Sunday, February 18, 2018

Why We Still Need A Universal Basic Income Guarantee for All Yesterday

I have repeatedly noted before why any serious proposal for a pragmatic utopia would require some sort of unconditional Universal Basic Income (UBI) Guarantee for all.  At least as long as we still have a monetary system, of course, and it will be quite some time before money can be phased out completely.  To wit:

  1. First and foremost, "It's payback time for Women".  Recently, a Woman named Judith Shulevitz wrote an op-ed titled thusly, arguing in favor of a Universal Basic Income Guarantee for all.  Her feminist argument for a UBI, which I agree 100% with, was that such a thing would provide long-overdue compensation for Women's unpaid work (i.e. housework and caregiving) that society currently takes for granted and considers a "free resource" for the taking.   As the saying goes, there are two kinds of work that Women do:  underpaid, and unpaid.  While that is true for some men as well, it is overwhelmingly true for Women.  Thus, her argument makes a great deal of sense overall, and I agree.  It is indeed LONG overdue.
  2. Men are becoming increasingly redundant in the long run due to technology, globalization, and the overall ascendancy of Women.  When men are no longer artificially propped up, they will fall--and the bigger they are, the harder they fall.  And this will only increase in the near future.  This is a potential ticking time-bomb that must be defused sooner rather than later.  Men become extremely dangerous creatures under either of two conditions:  1) when they have too much power relative to Women, and/or 2) when they are desperate for money.  Ever see the 1996 film Fargo? Indeed, a Universal Basic Income is one of the best ways to tackle the second one.
  3. A UBI is far more efficient in theory and practice than much of what currently passes for a social safety net these days, and would have far less bureaucracy.  No means tests, no discrimination, no playing God.  It's simply a basic human right, period.  And it would be far less costly in the long run.
  4. As Buckminster Fuller famously noted, there are more than enough resources for everyone to live like a millionaire with today's technology.  And he said this back in the 1970s, mind you.  And the specious notion that everybody and their mother must "work for a living" is not only outdated, but is also seriously classist, ableist, and ageist, and by extension indirectly sexist and racist as well.
  5. Poverty is a razor-sharp, double-edged sword, spiritually speaking. Being attached to riches is clearly counter to spirituality, but then again, so is being attached to poverty. Either way, it's the *attachment* that is the problem.  And poverty today is largely if not entirely man-made via artificial scarcity.
  6. We would all be better off on balance, spiritually and otherwise, if material poverty were eradicated--and a UBI is the most efficient way to do so. As William Bond (and others) noted, with today's technology that is certainly doable, but for the greed of the oligarchs at the top who control the system. And that in turn is a result of patriarchy, given how men tend to see war and scarcity as inevitable, so they create a self-fulfilling prophecy as a result.
  7. With an unconditional UBI instead of means testing or other conditions, gone will be the perverse incentives that exist under the current system that trap too many people in poverty today.
  8. Negative liberty and positive liberty are NOT opposites, but rather two sides of the same coin.  Indeed, one cannot be truly free if one is systematically denied the basic necessities of life.  And truly no one is free when others are oppressed in any way.
  9. Inequality, at least when it is as extreme as it is today, is profoundly toxic to society and makes the looming problems/crises of climate change and ecological overshoot that much more difficult to solve.  This is over and above the effects of poverty alone.  And a UBI can dramatically reduce both socio-economic inequality as well as absolute material poverty.  (And when funded by an Alaska-style tax on fossil fuels, it can also double as a Steve Stoft or James Hansen-style carbon tax-and-dividend as well.)
  10. We consume and waste a ludicrous amount of (mostly fossil-fuel) energy in the so-called "developed" world, and much of that wasteful consumption can be curtailed simply by making it so no one has to "work for a living" unless one really wants to.  Just think of all the energy spent (and commuting to and from) unnecessary work at a job you hate, to buy stuff you don't need, to impress people you don't even like.  A UBI could thus greatly reduce our carbon and overall ecological footprint in the long run.
  11. And finally, one should keep in mind that, as Carol Brouillet has noted, the literal and original meaning of the word "community" is "free sharing of gifts".  What we currently have now under patriarchy/kyriarchy is more of a pseudo-community in that regard.   And that needs to change. Yesterday.  The exchange economy of capitialist patriarchy has failed us, and we need to rediscover and re-create the gift economy in its place.  A UBI will make the transition much smoother and peaceful.
In other words, it would be a win-win-win situation for literally everyone but the 0.01% oligarchs at the top.  So why aren't we doing this yesterday?  Because that would make far too much sense.  To quote Buckminster Fuller:

