Some More Words on Pokemon

Note: This week I published my 500th blog post and I just wanted to think all the people who have read my work and provided support. I originally started this blog to track my cross-country bike ride in 2012, but it has evolved into so much more than that. It has become a diary, a place for me to talk about philosophy and the world around us, and a way to connect with people across the globe. Thank you for making this a wonderful project and putting up with the randomly long gaps in posts. You are wonderful and I love you.

 

It seems that Pokemon is changing the world, at least for now. I wonder if this is how people felt when Atari first came out and people were playing Pong. Sure, it was simple technology that we would hardly define as a real game, but it was the beginning of a revolution. Pong gave us Mario, which gave us NFL Blitz, which gave us World of Warcraft. I think Pokemon Go is similar. Whether it is truly “Augmented Reality” is up for debate, but it is starting to show the mainstream world how our life can be changed and we can move our fantasies out into the real world.

The coming years won’t be all smooth sailing, change is never smooth. There will be tragedies, deaths, and calls for political action to ban it. In fact, there already are people calling for Pokemon to be made illegal. There are people in this world who think the appropriate response is to send armed people after you and put you in a cage if you use this program, and considering many of the users are children I find that especially frightening.

Yes, some people are going to be negligent (they already have) and wreck their car, walk into traffic, or hurt/kill themselves. That always happens. Always. Should we ban cameras because someone might hurt themselves? How about stoves? Or all sports? Should any tool that could feasibly be misused be banned? It is a tragedy when someone dies, particularly to those close to that person, but the answer to tragedy isn’t the restriction of freedom for everyone else. We shouldn’t be trying to protect people from themselves. People should be free to play Pokemon Go, play football, work in coal mines, and climb mountains.

And yes, some people have already started to abuse the system for criminal purposes. But that is true of all technology going back to the first time our ancestors figured out they could use a rock to open a coconut or a stick to knock fruit out of trees. The world isn’t a 100% safe place, and I don’t think it should be. Danger and pain and suffering can be the path to growth and maturity. Besides, any calls for a completely safe world must restrict freedom to a level where we are little more than prisoners being coddled by Big Brother.

But, I don’t think it will get that bad. Technology always moves faster than the state and society, for the most part, is a loving place. This advancement is a move towards a more free and caring society. For too long people have bunkered themselves in their castles to chase the “American Dream” of an isolated existence in the suburbs. Things are changing though, people are getting out and walking to see their neighborhoods and I am excited for how the next generation will view the world and how this technology will shape that.

People are also starting to use Pokemon Go for positive things… which isn’t a surprise, the vast majority of people on this planet are really good and friendly. I’ve read articles about older Pokemon Goers (is that what they are called) setting up in places to protect younger users. Businesses near Pokestops are using the stops as a way to attract new customers and encourage people to buy from local shops. In Portland there is a “Pokemon Pub Crawl” using the app to get people together to meet and hang out. A group in Denver is using a Pokestop to attract customers and the proceeds are being donated to those in need. Animal Shelters are calling on people to volunteer to walk their dogs while playing Pokemon. People in neighborhoods are setting up snack stands at Pokestops to provide nurishment for the players.

Yes, some of those things are illegal, but that’s okay. The laws they break are bad ones and a little civil disobediance is a good thing. We need to remember that the government is not “the will of the people”, it is the opposite. Society and Government are opposing force, the former calls on cooperation and using your words to convince someone to change their actions, the latter calls on coercion and the use of force to change someone’s actions. Pokemon Go is a product that encourages society to grow and is one more small flame being lit against the paper tiger of government. It is one more blow against the state and will (hopefully) lead more people to turn to their neighbors and community for help instead of men with guns and cages.

Pokemon is Agorism… and that is a beautiful thing to me.

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War On Christmas

For those of you that missed it, Starbucks is the latest front in “The War on Christmas/Christians!“. This is a little crazy to me, refusing to provide special treatment to one group of people does not constitute discrimination or hatred. I think most Christians (and other reasonable people) realize this is a bunch of bullshit as well. This controversy is mostly just a result of the age we live in, where every person is able to spout craziness and some media outlets will pick up on it. We live in a day where money flows to websites that get the most views, and that encourages people to say outlandish things, whether they believe those things or not, and it encourages media outlets to share those things and fire up both sides of the debate. Basically, there is money to be made in keeping people angry and divided.

