In the May third episode of Real Time, Bill Maher defends gun control by arguing an armed population would be useless against tyranny by the US government, and implies such tyranny is a lunatic scenario anyways.
I have already debunked the usefulness of gun control in my book, The Progressive’s Guide to Becoming Pro-Gun, so here, I will concentrate on the specific subject of guns, tyranny and the US.
One of the first arguments Bill Maher makes is that the firearms of the Branch Davidian church in Waco where of no use to them, due to the overwhelming force of the federal agents. This shows a lack of knowledge of these events. When the ATF initially raided the compound, with a significant number, well armed and equipped (76 agents supported by 3 helicopters), the federal agents were forced to retreat, losing 4 in the gun battle. After 51 days, the compound was finally taken when it burned to the ground, with only 9 survivors. 76 died in the fire, 6 more had been killed in the initial stages of the standoff. It is interesting to note that 22 minors where killed in a gas operation initiated on the pretext children were being abused in the compound, an allegation later found to be false. What is obvious when the sequence of events is analyzed is that the Branch Davidians were not overwhelmed by the superior numbers, weaponry and equipment of the federal agents, they fought them to a stalemate. Obviously, in a community with children and elderly non combatants, exploiting this initial success through maneuver was not an option, and defense will always lose its initial tactical advantage over time. The Branch Davidians did as well as can be expected, holding back a numerically superior force from a wood framed, non reinforced building, with limited tactical capability and training, thus practically ONLY due to significant firepower.
He also argues organizing a rebellion is not possible, due to the technological capabilities of the US government, talking of getting “drone striked coming out of the Waffle House”. Well, the success rate of the drone program does make one worry for Waffle Houses, but not necessarily too much for aspiring insurgents.
Insurrections don’t need large scale participation, and they always fight forces deemed invincible. It is estimated that around 3% of American colonists participated in the Revolutionary War. As long as a large enough segment of the population (and 40% is usually enough) provides support, it does not take much actual fighters to win.
What truly alarms me is that most of the people who speak of insurrection are Right wing Conservatives, the same type of people who make up the majority of police and armed forces, while at the same time, people on the Left are talking about gun control and non violent protest. At this rate, the Left is basically handing over the US to the Christian Taliban on a silver platter. Don’t come crying to me when Rick Perry and Michelle Bachman’s faces are on the money of the 2nd Republic of the United States of America.
What worries me more is his insinuation tyranny is not something that can be realistically expected in the foreseeable future. I have difficulty finding ways to explain how we could NOT be living under tyranny now! Torture, assassinations, kidnappings, blanket-warrantless spying, suspension of pesky due process, all of these are signs of a government that has gone fully to tyranny. And what to say of ethnic cleansing, which is the only adequate description of the reality of the War on Drugs. The way it disproportionately alienates African Americans from mainstream society, be it voluntary or not, is criminal. It would earn any nation on Earth the stigma of systematic racial oppression. Compounded with the fact the War on Drugs is increasingly used to gather Black slaves to be used in the for profit private prison system is rather chilling. We can also look at the level of violence used to repress demonstrations, like the recent Occupy movement. The police today have a variety of “less lethal” tools, this allows them to use a large amount of violence without the unpleasant political consequences of casualties. Quantitatively, the police today routinely uses much more violence than what was used at Kent State, for instance, they just have the technology to make this violence qualitatively more palatable.
Can we even call them “police” anymore? What we saw in Boston was an absurd caricature of what we see every time there is a demonstration in my city, Montreal, these are not police, they are not peace officers, or even law enforcement officers, these are paramilitaries obediently carrying out arbitrary orders with no regard to their legality or the consequences.
But then again, tyranny is always great when you are not among the oppressed.
People like me are being labeled conspiracy nuts, but really, has anything verifiably changed for the better since
The 1933 business plot, investigated by Congress, found to be a genuine plot by leading industrialists to overthrow the US government and replace it with a Fascist inspired dictatorship?
Project Paperclip, the smiling face of which is German rocket scientists in NASA, but also includes disregarding war crimes in exchange for scientific work in the US for German and Japanese scientists guilty of gruesome human experiments (in the case of the Japanese doctors of unit 731, germ warfare experiments, including on US POWs)?
MK Ultra, the program to learn how to (among other disturbing objectives) erase people’s personality and replace it with a purpose specific one (run by, among others, German staff obtained by Project Paperclip), including experimentation on non-consenting psychiatric patients given massive doses of LSD, investigated by Congress in 1977?
