“Women’s Nipples and the US Supreme Court” – Freya’s Chambers – Equality

Happy Frigg and Freya’s Day!

Disclaimer:  The topics covered in Freya’s Chambers include serious discussions of sex, sexuality and related issues.  If it isn’t your thing; you can move along, otherwise enjoy and feel free to discuss.  Given the nature of some subjects be prepared for nude images as there may be some.  I avoid genitalia as a general rule but is not always possible.

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Discussion:

While not surprising to me, the US Supreme Court decided to refuse to hear the case brought by two women from New Hampshire.  The Court basically decided not to hear the case.  The story from Reuters is below:

Reuters: US Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Topless Case

Why am I not surprised?  Because the court is conservative and there is no way that they want to go on record as having to do something very obvious to most people from a plain reading of the 14th Amendment.  If you have a rule that tells a woman she cannot do something a man can do freely, then it is sexual discrimination.

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The best thing for a conservative court with many of its members appointed by conservative presidents to do is to avoid the whole issue.  So that is what they did.  And it shows how the court, while in many ways has always been political, is even more political. The issue for most court members is legacy, not justice and it shows particularly when they don’t take cases of obvious implications for the constitution and the bill of rights. Most notably to me, the court could define 2nd amendment rights for the nation as a whole and in this case, would start to allow women to do what men have been allowed to do for years which is take off their shirt and bare the chest on hot summer days or whenever they wish. 

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This case involved two women who did a normal activity on a hot summer day and were fined 100$ for it each.  The simple question of whether a man would be fined the same way is an obvious ‘no’.  It is clear sexism that was justified by ‘traditional understandings of nudity”.  One thing is clear though that men and women can do the same activity but one of them is fined and the other is not.  That is sexism no matter how hard you try to make it something else.

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Probably the most disappointing thing is the fact this case came from one of the most libertarian states in the union – Hew Hampshire.  That’s right “Live Free or Die”.  Except, in this case, freedom doesn’t extend to women as much as men and it has been noted. Sorry, a little hypocrisy there as tradition apparently trumps freedom.

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What needs to happen is that women have full equal rights in this issue.  The issue of toplessness in public should not be made by government, nor men, but each individual woman involved.  This is really a female choice issue.  It also has an interest in the growing trans community because what constitutes male and female is getting blurry and so the best thing to do is have a uniform standard of ‘if a person for ant reason is allowed to go topless here, then all people are allowed to go topless’.

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From a sexualization point of view, as the idea of men going topless becomes more normal, sexualization of female breasts, much like legs, backsides and other aspects that have been normalized.  We will become as used to it as we have to those others. Not to say that those attracted to the female form such as my heterosexual male self won’t take note and admire, but I already do that with the rest of the female body as it is. I do find women’s breasts attractive and in some regard ‘magical’.

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Biology has kept us being attracted to each other’s physical bodies regardless of dress.  Ultimately this has led to our survival as a species.  Every picture I have used in this article is women doing some of the same activities a man can do while topless.  Only if they do it in some states – they get fined or jailed. I could have easily substituted men in all of these pictures and no one would bat an eye as this is acceptable culturally for men.  But somehow it becomes morally wrong if a woman does it. Yeah, right.

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The women of New Hampshire are now left with the arduous task of changing the laws of their home state.   A process that will take time and should be unnecessary given the plain wording of the 14th amendment: A liberty is being denied to women and given only to men. So much for equal protection under the law and the US Supreme Court is too political and thus to cowardly to correct it.

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My two cents.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Marriage Rights” – Freya’s Chambers – Equality

Happy Frigg and Freya’s Day!

Discussion:

Disclaimer:  The topics covered in Freya’s Chambers include serious discussions of sex, sexuality and related issues.  If it isn’t your thing; you can move along, otherwise enjoy and feel free to discuss.  Given the nature of some subjects be prepared for nude images as there may be some.  I avoid genitalia as a general rule but is not always possible.  

Now, this is a pretty large umbrella and I first want to begin with the issue of what marriage is.  While religious pundits would argue that it is an institution from God, I would argue that all religions seem to have it or something like it and some of these relationships predate some religions if archeology and scholarship are to be believed.

Marriage itself had always been a cultural l institution and it can be argued whether it is even a good one.  As a libertarian, I question why it even needs to exist.  There is nothing done in a marriage relationship that cannot be done without the marriage.  In the end, it is about legal obligation and people want to put a romantic spin on it using either religion or calling it an expression of love.  As if somehow by getting married you create some more love than already existed. I think there is a lot of nice touchy-feely to the idea of marriage that keeps wedding planners and officiants making money.

Image result for libertarians on marriage

In any case, if we are going to have it I don’t know why the government is involved in the first place.  Yes, it makes it legal but that could also be accomplished by two people going to a lawyer and hashing out a relationship contract. Does the marriage license simply do this in a faster convenient way? If so, I doubt the legalities would be considered equality from a sex point of view, particular in dower states where a woman basically gets half the guys stuff simply by saying ‘I do’ and not such condition exists the other way. The point is those that get married under a license, at least in the United States have conditions of that marriage that they would probably not like if they knew them.

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Mostly though marriage survives because of shame and stigma when you are not in certain situations.  The two biggest ones being that not being married is somehow odd and if a woman has a child out of wedlock.  Practically, neither of these stigmas make any sense. As people recognize the bullshit of these stigmas, marriage is indeed taking a hit. I can speak from personal experience that no legal contract, rings or vows will keep you faithful and true nor does an increased level of love result from getting married.