We should do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian Darwinian theory he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.
In fact, one could argue that two of the most toxic, outdated, and specious ideas ever conceived by the patriarchy (aside from the central doctrine of male supremacy itself and the entire "dominator" model, of course) are that "everybody and their mother must work for a living" and that "everybody must procreate."  And both are now literally KILLING this very planet that gives us life.  Thus, on balance, a Universal Basic Income Guarantee for all is a good idea regardless.  Again, it's a win-win-win situation for everyone but the oligarchs.  And the only real arguments against it are paternalistic and/or sadistic ones, which really means there are no good arguments against it in a free and civilized society.  So what are we waiting for?

Perhaps Bucky's other prediction, that Women would take over the world, is a prerequisite for his vision to be fulfilled?   Honestly, it can't happen soon enough!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Second Women's March Was Also A YUUUUGE Success

On January 20-21, 2018, exactly one year after Trump was inaugurated, Women took to the streets again for another Women's March in numerous cities around the country and around the world.  This occurred during the ridiculous government shutdown, and lasted all weekend long.

This time around, the marches had the notable addition of the #MeToo movement combined with the previous anti-Trump and anti-Republican sentiment as well as feminism in general.  This is clearly a new wave that shows no sign of burning out--if anything, it seems even more invigorated today than a year ago.

Of course, going forward, much more needs to be done as well.  A day or two of protesting, while good, is clearly far from enough. Women, along with their male allies, need to continue to resist Der Trumpenfuehrer and his racist, misogynistic, xenophopbic, homophobic, plutocratic, right-wing authoritarian agenda.  Sustained protests and direct action by Women did work to remove the corrupt Silvio Berlusconi from power in Italy, after all.  This particular march may have ended, but now is NOT the time to abandon our efforts!  Failure is simply not an option anymore considering what is at stake these days.


Saturday, January 13, 2018

America's Dark Night of the Soul May Have a Purpose

On November 9, 2016, America's "Dark Night of the Soul" had begun, which then began in earnest on January 20, 2017.  A year later, things look even darker still.  We have a dangerous and unstable dictator in the White House and he is surrounded by cowardly sycophantic lackeys and enablers.  An openly racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, and otherwise highly toxic dictator, in fact.  And he is doing all he can to destroy this country while further enriching himself, even bringing us to the brink of nuclear war in the hopes of "wagging the dog" to distract from the ever-growing Russiagate scandal that is closing in on him as we speak.  But what if there was a good reason why all this is happening now at this point in history?  After all, as the saying goes, it's always darkest before the dawn.

Enter the newly-invigorated Women's Movement.   The Trump presidency seems to have been a catalyst for an emerging new wave of feminism, or at least a re-activating of the most recent one.  Decades of pent-up anger are now finally being unleashed.  Between the Trump presidency and the aftermath of the Weinstein scandal, something seems to have shifted in this country, and the tipping point is likely in the rearview mirror now, with no sign of turning back.

Thus, it seems that the inevitable transition to Matriarchy has just been dramatically accelerated.   And my prediction of Women taking over by 2030 looks even more likely.  Indeed, it is always darkest before the dawn.  And sometimes darkness can show you the light.

Could this be why Mother God allowed the utter travesty of the rigged 2016 election to happen?  Because that is really the only explanation why this is the case.  So how does this story ultimately end?  Well, the rest is still unwritten, and ultimately up to Women.  What better time than now?