I don’t think there is really a “War*” on Christmas or Christians, though our culture is undergoing a shift. For much of American history Christians have held disproportionate power in politics and culture. That is starting to change. It isn’t some sort of explicit war, it is just a reflection of America truly becoming a place where all people are treated equally. Equality means that no group gets special treatment, and right now Christians have serious special treatment in the US. For example, they are the only religion that has a national holiday in US, though it is highly secularized. I can’t imagine Christians would be comfortable with equal treatment be given to Pagan, Hindu, Jewish, or Muslim holidays… especially Muslim holidays.

Christians are also disproportionately represented in the Federal government. It is hard to pegged down accurate religious beliefs about the early Presidents, and many of them may have been atheist or deists, but publicly every single US President has been Christian. And, without a doubt, every recent President has been very publicly Christian (yes, even Barack Obama). The same disproportionate representation exists in Congress. 70.6% of the US identifies as some form of Christian (as of 2014) but over 93% of the House of Representatives and nearly 90% of the US Senate.

What we are seeing today, with a move towards secularism and the loss of power many Christians are use to, is not a “war” on Christians or Christmas. It is a our cultural and political representation starting to shift towards a true representation of the United States. It is a growing minority who is tired of being forced to live in a country where their religions beliefs are not represented. Business, including Starbucks, are seeing the value of being inclusive of all people, instead of just betting on the “bigot money” (as Dan Savage calls it). If you are only willing to support businesses and people who put your religion above everyone else then you are going to find yourself in a shrinking company, and a pretty ungodly company, despite what people in that group might say.

* Side note: As a veteran I get really annoyed with how easily the word “War” gets thrown around. Are Christians being shot in the street because of their belief? Are their children being taken away from them? Does the government arrest people for displaying their iconography? That is what a war is, war is the violent destruction of an enemy. Calling anything happening in the US right now a “war” on Christians or Christmas does a disservice to veterans who have fought and to religious people around the world (including Christians) who are facing real persecution. If you are whining about a red cup from Starbucks but don’t care about people being killed for their faith then your priorities are pretty fucked up, and really un-Christlike.

Windfucked

Pre-Post 1: Well, despite my half-ass efforts I have not really maintained this blog in addition to the other two I’m running. I think I will just start posting the same thing here that I post on the blog for our 2-year bike ride, Barely Functional Adults. This was originally posted on April 20. As a reminder,this is pretty much an uncensored version of the events of our bike ride. If you are uncomfortable hearing about sex, drugs, profanity, etc you should check follow our PG-version at www.10LegsWillTravel.wordpress.com . This is a warning. If you don’t want to hear about these adult actions please leave now

Pre-Post 2: Also, we have set up a GoFundMe account for our ride. If you enjoy the adventure or just want to receive a post card, booty pic, or vegan meal check us outhere**

Pre-Post 3: If you would like to see all our pictures you can check out our Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/10legswilltravel.

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Okay, then… to recap, we are in a hotel room in Santa Maria and I think the date is 4/16.The hotel room gave us a much needed break and for once we didn’t smell like the awkwardly terrible mixture of sunscreen, sweat, dirt, hippy, and excitement. We hit the road excited and our path continued along the beautiful scenery of orchards and farms. I did get a flat tire early in the day but that is to be expected daily. That is one of the things about travelling as a group instead solo, your chances of hold-ups increase greatly. Two tires will go a week or so without a flat but with 10 tires we can pretty much guarantee a busted tube each day or so. We stopped in Arroyo Grande for a food resupply and coffee but it took longer than expected because the Albertsons in this town is terribly designed and doesn’t have bags… seriously, they don’t have bags for you to even purchase. Fucking stupid.

After the resupply we had a pretty decent ride to our sleeping location, a little college town called San Luis Obispo where we had a host from Couchsurfing in a freaking bus. A magic bus. A magic festival bus. A magic festival bus of awesome.

Our host was actually at Lucidity Festival and lived similarly to us. He is a burner who lives minimally and builds his life around community and experiences instead of things. We had a great time talking to him about festivals, cops, drug use, and life in general. I hope our paths cross with him again someday, and I am pretty sure they will. The universe kind of works that way. We caught up on a little work, shared a beer with our host, and charged our devices before crashing for the night.

