The PorcFest Calendar

I was daydreaming today about a time in the future when Arcadians use a calendar based on the number of Porcupine Freedom Festivals that have occurred. When we planned PorcFest X, this thought would occasionally pop into my mind.

The history of the Free State Project in New Hampshire is intimately linked with the history of PorcFest. In 2003, an event by the name of “Escape to New Hampshire” was held to lobby the FSP to choose New Hampshire as the destination for American liberty activists. That event may have been responsible for New Hampshire winning the vote, and now that initial gathering is referred to as “PorcFest Zero.” The next year, the First Annual Porcupine Freedom Festival was organized by Tim Condon and other FSP participants as the flagship event for the FSP in New Hampshire.

While PorcFests were traditionally known by their common calendar year, e.g. “PorcFest 2010,” that tradition was changed for PorcFest X. Many festival-goers are already referring to next year as PorcFest XI (read: eleven). While this may cause some confusion between years (2011 vs Year 11), I’m all in favor of it. And it brings us back to our point of the post… in time, could you imagine future generations of Arcadians counting the years in the PorcFest Epoch? “I moved to the Seacoast in PF 8.” Conveniently, PorcFest lands right around the summer solstice, a wonderful day to celebrate a new year!

Okay, I don’t really expect all of this to happen, but it’s fun to imagine. We voluntarists should not be beholden to a calendar system that is centered around Roman Catholicism. We should feel free to develop our own traditions, based on our history or our common humanity. For something more universal (and likely to gain widespread acceptance), I highly recommend the Human Era mod to the existing Christian calendar.

The United States: A Stagnant Concern

Why is it that the US does not evolve politically? It seems that to a greater extent than any other Western country in history, the US is determined to maintain the historic form of its government regardless of changing realities on the ground. There is, in essence, no active polis – only citizens pursing policy through a non-negotiable framework.

Is this an outgrowth of the quasi-religious veneration of The Founders? Does anyone think they expected the grab bag of Anglo-European procedures they put in place not to be renegotiated from time to time? Were we supposed to live until the end of time in a constitutional mausoleum dedicated to classical liberalism a la America 1787?

The only substantive changes that have been made – 14th Amendment (giving federal courts jurisdiction over state policies, 17th Amendment (direct election of US Senators), threatened packing of the Supreme Court by Roosevelt – have served the end of reducing constitutional federalism to a more base democratic nationalism.

The Europeans may be more statist than we, but they have had a historic a talent for politics, in the classical sense. Their societies were built out of grinding negotiations by those affected, and then re-negotiated constantly over time. They continue to do so, even in the construction of misguided European Union project. In Europe, there was no group of Founders that bequeathed a homunculus of a federal framework to which they must adhere. It has been constructed over time through gnashing negotiation.

Why is the US, by contract, so mired in political formalism? Not in the positivist sense of the term, but the religious sense. “Formalism” in the sense that the rules of the game are left nominally the same and just bent to serve the ends of contemporary players – or, if they must be changed, only reduced to a lower common denominator. 

Some people argue this formalism is a bulwark against complete collapse into tyranny. Does it not, though, promote at once an ethic of corruption and lack of ownership of a society by those who inhabit it?

For whatever reason, Americans never have been political animals. I think this is because the US claims the territory of many distinct poleis (nations, if you will) and has imposed from above a constitutional prison that has reduced us to imperial subjects and slaves – unable to even conceive which procedures and institutions might better suit our ends.

Or maybe it is because we are a young empire that through early and vast accumulation of power and territory, came to that mix of arrogance and deep conservative fear that is shown by heirs of great fortunes. We didn’t earn it and we don’t understand it, so we better not mess with it but only venerate it.

Statist Math

It occurred to me today that the feds have managed to set up medicine so that patients overpay and doctors are underpaid. Amazing!

The insurance companies, big pharma, and the feds are the only ones making bank.

Repeal Obamacare and privatize medicine!

The Death and Life of the City of Los Angeles

The Death and Life of the City of Los Angeles

This is what it must have looked like when the Roman Empire went into decline… living, breathing civilization replaced by barbarity and death.

Am I being melodramatic? Those dead streets produce none of the city life that defines ‘civilization.’ Think of the millions of people who can no longer hop on a streetcar and head to their favorite coffee shop, who can’t catch a girl’s eye on the street and strike up a conversation, who are denied the daily dose of incidental beauty that inspires great works of art.

This may appear to some to be just a sign of changing trends in architecture, but it is no less than the physical testament of the Century of Totalitarianism. Those behemoth concrete structures – intentionally meant to dwarf and awe the individual citizen – were dreamt up in the same schools of thought that led to Mussolini, Stalin, and Roosevelt.

Aging Timelapse Simulation

Aging Timelapse Simulation

Watch a girl age into an old woman before your eyes thanks to this neat simulation. I don’t have details on how they did it, but it does get you thinking about how poor we are at perceiving gradual change.

Try this trick after you’ve watched the whole video: click back 30 seconds, and then 30 seconds before that, and so on. Your brain will have no trouble seeing the transformation when it is done in significant jumps.

This explains why hindsight is often so much clearer than the present.

Q: Why Am I Here and What Is The Point of My Life?

A: You are the result of an ongoing chemical reaction that acts against entropy. You are the latest of a continual chain of beings that survived – while many perished. There is no meaning higher than your individual will. However, for most of you (the sane ones), your will is best served by acting according to certain ethical, economic, and scientific principles.

A Profound Thought on Virtue and Vice

“Before we congratulate ourselves upon the absence of certain faults from our nation or society, we ought to ask ourselves why it is that these faults are absent. Are we without the fault because we have the opposite virtue? Or are we without the fault because we have the opposite fault?” – G. K. Chesterton