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Extreme SEO Internet Solutions – Digital Marketing Company

 SEO  Comments Off on Extreme SEO Internet Solutions – Digital Marketing Company
Apr 302016
 

Search Engine Optimization is not how it used to be back in 2010. In the present day, Google is constantly fidgeting with its organic search algorithms and penalizing websites for following the wrong SEO measures. As a SEO certified company, we are confident in our skill-set in eMarketing, while our SEO analysts keep themselves updated with the ever-changing Google Rulebook. SEO is not a cost, but an Investment. Entrusting us with your website will not only open doors to the most ground breaking strategies that evolve in the minds of our experts, but it will also ensure that your precious website is in the right hands.

Search Engine Optimization is not how it used to be back in 2010. In the present day, Google is constantly fidgeting with its organic search algorithms and penalizing websites for following the wrong SEO measures. As a SEO certified company, we are confident in our skill-set in eMarketing, while our SEO analysts keep themselves updated with the ever-changing Google Rulebook. SEO is not a cost, but an Investment. Entrusting us with your website will not only open doors to the most groundbreaking strategies that evolve in the minds of our experts, but it will also ensure that your precious website is in the right hands. We are sure to provide massive returns against your modest investment in SEO. The sincere goal of Extreme SEO is to research and devise the single most powerful custom-made strategy that is bound to boost the visibility of your business and convert traffic to consumers. We help clients build the right infrastructure, mix and blueprint, and then guide them towards effectively implementing the most cost-effective and high ROI strategies that are parallel to their primary business objectives. Take an initiative now and see your website grow!

At Extreme SEO we aim to deliver best tracking and Return on Investment for the social efforts of our clients. Our experts make full use of the dynamic social media landscape and create social media campaigns for your business that will not only give your website the reachability (it truly needs) but also convert followers into potential customers. We all know the importance of word of mouth in converting sales; Social Media serves as a word of mouth for your brand (literally). Present-day, it is important to join online conversations about your niche and find out from the consumers directly what they want and what they expect from your brand. This is where Social Media Management comes in.

We constantly evolve and change our old strategies according to the requirements of the Internet and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Blog etc. Our social strategists will not only inculcate streamlined campaigns into your website but will also give you an insight on how you can use social media to leverage the customers and increase overall conversion rate of your website

We truly care about the reputation of our clients and give their campaigns the same respect we would give our own campaigns. We consider the business of our clients as our own in order to have a unified objective and drive for the success of the business. With our Online Reputation Management Services you can re-establish a respectable online presence amongst your target traffic. We will help you build the perfect brand image your business needs. With our transparent services clients can monitor the ranking of their website on 15 different websites.

We also formulate strategies and educate our clients on how to retain the obtained rankings for a longer period of time. No matter what the problem of your business is, we will always come up with good solutions.Whether you’re a doctor trying to protect your practice from negative reviews, a parent trying to keep your children safe online, or a job hunter trying to make a good impression with hiring managers, it is imperative that you focus on protecting your online reputation. For many, that means turning to an expert consultant for full-fledged online reputation management services.

Conversion Rate Optimization is arguable the most overlooked aspect of e Marketing. This is our most important tool for boosting the reachability of your business. At Extreme SEO we not only focus on the mandatory SEO optimization but also focus on Conversion Rate Optimization. After all your business doesn’t just need organic traffic,it needs to convert that organic traffic into customers.

We devise strategies for our clients websites such that they are not only able to boost the traffic of their website but also retain it. We focus on diffusing quality content into your website so that visitors spend more time at your website. Our research team will study the major flaws of your business and find out what are the repelling factors of your website that have a negative impact on the Conversion Rates.

One cannot simply speculate which changes to the webpages will attract a higher conversion rate. The experts at Extreme-SEO develop and test effective hypotheses, run meticulous tests and gauge results to zero in on the improvements. Example: A website designer cannot simply conjure an aesthetically appealing website which will take your visitors by fancy. Structured and organic process artistically applies learning from countless results to test only the best variants for your website.

95% of the people who visit your website for the first time do not buy anything. However, if you want to retain customers by starting a price war, always remember that there are companies that can afford to make lesser profits than you and survive. Hence, this idea will not take you very far. Ecommerce Marketing is not just product endorsement, it is the earnest bond that develops between consumers and online marketers. At Extreme SEO, we provide our clients the tools required to develop this bond. We help you find and retain customers, while ensuring repeat traffic and sales.

With our specific set of tools at your disposal, learn how to calculate revenue generation, personalize email marketing improve conversion ratio and attract new and potential customers.We know the importance of older trends like mobile ads, paid ads and personalized marketing automation and newer trends like wearable technology, speedy delivery and brand identity.We discuss the most important eCommerce marketing trends with our clients and show them what will best suit the needs of their business.

Inbound Marketing is creating products that people would like and sharing it with the world. It is important to create products that are unique and capable of self-advertising. However, creating a unique product is useless, unless you find the right time and place to sell it and make a profit. Inbound marketing helps you reach out to potential customers at the right moment, enhancing your products visibility. If your product is target oriented, it is automatically easier to sell. Hence, focusing on products that cater to the needs of target customers should be a priority.

Our team of professionals at Extreme SEO helps you promote and market your product, generating optimum revenue in the process. We are up-to-date with the latest philosophies of Inbound Marketing and work to empower our clients to attract potential customers and convert inquisition into sales.

Marketing is as much an art, as it is science. Hence, marketers need to focus simultaneously on multiple aspects. We help our clients to identify a target market and design products exclusively for the people involved. We believe in high quality conversation and help our clients generate introductory and follow-up conversation.

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Extreme SEO Internet Solutions – Digital Marketing Company

 Posted by at 9:43 am  Tagged with:

Oregon Coast Information, Maps & Resources | Travel Oregon

 Beaches  Comments Off on Oregon Coast Information, Maps & Resources | Travel Oregon
Apr 302016
 

If you brought a swimsuit to the Oregon Coast, dont worry, someone will loan you a sweater.

People dont come to the Oregon Coast to work on their tans. You wont see many bikinis on Cape Blanco or folks sitting idly with a book next to the Devils Punchbowl.

We dont even call it the beach. We dont come here seeking the sun. Sure, you might see it peeking through the old growth of Oswald West. But as soon as you hear the surf crashing into the cliffs, you stop paying attention to anything else.

Thats the moment you start to realize how big this all is. Troubles seem smaller and the little moments feel magnified. And as you splash in the tide pools, watch the whales, hunt for agates, explore lighthouses and wander all 363 miles of free and public coastline, you might be like, Im calling in sick tomorrow. Im learning to surf.

And someone will probably teach you, because Oregonians are just cool like that. Eventually you realize that your beach bod still looks pretty good under those layers of clothing.

Lots of places have a beach.

If you want to go to the Coast, you have to come to Oregon.

Bandon Beach

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Oregon Coast Information, Maps & Resources | Travel Oregon

Illuminati Truths | Mystery of the Iniquity

 Illuminati  Comments Off on Illuminati Truths | Mystery of the Iniquity
Apr 282016
 

Now, first of all this is taken from the internet. I cannot account for all the statements as the truth. This person also has a YOUTUBE account, recently started. I will post what has been brought forth as of today.

1: First of all, if you do not believe me then I am sorry. I am here to tell the truth, and nothing that is written by me is false exaggeration nor science fiction. This information is real, it is true, it is reality, and it is time for it to be told.

I was a member of the Illuminati for 47 years. I was recruited when I was 19 years old. I have posted here off and on over the past year. (Some of the posts are mine, others are my brothers, mainly they are his) The information that I am about to unfold is very revealing and very dangerous. I am one of seven people in the history of the Illuminati that have performed the Departure Ritual. I knew that I needed to get out when I had something revealed to me at a meeting in June of 2010. For years I was in line with the beliefs, motives, and actions of the Illuminati, but it recently became too much for me to bear, and I had to extinguish my sacred contract.

My reason for coming here is to reveal EVERYTHING about the Illuminati. How you become a member, what the organization is about, what the organization does, and the future plans that we have.

I will be back to make my first post when I can see that this thread has enough attention for me continue. Any time in the near future when I begin to reveal the secrets of the Illuminati, I need to ensure that there are enough people paying attention so that my efforts do not go to waste. Once I see that this thread has a substantial amount of views and replies, I will make my first post.

Here is a preview of some of the things that I will reveal:

Barack Obama is not a member of the Illuminati, he is something much, much worse.

The new space flights which are planes that can briefly enter orbit are not as fun as they seem, they are an Illuminati tool.

Denver, Colorado is an evil place

Aliens are a little different than what mainstream teaches us

The information I have is essential!

2: This post will be about how the Illuminati recruited me and what exactly I had to go through.

When I was nineteen years old, I fell into some money through some connections with friends and some successful investments of some money that I had made throughout my childhood. I got involved in some backroom deals and saw my money begin to grow. As I attended college at Harvard in 1964, I begin to become increasingly rich, and my influence on campus grew as well through my participation in various clubs, and organizations. Some friends and I began to serve as quasi-stock brokers while still at Harvard. I made tons of cash during that year, and was very powerful and influential on campus.

One night as I was walking back to my dorm shortly after midnight, I was approached by two men in black suits. I initially assumed that they were going to investigate my business activity because some of it was not exactly legal. They asked me to come with them and I followed them into the basement of a two story house a couple streets over from my dorm room. They sat me down at a table and asked me if I was willing to make a deal. They would not tell me what deal I would be making, but just continually asked if I would be willing to make a deal. I half-assed agreed that I would, and that is when the biggest man that I have ever seen walked through some closet doors and sat down in a chair directly opposite from me. A television was wheeled in front of me and on it was playing a video of the JFK assassination. The man that was sitting opposite me asked who I thought shot JFK. I naturally said Lee Harvey Oswald. All three of the men laughed, and the video changed to show that the shot that killed JFK actually came from the front seat of the car. It is very hard to make out in the videos that we normally see, but in the version that this man was showing me, it was obvious that the driver of the car was the one who shot JFK. The man asked if I thought that he was capable of doing this, and I did not know what to say. He told me that he was capable of anything. He detailed the story of the Illuminati. How it had formed in the 1700s and how the Illuminati was behind the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, World War I and II, the Vietnam War, and he told me about how a terrorist attack on two buildings would change the world forever.

Two chicken bones were placed in front of me, and I was told that I would be joining the Illuminati. If I did not, then they would kill me on the spot. They told me to take the chicken bones to a crossroad on the outskirts of town, and I had to bury them, then spill my own blood over top of the spot where they were buried. The two men in suits accompanied me, and I performed the ritual. After it was done, I was taken to a large mansion which I was told was mine now. I was given numerous cars, countless women, and a vault that was full of money. I was left with instructions that I had made a deal with Lucifer himself, and that if I did not follow directions, then I would be used in the most unpleasant way.

3: The first time that I was really used by the Illuminati was during the presidential election of 1968. I was called to Denver, CO to partake in a meeting in early February. I was chauffeured to the meeting location, and the windows of the limo were blacked out, so I still to this day do not know exactly where the meeting was held. I was very relieved to find out that the meetings of the Illuminati were not satanic or cultish other than that everything in the room was completely red. A man stood up in front of the room and introduced himself as Rorie Rothschild. He gave us our instructions by saying that it was already put in place that Richard Nixon would be president of the United States. I was astonished to know that this group picked who was going to be the POTUS, but I soon found out that every president in American history has been a puppet of the Illuminati. My assignment was to position myself in Washington D.C., and to work to incite rioting and turmoil after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Yes, I knew about the assassination of MLK before it occurred. The assassination occurred in April if I am correct, and I knew about it in February. It was decided that MLK was a dangerous man because of the way that he was creating a following in the way that he was. The truth is that MLK was approached by the Illuminati and asked to join, but he is one of the view that rejected and somehow escaped death. The elite in the group decided to let him live for awhile, for pure entertainment, but when they were ready for him to die, they made sure he did, and they planned when he would. I was in D.C. at the time of the assassination, and I made the mistake of spreading the word that MLK was dead, an hour before he had actually been shot. Thankfully no one notices, and widespread riots ensued.

Many other people were placed in many other major cities. The purpose of killing MLK at the time that he was assassinated was to serve as a distraction to the coming murder of Bobby Kennedy. The Illuminate had already killed JFK, and they were not about to let another Kennedy make a run for the presidency. The Kennedy family turned out to be a challenge for the Illuminati, but they were taken care of. Remember a few years ago when Ted Kennedy was taken out of a dinner for health problems? He was actually strangled in the bathroom by an Illuminati member.

Anyway, after Bobby Kennedy was murdered. The path to the presidency was clear for Richard Nixon who had already been indoctrinated with what the Illuminati wanted to do. The war in Vietnam was a massive opportunity for many people to make a ton of money, and that they did. Nixon was instructed far before the election to continue the fighting in Vietnam.

**Announcing the Birth of the New World Order**

4: Enough with the history, I was just telling that to show you that I was in the Illuminate for a great deal of time. I was involved with some horrible things, but now I want to uncover the current activities of the Illuminati. The activities that caused my departure.

Obama is the grand puppet of them all. Barry Sotero, yes that is his real name, was born in an Illuminati bunker far beneath the ground in Finland. He was groomed to become POTUS. He was indoctrinated from the beginning with the teachings of the Illuminati, with the plans for the New World Order, and with the plans that he was supposed to execute. Barry did not emerge from this bunker until the time that he was twenty three. All photographs and accounts of him before this time are fabricated by the Illuminati. However, the Illuminati forgot one major thing. A birth certificate. It was decided after the mistake that it would seem too fishy to display one now magically, so do not ever expect anyone to reveal it, because it was never made. Barry, who entered into the world as Barack Obama, is the most evil man on this planet. It is not by his own design, but because he is being fed his instructions. If you thought the healthcare bill was a big deal, you have no idea what Obama will unveil in the coming year. A plan is in place, and has already began to be executed that will create a personal army for Obama. The oil that gushed from the pipes in the Gulf was infested with microbodies that plant themselves in the brains of the infected, and can be activated remotely to control the infected. Mostly, these microbodies planted themselves in the minds of children. Remember Obamas address to students that was so controversial? That event was used to transmit radio waves that allowed for the planting of these microbodies in the childrens minds.

Supposedly, and this is the part that I do not know for a fact, this army will never be activated for physical warfare, but they will be used to secure re-election of Obama for many, many years to come. The amendment in the Constitution that restricts the president to serving two terms will be struck out of the Constitution, and Obama will embark on a six term reign during which we will see the destruction of the Middle East.

5: In a nutshell

Aliens are real. There is constant inter-galactic war between them. The grand plan is to involve Earth in their warfare so that human beings can be enslaved in the new world order.

Space flights are being used to carry out MASSIVE Chemical implantation. You all have heard of chem-trailing. Think about it on a global scale. When the governments of the world became exposed because of people like you that exposed chem-trailing, they needed a new way to carry out their operations. Space flights allow them to carry out chem-trailing on a massive scale by placing the chemicals right inside Earths atmosphere. The chemicals then mix with the clouds and upper atmospheric winds to transport the chemicals across a large area. These space flights need to be stopped before it is too late.

6: A question asked:

If I got to choose one place if TSHTF, it would be the Rocky Mountain range, its got water, food, totally self sufficient everything, They could seal off and be their own country if need be, also all the military and Norad and whats underground, inside the mountain and more

There was a plan in WW2 that if things went badly, the US govt. would retreat to Colorado and make a stand.

Theres rumors of caverns in the Sangres still containing prepositioned supplies such as old Sherman tanks.

Colorado contains sufficient resources to instigate the rebuilding of the entire nation.

The answer: This is correct.

7: There are underground research facilities in Colorado where the government is conducting research on how to massively control the population. They are testing it on the citizens of Denver, CO.

8:Aliens are real. There is constant inter-galactic war between them. The grand plan is to involve Earth in their warfare so that human beings can be enslaved in the new world order.

9: These aliens would easily destroy us in minutes. Far more advanced that we are. However, the Illuminati has planned to stage attacks with them in order to place Earth;s population under martial law.

10: Kennedy was strangled because they were warning him to back off some research he was doing into Bobbys death.

11: To the person who wants to know about Obama meeting aliens in the underground bunkers. This has never happened. Obama has not communicated with the aliens. Only the top notch Illuminati members have. They have a constant line of communication with them. The event that I was speaking of where the aliens will stage attacks on Earth will not occur until after World War III does.

World War III is planned to happen in the next five years. The spark is going to be an Israeli attack on Iran. As Obama is the grand puppet president of the Illuminati. Israel is the grand puppet state. Israel will directly attack Iran with missiles, Iran will respond, and World War III will ensue. It is at this time that Venezuela and North Korea will begin attacking their enemies, China will enter, Russia will enter, and there will be a massive global war on our hands. This war is planned to last for at least 7 years, and towards the end of these 7 years, alien lifeforms will stage their attacks on the major countries of the world.

These alien attacks serve the purpose of ending World War III. There is no other way that the citizens of the warring countries would put aside their bad sentiments created by war to fight a common enemy other than if the common enemy are extra-terrestrials.

The only reason that the Illuminati is manufacturing World War III is to destroy some of the world leaders who do not directly fall under their influence. It is also to make many people very , very rich.

These alien attacks will cause the people of the Earth to join together in common defense against the alien lifeforms, but it will also pave the path to the New World Order.

12:(this is transcript from his you tube video)

World War 3 is planned to happen in the next five years. The spark is going to be an Israeli attack on Iran. As Obama is the grand puppet president used by the Illuminati. Israel is the grand puppet state. Israel has already been given permission by the United States and the European Union to directly attack Iran whenever it feels that it is safe to do so. An attack was almost initiated during the summer of 2009; however, the election crisis in Iran at the time proved inopportune to attack. Most people would assume that a time of chaos would be a great time to attack; however, many of the key Iranian political leaders were out of the country at the time for their own safety.

Israel will directly attack Iran with missiles, Iran will respond, and World War 3 will ensue. It is at this time that Venezuela and North Korea will begin attacking their enemies, China will enter, Russia will enter, and there will be a massive global war on our hands. This is another reason that Obama will be allowed to be re-elected past the normal 2 term limit. This war is planned to last for at least 7 years, and towards the end of these 7 years, alien lifeforms will stage their attacks on the major countries of the world.

These alien attacks serve the purpose of ending World War 3. There is no other way that the citizens of the warring countries would put aside their bad sentiments created by war to fight a common enemy other than if the common enemy are extra-terrestrials.

The only reason that the Illuminati is manufacturing World War III is to destroy some of the world leaders who do not directly fall under their influence. It is also to make many people very , very rich.

These alien attacks will cause the people of the Earth to join together in common defense against the alien lifeforms, but it will also pave the path to the New World Order.

The Illuminati has made a deal with these alien life forms. When the New World Order is secured, and select groups of people are placed in containment camps, people such as dissenters, rebels, and other revolutionaries, these people will be handed over to the aliens for them to do experimentation on. The alien culture is very advanced; however, they are not as advanced as they would like to be because they do not have human beings to experiment on. The aliens that are in business with the Illuminati cannot be experimented on in the same way that humans can because they are built and formed in much of a different way in which I am not entirely familiar.

The Illuminati has worked out a very intensive strategy to secure the New World Order, and it will be accomplished by staging a form of false flag attack with these aliens. In return, these aliens receive an inextinguishable supply of experimental beings on which they can perform the many operations that they wish. The Illuminati will secure its New World Order and will establish Obama as the head of it. He will continually be under Illuminati influence and will carry out the next stage of the plan to secure control of all of the worlds oil.

The oil crisis that we are familiar with, the one where the experts say that we are running out, is entirely untrue. There are hundreds of untapped oil reserves in the Middle East. When the New World Order is secured, Obama will ensure that these oil reserves fall into the hands of the Illuminati, and they will be tapped to ensure a great deal of cash flow for the Illuminati. He will secure these oil reserves by destroying the Middle East and reducing it to dust. Russia, China, and the United States will invade the Middle East from all directions claiming that Muslims are dissenters to the New World Order. The first step of this plan has already been initiated with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It was necessary for the United States to already have a multitude of troops on the ground in the Middle East, and it is for this reason that George W. Bush pushed the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I do not think it is necessary to say that nine eleven was a false flag. This is something that we already knew. Planes were hijacked by operatives brainwashed by the Illuminati, and plastic explosives were used to bring down the towers.

The first step to the destruction of the Middle East, and the establishment of the United States as the new oil kings was initiated on that day.

13: This is the only deal that I know of. However, in my opinion, once the deal is done, the New World Order will proceed to attack and conquer these alien lifeforms. Do not let the general public fool you, we have the capability of reaching other galaxies, and have done it.

14: We can reach Mars, and we have. You just do not know about it. The first human landed on Mars in November of 1999.

15: If the next 7.0+ occurs in Venezuela, then I will be able to tell you something about future events. If one does not occur in Venezuela, then these earthquakes mean nothing as of right now.

16: Ben Bernanke is a very, very evil man. He controls over half of the US money supply personally. He can do anything he wants with it without any consequences.

Rahm Emmanuel was groomed much in the same way that Obama was, and Emmanuel will play the lead role in a HUGE event very soon.

17: Bernanke is an agent of Warren Buffett.

18: The first Mars landing to my knowledge occurred in 1999. The astronauts who performed the landing were murdered upon their return.

19: question: Do you knoow of project pegasus and the history of sending people to a MARS base since the 60s?

Answer: The project was attempted; however, their was not significant funding at the time due to other activities that the organization was pursuing. The project was resumed in the seventies, but the main scientists were no longer willing to work on it. It was eventually abandoned.

Alex Jones is not as innocent as he makes himself sound. He has been in on everything for awhile.

20: question: ..and how exactly did they get past the radiation belt without getting fried?

Answer: Actually I do know about this. Any radiation or obstacles that they encountered were redirected by use of lasers, but radiation and obstacles were also consumed by a generator that produced a mini black hole directed towards whatever was in the way.

This black hole was then destroyed by several remotely detonated explosions inside of it.

These explosions served the purpose of decreasing the gravity in the black hole which destroyed the black hole while preserving the radiation and other obstacles.

21: Cheney was an idiot. He served no role in anything that the Illuminati carried out. He was pretty much a pawn used to divert attention. He tried to play a role, but was never allowed.

A tomahawk cruise missile hit the Pentagon; launched from a ship in the Atlantic.

A plane really hit the ground in PA. Again, an attention diversion. They felt that they needed a feel good story.

Yes, planes hit the towers, and the towers collapses because of explosives already planted on the joists.

Larry Silverstein was the brains behind it all.

Building 7 was used as an operations base. It needed to be demolished to protect information and people.

22: The operatives that hijacked the plane were told to crash it in PA. That is what I know to be true.

23: (regarding911) NORAD never really mobilized to do anything. There was no need to stand them down. NORAD is ran by the government, which is controlled by the Illuminati. See where I am going here?

24: The Anti-Christ is not going to be a single person. It is also very ironic.

The Anti-Christ is Israel.

25: (question)How long till the US economy goes under?

(answer)It wont. World War 3 will kick off at the perfect time to prevent collapse.

26: Hitler committed suicide in the way that most believe he did. Merkel is not his daughter; however, a coming chancellor will be his grandson.

27: The North American Union will form at the start of WW3 as a trade/ defense alliance.

28: A city will burn on November 11, 2011. I am not sure which. Only know that a city will burn to the ground.

29: Islam will be destroyed by killing the Muslims. Christianity will be destroyed by discrediting it. Judaism will not be destroyed, but will gain power. All other religions will fall into irrelevance.

30: Now, we are going to talk about the Anti-Christ being Israel.

I am not talking about the Jewish people, or the people of Israel itself, but I am talking about the state of Israel. As I mentioned earlier, Israel is the grand puppet state of the Illuminati. When the modern Israeli state was formed in 1948, it was all part of a master plan. This plan ties into the long term plan to demolish the Middle East. After World War 2, it was decided that land would be taken from the Palestinians, and this land would be declared the Jewish homeland that they had been driven from many years ago. We all know that fighting ensued between Israel and Palestine, and this violence continues today. Palestine is a state that has defied the control of the Illuminati. They were presented with the opportunity of protection when Israel was formed; however, they rejected, and they will one day be demolished in the most horrific manner. The whole point of the establishment of Israel is to place an Illuminati-influence government directly in the area. Israel is carrying out the order of the Illuminati, and has been since its formation.

I have already detailed the role that Israel will play in sparking World War 3 by a preemptive strike on Iran. However, the influence of Israel on world affairs will span far more than that. Israel will be virtually invincible during World War 3. It will prevail through Iranian attacks, but in the final stages of the war, it will fall under Russian attack. It is in these final stages that the alien attacks will take place, and all worldly fighting will cease. The Illuminati will use this time to establish their New World Order, which will be based in Israel. It is from Israel that the New World Order will execute their evil policies that will eventually lead to the destruction of the world as we know it. The Jews will be banished from Israel yet again, and the people that occupy the land will be a people that lack any form of religion. As I stated, Islam will be destroyed through elimination of the Muslims, Christianity will be destroyed through destruction of its credibility, and once these two religions are eliminated, religion as we know it will cease to exist in worldly affairs. Israel is the state that will carry out the execution of religion.

This is the grand plan of the Illuminati to establish a New World Order that is entirely a One World Order. Israel is the Anti Christ. A beast that will rise from the sea, a sea of turmoil, with many heads, led by many leaders.

Let me talk about religion for a little while. Religion was manufactured long ago by men who wished to control the masses. Different religions were created in different places to suit the needs and beliefs of the area, and it was intended to serve as a crutch. The leaders of these regions used religion to enslave their people, and religion continues to be such an evil. In essence, religion was the first form of mind control.

When the Illuminati was formed, it was evident that religion was something that could keep the masses dumb and ignorant to what was really happening around them. Is this not what has happened? Because of religion, the Illuminati has been able to work in secret for many, many years.

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 Posted by at 4:42 pm  Tagged with:

Top SEO Company, Affordable SEO Services and Hosting

 SEO  Comments Off on Top SEO Company, Affordable SEO Services and Hosting
Apr 242016
 

Off-Page SEO mainly concentrates on everything that is OUTSIDE of your website, outside your control and by linking to relevant high ranked links out there.

There are many techniques that can be used to improve the position of websites on the search engine results pages.

People tend to connect off-page optimization with link building, but it’s only a fracture of that.

Mainly it’s talking about your promotion methods and techniques.

Search Engine Optimization (on and off site), does not end with a step or two, or by using magic tricks or shortcuts,

It is long, hard work that needs to be accomplished one step at a time, with creativity and passion.

Eventually, what is it that we want? To rank as high as possible on search engines? Then know this: harder you work for it, the more chance you are going to see it.

By harder we mean that you need to be ACTIVE, all the time, in all relevant places to your niche, websites, web-pages or blogs with a solid trust-flow and traffic.

The more credible the site that links to you (other sites, pages or blogs linking to you) makes it more likely that you will see amazing results coming in your way, ranking wise.

Here are some categories that are directly related to Off-Page SEO:

Article Submissions, Social Networking, Business Reviews, Press Releases, Blogging, Local Listings, Blog Marketing, Forum Marketing, Search Engine Submission,

Directory Submission, Social Bookmarking, Link Baiting, Media Sharing, Video Sharing, Local Listings and Activity on major platforms.

Learn more about Off-Page SEO

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Top SEO Company, Affordable SEO Services and Hosting

4th Amendment – Revolutionary War and Beyond

 Fourth Amendment  Comments Off on 4th Amendment – Revolutionary War and Beyond
Apr 122016
 

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The 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution was added as part of the Bill of Rights on December 15, 1791. It deals with protecting people from the searching of their homes and private property without properly executed search warrants. The 4th Amendment reads like this:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The 4th Amendment requires that in order for a government official, such as a police officer, to search a person’s home, business, papers, bank accounts, computer or other personal items, in most cases, he must obtain a search warrant signed by the proper authority, which usually means by a judge.

In order for a warrant to be issued, someone must affirm to the judge that he has a reasonable belief that a crime has been committed and that by searching the premises of a particular location, he believes he will find evidence that will verify the crime. The person submitting this information to the judge is usually a police officer. The police officer does not have to be correct in his assumption, he just has to have a reasonable belief that searching someone’s private property will yield evidence of the crime.

The judge then reviews the information and if he also believes the information the officer has submitted shows probable cause, he will issue the warrant. In order for the warrant to be good, it must identify the place and the particular items or persons that are to be seized if they are found. A warrant is not a general order that can be used to search for anything, anywhere the officer wants. In order for the warrant to be in compliance with the 4th Amendment, the warrant must be very specific about what is being looked for and where the officer can look for it.

The 4th Amendment idea that citizens should be protected from unreasonable searches and seizures goes back far into English history. In 1604, in the famous Semayne’s Case, the Judge, Sir Edward Coke, first identified this right. He ruled that, “The house of every one is to him as his castle and fortress, as well for his defence against injury and violence as for his repose.”

In this case, it was determined that subjects of the kingdom had the right to be protected from searches and seizures that were unlawfully conducted, even if they were conducted by the king’s representatives. The case also recognized that lawfully conducted searches and seizures were acceptable. This case established a precedent that has remained a part of English law ever since.

The most famous English case dealing with the right to freedom from illegal search and seizure is called Entick vs. Carrington, 1765. In this case, royal representatives had broken into the private home of John Entick in search of material that was critical of the king and his policies. In the process, they broke into locked boxes and desks and confiscated many papers, charts, pamphlets, etc. The officers were acting on the orders of Lord Halifax.

During the trial, Entick charged that the entire search and seizure had been unlawfully conducted, and the Court agreed. The Court said that Lord Halifax had no standing to issue the order to search the premises, that probable cause that a crime had been committed had not been demonstrated and that the warrant allowed a general confiscation of anything the officers found, not specifying exactly what they were to look for or could seize. In addition, there were no records kept of what the officers seized.

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Charles Pratt, Lord Camden

This ruling essentially declared that the government was not allowed to do anything that was not specified by law. It required the search and seizure be carried out according to the law. It also established that the right to be able to protect one’s private property was an important right to be safeguarded by the government. In his ruling, Lord Camden, the Chief Justice made this famous statement:

“The great end, for which men entered into society, was to secure their property. That right is preserved sacred and incommunicable in all instances, where it has not been taken away or abridged by some public law for the good of the whole. The cases where this right of property is set aside by private law, are various. Distresses, executions, forfeitures, taxes etc are all of this description; wherein every man by common consent gives up that right, for the sake of justice and the general good. By the laws of England, every invasion of private property, be it ever so minute, is a trespass. No man can set his foot upon my ground without my license, but he is liable to an action, though the damage be nothing; which is proved by every declaration in trespass, where the defendant is called upon to answer for bruising the grass and even treading upon the soil. If he admits the fact, he is bound to show by way of justification, that some positive law has empowered or excused him. The justification is submitted to the judges, who are to look into the books; and if such a justification can be maintained by the text of the statute law, or by the principles of common law. If no excuse can be found or produced, the silence of the books is an authority against the defendant, and the plaintiff must have judgment.”

In 1886, in a case called Boyd vs. United States, the Supreme Court of the United States referred to Entick vs. Carrington as a “great judgment,” “one of the landmarks of English liberty” and “one of the permanent monuments of the British Constitution.” This established the Entick decision as a guide to understanding what the Founding Fathers meant concerning search and seizure laws when they wrote the 4th Amendment.

The British government generally looked at the American colonies as a money making enterprise. Consequently, they passed many revenue collection bills aimed at generating as much money from the colonists as possible. The colonists naturally resented this and engaged in substantial smuggling operations in order to get around the customs taxes imposed by the British government. You can learn more about these and other causes of the American Revolution here.

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King George III

In response to the widespread smuggling, Parliament and the King began to use “writs of assistance,” legal search warrants that were very broad and general in their scope. Customs agents could obtain a writ of assistance to search any property they believed might contain contraband goods. They could enter someone’s property with no notice and without any reason given. Tax collectors could interrogate anyone about their use of customed goods and require the cooperation of any citizen. Searches and seizures of private property based on very general warrants became an epidemic in colonial America.

In response to this, the Massachusetts legislature passed search and seizure laws in 1756 outlawing the use of general warrants. This created a great deal of friction between the Royal Governor and the people of Massachusetts until the death of King George II in 1760. Writs of assistance by law were good until 6 months after the death of the king who issued them. This meant that the Royal Governor had to have new writs of assistance issued by the new king.

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James Otis

by Joseph Blackburn

James Otis, a Boston lawyer, had recently been appointed Advocate General of the Admiralty Court, which meant he was essentially the top lawyer for the Crown in the colony. In this position, Otis was required to defend the use of writs of assistance by the government. He strongly objected to these arbitrary searches and seizures of private property and consequently resigned his position. Instead, he became the lawyer for a group of over 50 merchants who sued the government claiming that the writs of assistance were unjust.

James Otis represented these merchants for free. His speech condemning British policies, including writs of assistance and general search warrants, was so powerful and eloquent, that it was heard of throughout the colonies and catapulted him to a place of leadership in the swelling tide of disillusionment toward Great Britain.

Future President, John Adams, who was 25 at the time, was sitting in the courtroom and heard Otis’ famous speech that day. Later he said:

“The child independence was then and there born, every man of an immense crowded audience appeared to me to go away as I did, ready to take arms against writs of assistance.”

He viewed Otis’ speech “as the spark in which originated the American Revolution.”

