Author Archive: Javier George

Why I Closed My Bank Account and Went All Bitcoin

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A negative balance? Just when I was about to withdraw rent money?

Yes, it appeared that someone had attempted to steal from me. And, in the short term, they had succeeded. Someone had written a check in my name for a couple thousand dollars to try to buy a car. Now, mind you, I can’t remember ever using a check in my eight-plus years since opening that bank account. I barely used the account at all since I had started making all my money in Bitcoin. The only reason I was using it this time was to liquidate some cryptocurrency for rent, since I had procrastinated about selling it for cash. But that one small interaction with the banking system was all it took to somehow make me feel its worst inefficiencies. I called the number provided on the website, was on placed on hold for a half-hour, then transferred to another number and another half-hour hold time, until at last I was sent to the third and final banking representative… complete with another 30-minute hold. They agreed to reverse the charge, but said it would take until the end of the business day. After the bank closed, of course.

To summarize: Someone tried to buy a car by scribbling something on a piece of paper I never touched, said it meant that my money was behind it, and some bank just went and gave them more of my money than I had in my account. And I spent almost 100 minutes on the phone and had to wait until the next day to get it reversed. For $12 per month. When I was already using cryptocurrency and getting more functionality than a bank for free.

That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I had had it. The next day I went into the nearest bank branch, withdrew the rest of my money, and closed the account, exiting the banking world for good.

Being unbanked as a source of freedom

I am now unbanked. That very word evokes images of human rights organizations passionately pleading on behalf of grubby migrant workers forced to deal with predatory check cashing services, cut off from the marvels of the modern financial world. Saying you’re unbanked is like saying you don’t have a car, don’t vote, don’t have a smartphone, and probably live in a hut with a spear as your only technological advancement to help you survive in this cruel world. Say you’re unbanked on purpose, though, and people will look at you like you’re insane.

But it’s not insane. There’s nothing wrong with deciding not to have one giant corporation in control of the product of your labor for the rest of your existence. What’s insane is leaving the unaccountable and mandated Federal Reserve in control over the value of your savings, while trusting an institution that reports your every financial move to the government with all your earnings. The same government that blows all your tax money on bombing wedding parties half a world away, and will be happy to arbitrarily drain your account of all funds, with no warning, and certainly no recourse.

In reality, I’m not so much unbanked as I am post-banked. By going full Bitcoin, I’m not stashing gold ingots in my basement, bartering with clam shells and bushels of apples while the rest of the world remains light years ahead of me. It’s actually the opposite. I’ve jumped to a financial plane of existence where I can send money to anyone anywhere, and they can do the same, in the blink of an eye, with extremely low fees and no centralized control. And if I get tired of Bitcoin someday, I can always switch to any of the hundreds of alternative cryptocurrencies out there, provided I can find someone to accept them.

Unplugging from the Matrix bit by bit, Bitcoin by Bitcoin

Here’s how power structures work: They centralize all activity around one crucial chokepoint, and make passing through that point necessary to function in society. Then they can do what they want with you. At worst, anyone expressing unpopular ideas can be ruined on a whim. At best, with one monopolized service everyone has to go through, they can basically charge you what they want, all while delivering the worst customer fulfillment you’ll ever see.

Now that I’m not using the banking system anymore, that’s two extra realms of freedom I’ve won back. One, I’ve reclaimed the value of my productivity from an unaccountable centralized organization than can just print more money and make mine worthless. And two, now I control my funds. No one can just mistake me for a terrorist and take everything away, or go bankrupt and inform me that they gambled away all my money. I’m outside the system of control in some of the most significant ways possible.

So I kicked the bankers to the curb. I haven’t lost my goddamned mind. I’ve won my goddamned freedom.

Prohibitionist NH Rep. Drives Drunk, Crashes

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A New Hampshire state representative with a record of voting for prohibitionist laws was caught driving drunk when he caused a three-car collision.

Rep. Michael D. Abbott from Cheshire County’s first district caused a pileup on Route 9 in Keene this past Saturday. He was arrested for aggravated driving while under the influence and released on $2,000 bail, and is scheduled for arraignment on August 4th.

