“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.

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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!!!

“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!!!

“Refusing to Accept Society’s Chains” – Of Wolves and Ravens – Libertarianism

Happy Tyr’s Day

Discussion:

We are born free. For libertarians like myself, this is a simple and true statement. It is after the moment of birth that people begin to try to place shackles on us.  They do this with a lot of good intentions, but the best of intentions cause a great amount of harm the majority of the time and one of the casualties of these chains is our freedom.  To be ‘woke’ in the libertarian sense is to recognize the chains that are imposed on us by others and then break them.  Whether those chains come from religion, society or government.

The distinction is understanding that voluntary consent is the great difference maker in relationships.  It is what makes sex not rape; a job not slavery; and a transaction of value not robbery. If there is NOT consent in these things they become rape, slavery, and robbery. When you are forced to do something against your wishes, that is being chained. It’s coercion and it is wrong.

This is why most libertarians find most of what the government does to be illegitimate. Some of us see government in the way the Founding Fathers of the United States saw it – ‘a necessary evil’ and others see it as completely illegitimate. The one thing we all agree on is much of what the government does is force compliances to its wishes with force, the threat of force (coercion) or fraud.  Because none of this involves consent; they are no better than kidnappers, extortionists, and thieves for the most part, except what they do has been deemed legal by society.

As a classical liberal, I accept that some government is necessary, but not because I think society wouldn’t do well without it.  I rather accept the fact that most people will not accept the idea of anarchy.  No matter how much you educate people on this, they want some central authority to appeal to if things go to shit.

So I accept that the government might be a necessary evil but I want it to have very specific and limited uses. 1) Protect my rights – make sure I am accorded my life, liberty, property, and ability to pursue my own happiness. As long as I am not harming anyone else’s rights, I should be allowed to exercise my own and the government should protect that. 2) Provide a court system to settle disputes but also don’t forbid or regulate private arbitration. This court system should also provide just punishment for those who violate other people’s rights including when agents of the government do it. 3) Provide a means of education for the purpose of people learning their rights, but also have no say in private education that wishes to exist.  I see a government that should be involved in defense, public safety, justice, and education.  Everything else, they should butt out as it is not really their business.

To the Wolves and Ravens:

Needs (Geri):

The one thing that is hard for people to accept because they have gotten so used to their chains is a simple fact that society advances far better when people are free and voluntarily doing the things they love to do.  I have never found self-fulfillment in complying with the wishes of others and I would say that it creates a mental state that doesn’t help anyone around me either. WE NEED LIBERTY to be better people and thus have a better society of people who work together freely.

Wants (Freki):

I find myself these days attracted to those who are deemed criminals.  Mostly because I don’t see a crime unless there is a victim.  If you can’t show me a victim to the crime where they were forced, coerced or fraudulently treated then I say there is no crime.  So when the government passes laws where there is no victim but something is declared a criminal activity, I applaud the criminal element for taking that nonsense on.  They are real patriots at that point in my book. I want to live in a society free from these moralistic chains that criminalize people who have victimized no one.

Reason (Huginn):

That said I am no fool.  I kick in The Book of Rabyd 2:2 at this point.  I also engage in the 11th commandment – ‘Don’t Get Caught” and part of not getting caught is tolerating the law, even when it is stupid, to avoid incarceration.  To work to change the law and get rid of laws that create crimes out of the air that have no victims.  At the same time, the government has the real potential to go too far. Revolution and disobedience are options for me.  I refuse to accept any of society’s chains on me.  I tolerate the annoying, but I will gladly revolt against the tyrannical.

Wisdom (Muninn):

Mostly I simply work to live as freely as possible. To avoid the nonsense and yet at the same time pursue freedom and liberty, because it is those things that allow me to improve myself and my situation. Wisdom says I need the liberty to pursue a better life for myself, but society will also try to put its chains on me and I need to know what to do to avoid that as well.

Conclusion:

If my paganism keeps me free from the chains of religion in regards to spirituality, my libertarianism does the same when it comes to the forces of society and government. Shackles are impositions, we are not born with them and we should do everything in our power to maintain our birthright of being free.