Later, in 1776, George Mason’s Virginia Declaration of Rights, which was a document on which Thomas Jefferson relied heavily when he wrote the Declaration of Independence, included prohibitions against general warrants that did not specify probable cause or exactly what was to be searched for. The passage of the Virginia Declaration of Rights dealing with general warrants reads like this:

“That general warrants, whereby any officer or messenger may be commanded to search suspected places without evidence of a fact committed, or to seize any person or persons not named, or whose offense is not particularly described and supported by evidence, are grievous and oppressive and ought not to be granted.”

You can read the Virginia Declaration of Rights here and you can read the Declaration of Independence here. You can also read more about how Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence here.

Once the Constitution was written, each state held a convention to debate its worth. Many people opposed the Constitution because they thought it gave the federal government too much power at the expense of the states and of individual rights. Those opposing the Constitution were known as anti-Federalists. They were led by such men as Patrick Henry, George Mason and Elbridge Gerry.

The anti-Federalists were concerned that the federal government would trample on the rights of individual citizens. They believed the Constitution did not specify clearly enough which rights of individuals were protected from government interference. Some of them called for the addition of a bill of rights to the Constitution, which would specify exactly which rights of the citizens were protected.

Those who were in support of the Constitution were known as Federalists because they did support a strong federal government. The Federalists were led by such men as James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams and George Washington.

In order to convince enough anti-Federalists to support the Constitution to pass it and have it go into effect, the Federalists made a promise that if the anti-Federalists would vote to accept the Constitution, the First Congress would address their concerns by adding a bill of rights to it. This promise succeeded in persuading enough anti-Federalists to support the Constitution that it passed and became law. It also ensured that the Founders concerns about illegal searches and seizures would eventually become law embodied in the 4th Amendment.

On June 8, 1789, James Madison kept the promise of the Federalists by proposing to the First Congress twenty amendments to be added to the Constitution. You can read James Madison’s June 8, 1789 speech here.

One of these amendments, that dealt with search and seizure laws, eventually became what we know as the 4th Amendment. Congress approved twelve of the amendments suggested by Madison on September 25, 1789 and ten of those were eventually ratified by the states. The First Ten Amendments, also known as the Bill of Rights, became law on December 15, 1791. You can read more about the History of the Bill of Rights here.

The 4th Amendment only applied originally to the federal government, but through the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment, the Supreme Court has now applied most parts of the Bill of Rights to state and local governments as well.

The 4th Amendment only provides protection from illegal search and seizure by government officials, not by private citizens. So, if an employer unreasonably searched your possessions at work, the 4th Amendment would not have been violated.

There are certain exceptions to the 4th Amendment right to have a properly executed search warrant issued before a search or seizure of private property can be conducted. The Supreme Court has ruled that, for example, a police officer may conduct a pat down search of someone he has observed engaging in suspicious behavior, if he has reasonable suspicion that some crime is being committed. Also, if a police officer observes someone committing a crime, or believes that he has probable cause to suspect someone has committed a crime, he may arrest the person without a warrant.

There are a number of other exceptions to the 4th Amendment warrant rule:

Supreme Court of the United States

In general, any evidence that is obtained in an illegal search and seizure is not admissible in court by the prosecution in a criminal defendant’s trial. This is known as the 4th Amendment Exclusionary Rule because evidence obtained in this manner is excluded from the trial. The Supreme Court established this rule in a case called Weeks vs. United States, 1914. Before that time, any evidence, even if it was gathered in an illegal search and seizure, was admissible in court.

There are some exceptions to the 4th Amendment Exclusionary Rule. For example, Grand Juries may use illegally obtained evidence to question witnesses. The method of gathering the evidence can be challenged later if the defendant is charged. Evidence gathered in good faith by an officer can be used in court. This means that if an officer is following the directions of a warrant that is faulty, not realizing that it is faulty, the evidence may be used.

Evidence obtained through illegal search and seizure can also be used in the following circumstances:

Read about some of the most interesting and significant Fourth Amendment Court cases here.

Preamble to the Bill of Rights Learn about the 1st Amendment here. Learn about the 2nd Amendment here. Learn about the 3rd Amendment here. Learn about the 4th Amendment here. Learn about the 5th Amendment here. Learn about the 6th Amendment here. Learn about the 7th Amendment here. Learn about the 8th Amendment here. Learn about the 9th Amendment here. Learn about the 10th Amendment here.

Read the Bill of Rights here.

Learn more about theBill of Rightswith the following articles:

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4th Amendment – Revolutionary War and Beyond

Playalinda Beach – 57 Photos – Beaches – Titusville, FL …

 Beaches  Comments Off on Playalinda Beach – 57 Photos – Beaches – Titusville, FL …
Apr 072016
 

We came here on a holiday so of course it was packed. Living only a couple of miles from the beach, the only draw to this place was that parking lot 13 supposedly allowed nude sunbathing. Before we even arrived to lot 13 you could see already that the parking lot was going to be full, and all the other lots were already full.

People started parking on the side of the road in between 12 and 13 and security didn’t seem to mind since you have to pay $5 to get in and they were making so much money. We walked over through 12 and planned to go down to 13 to be able to partake in no tan lines, but to my surprise everyone was already in the flesh, so needless to say, everyone around was comfortable with it.

The only thing I would suggest is making sure to have at least one other person in your party if you don’t want to approached by strangers walking by, but if you have someone with you people tend to leave you alone. I would say it’s worth the money and the drive (30 minutes for us to get there and about 15 more once you get past the gate) but it’s great if you like quiet (no kids) and hate wearing a bathing suit.

See the rest here:
Playalinda Beach – 57 Photos – Beaches – Titusville, FL …

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The Abolition of Work–Bob Black – Primitivism

 Abolition Of Work  Comments Off on The Abolition of Work–Bob Black – Primitivism
Mar 262016
 

The Abolition of Work

Bob Black

No one should ever work.

Work is the source of nearly all the misery in the world. Almost any evil you’d care to name comes from working or from living in a world designed for work. In order to stop suffering, we have to stop working.

That doesn’t mean we have to stop doing things. It does mean creating a new way of life based on play; in other words, a *ludic* conviviality, commensality, and maybe even art. There is more to play than child’s play, as worthy as that is. I call for a collective adventure in generalized joy and freely interdependent exuberance. Play isn’t passive. Doubtless we all need a lot more time for sheer sloth and slack than we ever enjoy now, regardless of income or occupation, but once recovered from employment-induced exhaustion nearly all of us want to act. Oblomovism and Stakhanovism are two sides of the same debased coin.

The ludic life is totally incompatible with existing reality. So much the worse for “reality,” the gravity hole that sucks the vitality from the little in life that still distinguishes it from mere survival. Curiously — or maybe not — all the old ideologies are conservative because they believe in work. Some of them, like Marxism and most brands of anarchism, believe in work all the more fiercely because they believe in so little else.

Liberals say we should end employment discrimination. I say we should end employment. Conservatives support right-to-work laws. Following Karl Marx’s wayward son-in-law Paul Lafargue I support the right to be lazy. Leftists favor full employment. Like the surrealists — except that I’m not kidding — I favor full *un*employment. Trotskyists agitate for permanent revolution. I agitate for permanent revelry. But if all the ideologues (as they do) advocate work — and not only because they plan to make other people do theirs — they are strangely reluctant to say so. They will carry on endlessly about wages, hours, working conditions, exploitation, productivity, profitability. They’ll gladly talk about anything but work itself. These experts who offer to do our thinking for us rarely share their conclusions about work, for all its saliency in the lives of all of us. Among themselves they quibble over the details. Unions and management agree that we ought to sell the time of our lives in exchange for survival, although they haggle over the price. Marxists think we should be bossed by bureaucrats. Libertarians think we should be bossed by businessmen. Feminists don’t care which form bossing takes so long as the bosses are women. Clearly these ideology-mongers have serious differences over how to divvy up the spoils of power. Just as clearly, none of them have any objection to power as such and all of them want to keep us working.

You may be wondering if I’m joking or serious. I’m joking *and* serious. To be ludic is not to be ludicrous. Play doesn’t have to be frivolous, although frivolity isn’t triviality: very often we ought to take frivolity seriously. I’d like life to be a game — but a game with high stakes. I want to play *for* *keeps*.

The alternative to work isn’t just idleness. To be ludic is not to be quaaludic. As much as I treasure the pleasure of torpor, it’s never more rewarding than when it punctuates other pleasures and pastimes. Nor am I promoting the managed time-disciplined safety-valve called “leisure”; far from it. Leisure is nonwork for the sake of work. Leisure is the time spent recovering from work and in the frenzied but hopeless attempt to forget about work. Many people return from vacation so beat that they look forward to returning to work so they can rest up. The main difference between work and leisure is that work at least you get paid for your alienation and enervation.

I am not playing definitional games with anybody. When I say I want to abolish work, I mean just what I say, but I want to say what I mean by defining my terms in non-idiosyncratic ways. My minimum definition of work is *forced* *labor*, that is, compulsory production. Both elements are essential. Work is production enforced by economic or political means, by the carrot or the stick. (The carrot is just the stick by other means.) But not all creation is work. Work is never done for its own sake, it’s done on account of some product or output that the worker (or, more often, somebody else) gets out of it. This is what work necessarily is. To define it is to despise it. But work is usually even worse than its definition decrees. The dynamic of domination intrinsic to work tends over time toward elaboration. In advanced work-riddled societies, including all industrial societies whether capitalist of “Communist,” work invariably acquires other attributes which accentuate its obnoxiousness.

Usually — and this is even more true in “Communist” than capitalist countries, where the state is almost the only employer and everyone is an employee — work is employment, i. e., wage-labor, which means selling yourself on the installment plan. Thus 95% of Americans who work, work for somebody (or some*thing*) else. In the USSR or Cuba or Yugoslavia or any other alternative model which might be adduced, the corresponding figure approaches 100%. Only the embattled Third World peasant bastions — Mexico, India, Brazil, Turkey — temporarily shelter significant concentrations of agriculturists who perpetuate the traditional arrangement of most laborers in the last several millenia, the payment of taxes (= ransom) to the state or rent to parasitic landlords in return for being otherwise left alone. Even this raw deal is beginning to look good. *All* industrial (and office) workers are employees and under the sort of surveillance which ensures servility.

But modern work has worse implications. People don’t just work, they have “jobs.” One person does one productive task all the time on an or-else basis. Even if the task has a quantum of intrinsic interest (as increasingly many jobs don’t) the monotony of its obligatory exclusivity drains its ludic potential. A “job” that might engage the energies of some people, for a reasonably limited time, for the fun of it, is just a burden on those who have to do it for forty hours a week with no say in how it should be done, for the profit of owners who contribute nothing to the project, and with no opportunity for sharing tasks or spreading the work among those who actually have to do it. This is the real world of work: a world of bureaucratic blundering, of sexual harassment and discrimination, of bonehead bosses exploiting and scapegoating their subordinates who — by any rational-technical criteria — should be calling the shots. But capitalism in the real world subordinates the rational maximization of productivity and profit to the exigencies of organizational control.

The degradation which most workers experience on the job is the sum of assorted indignities which can be denominated as “discipline.” Foucault has complexified this phenomenon but it is simple enough. Discipline consists of the totality of totalitarian controls at the workplace — surveillance, rotework, imposed work tempos, production quotas, punching -in and -out, etc. Discipline is what the factory and the office and the store share with the prison and the school and the mental hospital. It is something historically original and horrible. It was beyond the capacities of such demonic dictators of yore as Nero and Genghis Khan and Ivan the Terrible. For all their bad intentions they just didn’t have the machinery to control their subjects as thoroughly as modern despots do. Discipline is the distinctively diabolical modern mode of control, it is an innovative intrusion which must be interdicted at the earliest opportunity.

Such is “work.” Play is just the opposite. Play is always voluntary. What might otherwise be play is work if it’s forced. This is axiomatic. Bernie de Koven has defined play as the “suspension of consequences.” This is unacceptable if it implies that play is inconsequential. The point is not that play is without consequences. This is to demean play. The point is that the consequences, if any, are gratuitous. Playing and giving are closely related, they are the behavioral and transactional facets of the same impulse, the play-instinct. They share an aristocratic disdain for results. The player gets something out of playing; that’s why he plays. But the core reward is the experience of the activity itself (whatever it is). Some otherwise attentive students of play, like Johan Huizinga (*Homo* *Ludens*), *define* it as game-playing or following rules. I respect Huizinga’s erudition but emphatically reject his constraints. There are many good games (chess, baseball, Monopoly, bridge) which are rule-governed but there is much more to play than game-playing. Conversation, sex, dancing, travel — these practices aren’t rule-governed but they are surely play if anything is. And rules can be *played* *with* at least as readily as anything else.

Work makes a mockery of freedom. The official line is that we all have rights and live in a democracy. Other unfortunates who aren’t free like we are have to live in police states. These victims obey orders or-else, no matter how arbitrary. The authorities keep them under regular surveillance. State bureaucrats control even the smaller details of everyday life. The officials who push them around are answerable only to higher-ups, public or private. Either way, dissent and disobedience are punished. Informers report regularly to the authorities. All this is supposed to be a very bad thing.

And so it is, although it is nothing but a description of the modern workplace. The liberals and conservatives and libertarians who lament totalitarianism are phonies and hypocrites. There is more freedom in any moderately deStalinized dictatorship than there is in the ordinary American workplace. You find the same sort of hierarchy and discipline in an office or factory as you do in a prison or monastery. In fact, as Foucault and others have shown, prisons and factories came in at about the same time, and their operators consciously borrowed from each other’s control techniques. A worker is a par-time slave. The boss says when to show up, when to leave, and what to do in the meantime. He tells you how much work to do and how fast. He is free to carry his control to humiliating extremes, regulating, if he feels like it, the clothes you wear or how often you go to the bathroom. With a few exceptions he can fire you for any reason, or no reason. He has you spied on by snitches and supervisors, he amasses a dossier on every employee. Talking back is called “insubordination,” just as if a worker is a naughty child, and it not only gets you fired, it disqualifies you for unemployment compensation. Without necessarily endorsing it for them either, it is noteworthy that children at home and in school receive much the same treatment, justified in their case by their supposed immaturity. What does this say about their parents and teachers who work?

The demeaning system of domination I’ve described rules over half the waking hours of a majority of women and the vast majority of men for decades, for most of their lifespans. For certain purposes it’s not too misleading to call our system democracy or capitalism or — better still — industrialism, but its real names are factory fascism and office oligarchy. Anybody who says these people are “free” is lying or stupid. You are what you do. If you do boring, stupid monotonous work, chances are you’ll end up boring, stupid and monotonous. Work is a much better explanation for the creeping cretinization all around us than even such significant moronizing mechanisms as television and education. People who are regimented all their lives, handed off to work from school and bracketed by the family in the beginning and the nursing home at the end, are habituated to heirarchy and psychologically enslaved. Their aptitude for autonomy is so atrophied that their fear of freedom is among their few rationally grounded phobias. Their obedience training at work carries over into the families *they* start, thus reproducing the system in more ways than one, and into politics, culture and everything else. Once you drain the vitality from people at work, they’ll likely submit to heirarchy and expertise in everything. They’re used to it.

We are so close to the world of work that we can’t see what it does to us. We have to rely on outside observers from other times or other cultures to appreciate the extremity and the pathology of our present position. There was a time in our own past when the “work ethic” would have been incomprehensible, and perhaps Weber was on to something when he tied its appearance to a religion, Calvinism, which if it emerged today instead of four centuries ago would immediately and appropriately be labeled a cult. Be that as it may, we have only to draw upon the wisdom of antiquity to put work in perspective. The ancients saw work for what it is, and their view prevailed, the Calvinist cranks notwithstanding, until overthrown by industrialism — but not before receiving the endorsement of its prophets.

Let’s pretend for a moment that work doesn’t turn people into stultified submissives. Let’s pretend, in defiance of any plausible psychology and the ideology of its boosters, that it has no effect on the formation of character. And let’s pretend that work isn’t as boring and tiring and humiliating as we all know it really is. Even then, work would *still* make a mockery of all humanistic and democratic aspirations, just because it usurps so much of our time. Socrates said that manual laborers make bad friends and bad citizens because they have no time to fulfill the responsibilities of friendship and citizenship. He was right. Because of work, no matter what we do we keep looking at out watches. The only thing “free” about so-called free time is that it doesn’t cost the boss anything. Free time is mostly devoted to getting ready for work, going to work, returning from work, and recovering from work. Free time is a euphemism for the peculiar way labor as a factor of production not only transports itself at its own expense to and from the workplace but assumes primary responsibility for its own maintenance and repair. Coal and steel don’t do that. Lathes and typewriters don’t do that. But workers do. No wonder Edward G. Robinson in one of his gangster movies exclaimed, “Work is for saps!”

Both Plato and Xenophon attribute to Socrates and obviously share with him an awareness of the destructive effects of work on the worker as a citizen and a human being. Herodotus identified contempt for work as an attribute of the classical Greeks at the zenith of their culture. To take only one Roman example, Cicero said that “whoever gives his labor for money sells himself and puts himself in the rank of slaves.” His candor is now rare, but contemporary primitive societies which we are wont to look down upon have provided spokesmen who have enlightened Western anthropologists. The Kapauku of West Irian, according to Posposil, have a conception of balance in life and accordingly work only every other day, the day of rest designed “to regain the lost power and health.” Our ancestors, even as late as the eighteenth century when they were far along the path to our present predicament, at least were aware of what we have forgotten, the underside of industrialization. Their religious devotion to “St. Monday” — thus establishing a *de* *facto* five-day week 150-200 years before its legal consecration — was the despair of the earliest factory owners. They took a long time in submitting to the tyranny of the bell, predecessor of the time clock. In fact it was necessary for a generation or two to replace adult males with women accustomed to obedience and children who could be molded to fit industrial needs. Even the exploited peasants of the *ancien* *regime* wrested substantial time back from their landlord’s work. According to Lafargue, a fourth of the French peasants’ calendar was devoted to Sundays and holidays, and Chayanov’s figures from villages in Czarist Russia — hardly a progressive society — likewise show a fourth or fifth of peasants’ days devoted to repose. Controlling for productivity, we are obviously far behind these backward societies. The exploited *muzhiks* would wonder why any of us are working at all. So should we.

To grasp the full enormity of our deterioration, however, consider the earliest condition of humanity, without government or property, when we wandered as hunter-gatherers. Hobbes surmised that life was then nasty, brutish and short. Others assume that life was a desperate unremitting struggle for subsistence, a war waged against a harsh Nature with death and disaster awaiting the unlucky or anyone who was unequal to the challenge of the struggle for existence. Actually, that was all a projection of fears for the collapse of government authority over communities unaccustomed to doing without it, like the England of Hobbes during the Civil War. Hobbes’ compatriots had already encountered alternative forms of society which illustrated other ways of life — in North America, particularly — but already these were too remote from their experience to be understandable. (The lower orders, closer to the condition of the Indians, understood it better and often found it attractive. Throughout the seventeenth century, English settlers defected to Indian tribes or, captured in war, refused to return. But the Indians no more defected to white settlements than Germans climb the Berlin Wall from the west.) The “survival of the fittest” version — the Thomas Huxley version — of Darwinism was a better account of economic conditions in Victorian England than it was of natural selection, as the anarchist Kropotkin showed in his book *Mutual* *Aid,* *A* *Factor* *of* *Evolution*. (Kropotkin was a scientist — a geographer — who’d had ample involuntary opportunity for fieldwork whilst exiled in Siberia: he knew what he was talking about.) Like most social and political theory, the story Hobbes and his successors told was really unacknowledged autobiography.

The anthropologist Marshall Sahlins, surveying the data on contemporary hunter-gatherers, exploded the Hobbesian myth in an article entitled “The Original Affluent Society.” They work a lot less than we do, and their work is hard to distinguish from what we regard as play. Sahlins concluded that “hunters and gatherers work less than we do; and rather than a continuous travail, the food quest is intermittent, leisure abundant, and there is a greater amount of sleep in the daytime per capita per year than in any other condition of society.” They worked an average of four hours a day, assuming they were “working” at all. Their “labor,” as it appears to us, was skilled labor which exercised their physical and intellectual capacities; unskilled labor on any large scale, as Sahlins says, is impossible except under industrialism. Thus it satisfied Friedrich Schiller’s definition of play, the only occasion on which man realizes his complete humanity by giving full “play” to both sides of his twofold nature, thinking and feeling. As he put it: “The animal *works* when deprivation is the mainspring of its activity, and it *plays* when the fullness of its strength is this mainspring, when superabundant life is its own stimulus to activity.” (A modern version — dubiously developmental — is Abraham Maslow’s counterposition of “deficiency” and “growth” motivation.) Play and freedom are, as regards production, coextensive. Even Marx, who belongs (for all his good intentions) in the productivist pantheon, observed that “the realm of freedom does not commence until the point is passed where labor under the compulsion of necessity and external utility is required.” He never could quite bring himself to identify this happy circumstance as what it is, the abolition of work — it’s rather anomalous, after all, to be pro-worker and anti-work — but we can.

The aspiration to go backwards or forwards to a life without work is evident in every serious social or cultural history of pre-industrial Europe, among them M. Dorothy George’s *England* In* *Transition* and Peter Burke’s *Popular* *Culture* *in* *Early* *Modern* *Europe*. Also pertinent is Daniel Bell’s essay, “Work and its Discontents,” the first text, I believe, to refer to the “revolt against work” in so many words and, had it been understood, an important correction to the complacency ordinarily associated with the volume in which it was collected, *The* *End* *of* *Ideology*. Neither critics nor celebrants have noticed that Bell’s end-of-ideology thesis signaled not the end of social unrest but the beginning of a new, uncharted phase unconstrained and uninformed by ideology. It was Seymour Lipset (in *Political* *Man*), not Bell, who announced at the same time that “the fundamental problems of the Industrial Revolution have been solved,” only a few years before the post- or meta-industrial discontents of college students drove Lipset from UC Berkeley to the relative (and temporary) tranquility of Harvard.

As Bell notes, Adam Smith in *The* *Wealth* *of* *Nations*, for all his enthusiasm for the market and the division of labor, was more alert to (and more honest about) the seamy side of work than Ayn Rand or the Chicago economists or any of Smith’s modern epigones. As Smith observed: “The understandings of the greater part of men are necessarily formed by their ordinary employments. The man whose life is spent in performing a few simple operations… has no occasion to exert his understanding… He generally becomes as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human creature to become.” Here, in a few blunt words, is my critique of work. Bell, writing in 1956, the Golden Age of Eisenhower imbecility and American self-satisfaction, identified the unorganized, unorganizable malaise of the 1970’s and since, the one no political tendency is able to harness, the one identified in HEW’s report *Work* *in* *America*, the one which cannot be exploited and so is ignored. That problem is the revolt against work. It does not figure in any text by any laissez-faire economist — Milton Friedman, Murray Rothbard, Richard Posner — because, in their terms, as they used to say on *Star* *Trek*, “it does not compute.”

If these objections, informed by the love of liberty, fail to persuade humanists of a utilitarian or even paternalist turn, there are others which they cannot disregard. Work is hazardous to your health, to borrow a book title. In fact, work is mass murder or genocide. Directly or indirectly, work will kill most of the people who read these words. Between 14,000 and 25,000 workers are killed annually in this country on the job. Over two million are disabled. Twenty to twenty-five million are injured every year. And these figures are based on a very conservative estimation of what constitutes a work-related injury. Thus they don’t count the half million cases of occupational disease every year. I looked at one medical textbook on occupational diseases which was 1,200 pages long. Even this barely scratches the surface. The available statistics count the obvious cases like the 100,000 miners who have black lung disease, of whom 4,000 die every year, a much higher fatality rate than for AIDS, for instance, which gets so much media attention. This reflects the unvoiced assumption that AIDS afflicts perverts who could control their depravity whereas coal-mining is a sacrosanct activity beyond question. What the statistics don’t show is that tens of millions of people have heir lifespans shortened by work — which is all that homicide means, after all. Consider the doctors who work themselves to death in their 50’s. Consider all the other workaholics.

Even if you aren’t killed or crippled while actually working, you very well might be while going to work, coming from work, looking for work, or trying to forget about work. The vast majority of victims of the automobile are either doing one of these work-obligatory activities or else fall afoul of those who do them. To this augmented body-count must be added the victims of auto-industrial pollution and work-induced alcoholism and drug addiction. Both cancer and heart disease are modern afflictions normally traceable, directly, or indirectly, to work.

Work, then, institutionalizes homicide as a way of life. People think the Cambodians were crazy for exterminating themselves, but are we any different? The Pol Pot regime at least had a vision, however blurred, of an egalitarian society. We kill people in the six-figure range (at least) in order to sell Big Macs and Cadillacs to the survivors. Our forty or fifty thousand annual highway fatalities are victims, not martyrs. They died for nothing — or rather, they died for work. But work is nothing to die for.

Bad news for liberals: regulatory tinkering is useless in this life-and-death context. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration was designed to police the core part of the problem, workplace safety. Even before Reagan and the Supreme Court stifled it, OSHA was a farce. At previous and (by current standards) generous Carter-era funding levels, a workplace could expect a random visit from an OSHA inspector once every 46 years.

State control of the economy is no solution. Work is, if anything, more dangerous in the state-socialist countries than it is here. Thousands of Russian workers were killed or injured building the Moscow subway. Stories reverberate about covered-up Soviet nuclear disasters which make Times Beach and Three-Mile Island look like elementary-school air-raid drills. On the other hand, deregulation, currently fashionable, won’t help and will probably hurt. From a health and safety standpoint, among others, work was at its worst in the days when the economy most closely approximated laissez-faire.

Historians like Eugene Genovese have argued persuasively that — as antebellum slavery apologists insisted — factory wage-workers in the Northern American states and in Europe were worse off than Southern plantation slaves. No rearrangement of relations among bureaucrats and businessmen seems to make much difference at the point of production. Serious enforcement of even the rather vague standards enforceable in theory by OSHA would probably bring the economy to a standstill. The enforcers apparently appreciate this, since they don’t even try to crack down on most malefactors.

What I’ve said so far ought not to be controversial. Many workers are fed up with work. There are high and rising rates of absenteeism, turnover, employee theft and sabotage, wildcat strikes, and overall goldbricking on the job. There may be some movement toward a conscious and not just visceral rejection of work. And yet the prevalent feeling, universal among bosses and their agents and also widespread among workers themselves is that work itself is inevitable and necessary.

I disagree. It is now possible to abolish work and replace it, insofar as it serves useful purposes, with a multitude of new kinds of free activities. To abolish work requires going at it from two directions, quantitative and qualitative. On the one hand, on the quantitative side, we have to cut down massively on the amount of work being done. At present most work is useless or worse and we should simply get rid of it. On the other hand — and I think this the crux of the matter and the revolutionary new departure — we have to take what useful work remains and transform it into a pleasing variety of game-like and craft-like pastimes, indistinguishable from other pleasurable pastimes, except that they happen to yield useful end-products. Surely that shouldn’t make them *less* enticing to do. Then all the artificial barriers of power and property could come down. Creation could become recreation. And we could all stop being afraid of each other.

I don’t suggest that most work is salvageable in this way. But then most work isn’t worth trying to save. Only a small and diminishing fraction of work serves any useful purpose independent of the defense and reproduction of the work-system and its political and legal appendages. Twenty years ago, Paul and Percival Goodman estimated that just five percent of the work then being done — presumably the figure, if accurate, is lower now — would satisfy our minimal needs for food, clothing, and shelter. Theirs was only an educated guess but the main point is quite clear: directly or indirectly, most work serves the unproductive purposes of commerce or social control. Right off the bat we can liberate tens of millions of salesmen, soldiers, managers, cops, stockbrokers, clergymen, bankers, lawyers, teachers, landlords, security guards, ad-men and everyone who works for them. There is a snowball effect since every time you idle some bigshot you liberate his flunkeys and underlings also. Thus the economy *implodes*.

Forty percent of the workforce are white-collar workers, most of whom have some of the most tedious and idiotic jobs ever concocted. Entire industries, insurance and banking and real estate for instance, consist of nothing but useless paper-shuffling. It is no accident that the “tertiary sector,” the service sector, is growing while the “secondary sector” (industry) stagnates and the “primary sector” (agriculture) nearly disappears. Because work is unnecessary except to those whose power it secures, workers are shifted from relatively useful to relatively useless occupations as a measure to assure public order. Anything is better than nothing. That’s why you can’t go home just because you finish early. They want your *time*, enough of it to make you theirs, even if they have no use for most of it. Otherwise why hasn’t the average work week gone down by more than a few minutes in the past fifty years?

Next we can take a meat-cleaver to production work itself. No more war production, nuclear power, junk food, feminine hygiene deodorant — and above all, no more auto industry to speak of. An occasional Stanley Steamer or Model-T might be all right, but the auto-eroticism on which such pestholes as Detroit and Los Angeles depend on is out of the question. Already, without even trying, we’ve virtually solved the energy crisis, the environmental crisis and assorted other insoluble social problems.

Finally, we must do away with far and away the largest occupation, the one with the longest hours, the lowest pay and some of the most tedious tasks around. I refer to *housewives* doing housework and child-rearing. By abolishing wage-labor and achieving full unemployment we undermine the sexual division of labor. The nuclear family as we know it is an inevitable adaptation to the division of labor imposed by modern wage-work. Like it or not, as things have been for the last century or two it is economically rational for the man to bring home the bacon, for the woman to do the shitwork to provide him with a haven in a heartless world, and for the children to be marched off to youth concentration camps called “schools,” primarily to keep them out of Mom’s hair but still under control, but incidentally to acquire the habits of obedience and punctuality so necessary for workers. If you would be rid of patriarchy, get rid of the nuclear family whose unpaid “shadow work,” as Ivan Illich says, makes possible the work-system that makes *it* necessary. Bound up with this no-nukes strategy is the abolition of childhood and the closing of the schools. There are more full-time students than full-time workers in this country. We need children as teachers, not students. They have a lot to contribute to the ludic revolution because they’re better at playing than grown-ups are. Adults and children are not identical but they will become equal through interdependence. Only play can bridge the generation gap.

I haven’t as yet even mentioned the possibility of cutting way down on the little work that remains by automating and cybernizing it. All the scientists and engineers and technicians freed from bothering with war research and planned obsolescence would have a good time devising means to eliminate fatigue and tedium and danger from activities like mining. Undoubtedly they’ll find other projects to amuse themselves with. Perhaps they’ll set up world-wide all-inclusive multi-media communications systems or found space colonies. Perhaps. I myself am no gadget freak. I wouldn’t care to live in a pushbutton paradise. I don’t what robot slaves to do everything; I want to do things myself. There is, I think, a place for labor-saving technology, but a modest place. The historical and pre-historical record is not encouraging. When productive technology went from hunting-gathering to agriculture and on to industry, work increased while skills and self-determination diminished. The further evolution of industrialism has accentuated what Harry Braverman called the degradation of work. Intelligent observers have always been aware of this. John Stuart Mill wrote that all the labor-saving inventions ever devised haven’t saved a moment’s labor. Karl Marx wrote that “it would be possible to write a history of the inventions, made since 1830, for the sole purpose of supplying capital with weapons against the revolts of the working class.” The enthusiastic technophiles — Saint-Simon, Comte, Lenin, B. F. Skinner — have always been unabashed authoritarians also; which is to say, technocrats. We should be more than sceptical about the promises of the computer mystics. *They* work like dogs; chances are, if they have their way, so will the rest of us. But if they have any particularized contributions more readily subordinated to human purposes than the run of high tech, let’s give them a hearing.

What I really want to see is work turned into play. A first step is to discard the notions of a “job” and an “occupation.” Even activities that already have some ludic content lose most of it by being reduced to jobs which certain people, and only those people are forced to do to the exclusion of all else. Is it not odd that farm workers toil painfully in the fields while their air-conditioned masters go home every weekend and putter about in their gardens? Under a system of permanent revelry, we will witness the Golden Age of the dilettante which will put the Renaissance to shame. There won’t be any more jobs, just things to do and people to do them.

The secret of turning work into play, as Charles Fourier demonstrated, is to arrange useful activities to take advantage of whatever it is that various people at various times in fact enjoy doing. To make it possible for some people to do the things they could enjoy it will be enough just to eradicate the irrationalities and distortions which afflict these activities when they are reduced to work. I, for instance, would enjoy doing some (not too much) teaching, but I don’t want coerced students and I don’t care to suck up to pathetic pedants for tenure.

Second, there are some things that people like to do from time to time, but not for too long, and certainly not all the time. You might enjoy baby-sitting for a few hours in order to share the company of kids, but not as much as their parents do. The parents meanwhile, profoundly appreciate the time to themselves that you free up for them, although they’d get fretful if parted from their progeny for too long. These differences among individuals are what make a life of free play possible. The same principle applies to many other areas of activity, especially the primal ones. Thus many people enjoy cooking when they can practice it seriously at their leisure, but not when they’re just fueling up human bodies for work.