Abbott’s hypocritical history of voting to restrict personal freedom

From his dangerous and irresponsible behavior with substances, you would think Rep. Abbott would have a relaxed attitude towards drug and alcohol legislation. Apparently not. He voted three times against legalizing, decriminalizing, and reducing penalties for marijuana use and possession. He also voted for increased fines related to breaking alcohol consumption laws, something he might have to deal with personally very soon. Icing on the cake: Abbott sits on the Transportation Committee.

In what has in recent context become a stinging indictment of his own personal behavior, Rep. Abbott answered the Keene Sentinel’s candidate questionnaire, outlining his emphasis on using the state to target substance abuse:

“The state should be responsible for providing through school curriculums and local community citizen coalitions an adequate drug abuse information base to discourage use of illegal and addictive drugs. The state should also offer programs for treatment for drug users and avoid incarceration for drug-related crimes unless they involve violence and intent to encourage drug abuse among others. The use of drug courts and existing rehabilitation agencies should be utilized.” (emphasis added)

So while the respectable Representative Michale D. Abbott was using the force of law to police your life for your own good and safety, he was busy getting riggity-wrecked on the side and wrecking his (and others’) highly dangerous motor vehicle.

Rep. Abbott is still seeking reelection this year

Despite clearly displaying that his judgment is lacking for a public servant seeking to write laws telling you how to run your life, Rep. Abbott indicated after the incident that he still plans on seeking reelection this November. Thankfully, his contact information is readily available to the public, so constituents who are so inclined can easily let him have a piece of their mind by calling, emailing, and sending him mail.

Gary Johnson Capitalizes on Cruz Snub, #NeverTrump

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Former GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz urged Republican National Convention goers to “vote their conscience” instead of blindly supporting Donald Trump, a statement Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson took as an endorsement for his candidacy.

Rather than endorse Trump, Cruz urged voters to non-specifically follow their conscience:

“Vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.”

Johnson took these comments, both because of their content and because of their omission of the Republican nominee, to mean an endorsement of the Libertarian Party ticket:

“He did say to vote for Gary Johnson, didn’t he? And that was ‘vote your conscience.’ I certainly would uphold the Constitution.”

From Cruz and Kasich, the #NeverTrump baton passes to Johnson

As Jeb Bush and Rand Paul dropped out of the Republican presidential race early, the establishment and liberty votes shifted to John Kasich and Ted Cruz, respectively, before finally all collecting around Cruz in one last desperate, and ultimately failed, attempt to stop Donald Trump. Now, the mantle of the #NeverTrump torchbearer passes to Gary Johnson. Die-hard Republican establishment faithfuls Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney and have publicly mused about the possibility of supporting the Johnson/Weld ticket (Bush by indicated he would never vote for Clinton or Trump while mentioning the Libertarian candidacy, Romney musing over the possibility of endorsing Johnson while indicating his support for his running mate).

Finally, add one last wildcard to the mix of Gary Johnson’s surprising cheerleaders: active duty military. A new poll of members currently serving across all branches of the US military indicates a strong preference for Johnson over Clinton, and even places him above Donald “I love veterans” Trump. As the election wears on, this upset in the prevailing logic is sure to make for some interesting campaigning.

The Libertarian Party’s big venture to court the mainstream

In 2012, Johnson courted voters faced with the dim prospect of either another term for President Obama or holding their nose and voting for big-government flip-flopper Mitt Romney, encouraging them to “be Libertarian with me this one time.” Unfortunately, the vast majority of voters did not take him up on his generous offer, gaining him a paltry 1% of the national vote. This time around, however, Johnson appears poised to perform much better, polling as high as 13%, merely two points away from the minimum threshold to be included in the national debates beside Clinton and Trump. Johnson remained adamant about choosing William Weld as his running mate, presumably because of the fundraising network and centrist and establishment connections he brings to the table.

Who Makes Grown Men Cry?

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Grown men don’t cry. That’s the prevailing wisdom. Whatever great tragedy or deep sadness they deal with, men are supposed to keep their feelings bottled up inside and present a calm, stoic public demeanor. If a man cries publicly, you can be sure that he has been profoundly moved.

You can become someone who will move grown men to tears. The question is, will you be an inspiration? Or a source of pain? Two famous comedians, Bill Burr and Louis C.K., have spoken about individuals who had that level of impact in their lives, one positive and one negative.

