Tag Archives: ethics

Hip Hop & Freemasonry video

Someone sent me this video the other day. I thought it was sort of interesting, so here’s the response I threw together,

I watched that youtube video – it didn’t seem like it said all that much, though I did find interest in the point about how the idea of visualization like in The Secret, ‘visualize success’ type of thing fosters an attitude that allows us to not care about others because we think their problems are because of their own thoughts. I didn’t get the whole Bill Gates thing and the idea that Planned Parenthood is some kind of racist conspiracy. That seemed like quite a stretch to me. I don’t see how responsible reproduction and parenting could do anything but help the black community.

I don’t know about all this secret society thing — I suppose its all possible but I don’t think there’s any reliable way to come to conclusions about them, and ultimately I think if these secret societies exist that are controlling everything, it’s more of a symptom of deeper problems in the human psyche and society. If the people in these secret socieities weren’t there, someone else would just take their place. I think the root of the problem is people’s general desire to control and to be controlled.

Why Most Americans Support Terrorism

I went to a restaurant the other day where about half the employees were wearing shirts that said, “God is good, all the time”. I immediately thought, well gee, what about the 9-11 terrorist attacks–that was certainly done in the name of God, so was that good? Are they saying they support that kind of thing?

(I also thought, well, what about Isaac Zamora, who murdered a woman in the name of Jesus on the front lawn of the house where I grew up; what about that lady who drowned her four children in the bathtub to save them from going to hell about ten years ago; what about the religious cults that hold themselves up with their stock of guns; what about my friend who jumped off a bridge because Jesus told him he could fly; what about Ted Bundy’s father, who taught him the ways of violence and caused his family to regularly fear for their lives and happened to be the deacon of their church and a highly respected religious figure? I thought about all these things and more, but for the convenience of this entry, I’ll just talk about 9-11.)

So was 9-11 a good thing, according to the people who believe that “God is good, all the time?

I think, deep down inside, the answer is yes. Sure if I were to ask one of these people directly they would make up excuses and say things like “that’s not really God” or “that’s the devil who does stuff like that”, but it doesn’t change the fact that the people who crashed those planes on 9-11 truly and deeply believed in God and were truly doing it for Him. Ultimately, most people who truly believe in God and think religion is a positive thing would rather live in a world of terrorists than one filled with atheists. Even after all these horrible things that happen in the name of God, atheists are still seen as the bad guys.

The reason for that, I think, is simple. Atheists are freaking boring.

Think about watching the movie Saw, where the bad guy was raised in a good home and taught love and respect and never grew up to kidnap and torture people. That would have been one boring movie. Think about all the times you’ve seen an accident on the side of the road and slowed down to gawk and gotten that little rush inside, that sense that something truly interesting and exciting had just happened? Those things make us… I’d say happy, but it’s not happiness exactly. It’s a sense of excitement, a sense of being alive.

When we watch a horror movie, we are disgusted, horrified, we think, gee whoever made that is truly sick and twisted, but we rarely say, “I wish that movie had never been made.” We’ll still say “That was a good movie; that was fun.”

The same is true for things like 9-11. People talk about how evil the terrorists are and how they deserve to go to hell and how we need to go to war with them, and all sorts of other nasty things about them, but the one thing I’ve not heard a single person say in the last ten years is, “I wish 9-11 never happened.”

The only real difference between 9-11 and a good horror movie is that we have such a hard time admitting that we enjoyed it. Admitting that would put a damper on our drive for vengeance. It would dilute our anger and take away that evil enemy that we love to hate. It would confuse our motivations and cause us to question our own actions. So instead we hide it away at the same time that we are feeling it so intensely.

The sad truth about human nature is that war and death is fun and exciting. To me this is most evident in our television advertisements for the US Military. They show us all these fancy weapons, and say “this isn’t science fiction” and make it look like you’re in this hot action flick. They don’t talk about it as being a necessary evil that must be done to keep the peace. They portray it as being fun.

I personally believe this is the root of most of our wars, military and criminal justice. People don’t go into the military or become police officers because they want to make the world a better place. That may be what they say out loud, but it’s not the true reason. Deep down, they either love their jobs, or they slowly become “bleeding heart liberals” like myself and realize what they are doing is wrong.

But that is only a percentage of the population, maybe %60, maybe more, maybe less. I think part of the problem is that many of us “bleeding heart liberals” don’t understand that lust for blood, action and excitement and never recognize it as being a driving factor in our decisions. We have this ignorant belief that everyone wants world peace because we can’t imagine wanting anything else. The fact is that a huge proportion of the population does not want peace because it’s boring.

I think God is a huge contributing factor to this blood lust. If God exists, why would He possibly want us to be peaceful? What interest could that hold for Him?

