Political Ideologies.

Goodreads Review.

Loaned to me by my atheist god-mother.

Passion of Mr. Mussolini, the nameless hope of the New Left, a proud inheritance of the Conservative tradition, Mr. Kropotkin’s respect for the dignity of man, holism of an American Indian and so on so forth.

Expect an eclectic collection of essays on the subject of politics. Edited well, without any over-bearing interference from those who assembled this collection of essays. The original authors speak for themselves, unadulterated proof being when CAPITALISATION OF LETTERS IS ABUSED. Censorship would have been as simple as providing an initial definition of politics, and pruning as apt.

Food for thought, the Nazi Party wanted all War Debt to be forgiven, would this clash with the Black Panther demand of slavery reparations? (Trivial Tidbit on German Nazi’s; Africans-Germans were never targeted for systemic extermination, Slavs [root word of slave], Jews, and Romani people were. [of course, an interracial marriage would have been an obscene affront in that time & place.]) Perhaps the leader of the American Nazi party, who has an essay in this book, discussed that very possibility with the militant blacks whom he met.
Really though, is it enough to know that that genocide of peoples was more complex than “Kill the Jew, Kill the Jew, all we want to do is Kill the Jew”?

Mr. Gandhi’s literal foray into international war has only whet my appetite, which now hungers for development of Satyagraha in relation to the passionate intensity of a sublimed blood-thirst or vengeful hatred.

After reading the finale essay, which asserts that ubiquity & lack of friction indicate an ideology has lost traction in the world, one’s mind may layer it back onto the Technocracy essay. Without a debate, an ideology lacks expression, and so Technocracy is a modern Sisyphus, but forever rolling downhill… Or is it just me?

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Quotations of Mr. Kropotkin.

Made without permission from the publishing house or whatever, in tribute to the Anarchist tradition, as an internet pirate, I feel guiltless.

“Socialists know what is meant by protection of property. Laws on property are not made to guarantee either to the individual or to society the enjoyment of the produce of their own labor[sic]. On the contrary, they are made to rob the producer of a part of what he has created, and to secure to certain other people that portion of the produce which they have stolen either from the produce which they have stolen either from the producer or from society as a whole. When, for example, the law establishes Mr. So-and-So’s right to a house, it is not establishing his right to a cottage he has built for himself, or to a house he has erected with the help of some of his friends. In that case no one would have disputed his right. On the contrary, the law is establishing his right to a house which is not the product of his labor[sic]; first of all because he has had it built for him by others to whom he has not paid the full value of their work, and next because that house represents a social value which he could not have produced for himself. The law is establishing his right to what belong to everybody in general and to nobody in particular. The same house built in the midst of Siberia would not have the value it possesses in a large town, and, as we know, that value arises from the labor[sic] of something like fifty generations of men who have built the town, beautified it, supplied it with water and gas, fine promenades, colleges, theatres, shops, railways and roads leading in all directions. Thus by recognizing[sic] the right of Mr. So-and-So to a particular house in Paris, London or Rouen, the law is unjustly appropriating to him a certain portion of the produce of the labor[sic] of mankind in general. And it is precisely because this appropriation and all other forms of property bearing the same character are a crying injustice, that a whole arsenal of laws and a whole army of soldiers, policemen and judges are needed to maintain it against the good sense and just feeling inherent in humanity.”

Gawker, of all the news outlets, has a well sourced article here which details the community authority (Home Owners Association generally), acting contrary to common decency and simple common sense.

 

“Yet there is one fact concerning this head which at the present time is thoroughly established; the severity of punishment does not diminish the amount of crime. Hang, and, if you like, quarter murderers, and the number of murders will not decrease by one. On the other hand, abolish the penalty of death, and there will not be one murder more; there will be fewer. Statistics prove it. But if the harvest is good, and bread cheap, and the weather fine, the number of murders immediately decreases. This again is proved by statistics. The amount of crime always augments and diminishes in proportion to the price of provisions and the state of the weather. Not that all murders are actuated by hunger. That is not the case. But when the harvest is good, and provisions are at an obtainable price, and when the sun shines, men, lighter-hearted and less miserable than usual, do not give way to gloomy passions, do not from trivial motives plunge a knife into the bosom of a fellow creature.”

