Saturday, June 17, 2017

Libertarianism and Immigration

The concept of "immigration" is fundamentally absurd, and the contradictions such terminology brings about due to the existence of States makes it a contentious issue for libertarians.

The libertarian position, as I see it, entails no possible position on "immigration," because immigration is a state-based concept. If there is no state, there can be no immigration, only traveling people. In a world with states, this traps the libertarian into taking a position on a fundamentally statist idea. Open borders, managed borders, and closed borders are all statist concepts.

The question ought not be whether the borders should be open, and I think no libertarian should take a position on whether they ought. Rather, the libertarian should recognize that if all property were private, then immigration policy would not exist as a concept at all.

"Refugees" would only come to such a place if they could survive there on their own, or if they had a sponsor supporting them. In either case, the likelihood of extremist behavior from "immigrants" would be drastically reduced due to either their self sufficiency or the increased scrutiny for which a sponsor would be held liable. Today the State as sponsor is held liable for nothing.

Additionally, since security would all be provided privately, there would be more security with greater firepower in closer proximity to any events that did occur. Private security is highly visible because its purpose is deterrence, and in an unhampered market would have the tools to handle whatever is necessary due to being held liable for failure.

However, there does not seem to be any possible peaceful solution, given the current social conditions of universal statism.

Ludwig von Mises points out that in a society under the conditions of democracy and interventionist ideology, there exists an endless civil war between cultures and nationalities inside of a cosmopolitan state. While in democracies this war is conducted through political means for peaceful power transfers, the conflict still exists as each special interest or nationality attempts to gain control of the state. This is not only to protect itself from other nationalities, but to impose their views on others. It is a natural instinct of man to desire maintenance of his way of life and to resist change.

Mises' analysis is purely positive, meaning he does not offer any normative arguments, nor does he offer any policy prescriptions. He merely analyzed the social conditions in a society where there exist many different cultures and nationalities, and pointed out that there will be problems with such a society under interventionist and welfarist ideologies.

He also points out this antagonism would exist to some extent in a purely laissez faire social system. It appears, at least to me, to be an unavoidable and irreconcilable conflict, interior to social units. Therefore, social units composed of voluntary arrangements will result in the most possible people living under their desired "policies."

This does not help us, today, however. Under the current conditions of statism, the likely best solution to immigration problems is ending the welfare state, and ending international wars. Immigration, illegal, legal, and refuge seeking are symptomatic of the disease.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Holy Fuck, the E3 2017 Devolver Digital 'Press Conference' was a Thing of Fucking Beauty

First, some background. I love Devolver Digital -- their style, the kind of hyper-violent, hyper-mature (immature?) or just generally bizarre, over-the-top games they publish. The music you often find in their games is simply sublime. More generally, they just don't give a fuck. They don't seem to hold back on anything -- and I love it. They know a great indie game when they see it  -- games big publishers wouldn't or couldn't touch with a 10-foot pole due to either some of the themes broached or just the riskiness of a project. In the end, they pull games into their line-up that seem to consistently reflect a certain, shall we say... je ne sais quoi?

This guy's face from Hotline Miami 2 may as well be Devolver Digital's face

Some of my personal favorites are games like Hotline Miami and Hotline Miami 2: Wrong NumberMother Russia Bleeds, Shadow Warrior and Shadow Warrior 2, Gods Will Be Watching, Strafe, OlliOlli 2, and The Talos Principle. There's quite a bit more that I haven't played, too -- they've got a pretty sizable catalog for an indie publisher, but it continues to grow every year, and they rarely miss the mark. Most of their games look like they came out of a time machine from the 80s, inspiring a wonderful bout of nostalgia, especially from us millenials. Of course, this is either part of the charm and the draw, or 'retro' is just an excuse for small or single-person development teams to get away with shitty graphics. In any case, I think they look quite beautiful, and they often implement gameplay mechanics and/or styles that are original, innovative, and just refreshing. Since big publishers are far less likely to take many risks on this kind of content, Devolver Digital fills a very important void.

Mother Russia Bleeds is extremely fun, albeit completely insane

This week began 2017's annual Electronics Entertainment Expo, also known as E3, where some of the biggest publishers and developers showcase the exciting new projects they've been working on. Unfortunately, I found most of it to be a bit of a let-down, even though you could sift through it all and find some gems after scraping down into the bottom of the barrel.

Buying an E3 Time Slot to make the Equivalent of a 15-minute Shitpost

Enter Devolver Digital, with a highly unexpected 'press conference' of their own, which immediately piqued in me a sense of morbid curiosity. What in the hell would their press conference be like? How many games would--could, a publisher 'like this' showcase? They're not swimming in money like Bethesda, Sony, Microsoft, and Ubisoft, so the production value will likely be complete and utter shit. How 'clean-cut' would they be in an E3 culture where a big-publisher CEO or PR guy maybe saying the word 'fuck' is seen as 'edgy', but also kind of encouraged to say it -- only in small doses?