So when a person wears a t-shirt saying “God is good, all the time” they might as well be wearing a shirt that says, “I support 9-11, Ted Bundy and Isaac Zamora.” It’s not much different on an emotional level than wearing a Nightmare on Elm Street t-shirt. I just wish we could admit it.

Meat.org | The Website the Meat Industry Does not Want You to See

Meat.org | The Website the Meat Industry Does not Want You to See.

This site has a seriously crazy video on the homepage that I just had to share. The most shocking thing I’ve seen since the scene in Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution where none of the kids could recognize a vegetable. To me this video is an example of how capitalism drives industries of all kinds toward cruelty. If it weren’t for the profit margins driving these industries and the laws protecting them from all the furious and horrified people out there, these kinds of scenes wouldn’t occur.

I was thinking, isn’t it funny how many parents shield their children from the concept of death, sometimes even lying to them about the death of their pets. In my favorite show, Kid Nation, there was an episode where the kids killed a few chickens for dinner and I read later about the fact that some people found this controversial, like kids shouldn’t have the right to have a real understanding of what they’re eating and learn proper respect for the animal. At the same time we’ll feed them meat from these factories without telling them about the cruelty they are supporting. Sure it’s not traumatizing, and the parents don’t need to go through the effort of talking to their kids about it, but I wonder what it does in the long run to a kid’s ability to feel compassion in general when they grew up ignorant of and unable to do anything about the cruelty they themselves are committing.

What is a web browser? What is a car?

Some time ago I received an email sent to the development team in my office linking to a highly disturbing YouTube video created by Google. This is it below:

“Less than 8% of people who were interviewed today knew what a browser was.” This is in Times Square, and most of the people in the video seemed to be internet users.

This is equivalent to 92% of the people driving down the freeway not knowing what a car is.

Many of these people have kids on the internet, or are banking on the internet or are voting on technology related issues. Our computer systems are being designed around the 92% of the population who are wandering blindly. Imagine how efficiently things could run if users were expected to have the same basic education we expect from automobile drivers.

Imagine being a 16 year old going on your first drive with your dad and he sits down in the passenger seat and says “Okay, now put your windshield wiper in the gas tank and your foot on the motor oil,” and have him expect you to understand what he means.

If you know the difference between a web browser and search engine and the difference between a CPU, a hard drive and a computer, do me a favor. Next time someone asks you what kind of car you drive, tell them AM/PM or Chevron and make them explain the difference between a gas station and a car. Maybe then they will understand our pain. 🙂

For those who have no idea what I’m talking about here’s a basic explanation of the difference between a search engine and web browser.

Gone corporate – anarchist in corporate america

Well, I actually went corporate years ago, but now I’m moving up again in the corporate world. I got hired on full-time at the agency where I’ve been working the last six months. Before this I was making more money than I felt I deserved, and now I’m making even more, plus a whole complex package of benefits.

I also get to do something I love, which is sitting in front of a computer coding fancy little user interfaces and dynamic animations for websites and banner ads.

I used to tell myself that I would never work for a major corporation, and it might seem odd that a devoted anarchist would have his own phone extension and company business card. As much as I complain about how society works I’ve found that making the best of it can build a pretty comfortable life.

I’ve realized in the last half-decade that anarchism isn’t about fighting back against the way the world works. Sometimes you need to deal with it and make the best of it. I don’t believe I’m going to change anyone’s minds by working in a kitchen the rest of my life or make any notable difference by going off the grid though I used to believe that I could.

The more corporate I become and the farther I climb up through the middle-class, the more confident I become that the whole system is skewed and unfair. I see people in the drive-through’s, working twice as hard as I do for a fraction of the pay, doing something that isn’t nearly as fun. I feel bad about that sometimes, like I’m just exploiting society and giving less back than someone who washes dishes… though I suppose you could argue that I am building things that people use and in my own tiny way, I’m pushing the bounds and expectations of technology, but the people making the WordPress plugins that do so much for this site are doing the same thing to a greater degree, and they’re not paid anything.

Most people in the corporate world are not programmers who actually build something. Instead, their jobs involve pushing money around in one form or another. In an anarchist society, all that time and energy would either be going toward making the world a better place, or toward leisure activities like spending time with family.

I still love the corporate world for my own selfish reasons. Without it I wouldn’t be able to order sushi or fancy espresso whenever I wanted. I suppose that as an anarchist that does make me a hypocrite, but I’ve decided that it’s better to be a hypocrite than to not care. As an anarchist, I would like to see a world where everyone on the planet could order sushi and fancy espresso whenever they want.

Guilty without Evidence – Modern witch hunt

The other day I heard someone talking about a time when he was on a jury. He said, “It was one of those cases where we all knew he was guilty but just couldn’t find the evidence.”

This frightened me because everyone else seemed to nod as though they know the situation… but I’m wondering how is that even possible? If you don’t have evidence, isn’t that just a modern witch hunt? During the real witch hunts, the persecutors felt every bit as strongly that they were right.

