Sunday, September 16, 2012

The US Role in the Projection of Iranian Naval Force

Back in April, Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi of the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy made some remarkable claims. The most glaring, and most heavily reported by the fear-mongering sectors of the US media, was his claim that their ships “can move to within three miles of New York.” Realistically, it is more than a stretch to even consider this a threat. But it is possible. There are a few surprising ships in their fleet, if not necessarily surprising for their capabilities, but their origins.

And although it is frowned upon by the international community to threaten any nation with force, what if the Iranian Navy wanted to conduct “military exercises” off the US coast? It happens all the time, and while it clearly is a projection of power, government spokespersons instead refer to these provocative acts as “routine maneuvers” and wargames. Maybe Iran just wants to get into the game that developed nations regularly play.

Although about as credible as currently "laid off" Iraqi Information Minister
Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf, Iran's Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi knows that
ridiculous claims make the world go round.

A Bathtub Navy

As it stands, the Iranian Navy is comprised of a disappointing flotilla of craft, with less than forty ships and boats that could even attempt to pose a threat in serious naval conflict. While nearly 300 craft round out their naval force, most of those are patrol boats for coastal and inshore defense. When it comes to projecting power, the Iranian Navy has a number of submarines (24 by current count), 3 corvettes (one of which is primarily a training ship), and 5 frigates. The best they can offer are the destroyers Damavand, Babr, and Palang, a Battle-class destroyer and two Allen M. Sumner-class ships.

Strange names? The IIS Damavand was formerly the HMS Sluys, and the IIS Babr and IIS Palang were previously known as the USS Zellars and USS Stormes, respectively. Still confused? Here’s a hint, the Islamic Republic of Iran didn’t steal these ships when no one was looking. They bought them.

Obviously, a “dangerous” nation like Iran is not going to be sold cutting edge technology. After all, “developed” nations could potentially find themselves at odds with the “radical” government found there. But there is money to be made in selling arms, even if the deal is struck with a power so clearly aligned against the sellers’ future objectives, unless those objectives revolve around profit.

A blazing example of First World repo operations.
The IIS Sahand, a UK-built frigate and,  thanks to the
US navy, a casualty of Operation Praying Mantis in 1988.
Take the IIS Sahand for example: built to order for Iran by the UK and commissioned in 1972, it would be sunk by US forces not twenty years later when she was clearly outmatched by superior coordination and technology. It is a brutally simple business model: sell ship, sink ship, repeat.

And why do the nations that struggle to feed their citizens need a warship? Because their neighbors just bought one. And while one ship is useless against the unstoppable might of the US Navy, that ship is all the difference when you’re opposed by your neighbor’s empty harbor. The message is clear: murder one another with the weapons we sell you, but turn those weapons on us and we will lay waste to your nation.

But This is What You Wanted

Of course, the worst case scenario for the “developed nations” involves a “dangerous” nation acquiring technology and weaponry too quickly. Affixing contemporary anti-ship missiles to an older class ship is nothing new. Although the US is happy to sell a ship to Iran, it has the good sense not to equip them with cutting edge missiles. The problem is that the US is not the only supplier of arms in the world, the US simply claims the largest portion of the pie. Anyone else who wants a piece of that pie needs to bring something dangerous to the table, a “must buy” item that is not on offer from other vendors.

The Iranian fleet has ships of Dutch, Russian, Chinese, and North Korean manufacture. They also regularly reverse engineer designs they purchases. If an American vessel came under attack, or was actually sunk, by a “surprise” anti-ship missile, of Chinese or Russian manufacture for example, the outcry would be deafening. “You’ve placed our citizens at risk! How dare you sell weapons to a foreign power?”

But every day, we turn a blind eye to the protestors in the streets of foreign countries demanding an answer to that very same question, pointed at our own governments. We believe we are not responsible for what the gun does once it leaves our factory. We claim we deliver our weapons to only “responsible” and “trusted” governments, our allies of the current decade. But once those allies are armed, we’re out of business. So we turn to the next unarmed potential ally, and warn them of the threatening purchases made by other nations in their region.

