Celebritiarians: No One Gives A Fuck About Your Goddamn Dad Rock

This is an intervention. Someone probably gave this to you because they were tired of you constantly going around thinking you were “woke” or “red pilled” on music because you listen to prog rock. I’m here to tell you, with tough love, that you are not.

Before I sink my teeth in, and goddammit am I going to, I need to give a bit of context about me. I like prog and classic rock and I have the vinyl to prove it. I own albums by Pink Floyd, Rush, Ozzy, Dio, and Led Zeppelin. Just specifically Dark Side of the Moon alone, I have a DSOTM flag, a 180-gram pressing of the album which came with posters I have hanging in the very room I write this. My mother, who is a masterful quilter made a quilt that bears an uncanny resemblance of the cover art that made people fall in love with Storm Thorgerson. My goal here is not to bash that music. It’s not about the music.

It is, however, about you. How many times have I heard a podcast, great podcasts, about all kinds of things that would break format just to have the host go on about how all the music out today is terrible and if only they could just spend one hour with Moving Pictures? How can anyone even stand Miley Cyrus? Have they even listened to Heart of the Sunshine?! What is wrong with these people?! Nothing.

People have bad taste in music. It’s a tale as old as time. It’s also a generational thing. Every generation has its Nirvana. A new band or popular genre that upsets the apple cart. The band that comes in with a hit single that sparks a revolution that washes out the old, and brings in the new. Those who’ve built their entire identity on the old gets enraged at the new sounds of the era. Sure sometimes it’s not that good. Sure the fans of the new can be annoying. Yes, some trends are concerning, even for me. What’s equally as problematic are people who’s musical scope are extremely limited and become evangelists.

You are also a problem.

Sure, I hate when I hang out with a new friend and they just want to listen to EDM or whatever garbage is on the Top 40. What’s equally annoying is when they can’t listen to anything but Queen and they feel like they have a key to a world unknown by the general population. They hold a secret to musical salvation and if only someone could just try and listen to Aqualung.  I’m here to tell you that they have and they don’t find it that special and they’re right.

We all have heard Dark Side of the Moon. A million times. It’s not a closely guarded secret. Not by any stretch of the imagination. It’s everywhere. It’s in upcoming movies, video games, on radio stations even ones that play current rock. It’s played ad nauseum in bars, restaurants, and even in doctor’s offices. I even hear muzak versions of it in fucking Walgreens.

Rush. Celebritiarians can’t shut the fuck up about Rush. It’s almost a prereq to never shut the fuck up about Rush to get anywhere in liberty circles. Why? Because they are Randians and talk about it in their music. That’s really what it boils to. Sure they make good music, but that’s not the real reason why they like them so fucking much. Canada only jizzes all over them because it’s their only decent export outside of electricity and maple syrup. Geddy Lee is a great bass player, but he’s no Les Claypool. Neil Pert is an amazing drummer, but I’ve heard stuff from The Mars Volta’s Thomas Pridgen that impressed me far more. If you bring up Alex Lifeson as if he’s some revolutionary guitarist I’ll just call you a liar. He is great but he’s not a great.  Again, Rush is a good band but it’s nothing new. Their first album came out almost 10 years before I was born and it’s still getting a lot of mainstream airtime. I bet my nephews can sing the lyrics of Tom Sawyer or at least get though Working Man on one of those Guitar Hero or Rock Band games.

I talk a lot about the band The Residents. I evangelize about them a lot. Mostly because I know my audience has probably never heard of them. Even people of their day haven’t even when they would get play on the early days of MTV. Even if you have heard them, chances are you hated them. I provided them an avenue for people to be interested in them. Giving them primers on where to start, and if they didn’t like them at least give them to knowledge to appreciate what they’ve done. I’ve got a lot of interesting perspectives on how they felt about their body of work both negative and positive. What I didn’t do is insult their intelligence by insinuating they’ve never heard Nirvana before and if they only have we’d never have seen the likes of One Direction.

You are a hipster. No one likes a fucking hipster. Hipster of the worst kind. A hipster who thinks he liked obscure stuff but really it’s a staple of mainstream culture. I don’t need to hear your hour long podcast about how dumb kids are these days because they’ve never seen The Wall. They have. I don’t need you to regale me about how bad Carly Rae Jepsen is compared to King Crimson, I know. There’s lots of bands today who take a lot of influence from these bands who make interesting stuff. Rishloo, Closure In Moscow, Tool (they’ll come out with an album any day now I swear,) the two guys from The Mars Volta and all of their projects, and more than I could possibly name. Not to mention a revival in prog rock’s precursor psychedelic rock that barrows a lot of stuff from prog and classic rock like Pond.  There’s a wide, wide, wide, world of music rock music outer there past the dial and you’re still on the dial. You didn’t find the holy grail, you found a type of beer glass nearly everyone owns. Stop fooling yourself and stop wasting my time.

