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New Manosphere theory: Cliven Bundy is being attacked because he talks too much like a black person

Cliven Bundy and pals

Cliven Bundy: Too black?

Well, I was wrong. I thought that Heartiste would be the first Manospherian to come to the defense of fallen Fox News hero Cliven Bundy. Nope. Turns out it was W. F. Price of The Spearhead, who blamed Bundy’s fall from grace not on his crude racism but on the fact that the white rancher with the guns and unpaid bills … talks too much like a black person.

No, really.

Here’s Price’s argument, such as it is:

What I find highly ironic about the recent condemnation of Cliven Bundy is that he is being pilloried for speaking more like black Americans than urban whites. Even his name would sound black if you made a slight change from “Cliven” to “Clayvon.”

Well, no. Bundy talks a lot more like, well, a cowboy-hat-wearing white rancher at war with the government than he does a “black American” – as if all “black Americans” talk alike.

And are you really arguing that his name “would sound black” if it were a different name?

Mr. Bundy’s American English is so archaic that he still uses “Negro” (also used more by blacks than whites) and says “they was able to” and “didn’t get no more.”

And this is supposed to be how “American blacks” all talk? Phrases like these are common in various Southern/rural dialects spoken by more “American whites” than “American blacks.”

Hell, they’re common amongst a lot of urban whites. I lived in Chicago during the years in which our mayor was a fellow named Richard M. Daley, a man with what you might best describe as a casual sense of grammar. I’m pretty sure he’s never figured out the difference between “was” and “were.”

Also, if you read the complete transcript of Bundy’s remarks, you’ll see that he also referred to blacks as “colored people.” That particular usage isn’t very popular with anyone but white racists.

The content of Bundy’s message, which wouldn’t have been all that controversial if spoken by a black preacher, was deemed hateful partly because he didn’t say it in the proper, coastal elite way.

Well, no, it was “deemed hateful” because he suggested, among other things, that he was some kind of expert on “the Negro” because he once drove past a housing project. He also posited that these Negroes “abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never, they never learned how to pick cotton.” And that they might have been “better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things.”

And then, in a move reminiscent of his magical transformation of “Cliven” to “Clayvon,” Price provides “translations” of Bundy’s remarks into what he thinks would have been more acceptable “newspeak.”

He thus proves conclusively that if Clayvon Bundy had said something different than what he actually said, without the word “Negro” and all those obnoxious references to “picking cotton,” it wouldn’t have been quite as obviously offensive as what he actually said.

Though it still would have been pretty fucking racist.

Here, for example, is one of Bundy’s remarks, untranslated:

Are they happier now under this government subsidy system than they were when they were slaves, and they was able to have their family structure together, and the chickens and garden, and the people had something to do?

Here’s Price’s “translation.”

How can one say that the federal government serves African Americans any better than plantation owners under slavery, when at least they had families and the opportunity to work the land under that system.

Really? Regardless of how it’s worded, that’s an odious and ignorant argument. Slavery made stable family life impossible for slaves. For many years, slaves were forbidden to marry, and even after they were allowed to marry, couples were often separated from one another, living and working on different plantations; children could be sold to plantations apart from their parents. Slaveowners raped slave women and girls and enslaved the children born from these rapes.

It’s really kind of hard to have a decent family life when SOMEONE ELSE OWNS YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE AND YOUR CHILDREN. Or, even worse, several different someone elses.

Oh, but these days single black women sometimes raise children on their own. And living in big cities they don’t have the wonderful opportunities to garden that their enslaved ancestors had.

Price later seems to suggest that Bundy may be less racist than white New Yorkers in part because he doesn’t have to deal with black people as much:

In fact, Bundy, who probably has little if any negative interaction with black folks may be more positively inclined toward them than the New Yorker.

Apparently, in Price’s world, white racism is caused by interacting with black people. The more contact white people have with blacks, the more they hate blacks! Who knew? Maybe this whole “desegregation” thing was a horrible mistake!

In the comments, DruidV wins himself some upvotes by declaring that:

Bundy has the guts to say what a lot of critical thinking Americans have been thinking for over 150 years now. Namely: which form of slavery made American blacks happier.

After all, you didn’t see them running around gunning each other down (along with lots of police and innocents) while hopped up on crack or “lean” or whatever illicit drugs, pre Union war of aggression.

Laguna Beach Fogey, meanwhile, declares that “there’s something admirable about Bundy.”