Friday, December 22, 2017

Regnerus Takes a Cheap Shot at Women

The notoriously controversial (and previously debunked) social conservative culture-warrior, Mark Regnerus, is at it yet again with a brand new book, literally titled Cheap Sex, which is basically Jon Birger's Date-onomics on steroids and laced with a certain misogyny that he barely even tries to disguise with what amounts to patronizing and paternalistic "concern" trolling in book form.   And his specious thesis can be readily demolished, as it is in this article by William K. Black.  Jennifer Wright also does a good takedown of Regnerus' thesis from a different angle as well.  Interestingly, even some conservatives also disagree with him.  

Even after his infamous 2012 anti-gay parenting study was roundly and thoroughly debunked as BAD (biased, agenda-driven) science, if not outright pseudoscience, here he is five years later attempting to put forth a new, yet old and recycled, thesis about--what else?--sex. Here is the TL;DR version:

1) Three technological advances--the Pill, along with online porn, and online dating, but especially the Pill--has completely transformed the dating/marriage markets by driving down the relative "cost" of sex for men (hence the title). The "cost" has dropped to the point where the "cartel" is basically broken.

2) At the same time, and not coincidentally, women have also become less dependent on men, further decreasing the incentive to get married.

3) This is very, very bad because sex is a commodity, something that men basically "take" or "buy" from women in one way or another, and thus men no longer have any real incentive to get married nowadays. In other words, as the saying goes, why buy the cow when the milk is for free? (Which literally compares women to livestock, by the way, but I digress.)

4) Marriage rates are in free-fall (among young people, that is) and this is a disaster for society, because reasons. Same goes for birthrates as well--after all, we need more serfs to make the oligarchs even richer and more cannon fodder for their imperialistic resource wars, right?

5) Boys will be boys, and thus girls/women need to be the gatekeepers. Because science. Or something. Thus, women are to blame for being too "cheap" and "easy" when it comes to sex, and no woman is an island in that regard. (He barely even tries to disguise his slut-shaming here.)

6) And of course, the biggest losers in this brave new world of cheap and easy sex are women and children. Men too, but mostly women and children. Because they are dependent on men, so its bad when they become less dependent on men, because tradition. (The "concern" part of the trolling is located right here.)

Of course, he says these things with much more euphemisms and verbiage, and cherry-picked data to back up his specious thesis, but that is basically it in a nutshell. Note that he doesn't seem to offer any cogent solutions to this supposed parade of horrors--probably because deep down he knows exactly where that would lead, and it isn't anywhere good.

We saw what happened in the Victorian era, after all. An entire social movement was spearheaded to make sex as "costly" as possible for both men and women in spite of there being a surplus of women. The result? Prostitution and human trafficking, including of children, exploded--to the point where a whopping one in twenty women was involved in prostitution at any given time back then (versus less than one in 300 today). Talk about backfiring! And the notoriously lecherous Ancient Romans had quite a relative scarcity of women, albeit with an artifical abundance due to slavery of various forms--need I say more?

Even a return to the supposedly "kinder, gentler" patriarchy of the 1950s would not be any better, as it really was no golden age once you peel back the saccharine celluloid veneer of Leave It to Beaver and shows like that to reveal what it was really like. All of the widespread alcoholism, adultery, domestic violence, child abuse, rape, unsafe and illegal abortions, racism, and stuff like that kinda puts the lie to that specious claim.  Stephanie Coontz's book The Way We Never Were explodes the myth of the "good old days" quite nicely indeed.  True, the so-called sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s may have been a mixed bag as it were, but on balance we are ultimately all better off for it along with the feminist movement.

Honestly, one thing is for certain. The whole "commodity model" of sexuality is indeed dying, and that is a GOOD thing. Such an outmoded, outdated, toxic, and sexist paradigm is downright dehumanizing to both primary genders, and we would all better off without it. Sex is a mutual act, and it is time we started treating it as such. And marriage for economic reasons rather than love is becoming increasingly obsolete, as it should in an increasingly egalitarian society. And while marriage can indeed be re-purposed for a post-patriarchal society, the idea everybody must get married as the sine qua non of "real adulthood" is outmoded and no longer holds water.