You are born free; learn to stay free.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

Of Wolves and Ravens – Austrian Economics

 

Happy Tyr’s Day

Discussion:

Having an Economics Minor is a real boon at times when you listen to politicians.  The reason is you know somewhat how a politicians plans will affect the economy.  It gives you an insight as to what that politicians is asking the government to take control of and what damage it will do.

I make no secret a I am a very free market person.  I think when you look at inflation there is no doubt that it is created by government interference to reduce their debt burden by shifting it to the population.  When you look at things through the lens of economic law, this is the best way to go as people though their own individual expression will meet their own needs if motivated by survival and prosperity. This has led me to the Austrian School of economics as the most realistic course for libertarian thought and economics.

Economics is not a theoretical science.  It has laws much like the laws of physics. The problem with most theories of economics is that they attempt to bypass these laws.  These laws are based on observation and human nature.  Economics is often called organized common sense and the Austrian Economist simply tries to understand and work with those laws.  They simply do not think in terms of the government being a solution but rather the cause of problems with the economy and they are right.

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One famous example is Ron Paul’s prediction of the housing bubble collapse in 2003.  While Keynesian economists were urging the Fed to create the housing bubble on purpose, Paul was warning that its collapse was inevitable and would be detrimental to the economy effecting everyone negatively. Paul ended up being very right.  People lost equity in their homes and the housing market became completely burned out for quite some time.  I would say only now can we say it has recovered full and this collapse was the product of direct government interference.

The real issue with all other schools of thought is that they think that they think government has some magic to prevent these things or cause growth.  In truth, much like they cannot legislate people to be moral, economically speaking they have no magic to make things better to make people more productive or safer economically.  I find it funny that one part says that morals are not the place for government but the economy is.  The others say morals are where government should be and the economy is not.  Neither one can really explain how the area they think the government which is bad for one thing wouldn’t be bad for the other.

To the Wolves and Ravens:

Needs (Geri):

What we need from government is a referee, not a player.  The more control the government gets in the economy the more they become players of they act as referee but they have accepted a bride.  The best way to handle this is to not give them economic power but only the legal power to settle disputes.  Nothing more.

Wants (Freki):

What I want is economic freedom.  The more the government gets involved the less economic freedom I have.  Austrians simply state that economics is not the place for government to be.  The only role they should have is to protect against fraud and coercion.  Unfortunately and inevitably, the greater government power grows over the economy, the more fraud and coercion they engage in themselves.

Reason (Huginn):

The most rational course is liberty in economic matters. Let people work out for themselves how resources should be allocated and they do far better than a central planning committee.  There will always be personal greedy motives of any monopoly, whether that monopoly is held by a corporation or government.

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Wisdom (Muninn):

Austrian economics for me has is central wisdom the fact that a central committee as proposed in socialism or communism has the same problem as a monopoly.  The individual will always suffer in such a situation and a central committee always benefits.  As George Orwell Observes in Animal Farm – the pigs become the farmer at the expense of the rest of the animals.    The wisdom we can draw from them is that the poison that kills economies is this idea of control at the expense of liberty.

Conclusion:

Now it should be noted that I would love to live in a world of pure capitalism where he government isn’t even present.  The one problem I have with that is the fact that there are people who are bastards and so people want some sort of referee and I don’t think people would accept such a notion without some sort of system of filing grievances. I agree that private ways of doing this would be produced and would probably be better. However, practicality in dealing with human nature is what has kept me Austrian and a Classical Liberal rather than an anarchist.  It I more a question of what people will accept rather than what would be best.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

The Pagan Pulpit – The Book of Rabyd 2:3 – “Whenever You Find Yourself on the Side of the Majority, it is Time to Pause and Reflect.”

 

Happy Sun’s Day

Announcements: 

We don’t pray here – we figure God, the gods and goddesses, or whatever powers that be either know already, don’t give a fuck, or are busy with more important matters than our petty stuff. We also kind of assume that they expect us to do stuff that we can do for ourselves, and that we will do them ourselves and not be lazy. We also believe in being good friends, so we don’t presume on our friendship with the powers that be by asking them all the time for stuff while giving them nothing in return.

We also don’t take an offering here.  We figure the powers that be probably don’t need it.  Let’s be honest, offerings are not giving to the divine powers, they are given to an organization to support it.  Just being honest. God, the gods or whatever never see a dime, farthing or peso of that money; it all goes to the church, mosque or shrine.

