Archive for the ‘anarchy’ Tag

Interview with Heather Biedermann   1 comment

Today’s interview is with Heather Biedermann. Welcome to the blog, Heather. Now, you’re one of the authors in the Agorist Writers Workshop anthology Echoes of Liberty, coming out next week. Tell us something about yourself.

biedermann-heather-author-picHi, Lela! I live in the land of the Vikings in Southern Minnesota. To pay the bills, I am a librarian. I am lucky enough to work in a university and get to work with amazing students and faculty. It really does keep you young! I am married to a great guy and have two rambunctious cats. For fun, I love to go glamping (glam camping) and enjoy traveling to visit friends. If we cross paths, pull up a chair next to me and we can share some wine or beer. I love to hear stories!

At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I have always had a love of writing since I was a little girl. I think it has something to do with my weird, overactive imagination. Mostly, I would write for my own enjoyment. I am my own worst critic, so until lately, I haven’t shared many of my stories publicly. Tell us about your writing process. I find it easiest to first daydream a basic story idea – the bare bones of the concept. Then, I write an outline with plot points I want to hit. I research for a day or two. Once I feel comfortable with concept and outline, I go straight into writing. When I’m in the writing mode, I try to write for an hour or two each day. I crank it out as fast as I can. After that, I let it sit a couple of days, to let it breathe. I rewrite and edit. I have someone else look it over. Then, I edit some more. Once I feel it has been picked apart enough, I’m done and won’t look at it anymore. Sometimes you just have to say, “Good enough,” and walk away. It feels pretty good getting to the finish line! What is your favorite genre … to read … to write? I work in a library, so I get a wide variety of great books to read all the time. I go between fantasy, horror and sci-fi for fiction. I have “Devil in the White City,” on my Kindle right now. I’m on a non-fiction binge lately, as well. I have been reading a lot about building tiny houses and getting off the grid. When you are not writing, what do you do? I love watching movies with my husband. We are totally addicted to Netflix, and binge shows together. Also, we play Xbox One games at our house. I’m in the middle of Fallout 4 right now. Where do you get the inspiration for your novels? I am a dreamer by nature. I find that in this hard world, having a vivid imagination is both entertaining and a life-saver. Some of my best ideas come from sitting at work when the library is quietly buzzing with students doing their homework. I saw my story with a superhero team of women come alive out of the quiet of a work day.

What sort of research do you do for your novels?

bierdermann-valiant-high-resolution-640x1024As a librarian, I can really lose myself in research for a novel. I love research! I have access to materials all over the world and the kind of incredible databases that any author would drool over. That said, I always limit myself to a week of research or I never would get around to actually writing my novel! Sometimes, it is better to write and highlight where you need more research later. It can be easier not to get too caught up in it, even though it is something I’m passionate about. If someone who hasn’t read any of your novels asked you to describe your writing, what would you say? I love to have collisions of normal, everyday experiences with abnormal, unusual events. How would an accountant see an alien invasion? A housewife fights demons, and still finds a way to put dinner on the table and get the kids to school. These are my favorite kinds of stories.

I’m going to drop you in a remote Alaska cabin for a month. It’s summer so you don’t have to worry about freezing to death. I’ll supply the food and the mosquito spray. What do you do while you’re there and what do you bring with you? If you’re bringing books, what are they?

I would love to get dropped in the remote cabin! There is never enough time to unwind and to unplug. I think it is something everyone should try to do. That is probably why I try to go camping every year. It is a chance to recharge and not feel so constantly connected to everyone. I’d love to explore the land in Alaska and get to know the nature around the cabin. Maybe I’d take a boat out on the lake and fish? I would definitely read a lot. I have a huge collection of books on survival and living off the land. One of my old favorites was the “Back to Basics,” book that talks about how you could make a homestead and live off the land. I would always daydream about doing that someday. I also have a never-ending pile of fiction to read. It would be fun to brush up on my homesteading skills. I’d love to cook big meals and take naps. Also, I’d write as much as possible. It would be a lot of fun. Can I bring my cats and husband, too? I think that would be even better for me.