Overcoming the U.S. trade deficit, one canister at a time.
But if we can sell to whatever nation we please, are we really in any position to judge other nations that do the same? Either it is acceptable to sell weapons, or it is not. If you enforce any kind of double standard then you need to be prepared for other nations to do the same. And, if the world’s outcry over the countless deaths is meaningless, so is your own. If their dead children are just numbers in a ledger, so are yours.

This is what you wanted.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Statism is radical, dude.

Give up your freedoms, so you can be free.
A common misconception (when presented to the Statist-oriented mind) about the Anarchist or Voluntaryist philosophy is that it is extremely “radical.” This assumption destroys any hope for logical discourse as it essentially “turns off” the receptors. With no consideration for the information presented, the idea is simply dismissed entirely. To help alleviate this I’d like to demonstrate that Statism itself is a radical concept with an almost schizophrenic ideology.

For the “Common Good”

Statism claims to be in place as a measure of altruism and a manifestation of the “common good,” while simultaneously attempting to achieve these goals with violence. It presupposes that a monopolistic institution that uses coercion is the only way altruism can exist, because apparently without force, altruistic motives are destroyed by greed and corruption. So then, we need a coercive institution, that determines price and other regulations, to force its social services on others. The government is essentially telling us that in order to do good, they must do evil (good = evil). This is the same as saying that in order to make things hot you must stick them in your freezer (hot = cold).

Statism tells us that all people are corrupt and violent, and that the only way to keep people in line is to make them fear the punishment of the state. The message here is that two people who bump into each other on the bus, stop themselves from drawing knives and killing each other only because they fear retribution by the state. If this is true, we have to apply this basic principle to the state, its advocates, and administrators, not just the ruled population. They are people too, after all. But if only "fear of retribution" keeps violence and misanthropic behavior in check, by the Statist's own admission, the state and its rulers are kept in check by nothing as they are accountable to no one.

For Your Protection

Statism operates on the premise that the only way to protect the people from violence and coercion is to give a monopoly over the use and initiation of force, violence, and coercion to a small group of people. The state then uses their monopoly of force to perpetrate violence on the populace itself, while claiming to protect that same populace from violence. So even though Statism is responsible for over 200 million deaths just last century, we are being thoroughly protected.

Consider your rights protected. 
The protection of property rights is also important. But Statism claims that the only method to protect property rights is to support a coercive institution whose representatives give themselves the right to expropriate the population's private property for any services they see fit to use it for. This also includes extortion through taxation, and the promise of future extortion by using the young and unborn as collateral on foreign loans. In essence, we need to be stolen from in order to protect ourselves from being stolen from.

In addition to violence and property rights, the State offers protection through coercion in the enforcement of social contracts. This makes its appearance most noticeably in the free market, where Statism claims that it needs to impose regulations on companies. These companies, run by people investing their own resources and whose risk of failure rests solely on their shoulders, need to be regulated by a monopolistic institution that produces nothing of its own, answers to no one, and always places the responsibility of its failures on the tax payers.

The Omniscience of Statism

Politicians and Presidents alike are viewed in an almost deific spotlight. We put all our faith into the ruling class, expecting them to know what is best for everyone. We attribute a status to our leaders that makes them appear almost like moral beacons. We believe that they possess more knowledge, more wisdom, and better judgment than the entire population it rules over. These (imagined) attributes somehow allow them to make more qualified decisions than we can concerning our health, well being, finances, and code of ethics. However, at the same time, the 'dumb masses' are given responsibility over picking the individual whom knows better than they. If we are supposedly flawed to such a degree as to not know what is best for us, how on earth are we supposed to elect a good leader?
Statist checks and balances.

Statism claims that in the absence of statism (that is, in the absence of a central, monopolistic, violent system of enforcement) we would all be lead down a road of endless conflicts and that cooperation would be impossible. But the state, that has no monopolistic institution it answers to, is apparently exempt from this and manages to cooperate with each of its branches without endless conflict.

