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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. …

ROSC 17: The Rise of the Elderly

rosc17 Under the mindset of the factory era, old people were expected to move quietly to the side after they stopped working. From there they were to quietly dote on grandchildren, then get sick and die. That, however, has changed. For one thing, people are living longer and retaining their health into advanced ages. Also, old people never really were fit to be pushed off the stage. Certainly old people tend …

The Long Family of Mankind

Mankind If you could go back in time a thousand years, you would find individuals who reminded you very much of your current friends and companions. The same is true of people who will live a thousand years from now. Some of them will be nearly identical to the people you love now. And you would care about those people the same as you do their present-day counterparts. Please understand this: …

The Essential Goodness of the Crypto Community

CryptoCommunity Quite a few people have been complaining about the cryptocurrency community lately. And to be fair, they have legitimate reasons: Many get-rich-quickers, corporate sellouts, and outright scammers have shown up recently. But it’s far too easy for us to focus on the malicious and the misguided. The bulk of the crypto community are decent people, even if they’re unsure of the best paths forward. (No surprise in that, with perfect …

ROSC 16: Rebels with Full Bellies

ROSC16 Thank God for experience. Last week we had another of our meetings at Jay’s bar, and it almost turned into a disaster. Only long experience saved it. Everything was proceeding nicely until I saw my old friend Martin walking up to the bar with a man who creeped me out. This guy was perfectly attired and wore the same type of overcoat I used to see in and around power …

40 Years on the Road: A Report

40Yearsroad In 1977 I began taking road trips (driving a car or truck) up and down Interstate 80. I had taken a few road trips prior, but 1977 was the first time I drove cross-country as an adult and for work… the first time I was looking on the experience with moderately confident and mature eyes. I’ve taken road trips many times since, though not in the past two years.