 

Talk about your books individually.

biedermann-echoes_front_cover-small-leveledMy first story was published this year in “Valiant, He Endured,” a Libertarian Sci-Fi collection. The story I wrote is called, “The Keep,” and it talks about women in a future prison where the majority of the poor population is housed along with their families. There are elements of the government using technology to placate the population, and the story showcases the human spirit fighting back against an oppressive system. My newest book is the upcoming “Echoes of Liberty (The Clarion Call Book 2)” and I’m really excited to see that come out. The story I wrote for that is called, “The Guard and the Crane.” It is about two families living in California and one family is taken away to a Japanese internment camp. It is important to me to remember what we have done to our own people in this country, and to make sure it never happens again.

 

Was it your intention to write a story with a message or a moral?

One important theme in my writing is that if we let our freedoms constantly be taken away, where does it ever end? Real evil is subtle. It is the sort of like being mugged and thanking your attacker. We see many times freedom taken away to “protect” us. If you don’t stand up for your neighbors, who will stand up for you when the time comes? For self-published authors

 

What influenced your decision to self-publish?

Self-publishing gives greater control over your content. The turnaround time to get your book into ebook and print format is so much faster in the self-publish world. I have many friends who are self-published, and they have had great success with it. Publishing houses often take a huge cut of profits, so the benefit is really only getting your book in bookstores. Bookstores are sadly on their way out, so really being self-published makes a lot more sense right now.

 

What do you find to be the greatest advantage of self-publishing?

The greatest advantage of self-publishing is that you control your own content. You get a greater cut of the profits. I feel that if you have fans, you can really tailor your work to them and not have to change your message based on the publishing companies’ goals. It is about your own vision. I really think this is the way of the future.

 

Conversely, what do you think self-published authors might be missing out on?

I think self-published authors do miss out on a lot of the marketing available through publishing companies. Access to excellent editors, graphic designers, and someone to set up book tours is invaluable. However, all of these benefits can be self-taught or outsourced. You may have to spend your own money to get cover art or editing as a self-publisher. You may have to make connections to self-market your own books. Having a publishing company is easier for a newbie, but at a cost.

 

Do you believe that self-published authors can produce books as high-quality as the traditional published? If so, how do you think we should go about that?

To have high-quality books as a self-published author, you need to do your homework. You can design your own covers if you are comfortable, but it may turn out better if you hire someone to create your art. Ask around and find people you trust to be honest with you about your skills. The same can be said with editing your own books. I would never do it myself, when I know there are people who excel at each of these tasks that I can pay a reasonable price to. I always think having more eyes look at your novel is better. Errors are embarrassing and make people think you are unprofessional. Take your time to make things perfect and you won’t regret it.

 

How do readers find you and your books?

Valiant, He Endured: 17 Sci-Fi Myths of Insolent Grit (There Will Be Liberty Book 2) https://amzn.com/B01F2RLLGW

Echoes of Liberty (The Clarion Call Book 2) https://agorafest.com/index.php/echoes-of-liberty/

Heather Biedermann’s author page: https://heatherbiedermann.com/

 

Lela Markham is a multi-genre author whose books are available on Amazon and Createspace.

Echoes of Liberty   Leave a comment

echoes-of-liberty-coverEchoes of Liberty – Out September 27 Watch for Interviews with some of the authors of this liberty-minded anthology right here on the Aurorawatcher Alaska blog.

 

Lela Markham is a speculative fiction author whose 4th publication Objects in View will be out October 4. If you’re interested in reviewing this apocalyptic tale, contact the author at lelamarkham@gmail.com for an advanced review copy.

Paradoxes of the State   Leave a comment

Brad and I were busy enjoying the Alaska summer this weekend. A power outage interrupted our viewing of PBS news night, a Friday night tradition in our household, so I ended up writing close to 5000 words for Objects in View and figured out the ending scenes. There’s still a lot of holes to fill in before I can say it’s ready for rewrite, but it’s shaping up.

Writing always puts me in the mindset of the characters and one of those thoughts that struck me this weekend was that when you are asking the wrong questions, you will usually discover the wrong answers, which favors those who would prefer that you don’t discover the truth.

