A perfect follow-up to yesterday's resource suggestion is a very short blog post concerning "limited government" and the impossibility of such a thing.
There are some Fundamental Flaws in the concept of limited government. While this article doesn't fully explore these issues and their ramifications, It piggy-backs nicely on yesterday's post and begins a discussion which can only lead to one of two places: willful ignorance or anarchy.
I have a lot of notes pertaining to Utopianism. As a disillusioned and reformed utpoian (of the communist persuasion), I find it important to make a compelling and expansive case against utopia and the evils committed in the pursuit of such. I came across this gem a while back while looking for material related to the subject.
This article on "Libertopia" is a very good precursor to a post I hope to get in before December concerning utopiainism and all of the difficulties with such a pursuit. Anyone who thinks anarchism is inherently utpoian does not understand utopia and does not understand anarchism. This article does a good job of clearing up those issues.
Today's resource is something a little less topical and a little more important the the Pope's bad science.
The Tragedy of Enforcement is something that bothered me for the longest time. Even back in my commie days, I was faced with the tragedy of enforcment. For this reason, I was enthralled with cybernetics, as it seemed to be a useful tool for "tricking people into" voluntarily doing "the right thing", so as to avoid turning to the constant use of lethal force and coercion "for the common good". Of course, cybernetics presents its own ethical issues that are far more complex and destructive than even the tragedy of enforcement.
Ultimately, (mostly on my own), I came to realize that there is no solution to the tragedy of enforcment. One must either become a moral nihilist or reject the use of enforcement. This was one of the key elements in my journey to anarchism.
All this is just supposed to contextualize the role that videos like this could have played in my awakening, and may play in that of others.
Today's resource suggestion is a little more involved than previous ones. Today's resource suggestion is Karl Popper's Conjectures and Refutations. This book primarily concerns itself with the problem of doing science from an epistemic standpoint. This may not seem to be too important to the project I have been engaged in with this blog, but to anyone who reads the book, you will likely see the connection very quickly. My post on Paradigmatic Awareness is, essentially, a synthesis of this work and another by Thomas S Kuhn, which will likely be another resource suggestion soon enough.
While Popper was primarily interested in the philosophy of science in this book, I believe his insights apply to all of epistemology, not just the study of the material world. As a classical liberal, Popper extends his epistemic reasoning out to his own version of social contract theory. I think that, while he had a good basis to work off of and an amazing intellect, he made the mistake that many classical liberals made: he forgot that the institutions he advocated for would never go away; where tolerance, as he imagined it, was only supposed to be implemented so long as it was practically useful to collective flourishing, it has become the monster that it is today... inspired by his own words.
So, please read Conjectures and Refutations. It will help broaden your understanding of how one can say that they know what they know, how science as an exercise ought to be done, and reveal a great deal of the social philosophy that has gotten the western world into the trouble that it is in now.
I was going to post a follow-up to yesterday's resource suggestion, but I wanted to share this first. This is the Story of Your Enslavement, as told by Stefan Molyneux. The video is short, sweet, and simple. There are a lot of details that are not addressed, but that's what you get for wanting to cover it in 13 minutes as opposed to a lifetime of literature. Simplicity aside, this is the truth, spoken directly and non-judgementally.
I do not endorse Molyneux, as a lot of what he says and does is utterly insane. However, about two thirds of what he says and half of what he does is right on the money. This video is spot-on.
I recently finished reading “Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life -- Second 2nd Edition”. I was very resistant to giving NVC a chance. My introduction to it was some people on Free Talk Live talking about it, and it sounded like some sort of cult-y, Scientology-like, “if we all learn to pray and talk with hippie vibes, the world will be healed”. Hearing about it from Stephan Molyneux next sealed the deal (he is a de-facto cult leader). Satya Nadella made this book required reading for Microsoft execs, which made me wonder if this was becoming a mainstream fad and made me even more resistant to the idea. Also, the name itself seemed off-putting to me. I figured (and still do) that any language that didn't consist of veiled or direct threats is, by default, non-violent.
Then, certain people that I don't always agree with but always respect their opinion and degree of thought it takes for them to develop an opinion re-introduced me to the idea of NVC. Between Brian Sovryn explaining that it has less to do with non-violence, and more to do with empathy, I started to reconsider. Seeing Adam Kokesh put it to work on Christopher Cantwell, of all people, sealed the deal. I saw the way that Kokesh (someone whom I've always been suspicious of) managed to basically shut down the angry part of Cantwell's brain and get a begrudging admission that NVC may be an effective tool. I still was very, very suspicious of the whole idea in general, but I knew I had to at least research it before dismissing it.
I bought the book on Amazon for something like $15 and read it in a few weeks, taking it a few pages at a time. The book is easy to read, short and sweet, and gives actionable suggestions. While the methods of NVC aren't useful in every circumstance, (philosophical discourse, for instance), they are incredibly effective at smoothing out day-to-day interactions with people, especially adversarial people. I am, by no means, a peaceful parent, but I'm looking into that, as well. I can say this much, though, after giving NVC a shot, I've gotten incredible results with my middle child. It used to seem like her sole purpose in life was to antagonize me, but we're making excellent progress in getting along, thanks to Rosenberg.
The way I understand NVC to operate is thus:
We, in our culture today, are addicted to counter-productive emotions. We have developed a habit of being outraged at things. The4 internet has proven to be instrumental in fueling this addiction to outrage, as there's always something out there for anyone to be mad at. The way addictions work is in cycles. Stimulus, reaction, dopamine/adrenaline/etc, brain-drugs wear off, repeat. In the case of outrage, something touches on an unresolved need or desire within us, we get mad and lash out at at whoever or whatever touched on that nerve, we get a release of feel-good drugs in our brains, and we feel good about being miserable, repeat ad-infinitum. What NVC seems to do is interject itself between the stimulus and reaction and closes that loop prematurely. This is how addictions are broken, how good habits are formed, and how someone can talk down a 280 lb thug before getting their face punched in.
It is also a method of communicating that, in closing that loop prematurely, leads people into uncharted areas of their own human mental experience and opens them up to actually exploring alternative ways of seeing the world, which is useful when discussing crucial matters such as human flourishing.
As it stands now, I understand NVC in an almost entirely scholastic sense, but my early efforts at putting it into practice have already made family and work far more manageable. I recommend everyone read this book. I don't think it's some sort of silver-bullet to eliminating the state, as some do, but I do believe that this is a tool set that is irreplaceable if one wants to flourish in a post-state society.