And minor Manosphere celebrity The Fifth Horeseman, with some sadness, writes that

Cliven Bundy is a metaphor for the self-reliant, small government America being displaced by the big government, feminist, obese America.

The end of an era both inspiring and natural, into a sordid, misandric, obese one.

I’m not quite sure how obesity fits into all this, but evidently Mr. Fifth Horseman here hasn’t noticed that Bundy is himself, well, obese.  Hell, his belly is even bigger than mine. He’s not being displaced by obese America. He is obese America. Just like me.

Anyway, all this is yet another reminder that, in the Manosphere, as elsewhere, bigotries (and bigots) flock together.

P.S. After I wrote this post, I discovered that Davis M.J. Aurini, the self-described “author … strategist …  neoreactionary monarchist, and … entrepreneur” who blogs at Stares at the World has offered up a dramatic reading of Price’s “translations” of Bundy’s remarks, along with an impassioned defense of Bundy, whom he declares to be a misunderstood hero and “the best friend that the blacks have right now.”

The convincingness of his argument is undercut slightly by the fact that Mr. Aurini’s “look” is basically “young Anton LaVey,” and that he also seems to be a graduate of the William Shatner School of Overemoting.

Also, it’s interesting to note that the commenters on YouTube who seem to like his video the most are actually pretty straightforward black-people-haters; one of them is the creator of a racist video “warning” about the supposed “health risks” to white women of interracial dating; another praises Birth of a Nation and agrees with the film’s stance that “the klan was justified in trying to stop all of those murderous blacks.”

Anyway, enjoy.

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Posted on April 26, 2014, in antifeminism, entitled babies, evil fat fatties, imaginary backwards land, MRA, oppressed white men, racism, reactionary bullshit, that's completely wrong, whitesplaining and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 112 Comments.

  1. @ Weirwoodtreehugger:

    Oh, I saw that, mostly because I’ve come across a few wingnuts who were complaining that Bundy was taken out of context. They insisted that if I listened to his remarks in full I’d realize that he was making an anti-racist statement rather than a racist one. They claimed that the fact the media played the brief clip that they did, while omitting what Bundy had said about Latino immigrants, was just evidence of the liberal media’s dishonesty.

    I watched the clip in full and, having done so, I have to wonder whether or not the wingnuts in question watched the clip themselves as the context did absolutely nothing to make Bundy look less racist. If anything, I came away convinced that Bundy was even more racist than I had previously supposed. I guess that the wingnuts think that because Bundy holding up Latinos as a model minority in order to bash black people somehow proves that he’s not a racist. I really don’t understand their logic.

  2. I really don’t understand their logic.

    Well, there’s your problem right there. You used the words “understand” and “logic” in the same sentence.

    Of course, I know no other words you could use that would make it any more comprehensible. You lack the elements of nastiness and a very special worldview that would allow a meeting of minds.

    Face it. You don’t actually want to be the kind of person where a meeting of minds would be possible.

  3. Mythago: Here’s the link(s) to the Bundy family history

  4. If using “was” instead of “were” = talking like a black person” (which one? Lupita Nyong’o? Neil deGrasse Tyson? Omar from The Wire? That guy in the White House) then about 1/5 of my fellow Brits talk like black people, at least some of the time. Lots of us also use the past participle as an emphatic, too “I seen him” sounding stronger than “I saw him.”

    Mr Bluecat used to sing in a choir in rural Norfolk, which is still about the least ethnically diverse part of the country. They were doing a classical-ish setting of “Joshua fit the battle of Jericho” and the choirleader could not persuade most of the singers not to change ‘fit’ to ‘fought’. Cos most of them grew up in Norfolk villages in the 50s with parents and teachers trying to drive out of them anything that made them sound like farm labourers.

    So, are people complaining about Bundy because he sounds too British? I thought the whole guns and militia business was to defend the ex-colonials from the evil machinations of King George III.

  5. W. F. Price’s opinions should not be taken seriously because he is a fictional character from a 1970s cartoon and, far worse, a woman. This is obvious if you assume that the ‘W. F.’ stands for Wilma Flintstone.

  6. Jaime was awesome. I really liked the fact that his big dream was becoming a dentist.

  7. Fear not, the cavalcade of gaucherie continues. AVFM has chimed in with a picture of a lynch mob and their victims, using the old photo to represent (who else?) modern feminists.