Third — other things being equal — some things that are unsatisfying if done by yourself or in unpleasant surroundings or at the orders of an overlord are enjoyable, at least for a while, if these circumstances are changed. This is probably true, to some extent, of all work. People deploy their otherwise wasted ingenuity to make a game of the least inviting drudge-jobs as best they can. Activities that appeal to some people don’t always appeal to all others, but everyone at least potentially has a variety of interests and an interest in variety. As the saying goes, “anything once.” Fourier was the master at speculating how aberrant and perverse penchants could be put to use in post-civilized society, what he called Harmony. He thought the Emperor Nero would have turned out all right if as a child he could have indulged his taste for bloodshed by working in a slaughterhouse. Small children who notoriously relish wallowing in filth could be organized in “Little Hordes” to clean toilets and empty the garbage, with medals awarded to the outstanding. I am not arguing for these precise examples but for the underlying principle, which I think makes perfect sense as one dimension of an overall revolutionary transformation. Bear in mind that we don’t have to take today’s work just as we find it and match it up with the proper people, some of whom would have to be perverse indeed. If technology has a role in all this it is less to automate work out of existence than to open up new realms for re/creation. To some extent we may want to return to handicrafts, which William Morris considered a probable and desirable upshot of communist revolution. Art would be taken back from the snobs and collectors, abolished as a specialized department catering to an elite audience, and its qualities of beauty and creation restored to integral life from which they were stolen by work. It’s a sobering thought that the grecian urns we write odes about and showcase in museums were used in their own time to store olive oil. I doubt our everyday artifacts will fare as well in the future, if there is one. The point is that there’s no such thing as progress in the world of work; if anything it’s just the opposite. We shouldn’t hesitate to pilfer the past for what it has to offer, the ancients lose nothing yet we are enriched.

The reinvention of daily life means marching off the edge of our maps. There is, it is true, more suggestive speculation than most people suspect. Besides Fourier and Morris — and even a hint, here and there, in Marx — there are the writings of Kropotkin, the syndicalists Pataud and Pouget, anarcho-communists old (Berkman) and new (Bookchin). The Goodman brothers’ *Communitas* is exemplary for illustrating what forms follow from given functions (purposes), and there is something to be gleaned from the often hazy heralds of alternative/appropriate/intermediate/convivial technology, like Schumacher and especially Illich, once you disconnect their fog machines. The situationists — as represented by Vaneigem’s *Revolution* *of* *Daily* *Life* and in the *Situationist* *International* *Anthology* — are so ruthlessly lucid as to be exhilarating, even if they never did quite square the endorsement of the rule of the worker’s councils with the abolition of work. Better their incongruity, though than any extant version of leftism, whose devotees look to be the last champions of work, for if there were no work there would be no workers, and without workers, who would the left have to organize?

So the abolitionists would be largely on their own. No one can say what would result from unleashing the creative power stultified by work. Anything can happen. The tiresome debater’s problem of freedom vs. necessity, with its theological overtones, resolves itself practically once the production of use-values is coextensive with the consumption of delightful play-activity.

Life will become a game, or rather many games, but not — as it is now – — a zero/sum game. An optimal sexual encounter is the paradigm of productive play, The participants potentiate each other’s pleasures, nobody keeps score, and everybody wins. The more you give, the more you get. In the ludic life, the best of sex will diffuse into the better part of daily life. Generalized play leads to the libidinization of life. Sex, in turn, can become less urgent and desperate, more playful. If we play our cards right, we can all get more out of life than we put into it; but only if we play for keeps.

No one should ever work. Workers of the world… *relax*!

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The Abolition of Work–Bob Black – Primitivism

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Empowerment – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Personal Empowerment  Comments Off on Empowerment – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Mar 262016
 

Empowerment refers to measures designed to increase the degree of autonomy and self-determination in people and in communities in order to enable them to represent their interests in a responsible and self-determined way, acting on their own authority. Empowerment refers both to the process of self-empowerment and to professional support of people, which enables them to overcome their sense of powerlessness and lack of influence, and to recognise and eventually to use their resources and chances.

The term empowerment originates from American community psychology and is associated with the social scientist Julian Rappaport (1981).

In social work, empowerment forms a practical approach of resource-oriented intervention. In the field of citizenship education and democratic education, empowerment is seen as a tool to increase the responsibility of the citizen. Empowerment is a key concept in the discourse on promoting civic engagement. Empowerment as a concept, which is characterized by a move away from a deficit-oriented towards a more strength-oriented perception, can increasingly be found in management concepts, as well as in the areas of continuing education and self-help.

Robert Adams points to the limitations of any single definition of ’empowerment’, and the danger that academic or specialist definitions might take away the word and the connected practices from the very people they are supposed to belong to.[1] Still, he offers a minimal definition of the term: ‘Empowerment: the capacity of individuals, groups and/or communities to take control of their circumstances, exercise power and achieve their own goals, and the process by which, individually and collectively, they are able to help themselves and others to maximize the quality of their lives.'[2]

One definition for the term is “an intentional, ongoing process centered in the local community, involving mutual respect, critical reflection, caring, and group participation, through which people lacking an equal share of resources gain greater access to and control over those resources” (Cornell Empowerment Group).[3]

Rappaport’s (1984) definition includes: “Empowerment is viewed as a process: the mechanism by which people, organizations, and communities gain mastery over their lives.”[4]

Sociological empowerment often addresses members of groups that social discrimination processes have excluded from decision-making processes through – for example – discrimination based on disability, race, ethnicity, religion, or gender. Empowerment as a methodology is also associated with feminism.

Empowerment is the process of obtaining basic opportunities for marginalized people, either directly by those people, or through the help of non-marginalized others who share their own access to these opportunities. It also includes actively thwarting attempts to deny those opportunities. Empowerment also includes encouraging, and developing the skills for, self-sufficiency, with a focus on eliminating the future need for charity or welfare in the individuals of the group. This process can be difficult to start and to implement effectively.

One empowerment strategy is to assist marginalized people to create their own nonprofit organization, using the rationale that only the marginalized people, themselves, can know what their own people need most, and that control of the organization by outsiders can actually help to further entrench marginalization. Charitable organizations lead from outside of the community, for example, can disempower the community by entrenching a dependence charity or welfare. A nonprofit organization can target strategies that cause structural changes, reducing the need for ongoing dependence. Red Cross, for example, can focus on improving the health of indigenous people, but does not have authority in its charter to install water-delivery and purification systems, even though the lack of such a system profoundly, directly and negatively impacts health. A nonprofit composed of the indigenous people, however, could ensure their own organization does have such authority and could set their own agendas, make their own plans, seek the needed resources, do as much of the work as they can, and take responsibility – and credit – for the success of their projects (or the consequences, should they fail).

The process of which enables individuals/groups to fully access personal or collective power, authority and influence, and to employ that strength when engaging with other people, institutions or society. In other words, “Empowerment is not giving people power, people already have plenty of power, in the wealth of their knowledge and motivation, to do their jobs magnificently. We define empowerment as letting this power out.”[5] It encourages people to gain the skills and knowledge that will allow them to overcome obstacles in life or work environment and ultimately, help them develop within themselves or in the society.

To empower a female “…sounds as though we are dismissing or ignoring males, but the truth is, both genders desperately need to be equally empowered.”[6] Empowerment occurs through improvement of conditions, standards, events, and a global perspective of life.

Paradoxically, before there can be the finding that a particular group requires empowerment and that therefore their self-esteem needs to be consolidated on the basis of awareness of their strengths, there needs to be a deficit diagnosis usually carried out by experts assessing the problems of this group. The fundamental asymmetry of the relationship between experts and clients is usually not questioned by empowerment processes. It also needs to be regarded critically, in how far the empowerment approach is really applicable to all patients/ clients. It is particularly questionable whether mentally ill people in acute crisis situations are in a position to make their own decisions. According to Albert Lenz, people behave primarily regressive in acute crisis situations and tend to leave the responsibility to professionals.[7] It must be assumed, therefore, that the implementation of the empowerment concept requires a minimum level of communication and reflectivity of the persons involved.

In social work, empowerment offers an approach that allows social workers to increase the capacity for self-help of their clients. For example, this allows clients not to be seen as passive, helpless ‘victims’ to be rescued but instead as a self-empowered person fighting abuse/ oppression; a fight, in which the social worker takes the position of a facilitator, instead of the position of a ‘rescuer’.[8]

Marginalized people who lack self-sufficiency become, at a minimum, dependent on charity, or welfare. They lose their self-confidence because they cannot be fully self-supporting. The opportunities denied them also deprive them of the pride of accomplishment which others, who have those opportunities, can develop for themselves. This in turn can lead to psychological, social and even mental health problems. “Marginalized” here refers to the overt or covert trends within societies whereby those perceived as lacking desirable traits or deviating from the group norms tend to be excluded by wider society and ostracized as undesirables.

According to Robert Adams, there is a long tradition in the UK and the USA respectively to advance forms of self-help that have developed and contributed to more recent concepts of empowerment. For example, the free enterprise economic theories of Milton Friedman embraced self-help as a respectable contributor to the economy. Both the Republicans in the US and the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher built on these theories. ‘At the same time, the mutual aid aspects of the concept of self-help retained some currency with socialists and democrats.'[9]

In economic development, the empowerment approach focuses on mobilizing the self-help efforts of the poor, rather than providing them with social welfare. Economic empowerment is also the empowering of previously disadvantaged sections of the population, for example, in many previously colonized African countries.[10]

Legal empowerment happens when marginalised people or groups use the legal mobilisation i.e., law, legal systems and justice mechanisms to improve or transform their social, political or economic situations. Legal empowerment approaches are interested in understanding how they can use the law to advance interests and priorities of the marginalised.[11]

According to ‘Open society foundations’ (an NGO) “Legal empowerment is about strengthening the capacity of all people to exercise their rights, either as individuals or as members of a community. Legal empowerment is about grass root justice, about ensuring that law is not confined to books or courtrooms, but rather is available and meaningful to ordinary people.[12]

Lorenzo Cotula in his book ‘ Legal Empowerment for Local Resource Control ‘ outlines the fact that legal tools for securing local resource rights are enshrined in legal system, does not necessarily mean that local resource users are in position to use them and benefit from them. The state legal system is constrained by a range of different factors – from lack of resources to cultural issues. Among these factors economic, geographic, linguistic and other constraints on access to courts, lack of legal awareness as well as legal assistance tend to be recurrent problems.[13]

In many context, marginalised groups do not trust the legal system owing to the widespread manipulation that it has historically been subjected to by the more powerful. ‘To what extent one knows the law, and make it work for themselves with ‘para legal tools’, is legal empowerment; assisted utilizing innovative approaches like legal literacy and awareness training, broadcasting legal information, conducting participatory legal discourses, supporting local resource user in negotiating with other agencies and stake holders and to strategies combining use of legal processes with advocacy along with media engagement, and socio legal mobilisation.[13]

Sometimes groups are marginalized by society at large, with governments participating in the process of marginalization. Equal opportunity laws which actively oppose such marginalization, are supposed to allow empowerment to occur. These laws made it illegal to restrict access to schools and public places based on race. They can also be seen as a symptom of minorities’ and women’s empowerment through lobbying.

Gender empowerment conventionally refers to the empowerment of women, and has become a significant topic of discussion in regards to development and economics. It can also point to approaches regarding other marginalized genders in a particular political or social context. This approach to empowerment is partly informed by feminism and employed legal empowerment by building on international human rights. Empowerment is one of the main procedural concerns when addressing human rights and development. The Human Development and Capabilities Approach, The Millennium Development Goals, and other credible approaches/goals point to empowerment and participation as a necessary step if a country is to overcome the obstacles associated with poverty and development.[14]

According to Thomas A Potterfield,[15] many organizational theorists and practitioners regard employee empowerment as one of the most important and popular management concepts of our time.

Ciulla discusses an inverse case: that of bogus empowerment.[16]

In the sphere of management and organizational theory, “empowerment” often refers loosely to processes for giving subordinates (or workers generally) greater discretion and resources: distributing control in order to better serve both customers and the interests of employing organizations.

One account of the history of workplace empowerment in the United States recalls the clash of management styles in railroad construction in the American West in the mid-19th century, where “traditional” hierarchical East-Coast models of control encountered individualistic pioneer workers, strongly supplemented by methods of efficiency-oriented “worker responsibility” brought to the scene by Chinese laborers. In this case, empowerment at the level of work teams or brigades achieved a notable (but short-lived) demonstrated superiority. See the views of Robert L. Webb.

During the 1980s and 1990s, empowerment has become a point of interest in management concepts and business administration. In this context, empowerment involves approaches that promise greater participation and integration to the employee in order to cope with their tasks as independently as possible and responsibly can. A strength-based approach known as “empowerment circle” has become an instrument of organizational development. Multidisciplinary empowerment teams aim for the development of quality circles to improve the organizational culture, strengthening the motivation and the skills of employees. The target of subjective job satisfaction of employees is pursued through flat hierarchies, participation in decisions, opening of creative effort, a positive, appreciative team culture, self-evaluation, taking responsibility (for results), more self-determination and constant further learning. The optimal use of existing potential and abilities can supposedly be better reached by satisfied and active workers. Here, knowledge management contributes significantly to implement employee participation as a guiding principle, for example through the creation of communities of practice.[17]

However, it is important to ensure that the individual employee has the skills to meet their allocated responsibilities and that the company’s structure sets up the right incentives for employees to reward their taking responsibilities. Otherwise there is a danger of being overwhelmed or even becoming lethargic.[18]

Empowerment of employees requires a culture of trust in the organization and an appropriate information and communication system. The aim of these activities is to save control costs, that become redundant when employees act independently and in a self-motivated fashion. In the book Empowerment Takes More Than a Minute, the authors illustrate three keys that organizations can use to open the knowledge, experience, and motivation power that people already have.[5] The three keys that managers must use to empower their employees are:

According to author Stewart, in her book Empowering People she describes that in order to guarantee a successful work environment, managers need to exercise the “right kind of authority” (p.6). To summarize, “empowerment is simply the effective use of a managers authority”, and subsequently, it is a productive way to maximize all-around work efficiency.

These keys are hard to put into place and it is a journey to achieve empowerment in a workplace. It is important to train employees and make sure they have trust in what empowerment will bring to a company.[5]

The implementation of the concept of empowerment in management has also been criticised for failing to live up to its claims.[19]

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Empowerment – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Empowering Women – Self Empowerment, Personal & Spiritual …

 Personal Empowerment  Comments Off on Empowering Women – Self Empowerment, Personal & Spiritual …
Mar 262016
 

Empowering Women aims to inspire women with the courage to break free from the chains of limiting belief patterns and societal or religious conditioning that have tradiitonally kept women suppressed and unable to see their true beauty and power.

This section offers self help tools, information, encouragement and inspirational quotes and sayings for and by women to use as a guide on the journey of Reclaiming Their Power. Women are encouraged to see and bring forth the beauty and strength within themselves, to be inspired to be the best they can be, and to let their Spirit (Goddess Selves) shine through.

For those of you who are in challenging circumstances, the words here-in can help you find some peace and some strength to begin to turn your life around. The Change Starts With You. You only need to take small steps at a time. And remember that you are not alone.

If you have come to this section of the site first, please take some time to browse through the rest of the site, where you will find many more inspirations to help you on your journey of spiritual growth.

May you gain inspiration and helpful tools to guide you on your journey towards wholeness. Embrace and enjoy the journey!

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“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

~ Marianne Williamson – from “A Return To Love” ~

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Transhumanism – End Times Bible Prophecy

 Transhumanism  Comments Off on Transhumanism – End Times Bible Prophecy
Mar 262016
 

As the world draws closer and closer to the day of Christ’s return, the exponential pace of technological change will play an increasing role in the fulfillment of bible prophecy.

The development of technologies such as molecular manufacturing, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing will trigger abrupt and radical changes in the global economic, social, and geopolitical landscape.

The acceleration and magnitude in development of these powerful technologies will dwarf the Industrial Revolution in size and scale.

Foreseeing such change, the world should note the various social philosophies and political movements which emerged during the Industrial Revolution. Darwinism, Marxism, Communism, Facism, and eugenics all emerged within a few short decades.

While the Industrial Revolution was not absolutely necessary for, nor was the it the cause of, the rise in popularity for each of these movements – it did serve to amplify their influence.

So what small movements might explode in popularity during the next technological revolution?

One possible candidate is the transhumanist movement…

The definition of transhumanism varies depending on who you consult, but here’s Wikipedia’s take:

“Transhumanism is an international intellectual and cultural movement supporting the use of science and technology to improve human mental and physical characteristics and capacities. The movement regards aspects of the human condition, such as disability, suffering, disease, aging, and involuntary death as unnecessary and undesirable. Transhumanists look to biotechnologies and other emerging technologies for these purposes.” (Wikipedia)

These are noble goals. After all, who could be against ending disabilities, suffering, disease, aging, and involuntary death?

Yet the aforementioned philosophical and political movements of the Industrial Revolution – Marxism, Facism, Communism, and eugenics – all had similar utopian goals.

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Despite their promises, the real world application of each resulted in unprecedented death and destruction.

If the Transhumanist movement takes flight, it will result in more of the same.

Why?

Because all of these movements fail to address the root cause of the current human condition – the sinful nature of man.

Instead of placing God at the center, each of these movements places “extraordinary” men at the center, whether through means of a ruling elite class, a master race, or the evolutionary development of “better” human beings.

After the evolutionary theories of Charles Darwin gained widespread traction, it seems logical that most of its adherents would draw the conclusion that the current version of humanity is not “the final product,” but only an early stage in a continuing evolutionary process.

This belief lies at the heart of the transhumanist movement:

“A common feature of transhumanism and philosophical posthumanism is the future vision of a new intelligent species, into which humanity will evolve, which will supplement humanity or supersede it.” (Wikipedia)

In fact, following this line of thinking, human beings have a moral imperative to take charge of their own evolutionary progress and expidite the process:

“Transhumanist philosophers argue that there not only exists a perfectionist ethical imperative for humans to strive for progress and improvement of the human condition but that it is possible and desirable for humanity to enter a transhuman phase of existence, in which humans are in control of their own evolution. In such a phase, natural evolution would be replaced with deliberate change.” (Wikipedia)

If achieved, the desired result would be the attainment of a “posthuman” status, akin to nirvana:

“Transhumanist thinkers predict that human beings may eventually be able to transform themselves into beings with such greatly expanded abilities as to merit the label ‘posthuman.’ Transhumanism is therefore sometimes referred to as ‘posthumanism’ or a form of transformational activism influenced by posthumanist ideal.” (Wikipedia)

Given the utopian promises, as well as the exciting prospect of participating in such revolutionary change, look for the transhumanist movement to gain in popularity as we approach the singularity and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Anticipation of the singularity and the exponential pace of technological change has spawned the organization of like-minded individuals who look forward to a posthuman world and seek to hasten its arrival:

“In 1998, philosophers Nick Bostrom and David Pearce founded the World Transhumanist Association (WTA), an international non-governmental organization working toward the recognition of transhumanism as a legitimate subject of scientific inquiry and public policy. In 1999, the WTA drafted and adopted The Transhumanist Declaration.” (Wikipedia)

The World Transhumanist Association (WTA) has since changed its name to Humanity+, but its focus as an organization dedicated to developing transhumanist ideas and policies remains unchanged.

At its core, the organization promotes the development of the next step in humanity’s evolutionary process:

“Transhumanists view human nature as a work-in-progress, a half-baked beginning that we can learn to remold in desirable ways. Current humanity need not be the endpoint of evolution. Transhumanists hope that by responsible use of science, technology, and other rational means we shall eventually manage to become posthuman, beings with vastly greater capacities than present human beings have.” Transhumanist Values (Humanity+)

So what fuels this desire to transition to “posthuman” status? Is it really idealistic, utopian goals, or is it really just an inherent desire to overcome the “biological chains” of humanity?

For most transhumanists, its probably the latter.

As Wikipedia cites:

“At the EZTV Media venue frequented by transhumanists and other futurists, Natasha Vita-More presented Breaking Away, her 1980 experimental film with the theme of humans breaking away from their biological limitations and the Earth’s gravity as they head into space.” (Wikipedia)

A theme “of humans breaking away from their biological limitations and the Earth’s gravity as they head into space?”

That theme sounds familiar…

The bible has a lot to say about our future. Approximately 3,000 years ago, King David wrote about the hearts of men just prior to the Glorious Appearing of Jesus Christ, as men prepared to “free themselves from God’s slavery”:

“Why do the nations rage? Why do the people waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the Lord and against His Anointed One. ‘Let us break their chains,’ they cry. ‘And free ourselves from this slavery.’ But the one who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them.” Psalm 2:1-4 (NLT)

The viewpoint of end time humanity is one of animosity toward God. Humanity will view its limitations as arbitrary obstacles erected by God. As a result, humanity will prepare for battle against the Lord in an effort to break the shackles of its perceived oppressor.

The Transhumanist Declaration asserts a desire which has much in common with the attitude of humanity in the last days:

“Humanity stands to be profoundly affected by science and technology in the future. We envision the possibility of broadening human potential by overcoming aging, cognitive shortcomings, involuntary suffering, and our confinement to planet Earth.” The Transhumanist Declaration (Humanity+)

When asked by His disciples to describe the time of the end and the day of His Coming, Jesus stated:

“In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen ones.” Matthew 24:22 (NLT)

In this translation, the phrase “not a single person will survive” is deceptive.

Why?

Because it’s the result of the translator’s assumption that the phrases “no flesh will survive” and “no people will survive” are interchangable.

Assuming the possibility exists for a transhumanist future, the two phrases are not.

According to Strong’s Concordance, the key Greek word in this phrase is translated “sarx,” and means:

“flesh (as stripped of the skin), i.e. (strictly) the meat of an animal (as food), or (by extens.) the body (as opposed to the soul [or spirit], or as the symbol of what is external, or as the means of kindred), or (by impl.) human nature (with its frailties [phys. or mor.] and passions), or (spec.) a human being (as such)”

Taken in its original context, Jesus did not necessarily say that unless those days are shortened, “humanity will not survive.”

Instead, he said unless those days are shortened, “no flesh will survive.”

If the transhumanist movement suceeds in transforming the human race into a race of “posthumans” who no longer need flesh covered bones to survive, then these words of Jesus take on an entirely different meaning.

And it doesn’t take an illogical leap of faith to draw this conclusion.

After all, it seems reasonable to assume that humanity will have to undergo some sort of radical transformation in order to plot a war against God Almighty. The arrogant impulse already exists. All that remains is the need for an exponential increase in human power which deludes humanity into believing it can overcome the Lord of lords.

And make no mistake about it, the Bible is clear that this is where humanity is ultimately headed – physical conflict with God:

“Then I saw the beast gathering the kings of the earth and their armies in order to fight against the one sitting on the horse and his army.” Revelation 19:19 (NLT)

Do not confuse the “war” with a spiritual struggle.

According to Strong’s Concordance, the key word here is translated “polemos,” and means:

“warfare (lit. or fig.; a single encounter or a series) – battle, fight, war.”

The word “polemos” appears at least 16 times in the New Testament, and in each case, it refers to physical conflict, not a spiritual one as Paul refers to here:

“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 (NLT)

When Paul speaks of the spiritual struggle, he uses the word “pale.” According to Strong’s Concordance, “pale” means:

“wrestling”

Clearly, the Bible differentiates between our everyday spiritual struggle with the forces of darkness and literal phsyical conflict in the form of war.

Regarding the Antichrist, the gathering at Armageddon, and the Glorious Appearing of Jesus Christ, it’s clearly prophesied that man will engage in physical battle with God Almighty:

“From one of the prominent horns came a small horn whose power grew very great. It extended toward the south and east and toward the glorious land of Israel. His power reached to the heavens where it attacked the heavenly armies, throwing some of the heavenly beings and stars to the ground and trampling them. He even challenged the Commander of heaven’s armies by canceling the daily sacrifices offered to him and by destroying his Temple.” Daniel 8:9-11 (NLT)

The power of the Antichrist will be immense enough to attack the heavenly armies, throwing angels to the ground and trampling them in the process. He will even attack the Commander of heaven’s armies, Jesus Christ.

But the attack is futile. Jesus will destroy the Antichrist and all those aligned against God.

Ultimately, the transhumanist agenda is nothing new.

The transhumanist movement seeks:

Some humans will ultimately achieve these goals. Through the blood of Jesus Christ, they will witness:

1) The end of death and suffering…

“There will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Revelation 21:4 (NLT)

2) The end of starvation and disease…

“On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations.” Revelation 22:2 (NLT)

and

3) The end of disabilities…

“And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf. The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy!” Isaiah 35:5-6 (NLT)

All of these hopes are realized in heaven. So essentially, the transhumanist agenda is one that seeks to achieve heaven on earth.

The problem with the transhumanist movement is that there’s only one path to heaven. All others are false:

“I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.” John 10:1-5 (NLT)

Final implementation of the transhumanist agenda is a blatant attempt to “sneak over the wall of the sheepfold, rather than going through the gate.” It’s an agenda that will ultimately fail.

Christ is the only gate that leads into heaven. Those who try to enter by any other means are doomed to failure:

“Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what he meant, so he explained it to them: ‘I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.'” John 10:6-10 (NLT)

To learn more about the transhumanist movement and its adherent’s positions, read the Humanity+ website.

Britt Gillette is the founder of End Times Bible Prophecy and the author of Signs Of The Second Coming: 11 Reasons Jesus Will Return in Our Lifetime.

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Transhumanism – End Times Bible Prophecy

Transhumanist Values – Nick Bostrom

 Transhumanism  Comments Off on Transhumanist Values – Nick Bostrom
Mar 232016
 

1. What is Transhumanism?

Transhumanism is a loosely defined movement that has developed gradually over the past two decades.[1] It promotes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding and evaluating the opportunities for enhancing the human condition and the human organism opened up by the advancement of technology. Attention is given to both present technologies, like genetic engineering and information technology, and anticipated future ones, such as molecular nanotechnology and artificial intelligence.

The enhancement options being discussed include radical extension of human health-span, eradication of disease, elimination of unnecessary suffering, and augmentation of human intellectual, physical, and emotional capacities. Other transhumanist themes include space colonization and the possibility of creating superintelligent machines, along with other potential developments that could profoundly alter the human condition. The ambit is not limited to gadgets and medicine, but encompasses also economic, social, institutional designs, cultural development, and psychological skills and techniques.

Transhumanists view human nature as a work-in-progress, a half-baked beginning that we can learn to remold in desirable ways. Current humanity need not be the endpoint of evolution. Transhumanists hope that by responsible use of science, technology, and other rational means we shall eventually manage to become posthuman, beings with vastly greater capacities than present human beings have.

Some transhumanists take active steps to increase the probability that they personally will survive long enough to become posthuman, for example by choosing a healthy lifestyle or by making provisions for having themselves cryonically suspended in case of de-animation.[2] In contrast to many other ethical outlooks, which in practice often reflect a reactionary attitude to new technologies, the transhumanist view is guided by an evolving vision to take a more proactive approach to technology policy. This vision, in broad strokes, is to create the opportunity to live much longer and healthier lives, to enhance our memory and other intellectual faculties, to refine our emotional experiences and increase our subjective sense of well-being, and generally to achieve a greater degree of control over our own lives. This affirmation of human potential is offered as an alternative to customary injunctions against playing God, messing with nature, tampering with our human essence, or displaying punishable hubris.

Transhumanism does not entail technological optimism. While future technological capabilities carry immense potential for beneficial deployments, they also could be misused to cause enormous harm, ranging all the way to the extreme possibility of intelligent life becoming extinct. Other potential negative outcomes include widening social inequalities or a gradual erosion of the hard-to-quantify assets that we care deeply about but tend to neglect in our daily struggle for material gain, such as meaningful human relationships and ecological diversity. Such risks must be taken very seriously, as thoughtful transhumanists fully acknowledge.[3]

Transhumanism has roots in secular humanist thinking, yet is more radical in that it promotes not only traditional means of improving human nature, such as education and cultural refinement, but also direct application of medicine and technology to overcome some of our basic biological limits.

The range of thoughts, feelings, experiences, and activities accessible to human organisms presumably constitute only a tiny part of what is possible. There is no reason to think that the human mode of being is any more free of limitations imposed by our biological nature than are those of other animals. In much the same way as Chimpanzees lack the cognitive wherewithal to understand what it is like to be human the ambitions we humans have, our philosophies, the complexities of human society, or the subtleties of our relationships with one another, so we humans may lack the capacity to form a realistic intuitive understanding of what it would be like to be a radically enhanced human (a posthuman) and of the thoughts, concerns, aspirations, and social relations that such humans may have.

Our own current mode of being, therefore, spans but a minute subspace of what is possible or permitted by the physical constraints of the universe (see Figure 1). It is not farfetched to suppose that there are parts of this larger space that represent extremely valuable ways of living, relating, feeling, and thinking.

The limitations of the human mode of being are so pervasive and familiar that we often fail to notice them, and to question them requires manifesting an almost childlike naivet. Let consider some of the more basic ones.

Lifespan. Because of the precarious conditions in which our Pleistocene ancestors lived, the human lifespan has evolved to be a paltry seven or eight decades. This is, from many perspectives, a rather short period of time. Even tortoises do better than that.

We dont have to use geological or cosmological comparisons to highlight the meagerness of our allotted time budgets. To get a sense that we might be missing out on something important by our tendency to die early, we only have to bring to mind some of the worthwhile things that we could have done or attempted to do if we had had more time. For gardeners, educators, scholars, artists, city planners, and those who simply relish observing and participating in the cultural or political variety shows of life, three scores and ten is often insufficient for seeing even one major project through to completion, let alone for undertaking many such projects in sequence.

Human character development is also cut short by aging and death. Imagine what might have become of a Beethoven or a Goethe if they had still been with us today. Maybe they would have developed into rigid old grumps interested exclusively in conversing about the achievements of their youth. But maybe, if they had continued to enjoy health and youthful vitality, they would have continued to grow as men and artists, to reach levels of maturity that we can barely imagine. We certainly cannot rule that out based on what we know today. Therefore, there is at least a serious possibility of there being something very precious outside the human sphere. This constitutes a reason to pursue the means that will let us go there and find out.

Intellectual capacity. We have all had moments when we wished we were a little smarter. The three-pound, cheese-like thinking machine that we lug around in our skulls can do some neat tricks, but it also has significant shortcomings. Some of these such as forgetting to buy milk or failing to attain native fluency in languages you learn as an adult are obvious and require no elaboration. These shortcomings are inconveniences but hardly fundamental barriers to human development.

Yet there is a more profound sense in the constraints of our intellectual apparatus limit our modes of our mentation. I mentioned the Chimpanzee analogy earlier: just as is the case for the great apes, our own cognitive makeup may foreclose whole strata of understanding and mental activity. The point here is not about any logical or metaphysical impossibility: we need not suppose that posthumans would not be Turing computable or that they would have concepts that could not be expressed by any finite sentences in our language, or anything of that sort. The impossibility that I am referring to is more like the impossibility for us current humans to visualize an 200-dimensional hypersphere or to read, with perfect recollection and understanding, every book in the Library of Congress. These things are impossible for us because, simply put, we lack the brainpower. In the same way, may lack the ability to intuitively understand what being a posthuman would be like or to grok the playing field of posthuman concerns.

Further, our human brains may cap our ability to discover philosophical and scientific truths. It is possible that failure of philosophical research to arrive at solid, generally accepted answers to many of the traditional big philosophical questions could be due to the fact that we are not smart enough to be successful in this kind of enquiry. Our cognitive limitations may be confining us in a Platonic cave, where the best we can do is theorize about shadows, that is, representations that are sufficiently oversimplified and dumbed-down to fit inside a human brain.

Bodily functionality. We enhance our natural immune systems by getting vaccinations, and we can imagine further enhancements to our bodies that would protect us from disease or help us shape our bodies according to our desires (e.g. by letting us control our bodies metabolic rate). Such enhancements could improve the quality of our lives.

A more radical kind of upgrade might be possible if we suppose a computational view of the mind. It may then be possible to upload a human mind to a computer, by replicating in silico the detailed computational processes that would normally take place in a particular human brain.[4] Being an upload would have many potential advantages, such as the ability to make back-up copies of oneself (favorably impacting on ones life-expectancy) and the ability to transmit oneself as information at the speed of light. Uploads might live either in virtual reality or directly in physical reality by controlling a robot proxy.

Sensory modalities, special faculties and sensibilities. The current human sensory modalities are not the only possible ones, and they are certainly not as highly developed as they could be. Some animals have sonar, magnetic orientation, or sensors for electricity and vibration; many have a much keener sense of smell, sharper eyesight, etc. The range of possible sensory modalities is not limited to those we find in the animal kingdom. There is no fundamental block to adding say a capacity to see infrared radiation or to perceive radio signals and perhaps to add some kind of telepathic sense by augmenting our brains with suitably interfaced radio transmitters.

Humans also enjoy a variety of special faculties, such as appreciation of music and a sense of humor, and sensibilities such as the capacity for sexual arousal in response to erotic stimuli. Again, there is no reason to think that what we have exhausts the range of the possible, and we can certainly imagine higher levels of sensitivity and responsiveness.

Mood, energy, and self-control. Despite our best efforts, we often fail to feel as happy as we would like. Our chronic levels of subjective well-being seem to be largely genetically determined. Life-events have little long-term impact; the crests and troughs of fortune push us up and bring us down, but there is little long-term effect on self-reported well-being. Lasting joy remains elusive except for those of us who are lucky enough to have been born with a temperament that plays in a major key.

In addition to being at the mercy of a genetically determined setpoint for our levels of well-being, we are limited in regard to energy, will-power, and ability to shape our own character in accordance with our ideals. Even such simple goals as losing weight or quitting smoking prove unattainable to many.

