Cloud products, usury, and the death of property

February 20, 2017 § 31 Comments

Human beings used to be reasonably capable of distinguishing reality from imagination, at least in the boots-on-the-ground world of day to day life.  Property at one time referred to something real, something which exists in its own right. Thus property could be possessed, repossessed, bought, sold, stolen, consumed, or destroyed independent of the property’s owner or of any other particular persons.

Human beings and possessions were understood to be different things, with the notable – but at least clearly delineated – exception of economic chattel slavery, not to be confused with prison.

Then along came widespread acceptance of usury. Liberal modernity counts, as one of its crowning achievements, the destruction of chattel slavery.  As with all of liberalism’s putative emancipatory achievements, this is illusory.  Rather than freeing humanity from the objectification inherent in chattel slavery, liberalism has merely driven this objectification into the subcutaneous socioeconomic metalayer, implanted it under the skin, making it that much more difficult to see and resist.  As always liberalism does not actually “free” us from authority as it pretends to do: it simply makes authority sociopathic.

The old tyrannies could at least be seen out in the open. A man knew where he stood. Now the tyranny comes cloaked as the seductress “freedom”. Liberal tyranny boils up from under layers of flesh, lurks inside clinging to the bones as it gnaws away at internal organs and releases its offal into the body. If paganism, Mohammedism, and Rabbinic Judaism are packs of hyenas harrowing Christendom, liberalism is a cancer that eats away at it from within, an alien embryo feeding on its host as it releases a thousand horrors.

But I digress.

Property is objective[1], that is, it consists of objects independent of any particular human subject or subjects.  Owners are human subjects, human beings independent of any particular property. Take away a man’s property and you still have a man.

You can tell who truly owns what by asking what happens when the music stops: by asking what, at the end of the day, secures each person’s claims. In a recourse mortgage the borrower “owns” the house and the lender owns the borrower, because the lender is contractually entitled to collect deficiencies from the borrower if selling the house does not fully discharge the borrower’s contractual obligations.  The situation is even worse than that though, because in the case of taxable real estate the sovereign really owns the property and leases it back to the tenant (whom we deceptively label the “owner”).  Real estate “owners”, then, don’t really own the actual property. The sovereign owns the property and what the “owners” really own is exclusive leasing rights: a kind of financial security.  That isn’t nothing, but there is much less there than meets the eye. Real estate “ownership” where there are property taxes is a form of lie: what is owned is not land and buildings, but a perpetual[2] and exclusive lease on land and buildings.

Products dependent upon cloud software represent a new, technologically enabled phase in non-ownership “ownership”.  Cloud software or “Internet of things” products require a “mother ship” somewhere on the Internet in order to work. Without the mother ship they become literally useless; “bricked” in the vernacular. For example you can spend years of your life producing work with a cloud based – or even just cloud licensed – CAD program, under the illusion that you own at least your own actual work product. You don’t own the software, it is merely ‘licensed’ to you, sure.  But in fact you don’t even really own your own work product which you produced with the software using your own hands and mind, because you cannot even continue to access your own work without regularly checking in with the mother ship to ensure that license terms are met . If the terms and conditions change, or the company goes out of business or the mother ship crashes for some other reason, you can’t even access the features of your own “property”; not even your own accumulated work.

Cloud products represent a kind of legalized ransomware.  As with usury there is a superficial resemblance to legitimate transactions; in this case a resemblance to having sold or leased you some tools with which you can produce your own  work; work which you then own. The work you produce with cloud-based ransomware looks like it belongs to you.

But when the music stops your hammer no longer works, there are no other hammers which will work, and all that you have built with the hammer is hostage to the true owner’s terms and conditions.  You were never the owner of your own work product in the first place: you rent your own work at the pleasure of the private party who really owns it.

When philosophical anti-realism invades the domain of property, the distinction between persons and property disappears.  This erodes the distinction between persons and objects in spheres beyond property and ownership.

If you would like to see the great dehumanization reversed, I can’t really offer much hope. But I’d be happy to hand you a shovel.


[1] Nota bene: not physical or merely physical, since physicalism is false.