Well, I have to say... I was not disappointed. In Sun Tzu's The Art of War, you learn to recognize strengths as potential weaknesses, and how to turn weaknesses into strengths. If you're small, use guerilla tactics and create a perception that you're bigger than you are. Create some confusion and engage in psychological warfare. They did all this and more, and they clearly had a lot of fun with it. They go after everyone -- there were no sacred cows. Gamers, developers, publishers, 'hip-with-it' PR guys and CEOs, the press, commenters (!), and even the fucking audiences during these displays -- no one was to be spared.

I often use the phrase, "If you're gonna be a bear, be a grizzly," and Devolver Digital decided to take this concept right to 'Level 3'.  In their case, it goes, "If you're gonna be a bear, be a coked out, LSD-tripping, rabid bear, experiencing an increasingly psychotic episode in the last moments of its life." Oliver Stone could have plopped this right in the middle of his movie, Natural Born Killers, and anyone watching wouldn't blink an eye.

I won't provide more spoilers than that, because you deserve better, and I've already said too much. Just watch, and enjoy. You'll laugh. You'll cry. More likely, you'll probably just have nightmares.

seems legit

Of course, the games they did showcase look pretty great, too. I've been especially looking forward to Ruiner for a while. The Swords of Ditto and Serious Sam: Bogus Detour games both look like pretty fun couch co-op. I don't quite know how I feel about it, yet, but Absolver looks like an interesting hand-to-hand online fighting game in the vein of For Honor.

Keep up the good work, Devolver Digital. You're doing God's Work, and this 'press conference' was a moonshine-infused cherry to an otherwise anticlimactic E3.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

In Nomine Tantum: Hitler's '25-point Plan', 'Four Year Plan' show that 'National Socialism' was just as Socialist as it claimed

Old Nazi pastimes like institutionalized book burningsmass-censorship (public and private), and other such forms of information control of anything that wasn't in absolute lock-step with propagating National Socialism, 'German purity' or other such concepts are historically well-favored and effective tools in socialist regimes. Even Nazi extermination camps actually used the Soviet model as a template. Nazi SS Official Rudolf Höss, the architect behind the infamous Auschwitz concentration Camp, found himself inspired:

The Reich Security Head Office issued to the commandants a full collection of reports concerning the Russian concentration camps. These described in great detail the conditions in, and organization of, the Russian camps, as supplied by former prisoners who had managed to escape. Great emphasis was placed on the fact that the Russians, by their massive employment of forced labor, had destroyed whole peoples.[1]

You simply don't find this kind of stuff in capitalist systems. Of course, if you call these out as some examples of the socialist personality of Nazi Germany on social media, you need only wait mere moments before some rando Defender of Socialism rears his or her head to jump on the opportunity to claim that the Nazis and Nazi Germany weren't actually socialist.

The go-to talking point for progressives, socialists (or do I repeat myself), and SJWs is that Nazism was only nominally socialist for the purposes of the Nazi propaganda machine -- that it was actually a kind of 'capitalism run amok', or 'radical capitalism merged with the State'. While the Nazis and Dr. Joseph Goebbels, notorious as the Minister of Propaganda (and widely recognized as an ardent leftist) were, unfortunately, indeed masters, if not forerunners of modern propaganda -- the reality of Nazi economics reflected much of what their propaganda claimed.

Personally, I'm entertained by the bouts of mental gymnastics that these authoritarian 'leftists' engage in when they try to rationalize their cognitive dissonance the first time they hear about Hitler's and the NSDAP's '25-point Plan'. Interestingly enough, most of these 'true believers' in socialism seem unfamiliar with the actual policies and economic systems underlying the Nazi economy.

Note... I have highlighted socialist policies in red, particularly socialist ones in emboldened red, and the most egregious, arbitrary and murderous socialist polices in underlined and emboldened red. The rest range from more general to nationalist to radical nationalist policies.

