Putting the rage in suffrage

“There’s really no point to voting. If it made any difference, it would probably be illegal.”

–H.L. Mencken

One of the most sacrosanct values of modern government is the ability to vote. The last 300 years, particularly in the Anglosphere, are a litany of ever expanding suffrage to more classes of people. The path of extending this privileged from white, land owning, adult males to anyone over the age of 18 is a long but steady one. It’s clear when you look at politicians and political movements of days gone by and see if they were on the “right side of history”, in this regard. Small battles are still being fought over technicalities, but the war over who can and should vote is long over. Any attitude besides universal suffrage has been banished from mainstream thought for decades.

If you ask anyone if you should vote in an upcoming election, the answer will be a resounding yes aside from a few malcontents. Ask the same person if they plan on voting and you will most likely get a polite lie in return. Barely half of the eligible persons in “the great democracy” of the United States show up to cast a ballot. The disconnect between these two attitudes is obvious and apparent. The highest civic duty and privilege of democracy is barely being utilized.

If you press somebody on this, you might get a bit closer to the truth. “It’s too much of a hassle and one vote never makes a difference anyway.” It takes a rare kind of person to do something even when they know their action will have no affect on it. In fact, it sounds like a form of insanity. Most people with OCD know that nothing changes when they perform their tics ad nauseum. In this light, it is somewhat amazing that half of the population still feels compelled to take half a day to vote. They will put off whatever they were doing to pull a lever in a cardboard station to vote for someone they will never see in person, let alone meet.

The last time I voted, it was out of sheer boredom. The polling station was literally outside my front door and the line was an obstacle to get out onto the street. My curiosity got the better of me, and I thought it would be interesting to join the line.

What ensued was the most potent soul-crushing mix of boredom and frustration in recent memory. First off, the line only had 30 or so people in it, so I figured it would pass fairly shortly. There were several polling stations and five or so odd people assisting the process along. It took me over half an hour to reach the front of the line. The only thing that compelled me further to stay in the line than five minutes was my own sense of stubbornness.

Once I had reached the front of the line, it took them an additional five minutes to verify my identity. I couldn’t simply hand them my drivers license or tell them that I lived on this block, they had to look me up by name in some arcane tome of bureaucracy. After some fumbling around, the half-awake poll worker finally realized the correct order of the alphabet and found the right record.

This got me a ballot in a manilla folder and a cheap ballpoint pen. After wandering over to the makeshift privacy stations they had set up, I proceeded to look over the options on the ballot. It instantly brought me back into my childhood, when I took public school standardized tests. I saw a few names I had recognized from TV ads and sign posts, but the majority of options were faceless people filling previously unknown positions. Part of me just wanted to randomly mark names that sounded nice, and the other part of me wanted to rip the elongated piece of paper into shreds.

I left leaving most of the options blank. I think one of the poll workers might have put it in the wrong box when I left. It made me wonder if my ballot would be thrown out on a technicality. It is too bad you don’t get a revote in that case. The entire process is designed to make it as hard as impossible to do anything right.

The essential flaw behind voting in a modern democracy is that is voluntary while other parts of society are compulsory. Even in countries where voter turn-out is mandatory, abstaining is still an option. Abstaining from paying your taxes, dodging a draft, or ignoring a court subpoena are not. As a consequence, these are the parts of government that people actually pay attention to. It doesn’t matter if you feel these things are honorable or not. It does not need propaganda and peer pressure to speak well of it. You either do it or bad things happen to you. The action taken is based in fear of consequences and a sense of powerlessness.

In this, one can see the true operational capacity of democratic governments. The sense of cooperation and appreciation of diversity are nothing more a facade for the uglier and more necessary parts of government. It’s success relies on the combination of these two forces. They both need each other to thrive. In a society deprived of any sense of commonality or nationhood, something else needs to jump in and fill the void. Otherwise, people will never work together. The farther a society falls into this trap, the more propaganda and fear are needed to patch the gaps.

