Alaska has a really pretty invasive weed called bird vetch that will grow pretty much anywhere and strangle just about every other plant.
The thing is, it’s very pretty and delicate-looking, so people don’t recognize the problem until it’s too late.
I had never encountered it in all my years in Alaska until about 12 years ago when I decided to plant a wildflower/perennial meadow along the road next to my house. The former owners had neglected this area because it was outside of the fence, and I didn’t want to work very hard at it, so I raked up the couple of years worth of leaves, mixed my perennial/wildflower seeds with top soil and hand-broadcast the results.
For the first couple of years, I had fireweed, yarrow, bluebells, lupine, and many others, plus wild rose and raspberries that had already spread through the fence from our yard and just needed to be uncovered.
Every summer, I would renew with another broadcast of seeds. Occasional “volunteers” would join the party and mostly were welcome. Dandelions seemed intimidated, oddly enough.
There was this pretty purple vine that joined the party and at first, I didn’t think any of it. I had heard of wild sweet pea and I figured it might be that. That year, the fireweed didn’t bloom. Well, fireweed likes old burn areas and my citified meadow didn’t really see a lot of flames, so …. The next summer, I saw a lot more of the pretty purple vine. So, one day, I walked around to the outside of the fence to pick raspberries and realized that the tendrils of the pretty vine were wrapped around several yarrow stalks, choking the life out of them and that some of the raspberry plants hadn’t produced because they were being covered by this vine.
Research showed that this bird vetch does not play well with others. I burned my meadow and started all over again, but the next year, I still had vetch coming up. I started hand-pulling it so that I could keep my meadow and I’m still doing it, every Sunday during the summers.
I like to do it after church on Sunday because it’s a quiet time for contemplation of the sermon. Lately, our pastor has been preaching from Hosea, the Old Testament prophet who married a harlot and reaped the consequences, but kept his covenant with her, even buying her back from a slave brothel.
Hosea’s marriage was a metaphor for Israel’s relationship with God and it could just as easily be a metaphor for our relationship with Christ.
If you ever wonder why truly faithful Christians flee sexual immorality, the answer is found in Hosea with some cross-reference with the New Testament. Jesus said the church (Christians) would be the bride of Christ. He would take, love, adore and protect her and she would wander away and cheat on Him. He would go find her in the brothel she had sold herself to and bring her back because He had made a covenant with her.
So when I’m out there in the sun or the rain, pulling vetch up by its roots, I have these lessons clicking around in my head. And last week, I thought about how vetch is a lot like sin. It’s going to crop up in your life because mankind bent his own nature when he disobeyed God about that stupid fruit. We are incapable of walking with God and accepting His love without any bumps in the road. We wander. He never does. And because we wander, sins (which are anything that stands between us and God) will crop up. Often sin will look pretty and it may even seem similar to things that are desireable, just as vetch looks a lot like jacob’s ladder.
We have to stay on top of vetch and sin. Just like vetch, we can’t let sin flower or produce seeds because sin also has long roots that burrow all over the place and push through where we least expect them. Our bodies breed corruption today just as vetch binds nitrogen and therefore out-competes the plants we would prefer. We want to do what is right. We want to serve Jesus. We fail to do what is right and we all too often spit in God’s face in our haste to do what feels good.
Vetch seeds will stay in the soil and able to spout for six years, meaning that if you turn your back on it for a summer (or even two weeks), it will sow the seeds of corruption for years to come. Sin in the same way. When we encourage it or even pretend it doesn’t exist, we allow it to spout from seeds that might lay dormant for decades.
That’s hard to do because often sin seems so attractive. It doesn’t look harmful. Look how pretty and delicate and purple it is. But it destroys everything around it if you let it gain a foothold.
If we want to be a beautiful bouquet to God, we must stay vigilant and weed out the pretty vines that will drag us astray and strangle our beauty.
My friend Mila sent this to me via email and it was intriguing enough that I researched it. Mila lives here in Alaska, but she was born in the Ukraine. Her husband Alex is from Russia. They escaped the USSR about two years before perastroika, so they know a thing or two about risking all for the chance at freedom. Maybe someday they will let me interview them.
Anyway … back to the subject at hand
The Moscow Times:
“Smugglers have transformed the gravel track in the Smolensk region in order to help their heavy goods vehicles traveling on the route, said Alexander Laznenko from the Smolensk region border agency. The criminal groups have widened and raised the road and added additional turning points, he said.
The road, which connects Moscow to the Belarussian capital of Minsk, is known to be used by smugglers wishing to avoid official customs posts and is now under official surveillance.