Bill Burr is one of the most successful comedians in the world. He has sold out Madison Square Garden, has acted in shows like Breaking Bad and F Is for Family, and runs a successful weekly podcast, to name just a few accomplishments. He is known for his style of always pushing uncomfortable topics with glee, having stated that he’s having the most fun when 20% of the audience is alienated. All of the above made his story of his father all the more remarkable when Burr recounted a tale of Christmas from when he was six years old. His strict, borderline abusive dad chided him growing up for joking around (his comedic talent apparently started young), comparing him to a giggling little girl. One Christmas, Burr received a doll from his father to mock his budding love of comedy. When recounting the story, Burr, a seasoned veteran of performance, had great difficulty struggling through the story of that Christmas, choking up several times. Many decades later, the mere memory of a minor prank by his father could still bring a very successful man to tears.

On the other side of the equation we have Louis C.K., arguably one of the most successful comedians of all time. He is a veritable force of nature in the entertainment industry, writing, directing, producing, and acting in numerous shows (foremost among them being the critically-acclaimed semi-autobiographical Louie), in addition to being a legendary comic. While performing at a benefit in honor of the recently departed comedic powerhouse George Carlin, he spoke to how Carlin had changed his life, from initially inspiring him to take up comedy to providing a constant example of success in his field. C.K. recounted how, when he was in a 15-year slump and thinking about quitting, he looked at how he had been working for over a decade on an hour of mediocre material, whereas Carlin threw out all his old routine and started fresh every year. C.K. was blown away by this, and had been too terrified to do the same, but decided to draw courage from his idol to attempt to emulate his success. Years later, he recounted how he was taping a successful comedy special at the same time as Carlin, and tearfully stated how honored he was to be doing the same thing at the same time as his hero. C.K. maintained that “Anything that ever happens to me that’s good is due to this guy.”

We don’t always get to consciously choose our legacy once we’re gone. Countless individuals like Bill Burr’s father and George Carlin have left lasting, profound impacts on the people whose lives they touched without even knowing. What is up to us is the example we set. We can choose to be someone of achievement, courage, and inspiration, or a source of pain, fear, and regret. How will you choose to make a grown man cry?

Libertarians: Get Better At Shunning

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I’m never one to shy away from controversy, especially when it serves some greater purpose in the pursuit of truth and justice. A couple months ago, I drew flak for addressing the liberty movement’s scumbag problem and calling on libertarians to disassociate themselves with lowlifes. While the response was overwhelmingly positive, there were enough criticisms along the lines of “You’re destroying the movement!” that I feel I should elaborate on exactly why it’s important to be selective in who we, as libertarians, call our friends.

I call this selective association philosophy “weakest link theory”: A group is as vulnerable to criticism as its worst member. This means that, no matter how competent, kind, and wonderful most people in the liberty movement may be, all it takes is a couple lazy, sexist, racist, fraudulent, or hypocritical members to allow freedom’s enemies to throw the whole group into the scumbag category. It’s not fair, it’s not reasonable, and it certainly isn’t logical, but no amount of denying that the bad apple isn’t representative of the tree will matter as long as that apple is still attached. I’m sorry, but guilt by association really works.

Take the cautionary tale of liberty activists in Keene, New Hampshire. The Keeniacs, as they are affectionately (or otherwise) known, were some of the pioneers of the local liberty movement, in particular gaining national (international?) headlines for their spirited resistance to parking enforcers. I will speak no ill of them here, because although I’ve had my disagreements with them, I respect their contributions to the cause. However, it’s unavoidable to mention that they have been ostracized by large chunks of the Free State movement, much of it in connection with their acceptance of a certain individual known as Cantwell, or the Anarchist Atheist Asshole (his words, not mine).