This kind of omniscience that the state seems to possess bleeds into its judicial system too, where supposed checks and balances are to keep the system free from abuse of power. Once again we are asked to believe that despite claims that only violence/coercion prevents self-interested behavior, the state can be trusted not to use the system it owns, the judicial system, to its favor.

Seriously, it’s Science: Don’t Question it

Experts agree.
One of the most remarkable things about arguing for the abolishment of Statism are the defenses of the institution. They almost always revolve around Statism itself as being the justification for its existence. For example: “Government is the natural state of society because it’s how it has been for five thousand years.” Essentially, the claim is that existence of Statism is the proof of its inherit advantages. This is akin to saying, “Slavery is just how we’ve always done it, therefore it works!”

So, the above premises are all clearly rational, and empirically verifiable, because Statism defenders all over the world will tell you so. Any argument to the contrary is well beyond the realm of rational discourse, right? That's how propaganda works, you'd have to be insane to argue against it. However, if you find even one of the above premises ridiculous, is that not reason enough to evaluate what you believe you know about the state?

The truth is, as I have indicated above, Statism is radical. Some of the premises it operates on are completely flawed, such as "We need to give up our freedoms so we can be free." But this is the way it is, so it must be there for a reason, right? With the very foundations of Statism resting on such clearly shaky claims, the onus is on the defenders of Statism to prove that their philosophy is not based on a completely broken rationality.

-JD Smith

Friday, September 7, 2012

Clinton, Thinking About Tomorrow...

He ascends to the podium in his finely tailored suit, his hair is perfectly groomed, his posture is superb. His concentrated stare affirms an intensity and implies a keen intellect. The crowd claps and cheers with jubilance. His demeanor is solemn and exudes a reserved form of confidence. He shifts in place while he waits for the adulation of the throng to subside.

Even while watching from the distant comfort of my home, I swear I can feel the energy in the crowd. He begins his speech by complimenting his political party and acknowledging the troops. He remarks on his bureaucratic adversaries with a dignified respect. He cleverly avoids challenging his rivals about specifics. Instead, he refers to a time in the past when the public was not so receptive to socialist ideas. He carries on about the concepts of patriotism and nationalism. His message is vividly clear. United, the nation stands stronger. People working together is why the nation will endure “For many millennia to come!”

Throughout his speech, the cameras pan across the crowd and other members of his party. The bulk of them seem pleased and attentive, their positive energy still radiates.

His speech persists with different iterations of unity. He freely invokes emotional phrases, such as, “the youth is committed” and “through the joint effort of us all” but where his arguments lack in substance, he compensates with the magnitude of his delivery. What this nation so obviously needs... is ‘cooperation.'

Before storming off the stage, His crescendo voice climaxes with a ferocious yell...


He chops his hand through the air and exclaims,


I write, of course, about Hitler’s speech at the NSDAP congress In Nuremberg on September 10, 1934.

Don’t Stop, Thinking About Tomorrow...

Almost 80 years after Hitler's pontification in Nuremberg, we watch the venerable Bill Clinton swagger up to a podium and deliver a moving speech about national affairs. Few would argue that former US president, William Clinton, is one of the greatest public speakers in history. From his magnetic charisma, the expertly written speeches, and his knack for impeccable timing, we must give credit where it is due. It’s a pleasure to witness such a master orator employ his craft. Further to his glory, Clinton’s prose doesn’t resort to the vehemence and aggression that underpins Hitler’s. He delicately weaves his choice words between important issues like healthcare and the economy, instilling just enough cursory facts to make us believe he holds the answers. He would have us conclude that the Democratic party is just the group to carry us into tomorrow.

It'll Be, Better Than Before...

Slick Willy confidently claims “conditions are improving and if you'll renew the President's contract you will feel it.” That sounds great! If it’s all improving, who would argue? The subtle diversion here is in his assumption that conditions are improving. I plan to focus this thesis on the morality of politics so I will avoid a diatribe on economics and arguments from effect. Please let it suffice, that one of the key solutions used to improve our economy these past 4 years has been for the Federal Reserve to stimulate it with two doses (so far) of what those coy economists at The Fed termed “Quantitative Easing." In layman terms, that means- Printing truckloads of money. With the subsequent inflation, I imagine that the poor and lower middle classes aren’t feeling much better than before.

