Archive for March, 2014

Seattle Celebrity News!

March 28, 2014

Lazzo Laughs6WEb Lazzo Laughs9bWEb

Troupe Comique to Make a Movie

While shooting promo photos for the upcoming Midnight Mystery Theater, (Coming to the Eclectic Theater in May.  Watch for it!), Mystery Theater writer/director and producer John Ruoff, revealed in a private chat that he was planning to produce a full length silent movie utilizing the Theater Comique players.  This is all he was wont to say.  (And, of course, it’s just about useless speaking to a mime, except to say that they appeared very excited!)

John Ruoff / Artistic Provocatuer

John Ruoff / Artistic Provocatuer

Midnight Mystery Theater Players

Midnight Mystery Theater Players

Photos by Carl Nelson

 

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From the Editor’s Perch…

March 10, 2014
Reichstag 1932

Reichstag 1932

How Large Should Government Be?

First.  Here is a smidgeon of history from “Bismark’s Legacy” by Tom Palmer:

“The welfare state in its modern form originated in the late nineteenth century in Germany in the political maneuvering and “state building” of the German statesman Otto Von Bismark…  Bismark ushered in the German welfare state through a series of compulsory insurance schemes for accidents, health, disability, and old age…”

“Whoever has a pension for his old age is much more content and far easier to handle than one who has no such prospects.  Look at the difference between a private servant and a servant in the chancellery or at court; the latter will put up with much more, because he has a pension to look forward to.” – Bismark

“It was the collapse in the 1930s of the over-extended welfare state of the Weimar Republic (Germany), widely known at the time as the most advanced welfare state in the world, that ushered in dictatorship, war, and the most predatory and vicious welfare state the world has ever seen, the Third Reich.”

Hitler promised “the creation of a socially just state”.  Have any of us been hearing these words repeated lately?

So.  How large should the government be?

Well, a little smaller than the above, I’d guess.

White House

White House

But, easier decided than done.   For as long as I’ve been alive and literate, a debate has raged over how large our government should be.  Democrats have generally been categorized as the “tax and spend party”, who would cast government as our ‘friend’ and helpmate.  Republicans have generally been cast as the party of “fiscal responsibility” who would pursue “limited government”.  And yet, throughout the leadership of both parties our government and national debt have ballooned.

So, it seems to me that the continuing debate over the proper size of government, is rather like two Africans arguing the proper size of a hippo.
(Which I’m guessing most Africans are too smart to do.)

All the while they argue, and no matter the conclusion they might reach – the hippo continues growing.

Hippo1

hippo3

 As Buckmeister Fuller noted, “to change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”  This is what happens when a cheetah eats a gazelle.  And this is what happens when the Internet and Fedex feast on the business model of the Postal Service.

So, it seems to me, what is needed in our situation is a predator.  Our government by its nature – (just like the hippo) – grows.  So what we need is something which preys on government; something which uses government for food.  So that a natural balance of government versus citizen is maintained.   And the government’s growth is made ‘sustainable’.

Here I propose that a good model for such a citizen creature would be Anarchists, who would thrive on chewing through a little government each day.  More on this later.  (Where I imagine all of us – a diverse motley of anarchist/citizens, with our little backyard anarchist bins – mulching government).

Cones are shown along the road to Mount Rushmore. The National Parks Service placed the cones there to prevent viewers from stopping on the side of the road to view the monument (during the Government ‘Fiscal Cliff’ shutdown of 2013). - from the Sioux Falls Business Journal

Cones are shown along the road to Mount Rushmore. The National Parks Service placed the cones there to prevent viewers from stopping on the side of the road to view the monument (during the Government ‘Fiscal Cliff’ shutdown of 2013). – from the Sioux Falls Business Journal

Photos from Google Images

From the Editor’s Perch…

March 7, 2014

anarchism2

Anarchists:  You Probably Are One

           

            Rush Limbaugh, (to start right out on a polarizing note), used to gleefully point out that even the most successful liberals were more than likely 95% conservative in the matter of their own affairs.  They were conservative in their business dealings, in their financial matters, in how they raised their families, and in matters of education, where they lived, how they worshipped, how they comported themselves, and generally in how they managed their day to day affairs 24/7.  And this was because conservatism ‘worked’.  Conservatism worked because it bore the collected wisdom of countless generations of human beings when dealing with much the same matters we deal with today in different guises.  In his combative way, this was actually Rush Limbaugh ‘reaching out’.  He was saying, “Conservative thought is not your enemy.  And if you consider your own lives for a moment, you’ll agree.”