This person of legend (who was one of the inspirations behind my previously mentioned article) was banned from the Free State Project, publicly, for making highly visible public statements suggesting that libertarians should use violence against the government (a direction contradiction of the Project’s Statement of Intent). Privately, this character had also gotten drunkenly belligerent and driven his vehicle dangerously close to campsites and children. After his banning and subsequent ostracizing, he settled in Keene with the only community that would have him. After over a year of relatively good behavior and subdued overall awfulness, he was a regular co-host on Free Talk Live, and invited to not only speak at, but headline, Keenevention, the Keeniacs’ annual convention. In time, though, he could not contain himself from publicizing his overtly racist views during his co-hosting gig, and after much internal consternation Free Talk Live gave him the old fashioned boot, after which he withdrew from Keenevention. During the whole regrettable affair, STOP FREE KEENE!!!, a group formed specifically to attack every move made by the Keeniacs, has had a field day repeatedly hammering them on Cantwell and his overall distastefulness. They haven’t been alone in this, either: the nationally-popular Colbert Report lampooned the parking enforcement resistance by the so-dubbed “Free Keene Squad,” focusing mainly on Cantwell’s antics in order to paint the entire group’s actions in a negative light.

This guilt by association affliction has affected me as well, mostly with my activism as part of the Rights Brigade. Everywhere I’ve conducted activism operations where none of the kind had taken place previously, I’ve seen an overwhelmingly positive response. However, in several cases where others had been before me, I’ve been met with some hostility. While I have been very blessed with how my work, and its reception, has gone overall, it’s been harder for me in some cases because of guilt by association.

Now I’m not at all calling for isolationism in our work to free the world. In fact, I think libertarians could do a better job of working with more people. Despite my conscious and public compartmentalization away from the Keeniacs, I still happily work with them wherever we can find common ground (and, as it turns out, that happens quite often). The trick is to speak for yourself and yours, while remaining willing and eager to work with just about anyone else. Few teammates, many contacts. That way you can have plausible deniability when criticized for others’ actions, while having no shortage of help when trying to get things done.

Another salient example of this principle not being applied, on the opposite end of the spectrum, is Rand Paul’s presidential campaign. Liberty lovers have been quick to create some distance and point out that his campaign doesn’t accurately represent libertarian ideals, and rightly so. However, libertarians have by and large been too reluctant to support, publicize, and encourage what he does right, from encouraging a peace-driven foreign policy, insisting on fiscal responsibility, and opposing the drug war that has harmed so many innocents, with the poor and ethnic minorities taking the biggest toll. This is a chance to push the national (and international) debate on public policy in the direction of sanity, and most libertarians are, in my opinion, blowing this opportunity.

To properly present yourself in the war of ideas, it’s imperative to compartmentalize your approval. Associate yourself with few, work with, and encourage the selective work of, many. Play this game right, and the global cause of liberty will be winning more than ever. Play it wrong, and you could end up leaving adrift one of the top most libertarian presidential candidates in recent memory, or embracing an outright racist troll. The choice is yours.

Why Liberty Attracts Scumbags

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News flash: I care deeply about the cause of human liberty. I believe government is the greatest blight on human achievement and well-being. Of all political labels I most closely identify with libertarianism. So much so, in fact, that I moved to New Hampshire for the Free State Project in order to join other like-minded liberty lovers in ushering in a new era of freedom and progress for mankind.

And, naturally, I’d want to believe that people who think like me are the best this world has to offer. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes it’s very far from the reality.

Now don’t get me wrong, most libertarians are decent people. In fact, the majority of the most humble, generous, hard-working, kind, and intelligent people I’ve come across are liberty activists. I know many people of great achievement, selfless compassion, and brilliant humor who easily outclass their counterparts outside of the liberty movement. However, that doesn’t change the fact that a sizable chunk of this movement is comprised of some real lowlifes.

It’s the elephant in the room that no one in the movement wants to talk about. But believe me, our critics and detractors have no problem with pointing out the scum among us, so I’m taking a crack at addressing our ugly spots before they do. I’m not just talking about a surly demeanor or purely self-interested behavior, which is almost expected of a movement comprised of fierce individualists. I’m talking about theft, fraud, and financial irresponsibility. I’m talking about creepy behavior and unwelcome advances bordering on sexual harassment. I’m talking about insults, harassment, and general unkindness (one prominent member with far too many apologists centers his entire act around being a terrible person). And the drama. Oh, the drama. Make no mistake, there are some real scummy people who call themselves libertarian, and they have a surprisingly-large contingent of apologists.