Some subset of these kinds of problems might be necessary rather than contingent upon our current nature. For example, we cannot both have the ability easily to break any habit and the ability to form stable, hard-to-break habits. (In this regard, the best one can hope for may be the ability to easily get rid of habits we didnt deliberately choose for ourselves in the first place, and perhaps a more versatile habit-formation system that would let us choose with more precision when to acquire a habit and how much effort it should cost to break it.)

The conjecture that there are greater values than we can currently fathom does not imply that values are not defined in terms of our current dispositions. Take, for example, a dispositional theory of value such as the one described by David Lewis.[5] According to Lewiss theory, something is a value for you if and only if you would want to want it if you were perfectly acquainted with it and you were thinking and deliberating as clearly as possible about it. On this view, there may be values that we do not currently want, and that we do not even currently want to want, because we may not be perfectly acquainted with them or because we are not ideal deliberators. Some values pertaining to certain forms of posthuman existence may well be of this sort; they may be values for us now, and they may be so in virtue of our current dispositions, and yet we may not be able to fully appreciate them with our current limited deliberative capacities and our lack of the receptive faculties required for full acquaintance with them. This point is important because it shows that the transhumanist view that we ought to explore the realm of posthuman values does not entail that we should forego our current values. The posthuman values can be our current values, albeit ones that we have not yet clearly comprehended. Transhumanism does not require us to say that we should favor posthuman beings over human beings, but that the right way of favoring human beings is by enabling us to realize our ideals better and that some of our ideals may well be located outside the space of modes of being that are accessible to us with our current biological constitution.

We can overcome many of our biological limitations. It is possible that there are some limitations that are impossible for us to transcend, not only because of technological difficulties but on metaphysical grounds. Depending on what our views are about what constitutes personal identity, it could be that certain modes of being, while possible, are not possible for us, because any being of such a kind would be so different from us that they could not be us. Concerns of this kind are familiar from theological discussions of the afterlife. In Christian theology, some souls will be allowed by God to go to heaven after their time as corporal creatures is over. Before being admitted to heaven, the souls would undergo a purification process in which they would lose many of their previous bodily attributes. Skeptics may doubt that the resulting minds would be sufficiently similar to our current minds for it to be possible for them to be the same person. A similar predicament arises within transhumanism: if the mode of being of a posthuman being is radically different from that of a human being, then we may doubt whether a posthuman being could be the same person as a human being, even if the posthuman being originated from a human being.

We can, however, envision many enhancements that would not make it impossible for the post-transformation someone to be the same person as the pre-transformation person. A person could obtain quite a bit of increased life expectancy, intelligence, health, memory, and emotional sensitivity, without ceasing to exist in the process. A persons intellectual life can be transformed radically by getting an education. A persons life expectancy can be extended substantially by being unexpectedly cured from a lethal disease. Yet these developments are not viewed as spelling the end of the original person. In particular, it seems that modifications that add to a persons capacities can be more substantial than modifications that subtract, such as brain damage. If most of someone currently is, including her most important memories, activities, and feelings, is preserved, then adding extra capacities on top of that would not easily cause the person to cease to exist.

Preservation of personal identity, especially if this notion is given a narrow construal, is not everything. We can value other things than ourselves, or we might regard it as satisfactory if some parts or aspects of ourselves survive and flourish, even if that entails giving up some parts of ourselves such that we no longer count as being the same person. Which parts of ourselves we might be willing to sacrifice may not become clear until we are more fully acquainted with the full meaning of the options. A careful, incremental exploration of the posthuman realm may be indispensable for acquiring such an understanding, although we may also be able to learn from each others experiences and from works of the imagination.

Additionally, we may favor future people being posthuman rather than human, if the posthumans would lead lives more worthwhile than the alternative humans would. Any reasons stemming from such considerations would not depend on the assumption that we ourselves could become posthuman beings.

Transhumanism promotes the quest to develop further so that we can explore hitherto inaccessible realms of value. Technological enhancement of human organisms is a means that we ought to pursue to this end. There are limits to how much can be achieved by low-tech means such as education, philosophical contemplation, moral self-scrutiny and other such methods proposed by classical philosophers with perfectionist leanings, including Plato, Aristotle, and Nietzsche, or by means of creating a fairer and better society, as envisioned by social reformists such as Marx or Martin Luther King. This is not to denigrate what we can do with the tools we have today. Yet ultimately, transhumanists hope to go further.

If this is the grand vision, what are the more particular objectives that it translates into when considered as a guide to policy?

What is needed for the realization of the transhumanist dream is that technological means necessary for venturing into the posthuman space are made available to those who wish to use them, and that society be organized in such a manner that such explorations can be undertaken without causing unacceptable damage to the social fabric and without imposing unacceptable existential risks.

Global security. While disasters and setbacks are inevitable in the implementation of the transhumanist project (just as they are if the transhumanist project is not pursued), there is one kind of catastrophe that must be avoided at any cost:

Existential risk one where an adverse outcome would either annihilate Earth-originating intelligent life or permanently and drastically curtail its potential.

Several recent discussions have argued that the combined probability of the existential risks is very substantial. The relevance of the condition of existential safety to the transhumanist vision is obvious: if we go extinct or permanently destroy our potential to develop further, then the transhumanist core value will not be realized. Global security is the most fundamental and nonnegotiable requirement of the transhumanist project.

Technological progress. That technological progress is generally desirable from a transhumanist point of view is also self-evident. Many of our biological shortcomings (aging, disease, feeble memories and intellects, a limited emotional repertoire and inadequate capacity for sustained well-being) are difficult to overcome, and to do so will require advanced tools. Developing these tools is a gargantuan challenge for the collective problem-solving capacities of our species. Since technological progress is closely linked to economic development, economic growth or more precisely, productivity growth can in some cases serve as a proxy for technological progress. (Productivity growth is, of course, only an imperfect measure of the relevant form of technological progress, which, in turn, is an imperfect measure of overall improvement, since it omits such factors as equity of distribution, ecological diversity, and quality of human relationships.)

The history of economic and technological development, and the concomitant growth of civilization, is appropriately regarded with awe, as humanitys most glorious achievement. Thanks to the gradual accumulation of improvements over the past several thousand years, large portions of humanity have been freed from illiteracy, life-expectancies of twenty years, alarming infant-mortality rates, horrible diseases endured without palliatives, and periodic starvation and water shortages. Technology, in this context, is not just gadgets but includes all instrumentally useful objects and systems that have been deliberately created. This broad definition encompasses practices and institutions, such as double-entry accounting, scientific peer-review, legal systems, and the applied sciences.

Wide access. It is not enough that the posthuman realm be explored by someone. The full realization of the core transhumanist value requires that, ideally, everybody should have the opportunity to become posthuman. It would be sub-optimal if the opportunity to become posthuman were restricted to a tiny elite.

There are many reasons for supporting wide access: to reduce inequality; because it would be a fairer arrangement; to express solidarity and respect for fellow humans; to help gain support for the transhumanist project; to increase the chances that you will get the opportunity to become posthuman; to increase the chances that those you care about can become posthuman; because it might increase the range of the posthuman realm that gets explored; and to alleviate human suffering on as wide a scale as possible.

The wide access requirement underlies the moral urgency of the transhumanist vision. Wide access does not argue for holding back. On the contrary, other things being equal, it is an argument for moving forward as quickly as possible. 150,000 human beings on our planet die every day, without having had any access to the anticipated enhancement technologies that will make it possible to become posthuman. The sooner this technology develops, the fewer people will have died without access.

Consider a hypothetical case in which there is a choice between (a) allowing the current human population to continue to exist, and (b) having it instantaneously and painlessly killed and replaced by six billion new human beings who are very similar but non-identical to the people that exist today. Such a replacement ought to be strongly resisted on moral grounds, for it would entail the involuntary death of six billion people. The fact that they would be replaced by six billion newly created similar people does not make the substitution acceptable. Human beings are not disposable. For analogous reasons, it is important that the opportunity be become posthuman is made available to as many humans as possible, rather than having the existing population merely supplemented (or worse, replaced) by a new set of posthuman people. The transhumanist ideal will be maximally realized only if the benefits of technologies are widely shared and if they are made available as soon as possible, preferably within our lifetime.

From these specific requirements flow a number of derivative transhumanist values that translate the transhumanist vision into practice. (Some of these values may also have independent justifications, and transhumanism does not imply that that the list of values provided below is exhaustive.)

To start with, transhumanists typically place emphasis on individual freedom and individual choice in the area of enhancement technologies. Humans differ widely in their conceptions of what their own perfection or improvement would consist in. Some want to develop in one direction, others in different directions, and some prefer to stay the way they are. It would neither be morally unacceptable for anybody to impose a single standard to which we would all have to conform. People should have the right to choose which enhancement technologies, if any, they want to use. In cases where individual choices impact substantially on other people, this general principle may need to be restricted, but the mere fact that somebody may be disgusted or morally affronted by somebody elses using technology to modify herself would not normally a legitimate ground for coercive interference. Furthermore, the poor track record of centrally planned efforts to create better people (e.g. the eugenics movement and Soviet totalitarianism) shows that we need to be wary of collective decision-making in the field of human modification.

Another transhumanist priority is to put ourselves in a better position to make wise choices about where we are going. We will need all the wisdom we can get when negotiating the posthuman transition. Transhumanists place a high value on improvements in our individual and collective powers of understanding and in our ability to implement responsible decisions. Collectively, we might get smarter and more informed through such means as scientific research, public debate and open discussion of the future, information markets[8], collaborative information filtering[9]. On an individual level, we can benefit from education, critical thinking, open-mindedness, study techniques, information technology, and perhaps memory- or attention-enhancing drugs and other cognitive enhancement technologies. Our ability to implement responsible decisions can be improved by expanding the rule of law and democracy on the international plane. Additionally, artificial intelligence, especially if and when it reaches human-equivalence or greater, could give an enormous boost to the quest for knowledge and wisdom.

Given the limitations of our current wisdom, a certain epistemic tentativeness is appropriate, along with a readiness to continually reassess our assumptions as more information becomes available. We cannot take for granted that our old habits and beliefs will prove adequate in navigating our new circumstances.

Global security can be improved by promoting international peace and cooperation, and by strongly counteracting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Improvements in surveillance technology may make it easier to detect illicit weapons programs. Other security measures might also be appropriate to counteract various existential risks. More studies on such risks would help us get a better understanding of the long-term threats to human flourishing and of what can be done to reduce them.

Since technological development is necessary to realize the transhumanist vision, entrepreneurship, science, and the engineering spirit are to be promoted. More generally, transhumanists favor a pragmatic attitude and a constructive, problem-solving approach to challenges, preferring methods that experience tells us give good results. They think it better to take the initiative to do something about it rather than sit around complaining. This is one sense in which transhumanism is optimistic. (It is not optimistic in the sense of advocating an inflated belief in the probability of success or in the Panglossian sense of inventing excuses for the shortcomings of the status quo.)

Transhumanism advocates the well-being of all sentience, whether in artificial intellects, humans, and non-human animals (including extraterrestrial species, if there are any). Racism, sexism, speciesism, belligerent nationalism and religious intolerance are unacceptable. In addition to the usual grounds for deeming such practices objectionable, there is also a specifically transhumanist motivation for this. In order to prepare for a time when the human species may start branching out in various directions, we need to start now to strongly encourage the development of moral sentiments that are broad enough encompass within the sphere of moral concern sentiences that are constituted differently from ourselves.

Finally, transhumanism stresses the moral urgency of saving lives, or, more precisely, of preventing involuntary deaths among people whose lives are worth living. In the developed world, aging is currently the number one killer. Aging is also biggest cause of illness, disability and dementia. (Even if all heart disease and cancer could be cured, life expectancy would increase by merely six to seven years.) Anti-aging medicine is therefore a key transhumanist priority. The goal, of course, is to radically extent peoples active health-spans, not to add a few extra years on a ventilator at the end of life.

Since we are still far from being able to halt or reverse aging, cryonic suspension of the dead should be made available as an option for those who desire it. It is possible that future technologies will make it possible to reanimate people who have cryonically suspended.[10] While cryonics might be a long shot, it definitely carries better odds than cremation or burial.

The table below summarizes the transhumanist values that we have discussed.

Read the rest here:

Transhumanist Values – Nick Bostrom

Ethical egoism – RationalWiki

 Ethical Egoism  Comments Off on Ethical egoism – RationalWiki
Mar 232016
 

Ethical egoism is the consequentialist philosophy which states that morality should be based on self-interest. It is the philosophical basis for many libertarians and (so they claim) Randroids but also got support from Thomas Hobbes.[1]. Some egoists that do not believe in the existence of ethics call themselves rational egoists, because they want to be selfish, but do not want to support metaphysical ideas like ethics and morals.

Ethical egoism is based on three arguments:

It is the polar opposite of ethical altruism, the belief that one ought to live for others, and is contrasted with utilitarianism, which is objective. Egoism is subjective, meaning that its implications and conclusions change from person to person and nothing is objectively ethical. This is interesting considering that some of the most vocal proponents of ethical egoism are so-called Objectivists.[2]

Egoism is very appealing to some because it philosophically justifies selfishness, even at the expense of others, and therefore reduces feelings of guilt after acting like a heartless jerk. Also, being a jerk is their moral equivalent of being nice and vice versa.

Ethical egoism is seen as arbitrary because it values the selfish individual more than other people and there are no objective grounds for this. Similarly racism values one race more than others arbitrarily.[1]

Contrary to many strawmen arguments, egoism does not mean that you should never act in the interest of another, even if it does not benefit you. Instead, it is acting to benefit yourself, regardless of whether it harms or benefits another. Another way of saying this is that intentions are always selfish. Results may vary, whether they are good for others or not. This is because those who selfishly refuse to help others later find others will not return favours since they received none. If some misfortune arises and the egoist now needs the unselfish help of another, and if everyone is a consistent egoist, the egoist may or may not get the help he needs. So in the interests of self-interest, an egoist must act altruistically, at least sometimes, even if intentions are only about personal gain, thus why it is a relativistic philosophy. There are three types of egoism: universal (everybody should act for their own self-benefit), personal (the egoist is an egoist, but other people can be altruistic or utilitarian), and individual (everybody acts for one individual’s self-benefit, which is completely unrealistic).

Alternatively, many egoists are also Individualists, like Stirner and Nietzsche, who would say that those that require the help of other do not deserve the help of others.[3] Incidentally normal people who are not sociopaths would likely lose self respect and become less happy if they only helped others at such times.[citationneeded]

Ethical egoism, like all exclusively subjective philosophies, is prone to constant self-contradiction because it supports all individuals’ self interests. It also can lead to conclusions such as choosing not to intervene in a crime against another. Egoists have difficulty caring about anything that does not deal with themselves, which is one reason why ethical egoism is so impractical for people who are very aware of the world. The very legitimacy of the theory is often called into question because it prevents its own adherents from taking reasonable stances on major political and social issues and cannot in itself solve these issues, without resorting to popular choice.[3]

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Ethical egoism – RationalWiki

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Badbitcoin.org – Helping you stay Safe in the World of …

 Cryptocurrency  Comments Off on Badbitcoin.org – Helping you stay Safe in the World of …
Mar 202016
 

Bitpyramid.ml “Don’t trust us?” Er, no we don’t actually. All ponzi’s are scams. 3/19/16

Organica.fund They do like a different theme for these hyips, here’s another one. 3/19/16

Bitcoinx10.yolasite.com Dirty deeds done cheap. Freehosted fraud. 3/19/16

Bitcloner.com A doubler fraud using this domain was inevitable. 3/19/16

Ultimabitcoin.com A very worn out style of hyip scam. 3/16/16

Instantgenuinepaying.com Instantgenuineloseyour.bitcoin 3/16/16

Double-btc.info What have we told you about btc multipliers? They are ALL scams and there are NO exceptions. 3/15/16

Envestrade.com Another hyip/fraud to add. 3/15/16

Bitmines.info Just another ponzi fraud. 3/15/16

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Topmine.io Yet another fake mining scheme. There are no special algorythms, just a ponzi. 3/15/16

Btcshares.org If you want btc shares, buy some btc, then you have a share. Simple. 3/15/16

Free-shares.com These may be the most expensive free shares you’ve ever (never) received. 3/15/16

Hyip.com But seriously, hyips are scams – pure and simple frauds, so this site takes the biscuit. 3/15/16

Mybtc.bid I’m starting to get double vision – probably the safest way to double my wealth. 3/12/16

Nelektronicy.pl Yet another attempt at a scam doubler. 3/12/16

Nexus-investments.com If these serial thieves had any sense, they’d stay away from bitcoin, then we wouldn’t bother them. 3/10/16

Btcsinon.com Don’t let this hyip/fraud fool you. Just lies and more lies. 3/10/16

Earntory.com What an odd site title, and that is the best part. 3/8/16

Investmega.com This scam looks like it was put together by an idiot, but we’d better list it in case a bigger idiot sees it. 3/7/16

X10multiplier.com Only in your dreams does bitcoin double. 3/7/16

Bitboom.info Boom, and your bits are gone. If Cillit did bitcoin scams…. 3/7/16

Btc-e.black The old worn out ‘flaw in the blockchain’ better known as the Bitatt scam. 3/7/16

Fxacc.com A hyip/scam from the usual offenders. 3/6/16

Rixosfinance.com Just another faker after your dosh. 3/6/16

Bitcoinside.com Don’t risk it. You don’t need to, there are plenty of legit exchanges 3/6/16

Bitcoin-ex.com Or Ex-bitcoin? 3/3/16

Mybitcoinmania.com Don’t download that malware from these crooks. You will sorely regret it, Gen:Variant.Strictor.101663 3/3/16

Hourlytim.com He’s a busy boy is young Tim, avoiding Jail. 3/3/16

Bitsdoubler.me.pn Seriously, does anybody still fall for these multiplier scams? 3/3/16

Fastcury.com If you want a fast curry, order one from your local takeaway. Dodgy doesn’t even begin to describe this amateur fraudster. 3/3/16

Crypto-investment-experts.biz & Swiss-cryptocurrency-experts.com A free Cuckoo Clock for every sucker. 3/3/16 & 2/18/16

Slushcoin.com Your bitcoin may as well be slush if you send it to this faker. 3/1/16

Profitown.com Another hyip/fraud 3/1/16

These are just the most recent badsites. Click below for these and more Cryptocurrency badsites In alphabetical order.

** Important Announcement** The wife of our admin has just undergone a double organ transplant, and so updates and personal responses to emails will be a little erratic for a few weeks. Please bear with us during this unusual but amazing time. Thanks.

The Badbitcoin project was launched in Feb 2014. “The Badbitcoin Team” is made up of volunteers worldwide, and we welcome new contributors and sponsors.

You may read negative comments about this project, but this is the scammers only route to fight back, and a great many of these scammers are the same people who are Senior, and Gold members of forums. Forums relating to bitcoin are the best source of conflicting information ever invented, which is why we keep it plain and simple, we tell you it’s a badsite, and thats all you need to know.

It’s really easy to misunderstand the bitcoin environment when it’s all new to you, and it will take you some time to grasp some of the rules and concepts. This leaves you vulnerable to the swathes of scams and ponzis that try to lure you into their promises of easy money, and doubling or even 100 times multiplying your new ‘Magic Internet Money’ It doesn’t work like that. It isn’t magic, it’s just very efficient, very secure, and much sought after by thieves the world over. If you have bitcoin, you need to learn to look after it, or these crooks will soon take it from you.

Don’t make it easy for them. Contribute by reporting suspect sites when you find them, and we’ll do the rest. You can also help by donating bitcoin or litecoin to the project, and If you run a website or blog, you could add a link to this project and help spread the message. We have banners and logos to suit.

That’s it – nothing to add, nada.

To report Internet Fraud to IC3 – Click Here To report Internet Fraud to the FBI anonymously – Click Here To report Internet Fraud to the UK Police – Click Here

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You can help us to help others by making a donation to this project. However modest, it will help us to continue. We spend nearly all of the donations on advertising in the same space as the scamsites, so we can reach and warn the most users. We also use some expensive investigation tools, but we all give our time for free.

A Ponzi is any scheme which pays interest to “Investors” from Bitcoin coming in from new Investors. A HYIP (high yield investment program) is just a Ponzi. All Ponzi/Hyips will fail The later Investors will lose everything when the scheme folds and leaves with the Bitcoin. Most HYIPS just steal it immediately – Due diligence is your own responsibility. There are plenty of good sites out there where your Bitcoin and your work are safe. You just need to do your homework, including checking here. If it isn’t in our Badlist, email us, and we’ll check it and get back to you.

Heres the psychology behind the typical ponzis & HYIP’s run by the professional scammers. They know most people will do this.

You deposit a small amount, you want to be cautious, you cant quite figure out how they do this but they double it (or pay promised interest) and pay you. You think Ah thats great, so you either redeposit the entire amount, or just your profit. You get that back and think wow, it works, so you deposit a much larger amount and in the worst case, even get your friends involved in this wonderful money making scheme.

Then one day it doesnt get returned there is some issue with your account, or your withdrawal is stuck or something similar, so you keep emailing the site and gradually it dawns on you that youve been scammed.

Even if you just put your initial profit back in, the conman hasnt lost anything and the depositors who think they are playing the ponzi do try that, and most of them dont get it back either.

Some people empty their savings into these scams, and they are the ones the scammers are really after. Once they get that big depositor, they move on and create a new ponzi, just leaving the old one alive for a while to mop up any new mugs Some even return after a 3 or 6 month absence to catch a fresh load of hits, they will never run out of victims. Its what they do, and they are expert at it.

Declaration of Interests. We currently have personal and project investments in VIP and Mining shares at Miningsweden.se, and mining shares at Hashnest We would not invest in anything we considered to be a Ponzi or Scam. As a project, we are not directly funded by any organisation and depend on ad revenue, our own, and other donations, and our external investments. We also provide links including referral links to trusted 3rd party sites, not including advertisements beyond our control. Updated August 2015 PS – As a friendly tip, we probably aren’t the people to generally ask about good bitcoin investments. We are pretty good at what we do, but so far, like yourselves no doubt, we aren’t really that succesful when it comes to our own investments. Mintsy being our latest fail.

The high costs of running this site are helped by adverts. We also have to advertise in the same places as the scamsites. We have little control over the content, and consequently we do not directly endorse any advert. Some adverts will even appear in our Badlist. But at least the Bitcoin they spend on ads is coming back into the Bitcoin Industry.

Footnote. The evolution of society beyond the demise of the failed capitalist neo-liberal experiment, first needs the evolution of it’s means of trade and exchange. The current financial system, and system of fiat currency, is not fit for present or future purpose, and for all intents and purposes is already obsolete. Bitcoin is our first financial step towards a fairer, more benefecial society for all. Bitcoin is incorruptible, decentralised, concensus led, and above the influence of conventional politics and economics. A parallel currency with which you can begin to trade, and no middleman to take their slice or to gamble with your asset. When you deposit money to a Bank, it becomes the Banks property to do with what they choose, bitcoin is different, and you are your own Bank. It is up to you to take care of your bitcoin, and also to use it, not hoard it, and to be an important part of helping to build this fair and open global society. Bitcoin is worth what somebody is prepared to exchange it for, be that USD, Yuan, PC-hardware, Webhosting or anything that ‘money’ might buy. You can even get a bitcoin Debit Card. However, the bitcoin Blockchain, and it’s potential is a much much bigger subject.

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Badbitcoin.org – Helping you stay Safe in the World of …

Tor Browser Download | Rocky Bytes

 Tor Browser  Comments Off on Tor Browser Download | Rocky Bytes
Mar 172016
 

Dont want people snooping on your browsing habits? Would you like to visit web sites anonymously? I don’t blame you. Sometimes I sit back and think about all the information that I’ve put on the internet over the course of just my short lifetime this far. With only about 8 years of accessing the internet so far, I’ve put enough information to write about 10 autobiographies where each one would be different from the first. And that’s just from my search results alone. Information that I’ve posted to social media, now that’s a big book. My solution,Tor Browser; and itmay just be for you too if youre the kind of person that sees trouble lurking behind every web and ip address.

Originally developed as a 3rd generation onion routing project for the US Navy, Tors main goal, its job was to protect government communications. For years, it protected government information and it is now publicly available and publically used. People can use Tor to keep websites from tracking them and their loved ones. Tor browser can be used by your children too. Advertisers are studying everyone on the internet. If your child can access the internet, they can be targeted for ads and products that can lead to kids not feeling secure about themselves. Users are able to anonymously post to websites, social media, messengers, and other services even if they are blocked by their internet service provider.

How does it work? TorBrowser utilizes a network of virtual tunnels that result in improved security on the web. These virtual tunnels render your information near untraceable. Of course what you search for will still be recorded on the internet, however the connection between you and the information will be completely severed. Advertisers and malicious programs on the internet will be unable to locate the origin of the information. Can the government trace that information? Probably, but software developers can create communication tools that will help to protect privacy.

People use Tor for thousands of reasons. Many use it for to be able to access chat rooms for sensitive topics. When information is private, people want to feel secure about posting the information truly anonymously. You are not truly anonymous if you’re using a web browser that stores and shares your information, purposely, with advertisers, government, and other miscellaneous requests. A journalist may use it to communicate more safely with whistle blowers and dissidents. Coming out with potentially harmful, dangerous information can be life threatening if you leave this information available to be obtained by anyone at anytime. Tor Onion Browser can prevent the connection between you and the information so that you feel secure because you are secure.

A branch of the U.S. Navy utilizes Tor for open source intelligence gathering. Oddly enough, the different type of people who use Tor for different reasons are what make Tor browser download even more secure, because information is being tossed around more and more. When information is scrambled amongst other information, it makes it very hard to pinpoint what information belongs with what person.

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Tor Browser Download | Rocky Bytes

What’s wrong with libertarianism – Zompist.com

 Misc  Comments Off on What’s wrong with libertarianism – Zompist.com
Mar 172016
 

“That perfect liberty they sigh for– the liberty of making slaves of other people– Jefferson never thought of; their own father never thought of; they never thought of themselves, a year ago.” — Abraham Lincoln

Apparently someone’s curse worked: we live in interesting times, and among other consequences, for no good reason we have a surplus of libertarians. With this article I hope to help keep the demand low, or at least to explain to libertarian correspondents why they don’t impress me with comments like “You sure love letting people steal your money!”

This article has been rewritten, for two reasons. First, the original article had sidebars to address common objections. From several people’s reactions, it seems that they never read these. They’re now incorporated into the text.

Second, and more importantly, many people who call themselves libertarians didn’t recognize themselves in the description. There are libertarians and libertarians, and sometimes different camps despise each other– or don’t seem to be aware of each other.

If you–

…then this page isn’t really addressed to you. You’re probably more of what I’d call a small-government conservative; and if you voted against Bush, we can probably get along just fine.

On the other hand, you might want to stick around to see what your more fundamentalist colleagues are saying.

Libertarianism strikes me as if someone (let’s call her “Ayn Rand”) sat down to create the Un-Communism. Thus:

Does this sound exaggerated? Let’s listen to Murray Rothbard:

Or here’s Lew Rockwell on Rothbard (emphasis mine):

Thomas DiLorenzo on worker activism: “[L]abor unions [pursue] policies which impede the very institutions of capitalism that are the cause of their own prosperity.” Or Ludwig von Mises: “What is today euphemistically called the right to strike is in fact the right of striking workers, by recourse to violence, to prevent people who want to work from working.” (Employer violence is apparently acceptable.) The Libertarian Party platform explains that workers have no right to protest drug tests, and supports the return of child labor.

On Nietzsche, as one of my correspondents puts it, some libertarians love Nietzsche; others have read him. (Though I would respond that some people idolize executives; others have worked for them.) Nonetheless, I think the Nietzschean atmosphere of burning rejection of conventional morality, exaltation of the will to power, and scorn for womanish Christian compassion for the masses, is part of the roots of libertarianism. It’s unmistakable in Ayn Rand.

The more important point, however, is that the capitalist is the ber-villain for communists, and a glorious hero for libertarians; that property is “theft” for the communists, and a “natural right” for libertarians. These dovetail a little too closely for coincidence. It’s natural enough, when a basic element of society is attacked as an evil, for its defenders to counter-attack by elevating it into a principle.

As we should have learned from the history of communism and fascism, however, contradiction is no guarantee of truth; it can lead one into an opposite error instead. And many who rejected communism nonetheless remained zealots. People who leave one ideological extreme usually end up at the other, either quickly (David Horowitz) or slowly (Mario Vargas Llosa). If you’re the sort of person who likes absolutes, you want them even if all your other convictions change.

The methodology isn’t much different either: oppose the obvious evils of the world with a fairy tale. The communist of 1910 couldn’t point to a single real-world instance of his utopia; neither can the present-day libertarian. Yet they’re unshakeable in their conviction that it can and must happen.

Academic libertarians love abstract, fact-free arguments– often, justifications for why property is an absolute right. As a random example, from one James Craig Green:

Examples of natural property in land and water resources have already been given, but deserve more detail. An illustration of how this would be accomplished is a farm with irrigation ditches to grow crops in dry western states. To appropriate unowned natural resources, a settler used his labor to clear the land and dug ditches to carry water from a river for irrigation. Crops were planted, buildings were constructed, and the property thus created was protected by the owner from aggression or the later claims of others. This process was a legitimate creation of property.

The first paragraph is pure fantasy, and is simply untrue as a portrait of “primitive tribes”, which are generally extremely collectivist by American standards. The second sounds good precisely because it leaves out all the actual facts of American history: the settlers’ land was not “unowned” but stolen from the Indians by state conquest (and much of it stolen from the Mexicans as well); the lands were granted to the settlers by government; the communities were linked to the national economy by railroads founded by government grant; the crops were adapted to local conditions by land grant colleges.

Thanks to my essay on taxes, I routinely get mail featuring impassioned harangues which never once mention a real-world fact– or which simply make up the statistics they want.

This sort of balls-out aggressivity probably wins points at parties, where no one is going to take down an almanac and check their figures; but to me it’s a cardinal sin. If someone has an answer for everything, advocates changes which have never been tried, and presents dishonest evidence, he’s a crackpot. If a man has no doubts, it’s because his hypothesis is unfalsifiable.

Distaste for facts isn’t merely a habit of a few Internet cranks; it’s actually libertarian doctrine, the foundation of the ‘Austrian school’. Here’s Ludwig von Mises in Epistemological Problems of Economics:

The ‘other sources’ turn out to be armchair ruminations on how things must be. It’s true enough that economics is not physics; but that’s not warrant to turn our backs on the methods of science and return to scholastic speculation. Economics should always move in the direction of science, experiment, and falsifiability. If it were really true that it cannot, then no one, including the libertarians, would be entitled to strong belief in any economic program.

Some people aren’t much bothered by libertarianism’s lack of real-world success. After all, they argue, if no one tried anything new, nothing would ever change.

In fact, I’m all for experimentation; that’s how we learn. Create a libertarian state. But run it as a proper experiment. Start small-scale. Establish exactly how your claims will be tested: per capita income? median income? life expectancy? property value? surveys on happiness? Set up a control: e.g. begin with two communities as close as we can get them in size, initial wealth, resources, and culture, one following liberalism, one following libertarianism. Abide by the results– no changing the goalposts if the liberals happen to “win”.

I’m even willing to look at partial tests. If an ideology is really better than others at producing general prosperity, then following it partially should produce partially better results. Jonathan Kwitny suggested comparing a partly socialist system (e.g. Tanzania) to a partly capitalist one (e.g. Kenya). (Kenya looked a lot better.) If the tests are partial, of course, we’ll want more of them; but human experience is pretty broad.

It’s the libertarians, not me, who stand in the way of such accountability. If I point out examples of nations partially following libertarian views– we’ll get to this below– I’m told that they don’t count: only Pure Real Libertarianism Of My Own Camp can be tested.

Again, all-or-nothing thinking generally goes with intellectual fraud. If a system is untestable, it’s because its proponents fear testing. By contrast, I’m confident enough in liberal and scientific values that I’m happy to see even partial adoption. Even a little freedom is better than dictatorship. Even a little science is better than ideology.

An untested political system unfortunately has great rhetorical appeal. Since we can’t see it in action, we can’t point out its obvious faults, while the ideologue can be caustic about everything that has actually been tried, and which has inevitably fallen short of perfection. Perhaps that’s why Dave Barry and Trey Parker are libertarians. But I’d rather vote for a politician who’s shown that his programs work in the real world than for a humorist, however amusing.

At this point some libertarian readers are pumping their hands in the air like a piston, anxious to explain that their ideal isn’t Rothbard or von Mises or Hayek, but the Founding Fathers.

Nice try. Everybody wants the Founders on their side; but it was a different country back then– 95% agricultural, low density, highly homogenous, primitive in technology– and modern libertarianism simply doesn’t apply. (The OED’s citations of the word for the time are all theological.)

All American political movements have their roots in the 1700s– indeed, in the winning side, since Loyalist opinion essentially disappeared. We are all– liberals, conservatives, libertarians– against the Georgian monarchy and for the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. You can certainly find places where one Founder or another rants against government; you can find other places where one Founder or another rants against rebellion, anarchy, and the opponents of federalism. Sometimes the same Founder can be quoted on both sides. They were a mixed bunch, and lived long enough lives to encounter different situations.