We didn’t bang though, which is kind of a shame. “Banging in a magic school bus” isn’t exactly an item on any of our bucket lists but it would have been a cool bit of information for future drunk rounds of Never Have I Ever. It didn’t happen though because of logistics… not “people are around” logistics, we clearly don’t care about that, but just adventure logistics. Despite our increased sex drives from daily exercise we are all kind of mentally and physically exhausted by the end of the day. Basically, Anna and I will lay in bed horny but feel like getting the condoms out of the backpack on the other side of the room is just way too much effort. So at best we just half-ass grind on each other and pass out.

After leaving San Luis Obispo we headed towards Morro Bay on the coast where we had to make a pretty important route decision. We could either head up the PCH or cut over the mountains and take the inland route north. We ended up deciding on the inland route because it was safer. The first day or so of riding towards the new route would suck with the elevation but everyone we talked to said the PCH is hell for cyclists up here… narrow roads, lots of turns, low visibility, and shitty drivers. So inland it was.

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Morro Bay was an interesting experience. The town itself was a cute little place right along the coast, very different from the busy hustle of LA area beaches. Everything was in walking distance and you got the feeling that most of the people knew each other, but it clearly had some issues. There was a strong separation between the residents with houses and the residents without houses. In fact, we often were treated fairly poorly because we appeared “homeless”.

Actually, fuck that term. The term homeless is wrong. The people who we talked to us who lived on the street weren’t homeless, they were houseless. A home is a place of love, family, and community and these people had all of those. What they lacked was a piece of property that our society says, mistakenly in my opinion, is necessary in order for you to be a respectable person. Words matter and the term homeless helps steer people away from what is really going on. To lack a home is seen as a character defect or something deserved, it is the inability to make connections and have loving relationships. Being houseless sounds more temporary or an intentional decision to live without something… much like being car-less or tv-less. Technically, all of us on the ride our houseless but we certainly aren’t homeless… we actually have many homes, filled with love and support, in Los Angeles, Washington DC, Portland, St. Louis, and everywhere we roam with our friend-family. The houseless people of Morro Bay are no different, they are intelligent, loving people who clearly had a community and a city that they cared for and about. Some of them may want houses, some may not, but to call them “homeless” is to ignore the issue and in many ways dehumanize them. Home is love, and they had love, what they lacked was property.

We left Morro Bay in the mid-afternoon knowing that we wouldn’t make it to another town before needing a place to sleep. The route through the mountains had some good climbs to it so we wanted to break up the day a bit and camp out in the woods. We had a scare or two as crazy people on the highway during the first few miles decided slowing down for 10 seconds was a waste of their time and worth risking our blood on their windshield, but after we hit the back roads things got much better. We had a beautiful climb along some pastures and the whole area made us think of Ireland/Scotland… which we have never been to but I almost expected a painted Mel Gibson to come running over the hills wielding a giant sword and yelling FREEEEDOOOMMM!!!!

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The paved road ended and we continued the ride on gravel through a heavily forested area. Time was ticking and we were quickly in need of a camping spot. Luckily we found a clearing with some abandoned sheds on it. It probably belonged to someone but it didn’t have a fence around it and was flat and safe. We had some dinner, pitched our tent, and got settled in for the night. We were all a tad nervous so we had sex to relax our nerves. Anna and I did our thing while Hans busted out the vibrator. We were all pretty close before this ride but at this point there really is nothing that bothers us… we’ve had sex in front of each other while sober, held conversations while peeing near each other in full view, talked about poop, etc. Walls are stupid among family.

The night went without incidence and we awoke with the sun and got an early start. The first part of the day was almost entirely uphill and we had to walk most of the time. It was draining but the ride was gorgeous and it gave us some time to chat and enjoy everything. Life can fly by so fast, even on bike, that you can miss the wildlife and connections that make living more than existence. After a couple hours we got to the top of the mountain, took some pictures, and started our smooth and wonderful descent into Templeton, CA.

Templeton was just a pitstop for us but it was a good one. They had a Trader Joe’s and a coffee shop with a very friendly employee (manager? owner?) named Joshua who loved what we were doing. We talked biking and adventuring for a bit while we got some work done. I would have liked to talk to him more but, as usual, I was tired, awkward, and felt a bit rushed as we planned the rest of the day. We quickly moved on to Paso Robles where we, unintentionally, spent the night.