THE LIBERTARIAN CASE FOR PROHIBITION

With Jeff Sessions at the forefront the drug war, opioid addiction spreading like wildfire, celebritarians promoting drug mysticism, and cannabis culture are taking over America in record numbers; drug abuse is a hot topic as of late. Reactions range from advocating a tyrannical police and surveillance state, universal healthcare, nationalised treatment, social darwinism, legalization, taxed and regulated drugs, and decriminalisation. Wherever a spot for controversy exist, I’ll be there to capitalise on outrage culture so please donate.

For a libertarian the answer may at first seem quite obvious; decriminalisation. States have a nasty habit of using such moral crises to crack down on dissenters rather than help people with abuse problems. Arbitrary distinctions between OK drugs like alcohol and nicotine, and bad drugs marijuana and mushrooms seem quite senseless when drawn by criminal enterprises calling themselves a nation states. Governments only exist through theft and violence and have no legitimate claim over us to tell us what we do to our own body. We will decide what to do for recreation, thank you very much.

But a problem happens when you’re aiming to create a free society and of tons of dangerous drugs pour across our borders lowering the IQ and self-awareness of the population. Many of whom smoke weed or trip balls and succumb to dumb ideas like The Venus Project, or go on a meth bender and advocate fascism and spousal abuse. A lot of drug users find gainful employment difficult or become handicapped because of the drug and then clog up our welfare state. Because people who are using tend to fall into a life of crime, it requires more police presence. When addiction strikes their own families they seek government solutions, so that’s bad but not as much as my government solution I’ll propose in just a bit. Changing drug preferences from more harmless things like marijuana to more harmful drugs like opioids means societal tensions.

A good libertarian will tend to put principle first, no doubt. But I am not one of those degenerates. If welfare rolls are burdened, abolish welfare. If a police presence is repressive, restrain or privatize the police. If people commit crimes, punish the criminals who committed them not the drug. But that’s not going to happen politically, ever. So the best thing to do is participate in statism to apply band-aids with all kinds of unintended consequences that only exacerbates the problem.

Let’s dial back the clock and analyse why people do drugs in the first place. Growing up under the modern surveillance and police state is difficult. But imagine a free-market world. People tend to associate with peers with different preferences and leisure activities just like they do today. Those choices lead to certain outcomes that allows me to make blanket judgements on the collective groups when a portion ruins their lives by being a crackhead.

Imagine a market scenario where the drug markets are OK and everything is fine because of reasons that have been explained before. At this point I just want it to be clear I have some understanding of economics because I listen to Contra Krugman.

Now this is the part where I throw that knowledge out the window for an emotional plea like a liberal would do. What if the drug prices are really high because of the state and it’s creating a market signal for criminals and warlords to come in. Think of the children! If not think of the children, then think of the people asking us to think of the children who vote.

So while you snooty libertarians who aren’t nearly as enlightened as me sit back in your ivory towers and sneer at the state for creating the drug problem it has, I have to deal with these problems including a temptation to smoke meth and record the whole thing for my podcast. We don’t live in that ideal world so we need to clamp down on drug use. Here’s why.

Drug abuse is a government program.

When people do drugs it puts a heavy burden on the healthcare system which is mostly state funded. People who use drugs go on the black market which has questionable standards and makes the drugs dangerous. People do those drugs, fuck up their bodies and go on programs like SSI disability, medicare, medicaid, and they drive up premiums on the ACA insurance marketplace. That means more taxes and increased costs of “private” health care.

Let’s be pragmatic; it’s not going to be legalized any time soon so instead of agitating for a reduced role we should expand the role because consequentialist reasons. Nevermind I rail against consequentialism in regards to politics and ethics, this is the only time it’s valid… well, this and the wall.

But that’s not even the tip of the iceberg! We also don’t have the luxury of being principled when people are robbing your house for drug money. We don’t have the comfort of ideological consistency when someone high on PCP assaults you. We don’t have the extravagance of having anything resembling a coherent idea when some crackhead rapes your wife. There’s a clear correlation between drug abuse and crime and that’s as far as we need to go on that and I’ll just leave it there.