But until marriage is seen for what it is we are going to have it and the state is going to get involved so how should they act when people who normally don’t get married want to do so.  The secular answer is ‘equal protection’ not a restriction of rights.  Justice is supposed to be blind, so she should not be able to judge through the lens of religious bias or social convention.  She should not see that it is a couple of men or a couple of women or two men and one woman or one man and two women or any other relationship that people want to enter into.  The issue is the protection of rights, not to control what marriage is defined as.  That should be left to the people in that relationship; not the state, or even the church.See the source image Of course, if it were up to me, I would abolish marriage licenses and leave the definition of it to the people involved and if they want it to be a legal relationship – go see an attorney and draw up the contract. If you want a religious ceremony go see the officiant but the state in no way should be involved in the first place. In my mind, this is the only way to achieve equality.  As long as the government is involved people can gain control and determine the definition of what marriage is.  This is what causes inequality.

People will always try to control the government so they can control the agenda of marriage.  The best way to avoid this is to give the government no power at all other than to enforce contracts, which it already has through the courts, and provide protection for the people who enter those relationships of their own free will in their own way.

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My two cents.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Legalizing Prostitution” – Freya’s Chambers – Sex

Happy Frigg and Freya’s Day!

Discussion:

Disclaimer:  The topics covered in Freya’s Chambers include serious discussions of sex, sexuality and related issues.  If it isn’t your thing; you can move along, otherwise enjoy and feel free to discuss.  Given the nature of some subjects be prepared for nude images as there may be some.  I avoid genitalia as a general rule but is not always possible.  

While the subject is prostitution, I want to discuss economics for a minute because what prostitution is in most of my country is illegal (except Rhode Island and Nevada).  The reasons given for this are basically moral and trying to keep morality but like most things with good intentions cause a great deal of harm.  Economically speaking this harm is felt in the fact that black markets have an unknown and unstable economic effect.  Mostly it causes us to misinterpret data and the effects can create shortages and other negative economic impacts.

More gravely for prostitution in particular, much like the drug war, the negative effects of making prostitution criminals are far more detrimental that the supposed crime, if you can call it that.  As a libertarian, my definition of a crime includes actual harm was done and a victim to be considered a crime at all.  Prostitution has neither as it is a) voluntary and b) technically causes no harm.  Most of the negative effects of prostitution are caused because it is illegal not because it exists.  Voluntary consensual transactions should never be criminalized.

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The standard five reasons for legalizing prostitution are 1) reducing the influence of organized crime, 2) Health Concerns, 3) Protection for the vulnerable and underage, 4) Taxation revenue and 5) Morally there is truly nothing wrong with consensual sex.

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Reducing the Influence of Organized Crime

If prostitution is legal then if a woman is attacked by a client she calls the cops and the man is arrested.  She has rights and she can utilize the authorities to protect her and if she protects herself in self-defense then she would not be held responsible.  Without this currently pimps pretty much can do to the women what they wish and often it is a form of sexual slavery.  A woman who engages in sex work on her own runs a great risk of attracting the wrong attention and rival pimps are often violent with each other for territory. There is a sense of ownership organized crime has of prostitution as shown by the fact that pimps put their tattoos on their girls.  This would effectively end if decriminalized.

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Health Concerns:

Health reasons have been listed for legalization probably the longest.  You can require licensing, so you would have better numbers of actual sex workers.  This licensing could carry the requirements of regular monthly health screening to maintain and this would help prevent the spread of STDs along with perhaps mandating condom use and birth control to prevent pregnancy. The point is these workers would be allowed to practice freely and yet be required to get health screenings.

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Protection for the Vulnerable and Underage

Thirdly the subject of protecting the vulnerable and underaged is key.  The reason sex slavery exists, for the most part, is that prostitution is illegal.   There is no control directly on this black market at all and so anything goes. If prostitution is legalized, then they legal brothels, etc. would most definitely blow the whistle on anything illegal in order to remove competition and because of basic human decency. But also children of the prostitute cannot be used as pawns as the prostitute could call on help for them if needed and they were threatened.

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More importantly, the sex workers as rule would have legal protection against rape and violence otherwise the recourse is to just take it and then recover as best as possible with the perpetrator getting away with it.

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Tax Revenue

Tax revenue is always an issue for those of a more non-libertarian persuasion that is why I promote decriminalization for the most part as I would rather have it be that taxation was not part of it. But if you regulate it and charged a fee for the license to administrate making sure sex workers are screened then some revenue would be required. But there is much like legalizing drugs and taxing them an opportunity for state revenue and that cannot be denied.  Nevada reports that brothels generate on average 50 million dollars a year in tax revenue.  Multiply that by fifty states and that is a lot of revenue.

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Morally the question comes.  You can have sex – no crime and you can make money – no crime.  But somehow doing both together is a crime?  It also has some hypocrisy to it.  For instance, in the pornography industry, a person is technically making money having sex.  The only difference is that it is on camera. The point is there is no victim and no harm is done in the sense someone is forced, threatened or defrauded and if those things are absent I simply don’t see the point of making sex work illegal as it seems to only benefit a small group of people – notably organized crime and law enforcement. Legalizing it would change that.