System of a Down treats this subject here. Although the lyrics lack a melodic quality they are honest words. Study after study has shown that drug treatment is more effective than more police.
Alternatively, one can research how much food is thrown away by their local supermarket chain, tonnages being the common answer. I have no easy solution and admit this protects the consumer from food poisoning.
However, how hungry are the poor in Syria?
In your nearest hobo hotel?
The law dictates and protects the smooth functioning of business. Please follow me as I construct a hypothetical situation; in the week of expiry all food products are freely distributed to the 2 lowest classes of society (prisoners and work-fit unemployed). Subsequently, private profit would be reduced, taxation would be reduced, food poisoning would increase and the citizens of Hypothetical Land would be climb up Maslow’s Hierarchy.
Who doubts that homeless men, women & children would happily sign a waiver voiding their right to sue if the food was contaminated? Assuming it wasn’t deliberate.

Occult Japan.

Goodreads review.

Available here at Wikisource.

A longer read than is pleasurable. Sometimes funny, such as describing the French as monkeys with cringe-worthy sansculotte (pants-less) institutions.  Within are details of ritual possession (which the author concludes are entirely real), the childhood development of the attitude, the dominant religions & their quarrels, the powers of possession, the pilgrim troop, journey & destination, the analogue of business cards that the pilgrims distribute, and so on. There was a momentary surprise to find an author so implicitly derisive of the Japanese culture & people to be aware of the Christian tendency to baptise any tradition to strong to be dismissed or daemonised.

The author appears sincere in investigating the psyche of the Japanese nation. Indeed he believes himself to have determined the origin of the possession ritual, as well as locating prehistoric religion / attitudes passed down through generations and lost to the confusion between Shintō, Buddhism and Ryobū. A confusion locals could only overcome by leaning on the author’s own strong, Western personality, to make explicit a certain ugliness of this book.

At times it reads as a tourist travel guide, it begins with the author climbing the Ontaké mountain peak, witnessing  a three-wheeling possession of monks. It discusses various attractions, with a tilt towards those favoured by locals instead of those most accessible by foreigners. & of course it mentions the cherry blossoms.

The last 100 pages or so are not worth the paper. I’d rather wipe with them to be honest. If you are interested in reading my words about his words about someone else discussing the mental processes behind difficulty in getting out of bed, you are a strange breed of ape. It is in these later pages where the authors racial pride really shows itself. I feel it has degraded my soul to read so many pages denigrating the Japanese. [To be clear, I believe there are inherited traits and do not favour a total Blank-Slate theory of human nature. A complex interplay of nature and nurture exists, of which this Mr. Lowell is occasionally aware.]

A Call For Violence, or, Mercy Killing.

A Call For Violence, or, Mercy Killing.
True justice being an eye for an eye, tooth for tooth, cruelty is more and mercy is less.

Mr. Sepp Blatter accepted a bribe, and because of that choice between yes / no, people (Bangladeshis & Pakistanis) have died. His own death, being singular, would be merciful.

His wealth, and the bribes more specifically, should be distributed between the wage-slaves he created. Without his ‘yes’, they wouldn’t be building the FIFA stadium in Qatar. Don’t get me started on the Qataris who funded the offer or corrupt officials who enabled the crooked process.

Slavery is an apt description, the Pakistani & Bangladeshi labourers do not have freedom of movement, some are beaten, some are killed. The wage they are paid is reduced by their overseers, without freedom of movement they must buy food at inflated costs, like how the Tuckshop used to be in Scottish Highlands.

If Mr. Blatter had said, ‘no’, they total suffering in Qatar would be lesser. His single death would be merciful, because his ‘yes’ lead to much more than one death.

All this leads should lead the Pakistani’s and Bangladeshi’s quite reasonable to resentment or hatred for ‘The West’.

Do you consent or dissent to this call?

P.S. Yes I do realise this is some years late.

2312

Goodreads review.

A grand space opera. The author writes for us, the readers, flights of emotion inspired directly from music, waxes lyrical about space, sex, death. AI ‘personhood’ is briefly skirted, a shadow looms large upon interplanetary civilisation. As for consistency with science, this work of fiction holds up alright, as much as I’m any judge. Full of ‘high culture’ this book is most rewarding to anyone peculiar enough to have memorised planetary geography or the relevant famous figures. Prepare for ‘SJW’ agitation!

How to build an asteroid habitat, called a terrarium here, is detailed. This eases the reader towards the sweet, fantastic indulgence of interplanetary travel. Pitfalls are avoided, to my frustration, the experience of gravity closest to the sunline is not written. Terraforming technologies are strung together in the brief chapters which jerk away from linear narrative. In regards to terrarium, this pre-emptively constructs the next destination and a frequent travel method. Terraform technology is advanced and had to be so because humans buggered up the climate in “The Dithering”. A critique of modern times. Regrettably the author does not use this opportunity to highlight the unique benefits of a benevolent dictator [climate is a global system, a singular executive is my preferred option for action], which offers clear benefits in 2312 due to additional supports absent to any contemporary wannabe.