Operation Gladio, where CIA run cells of Italian Fascists initiated terrorist attacks blamed on Left wing groups (not yet proven, but credible and under investigation)?
The Tuskegee Experiment, between 1932 and 1972, where the US Public Health Service deliberately denied treatment to 399 African American men with syphilis to study the progression of the disease, under the guise of providing them with free healthcare, 128 died, 40 spouses where infected and 19 children were born with the disease, with the PHS also deliberately infecting 696 Guatemalan subjects without consent?
COINTELPRO, the unlawful FBI program spanning from 1956 to 1971, when an FBI office was burglarized by militants, the program used tactics ranging from psychological warfare to assassination to neutralize or discredit left wing political organizations?
The CIA using the profits of drug trafficking in the US to finance Nicaraguan death squads (Kerry Committee report, 1989)?
And this is just stuff that has been officially acknowledged (except for Gladio that is still investigated, but the evidence is massive), that comes off the top of my head.
One guest on a previous show affirmed that “the ballot box is our only true defense against tyranny”. I have bad news for you if you believe that, this is the 60th anniversary of Arrow’s Impossibility theorem. This is the unchallenged mathematical proof that all voting systems where the choice that gets the most votes wins are incapable of representing the will of the People. The ballot box can’t represent your will, and the Constitution in unconstitutional, that’s not conspiracy theory, it’s math!
In many cultures, you can find myths similar to the Biblical tower of Babel. In these myths, the works (usually the building of a tower) of a united people are seen as threatening by the God or Gods. In order to terminate the threat to his/their power, the God/Gods divide the languages of the united people, making them incapable of working together.
Over the last few years, we have seen an effort to redefine and muddle the meaning of terms used to describe political orientations. Liberals, Progressives and the Left are now supposed to mean partisans of big government and the nanny state, the Right and Conservatives are supposed to be pro freedom. These definitions are very new, and they are designed to glorify previously unpalatable labels and discredit others. We need to understand what the terms really mean, or at least what they used to mean.
The Left-Right spectrum: This was initiated at the time where monarchy was weakening as an institution, it separated those who believed the monarch and hereditary aristocrats where inherently superior to commoners (the Right) from those who believed that all human are fundamentally equal (the Left). This spectrum divides people between elitists and egalitarians. Of course, there are many flavors of elitism, some more palatable than others. Various types of meritocratic visions at one end, racial and religious supremacists at the other. Obviously, there are also multiple ways to be egalitarian, at one end you have belief in universal access to education, on the other, you have Pol Pot killing anyone who makes anyone else feel less smart.
The Progressive-Conservative spectrum: Again, these are broad categories that can include very diverse and morally heterogeneous elements. A progressive, by definition, is someone who wants to change existing institutions. Feminists and gay marriage advocates are obviously progressives, but so are eugenists* (basically, Right wing Progressives). Conservatives are people who want to either preserve existing institutions, for instance gay marriage opponents, but also restore institutions to past forms, like French monarchists, or White supremacists.
Liberals: A family of political philosophies characterized by core values of Freedom and Equality. As we have seen before, there is significant plasticity to the concept of equality, there is also quite a bit of plasticity to the notion of freedom, based on the very wide variety of ideas of articulating individual freedom with social mechanics.
These definitions are still widely used and accepted outside the USA. In the USA, and to a lesser extent in the rest of the English speaking world, however, an Orwellian type of Newspeak redefinition of these terms was adopted. Under the properly established definitions, Nazism is a Right Wing Progressive movement (elitism and institutional reform). Today, in the USA, people will talk of Nazism as a Left wing Liberal phenomenon! In the USA, there are people who will tell you with a straight face that Civil Rights has always been a Conservative cause!
By making all important words mean polar opposites, all discussion becomes useless. If you want to bring any change to the economic system, you will be told you are anti-capitalist, and told extensively why that is bad. When you bring attention to the problems you want to solve, the same people will tell you being anti-capitalist is still bad, but the problems you are pointing out are not due to Capitalism, which they now want to convince you does not currently exist. With one breath, they will defend current institutions to defend Capitalism, with the next breath, tell you your argument is invalid because this is not Capitalism we live in!
We use language to give shape and coherence to the world. When language is deliberately made to strip the world of coherence, that is called Gaslighting. This is a psychological abuse method that aims to make the victim doubt their capacity to effectively observe and interpret events. Once convinced our observations and interpretations are always wrong, we must rely on the abuser to provide the world with structure and meaning.