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Conclusion:

It is my opinion that the making of sex work illegal has a lot of unintended consequences that are more dangerous and more damaging both socially and economically than if it was simply legal and regulated for those same concerns.  There are many arguments for this and I have listed some of the main ones.  I have never been to a prostitute myself, but I understand why some people would engage in it if they have no other recourse or as clients – options. I simply know that black markets are caused by government laws and often the results are more dangerous and damaging than if the activity was simply licensed and regulated.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Two Toms, John and Me” – Of Wolves and Ravens – Libertarianism

Happy Mani’s Day

Discussion:

Last week the discussion centered around anarchism where I basically stated that I consider it the morally purest and yet most naive idea about government – that is it is best not to have one.  In that post (link), I also stated that the government, if we are going to have one, needs to have certain qualities. This whole idea and the three things I said government needed to have comes direct5ly from my readings of John Locke and the practical application of his principles by two Toms – Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine.  These were in my mind the beginnings of practical classical liberalism which sees its incarnation in the United States of the late 18th century.

It is from these men that much fo my own libertarian philosophy is derived from.  Granting people as much freedom as possible is actually a key to prosperity.  I suppose I do look a little romantically toward the founding of my nation and then look at the current state of things a go – what the serious fuck.  The enlightenment founding fathers were probably the first men to really ask the question of how to have an effective but small government with the maximum amount of liberty and actually put what they wanted more or less in place.

To the Wolves and Ravens:

“Feed the Wolves, but Listen to the Ravens first.”

Needs (Geri):

Through these gentlemen, I come back to my three things needed to do this:

  1.  Recognizing that the citizens are the boss, the government is the servant, not the master.
  2. Having a great concern to defend the rights of individuals, in fact, it should be made as one of the central duties of government.
  3. The citizens should have the means to overthrow said government if it attempts to violate the two above.

As the anarchist reminds us, we don’t need government, but we are probably going to have one, so what we need is safeguarding against tyranny and totalitarianism.

Wants (Freki):

The kind of government then that we want gives us the three above conditions. It starts with the Idea of ‘We the People’ establishing this government and granting it powers and then limiting them. It makes sure the rights of the citizen are spelled out and gives restrictions and limitations on what the government can do in regard to those rights.  Mostly protect them but not interfere.  It also should protect the means to overthrow the government if it becomes tyrannical.  Weapons stay in the hands of civilians.

Reason (Huginn):

Led by Paine and Jefferson and using Locke’s principles all three were maintained in a constitution that granted powers to the government by consent of the governed.  It created a bill fo rights that the government could not strip from the citizen regardless of democratic action.  One of those rights the right to keep and bear arms for the very event and purpose of revolution against tyranny.

Wisdom (Muninn):

What was created was a very wise government that was small.  The problem is as we go along this constitution and the principles behind it are regarded as a tradition rather than law.  This seems to have the same effect as when the Roman republic began to see its traditions erode and tyranny became more possible.

Much the same is happening in the United States right now as the Constitution must be evoked by those who are willing to back it up with force and there seems to be less and less of those people.  I am not one of them but I am also not an idiot.  No government lasts forever.  But the principles of liberty, life, the pursuit of happiness and property ownership, need to remain regardless.

Conclusion:

As I consider my reading list for next year I am thinking Locke, Paine and Jefferson need to be among them.  I need to apply my libertarian principles and my sense of practicality to the modern issues fo how to maintain freedom in the face of two parties that seem hell-bent on restricting or limiting rights which they have no authority from the people to limit.  Making sure people can act in self-reliance is a worthy quest.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Anarchism: Moral but Naively Idealistic” – Of Wolves and Ravens – Political Science

Happy Mani’s Day

Discussion:

I want to go on record a saying the philosop[hy behind anarchism is morally pure because it is the only philosophy of government that gets rid of the two things that make government suck the most – control mechanisms and the removal of individual rights. Without a doubt, I do not argue with anarchists that their philosophy is good, just and perfectly thought out.  It is political idealism as its finest.

That said it is so idealistic that it will never happen.  Much life socialism has an idealistic view of economics but fails to account for the economic realities of the law of scarcity and that human beings are motivated by self-interest so taking that way you get a system that limits human achievement, option, and freedom. You basically also will find yourself taking rights from people, not granting them under a socialist system.

Anarchism does something similar – it doesn’t take into account another part of human nature that has evolved in us.  We are inherently tribal.  Tribalism has allowed human beings to band together against common problems or foes as long as the human race has been around.  it is part of our psychological makeup and it is why everyone will never accept anarchy as a form of government. There will always be the state no matter how it is set up.  As soon as people organize and set up a system of dealing with problems or issues, what they set up is ‘government’.

To the Wolves and Ravens:

“Feed the Wolves, but Listen to the Ravens first.”

Needs (Geri):

That said, I think the anarchists should keep advocating anarchy for one simple reason – it keeps us with the realization that the government doesn’t have to be involved in everything.  There is no need for the government but if we are going to have it it should do something we can all mostly agree it should do.  We need if anything, when the government is inevitably set up it, should be constructed in such a way it serves humanity, not the other way around. This is why most governments fail because they make slaves out of the populations under them and the tension for freedom is created that leads to their eventual downfall.

Wants (Freki):

So what we want is a government that serves us by: 1) recognizing that the citizens are the boss, government is the servant, not the master, 2) Having a great concern to defend the rights of individuals, in fact, it should be made as one of the central duties of government, and 3) the citizens should have the means to overthrow said government if it attempts to violate the two above.