Social affairs were hit-&-miss to the sweet spot. Economics are discussed in broad strokes. Observations of the narrative try to find a balance between modern criticisms and absent fantasy. There is a lack of personal devotion to a particular economic system, a ‘future-Objectivism’ would fit snugly into place. Race, is not a sticking point for any of the characters, such sticklers are probably unlikely to go on an adventure. However, there were frustrations. Surely an Indian citizen of earth; from an impoverished, violent, rapey, xenophobic community, would feel some degree of culture-shock on being transplanted, almost overnight without any anticipation whatsoever, to Chinese Venus? Not really no, not in 2312!
Describing a minor character as of indeterminate race from the view of a major character, is inconsistent to the fantasy. Either the main character cares about race, or does not. If the latter, and not a single main character has the slightest bias in this regard, then why would it be remarked upon in their inner dialogue? If it did matter, the main characters have discreet access to AI-assisted, Future Internet. Further, if it was instead a flight of fancy, a challenge to the personal, unassisted mind, than dark skin winnows a few of the potential races (i.e. Korean, Gaelic) from the pools of possibility.

Gender, is a similar kettle of fish. Personally, the writing was at times repulsive. There is an attempt to show repulsion of others sexuality as a human attribute (hermaphrodites / androgynous circle orgies are not repulsive, but some small people having sex with one big person is). The particulars are brief and bad. However, sex doesn’t strangle the space fantasy, nor is it a distracting spectacle to alleviate narrative inadequacies. The fit jarred me. The temporary failure of internal logic is powerfully frustrating to me. Again if physical gender is remarkable, and if someone is definitely not-male and not-female, it is not indeterminate gender, particularly not if the observer gave a damn to remark upon it. It indicates two genders as definitely absent.
A bit of the internal backstory though, does clear it up slightly. We, the reader, are exposed to a historical summation of longevity. In the same way that powerful social taboos about conception technology were overcome, i.e. abortion, devout Abrahammic religions & the general populace deviating from those moral codes, so to is our contemporary gender template overwhelmed by the what is offered by embracing, by act of intentional & specific creation, both crotches…

Finally, the AI. This is written with a sprinkling of quantum terminology; coupling, decoherence, potential states and more. Qube AI is not explicitly interrogated, implicit interrogation takes place, about the character of Jean Genette. I, for one, would truly like to read the future version of the Turing Test. It is a shame it was not explicit, perhaps it cannot be done adequately. At times Qubes are narrative tools used as literal Deus Ex Machina, the difficulty of imagining a story involving powerful AI without resolving the tension in a few verbal queries & commands must be recognised

Soft Colonialism & Chinatown.

Let me thrash out a certain perspective. Chinatown is a global phenomenon, ubiquitous to major cities & towns. Although to me they contrast most strongly when set against a non-Asiatic culture, that is a personal ignorance. To bind together all these disparate locations, expatriate culture has lead to the construction of similar architecture, food, language and semi-segregation. These are small, semi-independent colonies and are scattered across the world.

At times Chinese migration was directed by a foreign gold rush. Many Chinatown’s were founded by greed, similar to a lot of European colonisation (& Russian, & African, & Australian-Aborigine, and so on & so forth). Some Chinatown’s were created due to fallout from significant, contemporary events, which is seen after W.T.C. attacks in the U.S.A. caused a domestic migration from New York City to Montville, Connecticut. Nevertheless, greed via business seems to be a significant factor in all Chinatown’s and this is a concept with a lot of reach. Not only does greed motivate the founders of the colony ‘to boldly go where no Chinese has gone before!’, it is directly relevant to instances of negative action; legal targeting, insidious rumours, coolie-slavery, etcetera.

Discourse on colonialism is dominated by the European forms. These forms are distinct from a soft colonialism. They are characterised by much larger movements of people, greater technological inconsistency between the colonisers & colonised, seizure of power across a larger geographic area, seizure of power in deeper social values, a central authority responsible for the colony before its founding, and much more violence. These traits belong to a ‘harder’ colonialism. Frequently a colony will send some type of remittance to the homeland and resources are diverted from the local populace. These two traits are common to both ‘hard’ & ‘soft’ colonialism, although in the latter it is lesser.

Hopefully consideration of Chinatown’s as a soft colonialism will reform perceptions of colonialism into a broader category, enable realistic criticisms of certain modern nations and feed curiosity.

