Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Legitimacy Of My "Democracy/Market" Analogy

This is a follow up to my YT video from September 30th, 2010 where I was timed out well before I got to cover everything I wanted to. It's been a while since I initially said I'd have this entry up. The reason for the delay is that I considered dropping it altogether. The more I contemplated refuting these same arguments again, the more I dreaded the thought of actually going through with the repetitious task. But here I am anyway. It's not so much about Anarchism at this point, it's about me defending my initial premises and the arguments built upon those premises. The last blog already covered many of the counterarguments I received to it. Same goes for the entry preceding that one. And the one before that. So why the hell am I doing this? For starters, someone just sent me a video by qtronman in which he's contriving ferocious laughter at my market/democracy comparison, in a pathetic attempt to write it off, with his dolts cheering him on. I'll take care of that here since he still has me blocked, routinely deletes comments, and is definitely not worth wasting anymore video time on.

So he finds it oh so astonishingly comical that someone like me would gripe about a failed boycott of YouTube/Google, seeing as how I myself upload videos on YouTube/Google! This was the typical response I received from others as well. First off, the boycotts I'm referring to all took place years ago, well before I had even considered making any videos. But regardless, I still made it a point not to log in to my then video-free YT account throughout the scheduled two week period of the blackout. Once word got out that the blackout (predictably) made zero impact in the grand scheme of things -- directly thanks to the overwhelming majority's inability to smell the bullshit and display a level of that glorious market self-correcting form of restraint -- I logged back in. According to qtronman, I'm a hypocrite for not staying off of YT forever because I still opposed the way YT was run upon my return. That's nice, except for the fact that I found out, through my use of other websites, that YT traffic was increasing daily and would continue to do so with or without my presence. Staying off of YT forever in the face of this fact would have been no different than stubbornly banging my head against a wall. The hypocrisy accusation here is abject nonsense. There was zero hypocrisy in my eventual return to YT, much in the same way that there is zero hypocrisy with people who continue to reside in a particular country despite opposing the way that country is run 95% of the time. People like qtronman are the real hypocrites for continually bitching about oppression of individuals by way of democratically imposed majority preference, while marveling at the exact same majority preference when it takes place in its market incarnation.

I'll stress this again since it's still going over some thick skulls: Telling someone to get off of YT if they don't like the way YT is run, is no different than Statists telling Anarchists to get the hell out of America and go to Somalia, since nobody is technically forcing a single Anarchist to continue living in America, the exact same way that nobody is technically forcing anyone to use Google. Both Democracy and the Market fall prey to the same minority restrictions directly related to the inescapable reality of the fact that majority viewpoints will always shape what is going to be at our disposal in the practical sense, be it regarding policy (democracy) or products (market). No sense in attempting to evade the obvious connotation. The sheer nerve to arrogantly mock my dissatisfaction with the majority choice when it comes to Google, coming from the very same people who upload endless streams of videos bitching about Statists telling them to Love it or leave it when the majority flow supports taxation or any other random policy that they lack an arbitrary preference for. Double standards all over the place. But double standards are inevitable when dealing with individuals whose core philosophy consists of notions like "My personal wants matter more than what's in the best interest of the other 6.8 billion". Accepting an ideology this self-absorbed inevitably leads to duplicity and obliviousness.

If Google still escapes the reader as a prime example of how markets left to their own devices limit genuinely free decision making, just consider a TV show you once enjoyed immensely that got cancelled all too soon because it suffered poor ratings. I'm sure almost everyone has had this happen to them. You like a show with some substance, but it just so happens to be on at the same time as American Idol or Dancing With The Stars or some other hideous tripe that's a huge draw because it's on a major network and is created specifically to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Your show, on the other hand, happens to be aired on a brand new channel, in development mode, on basic cable. Naturally, the demand is skewed against your acquired taste and your beloved show is immediately killed in the ratings. It ends up cancelled before ever making it past 4 episodes because the very structure of the for-profit enterprise calls for its network executives to focus on nothing but ad revenue in order to please their affiliates. In this system, preserving actual quality programming, when such programming falls prey to seldomly viewed beginnings, is a pipe-dream.