So, here we are on the ragged precipice of societal chaos. It’s looking a lot like 1968 when radicalized American youth rioted outside of the Democratic National Convention to force their party of choice in directions that have been destructive for the country. It was not the Republican Party that moved right, but the Democratic Party that moved left, forcing millions of conservatives out of that party and into the Republican Party. Now, the grandchildren of those radicals are threatening riots outside of the Republican National Convention to force the political party they are not members of to select a candidate to the Democrats liking. I don’t personally care what happens in either of those convention halls, but I think we ought to notice the threat of violence.

 

So, I just wanted to point out a couple of the paradoxes that exist in our world today and just ask you to think about them yourself.

  • The urban street gangs that function as mini-political systems compete with the formal police agencies whose violent powers provide the essence of what is meant by “law-and-order.”
  • The crazed man who machine-guns harmless men, women, and children at schools, dance clubs, or other public gatherings, must be distinguished from the soldier in a helicopter who opens fire upon, and kills, numerous innocent victims in foreign lands.
  • The “sniper” who murdered five policemen in Dallas is to be reviled for his actions, while Chris Kyle – the Navy SEAL veteran – was honored in the much-acclaimed film American Sniper for his state-serving talents.
  • Policemen and soldiers are the human agents of legal violence – who we are expected to recognize as “heroes” and thank for their “services” – while those who coerce and kill others for their own purposes are to be regarded as “hardened criminals.”

So my inconvenient questions for the day are

  • Who tells us that one is wrong and the other right?
  • Why are we not free to determine that for ourselves?
  • Why is it considered treasonous to condemn the government’s violence as if it were equal to the thugs’ violence?

We’re coming up on a presidential election where it appears neither of the two main party candidates has a clue of how to fix what is wrong with the world. Trump wants war and Hillary wants to double down on the invasion of our privacy. Think about that.

 

 

Getting to the Root of the Problem   Leave a comment

Following the July 7, 2016 shooting of several police officers in Dallas, DPD Police Chief David Brown has been thrust into the national spotlight, and understandably so. Chief Brown not only has a remarkably tragic personal story—in 2010 his 27-year-old son was shot by Dallas police on Father’s Day seven weeks after he became chief of the DPD—the reforms he has advanced during his tenure as head of the Dallas police have been praised by the likes of Radley Balko as a “national model for community policing.”

How will passing more laws that make potential criminals out of more Americans ease the tension between police and citizenry?

Found on FEE

So, whether Chief David Brown likes it or not, he has become the face of law enforcement in the on-going debate over police brutality. And yesterday, he flipped the script of the debate in a way not often suggested by police unions or civil rights activists, saying, “We’re asking cops to do too much in this country. We are. We’re just asking us to do too much. Every societal failure, we put it off on the cops to solve.”

Brown went on to say since there is not enough “funding” for mental health or drug addiction, the cops are expected to solve the issue. Failing schools and broken homes are supposed to be remedied by the cops too, Brown suggested, as he called for “other parts of our democracy” to help and “not put that burden all on law enforcement.”

I welcome Chief Brown’s suggestion with a qualifier. Indeed, the police are doing “too much” in this country. Yet, I worry Brown along with many civil right activists are caught in a catch-22. The more they call on our democracy to “do something” and pass more laws, the more the burden will necessarily fall upon the police to enforce such laws. For instance, when the Congressional Black Caucus called for gun control after the shootings in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Dallas, did they somehow think their calls for Congressional action would lead to fewer intrusive actions by the police?

How will passing more laws that make potential criminals out of more Americans ease the tension between police and citizenry? How will stripping Americans of more of their freedoms and wealth to fund government programs lead to greater freedom for the people?

More Laws, More Violence

Thus, though the police may be the face of law and order, behind their blue eyes rest the marching orders of politicians riddled with this presumption—that the law is the best tool for bringing order to a society facing complex problems.

Let’s not give the politicians too much credit though. They, of course, are elected by “the people” to presume as much. As Mencken wrote, “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard,” and though I do not think the common people deserve to be victims of police brutality, I am not surprised they have become the victims of their “representative” government. Indifferent to freedom, the people have forged their own chains and have given “themselves” the reins by empowering their government and its agents.

They have forgotten that the law is always backed by the threat of force.

