The Anti-Anarchist Cookbook

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  1. Standing on your lawn waving around a gun sends a powerful message, all right. The message is “shoot me from behind cover and take my gun”. Open carry LOL

    Such an excellent note, full of great metaphors. I think this is a perfect framing, and I hope it gets broad traction.

    I’m generally police-suspicious, but I took a little bit of REDACTED training from some retired SWAT guys who predated the crime bill police culture. One of them remarked once that “the problem with these young cops is that they’re no good at customer service,” which really struck me as a clever way to look at it that I’d never considered. Hearing it put in that slightly different language made a huge difference.

  2. BLM, the progressives, and the conservatives all want change. I want change. Ben and Rusty want change.

    But what is the ultimate goal?

    Progressives want continued progression AWAY from capitalism. Conservatives want to conserve the present system that is partly USSR-inspired (public schools, business controls, money controls) and part capitalistic. And maybe they want to roll back a little bit of the progressive’s previous “progress”.

    Rusty wrote in another piece that he wanted “real capitalism” and “real democracy” but those are of course incompatible, since a real democracy can vote away the rights inherent in real capitalism. (I pointed that out but he didn’t reply.)

    I and many others would like real capitalism and a real republic - a republic with the sole purpose of protecting life, liberty, and property.

    But after all the US police are demilitarized and deunionized, what does Ben want?

    What is the long-term goal?

  3. I’m just approaching my 1-year anniversary of divorcing myself from the 24-hour outrage cycle and a brief retrospective is due. I initially deleted Facebook because I felt that, instead of helping maintain my relationships, it was actively harming them. I’ve never used Twitter (from outside it looks like all rage, all the time, mixed with an unhealthy dose of “Notice me Senpai”, and topped off with eternal permanence of anything one happens to drunkenly fingerblast at 4 am after a few too many Ambien. I’ve never been remotely tempted).

    This was partly due to the fact that in an effort to speak Truth!, or build Awareness!, or whatever, I was putting up a bunch of (sometimes aggressively-) niche memes from my Grey Tribe echo chamber which were obviously irritating my family and friends when anyone engaged at all, and partly because I was getting reciprocally annoyed by the likes and shares from everyone else’s echo chambers. I was struck by a recent trip to visit extended family, most of whom I hadn’t seen in a decade or two, and how… unlike their posts they all were. Facebook was skewing my sense of how reasonable and decent they are, in a strongly negative way.

    I took the plunge and deleted my account. I knew I had to replace the behavior with something and not just try to go cold turkey with anything as stimulative as Facebook, so I resolved to actually pick up my phone and call distant friends and chat with them whenever I felt the urge to go scroll through outrage porn.

    The first thing that struck me a week or two after the deletion was how I didn’t miss Facebook in the slightest. I was expecting to struggle, to feel like I was missing something, to be tempted to rebuild my account… Nope. Not for a second.

    To be fair, there were a couple valuable things Facebook gave me that I knew I had to find other sources for: groups and baby pictures. Groups were easily replaced by Reddit (for the public hobby ones, like woodworking or disc golf), or by email threads or Band for the private ones like D&D coordination. I’ve missed out on a lot of baby pictures, but my wife still makes sure I get to see the best ones, and I can email pictures I take directly to my grandma’s digital photo frame so she’s not missing out on her great grandkids. Problems solved.

    I shook up my outrage exposure in other ways at the same time. I deleted most of my daily news sites, and the ones which I felt like I still needed to monitor for important news went into a folder marked “Sunday”, which I open once a week on (you guessed it) Sunday. The thing that surprised me most about this particular technique was the validation of some quote I can’t find the attribution on: “There’s no cure for reading the news like reading last week’s news”. Even just a few days’ distance reveals 99% of what you find on a daily news site to be woefully incomplete, uninformed, useless, inflammatory, and… pointlessly outrageous.

    These days, most Sunday’s I don’t even bother opening the folder.

    Instead, I’ve replaced my unhealthy outrage porn fixation with more long-form and constructive thought. I highly recommend SlateStarCodex (come back soon, Scott!), Open Source Defense, Handwaving Freakoutery, and, of course, Epsilon Theory.

    For faster non-outrage dopamine rushes, I recommend non-Culture War threads on Reddit as well as Hacker News.

  4. Avatar for bhunt bhunt says:

    I want liberty and justice for all.That’s my long-term goal. Just like we pledged when we were kids.

  5. Avatar for bhunt bhunt says:

    I think Rusty has similarly cut the cord from lots of social media and is similarly delighted with the results. I try, but Neb Tnuh the addict keeps dragging me back in …

  6. Deleting facebook, instagram, & twitter off of my phone at the beginning of june was a great personal decision. I wish I would’ve done it sooner. All of my relationships are healthier and I am more present. Hopefully we can get others to jump on the bandwagon.