Reason (Huginn):

While I can marvel at the ethical purity of anarchism given the above needs and wants, I have become practically a classical liberal libertarian. Not because I think having government isn’t immoral like the anarchist, but because I think it is inevitable that government will exist because of tribalism.  So if the government is rationally inevitable, it stands to reason that we keep it as small as people will allow and with the least amount of power necessary.  So far as I know the level of government of classical liberalism is the smallest that has been in history accepted by people. So it is practically viable and yet also respects individual rights and if done properly protects rights.

Wisdom (Muninn):

Wisdom finds itself in upholding the moral goodness of a particular philosophy but realizing the practical realities of experience and what human beings will actually do or accept. For me, classical liberal philosophy is the best compromise between the.purity of anarchism and the reality of human tribalism.  Anarchism, however, does bring to the wisdom table the constant reminder of trying to find a way to let people live in freedom and without coercion,  Well, at least as much as human tribalism will allow.

Conclusion:

I like anarchists, even when they argue with me about this, but I have also frustrated them by saying I agree that they are morally the purest philosophy I have found in studying political science.  Then the discussion turns practical and they have to concede another point – when have human beings accepted anarchism as anything other than a short transitional time between governments?  They never have.

Next week I hit libertarianism and I will be dealing with classical liberalism or more appropriately why I am one.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“The Topfreedom Movement” – Freya’s Chambers – Equality

 

Happy Frigg and Freya’s Day

Disclaimer:  The topics covered in Freya’s Chambers include serious discussions of sex, sexuality and related issues.  If it isn’t your thing; you can move along, otherwise enjoy and feel free to discuss.  Given this week’s topic be prepared for images of topless females. 

Introduction:

I have to say that since the first time I wrote on the topfreedom movement in the United States, they have made quite a bit of progress.  I originally examined them in my Christian blog many years ago.  Mostly the issue back then was legal.  But the real trick of any social movement is to address all concerns including cultural, social and political.  If you are not aware, the topfreedom movement is basically pressing for equal rights of women to appear topless wherever a man can appear topless.  Basically asserting that the different laws for the treatment of men and women’s chests are sexist and violates equal protection under the law.  The issue for them is equal rights under the law.

I was supportive of the topfreedom movement back then even as a Christian because unlike many other Christians I actually realized that the constitution is the law of the land, not the Bible, and even with the Bible, there is no, I repeat no, statement or even indirect reference in the Bible that says a woman exposing her breasts is a sin. From my point of view then, a Christian woman who decided it was too damn hot and took off both bra and shirt and mowed the lawn was not a sinner, she was just being practical.

But what about now without Bible as some sort of appeal to authority and being you basic deistic humanistic pagan, where do I stand on this issue now? Without the whole sin question to consider, then the issue becomes very practical and about equality.      

Discussion:

From a cultural/social point of view, this is going to be a long fight but I stand with these ladies for a lot of reasons.  Most notably to me is a simple fact that socially I feel that these ‘modesty’ constraints are kept mostly to allow the unattractive, the insecure and religious women of the world to have an advantage over those women who are attractive, secure and non-religious.  I see it every time I go to the beach and some attractive woman is wearing a very revealing swimsuit.  All the other women are judging and criticizing because they are not secure in themselves or have a positive body image about themselves. I love it when a woman asks her significant other, who is watching said attractive female, what he thinks and he says: “whatever you think dear.”  This is far more about pecking order among females than anything else. To aid them in this quest for dominance, some women turn to religious moral codes and such to force their way into the law and on other women.

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My libertarianism kicks in as well to support these women.  If an action is not about force to harm, the threat of force or fraud there is no violation of the Non-Aggression Principle and if there is no victim you can point to and say who was harmed – there is no crime. Can someone tell me who is hurt by a woman walking down the street on a hot day topless?  As far as I can tell the only thing that is harmed is people’s opinions, feelings and sensibilities and none of those things count as far as the NAP violation or a crime.

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This leads me to the legal issues that how is exposing female nipples a crime and the exposing of male nipples is not a crime?  Note that most laws talk about nipple exposure and not the actual breast itself. I have found this an interesting part of the law as the nipples on men and women are essentially the same.  It is the mammary glands that lead to the mound of the flesh a women’s nipples are on that is the difference between the chests.  However, in most places, if the woman were to put tape over her nipples then she is perfectly legal as she would not actually violate the wording of the law.

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But I started this post out with the pagan and spiritual side of this and from that standpoint, I would have to say there is something liberating and freeing to the spirit when one frees themselves from the spirit of being a moral busybody and judge of other people.  There can be no greater judgemental attitude that the one where you impose what you think is modest on another because modesty is a spiritual quality of heart and mind, not one of the dress or undress.

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The other spiritual quality is the appreciation of beauty and in particular the beauty of the human body.  I find a lot of religious believers in God will talk about the beauty of creation and then spend a vast majority of their time trying to cover up one of its most beautiful parts: the human body, both male and female.  In this appreciation of beauty, I have also started to discover something about my attitude about women and their appearance.  I have found a greater understanding that sexual desire and nudity are not always connected. Put simply just because a woman is topless it doesn’t mean she is thinking about or asking for sex anymore than a man who is topless is doing so. Personally, I have learned that real modesty is letting other people be free and if a woman wants to freely walk down the street with her breasts bare, that is her business and I should respect that and not look at it as an invitation for a sexual encounter.

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When I first was made aware of the topfreedom movement, only one state of our fifty had changed its laws to reflect and equal treatment of men and women regarding toplessness.  Since then there are now 35 states that have followed suit realizing that legally there can be no distinction between a man and a woman’s chest. 

