Tuesday, June 30, 2015

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Let us break down what is actually going on in this picture. There is definitely a lot to unpack here. We'll start with the Libertarian Society half of the image.

We will start with the fundamental ideas behind Libertarianism.
  1. Don't hurt people.
  2. Don't take their stuff.
  3. Coercion is wrong.
  4. Voluntary human interaction.
What do we see in the first image?  A man pointing a gun another man is the first thing we notice, and has yet another man tied up with a bag over his head.  From this we can infer that this man is not a Libertarian.  Of course we can't assume everyone living in a Libertarian society follows the Libertarian ideas.

There will always be people who believe it is right to steel from one man to give to another. Let us assume this gunman was trying to gather some sort of resource from the man with a bag over his head. The gunman might work for an organization that collects resources by force from those that have resources, like maybe a warlord trying to set himself up as a ruler.

This warlord is just trying to help is needy followers to prosper so he needs the resources from the bagged man. The gunman's pay check comes from the stolen resources of the people that the warlord is the  ruler of, so the gunman is just following orders trying to collect the taxes from the bagged man.

The man in the helicopter appears to be coming to the rescue of the bagged man.  We can assume he's either family, friend or an employee of the bagged man coming to his rescue.

The neither the warlord, or the gunman are part of this libertarian society. They are imposing something entirely other than Libertarian ideals. What this tells me is that the person that made this meme believes...

the problem with a libertarian society is organizations that want to redistribute wealth to those they believe need it more.

Let's take a look at the fundamental ideas behind Socialism.
  1. It's the governments job to help those in need.
  2. Government ownership of the means of production.
  3. Coercion is okay for the government.
Wait, that sounds like that warlord and gunman in the first part. Does that mean that the meme creators believes...

the problem with a Libertarian society is socialists.

Wait, that doesn't sound like Star Trek at all.  There is no coercion in the federation.  Even in Star Fleet you can opt out when ever you want.  People have even opted out of the federation peacefully. I've never heard one line about taxes in Star Trek. Nothing is ever taken that is rightfully owned by a person if they don't want to give it up.  So in Star Trek the main rules for society are...
  1. Don't hurt people.
  2. Don't take their stuff.
  3. Coercion is wrong.
  4. All human interaction is voluntary.
Wait that sounds like... What, it is libertarian values, but wait.  There is no way they could have developed the technology that ended world hung and brought world peace without a centralized government controlling everything, or could they?

Well after the Eugenics Wars the world was nearly destroyed and there were no major governments. Small bands of people would trade with one another for supplies and technology in what you might call a market. They still had faction trying to for governments and take control back over the people, but a small bad of people was avoiding them and working on something big that would help them escape all the fighting among the factions, warp drive.  Yes! Warp drive was invented in an essentially free market environment.  The world peace of Star Trek was born from a group of "libertarians" that were in it for themselves.  Everything in Star Trek is all because every single person is acting in their own interest.

"You wanna know what my vision is? Dollar signs, money! I didn't build this ship to usher in a new era for humanity. You think I wanna see the stars? I don't even like to fly! I take trains! I built this ship so I could retire to some tropical island... filled with naked women. THAT'S Zefram Cochrane. THAT'S his vision. This other guy you keep talking about, this historical figure? I never met him. I can't imagine I ever will."  -Zefram Cochrane

Dollar signs, money!  That led to a boom in technological growth that ultimately led to the end of global hunger. Dollar signs, money! That's what saved humanity.

After this point in the history of humanity the growth of technology was very quick and led to a situation where we had solved all of the major problems facing humanity.  With food as ubiquitous as air it no longer became an economic good it was just there, because of the market. Not much is known about the period of time after this burst of technology due to the market, but at some point there was an innovation that arose among the competing currencies at the time that allowed economic freedom beyond what we can currently imagine as currency. This super currency that is beyond money that appears to be accepted by planets that we've never been to before. In Star Trek: Enterprise archer was able to take shore leave on Risa without having to worry about paying for it. 

Joseph Sisko, Benjamin Sisko's farther, was an entrepreneur and owned his own restaurant. The government didn't own his means of producing food.  

And then there is Quark's bar. Anytime you see an interior shot of that place there is usually a Star Fleet officer in there gambling, drinking, or playing video games in the holosuit. The federation must have some kind of currency that a ferengi would accept.  You see the real distinction between earth and Ferenginar is that earth has truly free markets not held back by the government, and Ferenginar the markets are closely monitored by the central government. Ferenginar is a crony capitalist system.

