27 June 2014

Walk the talk

One person asked me, upon reading my anti-capitalism pro-free market essay series, for ideas on how individuals might help contribute in daily life.

Walking the walk on two of the big points is easy: shop at independant stores instead of chains, don't buy IPOs, and if you create something (art, music, software, inventions), make it creative commons / open source / patent it but then licence it for free.

As to walking the walk on real estate: I don't really think it's applicable. There is some political momentum behind changing the corporate system after Citizen's United, and there is piracy/file sharing undermining copyright, but there is exactly zero movement behind one person one parcel.
Thats not even a phrase that exists. I just made it up, just now, as I was typing!
But there really is no inbetween. Nothing any one person does (short of the solution proposed in Manna) is going to have more than zero effect on the rest of the world.
The closest I imagine one could possibly come would be buying rental properties, and renting them at below market rent, even at cost (though with hidden irregular costs, like vacancies and major maintenance, factored in). One could opt out, but that would do as little to change the system or benefit anyone as opting out of voting does (i.e. exactly none, and possibly counter-productive, since then you are diluting your own potential influence)

For one person one parcel, I think the best anyone could do right now, even a billionaire, would be to publicize and promote the idea, because the first step would be getting the idea into the minds of millions of people. Its not quite communism, not quite libertarianism, not quite anarchy, not quite free market. As far as I know, its something no one has ever thought of before.

There is one other thing - probably the single biggest change to our system, (short of one person one parcel) would be for working hours to be adjusted downward to match increases in efficiency.
That is something we could easily do, if we were so inclined, just like we reduced working hours from 60-80 per week at the turn of the last century down to 40-50 hours today, as the industrial revolution vastly increased output per worker.

Today, computers and the internet and robots, plus outsourcing and corporate consolidation, not to mention quickly advancing 3D printing, has increased productivity far more than steam power and assembly lines ever did, yet we have never adjusted the 40 hour work week to match.  Our insanely massive income inequality, inflation adjusted income stagnation, and steadily high unemployment are all direct results of that.
I have started a petition to that end: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/a-35-hour-work-week-will
Of course, given the actual increase in output per worker since the 1940s when the 40 hour week was officially established, we should be at 4 hour work weeks by now,

 but 35 seems a bit more politically realistic as a starting point.

Unfortunately, I'm just a manual laborer with some ideas and a free blog account, not an activist or promoter, but if you happen to have a network of people who'd support the idea, by all means help me get some signatures

26 June 2014

An email response on feminism

Glad I met you, glad you followed up.
There's nothing makes me respect someone more than when they make counter-points, I have to concede some of them :)

First of all, I don't really disagree with anything you said.  I make this disclaimer cause I know that sometimes the way I frame discussions comes across as argumentative.  I mean it more as dialogue - its just that the most interesting and useful revelations generally come from hashing out the details of conflict.  Where two people agree, there isn't much more to talk about.

So, that being said - when I spoke of the woman as victim meme, I wasn't referring specifically to violence or any specific thing.  It comes up everywhere that gender is an issue.  This most recently came up in a discussion of a case where two college students were both extremely drunk, had consensual sex, and a week later the female was convinced by a older school staff member to file rape charges against her partner.  Of course, this isn't particularly unusual, but in this particular case, she had told a friend, as well as texting another friend and the male partner her explicit intentions to have sex with him just minutes before hand.  So there was actual documented evidence  a) of her intent/consent b) that she was conscious, knew what was happening, and coherent enough to write intelligible texts .  There were also multiple witnesses, including older staff, who saw the male partner moments earlier and confirmed that he was drunk enough to meet the standards of unable to consent.  The police dropped the charges, but the college's standard was that a drunk person can not consent, (therefor her consent was invalid), and at the same time that being drunk does not remove responsibility to not commit sexual assault (which it automatically was since she couldn't legally consent), and he was expelled from school.   
The problem is, by their own standards she was also guilty of raping him, but pressing charges against her for it was never even a consideration by anyone involved.