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The challenge now is in these states many local governments have reacted with their own ordinances and so what the topfreedom movement focuses on there is trying to get the one legal case in that state that will bring the locals government to heel with state law. There is currently one woman bringing legal action against the city of Chicago before the Supreme Court of the United States.  That might be the legal silver bullet that brings about the remaining states and locals to realizing they can either lose money in a lawsuit every time or just let women be topless.

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The real problem, of course, is that the long term will require society some time to change. Cultural norms change slowly but inevitably.  Like when women were first allowed to show their legs and more cleavage, it takes some time for it to be more normal to everyone in a society. I see change coming for American society regarding this issue and the majority of pushback will come from women and the religious.  In time, even they will have to submit to the inevitable. Sure men will probably at first avert their eyes, but eventually, they won’t think of bare breasts, as usual, any more than bare legs. Time will tell.

Thoughts?

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Homeworld” – Space Tramp – Chapter 1 – (MegaTraveller Fan Fiction)

Happy Frigg and Freya’s Day:

Story: 

Jeremiah pulled his overcoat tight as he stepped out into the street, the door sliding closed automatically behind him.  Strouden’s thin atmosphere made the planet cold so his boots, pants, shirt, and hat were all made to keep him warm. He made sure as a matter of routine that his filter mask was on and tight so the industrial pollutants of the planet’s atmosphere didn’t choke him. Of course with the planet starting to have overpopulation problems because of its size, one less mouth to feed so the government, which as basically an over-bloated bureaucracy, would probably not mourned his loss that much.

He was a well built young man with muscles, probably helped along by the planets 1.1 G gravity, but he also possessed an intelligent mind.  It was his mind right now that was troubling him the most as he wrestled with his thoughts.   He had just had a conversation with the orphanage head that reminded him in a week he would reach the age of majority and effectively be on his own. The orphanage had been his home for sixteen years since both his parents were killed in an industrial accident.  Strouden’s government had been his guardian ever since.

It wasn’t all bad. Standard education was provided for him for free, but teachers were only interested in getting the students their basic knowledge which amounted to how to handle computers in the most basic of senses and drive gravitic vehicles which on the industrial planet was a must-know skill.  He had three meals a day, a place to sleep and a small stipend to spend.  Out on the streets, some of the kids with parents didn’t have it that good.

There was however some downsides. The heads were constantly changing as this orphanage being in the more poor and rough part of the industrial part of town, was not a desirable place for a bureaucrat looking at upward mobility. The same was true for the teachers who would change out every year.  This lack of consistency left a hole for a lot of them as far as strong male or female figures in their life.

Life was regimented during work hours which were six days a week and for 10 hours. The other times there were rules that prevented fraternization between boys and girls while inside the orphanage, but outside that, government bureaucracy didn’t care what you did on your own time as long as you showed up when the time was appointed to work.  Training for the future. As he got older more freedom was given during these off-hours as long as curfew was observed. From the time he hit his teens, he had freedom of movement as long as he showed up the next morning for classes.

Of course, this meant the vices of life were available to him fairly early.  Girls and sex were there and he had partaken often of their pleasures. It was one of those things all the orphans did to alleviate the monotony and perhaps get some sense of human closeness however fleeting.  From the moment they hit puberty, the government-mandated birth control prevented pregnancy and disease for the most part. Alcohol and drugs he avoided.  But he did like to gamble, although he had the restraint to not blow everything.  Officially, these vices were not allowed to underage teenagers, but unofficially, as far as he could tell, those rules were never enforced.

The criminal element was strong in this part of town and the temptations therein were high for a young teenage boy.  But Jeremiah was a watcher and waiter and often avoided the pitfalls. He spent some time with his friend Jake who became his gym partner and somehow had found a handgun that they both practiced within the sewers.  He could at least shoot straight but was no expert.  Jake said in this world one better learn to defend himself. Jeremiah could not argue based on what he had seen in his homeworld.

Jeremiah soon became part of the ‘war ball league’ which was run by the underground criminal element of the planet.  It basically was a game where you tried to get an oval ball across a line at one end of a field or the other.  Jeremiah was a good blocker and tackler for his team and soon he had a sort of street cred that caused a lot of the people to treat him with respect. They even paid him a little money. But that was coming to an end very soon, so Jeremiah was weighing his future options. He may be an orphan but he did have some.

The first was right in front of him every game, join the planet’s criminal element and become one of them.  The orphanages became some of the best recruitment tools of thieves, cutthroats, bosses,  prostitutes, drug dealers, etc. in the city. He was strong and of a social standing low enough, he might not be missed if he fell off the grid. He even had some street cred already.  One thing Jeremiah noted, however, is he saw very few old criminals.

The other option planetside is one every orphanage resident was offered which was to be a member of the planet’s bureaucratic class. Becoming a drone in an office was not appealing to him.  He had to admit, there was a wanderlust to him.  Something inside was pulling him off-world to the stars, but how would someone like him find his way onto a starship?

The Imperial  Navy? He knew that Social Standing meant a lot there as well as education.  Probably not.  Better would be the Imperial Marines but he to admit to himself, despite his war ball prowess, he was not a naturally violent person. It was for this reason he quickly dismissed the Marines, Army and planetside forces. He valued freedom when he could get it and moving from one form of regimented life to another did not appeal to him at all. The Scout Service might have appealed but there was not Base on the planet to sign up and he had no money to travel to another planet to do so.