Whether Regnerus and his ilk like it or not, society is nonetheless evolving, albeit in fits and starts. What is really dying here is PATRIARCHY. And women are gaining more and more power as men are becoming increasingly redundant in both the workforce and the bedroom, and soon they will reclaim their rightful position as the new leaders of the free world. Sorry, fellas, the truth hurts, but we will all be better off for it in the end. As John Mellencamp and India Arie famously sang, if you're not part of the future, then get out of the way.

Let the planetary healing begin!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary...and Weed?

It is well-known that Women have been making increasing inroads in numerous industries over the past few decades, including traditionally male-dominated ones.  But one that is really starting to stand out is the fledgling but rapidly growing legal cannabis industry.   Both in its humble beginnings as the medical market and its latest incarnation as the recreational market in more and more states, more and more Women are taking advantage of this amazing business opportunity as "ganjapreneurs" and challenging outdated stereotypes at the same time as well.  What better time than now?

Contrast this with the black market under the ever-fading relic of cannabis prohibition.  There is a reason why so many people refer to their dealer as their "guy"--it is largely a sausage fest for the most part.  That is mainly because Women are on average more risk-averse than men, and illegal drug dealing of any sort is a very risky business.  But when it is legal, the difference is like day and night in terms of risk, so more Women are getting involved.  And at this rate, it won't be long before they take this industry over as well.

Who would have thought that cannabis would be such an engine of female empowerment?  Actually, it is really not that surprising, given the history (or should I say, HERstory) of herbal medicine in general--and this one is no exception.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

"No Nation Is Lecherous, Where Sex Is Abundant"

Thomas Jefferson once famously said, "No nation is drunken where wine is cheap".  That quote is often misinterpreted rather literally, as a call for very low or no taxes on alcoholic beverages in general.  And such contextomy also ignores the very next clause of the same sentence in which it is uttered: "...and none sober where the dearness of wine substitutes ardent spirits [i.e. hard liquor] as the common beverage."  Yes, wine was actually more expensive than whiskey in early 19th century America.  Of course, we know now that alcohol is alcohol is alcohol, period, and that reams upon reams of research evidence have proven time and again that, all else being equal, higher alcohol prices (regardless of beverage type) generally lead to fewer alcohol-related deaths, injuires, diseases, crimes, and problems in general, along with less overall consumption of such beverages.  So much so that the new saying nowadays is, "Alcohol is no ordinary commodity".

But what about the "cost" of sex?  Fraught as that issue clearly is, many armchair pundits have indeed attempted to answer that question.  Indeed, one of my previous articles, "What Is the Ideal Sex Ratio", attempted to answer that very question.  As we know, all else being equal, the relative "cost" of sex (from the perspective of men) is inversely proportional to the relative abundance of Women in a given population, due to the laws of supply and demand.  Such an idea formed the basis of the book "Date-onomics" by Jon Birger.  And many research papers have also been written about the various pros and cons of high and low sex ratios, many of which can be browsed from the links on my previous article from several months ago.

My general thesis is that a low sex ratio (i.e. a high number of Women relative to men) is overall the most mutually beneficial for everyone on balance.  And I also tend to argue against any sort of artificial scarcity of sexuality (with the notable exception of a Lysistrata-style sex strike, which is a short-term tactic, not a long-term strategy).  We all saw what happened in the Victorian era, after all.  An entire social movement was spearheaded to make sex as "costly" as possible for both men and Women in spite of there being a surplus of Women.  The result?  Prostitution and human trafficking, including of children, exploded--to the point where a whopping one in twenty Women was involved in prostitution at any given time back then (versus less than one in 300 today).  And the notoriously lecherous Ancient Romans had quite a relative scarcity of Women, need I say more?

That would seem to be saying, "No nation is lecherous, where sex is cheap" (or rather  "abundant", since "cheap" can have a pejorative connotation especially in reference to sex) idea whose sentiment apparently underlies the recent iconoclastic book "Sex at Dawn" by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha.  And the books detractors will predictably, well, detract.  But there is a major nuance that unfortunately gets glossed over by both sides of the debate.  That is, the fundamental difference between male-defined sexuality versus female-defined sexuality is all too often overlooked.