*Eugenics: Organised genetic selection at the social scale, by preventing “inferior” or “defective” individual’s reproduction, or even larger scale planned procreation programs.
Petit cours de logique.
Observation 1: Il y a un problème d’obésité.
Observation 2: La majorité des personnes obèses mangent de la crème glacée.
Observation 3: Les personnes obèses qui mangent de la crème glacée ont besoin d’en manger un moins grand volume pour le même surplus de poids que d’autres aliments.
Faille logique 1: La crème glacée cause l’obésité. La commutativité ne s’applique pas en toutes circonstances, et « les personnes obèses mangent de la crème glacée » n’est pas équivalent à « les personnes qui mangent de la crème glacée sont obèses »
Observation 4: Dans certaines régions, on rationne, voir même on interdit la crème glacée.
Observation 5 : Dans ces régions, on observe souvent qu’il y a moins de personnes obèses qui mangent de la crème glacée.
Faille logique 2: Réduire la disponibilité de la crème glacée réduit l’obésité. L’intuition, particulièrement si on croit à la faille logique 1, suggère que si la consommation de crème glacée est réduite, le taux d’obésité baissera. La réalité statistique est que le taux d’obésité dans les juridictions ou la crème glacée est restreinte reste constant ou augmente. On observe aussi une augmentation notable du taux de personnes obèses qui mangent des Doritos.
Vous aurez probablement compris que ceci est une analogie relative au contrôle des armes à feu. Si vous doutez de l’argument de la constance des taux d’homicides, vous pouvez consulter les statistiques du Royaume-Uni, ou le taux d’homicides a continué d’augmenter au même rythme, malgré la réduction du taux d’homicides avec armes à feu. Le même phénomène peut être observé au Canada. Vous pouvez consulter la table CANSIM 253-0002 de Statistiques Canada. Observez bien la période entre 1974 et 1985, ou la réduction des homicides par armes à feu (sous l’effet du « Firearms Act » de 1972) est entièrement remplacée par des homicides avec des couteaux. Il est aussi intéressant de noter que toutes les lois ultérieures (1991 et 1995) n’ont eu aucune incidence, ni sur le taux d’homicides, ni sur le taux d’homicides avec des armes à feu. Une recherche des statistiques sur les homicides avec armes à feu et avec des armes blanches en Australie montre aussi cet effet miroir parfait, quand on réussit à faire baisser la disponibilité des armes à feu, les gens qui désirent commettre des meurtres ont tout autant de succès avec des couteaux. Après cet argument, on me parle alors de l’efficacité des armes à feu dans le contexte des tueries, en oubliant que, bien que ces incidents soient des grandes tragédies personnelles pour les gens affectés, ce sont des incidents statistiquement insignifiants. Des maladies dont votre médecin n’a jamais entendu parler causent plus de décès que les tueries. Il ne faut pas confondre ce que les médias offrent comme divertissement macabre et des véritables enjeux de société.
La conclusion réaliste, c’est que la seule variable véritablement opérante, c’est le taux d’individus qui désirent en tuer d’autres. Tout le reste, c’est des distractions.
Another tragic event, another blame frenzy. Guns, videogames, TV, antidepressants… Everyone wants to exploit the public sensitivity and the media attention to advance their pet agenda.
Let me tell you a little story.
In the early 80s, I was that kid who wanted to murder most people he knew.
I was at the time severely depressed, and while it is difficult to tell now, those who knew me back then would not have needed to be rocket surgeons to figure out I have Asperger’s syndrome. If anyone had known anything about Asperger’s back then, that is. So in the early 80s, I was just weird, and creepy. As a weird, creepy kid with asthma and no physical competence, I got bullied a lot. Mix adolescence, bullying and depression, you get one angry kid. I am certain that a lot of bullied, depressed teenagers get mass murder fantasies without being on the autism spectrum, but here is where I think the combo can be problematic.
“Neurotypical” people’s behavior is strongly driven by social norming, thoughts and desires must pass the filter of social acceptability before they become actions. A neurotypical person will not pick his nose if he thinks others are watching, in many cases, you will need to explain the how and why of this rule to someone with autism, for instance. An autistic person will act based on the intellectual relevance of doing something, a neurotypical person will act based on the social acceptability of doing something. Thus, if an autistic person’s intellectual process is hijacked by the mechanics of depressive thinking, centered on hopelessness, he may not have the built in functions that would prevent acting out.
