Member 168
25 entries

Aaron Kinney (M, 41)
Los Angeles, US
Immortal since Jun 18, 2007
Uplinks: 0, Generation 1

Kill The Afterlife
The Radical Libertarian
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    Now playing SpaceCollective
    Where forward thinking terrestrials share ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe, living the lives of science fiction. Introduction
    Featuring Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames, based on an idea by Kees Boeke.
    I recently had an email exchange about Space Collective with our well-known friend, Obviously Subtle . In the email, he said something that really stuck with me. Referring to what Space Collective is all about, he called it "post religion and post politics."

    Of course, I already knew what Space Collective was about before I read Obviously Subtle's remark. But not until that moment had I ever heard it phrased that way. It was such a direct, honest, and inspiring description for this community that I had to write about it.

    The reason his description of Space Collective affected me so deeply is because it is exactly in line with the beliefs and goals that I have held since long before I joined this community:

    You see, I am an atheist and an anarchist. This means that I do not believe in God, nor do I believe in the legitimacy of government. Furthermore, I have dedicated a large part of my time and energy toward promoting and developing these ideas. Popularizing godlessness and statelessness is a major, major goal in my life.

    For the moment, let's set aside the "post religion" part of Obviously Subtle's statement, and focus on the "post politics" part. What does post politics mean? It seems obvious enough: it means a world without politics or politicians. But what kind of world would that be, exactly?

    The answer is that it would be an anarchistic world. Now I know that to most people, the word "anarchy" brings about strong emotions and opinions. When people hear the word "anarchy" they tend to think molitov cocktails, society run amok, and general chaos. But how many of these people know what the actual definition of "anarchy" really is?

    The definition of anarchy is conceptually very similar to the definition of atheism. Both words are negative statements. To put it another way, both of these words are descriptors of what is not, and not what is. "Archy" means an entity that rules over society, like a government. "An-" is a prefix that means the negation of something. So "anarchy" is the lack of a ruling body.

    Anarchy is the very definition of "post politics." Anarchy is the elimination of politicians, politics, and the entire government from society. When one imagines a world without politics, one is imagining an anarchy.

    Anarchy is not violent; it is the champion of peace. Anarchy is not chaos; it is the foundation of order. Anarchy is not regressive; it is a catalyst for human progress.

    Conversely, government is not the keeper of peace; it is the cause of war. Government is not the bringer of order; it is the creator of chaos. Government is not progressive; it is a hindrance to progress.

    These are bold assertions to be sure. But can I back them up? Yes I can, and I can do it with one word: consent.

    Consent is the difference between right and wrong. It is the dividing line between peace and war, between order and chaos, between progress and regress. When two or more humans consent to a given interaction, there is peace, order, and progress.

    But when an interaction occurs that all involved parties did not consent to, inevitably it breeds violence, chaos, and destruction. Consent is the difference between charity and theft, between making love and rape, between profit and loss.

    A government (politics/politicians) by definition is coercive. That is, it violates consent by its very nature. For example, a democracy is a force-based monopoly that subjugates the minority vote. Democracy has been described as "two wolves and a sheep deciding what's for dinner," and with good reason. Regardless of the good intentions of a government's action, it always violates another person's self-determination, disregards their consent (or lack thereof), and retards their progress.

    An anarchy would be a world without the legitimization of coercion precisely because it would not have a government. It would not have a coercive monopoly spreading violence and chaos among its citizens. In an anarchy, the only interactions between people that would be sanctioned as legitimate would be those interactions that are mutually consensual.

    Post politics is one of Space Collective's goals. And post politics is anarchy. Progress, peace, exploration, experimentation, and cooperation are goals that anarchy and Space Collective share. I sincerely believe that anarchy and Space Collective are a perfect match.

    There is much more about anarchy that I want to get into, but I fear this post is already too long. Perhaps I will make a follow up post where I can elaborate further on these ideas.

    For further reading on anarchy and why it is the post-politics social framework, give these sites a try: 
    Thu, Nov 22, 2007  Permanent link

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    Zeitgeist is an absolutely mind blowing experience. They are having a remastered version of it showing in Los Angeles sometime in early November. Check their official website for details.

    Sat, Nov 3, 2007  Permanent link

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    They are really the same thing...

    Thu, Oct 25, 2007  Permanent link

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    My good friend Olly from Without Hyphens has meme-tagged me. This particular meme-tag is of Olly's own creation, and it's a pretty good one too! Check it out:

    I got to thinking recently about the idea that all of us, as humans, have principles we live by daily. These aren’t your over-arching beliefs necessarily, but rather the things that you do daily as a part of those beliefs. So, for example, it’s not that I’m an anarchist, but things I do daily in line with that. I’ve kept it to 5 on my own, but there’s no hard rules on this meme; name as few or as many as you’d like! Likewise, no limits on how few or how many (if any) people you tag… do whatever is comfortable!

    I think I'll make a slightly shorter list of three daily habits, and list them in order of importance. While my list is a bit more abstract than Olly's I do feel that they meet the qualifications of his meme-tag in that they are daily life practices that are derived from actual principles that I hold. I have found much satisfaction, success, understanding, and happiness by applying these three practices to my life, and I think that everyone else can benefit from them as well. Here we go!