If It Takes Just A Little While...

At one point in his speech, Clinton says: “If you want a ‘you're on your own, winner take all’ society you should support the Republican ticket. If you want a country of shared opportunities and shared responsibilities, a ‘we're all in it together’ society, you should vote for Barack Obama.” It’s obvious that he is framing his speech to garner support for his side, but what implications are shrouded in his words? It insinuates there are only two choices. A) You can hitch a ride with those selfish republicans and fend for yourself or B) You can join the good guys, come do what’s right for you and your fellow nationalists! To put it another way, your property will be stolen by the Republicans or you can take the moral high ground by “giving” it to the Democrats for benefit of all. We could quickly dismiss this as so much bombast, but I implore you to delve deeper with me. When it comes to comprehending moral premises, it takes just a little while.

All I Want Is To See You Smile...

Certainly the majority of us want to help the less fortunate, and it’s safe to assume that we want people to have jobs. A question I would like to present to you is how does the government create jobs? How does the government create anything besides debt, violence, and, war? How does the government “help the poor?” In America, since the inception of the Great Society reforms of the 1960’s, there are some reports that show an actual INCREASE in poverty. The most generous statistics, released by the government itself of course, only allege nominal improvements.

So, why are we praising our criminal overlords for stealing almost 50% of our income? Remember, just because you’ve been deluded into happily parting with your property, doesn’t mean we all have. Let’s say you truly accept that violence is an intimate part of human interaction, that still doesn’t give you the right to enact it on the people who don’t. If we all subscribed to that as a universal moral rule then surely I could show up at your house and liberate you of some of your property. After all, I promise to use it for a moral cause. By all means keep giving up your property, all I want is to see you smile.

I Never Meant Any Harm To You...

The looming trouble here is, like Hitler, Clinton presents us with a moral narrative. Perhaps even more disturbing, the two narratives are shockingly similar. The basic premise is “if you want to be good, you must do as I say and swear allegiance for the betterment of all.” Both of them, casually extol the virtues of unity and collectivism. The next layer to peeling open these moral lies is to draw your attention to the gun in the room. Much like the citizens under the Third Reich, if you don’t “believe” in our American “democracy,” you are compelled with the threat of death to keep mailing in your tax forms to the IRS. Make no mistake about it, it is the threat of DEATH. If you invoke your natural rights to the fruits of your labor (property) by deciding to not mail the portion of said property that is “owed” to the IRS, they will begin mailing you threatening letters. If you persist, they will eventually come to speak to you in person. If you continue to be uncooperative, they will arrest (read: kidnap) you and lock you in a cage. If you invoke your natural rights concerning the property that is your body and resist the kidnapping, they will outright murder you.

I want to make a very succinct disclaimer: I pay my taxes. If you prefer life over death, I recommend you do the same. The system is transparent and I submit to your guns. Ultimately this is just the exchanging of ideas, I never meant any harm to you.

Yesterday's Gone, Yesterday's Gone...

There is a sick and twisted irony when we reflect on the past of Hitler. In September of 1934 when Hitler gave his nationalist speech, he had already directed the construction of the concentration camp Dachau located near Munich. The genocide committed on the Jewish people was not yet in full swing. He had however, started mass book burnings under the direction of Nazi Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbels. The Nazi party had also stripped the Jewish people of their rights to work most meaningful jobs and enacted a law against “dangerous criminals,” which allowed beggars, homeless, alcoholics, and the unemployed to be sent to concentration camps. This was the foundation of the crimes against humanity that were to follow.

To be objective in this and pierce the modern propaganda, it’s only fair that we consider Clinton’s history leading up to his speech at the DNC in September 2012. First, let’s consider the NATO bombings of Yugoslavia. The death toll estimates range from 500 to 2,000. There was a lot of political theater and moral grandstanding surrounding the bombings at the time but how would you feel if it was your neighborhood getting bombed? The most notable aspect of Clinton’s foreign policy was upholding the sanctions on Iraq. This killed an estimated 100,000 to 500,000 children. How can this demagogue stand before us and claim to know about morality? Maybe he truly embraces the phrase yesterday’s gone.