So, in a child, teenager or young adult, if you see the combination including social awkwardness, being a victim of whatever kind of continuing abuse and depression, this is a situation you want to act upon ASAP.
If you personally feel trapped into a situation where violence is the only way out, believe me, I get it. I remember how the colors of the walls of my school hurt my brain, the harsh unpleasant constant noises, the flickering fluorescent lights no one ever changed, the revolting textures of the clothes my mother loved so much, the itchiness, the constriction around the neck and ankles, the feeling of the shoes crushing my feet. And the smells. That was the baseline of sensation, even before the insults and the hitting would start. I remember the uncaring dismissive attitude of the staff when I complained about the insults and the beatings, the droning of the teacher’s voices that my mind could never hook onto. The constant, nonsensical, irrelevant, useless, petty demands from family and staff. And I remember the hate I felt for almost everything and everyone…
It might seem trite and unrealistic now, but it does get better, I know if someone told that to me then, I would have thought they are full of crap and added them to the “to kill” list. But like a cold, depression runs its course and one day you wake up and it’s not there anymore. The stupid, unhappy kids making your life miserable will for the most part grow up to be stupid unhappy adults you never see again. I learned to cope with the sensory-physical aspects of autism, it is a bit of work, but it can be done. I learned to understand how neurotypicals function, and that they are generally quite predictable if you know what cues to look for. 30 years down the road from that dark and angry place, I look back at a life where I did lots of interesting varied stuff with different levels of success, a life of freedom and excitement most people envy.
And that’s something you can have too.
This is obviously a very large subject, condensed here for readability. Feel free to contact me for clarifications or with any questions, and obviously, if you need any assistance on this matter.
Comme tous les 6 décembres, le lobby du contrôle des armes à feu va employer son monopole d’accès aux médias du Québec pour passer son message, sous le prétexte d « honorer les victimes ».
Mais ni les armes à feu, ni le sexisme, ni la folie ne sont vraiment responsables des morts de 1989. Ce qui est responsable de ces morts, c’est le rejet, pratiquement une prohibition, de l’âge adulte dans notre société. L’enfant délègue la responsabilité des questions graves et sérieuses, alors que l’adulte prend cette responsabilité. Et en décembre 1989, quatorze humains, faisant face à la certitude d’une mort imminente, n’avaient pas les ressources psychologiques et physiques pour prendre la responsabilité de cette situation grave et sérieuse pour eux et leur communauté.
La notion ridicule de majorité automatique à un âge arbitraire force une culture ou l’ « adulte » doit être traité comme un enfant, car rien n’a été fait pour s’assurer qu’il ait les capacités d’assumer les responsabilités qui sont impliquées. Le lait caille t-il spontanément quand la date d’expiration arrive? Absolument pas, différents cartons vont cailler à différentes dates, plus ou moins proches de la date prévue. Mais il y a plus à l’âge adulte que l’expiration de l’enfance, on peut très bien ne plus être un enfant sans pour autant être digne de la confiance qu’on peut donner à un véritable adulte. Il est aussi déraisonnable d’accorder sa confiance à une personne simplement basé sur la distance de sa date de naissance que de servir n’importe quel caillot retrouvé au fond d’un carton de lait périmé, avec des raisins autour et une coupe de vin, et d’appeler ça du fromage.
Rien n’a été fait pour faire de vous un véritable adulte, en devenir un est une responsabilité que vous devez prendre vous-même. Vous devez trouver vous-même les ressources intellectuelles, émotives et physiques afin d’être prêts à prendre vos responsabilités quand les choses sérieuses et graves arrivent. C’est seulement ainsi qu’on honore les victimes, c’est seulement ainsi qu’on assure que ça n’arrive plus. Pas en déléguant la responsabilité à d’autres, mais en étant prêts à la prendre nous même.
There is a current in Feminist thought that is currently trending that gives me cause for concern. You can find an example of it in this article: http://sodisarmingdarling.tumblr.com/post/34106027759/what-its-like-being-a-teen-girl . The article is very good, but it concludes with this trend that worries me. Basically, the argument is that since abusers (typically male) are responsible for abuse, encouraging women to take measures to prevent abuse, like learning situational awareness or self defense, equates to blaming the victims and is sexist.
