Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Mimsy Were the Technocrats: As long as we keep talking about it, it’s technology.

42 Astoundingly Useful Scripts and Automations for the Macintosh

Work faster and more reliably. Add actions to the services menu and the menu bar, and create drag-and-drop apps to make your Macintosh play music, roll dice, and talk to you. Create ASCII art from your photos. There’s a script for all of that in my new book, 42 Astounding Scripts for the Macintosh.

Money Changes Everything: Empowering the vicious

Jerry Stratton, December 19, 2018

The urge to rule

Every once in a while you see someone take time out from promoting some form of government control of the economy and jump straight to saying money itself is bad, usually misquoting that money is the root of all evil. It’s important for them, because government controlled economies or exchanges eventually do destroy the value of money or the value of whatever is in the exchange. Which means they have to denigrate money or admit failure.

But money is not the root of evil. Money is the root of civilization. Money, instead of direct bartering, makes civilization possible by freeing up everybody who is neither rich nor powerful from day-to-day subsistence living.

Two of the oldest technological advances that progressives oppose are also the most empowering: guns and money. Like guns, money is something progressives claim to disdain but make sure they have access to themselves. And like guns, money makes life better for people with less power than the anointed. The beltway class can afford armed protection; they are often provided free armed protection by the state. That the invention of firearms makes effective self-defense available to everyone else, too, goes against every vision of the anointed.

Money is the same. It empowers everyone else to save, to buy, and to sell. Money, like guns, makes life safer and easier for the average person. It especially makes it easier for them to avoid becoming the prey of the rich, powerful, vicious, and strong.

Money is nothing more than a way to make bartering easier. If you want to trade for my time as a programmer, or for something at my yard sale, you don’t have to come up with something else that I want in order to barter in exchange for what you want. You give me money, and I will use it to get whatever I would have wanted in barter. I can wait until exactly the right thing comes along, without fear that what I have to sell will go stale, or be stolen. This further encourages sellers to create what people want. Money makes it easier for them to forego what is almost what they want, and wait or go elsewhere for better quality or better prices.

Like guns, progressives think the government should have control of money, even to the point of deciding who gets to make how much and from whom. The ACA is one big controlled economy, attempting to dictate how much doctors can make, and how, and how much everyone must pay, or be fined. They fear the opening of phone service, of gas sales, and of power generation even though more freedom inevitably leads to higher quality, better choices, and lower prices. Throughout the economy, progressives want to dictate how much is too much, how much is too little, and what we should be able to do with it. They cannot talk about taxes without betraying their belief that all earnings belong to the government. Whatever you get to keep is because the government—them, at least in their dreams—is kind enough to let you keep your 70% or 60% or 30% or less.

Going back to a moneyless barter economy, or an economy in which the government controls all transactions and doles out permission slips for trades, or an economy in which the printing presses print so much money that it isn’t worth anything anyway, would not change this. The rich and powerful would still be rich and powerful in a world without free access to money. They were before the invention of money, and they would be if we returned to a moneyless or restricted economy. The rich and powerful have the power to acquire and protect masses of stuff in variety. But it will be a lot harder for those who are not rich and powerful to maintain what they need to trade for food from a farmer tomorrow or trade to hire a doctor tomorrow, if they can’t just stick money in a bank, if instead they must literally acquire and protect enough variety of things to barter that they’ll have something the farmer and the doctor will trade for.

Abraham Lincoln: The Eternal Struggle

Freedom to use money however they wish keeps the non-powerful from subsistence living. Because there’s another class of people who thrive in a moneyless economy. Money doesn’t just keep everyone else from being easy prey for the rich and powerful, it also keeps everyone else from being easy prey for the vicious and strong. It’s easier to steal from those without the resources to protect the stuff they need in order to be able to barter. A barter-only economy makes it easier for the vicious and strong to become the rich and powerful.

Which makes sense when you see how vicious the progressive left has become, or revealed themselves to be, over the last several years.

It is the tendency of progressives to take on labels that mean the opposite of their goals. They call themselves progressive when the only progress they want is backwards. They call themselves liberal even though they are anything but, in their opposition to the liberal values of free speech, of free association, and of a liberal, pluralistic education. Caring, even though they consign millions to poverty and dependence. And the party of science while denying biology and the scientific method, and turning science into a religion—while denying the advances of science to the poor, the hungry, and the cold. Or engaging in extraordinarily fascist behavior in the name of anti-fascism.

Progressives love progress only if it furthers state control. They hate and fear progress that frees and empowers individuals. The progress they fear is progress that furthers civilization, and strengthens the individual against barbarism. In areas that I’m familiar with, you can see it in their determination to find reasons to control free expression on the Internet, their disdain for print-on-demand, even their denigration of blogging.

It confuses people who expect the progressive left to act in accordance to their professed values, to oppose sexism against conservative women, to oppose racism against conservative blacks, to support more effective and less expensive health care, to support more effective and less expensive education. But behind every one of the left’s apparent double standards is a single standard: they don’t care about women’s rights, or racism, or health care, or education. They care about who they can control.

“The urge to save humanity,” writes Mencken, “is almost always a false-face for the urge to rule it.”

The more vicious that rule, the better.

They can offer us nothing but the same stuffy science, the same bullying bureaucracy and the same terrorism by tenth-rate professors that have led the German Empire to its recent conspicuous triumph. — G. K. Chesterton (Eugenics and Other Evils)

In response to The pseudo-scientific state and other evils: In 1922, following the first world war, G.K. Chesterton discovered to his dismay that the evils of the scientifically-managed state had not been killed by its application in Prussia. Unfortunately, it was also not killed by its applications in Nazi Germany.