  8. That was shocking

  9. Viscaria, those quotes are from DruidV, but yeah.

    Oops! Well that’s really embarrassing! My excuse is I was running out the door to an exam.

  10. The thing about (proper) kink/BDSM is: power flows both ways. Both sides get what they want: they’re equal players in an unequal game. And if not, the relationship isn’t working, and can be renegotiated or ended. The submissive partner always has some kind of way out: they don’t have to submit, which is what makes it meaningful when they do.

    Simply put, it’s consensual. And consent can only come from individuals, not groups. Even if women or black people were more “naturally” submissive on average, it doesn’t matter whether other women or black people would consent, only whether the individual person in question would.

    The sort of slavery the Civil War was fought over, and that Bundy is talking about, has pretty much nothing to do with the legitimacy of BDSM: it is one-sided and nonconsensual, and any benefits the enslaved side might get are incidental, not inherent. Power only flows one way, and it’s not the way that makes the Privileged side look as oppressed as they want to look.

  11. zoon echon logon

    LBT: Aristotle wrote a defense of slavery in book I of the Politics.
    Full text: http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/politics.html
    Here’s a summary: http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/phl302/distance_arc/las_casas/Aristotle-slavery.html
    He’s focused more on “virtue” (which, if people lack, would make them bad people in a very deep sense) rather than (property) “rights,” so it may not be exactly what you’re looking for.

  12. Gordon Allport already proved that more contact with a group of people reduces prejudice.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contact_hypothesis

  13. RE: Leum

    3) Slaves-as-property is only one model of slavery, and it needn’t be the model your society has adopted.

    In this case, due to important plot reasons, it IS people-as-property, similar to owning a pet. And the dehumanization thing you mention is particularly in force; a fair number of the sapient species are animals that have been neurologically “uplifted” by humans. So there’s already a, “we made you this way” feeling involved. (Plus, uplifting is EXPENSIVE, meaning that any animal uplifted is already in a significant amount of debt to their owner.)

    lkeke35

    LBT: I fell really in love with the Jaime Reyes version of Blue Beetle, even though I still do miss the first one.

    Ted Kord was actually the SECOND Blue Beetle. (And yes, I too loved JLI and I Can’t Believe It’s Not the Justice League.) Dan Garret was the first, waaaaay back in the 40s. His radio show is in the public domain now, if you’re interested!

    RE: cassandrakitty

    For some people the “it’s universal because bullshit reasons” seems to actually be a part of the kink, and I almost always end up wanting nothing to do with those people (yes, even the ones who’re into femdom).

    Yes, and I fucking HATE THAT. Like, I really get the skeeves when I can not tell if the kinkster is talking about their fantasy or reality. Some people seem to have a pretty good grasp on both, but other people… yeah. Even the most harmless, gentle kink I can imagine gets really fucking creepy when someone acts like it says some deep inner truth about humanity.

    RE: Carrie Kube

    Since the rights of the property owner automatically trumps the rights of the other person. Thus, you have the right to do what you want on your property and the government has pretty much no right to stop you.

    This sounds pretty similar to what I was going for. Did this person link anything to support their horrorshow?

    RE: zoon echon logon

    LBT: Aristotle wrote a defense of slavery in book I of the Politics.

    Thank you! That’s perfect, at least to start building a foundation. (My hypothetical ownership class like to use property rights rhetoric to defense, but they have an emotional space and tradition they’re coming from, you know?)

  14. Long story short, basically I’m trying to write a transhumanist libertarian world gone creepy. Lots of money, technology that can do miraculous things, cancer cured and adaptive technology for all… at a price. And there’s certain segments of the population that are the property class. But hey, progress isn’t cheap!

  15. Also, I can’t stand the term “Union War of Aggression”. The South seceded before Lincoln’s inauguration, then fired the first shot, then turned down Lincoln’s generous offer to send representatives to Congress so they could work things out like adults. Making the North out to be the instigator is typical of MRAs, who love junk history and erasing the distinction between attacker and victim.

    Or “War of Northern Aggression”, come to that. You’re right about who shot first and then seceded. Properly, it ought to be called “War of Southern Aggression”, if one is going to go that route. But then, these antebellum pro-slavery types are just like all MRAs in this: They’re expert at playing the victim(s) on the one hand, and blaming the real victim(s) on the other.

    (Plus, correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t there machines to pick the cotton now, making field hands practically redundant?)