A convoy of trucks was recently stopped on the road carrying 175 tons of sanctioned Polish fruit worth 13 million rubles ($200,000). The produce was subsequently destroyed, TASS reported.
Local border guards, customs and police officers have checked over 73,000 vehicles entering Russia from Belarus this year, Laznenko said, claiming that the number of heavy goods vehicles crossing the border from Belarus has increased dramatically in the last year, he said.”
So, as I work on the 3rd book in Transformation Project (yeah, that’s right, I’m working on it even though the 2nd book is more than a month from launch), I’ve been asking myself these questions, trying to see beyond my marginally statist myopia.
Who will build the roads if the government doesn’t?
Apparently criminals will, if they need to and it benefits their own interests. And, catch what they’re bringing in — fruit.
Oh, the horrors of black marketing! Someone might get addicted to bananas.
The smugglers adopted a gravel road from Moscow to Minsk, raised it, widened it and added turning points. The secret project increased traffic and prompted a government takeover, complete with customs abuses.
So, let’s just take a pause and think about this. A company builds roads. By the way, the government does not build roads. The government gives money to companies to build roads. So the government goes away (or at least stops being able to fund roads) and the company does what?
Well, the statist answer is that they would go bankrupt because no roads would be built. The capitalist solution would be that they either build the road themselves and recoup the cost through tolls or they contract with the people who need to road to get their goods to market and build the road on their behalf.
See! No government needed! Just enlightened self-interest and a dump truck and grader.
While I know private companies have every right to do this, I still propose that they shouldn’t.
Source: Dear Regressives: Crackdown Is Not an Effective Way to Deal with Dissent | T.J. Brown
Thursday, August 25, 2016
Over the last several years, the far cultural authoritarian left – termed today as the regressive left – has been launching a militaristic online campaign against free speech; one that aims to make the web into an ideological safe space. And, as with any war, whether physical or digital, the victim count is growing more and more each day.
Today’s headline casualty? Leslie Jones.
What Actually Happened
As any competent social media user under the age of 79 knows, you never feed the trolls.Like most Millennials, I spent about 60% of the day yesterday scrolling through Twitter. Eventually, I saw it: Leslie Jones’ nudes as the number one trending topic in the United States.
Immediately, a single word popped into my head as I contemplated the motivations behind this act: Milo. For those who don’t know, in the month of July, conservative media personality Milo Yiannopoulos became the first person ever to be permanently banned from Twitter. Not “Your account is gone and you have to start all over” banned, but “You as an individual can never use this platform again” banned.
Milo has had run-ins with the Twitter police before, most notably when he had his verification badge removed after jokingly pretending to be a Buzzfeed employee. In this most recent event, Milo exchanged a single tweet with Leslie Jones as she was battling a wave of trolls online after her Ghostbusters release. Granted, his tweet was provoking and catty, per Milo’s reputation, but it was in compliance with Twitter’s terms of service.
But because Leslie continued feeding the trolls (never feed the trolls), she attracted even more harassment which caused even more of a scene for the website. This embarassed Twitter, and led to their need to make an example of this situation to prove to the world they were on the side of safe space advocates. So they banned Milo.
Deleted tweets & temporary suspensions are common, but never banning. It shocked Milo’s 300,000+ fans, including yours truly, that he was indefinitely evicted from his most domineering platform. It also made Milo into a martyr for the libertarian/conservative/classical liberal sphere of the internet. And as with any martyr, some supporters will seek revenge against their martyr’s antagonist. This would unfortunately become to be Leslie Jones.
The Regressive Left’s Role in Endangering Leslie
Remember, the outcome via free markets will always yield better results than that of central planning and authoritarian regulation.Through perhaps her own volition, Leslie made herself into a target for harassment the second she showed emotional vulnerability to her trolls. I don’t intend to victim-blame her for the disgusting, hateful criticism regarding her movie or the recent photo leak, which, again, is indefensible. But as any competent social media user under the age of 79 knows, you never feed the trolls.
That’s why the block button exists. You would think a professional comedian would be more aware of this fact than anyone, but I digress. Whether she bared conscious responsibility or not, her approach to criticism was directly correlated to the harassment she received. And in a way, it’s kind of ironic.
With her calls for rescue and intervention by Twitter, I theorize that the company and her SJW allies actually made her online experience less safe than it otherwise would have been had Twitter simply left its internal marketplace free to take its spontaneous course and allow the situation to resolve itself. Remember, the outcome via free markets will always yield better results than that of central planning and authoritarian regulation.
The regressive left claims to be interested in making the internet a safe space for minorities, but in the end, through their obsession to control speech and interaction, they made the situation ten times worse than before. They’re facilitating the rise of political conflict online. And this isn’t just limited to Milo Yiannopoulos: several additional examples have surfaced both before and after this particular event.