The Constitution is above all a definition of a strengthened government, and the Federalist Papers are an extended argument for it. The Founders negotiated a balance between a government that was arbitrary and coercive (their experience as British colonial subjects) and one that was powerless and divided (the failed Articles of Confederation).

The Founders didn’t anticipate the New Deal– there was no need for them to– but they were as quick to resort to the resources of the state as any modern liberal. Ben Franklin, for instance, played the Pennsylvania legislature like a violin– using it to fund a hospital he wanted to establish, for instance. Obviously he had no qualms about using state power to do good social works.

It’s also worth pointing out that the Founders’ words were nobler than their deeds. Most were quite comfortable with slave-owning, for instance. No one worried about women’s consent to be governed. Washington’s own administration made it a crime to criticize the government. And as Robert Allen Rutland reminds us,

The process of giving life to our constitutional rights has largely been the work of liberals. On the greatest fight of all, to treat blacks as human beings, libertarians supported the other side.

Crackpots are usually harmless; how about the Libertarian Party?

In itself, I’m afraid, it’s nothing but a footnote. It gets no more than 1% of the vote– a showing that’s been surpassed historically by the Anti-Masonic Party, the Greenbacks, the Prohibition Party, the Socialists, the Greens, and whatever John Anderson was. If that was all it was, I wouldn’t bother to devote pages and rants to it. I’m all for the expression of pure eccentricity in politics; I like the Brits’ Monster Raving Looney Party even better.

Why are libertarian ideas important? Because of their influence on the Republican Party. They form the ideological basis for the Reagan/Gingrich/Bush revolution. The Republicans have taken the libertarian “Government is Bad” horse and ridden far with it:

Maybe this use of their ideas is appalling to ‘Real Libertarians’… well, it’s an appalling world sometimes. Is it fair to communism that everyone thinks its Leninist manifestation is the only possible one? Do you think I’m happy to have national representatives like Dukakis, Gore, and Kerry?

At least some libertarians have understood the connection. Rothbard again, writing in 1994:

Can you smell the compromise here? Hold your nose and vote for the Repubs, boys. But then don’t pretend to be uninvolved when the Republicans start making a mockery of limited government.

There’s a deeper lesson here, and it’s part of why I don’t buy libertarian portraits of the future utopia. Movements out of power are always anti-authoritarian; it’s no guarantee that they’ll stay that way. Communists before 1917 promised the withering away of the state. Fascists out of power sounded something like socialists. The Republicans were big on term limits when they could be used to unseat Democrats; they say nothing about them today. If you don’t think it can happen to you, you’re not being honest about human nature and human history.

The Libertarian Party has a cute little test that purports to divide American politics into four quadrants. There’s the economic dimension (where libertarians ally with conservatives) and the social dimension (where libertarians ally with liberals).

I think the diagram is seriously misleading, because visually it gives equal importance to both dimensions. And when the rubber hits the road, libertarians almost always go with the economic dimension.

The libertarian philosopher always starts with property rights. Libertarianism arose in opposition to the New Deal, not to Prohibition. The libertarian voter is chiefly exercised over taxes, regulation, and social programs; the libertarian wing of the Republican party has, for forty years, gone along with the war on drugs, corporate welfare, establishment of dictatorships abroad, and an alliance with theocrats. Christian libertarians like Ron Paul want God in the public schools and are happy to have the government forbid abortion and gay marriage. I never saw the libertarians objecting to Bush Sr. mocking the protection of civil rights, or to Ken Starr’s government inquiry into politicians’ sex lives. On the Cato Institute’s list of recent books, I count 1 of 19 dealing with an issue on which libertarians and liberals tend to agree, and that was on foreign policy (specifically, the Iraq war).

If this is changing, as Bush’s never-ending “War on Terror” expands the powers of government, demonizes dissent, and enmeshes the country in military crusades and nation-building, as the Republicans push to remove the checks and balances that remain in our government system– if libertarians come to realize that Republicans and not Democrats are the greater threat to liberty– I’d be delighted.

But for that, you know, you have to vote against Bush. A belief in social liberties means little if you vote for a party that clearly intends to restrict them.

For the purposes of my critique, however, the social side of libertarianism is irrelevant. A libertarian and I might actually agree to legalize drugs, let people marry whoever they like, and repeal the Patriot Act. But this has nothing to do with whether robber baron capitalism is a good thing.

The libertarianism that has any effect in the world, then, has nothing to do with social liberty, and everything to do with removing all restrictions on business. So what’s wrong with that?

Let’s look at some cases that came within spitting distance of the libertarian ideal. Some libertarians won’t like these, because they are not Spotless Instances of the Free Utopia; but as I’ve said, nothing is proved by science fiction. If complete economic freedom and absence of government is a cure-all, partial economic freedom and limited government should be a cure-some.

At the turn of the 20th century, business could do what it wanted– and it did. The result was robber barons, monopolistic gouging, management thugs attacking union organizers, filth in our food, a punishing business cycle, slavery and racial oppression, starvation among the elderly, gunboat diplomacy in support of business interests.

The New Deal itself was a response to crisis (though by no means an unprecedented one; it wasn’t much worse than the Gilded Age depressions). A quarter of the population was out of work. Five thousand banks failed, destroying the savings of 9 million families. Steel plants were operating at 12% capacity. Banks foreclosed on a quarter of Mississippi’s land. Wall Street was discredited by insider trading and collusion with banks at the expense of investors. Farmers were breaking out into open revolt; miners and jobless city workers were rioting.

Don’t think, by the way, that if governments don’t provide gunboats, no one else will. Corporations will build their own military if necessary: the East Indies Company did; Leopold did in the Congo; management did when fighting with labor.

Or take Russia in the decade after the fall of Communism, as advised by free-market absolutists like Jeffrey Sachs. Russian GDP declined 50% in five years. The elite grabbed the assets they could and shuffled them out of Russia so fast that IMF loans couldn’t compensate. In 1994 alone, 600 businessmen, journalists, and politicians were murdered by gangsters. Russia lacked a working road system, a banking system, anti-monopoly regulation, effective law enforcement, or any sort of safety net for the elderly and the jobless. Inflation reached 2250% in 1992. Central government authority effectively disappeared in many regions.

By the way, Russia is the answer to those testosterone-poisoned folks who think that guns will prevent oppression. The mafia will always outgun you.

Today’s Russia is moving back toward authoritarianism under Putin. Again, this should dismay libertarians: apparently, given a little freedom, many people will demand less. You’d better be careful about setting up that utopia; ten years further on it may be taken over by authoritarians.

Or consider the darling of many an ’80s conservative: Pinochet’s Chile, installed by Nixon, praised by Jeanne Kirkpatrick, George Bush, and Paul Johnson. In twenty years, foreign debt quadrupled, natural resources were wasted, universal health care was abandoned (leading to epidemics of typhoid fever and hepatitis), unions were outlawed, military spending rose (for what? who the hell is going to attack Chile?), social security was “privatized” (with predictable results: ever-increasing government bailouts) and the poverty rate doubled, from 20% to 41%. Chile’s growth rate from 1974 to 1982 was 1.5%; the Latin American average was 4.3%.

Pinochet was a dicator, of course, which makes some libertarians feel that they have nothing to learn here. Somehow Chile’s experience (say) privatizing social security can tell us nothing about privatizing social security here, because Pinochet was a dictator. Presumably if you set up a business in Chile, the laws of supply and demand and perhaps those of gravity wouldn’t apply, because Pinochet was a dictator.

When it’s convenient, libertarians even trumpet their association with Chile’s “free market” policies; self-gov.org (originators of that cute quiz) includes a page celebrating Milton Friedman, self-proclaimed libertarian, who helped form and advise the group of University of Chicago professors and graduates who implemented Pinochet’s policies. The Cato Institute even named a prize for “Advancing Liberty” after this benefactor of the Chilean dictatorship.

The newest testing ground for laissez-faire is present-day America, from Ronald Reagan on.

Remove the New Deal, and the pre-New Deal evils clamor to return. Reagan removed the right to strike; companies now fire strikers, outsource high-wage jobs and replace them with dead-end near-minimum-wage service jobs. Middle-class wages are stagnating– or plummeting, if you consider that working hours are rising. Companies are rushing to reestablish child labor in the Third World.

Under liberalism, productivity increases benefited all classes– poverty rates declined from over 30% to under 10% in the thirty years after World War II, while the economy more than quadrupled in size.

In the current libertarian climate, productivity gains only go to the already well-off. Here’s the percentage of US national income received by certain percentiles of the population, as reported by the IRS:

This should put some perspective on libertarian whining about high taxes and how we’re destroying incentives for the oppressed businessman. The wealthiest 1% of the population doubled their share of the pie in just 15 years. In 1973, CEOs earned 45 times the pay of an average employee (about twice the multipler in Japan); today it’s 500 times.

Thirty years ago, managers accepted that they operated as much for their workers, consumers, and neighbors as for themselves. Some economists (notably Michael Jensen and William Meckling) decided that the only stakeholders that mattered were the stock owners– and that management would be more accountable if they were given massive amounts of stock. Not surprisingly, CEOs managed to get the stock without the accountability– they’re obscenely well paid whether the company does well or it tanks– and the obsession with stock price led to mass layoffs, short-term thinking, and the financial dishonesty at WorldCom, Enron, Adelphia, HealthSouth, and elsewhere.

The nature of our economic system has changed in the last quarter-century, and people haven’t understood it yet. People over 30 or so grew up in an environment where the rich got more, but everyone prospered. When productivity went up, the rich got richer– we’re not goddamn communists, after all– but everybody’s income increased.

If you were part of the World War II generation, the reality was that you had access to subsidized education and housing, you lived better every year, and you were almost unimaginably better off than your parents.

We were a middle-class nation, perhaps the first nation in history where the majority of the people were comfortable. This infuriated the communists (this wasn’t supposed to happen). The primeval libertarians who cranky about it as well, but the rich had little reason to complain– they were better off than ever before, too.

Conservatives– nurtured by libertarian ideas– have managed to change all that. When productivity rises, the rich now keep the gains; the middle class barely stays where it is; the poor get poorer. We have a ways to go before we become a Third World country, but the model is clear. The goal is an impoverished majority, and a super-rich minority with no effective limitations on its power or earnings. We’ll exchange the prosperity of 1950s America for that of 1980s Brazil.

Despite the intelligence of many of its supporters, libertarianism is an instance of the simplest (and therefore silliest) type of politics: the single-villain ideology. Everything is blamed on the government. (One libertarian, for instance, reading my list of the evils of laissez-faire above, ignored everything but “gunboats”. It’s like Gary Larson’s cartoon of “What dogs understand”, with the dog’s name replaced with “government”.)

The advantage of single-villain ideologies is obvious: in any given situation you never have to think hard to find out the culprit. The disadvantages, however, are worse: you can’t see your primary target clearly– hatred is a pair of dark glasses– and you can’t see the problems with anything else.

It’s a habit of mind that renders libertarianism unfalsifiable, and thus irrelevant to the world. Everything gets blamed on one institution; and because we have no real-world example where that agency is absent, the claims can’t be tested.

Not being a libertarian doesn’t mean loving the state; it means accepting complexity. The real world is a monstrously complicated place; there’s not just one thing wrong with it, nor just one thing that can be changed to fix it. Things like prosperity and freedom don’t have one cause; they’re a balancing act.

Here’s an alternative theory for you: original sin. People will mess things up, whether by stupidity or by active malice. There is no magical class of people (e.g. “government”) who can be removed to produce utopia. Any institution is liable to failure, or active criminality. Put anyone in power– whether it’s communists or engineers or businessmen– and they will abuse it.

Does this mean things are hopeless? Of course not; it just means that we have to let all institutions balance each other. Government, opposition parties, business, the media, unions, churches, universities, non-government organizations, all watch over each other. Power is distributed as widely as possible to prevent any one institution from monopolizing and abusing it. It’s not always a pretty solution, and it can be frustratingly slow and inefficient, but it works better than any alternative I know of.

Markets are very good at some things, like deciding what to produce and distributing it. But unrestricted markets don’t produce general prosperity, and lawless business can and will abuse its power. Examples can be multiplied ad nauseam: read some history– or the newspaper.

Libertarian responses to such lists are beyond amazing.

Slavery is another example: though some hoped that the market would eventually make it unprofitable, it sure was taking its time, and neither the slave nor the abolitionist had any non-governmental leverage over the slaveowners.

(Libertarians usually claim to oppose slavery… but that’s awfully easy to say on this side of Civil War and the civil rights movement. The slaveowners thought they were defending their sacred rights to property and self-government.)

And those are the better responses. Often enough the only response is explain how nothing bad can happen in the libertarian utopia. But libertarian dogma can’t be buttressed by libertarian doctrine– that’s begging the question.

Or it’s simply denied that these things are problems. One correspondent suggested that the poor shouldn’t “complain” about not getting loans– “I wouldn’t make a loan if I didn’t think I’d get paid back.” This is not only hard-hearted but ignorant. Who says the poor are bad credit risks? It often takes prodding from community organizations, but banks can serve low-income areas well– both making money and fostering home ownership. Institutions like the Grameen Bank have found that micro-loans work very well, and are profitable, in the poorest countries on Earth, such as Bangladesh.

A proven solution to most of these ills is liberalism. For fifty years liberals governed this country, generating unprecedented prosperity, and making this the first solidly middle-class nation.

If you want prosperity for the many– and why should the many support any other goal?– you need a balance between government and business. For this you need several things:

Perhaps the most communicable libertarian meme– and one of the most mischievous– is the attempt to paint taxation as theft.

First, it’s dishonest. Most libertarians theoretically accept government for defense and law enforcement. (There are some absolutists who don’t even believe in national defense; I guess they want to have a libertarian utopia for awhile, then hand it over to foreign invaders.)

Now, national defense and law enforcement cost money: about 22% of the 2002 budget– 33% of the non-social-security budget. You can’t swallow that and maintain that all taxes are bad. At least the cost of those functions is not “your money”; it’s a legitimate charge for necessary services.

Americans enjoy the fruits of public scientific research, a well-educated job force, highways and airports, clean food, honest labelling, Social Security, unemployment insurance, trustworthy banks, national parks. Libertarianism has encouraged the peculiarly American delusion that these things come for free. It makes a philosophy out of biting the hand that feeds you.

Second, it leads directly to George Bush’s financial irresponsibility. Would a libertarian urge his family or his software company or his gun club to spend twice what it takes in? When libertarians maintain that irresponsibility among the poor is such a bad thing, why is it OK in the government?

It’s no excuse to claim that libertarians didn’t want the government to increase spending, as Bush has done. As you judge others, so shall you be judged. Libertarians want to judge liberalism not by its goals (e.g. helping poor children) but by its alleged effects (e.g. teen pregnancy). The easiest things in the world for a politician to do are to lower taxes and raise spending. By attacking the very concept of taxation, libertarians help politicians– and the public– to indulge their worst impulses.

Finally, it hides dependence on the government. The economic powerhouse of the US is still the Midwest, the Northeast, and California– largely liberal Democratic areas. As Dean Lacy has pointed out, over the last decade, the blue states of 2004 paid $1.4 trillion more in federal taxes than they received, while red states received $800 billion more than they paid.

Red state morality isn’t just to be irresponsible with the money they pay as taxes; it’s to be irresponsible with other people’s money. It’s protesting the concept of getting an allowance by stealing the other kids’ money.

Ultimately, my objection to libertarianism is moral. Arguing across moral gulfs is usually ineffective; but we should at least be clear about what our moral differences are.

First, the worship of the already successful and the disdain for the powerless is essentially the morality of a thug. Money and property should not be privileged above everything else– love, humanity, justice.

(And let’s not forget that lurid fascination with firepower– seen in ESR, Ron Paul, Heinlein and Van Vogt, Advocates for Self-Government’s president Sharon Harris, the Cato Institute, Lew Rockwell’s site, and the Mises Institute.)

I wish I could convince libertarians that the extremely wealthy don’t need them as their unpaid advocates. Power and wealth don’t need a cheering section; they are– by definition– not an oppressed class which needs our help. Power and wealth can take care of themselves. It’s the poor and the defenseless who need aid and advocates.

The libertarians reminds me of G.K. Chesterton’s description of people who are so eager to attack a hated ideology that they will destroy their own furniture to make sticks to beat it with. James Craig Green again:

Here’s a very different moral point of view: Jimmy Carter describing why he builds houses with Habitat for Humanity:

Is this “confused hysteria”? No, it’s common human decency. It’s sad when people have to twist themselves into knots to malign the human desire (and the Biblical command) to help one’s neighbor.

Second, it’s the philosophy of a snotty teen, someone who’s read too much Heinlein, absorbed the sordid notion that an intellectual elite should rule the subhuman masses, and convinced himself that reading a few bad novels qualifies him as a member of the elite.

Third, and perhaps most common, it’s the worldview of a provincial narcissist. As I’ve observed in my overview of the 20th century, liberalism won its battles so thoroughly that people have forgotten why those battles were fought.

Read the original:
What’s wrong with libertarianism – Zompist.com

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Mar 122016
 

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“Civilization is a disease which is almost invariably fatal.” – Dean Inge

This article attempts the impossible. It seeks to explain, in small form, a belief system that is at its heart not very complex, but to which the path from our current belief systems is complex and fraught with confusions, whether linguistic, or conceptual, or even image-oriented. There is no way it can succeed. However, all things must start somewhere, and so, for the sake of doing something where otherwise doing nothing is a path to certain failure, we sally onward in an attempt to provide another starting point for those seeking nihilism.

What Nihilism Is Not

After all, why believe in anything? – nihilism, like any form of organized thought, is a belief. You could be like so many five-cent sages and proclaim identification with a mainstream political belief, or consider yourself “cynical” and say nothing can be done, so turn on the TV, pop a beer and be through with it. That way, at least you’re personally insulated – you’ve declared a lack of a will to fight – and you can feel OK about being whatever it was before. Wiser observers might say you’re in the grips of a very complex but at heart mundane form of cognitive dissonance; you’re pointing to a difference between ideal and reality as a justification for inaction.

You could even take on the junior form of nihilism, which is a lack of belief in anything, otherwise known as fatalism, but really, it’s a developed form of the above. And don’t you feel silly buying into any of the ready-made political identities that are out there, and swearing your ideas match those of Michael Moore or Rush Limbaugh, who are basically two different versions of the same fat “just sign here and it’ll all be okay” product? Maybe you take refuge in religion, but it’s about the same; instead of picking a path, you’re following one. This isn’t to say that all paths are wrong, and you should be some kind of “individualist” who concocts a “unique” formula of unrelated fragments of belief, and then proclaims everything would be OK if that impossibly self-contradictory regimen were followed.

Yet none of these are satisfying, because at the end of the day, you’re no closer to a coherent vision of what would change that which ails you. It’s naive to say it doesn’t bother you, either, because it’s clear that this society is what we call in business a “deathmarch”: a fundamentally flawed approach that immediately isn’t visible, and therefore is demanded by higherups, so we the workers apply it as best we can with the knowledge that someday, the shit’s gonna hit the fan and we’ll all suffer, but we’re not to blame because someone else is in charge. Of course, no one is really “in charge” here, as we’re just following mass trends and opinions, media and political constructs passed along for so many generations that it’s impossible to find someone who is definitively to blame, for whom we can have a comforting execution, then dust off our hands and proclaim the problem solved because we yanked out the bad guy.

Nihilism is a different sort of belief because, unlike almost all beliefs, it’s a conduit and not an endpoint. Most belief systems lay out a series of static objectives and claim if these are achieved, everything will be as peachy as it can be; the most dangerous are the Utopian ones, which promise an absolute near perfection that has little to do with reality. “Some day we’ll eliminate all war” and “free markets make free souls” both fall into this category. Believing such homilies is akin to thinking that if you buy the right guitar, you’ll be able to automatically create the best music ever, et cetera ad nauseaum. Nihilism does not claim a Utopian solution, and is in fact contra-Utopian: by the nature of its being a philosophical viewpoint, and not a mass trend around which you’re expected to rally, it defines itself as a way of viewing the world including such political mass trends. There is no ultimate solution, no absolute Utopia, only a better mental tool for perceiving and analyzing whatever situations arise. Unlike political rallypoints, it is a highest level abstraction, and one under which all other ideas form a hierarchy assessing their degrees of logicality.

Trendwhores and savvy political manipulators will try to group issues under any belief, including nihilism, thinking that a bullet point list makes it easy for the proles to agree on a course of action (so far, history suggests this is either outright lying or wishful thinking). It’s unlikely that such a thing could occur. Nihilists embrace “extreme” viewpoints because they have seen past the cognitive dissonance, and thus have no problem looking at the world analytically. It’s not extremity for extremity’s sake, which is almost always a psychological device for creating an impossible goal and thus, by claiming to labor toward it, removing responsibility of actually doing something pragmatic. One reason to detest extreme rightist, leftist and green communities is that this is their modus operandi: suggest something insane, then accuse all who don’t agree of selling out, and continuing to labor on with the attitude “only I know the truth, and the rest of you are pretenders, therefore, I’m better than you.” Can we be honest and refer to this as defensive egomania?

Nihilism needs no justification. It follows the pattern of nature, which is evolution: successive replacement of previous forms of organization (“order”,”design”) with better ones. There is no moral imperative to do any given act, only a practical one, in that if a proposed design works better even in some small way, those design details can be incorporated into the status quo, thus forcing it to the next level of evolution. Of course, making any changes introduces new powers and new problems, so the process of evolution continues ad infinitum, unless (as in the case of French and Italians) an evolutionary “harbor” is reached, by which adaptation balances adequately enough to an unchanging environment. If one is, for example, the remnants of a fallen empire, there is not much to do except to live well and not worry too much about greatness receding slowly into memory so far removed it is mythic legend and not a part of current reality.

Background

I was arguing once with a fellow who, when I proposed a high-level abstraction, said, “But isn’t abstraction a Judeo-Christian thing, and therefore, bad?” He fell into the same trap that many at our universities have, in which they assume that language misleads us, therefore we must deconstruct and “go beyond” language, essentially creating incoherence. Look at it this way: some sentences are true, and some are not. Some abstractions make sense, and others do not. How do we tell? How well does each stack up to reality, and by that we mean the process through which reality is created and not its persistent objects, should be our yardstick. An abstraction of some fanciful world where a benevolent unicorn in the sky will sort good from bad, right from wrong, and lead us to a place called Heaven is an abstraction that has little to do with the world in which we live. It is a solipsistic abstraction: it applies to the desires of the individual human, and does not take into account the world in which all humans live. (Nihilists are brave enough to recognize the obvious: individual humans have different strengths and intelligences, and thus, not everyone can perceive or understand such an abstraction, and those who cannot will invent abstractions of a solipsistic nature to compensate – see “cognitive dissonance” above.)

If you take a highly abstract view at the real-world problems of creating a conscious creature, you will see rapidly that the major threat to such a being would be the possibilities of its own mind. Our strengths are our weakness. Because such a creature can imagine, and can predict, and can create in its mind a partial replica of the world to use in guessing what the potential outcome of any action might be – “sun and rain always come in spring, and things don’t grow in winter, so I’ll plant in spring, assuming that this pattern is consistent” – it is also susceptible to conceiving an inaccurate notion of how the world works, and/or becoming emotionally unstable and thus creating a solipsistic version. “When I bless the gods, winter ends and the spring comes” is such an example; a more insidious one is “If I do not harm others, no harm will come to me” (tell that to a band of raiding looters or pillaging Vandals). Still more developed is the root of cognitive dissonance: I will think on how things should be and content myself with that, since I cannot or do not believe I can effect change in reality. Each of these errors is formed from the fundamental mistake of assuming that what exists in the individual human mind is higher than reality as a whole, or can be used to compensate for tendencies in the whole. We die; it sucks; let’s invent “heaven” and perpetual life. Would not it be more ethical, more honest and above all else, more realistic, to simply admit we have no idea what follows death – if anything? (Add to this the complexity of a world we know through the progression of time, yet which might encompass additional or fewer dimensions in some other view, and you have a formula for endless unprovable conjecture taken as fact because well, we’d all like to believe we don’t die; to this I rejoin that if we’re all immortal, this means that the morons who afflict us daily are as well, which might make us reconsider the wisdom of “life eternal.”)

Humans, being highly abstract creatures, are prone to creating abstractions which make sense only in their mind. These are “dead end” or “ultra-discrete” abstractions, in that their only error is a failure of realization that the individual human is part of a larger world, which goes on with or without them. If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to witness it, does it make a sound? Of course, but the forest won’t call it a “sound,” and no one will note it or talk about it. We can play definition games all day, and claim that either a sound only exists in the human mind, or that it’s external, but this is a case of redefining the word, not the phenomenon it describes. We might as well call a leaping predatory animal a tiger, and then be shocked and surprised (awed?) when groups of people fail to respond to our urgent warning, “Butterfly!” Similarly, we can call death “life eternal” if it makes us feel better, but that causes zero change to the phenomenon itself, which remains unknown to us. Thinking creatures have a great strength, which is their imaginative and analytical facility, but it is their greatest weakness: they can create “artificial” thoughts which do not relate to the world around them, and thus mislead themselves based on what they’d like to believe, not what they can know from an inspection of their world. There’s much talk about the scientific method – experiment based on conjecture, observe, conjecture, repeat – but isn’t it the same process we use in less formal incarnation to discover our world, from our time as babies nibbling on different objects to test their solidity, to our last moments on earth? In this sense, debugging a computer program or exploring a new continent or taking LSD is the same task as a scientific experiment. We observe the world, make theories about how it works, and then test those theories. Of course, the ones about death cannot be tested, and this opens a giant loophole for us to make a foundational theory about God or “life eternal,” and in order to support it, to invent many other illusions so that it seems like a realistic, complete system of thought.

This human problem – distinguishing the internal world from the external – is not unique to humans, but as they’re the only creatures with “higher” logical functions on earth, they are our only example. It is magnified as a problem when the question of civilization arises, because for the first time, groups must be instructed in organizing principles they cannot directly experience, e.g. “you grow grain, he’ll make bread, and that other guy will distribute it to the people at large.” Where individuals err in assuming their internal worlds are more real than external reality, civilizations err by finding popular assumptions that become law because people act according to them; whole civilizations have perished by upholding the rules that, in theory, will lead them to external life, but by denying reality allow crops to wither, invaders to intrude, decay of internal discipline to make people ineffective. Not everyone must be deluded, but when enough are, the future of the civilization becomes a deathmarch. If you want a working definition of nihilism from a political-philosophical perspective, it is an affirmation of the structure and process of reality, in dramatic contrast to the appearances of objects and the seemingly-real perceptions that turn out to be phantasma of our internal minds, and have nothing to do with external reality. Nihilism is facing facts: whether or not we get eternal life, we have to keep the crops going and invaders outside and internal discipline high, or we will collapse as a functional entity. “Structure” in this context would be understand of our world as it operates, including that people need grain to eat and need to act on realistic principles, or invaders, disease, and internal listlessness will condemn us all.

Currently, our society is a linear construction of opposites that do not exist in nature – they are purely perceptual within human minds: good/evil, profit/loss, popular/unpopular. The best product is not always a necessary product (iPod), nor the best product (SUVs), nor even a good idea (cigarettes), but, well, it’s popular and all that money goes back to its creator, so it is Good according to our lexicon. Similarly, we pick our leaders according to those favored by most people, and therefore, our leaders become those who make the biggest promises and find a way to duck the followthrough; since most people relying on such delusions are not rocket scientists, they quickly forget and go about their lives merrily assuming that because promises were made and the election was won, they’ll come true and everything will be A+ from now on. Some might argue that in nature there is profit and loss, but a quick study reveals that be false: in nature there is success or failure, and it has nothing to do with popularity, or all animals would be immortal. Similarly, some will argue that there’s good (heterosexual intercourse) and evil (anal intercourse) in nature, but when one sees the function of anal intercourse in nature (among apes, appeasing intruders) it is clear that no such judgment “exists,” except in our minds. In our minds… well, that’s not a logical test, according to any methods scientific or otherwise. It’s wishful thinking, in the common parlance.

What is most disturbing about this view, which invariably becomes popular in the later stages of civilization, is that it imposes a singular standard and form-factor upon each person and his or her desires, ambitions, needs – as well as what that person requires to stay alive and live well, a quantity often quite separate from what they think they desire (people, like lab rats, will often pick pleasurable sensations over long-term benefits, thus drink instead of investing their cash in future returns, u.s.w.). In such a mode of thought, we are all form-stamped by a bureaucratic, mechanical or social machine, according to what is popular, and therein we see the origin of this thought process: it selects what most people want to believe, over what is real. Through this mechanism, civilizations move into a senility formed of acting according to internal assumptions, and thus eventually coming into conflict with cold hard reality, whether it’s invading Vandals, crop failure, or internal discohesion. While that end in itself may be far off, the intermediate problem is that living in such societies is, at the lowest and highest levels of our perception, disturbing. Not only is there illusion taken as reality, but it is an illusion created out of what ideas are popular and therefore (because most people are not wise) contra-wisdom and contra-realistic. In later civilization, we all serve the whims of popularity and the illusions of the crowd, awaiting that future day when the shit finally hits the fan and we are forced to acknowledge our reliance on illusion.

What Nihilism Might Be

Solvents separate matter into its component parts. Nihilism could be viewed as a mental solvent which divides illusion from a realistic perception of individual and world as a continuous, joined, inter-reliant process. When one sees the world only in terms of appearance, and has no knowledge of structure, illusions and good idea look similar: death and “life eternal” are simply opposite extremes, not logical results of radically different processes. To someone dwelling in illusion, a fern is a green thing that appears in forests and sometimes, lawn gardens; to someone concerned with design and structure, a fern is a plant of a certain shape, genetic background, and place in an ecosystem whereby it appears when the right conditions – sunlight, soil, water, surrounding plants and animals – exist, and serves a certain role in its processing of sunlight to water and oxygen, strengthening the ground with root mass, and providing homes and food to other plants and animals. While to someone dwelling in illusion human societies may be measured in terms of how little they harm the retarded and infirm and insane, to someone grounded in reality, the only measure of a society is its long-term survival – whether they murder the retarded, or keep them in gilded cages, is completely irrelevant to that final determination (although resources expended on the non-productive is part of what determines success or failure). We can live in our own mental worlds, perhaps, but the world outside of us keeps going, and our interaction with it is the only determination of success or failure; the rest is entirely cognitive dissonance.

(A great and practical example for young people especially is the difference between music quality and hype/presentation. Many artists will be presented to you as “new”,”unique” or even “brutal,” but this has no bearing on the underlying quality of the music. Similarly, neither does production; if the music is well-composed, using harmony and melody and rhythm and structure well, it should be excellent music if played on a single acoustic guitar, a Casio keyboard, or as presented by the band on their label-financed heavy-production debut. Stuff that “sounds good” often is insubstantial, but has excellent production and an enigmatic image, but over time it fails to reward in the way that art does, by creating a poetry of life that enlightens and compels. It may not even hold up to musical scrutiny, when it is pointed out that behind the flutes and sirens and wailing guitars and screaming divas, the song is essentially a variation on a well-known and tedious ballad form or blues form. Hype and production are excellent ways to get people to buy a zero-value product, that is, a repetition of past successes, while getting them to convince themselves that they have found something new and enlightening. If you are a nihilist, you look past whether it “sounds good” or feels right or you like the image or it makes you feel like you’re part of some kind of revolution in behavior, and analyze the music: if it does not stand out from the usual patterns enough to be expressing something not new or unique but particular to its ideas, and demonstrative of those ideas, it’s hype and not reality. It’s “art” and not art. We can play word games here, too, but if you value your time and are not brick-stupid, you’ll see why it’s important to find the real art.)

Another way to view nihilism is transcendence of what we call, in the modern West, the “ego.” Egomania occurs through cognitive dissonance when, reality not being to our liking, we invent our own; at this point, we can either invent it and recognize it as unreal but symbolically evocative, something we call fantasy, or we can invent it and claim it as either a higher reality than the real world, or a reality that supplants existence. Egomania is assertion that our internal worlds are more real than the external world, which is paradoxical as the latter includes the former (we are necessarily accurately represented in the external world, but there is no assurance that it is accurately represented in our internal world). When we think egomaniacally, as most people in the West do, we see the world as limited to our own perceptions and desires, and ignore the continuity between self and external world; we also think according to the form of ourselves, meaning that we see all decisions, ethical and otherwise, as limited to individuals. This cuts us off from a holistic morality by which we might for example see our environment as an extension of ourselves, both as a parent and a process upon which we are dependent; it cuts us off from considering unpopular decisions that nonetheless are right, when we consider the direction of our civilization. Our modern conception of morality is one that regulates the rights, survival and treatment of individuals, but it has no capacity for a holistic morality which sees individuals, environment and civilization as interdependent entities and thus makes decisions at the level of what is best for that convergent nexus.

This brings us to the crux of a philosophical dilemma in the West. The separation of mind and body creates a duality in which we see thoughts and external reality as discrete, isolated entities. One is either an idealism, or a realist, in this view, and never the twain shall meet. From a nihilist perspective, idealism explains realism, in that reality is not simply physical appearance but a structure and process; a “design,” even if we decide there is no Designer (and for our daily lives: does it matter?). This conversion is accomplished by taking idealism, or “the philosophical doctrine that reality somehow mind-correlative or mind-coordinated-that the real objects constituting the ‘external world’ are not independent of cognizing minds, but exist only as in some correlative to mental operations” (Cambridge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Second Edition), to its extreme, which is to assume that the external world and thoughts operate by a single mechanism; in that context, the world operates as an idea, and what is important in the world is not physicality or appearance but idea – design, concept, structure and process. Matching that supposition is an extension of realism, or a belief in the preeminence of external reality, which hyperextends to a study of how reality operates, and from that, a focus on its abstract properties. To analyze reality is to see that it operates like thought; to analyze thought is to see that the world operates much as thoughts do, and therefore, that putting thoughts into flesh is the supreme form of thinking.