Under patriarchy, male-defined sexuality is the gold standard of sexuality, to the point where most men and even most Women are unaware that there is any alternative.  Most sex, both commercial and non-commercial, follows this paradigm, often unconsciously, to the point where it is downright banal.  Even when completely consensual, the taint of this paradigm is very difficult to remove.  And in an obliquely similar fashion to Jefferson's quote, regardless of the overall "cost" of sex in general, patriarchy has managed to make female-defined sexuality that much more costly (and rare) relative to male-defined sexuality.  And artificial scarcity has a flip side of artificial abundance, a kind that conveniently benefits men at the expense of Women.  From slut-shaming to the virgin-whore dichotomy to sexual violence to victim-blaming to double standards, this evil system has essentially left us all with the worst of all worlds.  A truly negative-sum game.

When Women are truly liberated, both sexually and otherwise, female-defined sexuality will be the norm (and thus abundant), while male-defined sexuality will in turn become scarce (as few Women would want to participate).  And the best thing about it is that the whole toxic and outmoded "commodity model" of sexuality--in which sex is seen as something that men "take" from Women and for which Women must be "gatekeepers" lest their value as human beings be diminished--will be jettisoned under a feminine paradigm of sexuality.  And that is really the only way to resolve the inherent contradictions of Date-onomics.

Thus, one can paraphrase Jefferson yet again as such, and make the case that female-defined sexuality is, in truth, the only antidote to the bane of male-defined sexuality.   So what does female-defined sexuality actually look like in practice?  As a man, I obviously cannot define it--but I know it when I see it.  Let the planetary healing begin!

UPDATE:  I see that the notoriously controversial (and previously debunked) social conservative culture-warrior, Mark Regnerus, is at it yet again with a brand new book, literally titled "Cheap Sex", which is basically Date-onomics on steroids and laced with a certain misogyny that he barely even tries to disguise with what amounts to patronizing and paternalistic "concern" trolling in book form.   And his specious thesis can be readily demolished, as it is in this article by William K. Black.  Jennifer Wright also does a good takedown of Regnerus' thesis from a different angle as well.  Interestingly, even some conservatives also disagree with him.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Is This The Tipping Point?

We are now in what I like to call a "post-Harvey world" or a "post-Weinstein" world.  Ever since disgraced Hollywood film mogul Harvey Weinstein was finally exposed as a serial sexual harasser and assaulter, if not a full-blown rapist as well, numerous Women (and a few men as well) recently came forward against so many other male celebrities and politicians accusing them of various reprehensible acts on the sexual harassment/assault spectrum.  The hashtag campaign #MeToo has gone viral.  Thus it certainly seems like something has indeed changed within a matter of weeks.

Of course, predatory male behavior (and male-pattern violence in general) towards Women and children is sadly nothing new, and has been going on for thousands of years.  Ever since the advent of patriarchy, it has been going on to one degree or another in nearly all cultures.  But now it seems to finally be getting some long-overdue attention, and perhaps the proverbial dam has finally broken.  For the first time in history it seems, at least a significant chunk of Americans are actually starting to give the victims/survivors the benefit of the doubt rather than reflexively pillory them and automatically side with the accused, as has been the standard heretofore.  Time will tell whether this groundswell is a short-term flash in the pan or the tipping point of far more enduring and fundamental change to our society, but I believe it is at least the start of the latter.  Perhaps this may even accelerate the fall of the patriarchy.  Although, until the biggest elephant in the room--the one in the White House--is removed from power and actually faces justice for his misdeeds, my optimism will nonetheless remain cautious.

Note also that the term "post-Harvey" also has a double meaning as well.  Hurricane Harvey (and Irma and Maria) is (hopefully) a different, though related, sort of wake-up call as well.  There is indeed a connection between men's rape and abuse of Women on the one hand, and our collective rape and abuse of the Earth on the other.  And both are the primary causes of the existential crisis in which humanity (and all life in fact) is currently mired.  In other words, "#MeToo," said Mother Earth. "#MeToo."