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At Another Crossroads

Not unexpectedly, reverberations from my new circumstances are making themselves known. However, some of the impulses I’ve had are a bit surprising to me ... and I’m not sure how much weight to give them. As one of the major areas of uncertainty centers on this place, I thought it wise to share some of my thoughts with the three visitors who’ve hung on here.

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Some Snakes Hibernate ...

I don’t intend to be one of them, but I will likely not be slithering around here as frequently as I’d like for a while.

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In Case You Didn’t Notice the Reshuffling ...

Jorge has returned as a Conspirator. Huzzah and welcome back!

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Hello ... Is There Anybody Out There?

I’m back! The problem with my machine turned out to be an exploded video card, which I fixed myself (with MAL’s help) after the mofos I took my computer to were unbelievably slow about getting it on the bench. It turned out to be a very easy thing, hardware–wise: just plug the new card into the slot and reconnect the monitor. Software–wise, it was a bit more tricky, as nVidia and Linux don’t always get on well, but I think I’ve got those issues behind me as well.

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Wave Goodbye to Another Conspirator ...

NonEntity has very graciously offered to withdraw from blogging here, and after much consideration I have sadly accepted his offer. I wish it could be elsewise but I have thought and thought, and simply do not see a way to accomplish it at this time.

NonEntity’s blog will remain archived here; and I hope he will continue to participate via comments. I also hope like hell this action is not in vain. This has been a dispiriting turn of events for me.

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Political Correctness Is a Long Way Away From Here

Since NonEntity accused me of running a politically correct site a couple of days ago, I’ve devoted a fair amount of time to thinking about that issue. Is this a PC place? I suppose to a statist it might look like one: I have flat-out stated that pro-state comments are not welcome here. But after serious reflection on the question, I have come to the conclusion that outside of that pro-freedom bias, NonEntity is mistaken.

To me, political correctness is a form of self-censorship undertaken in an a priori effort to avoid offending some unknown person or group. It is intended to blandify communications, avoid acknowledging uncomfortable history, and/or neutralize any possible negative emotion. Thus I was bemused—after the deep surprise passed—to reflect on a few contentious threads here from the framework of it being a PC place. Seems pretty silly to me ... but since some apparently see it otherwise, I’ll elaborate on why I think the PC accusation is off base.

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I Knew This Day Would Come ...

And I also knew I wouldn’t like it, but that I’d have to try to accept it gracefully.

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A Programming Note

When I asked about the interest in a January 16 celebration, I did mean for the celebration to kick off “on the night of January 16th”. For those desiring a firmer timeframe, my intention is to post the entry around 7 p.m. EST (4 p.m. PST).

Again, for those who can’t be here then, or who would like an added measure of privacy, I am happy to accept contributions via email and will post them with one’s desired attribution or as one of the anonymice. As comment threads do not close after a certain period has passed, one may contribute whenever one wishes, or is able—not just today.

I’m looking forward to tonight!

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Is It Too Late to Host Another Jan. 16 Party This Year?

A conversation yesterday brought into sharp relief something I’ve been observing as it has developed. Okay, I admit, I’ve also been participating in it ... more than I care to consider. Writ large, economic woes and political uncertainties have increased the fear and uncertainty in the USSA, and probably much of the wired world. Writ smaller, we who cherish liberty see the changes and likely continuation of trends and have our additional burden weighted even more—that being the question of how we can continue to resist the encroaching tyrannies. Looking at the calendar and remembering some inspiration from last winter, I think another round of January 16th celebrating is in order.

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Another Conspirator Joins the Group!

I am all kinds of happy to announce that NonEntity has accepted my invitation to become a Conspirator. Here’s his bio, for the curious. I don’t know how frequently he’ll post, but his comments have already been worthwhile, and I hope we’ll get better glimpses into his mind, whenever he wants to share.

Welcome, NonEntity! Skål!

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NonEntity’s Profile

It was with a great deal of delight that I recently re-connected [September ‘08] with a very intriguing person. Our paths had crossed briefly, yet a spark of kinship flared ... and apparently never died for either of us. When he lit my inbox again, he sparked several paths of interesting exploration, and generously agreed to share some of them publicly, as a Conspirator. I am very pleased and honored to welcome NonEntity to our community.