Opening Song: “No Rest for the Wicked” – Godsmack

No real official video for this song, but here is the lyric one so you can sing along.

Poem: “Salt in My Wounds” by Edward W, Raby, Sr. – Written April 13, 2019

See the source image

 

Once you were the spice of my life,

You kept me from spoiling

You were the flavor I needed

You made life less plain

 

Then you left me

laying in a pool of my own blood.

Leaving a wound

a void from your knife

 

Now memories of you are salty

Burning as they are applied to the scar

Salt in my wound

Preserving the pain.

 

-Ed Raby – April 13, 2019-

 

Without a doubt this was the easiest poem I have ever written.  At least as far as time and feeling are concerned. Took me literally just five minutes.  It’s still rough, but I suspect it will be Grey Wayfarer canonized very soon. 

Miss Salty, as I called her, helped me through a lot.  She is definitely wiser and smarter than her years would say.  But this whole thing in reflection was a doomed voyage like the Titanic. Right now memories of this whole thing are bitter-sweet. Salty like she was.  They hurt and yet I hope they bring about some cleansing like salt removing infection.

Meditation:

 

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Yep, which is why I don’t trust either party. The Wall for the right and Rich Wall Street on the left are not real threat in my opinion.  Mostly fear mongering using a supposed noble cause to seize power.

Song of Preparation:  “Cult of Personality” – Living Colour

I once heard these guys live via radio.  The guy who was announcing made the remark that they were the loudest band he ever heard in concert. Good intro.

Text:

“Whenever You Find Yourself on the Side of the Majority, it is Time to Pause and Reflect.” – The Book Of Rabyd 2:3

Sermon:

This time through The Book of Rabyd, I am trying to quote as many different people as I can.  Mark Twain was pretty much destined to be on this list and it was only a matter of time.  This is my favorite quote from him and is truly a principle of wisdom.

Tribalism is inherent in the human species.  Survival trait. We band together to take on common threats and deal with common problems. The issue is that it can also lead to a mob mentality. It can lead to just bowing down to the culture, group think or what everyone’s opinion is.

This quote is a regular reminder to all of us who prefer reason to mindless pandering.  The issue is to take action on what makes sense and is most reasonable and this quote reminds us there is nothing inherently reasonable about the majority.  The only quality they have is more numbers. The majority is not proof of truth or rightness.

For me there is a reminder here that I am both a free citizen and a responsible citizen. Free because on thing that can enslave is tribalism and cults of personality. Responsible, because from time to time you need to be the thinking one that calls into question the actions of the mob.

There are institutions that thrive on this tribalism but they can, in my humble opinion be boiled down to two things – government and religion.  Both of these tap into people’s passions rather than their reason and thus are manipulative by nature. They tap into people’s inherent tribalism and mob mentality to get actions people think are the right thing but are actually the desires of those who would seek power either through politics or faith.

The lesson then is never let your loyalty to the group outweigh your loyalty to yourself and your principles. Something I hope gets carried on by those who I call my family is the ability to question anything and everything, even if the majority thinks it is the best course.  I would rather have my descendents known for being rebels and original thinkers that people who just went along with the crowd and the mob.  That they would be people of Courage, Self-Reliance and Truth

Closing Song: “Of Wolf and Man” – Metallica

I am thinking of making this my personal theme song. A lesser known work of Metallica but still one of their best.

Parting Thought:

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Stay strong pagans. Keep going.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

Of Wolves and Ravens – Western Philosophy – Individual Rights

Happy Tyr’s Day

Discussion:

If one wants to point to the main difference between Eastern and Western Philosophy it is Collectivism vs. Individualism.  This is overly generalized on my part, and I would say there are elements of individualism in Eastern philosophy and Collectivism in Western.  It is just the results ultimately lead down these paths overall.

See the source image

Source: http://www.writeopinions.com/western-philosophy

We could argue all day which is superior, but there is one element that I personally take to heart because of where it leads. The focus on the individual over the centuries has led to an understanding of individual rights.  The people have certain rights like life, liberty, pursuit of happiness and ownership of property that no collective group can take away is something very Western.  In Eastern Philosophy you get more of a rights of the group mentality. This can be detrimental to the individual.  I suppose this debate will continue until the bitter end. I am going to side with the individual and the below cartoon illustrates how collectivism or majority rule can lead to evil.