I sure as hell know that I’ll never go out of my way to vote again.

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This is my rifle

I’ve made up my mind. I’m going to buy a gun.

I realize I’ll probably never use it. It’ll sit at the bottom of a drawer in my nightstand. It’ll be covered by miscellaneous junk that inevitably accumulates in drawers. If I ever need to get to it quickly, I’ll probably have trouble finding it. I won’t keep it loaded so I’ll have to scour the junk once more to find the magazine. The ammo will probably get jammed as I load it. The safety will be set on. With any luck, I’ll have a usable weapon about a minute after I needed it. I’d probably be better of defending myself with a 200-year old, single shot musket.

Owning a gun to “defend yourself” is mostly bullshit. Unless you are going to strap a gun to your chest every day, you are probably never going to be in the position to use it. No, I don’t want a gun for defense. I want it for peace of mind.

It puts you in another class of men. In every society, the people with real power have weapons, and they have the best weapons they can get their hands on. For the past 300 years or so, that has meant guns. In most third-world countries, the government is so ineffective that they do not rule most of their own cities. Some towns are ruled by a mayor and others are ruled by a crimelord. Most cities are a mix of both. They each have their own different set of leaders and laws. There is one sure way to see who has the real power. Just look for the people with the most guns, then you’ll know.

The state only regulates things that threaten its power. It should come as no surprise that guns are heavily-regulated world wide. In many countries like Switzerland and South Korea, gun ownership is strictly tied to military service. Compulsory conscription means that citizens will learn about firearms through their government. How to hold them, how to clean them, how to aim them, and when to use them. Subconsciously, it reinforces the state as the arbiter of destiny. If you want power, you’ll have to get it through them.

It’s hard to meet someone who doesn’t have a strong opinion about guns. This opinion operates on an instinctual and visceral level. Are you uncertian of how you feel about guns? I’ve got a surefire way for you to find to out. Simply hold one in your hand, take aim, and squeeze the trigger. You will feel something. If that target was a person, he’d be dead. Don’t knock it until you tried it.

That amount of power can be intoxicating. If you aren’t ready for it, it will frighten you. It is cathartic. There are a lot of uptight people in the world. I bet if there was a gun range on every corner, there would be a lot less stress. It’d certainly be healthier than a bunch of convenience stores. I wonder how many people are dying each day from cheap beer and potato chips that come in hermetically sealed bags.

That’s probably why my father has a cabinet full of guns. It’s probably why his father does too. I bet my great-grandfather had a whole rack of rifles back in his heyday . I doubt any of the guns were ever used. Besides the occasional target practice, they’ll sit down there and rust. There is something very human about just owning a weapon. You’ve got to prepare yourself if the world goes to hell.

Pull the plug

I would rather die having spoken in my manner, than speak in your manner and live. For neither in war nor yet in law ought any man use every way of escaping death. For often in battle there is no doubt that if a man will throw away his arms, and fall on his knees before his pursuers, he may escape death, if a man is willing to say or do anything. The difficulty, my friends, is not in avoiding death, but in avoiding unrighteousness; for that runs deeper than death.

-Socrates, Apology of Socrates

I went jogging a few days ago. I do this every Sunday morning.  I’ve found that I am much like a dog; I need to be let out every so often to prevent me from becoming restless.

It was a cold morning, well below freezing and windy.  This made it a bit harder to motivate myself to get out.  I had to remind myself about it isn’t so bad once you start moving. Proper clothing helps a great deal.

On my way to the park I usually jog in, I pass underneath a freeway.  As I approached the overpass on this morning, I noticed something out of the ordinary.  I was able to see several makeshift beds at a distance.  They were mostly comprised of old rags for blankets, cardboard for mattresses, and random junk for pillows.  The “beds” all lined up in a row.  There must have been five of them on either side of the sidewalk. The makeshift hovels were crammed into whatever small shelter the overpass provided.