As the sun was setting I blew a tube and for some reason the pump was having some issues. I couldn’t get it to fill up the tube at all… I would later find out that the tube was defective, not the pump. So, thanks to the generosity of our friends we tapped into our savings and got a cheap hotel room nearby that was dog friendly. We were able to clean ourselves, charge our devices, and catch up on Game of Thrones (as fate would have it the two episodes that we had not seen were both on HBO that night). We got a little sleep and were up early again for the road.

Originally we planned on getting up at around 7am and knocking out 55 miles to King City. We were running behind, as usual, but it was a good thing we were. As we were loading up our stuff we met Pam and Mike, two fucking amazing people who have an organic farm in southern Oregon. They were actually supposed to be at a different hotel that night so it seems the universe kind of brought us together for a moment. For about 30 minutes we discussed many aspects of life from government to spirituality to veganism and I’ll just say that they are our type of people. They kindly offered to let us stay at their place when we come through the area later this summer, an offer that I am looking forward to taking them up on. They loved what we were doing, our views on relationships and family, and I am sure many other things. I hope they are up for some chats over a cold beer, I think we have a lot to share with each other.

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The miles flew easily by throughout the first part of the day (Saturday, 4/19… for those keeping track, I can barely remember) but after our picnic things got kind of shitty. The afternoon winds hit us head on as we rode through the Salinas Valley and our pace slowed to a crawl. It was kind of like riding your bike with two flat tires through mud while someone slapped you in the face with sand over and over and over again. Quite frankly, we were windfucked… or windraped as Hans put it because it wasn’t consensual and no didn’t mean no.

Our motivation was dying slowly, tears were being shed, and every time I looked down at our speedometer to see 4.7mph I wanted to just give up. On all sides were hills creating a wind-tunnel that seemed designed specifically to give cyclists hell. It became increasingly obvious that we wouldn’t make it to King City before darkness took over the land, much less with time to hang out and rest. We had no choice but to look for shelter as we came into a 200 person “town” called San Lucas.

I spotted a church and headed there hoping that someone would be inside and could grant us permission to sleep inside, or at least put our tent up near the building for shelter. The church was barely standing and nobody was inside so we decided to just risk it and set up our stuff on the back side out of sight and out of mind. We had already been seen by about 5% of the town and the last thing we wanted was more attention.

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That night was one of the scariest of my life, and by far the scariest since I left the army. Hiding in a small town where you don’t know anybody turns every sound into a potential enemy. For better or worse we are designed to err on the side of fear. Dogs roaming the streets became Cujo. Footsteps became murderer or rapists. Cars became gang vehicles looking for an easy drive-by target.

For all my beliefs in “people are good” and similar philosophies that shit does not mean anything when you are in an unfamiliar place in the dark surrounded by potential hostile forces. Words and beliefs are worthless shields that can be shouted by martyrs but won’t keep you alive and safe. It made me realize how different things were when I was in the military and equipped to defend myself and others against “all enemies, foreign and domestic”. A firearm is not a theory, a firearm is solid. Metal in your hand, a weapon to protect, something that you know exists. Freedom, community, and peace are all concepts that become worthless and their potential for non-existence becomes glaringly obvious when compared a tool gripped firmly.

So, as we became known to a big dog who liked to come around and bark at us hourly throughout the night, or as we heard someone working on their car at 3:30am, I didn’t fall back on “people are good”. I put a weapon in my hand (a small camping ax… all I really had), I stayed awake, and I tried to trust my training to lead me to the best decisions possible… the decisions that would keep us safe, or at least cause as much damage as fucking possible to any would-be attackers.

But, as is often the case, the sun rose without incident. My fears turned out to be nothing more than shadows and dust. When I saw the dog that wandered by hourly it was clear that it was no more of a threat than the roosters that stayed up all night making noise (Sidenote: Fuck roosters. They don’t crow at sunrise, they crow at sunrise, 1am, sunset, because a car drove by, because a dog barks, 11pm, and for no reason at all. Why do people own those foul beasts.). With light from the sun illuminating the cloudy world we packed things up and hit the road the final 10 miles to King City where we decided to take a day off from riding, camp at a county park, and just relax.

Wages, Workers, and Machines

Today the “Zero to Hero” assignment was to write a blog post that builds upon yesterday’s assignment, to comment on some blogs. I did’t do yesterday’s assignment because it was Sunday and that means a 40 mile bike ride along the beach, lunch at The Spot in Hermosa, on orgy in the living room, and curling up to cheesy horror movies. So, instead I will be elaborating on the comment section of a Facebook conversation that is currently going on.