Now think of all the moments of your day when you are not being coerced, nor coercing someone else.  This includes all those periods when you are exhibiting self-discipline; when you are meeting an obligation; when you are conducting yourself as you would prefer.  This can include family time, work time, recreational time, …just about any time.  These times of the day, are those times when you are living as an anarchist.  They are not without structure.  They are not without pleasure.  They are not without effort.  But they are rewarding, and comprise those moments which give meaning to a life.  And these are the periods and moments of your day when you are living as an anarchist.  So I would say to you, “Anarchism is not your enemy.  And if you consider the wealth of your own life, you’ll agree.”

 

Oftentimes, a main objection to anarchism is the question: “Well, how would it work?”

My answer would be: “Well, how does your day work?”

Anarchism is already successful.  Anarchism is already popular.

But what most people might say to this answer is, “Yes.  But how would an anarchist government work?”

And the answer would be:  “Only coercive entities can describe to you how something will be; how something WILL work.   Anarchists are against coercion.”

“Well then,” the response might be.  “I don’t see how an anarchist government could do the things a government has to do in order to sustain law and order.”

And I would point out to you that the anarchism we already practice in our daily lives sustains law and order – much more so, than there is in the power of our government to do so.   In fact, it is widely held that if just 10% of the populace refuses to obey a law, then the law is unenforceable.  10% is the effective power of coercion.  More than 90% is the effective power of natural (anarchistic) living practices.

 

About here, most people will lose patience and say, “This is ridiculous.  We just can’t do away with the government lock, stock and barrel, and expect anything but chaos to ensue.”

To which I would heartily agree.  The only thing which can be done overnight is daylight.  An anarchic society must be created brick by brick.  To kick away government safeguards overnight would be catastrophic.  But what the anarchist can say to the government ‘statists’ on a day to day basis is, “I would rather do that activity myself.”

Take the U S Postal Service for a prominent example.  Every time a citizen uses Fedex, or UPS, or e mail, or faxes something, or goes on Facebook, or the Web, or handles his financial matters or purchasing online – he is in effect saying to the government, “No thank you.  I would rather attend to this myself.”  RIP Postal Service.  The government shrinks.  Liberty expands.

And this is just one example.  There are hundreds of examples of anarchists (whether they know so or not) at work each and every day, telling the government in one form or another, “No thank you.  I would rather attend to this myself.”  This is how anarchism gradually replaces government.

 

Image from Google Images

From the Editor’s Perch…

March 1, 2014

 

Sing along!

Sing along!

Anarchism: Give it a Look

 

            Most people, myself included, have glided right past the Anarchists when searching for a group of like-minded political minds.  Anarchists are represented in history and the media by bombings, assassinations, societal disruption and chaos.  Ironically, anarchists themselves – including founders such as the Frenchman, Proudhon – almost embrace this misperception, though it’s hard to imagine how the tenets of anarchism would support such behavior.  Anarchism itself is about establishing society through voluntary, personal arrangements, and flattened – as opposed to hierarchical – organizational structures.  Anarchism is not about chaos, but rather it is about organization through organic growth, personal connection, local rather than global activity, civic rather than state involvement, all with an accent on the adjective “voluntary”.  The roots of the word anarchism mean “against government”.  Governments are coercive.  Governments have definite structure.  Anarchistic arrangements are voluntary; they have mutable structure.  People change what they want.

Most strange of all, anarchic communities function well all around us.  In fact, we are probably part of several.  Anarchism has already been shown to work.  So, it is strange that we act as if the movement were something we couldn’t associate with.   Because we do.  Successfully.  Already.

There are already established threads of anarchism which are very strong, such as the free market, where a voluntary exchange of goods between individuals has created an incredible amount of wealth and efficient distribution of goods.   The family might also be considered a very successful anarchist structure which creates extremely tight bonds between members of what begins as a voluntary arrangement.  Neighborhood activities, bowling leagues, associations, clubs, theater and sports groups, etc… these are all voluntary activities which create a rich civic structure.  The moral basis of anarchism stems from the legal concept of natural law: that the best laws we can enact are outgrowths of what comes to be accepted behavior between two or more reasonable adults: ‘rules of order’ they might be called.  Anarchism is a wholly ‘grass-roots’ phenomena which creates its community as it grows.  It claims no territory, but can inhabit a vast area.

Probably the first question usually asked, once people have decided to consider the question is: How would an anarchist form of government work?  Well, unlike other governmental arrangements, an anarchist government cannot be described until it has evolved and matured to the state where we might refer to it as ‘something which could perform the tasks of a government’.  An anarchist government, because it is not coercive, cannot be initially conceived.  It must grow.  We might as well ask, “What can water do?”

Better to just pour it on the ground and see what happens.

Here are some books which have begun to address what ‘water might do’:

“The Art of NOT Being Governed” by James C. Scott

“The Vountary City / Choice, Community, and Civil Society” a series of essays edited by Paul Johnson

Pictures from Google Images


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