Furthermore, we live in a world where there’s forced or heavily encouraged drug use. Kids often go to school and get misdiagnosed with ADHD and get prescribed Adderall and Ritalin. Hospitals will provide opioid pain medications to people who are not in a position to objectively consent. Because there’s this element I’m going to present a dichotomy of choices here: we can crack down on all of it or let bad things happen. I’m also going to say that there’s no third option of allowing choice in all areas of drug use.

Most importantly think of every communist you’ve ever met. Don’t they all talk about how we should all take drugs and “everything will be great, bruh.” This is true across the board and isn’t a false stereotype. These people who are mentally damaged by drug use, vote, and democrats know that they can get footholds on elections when they put some kind of legalization measure on the ballot. Yes on recreational Marijuana and vote against the God Emperor Trump because he’s literally Hitler, bruh. We can’t have that. You can’t have that. Sure pot legalization sounds great to be put on a ballot, but if it means Crooked Hillary gets to sit in the Oval Office, sorry, but people just need to be jailed for that crap.

As much as I would like to live in a world where I don’t have to risk jail time for my vices, yours needs to be outlawed and you need to be punished. For Western Civilization and my people. But mostly because I think pot smells bad.

(THIS IS SATIRE)

The Economy Gets a Hard Fork

With all this talk about Bitcoin getting a hard fork because of the insanely high transaction fees and full blocks that make trading bitcoin nearly impractical, very few are talking about the hard fork that already happened with the entire economy.

Let’s be honest, about the late 70’s and early 80’s a trend started emerging in the global economy. It was a very nasty one. Sure there are others but this one is not much of a product of state intervention or laws. That is the severance of relationships by firms with their customers. This was truly realized in the 90’s and doubled down on in the Naughts. I listen to stories of people who lived before this era opine about these days when the butcher would remember your name and know what you liked. Where the drug store knew what your prescriptions were and would start getting them ready before you even got to the counter. That the local ice cream parlor would remember your daughter Sally liked chocolate and would give her a sample of the new chocolate-based flavor. These relationships were vital. People didn’t care about the new shop that was slightly cheaper, because they knew John who ran the shop was a friend who was there to help, not to hock them shit.

This all came to a screeching halt when bigger businesses moved in and followed marketing whitepapers, and learned quickly that the public doesn’t have a platform to complain. They traded in their human phone operators to computers that only frustrated their consumers. The little businesses followed suit because they knew that mathematically it was cheaper and it gave them a veil of looking bigger than they were. They could operate cheaper, they could provide lower prices to the consumer. People took this as an economic choice. They prefered shit service because prices were better.

Now that’s not to say there aren’t great local firms giving this type of service thought this era, but the trend was very much in the other direction. You could rely on a business model that cared about people or one that could compete on a price level. Sadly the demand for merchant relationships was a niche product that even people who dreamed for a return to the old didn’t want to shell out the cash to get it. So they went to big box stores and chains.

If there was a problem, chances were the resolution wasn’t that great. Then what? You told your friends? Wrote a letter to the editor? What did that accomplish? Sure there’s examples like when AOL refused to close a man’s account. It took him recording the whole exchange and luckily having a major news outlet run the story for anything to change. How long was this process going on before then? How many time have you heard a friend complain about AOL in the 90s? If you were around then, you’d remember it was quite a bit. Still, people paid for their crap service because they stood atop the marketing behemoth. How often did these terrible services go on without getting the public scorn?

Marketing back in those days had a high barrier to entry. Print, TV, and radio ads were expensive and unless you could pump out as many of them as Budweiser, it fell on deaf ears. If your pizza wasn’t being advertised during the Super Bowl, no one gave a fuck. If you wanted to know about the best new business you had to be told about it by your TV. Your friend would tell you “Blockbuster Video sucks because the staff doesn’t know shit about movies, go to Joe’s Video instead” but you didn’t care because Blockbuster was there, it was cheap, they had everything, they had brand recognition, and that was that. Now this isn’t the case.

A hard fork in the crypto-space (in very layman’s terms here) is when another version of the cryptocoin is created using the older blockchain but implementing features the old chain doesn’t implement. The new chain runs parallel with the older chain and then market decides if it wants to use the old blockchain, or the new one, or both like what happened to Etherium and now Etherium Classic. I believe this is what’s happening to capitalism and, in my humble opinion, it’s fantastic. Not perfect, but fantastically better.