He stopped walking for a minute and looked around him.  The grey cold atmosphere of the planets industrial heart all around him. The metal and other manufactured materials adding to the gloom.  The light of advertising and the building were even cold and harsh to him.  But there was one place that was not like this at all.  The trade hub around the starport.  All the bright corporate logos and the flamboyant free traders were there engaged in trading, buying and selling.  He loved going there, the atmosphere was intoxicating.

Suddenly an idea struck him and he headed off in the direction of the trade hub with a plan rolling in his head. If he could just convince one of the traders to take him on as a hand, he might be able to get off this miserable planet and see the stars he longed for.

Megatraveller Notes: 

Welcome to Space Tramp, a work of Megatraveller fan fiction. Basically, I am taking an advanced character creation process and developing it into a fully fleshed-out story background. In each part, I will end with the notes for that year.  What I rolled and any modifiers I added or changed because of the roleplay of the character will be noted. This is the first part so it will probably be a little longer but if you bear with me, then it each part after this will make more sense.

Name: Jeremiah Kilwood  Sex: Male  Universal Personality Profile (UPP): A67A74  Age:18

Explanation: Jeremiah is an 18-year-old human male.  In order of his UPP – Strength:10, Dexterity: 6, Endurance: 7, Intelligence: 10, Education: 7, and Social Standing: 4. He is stronger than most people and more intelligent with scores of 10 in both which in Megatraveller are represented as ‘A’s. He has average endurance and slightly less than average dexterity.  Physically he is a strong guy but otherwise unremarkable.   His education level is average coupled with his high intelligence gives him the ability to learn 17 skill levels at present.  His social standing, however, is low.

Homeworld: Strouden / Lunion Subsector/ Spinward Marches

Universal World Profile: A745988-D N Hi In

Jeremiah’s Homeworld is Strouden which is found in the Lunion Subsector fo the Spinward Marches sector. If you have the map is it hex: 2327. Doing the UWP in order. Starport A which means the world not only services starships but builds them.  Size 7 is slightly smaller than Earth.  The atmosphere is 4 which means thin and tainted by industrial pollutants. Hydrographics is 5 which means the world is half covered by water. The population is 9 which puts it in the billions of people. The government is 8 – Civil Service Bureaucracy.  People are employed by the government based on their expertise and skills. Law level is 8 which is high law which means no weapons allowed except small blades that have to be concealed. Technology Level is D or “13”  which high is but pretty standard for the main worlds of the Imperium. The N indicates Strouden is an Imperium Naval Base.  No scout base is however present other than the x-boat station for the couriers.  ‘Hi’ indicates a classification for a trade of a High Population world. ‘In” indicates industrial which indicates that trade classification.  Given both of these, Strouden is a good trade world both in that it is both a good supplier and market for goods.

Skills: Grav Vehicle – 0, Computer – 0, Handgun- 0

Three default skills based on his homeworld’s characteristics – no disadvantage or advantage here and no skill levels actually taken.

In Megatraveller shorthand form:

Jeremiah Kilwood

UPP: A67A74   Age: 18  Homeworld: Strouden UWP: A-745988-D N Hi In

Skills: Grav Vehicle – 0, Computer – 0, Handgun – 0 

The next part will have Jeremiah trying to join the Merchant Service and his first year therein.  

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Asatru and Self-Reliance” – Of Wolves and Ravens – Self-Reliance

Happy Tyr’s Day

Discussion:

“Self-Reliance is the spirit of independence, which is achieved not only for the individual but also for the family, clan, tribe, and nation.”

Principle: To achieve and maintain personal independence and advocate for independence in my family, state and nation.

This virtue is much more complicated than it first appears.  We also need to remember that as we move from the Foundational Virtues to the Business Virtues that this is my distinction but in other views, this virtue is handled in a different place.  What all of us acknowledge is that the Nine Noble Virtues weave together to form different concepts and at Self-Reliance, we see a lot of that.

Mostly though there is one word that guides my thinking on this virtue – ‘independence”.  It is that line ‘the spirit of independence’.  I would say that one cannot be dependent on others and self-reliant and as such one is not truly free if one is dependent on others.  Your dependence means that the people you are dependent on can take it away and thus can dictate terms in some way in other areas with the threat of taking what they give you away.

This idea of self-reliance meshes well with the libertarian concept of the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP) as to be self-reliant it can be seen that attempts to force or defraud others are not self-reliant but rather the actions of the thief and extortionist. No thief or extortionist is self-reliant.

In Asatru, the person who is valued is the one who goes and, using industriousness, makes their own life.  The person who finds ways to leach on the lifeblood of the industriousness of others is not. Hospitality is the guard against those who find themselves in trouble due to no fault of their own as in Hospitality (which we will discuss in a couple weeks) you find each person having the requirement in that virtue of helping those in need if it is in their power to do so.

Website: Ravenbok – The particular page is: The Values of Asatru

To the Wolves and Ravens:

“Feed the Wolves, but Listen to the Ravens first.”

Needs (Geri):

The need for self-reliance is obvious for personal development.  No one grows stronger or better by being in a dependent state in relationship to others.  It is liberty and independence that have as their responsible core the need to grow and be better to live a better life. We need self-reliance to maintain our freedom by working for it. As much as I believe it is true that liberty requires a sacrifice of blood from those who would try to take from time to time.  The constant maintenance of liberty is done by people working hard every day to maintain their self-reliance.