In 2009, Mozilla’s CEO was forced to resign after pressure surfaced from the left to oust him for his political opinions on gay marriage. Granted the CEO is no less culturally authoritarian, seeing as he contributed money to promoting a government act to ban gay marriage in California, but that’s not to say the left is any more libertarian.
In the end, it was a major declaration against free speech. Particularly free right-wing speech. Not the legislative writing backed by the constitution, mind you, but rather the philosophical principle backed by morals and ethics.
Backtrack to 2015, when the war on gamers was at its peak, known as #GamerGate. In the midst of trying to free this entertainment genre of problematic content, the left managed to get video games removed from shelves or outright banned. Notable examples were Dead or Alive xtreme 3 and Grand Theft Auto 5. Oh, and just so progressives can know how much of an influence they had, the misogynistic Islamic theocratic patriarchs of Saudi Arabia agree with you about combatting problematic sexual indecency. Hence their banning of Rise of the Tomb Raider.
Fast forward to “current year” to witness the onslaught of censorship in full swing, which many have had the unfortunate pleasure of experiencing first hand. Multiple individual libertarian-leaning personalities and commentators have been targeted. Reputable names like Lauren Southern, Blaire White, Liberty Memes, Milo Yiannopolus, Gregory Alan Elliott, and not-so-famous names like Peyton Smith,Anarchyball, and so many other individual or collective outlets for what has been deemed “politically incorrect” commentary have been directly influenced by these censorships.
Ignoring the examples of actual physical assault, doxing threats and social media harassment (arguably sometimes more severe than that of Leslie Jones), these people have been on the receiving end of attempted censorship efforts from far-left camps like AntiFa, Intersectional Feminism, BlackLivesMatter, and so on.
This war on ideas is about to boil over.
The Free Market Has Had Enough
With fierce attack comes fierce resistance. A new generation of online pioneers are seeking to remove the monopoly on ideology the left currently holds in mainstream academia, entertainment, news, and social media. Prepared to launch swift defensive strategies when confronted with the threat of censorship. But since many of these organizations are in the ideological pocket of Big Leftism, dissenters can’t rely on conventional methods of fair internal resolutions.
As a result, we’re seeing the creation of voluntary cyber militias, prepared to defend their fellow free speech advocates during this crusade of so-called social justice. News outlets like Breitbart, Drudge, Rubin Report, and Rebel Media, as well as a frontline division of non-media individual parties, are all protecting each other, raising awareness of unfair censorship and redirecting the pressure onto the companies and their bias representatives.
While I know private companies have every right to do this, I still propose that they shouldn’t.But with black market vigilante defense comes more impassioned and negligent defensive actions – including the latest shameful example of Leslie Jones’ private photos being hacked and leaked as a humiliation attack.
None of us who support the free exchange of ideas should support this kind of silencing. But at the same time, it’s time for companies and the greater authoritarian left to realize their ideological Ecclesiocracy is not making the internet a safer place. And by failing to provide users a trustworthy avenue for impartial enforcement of regulations, they have created cells of betrayed consumers who are determined to seek justice through primarily cooperative, though unfortunately sometimes disgraceful, tactics.
Get Authoritarianism out of Social Media
If you’re really interested in making the internet a safer place for users, and a more respectful place of discourse, consider cultural liberty. We’ve seen the effects that ideological authoritarians have had on our governmental system, fighting to arbitrarily enforce what they think is right. Ask yourself, do you honestly want to see that system duplicated in one of the most populated, innovative, and arguably anarchic industries of the Information Age?
While I know private companies have every right to do this, I still propose that they shouldn’t; not only because I’m a genuine free speech absolutist, but also because I care about the safety and comfort of all individuals – even those like Leslie Jones who would be just fine with silencing me.
This article goes back to the early era of the libertarian movement. It was also right around this time that the conservative movement found a voice with National Review. Apparently, there was more going on in 1955 than we learned in high school. Lela
Sunday, May 01, 1955
Those of us who favor individual freedom with personal responsibility have been unable to agree upon a generally acceptable name for ourselves and our philosophy of liberty. This would be relatively unimportant except for the fact that the opposition will call us by some name, even though we might not desire to be identified by any name at all. Since this is so, we might better select a name with some logic instead of permitting the opposition to saddle us with an epithet.
Source: Who Is a Libertarian? | Dean Russell
Some of us call ourselves “individualists,” but others point out that the opposition often uses that word to describe a heartless person who doesn’t care about the problems and aspirations of other people.