Fixed vs. Flux.

Our modern environment is a mixture of nature and artifice. Nature is in a state of flux, there has never been a fixed Garden of Eden, which is pertinent to discussions on the health of our shared, global environment. Only our artifice is mostly stable, but chaos would overwhelm our society if not for the constant maintenance of our various edifices. It is worth mentioning how a growing proportion of our societal energy is spent to maintain, which creates a certain tension as late capitalist society focuses much more on innovation. This is the same dynamic as the environment, simply reversed, as some members of the Green movement seek to maintain nature (due to an assumed responsibility) and prevent it from its chaotic natural progression.

To clarify the above statement, consider how concrete construction, let it be a massive retaining wall, that requires some precise calculations as would be performed by an engineer. This concrete engineer, to become qualified, must perform original research, a thesis. Now know that ancient Romans created and used excellent concrete 2,000 years ago. So there is a professional criteria of creativity, in a domain where consistency is far more important and novel concrete mixtures would consistently perform poorly relative to tried & tested methods. This pattern, of a project requiring a qualification which requires original research, repeats itself globally & often. As though each new concrete engineer is to break new ground, where great value could be found in maintaining the old turf. A similar patter, although with an additional category, is found in the medical industry where a doctor must develop the field of knowledge in some small way or else be unable to run a clinic, regardless of whether the clinic ever sees strange or new disease.

This friction, between a static and a changing state of affairs, whether maintaining our health or our buildings, diminishes society. There has got to be a better way. Within the international domain this dynamic pits community against community. Any newly discovered method of concreting or medicine, as a fundamentally required for professional qualification, will be within the ‘1st World’. If it is profitable, than the wealth created will be within the specific community of the developed world (although less tangible wealth, such as a longer life, will of course be shared.). So under-developed regions, which may be so due to historical contingency, such as the DRC, or perhaps due to a failed national project, such as if micro-processors in Taiwan & Korea became obsolete due to something new, these regions are consistently disadvantaged by the structure of the system. Beginning at a lower level of competition, they cannot afford high quality education & research, and so only buy the new shit from superior competitors, which in turn enriches competition and somewhat impoverishes the nation.

This same stumbling block, the dynamic of static against dynamic, impedes development of some environmental agendas. Sustaining the current balance of species; their approximate number, range of habit, geographic dispersion, diet, and so on, requires greater costs; pollution control & other waste management, restrictions on human activity such as new townships in virgin jungle, and, ultimately, demands civilisation devote not-insignificant resources to reversing the effects of civilisation.

Banana Republics & the CIA, or Why Communism Made Sense.

The phrase Banana Republic comes from a time and place (Latin America late 1800’s – mid 1900’s) where the banana company (United Fruit Company) was more powerful than the government.
 
The United Fruit Company board of directors included the head of the USA CIA. UFC tried to pay $2 500 000 to the president of Honduras, this corruption was exposed by a section of the US government separate from the CIA (when the left hand did not know what the right hand was doing the little man wins, isn’t big government nice?)
 
Other powers of the UFC included;
running the Costa Rican postal service,
preventing specific national governments (Guatemala) from distributing banana plantations to peasants to share in the lucrative international banana trade,
building an entire nations railway network and then destroying it when ceasing operations in the nation (Guatemala again),
inducing government to kill 100’s, perhaps more, of striking workers (Colombia).
 
This is why communism makes sense. To be honest, it is also why certain laissez-faire capitalism makes sense (assuming it fragments monopolisation). The truck system of early English capitalism (from the Franch troquer, perhaps linguistic origin of tucker and tuckshop) illustrates a similar communal-structural failing to that above, but on an entirely different scale.

To relate this to the contemporary ‘centre of the world’, Mr. Trump may reduce ties with the international business community, primarily by reneging on the preliminaries of the TIPP and other major trade deals. This will allow time for mundane individuals and organisations to scrutinise, to plan and to propose meaningful alternatives & developments. It seems unlikely that Mr. Trump will pursue significant actions against the major accounting firms which are the major players in the Panama Paper crimes.

What may also occur is world leaders, specifically Mr. Putin, outwitting Mr. Trump. I anticipate that within his presidency of the United States of America, a serious symbolic diplomatic accord with Russia is reached, but one which materially benefits Russia more than the USA. This is due to the greater cooperation between big business and government in Russia,see: Gazprom, although this is not entirely restricted to Russia as shown above or shown here. This accord could be the renegotiation of trade law or infrastructure across the Bering Straits.

Community Supports Cash.