    1) Apply universality to all social interactions. When I am interacting with other people I check the fairness or rightness of the situation in part by turning the tables, or putting the involved parties in each other's shoes. I ask myself how I would feel about the situation if the roles were reversed. This helps me understand the other person's perspective, the equality of the interaction, and helps me to determine what corrective action to apply if needed.

    2) Regularly question and test your own beliefs. The merit of a belief is not found in how fiercely one believes it, but in how well it stands up to scrutiny. Similarly, the confidence and security one has in their belief is found not in how passionately they defend it, but in how willing they are to let it stand on its own merit.

    3) Win by converting your opponent, not attacking him. While this principle is not my most important one, it is certainly my favorite. Kill 'em with kindness. Hide your sword with a smile. You attract more flies with honey than with vinegar. Build bridges, not walls. It can be stated many different ways, but the idea is the same. When facing an opponent, the strategy is to paint both of you as being on the same side, while painting his position or ideology as actually being against the both of you. Framing the situation as you and your opponent vs. the ideology/argument in question, and not simply as you vs. your opponent, paves the way for your opponent's conversion.
    Tue, Oct 16, 2007  Permanent link

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    Ron Paul has more boots on the ground than any other candidate. Check out this awesome video.

    Ride of the Valkyries indeed.
    Sun, Oct 14, 2007  Permanent link

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    I found a lovely Java applet that simulates galaxy collisions. Enjoy! 
    Sun, Sep 30, 2007  Permanent link

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    When Burt Rutan and his ingenious Spaceship One claimed the $10 million Ansari X Prize in 2004, space-loving philanthropists started scrambling to come up with a new and bigger challenge. Spaceship One was such a success that countless billionaire eccentrics and high-tech companies wanted to sponsor the next contest.

    Eventually, things got sorted out and Google emerged as the main sponsor for the new challenge, aptly named the Google Lunar X Prize.

    The goal: A 100% privately funded craft must successfully land on the moon, travel on the lunar surface for at least 500 meters, and transmit a defined data package back to Earth.

    The prize: A $30 million total purse size. $20 million goes to the first team to complete the mission, $5 million goes to the second team to complete the mission, and a $5 million bonus award goes to the first team to complete additional tasks, such as traveling more than 5,000 meters on the lunar surface, discovering ice, or surviving a frigid lunar night.

    The coolest part about this mission, in my opinion, is the data package that has to be transmitted back to Earth. It is called a "Mooncast," and must include the following:

    • High resolution 360º panoramic photographs taken on the surface of the Moon;
    • Self portraits of the rover taken on the surface of the Moon;
    • Near-real time videos showing the craft’s journey along the lunar surface;
    • High Definition (HD) video;
    • Transmission of a cached set of data, loaded on the craft before launch (e.g. first email from the Moon).

    Teams will be required to send a Mooncast detailing their arrival on the lunar surface, and a second Mooncast that provides imagery and video of their journey roaming the lunar surface. All told, the Mooncasts will represent approximately a Gigabyte of stunning content returned to the Earth.

    I can't wait to see how this new X Prize plays out. The Ansari X Prize was a spectacular contest, and this new Google Lunar X Prize should be even more exciting!

    Finally, I bring you the promo videos:

    Mon, Sep 17, 2007  Permanent link

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    Dr. Ron Paul, Texas congressman, practicing OB/GYN, and contender for the 2008 GOP nomination, is making waves in US politics.

    Now don't let his GOP aspirations fool you. He is at heart a Libertarian, and all the Republican politicians hate him with a passion.

    Ron Paul is the only Republican who voted against the Iraq war and voted against the Patriot act. He also promises to immediately pull out of Iraq if he gets elected. Ron Paul sticks strictly to constitutional principles, and is known in the Capitol as "Dr. No" for consistently voting against any and all bills that go beyond what the constitution permits the federal government to do.

    He also wants to abolish the inflation tax (where the government prints more money for it to spend, causing the value of the dollar to fall), which is something no other candidate even mentions.

    In effect, Ron Paul combines the economic freedom of Republicans with the social freedom of Democrats.

    People have been saying that he is a longshot candidate that has no chance to win, but he is currently leading in GOP straw poll wins (even above Romney). While the media reported heavily on Mitt Romney's Iowa straw poll win, they didn't spend much time reporting on Ron Paul more recently winning the Alabama and New Hampshire straw polls.

    If you like social freedom, economic freedom, and a non-interventionist foreign policy, you should take a look at Ron Paul and see what he has to offer.

    And now, the videos:

    Wed, Aug 22, 2007  Permanent link

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    Reduced to 3 minutes, that is.

    Tue, Aug 7, 2007  Permanent link

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    That's right! I, Aaron Kinney, atheist and anarchist, have just become an ordained minister at the Universal Life Church.

    Ordination is free, and getting licensed to conduct weddings is only $5. You can even get a doctorate of divinity for only $29.99!

    If you are like me, and you don't dig that dogmatic religious stuff, you'll be pleased to know that this church is so open-minded that its almost impossible to have a worldview that conflicts with their church tenets.

    Universal Life Church tenets:

    To promote freedom of religion
    To do that which is right

    You gotta be one weird son of a bitch to screw those tenets up!
    Mon, Jul 30, 2007  Permanent link

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