  7. If I was going to make a yard sign, it would say “I back the rule of law, it matters.” I figure it’s a concise and subtle way of co-opting the language of both extreme narratives to make an attempt at the Overton window. I don’t back the badge because we’re a nation of laws, not men. Additionally, who knew that “______ lives matter” is inflammatory and divisive with any word in it, including “all”. That one took me by surprise.

    When things get weird you gotta go back to founding principles to find perspective. Nothing should be more universal and holy in this country as “the rule of law”, but who knows these days.

  8. Doctors have ‘social history’ in the medical record. Maybe we could add a question: Do you use tobacco? Do you use alcohol? Do you use social media? That should do it!

  9. Hard same, TJ.

  10. Without Qualified Immunity, police officers will need malpractice insurance and make enough money to pay for it. How is that going to work?

  11. MarketWatch has a piece by ex-mayor of Cincinnati today detailing the “Cincinnati Collaborative Agreement” ( no porn there) which was used to help reform policing practices in that department. Apparently that agreement has had some success.

    I came across Recoil Offgrid a year and half ago on the magazine racks at LAX (guess that publisher has a number of products). As of late January this year it had disappeared from same. Totally agree. “Life Begins At 50 Rounds” was one of the advertising by-lines that has stuck with me. Total porn.

    Why are (the collective here) we are seeking to have our buttons pushed almost .constantly? Maybe that’s the addiction and content is just a matter of personal preference/bias? Is it the buzz of feeling offended or finding cause that is the arousal?

    Rending aid to those in distress is an ethical center almost universally accepted yet something happens in that process when a group “not us” is in distress. That we accept for the “not us” what we would never accept for ourselves is something that requires examination by each person and no amount of shaming by others will bring about real, significant and lasting change. The person in the riptide is still being dragged out to sea and no amount of shouting at each other on the beach is going to save them.

  12. Avatar for Kpaz Kpaz says:

    Brilliant note Ben. Lots of thoughts here but the most important is the changing of the narrative from the grassroots up. I like the BLM chant “no justice, no peace” but it probably is too closely associated to the movement and triggers many. I have also been arguing that we don’t have a police problem, we have a justice system problem. It’s bigger than the point of enforcement. And it’s not that the system is broken, it works exactly as it was designed.

    Changing the things you mention will certainly be a big help. Demilitarize and eliminate asset forfeiture? Absolutely! Deunionize? Needs to happen. How about elimination of cash bail? Hell yes. Decriminalization and dis-incarceration? So necessary. But true justice? Where does that come from? Your local DA, mostly. I have been supporting the grassroots law project and their truth, justice and reconciliation commissions.

  13. An authentic world free of the direct coercion of individual liberty by the state and oligopolistic private institutions, and of the indirect coercion via narrative of the degrees of freedom and optionality for all citizens.

  14. I’m not sure that the underlying premise has been demonstrated, but let’s accept it as a given. It still seems far better to me that we grapple with, say, socializing those costs as part of the real costs of maintaining a police force rather than permitting the arbitrary and unjust concentration of those costs in the lives of the victims of excessive police action as we do today.

  15. Avatar for aa547 aa547 says:

    Kpaz, I think you’re really on to something here.

    I’ve been trying to think of alternatives to ‘defund the police’ myself. I think ‘demilitarize’ and ‘deunionise’ are better but still fall prey to have be explained. However, your comment got me thinking that perhaps a better slogan might one that is more constructive, pointing towards what we want rather than what we want to get rid of. “Democratize Policing”, perhaps? I fooled around with “professionalizing” but the mental images are all wrong.

  16. Everybody seems to have missed it!

    You can not see a honest judge without a dishonest judge.

    You must have BOTH !!! As frustrating as this is. And you can argue it FOREVER but this duality will never change.

    Life as we know it could not exist without its opposite … as cruel as it maybe, sorry.

    You must have poverty to SEE wealth!

    Without a brain to operate on, there are no brain surgeons … and you can go as deep as you wish here - infinitely.



  17. Camden, NJ is a success story of Deunionization. A little history. Camden regularly rotated in the top 3 most crime ridden cities in America (along with Detroit and Newark, NJ - NJ had 2, go figure). I worked in Camden as an employee of Rutgers University and we were doing a lot of construction for several years. We were assigned an armed guard for all construction sites, yes, in the day time. The campus was an “oasis” compared to the surrounding area.

    Finally, someone had the bright idea of getting rid of the union and thus all the corrupt cops. The ones that remained got an increase in pay and more young people wanted to join the force. Now there are more police and they get more pay than in the Union days. They became a part of the community and not an enemy or someone to bribe to look the other way. This was transformational for a severely blighted city.

    I’m not hearing anyone talk about this, but then again I cut the “porn cord”, years ago, so I don’t know if anyone is bringing this up as a model of success. But then again Unions are the backbone of donations for the progressives and the Precariat (precarious proletariat).

  18. I would think that if the agency/city carried the liability policy to cover the officers it would be the best incentive to remove “bad apples” and encourage different behavior.