Obviously, there is an abuse problem, there are issues in our culture relative to perception of women and what behavior is appropriate towards them. There is work to do to change this culture. Much of this culture is directed to men, and consequently, much of the work should be directed towards them. That being said, there is a current context that women must address.
Freedom does not free you from the physical constraints of your environment, and currently, the physical environment of women involves people who have abusive behavior. Any cultural effort will take time to show its effect, and will only affect individuals who might be abusive because of culture. It will not affect individuals who are likely to be abusive because of mental illness. Thus, no matter how successful a cultural effort may be, it will take time to cause actual change, and will only cause change in a subset of current abusers.
All humans need to know situational awareness and self defense, because there will probably always be, regardless of culture, a proportion of humans that will behave abusively to others and some of them will use physical violence to satisfy their impulses. On top of that, immigration and travel will probably continue to expose us people that may not yet have been affected to our cultural efforts. These are the physical constraints of our environment, and freedom cannot free us from this any more than it can free us from gravity.
An aggressor is responsible for his behavior, certainly, but you have a choice between taking responsibility for your safety or not. Is freedom something you think comes from you being in charge of yourself, or something you feel is a gift you are entitled to from society?
Just because I like pissing people off.
There is talk of “privilege” for straight white men, I don’t think this is the case, what straight white men have should be enjoyed by all, and straight white men would lose nothing if this was the case. Even opportunities currently denied other demographics would not be lost by straight white men if they were equally enjoyed by others, for opportunities means more people using their potential, which in turn creates more opportunity. Obviously, that does not mean other demographics are not often denied dignity, security or opportunities, there are many unfortunate aspects to our cultures that will benefit from continued effort in this regard.
Certainly, much of the absence of disadvantage (rather than an actual advantage, which indeed would be a privilege) straight white men enjoy is due to lingering absurdities of culture, but today, I want to talk about one thing we, straight white men, actively do that actually contributes, I think, positively to our disproportionate success. The briefest way to describe it is, we are interested in non straight white males.
Other demographics are fascinated by themselves, their experiences, their issues, their identity; it is a source of endless debate and interrogation. Straight white males find this very interesting, much more interesting than the experiences, issues and identity of straight white males. You are unlikely to find a university class on the straight white male experience. You will find classes on the experience, issues and identity of Africans, Asians, natives, women, gays and handicapped people, just to name a few. In the class on African identity, you will find mainly people of African descent, and straight white males, in the Asian experience class, people of Asian descent, and straight white males, in the women’s identity class, women, and straight white males. You get the picture. Same thing with bookshelves, you are more likely to find books on a large variety of demographics in the bookcase of a straight white male, and you are more likely to find a lot of books on another specific demographic on the shelves of a person of that demographic.
You are probably more likely to find an expert on a specific aspect or period of Chinese history in a European or North American university than in any other university, except in China. You are also probably more likely to find someone who speaks an obscure African dialect among straight white males than in any other, non African demographic.
Aside from the tiny fringe of homophobic sexist white supremacists, you will not find stupid straight white males interested in the history, experiences and achievements of specifically straight white males, they will be interested in beer and football.
The era of straight white male dominance will truly be over when I can sit down and listen, as a Peruvian Inuit rights activist discovers the similarities and differences between the Inuit experience and that of Andean natives from a Togolese expert on civilizations from the Andes.
When we are unsatisfied with our lives, we need to determine the cause of the insatisfaction. This cause may be internal. Our own behavior, driven by inadequate attitudes and perceptions may be causing the undesirable outcomes we experience. This will be true in the vast majority of cases, thankfully, correcting behavior, attitudes and perceptions is a rather well studied matter. A sizeable industry has grown around this, unfortunately, in this area, you will have to wade through a significant quantity of offerings, from sound professional advice to well meaning charlatans, all the way to outright scammers. All of them tend to have cult like followings (look at Tony Robbins, NLP and the Secret to know what I mean). Good luck.
The typical cycle of a revolution is replacing mentally ill destructive people with people who have made themselves mentally ill to overthrow them, ultimately becoming destructive themselves.
I am a professional student of violence, my area of interest and knowledge is external causes. By external causes, I mean situations where your insatisfaction will be caused by the actions of others. We must understand that we exist in a state of interconnection with others, what we do affects them, what they do affects us. In basic game theory, you can classify three types of interactions
Zero-Sum: A zero-sum interaction has a winner and a loser, one has +1, the other -1. A casino is a good example of zero-sum interaction. The casino sells the dream of becoming rich, people voluntarily bring their money to the casino to try and win this dream. A tiny amount of people do win, most leave with nothing, the casino keeps a significant share, gives out the rest to clients on a randomized basis. What the casino has, it took from clients, what winners have, they took from the casino. Nothing is lost, nothing is gained, nothing created or destroyed, just moved around.
