass pardons, who knows, it could be epic if you give it a lot of thought. However, being anti-drug-war is very dangerous if you do not provide social safety nets for those people who do partake in drugs. Since Paul is pro-business to the extent that businesses should be able to do whatever they want within the confines of their property and with respect to personal liability, you can't expect drugs to immediately be "legalized" overnight. A true "anti-drug-war" position would be to not discriminate based on ones off-work casual consumption. Ron Paul would certainly be against that, and companies would still be using brutal drug testing methods to discriminate based on ones off-work recreational activities. In that vein I don't see that much would terribly change within the country, however, I would be remiss to ignore that it would be helpful to end the drug war which has contributed to many innocent deaths outside of our borders. So I can concede that.

Ron Paul is only somewhat actually "anti-drug-war." His position does not end drug-based discrimination nor does it provide a social safety net for those who are addicted to the stronger drugs. It does, however, help end the brutal violence that the drug trade creates in foreign countries.

Profile Information

Name: Josh Cryer
Gender: Male
Hometown: Colorado
Member since: 2002
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