Political discussion is so common (and of such low-quality) nowadays, as to seem almost without value. Arguments where both sides already know what the other has to say, and have only their same-answers too.
It’s especially crazy-making this century, because most of what one hears are emotional and egotistical outbursts with buzzwords, that only read like arguments, to those who are also lying to themselves, angrily. The predictable results? Not an advance in discussion, but – impasse, stalemate, frustration.
We often hear the Nordic countries characterized as ‘socialist’ even though they are by every measure of human-value, the most successful capitalist democracies on the face of the earth (when it comes to best value for citizens – which is the only standard that makes sense – unless we’re not really talking about democracy at all, but a pretender which is in every way more evil).
Similarly, it’s still not hard to find a western leftist who will insist (with great passion) that the Soviet experiment “Wasn’t really communism” – which idea will long reside with the most racist ignorant and arrogant postulates ever to emerge from the mouth of a (almost always) spoiled middle-class imbecile. There are no theoretically perfect pure and true democracies either – but we are charged to learn, especially as experiments which cost millions of lives are tried and fail.
So – do we embrace the Nordic ‘capitalism’ that some criticize as ‘socialist,’ in order to do better by our people? Do we avoid the dehumanizing horror of that which once called itself socialist, by turning instead to alternate horrors? Might we look past these much-twisted words (and especially emotions) and see real value?
And what about the odd man out – the third-player all along, which met the change of this millennium and the last, with unusual clarity and reason?
Let me be really clear up-front. Violent jerks who smash windows are not anarchists – the only possible goal they can be working toward is to decrease public sympathy for political alternatives, and to increase police budgets. Kids throwing a tantrum – much like the difference between a despotic command economy and a pluralistic progressive engaged populace – the name they’ve wrongly-seized, belongs to something better.
I’d have to say that “Anarcho Syndicalism” is probably best known from the brilliant opening of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” – that is, as a joke about overly self-important (and delusional) leftists. This is sad, because Syndicalism is a place where the freedom-insistence of Anarchists and the scaled-planning of Socialists can meet beautifully – a very fertile interface!
There are many who argue not only that Anarchy has not ever been tried – but also that it cannot be – and is in fact in-violation of fundamental human nature.
Allow me to destroy that lie for you – for once and for all.
Control can be fun
The absolute (hundred year old) fact, underplayed by many unionists and soviet-style socialists, is that Anarchists were key to the movements which won mass public education, the forty-hour work week, workplace safety laws, innumerable public health initiatives and trade unions.
Not only that – but they have worked a lovely trick of digital reinvention more recently, from which every owner of a computer can now benefit. What is “Open Source” software? Is it software made by a vast, unpaid, spontaneously-organizing (that is, no top-down power) community of people who want nothing more than to make increasingly great things – and then give them away for free!
I’ll admit, when I first heard about this idea – even I was skeptical (and I’m about as big an Emma Goldman fan as you’ll ever meet) – but if you haven’t looked at their results for awhile – you really should. The early (1980s) products were a bit clunky, but their latest are positively sweet and capable – and put many commercial software products to shame.
The biggest reason? Everyone is trying to solve problems and improve results – no one is ever rewarded for holding-back a feature (to promote the sales of next-year’s model) or restraining user-options, to preserve trade secrets – because there aren’t any! You can have the whole code, just for the asking (but if you add-to-it, you have to share your new work, just as everyone else all together has already shared theirs with you).
Let’s make this practical. Who doesn’t hate Microsoft Word? Even writers who are also computer-geeks like me, and have avoided ‘the Soft’ for decades, are ultimately forced to engage with .doc documents, regularly.
But who of us wants to offer one of the world’s richest men more money, just for extorting us into using a program which is designed so badly as to continuously and aggressively attack creative output and flow?
You want Libre-office instead. Also better than Apple’s ‘Pages’ (they’ve been dumbing that down for years).
Free – superior, multi-platform (so your skills move, even if you change your hardware). You can even do a compact install for a memory-limited device (tablet, etc) and you’ll hardly know it’s there.
Still not convinced? How about a free Photoshop replacement?
It’s not quite as slick and pretty, to be sure – but it is super-powerful and gives excellent-quality output – and when we bear in mind how long ago Photoshop was producing professional output, saying GIMP is like photoshop, a few years ago, is still an extraordinary compliment to pay it. It’s free, compact – and it doesn’t need the damned ‘cloud’ either! So you aren’t tethered to a live web-connection, in order to do your work!
Okay – maybe you haven’t got any work to do today. How about a category of software that was, for many years, considered the cutting-edge benchmark for graphics and real-time physics modelling? I’m talking flight-simulator! If you’re not an aviation keener, you probably don’t realize that Microsoft not only bought the best flight-sim company in the world (Microprose) but also, after milking millions from it, killed it off. No more FS!
X-Plane does still survive (and is super-great, if you have killer hardware, which I don’t).
But Flight-Gear isn’t just a great and free simulator – they understand that we haven’t all got teenager gamer-optimized machines at home. It can indeed look dazzling, if you’ve got a ton of horsepower to throw at it (or enjoy 5 fps!) – but you can still go in and uncheck options until you get a nice frame-rate, even if your gear is well out of date indeed, like mine. (You will want a graphics card, but a creaky steam-powered one is just fine).
And there are so many awesome planes to fly – absolutely anywhere in the world. Great scenery (again, constantly improving). And all of it free!
Not that I’m trying to make a big point about the extraordinary dividends of sincere intelligent like-minds investing on a zero-money, free-association, quality-improvement and feedback-filtering basis, as they go.
Just a bunch of nice free stuff from obviously-crazy strangers, really.