Negative-Sum: A negative-sum interaction can be represented by pillage. Raiders come to your town, steal your food and valuables, and burn your house down. In this case, the net result is destruction, there is less of whatever we are counting at the end of the process.
Positive-Sum: A positive sum interaction concludes in a net benefit. A plant can have 50 seeds on it, I can eat 49 and plant 1, and the result will be another 50 seeds or I can plant 2 and have 100 seeds. A teacher spends an hour educating kids, this hour will enhance every hour of all the kids in the class, these are examples of positive-sum outcomes.
You may find ways to prosper in any of these types of conditions, certainly. Can anyone prosper in zero or negative sum conditions? Perhaps. Can everyone? Absolutely not, zero and negative sum conditions MUST have losers, the only way to prosper in them is to make sure the losers are other people. Even if there are ways to profit and prosper in such situations, it has to come through harming others.
When given a choice between receiving harm or causing it, the only truly reasonable and sustainable choice is changing the conditions, to move away from zero or negative sum interactions to positive sum interactions.
That means changing the behavior of other people.
But how do we do this?
Let’s start at the beginning, with the real nuts and bolts basics, systems.
You are a system, the environment you live in is a system, the interactions people have with each other are systems.
What do systems do? They receive, process and emit information. Be aware, in this definition, information is anything a system receives, processes or emits, even if it is physical or tangible. You go to the movies, you receive sounds and images, the way you process them determines the thoughts and feelings you experience, and then you may emit some of this information as you discuss the film with others. But the same model also applies to the air you breathe, you receive it, you process it you emit it (transformed), or the food you eat, or any physical thing you consume, as well as anything we more traditionally would call information.
In any exchange of information, first you will have encoding. That may be the choice of words and tone when you speak, or it may be the physical and chemical properties of something physical. In the case of information moving from one person to another, the encoding is a voluntary process that may or may not be carefully thought out and deliberate, in objects, the encoding happens automatically from the natural properties of the object.
Then, you have transmission, moving the information from the sender to the receiver. There are two very important concepts in information transmission, bandwidth and noise. Bandwidth is the speed at which the information can move. For instance, how fast my brain can interpret images, or how short zeros and ones can be in an electrical wire yet still be differentiated from one another, or the speed at which chemical can react with one another, based on the contact surface, the temperature and the presence or absence of catalysts. Noise is the ability of the signal to move undistorted from the sender to the receiver. If the images I am looking at are close by, or if they are behind a dirty window upon which other images are reflected, or how the heat in the wire knocks about electrons that muddle the difference between my zeroes and my ones, or if my chemicals are in a clean tube, or one filled with impurities.
Then, you have decoding. This is the process by which the information affects its receiver. It can be a physical event, like a ball bouncing after hitting (exchanging information with) the floor, chemical, or it can affect the state and/or behavior of people.
Information transmission can be either efficient or resilient. Efficient transmission seeks to move the information around at a minimal cost in bandwidth. Compression is what an efficient system seeks. Resilient transmission seeks to move information around at a minimal cost in loss of information integrity. There are two methods to make a transmission resilient, the first is redundancy, sending the same signal multiple times, the other is variety, sending the same signal many ways, having a picture and a description, for instance.
Any system, be it a person, a society or a rock will exist in a state (not meant in the government sense, here), and this state will require a continuous exchange of information within itself and with it’s surroundings to continue. The person needs a sustained intake of oxygen, water and nutrients, and these must permanently be processed and moved around. A society needs everything the person needs, multiplied by the number of people, the rock, at the very least needs constant heat from it’s surroundings, and the effect of gravity to maintain it in its current state.
That was pretty boring, right?
But let’s compare what understanding this allows us to do compared to what our culture and education has given us. Culture and education has basically given us two models of conflict resolution:
1-Hit them until they stop moving, and your problem is solved.
2-Be kind and polite and considerate, and they will come around to your side.
How’s that been working out for you?
With any problem you may have, you must first understand the system it exists in, and the subsystems involved. It does not matter if it’s the relationship with your significant other, the office politics at work or the global political-economic system, you need to understand how you encode the information you send to it, how the information that is transmitted through the system moves, what that information is, what is the bandwidth and the noise it is subjected to, how it is decoded, how it encodes the information it sends you, and how you decode it.