The federation doesn't deal at all within the economic system that's why you never hear it discussed in the show. Star fleet is self sufficient and doesn't require tax income to exist. The free market has created a situation where everyone is so wealthy that there is essentially no difference between the poor and the rich.

Bottom line, don't try and improve the world.  Don't force your self on the world to improve it. Be your self, improve your self, and let the world follow your example. Wait, there is one fictional man who said it best.

"Don't try to be a great man. Just be a man, and let history make its own judgments." -Zefram Cochrane.

The Parables of Socialist Jesus

I'm really tired of hearing people tell my that Jesus was a socialist, so I began rewriting some of his parables.  My hope is that by retelling the parables of Jesus from a socialist perspective it will show the absolute absurdity of the notion that my Lord and Savior was a socialist.

I hope you enjoy the Parables of Socialist Jesus. http:\\

Monday, April 6, 2015

Mark Dodich on the Curmudgeon Cafe Podcast

Before Mark moved to Oregon in 1991, he lived in SE Florida, Houston, Seattle, Colorado Springs, San Francisco, Anchorage, Washington DC, New Jersey, and Santa Fe. Some of these moves were career oriented during his life as an industrial salesperson in industries such as aluminum, mini-blind manufacturing, and industrial supplies. Other moves were for the sake of adventure. 

Marks website:

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Notch and George Lucas

This is the tale of two men. Both start men rose from humble beginnings creating works of art with humble means that captured the imagination of a generation.  Both of these men handled their elevation to icon status in very different ways.  One embraced his status as an icon and became what he hated. The other shunned his icon status and can now do what he loves.  The two men I am referring to are George Lucas and Markus "Notch" Persson.

In a post on his blog on September 15, 2014 Notch described him self as not being a real game developer, and he only does what he does because he loves doing it.  Notch never expected anything he did to become a huge hit like Minecraft did.  He describes his experience of being a symbol and not a person.

"I don’t want to be a symbol, responsible for something huge that I don’t understand, that I don’t want to work on, that keeps coming back to me. I’m not an entrepreneur. I’m not a CEO. I’m a nerdy computer programmer who likes to have opinions on Twitter."

As I was watching a documentary, The People Vs. George Lucas, I realized how similar the situation was for George and Star Wars as it was for Notch and Minecraft.  In interviews in the documentary George Lucas discusses how his dad was a business man and he never wanted to become a business man like his dad.  The documentary even discusses how,THX and American Graffiti, were both edited by the studio causing George to feel cheated and censored.  Again it shows an interview with George where he states that he has become the head of a such a studio.  One moment stuck out to me that really brought the comparison to notch in to focus, when George said he was a film maker and that's all he wanted to be, and we all know he's much more than that now.

"From being a struggling, starving filmmaker to being incredibly successful in a period of a couple of years is quite a powerful experience, and not necessarily a good one."
-George Lucas

This comparison between Notch and George Lucas sheds interesting light on the sale of Mojang to Microsoft and Lucas Film to Disney.  Both of these sales happened for the same reason, to give a measure of freedom back to there creators.  Neither of these two men can win. They are both put upon to create more content but can never escape huge amounts of criticism from the very people demanding more from them.  The sale of there companies are a public admittance that what they have created has grown beyond their individual control and has become something bigger that needs to be curated for a community.

Both George and Notch value there creative freedom and don't feel that they should be told what they can and can't do with their art.  When this censorship comes from a studio or publisher the public is usually on the side of the creator demanding creative control by the creator.  When a work becomes so immensely popular the public itself takes on the roll of the controlling studio, demanding the work conform to their idea, their image, of what the work should be.

As much as we don't want to admit it, market research works in creating content that people like. This is one of the major advantages that corporations like Disney and Microsoft has over individuals like Notch or George.  The sale of both Lucas Film and Mojang took the stress of balancing artistic expression and customer satisfaction off the plates of both creators of these great companies and intellectual properties.

New Curmudgeon Cafe featuring Timothy Herman

Timothy Herman is a friend of mine from when I worked at the community access station in Tualatin Valley.  While he was hosting his show on the cable access station, he always had such passion for what he was discussing, I knew there must be a story behind that passion.  Timothy shares his experience in the Navy, working with his father, and moving to the northwest.

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