Day-to-day thoughts, technical information, a random grab-bag of thoughts, discoveries, and interesting little tidbits.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Feeling Hot-hot-hot

I don't know about my soul, but it feels like my head is burning... along with just about the rest of me.

One of the unpleasant things about living in a desert is the extreme heat generated during the summer months. However, this is, in fact, all my fault, as it was my brilliant idea to actually move to the state of Arizona in the first place. Soon enough, I will be leaving. Possibly next spring.

It's no secret that I'm not a fan of the government, so it stands to the question of where I'd go to get as far away from that as possible. Now, from what I can tell, Alaska can probably come close, if not Antarctica. However, life in those places would be short and brutal, due to the decidedly not-hot climates they sport. Alaska less so than Antarctica, but still, crops are not going to grow very well, and finding sufficient wood to make furniture, charcoal for metalcasting, and other useful tools would be a full-time job, precluding any time for the aforementioned crafts.

Two major locations come to mind off the top of my head in more reasonable climates. Nevada is well known as a libertarian state; no other state allows prostitution, and few states have a better tax system than Nevada. However, the climate is not quite different enough for this born-and-raised easterner to find comfortable. New Hampshire comes closer, and there is a major movement that gives it a sweet bonus in that New Hampshire is where the activists go. I am already seeing much in the way of public resistance to the criminal behaviour of government, and I certainly like that already. In addition, those who are assaulted by the state have allies who willingly attend their trials, for moral support and publicicty, if nothing else.

Civil disobedience is a useful tactic against a political system. It may not give one a benefit to stand in trial, forego the lawyer, and state, as plain as they can, "I am performing peaceful civil disobedience in protest of an immoral law," but it would definitely get some people talking. This is the kind of behaviour that allowed Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. to stand out in the annals of United States history, and the word "Ghandi" is practically a synonym for peacefully disobedient protester.

The reason that civil disobedience works against the state when violent defense of one's rights does not is that much of the state's power is through consent. It rules through the misdirection that those who defend themselves against the state are, in actuality, violent criminals who need to be locked away for the good of society. Without the violent component, there is nothing for the state to show in its propaganda. The disobedient become victims in the eyes of those who see them, and the state becomes that much more violent by comparison. Of course, the government cannot have that, so they often use the "mercy tactic;" in which they say "Since you are not a danger to society per se, we will be merciful, gracious, and an all-around good guy and let you off with a warning." What else can they do? Politicians need to eat, and while violent protest can be spun into a crazy man with a gun, a peaceful protester following in the footsteps of Ghandi and Martin Luther King would have a lot more press against the politico than for him.

There are limits to the practice, though. One of the most useful things one needs when practicing civil disobedience is a following. A group of people who willingly join them, either as an observer or a participant, in order to display the fact that such protest is not a singular crazy person, but an actual percentage of the population. People with cameras and accounts on sites like YouTube can be a crazy-awesome benefit to the practice as well, as such can be pointed to in future advocacy. "You think he was violent? Check this video out!" Singularly, however, a person can be overwhelmed, and any observers can otherwise be silenced, rendering the civil disobedience useless and inert.

One who is known for their civil disobedience can eventually become too hot-hot-hot to hold.