Nihilism is a joining of these two extremes through a focus on the practical study of reality and a rejection of preconceptions brought on by anthrocentric viewing of the world, which is necessarily confined to the physicality of individuals and objects as they appear to humans. It is not an attempt to create an obligation, or an ideal, in and of itself, but a reduction of things to their simplest, most real elements so that higher ideals can be created, much as the creation of new civilizations produces a collective focus on the forging of something better than previous civilizations. F.W. Nietzsche wrote of the necessity of “going under” in modernity, and one interpretation of this is that one cannot create “higher” ideals when our concept of higher/lower is linear and predefined; one must remove all value and undergo a “reevaluation of all values,” focusing only on those which survive the test of a his “philosophical hammer,” much like knocking on a wall to find hollow areas. Nihilism is a going under in the form of removal of all value, and construction of values based on reality instead of potentially internalized abstraction. In a nihilist worldview, nothingness is as important as somethingness, as only nothingness can like a midnight predator carry away the somethingness that has outlived its usefulness, is illusory, irrelevant or fanatical. Nihilism is a mental discipline which clarifies outlook by disciplining the mind to understand the structure of reality, and exclude anything which regardless of appearance is not true to that understanding.

In this, it is possible that nihilists witness civilization as it actually is: an eternal process of birth, growth, and an aging brought about by self-obsession, leading rapidly to a distancing from reality, thus irrelevance and death. To remove all preconceptions of value is to have to re-invent value that is relevant to things as they are both right now and eternally, in that throughout history the basic rules of civilization have never changed; either there is a system of organization that makes sense, or there is illusion and ruin. Civilizations start out young and healthy, unified by whatever ideals made their members come together in the first place with the intent of building something new; when succeeding generations take this for granted, they drift into illusory ideals, at which point no “higher ideals” can overcome the illusion, because one cannot get “higher” than the notion of individual self-interest. One must instead go lower, to the state before civilization reformed, to re-design its ideals.

What Nihilism Does For You

If you live in a time when illusion is seen as reality, and reality is an unknown continent, nihilism can on a personal level save you time by removing illusion and leaving only what is honestly relevant to your life and existential happiness. A simple version of this is undergone by many in corporate America who, finding it relatively easy to succeed, then find themselves wanting less time in the office and more spent on those things that are eternally human to desire: family, friends, local community and increase of wisdom and balance in the self. The illusion is that money is more important than anything else; the actuality is that if you have enough, and you have the ability to do the things in life which are more important in the long term (imagine seeing your life from your deathbed) than money, it is not only sufficient but superior to a hollow existence where life is secondary to jobs and payment.

Further, nihilism drives away fears through illusion. If one believes public rhetoric, it will seem necessary to cower under the bed as if hiding from a host of fears: public ridicule, global warming, nuclear war, the Wrath of God, fascism, sodomy, drug users, hackers, Satanists. These vast apocalyptic fears operate for the most part as distraction, keeping our minds off the emptiness of modern life and the inevitability of our society facing consequences of its reckless action. What is important are not fears, but real threats and most importantly, how to fix them. Much like people who hide behind cynicism, most moderns fixate on “raising awareness” of problems, and rarely do anything to address them practically. This creates a culture of fear where in the name of amorphous fears, or balkanized infighting between political and ethnic groups, we miss the point: we can fix our civilization, but we’ll have to do it at a more basic level than politics, economics and social popularity afford.

Nihilism helps many lead better lives. When they cut out the meaningless garbage that infiltrates from television and other neurotic people, they can see their actual needs are simple and easily satisfied. From this, they can see how the larger unaddressed problems – the tedium of modern society, the pollution of nurturing environment, the degeneration of culture and heritage, our loss of wisdom as a civilization – can be important not only for the fragile individual but for future generations; nihilism leads people to holistic moral thinking.

(If you want it in boring, everyday terms, nihilism is a bullshit eliminator. If someone tells you something, look at it with eyes abstracted from everyday life and what people think and what is profitable; look toward what is real, and then find what ideals maintain that status. You like being alive, right? – If not, consider suicide. If you like living, you believe in life, and you’ll do what furthers life. Garbage is not life. Illusion in religious form, political form and social form is one part of this; another is overhyped garage bands, or oversold commercial rock, or trendy books that tell you nothing of importance. It is better to sit in silence and contemplate the universe than to fill your head with garbage. Do you need to watch the mundane movies and pointless TV shows, and entertaining commercial messages? Do you need a sports car? Will owning one more DVD, video game, or CD of not-that-great-after-all rock music help you? When you pull aside the curtains, the truth is there, naked like the contents of your lunch on the end of a fork – apologies to William S. Burroughs.)

The Doctrine of Parallelism

We’re going to make a sizable leap here. As said before, this is an introductory document, a toehold into a philosophical system, and not a complete explanation. When you accept that there is a structure behind reality that acts in the method of thoughts, and when you observe natural surroundings and see how consistent this is, you then are ready to think in parallel. Put simply, parallel thinking is the ultimate refutation of the linearity and binary morality of modern society. If we are to construct right and wrong, they are specific to the situation at hand. Some will condemn this as “situational morality,” but holistic morality is a form of thought that is best applied in specifics; after all, a different rule applies to the wolf than the dove, and different standards apply to the behavior of plumbers, computer programmers, and political leaders. Some will see this as relativism, but under analysis, it’s clear that relativism is one standard of morality applied with forgiveness for disadvantages to certain situations or experiences of individuals; the morality of thinking in parallel says that there is no one standard except reality itself, and that many different types of things acting in parallel create this.

One area where this can be seen is homosexuality. For most heterosexuals, having homosexual behavior occur in neighborhoods or other areas where children are present is not positive; they would rather raise their children according to heterosexual role models and behavioral examples. However, homosexuality occurs, and the best data available suggests that in most cases it is inborn; obviously, some are induced into homosexuality much as many heterosexuals are brought into forms of deviant sexual behavior, through sexual abuse or conditioning in youth (hence the desire for normal, heterosexual role models; most heterosexuals also do not want promiscuity, coprophagia, BDSM, etc. occurring around their children even if solely in a heterosexual context). So what to do with homosexuals, for whom being raised in a heterosexual society can be oppressive, and heterosexuals, for whom having homosexual behavior around can be equally oppressive and deleterious? We think in parallel: some communities will choose to be heterosexual, and others homosexual, and when they meet on neutral ground, it is likely that neither will assert its morality as a dominant, inviolate rigid code. Morality after all is not something we can prove exists, but something we derive from natural structure in order to establish a civilization of the type we desire. Some civilizations will endorse promiscuity and coprophagia, but in doing so, they miss out on some opportunities granted to civilizations with a more disciplined moral code. The converse is also true. There is no one law for the ox and the raven; to do so is to commit tyranny.

Another area where this can be applied is that of recreational chemicals, which is our modern shorthand for perception-altering drugs. Some communities will deny alcohol and cigarettes; some will embrace LSD and marijuana and mushrooms and perhaps even go further. It is likely that the two will never find common ground except where the question of drug use does not arise (Wal-Mart?). When we see experiments in drug legalization, like British Columbia or Amsterdam or Christiania in Denmark, we see an artificial gold rush toward hedonism caused by the fact that, worldwide, there are few relatively safe places to go take drugs. Were it such that in every continent there were some area where the rules on such things were relaxed, it is likely that those who seek drugs could go there and pursue them at a fraction the cost of illicit use. This would not only curb crime, but keep drug use out of normal (heterosexual and homosexual) neighborhoods where such things are not desired as unintentional role models for children, and the cost of drug use – including, let’s be honest, increased laziness and pizza consumption – is considered funds misspent that could otherwise be directed toward bettering other aspects of the community. There is no one rule. We cannot “prove” that drugs are good, or bad, but we can see how in some places they would be helpful and in others, destructive. Do the Hindu communities where marijuana is a sacrament have greater crime and pizza consumption? Would Amsterdam have as many problems if it wasn’t the world nexus of marijuana tourism?

The area most controversial where this could be applied is the taking of human life, and the enslavement of others. Some communities, such as a community formed by those who live according to the doctrines of black metal music, would not have any prohibition on honor killings, death in combat, or even brutal removal of ingrates. In their worldview, honest combat produces a survivor (“winner”) and one judged less able, the dead (“loser”). Most societies find this concept reprehensible, and would never permit it, so it makes sense to have communities where combat to the death, duels and other honor violence, are seen as a way of selecting the more capable citizens. Further, in many communities, it would be seen fit to work by the old Texas standard, “Judge, he needed killing,” whereby bullies, cattle thieves, morons and other undesirables could be removed with tacit consent of community. While many communities would prefer intricate and expensive legal systems, in some areas, if a person was known as a child molestor or cheat or thief, it would be cheaper and easier to look the other way while a local hotblood challenged that person to a fight and attempted to murder him. Cormac McCarthy describes such places in his book “Blood Meridian,” as they are also described in Burroughs’ “Naked Lunch”: lands where there is no law except strength, and as a result, where all citizens are ready for combat and by process of evolution, over generations become more apt at it. Are all peoples warrior peoples? Clearly not. Would all communities tolerate this? No. But much as we need plumbers and computer scientists, we need warriors, and if some greater threat manifests itself, it is probable that the people of these warlike communities would be esteemed as valuable combatants.

Another controversial area where localization – the best thought from the leftist side of things has emphasized this theory under that term – becomes preeminent is that of race. Even mentioning race, or that there are physical differences between races, is currently taboo in the West and will get you fired, removed from office, drummed out of volunteer capacities, blacklisted in industry and crucified in the media. History tells us that human races evolved under different climates and different pressures, and therefore have different abilities. We cannot “prove,” objectively, that any one collection of abilities is superior to another. Communities are united by common belief, and some communities will opt for this to be a unification of culture, language and heritage. Some communities will opt to be cosmopolitan, mixed-race communities like New York City. Others will choose to be ethnocentric and to defend their ethnic-cultural heritage as necessary to their future; this preserves their uniqueness, and is the only realistic basis for true diversity. Without this bond, you have Disneyland-style fake communities which give nods to heritage but are basically products of modern time. Let there always be Finns, Zulus, Germans, Basques, Cherokee, Aztec, Norwegian, and even Irish – this is diversity; this is multiculture; this is all of the good things that exposure to different cultures can provide. This is the only mature attitude toward race, instead of trying to produce, as the Bush administration has, one global standard of liberal mixed-ethnic democracy that essentially destroys culture and replaces it with malls and television. The race taboo is propelled by those without a clear cultural heritage who want to revenge themselves upon those who do, much as in high school those with low self-esteem tried to antagonize both nerds and class leaders.

Still another area where localization saves us from our current civilization’s misery is that of intelligence. A nihilist has no use for social pretense that says we are all equal; some are fit to be leaders by virtue of their natural intelligence, and no amount of education or government programs can make someone else be able for that position. Some prefer to correlate this with race, but a nihilist has no use for this, either: even within what George Santayana calls the “favored races” there are many completely stupid people, especially those with the worst kind of stupidity, which is a combination of cowardice and bad leadership skills. Few people mind a dumb person who is humble and follows orders well, but dumb people who agitate for change that benefits dumb people quickly destroy any civilization. Some localities may opt to admit anyone without regard to intelligence or character, but others will wish to only accept those of a commensurate mental level to the best of their populations, and will therefore exclude morons, blockheads, fools and ingrates. This conflicts with the idea of universal rights, and shows us why the concept is illusory: if morons have the “universal right” to move anywhere, what about people who want the right and freedom to live apart from morons? Modern society tells us that the way to do this is to earn enough money to live in an exclusive neighborhood, but even then, one must interact with morons daily for goods and services, in addition to dealing with those morons who inherited money or earned it through stupid means. Social Darwinism, or the idea that those who are the best and smartest earn the most money, has two holes: first, not all intelligent people opt to chase the money wagon and second, most morons are greedy, and many of them succeed through luck or persistence. A nihilist naturally laughs at the idea of correlating money to intelligence, and would prefer to live in a community where morons are excluded.

There are numerous issues that divide communities which can be resolved through this model. Anti-abortion devotees might need their own community, as there’s no way to make a law that both pro- and anti-abortion people will find fair. The constant combat between different groups, whether divided by sex or race or preference of values, exhausts our current civilization because so much of its time and energy is spent on internal conflict. The major reason that we choose this insane method is that it enables us to believe we are united by the form factor of being human, and therefore, that there is no need for belief beyond that. It enables us to ignore nature. However, as Carl Jung observed, by nature humans are of several different personality combinations, and those serve a role in the larger social construct (for example, a Meyers-Briggs “INTJ” personality will be a philosopher). There is no single archetype of human, but different types which match different roles in nature, much as there are different ecosystems for which there are specific combinations of host species. Our environment creates a pattern, and we evolve in a form that matches its unique contours; in the same way, humans have adapted to a self-created environment, civilization.

Paul Woodruff, in his book “Reverence,” pointed out that in modern times we have lost the ability to revere nature and our world. Part of our loss of reverence is this insistence on one-size-fits-all rules for civilization; we are so unstable as individuals that we want a solid, clear-cut, and absolute rule, but nature does not fit this pattern and so we override. One step to regaining reverence is to stop judging objects, actions and people by a linear binary (yes/no) rule and to start thinking in parallel. In some places, there should always be debauchery, and in others, there should always be quiet conservative living. Communities will shed people from newer generations who do not find that type of locality valuable, and those will in turn have to find their own living elsewhere, and define their own path. In this, we escape the illusion that a perfect social construct can be engineered for us all, and that by forcing us through it, something Utopian will emerge. Such illusions convince us to be passive, and to think solely in terms of governmental solutions applied by rote force, which limits our perspective on the manifold options available in almost every situation.

Nihilism in Politics

We define politics as the process of convincing large numbers of people to do something. No belief system can escape politics, unless it deals with the individual outside of civilization, at which point writing it down is hypocrisy. For this reason, although nihilism is a mental discipline and not a political platform, there are some areas in which nihilism will influence modern politics. The first and most obvious is that, unlike most who are either bought off or blind to the inadequacies of the status quo, nihilists will recognize that it is a deathmarch: an illogical path that will ultimately lead to failure, but because saying so is taboo and unprofitable, we all go along with it even though we march to our doom. Look into the future. Our earth will be more, and not less, polluted, because no matter what we do there will be more people than ever using technology and producing waste. A consequence of our population growth will be a lack of natural spaces to enjoy, because every single continent on earth will be divided up into salable land and covered in fences and concrete to the degree that unbroken wilderness will not exist. Nations will no longer convey a cultural identity or heritage, so we will all be citizens of the world and have what is offered in default of culture, namely Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola and re-runs of “Friends.” Bred for jobs and obedience, we will lose the best of our people because they are no longer relevant in a world that prizes money and docility over leadership, wisdom, and independent thinking. Endless commercial messages will adorn our cities and, because there is no culture, most will spend time watching television or engaging in equally debasing virtual entertainment. Since leadership will be useless, most people will have such flexible spines that they will be utter whores, and conversation will be worthless and friendship a meaningless term. Won’t be much to live for, so instead, we’ll survive, and hope “someday” it will get better.

The cause of all of this disaster will have been a fundamental inability to deal with reality. Our society, wealthy and powered by cheap fossil fuels, grew at an exponential rate with an inverse relationship to the quality of intelligence, leadership ability and holistic moral outlook of its population. We’ve bred a horde of fools and bred out the quality intelligences, replacing them with “geniuses” like Jay Gould and Bill Clinton. Since consumption is the only logic we understand, we have consumed much of our planet, and focus on symbolic factors like global warming in order to avoid looking at the enormity of the problem. Our governments get better with their computers, cameras and social security numbers in order to ensure that dissidents are more quickly quashed, and they’ve found better methods than locking them up; instead, they proclaim them as taboo-breakers, and let the rest of the citizens boycott them as dangerous to future business. All of this comes too much attention paid to the popularity of ideas, and a denial that what is popular rarely corresponds to an intelligent response to reality. We’ve had leftist governments, and rightist governments, and neither have dealt with this underlying problem.

Nihilism is not a bullet-pointed list, but there are some clearly definable ideas that nihilists will embrace while others do not. Extreme ecology makes sense if you wish to preserve your planet’s life, which directly contributes to maintenance of its climate and land. Localization makes sense if you wish to spare us all from having to find one rule for diametrically opposed ideologues. Preservation of national identity, and granting local communities the right to exclude or murder morons and perverts and other unwanted detritus of the human gene pool, also makes sense. Giving the individual greater existential autonomy than a society of products to buy and jobs at which to serve is more realistic than assuming we can all be crammed into the same mould and out will come perfect, uniform citizens. Realizing that commerce as a motivator does not address the subtle and long-term issues of our society liberates us from having to constantly manipulate each other through money. Finally, recognition that popularity of an idea has no bearing on its fitness for our collective survival frees us from the tyranny of the crowd, and lets us have leaders again, who instead of finding out what is popular and espousing it, find out what is practical and pursue it. Nihilism ends the society of illusions by shattering the power of the Crowd. Societies age and die when popularity becomes more important than pragmatism, and nihilism offers us a way to “go under” this process by removing value and discovering it anew. In this sense, nihilism is immediately political, although it is unlikely that an organized nihilist political presence will be seen.

How to Apply Nihilism

The underlying control level which supports politics is public attitude. If the public is “educated” to expect a concept as positive, and another as negative, it is a trivial matter to associate political issues with one of the two and thus to manipulate them. This creates a metapolitical battleground where ideas and their valuation determines the future means of gaining intellectual currency for ideas; this translates into political power. While nihilism applies to political viewpoints, as shown above, it is primarily efficacious as a change in attitudes and values to those within society, and can be used from that level to later alter political fortunes.

More importantly for those who see to what degree our civilization has become stagnant, nihilism is a guiding force for analyzing the task of creating a future civilization, whether a breakaway colony or a restarting of life in the ruins. Such an outlook is not favorable to a need for instant gratification; unlike conventional politics, which prescribes highly polarized immediate actions which do not change the underlying structure, nihilist thinking proposes enduring changes made slowly through individual rejection of garbage values.

To apply nihilism, start by viewing the world as a nihilist: reject that which has no value in the context of the whole, or the structure of reality, and replace it with things of solid demonstrable value, as found in biology, physics and philosophy. Do what is necessary to have a quality life, but go no further down the path of luxury and materialism, because it is meaningless. Use nihilist principles wherever you are given a choice; if even a tenth of our population refused to buy junk food, its longevity would be limited. Contrast nihilist principles to the “normal” illusory view that most of the population prefers, using short and friendly but insightful statements to point out where null value can be replaced by something of meaning. When people bring up “problems,” give a few words that show where nihilism reduces the illusion to garbage, and suggest a better course of action. Abstain from all of the idiotic things people do, and apply yourself toward constructive tasks. Those who cannot both reject garbage and create better are unworthy of any accolades; they are passive and deserve whatever slavery this world will throw at them.

What is Nihilism?

Having discussed the modes of thought through which an individual passes in being a nihilist, it is now appropriate to use the dreaded “to be” construction to describe nihilism: nihilism is an affirmation of reality so that ideals based on the structure of reality can be applied to thought and action. Like Zen Buddhism, it is a form of mental clearing and sharpening of focus more than a set of beliefs in and of itself; this is why nihilism is a belief in nothing, being both a belief in nothing (no inherent belief outside of reality) and a belief in nothingness (applying nothingness to useless thoughts, in an eternal cycle that like our own thinking, balances a consumptive emptiness against a progressive growth and proliferation of idea). It is a freedom, in a way that “freedom” cannot be applied in a modern society, from the views that others (specifically, the Crowd) apply out of fear, and a desire to use this freedom to create a new and more honest human who can view life as it is and still produce from it heroic ideals. When Nietzsche spoke of the “super-human,” this was his concept: that those who could accept the literality of life and fate and yet still do what is required to create a braver, more intelligent, more visionary human, would rise above the rabble and become a new standard of humanity. While our current definition of “humanity” applies more to pity and blind compassion for individuals, the super-human would think on the level of the structure of reality as a whole, both thinking in parallel and holistically, doing what is right not to preserve individual life but to nurture overall design.

The best thinkers in all doctrines have reached this state of mind. While they may not call it nihilism, and many rail against the form of “nihilism” that is essentially fatalism, or a decision to declare all thoughts and actions impossible and thus to relapse into mental entropy, all have accomplished this clarity of mind and transcendent state of seeing structure and not appearance. Plato, in his metaphor of the cave, describes humanity as imprisioned in a cave of its own perceptual dependence on visible form, and portrays philosophers-kings – his “super-humans” – as those who leave the cave and, while blinded by the light of real day for the first time, find a way to ascertain the true nature of reality and then to return to the cave, to explain it to those who have seen theretofore only shadows. This state of mind is heroic in that one sees what is important to an overall process, and is willing to assert that higher degree of organization whatever the cost, thus combining a realism (perception of physical world “as is”) with an idealism (measuring the world in contrasts between degrees of organization in thought) into a heroic vision, in which life itself is a means to an end, and that end is a greater organization or order to existence as a whole. Nihilism is a gateway to this worldview.

The Crowd serve death because through their great fear of it, they create rules which do little more than restrict the best among us, who they fear because they cannot understand them. What defines a crowd is its lack of direction, and its need to be led, and if it is to be led, a preference for one among it who will throw out a popular idea and thus congeal its unformed will into some lowest common denominator which is actionable. Reality does not play by this game, because to adopt a constant lowest common denominator is to descend in both ideals and evolution, because that which applies evolutionary pressure is a striving for larger goals. The humans who were content without fire remained little more than apes; those who needed fire were driven into the northern climates, away from the easily nourishing jungle, and eventually thrust themselves forward toward other goals which supported the need for fire: organized civilization, language, learning, and the concept of ideals versus materialism, or a simple assurance of comfort. Evolution forced them to consider “reasons why” and therefore, the develop themselves in such a way that those who could understand reasons why could compel themselves to do what was otherwise inconvenient and uncomfortable. From this is the root of all heroism that produces the best of what society offers: philosophy, art, architecture and morality.

The Crowd creates a reality to serve its fears, and by imposing it, crushes realism, because to point out that the emperor wears no clothes is to offend and disturb the crowd. Why might a nihilist insist on accuracy in taboo matters such as eugenics, race and environmental needs to reduce population? — because the Crowd will go to its death before it will ever do such a thing. To notice reality is to point out that Crowd reality is a complete lie, an illusion, and a sick farce designed to supplant the flagging egos of those with low self-esteem and relatively low intelligence (attributes necessary to be a member of a crowd, and not an independent thinker or leader). Those who create civilizations are succeeded by those who could not do the same, and by virtue of this opulence, societies soon breed crowds that through their greater numbers demand to control reality. One either illustrates the lie of their artificial reality, and points society in another direction, or drowns in the weight of lowest common denominator demands; all societies perish this way. Before the invader at the gates can conquer, or the disease can enfilade the population, or internal strife can tear apart a nation, there must be a failure of organization and even more a failure of will toward something higher than that which is convenient and materially comfortable, commercially viable, popular, etc. Dying societies inevitably create a Satan or Osama bin Laden to which they assign blame for their failing, but it is within; this is why while a nihilist may recognize the truth about race or eugenics, it is impossible to logically blame Negroes or the retarded for the downfall of a society. Blame is not useful, but diagnosis is, and an accurate diagnosis suggests that ordinary capable people become misinformed and accept mediocre ideas, at the behest of the Crowd, and thus condemn themselves to doom. The Crowd will always exist, but in healthy societies, it is kept in check by the wisdom of others.

Much as there is a “super-man” possible in our future, in our past and present there are Undermen, who are those with no higher goals than philosophical materialism: a denial of all value outside the physical world and its comforts. Those who take this lazy attitude to the form of a political agenda are Crowdists, and they can be found in Left and Right alike, supported by those who are emboldened by pity, or the feeling of superiority one gets for helping someone of lesser ability or fortune. Nihilism addresses such illusions and negates them, using nothingness as a weapon to clear the earth so that somethingness can again take root. A nihilist has no use for pity or the kind of low self-esteem that needs the response of others in order to feel good about itself. Like Zen monks, or European knights, a nihilist acts according to what is right by the order of the universe, and does so independently of consequences, including personal morality. To be thus independent from social conditioning, which is not as much a process of evil governments/corporations (“Satan”) as by the neurotic concerns of peers (“the enemy within”), is to crush the worthless and destructive opinions of the crowd, so expect retribution wherever one of them has power. Yet to have this state of mind is not to blame them, or those who wield pity, as they are misinformed rather than malevolent, and with better leadership – achieved, in part by acting independently and thus putting the lie to their false “reality” – they will act in a better state of mind. It goes without saying that such people are incapable of becoming super-humans but, while thus obsolete for our optimal future, will be the parents and grandparents of those who, if bred according to rigorous evolutionary standards, will become superhuman.

To distill this to a simple equation: one can either accept negativity (death, defecation, loss, sorrow) in life, or one can use cognitive dissonance to create a pleasant-sounding reality which denies it while asserting only the positive comforts of life, but to do so is to miss out on the challenge of life. To accept good and bad together as a means toward the continuation of life, and as a necessary part of the evolution that shaped us from mice into apes into humans, is a fully mature attitude and one that only a small portion of the population can understand. Most of you reading this will not understand nihilism and physically cannot; breed well and hope your children are smarter.

Transcendence

“Reverence is the capacity for awe in the face of the transcendent.” – Paul Woodruff

When one is philosophically mature enough to look past good and bad and see them as component parts of reality which work in opposition to create a larger good, or “meta-good” as we might be tempted to call it, good and bad lose moral value in and of themselves. They become a means, where the end is the continuation of reality. Much as humans respond to nature in parallel structures, the destructive and the creative are balanced forces that maintain equilibrium of a sort; without forest fires, forests choke; without predators, species overpopulate and deplete food sources and become extinct; without war and predators, humans become fat, lazy and useless (whoops, no idea how that last one got in there). In this context, we leave behind binary, linear morality and see the world as a nihilist: a vast functional machine which permits us the experience of consciousness.

In popular lore, there is frequent mention of “mind over matter,” but this is usually interpreted to mean using the mind to convince the flesh to do things it would not ordinarily do, like run marathons and lift cars from runover children. The concept of transcendence is an evolution of this which harmonizes with the nihilist emphasis on structure over appearance as well as the idealist concept that thoughts define reality more than physicality. Transcendence occurs when, acknowledging all that is destructive and uncomfortable in the world, we take a greater delight in the idea of what we are accomplishing, not as much what it means in the anthrocentric valuation, but an appreciation of its design in the greater working of our universe. While we are a small part of that whole, transcendence has us find a place in it and to appreciate its design and significance in that context, even to the degree of “forgiving” the world for our suffering and eventual death, and thus lightening our burden by recognizing that physicality and demise are secondary in importance to achievement of idea, whether that is a moral concept, a symphony, a painting, or even a life lived normally according to moral principles in which there were intangible rewards like learning, time spent with family, and personal betterment achieved by facing fears and surmounting them, gaining new abilities.

It might be said that the ultimate process of idealism, in which reality is “mind-correlative” or composed of thoughts or thoughtlike phenomena, is transcendence, or the achievement of valuation of idea over all physical comfort or discomfort. It is not asceticism, per se, in that it is not gained through denial of physical existence, but on the contrary, asserts the importance of organizing physical existence according to idealized design. It converges with heroism in that the idealist in this context acts regardless of personal consequences, because if the world is idea, the only way to truly express that idea is by putting it into action in the world. This form of belief unifies the previously divided mind and body, and raises the human from the level of a reactionary animal to a planner and a creator who is also undivided from his or her natural role. Historically, two of the most important philosophers in European canon, Arthur Schopenhauer and Friedrich Nietzsche, are united in this belief: Nietzsche sought a “pragmatic idealism” while Schopenhauer was a “cosmic idealist,” yet both appreciated the role of heroism in creating higher degrees of order. While Nietzsche derived his greatest inspiration from the ancient Greeks, Schopenhauer found great meaning in an ancient Indian text known as the Bhagavad-Gita, which introduces its view of philosophy through the viewpoint of a warrior concerned over the death and destruction he is about to unleash on his fellow humans. Through that question, the text explores the idea of placing idea over physical consequences by explaining that all reality is continuous will originating in a mystical source, and thus that while lives come and go the eternal order of reality remains, and creating a more organized harmony with that force is the goal of any heroic individual. As if proving parallelism through history, the ancient Greeks lauded similar concepts in their worship of heroic death and tragedy, in which triumph is found through assertion of higher ideal even when death and ruin inevitably follow. Praising what is right in a holistic sense over what is advantageous to the individual is the primary trait of all heroic, idealistic and nihilist philosophies.

In such modes of thought, the human being unifies imaginative and analytical facilities, using a method not dissimilar to science to interpret the world, and a method not far from art in projecting a next evolutionary stage, driven by such non-linear thought processes as informed emotion and calculated creativity. In the great transcendental thinkers of the West, most notably Ralph Waldo Emerson and Johannes Eckhart, the desire to merge these two seemingly disparate mental operations was the foundation of a spirituality based, as is Buddhism and ancient Christianity, on a quietude of the soul and a mystical state of mind in which one was “in” Nirvana or Heaven, a state of clarity both regarding life as suffering and a purpose and vision of what can give life meaning. All Romantic philosophies and art have this basis as well, and are equally mystical, as such states of mind cannot be achieved through linear description. Nihilism can be seen as a spiritual device for achieving this quietude of soul by abrading the meaningless and insignificant facts of physicality in order to clearly see the Idea, much as a philosopher leaving Plato’s cave would stand in reverent silence at the first glimpse of the sun. It is thus despite its primal origins as a “going under” through removal of meaning, a reevaulation of meaning and value, and a dramatic opposition to philosophical materialism, or the doctrine that the physical world and individual comfort are of overriding importance and thus outrank thought and idea.

Materialism is the essence of every destructive action taken by humanity, even though most who practice it would have no knowledge of it by that name. Most people, being well-meaning but misinformed and physically unable to undergo the cognitive process of holistic vision, drift toward materialistic ideas and strive toward what gives them personal physical comfort and wealth. In the modern time, materialism manifests itself in three primary fronts:

Commerce is the picking of the most popular product; oversocialization the organization of society according to who is most popular (usually he who promises alcohol, sex, and money); democracy is leadership not by what is right but what is popular. Materialism encourages the individual to think only of their own preference, and to limit thought at that which directly impacts individual comfort, and thus is blind to thinking for the whole of humankind and environment. When one thinks on that level, self-interest replaces finding the right answer according to the structure of the external world, and humans become solipsistic. Further, because materialism is an opposite to idealism, it causes the Crowd to gather and tear down whatever idealists dare rise among them. Only such a misinformed and dysfunctional thought process explains humanity’s ongoing attempted genocide of its environment, its contentment to labor in horrifically boring jobs, its seeming satisfaction with petty interpersonal strife and a lack of reverence toward humans and other life forms alike, and its reliance on a world of illusion whose empty values render individual souls empty, causing neurosis and anomie at all levels of existence.

(Many humans are so divided between mind and body that they prefer ideas of a solipsistic nature to physicality, much like some drug addicts prefer intoxication to reality. Nihilism allows us to see reality as the one and only expression of both life and thought, and therefore, to see the true stakes in our dilemma, especially regarding our environment, whose destruction – a process not of complete obliteration but of disrupting its complex internal mechanations, which require more land and sea and air than humanity – will not only be the greatest tragedy of our species, but an unforgivable offense.)

Nihilism is the soft earth at the start of a wooded path toward seeing life in a more developed way. Before this path, life seems to be suffering and boredom punctuated by horror (paraphrased from H.P. Lovecraft), without meaning or direction, even when one creates an absolute God and corresponding Heaven where things are otherwise. This state of depressed mind must be like that of the inhabitants of Plato’s cave, who find themselves bored at an endless procession of shadows yet unaware of another way. A nihilist is annointed with knowledge, and must return to the world at large to speak of the sun which filters through the woods toward the end of the path. There is hope; there is meaning; there is reason and purpose to life. Whether one is a Christian, a Jew, a Buddhist, a Hindu, or a Muslim, this truth can spoken in a familiar language, as it has been discovered by the best thinkers of all religions and cultures. It is universal not only to humanity, but to all thinking beings. From nothingness comes everything, and when the two are seen as continuous, we are finally aware of the infinity of life and the great continuous gift that consciousness must be.

Says Who?

I am a writer. Therefore, I compile ideas, and write about them. This is my contribution in the great world in parallel. Yours may be different. We do not need a society solely composed of writers. You can understand these ideas, if you’re brave enough, and put them to work for you in whatever it is that you do: teaching, roadwork, computer programming, plumbing, soldiering, journalism, drug dealing, politics. It is important that you understand them, as nothing is worse than appearance without structure, as it has us chasing the ideals of our memories in a context in which they no longer apply. I am a writer, and so I write. Find your own path. If you follow any path of thought to its full logical conclusions, you will discover what is enumerated in introductory form in this article, and you will be ready, if you have inner integrity and a love for being alive, to take a stand for what you now believe: Bring your sword, bring your censure, bring your Cross – I have found it; I am ready.