I shared an article that discussed the further mechanization of low-paying jobs, in this case it is a machine that can make burgers without any human help. I’m sure your big-chain grocery store has “U-Scans” so that anyone who can scan their own purchases can do it themselves and get out of the store more quickly and there are some fast-food restaurants that allow you to order via touchscreen computer and pay without talking to a person… it was only a matter of time before other jobs are replaced by machines. Now, I don’t think this is a bad thing in the long run but I do recognize that it will hurt people in the short run.

One of the main forces encouraging businesses to turn to machines is labor cost, particularly pushes for minimum-wage increases. When the government enforces a minimum wage it forces businesses to either increase their prices or decrease labor (by firing or reducing hours). Large corporations can usually bear this a little bit but small, local chains rarely make large profits and suffer the most. A large chunk of the US economy is small businesses and when people lobby for an increase in minimum wage they are harming small businesses. In addition to that, increased labor costs means increased prices of goods… so everyone is now paying a higher price even if they didn’t get a raise. If the minimum wage goes from $7.50/hr to $8.00/hr the price of goods will go up, even for the person who made $8.00/hr the whole time. And of course, as the article points out, if labor costs go up then businesses will look for a way to replace labor with machines.

So, in the long run, is this a good thing? I think so, yes. Humans are not here on the planet to work at shitty low-wage jobs. I look forward to a Star Trek world where machines do everything while the rest of us spend our time pursuing our passions and just hanging out. Work is a means to an end, not an end itself. Work is a tool to earn money to exchange for goods. We are entering a new era where the economy is based on service, information, and entertainment. We must take steps though to not punish or discourage innovation and entrepreneurship. Raising the minimum wage is a band-aid that makes things worse in the long run. What we need to be doing is breaking down the barriers of entry into different fields. Why do most cities and states regulate hair stylists and other trades, and require accreditation through certain expensive schools? Why does it costs so much to get approved to start your own business? Why is the government wasting time and money shutting down lemonade stands and raiding barbers? If this world is going to advance we need to let people use their gifts, talents, and passions without a bureaucrat stepping in, demanding money, and threatening to send men with guns to their doors if they don’t comply.

How the hell are you happy?

Twice in the last two days I’ve been asked how it is that I’m so happy. My response was a little bit simplistic but basically true for me, I said that I’m happy because I “moved out of DC, use ecstasy, ignore the state, and get laid”. I’m not recommending those steps for anyone else to be happy but the basic concept has worked well for me.

Moved out of DC: When I lived in Washington DC I was unhappy. I didn’t like the city at all. I had some good friends there but the weather, culture, and environment was awful. Washington DC is a city where dreams go to die and good intentions get infected with an incurable strain of syphilis that spreads throughout a community causing insanity and eventually death. It is a place whose culture is filled with power-hungry, narcissistic, future asshats who care only about what you can do for them. Also, the humidity and heat during the summer makes the crowded, sweaty, stinky metro rides feel more like a form of torture than a modern form of transportation. Basically, my happiness is do in part to taking steps to get out of an environment I hate and move to a place where I feel more comfortable.

Use ecstasy: While I am very open about my use of MDMA as a medicine, a relationship aid, and just for fun that is not really what this is about. Part of my happiness comes from having hobbies and interests that take my mind of the negative shit in the world. Riding my bicycle along the beach, reading books, going to raves, writing, and just diving into “Firefly” on Netflix are all ways to escape for a while, which we all need. Mental escape is necessary and healthy to remain sane in a world that the media, religion, and the government says are going to hell.

Ignore the state: Yes, the government sucks. It is a tyrannical leech that pretends to be for the “will of the people” but is really for “the profit of those in power and their friends”. The federal government continues to oppress minorities through the War on Drugs, bomb the shit out of people just because they live in another country, and spy on all citizens because we are all potential terrorists in their eyes. Governments have always done that… it is what they do, their existence is based on the use of violence against innocent people and they don’t know how to do anything else. In addition, there really isn’t a lot any of us can do about it as individuals. You can certainly protest when needed, donate to non-profits, share stories, and raise hell but I believe the best thing we can all do is mostly ignore the state and try to be happy. If there is a victimless crime that you disagree with and infringing on your rights, just fucking ignore it smartly. And remember, we live in an amazing time. We have the most powerful companies working to cure death. We have satellites, telescopes, and space probes finding out new crazy awesome things about our galaxy daily. New research is finding cures for a number of diseases. It is seriously the best time to be alive but you wouldn’t know that if you only pay attention to government.