The irony here is that even the most rigid free-market proselytizers complain about these things. The most recent example would be NBC's alarmist handling of the not-so-stellar ratings Conan O'Brien received during his short stint as the host of The Tonight Show. And I do stress short. Only 7 months short. 7 months is in no way enough time to solidify oneself in such a prestigious position. His viewership wasn't that bad either, especially towards the end. But he was still given no options other than to delay his show by 30 minutes, making it The Tomorrow Morning Show, or be fired.

When the entire operation is predicated on the success of ratings and nothing but, those who enjoy creative counter-culture style programming will undoubtedly get the short end of the stick. Their preferred programs routinely sustain premature deaths and as a result these people end up settling for watching shows they otherwise wouldn't have watched had their original preference still been on the air. When we counter in all these vital tidbits, we can see that any absolutist notion of free choices is a vapid delusion. And this is not even taking into account the fact that the Nielsen Ratings system has an insurmountably high margin of error to begin with. Currently, only 25,000 thousand households in America carry the Nielsen ratings box, which is the item used to track viewership. Imagine if elections were determined this way? Only 25,000 randomly chosen votes counting at the end, with the rest being an estimate based off of the tiny, randomly chosen 25K base?

There has never been a proven method of actually measuring how many people are watching, for how long, and the exact portion of the program they view or skip. It's all a shorthand that was created from a panel of several thousand homes which were supposed to be indicative of 100 million television households, to create some kind of a common ground for the sole purpose of selling advertising. It's an immense amount of guesswork carried out from a very small percentage. Regardless of how accurately they can say that each panel member is indicative of a certain amount of a demographic, no matter how closely they can vet that panel, they still don't know. The entire system is designed for linear broadcasting, aimed at a period when households had all but three channels. Now take that, multiply it by a hundred (or however many particular cable channels you receive) and then throw in DVRs. All of this guesswork has basically been standardized as fact over the past few decades and has led to legitimate viewer choice having been unjustly stifled at the hands of extremely loose statistics. The Nielsen Ratings system is flat out guesswork and nothing is being done in an attempt engineer a system with some real precision. Calculating small percentages of viewership based on thousands (not millions) of the households that are selected by the company itself, then adding it all up, so to make round-about assumptions as to how many people this signifies may be watching, and cancelling shows based on the approximations, is the height of recklessness and stupidity. And this is not even getting into the daftness of the notion that the target demographic is always going to be the 18-49 group, as they "always spend more on the ads they view". It's just too inane and transparently sloppy of them.

The funny part here is that I have actually managed to get some Ancaps and Libertarians to freely admit that because these ratings indicate that the majority watches Idol more than any other program, that Idol must therefore be the best show around. They'll actually resort to this, just to defend their tightly-held ideological premise about the market being self-regulating. They will desperately cling to the idea that the consumer base is somehow always capable of identifying the best product around, regardless of the fact that demonstrated reality points in the opposite direction. I shudder at the thought of how many great programs have been scrapped over the years without even having been given a real chance to flourish. The exact same applies to any other product on the market that suffers little to no marketing. It's all about who you have in your back pocket to pimp your product. Basically, it comes down to money, and commercially driven supply creating demand. This is the free-market in action. The best product does not rise to the top. No matter how much evidence you throw their way, they will just come back and regurgitate their idealistic wisdom of crowds argument. To most rational people, this is known as the divine public knowledge fallacy since it argues, vacant of evidence, that consumers are collectively privileged to having complete knowledge of markets and thus have their actions guided by an invisible hand which is always there to ensure that they make the most self-interested decisions. Proponents of this bullshit are out in full forces. They are flooding the comment sections of many political videos on YT, excessively thumbing up their own comments, and militantly asserting that anyone who challenges their pseudo-science needs to take econ 101. This does actually convince many beginners who haven't taken econ 101, or read anything on economics, that perhaps this could all be true and that they just need to read The Fountainhead or frequent the Mises institute (ugh). This is what I despise the most about my opposition here. It's their arrogant refusal to accept that what they are preaching is a political ideology, not a science. As an ideology, it's admirable. Who would argue against pure voluntarism which manages to bring about better, cheaper service overall? Nobody. The problem is, it wouldn't accomplish what it sets out to do.