The dinosaurs are thrashing in the tar pits. Older conglomerates are still doubling down on a marketing machine that doesn’t work. They still ignore their customers because they think they are invincible to their cries for better service or against their wrongdoings. They couldn’t be more wrong. In the book The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk (a.k.a. Garyvee) he talks about the way marketing is moving. It’s becoming more democratized (not a democracy) so that people like you and I who have less than a thousand Twitter followers can be heard just as loudly as a company like Best Buy. They could be devastated if they commit wrongdoings to their customers and refuse to resolve it.  It also gives a chance for the mom and pop electronics shop to provide relationships to current and prospective customers better than any ad on TV will ever give them.

Let’s say you’re the owner of this Mom and Pop tropical fish store. You can go on Twitter, look in the search in their area of people complaining about troubles with getting a coral to survive in their tank. They can respond to them using the company account with help. Genuine help, not “Come to our shop and buy this” I mean actual advice. People have a chat and fix their problem. That is a relationship with a person money cannot buy and everyone stands to gain. The best part is that relationship is lopsided in the right way, it’s leaning on the customer. Sure there’s no guarantee that they will go to their shop for all of their needs, but they will know they care and when they look at who is helping them, they’ll know they exist. If that store spent time helping people in their area via Twitter, they will form a relationship that no Mega Tropical Fish Mart could achieve and people will go back. Not just twitter, but any social media outlet people use.

Think about Yelp. It used to be that if you wanted to find something good in your area, you asked a friend. Sometimes you’d be skeptical and go to a chain. Sure the chain wouldn’t be nearly as good but you could rely on the mediocrity they sold. Word of mouth was great but what if no one in a particular social group ever visited that place? That’s a huge loss of income. Now when people look for something nearby they crack open Yelp and see what everyone says. They see it all. The good, the bad, and the nonsense. They can see pictures of the food. They can see people praise the service. Likewise they can see people condemn it. Now going to a new spot to shop or dine is far less of a gamble thanks to this new technology.

Even the job market is getting better with services like Glass Door which allows prospective employees to see what people say about working for a company. Is the boss a jerk who treats you like crap? That info is right at your fingertips. You can seek out places to work that are far better for the workers.

But things aren’t just going back to the way they were, things are vastly improving it. The firms that are growing today are the ones who provide value to their customers before they are their customers. Firms are starting to give stuff away, their best stuff away, knowing that they will develop a relationship their their customers that will make them want to pursue a financial transaction later. Be it content, help with products they bought from other vendors, advice, to physical things like food, swag, and even free products.

Now I don’t have the most optimistic outlook on the global economy nor the US economy because it tends to steer in the direction of more state interventions. Even considering this hazard it looks as though the price of what most people would consider necessities (sans healthcare) are falling in price. They get cheaper though the older notions of what we would consider a market economy via competition, innovation, and trade. Though things like regulations, taxations, tariffs…etc. do get in the way, but they aren’t as fast as innovations. Unless there’s a nationalization or Obamacare for the food industry, food will be similar to water. So cheap that firms will offer it at no cost just to get you in the door to see their new line of 3D TVs or even bum wine. If you want something better, there’s a host of finer dining available.

Gone are the nightmarish (and false) world Marxists paint of having to work under an abusive boss just to survive when goods are so cheap that it’s used to get you to have a positive view of their company. Will shelter be provided to people down on their luck knowing once they advance their situation they will return having a meaningful relationship with that company? Time can only tell but the shift seems to be heading in a direction where something like that could emerge.

Now that’s not to say this will all be perfect. There will always be a negative bias in reviews on these platforms. There will always be hoaxes like the Wendy’s Chili Finger that will hurt an innocent firm. Amazon will still affirm their domination over distribution. The free stuff given to people won’t exactly be the best choice someone would make otherwise (i.e. giving them a greasy burger over a salad.) Sure, but this emergent world is a lot better than the “glory days” our elders wished were back and certainly a lot better than what we had 10 years ago.

I doubt in the decades to come that it would be possible to run a business like a lot of dinosaurs operated in 2007. If you want to survive this new fork in the economy you’ll have to provide your customers a relationship. You will have to show you care and not just provide the “hurry up and buy” mentality we’re so used to. A family run shop is making a comeback. Not always necessarily in the brick and mortar scenario, but dealing with Mark’s Computer Repair will always be far superior than Geek Squad because Mark gives a fuck. If not, the whole town will hear about it on Twitter and Facebook and seek out someone who does care.