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The Rise of the Superfluous Class, Part 3

Superfluous3Class I think I started something dangerous for these guys. I didn’t do it on purpose, but it happened all the same. While engaged in an innocent conversation, I inadvertently gave them a name. And having a name is dangerous. It gives people who might want to hurt you something to grab. These guys aren’t doing anything nasty of course – I’d be surprised if they ever did anything truly bad …

Entropy and Spontaneous Generation

EntropySpontaneous When I wrote two weeks ago about spontaneous generation still being enthroned in science as the primordial soup (and it is), I wanted to avoid a long discussion on entropy. But since that’s the only option left open to die-hards, it became an issue. So today I’ll explain entropy and how it ties into this discussion. Even if you’re not particularly interested in science, I think this will be of …

The Rise of the Superfluous Class, Part 2

Superfluous2Class You’ve gotta love serious people. “Dan,” my new friend from the superfluous class, showed up to Jay’s precisely on time. And he didn’t waste my time with a confirmation call; he just did what he said. We walked in together. I greeted Michele (again, that’s mi-KEL-ay, the Italian version of Michael), who pointed to his largest table. By the time we sat, he was on his way over with a …

Spontaneous Generation Is Still Enthroned in Science

EnthronedScience Spontaneous generation is a defunct theory text books use to illustrate the superiority of modern science. It was a medieval belief that things like rotting meat would spontaneously generate maggots, and so on. Our textbooks explain that this theory was abundantly disproven and that modern academics would never be suckered into that kind of silliness. Hold on to that thought. Breaking the Laws of Physics, Very, Very Slowly Let’s start …

The Rise of the Superfluous Class, Part 1

Superfluous1Class Jay’s Bar, my hangout back in the 1990s – through the heady years of the early internet, the cypherpunks, and the all-out gas that was the digital gold economy – seems to be coming back to its glory. Not into financial glory, you understand. Jay’s is a neighborhood bar, with some overlap from downtown; it’s never going to be a huge money-maker… which is just fine by me. Jay is …

How Free Money Fails

MoneyFails You might think that throwing free money into an economy would create a permanent party, but it never quite turns out that way. And I think it’s important to understand why. After all, we’ve been watching a free-money party since 2008, and if it ends, the morning after figures to be deep and dark. What if They Built a Building and No One Came? One of the primary uses of …

“Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence” Is Bullshit

ExtraordinaryEvidence Apologies to those who are bothered by strong words; I feel that science deserves an especially strong defense. I think we’ve all heard the pseudo-scientific phrase, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” It’s the kind of thing people throw out at parties to make themselves sound smart. Except that this slogan isn’t scientific at all; in fact, it’s a perversion of science. Here’s why: Evidence Is Evidence Science is a process …

The Gospel of Radicalism

Radicalism As I was writing A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, I felt an overwhelming need to put everything I had into the book. (That’s the way you feel when you’re very serious about such things and you’re not sure you’ll ever write another book like it.) So, I included several essays that I cared a great deal about. Now, however, as I’m getting ready for a second edition of the book, …

Herberts Shouldn’t Wear Tie-Dye

clothinghippies The term “Herbert” referred to a stiff, rule-keeping bureaucrat. Tie-dye was the clothing of hippies; it was made with bleach and strings. Being old enough to remember how things were “back in the day,” I’m always half insulted to see very fine establishment types – people whose livelihoods rest on uncritical obedience – trying to align themselves with nonconformists they would have hurried away from back in that day. Obedience …

An Important Update On The Bitcoin Block Size Wars

BitcoinBlock There is a huge argument going in the Bitcoin world right now, including some (apparently) very devious dealings. If you’re interested at all, please listen to this magnificent podcast. Afterward, you can see this important article on the seemingly devious dealings… combined with invoking the violent arm of the state.

What Julian Assange Is Really Doing

JulianAssange Most people know the what about Julian Assange and WikiLeaks – that they publish secret information – but they don’t know the why. And that’s a great loss, because the reason behind all the leaks is both brilliant and illuminating. It Usually Starts with the Cypherpunks The first thing to understand is that WikiLeaks, like Bitcoin, came from the cypherpunks. In particular, WikiLeaks was spawned by a cypherpunk group that …

A Forbidden Thought: We Are Not Inadequate

ForbiddenThought As I’ve noted before, the dominating systems of the West require us to feel weak, afraid, and insufficient; they couldn’t continue if most of us didn’t feel that way. And so, by plan, by instinct, or simply by inertia, the friends and operators of these systems oppose anything that breaks from that mold. And so, the thought that humans are fundamentally adequate is forbidden. If you’d like to prove that …

Why Americans Get Suckered Every Time

AmericansSuckered So, Trump has gone against what he swore he’d do and bombed the hell out of a Syrian air base, to thunderous applause on seemingly every side. His enemies now love him… he’s being called Presidential… and once again, millions of Americans have been suckered into a knee-jerk response. Bear in mind that this statement holds up, even if what Trump claims is 100 percent true. Also bear in mind that I don’t dislike Americans;

The Inconvenient Sayings of Jesus

InconvenientSayings Some things just need to be pointed out. I’m not sure I’d go quite as far as P. C. Hodgell when she wrote, “That which can be destroyed by the truth should be,” but truth – so long as it’s for the purpose of building and improving – should be told. As the title indicates, I’ll be discussing several of Jesus’s sayings today. And I’m doing this because I think …

The Disgrace of War

DisgraceWar Here’s a simple question. Give me the first answer that pops into your mind: What’s the purpose of the state? Most people would probably answer, to keep us safe. I can argue that this isn’t the state’s true purpose (and I will, below), but it’s clearly its primary selling point. And so, every war – and there are generally at least 20 of them under way at any point in …

When Was the Last Time You Held a Baby?

HeldaBaby Have you ever noticed that pessimistic and depressed people avoid babies? I’m sure there are exceptions to this statement, but on the whole, I think it’s accurate. Dark, gloomy minds shy away from babies. I think there’s something to learn from this. Here’s another thought: There is a psychological need to be around small children. In The Breaking Dawn, I included a short passage about this: What the lords of …

The Truth About Hell

TruthHell Before I drop yet another “sensitive” article into the world, I’d like to add that I’m not writing these to be destructive or to garner controversy. I write on these subjects because they matter a great deal and because no one else seems to. Other people have to have seen the same things I have, but somehow they don’t show up in print. “Hell,” to be sure, is a touchy …

To the College Student Drowning in Debt and the Single Mother Who Can’t Afford Insurance

studentdebt You’re in a bad situation; you’re depressed, frightened, and need a solution. I’ll do my best to give you one. But first, please believe me that I know what it’s like to be in desperate circumstances. I’m offering you advice, earned the hard way. What you do with it will be your choice, but unlike politicians, I’m not trying to get anything from you and my plan actually works. Step …

Six Reasons Why Centralization Is Bad

WhyCentralization The other day a friend contacted me, looking for an article that explained why centralization is bad. At first I was sure there had to be many, but I came up dry. Hence today’s article. The odd thing about centralization is that people expect its bad aspects to be external things, like economic issues. But those aren’t the most important things. If the internal effects of centralization were recognized, and …

6,000 Years on the Hamster Wheel

HamsterWheel Modern man is trained to think in certain ways and to turn away from anything that differs… to give authority the benefit of every doubt, instinctively and forever. Nearly all of us have been pushed (nay, shoved) in that direction, and we’ve instinctively feared to break our inertia: “But I’ll be poor.” “Girls (or boys) will think I’m weird and won’t want me.” “Only crazy people step off the path.” …