No Authority

People don’t actually read most internet articles.  They read the headlines.  Maybe they skim the article.  Then they sound off on their opinion in the comments.  Quite often, these opinions end up in an online battle akin to the ferocity of the American Civil War.  Everyone is right and everyone is wrong and the article is irrelevant.  Why is this?  Why do people do this?  The first inclination for me is to blame the desire of Twitter versions of all information.  People want their information in 44 characters or less.  But I don’t think that’s the totality of it.

I spend days (sometimes weeks or months) writing most of the things on this website.  I have limited ads because they break up the continuity of the writing.  I want the focus to be on the writing itself, not the layout.  That said, most people don’t read this website because my writings are too long.  I know this.  That’s fine.  I just cannot condense complex concepts into 100 characters.  Things are really just far too complicated.  But I think this issue is much broader than just this website.  Or just online articles.

Yesterday I wrote about the rise of neoliberalism and how it desires unemployment.  The implications of neoliberalism are much more far reaching than just simply desiring unemployment.  Neoliberalism creates it’s own hegemony.  What I see today is the insidious side of neoliberalism.  So, yes, I am going to claim that neoliberalism is the reason people don’t read articles or have thoughtful conversations about issues (on or off social media).  The core of neoliberalism is the focus on the individual and the dismissal of society.  In this way, the dismissal of all authority has a core causality stemming from neoliberal philosophy.  To be clear about my fundamental claim here:  The denial of all authority is not counter-hegemonic but the result of neoliberalism.

Leaderless2-e1377004531845We have seen the rise of “social movements” that profess to be “leaderless.”  There is a current epidemic in the dismissal of all authority.  The claim of this decade, maybe this new century, is that by smashing the concept of hierarchy, we are smashing the dominant, social hegemony.  This is incorrect.  The dominant hegemony is one in which every individual is their own authority.  By claiming there is no hierarchy that can be legitimate, we are supporting the neoliberal idea that ‘markets’ and that economic systems should be unregulated and that there’s no legitimate authority.  That government has no role in contributing to society.  I’m going to argue here that this has become one of the dominant themes of our social conception of the current era. Continue reading No Authority

Neoliberalism Desires Unemployment

Neoliberalism as a topic has seen an increasing emergence in contemporary discourse, especially in the United States.  It is a topic that had seemed to disappear in the previous several decades.  I stumbled upon a pretty good article on the interweb about the shift from Keynesianism to neoliberalism in the 20th century:  From Keynesianism to Neoliberalism:  Shifting Paradigms in Economics.  I feel it’s pointless to rehash the entire essay, as it was well done.  But I do want to go over what neoliberalism really entails.  I find many just do not understand the term.  The Marxist perspective is only used here as a means to examine the root functions of capitalism.  (To make this clear from the start:  The following is not a Marxist discourse.)

580px-EffectOfTariff.svgIn simple terms, neoliberalism is an economic policy focused on neoclassical economic theory, that privileges free trade, deregulation, privatization, and reducing government spending.  Neoliberalism is typically associated with the Chicago and Austrian schools of economics.

The theory behind neoliberalism is fairly simple:  markets will regulate themselves (and everything else) through supply and demand.  Neoliberal economics have expanded from a theory between free trade between polities into an all encompassing theory of society.  The neoliberal idea is that a “free market” (with lack of regulations, government intervention, and increased privatisation) will create an equilibrium.  The prevailing idea within neoliberalism is that capitalism is the ultimate equalizer: Everything will find an equilibrium with a completely free market, capitalist society.

The neoliberal perspective claims that capitalism deplores waste.  Waste is seen as a loss of capital.  This is the primary reason why neoliberalism is seen to find an equilibrium within society.  Waste is the loss of a resource that could otherwise be utilized to produce more capital.  Capitalism, after all, is about the accumulation of capital.  This isn’t necessarily a judgment.  There’s no normative argument here.  It just is what it is.

It is also important to elaborate that “profits” in capitalism are really “unpaid labor.”  If an employee earns W from their employer, their work for that employer produces profits (P).  So, the net profit (N) for an employer from an employees labor is P – W.  (P – W = N)   Continue reading Neoliberalism Desires Unemployment (P – W = N)

No SWEAT Pledge

Mike Rowe has a “Sweat pledge” he launched not long ago.  I’m working on a full response to Mike Rowe’s reactionary, anti-working class rhetoric guised as pro-working class rhetoric.  In the meantime, I’m posting the first draft of our No Sweat Pledge.

N E E T

Sighed Effects’

No S.W.E.A.T. Pledge

(Slavery Will Eat Away Temperament)

1.  I believe that it is wrong to look down upon others that may live in another place.  I do not think I am better than others because of their lineage or their nationality.  It is the character of a person that I judge and not their nationality or ancestry.

2.  I believe that all people are entitled to life and liberty.  All humans are entitled human rights and structural inequality is wrong.  We have a duty as a society to provide equal access to opportunities for all individuals.

3.  I believe that having a job in order to live in this society does not define me, or those around me.  The occupation of any individual does not necessarily reflect that person, even if they have a bad job.  Until all persons are guaranteed equal opportunity and access to all positions of employment, I accept that sometimes people have to take jobs they dislike.  I accept that there are jobs that exploit the worker and these are “bad jobs.”  I also accept that, in a capitalist system, all employees are exploited by their employers.

4.  I will do my best to follow my passion.  I will also accept others that follow their passion, as long as their passion does no harm to others.  I recognize that it is a wonderful thing for a person to be able to sustain themselves whilst doing something they enjoy.  I will also not resent others who are able to do this whilst I may not have that opportunity.