(Inspired by conversations with Todd Spivak, lowtec and g0sp-hell. Dedicated to Anton Bruckner.)

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Nihilism – RationalWiki

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Mar 122016
 

Nihilism is the philosophical belief that life and the universe have no meaning. In general, nihilists are considered to be wanton hedonists, since their life has no meaning, although classical Russian nihilism concerned itself primarily with trying to destroy pretty much everything (because nihilism here meant “annihilating” everything old, so it make way for the new way). Things would start over ex nihilo-from nothing… supposedly.

For some reason, despite the number of atheistic philosophies that still find purpose and joy in life, many religious people consider nihilism the logical extension of atheism. This is despite the fact that the most eloquent expression of nihilism is actually found in a holy book:

Sren Kierkegaard was one of the first modern philosophers to discuss Nihilism. He posited a philosophy of nihilism known as levelling, — a process of suppressing and removing individuality to such a point where an individual lacks the traits that make him unique. Without being an individual, life and one’s very existence becomes void of any meaning. This philosophy is not the fully developed nihilism that was to come because Kierkegaard believed leveling created a life without meaning or value, but that life itself has inherent meaning and value[1], Modern nihilism, beginning with Nietzsche, would claim life has no inherent meaning period.

Perhaps the most identified as a nihilist and the first philosopher people think of when nihilism is mentioned, is Friedrich Nietzsche. Nietzsche generally describes nihilism as “a condition of tension, as a disproportion between what we want to value (or need) and how the world appears to operate.” Nietzsche, however, is mainly associated with the philosophical statement “God is dead”, which holds that the Christian God is no longer a viable source of any moral principles, therefore leading to a rejection of an objective and universal moral law, with a lack of moral basis ultimately turning into nihilism. However he also states that with God out of the way, human creative abilities could fully blossom and without turning an eye toward a spiritual realm, humanity could begin to acknowledge the value of the world. Nietzsche was thus not a nihilist himself (at least in his later years) but rather dedicated to combating nihilism, which he feared was overtaking the West. He is usually identified as an existentialist. In fact, both he and Kierkegaard are sometimes labeled the “father of existentialism” though obviously they had very different positions, especially on Christianity.

On an unrelated note, nihilism is the most metal of philosophies, being propounded by both Toki Wartooth and Skwisgaar Skwigelf. ANUS (American Nihilist Underground Society) is also one of the first heavy metal databases (founded back in 1987), who like to use big, complex words to daze the reader into believing they are accomplished intellectuals, as well as finding ways to draw correlations between nihilism and any metal band whatsoever.[2]

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Freedom | Article about freedom by The Free Dictionary

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Feb 272016
 

.

1.the quality or state of being free, esp to enjoy political and civil liberties

3.Philosophy the quality, esp of the will or the individual, of not being totally constrained; able to choose between alternative actions in identical circumstances

.

the human capacity to act in accordance with aims and interests, relying on a knowledge of objective necessity.

In the history of social thought, the problem of freedom was traditionally reduced to the question of whether people have free willin other words, whether their intentions and actions are governed by external circumstances. The materialist conception of history rejects the idealist view of individual freedom as individual consciousness independent of objective circumstances. Marxism also opposes the metaphysical belief that there is an antithesis between freedom and necessitya view that was widely held by philosophers and natural scientists of the 17th through 19th centuries, including T. Hobbes, P. H. Holbach, J. O. de La Mettrier, P. S. de Laplace, and E. Dhring. The Marxist conception of freedom in dialectical interaction with necessity is opposed to voluntarism, which asserts the arbitrary willfulness of human actions, and to fatalism, which regards actions as predetermined. Unlike the idealists, including Hegel and the existentialists, who limit the problem of freedom to the realm of consciousness, Marxism argues that without the possibility of realization, the consciousness of freedom is merely an illusion.

In their everyday activity people encounter not an abstract necessity but its concrete, historical embodiment in existing social and economic relations that determine the range of peoples interests, as well as in the material means for achieving desired goals. People are not free to choose the objective conditions in which they function, but they do possess a certain freedom in their choice of goals, since at any given moment there are usually several real possibilities of varying feasibility. Even when there is no alternative, people are in a position to forestall undesirable developments or hasten desirable ones. In addition, they are more or less free in their choice of the means for attaining a particular end. Thus, freedom is not absolute but relative, and it is made real through the choice of a definite plan of action. The degree of freedom increases as people grow more aware of their real possibilities, as they gain greater access to the means of attaining desired goals, and as their interests coincide more with the aspirations of many other people and especially with those of entire social classes, as well as with the objective trends of social progress.

Based on these considerations, Marxists define freedom as the known necessity. According to this point of view, the freedom of an individual, a group, a class, or an entire society does not consist in an imaginary independence from objective laws but in the ability to choose and to make decisions with knowledge of the subject (F. Engels, Anti-Dhring, 1966, p. 112). The individuals historically relative but practically effective freedom to choose a line of action under various circumstances makes him morally and socially responsible for his actions. Moreover, negative freedom, or freedom from deprivation, exploitation, and social and national oppression is a condition for positive freedom, which is associated with creative work, self-determination, and the comprehensive development of the individual.

Freedom does not mean arbitrary choice. Mans freedom in thought and action does not involve freedom from causality, and freedom is not negated by the causal determination of thoughts, interests, intentions, and actions, because these human capacities are not determined in identical ways. Regardless of the origin of their aims and intentions, people enjoy freedom to the extent that they have the real possibility of exercising a choice or preference that objectively corresponds to their interests and to the extent that external circumstances do not force them to act against personal interests and needs. Abstract freedom does not exist. Freedom is always concrete and relative. Depending on the objective circumstances and the specific situation, people may enjoy freedom or be totally deprived of it. They may have freedom in some spheres of activity but not in others. Moreover, the degree of freedom may vary greatly, from freedom in the choice of goals to freedom in the choice of means or to freedom only to adapt to reality.

In reality, freedom exists in necessity in the form of an unbroken chain of past free choices that have resulted in the present condition of society. Necessity, which exists within freedom in the form of objective circumstances, can only be realized through free action. Consequently, historical determinism does not deny freedom of choice in social action but presupposes it, including it as a result of such action.

According to Marx definition, free conscious activity is a species characteristic distinguishing humans from animals, and the freedom enjoyed in a particular historical epoch is a necessary product of historical development. Engels wrote: The first men who separated themselves from the animal kingdom were in all essentials as unfree as the animals themselves, but each step forward in civilization was a step toward freedom (ibid). Despite all its contradictions and its antagonistic character, social development has generally been accompanied by an expansion of the limits of individual freedom, and ultimately it will result in the liberation of humanity from social restrictions on freedom in classless communist society, where the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 4, p. 447). If the extent of human freedom is considered a measure of social progress, the pace of social progress depends on the degree of freedom people possess.

The degree of freedom enjoyed in a specific historical epoch is generally defined by the level of development of the productive forces, the extent of peoples knowledge of the objective processes in nature and in society, and the social and political structure of the society. The freedom of the individual always represents merely a portion of the freedom enjoyed by an entire society. In this sense, as Lenin pointed out when he repudiated anarchistic, individualistic conceptions of the freedom of the individual, one cannot live in society and be free from society (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 12, p. 104).

In antagonistic class society the division of labor, private ownership of the means of production, and the division of society into antagonistic classes result in the domination of particular interests and the spontaneous operation of processes that are beyond peoples control and that are accompanied by social cataclysms. Under such conditions, the reverse side of the freedom of the ruling class to dispose of property, material wealth, and knowledge is the necessity for the exploited class to labor for the enrichment of others and to obey the will of others. In the relations between individuals, the individual freedom of some is eroded by the arbitrary power of others to do as they please. The measure of individual freedom is the extent of private property, which is the main determinant of opportunities for enjoying material and cultural goods. Under these conditions, the freedom of the overwhelming majority is restricted, and at the same time, there is a colossal waste of material and human resources in a society.

Seeking to expropriate for its own use as much as possible of the total freedom potentially available to society as a whole, the ruling class in antagonistic class society has always imposed maximum regimentation on the behavior of the rest of the population by means of various social norms, such as caste systems, social estates, and other hierarchical and legal systems. Such legalized limitations on the behavior of the majority become the condition for the freedom and arbitrary rule of the privileged minority.

Regardless of its ideological form, the peoples struggle against social restrictions on their freedom has been a powerful, driving force for social progress throughout history. Demands for freedom and equality have fueled each other, although they have been justified in different ways by the ideologists of various classes. On the eve of the bourgeois revolutions in Western Europe and North America, these demands took the form of an assertion of the natural right of all people to partake equally in the benefits of civilization, to dispose equally of the fruits of their labor, and to determine their own fate. Under the slogan Liberty, equality, and fraternity, the progressive bourgeoisie led the masses in the struggle against feudalism. However, these principles could not be realized in capitalist society.

The history of capitalism refuted the bourgeois doctrines of freedom, especially the popular, 19th-century liberal ideas of A. Smith, J. Bentham, and J. S. Mill, who argued that maximum restrictions on government, the freedom of the individual to dispose of his private property, and the individuals pursuit of rational self-interest would lead to universal well-being, with the result that the individual freedom of all members of society would flourish. Even in the most advanced capitalist countries, individual freedom is largely a formality, and reactionary forces constantly infringe on the rights won by the masses through stubborn struggle (for example, freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, freedom of organization, and freedom of assembly).

Because it is irresistibly attractive to the broad masses, the slogan of freedom is widely used by bourgeois ideologists for propaganda purposes. For precisely this reason, the phrase the free world is used to designate the capitalist West, and the most reactionary organizations promote their own interests by using the word freedom in a wide variety of contexts. Many bourgeois ideologists, including M. Friedman, H. Wallich, and C. Whittaker, openly counterpose freedom to equality. At the same time, various technocratic and behaviorist theories, which denigrate and even openly reject the freedom of the individual, have become popular in the West. For example, the American social psychologist B. F. Skinner and his followers deny individual freedom and justify the manipulation of peoples consciousness and behavior. With the crisis of bourgeois individualism, with the increasing restriction of individual freedom and disregard for human dignity by the state-monopoly bureaucracy, these theories are attractive to members of the ruling class who wish to suppress democratic rights and strengthen bureaucratic control over the masses. At the same time, these theories are shared by representatives of the liberal intelligentsia and the radical youth, who have become so disillusioned with the traditional values of bourgeois civilization that they are inclined to regard all individual freedom as a sham. From a long-term historical perspective, however, the expansion of freedom is a dialectical, irreversible process moving toward the consistent social and national emancipation of mankind.

The objective conditions for genuine freedom can be realized only through the elimination of the antagonistic relations that private property fosters between people. When planned development replaces the spontaneous processes in society, eliminating most unforeseen economic and social consequences, peoples social activity becomes genuinely free, conscious, creative historical action. According to Engels, in communist society the objective, external forces which have hitherto dominated history will pass under the control of men themselves. It is only from this point that men, with full consciousness, will fashion their own history; it is only from this point that the social causes set in motion by men will have, predominantly and in constantly increasing measure, the effects willed by men. It is humanitys leap from the realm of necessity into the realm of freedom (Anti-Dhring, 1966, p. 288). At the same time, if the maximum degree of individual freedom is to be attained, the goals set by each individual must be consistent with the interests of the rest of the members of society. Thus, every member of society receives genuine opportunities for the comprehensive, full development of his inherent abilities and talents and free access to mankinds storehouse of knowledge, experience, and other cultural values, as well as the leisure time to master this legacy.

The socialist revolution has laid the foundation for the emancipation of people in all spheres of social life. This process has been accelerated by the rapid growth of the productive forces, the development of the scientific and technological revolution, the improvement of social relations, and general cultural progress. In communist society freedom will be embodied in the creation of all the necessary conditions for the comprehensive, harmonious development of the individual. As Marx pointed out, under communism, beyond the realm of necessity (beyond the limits of material production), begins that development of human energy, which is an end in itself, the true realm of freedom, which, however, can blossom only with this realm of necessity as its basis (in K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 25, part 2, p. 387).

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SEO|Digital marketing Agency|Consultant|Company Kent

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Feb 242016
 

Lets be honest on a few points. Search Engine Optimisation or SEO for short is vital for your business. All the time there are search engines, there will always be a need for SEO. Choosing an SEO company to work with could be one of the most important things you do for your business and it could have either a positive or negative impact on your business. The positive impact would be seeing your business rise up the SEO rankings and business profits increase. And the negative would be wasting money on a company that either creates weak and dangerous links to your siteor even does nothing for you.

That is why choosing an SEO consultant or company that has experience working with many clients, within different niches and knows how to improve your web presence, not damage it, is vital. SEO has changed a lot over the last few years, methods that were once effective, not only no longer work, but are now damaging to your website. Unfortunately, there are still a large number of SEO companies and consultants who either outsource their SEO service to cheap third parties, who dont know what they are doing, or they speak to you in a language that leaves you unclear as to what they are doing!

We go into the why you should use us as your SEO consultant / company in great detail on our About page, but the main factor that makes us different from a lot of other SEO agencies, is we are a small team who put emphasis on the personal touch. This means the people you talk to are the ones who do the work. We dont outsource or farm your work out to people with lesser experience, all your SEO work is done directly byone of our three man team. Also, a lot of agencies have a high turnover of SEO staffbecause the industry is changing a lot and agencies have to take on so many clients to meet overheads, they dont have time to develop and research what is still working. This means the quality of SEO is not always at its best. Because we purposely are small, we have very low overheads, which means we can pick and choose who we work with and thereby spend more than 40 hours a month researching and developing strategies thatget you results.

Firstly you should stay away from anyone guaranteeing first place spot on Google, even page one status, for keywords that will get you more business (and not just your business name). That is not to say it is not possible to get page one rankings, we have achieved this over and over again, but with Googles algorithm updating and changing on a regular basis, any sort of promise to get you page one or first spot is a false guarantee. What we do guarantee you is this. We will agree with you a result within a time frame that we are both happy with, if we dont achieve it, we will continue to do the work until we get the result, for free!

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Digital Duplications and the Fourth Amendment – Digital …

 Fourth Amendment  Comments Off on Digital Duplications and the Fourth Amendment – Digital …
Feb 152016
 

Introduction

The explosive growth of digital data in the twenty-first century has been both a boon and a curse for law enforcement. On one hand this growth has heralded a golden age of surveillance owing to the massive amount of information that is available about actual and potential lawbreakers,1E.g., Peter Swire, The Golden Age of Surveillance, Slate (July 15, 2015, 4:12 PM), http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2015/07/encryption_back_doors_aren_t_necessary_we_re_already_in_a_golden_age_of.html [http://perma.cc/957N-QFL4]. but on the other hand the government now has that much more data to sort through. To search this ever-expanding haystack, the government has adopted various techniques, including algorithmic queries. But in order to apply these queries to search for the needle the government must first collect the hay. One technique that law enforcement has adopted is to take mirror images of digital data for later off-site review.

A persistent question, though, is how the Fourth Amendment applies to both the initial act of duplicating digital data and the continued retention of that data. It goes without saying that the drafters of the Fourth Amendment did not contemplate its application to the digital era. And Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, accordingly, has long since departed from a strict originalist understanding. Beginning with Katz v. United States,2 389 U.S. 347 (1967). the Supreme Court adapted [t]he right of the people to be secure …against unreasonable searches and seizures3U.S. Const. amend. IV. to cover modern technological developments by finding such a violation when the government surreptitiously recorded a phone conversation in a public phone booth.4See Katz, 389 U.S. at 359.

Since then, the Court has considered the Fourth Amendments application to a variety of new technologies ranging from airplane surveillance to thermal imaging.5 See, e.g., United States v. Karo, 468 U.S. 705 (1984) (radio tracking); California v. Ciraolo, 476 U.S. 207 (1986) (airplane surveillance); Florida v. Riley, 488 U.S. 445 (1989) (helicopter surveillance); Kyllo v. United States, 533 U.S. 27 (2001) (thermal imaging); United States v. Jones, 132 S. Ct. 945 (2012) (GPS tracking); Maryland v. King, 133 S. Ct. 1958 (2013) (DNA swabs); Riley v. California, 134 S. Ct. 2473 (2014) (cell phones). In Riley v. California,6 134 S. Ct. 2473. for example, the Supreme Court analyzed the application of the Fourth Amendment to searches of a cell phone seized incident to arrest. Noting that modern cell phones contain vast troves of personal information, far beyond what one historically could keep in ones pocket, the Court found that the rationale for the search-incident-to-arrest exception to the warrant requirement did not extend to a cell phones digital contents.7Id. at 249495.

This Note attempts to address a narrow question in modern Fourth Amendment jurisprudence: should government duplication and retention of electronically stored information be characterized under the Fourth Amendment as a search, as a seizure, as both, or as neither?8 Although this Note does explore Fourth Amendment reasonableness balancing as applied to duplication and retention in Part IV, its primary focus is on the predicate question of whether a search or seizure has even occurred. Duplication and retention arise in many contexts.9 For example, many warrants include temporary seizure provisions that require the government to return seized items after a certain period of time. The government could potentially make a copy of any hard drives seized and retain the copy beyond the warrant period. See, e.g., United States v. Ganias, 755 F.3d 125 (2d Cir. 2014) (finding such conduct a seizure of the data and applying the exclusionary rule), rehg en banc granted, 791 F.3d 290 (2d Cir. 2015); cf. United States v. Cote, 72 M.J. 41 (C.A.A.F. 2013) (applying exclusionary rule to exclude evidence obtained from an original hard drive retained beyond the authorized period). Additionally, the technology certainly exists to enable the government to remotely access computers connected to the Internet, potentially allowing remote copying without requiring a physical trespass. Cf. United States v. Gorshkov, No. CR00-550C, 2001 WL 1024026 (W.D. Wash. May 23, 2001). But somewhat shockingly, it is not entirely settled that the government conducts either a search or a seizure when it makes a copy of locally stored data,10 Under current law, information shared with third parties (such as with cloud storage) may lose the veneer of privacy and thus is no longer protected by the Fourth Amendment. See Smith v. Maryland, 442 U.S. 735, 743 (1979). This Note focuses on locally stored data for simplicity, but the Court in Riley suggested that the Fourth Amendment protections would apply equally to data stored in the cloud, see 134 S. Ct. at 2491; see also Jones, 132 S. Ct. at 957 (Sotomayor, J., concurring) (noting that the third-party doctrine is ill suited to the digital age); Daniel J. Solove, Digital Dossiers and the Dissipation of Fourth Amendment Privacy, 75 S. Cal. L. Rev. 1083 (2002) (warning against rigid application of this rule in the digital era). and then retains that data without further reviewing it.11 Later review by a government agent would most likely constitute a search. However, because the items being searched are duplicates in government possession, not originals, even this issue may not be fully settled. See Orin S. Kerr, Searches and Seizures in a Digital World, 119 Harv. L. Rev. 531, 56265 (2005). As Justice Sotomayor worries, [t]he Government can store such records and efficiently mine them for information years into the future.12Jones, 132 S. Ct. at 95556 (Sotomayor, J., concurring).

One technique the government has adopted to address the growth of relevant data, a technique which some courts have blessed, is to take a mirror image of a hard drive (or other data repository) on site, leave the original with the owner, and then perform the search off-site at a later time.13 See, e.g., Ganias, 755 F.3d at 135 ([T]he creation of mirror images for offsite review is constitutionally permissible in most instances ….); United States v. Veloz, No. 12-10264, 2015 WL 3540808, at *5 (D. Mass. June 4, 2015); cf. United States v. Tamura, 694 F.2d 591, 59596 (9th Cir. 1982) (noting that off-site review may be appropriate subject to prior approval by a magistrate when on-site review is infeasible). A mirror image is an exact duplicate of the original data, which investigators can then access in a read-only state to avoid altering the data in even the smallest way.14See Scott Carlson, New Challenges for Digital Forensics Experts and the Attorneys Who Work with Them, in Understanding the Legal Issues of Computer Forensics 17, 1920 (2013), 2013 WL 3759817, at *2 (discussing digital forensics procedures). This approach allows the search to proceed with minimal interference in the data owners work or life, since the owner retains the originals. The investigators, for their part, are able to work in their own offices, under their own time constraints. And, because the data was copied exactly and remains unaltered, it is easily authenticated and used as evidence.15See Recent Case, 128 Harv. L. Rev. 743, 74849 (2014) (describing authentication process).

At first blush, it is unclear how mirror-imaging fits into the constitutional landscape. The Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.16U.S. Const. amend. IV. As the Court recently reiterated in Riley, the ultimate touchstone of the Fourth Amendment is reasonableness.17 Riley v. California, 134 S. Ct. 2473, 2482 (2014) (quoting Brigham City v. Stuart, 547 U.S. 398, 403 (2006)). However, the government can avoid even that standard if its actions constitute neither a search nor a seizure a prerequisite to Fourth Amendment scrutiny.18 For example, using a trained canine to sniff the exterior of a bag for drugs is not subject to any reasonableness analysis because the Supreme Court has held that such an action is neither a search nor a seizure. See United States v. Place, 462 U.S. 696, 707 (1983); see also Illinois v. Caballes, 543 U.S. 405, 409 (2005) (finding that a canine sniff of car stopped for a traffic violation was not a search). But see Florida v. Jardines, 133 S. Ct. 1409, 141718 (2013) (finding a canine sniff on the front porch of home was a search). The mirror-image approach thus raises the question of whether duplication and retention constitutes a search or seizure subject to Fourth Amendment reasonableness requirements.

Answering that question requires determining whether duplication either (a) violates the individuals reasonable expectation of privacy, or (b) interferes with the individuals possessory interest in the information.19See United States v. Jacobsen, 466 U.S. 109, 113 (1984). This Note assumes that the individual has an actual (subjective) expectation of privacy without which no search occurs. The caselaw offers no conclusive answers. Indeed, until very recently, it tended to suggest that the Fourth Amendment had no application to duplication because it is neither a search nor a seizure. If the government just copies the data, without looking at it, then there is no invasion of privacy. If the data owner retains the original, then there is no intrusion on possessory interests. These answers, though, seem both unsatisfying and instinctively wrong.

Some courts and commentators have suggested that such duplication should be considered a seizure because it interferes with the individuals right to delete data20See Paul Ohm, The Fourth Amendment Right to Delete, 119 Harv. L. Rev. F. 10 (2005). or right to exclude others from data.21See United States v. Ganias, 755 F.3d 125, 137 (2d Cir. 2014), rehg en banc granted, 791 F.3d 290 (2d Cir. 2015); Mark Taticchi, Note, Redefining Possessory Interests: Perfect Copies of Information as Fourth Amendment Seizures, 78 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 476 (2010). Others have argued that it is a seizure if it freezes evidence for later review rather than as a memory aid.22See Orin S. Kerr, Fourth Amendment Seizures of Computer Data, 119 Yale L.J. 700, 71415 (2010). While such conceptions subject duplication of electronic data to Fourth Amendment scrutiny, they do so by shoehorning the process into existing precedent on seizures. But the problem with government duplication is not easily conceived of as interference with possessory interests, since the data owner not only retains unfettered rights to the original, but also may not have exclusive rights over much of the data in the first instance. Accordingly, it makes little sense to label such conduct as a seizure.

Instead, this Note proposes, courts should focus on the privacy interests at stake in duplication of that information, and whether government duplication and retention of an individuals private data violates that expectation, and is therefore a search. Privacy, often defined as control over personal information,23See infra section III.A, pp. 105963. is clearly infringed when the government duplicates that information, thus depriving the data owner of control. Viewing duplication as a search would avoid some of the complications that arise from characterizing it as a seizure, such as whether the data owner does in fact have a right to exclusive possession of the particular data.

Part I explores the doctrine surrounding searches and seizures in general terms and examines some background cases analogous to the digital duplication context. Part II considers the arguments advanced by some courts and commentators that digital duplication is properly conceived as a seizure. In Part III, the Note shows why the doctrine supports viewing duplication as a search. Part IV examines some of the consequences that arise from the proposed recharacterization.

Fourth Amendment jurisprudence has been adapted to new technology many times throughout its history.24 See generally Orin S. Kerr, The Fourth Amendment and New Technologies: Constitutional Myths and the Case for Caution, 102 Mich. L. Rev. 801 (2004) (discussing the shifts in the jurisprudence in response to new technologies). As the government has acquired new methods for collecting evidence, courts have adjusted the test for what constitutes a violation.25 Professor Orin Kerr calls this the equilibrium approach to the Fourth Amendment, wherein the Court tries to maintain the status quo between cops and robbers. See Orin S. Kerr, An Equilibrium-Adjustment Theory of the Fourth Amendment, 125 Harv. L. Rev. 476, 486 (2011). Most significantly, in Katz, the Court moved beyond its prior trespass inquiry to bring a listening device on a public phone booth within the Fourth Amendments ambit.26 Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 353 (1967). In several recent cases, the Court, led by Justice Scalia, has revived the trespass inquiry as an additional test for Fourth Amendment violations. See, e.g., United States v. Jones, 132 S. Ct. 945, 953 (2012). Kerr has suggested that, contra Jones, there was no trespass test before Katz. See Orin S. Kerr, The Curious History of Fourth Amendment Searches, 2012 Sup. Ct. Rev. 67, 68. In Kyllo v. United States,27 533 U.S. 27 (2001). the Court ruled that the government searched a home when, from a car on a public way, it used thermal imaging to measure the heat given off from the roof of a home.28Id. at 30, 40. In Riley, the Court imposed strict limitations on the circumstances under which a police officer could search a cell phone incident to arrest.29 Riley v. California, 134 S. Ct. 2473, 2495 (2014). But there is little Supreme Court guidance on applying the Fourth Amendment to duplications, and lower courts have had to analogize from old caselaw of questionable relevance in the modern context. Consequently, earlier cases tended to find that duplication constituted neither a search nor a seizure. More recently, however, that trend has reversed itself, and courts have begun to apply Fourth Amendment scrutiny to duplications of digital data.

A. Search or Seizure

The Fourth Amendment regulates both searches and seizures. These are two discrete government actions, each of which is independently subjected to the Constitutions reasonableness requirement. In United States v. Jacobsen,30 466 U.S. 109 (1984). the Court defined a seizure as some meaningful interference with an individuals possessory interests in the property.31Id. at 113. A seizure threatens the individuals interest in retaining possession of property32 Texas v. Brown, 460 U.S. 730, 747 (1983) (Stevens, J., concurring in the judgment); see also United States v. Place, 462 U.S. 696, 716 (1983) (Brennan, J., concurring in the result). and contemplates a forcible dispossession of the owner.33 Hale v. Henkel, 201 U.S. 43, 76 (1906), overruled in part by Murphy v. Waterfront Commn, 378 U.S. 52 (1964).

Jacobsen also defined a search: a search occurs when an expectation of privacy that society is prepared to consider reasonable is infringed.34 466 U.S. at 113. This definition builds on Justice Harlans concurrence in Katz.35See 389 U.S. 347, 361 (1967) (Harlan, J., concurring). Katz unquestionably elevated the importance of privacy to the Fourth Amendment inquiry, and indeed, until United States v. Jones,36 132 S. Ct. 945 (2012). privacy seemed to have attained status as not only the primary but perhaps the exclusive focus of Fourth Amendment search analysis.37Jones renewed the focus on property rights, but as that case illustrates, the property-driven analysis had never been entirely displaced. See, e.g., Soldal v. Cook County, 506 U.S. 56, 62 (1992) ([O]ur cases unmistakably hold that the [Fourth] Amendment protects property as well as privacy.). Although this primacy has been criticized by commentators, there are strong reasons for maintaining a focus on privacy.38 See generally Christopher Slobogin, A Defense of Privacy as the Central Value Protected by the Fourth Amendments Prohibition on Unreasonable Searches, 48 Tex. Tech L. Rev. (forthcoming 2016) (rebutting criticisms of the significance of privacy in Fourth Amendment analysis). In any event, even after Jones, privacy is plainly a part of the search inquiry. If the government has infringed a reasonable expectation of privacy, then it has conducted a search.

But privacy defies easy definition.39 See, e.g., Daniel J. Solove, Understanding Privacy 1011 (2008) (proposing sixteen categories of privacy); see also David Alan Sklansky, Too Much Information: How Not to Think About Privacy and the Fourth Amendment, 102 Calif. L. Rev. 1069, 1113 (2014) (defining privacy as a type of refuge from the government). In general, though, courts and commentators have come to view privacy as determining for oneself when, how and to whom personal information will be disclosed.40 Natl Cable & Telecomms. Assn v. FCC, 555 F.3d 996, 1001 (D.C. Cir. 2009). Privacy is an individuals control of information concerning his or her person.41 U.S. Dept of Justice v. Reporters Comm. for Freedom of the Press, 489 U.S. 749, 763 (1989). This definition dates back at least to Professor Alan Westins seminal work, published the same year Katz was decided.42See Alan F. Westin, Privacy and Freedom 7 (1967) (defining privacy as the claim of individuals, groups, or institutions to determine for themselves when, how, and to what extent information about them is communicated to others). Westins definition has gained traction in Fourth Amendment scholarship.43See Sklansky, supra note 39, at 108384 (describing the dominance of Westins definition in modern academic discourse); see also Harold J. Krent, Of Diaries and Data Banks: Use Restrictions Under the Fourth Amendment, 74 Tex. L. Rev. 49, 51 (1995). Left to debate, of course, is what information is personal and thus private. But so defined, it seems natural to say that an individual has an expectation that she will retain control over the information contained in her data storage device. Whether the expectation is reasonable is illuminated by reference to real and personal property law and societal understandings.44See Rakas v. Illinois, 439 U.S. 128, 144 n.12 (1978).

A few examples serve to illustrate the dichotomy between searches and seizures. As noted, a seizure occurs when the government meaningfully interferes with an individuals possessory interests.45See United States v. Jacobsen, 466 U.S. 109, 113 (1984). If a police officer takes your phone away from you, then that officer has seized your phone. A court reviewing that action would then ask whether that seizure was reasonable within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.46 See, e.g., United States v. Place, 462 U.S. 696, 70910 (1983). A search, on the other hand, occurs when the government violates an individuals actual and reasonable expectation of privacy.47See Jacobsen, 466 U.S. at 113; Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 361 (1967) (Harlan, J., concurring); see also Smith v. Maryland, 442 U.S. 735, 740 (1979) (adopting Justice Harlans approach from Katz). Thus, if a police officer looks at your phones contents, such as your contacts list or stored videos, that officer has searched your phone because he has interfered with your control over the personal information contained within. The reviewing court would ask whether that search was reasonable which, as Riley emphasized, generally means pursuant to a warrant.48 Riley v. California, 134 S. Ct. 2473, 2495 (2014). If an officer takes your phone from you and then looks at the photos on it, that officer has seized and then searched your phone. By contrast, when the police officer watches you talking on your phone as you walk down Main Street, he has conducted neither a search nor a seizure.49See United States v. Knotts, 460 U.S. 276, 28182 (1983). No reasonable expectation of privacy has been invaded by the officers observations of you in public, and the officers action in no way interferes with your possession of your phone. That action, then, is never subjected to Fourth Amendment reasonableness analysis.50 See, e.g., Illinois v. Caballes, 543 U.S. 405, 40810 (2005) (declining to consider the reasonableness of a dog sniff after concluding that the dog sniff was not itself a search).

B. Early Duplication Cases

Arizona v. Hicks51 480 U.S. 321 (1987). concerned duplication but is far removed from the digital context: While searching an apartment for the source of an errant gunshot, a police officer noticed some high-end stereo equipment that he suspected might be stolen and recorded the serial number to check against a police database of stolen equipment.52Id. at 323. The Court quickly discarded the argument that recording the serial number constituted a seizure. The recording did not meaningfully interfere with the defendants possessory interest in the information; because the officer did not confiscate the stereo, he had not interfered with the defendants possession of either the stereo or the serial number.53Id. at 324. The Court nonetheless affirmed the exclusion of the evidence, holding that moving the stereo to reveal the serial number constituted a search, which was unreasonable given the lack of probable cause. Id. at 328.

Some lower courts have also considered duplication in other nondigital contexts, such as photocopies and photographs. Several cases, for example, suggest that photocopying is not a seizure.54See, e.g., United States v. Thomas, 613 F.2d 787, 793 (10th Cir. 1980) (The agents act of photocopying …was not a seizure. A seizure is a taking of property.). But in 2001, in United States v. Gorshkov,55 No. CR00-550C, 2001 WL 1024026 (W.D. Wash. May 23, 2001). the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington addressed head-on the issue of copying digital information. The FBI had obtained the defendants password through a sting operation, and then used the password to remotely access the defendants server.56Id. at *1. Because they feared that the defendants accomplices might delete the information on the server, the FBI remotely copied the information without reviewing it before applying for or obtaining a warrant.57Id. The court ruled that this did not constitute a seizure, noting that the remote copying had absolutely no impact on possessory interests because it did not prevent others from accessing the data.58Id. at *3. The Gorshkov court further noted that the Fourth Amendment did not apply because the defendant was a foreign national whose server was located overseas, id., and that, even if the copying did constitute a search or seizure, it was a reasonable one, id. at *4. In the context of copying the contents of a cell phone temporarily seized incident to arrest, or of imaging a hard drive pursuant to a warrant authorizing seizure of the original, the question may be even clearer59 The Gorshkov court held an evidentiary hearing to determine whether the copying had prevented access by other users. See id. at *3 n.1; see also In re United States, 665 F. Supp. 2d 1210, 1222 (D. Or. 2009) ([T]here was no …meaningful interference due to the nature of electronic information, which can be accessed from multiple locations, by multiple people, simultaneously.). because the original has already been legitimately seized and the owners possession is already precluded.