Don’t You Look Back...

Imagine that your doctor diagnoses you with gangrene on your leg. The doctor tells you “There’s nothing I can do for your infection, it’s too advanced. You’re going to die soon, but you had better tell me what color bandage you want me to cover that ghastly infection with!” Government is the gangrene infecting the ‘flesh’ of society, politicians are the doctors, and political ideologies are the bandages. The bandage may bring you some sense of cursory comfort in the meantime, but the flesh will continue to rot. Whatever you do, keep looking forward, remember that yesterday’s gone, don’t you look back.

-Slade Cole

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Villain of the State?

Brandon Raub
Image courtesy: Facebook

I feel compelled to comment on the Brandon Raub case. Both the mainstream media and alternate media seem to be pandering to their own audiences while the reality of the situation is lost somewhere in the middle.

For those of you unfamiliar with the story, Raub is an ex-marine who was questioned by the FBI on the evening of August 16th, 2012. The FBI claims that local police officers were present on the scene to facilitate their "interview". The interview concerned Raub's political posts on his personal Facebook page. The police claim that, after speaking with Raub, they felt he needed psychiatric evaluation.

As of yet, Raub has not been charged with any crimes.

Under Virginia statutes § 37.2-808 through § 37.2-817, the police are granted authority by the state to detain people without charges for psychiatric evaluation for up to 72 hours, provided there is medical oversight. This is common practice in many states across the United States. It is intended to address situations where individuals have a “lack of capacity to protect themselves from harm or to provide for their basic human needs.” These types of laws also typically include those who pose an immediate risk to themselves, or others, due to an altered mental state from drugs, alcohol, head trauma, hypoglycemia, and schizophrenic episodes.

Image courtesy:
Under Virginia law, a person can only be detained for up to 72 hours. After that, a magistrate must rule on the case to extend the detention for up to 30 days. After the 30 days has expired, it is possible to extend the detention up to 180 additional days. Thereafter, the patient must be released from custody and any additional forced treatment must be on an outpatient basis.

Taking this into consideration, Brandon Raub is NOT being detained by any federal agency. Brandon Raub is NOT being detained indefinitely under NDAA. The maximum allowable kidnapping under these laws is 213 days.

However, there are still many unknowns with this case. Without being firsthand witnesses, we can only speculate. Allegedly, the FBI received several complaints concerning Raub’s posts on Facebook which prompted the initial questioning. Why did the police feel he was mentally unstable? Was it simply because they didn’t like his political statements on Facebook?

Dee Rybisi, the spokeswoman for the Richmond FBI field office stated, “It would be horrible for us not to respond to reports and complaints about threats from the public.”

Here is a phone interview with Mr. Raub from the institution where he is imprisoned:

I am not legally qualified to diagnose his mental status. But, for my layman ears, Raub sounds perfectly coherent and succinct in his dialogue.

So the question remains: what if this is a coordinated effort to silence a dissenter and instill fear in other freethinkers? If it is true that the government is using legal loopholes to kidnap people for thought crimes, I would contend that they are the threat to the public that spokeswoman Dee Rybisi is so concerned about.

-Slade Cole

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Relax, it's only anarchy.

-Murder, rape, looting, riots, fires… lots of fires, maybe even some explosions, shoeless kids with dirty faces, crying orphan babies, overturned cars, cloudy skies, guys on motorcycles breaking things, stray dogs and cats getting along, no internet. Pure chaos.-

This is the image that comes to mind when most people hear that dreadful word: Anarchy. They may even imagine that those whom want anarchy are black-mask clad sociopaths looking for the freedom to murder or cause destruction, with no regard, seemingly giving in to human vices. This is simply not true. So allow me to dispel some of the stigma behind this often misunderstood concept.