In 1984, immediately following deregulation, cable prices soared while the quality of programming plummeted. Service providers began selling their channels in indivisible blocs in order to prevent subscribers from voting with their dollars. From 1986 to 1990, the cost of basic service rose by 56 percent, twice the rate of inflation at the time. I can cite many more cases in which deregulation did not bring about the positive results typically sold to us, fairytale style, by fiscal Conservatives, Libertarians, or Ancaps.

I have admitted times over that the same can be said for elections. The 2 party system prevents a true free choice from being viable, so instead we have to vote practically in order to do the lesser of two evils thing. This is a huge problem with democracy. I've advocated actual solutions for these issues. Public access television regarding the current viewer choice debacle, and IRV regarding the democracy debacle, along with testing voters on the issues being voted on. The test results would determine the weight of the vote by correlating it to the percentage the voter scored on the test. The people I argued with didn't want to hear about any of these solutions.

The Fringe Elements hacker guy also made a comment on qtronman's video, along the lines of "This is not the failure of the market, this is just proof that AntiBullshitMan's cause is crap".

So he's too dumb to comprehend that by applying consistency to his rationalization, I can just as easily defend democracy, since the standard he himself imposes on the argument is one dictated by popularity, not substance. Using his market oriented logic, I can point to every anti-democracy argument he's ever tried to sell and write it off as contradictory crap simply because, as with the YT blackout, the majority of people who heard his arguments weren't convinced by them and opted not to assist him in constructing his version of a Stateless society.

"Oh but he hasn't even been heard by most users yet! Just wait until he reaches Stefbot's level of popularity!".

Nonsense. Aside from political adversaries, the guy subs to practically every user that so much as farts in his direction, regardless of whether they make videos or not. On top of that, he sends friend invites to pretty much everyone. A while back he even sent a friend request to me of all people, despite the lame unoriginal insults he threw my way later on. Subbing and sending friend requests to tons of people is known to increase traffic on the sender's channel. It results in people stopping by and checking out the sender's content. Therefore, it is safe to say that he has failed to convince most people who have come across his arguments to get on board with him. Much like Stefbot, who despite his somewhat highly viewed videos, isn't exactly setting anti-statism on fire on the net. The point is, if my cause is "crap" because it fails to draw large enough support, so is theirs. Except for the fact that the YT blackout wasn't even my cause. I didn't propose the damn thing, I was just a participant in it.

He said that I don't try to self-debunk. Point to one empirically debunked fact I have argued for. Anti-regulation and Glass Steagall Act conspiracy theories aren't facts. The idea that regulations are theoretically destined to produce counterproductive results is laughed out of the stage during any serious political discussion outside America. Regulations don't produce counterproductive results. A lack of proper regulation enforcement is what creates the counterproductive results. If Americans were, by and large, politically conscious or involved to the point where they protested State officials giving themselves immunity from scrutiny under the public domain, enforcing proper accountability wouldn't seem like a pipe dream and all these conspiracy theories regarding regulations wouldn't fly in mainstream American politics.

Mr. Elements also seems to be confused about my opt out under a State proposal. He claims that opting out is inherently incompatible with the existence of the State, that I'm arguing against the State just by mentioning opting out, and that I'm too clueless to recognize the contradiction. Thanks for the epiphany. Turns out that I'm living in a Stateless Society as we speak because I currently have the freedom to opt out of my extended health benefits, amongst other State programs. How could I have been so blind. Also, I currently reside in Canada, which to Ancaps is well known for its evil collectivist driven gov't spending, bound for decades now to result in wide spread famine and Gulag death camps. The lesson for Stodles here? Not only is it possible to opt out of gov't programs under a Minarchist state, but so too under a much larger Nanny State so long as you can demonstrate an ability to avoid leeching off of the services you're opting out of, directly or indirectly. All of this has already been explained in my videos. But what do I know? I only live here and experience first hand the ability to opt out, so it's clear that I'm wrong and that opting out does in fact prove that I live in a Stateless Society as we speak. I had no clue that living in a Stateless Society would be so identical to living under its Stateyes Society counterpart. I'm glad Fringey cleared up my confusion for me, in his trademark polite fashion.