[2] At least for as long as the tenant continues to make payments, which can be increased at any time without his agreement.

Sexual integrity as a state of mind

February 11, 2017 § 49 Comments

I recently received a Disqus notification for a comment someone left on a long forgotten discussion about the martyrdom of St. Maria Goretti:

[St. Goretti] did not die for her purity. She died for [her attacker’s] purity. Stop calling rape victims sinners. Stop committing idolatry by worshipping mere hymens. Stop allowing a demonic obsession with physical virginity to pollute you and make you a destructive force in the world. When you call rape victims sinful you’re committing an act of Satanic worship.

St. Maria Goretti is not just a martyr to purity.  In my view she is also a martyr to metaphysical realism.  If rape isn’t an objective violation of sexual integrity worth resisting when possible then why is it wrong at all?

Suppose instead of a rapist St. Goretti’s family had been attacked by marauding Barbary slavers, she had died resisting the breakup of her family, had forgiven her attackers, her attackers had later converted, etc.  Suppose the hagiography was basically the same, in other words, but the objective violation in question was different.

Years later she is canonized a saint and celebrated as a martyr to family integrity.

This leads to an annual freakout by protesting orphans and runaways, who feel aggrieved that anyone could celebrate the defense – to the death, by a saint and martyr – of family integrity.

Serving concrete gods

December 23, 2016 § 433 Comments

Liberty is a jealous god.

Taken minimalistically to mean the observation that we have free will, coupled with a judgment that this is good, liberty lurks in a motte within which it bides its time, waiting to escape into social reality.

As a doctrine situated in concrete social reality it is the intrinsic and essential nature of liberty itself to liberate, to break free from boundaries which contain it. Liberty is never satisfied to remain motte-imprisoned as the banal academic observation that human beings have and exercise free will. Liberty by its nature actively demands liberation, something beyond the mere observation that it is the nature of human beings to choose our own behaviors. It is in the nature of liberty to advance on the imprisoning barriers of authority: thus liberalism is, at its very foundations, a political doctrine.  In an individual mind it may be theoretically possible to keep liberty locked in a box; as something considered an important social good, as a public reality, liberty is intrinsically and essentially political.

Because the social reality of liberalism is political, it is incoherent. Paradoxically this incoherence delivers precisely what liberty promises: it destroys authority and unleashes all-hungering Will, emancipated from history, tradition, unchosen heritage, nature, and nature’s God.  Liberty is Ungoliant, a hunger which by its nature cannot be fulfilled or permanently contained: a black hole which will never be satiated even as it swallows the entire world.  Only Ungoliant can promise the eternal cosmic emptiness of the utterly unfettered and unsatisfiable will, and through the power of paradox deliver the emptiness of that promise.

Libertarians serve their master with the same monotheistic devotion of the followers of Mohammed.  Although their god is the same god as the god of leftism, their simple minds fail to grasp that he is a trinity, simultaneously one and three.

Left liberals serve liberty the immortal abstraction in his full trinitarian glory, correctly realizing that father liberty begets son equality, from both of which proceed the fraternity of the free and equal emancipated new man.

Right liberals, with their conservative disposition toward concrete reality, are polytheistic. They view Liberty as one (perhaps even subordinate or minor) god among many in a pantheon of concrete gods. They imagine that the god Liberty will remain content in a locked room, will leave Family and Church and Christianity to their own separate domains while Liberty confines himself to whatever territory has not been claimed by other gods.

They imagine, in other words, that Liberty will be content to live out his life in a monk’s quiet cell and yet will still somehow remain Liberty.

Orthodeontia

December 23, 2016 § 11 Comments

For some technical reason involving WordPress, commenting at the Orthosphere has become (apparently just for me) like pulling teeth.  For the record, I posted this comment (which disappeared into the ether) yesterday.

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A conundrum of roles in gay divorce

December 10, 2016 § 23 Comments

The main problem with gay divorce is that you can’t tell which one is the “wife” — who is awarded cash, prizes, and custody — and which one is the “husband,” who gets ejected from the home and sold into slavery to keep the cash and prizes coming.