Why is this? How did a movement whose central philosophy is personal responsibility, private charity, and individual goodness come to contain so many people so far from these key virtues? For a few reasons:

The movement is relatively new. The philosophy of liberty is still a minority viewpoint, and that minority gets even smaller the farther towards anarchism you go. Really, it almost goes without saying that people who reject the entire structure of modern human society would be few and far between. As such, the relative value of the individual in this small movement is relatively high. Libertarians are much more willing to take crap from other libertarians, since there are still so few of us. The line of thinking (sometimes subconscious) of “Yeah he’s kind of a jerk, but we need everyone we can get” persists.

A comprehensive behavioral standard remains elusive. We have to remember, this is a group of people who reject the authority of government, religion, and… well, really every source of authority except the individual’s conscience. The only persistent moral standard seems to be the Non-Aggression Principle, and while this serves well to weed out abject violence and theft, it still leaves a lot of wiggle room for scummy behavior. Libertarians, who believe in the individual’s right to adopt any action that doesn’t directly trample on the liberty or property of others, are extremely hesitant to condemn undesirable, though nonviolent, acts. It’s not that they don’t have a code of conduct more strict than simply adhering to the Non-Aggression Principle. It’s that they tend to be shy about telling others to shape up, for fear of being called a filthy statist.

Anarchists struggle with an enforcement mechanism. The world at large has a number of structures used for reigning in bad people, from government to religion to other belief structures that prescribe a clear behavioral standard. None of these apply to a philosophy that allows for basically doing what you want, with very few restrictions. Even when a group of anarchists can agree that a particular person is behaving badly, figuring out what to do about it is another matter entirely. Even ostracism requires a consensus and organization, which remain elusive.

So now that I’ve addressed the ugly spots in the liberty community, whatever can we do to heal them?

The movement needs to grow and mature. Plain and simple, the best way we can improve the quality of the people in the liberty movement is to make more of them. More libertarians means lower individual value, which means we can focus more on esteeming those of value and character. Once being a liberty lover isn’t so scarce anymore, no one will care about you unless you’re a decent person as well.

We need to stop tolerating and making excuses for terrible people. Let’s be honest, we attract the dregs of society because we put up with them. The solution is amazingly simple: stop tolerating terrible people. No perfectly orchestrated campaign of mass ostracism is necessary. Just don’t hang out with scum. Don’t socialize with them, don’t endorse them, don’t speak with them. Stop inviting them to events, stop talking about them, and certainly stop working or doing business with them. They aren’t entitled to a fair trial in the court of public opinion, and they have no right to any kind of social circle. We don’t owe bad libertarians acceptance, period. If they’re free to act as they see fit, we’re just as free to exclude them. And we should. It’s about damn time.

Sorry for not being sorry about addressing the seedy underbelly of the liberty movement. We can’t turn a blind eye to it any longer. And we really shouldn’t. We can build a scum-free libertarian community. And, if we ever want the philosophy of liberty to become attractive to regular people, we absolutely should.

Why Liberty Attracts Scumbags

scumbag

News flash: I care deeply about the cause of human liberty. I believe government is the greatest blight on human achievement and well-being. Of all political labels I most closely identify with libertarianism. So much so, in fact, that I moved to New Hampshire for the Free State Project in order to join other like-minded liberty lovers in ushering in a new era of freedom and progress for mankind.

And, naturally, I’d want to believe that people who think like me are the best this world has to offer. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes it’s very far from the reality.

Now don’t get me wrong, most libertarians are decent people. In fact, the majority of the most humble, generous, hard-working, kind, and intelligent people I’ve come across are liberty activists. I know many people of great achievement, selfless compassion, and brilliant humor who easily outclass their counterparts outside of the liberty movement. However, that doesn’t change the fact that a sizable chunk of this movement is comprised of some real lowlifes.

It’s the elephant in the room that no one in the movement wants to talk about. But believe me, our critics and detractors have no problem with pointing out the scum among us, so I’m taking a crack at addressing our ugly spots before they do. I’m not just talking about a surly demeanor or purely self-interested behavior, which is almost expected of a movement comprised of fierce individualists. I’m talking about theft, fraud, and financial irresponsibility. I’m talking about creepy behavior and unwelcome advances bordering on sexual harassment. I’m talking about insults, harassment, and general unkindness (one prominent member with far too many apologists centers his entire act around being a terrible person). And the drama. Oh, the drama. Make no mistake, there are some real scummy people who call themselves libertarian, and they have a surprisingly-large contingent of apologists.