Gorshkov was not without its detractors, as commentators recognized the potential scope of the Hicks rule if applied to digital duplications. If the government can make duplicates without implicating the Fourth Amendment, it could copy all of our files, which might contain a cache of sensitive personal information,60 Riley v. California, 134 S. Ct. 2473, 2490 (2014). and then efficiently mine them for information years into the future.61United States v. Jones, 132 S. Ct. 945, 956 (2012) (Sotomayor, J., concurring).

To fit digital duplications into the Fourth Amendment, some have suggested characterizing duplication and retention as a seizure, relying on property notions of exclusive ownership. Several courts that considered the matter subsequently were similarly unpersuaded by Gorshkovs reasoning, and have considered duplication to be a seizure.

A. The Possessory Rights Argument

Given that there are seemingly greater privacy implications than possessory implications to duplication, it seems strange that the prevailing view is to consider duplications as seizures. But several academic commentators have convincingly focused the arguments on possessory interests by emphasizing application of traditional property concepts to information. Some have looked at how the act of copying interferes with use of the information, and others at how the government might use the information.

Professor Orin Kerr who initially argued that the faithful application of the Hicks rule precluded classifying data duplication generally as a seizure62See Kerr, supra note 11, at 56061. has distinguished between copying-as-freezing (a seizure) and copying-as-an-aid-to-memory (not a seizure).63See Kerr, supra note 22, at 71418. Kerr focuses on the purpose of a seizure to secure evidence for later use to distinguish between copies made for different purposes.64Id. at 710. If data had already been exposed to an agent, then a duplicate of it was just made to aid that agents memory, and was therefore not a seizure.65See id. at 71415. This understanding preserves the rule of Hicks because the officer there had already seen the serial number when he wrote it down.66Id. at 716.

Professors Susan Brenner and Barbara Frederiksen have made two arguments in favor of characterizing duplication as a seizure.67See Susan W. Brenner & Barbara A. Frederiksen, Computer Searches and Seizures: Some Unresolved Issues, 8 Mich. Telecomm. & Tech. L. Rev. 39, 11113 (2002). First, as Kerr later argued, they note that copying data on a computer, unlike duplications of other mediums, interferes with the access and functioning of the computer, however briefly, during that process.68Id. at 112. Second, they argue that the majority opinion in Katz recognized that information can be seized when it characterized the recording of the conversation as a seizure.69Id. at 111 (citing Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967)). Note, however, that the majority opinion is not so clear: although the Court referred to the recording as a search and seizure, it was using the conjunctive term, explicitly quoting the Fourth Amendment itself, to express generally that it fell within the ambit of the Fourth Amendment. See Katz, 389 U.S. at 353. Copying data, even though it leaves the original intact, deprives the owner of something of value and interferes with exclusive use and possession, just as the theft of data does.70 Brenner & Frederiksen, supra note 67, at 112 n.236.

Brenner and Frederiksens first point hasnt gained much traction,71 Ohm has criticized such a limited understanding because, as technology advances, this interference will become less and less. See Ohm, supra note 20, at 17. but several commentators have elaborated on the second. Professor Paul Ohm offers a narrower possessory interest that is infringed by duplication: the right to delete.72See id. As Ohm later elaborated, this right to delete derives from the traditional property right to destroy. See Paul Ohm, The Olmsteadian Seizure Clause: The Fourth Amendment and the Seizure of Intangible Property, 2008 Stan. Tech. L. Rev. 2, 6263, https://journals.law.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/stanford-technology-law-review/online/ohm-olmsteadian-seizure-clause.pdf [http://perma.cc/Q3VN-ZWM6]. Ohm argues that this right attaches to digital data, but that it did not apply in Hicks because that right evaporated once the serial number was in plain view.73 Ohm, supra note 20, at 16. Mark Taticchi argues that the concept of exclusive possession renders exact duplicates a seizure.74See Taticchi, supra note 21, at 496. Taticchi notes that the right to exclude others from data should be limited to exact duplicates, and not extend to summaries or memories, because the degree of interference with exclusive possession is smaller, and a rule applying to notes and memories would be too socially costly and difficult to administer.75Id. at 497.

Although several courts have concluded that duplication is a seizure, few have relied on any explicit possessory-interest analysis. In United States v. Jefferson,76 571 F. Supp. 2d 696 (E.D. Va. 2008). the court found that taking high-resolution photographs of the defendants documents outside the scope of the initial warrant constituted a seizure of the information in those documents.77Id. at 704. The court emphasized that the defendants interests extended to the data contained within the documents, not just the physical documents themselves, and that the photographs interfered with sole possession of that information.78Id. at 70203. In United States v. Metter,79 860 F. Supp. 2d 205 (E.D.N.Y. 2012). the court noted that government possession of an imaged hard drive presents the same privacy concerns as would the governments retention of the original communications,80Id. at 212. and found that the fifteen-month retention of the duplicate was an unreasonable seizure.81Id. In United States v. Comprehensive Drug Testing, Inc.,82 621 F.3d 1162 (9th Cir. 2010) (en banc). the Ninth Circuit affirmed three lower-court orders requiring the United States to return duplicates of information that were made during the execution of a search warrant but that were outside the scope of the original warrant.83See id. at 116667, 1178 (per curiam). The court referred to the information as seized data84E.g., id. at 1168. and seized materials.85E.g., id. at 1169. Although it did not offer any real analysis for why the duplication amounted to a seizure, the court plainly thought it did.86 Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41, the provision at issue, treats seizing and copying as separate concepts. See Fed. R. Crim. P. 41(e)(2)(B) (A warrant …may authorize …seizure or copying of electronically stored information. (emphasis added)).

Recently, in United States v. Ganias,87 755 F.3d 125 (2d Cir. 2014), rehg en banc granted, 791 F.3d 290 (2d Cir. 2015). In its brief for the en banc hearing, the government conceded, [f]or purposes of this appeal, that the mirror-imaging constituted a seizure. Brief on Rehearing En Banc for the United States at 17 n.7, Ganias, No. 12-240 (2d Cir. Aug. 28, 2015), 2015 WL 5112418, at *17 n.7. a panel of the Second Circuit adopted the right to exclusive possession argument. In executing a warrant to search an accountants computer for evidence of his clients potential fraud, investigators imaged three hard drives, which also contained the accountants private files.88Ganias, 755 F.3d at 128. Two-and-a-half years later, the investigators obtained a second warrant to search those same files for evidence of the accountants own wrongdoing in a wholly separate crime.89Id. at 130. The accountant, now a defendant, argued that the lengthy retention of his files that were not responsive to the initial warrant constituted an unreasonable seizure even though he retained (and had since destroyed) the originals.90Id. at 13031. The Second Circuit agreed, finding that the defendants possessory interests included the exclusive control over [his] files and that the governments retention of the duplicate meaningfully interfered with that interest and was thus a seizure.91Id. at 137. Because the government retained that data for so long without adequate justification, the seizure was unreasonable.92Id. at 13738. The court did not specify at what point it became unreasonable and noted (with skepticism) that the government might have had legitimate interests in retaining the data, such as for authentication of the hard drive.93Id. at 139. And although the court seemed to emphasize the prolonged period for which the government retained the data, its holding narrowed the importance of that factor by focusing on the use of the retained data for evidence in a future criminal investigation.94Id. at 138. One might expect the legitimate governmental interest in accessing evidence to prosecute a crime to be categorically greater than the interest in authenticating a hard drive in another case. See infra section IV.A, pp. 106466.

B. Why This Might Be Wrong

While this possessory-interest analysis does subject duplication and retention to Fourth Amendment scrutiny, it is a curious way to do it. After all, a seizure does not occur based on every interference with possessory interests, but only upon a meaningful interference.95 United States v. Jacobsen, 466 U.S. 109, 113 (1984). If the individual retains the original copy, unaltered, and is free to use (or destroy) that copy as he sees fit, is the impingement on possessory interests (assuming there is one) meaningful? Given the multitude of cases where courts have found either no seizure or else a de minimis seizure when interference with possessory interests was marginal,96 See, e.g., id. at 125 (holding that permanent destruction of small portion of property for drug testing a de minimis intrusion on possessory interest and thus a reasonable seizure); cf. United States v. Mendenhall, 446 U.S. 544, 554 (1980) (suggesting that some limited physical contact might not constitute a seizure); Pennsylvania v. Mimms, 434 U.S. 106, 111 (1977) (per curiam) (concluding that intrusion on liberty in asking lawfully stopped driver to get out of car is de minimis). it seems tenuous to argue that this infringement which has no impact on the users own experience with his data is a sufficient interference either to implicate the Fourth Amendment in the first place or ever to be found unreasonable.

Perhaps one reason duplication nonetheless seems to be a seizure is that, after duplication, the government itself now possesses something that it did not possess before. That is, if the government exerts dominion and control97Jacobsen, 466 U.S. at 120. over something, it must have seized it. But this focus on the government is divorced from the doctrine as laid out in Jacobsen, which teaches to assess the infringement on the individuals possession, not the governments gain. Therefore, in order to classify duplication as a seizure, the focus must be on the individuals right to exclusive possession of that which has been duplicated.

With tangible property, duplication would rarely amount to a seizure. If the government makes a duplicate of a coffee mug, one would be hard pressed to say that it infringed on anyones possession of the coffee mug. After all, youre still able to look at it, drink from it, or even destroy it as you see fit.98 Paul Ohm believes otherwise. He suggests that if the government used a Star Trek replicator on steroids to duplicate an entire house and all of its contents, but locked the resulting duplicate in a warehouse without examining it, a court would hold that it was a seizure but not a search. Ohm, supra note 20, at 17; see also id. at 1718. Perhaps this characteristic would be different in the context of intangible property. But except for certain trade secrets or other intangible commercial property, digital data is a nonrivalrous good.99See Adam D. Moore, A Lockean Theory of Intellectual Property Revisited, 49 San Diego L. Rev. 1069, 1091 (2012). A nonrivalrous good is one whose use by others does not reduce the value of the good. See, e.g., Brett M. Frischmann, An Economic Theory of Infrastructure and Commons Management, 89 Minn. L. Rev. 917, 942 (2005). In most instances, the possession of data by another will not undermine the original owners use or enjoyment. Of still more concern is that a data owner might not even have a right to exclusive possession of all the information on her hard drive, such as digital copies of movies, books, and music. If you have a copy of Ayn Rands Atlas Shrugged on your hard drive, you have no right to exclusive possession of that books contents. If the government buys its own copy, its ownership in no way infringes on your possession. And if instead it just duplicates your copy, your possession is similarly uninfringed.

If there is no right to exclusive possession, then there is no infringement, and accordingly no seizure, at least as to that information. The right to delete or exclude would not extend to this type of data because it doesnt really belong to the individual. The government should not be able to duplicate an individuals home library to see what books she is reading just because she has no right to exclusive possession of the contents of those books. But the seizure analysis that courts are starting to adopt seems to suggest just such a result.

Focusing on the right to exclude also suggests that individuals might retain that right even after sharing their data publicly. The right to destroy and the right to exclude do not evaporate just because an owner grants temporary access to his property.100Recall Ohms argument that Hicks was rightly decided because the defendants right to delete evaporated upon exposure to the officer. See supra p. 105455. Conceptualizing data retention as a seizure, then, might mean that the government could not retain copies of publicly released information, such as blog posts. Thus, because a blogger often retains ownership over his posts, he presumably could choose to delete the post, and could similarly request that the government delete its copies as well. The owner of the data would assert his right to exclusive possession, and the government intrusion on that right would accordingly render the duplication a seizure.101Though, the seizure might be reasonable: a court might consider the possessory interest weakened by the fact that the data had previously been widely shared. Such an understanding might well mean that the government could not collect and retain data posted publicly unless it first obtained a warrant. But such a rule, however sensible, is inconsistent with the understanding that the police can observe and record what takes place in public without implicating the Fourth Amendment.102 United States v. Knotts, 460 U.S. 276, 28182 (1983). This rule would apply similarly to a conversation in a public place: if recording that conversation counts as seizing it because the speaker has a right to exclude others from the information relayed, then the government presumptively needs a warrant to record it, even though the speaker has no reasonable expectation of privacy.

This analysis is not conclusive: a court might say that an individual gives up the right to exclude once he shares the data publicly, just as a court would say that the individual has given up any reasonable expectation of privacy by sharing his information.103See infra section IV.C, p. 1067. But property law questions of these types might arise over and over again,104 One district court found that an individual had no possessory interest in metadata held by a third party, and accordingly found the data was not seized when the government copied it. See Klayman v. Obama, 957 F. Supp. 2d 1, 30 n.41 (D.D.C. 2013), vacated and remanded, 880 F.3d 559 (D.C. Cir. 2015). As another example, the government argued in Kyllo v. United States that the defendant had abandoned the heat emanating from the home. See Transcript of Oral Argument at 47, Kyllo v. United States, 533 U.S. 27 (2001) (No. 99-8508), http://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/99-8508.pdf [http://perma.cc/52MA-NKP5]; Sarilyn E. Hardee, Note, Why the United States Supreme Courts Ruling in Kyllo v. United States Is Not the Final Word on the Constitutionality of Thermal Imaging, 24 Campbell L. Rev. 53, 61 (2001). and a court would have to consider whether, as to the particular information at issue, the individual actually has a right to exclusive possession.

It may well be that duplications of certain data are seizures, but because the greater concern with duplications is the privacy violation, and because the seizure analysis might not cover all data, it makes more sense to identify duplication as a search. But duplication without actual review is not obviously a search after all, if no person reviews the documents then perhaps there has been no invasion.105 See, e.g., Susan Brenner, Copying as a Seizure (Again), CYB3RCRIM3 (July 15, 2009, 6:31 AM), http://cyb3rcrim3.blogspot.com/2009/07/copying-as-seizure-again.html [http://perma.cc/8YJS-PPGD] (arguing that while defensible arguments support conceptualizing duplication as a search, they stretch the word search too far). The Second Circuit, in the metadata context, adopted a similar view without elaboration. See ACLU v. Clapper, 785 F.3d 787, 801 (2d Cir. 2015) (suggesting that metadata collection should be characterized as a seizure of data, rather than a search). As Ohm argues, the government has a reasonable argument that when it seals the collected data [after duplication], it stops short of invading or intruding on the data owners privacy.106 Ohm, supra note 72, 53. True enough, but the government also has a reasonable argument that when it leaves the original intact and in the owners possession, it stops short of interfering with the owners possessory interests. This is not to discard the critique entirely, but merely to emphasize that courts are in uncharted waters here and can draw the lines where they make the most sense.

A. Privacy and Duplications

Courts clearly recognize that it is privacy that is at stake in duplication,107 Even the courts that conclude that duplication is a seizure emphasize the privacy interests at stake. For example, in Ganias, the Second Circuit panel characterized its challenge as adapt[ing] traditional Fourth Amendment concepts to the modern era [b]ecause the degree of privacy secured to citizens by the Fourth Amendment has been impacted by the advance of technology. United States v. Ganias, 755 F.3d 125, 134 (2d Cir. 2014), rehg en banc granted, 791 F.3d 290 (2d Cir. 2015). In Metter, the court emphasized that a data owner has identical privacy concerns with the governments retention of the imaged document. United States v. Metter, 860 F. Supp. 2d 205, 212 (E.D.N.Y. 2012). And in Jefferson, the court noted that the Fourth Amendment privacy interest extends…to the information itself, United States v. Jefferson, 571 F. Supp. 2d 696, 702 (E.D. Va. 2008), and that taking notes or photographs necessarily diminishes the privacy value of information once privately-held, id. at 703. which probably follows most peoples intuition: we dont want the government to have copies of our files because we dont trust it not to read them. It therefore seems more natural to conceptualize duplication as an invasion of privacy and therefore a search than as an invasion of possessory interests. And, despite some lower courts characterization of duplication as a seizure, the Courts doctrine strongly suggests that duplication is indeed a search. Recall that, under Katz (as filtered through the years), a search is an action that violates an individuals reasonable expectation of privacy.108 Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 360 (1967) (Harlan, J., concurring); see also United States v. Jacobsen, 466 U.S. 109, 113 (1984). Accepting Westins definition of privacy as control over information,109Westin, supra note 42, at 7. it is an easy step to say that duplication interferes with an individuals reasonable expectation of control over personal information.

Given the focus in Jefferson, Metter, and Ganias on privacy, the conclusion in those cases that duplication was a seizure is somewhat surprising. Indeed, the Ganias panel, for example, parroted Westins definition of privacy when it proclaimed that the retention was an interference with the owners control over [his] files.110Ganias, 755 F.3d at 137. These cases nonetheless found an infringement on property rights, and then concluded that a seizure had occurred. But searches are often defined in relation to property law. And as the Court elaborated in Rakas v. Illinois,111 439 U.S. 128 (1978). the fact that an individual can exclude others strongly suggests that the individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy.112See id. at 149; see also id. at 143 n.12. This conception is consistent with Justice Harlans discussion in Katz, which recognized that although the decision departed from the original trespass inquiry, it ultimately concluded by reference to places.113Katz, 389 U.S. at 361 (Harlan, J., concurring); see also Peter Winn, Katz and the Origins of the Reasonable Expectation of Privacy Test, 40 McGeorge L. Rev. 1, 8 (2009). Thus, a court having recognized the privacy interests at stake then might, and indeed should, consider whether tenets of property law suggest that an individual would have a reasonable expectation of privacy in that context.114 See, e.g., Oliver v. United States, 466 U.S. 170, 183 (1984) (The existence of a property right is but one element in determining whether expectations of privacy are legitimate.). The Courts second test for whether or not a search has occurred, advanced in United States v. Jones115 132 S. Ct. 945 (2012). and Florida v. Jardines,116 133 S. Ct. 1409 (2013). asks whether the Government obtain[ed] information by physically intruding on persons, houses, papers, or effects.117Id. at 1414 (quoting Jones, 132 S. Ct. at 950 n.3). In Jones, Justice Scalia applied founding-era trespass principles to the governments placement of a GPS device on a defendants car to classify it as a search.118Jones, 132 S. Ct. at 94950, 953. This reasoning promotes the underlying purpose of the Fourth Amendment search restrictions, to protect the right of the people to be secure, to protect, that is, individual privacy. Property law principles, then, can operate as a shortcut for determining whether an invasion of privacy a search has occurred.

In Ganias, for example, the panel focused on the infringement of the individuals right to exclude others from his property. But this infringement does not necessarily result in the action being a seizure. In Jones, the Court did not find that the government had seized the defendants car by placing a GPS tracker on it even though this interfered with the defendants right to exclude others from his property.119See id. at 949; id. at 958 (Alito, J., concurring in the judgment) (The Court does not contend that there was a seizure.). Instead, the Court viewed violation of the right to exclude as evidence to support its conclusion that a search had occurred.120Id. at 949 (majority opinion). In the digital context, then, the property law analogues are useful in determining whether a search occurred, either under the trespass test121See Jardines, 133 S. Ct. at 1414 (noting that a search occurs when government obtains information by invading a constitutionally protected place (quoting Jones, 132 S. Ct. at 950 n.3)). or because they illuminate the reasonableness of expectation of privacy.122See Rakas v. Illinois, 439 U.S. 128, 149 (1978).

There are two complications to this conception, however. First, in United States v. Karo,123 468 U.S. 705 (1984). the Supreme Court explicitly rejected the notion that potential, as opposed to actual, invasions of privacy constitute searches for purposes of the Fourth Amendment.124Id. at 712. Second, if duplication of data is an invasion of privacy because of the potential that the government will read it, then many actions currently classified as seizures also become searches. If the government seizes a filing cabinet without opening it, for example, then risks to the privacy of the cabinets contents still attach. These hurdles should be cleared, though, by recognition that duplication does not just risk violation, but is in fact itself a violation of privacy, because duplication inherently reduces ones ability to control her information.

In Karo, the police had given to the defendant a can of ether containing a hidden tracking device.125Id. at 708. The Court ruled that this delivery did not constitute a search because the beeper was unmonitored at that time.126Id. at 712. Kerr argues that this holding indicates that a search has not occurred until the data is observed by an actual person.127See Kerr, supra note 11, at 554. But additional language in Karo calls this conclusion into question: It is the exploitation of technological advances that implicates the Fourth Amendment, not their mere existence.128Karo, 468 U.S. at 712. Indeed, what the Court meant by unmonitored was not that no one was actually reviewing the data at that time, but rather that the device was not passing any information to the police.129Id. (noting that the beeper conveyed no information that Karo wished to keep private, for it conveyed no information at all). The Court did not address, for example, the governments recording location data and then viewing it later. In that situation, the government would have been exploiting the technology immediately, even if an actual person did not immediately review it. As soon as the data personal information about movements is recorded, the individual has lost control over that information.

Similarly, in Kyllo, the Court ruled that a police officer who had used a thermal imager to measure heat radiating from a house had performed a search.130 Kyllo v. United States, 533 U.S. 27, 40 (2001). But if the technology had not immediately relayed that information to the officer if the officer had needed to return to the station to analyze the data collected the search would still have occurred upon collection rather than review. Once the data is recorded, the information is beyond the control of the data owner.

These situations are analogous to digital duplication in that the invasion of privacy happens at the time of collection or duplication, not only upon later review. Duplication of private information is an active though often automated process, done at the direction of the government agent. A duplication is itself an exploitation of [a] technological advance[].131Karo, 468 U.S. at 712. Relying on the analogy of the government digitally rooting around illustrates some of the problems with extending nondigital concepts to the digital world. See Brenner, supra note 105. Although the idea is appealing, the results are less so. Cf. Tron (Walt Disney Productions 1982).

By contrast, when the government seizes a filing cabinet,132Cf. United States v. Chadwick, 433 U.S. 1 (1977) (finding that police needed a warrant to open search a lawfully seized footlocker). it has not yet directed anything at the information within. This may mean that seizing a filing cabinet is not also a search of its contents. Only when the government directs its technology at an individuals private information does it invade that individuals reasonable expectation of privacy and accordingly perform a search. On the other hand, perhaps we should consider the seizure of a filing cabinet as also a search of its contents this action plainly should be subject to Fourth Amendment review, and there is no pressing reason to reject a belt and suspenders approach when both privacy and possessory interests are infringed. Thus, neither the Courts seemingly limiting language in Karo that potential invasions do not implicate the Fourth Amendment nor the implication that certain seizures may also be searches undermines the classification of duplications as searches.

B. Retention

One might, then, view the act of duplication as a search, and duplication and subsequent retention as a search and seizure.133Cf. Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 354 (1967) (characterizing the recording and listening to of private conversations as a search and seizure (emphasis added)); Berger v. New York, 388 U.S. 41, 54 (1967) (same). This approach seems natural because, if the government possesses something, it must have seized it. But, as mentioned above, such logic reverses the Fourth Amendment seizure inquiry, which focuses not on whether the government possesses something, but rather on whether the governments action was a meaningful interference with an individuals possessory interests.134 United States v. Jacobsen, 466 U.S. 109, 113 (1984). Thus, it is at least ambiguous whether retention constitutes a seizure.135See supra section II.B, pp. 105659.

But retention likely is a search. In Klayman v. Obama,136 957 F. Supp. 2d 1 (D.D.C. 2013), vacated and remanded, 800 F.3d 559 (D.C. Cir. 2015). for example, the district court held that bulk metadata collection efforts constituted a search.137Id. at 32. While several factors contributed to the courts conclusion, the retention of data was itself considered a part of the Fourth Amendment search.138 The court found that the plaintiffs had no possessory interest in metadata held by a third party, and accordingly found no seizure. See id. at 30 n.41. This result illustrates the limits of the possessory interest framework discussed above in section II.B. The court ordered the government not to stop its analysis of the data, but rather to destroy any such metadata in its possession.139Id. at 43. The retention is itself an ongoing violation of privacy in fact, copying without retention is not much of a violation of privacy at all.140 Though it may still be a search, duplication without retention is probably de minimis or otherwise reasonable. See infra, section IV.B, pp. 106667.

One feature of Fourth Amendment search jurisprudence is the inability, once a search is completed, to revoke consent.141See, e.g., United States v. Lattimore, 87 F.3d 647, 65152 (4th Cir. 1996). Thus, if an individual consents to duplication of his data, he may not be able to revoke that consent once the copying is complete.142 The same would result if the initial copying were authorized by warrant or a warrant exception: if the search ends when the copying is complete, the government would need no further justification for retaining the data. This anomaly makes viewing data retention as a seizure appealing to civil libertarians because such a conception would allow the data owner to rescind consent and recover sole possession of her data at any time.143See Taticchi, supra note 21, at 48384. But because copying and continued retention of the data each interfere with control over personal information, each is a search. When consent is revoked, therefore, the ongoing retention must end.

On the other hand, if duplication is a seizure because it interferes with the right to delete144See Ohm, supra note 20, at 1112; Ohm, supra note 72, 6167. or exclusive possession,145See United States v. Ganias, 755 F.3d 125, 137 (2d Cir. 2014), rehg en banc granted, 791 F.3d 290 (2d Cir. 2015); see also Taticchi, supra note 21, at 496. then the protection would not extend to information the individual doesnt own. Movies, for example, to which the hard drive owner has no right to exclusive possession, might be excluded from any seizure analysis.146See supra pp. 105758. Yet even if an individual has no claim to exclusive ownership, she does have a privacy interest in her files including keeping private the information that reveals what movies, music, or books she owns. By viewing data retention as a search instead of a seizure, the individual can demand deletion because she retains a reasonable expectation of privacy in that information, whether or not she owns it.

Because privacy refers to an individuals control over information, and retention interferes with that control, retention is an invasion of privacy, and thus a search. The consequence of the government possessing a copy is exactly the same: a loss of control over the data.

Several consequences flow from identifying duplication and retention as a search, rather than a seizure. For example, as discussed above, consent, and more particularly the right to revoke consent, plays a different role in searches than in seizures. In addition, the different nature of government intrusion affects both the reasonableness analysis and the de minimis analysis. Finally, classifying duplication as a search has different implications for data that has been shared publicly. This Part examines these additional consequences in turn.

A. Duplications and Reasonableness

The Fourth Amendment prohibits only unreasonable searches and seizures. Duplicating information might be a search, but that conclusion does not necessarily render the action a violation of the Fourth Amendment. Rather, it merely subjects the action to Fourth Amendment reasonableness analysis. The reasonableness of a search is determined by weighing the degree to which it intrudes upon an individuals privacy against the degree to which it is needed for the promotion of legitimate governmental interests.147 Wyoming v. Houghton, 526 U.S. 295, 300 (1999).

Because the privacy interest violated can vary with the governments use of the data, courts can more easily conduct reasonableness balancing when the government asserts a need for the data for some purpose other than as evidence. Recall that in Ganias the government argued it might need to retain nonresponsive data for authentication purposes.148See Ganias, 755 F.3d at 139. If retention of data is a seizure, then the individuals interest is binary: her right to delete or exclude is fully infringed regardless of the purpose for which the government retains her data. The individual-interest side of the balance varies only with the length of time of the infringement.149See United States v. LaFrance, 879 F.2d 1, 6 (1st Cir. 1989). As that court noted, the nature and extent of the intrusion matter as well. Id. (quoting United States v. Place, 462 U.S. 696, 705 (1983)). But in the duplication-as-seizure context, that nature is already defined as the infringement on the right to exclude or delete, and thus the intrusiveness of the duplication, conceived as a seizure, varies only with the length of time of the infringement. Thus, in Ganias, for example, the individuals side of the balance contained only the right to exclusive possession infringed by ongoing retention, regardless of what the government did with the data: whether the government used the data for authentication, as evidence in the initial contract fraud prosecution, or as evidence in the subsequent tax fraud prosecution, the infringement on Ganiass possessory interests was the same.

If the retention is a search, however, then the individuals interest more naturally varies with the governments use of the data. Thus, a court could recognize the data retention as a search, but find that it is reasonable so long as it is for the limited purpose of authentication. Retention for any other purpose might be unreasonable because of the correspondingly greater infringement on privacy interests, and thus any evidence obtained from an unreasonable use of the duplicated data could be subject to the exclusionary rule.150Cf. Ganias, 755 F.3d at 14041 (applying exclusionary rule to unreasonable seizure of data).

In Riley, the government argued that it might need to search a cell phone immediately out of concern that the data could be remotely deleted.151 Riley v. California, 134 S. Ct. 2473, 2486 (2014). The Court was unconvinced, citing the availability of technology that could stop remote deletion.152Id. at 2487. Another approach to the deletion concern might be digital duplication of the phones contents. Under the analysis laid out in this Note, this duplication would plainly be a search. But the flexibility of the search reasonableness analysis applies with equal force here. Merely copying a phone to preserve it from remote wiping, pursuant to the exigent circumstance of imminent deletion, might be a reasonable search. Because the invasion of privacy is less than when the officer actually examines the phones contents, the governments countervailing interest in preserving the data might render the action reasonable. But the extent of the interference with privacy also varies, like a seizure, with the length of time of the interference. The longer the information is out of the individuals control, the greater the interference. Thus, at a certain point, the warrantless retention of the copy would become unreasonable.

Of course, classifying duplication as a search, rather than as a seizure, may not affect the ultimate outcome of the reasonableness analysis in this context. If duplication is a seizure because it interferes with the right to exclusive possession, it may still be reasonable to make a seizure to prevent remote wiping. The key difference, though, is that the infringement on exclusive possession varies only with the length of the infringement. In a close case, what the government does with the duplicated data that it has reasonably seized does not affect the reasonableness of the seizure. Once the government interests overcome the invasion of the right to exclusive possession, any subsequent action doesnt alter this fundamental balancing.153 Orin Kerr presents a slightly different take, at least in the context of subsequent searches of nonresponsive data, as occurred in both Ganias and CDT. See Orin S. Kerr, Executing Warrants for Digital Evidence: The Case for Use Restrictions on Nonresponsive Data, 48 Tex. Tech L. Rev. 2932 (forthcoming 2016). Kerr argues that the subsequent use of nonresponsive data obtained in the execution of an initial warrant converts that first warrant into a general warrant. Id. at 31. He does not apply the traditional reasonableness balancing test, but instead relies on the Warrant Clause. See U.S. Const. amend. IV ([N]o Warrants shall issue, but …particularly describing the …things to be seized.).

B. De Minimis Searches

As Kerr explains, a computer, in the course of its normal function, must make copies for internal use. If this internal duplication is a search, it would presumptively require a warrant.154See Kerr, supra note 11, at 551. But preexisting concepts in search jurisprudence mitigate this concern. The copying that is intrinsic to computer use could be conceived of as a de minimis violation that is either no intrusion at all, or such a minor violation that it is presumptively reasonable.155Cf. Jeffrey Brown, How Much Is Too Much? The Application of the De Minimis Doctrine to the Fourth Amendment, 82 Miss. L.J. 1097, 1109 (2012). Because such internal copying is temporary, never subject to the computer users control, and never even at risk of exposure, it can easily be considered de minimis. If it interferes with the data owners control over his information, this interference is small and temporary. This type of copying, even if it should be considered a search insofar as it is directed at private information, is a reasonable search given the low level of violation and its necessity to the operation of a computer. The same analysis might also apply, of course, in the seizure context: the impingement on the right to exclude is so temporary that it may be a de minimis seizure.

C. Publicized Information

As discussed above in section II.B, classifying duplication and retention as a seizure might mean that the government could not retain copies of publicly released information, such as blog posts. By viewing data duplication and retention as searches, though, the government could retain publicly posted information without a warrant. This is so because, by posting them in a public forum, the blogger loses any reasonable expectation of privacy.156Cf. Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 351 (1967) (What a person knowingly exposes to the public, even in his own home or office, is not a subject of Fourth Amendment protection.). That is, by sharing the information with the world, the individual gave up control. To obtain this information from the Internet, the government need not commit any violations of property law, such as trespass, which might otherwise suggest that the data owner retained a reasonable expectation of privacy. Thus, collection of such data would not constitute a search at all and would not be subject to the requirements of the Fourth Amendment. While there might be reasons to limit broad electronic trawling of the public Internet, they cannot be located in the Fourth Amendment.

The Fourth Amendment protects people from two things: unreasonable seizures and unreasonable searches. It is important to recognize these as distinct protections lest the value of the protections deteriorate. A seizure is best viewed as a dispossession of property, and a search as an invasion of privacy. There may well be times when these two overlap, and often a seizure will include risks to privacy. Viewing collection of data only as a seizure would dramatically reduce the Fourth Amendments protections over vast amounts of personal, private information in which the individual may have no cognizable property interests. The government could conceivably collect private information that does not have a property component such as the heat signatures in Kyllo or the titles of the books in private libraries with impunity as long as it doesnt review the data. Instead, we should recognize these invasions of privacy, reviewed by a government agent or not, for what they are: Fourth Amendment searches.

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Pierre Teilhard De Chardin | Designer Children | Prometheism | Euvolution | Transhumanism