The Blessings of Panarchy

Panarchy Whatever complaints we may have about the US Constitution, it’s hard not to appreciate this phrase in its preamble: [to] secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity… The problem of course is that the word “liberty” has been so abused that it no longer has a clear meaning. It’s used as a “hooray for us” term and not a great deal more.

As the War Machine Threatens

WarMachine War drums are beating again, and fairly seriously, it seems. And so I’d like to make a few points before things get out of hand. Because once the bodies start piling up, instincts will be overloaded, and reason will be difficult. So, here are a few things to think about ahead of time: #1: War is failure. And if we get a war now based upon an uncertain attack leaving …

The Dissipation of Moral Energies

MoralEnergies Roughly 98% of us have a deep-rooted connection to morality. Even confirmed criminals routinely say things like, “That ain’t right,” which is purely a moral judgment. However well or poorly we use it, nearly all of us hold morality as a central reference. And this is true across nearly the whole sweep of life. Take a hard look into any workplace and you’ll find that nearly every interaction is tied …

Free-market Parasites

Free-market The crypto economy can’t get here fast enough. In addition to writing, I manage businesses. And as I review the financial records of these businesses every year, I see corporate parasitism biting them worse and worse. But if pushed, the bosses of these outfits would claim free market justification. After all, they didn’t hold a gun to anyone’s head! But they do hold the proverbial gun. More precisely, they arrange …

Seeking Refuge

Refuge A good deal of my life has been spent in a half-conscious search for places where a healthy person could function as a healthy person: places where health was accepted rather than resented, where it didn’t have to be hidden. Such places have proven to be scarce. The healthy man or woman is all too often taken as a threat, rather than a friend to perhaps learn from. This stems …

Farber’s Second Essay

SecondEssay This is the second essay of James Farber, from the first edition of A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, written in defense of the “free digital economy” he and his friends were building. – PR History books tell the stories of Rulers. Some are Kings; some, Emperors; some, Presidents or Prime Ministers; and some, potentates of more exotic name. A few of them were more or less benevolent, and others were …

Farber’s First Essay

Farber In the first editions of A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, I included several essays that I cared a great deal about. In the second edition (now available), I took them back out. I feel that a novel is best standing on its own. But I don’t want the essays to simply vanish, and so I will continue posting them here from time to time. This is one of the major …

Facebook Is a Parasite… Even The New York Times Is Admitting It

fbparasite The Times is only on the story to hurt Donald Trump of course, but they have nonetheless brought it up. And most of the commenters at The Times’ website saw through the ridiculous Blue/Red sideshow. They ignored it and got to the real issues. Here’s one snip: Can we just say it? Facebook is evil. Its entire raison d’etre is the balkanization of communities and nations in pursuit of financial …

Western Civilization, Seen from 2150 AD, Part 2

WesternCivilization2 As I noted last week, a small roll of pages recently showed up at my door. They appeared to have been ripped from a history book entitled 2000–2150 AD: The Emergence of Modernity. I am completing my transcription of them today, verbatim. Make of it what you will. The Death of Scarcity Wants can be infinitely imagined by clever creatures such as ourselves, but nowadays a basic dividing line between …

Western Civilization, Seen from 2150 AD, Part 1

WesternCivilization1 A small roll of pages showed up in my mailbox last week, printed on an odd size and type of paper. They appeared to have been ripped from a history book entitled 2000–2150 AD: The Emergence of Modernity. I’m repeating the text here verbatim, sans the header, which mentions only the title of the book. (Or perhaps it’s the title of a chapter.) Make of this what you will. In …

ROSC 21: Roll It Up and Move Along

rosc21 Once you know a storm is coming, the only sensible actions are to either protect yourself or to get out of the way. And so it has become time to roll up the Jay’s Bar show and move along. If we simply vanish from view now, there won’t be much in the way of targets to destroy. None of us, however, are about to deny ourselves: what we are, what …

The Mass Conspiracy of Blame Avoidance

MassConspiracy If you can ever get far enough from the status quo, one of the most shocking sights you’ll see is the mass conspiracy of blame avoidance. This phenomenon is so pervasive  that most people go their entire lives without taking serious notice of it. It simply is, and the possibility of another way has never occurred to them. People do see this from time to time of course, but only …

ROSC 20: A Storm Warning

rosc20 I walked into Jay’s expecting to find Johnny to be his usual gregarious self. And he was, so long as he was greeting people at the bar. Once we sat by ourselves in the restaurant, however, he changed. I had never seen Johnny scared before. I’d seen him angry, disgusted, and irritated, but not scared. We were barely through the usual “How’s your family?” stuff before he jumped into crypto. …

The Discovery of Terra Nova by the Cypherpunks

Cypherpunks Ten years ago the cypherpunks were almost entirely forgotten. But now – and quite shockingly to those of us who were involved – cypherpunks are cool again. More than that, the discoveries of the cypherpunks are starting to change the world in a serious way. That being so, I’d like to briefly recap what the cypherpunks discovered, because what these people found was a new world… a “terra nova.” Land …

The Crypto Cleansing

CryptoCleansing A few months ago, as I was having a conversation with another crypto advocate, these words escaped my lips: “I hate to say it, but maybe we need a price crash.” As I said them, I had a slightly sick feeling of “Be careful what you wish for.” Now, the price has crashed. But in spite of all the pain that has caused, it was probably necessary. Why? Because it …

ROSC 19: Back to the Shadows

ROSC19 I got a strange phone call the other day. The person on the other end played like it was a wrong number, asking for Angie something, but they were listening to my voice way too closely. What they were doing, I was pretty certain, was to see if it was really me using the phone billed to me. The next day, I stopped by Jay’s Bar*, partly because I was …

The Maturity Level of Politics

MaturityPolitics A recent article by Joe Katzman illustrated the maturity level of modern politics, by explaining the true nature of the war raging between Donald Trump and the American media. And what it showed was that winning and losing in politics comes down to the same kind of insults that work on a fifth grade playground. The article (from a political-right perspective) defines a core principle of politics: That status and …

What Jesus Didn’t Say

WhatJesus Most of the things people associate with Jesus are things he never said. I’ll provide a few dozen examples below, but first please understand that I’m not doing this to tear anything down. Rather, I’d like to open a path away from obsolete and moribund beliefs. To do that, I’m drawing a hard line between Jesus and the apostles. I’d very much like people to differentiate between what Jesus taught …

ROSC 18: Not Parasites

rosc18 There’s something about being young, especially if you can feel young and righteous at the same time. The combination is potent and intoxicating. It’s a shame more people haven’t experienced it. And somehow I’ve stumbled into three or four groups of such people. I’m under no illusion that they look to me as some kind of leader (I certainly hope they don’t), but they are interested in new ideas, and …

The Baby Boomers’ Cultural Prison

BabyBoomers A few years ago I was struck by this comment by a reviewer named Michael Azerrad: Walk around any urban center in the Western Hemisphere and you’ll eventually come upon someone dressed like a punk rocker. That look was codified as early as 1977, and yet 34 years later, kids still replicate it… But in 1977, did you see bohemian youth attired like bobby-soxers from the ’40s? Azerrad was right. …