Why is this? How did a movement whose central philosophy is personal responsibility, private charity, and individual goodness come to contain so many people so far from these key virtues? For a few reasons:

The movement is relatively new. The philosophy of liberty is still a minority viewpoint, and that minority gets even smaller the farther towards anarchism you go. Really, it almost goes without saying that people who reject the entire structure of modern human society would be few and far between. As such, the relative value of the individual in this small movement is relatively high. Libertarians are much more willing to take crap from other libertarians, since there are still so few of us. The line of thinking (sometimes subconscious) of “Yeah he’s kind of a jerk, but we need everyone we can get” persists.

A comprehensive behavioral standard remains elusive. We have to remember, this is a group of people who reject the authority of government, religion, and… well, really every source of authority except the individual’s conscience. The only persistent moral standard seems to be the Non-Aggression Principle, and while this serves well to weed out abject violence and theft, it still leaves a lot of wiggle room for scummy behavior. Libertarians, who believe in the individual’s right to adopt any action that doesn’t directly trample on the liberty or property of others, are extremely hesitant to condemn undesirable, though nonviolent, acts. It’s not that they don’t have a code of conduct more strict than simply adhering to the Non-Aggression Principle. It’s that they tend to be shy about telling others to shape up, for fear of being called a filthy statist.

Anarchists struggle with an enforcement mechanism. The world at large has a number of structures used for reigning in bad people, from government to religion to other belief structures that prescribe a clear behavioral standard. None of these apply to a philosophy that allows for basically doing what you want, with very few restrictions. Even when a group of anarchists can agree that a particular person is behaving badly, figuring out what to do about it is another matter entirely. Even ostracism requires a consensus and organization, which remain elusive.

So now that I’ve addressed the ugly spots in the liberty community, whatever can we do to heal them?

The movement needs to grow and mature. Plain and simple, the best way we can improve the quality of the people in the liberty movement is to make more of them. More libertarians means lower individual value, which means we can focus more on esteeming those of value and character. Once being a liberty lover isn’t so scarce anymore, no one will care about you unless you’re a decent person as well.

We need to stop tolerating and making excuses for terrible people. Let’s be honest, we attract the dregs of society because we put up with them. The solution is amazingly simple: stop tolerating terrible people. No perfectly orchestrated campaign of mass ostracism is necessary. Just don’t hang out with scum. Don’t socialize with them, don’t endorse them, don’t speak with them. Stop inviting them to events, stop talking about them, and certainly stop working or doing business with them. They aren’t entitled to a fair trial in the court of public opinion, and they have no right to any kind of social circle. We don’t owe bad libertarians acceptance, period. If they’re free to act as they see fit, we’re just as free to exclude them. And we should. It’s about damn time.

Sorry for not being sorry about addressing the seedy underbelly of the liberty movement. We can’t turn a blind eye to it any longer. And we really shouldn’t. We can build a scum-free libertarian community. And, if we ever want the philosophy of liberty to become attractive to regular people, we absolutely should.

The 5,000-Life Question

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“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” -Mahatma Gandhi

The police state in America is coming to an end. And while its end may still be far off, we’ve passed the point of no return.

With horror stories about police misconduct abounding, law enforcement’s reputation is taking a mighty beating (pun absolutely intended). From the murder of Eric Garner and the targeting of the man who filmed the incident, to Walter Scott’s murder and attempted police coverup, to even petty incidents such as Philadelphia cops vindictively targeting college kids after losing a basketball game, the case against law enforcement is steadily growing. Add that to the more that 5,000 civilians killed by cops since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and it’s easy to see why more and more people are viewing the police’s very existence as a net negative.

So much so that the police are caught in the awkward position of defending their very existence. The editor-in-chief of PoliceOne, the premier pro-law enforcement site and online community, recently penned an article on what a world without police would look like. As to be expected, the piece’s tone is condescending and its arguments are basic, but the real point of interest is the fact that this article has been written at all. It illustrates the growing reality that police are now having to justify not only their actions, but the entire premise on which their jobs rest: that we need cops.