Take your time, read that over a few times. Your goal is to change the state of your relationship with a system from zero or negative sum to positive sum. To change the state of the system, you need to change what information moves through the system, or how the information moves through the system.
This is what is called strategy. Strategic objectives are carried out through tactics. Tactical actions with or without a clear strategy is the difference between demolition and vandalism.
Once we have analyzed our target system and devised a strategy to carry out in order to change it to a state more agreeable to us, we must select tactics. There are 3 main families of tactics, non-violent, soft violence and hard violence.
There is only one non violent tactic, it is the appeal to reason. With the appeal to reason, we seek to convince individuals to alter their behavior, changing it from something that sustains the current system state to something that is more to your liking.
Soft violence is basically everything that is currently called “non violence”. Why use the term “soft violence” instead? Because it is actually a use of force, a use of violence. When you use fear or pain to change behaviors, you are using violence. When you go on strike, when you set up a boycott, when you publically shame people for certain actions you deem unacceptable, you seek to cause pain or fear in your target, and thus are using violence.
There are significant advantages to soft violence over hard violence. The main one is the difference between the two. The brain recognizes certain things as violence, and has very strong emotional reactions to it. Actions that cause death, physical injury or loss of personal property will cause the human mind to react and empathize with the victim, we are programmed against intra-species violence. It is much more difficult to obtain support for hard violence because of this, and the traditional means to obtain this support (dehumanizing the targets) should be distasteful for most readers. Second, because we are programmed against using intra-species violence, most people will not be capable of using hard violence without significant, time consuming and expensive training. This training, as well as putting it to use, is likely to inflict psychological injuries. The typical cycle of a revolution is replacing mentally ill destructive people with people who have made themselves mentally ill to overthrow them, ultimately becoming destructive themselves. There are people who can use hard violence without harm to themselves, but they are rare, and at least half of them are not people you want to deal with.
Thus, soft violence is an excellent tool to apply fear and pain to target groups and individuals, it can be used without psychological harm by most of the population. Remember, however, the tools of soft violence are tactics, and tactics must be chosen to support and accomplish a strategy. Actions must be carefully targeted and planned, as well as carried out with discipline to achieve maximum effect. They must be viewed, planned and executed as military operations.
Hard violence will sometimes be needed. In some systems, a tiny part of the population exploits the vast majority. In such cases, isolating and excluding the minority can be achieved exclusively with soft violence. In other cases, like in tribal societies, the division comes between sizeable groups, and loyalties may be impossible to dissolve. In such cases, hard violence may be inevitable. Other cases may include conditions where a minority group is being exploited or cases where the system uses large scale force to destroy resistance. Sometimes, events can be precipitated by a small, careful application of hard violence.
Again, these tactics must, at all times be carefully thought out and executed with the sole objective of furthering the strategy.
This is a small introduction to a much more ambitious text I’ve been working on for a while. It will go in much greater depth on the subjects of types of information circulating in human systems, modes of transmission, vulnerabilities and the specifics of applying force to them. I am looking forward to comments and suggestions.
Il y a quelques jours, Richard Martineau publiait une chronique intitulée « l’âge des extrêmes ». Avec son talent habituel pour dissocier la grammaire de l’intelligence, il s’inquiète de voir l’extrémiste, le délinquant et la transgression prendre de la place dans l’imaginaire, et, évidemment, car il n’est pas très intelligent, il démontre qu’il est incapable de comprendre le pourquoi de cet attrait.
Nous vivons dans un monde ou l’âge adulte est interdit d’accès. Il n’est plus possible, depuis bien trop longtemps d’être responsable de nous même. L’après guerre et l’après dépression ont vu la montée des mouvements social démocrates et leur objectif tout à fait louable de prévenir l’abandon des plus faibles à un sort cruel. Malheureusement, ceci s’est fait au prix de traiter tout le monde comme les plus faibles à protéger. Nous sommes maintenant contraints de déléguer à des « experts » des décisions qui relèvent du sens commun, et nous devons dissimuler notre talent et nos ambitions afin de ne pas froisser ceux qui n’ont pas les mêmes capacités. Nous normalisons, et plutôt que de travailler plus fort pour faire monter le bas et le milieu, on fait baisser le centre et on plafonne le haut.