Get laid: Sex is awesome and I’m happy when I get some (I wish this piercing would heal already so that I could get some more often…), but this is really about relationships and community. Find people who are happy and be around them. I have a community of Burners here who share the Burning Man principles and take care of each other. Communities can be based around religion, sports, hobbies, exercise, etc. but they are necessary in my mind to be happy. I wouldn’t base it around politics much anymore, though I met some fucking awesome people through the libertarian movement, but to each their own. And I find it valuable to do things with a community that moves beyond how you originally met. Do you do yoga and enjoy the people there? Then invite them to go camping and share your love of the outdoors. People working together, loving together, and sharing experiences is a source of great happiness for me. In fact, now that I think about it, this may be the most important step.

So, as we drift into another beautiful weekend I hope you all have a happy time. I know I plan on filling my few days off of work with the beauty of southern California, ecstasy, anarchy, and banging.

Of The Body

I have grown to really love the human body over the last few years. The human form is amazingly beautiful to me and the more I learn about how it functions the more beautiful it becomes. I also love my body, something that I could not always claim. Throughout high school, and even into my military days, I was uncomfortable being naked and found myself to be incredibly unattractive. As my views have changed and I have stopped comparing myself to the male physique that is marketed to me I find I am much happier and I am more inspired to actually take care of my body.

I believe people would greatly benefit if they came to love their body, be comfortable naked alone, and become comfortable naked around others without an assumption of sexual contact. Loving myself and my body was a huge milestone for me and helped me re-evaluate a lot of things I once believed, I think that is why it is so important to me. Unfortunately, in American society the image of the body has been completely skewed through a combination of unrealistic expectation as well as a puritan view of the body that oversexualizes it. The three sources of this skewing that comes to mind is advertising, movies/tv, and pornography.

Advertising in the western world does the most damage to body image in my opinion. The airbrushing, model selection process, and plastic surgery puts forth an image that is not attainable by most people. To be bombarded with these images has an effect on people on both a conscious and subconscious level. This is the most serious offender, while pornography and Hollywood may cause problems most people are aware movies and tv shows are fiction, they are fantasy, they are stories. This is explicitely known from the beginning, with advertising the line between fantasy and reality blurs and we are told what we are seeing is real.

Hollywood plays a part in setting up unrealistic expectations for body, but without airbrushing the real harm comes from the censorship enforced by the MPAA. If you haven’t seen “This Film Is Not Yet Rated” I highly advise it, it is available on Netflix streaming. Hollywood creates an environment where the male body is used only as a joke, the female form is only for sex, female pleasure is often censored, and homosexual relationships are rarely given the same support that heterosexual relationships are. Essays upon essays could be written on this subject but for me the distortion of the body is what matters. The body is never shown in a comfortable and normal environment, instead it is sex or comedy. We have a society that says that showing realistic murders is okay for evening television but the presence of an areola is forbidden.

This reinforcement of the nude form being only allowed for sex is incredibly harmful. From school children giggling at art to dress codes that sexualize all flesh men grow up with no need to mature or practice self control. Instead of learning that the body has many functions we are taught that skin equals sex. I think people rightfully claim that Americans are desensitized to violence and in it’s place we have become overly-sensitized to the beautiful human form.

I believe pornography also has an impact on body image, but I don’t think it is as harmful as the other two. Certainly traditional porn features an unnatural “porn star” look that isn’t obtainable by the average person. I think this is particularly true when it comes to vaginal construction, there is a certain vaginal look with minimized labia’s that is pretty common in porn but is rare in real life (at least in my experience). Fortunately, porn is a very free market with a growing demand for amateur and “amateur” porn with realistic people. I think it is worth noting that the Australian government has worked to ban small breasts in pornography, basically telling society what a “real sexual woman” looks like. Within pornography you can also find evidence that nudity does not equal sex, but coming from the reverse direction. If you’ve ever seen one of the “Beautiful Agony” videos you know that just seeing the facial expressions and hearing the sounds of someone in orgasm can be incredibly erotic, no nipples, vaginas, butts, or penises needed.