In a split second, my reptile brain alerted me.  I thought about changing course.  It told me it would be easy to find another route around this encampment.  I overrode this thought just as quickly; there has been little in my past experience these kinds of people that would justify fear.

Within seconds, I had passed them.  It is hard not to feel pity when faced with such destitution only a few feet from you.  The cold only exacerbated it.  They were barely recognizable as humans underneath the mountains of filth they piled on themselves to stave off the immense cold.  It was evident they had very little on their mind besides warmth.

Almost as suddenly as they came, these thoughts were pushed out of my mind.  It is hard to keep much focus when battling the elements with a pounding heart-rate.  It wasn’t until I was winding down and heading homewards did my thoughts return to the huddled masses underneath the overpass.

They clearly weren’t living a good life.  The essence of pity is empathy.  Empathy stems from being able feel what another feels.  Yet, the more I thought about it, the more I was certain I would never be in their situation.

They live a life beyond what I consider worthwhile.  Long before I ever reach that point, I would either force change upon my self or choose death.  I value living well too much to have it any other way.  Life for only for life’s sake is repulsive.

Modern society often takes the opposite view.  In almost every action modernity makes that deals with life and death, this is no distinction does not show itself.  Too often do people exist as former shells of themselves in nursing homes; they are simply waiting for death.  Universal healthcare is seen as a basic right; all must be taken care of at any cost.  Thousands of patients in hospitals around the world are dead to the world living in a vegetative state; they are only alive to the machines that give them a pulse.  The sole imperative of this mindset is just to keep life going at any cost.

The distinction between life and a good life is where difference between heaven and hell begins.  Societies with any sense at all instinctively know this difference.  Where absolutes rule, madness reigns.

Dead end lesbians

I live on the first story of an apartment building.  Above me lives a lesbian couple. I know next to nothing about them.  They’ve never bothered to introduce themselves.  The few times I’ve knocked on their door, to give them a package they missed or something similarly menial, I’ve been treated in a rather cold and impersonal manner.

I see their last names and initials on the box beside mine when I check the mail. I occasionally pass them by chance in the hallways.  Usually, they are heading out together with their small and unruly dog.  From time to time, if I am playing bass heavy music, I’ll get a yell through the ceiling to turn it down.  The walls in my apartment building are paper thin, but I’ve yet to see them come downstairs to address me directly.

Strangely, I’ve never really felt strongly enough about them, in anyway. To feel anything but indifference about them seems foreign.  If I had to pin an emotion on it, I’d call it pity rather than hate.  They are clearly an unhappy people.

I try to think about the path lead them to where they are now.  The choices and circumstance that has brought them to that apartment above me.  From the looks of it, they’ve been there for many years before I moved in last Spring.  I try to see where they might be going, what drives them to act they way they do, and only draw blanks.

I see an incomplete life.  I would not be the least bit surprised if I were to come back after 15 years (hopefully long after I’ve moved on), and find nothing of value. I see them still living in the same cramped apartment with another dog of similar stature and equally questionable manners.  They’ve gotten older and fatter.  The best change that has happened in their life is that they have a flatter, bigger TV.

Perhaps, this is the future for most modern young people.  I can’t help but see it as a dead end.  The lesbians are living the modern dream.  They live in a big city.  I’m sure they have unique jobs they can brag about to their friends.  They are prolonging any semblance of a normal life for years to come.  They are hip as they come by modern standards.

Their lifestyle has been put forth by modern society as something for young women to strive for.   Their grandmothers had completely different hopes and aspirations for their lives.  It’s had a profound affect on society as a whole.  In the last 50 years, modernity has completely changed half of the population views success.

Convincing young women that their ancestors did not think women were important is one of the greatest lies of the modern age.  The disasters that this mindset has wrought are unparalleled.  It could not be farther from the truth.  Any of ancient society that did not make full use of half of its citizens would have been easily outpaced by its rivals.  Even the most war-like and masculine centered societies such as Sparta had a sacred place for their women.