The '25-point Plan' and Platform of the NSDAP
  1. We demand the unification of all Germans in the Greater Germany on the basis of the people's right to self-determination.
  2. We demand equality of rights for the German people in respect to the other nations; abrogation of the peace treaties of Versailles and St. Germain.
  3. We demand land and territory (colonies) for the sustenance of our people, and colonization for our surplus population.
  4. Only a member of the race can be a citizen. A member of the race can only be one who is of German blood, without consideration of creed. Consequently, no Jew can be a member of the race.
  5. Whoever has no citizenship is to be able to live in Germany only as a guest, and must be under the authority of legislation for foreigners.
  6. The right to determine matters concerning administration and law belongs only to the citizen. Therefore, we demand that every public office, of any sort whatsoever, whether in the Reich, the county or municipality, be filled only by citizens. We combat the corrupting parliamentary economy, office-holding only according to party inclinations without consideration of character or abilities.
  7. We demand that the State be charged first with providing the opportunity for a livelihood and way of life for the citizens. If it is impossible to sustain the total population of the State, then the members of foreign nations (non-citizens) are to be expelled from the Reich.
  8. Any further immigration of non-citizens is to be prevented. We demand that all non-Germans, who have immigrated to Germany since 2 August 1914, be forced immediately to leave the Reich.
  9. All citizens must have equal rights and obligations.
  10. The first obligation of every citizen must be to productively work mentally or physically. The activity of individuals is not to counteract the interests of the universality, but must have its result within the framework of the whole for the benefit of all. Consequently, we demand:
  11. Abolition of unearned (work and labour) incomes. Breaking of debt (interest)-slavery.
  12. In consideration of the monstrous sacrifice in property and blood that each war demands of the people, personal enrichment through a war must be designated as a crime against the people. Therefore, we demand the total confiscation of all war profits.
  13. We demand the nationalisation of all (previous) associated industries (trusts).
  14. We demand a division of profits of all heavy industries.
  15. We demand an expansion on a large scale of old age welfare.
  16. We demand the creation of a healthy middle class and its conservation, immediate communalization of the great warehouses and their being leased at low cost to small firms, the utmost consideration of all small firms in contracts with the State, county or municipality.
  17. We demand a land reform suitable to our needs, provision of a law for the free expropriation of land for the purposes of public utility, abolition of taxes on land and prevention of all speculation in land.
  18. We demand struggle without consideration against those whose activity is injurious to the general interest. Common national criminals, usurers, profiteers and so forth are to be punished with death, without consideration of confession or race.
  19. We demand substitution of a German common law in place of the Roman Law serving a materialistic world-order.
  20. The State is to be responsible for a fundamental reconstruction of our whole national education program, to enable every capable and industrious German to obtain higher education and subsequently introduction into leading positions. The plans of instruction of all educational institutions are to conform with the experiences of practical life. The comprehension of the concept of the State must be striven for by the school [Staatsbürgerkunde] as early as the beginning of understanding. We demand the education at the expense of the State of outstanding intellectually gifted children of poor parents without consideration of position or profession.
  21. The State is to care for the elevating national health by protecting the mother and child, by outlawing child-labor, by the encouragement of physical fitness, by means of the legal establishment of a gymnastic and sport obligation, by the utmost support of all organizations concerned with the physical instruction of the young.
  22. We demand abolition of the mercenary troops and formation of a national army.
  23. We demand legal opposition to known lies and their promulgation through the press. In order to enable the provision of a German press, we demand, that:
    1. a. All writers and employees of the newspapers appearing in the German language be members of the race;
    2. b. Non-German newspapers be required to have the express permission of the State to be published. They may not be printed in the German language;
    3. c. Non-Germans are forbidden by law any financial interest in German publications, or any influence on them, and as punishment for violations the closing of such a publication as well as the immediate expulsion from the Reich of the non-German concerned. Publications which are counter to the general good are to be forbidden. We demand legal prosecution of artistic and literary forms which exert a destructive influence on our national life, and the closure of organizations opposing the above made demands.
  24. We demand freedom of religion for all religious denominations within the State so long as they do not endanger its existence or oppose the moral senses of the Germanic race. The Party as such advocates the standpoint of a positive Christianity without binding itself confessionally to any one denomination. It combats the Jewish-materialistic spirit within and around us, and is convinced that a lasting recovery of our nation can only succeed from within on the framework: The common good before the individual good. (Gemeinnutz geht vor Eigennutz). Has also been translated as "The good of the State before the good of the individual."
  25. For the execution of all of this we demand the formation of a strong central power in the Reich. Unlimited authority of the central parliament over the whole Reich and its organizations in general. The forming of state and profession chambers for the execution of the laws made by the Reich within the various states of the confederation. The leaders of the Party promise, if necessary by sacrificing their own lives, to support by the execution of the points set forth above without consideration.

It's extraordinarily clear that there is not a single capitalist policy in their platform -- quite the opposite, actually. I count 13 to 15 policies out of the total 25, making more than half of the total platform of the NSDAP anywhere on the spectrum from 'socialist' to "holy shit, that's murderously socialist". Sans the nationalist and racist flavor added in to these policies, avowed socialists and, ironically, 'Antifas' the world over would absolutely cheer at such proposals. They would see such a rising, popular platform as a harbinger of incoming 'Social Justice'.