Though I suppose a reasonable approximation is to assume that the one who files for no fault divorce is the “wife”.

Liberalism is just politics; AIDS is just a virus

December 7, 2016 § 156 Comments

Liberalism is first and foremost a political doctrine: an (incoherent) view about legitimate exercise of authority. It is true that once empowered liberalism cannot be contained and ‘leaks’ into everything else. But characterizing liberalism as a grand overall religious or anti-religious worldview, rather than as a specifically political doctrine, is a mistake: a mistake easily rejected by liberals as a caricature which creates a motte and bailey social structure from which escape becomes impossible.

In order to resist our enemy you have to understand him; and if liberalism is not understood as primarily a political doctrine – a political doctrine which by its nature cannot be contained or kept as subordinate by any amount of virtue, moderation, or good intentions – it cannot be adequately resisted.

Almost every conservative or reactionary travels down the same old path, which invariably seduces him into right liberalism.  The infinitesimal number of exceptions merely prove the rule: we are all liberals, and the all encompassing gravity well of liberalism will comprehensively dominate human existence until enough people reject it unequivocally.

Liberalism is ‘more than political’ only in a similar sense to which AIDS is more than a virus. By defining liberal commitments as more grandiose and religious than they are in fact, as something greater or more transcendent than specifically political commitments, we can avoid unequivocally rejecting freedom and equality as political principles (principles of authority in action). This gives liberalism a ‘motte’ into which to retreat whenever its own excesses would otherwise lead to self destruction.

Liberalism always starts as specifically political commitments, just as AIDS always starts out as a tiny invisible virus. We can rage against the snot running down the nose of the AIDS patient all we want; but if we hope to actually prevent AIDS we have to adequately grasp what causes it in the first place.  Only then can we begin to know what to do about it.

Creating souls in a laboratory

November 26, 2016 § 21 Comments

There is a struggle going on to define the soul of the United States of America, because modern people are under the impression that reality can be controlled by controlling the contents of the dictionary.  This is because modern people are nominalists; though like the dead people in Bruce Willis movies, they don’t know that they are nominalists.

The soul of a thing is, roughly speaking, what unifies it and animates it as the kind of thing that it is.

What we might call the actual soul of the United States of America is what actually unifies and animates the USA in reality as a real community.  This can’t be reduced to a formula or definition, but we can say things about it.  It involves primarily shared religion (fundamental beliefs about reality and our place in it) and the shared history and historical connections of particular people.

Communities are a kind of fractal of the family. Modern people have the conceit that we can destroy the family and recreate its benefits, but subject to supreme human reason and will rather than to a nature which places inherent limits on what we can choose.  So modernity is always trying to destroy natural family-fractal community and replace it with daycare-fractal community. Tending a garden and raising your children are out; food and children manufactured in a laboratory are in. If we control the owner’s manual and the design specifications we control the soul in the machine.

So there is a war on over the contents of the magic dictionary which defines the soul of the USA, and there are three main competing definitions: the proposition nation, economic nationalism, and ethnic nationalism.  The first of these has dominated recent history in the USA, but conflict with actual reality has produced a perceived need to revert to other magical definitions while still preserving unifying worship of the god Liberty.  We are by definition either a nation of anyone and everyone who professes fealty to the intoxicating horror of liberal principles, of liberal Walmart whales with citizenship papers united by our common love of Black Friday stampedes and murder over cheap consumer goods, or of disparate groups of inbred genetic stock who need to be segregated into corrals by an emperor where we can be free and equal among our own kind.

This battle is futile and self destructive, because any ‘soul’ which can be captured by a dictionary definition is not a living soul. There is just enough truth in the views of dictionary tyrants, of positivist reductionists, to make them dangerously stupid. It is true that communities tend to share religion (beliefs about the fundamental nature of reality and our place in it); it is true that communities tend to have common economic interests; it is true that mostly unforced intermarriage within communities produces a unique and particular ethnic and racial character.

But these are all natural products of community.  Treating them as the controllable parameters of a big civilization machine always leads to unspeakable horror.