See the source image

That said there is something to be said for Eastern Philosophy in other areas. I just get real rights conscious for the individual from Western philosophy and in this regard I think it is superior to Eastern. I am not going to go into the philosophy where our rights come from at this time.  That will probably be the subject of a Of Wolves and Ravens down the line.

To the Wolves and Ravens:

Needs (Geri):

The need for an understanding of individual rights is paramount to treating each other like human beings.  If you don’t think humans have rights then it is very easy to see them as non-human.  I think it is a basic test of humanity to see what a person’s feelings about the rights of other humans are or may be. If you find they give rights to themselves and people they like but not to others, I think they fail that test.  This discussion of rights fills to needs – a) tests your own humanity and b) litmus test for others being human by how they treat other humans.

Wants (Freki):

For myself I would rather have this rights issues than the collectivist one. If the thought that you could be killed for the benefit of the ‘greater good’ bothers you, you understand why you want individual rights.  They give you the power to live your life ad protect you from those who would try to take that away from you.

Reason (Huginn):

Of course reason gets us to the point that we realize that rights only have value if they are defended and stood up for. This is another matter for the ‘where do rights come from?’ issue.  But for now, it is simply noted that the basic rights require other rights to defend them.  One thing leads to another when it comes to rights and the right to defend one’s rights stems from calling those basic rights rationally essential.

Wisdom (Muninn):

A wise world would promote individual rights.  It allows one to be both for the individual but also if everyone collectively is given the same individual rights – all benefit collectively  from having those rights.

Conclusion:

I would love to think balance between the collective whole and individual rights can be achieved, but I know people are inherently tribal and eventually they submit the rights of the individual to the fear or desires for power. There is always going to be that element in society that thinks they can come up with a better plan or system for you than you can and it seems inevitably they want you to hand over your rights to them or take them from you.  This needs to be resisted because if they can do it to you, they can do it to everyone. Individual Rights have to be defended against the mob.

I remain,

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

Skaal!!!

The Book of Rabyd 1:7 – ‘The Only Proper Use of Aggression is to Protect One’s Rights or the Rights of Others’

Happy Sun’s Day

Text:

“The Only Proper Use of Aggression is to Protect One’s Rights or the Rights of Others” – The Book of Rabyd 1:7

Thoughts and Exposition:

The Non-Aggression Principle (NAP) is stated many ways but the basic gist of it is a combination of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and “love your neighbor as yourself”.  Every major religion in the world has something like this in it, but then all of them turn around and use fraud or even force to control others.

So leaving religion behind, it is simply that people have their rights and no one should use violence or lies to take them away.  If someone or group of someones does use violence to try to take rights away, the NAP simply states that the person whose rights are being threatened or people around them who see that their rights are being threatened have the right then to use violence in return in defense.

Aggression is further defined as the use of physical force, threatening the use of force or fraud.  This is not pacifism as the use of force or even the threat of force is allowable in actions that involve self-defense or the defense of others.  There are other types of force but the NAP is about physical force, threat of physical force or fraud.

This means a lot of other areas where things are about influence, politics and other types of force are not necessarily covered by the NAP.  However, if one thinks on this that means that much of what government does is a violation of this principle.  This really limits how much the government should do and puts it clear focus on the government as the force that protects the rights of its citizens and does not threaten them with force or trick people out of their rights through fraud.

On a personal level, this means that if I were to act in a violent manner, that means the one who I am acting on has made a decision to violate my rights or the rights of another person.  Other than that, it is never right for me to initiate violence and it is certainly never right for me to engage in fraud.  This part is actually more challenging in many ways than gripping about government.  One must always be first concerned that you are following the NAP before you judge others on their following it.  It is more a philosophy of personal responsibility than anything else.

Following the NAP leads to a practical morality.  There is nothing more frustrating on the one hand than people who, because of their politics, religion or other beliefs, think they have the right or force their viewpoint on others through law, violence or fraud. One the flip side, it is also frustrating to watch people stand aside while violence or fraud is perpetrated and they do nothing about it.  The NAP gives us a principle to guide us.  It is not perfect, but it is a lot better all others I have found so far and far more practically useful.

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

Skaal!!!