NonEntity’s essay archive at Strike the Root is a great place to explore his more formal expositions ... here, we’ll likely see snippets of ideas, thoughts, or observations; things that may someday be more formally presented at StR, or maybe not. Much as we might like it to be elsewise, not every blossom becomes succulent fruit—but that does not mean that the flower itself has no value.

It didn’t occur to me to ask NonEntity how and why he came to adopt that moniker, until he accepted my invitation and the challenge of writing a bio sprang up—and now, I find that I like trying to puzzle it through for myself. Clearly he isn’t truly a nonentity ... so, the story I’m telling myself is this: by choosing to keep his identity in the background, we’re left to engage more directly with his ideas, as expressed through his words. Like the air, he may sometimes choose a gentle touch, other times a sharper gust ... not necessarily a push, as the wind does not intend to push any specific direction; it just is and does as it does, and each of us reacts as we think appropriate.

NonEntity expressed a thought to me which I found worth making public: “The gift of the ‘60s was the celebration of life.” I think he’s on to something with that; and I think it is that enjoyment of life and living that is most missing from many of our lives today. It can be hard, I know, to look past or over or through the fear and see the possibility of a genuine connection with another, or others; but is life worth much if we aren’t willing to occasionally take that risk? I think he would agree with me that celebrating life and freedom is much more valuable than constantly crouching in fear of those who think they rule anyone but themselves.

We may never definitively answer the question, “Can love conquer fear?” here, but I suspect that NonEntity’s presence will prove to be a breath of warm, positive air, contributing to the pursuit of eudaimonia, and a source of celebration itself. At the very least, just as his avatar demonstrates, I expect he’ll give us all a good mental flossing from time to time.

NonEntity’s blog

Time Is Money (not), an essay published here before NonE. became a conspirator.

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Working Out the Kinks

Okay, another round of updating and such has gone on here, and with any luck all the module-dwelling gremlins have been eliminated. However, it’s hard to know for sure, so we’d like to enlist your help if you encounter a problem. Please take note of what you were trying to do, on what page you were trying to do it, and in what capacity (i.e., anonymous user, member, conspirator, admin), and drop the details in an email for me: my first name at this domain. And while we’re on this subject, is anyone else needing to log in twice to actually be logged in?

Thanks for your patience, and your assistance.

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Long Overdue, But Here ’Tis

What with the change in comment and registration policies, I figured it was time to knuckle down and finish my ramble attempting to summarize the guidelines for participating here. So here you go: Getting the Lay of the Land. Comments are disabled there, but are welcome on this post. A link to it will go in the sidebar for easy reference, of course.

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Getting the Lay of the Land

This long-overdue page is intended to more clearly identify the guidelines of acceptable conduct at this site. Oriented mostly toward prospective and new participants, it may nonetheless be helpful for regulars as well, as it represents some changes in thought from previous incarnations of this page (which may not be here any longer). As circumstances and changes in my ideas and attitudes may warrant, the page will be modified.

The primary purpose of this group blog is to provide a place to explore ideas and issues relating to freedom and individualism. Both being broad categories, there are many perspectives and paths possible, and I like seeing them. I like helping others to recognize the diversity inherent in both as well; and I deeply appreciate learning from others whose approaches are different from mine. Thus, this place is a fairly open forum for conversation; but that does not mean it is open to all conversation.

First and foremost, as this is a private site—that is to say, not sponsored or run by any state employee or official—the First Amendment does not apply here. We are not under any obligation to provide a venue for every person who wants to post comments here; and we will not do so. Trolling and spamming are two obvious activities that aren’t welcome at all, under any circumstances.

My goal here is to provide a place where individuals can respectfully, civilly consider and exchange ideas and information via conversation with other participants. It is not a commercial site, and no ads will be accepted here. Trolling is a bit harder to pin down, as there’s more of a judgment call involved in applying that label. Some actions—trollish and otherwise—that are not welcome here include: framing questions or issues in a non-neutral or incivil way way (e.g., assuming anarchy or voluntaryism is necessarily utopian and therefore unobtainable, that religious individuals are necessarily hypocritical or incapable of rational thought, that tax avoidance is somehow “better” or “worse” than another form of pro-freedom economic activism); disrupting a conversation with a barely-relevant tangent, long quotations, strawman smackdown, or efforts to divert the conversation elsewhere; any sort of holier–than–thou attitude directed at another participant; and flame wars and personal attacks between participants. Conspirators may have differing criteria regarding comments on their posts than I do; in those cases, I will do my best to honor their preferences while keeping true to the spirit of this place.