*The quote above is precisely my impression of Ayn Rand’s approach to economics, that wealth is to be torn from the context, the community, which generated it and proper context would refute calls for generic free-market reforms from that school of thought.
Money works because the society it exists within guarantees the practically worthless banknote is figuratively valued. This community guarantee entails an expectation of community circulation, mainly but not exclusively in the form of taxation. Since the earliest times, when farmhands were paid in tokens representing a share in the final harvest, an trade-able tokens of abstract value have been consistently produced in various epochs and areas.

Theoretical economic systems understate the role of the community in the creation, circulation and valuation of currency. Ayn Randism, or Objectivism, as well as other schools of thought, reject an obligation between a currency and the community in which it circulates. Sweat off the brow is represented by the value token, and any coercive attempt at seizure is unjust. A fairer approach than that taken by Russian communism, where everything belongs to the community but nothing belongs to the individual, or an aristocracy, where everything is a gift from the Divine via the royalty. Nonetheless, there has got to be a better way.

Monopolies naturally occur, and laissez-faire economics do not address the problems monopolies cause, such as unfair prices and unequal competition. The Objectivist conception of the heroic person pursuing their own productive, noble agenda under the auspice of reason is better fulfilled by a system which lessens difficulties of competition. Putting aside serious discussion of how to correctly dispense taxation, I reckon that the Objectivist conception of the meaning of life is better supported by a State with purview beyond the prevention of coercion.

This is my current perspective on the economic system, founded on the concept of an abstract, trade-able value token or object. Communal recognition of the token is an essential feature. Precisely what is then entailed is in constant flux as theory and reality shift with time. Community is an essential aspect of currency.

Public Opinion, Soft Drink & Spectacle.

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organised habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.”
Edward Bernays

Public opinion is the most popular opinion if a survey were administered and the top results collected. It does not require a logical explanation, a position held may be arrived at by different approachs. It is this public opinion which democratic institutions should define and apply. It is this public opinion which advertising firms seek to manipulate for private gain.

Public opinion is not entirely free, nor entirely national. Restrictions on free speech vary from false advertising, to inciting riots, to threats. International opinions are beyond any single nation, and Earth Day is a demonstration of public opinion unrestricted by national boundaries. Attention given to dissent varies in quality and quantity, and this feeds back into public attitudes about the current state of affairs.

This ‘invisible government’ is not as coherent as it may soiund. Public health government  departments and Coca-Cola advertisers both influence public behaviour and opinion in effectively opposite directions. It is an scary world where the best & brightest in this field are more likely found in a private company than public service. That is where they are though, for good or ill.

The competition for the public attention is where the Spectacle proper begins. NYC regulations of soft drinks began a Spectacle which reached Australian shores and for good cause, obesity is a major health problem here & there. A major public health problem, treated with socially supported medicine, the cost of which can be assisted by taxation on the billions of profits of soft drink companies.

The then mayor of  NYC, a city 50%+ obese, sought to regulate and moderate soft drink consumption. The anti-soft drink aspect of the Spectacle expressed itself in forms of newspaper stories, talk show segments and billboards displaying health messages. The pro-soft drink aspect of the Spectacle manifested in the same forms but also could draw on the Spectacle of the brand. Brands which advertise as though a tropical getaway were taken with each sip, or at least when you feel like a holiday, sip that feeling away. Truly there are soft drink brands which are international, and these brands won (by constitutional appeal that government exceeded it’s authority).

Ability to influence public opinion is found much more in the private pursuit of profit than in public service. This dynamic, of pursuing a fantastic representation for a wage, elevates the Spectacle beyond reality. A company is better known by advertising than by the real conditions, and in pursuit of a sale companies (Fair Trade Coffee) advertise the real conditions, as though your purchase is needed to validate decent working conditions. Coca-Cola is not the company which supplied a cocaine infused tonic to the public, it is not the company which drained drinking water in poor, rural India, Coca-Cola is the Spectacle manufactured by the marketing department. It is global. It is not going away soon. There has got to be a better way.

“The Indian parliament has banned the sale of Coke and Pepsi products in its cafeteria. Indian parliamentarians should take the logical next step, and ban the sale of Coke and Pepsi products in the entire country.

The ban came as the result of tests, including those by the Indian government, which found high concentrations of pesticides and insecticides, including lindane, DDT, malathion and chlorpyrifos, in the colas, making them unfit for consumption. Some samples tested showed the presence of these toxins to be more than 30 times the standard allowed by the European Union. Tests of samples taken from the US of the same drinks were found to be safe.” – source