Netflix cancels 'Sense8' -- Oh, gosh, gee, golly, willikers... How could this have ever happened?!

Netflix describes the show on its main page as, "From the creators of "The Matrix" and "Babylon 5" comes this tense series in which eight people can telepathically experience each other's lives." Oh, is that all it is? Sounds like some great science fiction! I loved The Matrix, it's one of my favorite movies! I've never seen Babylon 5, but I've heard good things and it's rated very highly, even on imdb! So, hrmmm.... I wonder why Sense8 was cancelled?

Oh... so whichever Sense8 character I 'am', I'm the pan-sexual one. Got it.

Well, it probably didn't help that the show insulted the intelligence of its viewership by actually being nothing more than a thinly-veiled SJW, gay and trans propaganda piece -- and this is coming from someone who supports gay marriage and the right for anyone to be gay or trans. It presented itself and was marketed as something it, well, wasn't. The vast majority seemingly wanted sci-fi, not gay/transgender sex scenes, at times with trying-too-hard, 'shocking', ahem... elements, no less. And 'to the extent that it was' what it claimed to be -- that was the thin, albeit highly transparent, insulting, preachy veil.


Now, yo dawg, I heard you like propaganda, so I put propaganda in your propaganda, so you can propagandize while you propagandize

Seriously, though, if you're not as familiar with the show, here's a positive propaganda piece on the propaganda of Sense8. I suggest reading the whole article to get an idea of 'the masterpiece' that you missed, but here's a snippet...

While each of the characters can be sexually attracted to anyone, they may not find themselves romantically attracted to everyone. Instead, the sensates might identify as being interested in the opposite (heteroromantic) or the same (homoromantic) gender, and even two (biromantic), all (panromantic), or no (aromantic) genders. 
Sense8 seems to be going to infinity and beyond in its exploration of how attraction and sex function as part of the human experience. So, why shouldn’t it go one step further? Not only do the sensates create an opportunity to expose general audiences to an often ignored, unexplained, and underrepresented sexual orientation, but they have a serious chance to introduce the public to another aspect of attraction. 
It also creates a win-win scenario in terms of the series LGBTQIA representation. We live in a culture that frequently presents us with negative or less than realistic portrayals of gay and lesbian characters. In come Lito Rodriguez (Miguel Ángel Silvestre) and Nomi Marks (Jamie Clayton), two sensates whose personal development is literally as good as—if not better than—their perceivably heterosexual counterparts.

My eyes are rolling into the back of my head.


Look, there's nothing wrong with having gay or trans characters in your show. It can mix up the characters a bit and possibly insert a necessary dynamic for your story, but don't do it in a way that compromises said story or condescendingly preaches to your viewership, especially if you're already coming from a political fringe, all while claiming that you're something you're not. You've got to be more subtle, more sophisticated than that. Instead, we're treated with little gems like this one, right in the first episode of this 'sci-fi' series... 

"Hey, kids, you like science fiction?! Family movie ni--OH MY GOD"

No one I've known would ever consider me a prude, but that was... jarring, considering. Kinda sets a different tone, guys.

No one watching a show for entertainment likes being preached to, apart from overzealous activists who live and want to live in a bubble. Naturally, those are the ones who came out engaging in all sorts of slacktivism about its cancellation -- and likely, these types were pretty much the only ones who stuck with it, why viewership was so abysmal, and why it was cut off at the knees after only the second season. Of course, regardless of all of the protesting, petitioning, tweeting, blogging, and threats of account cancellations and boycotts by SJWs, "Netflix Apologizes to Viewers: 'Sense8' Is Still Canceled". Oh, well, then. It's almost as if Netflix is a for-profit company fueled by revenues from viewership as opposed to being powered by SJW slacktivist screeching! Who woulda thunk it, the folks at Netflix know pretty damned well what they're doing.

'House of Cards' is not at all this kind of #LGBTQIABBQ%+ propaganda, but most certainly has interesting, important gay characters and is a great example of how to do them the right way. Of course, I think the issue is that 'House of Cards' is actually meant to be and works out as an interesting, well-made story. 'The Wachowskis', on the other hand, set out to make little more than a propaganda piece all along, where a sheen made of slivers of an otherwise potentially good sci-fi story gets wasted and marred by being tightly spread over a rotten core of SJW propaganda and just-for-the-sake-of-it-sex.

Sorry, 'The Wachowskis', but it seems The Matrix Trilogy (more emphasis on the first movie) and V for Vendetta signaled the beginning, the height, and from there the very rapid and steep decline into Cloud Atlas, Jupiter Ascending, and now, Sense8.