Wants (Freki):

We want self-reliance as well.  I suppose in Asatru this is best reflected in how the Norse people looked at the gods.  They certainly didn’t look to them for help all the time.  The gods were mostly invoked; if at all, through a good relationship where a person maintained a friendship with the gods but never presumed too much on it.  They only turned to the gods for help when needed like a friend would with a friend.  This creates respect that is both wanted and needed when carried over to human relationships as well.

Reason (Huginn):

Rationally this guards us against two things.  One the one hand we seek to be prosperous enough so that no one can control us.  Having prosperity allows one to look an employer in the eye and remind them you can live without them or have enough to live through hard times. On the other hand, the followers of Asatru recognize the dangers of materialism as not all one acquires leads to the utility of being valuable practically.  Simple prosperity is more desirable that opulent displays of wealth because opulence is a drain on one’s prosperity and actually threatens self-reliance and thus freedom.

Wisdom (Muninn):

Wisdom plays its part and I will let my source document speak on this issue because I can’t think of a way to put it better:

Being self-reliant also means taking responsibility for one’s life. It’s not just about refusing a welfare check or not lobbying for a tax exemption, but also refusing to blame one’s failures on religious intolerance, the patriarchy, or an unfair system. The system may, in fact, be unfair, but it’s our own responsibility to deal with it.

– The Values of Asatru

Wise words. My ultimate advocacy for self-reliance is reflected in my own success, despite the obstacles, to be self-reliant.

Conclusion:

I would say people become much too reliant on others and it robs them of what they could have.  They look too much to others, like the government, and thus borrow from the future of prosperity of others to feed their own in the now.  The national debt of the United States is one great symptom that shows the harmful results of this overreliance on others. This is not to say you can’t when truly needed, get help from others, but we often do so to the point it is harmful to others and this robs both them and us.  Life would indeed be better for all if people found as many solutions to their own problems on their own first; only relying on others when absolutely necessary.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“People as Sacred” – Odin’s Eye – Humanism

Happy Thor’s Day

Discussion:

A humanist is a person who sees human beings and the human race as the central thing to solving human problems.  A pagan is a person who finds spirituality in all things.  I want to talk about how these two intersect.  For me, people are both the solution to their problems and sacred as part of the universe.  I don’t look to political or religious forces to solve human problems.  Both of those things tap into tribalism hard and push us to fear and hate one another. If you looking for the evil that might exist, you don’t have to look too far into any political or religious organization and you will find some.

As a humanist, I don’t think political ideology solves problems. Speaking as a political scientist, I can tell you that politics is about putting groups of people against one another to gain power, not solve problems.  Unless you see solving the problem as subjecting other people to what you think is right and forcing them, politics and government is not the way to go.

As a pagan, and former Christian, I can see how religion is used much the same way as it influences culture to label things ‘sinful’.  Once again, this is then used to put groups of people against one another as ‘the righteous’ put themselves against ‘the sinners’. Using shame, shunning and general looking down noses at others because ‘they don’t have the truth of our faith’, you can see once again how this is used to control people through fear and manipulation. Sorry, religion tends to create more problems not solve them.

It seems if human beings want actual solutions to their problems, they might want to look at themselves and stop joining religious and political groups that are not about solving problems but rather are about control.  Time for an alternative way of looking at people that might actually solve their problems.  Time to start looking at people as sacred.

Time to Look Through the Eye:

Faith:

Having faith in human beings to solve their own problems is difficult at first.  Both the above forces fo government and religion do some pretty good PR to label some people as the problem and having the need for others to control them. I always marvel at political and religious leaders ability to label whole groups of people as the problem and not themselves of course.  They are the solution.

I can say that if you sit back and really think about it there are two things I can have faith in: 1) That things are getting better all the time for humanity, and 2) That a whole bunch of people are trying to convince you that things are getting worse for their own gain.  But if I look at it objectively and consider people being sacred. You can have faith in each individual human being to solve their own problems if they are given the freedom to do so. Letting people be themselves is the most sacred and loving thing you can do for someone else.

Religion:

Religion, in general, sees humans as problematic or having problems.  Paganism sees them as sacred. Not problems but wonderful parts of the universe. Religion involves chains and spirituality involves removing them.  The first step in seeing people as sacred is to stop thinking they need religion to help them overcome their problems.

Because each person is sacred, they hold within themselves the ability to solve their problems.  Religion always tries to get a person to look to the divine, or faith or something outside one’s self to solve the problems they have but in truth, each person’s decisions will either lead them into problems or out of them.  Religion makes a lot of false claims and promises they cannot prove, but one thing you can know for yourself is there is always a better path that you can take as a human being if you tap into it.

Theology:

What needs to change is our understanding regarding humanity.  As a Christian, I taught mankind is sinful and only god can get them out of the problems that cause. The problem is there is no evidence that sin even exists outside the say-so of the Chrisitan preachers. That theology certainly does not look at people as sacred, that is part of the goodness that is creation.

As a pagan humanist, my viewpoint of humanity is very much changed.  Each person is unique and the most sacred thing they all have is the ability to choose their own direction.  To choose their own path. It is this that must be guarded and protected as the previously mentioned forces of politics and religion will always try to take this away.  What makes a person sacred is their ability to sovereignly choose for themselves the path they want to walk.

