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Because the old emotional brain was evolved to deal only with the personal situation, it is ill-equipped to do the moral calculus, weighing costs and benefits and choosing the action that yields the highest aggregate welfare. For such advanced cognition, the more newly evolved brain areas must be recruited.
“May it be possible, that foreign hire could out of thee extract one spark of evil that might annoy my finger? ’tis so strange, that, though the truth of it stands off as gross As black and white, my eye will scarcely see it.
And thus thy fall hath left a kind of blot, to mark the full-fraught man and best inbued with some suspicion. For this revolt of thine, methinks, is like another fall of man.”
Stop being so nosey.
Wm J Beck III: This evening, I described to my mother’s brother how her baby boy now & then contemplates burning himself on the capitol steps.
Lynette Warr3n: Not trying to be cryptic. I just want to be clear
Wm J Beck III: It’s literally funny: I never even allude to that without suspecting that anyone who’s ever seen it before will suspect that I’m having an acute episode.
Lynette Warr3n: I know better
Wm J Beck III: It’s not, of course. This is chronic: low-level, but always present.
Wm J Beck III: Well, my uncle had never heard it before. He drew a sharp breath, and said, slowly and quietly: “That’s pretty heavy.”
Wm J Beck III: I was right instantly up in his face: “Well, what the motherfuck do you think it’s ever going to *take*?”
This was by no means the first time we’d heard Beck speak of thinking along these lines. He’s spoken of such matters in chat before, he’s even blogged about it recently. Upon witnessing the chat cited above I blogged an entry contrasting Thoreau’s determination to live in the world “be it good or bad” with Beck’s perspective. Beck soon contacted me and we had another chat. Then he wrote a post saying that Lynette and I seemed to be exhibiting “a good deal of the emotive force of hysterics” and that “Their estimation of my personal devotion to an ideal of freedom rises almost to the level of resentment because I am so serious about it.”
I had already decided to discuss all of this publicly but those comments will help make clear why. I’m doing so because I think that in public it will be more difficult for Beck to sustain the idea that we are resentful of his devotion to freedom or that we are in hysterics. Sometimes an audience can provide a reality check. Since he cares what people think about him I think he’ll find it more difficult to dismiss what we have to say in public than in private.
Beck says he cannot pay taxes. I say the fact that he does proves that he can:
jtk3isme: you pay taxes billy, so it seems to me you can
Wm J Beck III: What did you say?
jtk3isme: i said you pay taxes
Wm J Beck III: I mean: is that really what you intended to say?
Wm J Beck III: What are you talking about?
jtk3isme: you pay sales tax and other taxes
Wm J Beck III: John… have you *never* paid attention?
jtk3isme: sure I have
Wm J Beck III: I wouldn’t pay *those*, either, if I could find a way to stop it, and this fact has a serious implication.
jtk3isme: you do pay them, which means you *can*
Wm J Beck III: I’ll tell you what I’ll do: I will set up a fucking robot to let you know every Saturday that I haven’t burned myself on the Capitol steps. Will you shut your fucking impertinent mouth then?
jtk3isme: not a bit of it
Wm J Beck III: No, sir: I can’t. They’re different things.
jtk3isme: one theft is in princple different from another?
Wm J Beck III: No, they are different in practice. However, let me put it to you this way: by your way of thinking, I just die tomorrow. Will *that* shut you up?
jtk3isme: No, it will shut you up.
Wm J Beck III: You’re implying a problem of integrity, and I know the solution. Is that what you’re looking for?
Wm J Beck III: That should be at *least* as attractive to everyone involved.
Wm J Beck III: Certainly, the punk Swann might be satisfied.
jtk3isme: I’m not implying any lack of integrity for paying your taxes
Wm J Beck III: Look, John: don’t try to bullshit me.
jtk3isme: I say it’s fine
Wm J Beck III: It’s *not*.
jtk3isme: no really it is okay to live in the world, be it good or evil
jtk3isme: they commit a crime but you do not by paying
We’ve had the same discussion a number of times. Every time we do Beck chooses to construe it as an implicit attack on his integrity, as if I were saying he ought not be paying sales tax and other taxes. On the contrary, I’m saying that it’s fine for him to pay sales tax and it would be fine for him to pay income tax. I’m saying his behavior demonstrates that he judges that paying sales tax is better for him than not paying it – else he wouldn’t pay. His behavior demonstrates that he judges he should pay sales tax (which of course is not to say he should have to pay it, he shouldn’t) to get on with pursuing other values.
And he could pay income tax to get on with pursuing his other values.
Paying taxes is no moral crime and it need not be a vice.
Today Meaghan Walker-Williams apparently lowered the curtain on one of the most elaborate productions of sock puppet theater I’ve seen. The link to her group blog [Warning: As of 8/25/05 MWW’s site has been replaced with a porn link site, which may not be work safe for you. ] Blank Out Times appears dead, though the blog can still be seen in Google’s cache.
Meaghan has posted comments here at No Treason under her own name and also as her sock puppet Edward T. Bear of Blank Out Times. When I asked her yesterday to confirm that Edward T. Bear was her sock puppet she responded here:
Anybody who wants to claim that anonymously blogging is inherently wrong, or that somebody who has a fucking nutcase white supremacists trailing them on the internet that is willing to make false allegations of sexual abuse against you in order to score points in discussion should just leave themselves OPEN for that kind of malignant and malicious behavior…
Well… that’s your choice.
Do you know where I live John? Do you know about the Florida Department of Children and Family Services? What do you expect will happen to me and my children, if some FREEPER asshole decides to take Kate McMillan’s criminal defamatory libel, and accusations of criminality against me to the next level? Would you look at the climate that we live in John. Take a good long look at this blog, and what’s happening to Cindy Sheehan and her children. These people have NO compunction whatsoever about reaching past their computer screens and making you *pay* for saying things that they don’t like.