That said, I’d like to amend Chief Brown’s statement about the cops being asked to do too much and solve every societal problem. More than relying on the cops, we are relying too much on politics to solve our problems.

Every societal failure, real or merely perceived, is expected to be remedied by some new law or political program. Whether on the issue of drugs, health, education, broken families, or broken windows, the American people seem unwilling to voluntarily solve such societal problems themselves when they are more than capable of doing so. They would rather rely on political action and new laws leading to more enforcement. They are in no mood to spare the populace the proverbial rod of authority, yet we seem spoiled all the same.

Somehow the people have forgotten the law is not some benign tool or harmless guideline for the social engineering of society. They have forgotten that the law is always backed by the threat of force, and when a person understandably resists the law, even an unjust law, that person will most likely suffer and potentially die for upsetting “the will of the people” as carried out by law enforcement.

An Over-Politicized Society

I contend if we continue to drift in this direction, becoming more and more obsessed with finding political solutions to our societal failures, the less and less moral, prosperous, and free our society will be. Morality, prosperity, and liberty cannot be fostered at the point of a gun draped in democratic demands.  Such things can only come from within the hearts and minds of real, flesh-and-blood individuals on the ground, acting to build family, fellowship, and community based upon enthusiastic individual consent.

Let’s remove the burden from the police by repealing all laws that do not explicitly defend life and property.

Once family, fellowship, and community come to be represented by the government then what is sure to follow is the folly of state power: a permission-based society full of entitled masters and passive serfs where what is true, just, and beautiful takes a back seat to the trappings of state power and those who wield it.

In such a society, consent is not enthusiastic and individual but passive and general to the point where violence becomes institutionalized, opaque, and ultimately self-destructive for the vast majority of the population such violence is supposedly meant to defend. In taking up our causes, the state transforms our personal, explicit, and voluntary responsibilities to one another into general, vague, and outright coercive duties, hammering our natural “plowshares” into swords to be wielded by those with state power.

This is no petty point, for when we regard serving our fellow man as a personal responsibility, we posit a society of born-free individuals who are equal under the law and must help one another through voluntary aid and association. On the contrary, when we see our obligation to serve our fellow man as coercive state duty, we posit a society of rulers and subjects—rulers who need to instill in their subjects a “sense of virtue” by violently imposing whatever duties the state, as demanded by the people, deems desirable.

And in such a society, the cops will certainly be asked to do too much.

Positive and progressive change will not come from passively consenting at the ballot box or raucously marching to the sound of demagogues’ marching orders and laments. Change must come from within, person to person, day by day, helping to build the beautiful mosaic of community piece by piece.

So let’s remove the burden from the police and the impositions on the populace at the same time by repealing all laws that do not explicitly defend life and property. After that, there will still be many problems to solve, but at least we will then know most, if not all, societal failures are for us as individuals to solve and not the province of the state.

Will Brexit Destroy Capitalism?   Leave a comment

The Weird Hobbesianism of the Brexiphobes

Jeffrey A. Tucker

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The UK “is part of Europe, and always will be,” says Boris Johnson, a leader of the Brexit campaign. Wait. How can you be part of something and not appoint a dictatorial, authoritarian, meddling, pillaging central state – a completely artificial creation having nothing to do with the real history of Europe – to manage it?

It’s called freedom. That’s how it works. It means the absence of external political restraint on shaping the future.

In the days following the British vote to leave the EU, we’ve seen apocalyptic panic among the opinion classes. The New York Times has published a long series of freak-out pieces about the end of the “postwar liberal order.” Except that there is nothing (classically) liberal about a distant bureaucracy that aspires to centrally plan every aspect of economic life.

Another writer worries that “we will have fewer people coming here, enriching our culture and our lives. There will be fewer opportunities. We will have less of a chance to explore the world for ourselves.”

Huh? No bridges have been blown up. Britons can still buy plane tickets. People from abroad can still visit and work. It’s not even clear that immigration will change that much. It really depends on what politicians in the UK do next. An untenable political union is under strain and that is all. Now Britain can actually make some political decisions for itself.

