it’s three, actually

Status

Peter Watts penned a short note roughly a year ago and ended it on this hopeful note:

The world will burn, though. Or enough of it, at least. If Trump gets in, there are gonna be a lot of screaming toddlers with scorched hands. Shouldn’t take him more than one term to bring that whole damn country down around his ears.

And once the pot has well and truly boiled over— when even the Guccis of the one-percenters are slick with the blood in the streets; when Flint-level infrastructure has spread to every corner of the fifty states; when those damned Mexicans finally build Trump’s wall for him, but along the original Mexican/US boundary— why, the Land of the Free will be just begging for someone like Elizabeth Warren to take the helm.

It might be the only way to return sanity to the US political process, in a world where the Overton Window has moved so far to the right that yesterday’s centrism is today’s radical loony tune. In order to reset the scale to the point where workable solutions are even visible, you might have to shatter that window entirely and start over. Or—if you prefer pendulum metaphors—pushing the bob all the way over to Trump might be the only way to build enough energy to reach Warren/Sanders territory on the return swing.

It sounds grim, but at heart this is a hopeful message. True democracy might yet play a constructive role, even if its voice is dominated by toddlers who thus far have refused to accept the danger posed by stove-tops. So let them prevail, I say. Let them burn. Let them learn the hard way, and the sooner the better.

There’s a nice fringe benefit for the rest of us, too. Once those burns have been sustained, perhaps the toddlers will be so busy trying to stamp out the fires within their own borders that they’ll be less inclined to keep starting them elsewhere in the world. Wouldn’t that be nice.

Maybe I’ll head down south after all, in a few more years. Hang out with some old friends I haven’t been able to visit in a while.

In the meantime I’ll keep playing Fallout 4. Just to get ready.

He should have played Fallout 3.

Reading Rothbard

Aside

Now if a parent may own his child (within the framework of non-aggression and runaway-freedom), then he may also transfer that ownership to someone else. He may give the child out for adoption, or he may sell the rights to the child in a voluntary contract. In short, we must face the fact that the purely free society will have a flourishing free market in children. Superficially, this sounds monstrous and inhuman. But closer thought will reveal the superior humanism of such a market. For we must realize that there is a market for children now, but that since the government prohibits sale of children at a price, the parents may now only give their children away to a licensed adoption agency free of charge. This means that we now indeed have a child-market, but that the government enforces a maximum price control of zero, and restricts the market to a few privileged and therefore monopolistic agencies. The result has been a typical market where the price of the commodity is held by government far below the free-market price: an enormous “shortage” of the good. The demand for babies and children is usually far greater than the supply, and hence we see daily tragedies of adults denied the joys of adopting children by prying and tyrannical adoption agencies. In fact, we find a large unsatisfied demand by adults and couples for children, along with a large number of surplus and unwanted babies neglected or maltreated by their parents. Allowing a free market in children would eliminate this imbalance, and would allow for an allocation of babies and children away from parents who dislike or do not care for their children, and toward foster parents who deeply desire such children. Everyone involved: the natural parents, the children, and the foster parents purchasing the children, would be better off in this sort of society
(From: Murray Rothbard, “Ethics of Liberty”, chapter fourteen: children and rights)

don’t talk to lawyers for they may respond

Aside

a cautionary tale

…so I had a close encounter with an enraged lawyer threatening me with a lawsuit yesterday. That was quite a learning experience, and I’d like to share some of the things I’ve learned:

things some Polish lawyers find perfectly acceptable and appropriate

  • telling a story about a progenitor who, being a district commander of country-wide paramilitary organisation named “Rifleman”, threatens miners on a strike with sending said Riflemen “wearing iron helmets” to quash the strike, is then being slapped with a criminal lawsuit and finally is freed from charges by a court because said court was “friendly to the paramilitaries”,
  • thinking that it’s a hilarious anecdote about a revered forebear,
  • not seeing anything wrong with all the above

things some Polish lawyers find worthy of threatening with lawsuit

  • using an expletive with regard to the aforementioned forebear’s behaviour,
  • comparing the revered ancestor to other historical figures with the habit of sending armed forces to quash miners’ strikes by the use of deadly force,
  • giving an example of another story that would be just as wildly inappropriate as the one above

things some other Polish lawyers find wildly inappropriate

  • having and expressing an opinion on someone’s ancestral behaviour while being situated somewhere left to the centre on the political spectrum

things to do to save yourself trouble when discussing some Polish lawyer’s ancestors

  • don’t use expletives even when fully warranted,
  • use all the titles and as much formal language as possible,
  • remember about the no expletives rule, or you’re going to severely impair your chances when the judge gets to you,
  • use euhphemisms, like an equivalent of “honourable”, and think warmly about Ambrose Bierce,
  • do go and re-read the “Devil’s Dictionary”, it will improve your mood

no Polish lawyers’ egos were harmed during preparation of this article