Puis, nous avons crée une culture du standard et de l’homogénéité. Il fallait être ISO, mais maintenant, ISO, c’est pas assez platte, il faut être 6-Sigma, il faut obséder sur le fini de surface du boulon poche et documenter la cause de toutes les différences. Le résultat n’est pas pertinent, le boulon peut être merdique, tant qu’il est merdique de la même façon que tous les autres boulons, 999 999 fois sur un million. Ce qui compte, c’est le processus, que tout le monde ait une tâche spécifique, dont tous les aspects sont documentés, et que seule la personne assignée à cette tâche soit autorisée à l’accomplir.
Puis, nous avons développé une obsession pour la sécurité, les coins doivent être ronds, et mous, la surface antidérapante, porte ton casque, tes genouillères, assure toi que tout soit aux code, aux normes. On n’avait plus le droit d’être un adulte, de prendre nos propres décisions, maintenant, c’est la naissance qui nous est interdite, sitôt sortis de l’utérus biologique, nous devons immédiatement être insérés dans un utérus social qui nous protège de la vie. C’est sûr, statistiquement, l’évènement qui râpe le genou de 100 000 enfants va probablement en tuer un. C’est horrible pour lui et sa famille, mais bien moins horrible que ce que nous faisons aux 100 000 autre pour lui sauver la vie, ce que nous nous faisons tous. L’éducation, la vraie, c’est la qualité et la quantité des traumatismes dans notre vie. Il n’y a plus d’éducation. C’est pas grave, nous n’en avons pas besoin. Consommer-travailler, c’est tout ce que nous sommes autorisés à faire, et l’éducation est remplacée par le conditionnement au travail, et le conditionnement à la consommation.
Les zombies, c’est nous
Et tout d’un coup, on voit des choses « extrêmes », des gens qui cherchent à se faire vivre des expériences au-delà de ce qui est autorisé, des gens qui essaient à la maison ce que les experts leurs ont dit de ne pas essayer. Des fois, c’est descendre la pente de la tour du stade en skateboard, des fois, c’est manger la face d’un autre itinérant. Des fois, c’est même raisonnable et sensé. On ne sait plus faire la différence, parce qu’on a perdu la carte du monde à l’extérieur de l’utérus géant ou on vit.
Mais je les salue, je vous salue tous, explorateurs de ce vrai monde qui nous appartient de droit
Et je vous remercie, pour vos découvertes dans lesquelles on pourra vous suivre, comme pour vos erreurs qu’on aura pas besoin de refaire.
Yesterday, I was playing around with the concept of burgers, which is something I enjoy doing, and has earned me the title of burger engineer from Marie-Lynn. The day before, we had some brochettes that included physalis, a small yellow-orange fruit I was used to eating raw. Physalis have a nice mix of sweet and bitter flavors, but the character was changed in a very surprising and pleasant way by grilling. This experience started me thinking about making a condiment for a burger, sort of a cooked salsa or chutney, based on cooked physalis. I wanted to balance the bitterness, in the brochette, this came from the sweetness of the onions and peppers, in my chutney, I chose to have shallot, ginger, garlic, corn and a little bit of pineapple that happened to be on the counter. Caramelized the lot, adding the ginger and garlic late to avoid burning.
Setting the chutney aside, I prepared the bread part which, for the occasion, was made of grilled cheese sandwiches, provolone, strong aged cheddar and some slices of cooked bacon for depravity. Meat, in this case was pretty standard, store bought pork-veal-beef, seasoned with pepper, Worcestershire sauce and some horseradish, grilled on a striated pan.
Result was surprisingly light and summery, something that will not feel like a rock in your stomach on a hot day, yet I found the chutney too bitter, by a small margin, and was under the feeling I would need to rework the recipe. I ate one and a half, Marie-Lynn half of one. Tonight, I went to eat my other half, and found Marie-Lynn had eaten it, leaving me with her half She, I discovered, puts relish in her burgers, a condiment I usually shun. Yet in this case, the relish suddenly balanced out the chutney, allowing the whole structure to come together brilliantly. I thought she was being overly nice when she told me it was delicious the preceding evening, but with this slight addition, all the flavors where suddenly identifiable, the cheeses, the meat, the ginger and garlic. The physalis retained their bitterness that gave the light and pleasant feel to the whole, without the feel I had the day before that some random leaves from the park had been added, not bad, but unbalanced. A fun simple burger for hot days, with relish.