But here is the silliest thing I’ve yet seen. Try to wrap your brain around the claim in the Times that Brexit  “may just wipe out laissez-faire economics.” If there is no European-wide government authority, “where does capitalism go now?”

Capitalism? Does the Brussels bureaucracy really embody the essence of the capitalist spirit? What can the writer mean?

Well, you see, Reagan and Thatcher were “globalists,” and the global order was cobbled together in the postwar period under the influence of John Maynard Keynes, who had saved capitalism from being discredited by the Great Depression, and therefore laissez faire (which means leave it alone) owes its very existence to the man who wrote “The End of Laissez Faire.”

Or something like that. There’s no sense in trying to explain all these frenzied mind dumps because they make no sense.

Latent Hobbesianism

Having read a hundred articles warning of the coming Armageddon, I’m trying to understand the underlying source of the mania. True, there were plenty of unsavory types supporting Brexit, people who were driven to leave the EU by racist and xenophobic motives. They might imagine a new and more pure Britain is possible and desirable.

But, this is hardly news. It is not possible for democracy to function without an ugly underside. And people support good policies for bad reasons all the time.

That said, there is something deeper going on here. Some people just cannot imagine the possibility of order emerging without government planning. If there is no central state that can bind everyone, forcing good behavior and unity, surely the results will be an atavistic and chaotic mess. Life will become, in Thomas Hobbes’s words, “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”

There is a certain tradition of Enlightenment thought that imagined that government serves the one great purpose of cobbling together order in place of the war of all against all of the “state of nature.” Without Leviathan, we would be slitting each other’s throats, and unable to figure out any other way of living. The state, in this view, is the wise planner that can rise above the people’s base instincts and tell us what is best for us. In the most extreme rending of this story, all things must be either forbidden or mandated, with nothing left to chance.

(This same perspective explains so much of domestic politics. People who can’t imagine order without imposition always end up favoring power over liberty.)

Hobbes Was Wrong

Brexit doesn’t establish economic and civil liberty for Britain. But it gives those ideas a chance.But is this really the history of Europe? Remember that Hobbes wrote during the English civil war when vying for control of the state was indeed a violent undertaking. This was not because human beings are incapable of figuring out a better way, but because there was a state there to control in the first place. It was responsible for the moral hazard that unleashed the violence.

The bigger picture of the middle ages through World War I was of small states minding their own business, with people free to move, and trade relations growing ever more sophisticated. States were limited by borders in their geographic jurisdiction and in their internal political power by legal and cultural restraints. The right of exit and the decentralization of power made it all work.

F.A. Hayek was fond of quoting John Baechler: “The first condition for the maximization of economic efficiency is the liberation of civil society with respect to the state…The expansion of capitalism owes its origins and raison d’être to political anarchy.”

By anarchy, he didn’t mean everyone going bonkers. He meant a lack of a centralized authority. The result is not the end of laissez faire but its institutionalization in political habit. That doesn’t mean a turn against “globalization.” It makes international cooperation essential for survival.

Brexit doesn’t establish economic and civil liberty for Britain. But it gives those ideas a chance to escape the EU’s subversion of the classical idea of what Europe is all about. Yes, a post-Brexit Britain could screw it up, especially if the extremes of right and left prevail against an emergent libertarian third way. Brexit is a beginning, not an end.

At least one impediment is out of the way. That’s progress.

Found on FEE

Posted June 30, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in economics, Uncategorized

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LGBT activists blame Christians for Orlando attack   5 comments

Several prominent gay-rights activists took to social media to blame Christians for Sunday’s massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando.

Source: LGBT activists blame Christians for Orlando attack

 

A Muslim did this, but somehow it is the fault of Christians for not wanting to violate God’s clear commands?

Bigotry is alive and well in the United States and in the gay rights activist community.

So, bigots … You’re welcome to live your chosen lifestyle, but if you try to force me to approve of it or participate in it as a vendor at your wedding, you force me to have an opinion and to resist your attempts. I’m not doing that because I hate you. I am doing it because I love God and His Bible tells me that the way to love you is to not condone your sinful lifestyle. Furthermore, my worshiping God by rejecting sexual immorality in my own life does no harm to you whatsoever … unless you seek to deny me the right to live my chosen lifestyle because you think yours is more valid. And then we have a conflict with one another that YOU are causing.

