Interesting Things – Tuesday (11/12/13)

Here is today’s collection of things I found interesting online. I often get Facebook messages from friends and strangers that say they enjoy the variety of things I post so I figured I would share it with the few people who follow me on here as well. As you probably expect it will lean pretty heavily towards science, sex, and anarchy.

Cute: Here is a link to something adorable (http://www.sanger.dk/)

Students For Liberty: This last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Students For Liberty Southern California Regional Conference. One of the speakers was Conor Friersdorff from The Atlantic. Here is his talk (http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/11/how-to-safeguard-liberty-through-discourse/281376/).

War On Drugs: The War on (Some) Drugs has devastated countless lives through death and incarceration. It has also had an incredibly high economic impact by preventing collection of taxes on the nation’s largest cash crop, marijuana. (http://www.policymic.com/articles/72497/this-is-the-first-map-to-prove-how-valuable-legalizing-marijuana-would-be-for-america)

Social Norms: When you are done with a party to you just jet or do you make it a point to say good-bye to everyone? I am someone who just leaves (or ghosts). I wonder if there is a Myers-Briggs correlation between those who leave and those who hang around to formally say good-bye. (http://www.slate.com/articles/life/a_fine_whine/2013/07/ghosting_the_irish_goodbye_the_french_leave_stop_saying_goodbye_at_parties.html)

LGBT Rights: I don’t think the government should be involved permitting or licensing businesses at all, all that does is prohibit people from freely working and contracting and it disproportionately harms the poorest and least educated in our communities; but, if licensing must happen governments shouldn’t discriminate based on sexual orientation like this town in Mississippi. (http://thoughtsonliberty.com/mississippi-woman-sues-town-for-refusing-to-allow-gay-bar)

PTSD: As a veteran and open user of MDMA I hope people will recognize this as legitimate and effective medicine that has huge potential. Check out this video if you have a chance (http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/healing-trauma-in-veterans-with-mdma-assisted-psychotherapy)

Police Brutality: There have been several high-profile cases lately of police officers forcing anal searches and probes on people without any real justification (thank you Drug War), but as this article points out it is unlikely that any individuals will face any consequences. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/11/anal-probes-and-the-drug-_n_4254600.html)

Best Thing I Read Today: “Rarely has man been more cruel against man than in the condemnation and punishment of those accused of so-called sexual perversions. The penalties have included imprisonment, torture, the loss of life or limb, banishment, blackmail, social ostracism, the loss of social prestige, renunciation by friends and families, the loss of position in a school or business, severe penalties meted out for conviction of men serving in the armed forces, public condemnation by emotionally insecure and vindictive judges on the bench and the torture endured by those who live in fear that their nonconformist sexual behavior will be exposed to public view. These are the penalties which have been imposed on and against persons who have done no damage to the property or physical odies of others, but who have failed to adhere to the mandated custom. Such cruelties have not often been matched, except in religious or racial persecutions.” – Alfred Kinsey

Photo Of My Day:
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Birthday Wishes

This upcoming Sunday is my birthday, but because I am a (barely functional) adult I don’t really need much, but there are lots of organizations out there that do. So, for my birthday I hope you all will considering what you can to one of these amazing organizations. Liberty, ending the drug war, medicinal research, and ending rape are four of my passions and these organizations are on the frontlines. Every dollar helps.

Men Can Stop Rape: This organization is working to change the narrative around rape and end rape culture by mobilizing men to use their strength to protect, not harm. Check them out and see if they fit what you want in the world, if so, please donate.

Students For Liberty (SFL): As an international education based non-profit SFL is having a global impact for liberty. They provide resources and training for college students who are interested in a free society. Check them out at their website and if you like what they are doing you can donate here.

Students For Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP): SSDP is an international organization that works to educate and mobilize students to change the policies in their country. They value sensible policies of harm prevention, instead of incarceration, for narcotics use. They are doing many things that could use some financial support.

Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS): MAPS continues to do great work in search of medicinal uses for a wide range of stigmatized drugs like marijuana, LSD, and MDMA. They focus on clinical research, as well as providing educational harm prevention materials. I really believe that what they do will have a huge impact on the treatment of a variety of issues that face society, but they need help to keep going.

If you really want to throw something my way though, I am accepting support for my upcoming bicycle ride via paypal.

“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.