Re-read the quote from Gandhi at the top of the piece. More than just a one-off nugget of wisdom and wit, it outlines the linear progression of an idea whose time has come as reflected by its opposition: First the issue goes unaddressed, then it is addressed mockingly, then seriously, followed finally by the issue’s victory in the war of ideas. We’re past ignoring the problem, and are witnessing the transition between ridicule and opposition from the law enforcement establishment. The final phase, where the idea of a world without police wins over the hearts and minds of the people, is coming up next.

The evidence is out. The arguments have been made. The question has been asked: has the last decade or so of police services been worth the over 5,000 lives they have claimed? Now all that remains is to wait for the consensus to land upon the inevitable answer: no.

Why We Should Criticize Chris Kyle

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There’s a hero’s story sweeping the hearts and minds of America. The legend of a righteous warrior who piled enemy bodies high. A marksman whose heroism saw no equal. The legend of Chris Kyle. A legend that we must crush.

To be honest, I don’t really care either way about Chris Kyle. In my view, he was a hired killer like so many others who have participated in the wars of the last decade or so. He had similar motivations and actions to the thousands of veterans of both the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, and deserves no special praise or condemnation beyond any normal servicemember.

Yet I feel the need to criticize Chris Kyle’s legacy. Why? Because we can’t.

There are plenty of reasons why we might scrutinize the wars and their moral justifications, including those who carried out these conflicts’ implementation. Raise a disagreement with American hero at large Chris Kyle, however, and face a swift backlash. Not on the issues. Not on the wars. Not on Kyle’s actual record. No, the condemnations offered heretics such as myself concern the basic premise of questioning purported heroes at all. It isn’t being wrong that’s the sin. It’s dissenting. And that’s frightening.

There’s a war cult in place, a cult demanding absolute unquestioning obedience. The power of this cult is evident by just how un-heroic of a person they have been able to deify. Chris Kyle was no Pat Tillman, who left wealth and sports stardom because he believed in the war’s cause, and paid the ultimate price. Kyle admitted to relishing killing, called his opponents inhuman savages, alluded to wishing he could have killed anyone with a Koran, and amassed a considerable body count without the slightest hint of remorse or pain at the horrors of war. What’s more, not content with the accolades afforded to his accomplishments, he spent the years following his deployments building and embellishing his legend, including several proven lies about his extra-military life. And he made bank off of it.

Yet somehow, even after losing a public defamation lawsuit (a rare occurrence) for his lies, the legend lives on, both in cinema and in lore. He was a selfless hero troubled by the horror of war who gave away the profits from his story to charity. Not a merciless, gleeful killer who lied repeatedly to increase his own wealth and legend, and only donated a token 2% of his millions to charity. This is what the war cult does.

And that’s why I speak out against Chris Kyle: because we can’t. Because when certain subjects become too sacred to even mention, they can (and will) be used to cover all sort of injustice and horror. Because when a gleeful killer, and proven self-glorifying slanderer, is touted as the ultimate hero, and we are not allowed to question this status, we have lost the ability to claim the “free country” label.

Joël Valenzuela

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Joël Valenzuela, Editor

As the editor of The Desert Lynx, Joël Valenzuela oversees the whole subversive operation, and writes the bulk of the content. He has over a decade in experience in public policy, working for such organizations as the Goldwater Institute, the Alliance for School Choice, the Cato Institute, the Leadership Institute, Americans for Prosperity, the Western Center for Journalism, and the White House under George W. Bush. After an illustrious budding career in public policy, he then decided to forsake it all and go rogue, bringing the complete behind-the-scenes perspective as only possible through The Desert Lynx.

Valenzuela’s undergraduate education is in Statesmanship, and his postgraduate in Global Affairs. He specializes in detecting greater societal and global trends before they hit the mainstream, and in illuminating current events through an actual understanding of the underlying issues rather than blind parroting of facts and talking points.

When not running The Desert Lynx, Valenzuela is a full-time martial arts instructor. He also heads up the Graphical Liberation Front, a graphic design project. Finally, in what little spare time that remains, Valenzuela is a multi-instrumentalist musician and drinks way too much coffee.