  16. Long story short, basically I’m trying to write a transhumanist libertarian world gone creepy. Lots of money, technology that can do miraculous things, cancer cured and adaptive technology for all… at a price. And there’s certain segments of the population that are the property class. But hey, progress isn’t cheap!

    Oh my god, I totally want to read this. Will Roko’s basilisk be there?

  17. RE: katz

    No Roko’s Basilisk. I’m trying to write a world that actually sounds PLAUSIBLE here, come on. Roko’s Basilisk is a very specific, very STUPID thing that only works in a very narrow subculture.

    As for reading it… well, it’s Infinity Smashed, so there’s already a fucking bazillion stories up online. I just haven’t covered most of the creepy transhumanist/libertarian/horrorshow parts because they’re under construction. The main character’s struggle is she finds out that she’s property on her homeworld, an illegal immigrant on ours, so she’s desperately trying to get out of the way before someone finally wins the fight for her ownership rights. (Because, unfortunately for her, she’s VALUABLE property, which means she can’t just be forgotten.)

    There’s also the telepathic cat who’s her caseworker. He’s the property who bought his own ownership rights and started working on behalf of the property class. I should be posting a few stories about his world and how the self-owned uplifted cats on his world handle the cultural dissonance that comes from being neurologically unable to fit in with ordinary cats and but wanting their own culture distinct from the humans who treated them as property.

  18. @LBT : No he didn’t.

    One thing with your dysutpoia idea is that there is a less mentioned flaw with the free-market anarchism philosophy is that I’ve noticed that most of them fall into two different categories: the naive ones and the sociopaths. The naive ones are genuinely good people but believe that once we get rid of the mean ol’ government and let the Market handle everything, everything will be great. All privitizers and corporations will be on their best behavior and won’t do anything bad in fear of ruining their reputations.

    The sociopaths are the ones that want all the freedoms and phooey on those it hurts. I’ve seen ones like Terry Goodkind who happily admits if he saw drowning man in a river, he’d do nothing to help and go on his way; Murray Rothbard believing a parent has the right to not feed, care for or clothe their child (https://mises.org/rothbard/ethics/fourteen.asp); that guy I mentioned (when discussing an article of a Russian bar burning down and killing 18 people because the owner refused to adhere to fire safety standards and had a fire act regardless) saying it was the victims’ fault for not knowing these things and even Bullsh!t fans saying how big business should be able to do whatever they want. It’s the twisted belief that individuality only means looking out for yourself and not acknowledging others as people.

  19. LBT, I would think a transhumanist libertarian world would start at creepy and work down from there. At least by any frame of reference I’ve ever used. I looked up Roko’s Basilisk. Sweet blue self-transforming machine elves! Atheist Calvinism. Sinners in the hands of an angry AI. Wow. I don’t usually say this, but I think getting high, drunk and laid would be really helpful for some of these folks.

    Also, your story just reminded me of a scene in “The Difference Engine”. The protagonist has met a man from the US, his associates and his slave. The man is explaining how they own all their possessions in common, as a sign of equality. The protagonist asks, referring to the slave, “what about him?” “Oh, we own him in common as well.”

  20. The sociopaths are the ones that want all the freedoms and phooey on those it hurts. I’ve seen ones like Terry Goodkind who happily admits if he saw drowning man in a river, he’d do nothing to help and go on his way;

    I don’t want to be an asshole, but I do want to point out that that is not exactly Goodkind’s position.

    His position is that the idea of expected altruism – that is, upon seeing someone drowning in a river, the watcher must attempt to rescue the person being drowned at possible cost of their own life is an expectation that leads to the sacrifice of people for the gain of others, and makes everyone slaves to the common good, with no differentiation of their individual lives.

    I think Ayn Rand did that one first.

    Personally, I actually think that if he saw someone drowning, he’d probably try to help, because that’s the impression I get from reading his books. Then he’d lecture you for eight hours about moral clarity and the necessity of pre-emptive warfare.

    Now, if you want to criticize him, it’s true that the Sword of Truth is pretty much the single greatest argument against Objectivism ever made, and that the political implications are so utterly loathsome as to be maddening in their absurdity, haphazard disregard for human welfare and everything in between.

  21. I know it’s a crazy concept, but perhaps they could actually engage African American people in this dialogue and ask them how they felt about slavery and how much they would like to return to it?