“Anarchy” can be defined as the absence of government, or leaders. This definition does not imply chaos or lawlessness as is so often portrayed in movies or other forms of media. Instead, it refers to a societal system that is not based on a ruling class, but instead on morality. Anarchism operates on the premise that we do not need states or even religions to live happy and productive lives together. Further, we do not need to live our lives with violence or coercion in order to prosper. Instead, we can exist with liberty and freedom by making every interaction and decision voluntary.

The Morality of Anarchism

Anarchy basically revolves around two fundamental premises: the non-aggression principle and respect for personal property rights. As children most of us were taught that it is wrong to hit or otherwise use violence against others. This is the non-aggression principle. Do not use the threat of or initiation of force against another. Additionally, as children, we were taught that it is wrong to steal or cause damage to another person's personal property.

The morality of the non-aggression principal should be logically self evident, and it applies to all humans, universally. Following these two principals constitutes living morally, which is a cornerstone of the anarchist philosophy. Conversely, anything that violates them is immoral, or evil.

The Immorality of Statism

Democracy, fascism, socialism, communism, whatever the brand of statism your country subscribes to, governments the world over violate the above two principals by their very nature. They possess a monopoly on the right to threaten or initiate the use of force on their ruled subjects. Taxation, laws, regulations, wars, etc., all violate the above moral principals. War is deplorable, but it is the health of the state. Last century alone, governments all over the world were responsible for some 200 million deaths. Taxation is personal property theft at gunpoint. If you do not pay your taxes, men in official looking costumes come to your house and attempt to kidnap you. If you resist, you are subdued and restrained or shot. Hence, theft at gunpoint. Other laws and regulations are no different. You are forced to obey, none of it is voluntary.

The state is an immoral institution, much like slavery, and trying to minimize its influence or regulate aspects of it doesn’t change the fact that it is evil. After all, how would you regulate slavery? Doubtless you can see, it can’t be allowed to exist.

You're an Anarchist and You Didn't Even Know It 

Take a moment to reflect on your daily life. Every time you do something without being coerced or forced, you are living like an anarchist. Any time you interact with another, without using force or coercion, you are practicing anarchy. Could it be that simple? Yes, and what is more subtle… we all do it by default. Every day people exist, communicate, and collaborate together without using violence. Everyone, with the possible exception of the mentally ill and those victimized by abuse from caretakers as children, grasp these concepts and actually prefer to act morally. If you do not believe this, you have not experienced moral guilt.

The real deception occurs when states and religions change the definition of morality to suit their purposes. They achieve this in various ways like: "don’t steal, but pay your taxes;" "don’t kill, but join the military." This moral hypocrisy allows states to thrive and even gain the consent of their wards. Would we still fight wars for our rulers if we didn’t view being a soldier as virtuous? What if we viewed soldiers as they really are: people in costume that volunteered to kill without question. What makes the soldier any different than a hit-man? These are difficult questions, but they need to be asked if we are to wake up from the lies we’ve been told about what is moral, virtuous, and good.


“Anarchism is just a matter of having the courage to take the simple principles of common decency that we all live by, and to follow them through to their logical conclusions.” (Graeber)

Anarchy is not perfect, it isn’t a utopian dream. It simply frees humanity to be able to create the closest thing to utopia we can achieve. It allows alternatives to a system of living that hasn’t fundamentally changed in over five thousand years. From the ancient pharaohs of Egypt to the supposedly democratically “elected” presidents of our time, government still revolves around monopolies on force, and coercion.

Imagine the possibilities you could create in your own life if you were free to voluntarily decide what you want to be a part of, and to completely disregard what you do not. We don’t need to use violence to solve problems, and we don’t need violence to direct us as a species. That is what anarchy means.

- JD Smith

Monday, July 30, 2012

I blame Santa...