Aristotle explains:

The old mythologer would seem to have been right in uniting Ares and Aphrodite, for all warlike races are prone to the love either of men or of women. This was exemplified among the Spartans in the days of their greatness; many things were managed by their women. But what difference does it make whether women rule, or the rulers are ruled by women? The result is the same.
– The Politics, Book II

Modern ideas on gender were never intended to free women.  It’s effect has been the opposite. It has removed them from where they are needed the most.  These changes have been disastrous for both men and women.  In the best ancient societies, women played an equally essential role to men.  If we ever wish to escape the desolation of modernity, good women will be an essential part of it as well.

Dogs and the ancient in man

The winter has been particularly harsh this season.  Grime encrusted snow lines the streets.  I’m sure part of snow pack is still from the first that snow fell over four months ago in November.  It has rarely gotten above freezing since then.  Piss soaked patches of yellowish-brown ice sporadically dot the snow pack from the beginning to the end of the block.

I live in a large city.  The only time I  interact with dogs is on the sidewalk when I am going somewhere.  Usually, the dog is relieving itself and the owner is impatiently waiting for it to finish.  You can’t help but feel sad for both involved in this interaction.

What drives these urban apartment dwellers to possess an animal that consumes much of their free time and spare money?  Is it some desire to connect with wildlife?  Some desire to make any connection whatsoever?  For whatever reason, it is painful obvious that the animal isn’t getting a good deal.

A dog in their natural state is able to roam free.  It is able to explore the wilderness.  Leaving a dog in an apartment for twenty hours a day is pure cruelty.  When you limit a dog to only a few walks a day around city blocks, you are depriving it of its nature.  It is no wonder these animals are pathetic to look upon.

To understand a dog’s natural environment, one must understand where they come from.  Dogs are wolves domesticated by humans in the paleolithic era.  A symbiotic bond was formed between humans and wolves.  They might be the first animals that humans domesticated.  Shortly after their domestication, dogs became ubiquitous across all human cultures in the world.

They were popular domesticated animals because they served a purpose.  They helped the paleolithic man in the hunt. Because of this role, they share a unique role in relation to man.  They are the closest connection man has to the animal kind.

When I see a modern city dweller pine to have a dog, I see a yearning to return to a time when they had a connection to the past.  I see a yearning to return to the hunt.  Like most modern attempts to reconcile their past and heritage with their current situation, it only turns out as a cruel mockery.  We see dogs bred into pathetic and misshapen forms.  We see humans forced to heed to every beck and call from their animals.

Anything deprived of their usefulness is something without a purpose.  Unfortunately, most dogs today can be characterized by their uselessness.  Only in their proper environment, can both man and dog survive as they were intended to.  Anything outside of that is foolish and ultimately pathetic.

What binds you to your country?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why I continue to live in the United States.  The effort and cost of moving to another country would surely be substantial, but it is relatively minor compared to the decision of where you want to spend the rest of your life.  Many of the American bourgeois (as well as most Europeans) list “traveling” as one of their favorite hobbies yet very few ever leave their own country for more than a few weeks every year.

The main source of immigration in the modern era is decidedly from poorer third-world countries to White first-world countries.  It is primarily for economic reasons.  Whether the Muslims in Europe or Latinos in America, most immigrants express outright hatred of their host country’s culture.  They often continue to practice their culture as though they had never left their home country and sometimes, they outright subvert the culture that they are invading.

Unfortunately, culture of America has very little influence over me wanting to remain in the United States.  In fact, there is none.  America was once an outpost of Europe.  What was once a dynamic mix of British and Teutonic culture has been eroded over the past century to complete cultural nihilism.

Despite all of this, I still feel a deep kinship with the land itself.  While the industrial revolution destroyed much of the land in the populated areas of Europe and elsewhere, much of America has been untouched due to the sheer amount of area it covers.  In many aspects, it is still very much a virgin land.  I feel privileged to have grow up in an area where you could leave your backyard and walk for miles in forests untouched by modern development.  I still take every opportunity I can afford to experience these lands.