The human form is a beautiful thing. It exists independent of sex and we would all be better off if we desensitized ourselves to seeing people in the buff. When every body is no longer seen as a sex object you get more value and pleasure out of sex when it happens. Making something taboo, forcing it underground, and placing unrealistic puritanical standards on society harm everyone. I think the first step is to love yourself and your body first. Strip down, look in the mirror, and just enjoy the wonder of you. Everybody is different, there is such beauty in variety but that beauty can’t be seen if all we see is sex or shame.

Note: I realize that I address the human form in general and the female form in particular. I think there is a good discussion to be had about how specialization of nudity has an effect on men viewing men and when I get my thoughts sorted out I may do a blog post.

Post Script: While I think Hollywood and modern marketing does a lot of harm I don’t believe there should be government intervention. A society that produces unrealistic forms is bad, but a society that sees violence (and all government action is violence) as an appropriate response to all ills is even worse. Education, discussion, and information is how we should fight.

As always I recognize that my views are skewed based on my gender, sex, race, and economic status. I certainly don’t claim to speak for anyone except myself. These are my perceptions as an individual white, middle-class, pansexual with a penis

“X Is Why We Aren’t Winning”

Sometimes it is tough to be in the liberty movement. To the outside world we can seem unnecessarily zealous about niche issues and to within the movement we seem to be filled with pessimistic infighting. A dear friend of mine posted this on Facebook “I’ve started keeping a list of every time a libertarian says, “X is the reason we’re not winning.”” and it got me thinking. Most libertarians have heard thousands of reasons why “we aren’t winning”. Maybe it’s the anarchists fault or Rand Paul isn’t pure enough, we focus too much on drugs, there aren’t enough women, etc. There is always someone to blame for why libertarianism isn’t more popular. I have a couple of problems with this mentality.

First off, we ARE winning. Libertarian/Classical liberal thinkers have helped improve society by leaps and bounds in the last couple hundred years. It was pro-freedom advocates who helped end slavery, end the draft, and increase equality under the law. Sure, the last decade or so has kind of sucked but the world has gone through a lot shittier times than this where government has clamped down on civil and economic liberties. Libertarians job is to help provide an intellectual foundation and shift the Overton Window so that politicians are forced to move. Political action follows behind intellectual action and on the intellectual side we are winning. Yes, there have been steps back and yes, things aren’t going as quickly as we would like but it would be short-sighted and wrong to say the ideas of liberty aren’t winning, particularly if you take a look at things from a long-term and global scale.

So, what some people really mean is “X is why we aren’t winning elections”, which is a whole different statement. I think we aren’t winning elections with the Libertarian Party and explicitly libertarian candidates is because politics is the opposite of liberty. Liberty is freedom from coercion and government is a monopoly on coercion. Expecting libertarianism to spread throughout the government (particularly the federal government) is like getting your pilots license to fly to Japan and then purchasing a Honda Accord and driving into the ocean. It doesn’t matter how good of a pilot you are the vehicle is wrong for the task. And teaming up with Progressives and Conservatives is great on some issues but they have a different foundation for their beliefs, both sides generally believe that violence against peaceful, non-consenting people is okay if it is creating greater equality or security. Libertarianism itself cannot work within government, it can only shift people away from government and back to peaceful cooperation (preferably at a community level in my opinion).*

As access to information increases and technology provides greater opportunities around the globe it will become increasingly easy to ignore the government and spread libertarian ideas. Anyone who has read “Radicals For Capitalism” knows that in the early part of the 20th Century being a libertarian was a lonely idea, if you were lucky you could correspond or read a few journals entries on the subject but times have changed. The internet allows thousands of people to come together to discuss ideas and coordinate events. It would have been unheard of even 15 years ago to imagine putting on one convention that attracts 150 students dedicated to freedom and now Students For Liberty and Young Americans for Liberty hosts dozens combined. We are winning, and things are going to continue to get better. 3D Printing, longer life spans, bitcoin, wikipedia, and a thousand other developments are going to contribute to a society that does not need the state any longer. There will be bumps in the road, there are fights ahead, nothing is inevitable, but things really are better now than they have ever been.

*People point out Ron Paul as working within government. I disagree. His strength was in changing the conversation and using his position to get the issues discussed, which is very different than using legislation or political office to make changes from the inside.