Somewhat related to the trolling issue, I consider it extremely boorish to make statements claiming or insinuating that one “knows” what’s in another contributor’s mind, or what another’s intent is. Especially among individuals who have never met face to face, that is simply impossible. Observe that I try to use such words and phrases as “appears to”, “perhaps”, “many individuals”, “it may be that”, rather than statements of fact that I cannot know or support—although I am not perfect on this. I find such precision aids my thinking as well as writing. It also helps keep conversations from getting overheated.

Without getting too deeply into the DAM (“Dreaded Anarchist–Minarchist”) debate, I will just say that pro-state perspectives are not welcome here. (I consider voting a pro-state activity, by the way.) I expect that all readers who want to join the conversation would agree that the many layers of government in our lives are entirely too much; and thus the focus is on scaling back coercive systems and identifying the flawed ideology underlying them. That said, there are many ways to accomplish that, and many different end points possible between where we currently are and total voluntaryism. Any contributions that advance liberty along that continuum are welcome—viz., one needn’t worry overmuch about purity issues. To be even more clear, I have few quibbles with minarchism, as long as more coercive rules and/or glorification of the state aren’t advocated.

You may notice that I refer to my interactions with others with some frequency, but that I very rarely name names. There are several reasons for this, but I’ll only address the two most important ones. First, since my ramblings usually focus on only my version of some event, I prefer to keep specifics vague to help me focus on the broader issues, rather than elements that are unique to that event. Second, I am highly sensitive to privacy issues, my own as well as others’. Thus, it’s possible that one might think I’m talking about some interaction with him, but I really have another encounter in mind. Even if I am talking about you, I’m wanting to protect our privacy. To this end, comments that are better sent as email—even a simple inquiry as to whether I am speaking of you (and my eddress is available, along with my public key)—will be deleted.

If you’re in doubt as to your ability to abide by these guidelines, keep in mind that I am not expecting everyone to think in lockstep. I know of voters who participate here, for example, as well as proponents of “intellectual” property—but when those issues arise, they tend not to engage, or do so respectfully rather than antagonistically. I hope that’s because they understand that opposing views do not in and of themselves constitute a personal attack. Read through various comment threads and you should get a good idea of how to contribute here; and you will likely be welcomed by us all.

One may participate here by registering. Doing so confers two benefits to you: your comments are not held in moderation; and your comments are “verified”, i.e., an anonymous user cannot post a comment using your user name. At this time, registration requires admin approval before one can post. This is an anti–troll and –spammer measure. You may wish to facilitate your possible approval by sending me a brief email introducing yourself [my eddress is my first name at this domain; and I do use encryption]. Gibberish user names and/or eddresses from countries that are notorious for spammers will be deleted after 24 hours if I don’t receive an email requesting approval. The few trolls with whom I have personal experience are not welcome to post here; I will similarly bar others on conspirators’ recommendations.

Anonymous users may also post comments, but they are held for possible moderation. An anonymous comment may be approved as is, may be edited (with no intent of altering meaning, but perhaps removing inflammatory content—if edited, I will clearly state why I edited the comment), may be deleted but mentioned in a comment by me, or may be deleted entirely without mention. Because they are anonymous and I have no way of verifying content, there is a much higher bar for approving anonymous comments than registered users’ comments.

Any registered user who posts an offtopic link to a commercial site (e.g., peddling penis pills, bogus financial/mortgage help, antidrug sites, sex vids or sites) will be considered a spammer and the account will be deleted.

Okay, this is way longer than I had intended when I set out to write it. I hope it is helpful rather than intimidating. If you need help figuring out what html codes can be used in a comment, click on the “input format” link to see what’s usable. As already stated, if necessary, this ramble will be edited and/or updated. If anyone has questions, my eddress information is in here already, so figure it out and give me a shout. Thanks for your time.

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Another Bubble Bursts ...

No earth-shattering consequences to this one, though; well, probably not for anyone but me, that is.

Our amazing tech deity just sent me an email, calling me on my “seven readers” schtick—apparently he got curious, and peeked at the November stats. Holy schmoly—over 24,000 people have dropped by! Many are apparently coming for the food ... so I guess I’d better get the next “cooking the alphabet” feature up. Cookie Monster is going to be sooo disappointed ...

(I, however, am astonished [and yes, a little pleased] that so many individuals come by here.)