He also made two videos about my previous blogs. I watched some of Part 1, where he begins by talking about how I don't respect Anti-Stasits. I actually started this whole debate in a very respectful tone and maintained it for a couple of videos, despite not having been returned the favour straight from the get go. My polite videos are there for everyone to see. I was more respectful to Anarchists than to any other YT cult I've addressed in the past. Then he psycho-analyzed me a bit, saying that I'm the type of person who gets off on the sensation of my own anger. It's not anger. It's called doing off the cuff videos in a lively manner. I realize it's not the standard Data-type monotone speech pattern which most Ancaps seem to find pure and objective, but it in no way implies a lack of objective analysis on my part. And yes, I sometimes *gasp* raise my voice in an effort to stress an important part of my argument. This usually happens whenever I get the sense that my arguments seem to be falling on deaf years repeatedly. I guess to some, anger means not hiding behind a screen while reading a script so to give off superficial notions of being emotionless and thus philosophically disciplined. Very tactful. If I were the scheming type, I'd probably do the same. I'd just never be so dumb to resort to pulling the anger card on anyone who doesn't make videos in the same vain as I do, in an attempt to score cheap points.

He was also original enough to suggest that my arguments resembled that of Inmendham's, dubbing me Inmendham Jr. Cute. I haven't seen all of Inmendham's Anarchy videos, but I doubt he has anything in there about opting out when possible, or testing voters, or pointing out all the instances in which consumers have, by and large, made horrible decisions without having been saved by any invisible hand. If Inmendham has made these points and I just haven't seen them, then I'll gladly sign up to be "Jr." when it comes to this subject.

He said that when most people think of Anarchy, they usually think of Communism. Then I clicked off of his video because I just couldn't believe that he'd still peddle that nonsense. "Most people" are well aware that Communism and Anarchy are, by their very definitions, polar opposites. Any theory to the contrary applies a flawed definition of Communism in order to make the leap. Bullshit sites like Wikipedia peddle flawed definitions of Communism, describing it as being "classless and stateless". That is simply not the definition, that's just how Anarcho-Communism is defined. Mikhail Bakunin's notions of stateless Communism were a pipedream and ought not to be taken seriously, much less injected into modern definitions. Pure Communism is known to most people as being classless with the State owning everything. It is Leftism taken to its ultimate level, while Anarchism is the Right taken to its ultimate level. So no, most people do not think of one as being in any way similar to the other. Most people think of them as being on opposite ends of the spectrum, traditionally or not. End of.

The BarelyLegalDotCa guy also made another reply to me, even though I didn't even fully cover the first one yet. His 2nd reply was much more snarky than his first, so I hereby retract my "thank you" to him for reading the blogs, which in retrospect I don't believe he fully read anyway. I'll cover his video in my next entry since this one is running too long.

Thanks for reading.



  1. "Pure Communism is known to most people as being classless with the State owning everything"

    That's because "most people" have been fed nothing but bullshit when it comes to Communism, with the propaganda machine in full force since 1917. The rich have feared it from the get go, as they should, but increasingly so after witnessing what happened in Russia and what followed successfully for a good number of decades. Marx's vision of Communism was indeed meant to be both Classless AND Stateless. Good blog overall though.

  2. "Marx's vision of Communism was indeed meant to be both Classless AND Stateless"

    But why even entertain this when it's so patently obvious that it's an unachievable goal? What replacement mechanism are the stateless communists going to put in place which is supposed to prevent those who are capable of acquiring savings (be it through hard work or meek spending) from trading those savings for property or labor? Will they implement an actual law against such trade? Will this stateless law be enforced through private mafias, or some other construct of a "stateless-state" like entity? Polycentric? Kind of like the ones Ancaps advocate for? Or will it just be one elected, centralized law-enforcing agency, meaning public authorities in a supposedly stateless society. I'd venture to guess that's going to be the last one. Hence:

    Stateless Communism = Fancy Name For Statism.

    Anarcho-Communists need to just stick to critiquing unfiltered economic-Darwinism which they do quite well. But that's about it. I wish they could come to terms with the fact that well-regulated Capitalism, where ownership of the means of production cannot simply be inherited, is a rational and fair system.

    Also, in my vision of State Capitalism, disabled people, etc.. would not be left to die whenever private charities run low on funds... there would still be safety nets and all that other minimal stuff that goes without saying.