Spirituality:

The spiritual side of all this is that to walk this path we have far more going for us in helping us to do do this.  That in addition to their being a rational and logical side to life, there is an emotional and passionate side.  There are also the factors of driving needs and wisdom gained through experience.  All these combine into a spiritual walk that allows us to use all we are as human beings to set and guide the choices we make.

Part of that is respecting that people are sacred and walking it as a spiritual path is to guard it for ourselves and respect it in others. To interfere in a person’s choice, even benevolently, is to look at them without this respect for the fact that they are sacred and what makes them sacred is their ability to choose for themselves what path they are walking.

Conclusion:

In the end s much as sometimes I can think people are stupid in their choices, I respect that their ability to choose is sacred to them.  It is what makes each individual unique to me and worthy of a measure of respect.  Now, this doesn’t mean all choices are good ones or even benevolent and some choices can be stopped if they violate this principle.  A choice to force, coerce or defraud someone is one that does not have this respect of another person’s sacredness. It should be stopped. But there are many choices that I would not make but they are not violating the principle of sacredness so I should not interfere.

It is amazing to me what peace of mind comes when you leave people to be sacred in their own lives. The freedom from the desire to control and manipulate is a wonderful one. It also brings about the simple truth about yourself – you are the product of your choices.  Those choices are sacred no matter if they were good or bad because as a human being you made them.  That is freedom with responsibility.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

“Thoughts on Freedom” – A Skald’s Life – Business Virtues

Happy Wooden’s (Odin’s) Day

Journal Entry:

Governments don’t grant freedom.  Religion doesn’t grant freedom.  The right to liberty and freedom simply is, it is others who are arrogant in their presumption that they have the ‘right’ to take it away or grant it.  If you need permission to do something from the government, religion or any other force, you are not free to do it. If we are going to say liberty is an inalienable right, no permission is needed for it to exist. The best we can do with the government is hope it will defend our liberty.  The best we can hope from religion is that it minds its own business about the way we live our own life.

But as the anarchists will point out, the very fact that government exists is an affront to the idea of rights and liberty specifically.   I agree with them theoretically.  I have always felt the problems with anarchism are not the theory and philosophy of it, but rather the practical application.  It overlooks one key thing about human beings – we are inherently tribal. I think the founding fathers of the United States using their reason recognized this, so they understood that government is a necessary evil and tried to create one that actually protected the rights of its citizens and one that was so restricted as to not encroach on rights quickly or without restraint.  Smart practical men, but they knew over time even their system would fail if it wasn’t maintained by people who value freedom and liberty.

For me personally, I am free because I am free.  I alone bear the responsibility of my actions and The Book of Rabyd 2:2 kicks in a lot. It is the following of the virtues of Self-Reliance, Industriousness, and Hospitality that do more to maintain and follow after freedom than anything else.

Self-Reliance:

“Self-Reliance is the spirit of independence, which is achieved not only for the individual but also for the family, clan, tribe, and nation.”

Principle: To achieve and maintain personal independence and advocate for independence in my family, state and nation.

Goal:  Find a new, better paying job by the end of June 2019 or before.

Bucket List: To own and run my own successful business or company.

Liberty and Freedom are the two reasons why I work so hard for self-reliance.  Anything else is dependence and it can lead to slavery.  The cage can be guided but it is still a cage. The more you are independent through being self-reliant, the more options you have that are created by you and that leads to freedom.

Industriousness:

“Industriousness is the willingness to work hard, always striving for efficiency, as a joyous activity in itself”

Principle: Work with the enjoyment of work itself.

Goal: Working on it.

Bucket List: Write A Novel and Get it Published.

This kind of freedom and liberty doesn’t just come to you, you have to work to create it.  It doesn’t mean you have to work harder but that may be involved.  You can work smarter or create something that does some of the work for you.  But freedom and liberty are found in the fact that you have chosen the work for yourself and that you enjoy it.

Hospitality:

“Hospitality is the willingness to share what one has with one’s fellows, especially when they are far from home.”

Principle: To share out of my abundance to help people where I can with their life’s journey.

Goal: By March 31st of 2020, to be the leader of a support group of some kind.

Bucket List: To own my own home by March 2024.

Being prosperous enough through liberty and freedom with the other two virtues, allows you to be generous.  I think this is the one missing element of the entire capitalist structure. This is not the fault of capitalism but rather capitalists who succumb to greed rather than hospitality which would lead to greater overall prosperity.  If you can’t let go of what you create then you truly are not free of its control over you.  Slavery takes a lot of forms and one of those forms is being a slave to having to own and control everything.

Higher Virtue – Justice:

The best way to live creating justice is to live in liberty not just for yourself but for others as well. Justice means you let people be free to pursue their own path and don’t interfere or meddle in any way. You respect freedom and liberty as forces enough ot let others have it.

Daily Routine:

  1. Wife: Communication / Cuddle Time
  2. Blogging – Organize, revise, write a new post for the next day, 15 min. work on fiction.
  3. Reading – half-hour. Priority order: work, school, pleasure
  4. Study / Homework / Research: half hour per day minimum or until all necessary work is completed.
  5. Personal Business: record financial transactions, savings plan actions, budgeting, appointments, other actions, etc.
  6. Check Communications and Email after 2 pm but before 4 pm.
  7. Weekly Routine Items
  8. Nutrition: Daily Carb Count – 2

June 2 starts another full week for me and I am going to try to be in a position to put all my routines into action more fully. I have a few goals that depend on these routines so I need to get better at getting them complete.

Still walking,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!