Thursday, February 28, 2013

The human condition

Grounding our situation in terms of our evolved predispositions for small-group hunter-gatherer lifestyles—and taking something maximally approximating anarchy as reflecting the default social-political expectation for humans—provides a way of framing the question that puts the onus on promoters of the state to demonstrate that it offers us something better than we had before the state came along and relieved us of the burden of autonomy.

The anarchist challenge is essentially this: is there a social-political design of any kind that can improve upon the evolution-supported default for the human species?

If "the human condition" is recognized as an abstraction, a conceptual place-holder for the condition of numerous unique individual persons, then logically, the answer has to be "no." There is no design that can improve upon the human condition as it relates to the expression of individuality and individual autonomy because autonomy is at a maximum under anarchy, and any systematizing of human relations necessarily involves a reduction in autonomy for someone.

[from Part 1]

Monday, February 25, 2013

Ethical oil?

Is that like Friendly fire?  Moral politics?  I’m afraid to ask what’s next. Gregarious drones? Cuddly nukes? Or, I know, "sustainable fracking."

I suppose once you have clean coal, ethical oil is the logical next step.

Friday, February 22, 2013

New book coming soon

From the prolog:

Seven or eight thousand years ago, early agriculturalists living in the fertile drainage valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers were struggling with a climate crisis. The spring rains that they depended on to kick-start their crops were coming later and later every year. In some years they didn’t come at all. Many folks were abandoning the farming lifestyle altogether, reclaiming their birthright as members of a nomadic foraging species, and moving to where antelope and nut trees and other sources of food were still prevalent and more predictable. Out of ingenuity or out of sheer desperation—or both—some of those who stayed behind began to reroute local runoff streams and to scratch channels into the clay to bring water from the river to quench their sunbaked fields. 

It worked. 

But the devil included something sinister in the bargain. The use of irrigation to coordinate, direct, and control the flow of water requires a corresponding ability to coordinate, direct, and control the flow of human labor power necessary to dig the ditches and man the floodgates. And a brand new technology was born, a kind of social technology that was inconceivable just a few centuries before: hierarchically organized systems of authority and power. 

Human history since then has been a protracted tale of the proliferation, repurposing, innovative expansion, and brutal application of these technologies of social control.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The addiction machine

According to a recent report, addiction to prescription pain medication is on the rise.  Deaths from opioid overdose are up again for the eleventh consecutive year. 

That can mean one of three things: there are more people in pain, the drugs are being made increasingly available, or the need to blunt the psychological impact of reality is becoming increasingly urgent.

I vote for the latter.

The question I have is why—of all problems that loom—should this be a major concern?  It seems like I can’t turn on the radio without hearing a PSA about prescription addiction.  Prescription opioid addiction is hardly a new phenomenon.  Why all the recent media hype?

It is interesting to note that the increased attention to opioid addiction corresponds almost exactly with the recent development of new pharmaceutical treatment options.


The pharmaceutical companies brew an addictive agent, push to make it readily available so that it can be overprescribed, and then: "Oh, by the way, we have these great new treatment drugs." 

No need to connect the dots here.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Mississippi bans slavery!

Apparently it was still legal in the state until 1995. And apparently some government wage slave forgot to file the paper work until just last month--jes caint git good help no mo.

13th amendment ratified in Mississippi.

Wait, isn't the 13th amendment the basis for the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission verdict that affirms that corporations have all the rights of biological humans?  Does this mean that until recently "corporations are people my friend" was true everywhere but Mississippi?  

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A medal of valor for those courageous drone pilots

The Distinguished Warfare Medal.  Seriously. You can’t make this stuff up.

Combat used to mean men (young, poor, gullible, and expendable men) armed with lethal weapons squaring off face to face in the name of some farcical abstraction such as god or country, or perhaps simply out of fear and ignorance.

Under the new definition, combat requires a five-year-old’s steadiness of hand and vacuousness of mind to vaporize a “target” (usually a brown person from some unpronounceable place—so who cares anyway) on a video screen by squeezing the trigger on a phallic-shaped joystick in the name of corporate profit.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

It's Monsanto all the way down

Let’s see if I got this right.  A small-time Indiana soybean farmer went down to the local grain elevator and bought some seeds. In his bag of seeds were some of Monsanto’s patented GMOs. The farmer planted the seeds and grew his crop and then—here’s where we see the farmer’s true evil intent—he saved back some of the seed from his harvest to plant the next year’s crop. 

Monsanto is screaming foul because the seeds he planted for the next year, despite the fact that they are a generation removed, have strands of DNA that Monsanto has a legal patent on.

A short slide down the slippery slope and Monsanto could argue that, because I grew up eating processed food containing soybean oil extracted from Monsanto beans, and because I have surely eaten my share of factory-farmed livestock that were force-fed patented Monsanto corn, much of my cellular structure has been built with patented Monsanto creations, making me and all the products of my cellular metabolism (including my paycheck) property of Monsanto. 

Yet another reason to eat Paleo.