5.  I deplore debt but understand that it is often the inevitable result of capitalism.  I will never look down upon those who are indebted in a system that privileges the wealthy.  I accept that debt is often a means to an end.  I also accept that debt is relative.  Even in this society, debt that is lower than income is not a problem.

6.  I believe that everyone has the right to be given basic safety precautions.  Employers that do not provide safety for their employees are directly responsible for any harm that comes to those employees.  Any employer that knowing risks the lives of their employees, or does not adequately protect their workers from harm, has committed a crime against those workers.

7.  I believe the best way to distinguish myself at work is to do the best job possible.  I also accept that a person with a bad job should not care about being distinguished, as this job is just an effective means of survival and does not define them as a person.  If people do not wish to be distinguished in their job, I understand it is because they do not feel valued by their employer.

8.  I believe the most horrible sounds in the world are the cries of the oppressed and the screams of the disenfranchised.  I will always complain for them and with them.  I will never rest until these sounds cease.  If someone complains about the complaints of inequality and oppression, I will politely ask them to silence their complicit approval of suffering.  I also accept that all oppressed people have the right to complain about their oppression.  I will never remain silent, or even give tacit approval, to any form of discrimination.  As long as any other human being is being denied liberty, I am not free.  Their cries are my cries.

9.  I believe that education should be available to everyone and that anyone who seeks it should be able to obtain it.  I believe that education should be free for those whom seek it.  I also believe that an educated population is a better population, but I also think adults should be free to choose their educational path.  I also understand that self-education is not always the best and the accumulation of knowledge through generations is one thing that makes humans quite unique.

10.  Even though I may feel I am uniquely a product of my own choices, I understand that many are subjugated to a lack of choices due to forms of discrimination and/or oppression.  I will never blame someone else for being a victim of discrimination or oppression.  I will also continuously stand up for those whom have had their choices limited.

11.  I understand the world is not fair, but that does not mean we should not strive towards a more noble goal with a more equitable system.  I do not resent the success of others and I do not resent the cries of the oppressed.  I also understand that when those things that are unfair are human constructs, there is no reason not to believe that we cannot alter them to be more equitable.

12.  I believe that all people are created equal.  I also believe that all people make choices when they are able.  Some people choose to work their butt off.  Some choose to sleep in.  I choose to only work hard for a noble cause.  I will never work hard to make someone else profit from my labor.

On my honor, I hereby affirm the above statements are a direct response to a narrow worldview.  I promise to never willingly sweat for a person exploiting me.

Signed____________________________ Dated____________________

A 'real man' doesn't hit a woman

Try as I might, I cannot stop writing.  I find myself engaging in debates on social media as much as I struggle to just discuss It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia and jokes about poop.  I cannot avoid vocalizing my opinions on popular topics, typically resulting in arguments that have me questioning my own opinions.  So, here I am again.  I’m just going to keep writing and if only ten of you read it, then that’s fine.  The topic of today is the response the White House gave over the Ray Rice incident.  If anyone is unaware:  Ray Rice is an American football player that was seen on a surveillance video punching his then fiancé and dragging her unconscious body out of an elevator.

“The President is the father of two daughters. And like any American, he believes that domestic violence is contemptible and unacceptable in a civilized society,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement.

“Hitting a woman is not something a real man does, and that’s true whether or not an act of violence happens in the public eye, or, far too often, behind closed doors,” the White House statement added, saying that stopping domestic violence “is something that’s bigger than football.”

That’s all well and good, but I want to parse the initial statement made by President Obama because I find it especially problematic.

I’m going to point this out here, instead of at the end, because I think it’s important.  I am in no way trying to excuse domestic abuse or violence against women.  Domestic abuse is a serious problem and is intolerable in any civilized society.  Similarly, violence against women is a serious problem that we have in our society.  It is contemptible and intolerable as well.  There is no rational defense for violence against women or domestic abuse/domestic violence/et al.   Continue reading A ‘real man’ doesn’t hit a woman

荒谬

confused-cat-is-confused This is all really just pointless.  Focusing on American socio-political issues and trying to discuss it islike trying to explain physics to a house cat.  No one really cares.  No one even wants to understand. Well, there are a few people, but they already do understand.  Preaching to the choir is pointless.

So, I’m off to discover something meaningful.  Something that will provide fulfillment.  Maybe I’ll collect Hello Kitty merchandise.  Or I’ll dress up like Pikachu and give out free hugs in the park.  Whatever it is… I’m done with all of this nonsense.

And no, I’m not going to vote for your candidate.  I’m not going to sign your petition.  I’m not going to support your protest.  I’m not going to endorse your idea.  Everyone needs to realize that it’s completely and totally pointless.

10624811_776870275690108_8622698554672519844_nMore to the point:  I don’t feel there is any hope for the United States.  Racism is as bad as it ever was…  much of the country looks looks like South African Apartheid.  There’s no point in talking about liberty… most of you don’t take the time to actually read anything about liberty, but just wish to believe it means you can do any fucking thing you want.  There are no real jobs.  There are no decent wages.  Enjoy your nice things that you cannot afford.

Majority of you just want to maintain the status quo and hope things improve.  Here’s the thing:  The world moves forward whether or not you do, so not moving forward is moving backward by default.  Enjoy your slide backwards… I’m going to join the other 95% of the world.

Be on the look out for my kawaii blog.  Or my blog about smart phones.  Or maybe I’ll blog about blogs.