    Do they realise how condescending it is to talk about black people as if they aren’t even present (or capable) of contributing to the conversation? Let alone talking about them returning to slavery to be happier! It boggles the mind…

  22. - Tangentially, there’s apparently some kind of scandal going on about how the governor’s son made a deal with a Chinese company to build a solar power farm on the land that justifies all the tea-part actions (according to my conspiracy-theory-minded roomie, but I wasn’t really listening).

    Not the governor. The governor of Nevada is a good Republican. Harry Reid (one of Nevada’s senators, Democrat and Senate Majority Leader, for non-USians). Except that the solar power farm was cancelled a year ago, and even if it wasn’t, the federal government already owns the land at issue.

  23. zoon echon logon

    @LBT

    That sounds really interesting. Let me apologize in advance for shoving ideas at you, but you might also go with the artifact/natural distinction.

    To quote from a paper,

    Aristotle characterised a natural object in The Physics as one which ʻhas within itself a principle of movement and of stationariness (in respect of place, or of growth and decrease, or by way of alteration)ʼ (192b8-11)(Aristotle, 1941). Any change the object undergoes over time is determined from wholly within that objectʼs nature. Acorns grow into oaks, silverback gorillas grow grey and arthritic, and mountains slowly erode. An artefact, by contrast, lacks ʻthe source of its own production … that principle is in something else external to the thingʼ (192b28). The external source to which Aristotle refers is the intentional action of a human. Artefacts thus display the presence of human intention. Natural objects do not.

    When a synthetic biologist creates a genome from scratch, by contrast, building organisms de novo from bio-bricks, causal continuity with the historical evolutionary past has been severed. With synthetic biology, all trace of descent from naturally selected ancestors has been eliminated. Though they still contain the nucleic acids, the biotic artefacts created by synthetic biology borrow none of their genetic sequencing from viable products of the historical evolutionary process. A genome built from bio-bricks is as complete an artefact as any biological organism can be. This makes it possible to offer an argument that accepts hybridisation, selective breeding and late twentieth century genetic biotechnology but rejects synthetic biology. The argument hinges on the fact that synthetic biology creates a more fundamental type of biotic artefact.

    Synthetic biology: drawing a line in Darwin’s sand CJ Preston, 2008

    Preston is talking about the effect of synthetic biology for environmental ethics, but it might also be relevant for your story world. Natural things don’t have a purpose other than (maybe) to become the sort of thing that they are–acorns to oak trees, caterpillars to butterflies. For humans, this is generally taken to be some sort of vaguely defined good life, or “human flourishing.” A synthetic human would have a purpose (telos, final cause) that was given to it by some extrinsic agency. One could argue that it would be difficult to respect the autonomy of such a being because its very being reflects someone else’s purpose. How can it be autonomous (literally, self law giving) if it’s given form and purpose by someone else? It might have its own intentions, but it would still always bear the mark, at the cellular level, of someone else’s intention–part of the explanation for why it is the way it is would always have to be “because someone wanted it to do something.”

  24. @Bina

    (Plus, correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t there machines to pick the cotton now, making field hands practically redundant?)

    Good point – all this talk about bringing back slavery seems more like a desire to return to a social structure where blacks are “controlled”, rather than any real economic need for human labor. It’s no coincidence that the waning of slavery in the West happened shortly after the discovery of fossil fuels and the industrial revolution (with some exceptions – the cotton gin drastically increased the demand for field hands in the American South). I don’t know if there’s any examples of societies where the end of slavery and expansion of human rights preceded automated labor.

    There are predictions floating around that, with the imminent end of cheap oil, slavery may start to return again within the next century. Usually these predictions come from the same objectivist jerky types gleefully fantasizing about societal breakdown, chaos, and the targeting of women and minorities, who will then run to the white menz for protection (from the other white menz). I’d like to think our collective humanity has evolved to the point where returning to slavery would be unthinkable. More likely, it will take the form of cheap, unregulated wage-labor, where the workers have the illusion of freedom but are treated as disposable. Much like our current global capitalist economy, in other words.

  25. Buttercup: . I don’t know if there’s any examples of societies where the end of slavery and expansion of human rights preceded automated labor.

    There is one I know of, 5th/6th Century Ireland. Patrick went back to proselytise and they gave up slavery (which was a pretty large part of their social structure).

    There are predictions floating around that, with the imminent end of cheap oil, slavery may start to return again within the next century.

    If you look outside the West it’s already regained a lot of lost ground (it’s never been eradicated). These days most of it is built as debt-peonage, but the debt is passed from parent to child, and can never be repaid in full.