And that’s exactly why I started to post Anonymously. Billy actually knows some of the reasons. And he might fill you in on them, if he’s still talking to you at this point.
I don’t have any objection to anonymous blogging. We have anonymous bloggers at No Treason. But Meaghan’s explanation doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny. Meaghan didn’t stop posting comments as herself when she started posting as Edward T. Bear; she posts as *both* – even in a single comment thread – to various sites, including No Treason. And what she posts as the bear isn’t noticeably more inflammatory than what she posts under her own name.
“They have tied me to a stake;
I cannot fly,
But, willy nilly silly ol’ bear-like, I must fight the course.
What’s he That was not born of woman?
Such a one Am I to fear, or none.” — MWWbeth
(8/20/05): Apparently finding the irony of blanking out her Blank Out Times insufficient, Meaghan Walker-Williams is now blogging as Meaghan Champion of Not Reason. You can’t make this stuff up.
(8/30/05) : Meaghan Walker-Williams has created a Wikipedia page for blogger Kate McMillan of Small Dead Animals, with whom Meaghan is obsessed. I doubt that Meaghan’s old usenet adviser Wikipedia founder Jimbo Wales intended Wikipedia to be used for such pursuit of personal vendettas.
Jimbo Wales to Meaghan Walker in 1996(!):
When you behave as you do, angry and yelling and cussing at people, _that’s all that innocent bystanders will remember of you_. And they are likely (and quite properly so) to conclude that your opponent must have had you on the ropes, logically speaking, so that all you could do was hurl insults. After all, if you knew what you were talking about and could prove it, why would you just go around insulting people?
Of course I looked for my own Wikipedia entry but Meaghan hasn’t gotten around to that yet. She does link to No Treason in her Wikipedia user page.
(4/30/06) : Here’s a feed for 16 blogs Meaghan currently has open for business. Let me know if you find any more, I’ll add them to the feed.
I don’t know what any of you ever thought was going to happen to me. I had to explain something to Lynette the other night, which ought to be available to a moment’s consideration by anyone in the custom of thinking. I’m forty-nine years old now, Rich. When I come to face the first serious systemic medical crisis of the sort that commonly happens to human beings approaching that part of their lives, there is going to be no way in this world that I will be able to deal with it in the way that every blinking asshole on the street assumes that such things should be taken care of.
If Billy Beck gets a serious ailment he will need either to pay for his treatment, use insurance, or he may not get effective treatment – just like any blinking asshole on the street would have to deal with it. I’ve suggested just one of many workable solutions to his impending health dilemma. A 49-year-old male can buy a very decent health policy for less than $100/month in most states in this country. $1200 a year. Is it beyond the realm of possibility that Billy Beck could manage such a payment? Yet, he rejects the very idea of it below.
Beck III: Tell me something: what would you have me do when, say, a serious kidney ailment — like the one that my father had in his late-50’s — rolls up on me.
Beck III: Go ahead. Tell me.
Lynette: What did your dad do when he had his back in what, the 1980’s?
Beck III: The United States Air Force — according to their contract with the man for his service — shelled out about a half-million dollars to save his life.
Beck III: Do you undestand?
Beck III: Nothing remotely like that is going to happen in my life.
Beck III: And here is a fact: if I’d been left alone to produce…
Beck III: Of for Christ’s fucking sake: I’m ont even going to entertain that with a mouse click.
Beck III: I mean: this is just stoopid.
Lynette: You can get health coverage
Beck III: You’re delusional on that popint, Lynette.
Lynette: Far as I know you don’t have to be in good standing with the IRS to buy health insurance
Beck III: How the fuck do you think I’m going to pay for something like that?
Lynette: I don’t know
Lynette: You’d think of a way
Beck III: That’s right. You don’t.
Beck III: Like *how*?
Lynette: You’re in good shape
Beck III: This is getting absurd.
Recently uncovered by Y.T.: The John Sabotta Sketchblog.
From Declan McCullagh’s Politech mailing list comes this:
Bradley Smith says that the freewheeling days of political blogging and online punditry are over. In just a few months, he warns, bloggers and news organizations could risk the wrath of the federal government if they improperly link to a campaign’s Web site. Even forwarding a political candidate’s press release to a mailing list, depending on the details, could be punished by fines.
Smith should know. He’s one of the six commissioners at the Federal Election Commission,…
There’s a Q & A session with the bureaubot in question that’s particularly amusing:
Q: How can the government place a value on a blog that praises some politician?
A: How do we measure that? Design fees, that sort of thing? The FEC did an advisory opinion in the late 1990s (in the Leo Smith case) that I don’t think we’d hold to today, saying that if you owned a computer, you’d have to calculate what percentage of the computer cost and electricity went to political advocacy.
It seems absurd, but that’s what the commission did. And that’s the direction Judge Kollar-Kotelly would have us move in. Line drawing is going to be an inherently very difficult task. And then we’ll be pushed to go further. Why can this person do it, but not that person?
Q: How about a hyperlink? Is it worth a penny, or a dollar, to a campaign?
A: I don’t know. But I’ll tell you this. One thing the commission has argued over, debated, wrestled with, is how to value assistance to a campaign.
Human jackal liberals and asshole conservatives take note: the government is about to tell y’all to shut your fool’s mouths. Maybe once a few of you have been hit with six-digit fines for illegal electioneering, y’all will rethink your love for government and “regulation”.
No, I don’t believe that, either.
In any case, I think that No Treason is safe from being charged with giving support to any particular political campaign, with the afore-mentioned exception of lung.
Come to think of it though, lung is probably safe, too.