And this is pretty much the default, everywhere.  If two people both voluntarily get drunk and have consensual sex, this is almost universally seen as the male statutory raping the female.  I could be mistaken, but I am fairly certain the grand total cases of a woman being convicted of having sex with a drunk man is zero.  Ever.  Which means either men never have heterosexual sex after drinking, or we (society) has never fully let go of the deep seated assumption that every sex act is one that a man does to a woman.
You see the same thing just in our language - you don't say that food "penetrates" your mouth, or a bird "penetrating" the hand is worth two "penetrating" the bush, you don't penetrate your house or car when you go inside them.  The word penetration means something forcing its way in where it doesn't belong: a needle penetrates the skin, a spy penetrates the castle's defenses.  
But there is absolutely no reason we couldn't frame the sex act as the female enveloping the male - as something she is actively doing to him.
You can see this sexist assumption in the genre of femdom porm.  Instead of the dominate female tying the guy down, blindfold and gagging him, and riding him for her own enjoyment, she invariably dons a strap-on and gives him anal.  In other words, the actual physical act of "penetration" is taken as default interchangeable with "dominant".  But this comes from culture, not from biology.

24 June 2014

The most recent dramatic socio-political discourse based on infotainment (Guy goes on killing spree, people blame misogyny)

(I've been having a few interesting conversations on FaceBook lately.
I'm still processing where I want to go with several of the ideas that have been stirred up, but in the meantime I thought I'd share with yall a few select tidbits.)

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: anything that gets on the news is insignificant. You can tell by very virtue of the fact that it is on the news. It is exactly like the coverage of 500 people dieing in a plane crash, which happens once a decade, while there is exactly zero coverage of the 500 people who die in car crashes EVERY WEEK. We hear about it for months if a cop shoots an unarmed black man, but you've never heard the names of the 10 unarmed non-black men shot by cops in the first half of 2013. We pretend it is a major issue when, every once in a while, some crazy person shoots 10 people, but 30 people shoot one person each EVERY DAY in America. It just isn't dramatic news.
When something like this happens, we put all this emphasis on what that particular person was into, what must have motivated them. They were into satanism, they were into rock and roll, they smoked pot, they listened to violent rap music, they played violent video games, they were anarchists, they were backwoods dwelling preppers, they were anti-government, they were racist, they were cult members, they worked for the US Postal Service, they listened to Glenn Beck, they were a skin head - wrong. 
In all cases, wrong. 
There is no pattern. The most common reason for shooting sprees is getting fired, but even that's less than half. Thousands of people get fired every day and don't come back and kill their co-workers. 
Every once in a while, people go on killing sprees.
Killing sprees happened long before firearms existed. Look up the phrase "run amok". It is something humans do.
And then its something other humans do to try to rationalize it, and especially if they can somehow use it as an example to try to further a pre-existing socio-political agenda. But if you don't accept that mass killings of the past were indictments of (fill in the blank: marijuana, rock and roll, video games, anarchy) then you don't get to claim this most recent one is an indictment of "men's rights groups". 
This is not representative of anything, because it is a single isolated and unprecedented instance. A person ran amok. It happens. This particular one hated women. That part is a coincidence. Lots and lots of men hate women and don't go on shooting sprees. The entire thing is a non-issue.

How is it that people miss that the majority of his victims were male?

What an incredibly appropriate analogy, for the "feminist" misogyny I've been trying to point out the past couple years: the belief, even in the face of contrary evidence, that women are inherently victims, that women are weak and helpless and need protection.
You see it in the persistent belief that it is dangerous for a woman to walk alone at night in bad neighborhood - even though statistics say men are at significantly greater risk of attack by stranger.
You see it in the persistent myth of date rape drugs - even though 99% of suspected roofies turn out to be nothing but self-inflicted alcohol ingestion.
You see it in the extremely different reactions (and sometimes even laws) in sex with a minor depending on which gender was the older and which the younger.
You see it in rape laws (and statistic gathering) that defines the word rape as "penetration", which automatically means a female forcing a male is a lesser (or no) crime.
You see it in claims that "society doesn't value women" - while we ignore that men are expected (and often legally required) to go to war and die for society, while women are not only not forced to, but aren't even allowed to.

And then here, when twice as many men are murdered as women, and we all agree to pretend that it exemplifies violence against women. Um, huh?

I'm not denying that sexism or oppression exists. But the trope of woman as victim is not at all helpful in countering them. In fact, it is deeply counter-productive.
You want to end rape? Fuck giving the power to perpetrators, with the slogan "no means no". How about "fight back!" as a slogan? The overwhelming majority of attempted rapes where the intended victim fights back with maximum violence, the rape does not occur. But most don't fight back, because women are taught all their lives that they are weak and defenseless, that they are naturally victims.
It's bullshit.