Do people just look at someone and see their cold-hearted expression and simply decide that they’re guilty?

I can think of a lot of situations growing up where a teacher or babysitter would think I did something and decide I was guilty based on my facial expressions or inability to defend myself verbally; and they were wrong every time.

The problem is that there are certain people that just look guilty, who have that guilty persona about them… quite frequently they are guilty of something, but not of what you think they are. I think I may have been one of those people growing up. I always felt as though I was doing something wrong, but I didn’t know what. I wanted to be a good person; I wanted to follow the rules, but every once in a while I would get in trouble for something I didn’t understand, or something I flat out didn’t do, and it made me bitter, angry and scared, which showed up in my face and body language, confirming for everyone that I was guilty.

Bus Tunnel Beating – Yet Another Reason to Embrace Anarchism

The other day in my post about the IRS I mentioned that sometimes it seems like every day I find another reason, piled on top of my already endless list of reasons, to be an anarchist. Today was no exception.

I noticed a couple times a headline about a Seattle bus tunnel beating. Normally when I hear the word ‘beating’ I think police brutality, but the front page didn’t mention that, so I thought, “Well, gee maybe this will be the one time where the authority figures are not the bad guys.”

Reading on, however, I discovered that the authorities had been present at the beatings, in fact three of them stood and watched as a fifteen year old girl was violently beaten. They called 911, but did little else to help her because of their policy of non-interferance. They were following the rules, the same rules that are supposedly designed to protect us.

We rely psychologically on the security guards in the bus tunnels for our safety. We wander around the tunnel without worrying about things like this because we think that security is there to protect us, and we choose not to intervene in things like this because as a society, we have placed the responsibility for that onto the authority figures. If not for the security guards and their rules and regulations, that girl could have found someone more reliable to protect her, like a random stranger.

The video reminds me of the time the police tried to convince an acquantance of mine to kill me by telling him a bunch of lies–and a few truths they promised to keep secret. He recruited a friend who attacked and beat me in a manner very similar to what you see on that video, with the multiple, full-force kicks to the head. Fortunately my beating occurred in a shady biker-bar with no authority figures. Instead, a couple drunk college students intervened and possibly saved my life.

My Definition of Anarchism

I’ve been wanting to write an outline of what anarchism means to me and why I think it’s the right choice for humanity, because I know it can be scary for people to hear that I’m an anarchist, that I think police are the bad guys, without a deeper explanation. I was fifteen when I learned there were people who wanted marijuana legalized, and it scared the crap out of me, so I totally understand the fear people may show toward this concept. The problem is that anarchism is a bit more complex than most political beliefs… or maybe it just seems that way because I never hear people talking about it. It’s always been difficult for me to find the right words.

I came up with something I thought was a decent start, and was going to post it here, but then I decided to pop the word ‘anarchism’ into Twitter and found @AnarchistNews, which led me to Are you an anarchist? by Anthropologist David Graeber, which is a definition of anarchism that almost perfectly mirrors my own.

I still wanted to post my own little explanation, though it’s not nearly as well-worded or as in-depth as the one above.

When people think of anarchism, they think of Mad Max and Timothy McVeigh, because that’s the vision that’s been drilled into them. But putting an end to people like Timothy McVeigh is exactly the reason I chose anarchism, because ultimately McVeigh was out for the same justice that our government taught us to seek, and saw the horrible things the government has done in support of its systems, and felt justified in doing something similar. He may have read some anti-government literature, but he was nothing close to an anarchist by my definition. He was still acting under the same core concepts as our government. As hopefully you will read in the article above, anarchism is about focusing our attention on solving problems as a community and not on worrying about concepts like justice, ownership, national superiority, or anything else that doesn’t support the populous.

And Mad Max… well, Mad Max was fiction. Admittedly entertaining fiction, but full of evil characters with no clear motivation for the horrible things they did, probably because the writers could not think of any. Star Trek depicts a system far closer to our vision.

When I think of anarchism, I think o f pirate radio stations and streaking. I think of the way the Native Americans used to live, thinking seven generations ahead, and caring about their environment. I think of the moonshiners during prohibition who fought for our right to drink alcohol. I think of the mob during the 70’s making and distributing porn, helping to force our government to give us the right to look at the human body. I think of the medical marijuana that helps patients deal with a wide variety of ailments. I think o f the illegal gay bars in the 70’s that sparked the modern gay-rights movement. I think of Rosa Parks. I think of The Boston Tea party and the beginnings of the American Revolution, and finally, I think of The Underground Railroad and the Germans during the second world war who risked their lives to stash fugitives in their attics, and of course, Jesus.

These are just a few examples. There are countless more that go all the way back through Roman times. So if there was any one thing I could point to that made me an anarchist, I think I’d say history class.