Enough said.

Posted June 14, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in cultural divide

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How Policing Works in a Privatized City | Jeffrey Tucker   Leave a comment

While most of Atlanta is unfriendly to pedestrians, Atlantic Station shines.

The first time I entered Atlantic Station was about 18 months ago. I had some sense that something was different about the place, but I hadn’t understood that it was entirely private. I stepped out on the sidewalk and lit up a cigarette. One of these very nice private policeman came up and greeted me and politely asked me to put it out, on grounds that this was against the rules in this private community. I said, you mean by this building? He said, no, for the whole community.

Source: How Policing Works in a Privatized City | Jeffrey Tucker

 

I had heard about Atlantic Station from a friend who lives in Atlanta who is planning to buy a townhouse there, but I didn’t know about the private police force so this is an interesting bit of knowledge for someone interested in market-based anarchy. There aren’t a lot of examples of this to sink your teeth into and, like pretty much everyone else, I worry that a police force that belongs to a company is likely to be corrupt, but I’m with Tucker in thinking this sounds a whole lot better than a city police force that treats citizens like criminals because they aren’t staying exactly within the herd lines.

Libertarianism at the Movies   Leave a comment

Brad and I don’t go to the movies very often, preferring to spend our money on other things, but he’s still resting a tweaked knee so decided not to hike to our cabin site this weekend. Boredom drove him to decide we needed a date night at the movies.

Good movies and television often reflect the attitudes of the times in which they were created. Captain America: Civil War may be one of those great movies that reflect the emergence of some sort of counterculture. Here we are in 2016 where political correctness, state worship, and socialist propaganda have infected higher education and Hollywood to a seemingly monolithic extent, but Civil War shines forth a libertarian theme.

We were forewarned by a reviewer that Marvel Entertainment had “ruined” the Captain American character by making him “uncharacteristically libertarian” and invoking Ayn Rand.

That’s fine with us, but our teenager pointed out that Captain America may have always seemed a defender of liberty to those of us who read the comic books, but that he’s been a rule-breaking anarchist at the movies.

Kyle points out that in the 1st movie, Steve Rogers forged his own forms, defied orders to enter enemy territory and rescued hostages against official orders while in Winter Soldier, he became an enemy of the state. So why is anyone surprised that the character might take a position in oppisition to the US government and the United Nations in the third movie?

 

To be perfectly honest, Captain America is not the poster child for the United States of Power. He has consistently been a representative of individual liberty. You want an example. In the first movie, he was asked if he wanted to kill Nazis. He protested that he didn’t want to kill anyone, but that someone had to stand up to bullies. That’s very much the non-aggression principle that libertarians say is the highest ideal of their philosophy. Self-defense and standing up to bullies is justifiable because someone else iniated the aggression. In the second movie, his fight against Shield’s spy drone had nothing to do with whether people had voted for it, but because the machine’s ability to kill anyone upon collection of data showing them to be a possible threat was a violation of individual rights.

 

So, I’m not going to write any spoilers, but I’m going to suggest you go watch the movie. It had the requisite explosions for Kyle and Brad, but I found a lot of themes to think about as well.

I’ll give you a hint, though. Iron Man provides a foil for Captain America that is quite striking.

 

Posted May 21, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in Anarchy, Uncategorized

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The Scouring of the Shire   Leave a comment

This is actually a story about the Oregon refuge “standoff”, but what a great link to classic literature.

Sheriff Glenn Palmer and the “Scouring of the Shire”

The Shire had changed dramatically for the worse when Frodo, Sam, and their companions returned from Mordor.

The hobbit-folk had previously enjoyed a society largely free of the affliction called “government.”

Source: The Scouring of the Shire

Posted April 2, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in Anarchy

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The Media’s Real Job Just Became Harder   Leave a comment

Is Self-Government the Solution?

By

Now that the Republican debates are mercifully behind us, the media has their work cut out for them. They’re going to have to work doubly hard at their specialty — creating news out of thin air. There’s no question that they are very good at their craft, but it’s going to be an increasingly difficult job for them.

Source: The Media’s Real Job Just Became Harder

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