    It’s estimated the present numbers of Debt Peonage slaves is at least 12 million people.

    Creditors in the US have been working to create a low-octane form of that with modifications to debt discharge in bankruptcy. At present debts are not heritable (though they can cause loss of properties which are mortgaged). A lot of creditors attempt to get heirs to voluntarily assume the debts of their deceased relatives. Since most debts are discharged at death this an immoral practice; because the debts, once assumed, usually can’t be discharged without either paying them off, or declaring bankruptcy.

  26. Wow, I’m learning tons of amazing stuff today. Thanks, guys!

  27. Buttercup Q. Skullpants

    Seconded. Thanks, Pecunium, I couldn’t remember what the term was for workers being promised jobs abroad and then forced into indentured servitude. Slavery and human trafficking definitely haven’t disappeared, they’ve just morphed into more subtle forms. Dubai is one of the more egregious examples, with workers having their passports confiscated and being made to live and work in appalling conditions, basically unpaid. I’m glad there are organizations tracking these unethical practices and calling attention to them.

    As for creditors, they’ve been gradually offloading more and more risk onto the consumer. It used to be that the lender assumed the risk of losing money if the debtor defaulted on the loan, so it was in their interest to be cautious and exercise due diligence. Over the past few decades, lending has gotten a lot looser and more predatory. Corporations have figured out it’s a lot less expensive to own someone economically than physically.

  28. Cockney Nuclear Sub

    Ha! I thought I was the only one who thought Davis M.J. Aurini looked like Anton LaVey. Some people think he looks like Kane (played by Joseph Kucan) from the Command and Conquer series of video games, who of course, was very much based off LaVey, right down to the cultist mentality.

    But yeah. M.J. has a ton of crazies from Stormfront and nazi weaboos from 4chan’s /pol/ who are fans of his, so that pretty much says it all. Funnily enough, he’s drawn some ire and disrespect from the neo-reactionary circle for rumors that he’s bisexual. White nationalists would never cease to throw any of their supporters under the bus if they didn’t toe the completely disgruntled, heterosexual white male line.

  29. RE: Carrie Kube

    I’ve noticed that most of them fall into two different categories: the naive ones and the sociopaths.

    Yeah. My main challenge is figuring out how such a world could run and still be pleasant enough that there wouldn’t be a revolt. Perhaps if I kept the percentage of people in the shitty position low enough…

    RE: Robert

    I would think a transhumanist libertarian world would start at creepy and work down from there.

    That’s kind of the idea! It might look cool and shiny on the surface, (no more cancer! computers in your brain that run on your metabolism!) but once you start digging down, it gets pretty grim pretty fast. I’m not even going INTO the disability issues caused by the technology. (Suffice to say that when everything runs on the computer in your brain, having a neurology that doesn’t mesh with it is a HUGE occupational setback.)

    RE: Leisha

    I know it’s a crazy concept, but perhaps they could actually engage African American people in this dialogue and ask them how they felt about slavery and how much they would like to return to it?

    Because they’re stupid, but unfortunately not stupid enough to get themselves killed.

    RE: zoon echon logon

    That sounds really interesting. Let me apologize in advance for shoving ideas at you, but you might also go with the artifact/natural distinction.

    Oh my gosh, that’s pretty much PERFECT for my purposes! I love it! Thank you so much! *cuts and pastes your comment for future reference*

  30. The thing about transhumanism, libertarian or otherwise, that scares me is that once the brain is semi- to fully-computerized, the temptation to start editing your personality to take away either undesirable or inefficient parts has got to be overwhelming. It seems like it’d be really tempting, especially in a capitalist/libertarian society, to edit out any parts of your brain that don’t contribute to your productivity, or, more likely, for your employer to demand that you do so as a condition of working for them.

    I’m not totally opposed to the idea of personality editing, but I think that, in practice, the number of people I’d trust to actually have a good idea about what edits would be beneficial to me is so small it can be safely rounded to zero. I’m pretty sure that I shouldn’t even trust myself with that kind of power, even if limited to me editing my own brain.

  31. RE: Leum

    I go into that a bit! The brain computers non-uplifted people have don’t really have much impact on personality. Think of it as having your computer just controlled by your thoughts, rather than your hands and an electric plug.