  19. Ben as Benificent.

    Our school had a tradition where the seniors left a gift behind. My gift to the librarian was “Steal This Book”

  20. In 1976, as a recent college graduate, I stumbled on Soldier of Fortune magazine at a local drugstore. I was still dumfounded by the idea there was such a publication. No doubt it was porn for many Viet Nam vets who felt disrespected.

    Thanks to your 1950’s Playboy analogy, I see how mild it was. But it was a prelude to magazines like Recoil. This subculture has been building for a while.

    Great article.

  21. Avatar for bhunt bhunt says:

    Examples like this are incredibly powerful for making a policy narrative work. Thank you!

  22. Avatar for bhunt bhunt says:

    I didn’t know he said that when I included him in the note! He’s totally right …

  23. Avatar for bhunt bhunt says:

    I remember Soldier of Fortune, too! Amazing that this stuff was commonplace.

  24. Thanks as always Ben for organizing into actual thought some of the things my inner voice can’t… I think we recognize the sensationalism and hot button tactics of nearly all media in 2020 (try watching PBS’s Judy Woodruff and keep your eyes open) but feel powerless against them. Keep up the good work, you and Rusty both.

  25. re: PBS I meant in contrast

  26. terrific analysis.

    I have to think - if you’d been told 10 years ago - that you’d be on the sides of the arguments that you’ve been making for the last 12 months, you would have been floored !!

  27. It appears to me that these costs are already socialized as municipalities are being sued regularly and paying settlements. There would need to be insurance and a mechanism for dealing with the liability if it was at the individual employee level. There also needs to be a way to distinguish between egregious and/or malicious conduct and the good faith mistakes that people make from time to time. The issue needs to be resolved in the union contracts and the disciplinary arbitrations, not in the courts.

  28. Yes!! Anything ‘good’ has a ‘bad’ side effect! In fact there is nothing that doesn’t have a duality of effects unless you are in heaven (the only place where there are no negative side effects!

  29. Apologies to Gil-Scott Heron, the revolution has been televised. The corporations own the government. How is it that Jaime Diamond and Angelo Mozillo and scores of other executives in finance were not hauled away in leg irons in 2008 are now bigger and more powerful than ever? Dennis Muilenberg not in jail and his bonuses not clawed back by encouraging Boeing to build and sell flying death traps? How SWA, Delta, AA and UAL execs got $365 million on stock based comp recently while spending 95% of free cash flow on buybacks? Spending $47 billion then demanding $50 billion essentially free? Why weren’t they just put in a prepackaged bankruptcy shareholders shorn of their investments and assets sold to someone who knows how to run planes on time? Or at least get an equity position for the taxpayers on the gazillions shoveled out the door by Mnuchin et. al? No Tedd how about making America Great again like balancing labor and capital; restoring a link between taxing and spending, discouragin predatory tech giants from ever intrusive scooping up our privacy even if we want to get 4 cents off a can of soup in exchange for a cheek swab or installing that thingy that tracks how and where you drive for a discount on auto insurance? AOC represents nothing. Mitch McConnell and his merry band of pirates have now placed the federal judiciary full of judges who don’t know what a motion in limine is but know how to rule and sit for life. Rule for big business. #BITFD

  30. That’d be true for me just three years ago, I think.

  31. Make awards come from their richly funded pension funds. The code of Omerta among them will bust wide open and bad ones will be driven out.

  32. Avatar for bhunt bhunt says:

    I had the scales fall from my eyes during the GFC, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to my 10-years-ago self. But 20 years? For sure. Oddly enough, my 35-years-ago self would say “what took you so long?”.

  33. Clearly you don’t live in Illinois where “richly funded” does not apply to our pensions. We agree that the bad ones need to be driven out. I think it needs to be done via the contracts and disciplinary arbitrations but that assumes the unions can’t be eliminated completely.

  34. Clearly the inmates are running the asylum. Regaining control will be painful and time consuming. That is why I am part of the pack.

  35. Thanks for posting that. I had never gone to the trouble to learn about it. Interesting, depressing, and scary.

  36. Ben - as you know, this territory has been much on my mind. Language is everything. You have offered language that will open the door for real conversation - versus language that threatens one side or the other and sends everyone into high alert or even attack. Thank you.

  37. Well put. May you achieve your goal of de-bullshitization.

  38. Well written as always Ben. Time for a bit of tough love: after your sideways event …one might have seen how both precious and short life is , and how one will rue all the wasted time spent on social media , or anything that is effecting their happiness or talking time away from those they care about.

    Go ahead a delete the apps —the water is warm ?.


  39. “No Justice, No Peace” goes back way before BLM.

  40. Damn, Ben once again forces me to open my eyes a bit wider.
    And Ben, thank you for that.

  41. 350 members of a militia armed with military grade rifles in Louisville yesterday and warn that if the Attorney General of Ky doesn’t do what they demand they will come back in four weeks and “burn this Mutha Fu%$r down” their words not mine. Let’s say 1000 show up as was expected this time? How much militarization will be required? 2020 is the year of seeing things that were hitherto unthinkable.

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