Forgive her father for she knows not what she does.
Santa Clause. It all started with Santa Clause. As children in America (for the most part) our parents had us believe an old obese hermit would spy on us all year long to judge whether or not we were fit to be adulated with toys and candy once a year. This guy had every kid on a list and if you were naughty, oh ho ho, he would know about it and you bet your sweet ass he was taking notes. Personally, my parents never allowed Santa to hold me accountable for anything I did during the year, so Christmas morning was always stellar. Santa was the greatest guy representing the greatest symbol of consumerism made manifest. I loved him, his pack of flying deer, and his toy making sweatshop.

Most of us have a heart wrenching tale about the time we found out (spoiler alert) there was no Santa. They range from setting traps to catch him in the act or just being told by an older sibling/friend. I do not have such a tale. I can’t pinpoint it exactly but I was very young. I remember the thought process, however. The whole thing seemed like a load of crap. I reasoned through that no man could accomplish the feats that everyone claimed Santa did. Moreover I remember thinking, ‘why are there so many different looking Santa’s at malls and shops?’ and ’If he knows if we’ve been good or bad, why do we need to sit on his lap and tell him what we want? Shouldn’t he already know that?’ With questions abound; needless to say I became what my peers (if they followed the adult mentality of today) would call a ’Santa denier’, forever shunned in most social circles.

So if Santa wasn’t real; all bets were off right? What about God? Couldn’t he be some creation by the people that control and guide the lives of adults: states and religions? Before I even entered into adolescence I had questions about the whole concept of God and afterlife. I remember vividly being very young in bible school when we had to sing a song. The lyrics were ‘Wisdom, God’s wisdom, we are learning ways to be wise.’ Thinking I was too clever, I had changed the lyrics to ‘Wisdom, God is dumb, we are learning ways to be liars.’ True story. I sang to my teacher and was just so gosh darn cute I was spared being shipped off to Singapore for a good caning. Lucky for me it wasn’t long after my parents allowed me to opt out of bible school.

Adolescence came and being equipped with the belief that people in places of high power spread lies to those in low power to manipulate behavior, I swam through awkward years seeking to study psychology, philosophy, sociology and every spiritual concept I could wrap my head around. Many years later and here I am with the same drive to find truth and understanding as to what all this means. To understand what is really going on. From catholic to atheist, to Buddhist, to agnostic, to some psychedelic unifying theory of the universe. From political indifference to chest thumping conservatism, to tree hugging liberal, to libertarian socialism, objectivism, minarchism, political atheism, to technocracy to Anarcho-privitism, anarcho-capitalism, voluntaryism, and so on. I’ve struggled with misanthropy and humanism alike, and to a degree still do. I’ve wrestled with every conspiracy you can probably say. With each paradigm shift I’ve grown, changed, evolved and adapted. Ultimately making my life more relevant and meaningful to me.

Over the years the biggest hurdle in fighting for truth is breaking down the lies you are emotionally invested in. Cognitive disequilibrium; which is to hold two paradoxical beliefs simultaneously (e.g. we need to give up our freedoms so we can be free.) is painful, confusing, and even scary. (Can you recall the moment you were threatened with the realization there was no Santa?) Many people are so emotionally invested they can’t fight through it and respond with anger, denial, guilt, or dread. People not ready to be unplugged from the lies will fight, sometimes with actual violence, to protect their paradigm- counter to any logical evidence to the contrary.

However when one fights through the pain, particularly on really big ideas and concepts, the effect is literally mind blowing. The term ‘waking up’, as cliché as it is, is synonymous with this experience because it is literally cathartic; akin to those few seconds when waking from a dream when you realize nothing you just believed was real. It can be said that you only truly learn something when your behavior changes as a result. Each ‘waking up’ experience I’ve had has changed my behavior in some way. What about you?

We share the happiness and travail of life together but with an experience uniquely our own. Our experience dictates our judgments which dictates our paradigm. The internet has done wonders to help people come together who share ideas/modes of thinking. I’m making an assumption here when I say if you’re reading this there is a pretty good chance you have had at least one ‘wake up’ experience in your life that has forever changed the way you look at the world. Try and keep a sense of that feeling as you peruse the various articles on this site in the months and perhaps years to come. Comment, share, debate, we welcome it all. Thank you for reading.

Welcome to LAWLess Press.

- JD Smith