    The uplifted people or robotic folks DO derive a lot of their knowledge and “humanish” behaviors from their computers, and so not only is there the self-edit abuse problem, but there’s also the creeping horror that comes from knowing that the source of your sapience was created by your oppressors. A lot of people use that self-editing to hack their brains and try and make them their own, rather than their owners’.

    Of course, there are people who go overboard, just like there are people who get hooked on plastic surgery. But… well, this IS an environment where property rights reign supreme. Nobody’s going to stop you from doing it. Technically, there are laws about breaking intellectual property laws on the tech IN your head… but where there is intellectual property, there are hackers, crackers, and pirates. Good luck catching them all.

  32. My main challenge is figuring out how such a world could run and still be pleasant enough that there wouldn’t be a revolt. Perhaps if I kept the percentage of people in the shitty position low enough…

    Never underestimate the power of human inertia. There have been any number of societies that are shitty for the vast majority of the populace, and revolts are almost always scattered and unsuccessful. As long as your elites have access to big mercenary robot armies, and presumably they would, there wouldn’t be much the lower downs could do about it.

  33. Buttercup: A lot of the debt peonage is local. Places in SE Asia where people are pressed into work, and then “owe” the company store for room and board, which is always more than they earn, esp. after they are docked for the “fee” required to get the job.

  34. @LKH

    There’s also the saying the religion is the opate of the masses so maybe turn The Market into a quasi religion.

  35. As I recall the argument Marx made was Capitalists used religion as an opiate for the masses, so all that changes is the window dressing.

  36. His position is that the idea of expected altruism – that is, upon seeing someone drowning in a river, the watcher must attempt to rescue the person being drowned at possible cost of their own life is an expectation that leads to the sacrifice of people for the gain of others, and makes everyone slaves to the common good, with no differentiation of their individual lives.

    You know who else would expect you to rescue someone drowning in a river? Hitler.

  37. LBT: Have you read the Uplift books? You talking about uplifted animals and slavery reminded me of the weird sort of indentured servitude dynamic of uplift in those books. It’s very different from what you’re describing, since uplift is a very long-term process that is done to a species as a whole, and so the indentured servitude applies to the species as a whole as well, but you still might find some useful concepts in there.

  38. A lot of the debt peonage is local. Places in SE Asia where people are pressed into work, and then “owe” the company store for room and board, which is always more than they earn, esp. after they are docked for the “fee” required to get the job.

    Shades of the 19th century collieries and mill towns here (UK). Workers were paid in vouchers that they could only use to buy (massively inflated) goods from the company store.

  39. LBT, I just remembered the Many Colored Land / Saga of Pliocene Exile series by Julian May. The humanoid alien overlords used metapsychic technology to control their thralls and reward the willing.

    Derangeddan – that’s a good point. One of the things that bothered me about the Uplift series was how utterly vile (from my perspective) the patron species were to their clients. One hundred millennia of truckling in return for something they never actually asked for? Almost as bad as the situation of the Gharm in Sheryl Tepper’s books.

  40. RE: katz

    As long as your elites have access to big mercenary robot armies, and presumably they would, there wouldn’t be much the lower downs could do about it.

    Definitely possible. I’m also thinking of having a really strong social bias against outright violence, since weaponry has reached the point that nobody wants to vaporize the planet.

    RE: Carrie Kube

    There’s also the saying the religion is the opate of the masses so maybe turn The Market into a quasi religion.

    Hmm. I could try, but I’m not entirely sure I could pull that off. Religion isn’t my strong suit, since I’m an atheist and all.

    RE: derangeddan

    Have you read the Uplift books? You talking about uplifted animals and slavery reminded me of the weird sort of indentured servitude dynamic of uplift in those books.

    By Brin? No, but I’m going to have to now! I pulled the idea from the Grease Monkey comic, which probably pulled from there. (By the way, Grease Monkey is an awesome all-ages comic that’s actually intended for ALL AGES, a slice of life mechanic comic in space where gorillas were given human intelligence. It’s funny, thought-provoking, and so entertaining.)

    RE: Robert

    The humanoid alien overlords used metapsychic technology to control their thralls and reward the willing.

    *smacks forehead* Oh, duh! Here I am talking about brain computers being a thing, and somehow I never considered that part of the technology could include “beneficial social behaviors” like docility and obedience. Welp, seeing as that tech is in FREAKIN EVERYONE, and the ones who don’t tend to be the ones who revolt and lack education, I suddenly have my form of social control!

  41. @LBT

    Your Grease Monkey link is wonky. Also, the site appears to be down.

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