Some of us call ourselves “conservatives,” but that term describes many persons who base their approval of an institution more on its age than on its inherent worth.
Many of us call ourselves “liberals.” And it is true that the word “liberal” once described persons who respected the individual and feared the use of mass compulsions. But the leftists have now corrupted that once-proud term to identify themselves and their program of more government ownership of property and more controls over persons. As a result, those of us who believe in freedom must explain that when we call ourselves liberals, we mean liberals in the uncorrupted classical sense. At best, this is awkward and subject to misunderstanding.
Here is a suggestion: Let those of us who love liberty trade-mark and reserve for our own use the good and honorable word “libertarian.”
Webster’s New International Dictionary defines a libertarian as “One who holds to the doctrine of free will; also, one who upholds the principles of liberty, esp. individual liberty of thought and action.”
In popular terminology, a libertarian is the opposite of an authoritarian. Strictly speaking, a libertarian is one who rejects the idea of using violence or the threat of violence—legal or illegal—to impose his will or viewpoint upon any peaceful person. Generally speaking, a libertarian is one who wants to be governed far less than he is today.
A libertarian believes that the government should protect all persons equally against external and internal aggression, but should otherwise generally leave people alone to work out their own problems and aspirations.
While a libertarian expects the government to render equal protection to all persons against outright fraud and misrepresentation, he doesn’t expect the government to protect anyone from the consequences of his own free choices. A libertarian holds that persons who make wise choices are entitled to enjoy the fruits of their wisdom, and that persons who make unwise choices have no right to demand that the government reimburse them for their folly.
A libertarian expects his government to establish, support, and enforce the decisions of impartial courts of justice—courts which do not recognize or refer to a person’s race, religion, or economic status. If justice is to be rendered, the decisions of these courts must be as binding upon government officials and their actions as upon other persons and their actions.
A libertarian respects the right of every person to use and enjoy his honestly acquired property—to trade it, to sell it, or even to give it away—for he knows that human liberty cannot long endure when that fundamental right is rejected or even seriously impaired.
A libertarian believes that the daily needs of the people can best be satisfied through the voluntary processes of a free and competitive market. And he holds the strong belief that free persons, using their own honestly acquired money, are in the best possible position to understand and aid their fellow men who are in need of help.
A libertarian favors a strictly limited form of government with many checks and balances—and divisions of authority—to foil the abuses of the fearful power of government. And generally speaking, he is one who sees less, rather than more, need to govern the actions of others.
A libertarian has much faith in himself and other free persons to find maximum happiness and prosperity in a society wherein no person has the authority to force any other peaceful person to conform to his viewpoints or desires in any manner. His way of life is based on respect for himself and for all others.
A libertarian doesn’t advocate violent rebellion against prevailing governments—except as a last resort before the concentration camps. But when a libertarian sees harm rather than good in certain acts of government, he is obligated to try his best to explain to others who advocate those measures why such compulsory means cannot bring the ends which even they desire.
The libertarian’s goal is friendship and peace with his neighbors at home and abroad.
It is not the difference in taste between individuals that Libertarians object to, but the forcing of one’s tastes upon another.
Charles T. Sprading
The idea of governing by force another man, who I believe to be my equal in the sight of God, is repugnant to me. I do not want to do it. I do not want any one to govern me by any kind of force. I am a reasoning being, and I only need to be shown what is best for me, when I will take that course or do that thing simply because it is best, and so will you. I do not believe that a soul was ever forced toward anything except toward ruin.
Samuel Milton Jones
Liberty for the few is not liberty. Liberty for me and slavery for you means slavery for both.
Samuel Milton Jones
The institutions of civil liberty leave each man to run his career in life in his own way, only guaranteeing to him that whatever he does in the way of industry, economy, prudence, sound judgment, etc., shall redound to his welfare and shall not be diverted to someone else’s benefit. Of course it is a necessary corollary that each man shall also bear the penalty of his own vices and his own mistakes.
We are told what fine things would happen if every one of us would go and do something for the welfare of somebody else; but why not contemplate also the immense gain which would ensue if everybody would do something for himself?
Wherever collective standards, codes, ideals, and motives take the place of individual responsibility, we know from ample experience that the spontaneity and independent responsibility which are essential to moral vigor are sure to be lost.
William Graham Sumner
The launch is October 4 and I’m using Thunderclap to get the word out. I need your support for that. Can I borrow your social media network for a minute?
If your world suddenly spun out of control, where would you go?
I love this cover and am so proud to be part of this anthology which comes out in September. I think the curlicue text is inspired.
This is an anthology of speculative historical fiction drawing on libertarian, agorist, philosophical anarchist themes.